Bible Study Guides – “The Just Shall Live by Faith”

February 20-26, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1, 2.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 93–104.

INTRODUCTION: “Through faith in Christ, every deficiency of character may be supplied, every defilement cleansed, every fault corrected, every excellence developed. ‘Ye are complete in Him.’ Colossians 2:10. Prayer and faith are closely allied, and they need to be studied together. In the prayer of faith there is a divine science; it is a science that everyone who would make his lifework a success must understand. Christ says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11: 24. He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal. For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received. We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most. To live thus by the word of God means the surrender to Him of the whole life. There will be felt a continual sense of need and dependence, a drawing out of the heart after God. Prayer is a necessity; for it is the life of the soul.” Education, 257, 258. [Emphasis supplied.]

“Your Heavenly Father Knoweth”

1 How did Jesus explain the providential watchcare of God? Matthew 6:26–30.

NOTE: “If God cares to make these inanimate things so beautiful, that will be cut down and perish in a day, how much more careful will He be to supply the needs of His obedient children, whose lives may be as enduring as eternity. How readily will He give them the adornment of His grace, the strength of wisdom, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. The love of God to man is incomprehensible, broad as the world, high as heaven, and as enduring as eternity.”
In Heavenly Places, 115.

2 What counsel did Christ give about trusting God? Matthew 6:31–34.

NOTE: “As He thus presents eternal life to His followers, is it not of more consequence to them than the life of this world? Your attention should not be turned in the direction of anxiety, fear, and solicitude, in regard to your meat and drink, and the clothing you are to put upon these bodies. Is not the better life to be sought after with far greater carefulness, and we engage in the work with greater earnestness than we should in making unnecessary preparations for this life? While we are engaged almost wholly in the preparation for this life, we are losing the opportunity of gaining eternal life. But can we not invest more in this enterprise of everlasting life than in the things of this short life? We may gather, and gather, and lay up our treasures upon earth, but they are only a snare to us.” Review and Herald, April 12, 1870.

“Christ is here teaching a precious lesson in regard to His service. Whatever experiences may come to you, He says, serve God. Whatever inconveniences and hardships you may encounter, trust in the Lord. We have no cause to worry and fear, if we take our position for the truth, that we and our families will suffer. To do this is to manifest unbelief in God. ‘Your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things,’ the Saviour says. If we would study the Word more faithfully, we would increase in faith.” Evangelism, 238.

“God is Not a Man that He Should Lie”

3 What has God given us to enable us to become partakers of the divine nature and to overcome sin? 2 Peter 1:4.

NOTE: “The words and promises of God are the only foundation of our faith. Take the Word of God as truth, as a living, speaking voice to you, and obey faithfully every requirement. God is faithful, who hath promised…Our blessings are limited by the weakness of our faith. God is not unwilling to bestow; He is a reservoir of power.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 72.

“Invisible armies of light and power attend the meek and lowly ones who believe and claim the promises of God. Cherubim and seraphim, and angels that excel in strength, stand at God’s right hand, ‘all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Hebrews 1: 14. Christ’s Object Lessons, 176. (See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 176; Acts of the Apostles, 563, 564; Testimonies, vol. 7, 69.)

4 What assurance do we have that God will keep His promises? Numbers 23:19.

NOTE: “When you find yourself depressed, and you have a sinking time, pray. Hold on by prayer to that arm that was stretched out to hold up a sinking Peter. It will give you courage, vital energy, and pure, unadulterated wisdom . . . In your weakness, lay hold of infinite strength, and the people will see that you have the solid rock of God’s promises beneath your feet. Your heart must turn away from human supports. If your heart goes out to Jesus in living trust, you will be strong.” Testimonies to Southern Africa, 68.

“Ye Ask Amiss”

5 What things may prevent our prayers from being answered? Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2.

NOTE: “If we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will not hear us; but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always accepted. When all known wrongs are righted, we may believe that God will answer our petitions.” Steps to Christ, 95.

6 What other kind of prayer is not answered? James 4:3.

NOTE: “But there are thousands of prayers daily offered that God does not answer…There are selfish prayers, proceeding from a heart that is cherishing idols…Those who offer such petitions are not abiding in Christ. They have not submitted their will to the will of God. They do not comply with the condition of the promise, and it is not fulfilled to them.” Review and Herald, September 11, 1883.

“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”

7 In order to receive God’s blessings, what did Christ say we must do? Matthew 7:7.

NOTE: “Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith?” Steps to Christ, 94.

8 How did John express his faith in God? 1 John 5:14, 15.

NOTE: “If we take Him at His word and forsake our sins, He is ready and willing to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will give us a pure heart and the abiding presence of His Spirit, for Jesus lives to intercede for us. But . . . spiritual things are spiritually discerned. It is a living, active, abiding faith that discerns the will of God, that appropriates the promises, and profits by the truths of His word.”
In Heavenly Places, 23.

“When you pray for temporal blessings, remember that the Lord may see that it is not for your good or for His glory to give you just what you desire. But He will answer your prayer, giving you just what is best for you.” In Heavenly Places, 82.

“Believe that Ye Receive”

9 What did Christ reveal was a further condition for answered prayer? Mark 11:24.

NOTE: “True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realized and felt. We must send up our petitions in faith within the second veil, and let our faith take hold of the promised blessing, and claim it as ours. We are then to believe that we receive the blessing, because our faith has hold of it, and according to the word it is ours. ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. Here is faith, naked faith, to believe that we receive the blessing, even before we realize it. When the promised blessing is realized and enjoyed, faith is swallowed up.” Christian Experience and Teachings, 126.

10 What warning are we given concerning prayers made without faith? James 1: 6, 7.

NOTE: “Another element of prevailing prayer is faith. ‘He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.’ Hebrews 11:6. Jesus said to His disciples, ‘What things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. Do we take Him at His word? The assurance is broad and unlimited, and He is faithful who has promised. When we do not receive the very things we asked for, at the time we ask, we are still to believe that the Lord hears and that He will answer our prayers.” Steps to Christ, 96.

“I Thank Thee that Thou Hast Heard Me”

11 When we make our supplications to God, what should always accompany our request? Philippians 4:6.

NOTE: “For any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received. We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most.” Education, 257 – 258.

12 What example did Christ demonstrate of giving thanks before seeing the answer to the prayer of faith? John 11:41, 42.

NOTE: “In all that He did, Christ was cooperating with His Father. Ever He had been careful to make it evident that He did not work independently; it was by faith and prayer that He wrought His miracles. Christ desired all to know His relationship with His Father.” Desire of Ages, 535.

“God stands back of every promise He has made. With your Bible in your hands say, I have done as Thou hast said. I present Thy promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’” Christ’s Object Lessons, 147.

Bible Study Guides – “A Merciful and Faithful High Priest”

February 13-19, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4: 15, 16.

STUDY HELP: The Faith I Live By, 199–218; Great Controversy, 420–432.

INTRODUCTION: “Though the ministration was to be removed from the earthly to the heavenly temple; though the sanctuary and our great High Priest would be invisible to human sight, yet the disciples were to suffer no loss thereby. They would realize no break in their communion, and no diminution of power because of the Saviour’s absence. While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still, by His Spirit, the Minister of the church on earth. He is withdrawn from the eye of sense, but His parting promise is fulfilled, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ Matthew 28:20. While He delegates His power to inferior ministers, His energizing presence is still with His church.” Desire of Ages, 166.

“The Lamb of God”

1 By what means was a sinner able to find pardon in Old Testament times? Genesis 4:4; Leviticus 4:32, 33.

NOTE: “Abel grasped the great principles of redemption. He saw himself a sinner, and he saw sin and its penalty, death, standing between his soul and communion with God. He brought the slain victim, the sacrificed life, thus acknowledging the claims of the law that had been transgressed. Through the shed blood he looked to the future sacrifice, Christ dying on the cross of Calvary; and trusting in the atonement that was there to be made, he had the witness that he was righteous, and his offering accepted.” Conflict and Courage, 24.

2 What shows that these sacrifices had no power in them to cleanse the sinner from his sin? Hebrews 10:1–4.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 424, 425.

3 To whom did the sacrificial system look forward? John 1:35, 36; Isaiah 53:4–6.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 25.

“Our Great High Priest”

4 What qualification was essential to fit Christ to be our High Priest? Hebrews 2:17, 18.

NOTE: “Christ saw man’s fearful danger, and He determined to save him by the sacrifice of Himself. That He might accomplish His purpose of love for the fallen race, He became bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.” Reflecting Christ, 17. (See Selected Messages, Book 3, 197, 198.)

5 What sacrifice does Christ offer as our great High Priest? Hebrews 9:12–14.

NOTE: “In the sacrificial offering on every altar was seen a Redeemer. With the cloud of incense arose from every contrite heart the prayer that God would accept their offerings as showing faith in the coming Saviour. Our Saviour has come and shed His blood as a sacrifice, and now He pleads that blood before His Father in the sanctuary in heaven. It is now, as anciently, only through the merits of that blood that the transgressor of God’s law can find pardon. It is by exercising repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Review and Herald, March 2, 1886.

“An Advocate With the Father”

6 Of what interest is the priesthood of Christ to the Christian? Hebrews 9:24, Hebrews 4:15, 16; Romans 8:34; 1 Timothy 2:5.

NOTE: “Christ is spoken of as walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks. (Revelation 1: 13) Thus is symbolized His relation to the churches. He is in constant communication with His people. He knows their true state. He observes their order, their piety, their devotion. Although He is high priest and mediator in the sanctuary above, yet He is represented as walking up and down in the midst of His churches on the earth. With untiring wakefulness and unremitting vigilance, He watches to see whether the light of any of His sentinels is burning dim or going out. If the candlesticks were left to mere human care, the flickering flame would languish and die; but He is the true watchman in the Lord’s house, the true warden of the temple courts. His continued care and sustaining grace are the source of life and light.” Acts of the Apostles, 586.

7 While it is God’s desire that Christians should, by reliance on His power, no longer sin, how does Christ help those who fall into sin? 1 John 2:1, 2.

NOTE: “The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, ‘whither the forerunner is for us entered.’ Hebrews 6: 20. There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight into the mysteries of redemption. The salvation of man is accomplished at an infinite expense to heaven; the sacrifice made is equal to the broadest demands of the broken law of God. Jesus has opened the way to the Father’s throne, and through His mediation the sincere desire of all who come to Him in faith may be presented before God.” The Great Controversy, 489.

“I Am the Bread of Life”

What item of furniture was found in the Holy Place on its northern side? Exodus 25:23–30.

NOTE: “The table of shewbread stood on the north. With its ornamental crown, it was overlaid with pure gold. On this table the priests were, each Sabbath, to place twelve cakes, arranged in two piles, and sprinkled with frankincense. The loaves that were removed, being accounted holy, were to be eaten by the priests.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 348.

“The making of the shewbread symbolizes Christ’s experience. The process of making the bread for the table of shewbread started with a kernel of wheat which had to fall to the ground and die, producing a sprout and finally a stalk of wheat. ‘Nazareth’ means ‘sprout’ or ‘branch’. Like a growing sprout, Christ lived in Nazareth to prepare Him to be the living bread for the world. Just as the farmer cultivates the seeds he plants with toil and sweat, Christ’s life was wrought with suffering and tears. Also, after the harvest, the farmer grinds the grain with a millstone; likewise, Christ’s soul was pressed and ground by the weight of the world’s sins. In Jewish times,
when the shewbread was baking, the side of the bread was poked with a long fork that resembled a spear to test if the bread was done. In the Israelite camp, cooking on the Sabbath was prohibited, but the sanctuary’s bread was to be baked on Sabbath morning. (See Leviticus 24: 8.) Symbolically, on Sabbath morning, God’s people were to eat an abundant supply of heavenly food. The priests, who represent church leaders today, must personally experience the heavenly food and share it with the people every Sabbath morning.” Behold the Lamb, David Kang, 56.

9 How did Christ describe Himself? John 6:47–51.

NOTE: “No human agent can supply that which will satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul. But Jesus says, …‘I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.’ John 6:35…The more we know of God, the higher will be our ideal of character and the more earnest our longing to reflect His likeness. A divine element combines with the human when the soul reaches out after God and the longing heart can say, ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.’ Psalm 62:5.…The continual cry of the heart is, ‘More of Thee,’ and ever the Spirit’s answer is, ‘Much more.’ Romans 5:9, 10…It was the good pleasure of the Father that in Christ should ‘all the fullness dwell,’ and ‘in Him ye are made full.’ Colossians 1:19, R.V.; 2:10, R.V. Christ is the great depository of justifying righteousness and sanctifying grace. All may come to Him, and receive of His fullness.” The Faith I Live By, 109.

“I Am the Light of the World”

10 What was to be found on the south side of the Holy place of the sanctuary? Exodus 25:31–37.

NOTE: “On the south was the seven-branched candlestick, with its seven lamps. Its branches were ornamented with exquisitely wrought flowers, resembling lilies, and the whole was made from one solid piece of gold. There being no windows in the tabernacle, the lamps were never all extinguished at one time, but shed their light by day and by night.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 348.

“The golden candlestick is composed of seven branches. This represents Christ, the perfect Light and Truth…As a candlestick’s function is to shed light, Christ brightened the world through His life and ministry. Olive oil was used as fuel to light the candlestick, and it represents the Holy Spirit. ‘Gethsemane’ means ‘the place where oil is pressed.’ In order to give us the Holy Spirit, Christ bore our sins and walked the path of affliction. Light represents His presence, and God lives in us through His Word. Thus light also represents God’s Word or the truth. In the sanctuary there were no windows. In other words, there was no light from the outside. The candlestick was its only source of light. Likewise, no light from the outside world should come into our souls; only Christ, the true Light, should be allowed in.” Behold the Lamb, David Kang, 52, 53.

11 To what did Jesus compare Himself? John 8:12.

NOTE: “Jesus is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He is the light of the world, and He bids us come unto Him, and learn of Him. Jesus was the great Teacher. He could
have made disclosures on the sciences that would have placed the discoveries of the greatest men in the background as utter littleness; but this was not His mission or His work. He had come to seek and to save that which was lost, and He could not permit Himself to be turned from His one object. He allowed nothing to divert Him. This work He has given into our hands. Shall we do it?” Christian Education, 80.

12 What further understanding of the candlestick did Christ give? Matthew 5:14–16. (See also Revelation 2:5.)

NOTE: “When we cease to fulfill our mission, when the candlestick refuses to reflect light, and the great truths committed to us individually in trust for the world, are not given to them, then the candlestick will be removed. ‘I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place.’ Another will be placed in his stead and will shine. Let prayer be ascending now without delay to Him who walketh in the midst of the golden candlesticks. Take not thy Holy Spirit from us. ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.… Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways: and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.’” Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.

“The Incense with the Prayers of the Saints”

13 What item of furniture was placed in the Holy Place before the second veil? Exodus 30:1–10.

NOTE: “There is an inexhaustible fund of perfect obedience accruing from His obedience. In heaven His merits, His self-denial and self-sacrifice, are treasured as incense to be offered up with the prayers of His people. As the sinner’s sincere, humble prayers ascend to the throne of God, Christ mingles with them the merits of His own life of perfect obedience. Our prayers are made fragrant by this incense. Christ has pledged Himself to intercede in our behalf, and the Father always hears the Son.” Sons and Daughters of God, 22.

14 What picture are we given of this work in the heavenly sanctuary? Revelation 8:3, 4.

NOTE: “The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor, who is at God’s right hand, presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 344.

Bible Study Guides – “Let No Man Deceive You”

February 6-12, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro,
and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Ephesians 4:14.

Study Help: Acts of the Apostles, 546–556.

Introduction: “The Lord will not compel men to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God; He sets before the human agent good and evil, and makes plain what will be the sure result of following one course or the other. Christ invites us, saying, ‘Follow Me.’ But we are never forced to walk in His footsteps. If we do walk in His footsteps, it is the result of deliberate choice. As we see the life and character of Christ, strong desire is awakened to be like Him in character; and we follow on to know the Lord, and to know His goings forth are prepared as the morning. We then begin to realize that ‘the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’” Review and Herald, March 31, 1896.

“We Deceive Ourselves”

1 How does John describe those who claim to be Christians but continue to live sinful lives? 1 John 1:6.

NOTE: “This is the class whom the apostle rebukes; for he says, ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ It is evident that where a claim to sinlessness is made, there the law of God has not been written in the heart; for the commandments of God are exceeding broad, and are discerners of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The apostle speaks words of encouragement to those who realize that they are sinners, and says, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ ‘If we say we have no sin,’ when our thoughts, words, and actions, reflected from the law of God, the great moral mirror, reveal us as transgressors, we make God a liar, and prove that His word is not in us.’” Signs of the Times, April 30, 1896. (See The Sanctified Life, 68.)

2 Though Job was described by God as a perfect man, what was his estimate of himself? Job 9:20, 21.

NOTE: “Those who triumph, and claim that they are sinless, show in this very boasting that they are far from being without the taint of sin. The more clearly fallen man comprehends the character of Christ, the more distrustful will he be of himself, and the more imperfect will his works appear to him in contrast with those which marked the life of the spotless Redeemer. But those who are at a great distance from Jesus, whose spiritual senses are so clouded by error that they cannot comprehend the divine character of the great Exemplar, conceive of Him as altogether such an one as themselves, and talk of their own perfection of holiness with a high degree of satisfaction. They really know little of themselves, and less of Christ. They are far from God.” Life Sketches, 211.

3 What precious promise is given to those who confess their sins? 1 John 1:9; 2:1, 2. (See also Micah 7:18, 19.)

NOTE: (See Acts of the Apostles, 552.)

“If We Keep His Commandments”

4 How does John emphasize the importance of obedience to the Commandments? 1 John 2:3, 4.

NOTE: “Let none deceive themselves with the belief that they can become holy while willfully violating one of God’s requirements. The commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit and separates the soul from God.” Maranatha, 232.

“It is true that there are many who have never had the light of present truth, who, through the grace given them of Christ, are keeping the law as far as they understand it. Those who are
thus living up to the best light they have, are not of the class whom the apostle John condemns.” Gospel Workers, 1892 edition., 227. (See Acts of the Apostles, 562, 563.)

5 What will be the effect on the character of the Christian who seeks to keep God’s Word? 1 John 2:5.

NOTE: “John did not teach that salvation was to be earned by obedience; but that obedience was the fruit of faith and love . . . If we abide in Christ, if the love of God dwells in the heart, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions, will be in harmony with the will of God. The sanctified heart is in harmony with the precepts of God’s law.” Acts of the Apostles, 563.

“Through Jesus there is divine sympathy between God and the human beings who, through obedience, are accepted in the Beloved. Thus humanity conforms to the will of divinity, fulfilling the words, ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments.’ The commandment-keeping people of God are to walk in the sunlight of Christ’s righteousness, their countenances expressing cheerfulness and thanksgiving, joyful in the assurance, ‘Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.’” Review and Herald, May 3, 1898.

“Love not the world”

6 What choice lies before the Christian? 1 John 2:15, 17. (See 2 Timothy 4:10, 11).

NOTE: “Mark had become willing to follow the Master in the path of self-sacrifice. Now, sharing the lot of Paul the prisoner, he understood better than ever before that it is infinite gain to win Christ, infinite loss to win the world and lose the soul for whose redemption the blood of Christ was shed. In the face of severe trial and adversity, Mark continued steadfast, a wise and beloved helper of the apostle. Demas, steadfast for a time, afterward forsook the cause of Christ. In referring to this, Paul wrote, ‘Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world’ (2 Timothy 4:10). For worldly gain, Demas bartered every high and noble consideration. How shortsighted the exchange! Possessing only worldly wealth or honour, Demas was poor indeed, however much he might proudly call his own; while Mark, choosing to suffer for Christ’s sake, possessed eternal riches, being accounted in heaven an heir of God and a joint heir with His Son.” Conflict and Courage, 349.

7 What will happen to those professed believers who are not in harmony with the truth? 1 John 2:19.

NOTES: (See Testimonies, vol. 6, 400.)

“Hereby We Know . . .”

8 What is the evidence that a person is truly born again? 1 John 3:9, 10.

NOTE: “God has power to keep the soul who is in Christ, when that soul is under temptation.” Sons and Daughters of God, 297.

“God has made ample provision that we may stand perfect in His grace, wanting in nothing, waiting for the appearing of our Lord. Are you ready? Have you the wedding garment on? That garment will never cover deceit, impurity, corruption, or hypocrisy. The eye of God is upon you. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. We may conceal our sins from the eyes of men, but we can hide nothing from our Maker.” Review and Herald, December 13, 1887.

“God never places before us a requirement without giving us the power to perform it. He never asks us to take one step in advance of Him. He leads the way, and we are to follow after. Following Him, we are in no danger of going astray. Thus only can we perfect a Christian character as stewards of the grace of God.” Review and Herald, June 22, 1905.

9 What does John say is the foundation of a Christian’s assurance? 1 John 3:18–21.

NOTE: “Do not settle down in Satan’s easy chair, and say that there is no use, you cannot cease to sin, that there is no power in you to overcome. There is no power in you apart from Christ, but it is your privilege to have Christ abiding in your heart by faith, and He can overcome sin in you, when you co-operate with His efforts . . . You may be living epistles, known and read of all men. You are not to be a dead letter, but a living one, testifying to the world that Jesus is able to save.” Our High Calling, 76. (See Acts of the Apostles, 551.)

“We Ought Also to Love One Another”

10 Against what further self-deception does John warn us? 1 John 4:20, 21.

NOTE: (See Acts of the Apostles, 549.)

11 What assurance do we have that those Christians who live to see Christ come will be conformed to His character? 1 John 3:2, 3.

NOTE: “We desire to follow Christ and to be like Him; but we sometimes faint beneath trials, and remain at a distance from Him. Sufferings and trials bring us near to Jesus. The furnace consumes the dross and brightens the gold. At this time I was shown that the Lord had been trying us for our good, and to prepare us to labor for others; that He had been stirring up our nest, lest we should settle down at ease. Our work was to labor for souls; if we had been prospered, home would be so pleasant that we would be unwilling to leave it; trials had been permitted to come upon us to prepare us for the still greater conflicts that we would meet.” Christian Experience and Teachings, 114.

Bible Study Guides – “The End of Your Faith”

January 30 – February 5, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” 1 Peter 2:21, 22.

STUDY HELP: 2 Peter 1:5–7; Steps to Christ, 67–75.

INTRODUCTION: “The apostle presents before the believers the ladder of Christian progress, every step of which represents advancement in the knowledge of God, and in the climbing of which there is to be no standstill. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity are the rounds of the ladder. We are saved by climbing round after round, mounting step after step, to the height of Christ’s ideal for us. Thus He is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Acts of the Apostles, 530.

“That Ye May Grow Thereby”

1 What will enable the newly born Christian to grow spiritually? 1 Peter 2:2.

NOTE: “Before us is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ—obedient to all the principles of the law of God. But of ourselves we are utterly powerless to attain to this condition. All that is good in man comes to him through Christ. The holiness that God’s Word declares we must have before we can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as we bow in submission to the discipline and restraining influence of the Spirit of truth.” In Heavenly Places, 129. (See The Faith I Live By, 223.)

2 How does Peter picture this spiritual growth? 2 Peter 1:5–7.

NOTE: “Sanctification is not brought about instantaneously, but it is accomplished by climbing the rounds of Peter’s ladder of eight rounds. We must step on the first in order to reach the highest. This ladder reaches from earth to heaven, and every soul that enters the city of God will have to climb this ladder of self-denial, and this can be accomplished by laying hold of the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Without this strength, temptation will sweep us down the current to final destruction.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 84. (See Maranatha, 84.)

“The Just Shall Live by Faith”

3 What example of faith was shown in one of Christ’s miracles? Matthew 8:5–13.

NOTE: “Faith is not a happy flight of feeling, it is simply taking God at His word and believing, because God said He would do this.” This Day With God, 9.

“Living faith in the power of Jesus Christ, not in your own efficiency and wisdom, will bring you through every difficulty and temptation. Patiently wait, watch, and pray, and hold fast to the promises. However much your enemies have bruised and wounded your soul, forgive them, and by maintaining faith in Christ, you will find Him to be to you as the shadow of a great Rock in a weary land. Endure the pressure. Submit to wrong, bear the suffering part of religion for Christ’s sake, rather than sin against God by seeking to deliver yourself.” The Upward Look, 42.

4 What does Peter describe as the result of a life of faith? 1 Peter 1:9.

NOTE:: ‘The very best preparation we can have for His Second Coming, is to rest with firm faith, with trust and unshaken confidence, in the great salvation brought to us at His first advent. We must believe that Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many. Is He your personal Saviour? Are you, because the love of Jesus is abiding in your heart, saved from making mistakes and errors? Is the love of Christ a living, active agent in your soul, correcting, reforming, refining you, and purifying you from your wrong practices?” Youth’s Instructor, September 7, 1893.

5 What kind of faith is characteristic of God’s people? Revelation 14:12.

NOTE: “‘The faith of Jesus.’ It is talked of, but not understood. What constitutes the faith of Jesus, that belongs to the Third Angel’s Message? Jesus becoming our sin-bearer that He might become our sin-pardoning Saviour. He was treated as we deserve to be treated. He came to our world and took our sins that we might take His righteousness. Faith in the ability of Christ to save us amply and fully and entirely is the faith of Jesus.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 193.

“Add to Your Faith Virtue”

6 What will be the effect in the life of the one who truly lives by the faith of Jesus? 2 Peter 1:5.

NOTE: “Having received the faith of the gospel, the next work of the believer is to add to his character virtue, and thus cleanse the heart and prepare the mind for the reception of the knowledge of God. This knowledge is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation; and it is this alone that can make one like God in character. Through the knowledge of God and of His Son Jesus Christ, are given to the believer ‘all things that pertain unto life and godliness.’ No good gift is withheld from him who sincerely desires to obtain the righteousness of God.” Acts of the Apostles, 530-531.

7 What is the knowledge of which Peter speaks? John 17:3
(See also 1 John 2:3–5, 18, 20, 21, 29; 3:5, 14, 15, 18, 19, 24; 4:2, 3, 5:2, 3, 14, 15.)

NOTE: “The experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, whom He has sent, transforms man into the image of God. It gives to man the mastery of himself, bringing every impulse and passion of the lower nature under the control of the higher powers of the mind. It makes its possessor a son of God and an heir of heaven. It brings him into communion with the mind of the Infinite, and opens to him the rich treasures of the universe. This is the knowledge which is obtained by searching the word of God. And this treasure may be found by every soul who will give all to obtain it. ‘If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.’ Proverbs 2: 3 – 5.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 114.

“And to Knowledge Temperance”

8 What will be added to the character of the one who comes to know God? 2 Peter 1:6, first part.

NOTE: Temperance has been defined as abstinence from those things which are harmful, and moderate use of those things that are good.

“The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan’s snares for destroying are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God’s word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ’s Second Coming.” Conflict and Courage, 271.

9 What will be the benefits to the character of the Christian who practices temperance? 2 Peter 1:6, last part.

NOTE: “The observance of temperance and regularity in all things has a wonderful power. It will do more than circumstances or natural endowments in promoting that sweetness and serenity of disposition which count so much in smoothing life’s pathway. At the same time the power of self-control thus acquired will be found one of the most valuable of equipments for grappling successfully with the stern duties and realities that await every human being.” Child Guidance, 395.

“Godliness is Profitable unto All Things”

10 What is the prospect for those who exercise godliness? 1 Timothy 4:7, 8.

NOTE: “Godliness—Godlikeness—is the goal to be reached.” Education, 18.

“Godliness is the fruit of Christian character. If we abide in the Vine, we shall bear the fruits of the Spirit. The life of the Vine will manifest itself through the branches. We must have a close and intimate connection with heaven, if we bear the grace of godliness. Jesus must be a guest in our homes, a member of our households, if we reflect His image and show that we are sons and daughters of the Most High. Religion is a beautiful thing in the home. If the Lord abides with us, we shall feel that we are members of Christ’s family in heaven. We shall realize that angels are watching us, and our manners will be gentle and forbearing. We shall be fitting up for an entrance into the courts of heaven, by cultivating courtesy and godliness. Our conversation will be holy, and our thoughts will be upon heavenly things.” Peter’s Counsel to Parents, 19.

11 Against what spurious religion are we warned? 2 Timothy 3:5.

NOTE: “True godliness is measured by the work done. Profession is nothing; position is nothing; a character like the character of Christ is the evidence we are to bear that God has sent His Son into the world. Those who profess to be Christians, yet do not act as Christ would were He in their place, greatly injure the cause of God. They misrepresent their Saviour, and are standing under false colors.” Review and Herald, October 15, 1901. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 411.)

“Brotherly Kindness, Charity”

12 What qualities are the supreme fruitage of the life lived by the faith of Jesus? 2 Peter 1:7.

NOTE: “This principle of love for God and for those for whom Christ died, needs to be quickened by the Holy Spirit and cemented with brotherly kindness, tenderness; it needs to be strengthened by acts which testify that God is love. This union, which joins heart with heart, is not the result of sentimentalism, but the working of a healthful principle. Faith works by love, and purifies the soul from all selfishness. Thus the soul is perfected in love. And having found grace and mercy through Christ’s precious blood, how can we fail to be tender and merciful?” In Heavenly Places, 110.

13 What promise are we given that the work of sanctification will be complete when Christ returns? 1 John 3:2.

NOTE: “You are not to think that you must wait until you have perfected one grace before cultivating another. No; they are to grow up together…every day that you live, you can be perfecting the blessed attributes fully revealed in the character of Christ…Do not become overwhelmed with the great amount of work you must do in your lifetime, for you are not required to do it all at once. Let every power of your being go to each day’s work, improve each precious opportunity, appreciate the helps that God gives you, and make advancement up the ladder of progress step by step. Remember that you are to live but one day at a time, that God has given you one day, and heavenly records will show how you have valued its privileges and opportunities. May you so improve every day given you of God, that at last you may hear the Master say, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’” Maranatha, 84.

Preparing For The End Times

The Lord has told us that in the end time great things will occur. “There will be wars and rumors of wars, nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places,” Matthew 24:24:6, 7. Certainly, there will be emergencies which will affect our ability to obtain food and water.

How should we prepare for such possibilities? Our first focus should be preparing spiritually to meet the Lord. We must put our trust in Him, for He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. He has also given us the example of the children of Israel in their wanderings. Inspiration tells us: “Many look back at them and marvel at their unbelief and continual murmurings, after the Lord had done so much for them, in giving them repeated evidences of His love and care for them. They think that they should not have proved ungrateful. But some who thus think, murmur and repine at things of less consequence….God frequently proves them, and tries their faith in small things: and they do not endure the trial any better than did ancient Israel. Self-denial is considered by some to be real suffering. Depraved appetites would lead even many professed Christians to now start back, as though actual starvation would be the consequence of a plain diet…. Bread and water is all that is promised to the remnant in the time of trouble.”
The Story of Redemption, 128, 129.

There are preparations we can make. “Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; or in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one. We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of enemies.” Country Living, 9, 10.

Does this mean that we should be stock-pilling food to ensure that we do not suffer want in the future? “I saw that if the saints had food laid up by them or in the field in the time of trouble, when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it would be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water will be sure at that time, and that we shall not lack or suffer hunger; for God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness. If necessary He would send ravens to feed us, as He did to feed Elijah, or rain manna from heaven, as He did for the Israelites.

“Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. I was shown that it is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down.” Early
, 56.

May the Lord help us each day as we prepare for His return! The happiest of New Years to each and every one of you, from our house to yours!

Children’s Story – Working With Him

C.T. Studd had been a very wealthy man, but when he found Christ as his Saviour from sin, he totally dedicated his life to the One who had died that he might have eternal life. Leaving his native England, he went by ship to China. There he worked, year after year, to bring lost souls to a knowledge of Jesus. Finally, he became sick—so ill that the doctors called him a “museum of tropical diseases.” So he returned to England; his life seemingly near its end. But he was thankful for what God had used him to do in leading others to Jesus.

Then, while walking the streets one day after his return, he saw an announcement of a missionary rally to be held that evening. In large print, at the top, it said, “Cannibals Need Missionaries.” He laughed at the wording, but went to the meeting that night. There the conviction came to him that he must go as a missionary to Africa.

His friends thought he was beside himself. Aged, a grandfather, still a sick man,—and he was planning to go to Africa!

And to Africa Studd went; there to work in areas where no white man had ever been. He worked day and night to give the native people the gospel of what Jesus could do for their lives.

For seventeen pain-racked years he worked in Africa, without once going home on furlough. As he worked, he trained others to work with him. He had given everything for Christ, and others came to share in his sacrifice and his labors.

Finally, he was in so much pain that his personal attendant, Jimmy Taylor, thought that Studd was definitely dying. Getting up at 11:00pm, he went over to give him a pain-killing injection so that he could get some sleep.

Later, at 3:00am, Taylor became concerned and thought he had better check to see that C.T. Studd was still alive. Arriving at his hut, he found it empty! On the table were several pages with writing on them, and a brief note. It read: “Dear Jim, I have translated a couple more chapters of Acts and I am off now on my bicycle to reach another tribe for Jesus.”

To live with Jesus is to work with Jesus. “God is the source of life and light and joy to the universe. Like rays of light from the sun, like the streams of water bursting from a living spring, blessings flow out of Him to all His creatures. And wherever the life of God is in the hearts of men, it will flow out to others in love and blessing.” Steps to Christ, 77.

—Taken from Shelter in the Storm.

Faith and Works

Without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.’ There are many in the Christian world who claim that all that is necessary to salvation is to have faith; works are nothing, faith is the only essential. But God’s word tells us that faith without works is dead, being alone. Many refuse to obey God’s commandments, yet they make a great deal of faith. But faith must have a foundation.

God’s promises are all made upon conditions. If we do His will, if we walk in truth, then we may ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us. While we earnestly endeavor to be obedient, God will hear our petitions; but He will not bless us in disobedience. If we choose to disobey His commandments, we may cry, “Faith, faith, only have faith,” and the response will come back from the sure word of God, “Faith without works is dead.” Such faith will only be as sounding brass and as a tinkling cymbal. In order to have the benefits of God’s grace, we must do our part; we must faithfully work, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance.

We are workers together with God. You are not to sit in indolence, waiting for some great occasion, in order to do a great work for the Master. You are not to neglect the duty that lies directly in your pathway; but you are to improve the little opportunities that open around you….

To Wrestle, Labor and Strive

We are to do all that we can do on our part to fight the good fight of faith. We are to wrestle, to labor, to strive, to agonize to enter in at the strait gate. We are to set the Lord ever before us. With clean hands, with pure hearts, we are to seek to honor God in all our ways. Help has been provided for us in Him who is mighty to save. The spirit of truth and light will quicken and renew us by its mysterious workings; for all our spiritual improvement comes from God, not from ourselves. The true worker will have divine power to aid him, but the idler will not be sustained by the Spirit of God.

In one way we are thrown upon our own energies; we are to strive earnestly to be zealous and to repent, to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts from every defilement; we are to reach the highest standard, believing that God will help us in our efforts. We must seek if we would find, and seek in faith; we must knock, that the door may be opened unto us. The Bible teaches that everything regarding our salvation depends upon our own course of action. If we perish, the responsibility will rest wholly upon ourselves. If provision has been made, and if we accept God’s terms, we may lay hold on eternal life. We must come to Christ in faith, we must be diligent to make our calling and election sure.

The forgiveness of sin is promised to him who repents and believes; the crown of life will be the reward of him who is faithful to the end. We may grow in grace by improving through the grace we already have. We are to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, if we would be found blameless in the day of God. Faith and works go hand in hand, they act harmoniously in the work of overcoming. Works without faith are dead, and faith without works is dead. Works will never save us; it is the merit of Christ that will avail in our behalf. Through faith in Him, Christ will make all our imperfect efforts acceptable to God. The faith we are required to have is not a do-nothing faith; saving faith is that which works by love, and purifies the soul. He who will lift up holy hands to God without wrath and doubting, will walk intelligently in the way of God’s commandments.

If we are to have pardon for our sins, we must first have a realization of what sin is, that we may repent, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance. We must have a solid foundation for our faith; it must be founded on the word of God, and its results will be seen in obedience to God’s expressed will. Says the apostle, ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.’

Faith and works will keep us evenly balanced, and make us successful in the work of perfecting Christian character. Jesus says, “Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” Speaking of temporal food, the apostle said, ‘For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.’ The same rule applies to our spiritual nourishment; if any would have the bread of eternal life, let him make efforts to obtain it.

We are living in an important and interesting period of this earth’s history. We need more faith than we have yet had; we need a firmer hold from above. Satan is working with all power to obtain the victory over us, for he knows that he has but a short time in which to work. Paul had fear and trembling in working out his salvation; and should not we fear lest a promise being left us, we should any of us seem to come short of it, and prove ourselves unworthy of eternal life? We should watch unto prayer, strive with agonizing effort to enter in at the strait gate.

Jesus Makes Up for Our Deficiency

There is no excuse for sin, or for indolence. Jesus has led the way, and He wishes us to follow in His steps. He has suffered, He has sacrificed as none of us can, that He might bring salvation within our reach. We need not be discouraged. Jesus came to our world to bring divine power to man, that through His grace, we might be transformed into His likeness.

When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man’s best service, and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit. But He will not accept those who claim to have faith in Him, and yet are disloyal to His Father’s commandment. We hear a great deal about faith, but we need to hear a great deal more about works. Many are deceiving their own souls by living an easy-going, accommodating, crossless religion.

But Jesus says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Taken from the book Faith and Works, by Ellen White, from the chapter with the same title.

The Star of the New Evangelization of America, Part III

Editor’s Note: In the last two parts (Part I and Part II) of this series we have looked at the role spiritualism will play in the last days, especially as it relates to Adventism. This month we will examine, in detail, the Marian phenomena and how we should relate to it.

Thousands of Supernatural Apparitions

Satan has been preparing the world for a master deception for quite some time. Mary apparitions have been reported for centuries, and, more recently, the phenomena is steadily increasing. “Spiritualism is about to take the world captive. There are many who think that Spiritualism is upheld through trickery and imposture; but this is far from the truth. Superhuman power is working in a variety of ways, and few have any idea of what will be the manifestations of Spiritualism in the future.” Signs of the Times, May 28, 1894. Is it any wonder, then, that all over the world major Mary apparitions and pilgrimages are increasing each year? “Since the first recorded supernatural appearance of Mary to a third-century pagan lawyer turned Christian named Gregory Thaumaturgus.…thousands of apparitions of the Virgin…have been claimed.…Hundreds of visions have been reported in the twentieth century alone, although only a few have ever received official ‘approval’ by the Catholic Church.” Searching for Mary, 6.

The December 30, 1991, Time magazine reported that “the late 20th century has become the age of the Marian pilgrimage” to shrines established to commemorate the many sightings of the Virgin Mary in recent years. Perhaps the two most famous shrines are at Lourdes, France, and Fatima, Portugal. But, “there are thousands of shrines of Our Lady in every country of the world.” Shrines to our Lady, 5. Shrines are usually built at locations where an apparition has appeared. Especially in the twentieth century, Mary apparitions have been reported and shrines erected in Portugal, Ireland, Rwanda, Venezuela, Italy, Yugoslavia, Korea, Mexico, Japan, and many other countries, drawing millions of visitors every year.

A major U.S. newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, on December 25, 1998, featured the following headline: Virgin Mary Fervor Grows As More Sightings Reported. The Chronicle cited that the three major reasons for the added Marian fervor are the approach of the millennium, the strong devotion of Pope John Paul II to Mary, and the continuing influence of events at Medjugorje, a Bosnian village where the mother of Jesus supposedly appeared in 1981. In Carthage, Missouri, 50,000 were estimated for the 21st annual observance of Marian Days. (Scope, August 12, 1998.) Then, “in Conyers, Georgia, 100,000 people gathered on a farm to hear a middle-aged housewife named Nancy Fowler channel messages from the Virgin Mary.” Ibid.

On the feast of Guadalupe, about two dozen Mexican farm workers and their families gather around a large shade tree at a Yuba City housing project. They claim to see an image of Mary in a large knothole and have candles and poinsettias at the base of the tree. The Chronicle continues: “This rising devotion to Mary cuts across lines and denominational boundaries.” (See The Great Controversy, 445.)

Blood, Tears, and Roses

In Thornton, California, 50,000 devoted pilgrims from all over the country arrive, many in motor homes, in hopes of seeing a repeat performance of the “moving statue of Mary.” Many others have reported statues of the Virgin shedding tears of blood. “In the small town of Naju, located near the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula, Our Lady began giving urgent messages and signs to Julia Kim. On June 30, 1985, Our Lady’s statue, owned by Julia, began weeping tears, and on October 19, 1986, it began weeping tears of blood. Until January 14, 1992, the statue wept for a total of exactly 700 days. The tears of blood were tested and found to be human blood. Now the statue has been giving off odors of fragrant oil.…Julia is surrounded by the sweet fragrance of roses. Also, when she kisses a rosary or simply holds it in her hands for a few seconds, it becomes fragrant.” Our Lady of Naju Web Site. In Stockton, California, my hometown, two statues recently transported from the Philippines sporadically emitted a “palatable fragrance of sweet-scented oil.” The Record, May 5, 1999.

Outside California City, in the Mojave Desert, a Mexican-born mystic and visionary named Maria Paula, has drawn crowds numbering in the thousands since 1989. “The crowds come on the thirteenth of every month for prayer and to witness Maria Paula’s reception of an apparition and a message from the Virgin Mary. Pilgrims have reported sun miracles, visions, healings, and numerous other miraculous phenomena.” Searching for Mary, 169.

In Corpus Christi, Texas, a $12.00 statue of the Virgin “turned its head, opened its eyes, and took mincing steps.” The Star Tribune, June 6, 1998. About 50 people a minute visit the site where a subway worker’s child noticed a water stain on the floor of Mexico City’s Hidalgo Metro station, a likeness to the nation’s most powerful religious symbol—the beloved Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. (The Denver Post, June 14, 1997.)

The Great Chastisements

“Medjugorje (‘between the hills’) has become well known in Bosnia-Hercegovina, and the world, because of six young people who claim to have seen visions of the Madonna. Beginning on June 24, 1981, the Blessed Mother appeared to and later told the visionaries God had sent her to our world to help us convert our hearts and lives back to Him.” Medjugorje Web Site. Visions and apparitions at Medjugorje—sometimes called The New Fatima—are continually being reported.

In Fatima, Portugal, on July 13, 1917, the Virgin reportedly imparted three secrets to three shepherd children. The second secret included the Virgin’s desire that the pope consecrate Russia to her immaculate heart, thus securing the conversion of that nation. [Interesting how communism was defeated through the conspiracy of Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan! Beware, beloved, for while in Mexico, the same pope consecrated the Americas to Mary, calling for solidarity!] “Fatima’s third secret, still unrevealed, has been kept under lock and key at the Vatican since the late 1950s and has been the subject of much speculation since its existence was first made known. It is widely supposed that the secret concerns a coming worldwide cataclysm and the approach of the end-times.” Searching for Mary, 10, 11.

Garabandal, Spain—A Masterful Deception

From 1961 through 1965, in Garabandal, Spain, four young girls experienced more than two thousand apparitions of the Virgin Mary over a four-year period. These particular visions and apparitions are a perfect example of the devil’s ability to perform masterful delusions and lying wonders—a prelude of what is to come. On July 1, 1961, a shining, winged angel spoke to the children and told them that the following day they would see the Blessed Virgin. The next day the Virgin appeared with two angels and continued to appear throughout the month. “Each time the girls went into ecstasy, during which they exhibited extraordinary physical changes: they became insensitive to pinpricks, extreme noise and bright lights, and their slight bodies could hardly be lifted from the ground by two strong men.…The Virgin would pass the infant Jesus to one of the girls to cuddle, or remove her crown and let the girls try it on.…The girls received out-of-body experiences during which they claimed they were taken on spiritual journeys through the heavens by the Virgin. Many eyewitnesses declared on oath that they had observed the girls seeming to fly over the ground at great speed when Our Lady was calling them to her.” Shrines of Our Lady, 153.

According to Conchita Gonzales, one of the four children: “On an unspecified date in the future…the Great Miracle…will take place in a grove of pines near Garabandal. Everyone who is in the area will see it; the sick who are present will be cured, sinners will repent, and Russia will be converted. The second phase of the miracle is to establish a permanent, miraculous sign in the groves of pines. The sign will be capable of being photographed and touched, its divine origin will be beyond question, and it will last until the end of time. The final leg of the prophecy, the Chastisement, is a global catastrophe held in reserve by God in the event the Warning and Miracle don’t have their intended effects.” Searching for Mary, 11, 12.

Calamities Will Increase

In Bayside, N.Y., “The Lourdes of America,” Jesus and Mary are reported to speak to the world through a seer named Veronica Lueken. Warnings of impending doom are presented of a massive world monetary depression and Russian plans of attack. Mary warns of increasing natural disasters through the elements of nature, and that these judgments from God—His chastisements—are increasing because the world has violated His moral law—the Ten Commandments.

Again, compare the words of the “demon” Mary (a demon masquerading as Mary) with the words of E. G. White: “Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows.…While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. 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….These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous.The Great Controversy, 589, 590.

A category-five tornado in Salt Lake City, a first of its kind, causing millions of dollars in damage; the worst hurricane to hit Texas in over ten years; 72 tornadoes in one day in Kansas and in Oklahoma City; one of the ten most deadly earthquakes in history, killing forty thousand in Turkey—such calamities as these are becoming “more frequent and disastrous.”

So in the future, as these calamities increase and Sunday worship is urged upon us, we can expect nominal SDA ministers [whose testimonies will be seconded by the demon spirits (see The Great Controversy, 590, 591)] in “responsible positions taking a course directly opposite to that pursued by Nehemiah.…In churches and in large gatherings in the open air, ministers will urge upon the people the necessity of keeping the first day of the week. There are calamities on sea and land: and these calamities will increase, one disaster following close upon another; and the little band of conscientious Sabbath-keepers will be pointed out as the ones who are bringing the wrath of God upon the world by their disregard of Sunday.” And it will also be asserted “that this sin has brought calamities that will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity.” Review and Herald, March 18, 1884; The Great Controversy, 590. Obviously, these leaders are practitioners of the omega!

The Thunder of Justice

I remember the first time I read The Thunder of Justice, written by two Catholics who are very active in the Marian Movement, how alarmed I was by their frequent use of Adventist terms. The book, which focuses on prophetic, end-time events, appears to be the Catholic’s version of The Great Controversy. In fact, it uses the very language of Ellen G. White—the language with which SDAs are familiar. This book attempts to counterfeit the Three Angels’ Messages and to give all the glory to the Virgin Mary. Some terms used in this false Spirit of Prophecy are “the little flock,” “the remnant,” Mary’s message to “recite and keep the Ten Commandments,” and that she is “the prophetess of the last days.”

The Thunder of Justice tells us that the demon Mary prophesied that rockets will hit New York in the near future. (The Thunder of Justice, 344.) Interestingly, Ellen White has foretold of a time when New York will suffer a great fire: “I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven….The scene that next passes before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings and said: ‘They are perfectly safe.’ But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 12, 13.

I have often wondered why SDAs are not more alarmed by the inroads of spiritualism and Satan’s use of Mary in his efforts to deceive the world, and us also. The demon Mary claims to be the “Mother of the Second Advent,” and that she is preparing us for Christ’s Second Coming. Friends, that is the work of our church! For we are the true church that has been called to give the Elijah message to the world! But the “demon” Mary insists: “I am the Virgin of Revelation.” I am the “woman clothed with the sun who does battle with the dragon and his powerful army of evil.” The Thunder of Justice, 90, 99.

The audacity of the “demon” Mary to take the symbolic vision given to John in Revelation 12, which is a symbol of God’s true church, and incorrectly apply it to herself! The false Mary also elaborates on the Holy Spirit’s role in the last days: “On the feast of Pentecost, May 22, 1988, the message from Our Lady to the Marian Movement of Priests was clear: ‘The Holy Spirit will come to establish the glorious reign of Christ.…What will come to pass is something so very great that it will exceed anything that has taken place since the beginning of the world.’” Ibid., 309, 310. Friends, are we not waiting for the outpouring of the Spirit?—that “time when the events of the day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion…and [a time] to maintain such a close connection with Him that they may be partakers of the latter rain when it shall be poured out.” Review and Herald, July 20, 1886.

The “demon” Mary also says that the apostles, “Saint Peter and Saint Paul, having come down from Heaven, shall preach in the whole world and designate a new Pope. A great light will flash from their bodies and will settle upon a cardinal who is to be Pope. Christianity, then, will spread throughout the world. He is the holy Pontiff, chosen by God to withstand the storm. At the end, he will have the gift of miracles, and his name shall be praised over the whole earth. Whole nations will come back to the church and the face of the earth will be renewed. Russia, England, and China will come into the church.” The Thunder of Justice, 353.

I do not know whether this scenario will happen or not, for Satan is the “father of lies.” But Ellen White has warned us that “the apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth. They deny the divine origin of the Bible [the Roman Catholic Church denies that the Bible is the sole authority of God’s word and defends the founding fathers and their traditions], and thus tear away the foundation of the Christian’s hope.” The Great Controversy, 557.

The comparisons continue with Mary’s counterfeit message that she “will bring you to the full understanding of Sacred Scripture.…Above all, I will read to you the pages of its last book [Revelation], which you are living.” The Thunder of Justice, 90. Then, believe it or not, on page 100 of the same book, she quotes the Three Angels’ Messages from Revelation 14!!! Dearly beloved, “Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11.

Demons Will Appear Before Our Eyes

“I saw that Satan has power to bring before us the appearance of forms purporting to be our relatives or friends who sleep in Jesus. It will be made to appear as if these friends were actually present, the words they uttered while here, with which we were familiar, will be spoken, and the same tone of voice that they had while living will fall upon the ear. All this is to deceive the world and ensnare them into the belief of this delusion.

“I saw that the saints must have a thorough understanding of present truth, which they will be obliged to maintain from the Scriptures. They must understand the state of the dead; for the spirits of devils will yet appear to them, professing to be beloved relatives or friends, who will declare to them unscriptural doctrines. They will do all in their power to excite sympathy and will work miracles before them to confirm what they declare. The people of God must be prepared to withstand these spirits with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who thus appear are the spirits of devils [including the relative of Jesus—the Virgin Mary—his mother!]…This delusion will spread, and we will have to contend with it face to face; and unless we are prepared for it, we will be ensnared and overcome. But if we do what we can on our part to be ready for the conflict that is just before us, God will do His part, and His all-powerful arm will protect us. He would sooner send every angel out of glory to make a hedge about faithful souls, than have them deceived and led away by the lying wonders of Satan.” Early Writings, 262.

Please read the chapter in The Great Controversy entitled The Scriptures a Safeguard, 593–602! Seventh-day Adventists have been given the truth on the state of the dead. We have been entrusted with the most precious light ever given to mortals to save us from the masterful, spiritualistic deceptions of Satan in these last days. Scripture support is abundant in defense of this truth that unmasks the lie perpetrated by Satan in the beginning that “ye shall not surely die.” The only defense for Seventh-day Adventists during the omega—when deceased loved ones, the apostles, the demon Mary, etc. begin making their false appearances, is a “thus saith the Lord.”

The Scriptures a Safeguard

And will it be Mary who will introduce, through the almost overpowering delusion, her son, the false Christ, to the world—”the crowning act in the drama of deception”? “In his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth.” Our cry must be “it is written:” “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything;” “the dead praise not the Lord, neither any [including Mary] that go down into silence;” for “his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalms 115:17; 146:4.

The words of Job address this subject quite clearly: “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call and I will answer thee.” Job 14:14, 15. And John 5:28 and 29 tells us that it is the voice of Christ that wakes the sleeping saints on resurrection morn: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

Mary, the beloved mother of Jesus, “is both dead and buried, and [her] sepulchre [no one knows its location] is with us unto this day.” Contrary to Roman Catholic teaching, Mary, like David, “is not ascended into the heavens.” Acts 2:29, 34. In fact, David himself wrote in Psalms 17:15 “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Such words also apply to Mary!

Jesus spoke of death as sleep. In John 11:11 and 14, Christ stated: “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go to awake him out of sleep…Then Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” In sound sleep one is wholly lost to consciousness; time goes by unmeasured; and mental activity is suspended for the time being. “Blessed rest for the weary righteous! Time, be it long or short, is but a moment to them. They sleep; they are awakened by the trumpet of God to a glorious immortality.” Great Controversy, 550.

The Sound of the Trumpet

There are three portions of Scripture that specifically mention a trumpet blast just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. And when these Scriptures are compared, they clearly reveal the exact time a deceased person will regain consciousness. The first trumpet verses are in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55: “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Only God has immortality (see 1 Timothy 6:16), and no mortal will receive the gift of immortality until the last trumpet sounds at the Second Coming of Christ!

The second trumpet” verses say: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessa-lonians 4:15-18. Here again the Scriptures confirm that no man receives his immortality until he is awakened by the trumpet of Christ at the Second Coming.

The third trumpet verses actually address the magnitude of spiritualism and Satan’s lying wonders before the Second Coming of Christ: “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Immediately after the tribulation of those days…He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:26, 27, 29a, 31. Careful examination of the three paragraphs above place the trumpet sounds at the time of the Second Coming—when the resurrected saints will receive their eternal reward of immortality, and not before! Praise God, the Scriptures are our safeguard!

The Origin of Man’s Consciousness in Death

The doctrine of consciousness after death, of the spirits of the dead being in communion with the living, has no foundation in the Scriptures, and yet this theory is affirmed as truth. The doctrine of man’s consciousness in death, especially the belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modern spiritualism. Nearly all forms of ancient sorcery and witchcraft were founded upon a belief in communion with the dead. Modern spiritualism is founded upon the first lie by which Satan beguiled Eve in Eden: “Ye shall not surely die.”

And it was the Roman Catholic Church that originated and perpetuated the teaching of the Assumption—that Mary was assumed into heaven before her body saw corruption in the grave. “At the end of her life on earth, the Church teaches, Mary was ‘assumed’ body and soul, into heaven. This teaching was first proclaimed by St. Gregory of Tours in the sixth century. An earlier tradition has it that all the Apostles witnessed her death, but that when her tomb was opened years later it was found to be empty. The doctrine of the Assumption was defended in the Middle Ages by St. Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas. It has been adhered to by Christians from the earliest times, and eventually, on 1 November 1950, Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin to be an article of faith. It is celebrated annually on 15 August.” Shrines of Our Lady, 6.

“Through the false doctrine [of the immortality of the soul] the way has been opened for the spirits of devils to deceive the people in representing themselves as the dead. Satanic agencies personate the dead [even the mother of Jesus Christ], and thus bring souls into captivity. Satan has a religion, he has a synagogue and devout worshippers. To swell the ranks of his devotees he uses all manner of deception. The signs and wonders of Spiritualism will become more and more pronounced as the professed Christian world rejects the plainly revealed truth of the word of God and refuses to be guided by a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ accepting instead the doctrines and the commandments of men.” Signs of the Times, May 28, 1894.

Two Astonishing Letters

While writing this article, I received two amazing letters that I want to share with you. The first letter came from a woman in Puerto Rico who informed me that a statue of the Virgin Mary or “La Virgen del Rosaria del Pozo” is going to be built in the town of Sabana Grande. The statue’s size will be greater than that of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Here is what she wrote:

“Dear brethren of Modern Manna:

“I talked to Pastor Vierra about reaching the town of Sabana here in Puerto Rico. In May, 1953, the ‘Virgin’ appeared near a well (always wearing a rosary), to three children, two girls and a boy—still living. Thousands of people visited the island, 24 hours a day. Many ‘miracles’ happened, most of them healings of all kinds (See Great Controversy, 588.) Since then, this town celebrates a ‘Virgin Marathon,’ when around 200,000 to 300,000 people come to adore the Virgin. They celebrate mass and everything else. Now they are planning the ‘Ciudad Mystica’ (Mystic City), in order to attract people from all over the world. Enclosed is the newspaper story about it. Maranatha!”

It is interesting to note that the artists rendition of the new statue in the newspaper I received from Puerto Rico had the Virgin Mary decked with the colors white and blue—the very colors of Mother Earth as previously mentioned by New Ager, Peter Lemesurier. Mary is often portrayed in pictures and statues as dressed in these colors.

The second letter I received was initially sent to Pastor Bill Hughes in Florida from an SDA minister from Ghana, West Africa. It reads:

“Dear Pastor:

“On the 12th of August, 1999, I decided to go to a certain village and share the word of God with them [and] more particularly what is bound to happen before Jesus comes. Before that, it appeared in our daily paper that the Virgin Mary has appeared bod`ily in Togo, a country which shares the common border with Ghana and millions of people went to Togo to see the Virgin Mary. I thank God and you for clearly opening my eyes because I read it in one of your books sent to me—Is the Virgin Mary Dead or Alive? Chapter 19 clearly talks about how Satan will manifest himself through the Virgin Mary, and this has really motivated me to carry the message across whether rain or shine.”

Demons Will Urge Sunday-keeping

Before I close, I want to make another vital point. We read and hear much about the Sabbath vs. Sunday issue. This one papal error is trumpeted ever so loud and clear. Ads are run and books written, small and large, that expound on this subject with clarity and precision. But what is usually overlooked is the fact that wonder-working demons, in the form of dead humans, even the Virgin Mary, are going to urge upon the world Sunday-keeping, and that the violation of God’s moral law is the cause of the chaos and calamities that are increasing.

Once again, quoting from The Great Controversy: “The miracle-working power manifested through spiritualism will exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men. Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to convince the rejecters of Sunday [Reader, that may be you!] of their error, affirming that the laws of the land should be obeyed as the laws of God. They will lament the great wickedness in the world and second the testimony of religious teachers that the degraded state of morals is caused by the desecration of Sunday. Great will be the indignation excited against all who refuse to accept their testimony.” Great Controversy, 588, 589.

It would be worth your while to research the Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4 . On page 406 it contains an extremely vital point: “As the spirits will profess faith in the Bible and express regard for Sunday, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.” Later in The Great Controversy, in the chapter entitled The Time of Trouble, the prophet warns us that as the “crowning act in the drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ.” That he will heal the diseases of the people and claim “to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday,” and will command all to hallow the day which he has blessed. Great Controversy, 624.

But, have you ever considered that before he appears to give support to this claim, the demon Mary, along with other demons impersonating well-known deceased Christians and infidels, will have already been advocating Sunday-keeping? Has anyone ever warned you of this? Is it possible that a false Ellen White might appear and contradict her very own writings, as the false Apostles of Christ will theirs? Are you prepared, beloved? Spiritualism is the means the devil will use to persuade the world and the churches into accepting the false sabbath! That is exactly why God has expressly warned us that “through the two [not one] great papal errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions.” Great Controversy, 588. Spiritualism will put the teeth into the Sunday issue!

Remember the past, dear friends, the alpha of apostasy resulted, within one devastating year, in the destruction of two major SDA institutions—Battle Creek Sanitarium and the Review and Herald Publishing Company! Never forget the prophet’s words: “The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 200. A fearful woe is upon them! For if any form of spiritualism, like the warning given against pantheism, is accepted, it will result in the sweeping away of the structure! (See Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, 54, 55).

Friends, please take a close look at the Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4. You will find the chapter entitled “Spiritualism” immediately preceding the chapter entitled “The Aims of the Papacy.” I believe the Lord deliberately linked the two chapters together to clearly magnify the fact that through spiritualism and its imposters, such as the Virgin Mary, the aims of the papacy will be accomplished—the enforcement of Sunday worship!

Watch, Pray, and Warn

Please, watch and pray, beloved, for soon: “The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” Great Controversy, 588.

Friends, the church and the world must be warned! Remember, Satan will not give one inch when we labor to expose his most powerful tool—spiritualism. Oh, how we have seen this prophecy fulfilled at Modern Manna since the publishing of Is the Virgin Mary Dead or Alive? But, thank God for Jesus and the heavenly messengers that have been promised to guard us from evil. All of those who are looking for the soon coming of our Lord have been commanded by Almighty God to scatter earth’s final message to warn the world—the Three Angels’ Messages that unmask the threefold union. We must scatter the Mary book wherever possible while there is still a remnant of time.

In the very near future, legislation may be passed that will classify the little God-given book as hate literature. What we must do, we must do quickly! And, please, do not only watch, but pray for the courage to proclaim the message and to stand for the truth when champions are few, knowing that the final warning will enrage the wicked against us. Soon the loud cry will be given with the power of the latter rain: “‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’ The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844.” Early Writings, 277. The omega is coming! Maranatha!

Early Ecumenical Aspirations, Part II

Editor’s Note: Last month we looked at an overview of the steps leading toward the ecumenical push in Adventism today. In the conclusion of this study we will consider where this movement is leading and what our response should be.

Early History of Ecumenical Aspirations In the SDA Church

With this background of “ecumenism” in mind, we must now consider the historical evidence that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has joined hands with the World Council of Churches in the Ecumenical Movement. How did it all begin? Why has the SDA leadership been deceived by the erroneous concept that we should seek fellowship and acceptance from the fallen churches of Babylon? That we should also seek fellowship and approval from the Papacy, the Anti-christ of the end-times, is truly astounding!

The American Sentinel’s Ecumenical Aspiration

The first hint of a desire for the acceptance of Seventh-day Adventism by the popular denominations took place in 1890. (See Manuscript Releases, No, 1033.) Ministers who were in charge of the American Sentinel, (Seventh-day Adventist Religious Liberty magazine of the day, forerunner of our contemporary Liberty magazine), met behind closed doors to contemplate dropping the name Seventh-day Adventist from the magazine. The reason given by the editorial board was to gain acceptance from the Sunday-keeping churches. Ellen White received a vision of what was taking place and gave the following testimony:

“In the night season I was present in several councils, and there I heard words repeated by influential men to the effect that if the American Sentinel would drop the words “Seventh-day Adventist” from its columns, and would say nothing about the Sabbath, the great men of the world would patronize it. It would become popular and do a larger work. This looked very pleasing. These men could not see why we could not affiliate with unbelievers and non-professors to make the American Sentinel a great success. I saw their countenances brighten, and they began to work on a policy to make the Sentinel a popular success.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 96.

“These things have gone as far as they should without someone protesting against them in plain words,” Ellen White admonished. “The Lord’s time to set things in order has fully come.” Ibid.

Notice that these early ecumenical-minded Adventist leaders, these “influential men,” as Ellen White stated, desired that “the great men of the world would patronize” the American Sentinel magazine. They believed that if they dropped the name Seventh-day Adventist it would then “become popular and do a larger work.” However, they could not see “why we could not affiliate with unbelievers and non-professors.” Because of their false concept of ecumenical ties between Seventh-day Adventists and the Sunday-keeping churches “they began to work on a policy to make the Sentinel a popular success.” This erroneous policy was never implemented because the messenger of the Lord was alive and well. She was given a vision of the movements underfoot and gave her faithful testimony to the “influential men.” They saw their error and kept the name Seventh-day Adventist on the Sentinel magazine. Indeed, who would like to stand up against a living prophet of the Lord?

How is it today, friend? Since the living prophet has passed from the scene has the contemporary Church preserved the name “Seventh-day” on its periodicals and institutions? No, it has not! The contemporary church has dropped the name “Seventh-day” from everything, and simply employs the name “Adventist.” Adventist Book Center, Adventist Media Center, Adventist Community Center, etc. Indeed, today many churches and book centers have even dropped the name Adventist, and call themselves simply, Christian Book Center, or Community Worship Center. A Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bothell, Washington, took the name “North Creek Fellowship.” This group met in the local Conference office until funds were raised to construct a church building. The name “Seventh-day” has been dropped from hospitals and clinics. (See, “Portland Adventist Hospital,” Portland, Oregon.) Indeed, the name “Seventh-day” has been dropped from the church’s welfare system. Remember when the church’s welfare system was called SAWS, which stood for, “Seventh-day Adventist Welfare System?” What is the title of this entity today, friend? ADRA, “Adventist Development and Relief Agency.” How about the periodicals? We now have the Adventist Review. What was the name of our church paper in the days of the pioneers? Advent Review and Sabbath Herald!

Heaven gave counsel against removing the name Seventh-day Adventist from the periodicals and institutions of the church. Speaking on the subject Ellen White stated in part: “This policy is the first step in a succession of wrong steps. The principles which have been advocated in the American Sentinel are the very sum and substance of the advocacy of the Sabbath, and when men begin to talk of changing these principles, they are doing a work which it does not belong to them to do. Like Uzzah, they are attempting to steady the ark which belongs to God, and is under His special supervision.” Ibid.

“This policy is the first step in a succession of wrong steps,” Ellen White warned. Why would the “wrong steps” be successful from 1926 onward, and not in 1890 and 1905? The answer is simple. The messenger of the Lord passed from the scene in 1915! Leadership no longer had to answer to a living prophet. What has been the succession of “wrong steps” taken toward ecumenical policies since these first attempts were made in 1890 and 1905? Sadly, history reveals the answer.

The First Wrong Step Toward Ecumenism Approved In 1926

“In the desire to avoid occasion for misunderstanding or friction in the matter of relationship to the work of other societies, the following statement of principles are set forth as a guidance to our workers in mission fields in their contacts with other religious organizations,” the General Conference voted in 1926. (General Conference Executive Committee, 1926.)

“#1. We recognize every agency that lifts up Christ before man as a part of the divine plan for the evangelization of the world, and we hold in high esteem the Christian men and women in other communions who are engaged in winning souls to Christ.” “Relationship To Other Societies,” General Conference Executive Committee, 1926.

Notice that the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church “recognize every agency that lifts up Christ.” This would include the Roman Catholic and apostate Protestant churches and unholy- spirit-filled Pentecostal churches. SDA leadership also recognizes these fallen churches of Babylon “as a part of the divine plan for the evangelization of the world.” That is not what my Bible says! Neither can this premise be found in the Spirit of Prophecy. “There is as great a difference in our faith and that of nominal professors, as the heavens are higher than the earth.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 300.

This statement is the last sentence in an important testimony. Let us consider the complete testimony in context: “Those who engage in the solemn work of bearing the Third Angel’s Message, must move out decidedly, and in the Spirit and power of God, fearlessly preach the truth, and let it cut. They should elevate the standard of truth, and urge the people to come up to it. It has been lowered down to meet the people in their condition of darkness and sin. It is the pointed testimony that will bring up the people to decide. A peaceful testimony will not do this. The people have the privilege of listening to this kind of teaching from the pulpits of the day. But God has servants to whom He has entrusted a solemn, fearful message, to bring out and fit up a people for the coming of Christ. There is as great a difference in our faith and that of nominal professors, as the heavens are higher than the earth.” Ibid., 299, 300.

“God has committed to us the special truths for this time to make known to the world.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 236. In these last hours, “God has given to us,” Seventh-day Adventists, “the special truths for this time to make known to the world.” He has not given this message to the Sunday-keeping churches of Babylon. Our commission is to call the people out of Babylon, not to join hands with Babylon! We are not to please the churches of the world by emphasizing doctrines the SDA leadership alleges we hold in common with them. “The world is against us, the popular churches are against us, the laws of the land will soon be against us.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 236.

How can we “recognize” the “popular churches” that are “against us” as being “a part of the divine plan for the evangelization of the world?” Notice also that the contemporary Seventh-day Adventist Church holds “in high esteem the Christian men and women” who teach the false doctrines of the Protestant churches, the churches that the Scripture calls the harlot daughters of Babylon.

“And the Roman Catholic Church was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her false doctrine, and upon her forehead was a name written, mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” Revelation 17:4, 5, paraphrase.

“In our day. . .are not religious teachers turning men away from the plain requirements of the word of God? Instead of educating them in obedience to God’s law, are they not educating them in transgression? From many of the pulpits of the churches the people are taught that the law of God is not binding upon them.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 305.

“The Protestants have accepted the spurious Sabbath, the child of the papacy, and have exalted it above God’s holy sanctified day,” Ellen White stated, “and our institutions of learning have been established for the express purpose of counteracting the influence of those who do not follow the word of God.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 288.

Does this sound like Ellen White would approve of any idea of ecumenism? How can we “recognize” the Sunday-keeping churches of Babylon as a part of the divine plan for the evangelization of the world” and still be “counteracting the influence” of those churches “who do not follow the word of God?” How can we “recognize” those churches who have “accepted the spurious Sabbath, the child of the papacy, and have exalted it above God’s holy sanctified day?”

Ellen White stated that in the Sunday-keeping churches of Babylon “the doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made the law of God of no effect; that by ‘believing’ we are released from the necessity of being doers of the word.” Signs of the Times, February 25, 1897. She stated further that this teaching “is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned.”

Have the Sunday-keeping churches become more “Adventist” since the death of Ellen White? What was Ellen White’s position on the recognition of the Sunday-keeping churches of Babylon? What would she say if she were alive today? She would give the same testimony she gave from the beginning. Truth does not change.

“I saw that since Jesus left the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary and entered within the second veil, the churches have been filling up with every unclean and hateful bird. I saw great iniquity and vileness in the churches, yet their members profess to be Christians. Their profession, their prayers, and their exhortations are an abomination in the sight of God. Said the angel, ‘God will not dwell in their assemblies. Selfishness, fraud, and deceit are practiced by them without the reprovings of conscience. And over all these evil traits they throw the cloak of religion.’” Early Writings, 274.

Ellen White’s position on the other denominations was that the members of these churches of Babylon “profess to be Christians.” The contemporary Seventh-day Adventist Church concurs with these false churches by stating that “we hold in high esteem the Christian men and women in other communions who are engaged in winning souls to Christ.” GC Executive Committee, 1926.

Because we recognize the fallen churches of Babylon, does this mean that they will always love and recognize Seventh-day Adventists as Christian brethren? No, they will not.

“When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach,” Ellen White warned, “worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, strait-laced extremists.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 289.

We now have the answer to two important questions.

  1. Why were the attempted moves toward ecumenism by “influential men” not successful in 1890 and 1905?
  2. Why would the “wrong steps” toward ecumenism be successful after the year 1926 and onward? Again, the answer is simple. The messenger of the Lord passed from the scene in 1915—and the written Testimonies of the Lord have been made of non-effect!

Touched With Our Feelings

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad! A distinguished, Seventh-day Adventist scholar, Dr. Jean Zurcher, whose spiritual and academic credentials are impeccable, has conducted a full and complete investigation of the origin and progress of a totally false teaching about the nature of Christ (Christology) in the Seventh-day Adventist church, and has reported his findings in the book Touched With Our Feelings. This is only one of his notable achievements. In a second, and no less impressive achievement, he has succeeded in getting his book printed by the Review and Herald press, which has rejected all such manuscripts for years.

Dr. Zurcher has taught in various Seventh-day Adventist colleges, and is presently the chairman of the Biblical Research Committee of the Euro-African Division. He has written a previous book on the nature and destiny of man which is widely acclaimed as the best treatment of that subject by an Adventist writer.

In the present volume, he carefully chronicles the historical data and analyzes the Christological positions reached in the unanimous testimony of all Seventh-day Adventist witnesses for a period of one hundred years (1850–1950). He then turns his attention to the false Christology that was introduced in the 1950s, and the incredible actions and arguments of those who introduced it. This makes his work the most exhaustive and comprehensive treatment of the subject that has yet appeared. The results are, in a word, devastating to the false Christology, which teaches that Christ came to earth in the human nature of unfallen Adam, rather than in man’s fallen nature, as our church has always believed and taught.

This book is not to be read and laid aside. It is a veritable library, containing a wealth of information that needs to be studied and restudied. The idea that the subject is unimportant, or is of interest only to theologians, is firmly rejected. Zurcher maintains, with full documentary support, that the subject of the human nature of Christ is of vital importance to every Christian.

The truth that Christ came to earth in the fallen nature of man was described as vitally important by a host of Seventh-day Adventist witnesses before the 1950s. This group consisted of Adventism’s first line of leadership. It included:

General Conference pesidents

James White, A.G. Daniels, C.H. Watson, W.H. Branson and J.L. McElhany;

General Conference vice presidents

W.W. Prescott, I.H. Evans and H.L. Rudy;

Division presidents

E.F. Hackman, W.G. Turner, C.B. Haynes, J.E. Fulton, A.V. Olson and L.H. Christian;

General Conference secretaries

G.B. Thompson and F.C. Gilbert;

Union presidents

R.A. Underwood and E.K. Slade;

Union secretaries

A.W. Semmens and J. McCulloch;

College presidents

R.S. Owen, H.E. Giddings, W.E. Howell and M.L. Andreason (who was also a seminary professor);

Conference presidents

S.N. Haskell, C.P. Bollman, J.L. Schuler, A.T. Robinson and C.L. Bond;

Review, Signs and Bible Echo editors

A.T. Jones, Uriah Smith, F.M. Wilcox,
J.H. Waggoner, E.J. Waggoner,
E.W. Farnsworth, W.H. Glenn,
M.C. Wilcox, F.D. Nichol, A.L. Baker,
O. Tait, C.M. Snow, G. Dalrymple,
R. Hare, M. Neff and G.C. Tenny.

All of these illustrious leaders of Adventism published, in articles and books, their strong convictions that Christ came to earth in the human nature of fallen man. In addition there were many writers who did not hold high positions in the church, but who did have enough stature to be considered eligible to write the same thing in our publications a total of 1200 times, before the 1950s. (See The Word Was Made Flesh by this author.) And all of them were contemptuously dismissed by L.E. Froom, the leading promoter of the false Christology in the 1950s, as Adventism’s “lunatic fringe”!

How he would dare to publish such a monstrous misrepresentation is an incredible mystery. How he could get so many Seventh-day Adventists to accept the misrepresentation as fact is an even greater mystery. It would appear to be a classic case of putting blind confidence in a leader. Froom was, at this time, enjoying the confidence of most church members because of the six volumes that had appeared over his name on The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers and The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers. This had apparently led many to accept anything he wrote without question.

In any case, did Adventism ever have a lunatic fringe? Unfortunately, the answer is “Yes.” And that lunatic fringe believed exactly what Froom believed about the nature of Christ, that Jesus came to earth in the human nature of unfallen Adam! This group was first identified as the “holy flesh” movement of Indiana. You may read about these people in Selected Messages, vol. 2, 31–39. The movement began in Indiana, in 1889. When Ellen White, who was in Australia, was informed about it, she returned and strongly denounced it at the General Conference of 1901. She described it as “cheap, miserable inventions of men’s theories, prepared by the father of lies.” The conference discussed and condemned the teaching as false. (Zurcher, 276.)

And Froom’s cohorts were too small a group to even be called a fringe. Their names have been, and still are to some extent, a closely guarded secret. But in various ways that secret has been “leaked,” so that we now understand that a group of four persons entered into conversations with certain non-Adventist theologians, and then took upon themselves the awesome responsibility of changing our Christology. This was a challenging task. It meant that the uniform testimony of our cloud of witnesses, for one hundred years, had to be set aside, and an alien interpretation had to be placed on the writings of Ellen White, forcing her to say what she actually never said. Why would such a thing be attempted?

To gain the favor of the world. More specifically, to gain the favor of certain Calvinistic theologians who were threatening to describe us as a cult, if the changes were not made, and offering to “accept” us as true Christians if the changes were made. This still leaves us gasping. Since when have we submitted our doctrines for approval to theologians who hold false doctrines on the Sabbath, the law of God, the immortality of the soul, hell fire, baptism, health reform and so on? Nevertheless, it was done. As nearly as we can ascertain, through the curtain of secrecy that was employed, the four Adventists who made the fateful decision were L.E. Froom, Roy Alan Anderson, W.E. Read and J. Unruh.

Roy Alan Anderson was then secretary of our ministerial association and editor of Ministry magazine. If Froom’s description of virtually all of our leaders before the 1950s as a “lunatic fringe” is stunning, Anderson’s contribution is no less stunning. He published to all of our ministers in Ministry magazine that Ellen White had written only three or four statements that could be understood to mean that Christ had come in fallen human nature, but that these were “strongly counter-balanced” by her many other statements that He had come in unfallen human nature. (Zurcher 158, 159.) This statement is the precise opposite of the truth in both of its parts. Her statements that Christ came in fallen human nature actually number more than four hundred. And the “counter-balancing” statements simply do not exist. Anderson’s reference to them is pure fiction. Ellen White never wrote even a single time that Christ came to earth in unfallen human nature.

W.E. Read made an equally facile contribution in proposing that Christ took our fallen human nature vicariously, in the same way that He paid the price for our sins. But this argument collapses on its own weight. Another person can pay a debt for you, but he cannot take a drink of water for you. If something is done for you vicariously, that means that you do not have to do it. Christ has paid the price for our sins, so we do not have to pay it. If Christ had taken our human nature vicariously, we would not have to take it. But alas, we still have it. Many more serious problems could be pointed out, but I refer you to Zurcher.

So, the false Christology has made its way into our church through monstrous representations, misleading manipulation of evidence and ludicrous puerile propositions. Tragically, those who have tried to defend this monstrosity have not departed far from the methods of its originators. The misstatements, the false reasoning and the self-contradictions still continue. Witness the writings of Adams, Ford, Heppenstal, Ott, etc.

These grim revelations confront us with two difficult questions. First, how should we relate to the appalling misrepresentations of the originators of the false Christology? Intellectual integrity permits only one choice. We must repudiate them. To defend such methods would be utterly unthinkable.

Second, how should we relate to those among us who are continuing to promote false Christology? Zurcher, although he is clearly appalled by what he has found, carefully refrains from bringing railing accusations against anyone. We must follow his good example. We cannot judge motives, but we must judge actions. Those who defend the false Christology may not be aware of the methods they are defending. We must seek to inform them. If the Lord should stir the heart of any of you to give this book to a pastor of your acquaintance, that would be a good beginning. And if the Lord should lay a larger burden upon your heart, so be it. In any case, praise God for this book and praise God for our truth!

Ralph Larson has retired from forty years of service as a pastor, evangelist, college teacher and seminary professor. He writes from his home in Cherry Valley, California.