Bible Study Guides – “Call on Me in the Day of Trouble”

February 17, 2001 – February 23, 2001

MEMORY VERSE: “And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” Psalm 50:15.

STUDY HELP: Great Controversy, 613–634.


“Those who are earnestly seeking a knowledge of the truth and are striving to purify their souls through obedience, thus doing what they can to prepare for the conflict, will find, in the God of truth, a sure defense. ‘Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee’ (Revelation 3:10), is the Saviour’s promise. He would sooner send every angel out of heaven to protect His people than leave one soul that trusts in Him to be overcome by Satan.” Great Controversy, 560.

“Exceeding Great and Precious Promises”

1 What promises of divine help in time of trouble have we been given? Psalm 46:1–3; Psalm 91:3–10.

NOTE: “Our God is an ever-present help in every time of need. He is perfectly acquainted with the most secret thoughts of our heart, with all the intents and purposes of our souls. When we are in perplexity, even before we open to Him our distress, He is making arrangements for our deliverance. Our sorrow is not unnoticed. He always knows much better than we do, just what is necessary for the good of His children, and He leads us as we would choose to be led if we could discern our own hearts and see our necessities and perils, as God sees them.” Signs of the Times, May 25, 1888.

2 How swiftly does God hear the cry of His children? Isaiah 65:24. (Compare Daniel 9:21.)

NOTE: “Since He has made such gracious promises, why do we not trust God? Why do we not take Him at His word? We must have increased faith.” Review and Herald, May 27, 1884.

“As Daniel’s prayer is going forth, the angel Gabriel comes sweeping down from the heavenly courts, to tell him that his petitions are heard and answered. This mighty angel has been commissioned to give him skill and understanding—to open before him the mysteries of future ages. Thus, while earnestly seeking to know and understand the truth, Daniel was brought into communion with Heaven’s delegated messenger.” Review and Herald, February 8, 1881.

“I Also Will Keep Thee”

3 What is required on our part to ensure that God will watch over us in time of trouble? Revelation 3:10.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 593.

4 What is even more necessary than a mere knowledge of the Scriptures? Revelation 1:3.

NOTE: “When the books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers will have an entirely different religious experience. They will be given such glimpses of the open gates of heaven that heart and mind will be impressed with the character that all must develop in order to realize the blessedness which is to be the reward of the pure in heart. The Lord will bless all who will seek humbly and meekly to understand that which is revealed in the Revelation. This book contains so much that is large with immortality and full of glory that all who read and search it earnestly receive the blessing to those ‘that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ One thing will certainly be understood from the study of Revelation,—that the connection between God and His people is close and decided. Let us give more time to the study of the Bible. We do not understand the Word as we should. The book of Revelation opens with an injunction to us to understand the instruction that it contains…. When we… understand what this book means to us, there will be seen among us a great revival.” The Faith I Live By, 345.

“Thy Words were Found and I did East Them”

5 What brought consolation to Jeremiah in his time of trouble? Jeremiah 15:15, 16.

NOTE: “The word of the living God is not merely written, but spoken. The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us, just as surely as though we could hear it with our ears. If we realized this, with what awe would we open God’s word, and with what earnestness would we search its precepts! The reading and contemplation of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the Infinite One. When Satan presses his suggestions upon our minds, we may, if we cherish a ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ be drawn into the secret pavilion of the Most High.” [Psalm 27:5.] Testimonies, vol. 6, 393.

6 What precious promise may we claim in prayer? John 14:26.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 600 and The Desire of Ages, 355.

“Hezekiah Prayed unto the Lord”

7 What example of prayer for deliverance are we given from the life of Hezekiah? Isaiah 37:16–20.

NOTE: “When the king of Judah received the taunting letter, he took it into the temple and ‘spread it before the Lord’ and prayed with strong faith for help from heaven, that the nations of earth might know that the God of the Hebrews still lived and reigned. The honor of Jehovah was at stake; He alone could bring deliverance.” Conflict and Courage, 239.

8 In what wonderful way was Hezekiah’s prayer answered? Isaiah 37:36. (Compare Psalm 91:7, 8.)

NOTE: “Hezekiah was not left without hope. Isaiah sent to him, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.’… That very night deliverance came. ‘The angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand.’… The God of the Hebrews had prevailed over the proud Assyrian. The honor of Jehovah was vindicated in the eyes of the surrounding nations. In Jerusalem the hearts of the people were filled with holy joy. Their earnest entreaties for deliverance had been mingled with confession of sin and with many tears. In their great need they had trusted wholly in the power of God to save, and He had not failed them.” Conflict and Courage, 239.

“Our Eyes are upon Thee”

9 What wonderful prayer of faith in God’s deliverance did Jehoshaphat pray? 2 Chronicles 20:9–12.

NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 200.

10 How did Jehoshaphat express his confidence in God’s power to save? 2 Chronicles 20:17. (Compare Exodus 14:13, 14.)

NOTE: “We dared not venture in a mist and perplexity, and were obliged to stand still and see the salvation of God. The words from the living oracles teach us when tried and tempted and surrounded with difficulties, the safe course for us to pursue is to patiently wait, to be of good courage, and commit the keeping of soul and body to God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 325.

11 How was Jehoshaphat’s prayer answered? 2 Chronicles 20:20–22.

NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 202.

“My God Hath Sent His Angel”

12 What examples of deliverance are to be found in the lives of Daniel and Paul? Daniel 6:19–23, Acts 27:20–25.

NOTE: “A man whose heart is stayed upon God will be the same in the hour of his greatest trial as he is in prosperity, when the light and favor of God and of man beam upon him…. The power that is near to deliver from physical harm or distress is also near to save from the greater evil, making it possible for the servant of God to maintain his integrity under all circumstances, and to triumph through divine grace.” Conflict and Courage, 255.

13 What promise of final deliverance is given to God’s people? Daniel 12:1.

NOTE: “‘They have come out of great tribulation. They have walked in the fiery furnace in the world, heated intensely by the passions and caprices of men who would enforce upon them the worship of the beast and his image, who would compel them to be disloyal to the God of heaven. They have come from the mountains, from the rocks, from the dens and caves of the earth, from dungeons, from prisons, from secret councils, from the torture chamber, from hovels, from garrets. They have passed through sore affliction, deep self-denial, and deep disappointment. They are no longer to be the sport and ridicule of wicked men. They are to be no longer mean and sorrowful in the eyes of those who despise them. Remove the filthy garments from them, with which wicked men have delighted to clothe them. Give them a change of raiment, even the white robes of righteousness, and set a fair mitre upon their heads.’ They were clothed in richer robes than earthly beings had ever worn; they were crowned with diadems of glory such as human beings had never seen. The days of suffering, of reproach, of want, of hunger, are no more; weeping is past. Then they break forth in songs, loud, clear, and musical; they wave the palm branches of victory, and exclaim, ‘Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.’ Oh, may God endue us with His Spirit and make us strong in His strength! In that great day of supreme and final triumph it will be seen that the righteous were strong, and that wickedness in all its forms and with all its pride was a weak and miserable failure and defeat. We will cling close to Jesus, we will trust Him, we will seek His grace and His great salvation. We must hide in Jesus, for He is a covert from the storm, a present help in time of trouble.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 210.

Bible Study Guides – The Effectual Fervent Prayer

February 10, 2001 – February 16, 2001

MEMORY VERSE: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1:6.

STUDY HELP: Education, 253–261.


“When as a people our works correspond with our profession, we shall see very much more accomplished than now. When we have men as devoted as Elijah, and possessing the faith which he possessed, we shall see that God will reveal Himself to us as He did to holy men of old. When we have men who, while they acknowledge their deficiencies, will plead with God in earnest faith as did Jacob, we shall see the same results. Power will come from God to man in answer to the prayer of faith.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 402.

“The Just Shall Live by Faith”

1 What has God given to everyone? Romans 12:3.

NOTE: “God has given to every man his measure of faith, and each is to walk in faith. He is to show that he has that faith that will rely upon God for help. As God has given to every man his measure of faith, he is to put it into exercise. He is to let his light shine.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 133.

“Faith is not a happy flight of feeling; it is simply taking God at His word, believing that He will fulfil His promises because He said He would.” Our High Calling, 119.

2 What are we to do with the faith that God has given to each of us? Mark 11:22, 23.

NOTE: “How to exercise faith. This is the science of the gospel. The Scripture declares, ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ The knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith, is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired. We suffer much trouble and grief because of our unbelief, and our ignorance of how to exercise faith. We must break through the clouds of unbelief. We cannot have a healthy Christian experience, we can not obey the gospel unto salvation, until the science of faith is better understood, and until more faith is exercised. There can be no perfection of Christian character without that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul.” Review and Herald, October 18, 1898. (Emphasis supplied.)

See also Desire of Ages, 347.

“The Prayer of Faith”

3 What example of the prayer of faith are we given? James 5:17, 18.

NOTE: “True faith rests on the promises contained in the word of God, and those only who obey that word can claim its glorious promises. ‘If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ John 15:7. ‘Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.’ 1 John 3:22. We should be much in secret prayer. Christ is the Vine, we are the branches. And if we would grow and flourish, we must continually draw sap and nourishment from the Living Vine; for separated from the Vine, we have no strength. I asked the angel why there was no more faith and power in Israel. He said: ‘Ye let go of the arm of the Lord too soon. Press your petitions to the throne, and hold on by strong faith. The promises are sure. Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them.’ I was then pointed to Elijah. He was subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly. His faith endured the trial. Seven times he prayed before the Lord, and at last the cloud was seen. I saw that we had doubted the sure promises, and wounded the Saviour by our lack of faith.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 126, 127.

4 What will the promises of God do for us when we lay hold of them in faith? 2 Peter 1:3, 4.

NOTE: “Christ has promised, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.’ He will hear and answer our prayers, and faith appropriates the rich promises of God, believing they are for us. As we accept the promises of God, we grow stronger in faith, and find the word of the Lord fulfilled as He has spoken it. We may feel our weakness and unworthiness, and because of this, realize our dependence upon God. Every one of us can have a rich experience in the things of God if we will utterly forsake our sin and submit ourselves to God. Oh, how can we cherish impurity in the soul when Christ has died for us, that we may become partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust? We are to be sanctified through the truth, and this sanctification is not the work of a moment, but of a lifetime. We must all learn to lean upon Jesus; for the time will come when we shall be scattered, and we cannot lean upon one another. Christ is ready to give us the help we need.” Review and Herald, April 14, 1891. (See also The Desire of Ages, 121.)

“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”

5 What must we do to lay hold of the promises of God? Matthew 7:7–11.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 564.

6 What promises do we have that our requests will be heard? Psalm 34:4; John 6:37; 1 John 5:14, 15.

NOTE: See Steps to Christ, 96.

“Believe that Ye Receive”

7 What necessary pre-condition for answered prayer did Jesus reveal? Mark 11:24.

NOTE: “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.” Education, 258.

8 What are we told about the prayer not presented in faith? James 1:6, 7.

NOTE: “God is behind every promise, and we cannot dishonor Him more than by questioning and hesitating, by asking and not believing, and then by talking doubt. If you do not immediately receive what you have asked for, will you go on in sullenness and unbelief? Believe; believe that God will do just what He has promised. Keep your prayers ascending, and watch, work, and wait. Fight the good fight of faith. Say to your heart, ‘God has invited me to come. He has heard my prayer. He has pledged His word that He will receive me, and He will fulfil His promise. I can trust God; for He so loved me that He gave His only-begotten Son to die for me. The Son of God is my Redeemer.’ ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?’” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 300.

9 How did Jesus demonstrate the necessity of faith in making one’s requests to God? Matthew 21:19–22.

NOTE: “The promise is… ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them. Now in the first place you have the promise that if you ask you shall receive. Then think what you most need to overcome. Acquaint yourselves with your failings, and then as you feel you cannot overcome in your own strength, ask God to help you. By doing this you acknowledge your own weakness, and throw yourselves upon God’s arm. He will sustain you in your efforts to do right. But be careful and do not rely too much on your own strength and efforts. Ever realize that Satan is continually trying to lead your … minds to do wrong. In order to resist his temptations, you must rely upon a power stronger than your own. ‘Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them.’ Do not merely come to God and ask; but believe that He will do just as He has said He would. As you ask, believe He answers, and believe you do receive strength from Him.’” An Appeal to the Youth, 54. (See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 147.)

“Ye Ask and Receive Not”

10 What may be one of the reasons for unanswered prayers? James 4:3.

NOTE: “There are thousands of prayers daily offered that God does not answer. There are faithless prayers. ‘He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.’ There are selfish prayers, proceeding from a heart that is cherishing idols. ‘If any man regard iniquity in his heart, the Lord will not hear him.’ There are petulant, fretful prayers, murmuring because of the burdens and cares of life, instead of humbly seeking grace to lighten them. 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.

11 What other things may lead to our prayers not being heard? Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 28:9.

NOTE: “Many are forfeiting the condition of acceptance with the Father. We need to examine closely the deed of trust wherewith we approach God. If we are disobedient, we bring to the Lord a note to be cashed when we have not fulfilled the conditions that would make it payable to us. We present to God His promises, and ask Him to fulfil them, when by so doing He would dishonor His own name. The promise is ‘If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ John 15:7. And John declares: ‘Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.’ 1 John 2:3–5.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 144. (See also Steps to Christ, 95.)

“Prayer and Supplication with Thanksgiving”

12 Besides faith, what must also accompany our requests to God? 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, 258.

13 What example do we have of Jesus giving thanks to His heavenly Father for a prayer whose answer He had not yet seen? John 11:41–44.

NOTE: “‘In every thing give thanks’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18) for the keeping power of God through Jesus Christ…. At the moment when you are offering your prayer for help you may not feel all the joy and blessing that you would like to feel, but if you believe that Christ will hear and answer your petition, the peace of Christ will come…. If you take hold of the strength of the mighty Helper, and not reason with your adversary and never complain of God, His promises will be verified. The experience that you gain today in trusting Him will help you in meeting the difficulties of tomorrow. Each day you are to come, trusting as a little child drawing nearer to Jesus and heaven. In meeting with unwavering trust in God the daily trials and difficulties, you will again and again test the promises of Heaven, and each time you will learn a lesson of faith. Thus you will gain strength to resist temptation, and when the harder trials come, you will be able to endure.” Our High Calling, 326. (See also Testimonies to Ministers, 485.)

Bible Study Guides – “My House Shall Be Called The House Of Prayer”

February 3, 2001 – February 9, 2001

MEMORY VERSE: “And hearken Thou to the supplication of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place: and when Thou hearest, forgive.” 1 Kings 8:30.

STUDY HELP: Gospel Workers, pages 175–179.


“The Pharisees had stated hours for prayer; and when, as often came to pass, they were abroad at the appointed time, they would pause wherever they might be,—perhaps in the street or in the marketplace, amid the hurrying throng of men,—and there in a loud voice rehearse their formal prayers. Such worship, offered merely for self-glorification, called forth unsparing rebuke from Jesus. Yet he did not discountenance public prayer; for He Himself prayed with His disciples and with the multitude. But He impressed upon His disciples the thought that their public prayers should be short.” Gospel Workers, 175.

“Reverence My Sanctuary”

1 How did Jacob regard the place where he encountered God? Genesis 28:16, 17.

NOTE: “Parents, elevate the standard of Christianity in the minds of your children; help them to weave Jesus into their experience; teach them to have the highest reverence for the house of God and to understand that when they enter the Lord’s house, it should be with hearts that are softened and subdued by such thoughts as these: ‘God is here; this is His house. I must have pure thoughts and the holiest motives. I must have no pride, envy, jealousy, evil surmising, hatred, or deception in my heart; for I am coming into the presence of the holy God. This is the place where God meets with and blesses His people. The high and holy One who inhabiteth eternity looks upon me, searches my heart, and reads the most secret thoughts and acts of my life.’” Child Guidance, 541.

2 What command did the Lord give His people regarding His sanctuary? Leviticus 26:2.

NOTE: “There should be an intelligent knowledge of how to come to God in reverence and Godly fear with devotional love. There is a growing lack of reverence for our Maker, a growing disregard of His greatness and His majesty.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 315. (See also Prophets and Kings, 48, 49.)

“Holy and Reverend is His Name”

3 What attitude is appropriate when we come before the Lord in prayer? Psalm 95:6. (Compare 1 Kings 8:54; Daniel 6:10 and Luke 22:41.)

NOTE: “Both in public and in private worship, it is our privilege to bow on our knees before the Lord when we offer our petitions to Him. Jesus, our example, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ [Luke 22:41.] Of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ [Acts 9:40; 20:36, 21:5.] Paul declared, ‘I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ [Ephesians 3:14.] In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. [See Ezra 9:5.] Daniel ‘kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God.’ [Daniel 6:10.]” Gospel Workers, 178.

4 In what spirit should we address God in prayer? Psalm 99:3; Isaiah 29:23; Isaiah 57:15.

NOTE: “Some think it a mark of humility to pray to God in a common manner, as if talking with a human being. They profane His name by needlessly and irreverently mingling with their prayers the words, ‘God Almighty,’—awful, sacred words, which should never pass the lips except in subdued tones and with a feeling of awe.” Gospel Workers, 176.

“Reverence should be shown also for the name of God. Never should that name be spoken lightly or thoughtlessly. Even in prayer its frequent or needless repetition should be avoided. ‘Holy and reverend is His name.’ Psalm 111:9. Angels, as they speak it, veil their faces. With what reverence should we, who are fallen and sinful, take it upon our lips!” Child Guidance, 538.

See also Desire of Ages, 613.

“They Think that They Shall be Heard for Their Much Speaking”

5 What practices in public prayer did Christ condemn? Matthew 6:7.

NOTE: “Many tedious prayers are offered, which are more like giving the Lord a lecture than presenting to Him a request. It would be better if those offering such prayers would confine themselves to the one that Christ taught His disciples to offer. Long prayers are tiring to those who hear, and do not prepare the people to listen to the instruction that is to follow. It is often because secret prayer is neglected that long, tedious prayers are offered in public.” Gospel Workers, 175, 176.

6 What example of vain repetitions is recorded for us? 1 Kings 18:26.

NOTE: “When engaged with our brethren in public worship, we could add to the interest of the meeting; for we should bring with us some of the atmosphere of heaven, and our worship would be a reality, and not a mere form. Those about us can soon tell whether we are in the habit of praying or not. If the soul is not drawn out in prayer in the closet, and while engaged in the business of the day, the lack will be manifest in the prayer–meeting. The public prayers will be dry and formal, consisting of repetitions and customary phrases, and they will bring darkness rather than light into the meeting.” Gospel Workers (1892 ed.), 425. (See also My Life Today, 19.)

“After This Manner Pray Ye”

7 What should be an important element in our public prayers? Psalm 100. (Compare Acts 16:25.)

NOTE: “In our devotional meetings, our voices should express by prayer and praise our adoration of the heavenly Father, that all may know that we worship God in simplicity and truth, and in the beauty of holiness. Precious indeed in this world of sin and ignorance is the gift of speech, the melody of the human voice, when devoted to the praise of Him who hath loved us and given Himself for us.” Counsels to Teachers, Parents and Students, 245.

8 For what other purpose should we make public prayer and what should always accompany such prayers? Philippians 4:6.

NOTE: “Our prayers in public should be short, and express only the real wants of the soul, asking in simplicity and simple trusting faith for the very things we need. Prayer from the humble, contrite heart is the vital breath of the soul hungering for righteousness.” Signs of the Times, December 3, 1896.

“Human help is feeble. But we may unite in seeking help and favor from Him who has said, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ Divine power is infallible. Then let us come to God, pleading for the guidance of His Holy Spirit. Let our united prayers ascend to the throne of grace. Let our requests be mingled with praise and thanksgiving.” Testimonies to Ministers, 485. (See also Steps to Christ, 103.)

9 Are some things better left to private prayer? Matthew 6:6.

NOTE: “We should not come to the house of God to pray for our families unless deep feeling shall lead us while the Spirit of God is convicting them. Generally, the proper place to pray for our families is at the family altar. When the subjects of our prayers are at a distance, the closet is the proper place to plead with God for them. When in the house of God, we should pray for a present blessing and should expect God to hear and answer our prayers.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 145.

“When They had Prayed”

10 What example are we given of the power of communal prayer? Acts 4:31.

NOTE: ‘”’Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain.’ Do not rest satisfied that in the ordinary course of the season, rain will fall. Ask for it. The growth and perfection of the seed rests not with the husbandman. God alone can ripen the harvest. But man’s co-operation is required. God’s work for us demands the action of our mind, the exercise of our faith. We must seek His favours with the whole heart if the showers of grace are to come to us. We should improve every opportunity of placing ourselves in the channel of blessing. Christ has said, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst.’ The convocations of the church, as in camp meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God’s appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain.” Testimonies to Ministers, 508.

11 What specific communal prayer was wonderfully answered? Acts 12:1–16.

NOTE: “The angel of the Lord opened the prison doors for Peter, for ‘prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.’ There is your work. Pray as you have never prayed before; and if you spend nights in prayer, and learn to trust God, you will have an intelligent experience. It was by praying without ceasing that Peter gained the victory, and when the angel went to bring him out, Peter was bound with two chains, and, behold, the angel of the Lord came forth, and smote Peter on the side, and said, ‘Rise up quickly.’ All the ruler’s expectations failed because the same mighty agent that Joshua summoned when he was to bring down the walls of Jericho, was with the men who were bound with chains. When Peter returned to his brethren, a free man, he found them praying, and this is the key to his deliverance,—they were praying. He knocked at the gate, but the maid who came to open it, ran back to the house in great astonishment without letting him in. They did not think that Peter was to be released from the prison. They had expected a deliverance of a different order, but God worked in His own way and after His own counsel, and brought him to the very door of those who were praying for him.” Review and Herald, April 29, 1890. (Emphasis supplied)

“Hear Thou Their Prayer and Their Supplication”

12 What specific requests were included in Solomon’s public prayer? 1 Kings 8:23, 26, 29–30, 35–36, 44–45, 51–53.

NOTE: “The prayer offered by Solomon during the dedication of the temple, was not made while he stood upon his feet. The king knelt in the humble position of a petitioner. Herein is a lesson for God’s people today. Our spiritual strength and our influence are not increased by conformity to a worldly attitude during prayer…. Let man come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the footstool of mercy. Thus he is to testify that the whole soul, body, and spirit are in subjection to his Creator.” Review and Herald, November 30, 1905.

13 Of what may we be assured when we come before the throne of God in prayer? Psalm 65:2. (Read the whole Psalm.)

NOTE: “Jesus sees His true church on the earth, whose greatest ambition is to co-operate with Him in the grand work of saving souls. He hears their prayers, presented in contrition and power, and Omnipotence cannot resist their plea for the salvation of any tried, tempted member of Christ’s body…. Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us. Through our Redeemer what blessings may not the true believer receive? The church, soon to enter upon her most severe conflict, will be the object most dear to God upon earth.” In Heavenly Places, 284.

Bible Study Guides – “Have Mercy Upon Me, O God, According to Thy Lovingkindness”

January 27, 2001 – February 2, 2001

MEMORY VERSE: “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Luke 18:13.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 23–35.


“Our sins caused Jesus to die a shameful death, that through His sufferings and death we might receive pardon. Can we receive the forgiveness of sins before we feel that we are sinners? and before we realize the sinfulness of sin? I think not. When we repent before God of our sins sincerely, we shall feel that without the pardoning blood of Christ we must perish. If we cast ourselves in our wretchedness wholly upon the mercy of Christ, and feel that unless He saves us we perish; when we yield our own will, our own way, and plead for Jesus to control our will and actions, then we come into a position where we can receive and appreciate pardon and the forgiveness of sin.” An Appeal to the Youth, 67.

“I Had Not Known Sin but by the Law”

What has God given to mankind to explain what sin is? Romans 3:20, last part; Romans 7:7.

NOTE: “The first step in reconciliation to God is the conviction of sin.… ‘By the law is the knowledge of sin’ (Romans 3:20). In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God’s great standard of righteousness. It is a mirror which shows the perfection of a righteous character and enables him to discern the defects of his own.” God’s Amazing Grace, 20.

Is a person condemned when he does not know he is breaking God’s law? Romans 5:13, last part. (Compare Romans 2:14, 15.)

NOTE: “In His sufferings and death Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision made for willful blindness. We shall not be held accountable for the light that has not reached our perception, but for that which we have resisted and refused. A man could not apprehend the truth which had never been presented to him, and therefore could not be condemned for light he had never had.” Last Day Events, 218.

“Thou Art the Man”

What means has God given for people to be convicted of their sins? John 16:7–9.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 52.

What means did the Lord use to convict David of sin? 2 Samuel 12:1–13.

NOTE: “The prophet Nathan’s parable of the ewe lamb, given to King David, may be studied by all.… While he was following his course of self-indulgence and commandment breaking, the parable of a rich man who took from a poor man his one ewe lamb, was presented before him. But the king was so completely wrapped in his garments of sin, that he did not see that he was the sinner. He fell into the trap, and… passed his sentence upon another man, as he supposed, condemning him to death.… This experience was most painful to David, but it was most beneficial. But for the mirror which Nathan held up before him, in which he so clearly recognized his own likeness, he would have gone on unconvicted of his heinous sin, and would have been ruined. The conviction of his guilt was the saving of his soul. He saw himself in another light, as the Lord saw him, and as long as he lived he repented of his sin.” Conflict and Courage, 179.

“Mine Iniquity Have I not Hid”

What did David do once he was convicted of his sin? Psalm 32:5, first part. (Compare Jeremiah 3:12, 13.)

NOTE: “David awakens as from a dream. He feels the sense of his sin. He does not seek to excuse his course, or palliate his sin, as did Saul; but with remorse and sincere grief, he bows his head before the prophet of God, and acknowledges his guilt.…” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1023. (See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 361.)

“Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 456.

In what words did David acknowledge his sin? Psalm 51:3, 4.

NOTE: “As soon as we consent to give sin up, to acknowledge our guilt, the barrier is removed between the soul and the Saviour.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 325.

“Whoso Confesseth and Forsaketh His Sins Shall Have Mercy”

While it is not God’s will that we should sin, what precious assurance is the sinner given? 1 John 2:1.

NOTE: “…it is not God’s will that you should be distrustful and torture your soul with the fear that God will not accept you because you are sinful and unworthy.… Present your case before Him, pleading the merits of the blood shed for you upon Calvary’s cross. Satan will accuse you of being a great sinner, and you must admit this, but you can say: ‘I know I am a sinner, and that is the reason I need a Saviour. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” 1 John 1:7. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (verse 9).’” Faith and Works, 105.

How specific should be our confession of sin? Leviticus 5:5.

NOTE: “True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty. Many, many confessions should never be spoken in the hearing of mortals; for the result is that which the limited judgement of finite beings does not anticipate.… God will be better glorified if we confess the secret, inbred corruption of the heart to Jesus alone than if we open its recesses to finite, erring man, who cannot judge righteously unless his heart is constantly imbued with the Spirit of God.… Do not pour into human ears the story which God alone should hear. The confession that is the outpouring of the inmost soul finds its way to the God of infinite pity.” The Faith I Live By, 128.

“Let the Wicked Forsake His Way”

In addition to confessing our sins, what further condition must be met to obtain mercy from God? Proverbs 28:13.

NOTE: See Patriarchs and Prophets, 203.

“Satan does not want anyone to see the necessity of an entire surrender to God. When the soul fails to make this surrender, sin is not forsaken; the appetites and passions are striving for the mastery; temptations confuse the conscience, so that true conversion does not take place.” Evangelism, 317.

What precious promise is given to the one who is willing to forsake his sins? Isaiah 55:7.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 552.

“Search Me, O God”

What work was required of the people of Israel in preparation for the Day of Atonement? Leviticus 16:29, 31; Leviticus 23:27, 32.

NOTE: “We are now living in the great day of atonement.… All who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart.” God’s Amazing Grace, 69. (See also Our High Calling, 142.)

What prayer of David’s should be ours as we prepare to meet our God? Psalm 139:23, 24.

NOTE: “The enemy will come in, and try to draw our minds away from the important work to be done for this time. He will seek to keep us engaged on trivial matters, to make us think that it is our province to criticize and condemn others; but our work is to deal faithfully with our own souls. We must search our hearts and see if we are right in the sight of God.” Review and Herald, May 15, 1913. (See also Faith and Works, 75.)

Food for Life – Oatmeal Crackers

Happy New Year! “Thousands of dollars will be worse than thrown away upon the coming… New Year in needless indulgences. But it is our privilege to depart from the customs and practices of this degenerate age; and instead of expending means merely for the gratification of the appetite or for needless ornaments or articles of clothing, we may make the coming holidays an occasion in which to honor and glorify God.” The Adventist Home, 480.

“…New Year celebrations can and should be held in behalf of those who are helpless. God is glorified when we give to help those who have large families to support.” Ibid., 482.

“Angels of God are waiting to show you the path of life.… Decide now, at the commencement of the New Year, that you will choose the path of righteousness, that you will be earnest and true-hearted, and that life with you shall not prove a mistake. Go forward, guided by the heavenly angels; be courageous; be enterprising; let your light shine; and may the words of inspiration be applicable to you— “I write unto you, young men [and women], because you are strong and have overcome the wicked one.” My Life Today, 5.

“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 equipments for grappling successfully with the stern duties and realities that await every human being.

“We urge that the principles of temperance be carried into ALL the details of home life;…that self-denial and self-control should be taught to the children, and ENFORCED upon them, so far as consistent, from BABYHOOD.

“Children should be taught that they must not have their own way, but that the will of their parents must guide them. One of the MOST important lessons in this connection is the control of appetite. They should learn to eat at regular periods and to allow NOTHING to pass their lips between these stated meals.…

“Children reared in this way are much more easily controlled than those who are indulged in eating everything their appetite craves, and at all times. They are usually cheerful, contented, and healthy. Even the most stubborn, passionate, and wayward have become submissive, patient, and possessed of self-control by persistently following up this order of diet, united with a firm but kind management in regard to other matters.” My Life Today, 82. [Emphasis added.]

“God would have every household and every church exert a winning power to draw the children away from the seducing pleasures of the world and from association with those whose influence would have a corrupting tendency. Study to win the youth to Jesus.” The Adventist Home, 504, 505.

Again, let me wish each and every one of you the most blessed New Year, and God bless you!

Recipe – Oatmeal Crackers

2 cups distilled water

1 cup ground nuts

4 Tbsps. Date Sugar

1 lb. Oatmeal

1 tsp. Sea Salt

Mix together water, nuts, and date sugar. Knead in the oatmeal. Work dough thoroughly for 10 minutes. Roll out strips 1/3 inch wide and 2 inches long. Bake at 300º until dry all through, not too brown.

Children’s Story – A Glass of Milk

One day a poor boy, who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, when a lovely young woman opened the door, he lost his nerve and instead of asking for a meal, he asked for a drink of water.

The young lady thought that he looked hungry, so she brought him a large glass of milk instead. He drank it very slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”

“You do not owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us to never accept pay for a kindness done.”

“Then I thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” he said.

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was also strengthened. He had been ready to give up and quit, and was given the courage to go on.

Years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled, and they finally sent her to the big city where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for consultation.

When he heard the name of the town from she came, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor’s gown, he bent over to look at her, and he recognized her at once. He returned to his office determined to do his best to save her life.

From that day on he gave special attention to the case, and after a long struggle, the battle was won. On the day that his patient was to be discharged from the hospital, Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked it over, then wrote something on the edge of the bill and sent it to her room. She was afraid to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for such a long and expensive hospital stay as hers had been. Finally she could endure the suspense no longer, and she opened the bill. Something scribbled in the margin caught her eye, and she read these words: “Paid in full with one glass of milk.” And it was signed by Dr. Howard Kelly.

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed, “Thank You, God, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands.”

Editor’s note:
Each day as we pass through our humble lives, we never know when a kind touch, a word of encouragement and cheer or a humble act of generosity might give a discouraged, hurting human being just the lift that will make the difference in their life. We must remember, also, that our harsh words, our criticism and coldness can also destroy someone who is already hurting, and can be the final straw to make them lose all hope. Let us remember to share love, as Jesus shared love, always lifting each other up, and pointing the way to heaven.

Restoring the Temple – The Laws of Health

Our physical, mental, social, and spiritual health was a gift given to us at creation and should be greatly treasured by all. When man was created, he came from the Creator’s hand perfect in all four areas. At the end of the sixth day of creation, God said something He had not said on any other day: “And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31. Man continued in this perfect state until sin entered into the world through his own disobedience. Since that time man has deteriorated physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually, until death occurred as a result of sin. Just as God’s original design was for man’s complete perfection, so it is still God’s desire that we might obtain complete perfection. This He has commanded in His word, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. Just as Adam and Eve’s continued perfection was based on their obedience, our perfection is based on our compliance to His Word.

The Ten Commandments are a testimony to His desire for our perfect spiritual health. As we obey the first four commands we obtain spiritual perfection in our relationship with Him. The last six testify to His desire that we live in peace and harmony with our fellow men. See Exodus 20:1-17. God spake these words that His people might not continue in sin. Exodus 20:20 says, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” Also note verses 18–19. See also I John 2:1-5, especially noting the first part of verse 1 as follows, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” With this background let us look at the Divine origin for our health.

In regard to health, God has certain expectations of us. First He expects us to learn the laws of health. Just as the natural world around us is governed by laws, there are laws central to and within our very being that we need to learn in order to be healthy. “God has placed it in our power to obtain a knowledge of the laws of health. He has made it a duty to preserve our physical powers in the best possible condition, that we may render to Him acceptable service. Those who refuse to improve the light and knowledge that have been mercifully placed within their reach are rejecting one of the means which God has granted them to promote spiritual, as well as physical life. They are placing themselves where they will be exposed to the delusions of Satan.” Counsels on Health, 454. Hosea 4:6 also makes it clear that God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee.” Very clearly, God expects us to study the laws of our being and the laws of health.

Knowledge alone will not make us healthy. God also expects that we apply that knowledge in practice and obedience. “We have no right wantonly to violate a single principle of the laws of health.” HL,18. “Our first duty, one which we owe to God, to ourselves, and to our fellowmen, is to obey the laws of God, which include the laws of health.” HL, 24 The Bible also makes it very clear that we are to glorify God through our body: “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:19-20. So God’s second expectation of us is that we practice or obey the laws of health.

Thirdly, God expects us to teach the laws of health. “No teacher of truth should feel that his education is completed till he has studied the laws of health, and knows the bearing of right practices on the spiritual life. He should be qualified to speak to the people intelligently in regard to these things, and to set them an example that will give force to his words.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 59. We must educate people in right principles of health if we ever expect people to have perfect physical, mental, social, and spiritual health.

When we comply with God’s expectations, then He can fulfill in us His desire for us to have perfect health. It is God’s desire that we have physical health equal to the prosperity of our soul. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 2. The Lord wants to restore health to us. “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 30:17. Isaiah 53:5 clarifies the role of Christ’s sufferings in our healing, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” All of us desire health, but none desire it more than God desires to give it to us!

If we comply with God’s expectations through obedience, then His word promises that He will give us health and vitality. “If thou wilt diligently harken to the voice of the Lord thy God and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Exodus 15:26. We can go to Psalms 105:37 to see the fulfillment of this promise. Speaking of the Israelites who left Egypt, the Bible says, “He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.” It has been estimated by some historians that as many as one million people may have been part of the Exodus from Egypt. Is there anywhere before or since that we could find a million people in whom there was not one sign of feebleness? Daniel and the three Hebrew worthies are also examples of the results of obedience to God’s requirements concerning health. We have the faithful recording of what the results are when we refuse to defile ourselves with the meats and wines of the world. Daniel and his three companions were found to be fairer in countenance and ten times greater in knowledge and wisdom than all the wise men of Babylon. (See Daniel 1:1-21.)

We cannot ignore God’s expectations of us and violate the laws of our being and have good health. We must, through obedience, cooperate with God’s design if we ever hope to have the health that He wants to give us. As we learn, obey and teach God’s health laws, God will, as He has promised, bless us with good health and make us a shining light to reflect His glory. In future articles we shall look at these laws of health that can, if followed, result in our health, making us a shinning example of the power of God to the world around us.

Worship the Lord in Holiness

Worship is a very serious topic. I am deeply concerned and troubled about the current worship trends. In a recent discussion among some Christian ministers, I heard one make the statement, “You can never negotiate the gospel message. It is non-negotiable.”

Worship Style is Not Negotiable

Like the gospel message, worship style is not negotiable. Why do I say that? Because God has plainly lain out the kind of worship man is to follow.

“And it shall come to pass [If the Word says it will come to pass, you can believe it will come to pass,] that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 66:23. Heaven is God’s throne. What will take place in heaven at His throne? I see an important word; the key word in this reading is “worship.”

We are going to worship God in heaven. As I began to think about this message, I turned to my wife, Marjorie, and I said, “I cannot believe this. What are we thinking about as a people?”

After reading Isaiah 66, some serious questions must be asked:

Is Jesus coming soon?

What kind of worship will we attend in heaven?

Will we have the type of worship that is being promoted on the videos, “Are you ready for Church?” and “Are You Ready for Worship?” If you have not seen these videos, you need to see them. [Editor’s Note: These videos are available from Steps to Life.]

Will we have the type of worship displayed by the youth at the General Conference session in Toronto, Canada? It was worse, as far as I am concerned, because it went to every nook and corner of the world. So the answer is, absolutely not! We will not have that kind of worship in heaven.

Where do the General Conference leaders get the idea that we will have the type of worship in heaven or in the new earth that consists of dancing around, clapping hands and playing drums? Will this be the style of worship in the new church and the true church in heaven? No, it will not.

Habakkuk 2:20 says, “…the Lord is in His holy temple. let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

God Gave the Order of His Service

“…God Himself gave the order of His service, exalting it high above everything of a temporal nature.” Child Guidance, 540. Is that not a powerful statement?

A great man of the Bible spoke of the sacredness of the place where the Lord dwells. “And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place!” What did he say? “How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:16, 17.

Think of the General Conference session and of the “Are You Ready for Worship?” video in context with this text. Would God want to attend such a place? “God is high and holy; and to the humble, believing soul, His house on earth, the place where His people meet for worship, is as the gate of heaven.” The Faith I Live By, 188. As the gate of heaven!

What will heaven be like? Have we ever thought about that? If we did, would we act like we are doing in our churches across this country today?

Our Church, a Sanctuary?

Is our church a sanctuary? Is it a place set aside for worship? Is God supposed to be there? “And let them [He is speaking here of the people.] make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8.

“Those who assemble to worship Him should put away every evil thing. [Did they put away every evil thing on those videos or at the General Conference session? I do not think so.] Unless they worship Him in spirit and truth and in the beauty of holiness [Do you want to guess what is written next?], their coming together will be of no avail.” The Faith I Live, 189. In other words, He cannot place a blessing on it.

Totally Unacceptable to God

This is what we need to consider. With a turning away from Scripture and from the Spirit of Prophecy explanations of the true worship of God in His holy temple, there has come in a worship style that is totally unacceptable to God.

The current style of worship and of music are driving, and will drive, the presence of the Lord away. I believe that! God, in His time, will deal with the irreverence. What is the problem? Many have forgotten that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (See Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10.) O worship the Lord in holiness.

The Gate of Heaven

“…the Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20. Does that not mean reverence to you? “God Himself gave the order of His service, exalting it high above everything of a temporal nature.” The Faith I Live By, 189. Now notice this: “God is high and holy; and to the humble, believing soul, His house on earth, the place [sanctuary, church, a place of worship] where His people meet for worship, is as the gate of heaven.” Ibid., 188.

Does that sound like church is a boring place to be? My wife and I have watched the video—”Are You Ready for Church?”—and have witnessed over two hours of the last of the General Conference session regarding the method of worship by the young people with the puppet show that was shown to all the world. Then Jan Paulson, (President of the General Conference) put his blessing on it and had prayer, encouraging them to move forward with it. My heart aches!

It is Not Okay!

I have never been so concerned as to where the Seventh-day Adventist Church is headed in confusion and the wrong type of worship that will be used, as I now am. How many will be misled by this? What concerns me is if down the road you will not hear, “Well, the Conference does it.” “The leaders do it, so it must be okay.” The only thing is, it is not okay because the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy say it is not.

Many Seventh-day Adventists have lost sight of respecting the unseen presence of God the Father, Christ and the angels in our midst at worship time. I got to thinking and it has just struck me so powerfully.

Remember Exodus 3:5 where God instructed Moses to take off his shoes and told him that he was standing on holy ground? The ground was made holy by the presence of God. Who are we, then, to say we will do as we please? How does God feel about it? Look at Joshua 5:15. God told Joshua the same thing: “Remove your shoes.” Why? “You are on holy ground.”

The presence of God in the worship service today is openly violated by many. I hear now, quite often, the statement, “Church is boring, dull, dead.” Brother and Sister, I am going to tell you to be careful. I urge you, be careful of these words. If our daily relationship to God is on a personal, consecrated basis (Did you catch that?) church worship will not be boring.

Church is not a nightclub. A church is not a place to have fun and games. It is a place to reverence God. If the service is boring, then the people who make up the church are doing something wrong, and they might need to look at how they are addressing God. There may need to be a change in the worship service to make it proven and acceptable worship to God and of God, rather than acceptable to man or to the congregation.

Let me share a deep concern that I have. This concern is based upon the thinking of many church people today regarding how they worship, their respect for church worship and so forth.

What would you do, how would our members react if we had to offer animal sacrifices? Are you thankful that you do not have to do this?

“‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.’ Romans 12:1 …Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, with its appropriate meat offering, thus symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. God expressly directed that every offering presented for the service of the sanctuary should be [perfect] ‘without blemish…’ Only an offering ‘without blemish’ could be a symbol of His perfect purity who was to offer Himself as ‘a Lamb without blemish and without spot.’ 1 Peter 1:19. The apostle Paul points to these sacrifices as an illustration of what the followers of Christ are to become.” The Faith I Live By, 196.

Morning and Evening Prayer

Are we one of these followers? We are to become perfect! He says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.… The hours appointed for the morning and the evening sacrifice were regarded as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set time for worship throughout the Jewish nation…. In this custom, Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer.” Ibid.

Should we still do that? “While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without the spirit of worship, He looks with great pleasure upon those who love Him, bowing morning and evening to seek pardon for sins committed, to present their requests for needed blessings.” Ibid.

What do we get from this? If you had to bring a lamb when you came to church, what kind of lamb would you have to bring? You would have to bring one without blemish. Would He accept anything less? No. The question is, Would you like to have to do that every Sabbath?

So let us go a little bit farther with this. We are told we are to keep silent before Him; “The house is the sanctuary for the family.…” Ibid.,189. What house? “The house is the sanctuary for the family, and the closet or the grove the most retired place for individual worship; but the church is the sanctuary for the congregation.” Ibid. So, in other words, there needs to be a little sanctuary in your home. Our home should be a place where angels love to dwell. (See The Adventist Home, 19, 426.)

“In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption. [Oh, it does not make any difference. He will enjoy what I am doing here, jumping around and clapping my hands, as long as I am praising Him.], as though He were on a level with ourselves.” The Faith I Live By, 189. That is the problem. He is not on the same level we are.

“There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience– chamber of an earthy ruler.” Ibid. Do you get that picture? These earthly rulers, like the Queen of England, when people go near them, they reverence them, do they not?

True Reverence

“These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore. Those who assemble to worship Him should put away every evil thing. Unless they worship Him in spirit and truth and in the beauty of holiness, their coming together will be of no avail.” Ibid.

So you only have a form, but notice the next sentence. “It is your privilege, dear young friends, to glorify God upon the earth. In order to do this, you must direct your minds away from things that are superficial, frivolous, and unimportant, to those that are of eternal worth.” Ibid.

This has to do with the sanctuary. Jacob said the Lord is in this place. He realized the Lord was there. “True reverence for God is inspired by a sense of His infinite greatness and a realization of His presence….. [Not by jumping up and down!] God is high and holy; and to the humble, believing soul, His house on earth, the place where His people meet for worship, is as the gate of heaven. The song of praise, the words spoken by Christ’s ministers, are God’s appointed agencies to prepare a people for the church above.” Ibid., 188. There we will go from one Sabbath to another worshiping Him.

Is that the kind of worship that we have been talking about? Is that the kind of worship we are going to get ready and take with us? No. “The song of praise, the words spoken by Christ’s ministers, are God’s appointed agencies to prepare a people for the church above, for that loftier worship into which there can enter nothing that is impure.… God sees every [How much? All!.] irreverent thought or action, and it is registered in the books of heaven.” Ibid.

Practice Reverence

Those things that we saw in the videos and at the General Conference session, did that skip detection? “Nothing is hid from His all–searching eye. If you have formed in any degree the habit of inattention and indifference in the house of God, exercise the powers you have to correct it…. Practice reverence until it becomes a part of yourself.” Ibid.

You know, I cannot play a piano but my wife can. Why? She has done something that I have not done. She has practiced! Anybody who can play a piano has to spend many hours in practice. And here it says we are to practice. “Practice reverence until it becomes a part of you.”

If we had to carry out the sacrificial services today, how many people would be attending with the mindset of what this has just said to us? How does this compare with the slackness many are showing in worshiping God today? How many would come to worship if they had to sacrifice an animal? If we have a hard time coming to church and recognizing that it is the place where God’s presence dwells, and if we find it is a chore, what would we think about bringing an animal?

You know about the sanctuary service. Did everybody roam around in the olden times, just wherever they wanted to, go in when they wanted, and bring whatever animal they wanted to bring? No, they did not.

I hear a lot of times that we are too stern; we are too rigid, and we want too much order. But I tell you, God is a God of order. Are we thankful that Jesus was willing to sacrifice His blood once and for all? Are we thankful enough that we, as worshipers, show Jesus reverence for the love that He has shown for us?

Worship Services an Abomination

It would not be easy for me to bring a little innocent lamb. I will admit that. But the Lamb has already been slain. I do not have to do that. Are you getting my point here? We have been carrying on services in our churches across this country that are nothing but an abomination!

Hebrews 9:13, 14 tells us of the continually applied blood.”‘For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ… purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?’ [The] Redeemer… urges them to accept the salvation He offers them. The heifer, having been slain in a most solemn manner, the priest, clothed in pure white garments, took the blood in his hands as it issued from the body of the victim and cast it toward the temple seven times.…” The Faith I Live By, 200.

Are you not so thankful as we read this that Christ has made the sacrifice and we do not have to do it? “The body of the heifer was burned to ashes, which signified a whole and ample sacrifice.… This ceremony was repeated several times… and was done as a purification from sin. Thus Christ, in His own spotless righteousness, after shedding His precious blood, enters into the holy place to cleanse the sanctuary. And there the crimson current is brought into the service of reconciling God to man. Some may look upon this slaying of the heifer as a meaningless ceremony. [I am not so sure but what if this were done today we would say, “It is too big a deal. Let us just cut it out.”], but it was done by the command of God and bears a deep significance that has not lost its application to the present time.… If it was necessary in ancient times for the unclean to be purified by the blood of sprinkling, how essential for those living in the perils of the last days [Are we?], and exposed to the temptations of Satan, to have the blood of Christ applied to their [our] hearts daily.” Ibid., 200.

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 9:12.

I want to paint the scene here again. “In the spring of A.D. 31, Christ, the true Sacrifice, was offered on Calvary. When Christ on the cross cried out, ‘It is finished,’ the veil of the temple was rent in twain. This veil was significant to the Jewish nation. It was of most costly material, of purple and gold, and was of great length and breadth. At the moment when Christ breathed His last, there were witnesses in the temple who beheld the strong, heavy material rent by unseen hands from top to bottom. This act signified to the heavenly universe, and to a world corrupted by sin. [Is this world corrupted by sin today?] that a new and living way had been opened to the fallen race, that all sacrificial offerings terminated in the one great offering of the Son of God.” The Faith I Live By, 201.

Those who are promoting such services need to have a new look, a new realization that Christ died for them individually. Acts 5:29 says, “…We ought to obey God rather than men.” Can we not at least, as people called out of darkness to the marvelous light, worship God in a manner that will lead to eternal life?

Take a Long, Hard Look

I am speaking plainly here. I believe with all my heart that there is a great need for independent, home churches to take a hard look at the manner in which they address the matter of how to worship God in His holy temple. What you will do with it is up to you. I hope and pray that you will take this and heed it. We have to become converted people, dear ones. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know one thing, and that is that the Lord has laid a heavy burden on my heart.

With the worship I saw on the “Are You Ready for Worship?” and “Are You Ready for Church?” videos and the General Conference session, “Worship Decorum,” I think we, as a people, need an altar call. I know this one thing for sure, in the not too distant future, God is going to deal with this situation, whether we like it or not.

The world is sick, it is dying. Recently there were one thousand earthquakes in one day. This is unheard of. In the past, a thousand earthquakes probably would not happen in 30 years.

People are killing. People have all kinds of beliefs. We need to return to the Word of God. The sad part is, God called a people; He called Seventh-day Adventists out of darkness into light, and we are beginning to make a miserable mess of it. He is going to poll each one of us individually, to see where we stand.

Jesus is coming. He is going to come whether we like it or not, whether we are ready or not. We can have all of the opinionated ideas we want, but unless they are based upon God’s Word they are useless.

We need to be studying line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. The Bible has not been written in a consecutive type order. You have to search. If we study line upon line, and precept upon precept, the Holy Spirit will show us what truth is and what life is.

Past Life and Present Service

As lives are entangled and ripped apart by sin; as men and women fall into the traps of Satan and his hosts; as people struggle through the gauntlets of daily life, what is the standard whereby an individual may come into the service of God?

There are many controversies raging in Adventism today. New ones seem to arise with each passing week. One, that seems to simmer on a back burner until loss of liquid takes place and burning results, is the belief that those who fall into sin must relinquish their public, full-time service for the Lord.

Ambassadors for Christ

It is not likely anyone would deny a man or a woman coming in from the world a place in the service of God. They have been in a frame of mind not in harmony with God. They carried on in life oblivious to the perils of sin, especially on an eternal scale. Once enlightened, they march in another direction, heaven bound with their armor on,

ready and willing to take their place in the army of Jesus. They are soldiers, ambassadors, workmen, fellow laborers, fitted up for service through conversion and training.

Examples of this class abound in Scripture. Moses, of course, was a murderer. Yet God used him in mighty ways for the deliverance of His people from Egyptian bondage. He had much to learn and to unlearn. On the other hand, Moses was held accountable for great light and privilege. In striking the rock, instead of speaking to it as God directed him, he was not allowed to enter the promised land with the children of Israel. (See Numbers 20:7-12.)

Though he exercised swift repentance and pled with the Lord for a reversed sentence, the judgment of God stood, and Moses died after 80 long years of service to his Maker, not entering the promised land. His earthly privileges and responsibilities were great, and the honor of God was to be held in supreme regard. Despite the great burdens placed upon Moses; despite the constant trial and weariness of his tasks, he could not be excused.

An Example for the Flock

“The history of Israel was to be placed on record for the instruction and warning of coming generations. Men of all future time must see the God of heaven as an impartial ruler, in no case justifying sin. But few realize the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Men flatter themselves that God is too good to punish the transgressor. But in the light of Bible history it is evident that God’s goodness and His love engage Him to deal with sin as an evil fatal to the peace and happiness of the universe.

“Not even the integrity and faithfulness of Moses could avert the retribution of his fault. God had forgiven the people greater transgressions, but He could not deal with sin in the leaders as in those who were led. He had honored Moses above every other man upon the earth. He had revealed to him His glory, and through him He had communicated His statutes to Israel. The fact that Moses had enjoyed so great light and knowledge made his sin more grievous. Past faithfulness will not atone for one wrong act. The greater the light and privileges granted to man, the greater is his responsibility, the more aggravated his failure, and the heavier his punishment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 420.

This entire account is quite sobering. It requires deep reflection as we see movements afoot to organize and carry on the work of God in our world. Gospel order is no less required now than it was then. Service is a privilege, not a right. Positions of responsibility are just that—positions of responsibility.

Though God, in His tender love and mercy, granted to Moses the experience of resurrection and life in the eternal world, let it be ever remembered his earthly service had boundaries he could not cross with impunity. Still, the fact remains he continued to lead the Jews as they headed to the promised land.

Untrue to Your Trust

Another biblical character who enables us to address the issue of past life and present service would be Samson. Here was a human being with godly parents and tremendous potential. He squandered it all on various paths of riotous living and lack of self-control, even losing his eyesight to God’s enemies. Could God use such an individual if he repented? Indeed. In one heroic act, the most prominent worshipers of Dagon were destroyed, but so was the strongest man on earth. “God’s promise that through Samson He would ‘begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines’ was fulfilled; but how dark and terrible the record of that life which might have been a praise to God and a glory to the nation! Had Samson been true to his divine calling, the purpose of God could have been accomplished in his honor and exaltation. But he yielded to temptation and proved untrue to his trust, and his mission was fulfilled in defeat, bondage, and death.” Ibid., 567.

This bitter-sweet account in the annals of biblical history leaves us with the observation that repentance goes a long way in the eyes of the Lord toward accomplishing His purposes.

Another man of physical stature is in the historical record, the man Saul. Small in his own eyes, he was granted the position of being Israel’s first king. His connection with God was such that he was given the gift of prophecy. “And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him: and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.” 1 Samuel 10:9, 10.

The Principle of God’s Kingdom

Again, the principles whereby God conducts the workings of His kingdom and government were violated, and Saul was rejected and met a gruesome end. Yet he remained the anointed of God in David’s eyes, leaving David with the conviction to leave Saul’s future in God’s hands until that end came. Much is at stake in considering this subject.

With David, with Solomon, and with others, these same principles have applied. Serving God in a position of responsibility is a privilege that must be kept in high esteem. Position does not give license or authority. Position is granted under conditions of being faithful to sacred trust. If sacred trust is violated, although one may repent, in the eyes of God, in the eyes of the people to whom he or she ministers, the sacredness of the work is marred.

Follow the Leader

The tendency for people to go the ways of those who are called to lead out is taken up numerous times in the Testimonies of God’s Spirit; “The spirit of Christ will be revealed in all who are born of God. Strife and contention cannot arise among those who are controlled by His Spirit. ‘Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.’ The church will rarely take a higher stand than is taken by her ministers. We need a converted ministry and a converted people. Shepherds who watch for souls as they that must give account will lead the flock on in paths of peace and holiness. Their success in this work will be in proportion to their own growth in grace and knowledge of the truth. When the teachers are sanctified, soul, body and spirit, they can impress upon the people the importance of such sanctification.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 227.

“The watchmen are responsible for the condition of the people. While you open the door to pride, envy, doubt, and other sins, there will be strife, hatred, and every evil work. Jesus, the meek and lowly One, asks an entrance as your guest; but you are afraid to bid Him enter. He has spoken to us in both the Old and the New Testament; He is speaking to us still by His Spirit and His providences. His instructions are designed to make men true to God and true to themselves.” Ibid., 235.

“The state of things in ____ is a matter of deep regret. That which the Lord has been pleased to present before me has been of a character to give me pain. Whoever shall labor here or in ____ hereafter will have uphill work and must carry a heavy load because the work has not been faithfully bound off, but has been left in an unfinished state. And this is the more grievous because the failure is not wholly chargeable to worldliness and want of love for Jesus and the truth on the part of the people; but much of it lies at the door of the ministers, who, while laboring among them, have signally failed in their duty.” Ibid., 254, 255.

“The sad fact is apparent that the work in these fields ought to be years in advance of what it now is. The negligence on the part of the ministers has discouraged the people, and the lack of interest, self-sacrifice, and appreciation of the work on the part of the people has discouraged the ministers.” Ibid., 257.

Sin in the Ministry

If negligence can so retard the work, ought not sin in the ministry carry greater consequence? It is one thing to come in from the world and need instruction for service. It is quite another to be one of those instructors and prove unworthy of a position of trust. It tends toward weakness and casual approach to this sacred calling we all have as a prophetic movement. This is not about throwing stones. It is about principle. It is about sacred trust, sacred calling, and sacred service. “Historic Adventists must march to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. They should understand what so many others have largely forgotten – we all have an influence on others, every single day of our lives, for yea or nay.

Often the cry is heard, where affection for leaders is challenged, “Nobody is perfect!” Indeed. Not yet, anyway. And if a people expect God to perfect their characters in righteousness and holiness, how much should they honor Him by sustaining from His treasury only those who maintain a fidelity to His standards in all things.

The issue is not private service, but public service in the eyes of the people. Repentance unto salvation certainly cannot exclude the repentant sinner from doing all they can to win souls to so gracious a Savior. But the necessity of leaders who are as true as steel to Principle, as true as the needle to the pole, cannot be overstated.

“If men fail to educate themselves to become workers in the vineyard of the Lord, they might better be spared than not. It would be poor policy to support from the treasury of God those who really mar and injure His work, and who are constantly lowering the standard of Christianity.” Ibid.,vol. 3, 553.

How Grievous the Sin?

This well-known and oft used statement carries sound counsel. It speaks for itself. Certainly if one who lowers standards should not receive support, open sin should mean dismissal from public responsibilities. The question remains as to how grievous the sin and how badly one’s influence mars the work. Despite what we have looked at so far, not one individual was taken from their work at the time of their sin or its discovery. Through their repentance God was able to use them in His work. So, we must move wisely in such matters. God is Judge.

An example of a somewhat different sort is found in the New Testament, the story of John Mark.

John Mark joined Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey to the island of Cyprus. Young and full of exuberance, he had not counted the cost of joining such endeavors, and the time of hardship, privation, toil, and spiritual warfare took its toll on him. How his eyes must have become saucers when Paul went head to head with Elymas the sorcerer.

Some might have thought such confrontation to be fuel for their spiritual engines, but John Mark, apparently overwhelmed, left Paul and Barnabas in Perga and returned to his Jerusalem home. (See Acts 12:24–13:13.) Such was not the end of the matter.

After the success of the general council meeting at Jerusalem, Paul suggested to Barnabas they retrace their journeys and visit the various churches they saw raised up: “And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.” Acts 15:36-41.

Sharp contention was a foreign occurrence in the early church with the love of the brethren being so strong. Let it be noticed that Paul’s misgivings were not necessarily well founded, as time had gone by. Barnabas saw changes in John Mark that enabled him to hold his ground on behalf of the young man.

Paul saw the work of God in all its nakedness. It is not clothed with the affirmation and comforts of this world. “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” ” …for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 6:26; 16:15.

“Barnabas was ready to go with Paul, but wished to take with them Mark, who had again decided to devote himself to the ministry. To this Paul objected. He ‘thought not good to take . . . with them’ one who during their first missionary journey had left them in a time of need. He was not inclined to excuse Mark’s weakness in deserting the work for the safety and comforts of home. He urged that one with so little stamina was unfitted for a work requiring patience, self-denial, bravery, devotion, faith, and a willingness to sacrifice, if need be, even life itself.” Acts of the Apostles, 202.

A Judgment Call

In this case there is a judgment call. It should be noticed they did not petition the Holy Spirit for guidance in the matter, something that lends itself to contentions among brethren when not done. Paul made an assessment based on past behavior, while Barnabas made an assessment based on John Mark’s spiritual progress. Open sin was not the issue. Whether or not John Mark was called of God was the issue. In such instances it behooves brethren to spend time in prayer over such matters, especially when this history is laid out before us.

John Mark proved worthy of Barnabas’ confidence, and he afterward proved a blessing to the work of Paul, as well. No one man can have all the answers where service to God is the matter at hand. Not Paul, not anyone. Where character and motives are concerned, where human frailty may be an issue, let brethren counsel together and ask wisdom of God. The work is His, and He alone knows the hearts of all men. If men repent of sin, if they are honest with God, He will convict them to step down if their influence cannot be redeemed. But we cannot read hearts. We cannot judge character or motives.

Because there is so little gospel order amongst those endeavoring to carry on the work of the Lord in spirit and in truth, such situations as sin, heresy, fanaticism, and disregard of counsel of true brethren is rather rampant. Until spiritual order and gospel order are brought in, doing things decently and in order will not happen. Self-sent ministers will continue to enter the field. Violators of God’s law and inspired counsels will continue to find ways to gather means and go forward with their agendas in the name of those endeavoring to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Open, Unrepented of Sin

If ever there was a time to understand past life and present service, it is now. Opinions abound, but what saith the Lord? Though God is in charge of His work, let us not make that license for the weak. Open sin, unrepented of, is grounds for dismissal of service and membership itself. Heresy cannot be allowed public exposure. Fanaticism will generally leave the confines of the church if it is met firmly. Men who disregard sound counsel, if left to themselves, will fall into fanaticism in one way or another. Then more accurate measures may be considered.

In all of these things, consider these words; “It is nearly forty years since organization was introduced among us as a people. I was one of the number who had an experience in establishing it from the first. I know the difficulties that had to be met, the evils which it was designed to correct, and I have watched its influence in connection with the growth of the cause.” Testimonies to Ministers, 24. [Emphasis added.]

“To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying the work in new fields, for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for many other objects, organization was indispensable.” Ibid. 26. [Emphasis added.]

Order and Discipline in the Church

“We sought the Lord with earnest prayer that we might understand His will, and light was given by His Spirit that there must be order and thorough discipline in the church—that organization was essential.” Ibid. [Emphasis added.]

I can only plead with people to read the Review and Herald article for October 12, 1905, to see how often organization is linked with order and discipline, something that has been lacking for many years in Historic Adventism. Dealing with the issue of past life and present service is almost moot without a correct understanding of God’s order.

We would throw no stones, but we must seek to keep the work of God free from careless endeavor and dishonor of God’s high calling in Christ Jesus. Let the people of the Lord come into line with the principles of God’s character, government and purposes, and act in accordance with them. (See The Great Controversy, 593.) We must never lose sight of mercy and compassion, nor lose sight of order and discipline.

Storm and tempest is soon to sweep away an old structure being battered by the seas of the Omega apostasy. But the God of heaven has a work to finish. If people grow weary of self-sent ministers and confusion, let the principles of the “grand success” once again be woven into the fabric of of God’s tabernacle of truth in these final days. (See Testimonies to Ministers, 27.)

“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Psalm 127:1.

Arise, Shine, Part I

Jesus is about to come, brothers and sisters, and things are not about to slow down; they are about to pick up. I want you to know, this is it! There is not going to be another church raised up to do what God has called this one to do. Some of the senior citizens in this church are being kept alive for the sole purpose of being able to tell the young people, the young preachers, “That is not right! Do not start conforming to the new groove.” Sometimes it becomes difficult when people start telling you, “You are old,” but your voice is needed, because hopefully, before our young adults and young people have their eyes completely gouged out, they will plead to lean on the pillars and be taught what is true Adventism.

Giving the Cry

Right now Jesus is sifting this church, and He is preparing a people to go out and give the final Loud Cry of the Fourth Angel’s Message of Revelation 18, “Come out of her, my people!!” This coming out is a physical coming out of a body of darkness. Many people are not in Babylon physically but their mind set is Babylonian. This is why God has to carefully start moving through His church to find those who really love those things that are true and honest and just and lovely and of a good report with virtue in them. He is looking for those who really appreciate the truth.

“He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon He was, to the threshold of the house. And He called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others He said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And He said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?” Ezekiel 9:1–8.

The Final Rebellion of God’s People

Here Ezekiel gives a picture of what transpires during the process of the closing of probation. This particular angel starts sealing God’s people on their forehead, and we understand that the sealing is a settling into truth; it is a process. What brings about this attitude of God where His glory, or His Spirit, leaves the church and comes up and gives this final command to the people?

It is important that we understand what brought this about so that we can really know and identify where we are today. This was brought about by a final rebellion of God’s people. The sins of God’s church had become so prevalent; the church had become so corrupt, and we are not talking about the people—God first looks at the pastors and the clergy, the leadership. In Ezekiel 8, we are told He came down, grabbed Ezekiel by a lock of his hair, lifted him up and suspended him between heaven and earth. And He said, “Look Ezekiel, I want you to see the people in My house, in My church, the way I see them. I do not want you to see them in the pews on Sabbath; I do not want you to see them so courteous; I want you to look at them when no one else is looking and see what is really taking place. Look into the hearts of the people.”

When Ezekiel looked he saw all types of filthy abominations. Ezekiel did not want to see this, because he loved the people of God. He started weeping, and God said, “No, Ezekiel, I want you to look further.” He looked further, and it got worse. God said, “No, Ezekiel, do not stop there; I want you to look even further.” Ezekiel looked further, and it got even more horrible! When he thought that it could not get any worse, the Bible says, “Ezekiel, No, I need you to take a deep look to see what my leadership is doing, to see what is really happening.” You see, we cannot put these people off on somebody else, these were Seventh-day Adventists of that day. These were God’s remnant people, the chosen vehicle to take a peculiar message to the world.

Is Your Back Turned?

“Look, Ezekiel, look at what they are doing!” All this time the glory of God was still in the church, still trying to war with the church and wrestle with them, but now it is time to make a separation. What happened to cause God to remove His glory? Notice what it says in Ezekiel 8:16, “And He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.” They had started treating not only the Sabbath like a regular day, but they turned their backs on the true God and started worshiping the sun.

My question is, Do you think that our church is in a condition where they really believe God? Two years ago, the pope was not playing games when he wrote that letter calling on a national day of worship, saying that we need to restore the sacredness of the Sabbath, and he went on to call Sunday the Sabbath! The world is turning her back on God, and let me tell you something, brothers and sisters, we are relaxed; we are not crying out! That means our backs are turned, too!

When they chose to start worshiping this sun-god, Jesus said, “It is time! Go and seal my people.”

“What is the hurry?” asked the angel with the inkhorn. He said, “If you do not hurry, even the very elect will be lost!”

Sin is about to overwhelm this world like we have never seen it before, and if you are not preparing to be sealed, you are preparing to be seared.

Business as Usual is Folly

Let me tell you something—Jesus started to come! He started to come, but His coming was interrupted. As a matter of fact, it is put this way in Revelation 7—to be relaxed in a crisis situation is to be out of your mind! It is a state of unbelief that will cause you to be lost. To be able to continue business as usual and be caught up with the folly and concerns of this world, rather than trembling before the altar of God, making sure your life is right, is sure death.

There is an angel going around, and at any minute he could place a seal upon your forehead or withdraw his presence and go back to the Father and say, “All that we can do, they refuse!” Do you not know that every single day the angel is giving that solemn report? Every single day the angel is going to the throne room of God and saying, “Everything that heaven can appeal with has been used, and they refuse! They want to hang on to their infidelity. They want to hang on to their carnal security. They want to hang on to those things that must perish, and they find joy in it!”

This is where we are. Right now there are things that we find greater joy in than we do in the study of God’s Word and in the teaching of His Word. Those things are idols! Our young people are not prepared for a crisis. Mrs. White says normally the anticipation of trouble is greater than the reality, but not so here! This is not the case when it comes to what this world is about to go through. She says the most vivid presentation could not describe what we must go through as a people. (See The Great Controversy, 622.)

What are we ready for? Some of us cannot handle it if our lights are out for two days. If there is a heat wave coming through town and we have air conditioning, we still murmur and complain. With wonderful comforts in life we are complaining! We are not ready! We are not preparing our children to be ready. We are preparing to act just like the children acted when Jerusalem was besieged. Do you know what they were doing? They were eating their parents because there was no food. The parents had led them to be caught up in worldly things. Oh, they talked about God, but the child could see that it was not in their heart, and if you do not have heart religion, you are simply breathing out demonic influence.

Why do you think Jesus says, “Give me your heart,” not your mouth? Jesus says, “I want you to go and I want you to seal. I want you to set a mark upon the people that cry and sigh for the abominations that are done in the land.” They are not self-righteous; they are crying! They are agonizing in prayer! Their whole life is consumed with trying to bring people to Christ.

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and He cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:1–3.

The Words were on His Tongue

Hurt not the earth! Ellen White says she saw this in vision; Jesus was about to turn; He was about to quote Revelation 22; it was on His tongue. Remember, brothers and sisters, the Word of God does not have to be acted on. Man’s word has to be acted on. If I say I would like you to have a handkerchief which I have, I have to walk over to you and give you the handkerchief. But when God says something, it is done. He does not have to move afterward. Jesus was about to say, “Let him that is filthy be filthy still; Let him that is unjust be unjust still; Let him that is righteous be righteous still; and he that is holy be holy still.” (See Revelation 22:11.) And upon Him saying it, it would have been done immediately! And Ellen White said when He turned to do it, He caught a glimpse of some people who, if they had a few more moments, would turn to God and be saved. She said immediately He started crying, ” My Blood, My blood, My Blood, Father!” And then another angel was dispatched and that angel said “Hold! Hold! Hold the winds!” (See Early Writings, 38.)

Now, brothers and sisters, we are told by that same divine inspiration that Jesus will not extend probation again. He will not do it! When Jesus says, “He that is unjust be unjust still,” you must be ready! You must be holy when He says that. Your life must be prepared. You must look radiant because probation is closing; it is closing on this earth. Jesus is about to step out of the Most Holy Place! We are hearing final cries, and they do not seem so urgent because we have weaned the Spirit of God, and we have become so light about God and holy things that we cannot hear the way we used to hear. It does not sound as clear.

Brothers and sisters, some of the things that we are participating in do not make any sense. Some of the things we put before God make no sense at all! Yet we are finding great pleasure. The tragedy is, the thought of God does not even come to our mind while we are doing it. We can sit down and watch two hours of TV without thinking of Jesus. We are engaged in some of the grossest sins, which are breaking the heart of Jesus, and the devil wants us to keep believing that time is going to just keep on going.

Periodically the California Highway Patrol sets up road blocks. You may just be driving down the street and see that everybody on that street has stopped, and when you stop, a couple of police officers pull up; one in back of you so you cannot turn around, and one in front of you so you cannot go forward. Then they start checking your car to make sure that it is up to code. When someone tells you, “Listen, if you go down 79th Street, the road block is up,” you are going to make sure you do not go that way if your car is not right.

God tells you that thousands of years ago an angel started coming with an inkhorn. You know that in 1844 he started sealing all the cases, and right now He is sealing people who may be reading this article. Even now probation could be closing on somebody reading this magazine. Right this minute!

Beyond the Time of Preparation

Notice what the Bible says in Daniel 12— often when we read this we think of preparation. We think that we have time, we think of it as a preparation stage. Now is the time that we need to BE prepared. We are beyond the time of preparation. Time is out! Every prophetic sign that Jesus said would take place prior to His coming has already taken place. Every sign! Not one is left, brothers and sisters, except the passing of a national worship day and the falling of the seven last plagues.

The book Evangelism says, when the law comes that makes man worship on a false day, and you know what I am talking about, at that time the commandment keeping people are going to be confronted first and instantly; probation is either going to close on you or you are going to have the final sealing. At that time you cannot shape character because you become afraid and emotional. Mrs. White describes these people; she says she saw many of them running without a shelter during the time of trouble. Why were they running? Because they believed they were all right with God. Why were they fleeing? Because they thought that last minute confession could change their character, but it would not change it.

God knew that the only reason why they were praying was because they knew that trouble was coming. Like Judas of old, who cast the coins down and confessed because he was afraid of his judgment not of what he had done. Here we are living in a time when we think we can get prepared. No! It is right now! Everyone should be prepared right this minute! Do you think you are ready for it?

An Overwhelming Surprise!

Mrs. White states that the church is not ready for what is to soon overtake us as an overwhelming surprise. An overwhelming surprise! That means you are not going to be ready. It is going to shock you. God is crying throughout the earth, “Get ready! Get ready! Get ready!” and you are worried about who is going to win some foolish NBA championship. God is not in that. God is not in it even when it is not on the Sabbath. The Spirit of Prophecy says that Satan invented sports to keep God’s people’s minds off of the Word. (See Review and Herald, June 13, 1907.)

Do you think that there is ever a time to lend your mind to an invention of Satan? I know, for some of you, that I just tore your god out of your heart. Let me tell you something; you are going to have to face it, because now, every time you watch sports, these thoughts are going to come to your mind, and the minute they stop is when God’s angel reports and says, “Nothing we do is going to arouse him.”

God has to get the earthliness out of us, brothers and sisters. That whole spirit of competition came from heaven,— Satan competing against Jesus. And he tells you, “Oh, good sportsmanship. It is okay to lose as long as you have a good attitude.” If you lose in this game of life, you pay with your soul and your attitude will not be good!

When it is Too Late

It is time for God’s remnant church to start looking different, talking different, and to have a different flavor about their whole lifestyle. Why? Because the Loud Cry must come from you! Yes, millions of people who love God are not Seventh-day Adventists. As a matter of fact, our prophet says the majority of God’s true people are not in the Seventh-day Adventist church. The majority! She says millions of Catholics are true, devout Christians, and they are going to hear the final cry and follow God with all their hearts. But the cry is going to come from those few who are sealed, and when that law is passed, brothers and sisters, the Latter Rain has already fallen because it is the message of righteousness by faith, a true indwelling of Christ that causes you to have the full power of the Holy Spirit and to radiate this message.

Millions are going to come out of those churches. They are going to stand on the side of the people of God, and then probation is going to close worldwide. When it closes worldwide, “…at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of Thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time Thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. [Or written to life.]” Daniel 12:1. In other words, when Michael stands up, that is it. The deliverance at that level is not deliverance out of sin, the deliverance at that level is deliverance off this earth.

That time of trouble—when the plagues start falling on this earth and eyes start coming out of their sockets because of the radiant heat of the sun; when blood is everywhere and there is no water to drink; millions are dying of scorching boils, blisters and thirst—men start cursing God. They curse God because the Holy Spirit has withdrawn Himself, and they are incapable of praising God now. You see, when Jesus stands up, that is a symbol of the close of probation.

Let me give you an example. Acts 7 was a symbol of the close of probation. One of the things that happens when someone is in negotiation is that they sit down at the table together, and Jesus is sitting down at the table right now, He is negotiating on your behalf. Satan is the prosecuting attorney, and he is desperately accusing, calling every sin, even sins you do not realize, to account. We start living carelessly, and we are sinning without even thinking about it, but Satan is taking strict account. If you think a video recorder can reproduce what we do, what do you think the devil, with his skills and powers, can do?

Satan has pled his case, and now Jesus gets to the point. He pleads His case and now He stands up. The negotiation is over. That is it. He has done all He can do; that is it. You who are unjust, you stay that way. You filthy? Stay filthy; you righteous, stay righteous; you holy, you stay that way. That could happen at any moment to any one of us, as well as to the whole world. When Michael stands up, probation closes!

To be continued…