Children’s Story — A Faith That Never Dies

Having been raised in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, I had the privilege of enjoying nature at its best. I remember well the Sabbath picnics, hikes and nature walks our family enjoyed. Jesus seemed so near to me when I was sitting by a cool, clear, laughing stream. Since I was introduced to music at an early age, I could hear an orchestra all around me in those majestic mountains—the whispering of the pines, the songs of birds and the occasional waterfall. God was real to me as I would sit by a crystal clear lake and look up into a beautiful blue sky with floating white clouds. I was born into a family with four older brothers, three of which had already moved away from home; and the fourth left in a short time. My mom and dad were special people, and I loved them very much. Dad spent his days working on cars. He was known by everyone for his honesty and kindness to others. Mother was always helping those in need. She would take a freshly baked loaf of bread to a shut-in, visit the sick, or buy groceries and do banking for an invalid. Both of them were diligent workers in God’s church and had a strong faith in His Word.

One night when I was five years old, I awoke with a terrible ache in my legs. After turning and tossing for quite some time, I called out to my mother for help. She came to my aid and rubbed my legs until I fell asleep. The next morning the pain returned, and my parents decided I needed to see the doctor. After many tests, it was determined that I had Rheumatic Fever.

One of my brothers had suffered with this disease two times during his youth, which resulted in a badly damaged heart and an early death after two open heart surgeries. The doctor decided that I was to have complete bed rest, without even a pillow for my head. Each morning, my father would carry me like a board to the sofa in the living room, and again at night to my bed. I was not allowed visits from my friends. If you are five years old, or can remember when you were, you can imagine what it would be like to lay flat on your back for hours, days, weeks, and, yes, even months! Mother would read me stories and sing to me. I looked at books and put puzzles together. To this day, I can close my eyes and tell you where each picture, mirror or clock hung on the walls of that room.

The greatest fear I had was the visit of the doctor when he came to draw blood, which was at least once a week and sometimes more often. As I began to improve, I was allowed to lie on the swing which hung from the roof of the porch. When I would see the doctor approaching, I would scream for mother to come to my rescue.

Mother loved flowers and the yard was filled with the fragrance of Lily of the Valley and Lilac trees which lined both sides of our property. Since we had no television I had to invent my own entertainment. On the side of the house, mother had some Hollyhocks and I would ask her to pick a few of the buds and a few of the flowers. I could put these together and imagine they were beautiful young ladies in flowing gowns—what fun that was!

The best part of the day was when my father would return home from his work, sit down and sing Norwegian songs to me and tell me stories of his childhood growing up amongst the Chippewa Indians on Lipsi Lake in Wisconsin. Sometimes they had nothing to eat and he would have to walk across the frozen lake at night in search of food while listening to the coyotes howl.

Many days, week and months went past until finally the last blood test revealed that all was well. My parents took their requests of healing to their best friend, Jesus, and then decided to take me to a Chiropractor and see what he could do for me. After working with me for some time, my legs were fully restored and I could run and play with the other children.

That was not the only time I saw my parents live out their faith in God. They endured many trials in their lifetime, but they loved the Lord with all their hearts and instilled in me the same desire to direct my every care to Him who loves us unconditionally.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. I have had my faith tested many times, but I can say with assurance that God will never let us down. He will always be there for us and give us the strength we need to endure.


Hus the Heretic

One of the most heart-moving books you will ever read, Hus the Heretic by Poggius the Papist, is new from the press. Reprinted from very old book, and translated into English for this printing, it tells the inspiring story of one of the greatest reformers, as seen through the eyes of Poggius, the papist. Poggius delivered the summons to John Hus to appear at the council of Constance, and participated as a voting member on the council. As the trial unfolds, so potent is John Hus’ humble testimony contrasted with the amazing rudeness and injustice of priests and cardinals, even some of his ardent foes become his defenders. Even Poggius himself is profoundly affected.

The following is taken from Hus the Heretic by Poggius the Papist, 71–75:

Great shouting silenced the noble martyr. They tore the priestly garb from his body and ripped it to pieces, which they tied to their clothes as a remembrance of their victory over Hus. After that, they fought and argued among themselves whether they should disfigure his head with shears or razor, until they procured shears and pressed his head downward, cutting a star into his hair, while they were deriding him. This displeased many and caused remonstrating. A majority was glad about it and they raised their weapons against Hus’ protectors. There were only a few Bohemians, whom it had been forbidden to bring weapons into the church and they were searched at the door. The Bohemian Knight von Meneczesch, who had hidden a long dagger in the leg of his boot, was in the midst of the crowd and when he perceived his friend’s distress, he drew the dagger and plunged it between the ribs of the man who held Hus’ head, so that he dropped without a sound. Immediately Hus’ enemies turned upon Meneczesch with their knives and tried to kill him, but he was a courageous man, defended himself well and escaped without a scratch, through the small door in the choir. Hus, however, cried and clasped his hand above his shorn head and prayed God for a blissful end.

When Hus stood thus shorn before his enemies, they ridiculed him, threw clumps of earth, moistened by saliva, at him and found it funny when they hit his face. Despite this derision, the poor man remained without hate and consoled himself with the thought of his redeemer, who had borne in silence the scourge and the fists of his enemies. “Why do you mock me? Your shouting cannot destroy the triumph of my heart! I hear sweet music above the heights of Golgotha and the sounds of joyful Hallelujah, so that Jerusalem’s foolish battle cry cannot hurt me at all!” Such praise-worthy words spoke Hus, while they cast him out, half-naked, from the temple of the Lord. Outside the church, the bishop of Constance placed a paper cap, upon which three ugly devils had been painted, on his head, saying: “Now we deliver you to the worldly courts and your soul we turn over to the devil and his disciples!”

Hus answered to this terrible curse by folding his hands and by praying: “O Lord, Jesus Christ, into thine hands I deliver my soul, which thou hast redeemed by thy blood. Father in Heaven, do not hold against them the sins which my enemies commit against me, and let mine eyes see them blissfully with thee, when their souls fly to they throne after an easy death. O Holy Ghost, enlighten their deceived hearts, so that the truth of the holy gospel may open their eyes and its praise be spread everywhere, for ever and ever, Amen” The town soldiers had formed a wide circle in front of the church portal, into which the expulsed man was being led. A small fire was lit and several books by Wycliffe and Hus were cast into it, with a lot of shouting. A red-garbed jester moved the books about with a long poker, while he executed peculiar and comical jumps over the fire, so that his feather-tail caught fire and he ran about, crying in feigned distress, for water. These shameless doings lasted for an our, during which Hus was often brushed with this feather-tail, from which water was dripping. The sun was high in the skies and sent down much heat. This made many people thirsty and they drank very much of the wine, which was distributed free. They drank so much that they began to be unsteady on their feet, rioted and sang, without regard for Hus’ feelings, like barbarians.

These event put off the last moments of the unhappy priest for several hours. During this time there was a kirmess, everybody feasted with viands and drink and they were eager for the coming spectacle for the evening, young and old, boys and girls and especially the Latin papists, among whom were several who had never seen the roasting of an heretic before. Meanwhile the wood pile had been decorated with motley hangings, tassels, flags, stars and other tinsel, and many women believed it to be good handiwork to burn pieces of their underwear or clothing with the condemned, to atone for their sins or for the sins of those who roast in purgatory. “Give me a drink of water,” asked Hus of his guard, “so that I might refresh my tongue and not die from thirst, lest your joy, to see me at the stake, might be taken from you. I would regret this for the sake of those who have come here to see me burn and have spent much money on my account.”

Full of pity a soldier offered his filled goblet to Hus, but he did not drink from it and asked for pure water, which was given to him at once. This equanimity and pity shown by Hus impressed the heart of the guard. He rose, approached his sergeant and resigned from the service with these words: “I have fought many a battle in my day and I have seen many a brave man die at Raefels in the Glarner lands, at Buergen, Niedau, Unterfern and in the lands of Appenzell, but my old eyes have never seen such courage and fearlessness in the face of certain death. Therefore I think that this Bohemian is a just man, suffering in innocence and I have no wish to serve masters who persecute the feeble and protect the lewd papists. Take back my spear and my sword, for I shall leave Constance today, before the smoke rises to smother Hus and the fires blaze, which will consume his bones.”

And so the hour of five of the afternoon came, when the procession started, with Hus, for the Bruehl gate, where, on the left side, the woodpile had been erected and had been splendidly decorated. Three trumpeters upon black horses rode in advance and their loud trumpeting called together the people from afar and drew everybody from the chambers of the houses to the windowsills.

There were only few streets in Constance through which the procession did not wind its way and its duration was longer than two hours. Many cried, many made fun and many prayed for Hus. He sang the praise of God in Latin songs; called out many times with Job the Visited: “My harp also is turned to mourning and my pipe into the voice of them that weep. Doth not he see my ways and count all my steps? If I have walked with vanity or if my foot hath hastened to deceit; if my step hath turned out of the way and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved mine hands; if I rejoiced because my wealth was great and because mine hand had gotten much; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand; this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge; for I should have denied the God that is above? I would be joyous like a King although I go to my death.” Then he sang in verse, with elated voice, like the psalmist in the thirty-first psalm, reading from a paper in his hands:

“In thee, O Lord, I put my trust,

Bow down thine ear to me.”

With such Christian prayers, Hus arrived at the stake, looking at it without fear. He climbed upon it, after two assistants of the hangman had torn his clothes from him and had clad him in a skirt drenched with pitch. At this moment the elector of Palatinate, Ludewig, rode up and prayed Hus with fervor to recant, so that he might be spared a death in the flames. But Hus replied: “Today you will roast a lean goose, but a hundred years from now you will hear a swan sing, whom you will leave unroasted and no trap or net will catch him for you.” Full of pity and filled with much admiration, the Prince turned away . . .

You may order your copy of Hus the Heretic by Poggious the Papist from Steps to Life.

The Passing of the Time

The tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish year of 1844, came and passed, and left impressions upon the minds of believers not easily effaced; and although a quarter of a century has passed since that memorable period, yet that work has not lost its interest and force upon the minds of those who participated in it. Even now, when one who shared in that blessed work, and who feels its hallowed influence rekindling upon his mind—if in obedience to the injunction of the apostle when he says, “Call to remembrance the former days in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions, partly whilst ye were made a gazing stock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.”—shall speak of that solemn work, of that consecration of all, made in full view of eternal scenes, and of that sweet peace and holy joy which filled the minds of the waiting ones, his words will not fail to touch the feelings of all who shared the blessings of that work and have held fast.

And those who participated in that movement are not the only ones who can now go back in their experience, and feast upon the faith-reviving, soul-inspiring realities of the past. Those who have since embraced the Advent faith and hope, and who have seen in the three messages, of Revelation 14, the past consecration and blessedness, the present work of preparation, and the future glory, may go back with us to the autumn of 1844, and with us share the rekindling of the heavenly illumination. Was that our Jerusalem, where we waited for, and enjoyed, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Then as all Christians, as well as Christ’s first disciples who were present on the occasion, looked back to the day of Pentecost with pleasure and profit, so may these who have embraced the doctrine of the Second Advent since the memorable seventh-month movement, look back to that period with all that interest those can who participated in it.

The impressions made and left upon the minds of believers were deep and lasting. However far one has since departed from God and his truth, there still remains upon the soul of the apostate traces of the work. Let him hear the subject afresh; let the simple facts be again brought before his mind, and he will feel upon this subject as he can feel upon no other. And those who took part in that work, who are far backslidden from God, yet cherish regard for the word of God and Christian experience, will yet feel deeply over this subject, and the faith of many of them will be resurrected to new life. God grant that these pages may prove a blessing to many such.

The disappointment at the passing of the time was a bitter one. True believers had given up all for Christ, and had shared His presence as never before. They had, as they supposed, given their last warning to the world, and had separated themselves, more or less, from the unbelieving, scoffing multitude. And with the divine blessing upon them, they felt more like associating with their soon-expected Master and the holy angels, than with those from whom they had separated themselves. The love of Jesus filled every soul, and beamed from every face, and with inexpressible desires they prayed, “Come Lord Jesus, and come quickly.” But He did not come. And now to turn again to the cares, perplexities, and dangers of life, in full view of the jeers and revilings of unbelievers who now scoffed as never before, was a terrible trial of faith and patience. When Elder Himes visited Portland, ME, a few days after the passing of the time, and stated that the brethren should prepare for another cold winter, my feelings were almost uncontrollable. I left the place of meeting and wept like a child.

But God did not forsake His people. His Spirit upon them still abode, with all who did not rashly deny and denounce the good work in the Advent movement up to that time. And with especial force and comfort did such passages as the following, to the Hebrews, come home to the minds and hearts of the tried, waiting ones: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:35–39. The points of interest in this portion of Scripture are—

Those addressed are in danger of casting away their confidence in that in which they had done right.

They had done the will of God, and were brought into that state of trial where patience was necessary.

The just at this time are to live by faith, not by doubting whether they had done the will of God, but faith, in that in which they had done the will of God.

Those who should not endure the trial of faith, but should cast away their confidence in the work in which they did the will of God, and draw back, would take the direct road to perdition.

But why apply all this to the subject of the second advent? Answer: Because Paul applies it there. His words, in the very center of the foregoing quotation from his epistle to the Hebrews, forbid any other application: “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” No one will for a moment question that the second advent is the subject upon which the apostle treats. The peculiar situation of those who should be looking for the second appearing of Jesus, is the burden of his exhortation. And how wonderfully applicable to those who were sadly disappointed, tempted and tried, in the autumn of 1844, are his words. With great confidence had they proclaimed the coming of the Lord, with the assurance that they were doing the will of God. But as the time passed, they were brought into a position exceedingly trying to the faith and patience. Hence the words of Paul to them, just then, and just there. “Cast not away therefore your confidence . . . Ye have need of patience . . . Ye have done the will of God.” To the decision of the apostle every true Adventist, who tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, in the movement of 1844, will respond, Amen.

But how fearful the words which follow: “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” As Adventists have came up to the point of expectation in the blazing light of unsealed prophecy, and the rapidly-fulfilling signs that Christ’s coming was at the doors, they walked, as it were, by sight. But now they stand with disappointed hopes, and stricken hearts, and live by faith in the sure word, and the work of God in their Second-Advent experience. With these who hold fast, God is well pleased; but in those who draw back He has no pleasure. These believe to the saving of the soul; while those who become impatient, cast away their confidence in the way God has led them, and give it up as the work of man, or of Satan, and draw back to perdition.

This and many other portions of Scripture of like import, having a direct application to the condition of believers at that time, served not only as an encouragement to them to hold fast their faith, but as a warning to them not to apostatize. And a general impression remained upon the minds of the believers for some time after the disappointment, that the seventh-month movement was in the direct providence of God, and that those who had been engaged in this work and done His will.


Food for Life — The Things of Nature

“Everything in nature is diligent, and moving steadily onward, setting us an example. Notwithstanding the plants and shrubs are thirsting for showers, yet they cannot stop to complain, and cease their efforts to flourish. They obey nature’s laws, to do the very best they can under every circumstance. They thirst to be refreshed with water, yet they strike their roots down deeper, reaching down far to gather the moisture, that they may retain life, freshness, and beauty.

“These things of nature teach us the useful lesson, not to be easily discouraged under disadvantageous circumstances, but to continue to put forth efforts, and to do the very best we can. Although vegetation is almost fainting for the summer showers, yet the good things of the vegetable kingdom do not decide to stand still, and do nothing, until everything is favorable. There is a power in nature which we can see, if we will, in vegetation. The shrubs and plants struggle to live under discouraging circumstances, and seem to be making the best of everything, and concealing every appearance of want and unhappiness, under a smiling, refreshing aspect, reflecting to us the beautiful in their opening buds and blossoms. If we would learn the lessons nature is teaching us we should be more hopeful and have less wearing anxiety and crushing care.” The Health Reformer, June 1, 1871.

“We are in a world of suffering. Difficulty, trial, and sorrow await us all along the way to the heavenly home. But there are many who make life’s burdens doubly heavy by continually anticipating trouble. If they meet with adversity or disappointment they think that everything is going to ruin, that theirs is the hardest lot of all, that they are surely coming to want. Thus they bring wretchedness upon themselves and cast a shadow upon all around them. Life itself becomes a burden to them. But it need not be thus. It will cost a determined effort to change the current of their thought. But the change can be made. Their happiness, both for this life and for the life to come, depends upon their fixing their minds upon cheerful things. Let them look away from the dark picture, which is imaginary, to the benefits which God has strewn in their pathway, and beyond these to the unseen and eternal.

“For every trial, God has provided help. When Israel in the desert came to the bitter waters of Marah, Moses cried unto the Lord. The Lord did not provide some new remedy; He called attention to that which was at hand. A shrub which He had created was to be cast into the fountain to make the water pure and sweet. When this was done, the people drank of the water and were refreshed. In every trial, if we seek Him, Christ will give us help. Our eyes will be opened to discern the healing promises recorded in His word. The Holy Spirit will teach us how to appropriate every blessing that will be an antidote to grief. For every bitter draft that is placed to our lips, we shall find a branch of healing.

“We are not to let the future, with its hard problems, its unsatisfying prospects, make our hearts faint, our knees tremble, our hands hang down. ‘Let him take hold of My strength,’ says the Mighty One, ‘that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.’ Isaiah 27:5. Those who surrender their lives to His guidance and to His service will never be placed in a position for which He has not made provision. Whatever our situation, if we are doers of His word, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexity, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend.

“If in our ignorance we make missteps, the Saviour does not forsake us. We need never feel that we are alone. Angels are our companions. The Comforter that Christ promised to send in His name abides with us. In the way that leads to the City of God there are no difficulties which those who trust in Him may not overcome. There are no dangers which they may not escape. There is not a sorrow, not a grievance, not a human weakness, for which He has not provided a remedy.” Ministry of Healing, 247–2490

Spaghetti Sauce

In a large frying pan place:

3 cups distilled water

3 large green peppers, thinly sliced

3 large onions, thinly sliced

6-8 cloves of garlic

2 T. Italian seasoning

1 4 oz. can sliced olives

1 4 oz. can sliced mushrooms

2 t. sea salt

1 T. Sweet Basil

Bring to a boil and saute until soft. The add:

3 15 oz cans of Tomato Sauce

½ cup (heaping) date sugar or fruit source, granulated

Bring again to a boil and continue to simmer for one hour. For a little thicker sauce, 2 to 4 tablespoons of Arrowroot Powder may be added.

This sauce is delicious with sliced Nut Meat, as well as whole grain pasta of any kind. Another interesting combination, and a favorite in our family, is to combine the Whole Wheat Spaghetti which has been pre-cooked, with the cubed Nut Meat. This dish, with a salad, is a meal in itself.


The Reformation in Scotland

“The Reformation in Scotland seems to have been accompanied by greater violence than elsewhere in Europe. It has been stated that the corruption of the Catholic Church had reached a greater height in Scotland than in any other country, unless it was Italy.” Gideon D. Hagstoz, Heroes of the Reformation, 85.

The Reformation in England dealt with the freedom of the throne from the supremacy of the pope, whereas in Scotland the reform movement was concerned primarily with the religious center.

“The more prominent outcome of the Reformation in England was a free state; the more immediate product of the Reformation in Scotland was a free Church. But soon the two countries and the two Reformations coalesced: common affinities and common aims disengaged them from old allies, and drew them to each other’s side; and Christendom beheld a Protestantism strong alike in its political and in its spiritual arm, able to combat the double usurpation of Rome, and to roll it back, in course of time, from the countries where its dominion had been long established, and over its ruins to go forward to the fulfillment of the great task which was the one grand aim of the Reformation, namely, the evangelising and civilising of the earth, and the planting of pure churches and free governments.” J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, Book 24, 466.

Scotland, before the ninth century, was inhabited by savage tribes who practiced the rites and worshipped the same gods as the Assyrians. This country had no harbor where ships could put into port. Because of this no mariner visited this land, ensuring that Scotland would remain a backward country for many years.

Caesar had attempted to conquer Scotland without success. He was followed by missionaries who were more successful in gaining a foothold. Columba, born in 521, began evangelizing the northern and western parts of Scotland, as well as England, from the island of Iona off the Scottish coast.


Catholicism Enters Scotland


In the twelfth century, the light of Iona was waxing dim, paving the way for Roman Catholicism to establish itself in Scotland. This did not come about as the result of the conversion of the inhabitants of that land, but by the power of the king. The men, as well as the system, came from another land.

The limits imposed upon ecclesiastics of other countries, such as France, were not set up in Scotland. “Bishops and abbots filled all the great posts at court, and discharged all the highest offices in the state.” Ibid., 467.

“Scotland had no centralized government. The prince bishops owned about one half of the land, and the secular nobility owned or controlled the other half. The king had very little power. He had no standing army of his own and no personal body-guard, but had to depend on the feudal militia for protection and support.” Lars Qualben, A History of the Christian Church, 312.

Darkness covered the land, but there was a glimmer of light, and Pope John XXII complained that there were heretics in the land. The first martyr John Resby, was burned in 1406. He was an Englishman and a follower of Wycliffe. Others followed him to the stake in the next few years. In the same year, the University of St. Andrews was founded. A requirement for the Master of Arts degree was that the applicant must agree to defend the Roman Church against all accusers.

Because the writings of Luther were so eagerly read, the Parliament, in 1525, prohibited the printing and distribution of his literature. The two most prominent men to be burned at the stake were Patrick Hamilton, who was arrested by order of Cardinal Beaton in 1528, and George Wishart in 1546. Their teaching of the reform faith came to the attention of the Cardinal whose only goal was to completely control all Scotland. His efforts to destroy the heretics only added fuel to the fire. For every martyr who perished, a little company of followers arose to fill his place. From this time on, the Reformation in Scotland was dependent upon the political power in control.

It can be said that the Reformation in Scotland began with the entrance of Tyndale’s New Testament into that country, the circulation of Luther’s and Reformed writings, and by returning students from universities on the Continent and in England. By Act of Parliament, March 15, 1543, all the people had access to the Bible in their own tongue.

When Margaret, the daughter of Henry VII of England, married James IV, King of Scotland, the Scottish nobility feared that Scotland would come under the control of England. To prevent this happening, they made alliances with France against England. James V married Mary of Lorraine, sister of the Duke of Guise, who was violently opposed to Protestantism.

At the death of James V the crown was left to his infant daughter, Mary Stuart. The Queen, Mary of Guise, was made the Queen-regent until her death in 1560. It was her policy to suppress Protestantism. Mary Stuart was sent to France for her education and while there she married Francis II, King of France. She made an agreement with Francis that Scotland would be controlled by France at her death, when she left no heirs.


Defenders of Scottish Freedom


The defenders of Scottish freedom, and the friends of Protestant reform merged to form a strong party which was friendly toward England. The secular nobility saw that the Reformation would aid them in crushing the power of the detested prince bishops. A large number of the prominent noble families openly accepted Protestantism.

It was at this point that John Knox enters the picture. By 1546 he was well known as a powerful preacher. In his preaching he proclaimed that the Roman Catholic Church was the Synagogue of Satan and that the Pope was the anti-Christ. In 1547, Knox was captured by the French and made a galley slave for nineteen months. On his release he spent some years in England and in Europe, but always wrote to his countrymen encouraging and instructing them. Knox returned to Scotland in 1556, preaching against the mass, and made a petition to Mary of Guise begging her to support the Gospel. The petition was refused by the Queen-regent. This refusal forced Knox to flee to Europe. In 1559, when Elizabeth became Queen of England, he returned to Scotland.

Mary Stuart, Queen of the Scots, denounced Elizabeth as an illegitimate usurper, and proclaimed herself as the rightful queen of England. This claim by Mary threatened to bring both Scotland and England under the control of France. Knox began preaching powerful sermons, proclaiming that Scotland must be free and upholding the idea that the secular power was not to control the religious. “Wherever Knox went, his preaching was like a match set to kindling wood.” Ibid., 315. He was supported militarily and politically by John Erskine, the leader of the First Scottish Covenant. This Covenant was formed by a number of Scottish nobles on December 3, 1557, stating that the signatories would “stand by one another with life and fortune to ‘establish the most blessed Word of God and His Congregation.’ ” Ibid.

The Scottish people revolted against the Catholic Church, breaking images, storming and looting monasteries, and commanding priests to cease saying mass. The result of all this “rebellion” on the part of the people was that the Queen ordered French troops to put it down. Knox encouraged the people to meet force with force and the combat ended in a draw. France then sent reinforcements in order to maintain her hold on Scotland.

John Knox appealed to Queen Elizabeth to send a fleet to resist the French. She sent both an army and a fleet to help the Protestants in Scotland. Knox worked as chaplain and liaison officer negotiating with the English government that the cause of Protestantism might continue to be victorious. The presence of an English army induced the French to withdraw and leave the government of Scotland under the control of the Council of Lords. The treaty was signed on July 6, 1560, shortly after the death of Mary of Guise, the Queen-regent. The Treaty stipulated that all foreign troops and arms should be removed from Scotland and that no Frenchman could hold any important office of state.

Following this treaty, the most important parliament met on July 1, 1560. It was attended by a large number of barons, nobles, and lords—Knox being among them—and it abolished the celebration of the mass and the jurisdiction of the pope. The law against the mass was so strong that any offender was threatened with the death penalty on the third conviction.

Knox became the church leader in Scotland and at the request of Parliament he prepared a Confession of Faith, the Confessio Scoticana, which was adopted on August 17, 1560. The following week the Parliament passed the Laws of the Estate resulting in the complete rupture with Rome. In January, 1561, the Parliament adopted the “First Book of Discipline” which had been written by Knox. “The system worked out by Calvin was applied to the entire nation. In each parish the pastor and the presbyters constituted an administrative and disciplinary board. The presbyters were elected by the congregation. In the larger centers meetings for discussion were held which later developed into ‘presbyteries.’ Pastors and congregations within specified regions were governed by synods, and over all was the ‘General Assembly’.” Ibid., 316.


Knox and Mary, Queen of Scots


“Knox had still another battle to fight. Mary, Queen of Scots, the unfortunate Mary who by her own unwise acts lost her crown and later her life, returned from France as a widow at eighteen, in August, 1561. She was determined to restore Scotland to the Catholic Church.

“The most dramatic period of Knox’s life doubtless falls during her reign as he tilted and sparred verbally with Mary when she repeatedly summoned him into her presence. The first such skirmish resulted when Knox condemned the mass which she had celebrated her first Sunday after arriving in Scotland. He had said that one mass was more terrible to him than 10,000 armed invaders. Five times, some say six, she called him before her.

“The second occasion was Knox’s sermon against the persecution of the Huguenots in France, an event Mary celebrated with a ball at Holyrood. The next also concerned the mass. The fourth, which left an aftermath of peril, resulted when Knox had vehemently spoken against her proposed marriage to a Catholic, the son of the king of Spain. This time she dissolved in tears and sobs as she railed against him; but Knox maintained that he was not preaching his own words, but the words that were given him out of the Scriptures.” Heroes of the Reformation, 86.

Knox was charged with treason among other things, and brought to trial before Queen Mary. The future of Knox and the Reformation in Scotland hung in the balance at this trial. The great Scottish Reformer was acquitted and the Queen, because of her indiscretions, was imprisoned and removed from the throne. John Knox died in 1572 and his work was ably carried on by Andrew Melville who died in 1622. When Queen Elizabeth of England died in 1603, England and Scotland were united under one crown.

“It would have but little availed Scotsmen in the nineteenth century if Knox had wrought up their fathers to a little political enthusiasm, but had failed to lead them to the Bible, that great awakener of the human soul, and bulwark of the rights of conscience. If this had been all, the Scots, after a few abortive attempts, like those of misguided France, to reconcile political freedom with spiritual servitude, would assuredly have fallen back under the old yoke, and would have been lying at this day in the gulf of ‘Papistrie.’ Discarding this narrow visionary project, Knox grasped the one eternal principal of liberty, the government of the human conscience by the Bible, and planting his Reformation upon this great foundation stone, he endowed it with the attribute of durability.” The History of Protestantism, 515.

The void left by the death of Knox was more than ably filled by Andrew Melville (1545–1622). Melville was one of the greatest teachers and administrators of his day. It was under his guidance that the educational system in Scotland was established, and in fact made it one of the most noted systems anywhere in the western world. In 1572 the system of episcopacy, which was not in reality episcopacy, for it had no authority and exercised no oversight over the churches in Scotland, was introduced into that country. Knox had opposed the introduction and work of the Tulchan bishops and Melville continued the fight to his dying day. (A tulcan is a calf’s skin stuffed with straw, set up to make a cow give her milk freely. The Tulcan bishops, known only in Scotland, were introduced into the Presbyterian Church by some nobles wishing to take a portion of the churches income through appointment to rich benefices.)

Melville carried on a running battle for the firm establishment of the Presbyterian form of church government free of all secular control. He not only opposed the Roman prelates in Scotland but he also had to deal with the king, James VI. For it was this James whose first goal was to obtain the throne of England, which he did upon the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, and then to make the Roman Catholic Church supreme in both countries. This war for supremacy he waged to his death in 1625.

Melville’s fight was an uphill battle for the people and ministers were not strong enough to establish sufficient power in the Parliament and other ruling bodies to completely eliminate the Roman prelates from maintaining a firm control over the secular arm of the government.

Melville, after spending some years in Paris and Geneva, pursuing his studies and teaching, returned to Scotland in 1574 and began his battle against the Tulchan episcopate, which was joined onto the Presbyterian church. He was successful in getting the General Assembly of 1580 to unanimously declare, by resolution, “‘the office of a bishop, as then used and commonly understood, to be destitute of warrant from the Word of God, and a human invention, tending to the great injury of the Church, and ordained the bishops to demit their pretended office simpliciter, and to receive admission as ordinary pastors de novo, under pain of excommunication.’ ” Ibid., 518.

“The first part of the mighty task which awaited Protestantism in the sixteenth century was to breathe life into the nation . . . The second part of the great task of Protestantism was to make the nations free . . . It was not the State in Scotland that gave freedom to the Church: it was the Church that gave freedom to the State.” Ibid., 530, 531.

We will leave the story of the Reformation in Scotland at this point for it was to be a continuing struggle between Episcopacy and Presbyterianism on the one hand and the King of England and Roman Catholicism on the other which was to be waged even to the present day. The light continued to shine at times brighter, then dimmer, but never extinguished. The Great Controversy continues to go on in that land.

“Thus the Scottish Vine, smitten by the tyranny of the monarch who had now gone to the grave, was visited and revived by a secret dew. From the high places of the State came edicts to blight it; from the chambers of the sky came a ‘plenteous rain’ to water it. It struck its roots deeper, and spread its branches yet more widely over a land which it did not as yet wholly cover. Other and fiercer tempests were soon to pass over that goodly tree, and this strengthening from above was given beforehand, that when the great winds should blow, the tree, though shaken, might not be overturned.” Ibid., 536.


Don’t Turn Back!

After the flood came and took them all away, the earth was as desolate as were those who, in the spiritual sense, had been taken away by the judgments of God. The apostasy became so bad in Noah’s day that only eight were saved off the whole earth! Had it not been for Noah’s unfailing courage and unselfish dedication, the whole world would have been lost. God, in His eternal mercy gave man another chance, and the world was washed clean and new.

“To re-people the desolate earth, which the Flood had so lately swept from its moral corruption, God had preserved but one family, the household of Noah . . . Yet in the three sons of Noah was speedily developed the same great distinction seen in the world before the Flood.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 117.

Very soon after the flood the apostasy started all over again. Through the family of Ham the agenda of apostasy, from within the camp, continued. Humans often try to figure out how to go their own way. We want “to do our own thing,” and get away with it. The days following the Flood were no exception. First the people had not taken God at His word when He said there was to be a flood. Then, they would not believe Him when He said there would not be another!

In the undertaking of raising up the Tower of Babel, “the people were fully united in their Heaven-daring undertaking . . . Their confederacy was founded in rebellion; a kingdom established for self-exaltation, but in which God was to have no rule or honor. Had this confederacy been permitted, a mighty power would have borne sway to banish righteousness—and with it peace, happiness, and security—from the earth. For the divine statutes, which are ‘holy and just and good’ (Romans 7:12), men were endeavoring to substitute laws to suit the purpose of their own selfish and cruel hearts.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 123.

“The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God . . . Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 78.


Babylon is Born


“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37. How true are these words. Babylon found its birth on the plains of Shinar. The essence of Babylon is to make of none effect the true testimony; to replace the true testimony with the opinions and rebellions of men. It wants to shake the confidence of God’s people in His Word, and turn away the present generation from the true God. To exalt self and to lead the people into idolatry, are Babylon’s goals.

“The whole undertaking [the building of the Tower of Babel] was designed to exalt still further the pride of its projectors and to turn the minds of future generations away from God and lead them into idolatry . . . The people rejoiced in their success, and praised the gods of silver and gold, and set themselves against the Ruler of heaven and earth.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 119.

This is exactly what is going on right now. The results demonstrated in the history of the Tower of Babel will be the same, without deviation, for the present generation if they continue to choose the same course. Sister White wrote: “We must as a people arouse and cleanse the camp of Israel. Licentiousness, unlawful intimacy, and unholy practices are coming in among us in a large degree; and ministers who are handling sacred things are guilty of sin in this respect. They are coveting their neighbor’s wives, and the seventh commandment is broken. We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 380. [All emphasis supplied.]

God is in the business of saving every single soul who will accept Him. God calls the wandering soul unto Himself through various methods and agencies. One who has the knowledge of God and then rejects it is far more guilty than one who has not come to the light of truth. It follows then that an Adventist is held in higher responsibility because of his profession to a higher knowledge. Our responsibilities increase with the privilege of greater truth. To be a leader in Adventism, a representative of Christ Himself, and misuse this office or mislead people, is to deepen one’s damnation! The claim to Adventism has very serious consequences, and the acceptance of leadership, the highest consequences.

In years past, God turned away from those who united in their apostate agenda and chose Abraham to carry out His will. Just so in this age, God turns from those who persist in apostasy, to men of His own choosing who will carry on the closing work. Abraham grew up “in the midst of superstition and heathenism.” The world beckoned on every side, but Abraham promptly answered God’s call. Because he was well acquainted with heathenism and idolatry he could view with sharp eyes the stark contrast between God’s way and the way of the world.

He became different from his friends and relatives when he answered the call, breaking many close ties that would have pulled him downward. It was by necessity that God asked him to separate himself from his former associates.

“Now that Abraham was, in a special sense, connected with heaven, he must dwell among strangers. His character must be peculiar, different from all the world. He could not even explain his course of action so as to be understood by his friends. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and his motives and actions were not comprehended by his idolatrous kindred.

“It was no light test that was thus brought upon Abraham, no small sacrifice that was required of him. There were strong ties to bind him to his country, his kindred, and his home. But he did not hesitate to obey the call . . . God had spoken, and His servant must obey; the happiest place on earth for him was the place where God would have him to be.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 126.


Conformity to World


Lot, Abraham’s nephew, was not as mature or wise as his uncle. I am sure Lot felt, as many of us perhaps have, that the influences of worldliness would not eclipse his dedication to God. Lot, by choice, settled in the thriving metropolis of Sodom. In this city of unchecked frivolity was found a society of “if it feels good, do it” inhabitants. A people that closely parallel the society of the present world. This was the society in which Lot chose to live. Maybe he felt he could do some good for these poor people, and perhaps bring a little religion into their lives. But as the years went by it was not Sodom who was being converted to Christianity, but Lot’s family who was being converted to heathenism.

“Conformity to worldly customs converts the church to the world; it never converts the world to Christ. Familiarity with sin will inevitably cause it to appear less repulsive. He who chooses to associate with the servants of Satan will soon cease to fear their master. When in the way of duty we are brought into trial, as was Daniel in the king’s court, we may be sure that God will protect us; but if we place ourselves under temptation we shall fall sooner or later.” The Great Controversy, 509.

The condition of Sodom had become so bad that it provoked the Lord to destroy it. Christ Himself came down to oversee the task and spoke about it with Abraham. He was willing to hold off the destruction of that thriving city for only ten souls, but there were not ten righteous souls in that city.

Lot had placed his family in association with those who scoffed at the Word of God. They did not believe that God paid attention to or would punish their crimes against His kingdom of righteousness. All of this had taken a toll on Lot’s family, and perhaps he did not even realize until the test came, that it was too late to improve his circumstances.

The angels arrived in Sodom on that last night, and were besieged at Lot’s house by a lawless crowd inflamed by the vilest passions, saying, “Bring them out to us that we may them (that is sexually).” Such is the perversion in the minds and lives of those who disregard God.

Lot’s family was warned of the destruction soon to fall, but they were reluctant to leave the city. How powerful the gravity of Satan’s deceptions over the human heart. In this generation, do we have less to fear from the effects of our own society? As many are running back to apostate conference churches, please read the next words carefully, and apply them to today. “The angels revealed to Lot the object of their mission . . . The strangers who Lot had endeavored to protect, now promised to protect him, and to save also the members of his family who would flee with him from the wicked city . . . Lot went out to warn his children. He repeated the words of the angels, ‘Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.’ But he seemed to them as one that mocked. They laughed at what they called his superstitious fears. His daughters were influenced by their husbands. They were well enough off where they were . . . Lot returned sorrowfully to his home and told the story of his failure. Then the angels bade him arise and take his wife and the two daughters who were yet in his house and leave the city. But Lot delayed . . . He did not realize the terrible necessity for God’s judgments to put a check on sin . . . But for the angels of God, they would all have perished in the ruin of Sodom. The heavenly messengers took him and his wife and daughters by the hand and led them out of the city . . . Hesitancy or delay now would be fatal. To cast one lingering look upon the devoted city, to tarry for one moment from regret to leave so beautiful a home, would have cost their life . . . If Lot himself had manifested no hesitancy to obey the angels’ warning, but had earnestly fled toward the mountains, without one word of pleading or remonstrance, his wife also would have made her escape. The influence of his example would have saved her from the sin that sealed her doom. But his hesitancy and delay caused her to lightly regard the divine warning. While her body was upon the plain, her heart clung to Sodom, and she perished with it.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 159–161.


Spiritual Suicide


Brothers and sisters, we must understand that to once have left, or have been disfellowshipped from a church, for the reason of fidelity to God, and then to go back, is doing the same thing as Lot’s wife. We cannot afford to turn back unless we are obeying the truths and principles of God’s guidance. To return to a conference, self-supporting ministry or church that continues to demonstrate an agenda of apostasy is spiritual suicide!

Did you notice that the influence of Lot could have saved his wife? I can tell you this. If either my wife or I went back to a ministry or a church that was still preaching and promoting apostasy, we would go alone. This was part of our original wedding vows and our personal vows to our God. He must, and will always, come first in the life of true Christians and that means even above wife, husband or family members.

My friends, God understands your desire for fellowship. He shares that desire with you, and as quickly as He safely can, He wants to bring you into physical companionship with Himself, forever. But loneliness or a lack of fellowship will not excuse one from the consequences of disregarding the express requirements of our Lord. We are not to look back as did Lot’s wife! To do so would be fatal.

“It is only those who render perfect and thorough obedience to God that He will choose. Those who follow the Lord are to be firm and straightforward in obeying His directions. Any deviation to follow human devising or planning disqualifies them for being trustworthy. Even if they have to walk as did Enoch, [a representation of the 144,000] with God alone,—His children must separate from those who do not obey Him, who show that they are not in vital connection with Him.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1036.

My dear beloved friends in Jesus, once having laid your hands to the plow, do not look back, save to remember how God has graciously led you in the past.



How happy we are when something is all done—the trial is all finished, the work is all completed, sundown has come.

Moving day is not generally looked forward to with joy. I have not heard of anybody that likes to move. But, when the boxes are all unpacked, and we are sitting down with the pictures on the wall, we are tired but happy. It is done.

We can think of people with casts on. Several in my family have had broken bones. And I know that it is a happy day when the bone is healed and the cast is taken off. What a relief, to finally be able to scratch their skin again.

What about labor and delivery? How happy mothers are when the baby is finally in their arms and all the labor pains are over.

How happy the Israelites were when they were finally out of the wilderness and safely in the land of Canaan. They were so pleased to be out of the hot, dirty, sandy desert.

But the best illustration of all happened on resurrection morning. When Jesus came out of the tomb, how happy He was that our salvation was secured, that the horrors of the cross were over.

We love it when the work is done, when the trial is over. We like to be happy. We like the feeling when we have made it through a tough situation, that it is past and over! There is a sense of joy and of well-being once again.

But, often here on this earth, the trial is not over. We are not finished—we are just starting. We often wish we were at the end when we have only begun. You are moving, and it is midnight, you have been carrying boxes all day and you are exhausted and want to go to bed. So you search through boxes to find the sheets for the bed. Unfortunately, someone forgot to mark the contents on the box that had the sheets in it. It seems that there still are hundreds of boxes to look in. You cannot sit down yet, the job is not done. It is now you need endurance.

Or maybe it is 98º outside and under your cast it feels like 110º. Your skin is itching and it is weeks before the cast comes off. You have a long way to go and the way is tough. It is now you need endurance.

There was a time when the Israelites were in the wilderness. It was years before they would be in Canaan. They had to go through the middle of the wilderness. Sometimes you may feel like you are in a hot, dry wilderness, or in an ocean of difficulties. Jesus has promised, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:2. Jesus will always be with you—how we need that today. We need His presence to be with us, because we are not there yet. We still have many mountains to climb.

In the midst of trials we have moments of peace, moments when we feel that for now everything is okay. But trials on this earth come again. We find ourselves in the furnace again and again. We need endurance.

In this article we will look towards the One who knows the most about endurance. “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.

The endurance of Jesus was based on the joy that He could see in the future. The future joy was so real to Him that He endured the tortures of Calvary and took no account of the mean remarks made of Him—He despised the shame.

We can learn about this kind of marvelous endurance by looking at various examples. First is the story of a man who did not pass the endurance test. He was a great man. He fought and won many battles with God. He had subdued self and won. But finally, even he was overcome. He got impatient and angry.


Moses ’ Failure


His name is Moses. We have a picture, in the Spirit of Prophecy, of his natural heart: “He was naturally impatient. But he had taken hold firmly of the grace of God and so humbly implored wisdom from heaven that he was strengthened from God and had overcome his impatience so that he was called by God the meekest man upon the face of the whole earth.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 313. How encouraging! Moses was not naturally a patient man, but he had to overcome his natural tendencies.

A sad time came in the life of Moses. He had been putting up with a stiff-necked and rebellious people for forty years. He had long endured their complaining, but he eventually became weary. What one is strong at first to resist, over time starts getting under a person’s skin, becoming difficult to bear. The storm continues to rage, and those that have stood against the apostasy for a long time, get weary. This is the situation that Moses was in. For forty years the people had complained and complained, and he was sick and tired of it. Do you ever get sick and tired of something? Moses did.

The Lord did something very interesting. We need to consider how the Lord deals with people, because sometime, He might deal with us that way.

The Lord had given them water out of the rock for forty years and they had all the water they needed. Just before they were ready to go into the promised land, the water stopped. The Lord wanted to test their endurance to see if it had increased. “The Lord caused the living streams to cease to prove His people again to see if they would endure the trial of their faith or would again murmur against Him.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 309. They were not in danger of dying of thirst. They were going into a country where they could buy water. So the Lord tested His people. He said, “I will stop the water. It’s been flowing for forty years. I will see if they will trust Me.” Oh, how He hoped. (Yes, the Lord has hopes for us.) He hoped His people would trust Him, but they failed the test. They murmured, they complained.

“And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord.” Numbers 20:3. They went on to complain about how their cattle were going to die. Then they uttered this most cutting remark, “Would God that we had died with our brethren.” They were talking about when their brethren, who were in direct rebellion against God and Moses, had died in the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. The earth opened up and swallowed them alive. These people had the gall to say, “Oh, that we had died with our brethren.” They were really saying that these people, who were in direct rebellion against God, would have treated them better than Moses. Moses was bitterly disappointed. “Disappointment often leads to unbelief.” The Acts of the Apostles, 265. And Moses fell into unbelief. He thought, “Because they complained, the Lord would not let this last generation go into Canaan—all of them are not dead. Now here are their children complaining. Am I going to have to stay out here in this wilderness for many more years?” (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 417, 418.) As Moses started thinking, he became angry with the people. For forty years he had tried to show them the love of God. When they complained he tried to stop it. Here they were at it again.

It is hard to live with contrary people day after day. The record says, “He became weary with the continual murmuring of the people against him.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 310. They were continually murmuring, nagging and contradicting Moses. It was very frustrating to Moses, and by taking his eyes off of God, he made the mistake of taking it personally. Really the people were not murmuring against Moses but against God. Moses forgot that he was hidden under the shadow of God.

Do you ever run out of patience with people? It seems that someone else should be a better Christian. Certainly they know the right thing to do. You have witnessed to them. You have done everything you know. They do not seem to be responding. Sometimes we forget that the work is not ours, but God’s. By taking our eyes off of God, we make the same mistake Moses made—taking it personally.

Here is the story of how Moses gave into his frustrations: “And God said take the rod and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes, and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth unto them water out the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts water to drink.” Numbers 20:8. What was Moses to do? He was to take his rod, but he was not to strike the rock. He was to speak to the rock. He had struck the rock forty years earlier. But the rock was only to be smitten once. That rock represents Jesus, who was smitten once for us. Today, we only need to speak to Him and ask for the water of life. “To every soul, however sinful, Jesus says, If thou hadst asked of me, I would have given thee living water.” The Desire of Ages, 194. That water of life was purchased for us on the cross. Today we can receive it. But when He comes the second time, He will not be smitten again. That is what the Lord wanted to show with this wonderful illustration.

Verse nine says, “And Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, ‘Hear now ye rebels, must we fetch you water out of this rock?’ And Moses lifted up his hand and with his rod he smote the rock twice. And the water came out abundantly and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”

“Here Moses sinned. He became weary with the continual murmuring of the people against him.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 310.


Losing Sight of Our Helper


Where did Moses fail? Did he fail by telling a lie? Although he did not portray the character of Christ correctly, he did not actually lie with his words. When Moses angrily commanded the people: “Hear now ye rebels,” he was telling the truth—they were rebels. Even though what Moses said was the truth, it was offensive to God. “This accusation was true. But even truth is not to be spoken in passion or impatience. When He took it upon himself to accuse them, he grieved the Spirit of God and wrought only harm to the people. His lack of patience and self control was evident.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 417. The whole congregation saw him get mad. They heard the angry tones in his voice. God’s character was misrepresented. Why did Moses fall? “Wearied with the continual murmuring and rebellion of the people, Moses had lost sight of his Almighty Helper.” He took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at people. “It was by looking to themselves”—you can only look in one direction. If you look at people, you will lose sight of God. Even Moses was totally dependent upon the grace of God. “It was by looking to themselves, appealing to their own sympathies, that they unconsciously fell into sin, and failed to set before the people their great guilt before God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 418, 419. No matter how long you have been a Christian, no matter how many battles in which you have stood firm for truth and righteousness, if you are not looking to Jesus, you will fall. Moses fell, and that is the most perfect example of that point. None of us have gone through what Moses went through. We are certainly not qualified—any of us—to say, “My Christian experience is so good that I’ve arrived now; I won’t fall.” If Moses fell, we can fall too.

I have asked the Lord, “If Moses failed, what about me?” Moses’ sin was very grievous, because he did not have to fall. He dishonored God’s sustaining power. In this instance, even though wicked, the people never received a rebuke from God. Only Moses and Aaron got the rebuke. “God did not on this occasion pronounce judgments upon those whose wicked course had so provoked Moses and Aaron. All the reproof fell on the leaders. Those who stood as God’s representatives had not honored Him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 418.


No Excuse for Sin


In our world there are people that think it is okay to be impatient if you are tired enough. It is okay to sound harsh if you have had a hard day or have a headache. But God has never permitted that. He did not allow it in Moses and it is not alright today. “If we do not feel just as we want to, are we to fly into impatience, speaking those words that show that we have the attributes of Satan? We cannot afford to speak a harsh word or an unkind word, because we are standing right in view of the heavenly intelligences and we are fighting the battle with all the heavenly universe looking upon us; and how we grieve the heart of God when we deny Him in any way! The marks of the crucifixion in the hands of Christ show that He has graven us upon the palms of His hands.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 803, 804.

There will not be one harsh word in heaven. If we are to be there, we must learn here not to speak harsh words. We can be patient no matter how tired, no matter what time it is and we are still moving, or how itchy the cast is, or anything else. There is no circumstance—nothing that can separate us from the sustaining power of God.

Moses did not have to fall. One of the greatest and most powerful promises I have ever found in the Spirit of Prophecy is to clarify this situation of Moses. “God has made ample provision for His people. And if they rely upon His strength, they will never become the sport of circumstances. The strongest temptation cannot excuse sin, however great the pressure brought to bear upon the soul. Transgression is our own act. It is not the power of earth or hell to compel anyone to evil. Satan attacks us at our weak points, but we need not be overcome, however severe or unexpected the trial. God has provided help for us, and in His strength we may conquer.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 421.

Never excuse yourself because of Moses. Moses took his eyes off of God. If Moses would have kept his eye on Jesus and the joy that was set before him, he would have had strength to endure.

The little things in life can draw our thoughts to heaven. Just the other day, I was walking by a field of grass beside my home. The grass was about a foot tall. There was a gentle breeze and it was bright and sunny outside. The grass was gently waving in the wind and sparkled, like diamonds, in the bright sunlight. It was beautiful! Instantly my mind went to this quotation: “I saw a field of tall grass most glorious to behold. It was living green and it had a reflection of silver and gold as it waved proudly to the King Jesus.” Early Writings, 18. I stopped and looked at that beautiful grass, and said, “Lord, I want to be there. I want to be in heaven, and see the grass waving to honor my Lord. I want to stand in heaven and know that I am there; that all temptation is forever gone and I am eternally secure because of you.” It was just a little thing, but the little things in life can remind us of heaven and help us to endure.

Each one of us have trials. We need to get our eyes off of the landscape of the trials of life and fix them on the joys of heaven. That will make the trials of life seem temporary, like they really are. Heaven is forever. Trials are temporary. When we are in the middle of the trial, when we are in the middle of the river, and the current is strong, when people’s hatred against us is so hard to bear, and we hear scoffing remarks that we know are not true, if we get to thinking about it, and take our eyes off Jesus, and start feeling sorry for ourselves—we are ready to fall.

We need to say, “Lord, I’m much weaker than Moses. I’m very weak. Please take my eyes and help me to focus them on you. You have promised that a trial never would come that I could not bear.” That is what He has promised: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation make a way of escape that ye might be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. It is true. God is faithful.


The Joy Before Him


Jesus was sustained by looking ahead to the joy that was set before Him. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.

What was the joy that He looked at? He thought about the joy He would have in the future. He concentrated on this joy. He kept His eye focused on that joy. That is how He endured the cross. And by focusing on the joy ahead of Him, He endured the cross.

Once there was a soldier. After he had fought for months, he was taken captive and put in one of the worst communist concentration camps. One of the things they did was very unpleasant and uncomfortable. They shoved him in a cage that was too small for him. They would keep him in there for days. Many of the soldiers did not survive the cruel treatment. But they never broke this man’s spirit. After he was released, he was interviewed. What was his secret? He said, “When I was in that uncomfortable cage, it was horrible. My whole body ached and I longed to stretch. Everything ached.” He said, “I would think of my wife, and what it would be like when I came home, and what she would say—how happy she would be.” He said, “I would think of that by the hour.” He liked to play golf. So as he lay in that little cage, he would practice his swing. In his mind he would play a round of golf in the golf course back home. He would think about every hole. One day he was released. In a few days he went and played a game of golf. He shot the best game he ever had. Amazing! He had been practicing, in a cage, for months how to swing that golf club, all the while looking forward to getting home.

What was the joy that Jesus was thinking about on the cross? “And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” Isaiah 65:19. What was He thinking about on the cross? He was thinking about you. “The joy of My people”—was the focus of His thoughts. He said, “Some day they will be in My kingdom, and I will take all sorrow away from them.” Jesus endured, because He was thinking of the delight you would have in His kingdom. You were on His mind. He saw the happy looks that would be on your face, and He endured. “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.”

Do you know how you can endure? You can endure by thinking about Him. He endured by thinking about you—how happy you would be when He wiped all your tears away. You can endure by thinking about Him and what He went through for you. You will have strength to go through the trials of life, to be patient, to overcome all anger, all fretfulness. Jesus was pained with the cutting remarks that were said about Him, but He never murmured or complained. Friends, we need to get our minds off the trials of this life. We need to have our mind riveted on the One that has gone through the trials already.

When He was on the cross, the religionists of His day ridiculed Jesus. They made sneering remarks that cut to the very quick of His heart. He knows what it means to be reproached. But He endured, just thinking of the joy that He could bring you. And you can endure thinking about the joy that you can bring Him. There is a wonderful joy that is laid up for the saints. A great part of that joy will be in seeing our Lord happy.

We are warned, “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son, and children shall rise up against their parents and shall cause them to be put to death, and ye shall be hated of all men for My sake, but he that shall endure until the end, the same shall be saved.” Mark 13:12, 13. Righteousness and truth do not mix with error. If you are standing in defense of truth, you are going to be hated.

Are you ready to endure hatred? If you endure you will be saved. But the time is coming when all hatred will be at an end. “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:10. Sorrow and sighing will someday be forever gone.

Look to Jesus. He can give you hope. You may feel encased in a cast, not a cast of plaster, but a cast of hatred and distrust. And it is hot, and itchy, and you want out, but you cannot get out. You are in the middle of a trial. If you look to Jesus, He will give you comfort. He will give you endurance. He will give you joy. You will have peace in the middle of the trial, because He is sufficient to take you through.

“Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.


To Whom Shall We Go?

“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, ‘Will ye also go away?’ Then Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the word s of eternal life.’ ” John 6:66–68.

“Lord, to whom shall we go?” was a relevant question then and still is now. As the disciples watched that great multitude, turning their backs on Jesus, their hearts sank lower and lower. Jesus confronted them and said, “Are you going away, too?” They replied, “To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of life.” Today we ask the same question, “To whom shall we go?”

Where could the disciples have turned? They could have gone to the philosophers. Greek philosophy was at its height at this time. They had what they called peripatetic philosophers. These philosophers would walk through the country and speak wherever they could gather a crowd. The disciples could have listened to one of those philosophers, but they would not have heard the words of life.

Here is a little sample of what they might have heard. The following is from a book called, The Theory of Man, by a philosopher named Romero. The first chapter is about intentional consciousness. “A lived estate constitutes a single undivided situation in consciousness. There is neither object or, strictly speaking, a subject. When the objectification occurs, subject and object are born simultaneously, separated by an interval or distance that makes possible a specific function of each.” Is that clear now? That is philosophy then and now. If you were thirsting for salvation, how long could you endure that?

They could also have turned to the eastern religions then existing, such as Zoarastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Here is what they might have heard: “Body, brethren, is without the self. If body, brethren, were of the self, body would not be involved in sickness and one would be able to say, ‘Thus let my body be, thus let my body not be.’ But, brethren, inasmuch as body is not the self, that is why body is involved in sickness and one cannot say of body, ‘Thus let my body be, thus let my body not be.’ ” The Sayings of Buddha. Any questions?

If unsatisfied, the disciples could have run to the rabbis. There were many rabbis in Palestine at this time and they had lots of words. But were they the words of life?

In reference to the words of the rabbis, Mrs. White says that they used a lot of senseless repetitions, and they spoke with hesitation and uncertainty. She writes, that despite all of their claims, their words made it clear that they did not know God. When Jesus spoke, no one had to go to a dictionary to figure out what He meant. In contrast, the rabbis’ teachings made it clear that they were ignorant both of the Word of God and the power of God. (See The Signs of the Times, March 26, 1896; Review and Herald, August 22, 1899; Review and Herald, July 19, 1887; Youth’s Instructor, December 5, 1895.)

The rabbis were placing the word of men above the Word of God, which brings up a question and challenge that we sometimes hear. People will say to us when we quote Ellen White, God’s inspired messenger, “You are quoting Ellen White above the Bible.” I answer, “No, I am putting Ellen White above YOU!” Do you see the difference? I am saying that Ellen White knows a thousand times more about the Bible than any theologian or doctor of philosophy.


Speaking Like the Rabbis


“The rabbis spoke with doubt and hesitancy, as if the Scriptures might be interpreted to be one thing or exactly the opposite.” Lift Him Up, 172. Today we call that a “paradox” or holding things in “tension.” If you would like to see a modern counterpart, I refer you to the book Issues, page 12. “The subjects of the nature of Christ and righteousness by faith are not nearly as straight forward as adherents to Hope International would have them appear. Both Scripture and Ellen White contain statements that seem to support varying view points and these must be held in tension.” They are saying that if you read conflicting ideas, you can say, “Yes, I believe that and I believe this, too.” Just hold them in tension and everything will be all right. That has a resounding echo of rabbinical reasoning.

Some time ago I went to a Conference to speak at a little campmeeting. When I arrived, I learned that the Conference president had been there about two weeks before me to counteract my influence. He had given a talk on the nature of Christ. He began by saying, “Ellen White writes very clearly that Jesus Christ came in the fallen nature of man.” He then gave some quotations from her writings. Then he said, “That seems very clear, but now, I am going to show you that she also wrote the exact opposite.” Then he read a couple of quotations that he twisted to say that Christ came in the unfallen nature of Adam.

That is not true. I offered $1,000, and I still offer $1,000, to anyone who can show me, from Ellen White’s writings, one statement that Christ came to this earth in the unfallen nature of Adam. Even though they often claim to have the statements, they do not come to collect their money. My offer has been standing for five or six years, and the response to it has been a thunderous, ear-shattering silence.

I am astounded at their boldness. Ellen White wrote four hundred times in her published writings that Christ came to this earth in the human nature of fallen man, yet they still deny it, and refuse to understand.

If any writer, on any subject, prints their belief four hundred times, and we still do not know what they mean, we have a serious problem. The problem is not with the writer, it is with us, the readers.


Searching for an Excuse


Why were the rabbis like that? Why are modern theologians like that? Why are they not willing to take the straight forward simple words of truth? Why do they say, “It is mysterious, it is hard to understand?” Because the plain teaching of God’s Word condemns their practices, they try to destroy its force. The same thing is being done today as was being done before. “The Word of God is made to appear mysterious and obscure in order to excuse transgression of His law.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 39.

What are you hearing all over the land in Seventh-day Adventist Churches today? “You cannot obey God’s law—even by the power of Christ.” To be sure that their claim is not disproved, they try to disqualify Ellen White’s writings. But she says the opposite, that it is possible and necessary to overcome, 4,500 times.

“One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God’s Word is, they close their eyes to truths which they do not wish to practice. An understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness.” The Great Controversy, 599.

The Bible was not written for the scholar alone, but for the common person. Those who have a real thirst after righteousness will have no trouble understanding it. Those who do not want to live the life set forth there, find problems, but the problem is with them—not with the written Word.

Looking back again to John 6, we see that the people all around the apostles had words. Words and words, piles and piles of words, but how could they turn from Him to those meaningless words?

“Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; he that believeth on Me shall never thirst . . . All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:35, 37.

Contrast that with the words of the rabbis, the words of the eastern religions, the words of the philosophers. Would it take you long to make a choice? Not if your soul was hungry for truth.

“Jesus said unto her [standing at the graveside of Lazarus], I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” John 11:25.

“Jesus sayeth unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” John 14:6.

“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30.

Is it any wonder that when the disciples went through the Roman empire repeating these words of Jesus, people said, “We have never heard anything like that before”! They had heard the meandering philosophers. They had heard the eastern religions, but never anything like the words of Christ: “Come to Me and I will give you rest.”


The Living Word


Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” Stretch your minds to the ultimate to take in the simple fact that the Word of God is the living Word. Do not treat it as a dead book. The words of Christ have not lost their power. “As they feed upon His Word, they find that it is spirit and life. The Word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude. This is what it means to live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 391.

“The life of Christ that gives life to the world is in His Word . . . When His visible presence should be withdrawn, the Word must be their [the disciples] source of power.” The Desire of Ages, 390.

“When the Bible is made the Guide and Counselor, it exerts an ennobling influence upon the mind. Its study more than any other will refine and elevate. It will enlarge the mind of the candid student, endowing it with new impulses and fresh vigor.” Counsels to Teachers, 396. I have seen this demonstrated. In the Hawaiian Islands we took into our home several teenage girls, and kept them for two or three years. They did not have a very high IQ when they arrived, but after those three years, their IQ had changed remarkably. The experts say that the IQ is unchangeable, but it does change under those circumstances.

“Let the Bible be received as the food of the soul, the best and most effectual means of purifying and strengthening the intellect.” Ibid., 396.

“We commend to every student the Book of Books as the grandest study for human intelligence . . . Divorce God from the acquisition of knowledge and you have a lame, one-sided education, dead to all the saving qualities that give true power to man.” Ibid., 395.

“Here is the grand stimulus, the hidden force which quickens the mental and physical powers and directs the life into right channels. Here in the Word is wisdom, poetry, history, biography and the most profound philosophy . . . It is impossible to study the Bible with a humble, teachable spirit, without developing and strengthening the intellect. Those who become best acquainted with the wisdom and purpose of God as revealed in His Word become men and women of mental strength.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 432.

“If the mind is set to the task of studying the Bible for information, the reasoning faculties will be improved. Under study of the Scriptures the mind expands, becomes more evenly balanced than if occupied in obtaining general information from the books that are used which have no connection with the Bible.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 393.

“As a stimulus to develop [the mind], nothing else can equal the study of God’s Word. As a means of intellectual training, the Bible is more effective than any other book or all other books combined . . . No other study can impart such mental power as does the effort to grasp the stupendous truths of Revelation. The mind thus brought in contact with the thoughts of the Infinite cannot but expand and strengthen.” Education, 124.

“Studied and obeyed, the Word of God would give to the world men of stronger and more active intellect than will the closest application to all the subjects that human philosophy embraces.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 599.


Changed by the Word


Pitcairn Island was settled by mutineers who rebelled against Captain Bligh on the H. M. S. Bounty. They took women from Tahiti to be their wives, and went to the little island of Pitcairn, to make their own little paradise. Then came a time when all of the Tahitian men were dead, and all but one of the white men and some women and children were dead. The remaining white man did some long, hard thinking. He realized that if something did not change, soon there would not be a living person left on the island.

He dug a Bible out of the ship’s trunk, and began to read it and teach it to the people. Today, Pitcairn Island is a place filled with Seventh-day Adventists. Have you ever heard of any one revolutionizing a whole culture after reading a book on philosophy, mathematics, history or psychology? Only the Bible can do that. It is alive!

“The study of the Bible will ennoble every thought, feeling, and aspiration as no other study can. It gives stability of purpose, patience, courage, fortitude; it refines the character and sanctifies the soul. An earnest, reverent study of the Scriptures, bringing the mind of the student in direct contact with the Infinite mind would give to the world men of stronger and more active intellect, as well as of nobler principle, than has ever resulted from the ablest training that human philosophy affords.” The Great Controversy, 94.

“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. The reading and contemplation of the Scriptures should be regarded as an audience with the Infinite One.” Education, 393.

Do not miss the opportunity to have a personal interview with the God of the universe. Make a decision today to spend more time in the Bible than you ever have before. Consider your situation and the times in which we live. Time is fast coming to a close. Do not waste the short time left.

To whom shall we go? There is no choice. Go to the Living Word. I appeal to you. Do some thinking on this subject. Study your schedule, and figure out a way that you can spend more time with the Living Word during this year of 1997. I appeal to you to make the Word of God your counselor. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”


The Crisis in Adventism

“The warfare against God’s law, which was begun in heaven, will be continued until the end of time. Every man will be tested. Obedience or disobedience is the question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to choose between the law of God and the laws of men. Here the dividing line will be drawn. There will be but two classes. Every character will be fully developed; and all will show whether they have chosen the side of loyalty or that of rebellion. Then the end will come.” The Desire of Ages, 763.

What is the last great crisis that is facing the world? Not the symptoms, but what is the fundamental issue in the last great crisis facing the world? It is the Law of God. “That the Law which was spoken by God’s own voice is faulty, that some specification has been set aside, is the claim which Satan now puts forward. It is the last great deception that he will bring upon the world. He needs not to assail the whole law; if he can lead men to disregard one precept, his purpose is gained . . . By consenting to break one precept, men are brought under Satan’s power.” Ibid.

When Jesus was on earth, the disciples asked what was going to be the sign of the end of the age. “And Jesus answered, and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ and will deceive many.” Matthew 24:4. The first thing that Jesus said to His disciples was a warning about being deceived. This was so important that Jesus repeated the warning at least three times in Matthew 24.

Who was it that Jesus warned could be deceived? He said, “For false Christs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24. Jesus warned the elect against being deceived. Who are the elect? They are the godly. They are the church. They are the Seventh-day Adventists.

The devil has a special plan for deceiving Seventh-day Adventists. He is causing a great crisis in Adventism, because he wants to deceive those who have been given the greatest light—the elect.

This clear warning has been given to Seventh-day Adventists. “In the last vision given me I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 608, 609.

That is not good news to me. I grew up in the Adventist Church. I went entirely through the Adventist educational system. All my friends, when I was growing up, were part of the Adventist Church. Those are my best friends today, scattered all over the world. It is startling to read that only a few of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved. The great majority of Seventh-day Adventists will be deceived by the devil’s sophistries. I repeat God’s warning because I do not want you to be one of the many people who are going to be lost.

What will be the test for those who will be among the faithful who stand strong despite the devil’s greatest deceptions? “To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 136.

What is the great crisis for Adventism? “Satan hopes to involve the remnant people of God in the general ruin that is coming upon the earth. As the coming of Christ draws nigh, he will be more determined and decisive in his efforts to overthrow them. Men and women will arise professing to have some new light or some new revelation whose tendency is to unsettle faith in the old landmarks.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 295.

This great crisis in Adventism is predicted in Matthew 24. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:12. The antichrist power teaches people to break part of God’s law. Revelation and 2 Thessalonians 2, show clearly that almost the whole world is going to be deceived.

God’s people are going to be living in the midst of an ocean of lawlessness. In that environment, Jesus said the love of many will grow cold. This does not take place suddenly. You do not go from a position of spiritual health and strength, filled with the Holy Spirit, then immediately turn and be ready for ruin and destruction. It happens over a period of time.

The message to the Laodiceans is that they need to repent, because they are lukewarm. They are no longer hot. Their love has grown cold. This is the great crisis in Adventism. Many are in the process of going from hot to cold, but sadly, they do not realize the change, because they do not feel any different today than they felt yesterday. How does the devil work it so that someone can go from hot to cold and not even know anything has happened? That is the incideousness and the subtleness of the crisis in Adventism.

The story is told of a Seventh-day Adventist minister in California who lost his life in a tragic vehicle accident. When the autopsy was performed, the physicians found that he was full of cancer. He would have died in a short time anyway, but neither he nor his wife knew it.

Why did he not know about it? Because the cancer, itself, does not hurt. The results of cancer can hurt as a nerve is eaten up, or pressure from a tumor pushes on something and causes unbearable pain. The cancer itself does not hurt. You can be full of it and not know that you are sick.


Safeguard Against Deceptions


If you have the truth and the devil is trying to involve you in the ruin that is coming upon the world, how is he going to do it? “It is not alone those who openly reject the Testimonies, or who cherish doubt concerning them, that are on dangerous ground. To disregard light is to reject it . . . Many are going directly contrary to the light which God has given to His people, because they do not read the books which contain the light and knowledge and cautions, reproofs, and warnings.” Testimonies to the Church, vol. 5, 680, 681.

Many people go directly contrary to God’s instructions because they do not read. Your pastor, Sabbath School teacher, and elder cannot teach you everything in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. God holds us responsible when we do not take advantage of the light available to us. God expects you to learn on your own.

As we approach the end, there will be people who will say, “I am a Seventh-day Adventist. I believe the Bible. I believe the Spirit of Prophecy.” But they will be involved in the ruin coming on all the world because they are not following God’s instruction. They do not read. They choose not to understand.

We are living in the most deceptive time in the world’s history. How will you know if you are deceived? (Always remember, that no one who is deceived knows he is deceived.) If you do not want to be deceived you must study for yourself. No one can do it for you. If you are not studying, watching, and praying for yourself, the devil will bring a deception for you, and cause you to lose confidence in the truth.

We are living in a time of unbelief and doubt. All throughout Adventism, and especially on Seventh-day Adventist college campuses, skepticism is running rampant. The devil is using his cleverly developed methods to secure his end. He rarely makes a frontal attack, because he is a deceiver. To gain control of us, he starts to chip away at our belief, to undermine our confidence in the inspired writings.

You and I are no match for the devil. We are not as intelligent as he is, or as old. The devil knows that the only way we can escape is by reading the inspired writings, believing them and acting upon them. (See James 2.)

The chapter called “Snares of Satan,” in the book The Great Controversy, shows how the devil tries to rob people of their faith. We have had attack, after attack, in Adventism on this point. For instance, in 1976 an Adventist scholar wrote a book called, Ellen G. White, Prophetess of Health. Many Adventist, intellectual people, lost their confidence in Ellen White on the basis of this book. This book asks a lot of questions to bring in doubt.

We need to learn that if we involve ourselves in asking questions that no one can answer, we will eventually lose our faith, become skeptics, and lose our souls. This was the devil’s first tactic after he rebelled in heaven. He planted doubt in the minds of his fellow angels, by asking questions.

Ellen White warned us that this is one of the principle deceptions of the devil. “It is a masterpiece of Satan’s deceptions to keep the minds of men searching and conjecturing in regard to that which God has not made known and which He does not intend that we shall understand.” The Great Controversy, 523.


Mysteries in the Bible


Seven mysteries are mentioned in the New Testament. One of the seven mysteries is the incarnation—God manifested in flesh. That is spoken of as a great mystery in 1 Timothy 3:16. When an inspired writer says that something is a great mystery, in other words, it is something you and I are never going to be able to explain fully. Yet, I get letters from Seventh-day Adventists who want me to explain the Godhead, and every detail about the nature of Christ. They want the unexplainable explained for their finite minds.

The early church, between the second and sixth centuries, wanted the same thing. Large church councils were called over and over again, to try to settle the controversy. In the end fighting broke out, and there was actually war over the issue. All this took place because people were trying to explain what God had not revealed.

The devil uses philosophical and scientific arguments that are pleasing to the mind to lead many astray. Friend, if the devil can rob you of your faith and confidence in inspired writings, he will prevail. You may not know that he has won, because you will be deceived, but you will still be lost. He leads many people to think that if they can ask a question that cannot be answered, they have gained some point. These people put their own finite mind above the infinite mind of God.

Many today are like the Greeks, who required a rational explanation for everything, or like the Jews, who wanted a sign before they would believe. But faith is not based on demonstration. It is based on evidence. “The Word of God, like the character of its Author, presents mysteries that can never be fully comprehended by finite beings. But God has given in the Scriptures sufficient evidence of their divine authority. His own existence, His character, the truthfulness of His Word, are established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. True, He has not removed the possibility of doubt; faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration; those who wish to doubt have opportunity; but those who desire to know the truth find ample ground for faith.” Education, 169.




The Word of God is the only thing in this world that you can really depend upon all the time. Are you asking, “Pastor John, what is the evidence?” If so, study carefully the following two evidences from the Bible.

The first is the evidence that God Himself is the One true God. He gives this as a challenge in Isaiah 44 and 45, and especially in Isaiah 46:9, 10. He supports His claim with the evidence that He can do something that no one else can ever do. He says, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9, 10. God says that not only has He created everything that exists, He also knows the end from the beginning, and can reveal the future.

Several months ago we held a Prophecy Seminar in Wichita and we went over these things the first night. A young woman came to this Prophecy Seminar. Her mother, who was a Christian, upon learning that her daughter was attending our meetings, became worried that she might be becoming involved with a cult. I am sure she had heard some of the things that Seventh-day Adventists are called today. The mother said, “I should go and be sure that my daughter is not becoming a cultist.”

The mother came about the sixth or seventh session. By that time we were studying the Sabbath and the Law of God and what prophecy said about it. The mother listened carefully the first night. She could not find anything cultic in the messages she heard from the Bible. She came every single night after that. After several nights, she realized that there was a message in Bible prophecy that she could see was being fulfilled all over the world. The prophecy was true, and the evidence was overwhelming.

In many seminars I have conducted, I have watched people from many religions, non-Christians, Catholics, Lutherans—people from many other churches, and when the seminar is completed, they will tell you the same thing. The evidence that what you have taught is Bible prophecy and that it is true, is overwhelming. The evidence is there if you want to see it.

There is an evidence of the truthfulness of God’s Word that is far more profound than simply prophecy or the ability to foretell the future. This powerful evidence is found in this text: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” Romans 8:16. The evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, that the gospel is true, that the Bible is an inspired book and that Ellen White was a prophetess, comes as you study these things. The Holy Spirit comes into your life and changes your heart. Then the Lord can use you to win others who do not know Him, even if they do not know anything about prophecy. If you have been changed, and you can share your testimony with others, you can be a mighty witness for the Lord.


The Holy Spirit’s Power


What changes does the Holy Spirit make when He comes into your heart? First, the Holy Spirit gives you power to witness. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8.

Second, the Holy Spirit gives you power to overcome sin. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:4, 5. (See Romans 8:1–14.)

Sometimes people say, “Pastor John, I have a besetting sin and I cannot overcome it.” Of course, you cannot overcome it. No one can overcome a besetting sin in their own power. When the Holy Spirit comes into your life, he gives you the power to overcome. Your thoughts will be pure, your language will be pure and your actions will be in harmony with God’s law. You will begin to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and your neighbors as yourself. You will be a different person. Then you become a powerful witness.

Are you having that experience? Is the Holy Spirit inside? Or is the Holy Spirit outside, pleading with you to give your heart in surrender to Jesus, not only as your Savior but as the Lord of your life? The Holy Spirit is with all who have not committed the unpardonable sin.

Jesus told His disciples that up to that time the Holy Spirit had just been with them, but in the future it was going to be different. “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:17.

What is your condition today? Is the Holy Spirit just with you? Or is the Holy Spirit in you? If the Holy Spirit is in you, you will be living a sin-free life, bearing witness to the gospel. It will have a powerful effect on other people. That is the most powerful sign that God’s Word is true, that Ellen White is a prophet, that Jesus is the Christ and that He is coming soon to take the faithful home.


The Celestial Wedding

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19:7–9.

Let us go back to the Garden of Eden where God officiated at the first marriage. How did Adam get his bride? God caused Adam to sleep, and as he slept, God took a rib from his side which He used to make woman. Charmed with her loveliness, Adam exclaimed with words that meant, “We are two of a kind,” when he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Genesis 2:23. And God pronounced them man and wife, saying, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24.

There is a very deep spiritual lesson here. For Adam typified the second Adam—Christ. He left His Father to seek a bride in this world. Christ also slept a very deep sleep, even the sleep of death. And through the twin streams of water and blood which flowed from His side, He won His bride.

“In both the Old and the New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people.” The Mount of Blessing, 64. How beautiful!

Because of the limitations of language, the Bible frequently employs symbols to help us to understand. For instance, the Old Testament writers wrote of the Messiah “as a root out of a dry ground,” and “a Man of Sorrows . . . stricken, smitten of God and afflicted . . . And brought as a Lamb to the slaughter.” Isaiah 53:2–7. What a picture of suffering is revealed to us of the Messiah who was to come.

Isaiah painted the coming Messiah in a vastly different picture in Isaiah 63:1–6. Here Christ is shown as One sitting upon the throne of David, glorious in His apparel and treading down the wicked. Because of this description, the Jews had difficulty in reconciling the Messiah’s humiliation with the glory that He was to attain.

National pride wanted a Prince to deliver them from Rome’s galling yoke. But Jesus offered a different kind of deliverance. A deliverance from sin. In rejecting the Saviour they rejected the Holy Spirit that attested to His ministry. That is why Isaiah said, “Who hath believed our report?” Isaiah 53:1. It is the same today as then.


Understanding the Wedding Symbolism


Many make a shipwreck of their faith, when they misunderstand a principle of interpretation of the Scriptures. We need to comprehend that “the Holy Ghost teacheth comparing spiritual things with spiritual . . . which are spiritually discerned,” but “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:13, 14.

Let us look at some seeming contradictions. Isaiah speaks of the church as the vine. But “Jesus said, I am the vine.” John 15:5. Christ represented Himself, in Jeremiah 3:14, as married to His people. But in Revelation 21:9, 10, it speaks of Him as married to the New Jerusalem.

We need light about the wedding. There are two parables that provide the clarification that we need. The parable of the wedding garment found in Matthew 22:2–13 shows that a person’s welcome to the wedding depends upon his wearing of the robe of Christ’s righteousness. In Matthew 25:1–13, the parable of the ten virgins teaches that attendance at the wedding depends upon the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life.

Both parables emphasize that the redeemed attend Christ’s wedding and not their own. As we dig deeper, we find in Matthew 22 that the king made a wedding celebration for His Son and the king provided a wedding garment for all the guests. These garments symbolize Christ’s character (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 310.)

This wedding garment never hides unconfessed or unforsaken sin. “No man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sin, or neglecting known duties . . . In order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 366. This absolute truth is in direct opposition to the present false teachings of the new theology.

Before Adam and Eve sinned, God clothed them with the light of innocence. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 310) This is further defined as “a covering of light and glory such as the angels wear.” The Story of Redemption, 21. This robe of light signified that they still faced a test of obedience, for the Bible never equates innocence with righteousness.

For example: A young lady in her innocence is pure as the new fallen snow. But when she is tempted to break her virginity before marriage, she cries, No, never! Now she has something more than innocence. For innocence tested has become virtue. So in the spiritual sense this can also be said of righteousness.

The King’s examination of the guests, represents a work of judgment. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 310.) The King sees a man who came to the wedding in his citizen’s garb. He now stands speechless as God asks, “Why did you ignore wearing the special robe that I prepared for you?”

When does the wedding between Christ and His bride take place? “I saw that while Jesus was in the Most Holy Place He would be married to the New Jerusalem.” Early Writings, 251. “While Jesus had been ministering in the Sanctuary . . . The subjects of the kingdom were made up . . . the marriage of the Lamb was consummated.” Ibid., 280.

According to the parable of the ten virgins, there were only five with oil who had made the needed preparation. How is this? “All had lamps, that is, an outward semblance of religion; but only five of them had inward piety. Five of them were wanting in the oil of grace. The spirit of life in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit, was not abiding in their hearts.” Sons and Daughters of God, 118.

In speaking of Adventist believers, Ellen White stated in Early Writings, 255, “As they by faith entered the Most Holy, they found Jesus . . . It was represented to me that the remnant followed Jesus into the Most Holy.”

The five foolish virgins represent all those who refuse this light and “are destitute of the Holy Spirit.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 408. From these parables we learn that attendance at the wedding depended on two points. First, wearing the robe of Christ’s righteousness and second having the Holy Spirit abiding within them, controlling the entire life.


Going in to the Wedding


What does the symbolism of this message have as a spiritual lesson for us today? “The marriage represents the reception by Christ, of His kingdom.” The Great Controversy, 426. And in the book of Revelation, John in vision heard a voice saying, “Come hither, and I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife . . . And showed me that great city, the Holy Jerusalem . . . prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband.” Revelation 21:9, 10, 2.

“The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is the capital and representative of the kingdom, is called, ‘the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ ” Ibid., 426. In the Revelation the people of God are said to be the guests at the marriage supper. If guests, they cannot be represented as the bride. How do we harmonize these statements?

The guests were not to be present in person at the marriage. For, it takes place in heaven while they are upon the earth. (See The Great Controversy, 427.) The followers of Christ are to wait for the Lord when He will return from the wedding. But we are to understand His work and to follow Him by faith as He goes in before God. It is in this sense that they are said to go into the marriage.

It is clear that we become the bride by first becoming the guests. The phrases, “not present in person,” and “to follow Him by faith,” help us to grasp the significance of the celestial wedding as it relates to each of us. Like Moses, we must follow Jesus by faith, “seeing Him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27. Ever since the disappointment of 1844, the wise virgins with oil in their lamps have entered, by faith, into heaven’s Most Holy Place to attend the marriage of the Lamb. And so today, everyone who is led by the Holy Spirit enters the Most Holy Place by faith. This is how God counts us as being present today. “All who through the testimony of the Scriptures accept the same truths, following Christ by faith as He enters in before God to perform the last work of mediation, and at its close to receive His kingdom—all these are represented as going into the marriage.” The Great Controversy, 427.

Have we entered the Most Holy Place by faith? Does the knowledge of what takes place in heaven’s sanctuary stir a deep devotion within our hearts to be ready for His soon coming? Why do I ask these questions? Because in 1890, many of the professed believers were unprepared. Ellen White said at that time, “The people have not entered into the Holy Place, where Jesus has gone to make an atonement for His children.” The Review and Herald, February 25, 1890.

That was a startling pronouncement for those living then. Have we changed for the better? Do we today live as wise virgins, keeping our lamps trimmed and burning with the oil of the Holy Spirit? “I am often referred to the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish. This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter, for it has a special application to this time, and like the third angel’s message, has been fulfilled and will continue to be present truth till the close of time.” The Review and Herald, August 19, 1890.

Ask yourself the question, “Has the subject of Christ’s righteousness become my daily object to be obtained in life? Can my neighbors see a living Christ enthroned in all that I do?” Why do I press this point? Because, “Not one in one hundred understands for himself the Bible truth on this subject.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 360.

This is why Satan is determined to keep God’s people from obtaining a clear presentation of Christ’s work for us in the heavenly Sanctuary. “For he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken.” The Review and Herald, September 3, 1889.


Righteousness is Right Doing


What does this term, “righteousness by faith,” mean? If you will search the Spirit of Prophecy you will find some forty definitions. Here are some sample statements. “Righteousness is right doing.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312.

“Righteousness is holiness . . . Righteousness is love . . . The righteousness of God is embodied in Christ. We receive righteousness by receiving Him.” The Mount of Blessing, 18.

“The righteousness which Christ taught is conformity of heart and life to the revealed will of God.” The Desire of Ages, 310.

This doctrine may seem simple to understand, but we will never obtain the righteousness of Christ if we are not daily filled with the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. In Selected Messages, vol. 1, 374, we read, “Through faith the Holy Spirit works in the heart to create holiness therein; but this cannot be done unless the human agent will work with Christ. We can be fitted for heaven only through the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart; for we must have Christ’s righteousness as our credentials if we would find access to the Father. In order that we may have the righteousness of Christ, we need daily to be transformed by the influence of the Spirit, to be a partaker of the divine nature. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to elevate the taste, to sanctify the heart, to ennoble the whole man.”

“Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. In that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us.” Steps to Christ, 63. Christ’s righteousness provides both an instant and a continual experience.

God wants us to take Him at His word, and God makes no idle promises. A story has been told of Napoleon and his horse that illustrates this point. During a battle, Napoleon’s white charger got away from him. A Private rushed out and caught the horse by the bridle and led him to the General.

Pleased, the General said, “Thank you, Captain.”

The Private saluted. “What regiment, Sir?” he asked.

The Private had accepted as a fact, what Napoleon had intended as a thank you. Napoleon could not go back on his word, so he made the Private a Captain.

We should take God at His word and press our petitions with a determination that cannot be denied. “If you believe the promise—God supplies the fact . . . It is so, if you believe it.” Steps to Christ, 51. The astounding truth is that at the moment a sinner becomes a believer, he stands before God as though he had never sinned.

What a glorious truth! Praise His name! The true believer always accepts God’s conditions—obedience, made possible by the help of the Holy Spirit. The believer receives even more than forgiveness. God places to His account the perfect righteousness of Christ. What a God of love! It sounds unbelievable, but it is true.

How can God make this possible? It is through the agency of the Holy Spirit that we become new creatures. “Made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. God holds nothing back. The Bible tells us of God’s righteousness. “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.” Psalm 119:142.

Ellen White observes: “The provision made is complete, and the eternal righteousness of Christ is placed to the account of every believing soul.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 394. The eternal righteousness! God offers nothing less. God could not have offered more.

The term “righteousness by faith” in Christ, includes both imputed and imparted righteousness, for the Holy Spirit provides both. “Ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 2 Corinthians 6:11. We must understand that it is the Holy Spirit who gives us a fitness for heaven.

“It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the Word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself . . . Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil.” The Desire of Ages, 671.

“When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312.

This is what was stated at the beginning of this article. When God united Adam and Eve in marriage (Genesis 3:24), He said, “They shall be one flesh.” So now we can understand the statement that righteousness by faith is the third angel’s message in verity. Evangelism, 190. Because it represents the uplifted Saviour. (See Testimonies to Ministers, 91).

“Only those who are clothed in the garments of His righteousness will be able to endure the glory of His presence when He shall appear with power and great glory.” Sons and Daughters of God, 368.

“The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 97, 98.

Thus, we shall be imbued with the latter rain’s power. The Adventist message is to throb with such divine energy that it will go to the world. “Everyone is to hear the last call to the marriage supper of the Lamb. From town to town, from city to city, from country to country, the message of present truth is to be proclaimed, not with outward display, but in the power of the Spirit.” Gospel Workers, 27.


The Fellowship of The Spirit


No amount of preparation you make will avail you of a place at the marriage supper unless you personally experience the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. “The fellowship of the Spirit . . . could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 413.

This heaven sent light of the sealing, the shut door, and the wedding call, demands our whole hearted response—for this is our present truth. To look for more or greater light while neglecting these truths will result in spiritual darkness.

The apostle Paul describes such persons. “Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7. Jesus pleads, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” John 12:35.

Some today imagine that the church needs more research, a new clarification of her doctrines, in other words, more new light. But what is needed now is to act upon the light already given. “The Lord does not propose to perform for us either the willing or the doing.” Testimonies to Ministers, 240. “Unless the human agent inclines his heart to do God’s will, and takes up God’s service, the light will shine in vain. A thousandfold more light and conviction would accomplish nothing. God knows He has sufficient evidence already.” Letter 135, 1898. (See Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 35.)