Bible Study Guides – The Extent and Implications of a Modern Captivity

August 22, 2010 – August 28, 2010

Key Text

“Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours. … their prophesying is in force for us. … Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel … spoke of things that … reached down to the future, and to what should occur in these last days.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 338, 419, 420.


In our last lesson we viewed a prophetic landscape of potential devastation for modern Israel. In this lesson we continue to examine in more detail whether or not these prophecies fit modern Israel, how they fit, and the extent to which they fit.

1 If this has really been happening in the Seventh-day Adventist church; if the same sins that led to earlier captivities have been practiced with persistence, should we expect a different result? Should we expect that the SDA organization is about to be cleaned up, or expect to find it in a captivity that leads to its destruction?

Recall that in Christ’s day, the church could not be refurbished! The true Gospel, like new wine, had to be put into new wine bottles; the true gospel in new believers—a new church.

Apply It:

“Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’ … For if you thoroughly amend your ways … then I will cause you to dwell in this place … you trust in lying words … Will you … walk after other gods … and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? … But go now to … Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people.” Jeremiah 7:4, 5, 7––10, 12.

“O town full of commotion … All your leaders have fled together; They have been captured. … Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people. The Lord, the Lord Almighty, has a day of tumult and trampling … City of David had many breaches in its defenses; … You counted the buildings in Jerusalem And tore down houses To strengthen the wall. … But you did not look to the One who made it, … The Lord, the Lord Almighty, Called you on that day to weep and to wail, To tear out your hair and put on sackcloth. But see, there is joy and revelry. … The Lord Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: ‘Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,’ says the Lord, the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah 22:2—-–4, 9–12, 14. [Emphasis supplied.]

“… a sword is sharpened … polished … to make a dreadful slaughter. … Should we then make mirth?” Ezekiel 21:9, 10.

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

“Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets Who make my people stray; Who chant ‘All is well’ … But who prepare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths: Therefore you shall have night without vision. … The sun shall go down on prophetic revelation … Now hear this, You rulers of the house of Israel [whose work is driven by money]. … They lean on the Lord, and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.’ Therefore Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins.” Micah 3:5, 6, 9, 11, 12.


Contemplate the duplicate warning found in Jeremiah 6:13–15 and 8:10–13.

“… prophets and priests alike, All practice deceit. They dress the wound of My people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace!’ they say. When there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No! They have no shame at all; They do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; They will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord. ‘I will take away their harvest,’ declares the Lord. ‘There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, And their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them.’ ”

2 If God’s people are in what seems like a captivity, has it been acknowledged, recognized, prayed about, and acted on?

3 If the Seventh-day Adventist church continued to follow the history of ancient Israel, what might be the next sign of their demise?

For ancient Israel, their last warnings came from Jesus (Matthew 23), the Apostles (Acts 2) and Stephen (Acts 7). Their final demise was not apparent to many Jews until years later when it actually happened; when the Roman armies destroyed their city and church.

In the meantime and without any comprehension by ancient Israel, God’s true church, His new Israel had already carried the gospel to “every creature under heaven” (Colossians 1:23). Since the destruction of Jerusalem is a picture in miniature of the destruction of the world—does it not seem plausible that the Three Angels’ Messages could be completed while many Seventh-day Adventists are oblivious to the happening?

4 What about the promises of the glory and redemption of Israel?

The prophetic warnings of complete destruction for God’s professed people are stark, and have been presented in the straightforward bleakness that Scripture presents them. The reader may ask, What of the promised glory of Israel; aren’t these texts to be balanced with promises of restoration? What about those promises of restoration that are hiding in some of the ellipses above?


The prophet Jeremiah phrased this same question:

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Surely You have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, Saying, ‘You shall have peace,’ Whereas the sword reaches to the heart.” Jeremiah 4:10.

There are indeed precious promises of restoration for Israel. But; question: how does one balance a prophetic warning of utter destruction if certain conditions are met with anything? We will continue to examine this paradox as we move through this study on captivity. For now, the student is left with this reminder from our study on the captivity of Israel in Christ’s time:

An understanding of the parallel mingling of triumph/tragedy for the professed Jewish church and tragedy/triumph of the Christian church is critical to an understanding of Old Testament prophecy. The Old Testament prophecies themselves are, on a large scale, a grand parallel mingling of stunning triumph in the face of disaster and monumental defeat in the face of misplaced confidence. This history of the church in Christ’s time gives us the tools to understand how these seemingly contradictory prophecies can be fulfilled simultaneously. [Emphasis supplied.]

5 What about historic Seventh-day Adventists?

Well, what about them? Who are they exactly? Perhaps these have skillfully evaded the effects of captivity. Let’s review our position as historic Seventh-day Adventists:

Review and Discuss:

  • There is almost no collective intelligence and action (in Ezra’s day, they rose up as “one man” to build).
  • There are almost no shepherds (where are the Pastors?)
  • Could the flocks be any more scattered?
  • There are multiple winds of doctrine, with no unified defense.
  • They possess multiple, disputed names.
  • There is no temple (no organized church and few buildings).
  • Despite many SDA schools, there are essentially none for God’s true remnant.
  • The captivity-like dilemma has not been recognized for what it is.
  • As in Jeremiah’s day, false prophesies abound.
  • We do not see “eye-to-eye” (see Isaiah 52:8).
  • As in Haggai’s time, we have left off building, turning our attention primarily to our country homes and gardens.

Apply It:

Let’s examine a few of these points:

Collective Intelligence:

God has appointed both individual and collective will to humans, and both are important. As historic Seventh-day Adventists, we have long exercised our muscle of individual will and action, while our muscle of collective will, intelligence, and action has nigh atrophied. In Heaven, the collective will to action is critical to success in the Great Controversy! What about our collective action? If we are to build, as God would have us build, we must have collective action and collective intelligence.

Let’s illustrate the importance of collective intelligence and action for God’s remnant by comparing our needs to evangelize and educate (rebuild the temple and the wall) with large scale projects in the secular world. There are millions of very talented, intelligent and industrious people in our world, but not a single one of them knows in full how to create and manage a major infrastructure project, build a jet plane or computer, or manage a monetary system. Nor can one person simply assign a specified amount of physical and mental energy to be expended by a group of people working separately and accomplish any of these projects. All of these projects require collective intelligence and action. If the secular world we live in was managed like our gospel work has been, we would all be hungry, tool-poor barterers the world over! The children of darkness are indeed wiser in their generation than the children of light on this point (Luke 16:8, 9).

God, in His infinite wisdom, has given to His church collective tasks in evangelism and education that simply cannot be met exclusively by exercising our talents individually! There are parts of our individual characters that simply cannot be properly developed unless we are at least attempting to work collectively. Unfortunately, many of us have been assuming otherwise. It is a key responsibility of each person in the church with secular employment to be a part of the collective intelligence and will to action that is needed so that gospel workers can be trained and hired!

Winds of Doctrine:

Let’s just focus on one area where the winds of false doctrine have been blowing: false prophesies; which are often coupled with nearly unbridled accusations against our governments.

Conservative Adventism, in general, is indeed ripe with prophesying today. Some truly have rushed in, where angels fear to tread. For example, we’ve been subjected to prophesying of dates for financial collapse, new money, martial law, and terrorism. Many within Adventism have thrown around specific prophetic predictions tied to years (and sometimes to specific dates) such as: 1979, 1981, 1987, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009. At times we name drop worldly leaders to bolster the accuracy of our claims.

But when these prophecies are left unfulfilled—when Atlanta still stands, where is the repentance, the humility, and the apologies! As each predicted event passes its time unfulfilled, new predictions take their place! The writings of the prophets do indeed tell us with certainty that disaster, of unimaginable proportion, looms. And we have already begun to see the omens of the complete fulfillment of this. But where are the dates? Ellen White tells us that after 1844 we have “no more message based on time.” When will we believe and act on what is said? (Note, for example, that Ellen White foresaw both the great San Francisco earthquake and the destruction of very tall buildings in New York City—but did not tie dates to either event!)

But even worse yet is the fact that some have even dared to tie together the most solemn, life and death issues of the Three Angels’ Messages with these predictions! How can we possibly convince the world of the unerring nature of God’s law, when we publish it side-by-side with political gossip, especially when these conjectures are subsequently found to be in error! And how can we hope to educate political leaders about the great controversy when our time is consumed in criticizing all that is done or attempted by them? We do not have capital to both endlessly criticize and educate; we will often have to choose! Please see Testimonies, vol. 6, 394–397 on this point.

This lesson series is not devoted to studying winds of false doctrine. Had it been, the above example could have been followed by an examination of false doctrines that challenge the divinity of Jesus, the sanctuary, the Holy Spirit and a host of others.


Historic Seventh-day Adventists today have no unified identity.

Seeing Eye to Eye:

Note that Isaiah prophesied in chapter 52 that God’s people would see eye to eye when they were free from their captivity! Has that happened? Would this fact, alone, not indicate that we are in captivity?

Country Homes Come Before Church Building:

In Haggai’s time, God’s people had been called to return to re-build the temple. It was also their privilege to build their own homes, and cultivate their fields. But they had made their personal building and planting a greater priority than building the temple, and were severely rebuked for this. Their crops were cursed. We even find that God temporarily disowned them for this neglect. Today, I fear that many have placed the importance of preparing their property and gardens for the time of trouble ahead of plans to finish building the temple. This is not to say that this preparation is unimportant, but simply to say that we must understand the relative importance of these activities.

This is the message of the prophet Haggai: God’s people could have no success while the church was not complete, and they were not trying to do anything about it! God said that because of their slackness, they would continue to fail to receive rain and fail to produce fruit.


While we certainly hope that it is accurate to state that, in general, historic Seventh-day Adventists have not been party to the basest sins, the fact remains that the effects of a seeming captivity are felt far and wide. All of God’s people seem to be profoundly affected. And if it is not a captivity that we are experiencing, it certainly carries many of the same features.

Studies prepared by John T. Grosboll, PE. John T. is a mechanical engineer living near Vancouver, Washington. His secular employment includes several years of experience in primary metals and transportation-related industries. He, along with his wife Teresa, is actively involved in the work of the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be reached at:

Bible Study Guides – A Modern Captivity

August 15, 2010 – August 21, 2010

Key Text

“Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours. … their prophesying is in force for us. … Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel … spoke of things that … reached down to the future, and to what should occur in these last days.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 338, 419, 420.


In our last lesson, we saw clearly that the failure of ancient Israel to promptly see the temple through to completion, would be repeated by Modern Israel. In this lesson we investigate the implications should this situation be protracted. We conclude by drawing from the history of the church in Christ’s day to see where our current situation could lead.

1 Could God’s professed people return to captivity, as happened with the Jewish church in Christ’s time? How could it end?

Apply It:

The Scriptures that could be brought to bear on such large questions are indeed extensive. Below are Scripture excerpts, largely from Isaiah and Jeremiah, which provide a sampling of potential answers to these questions.

“… O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err … The Lord will enter into judgment With the elders of His people. … ‘For you have eaten up the vineyard’ … and she [Zion] being desolate shall sit on the ground.” Isaiah 3:12, 14, 26.

“What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then … Did it bring forth wild grapes? I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall … I will lay it waste; It shall not be pruned … I will also command the clouds That they rain no rain on it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel. …Therefore my people have gone into captivity, Because they have no knowledge … Therefore as … the flame consumes the chaff, So … their blossom will ascend like dust.” Isaiah 5:4-–-7, 13, 24.

“… you have polluted the land With your harlotries … Therefore … there has been no latter rain. … Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, So have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 3:2, 3, 20.

“ ‘Just as you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve aliens in a land that is not yours. Declare this in the house of Jacob … among My people are found wicked men; As a cage is full of birds … Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘ Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’ … The prophets prophesy falsely … And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:19, 20, 26, 27, 29, 31.

“My people do not know the judgment of the Lord … For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How we are plundered!’ “Jeremiah 8:17; 9:19.

“I have forsaken My house, I have left My heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of My soul into the hand of her enemies. … Many pastors have destroyed My vineyard … They have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. … No flesh shall have peace … be ashamed of your harvest.” Jeremiah 12:7, 10, 12, 13.

“Give glory to the Lord … Before He causes darkness. … If you will not hear it, My soul will weep … Because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.” Jeremiah 13:16, 17.

“I will bereave them [this people] of children; I will destroy My people, Since they do not return from their ways. … And the remnant of them I will deliver to the sword.” Jeremiah 15:7, 9.

“Woe to you who are at ease in Zion … who put far off the day of doom … the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste. … Israel shall surely be led away captive. … The end has come upon My people. … They shall wander … seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it.” Amos 6:1, 3; 7:9, 11; 8:2, 12.

“And many among them [both houses of Israel] shall … be snared and captured. … They will be driven into darkness.” Isaiah 8:15, 22.

“O daughter of Zion … you will go to Babylon.” Micah 4:10.

“In all the vineyards there shall be wailing … I do not savor your sacred assemblies … Take away from Me the noise of your songs … therefore I will send you into captivity.” Amos 5.

2 Based on history, what could the start of captivity look like? Should we expect the captivity to be widely recognized?

3 Has a return to captivity already commenced? How would you determine whether or not God’s professed people are in captivity?

4 Has the Seventh-day Adventist church participated in the sins that called for the ancient captivity of God’s people? Should SDAs expect to repeat these sins with different, more positive results?

Apply It:

  • It is united with the world formally and informally.
  • Its people are without knowledge because …
  • The prophets have been despised.
  • It is led by false shepherds, crying peace and safety while the judgment closes.
  • They have united with the state to persecute other Christians through courts of law.
  • Sins such as idolatry and Sabbath breaking are common, and unrebuked.

The full investigation and explanation of the above claims is left to the student. But as a guide to some of these claims, here are some facts that may be investigated.

  • 1 At least one of the official outreach entities of the SDA church is united legally in business under the auspices of a Roman Catholic institution.
  • 2 As with other corrupt religious institutions, the SDA organization has for years used legal and/or physical force in many parts of the world to further its plans.
  • 3 The SDA church has, in various places and at various times, formally and informally united with and supported a cacophony of religious organizations.
  • 4 In practice, the Elijah prophet (Ellen G. White) has been rejected, and the resulting ignorance has seen confusion enter on every biblical point, from the Creation story to the Mark of the Beast.
  • 5 In general, many churches have for years left unchecked open sins within their borders.
  • 6 In general, a message of peace and safety has been preached to heal slightly the wounded consciences of God’s professed people.

5 Does the Seventh-day Adventist church bear the hallmark characteristics of the captivity of the Jewish church in Christ’s day?

  • Does the SDA church, as the Jewish church in Christ’s day, continue to function, maintain real property, pursue converts, and maintain a system of education—despite the deep divisions of a conservative and liberal class?
  • Are there many pastors, and yet—are the sheep as without a shepherd?
  • Are there many schools, and yet—are there none where the child Jesus could attend?
  • As in Christ’s day, is the work of those outside the official recognition of the organization automatically viewed with suspicion, or even opposed?
  • As in Christ’s day, are people taught to place their trust in the temple (church organization) and that to be put out of the synagogue (disfellowshipped from a church body under the auspices of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists) is to be put out of the saving fold of Christ?

6 How does Ellen White compare the condition and outcome of modern Israel, Seventh-day Adventists, with ancient Israel, and the Jews in Christ’s time?

Apply It:

“In His word the Lord declared what He would do for Israel if they would obey His voice. But the leaders of the people yielded to the temptations of Satan, and God could not give them the blessings He designed them to have, because they did not obey His voice but listened to the voice and policy of Lucifer. This experience will be repeated in the last years of the history of the people of God, who have been established by His grace and power. Men whom He has greatly honored will in the closing scenes of this earth’s history pattern after ancient Israel.” Manuscript Releases, 13, 379. [Emphasis supplied.]

“Modern Israel are in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than were His ancient people. Many idols are worshiped, even by professed Sabbathkeepers. … A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God. … The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 609. [Emphasis supplied.]

“The alliances made by the Israelites with their heathen neighbors resulted in the loss of their identity as God’s peculiar people. … No semblance of nearness to God, no assertion of connection with Him, will be accepted from those who persist in dishonoring Him by leaning upon the arm of worldly power.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1155, 1156. [Emphasis supplied.]

“My heart aches day after day and night after night for our churches. Many are progressing, but in the back track … They must face square about. I know what I say. Unless they shall become Christians indeed, they will go from weakness to weakness, divisions will increase, and many souls will be led to perdition … The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the expressed will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps, and the displeasure of the Lord is as surely resting upon them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 93, 94. [Emphasis supplied.]

“The same danger [reference to Jeremiah’s time] exists today among that people who profess to be the repository of God’s law. … They refuse to be reproved of evil, and blame God’s servants with being too zealous in putting sin out of the camp. A sin-hating God calls upon those who profess to keep his law to depart from all iniquity. Neglect to repent and obey his word will bring as serious consequences upon God’s people today, as did the same sin upon ancient Israel. There is a limit beyond which he will no longer delay his judgments. The correction of God through his chosen instruments cannot be disregarded with impunity. The desolation of Jerusalem stands as a solemn warning before the eyes of modern Israel.” The Signs of the Times, February 12, 1880. [Emphasis supplied.]

“The Lord sorely chastised his people Israel, revealing their hypocrisy and rebuking their presumption, and thus left upon the pages of history the testimony for all future ages, that the iniquities of his professed people will not go unpunished. The greater the knowledge of God’s will, the greater the sin of those who disregard it. God is not dependent upon men to cause his name to be feared and honored in the earth. He accepts the labors of those who walk in faithfulness and humility before him, but he will reject all who profess to serve him, and yet follow in the course of the unrighteous. God can carry forward his work in the earth without the co-operation of those who would pervert or disgrace it.” Ibid., December 22, 1881. [Emphasis supplied.]

“There is a deplorable lack of spirituality among our people. … I have seen that self-glorification was becoming common among Seventh-day Adventists and that unless the pride of man should be abased and Christ exalted we should, as a people, be in no better condition to receive Christ at His second advent than were the Jewish people to receive Him at His first advent. … Their history should be a solemn warning to us.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 727, 728. [Emphasis supplied.]

“I have been shown that unbelief in the testimonies of warning, encouragement, and reproof is shutting away the light from God’s people. Unbelief is closing their eyes so that they are ignorant of their true condition.

“I saw that the reason why visions had not been more frequent of late is, they have not been appreciated by the church. The church have nearly lost their spirituality and faith, and the reproofs and warnings have had but little effect upon them. Many of those who have professed faith in them have not heeded them.” Ibid., 674.

“Please read the third chapter [of Jeremiah]. This chapter is a lesson for modern Israel. Let all who claim to be children of God understand that He will not serve with their sins any more than He would with the sins of ancient Israel.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1154. [Emphasis supplied.]

Studies prepared by John T. Grosboll, PE. John T. is a mechanical engineer living near Vancouver, Washington. His secular employment includes several years of experience in primary metals and transportation-related industries. He, along with his wife Teresa, is actively involved in the work of the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be reached at:

Bible Study Guides – Seventh-day Adventists and the Work of Rebuilding the Church and the Wall

August 8, 2010 – August 14, 2010

Key Text

“Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours. … their prophesying is in force for us. … Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel … spoke of things that … reached down to the future, and to what should occur in these last days.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 338, 419, 420.


Let’s summarize what we have seen thus far in our study of the history of the captivity of God’s people.

In last month’s lessons we have seen:

1 The purpose of God’s church on earth to bear His identity, be a refuge, and gain coverts.

2 The purpose of God’s church as described by trees and vines that bear fruit, and a married woman who bears children.

3 That this fruit of the tree and of the womb are symbols of purified character and converts intertwined.

4 That failure in God’s church is described by barren trees, vineyards, wombs and failed marriage.

5 The reasons for the original Babylonian captivity: union with foreigners, rejection of prophets and the requisite ignorance that follows, Sabbath breaking and the leadership of unfaithful pastors.

6 That Israel refused to acknowledge their captivity (Jeremiah 26–28, 42)!

7 Because of this rebellion, this physical captivity became much more extensive and severe than God intended, and led to the complete physical destruction of the church, wall, and city.

8 That the secular government opened the way for the church to be rebuilt after 70 years of captivity, but that few of God’s professed people heeded the call to return and rebuild.

9 That the first priority of Israel was to rebuild the church, and then the wall, and that God’s people were disowned when they did not make church restoration the first priority.

10 Specific reasons these tasks were successful (such as collective action), and reasons that they clearly were not (such as marriage with foreigners).

11 That in the time of Christ, God’s people were in captivity again. We focused on the spiritual nature of the captivity of the Jewish church, but saw that this captivity was both physical and spiritual in nature (John 18:31; 8:34–44).

12 That even though churches, schools and pastors were many in Christ’s day—that it was as though they had been destroyed. They effectively didn’t exist (Mark 6:34; John 9:34–39).

13 That once again, Israel refused to acknowledge this captivity (John 8:33).

14 That once again, because of this refusal to acknowledge their captivity, God’s professed people were led to the complete physical destruction of church, wall, and city.

15 The blossoming of a new and pure church along-side, but separate from the legacy church in rebellion (Luke 5:37–39).

16 That both of these churches, new and old, claimed the name of Israel.

17 That parallel promises of glory and destruction were fulfilled together to two different groups bearing the name Israel (Romans 9:6–8; 24–33).

18 That the final destruction of Jerusalem, the old church of Israel, happened after the gospel had already been taken to the entire world by the new Israel in the 1st century!

In the previous lesson, we have seen:

1 That the largest part of the Christian church, in name, returned to a Babylonian captivity during the Dark Ages.

2 That this captivity had broad physical and spiritual effects.

3 That once again, the church did not in general recognize the broad extent of the captivity.

4 That the rebuilding of God’s decimated church began in earnest with the Protestant reformation.

5 That the rebuilding work was halted (Revelation 3:1–6).

6 That through the religious liberty proffered by the civil government of the United States of America, the way was paved for church rebuilding to continue.

7 That the Protestants ultimately rejected their assignment to rebuild God’s church (Revelation 14:8).

8 That Seventh-day Adventists received the assignment to finish rebuilding the church and restore the wall, a symbol of God’s Law (Isaiah 58:12–14).

From here we pick up the story:


From this point forward, the student should lean heavily on three groups of themes that have been explored extensively in the previous lessons:

  1. The terminology for the purposes of God’s church examined so closely in lesson one and referenced above (trees, vines, fruit, marriage, children, and offspring).
  2. The identifying characteristics of captivity, and the task of God’s people to rebuild His church following its destruction; as we studied in lessons 3, 4, and 5.
  3. The extension of the application of intertwining parallel prophecies of triumph and disaster that applied to two groups of people identified as Israel at the same time. This was the focus of our study in lesson five.

The author has made generous use of ellipses in these lessons. These perform two functions: they draw related thoughts together, and conserve time and space. The author believes that appropriate use of ellipses have been made, even at times over large spans of text, but invites the reader to examine the appropriateness of the editing for himself.

1 Has the Seventh-day Adventist denomination completed the rebuilding of God’s church?

In order to start to answer this question, we would have to have some sort of understanding of what the rebuilt church should look like, else how could we recognize its completion? There are many Scriptures to which we could refer. Here is a small sampling of verses to guide your thoughts and discussion:

John 17:19–23; Ephesians 2:18–22; Isaiah 52:8; Ephesians 5:25–27; John 13:35; 1 Timothy 3:15.

2 Has the Seventh-day Adventist denomination completed the rebuilding of the wall (repairing the breach made in God’s law)?

The reader is asked to consider this question in the context of the rest of the lesson.

3 Has there been a work stoppage?

Let’s now start to take an extensive look at what the prophets have to say about our situation, starting with Haggai’s time, chapter 1, verse 2. This chapter deals with the work stoppage on the temple. Of it, Ellen White says:

“The expression, ‘This people say,’ is significant. … Prompt obedience is expected of those whom the Lord chooses and leads. Pleas for delay are a dishonor to God. … Thus the Israelites declared that they … were broken off in their work because of the hindrances. … This is why, in a communication through his prophet, he referred to them not as ‘my people,’ but as ‘this people.’

“The Israelites had no real excuse for leaving their work on the temple. The time when the most serious objections were raised, was the time for them to persevere in building. But they were actuated by a selfish dislike to encounter danger by arousing the opposition of their enemies. … They hesitated to move forward by faith in the opening providences of God, because they could not see the end from the beginning. When difficulties arose, they were easily turned from the work.

“This history will be repeated. There will be religious failures because men do not have faith. When they look at the things that are seen, impossibilities appear; but God can lead them step by step in the course he desires them to take. His work will advance only as his servants move forward by faith.” The Review and Herald, December 5, 1907. [Emphasis supplied.]

Apply It:

Ellen White, writing in 1907, said that the history of work stoppage on the rebuilding church would yet be repeated. What exactly would a work stoppage on the temple look like? How would we know? What sign should we wait for to indicate a cessation of work has commenced? Does that mean that the Seventh-day Adventist church would run out of money to complete construction projects? Does it mean that Maranatha volunteers would cease volunteering? Or that evangelism projects would cease? Does it mean that fire or financial collapse would cripple institutions? Does it mean that individual work would completely stop, or collective work, or both? Does it mean that the organization of divisions, unions, and conferences would fall apart?

Or would the situation be more likely to appear as it did in Christ’s day? An organized church of Israel functions, despite deep divisions of conservatives and liberals. An imposing edifice (temple) on the outside, decaying on the inside (Matthew 23:27). While a motley group of disciples, at first unable to grasp the full significance of the church that Christ had founded and was raising up, and unable at times to collectively realize the full potential of unified action, forms the genesis of a modern Israel that took the gospel to the world—while the forms of the ancient church of Israel carried on.

“O Israel … You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel.” Ezekiel 13:4, 5.

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30. [Emphasis supplied.]

Studies prepared by John T. Grosboll, PE. John T. is a mechanical engineer living near Vancouver, Washington. His secular employment includes several years of experience in primary metals and transportation-related industries. He, along with his wife Teresa, is actively involved in the work of the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be reached at:

Bible Study Guides – A Study for Modern Israel

August 1, 2010 – August 7, 2010

Babylonian Captivity, Escape and Rebuilding God’s Church

A Study for Modern Israel

Part Two:

The Second Babylonian Captivity, A Call Out, A Wall to Rebuild, the Church Reestablished

The Christian Church Returns to a Babylonian Captivity

Key Text

“Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours. … their prophesying is in force for us. … Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel … spoke of things that … reached down to the future, and to what should occur in these last days.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 338, 419, 420.




The triumphs of the early church were soon followed by a return to a union with the world, idolatry, and Sabbath breaking by a majority of the Christian church. Recall that these same choices were those that led the ancient church into captivity; and they had a similar result for the early Christian church after the first centuries A.D. The precursors of the ancient Babylonian captivity of God’s professed people were once again present as the church again fell as captive prey into the hands of a modern Babylon.

As with the ancient captivity, we will see that this captivity involved all who professed Christ. For the faithful, the period of the Dark Ages was certainly a physical captivity in the most extreme sense of the word. But through the grinding control of the Papacy, the captivity included not only physical captivity for the faithful, but a period of general gross spiritual darkness; a spiritual captivity. The spiritual captivity was experienced in various ways and degrees, but as with ancient Israel, no one escaped the effects.

God had a purpose (the extent of which is beyond our ability to explain) to demonstrate His character through the suffering He allowed to come upon His true church—those who kept the faith once delivered to the saints. But, in opposition to God’s church, Satan also had opportunity to demonstrate the plan for his own church in the rise of the little horn power. The actions of both churches were to be demonstrated before the universe of created intelligences.

Note: This overview omits, with purpose, the important scenes of Pagan persecution of the Christian church, to focus on the later persecution by the corrupt church that followed a gradual union with Paganism.

1 With the union of church and world (paganism) in the early centuries, what were some of the key attributes of Babylonian captivity that followed? How were these attributes comparable to the captivity of God’s professed people in Zedekiah’s time?

Review and Discuss:

  • Physical captivity (persecution) by the Roman church ensued
  • Spiritual captivity (darkness), perpetrated by the Roman church, ensued
  • God’s people were scattered
  • Pastors and schools were largely destroyed
  • The Word of God became rare
  • This led many professed followers of Christ to be destroyed by a lack of knowledge
  • As in ancient Babylon, the Church unites with the state to persecute the faithful

Thus various combinations of physical and spiritual captivity once again occurred among God’s professed people of Christendom.

2 What factors helped constitute the spiritual captivity of the church in the wilderness? How did the spiritual captivity of the Dark Ages differ from the physical captivity of God’s people during this time? I Samuel 3:1; Proverbs 29:18; Revelation 11:3.

The physical captivity of God’s faithful people (persecution) had an effect that, among other things, tended to the purification of the church: Daniel 11:33–35.

The spiritual captivity of God’s professed people had a much more disastrous effect; tending to the spiritual destruction of the professed church. I Samuel 3:1; II Thessalonians 2:9–12.

Note: As with the ancient Babylonian captivity, and the captivity in the time of Christ we see that the term captivity may refer to combinations of both physical and spiritual captivity, and that no part of Christ’s professed church remained unaffected. Even God’s true church in the wilderness captivity of the Dark Ages was affected by the spiritual captivity (darkness) of the church—the scarceness of the Word of God and of the prophetic gift! See Revelation 11:3; Proverbs 29:18.

Yet, in a broad sense, the captivity had the ultimate effect of purifying the church by separating the true followers of Christ from those who professed Him in name only.

Note: The language used to describe the captivity of the professed church of the Dark Ages again brings to mind Old Testament imagery. Notice the terms violated marriage and children in the message to Thyatira, Revelation 2:20–23.

3 The ancient church did not recognize the commencement of their physical captivity to Babylon. Neither did the Jewish church in Christ’s time recognize their state of captivity. Was the church in the Dark Ages delayed in recognizing its own captivity?

Review and Discuss:

Yes, in general, the church in the Dark Ages was slow to recognize the extent of their captivity. The Protestant Reformation evinced the beginnings of the church’s awakening to its true condition. Martin Luther was a key leader in the work that represented a call to rebuild the true temple (true church). Protestants began to leave captivity and to call people from Babylon.

“I now know of a certainty that the papacy is the kingdom of Babylon and the power of Nimrod the mighty hunter.” Martin Luther, writing in his treatise titled, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church.

4 Once the church of the Dark Ages started to recognize their captivity in a fuller sense, what responsibility presented itself to the true church? How did the true church respond? Haggai 1:2, 3; Revelation 3:1–5.

Note: With the rise of the Protestant Reformation commenced a rise of nascent political and social freedoms. See for example Martin Luther’s treatise, “Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation.” But with these advances came the first in priority responsibility of God’s people to rebuild a broken down church! Refer to Haggai 1:2, 3.

What followed instead among the nations of Western Europe that accepted (at least in part) the Protestant Reformation was a focus on economic prosperity, a failure to push unitedly against the opposition of the counter-reformation, a refusal of the Protestants to keep pace with the light and resulting divisions among them. Refer to Revelation 3:1–5.

5 As there was anciently, was there a delay in the rebuilding of the Christian church during the Protestant Reformation?

Review and Discuss:

Yes. As in the time of Zerubbabel and Haggai, there was a delay to return from captivity and thus there was a work stoppage on the rebuilding of the temple (rebuilding of God’s church). See Haggai, chapter 1.

One hundred years after Martin Luther’s challenge at Wittenberg was issued, Pilgrim Pastor John Robinson reminds his hearers that, “I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches, who … will go at present no farther than the instruments of their reformation. … It is not possible the Christian world should come so lately out of such thick antichristian darkness, and that full perfection of knowledge should break forth at once.” The Great Controversy, 292.

As in Zerubbabel’s day, God’s people did not fully recognize their need to escape from captivity and rebuild the church (reference Haggai, chapter 1 story). Thus commenced a delay in the rebuilding of God’s church.

6 Though church building was delayed, how did God help clear obstacles for the church building to continue?

Review and Discuss:

Once again, as in the days of Zerubbabel, God moved upon the Civil Government to clear the way for His people to come out of Babylon and prepare for the Judgment and His coming! The proclamation by Cyrus, opening the way for the Jews to return home found its parallel in the birth of religious liberty in America.

The church building continued during the Great Awakening and then the Loud Cry through the work of Baptists, Methodists, Jews, Catholics and others. Leaders like John Wesley and George Whitefield helped to reawaken the church; then later, William Miller and Joseph Wolf led out in the preaching of the first angel’s message.

7 Did the Protestants finish building God’s church?

Review and Discuss:

No. The advice of Revelation 3:1–5 went unheeded by most. The judgment hour message was ultimately rejected by most. As in the ancient Babylonian captivity, most remained in and became one with—assimilated to—Babylon. The Protestants had refused to leave Babylon, and thus could not finish rebuilding the church. See Revelation 14:8.

8 Let us review what has happened to the church since its early victories after Pentecost:

Review and Discuss:

  • The church is encroached by worldliness, idolatry, and a false Sabbath
  • Another Babylonian Captivity ensues, with the hallmarks of historical captivities, spiritual and physical
  • Escape and Church rebuilding begins at the start of the Protestant Reformation
  • Another delay takes place
  • Civil freedom again granted—church building continues, first angel’s message preached
  • First angel’s message rejected, work is halted, the second angel’s message becomes prescient
  • A small remnant of foreigners from many churches is called out and unites to commence work on the church and wall—God’s law proclaimed.

9 Whom did God raise up to finish rebuilding the church? Revelation 12:17.

A small remnant of foreigners, those evicted by the recently reformed churches came out, and stood on a platform of truth—God’s Law. These foreigners became God’s true church. They became a refuge, obtained a name and converts, and started rebuilding. This group, led by people like Rachel Oaks, Frederick Wheeler, Joseph Bates, and James and Ellen White, not only continued to rebuild God’s church, but raised the call to rebuild the wall. This rebuilding of the wall is represented by the up-building of God’s Law, especially the Sabbath. See Isaiah 58:12–14, Nehemiah 13:19 and Ellen G. White’s comments on Isaiah 5:5 in The Desire of Ages, 596.

10 What other structure remained for God’s people to rebuild? Isaiah 58:12–14.

The church needed to be rebuilt on the foundation of Jesus Christ, instead of the false foundation of tradition and popes. But the law, represented by the wall, remained to be repaired! To the Seventh-day Adventist church was given the responsibility of completing the rebuilding of the temple (church) and repairing the breach made in the wall (God’s law).

Note: See The Great Controversy, 452–454.

Studies prepared by John T. Grosboll, PE. John T. is a mechanical engineer living near Vancouver, Washington. His secular employment includes several years of experience in primary metals and transportation-related industries. He, along with his wife Teresa, is actively involved in the work of the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be reached at:

Recipe – Bean Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large yellow or white onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped

1 can (28 oz.) diced fire-roasted tomatoes

1 tsp. chili powder substitute

1 tsp. ground cumin

3 cans chickpeas (or kidney beans, black beans, white beans) rinsed and drained (or 4 ½ cups cooked)

4 cups vegetable broth

¼ cup cilantro or parsley, chopped

3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, kale or Swiss charge, chopped

1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

salt, to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a 4-quart saucepan. Add onion and saute’ about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Do not brown garlic. Add seasonings and tomatoes and simmer about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of beans and 1 ½ cups of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Place remaining beans and broth in a food processor or blender. Add cilantro or parsley and puree until smooth. Add the blended mixture and spinach, heating until the spinach wilts. Stir well and serve hot.

Adapted from a recipe by The Biggest Loser Club

Food – Sweet Temptations

Have you ever been tempted because of some sweet delicacy? I am sure that each of us has experienced this type of appeal to intemperance or overindulgence. We must ask ourselves in regard to sweet delicacies, What kind and how much is alright and what is too much? Here are some facts and problems related to sugar consumption. The yearly consumption of sugar per person in America has risen from about 40 pounds one hundred years ago to nearly 170 pounds of sugar today. This can have profound effects upon our bodies and minds. Problems associated with increased intake are: tooth decay, elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, heart disease and obesity, irritation of the lining of the stomach. Eight cancers are linked to sugar intake, which is a major cause of degenerative diseases. Sugar causes mineral imbalances within the body, affects mood, activity, and the nervous system, platelets become sticky, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and greatly decreases the ability to fight infection. The white blood cells (WBCs) in our blood stream are constantly fighting bacteria. Each WBC, under normal conditions, will destroy about 14 bacteria. Excess sugar makes the WBCs sluggish and the consumption of 24 teaspoons of sugar, not as much as is in a 32-ounce soda, would cause each WBC to destroy only 1 bacterium. Soda is actually the number one source of excessive sugar intake in America. So you can see how ineffective our immune system is in the presence of elevated sugar. For a list of 146 problems associated with excess sugar consumption go to

It has been estimated that 80% of the health problems in America are related to diet. Sugar could be compared to any poison, drug or narcotic for at least three reasons. One is that the damaging effects can begin before a baby is born. Many babies are exposed to increased sugar levels for nine months and the exposure continues at birth in the form of formula with sugar or breast milk contaminated with too much sugar. It is also dangerous because it is seen as a taste enhancer, food, and is taken in almost unlimited quantities because it is found in almost everything. Nearly 95% of people are addicted to it to some degree. Probably two of the biggest long-term health risks for Americans today are smoking and too much sugar. Both of these risks can be eliminated by practicing temperance. “True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.


Health – Grains

Wheat and other grains are widely used to make bread, pancakes, soups, etc., but not many know that there are also medicinal uses for these grains.

Barley flour made into a poultice can be used for the treatment of inflamed skin. A nutritive and demulcent (soothing for irritated mucous membranes) drink is made from barley by making a mixture of one part barley to 10 parts water, boil for 20 minutes and then strain. This can be used on feverish patients and where there is inflammation and mucous in the respiratory and urinary organs. The drink is soothing to the stomach and intestines and can be very effective in helping long-standing constipation. It acts as a general nerve tonic bringing back vitality to a weakened system making one feel more cheerful. It is useful in cases of diarrhea, pulmonary disease, inflammation of kidneys, liver disease, and mineral deficiency. Barley water can be diluted with milk to prevent the formation of hard masses of curd in the stomach of young infants. Another way to make a drink is to boil 2 ounces of barley in four pints of water until reduced to two pints; then add lemon juice or licorice root or raisins for flavoring ten minutes before taking off the stove.

As a tonic, barley water can be drunk regularly.

Oats may be made into a drink by boiling an ounce of the grain to a quart of water for half an hour. This drink can be taken where a laxative is needed or used for a diuretic. A nourishing broth for nursing infants may be made by mixing equal parts of oats, wheat and barley; grind the mixture and add four tablespoonfuls of the flour to one and a half quarts of water and boil until reduced to one quart; then strain and sweeten and give daily. Oats are considered helpful in cases of uremic poisoning and diabetes and to help where there is a thyroid deficiency. The oat drink or gruel is good in cases of fever and has been used in cases of poisoning from acid substances. The drink will usually be accepted by patients of weak digestion when other foods are rejected. It is considered to be good to restore the nervous system and as a tonic after debilitating sicknesses. It seems to aid the heart muscles and the urinary organs. It is recommended as an all-around drink for the sick, weak and healthy. Oatmeal or rolled oats is good for regulating normal and healthful blood sugar in the early morning hours. Oats are one of our few food sources used for obtaining iodine.

Brown rice, which contains an easily digested starch, is beneficial for stomach or intestinal ulcers and for the relief of diarrhea. A poultice of rice flour can be used to relieve skin inflammations of various kinds. We have seen serious cases of diarrhea respond most effectively to rice water made by boiling one ounce of rice to one quart of water for 20 minutes, straining and drinking. This drink is also used in cases of congestion, acute head pain, nausea, fainting, difficult breathing, stomach cramps, colic, worms and as a sedative.

Rye is recommended for individuals engaged in sedentary activities. It is believed to combat arteriosclerosis, and high blood pressure. Boiling three ounces of rye to a quart of water for 20 minutes produces a refreshing, soothing and mildly laxative solution.

Millet is an easily digested food good for constipation and beneficial for weight gain and general emaciation. It is considered good where mental or physical weakness exists and also for pregnancy.

Corn is considered good in cases of emaciation, anemia, constipation and as an overall body building food. The balance of unsaturated versus saturated fatty acids in corn oil helps lower the blood lipid levels. The suggested dose of corn oil is two tablespoons taken upon arising and before the evening meal for a few weeks or months. Some Indians would steep corn in lye to be used as an intestinal anti-spasmodic. Blue corn meal mush was applied hourly to bullet wounds. Others have used a corn meal poultice for skin ulcers, swellings and rheumatic pains. A cup of parched corn to two quarts of water lightly boiled for 20 minutes, then strained and drunk has been found useful in cases of nausea and vomiting in many diseases. Cornmeal gruel is excellent for convalescents. Cornbread is thought to be of benefit for those suffering from kidney or liver diseases.

Wheat has been recommended in cases of arthritis, rheumatic fever, and in some types of cancer, pulmonary disease including tuberculosis, anemia, and physical and emotional weakness. It is felt that the vitamin D in wheat helps in rickets and other vitamin D diseases. One recipe for a good heart remedy is to soak a half of a cup of coarse ground wheat in a thermos of hot water overnight. Eat this each morning for three months.

We can make a mild grain drink as indicated above with any of the grains by lightly roasting the grain; then gently boil one cup of the grain to two quarts of water for about 20 minutes, strain and add honey and a little cream or milk.

Another way to make a mild grain drink is to soak one cup of seed in two cups of water for 16 hours (24 hours in colder weather). Strain off the water and let the soak water ferment in a warm place for another 36 to 72 hours. It is then ready to drink. Another method is to soak the grain for two or three days after which the soak water may be drunk and then refill the container with water for another soak with the grain. After each drink refill the container; this can be repeated for up to two weeks. This mild grain drink should taste somewhat like whey. The best soaking temperature seems to be between 68 degrees and 77 degrees F. The drink is rich in protein, carbohydrates, dextrines, saccharine, phosphate, lactobacilli, saccharomyces, and Aspergillus oryzae. Many find this drink beneficial to the digestion. It is nonalcoholic and rich in B vitamins. It has been observed that acidophilus bacilli or lactobacilli create an acid medium in the intestine, destroying any unfriendly, disease-producing putrefactive bacteria. Many who use this drink feel that this enzyme-rich drink has helped them with minor to the most serious health problems. Likewise the regular drinking of the roasted grain drink has produced in others a feeling of well-being and vitality.

Excerpts from School of Natural Health

Nature – Oilbirds

Oilbirds are nocturnal forest birds native to northern South America from Trinidad south to Bolivia. They are related to the nightjars (nocturnal birds which include the Whip-poor-will) and are usually placed in the same order as they, but recent evidence suggests that they deserve to be placed in their own order, as they are sufficiently distinct from the nightjars. Unlike the nightjars, which are insectivores, Oilbirds are vegetarians, feeding mainly on the fruits of the Oil Palm and tropical laurels. They will also eat a wide variety of other fruits. They are the only nocturnal fruit eating bird in the world and have extremely powerful night vision, thanks to about one million light receptors packed into every square millimeter of their retinas. They will travel long distances in search of food and have been known to travel up to 93 miles in a night, but normally travel around 25 miles a night.

The most unusual thing about Oilbirds is that they nest deep in caves in total darkness. As good as their eyesight is, their eyes are useless in this total darkness. To navigate, Oilbirds echolocate, similar to bats, by producing a series of sharp audible clicks at a frequency of 7,000 cycles per second. They also produce a variety of harsh screams while in the caves. With their three foot wingspans, Oilbirds are capable of a hovering and twisting type flight which helps in navigating through the restricted areas of their caves. The birds are social and prefer to nest in large colonies on ledges over water where they lay two to four glossy white eggs. The naked young are fed a rich diet of Oil Palm fruits and become grotesquely fat, weighing up to half again as much as the adult birds. Local Indians and settlers used to harvest these fat young birds for their high oil content, hence the name Oilbird. They lose this baby fat when their feathers begin to grow in.

Just as the young Oilbirds feast on and store up the oil from the Palm Oil fruits that their parents feed them, so should we Christians feed on and store up the oil that our Heavenly Father has provided for us. “By the holy beings surrounding his throne, the Lord keeps up a constant communication with the inhabitants of the earth. The golden oil represents the grace with which God keeps the lamps of believers supplied. Were it not that this holy oil is poured from heaven in the message of God’s Spirit, the agencies of evil would have entire control over men.” The Southern Watchman, May 21, 1907.

“The capacity for receiving the holy oil from the two olive trees which empty themselves, is by the receiver emptying that holy oil out of himself in word and in action to supply the necessities of other souls. Work, precious, satisfying work—to be constantly receiving and constantly imparting! The capacity for receiving is only kept up by imparting.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1180.

“When the call shall come, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him’ [Matthew 25:6], those who have not received the holy oil, who have not cherished the grace of Christ in their hearts, will find, like the foolish virgins, that they are not ready to meet their Lord. They have not in themselves the power to obtain the oil, and their lives are wrecked. But if God’s Spirit is asked for, if we plead, as did Moses, ‘Show me thy glory’ [Exodus 33:18], the love of God will be shed abroad in our hearts. The golden oil will be given to us.” The Southern Watchman, May 21, 1907.

David Arbour writes from his home in De Queen, Arkansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:

Q&A – Am I being a hypocrite to pray when I don’t feel like it?

A hypocrite is somebody who professes certain things or qualities without really possessing those qualities in themselves.

When you pray, or talk to God, at a time you do not feel like it simply means that you are not depending upon feelings, but you are rendering your heart to God by faith.

It is dangerous to solely depend upon feelings, because they are as changeable as the weather.

“A large class of the professed Christian world are watching their feelings; but feeling is an unsafe guide. … Satan can move upon our feelings, and he can so arrange surrounding circumstances as to make our feelings changeable. Victory in God is not feeling, but faith. It is the faith that will not yield although there are seeming impossibilities to be encountered.” The Signs of the Times, May 22, 1884.

We should never depend upon our feelings in matters of praying. In fact, at the time when we do not feel like praying is when we most need to draw near to God and talk with Him.

“As soon as one begins to contemplate his feelings he is on dangerous ground. If he feels happy and joyous, then he is very confident and has very pleasing emotions. The change will come. There are circumstances that occur which bring depression and sad feelings; then the mind will naturally begin to doubt whether the Lord is with him or not.

“Now, the feelings must not be made the test of the spiritual state, be they good or be they discouraging. The word of God is to be our evidence of our true standing before Him.” In Heavenly Places, 126.

Satan might try to make us feel like hypocrites but we must remember that talking to God when we do not feel like it gives us just the strength and faith we need for that moment. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” I John 5:4.

“Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Mark 9:24. We must live by faith in Jesus and in His Word which tells us to, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. And in Isaiah 26:3 we are told, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

It is good that our minds are stayed on Him and by faith we talk to God and do not follow our emotions of the moment. This is not hypocrisy, but faith! When you kneel down to pray, even when you do not feel like it, the devil has lost the battle for that moment.

If you have a Bible question you wish to have answered, please write to Steps to Life or e-mail it to:

Keys to the Storehouse – Is Your Appointment Confirmed?

A very important question for each of us to ask ourselves is, “Have I received the Holy Spirit and is my appointment confirmed?”

If we have received the Holy Spirit and are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us, our characters will be reflecting the characteristics of Jesus which include: love—which suffers long, and is kind, as found in I Corinthians 13:4—joy, peace, longsuffering and gentleness. Have you received the Holy Spirit?

We may, by outside appearances, look fine, but what about our dispositions and our habits? At times these can be very childish and by those kinds of fruit we can know that we have not grown up to the heavenly stature where we need to be.

There is a sentinel standing at a door with a measuring line in his hand measuring each person’s disposition. What will your disposition say about you and how will it affect you for eternity?

“In my dream a sentinel stood at the door of an important building, and asked every one who came for entrance, ‘Have ye received the Holy Ghost?’ A measuring-line was in his hand, and only very, very few were admitted into the building. ‘Your size as a human being is nothing,’ he said. ‘But if you have reached the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus, according to the knowledge you have had, you will receive an appointment to sit with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb; and through the eternal ages, you will never cease to learn of the blessings granted in the banquet prepared for you.

“ ‘You may be tall and well-proportioned in self, but you cannot enter here. None can enter who are grown-up children, carrying with them the disposition, the habits, and the characteristics which pertain to children. If you have nurtured suspicions, criticism, temper, self-dignity, you cannot be admitted; for you would spoil the feast. All who go in through this door have on the wedding garment, woven in the loom of heaven. Those who educate themselves to pick flaws in the characters of others, reveal a deformity that makes families unhappy, that turns souls from the truth to choose fables. Your leaven of distrust, your want of confidence, your power of accusing, closes against you the door of admittance. Within this door nothing can enter that could possibly mar the happiness of the dwellers by marring their perfect trust in one another. You cannot join the happy family in the heavenly courts; for I have wiped all tears from their eyes. You can never see the King in His beauty if you are not yourself a representative of His character.’ ” Selected Messages, Book 1, 109, 110.

We must measure up to our full stature in Christ Jesus according to the knowledge we have had so that we can keep the most important appointment of our life—the appointment to sit with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb. How are you measuring up?

Heavenly Father, help me to be one of those few to be admitted to sit with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Show me the areas in my life where that measuring line may falter. I pray for the Holy Spirit to remove any characteristics that will keep me from that appointment, including criticism, temper or self-importance. I do not want to mar the happiness of others. Please help me to measure up so that I may be part of the happy family in the heavenly courts and be able to sit with Jesus. May I be fitted up for the heavenly courts in time to keep the appointment? Amen.

Turn this Key to the heavenly Storehouse and enter in with your whole body, mind and soul.