The Gun Powder Plot And The Vatican

The destruction of the Armada drew England together. The nation seemed to realize that if it did not draw together in the work of the Reformation, all of the various factions would fall prey to a common enemy. The years that followed were years of prosperity and added to the glory of England. Unfortunately, however, Elizabeth appreciated the Reformation less for the freedom it gave to the conscience than for freeing her throne. One of her chief aims was to reconcile the English Catholics leading her to dread the complete separation of the Church of England from Rome. She loved splendor in worship and finding the Puritans to be an intolerable nuisance, exercised great intolerance toward them.

Elizabeth has been called great, but her greatness lay largely in the greatness of those she surrounded herself with. The Reformation had set England on the road to greatness; and as the head of state, Elizabeth was lifted up along with it.

Elizabeth died in March of 1603. When it became apparent that she would soon breathe her last, the Catholic interests took steps to see that none would take her place who were not deeply attached to Roman Catholicism. James VI, the king of Scotland, whose Protestantism was open to question, was anxious to obtain the throne. He received warnings from Elizabeth and her counselors that unless his Protestant interests were above suspicion, he would never be accepted by England. In 1600 he gave strong assurances that he would maintain the profession of the gospel. This strong assurance doubtless quieted the fears of the English statesmen; but at the same time, it awakened the fears of the Roman Catholics.

The conspirators who had seen their hopes dashed by such a strong statement, appealed to Pope Clement VIII to use his influence to bar Jame’s ascent to the throne. Clement was not hard to be persuaded in the matter and sent two bulls—one addressed to the Roman clergy, the other to the nobility and laity. Both bulls were of similar tenor and urged that no one should be allowed to ascend the throne who had not only sworn to tolerate the Roman Catholic faith but who would, to the utmost of his power, uphold and advance it.

When Elizabeth died, the Catholic faction immediately dispatched a messenger to the court of Spain, seeking Philip’s interposition on their behalf. The memory of the Armada was still fresh in Philip’s mind. The loss that he had sustained, as well as the blow that the national spirit had received, was too great to allow him to do anything but wish them well.

“The Order of Jesus is never more formidable than when it appears to be least so. It is when the Jesuits are stripped of all external means of doing harm that They devise the vastest schemes, and execute them with the most daring courage….The Jesuits in England now began to meditate a great blow. They had delivered an astounding stroke at sea but a few years before; they would signalize the present emergency by a nearly as astounding stroke on land. They would prepare an Armada in the heart of the kingdom, which would have inflicted had not the ‘winds become Lutheran,’ as Medina Sidonia said with an oath, and in their sectarian fury sent his ships to the bottom.” J.A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, vol. 3, 527

Catesby, a gentleman of an ancient family, proposed in one sweeping blow to destroy the king and Parliament. In short, he proposed to blow up the House of Parliament with the gunpowder when the king and the Estates of the Realm were all assembled. The plot was entrusted to about twenty persons. They were able to hire a coal-cellar under the Parliament building in which they placed thirty-six barrels of gunpowder. Over these they placed stones and iron bars.

In order to more deeply conceal their real feelings of the conspirators, there was a petition that was published in which they begged the king’s toleration, professing great fidelity and unfeigned love for his Majesty and attesting to their loyal behavior. Shortly before the time for the plot to be executed, Guy Fawkes, one of the ringleaders in the plot, was sent to Rome with a letter to Clement requesting an order from his Holiness, or else the head of the Jesuits, ordering a cessation of all disturbances among the Catholics of England. The Protestants were deceived by these pretensions, not realizing that the very men who were loudest in their protestations of loyalty and brotherly concern were all the while storing gunpowder under the House of lords, counting the hours until they could wreck ruin on England.

All that prevented the horrible crime from being executed was the failure on the part of one of the conspirators. Losing heart, one of the men involved wrote a letter to Lord Monteagle. A search was made and the plot was discovered.

Instead of learning from these events, James later sent the Earl of Bristol to Spain to negotiate the marriage of his son Prince Charles to the daughter of Philip. Though it eventually came to nothing, he gave fresh life to Romanism and laid the foundation for the miseries which would later overtake his house and England. Believing that the religion of his subjects was a weakness rather than the strength of his throne, he labored to destroy it; and in so doing, he alienated the nation.

James VI sank to his grave in 1625 and Charles I replaced him as reigning monarch of England. The year of James’ death was rendered memorable by the birth of a spiritual revival in Scotland. Even men of the world were impressed by the evidence of the working of a supernatural influence. The moral character of whole towns, villages, and parishes was suddenly changed.

The first error of Charles was his marriage to the French princess, a member of the Roman Catholic faith. His second was his dismissal of Parliament because they refused to vote him a supply of money until they had been given a redress of grievances. His second parliament was dismissed for the same reason. Then deciding that he could do as well without a parliament, Charles ruled by prerogative alone. Under this arrangement he could tax his subjects whenever and to whatever extent that he chose. Many unjust and severe taxes were levied.

History confirms that civil tyranny cannot maintain itself along side of religious liberty. Whenever it is confronted by liberty of conscience, it must either extinguish that freedom or suffer itself to be extinguished by it. So was the case in the days of Charles.

The bishop who was over the diocese of London, Bishop Laud, was a man of remarkable character. Becoming one of Charles’s leading counselors, Laud bent his whole energies to molding the religion of England in the direction of the Roman Church. Candlesticks, tapers, and crucifixes began to appear in the churches. Those clergymen who questioned his policies were subject to fines and imprisonment. He made use of forms of prayer that were taken directly from the Mass Book. In his diary, Laud reveals that the pope twice made him the offer of a red hat.

Alarm and discontent, along with the smoldering spirit of insurrection, pervaded all of England. Superstitious rites replaced the pure scriptural forms of the Reformation, and civil and ecclesiastical tyranny were the rule of the land; but before it resulted in open rebellion, events in Scotland took such a turn as to bring deliverance to both Scotland and England.

The Scottish bishops, in a letter to Laud, expressed their desire to maintain a nearer conformity with the Church of England, confirming that this was also the wish of the people. With Charles, however, the wishes of the people mattered nothing. Rather than condescend to the wishes of the Scottish church, Laud imposed upon them the Liturgy, which upon examination was found to be alarmingly popish in nature. The 23rd of July, 1637, was fixed as the day on which the new services were to be implemented.

On that Sunday morning, the reader appeared in the desk of St. Giles’ and went over the usual prayers. Having ended, with tears in his eyes he turned to bid the people good-by, informing them that this was likely the last time he would ever read prayers in the church. At the stated hour, he was followed by the Dean of Edinburgh who appeared to institute the new services. As the dean, Liturgy in hand, worked his way to the desk, the scene became more animated. Scarcely had he begun to read when his composure was shaken by the whiz of a missile passing dangerously close to his ear. Tradition tells us that Jane Geddes, who kept a stall on the High Street, finding nothing more convenient, flung her stool at the dean, with the rebuke, “Villian, dost thou say mass at my lug?” Ibid., 542. The dean hastily shut the obnoxious book and fled with all speed. Thinking that perhaps his greater dignity would effect to gain the reverence of the people, the Bishop of Edinburgh ascended to the desk. His appearance, however, was the signal for a renewed tempest which was more fierce than the first. He managed to escape, the magistrates escorting him home to protect him from the fury of the mob.

If the hatred of the Scottish people had been limited to the unpremeditated outbreaks of the lower classes, the king would have triumphed in the end; but along with these surface demonstrations, there was the strong determined resistance that pervaded all ranks of society. The Privy Council of Scotland, sensing the firm attitude of the nation, sent a representation to the king stating the true feelings of the people. Charles insolently responded by issuing another proclamation, insisting that the Liturgy be used and branding with treason any who opposed it. This expression of tyranny was sufficient to thoroughly arouse the slumbering spirit of the Scots and served to unite them in their opposition.

In the opinion of Charles, nothing remained for him to do but to resort to force. In April 1640, the king summoned Parliament to vote him supplies for a war with the Scots, but they refused to do so. The king then turned to the clergy to raise the necessary funds. The queen addressed a letter to the Roman Catholics who, far from being indifferent spectators, raised a considerable amount of money. As a result, Charles raised an army and marched to the Scottish border.

The Scots were not unaware of what was taking place and had prepared to meet the invasion. Thirty thousand able-bodied men answered the call to service for their country. Hardly had their preparations been completed when the announcement was made that the English forces were approaching.

The Scots were overall victorious as they represented the flower of Scotland, whereas the English soldiers had little heart for fighting. Negotiations were soon opened and a treaty of peace was concluded. Though the terms were vague, the Scots still had a great deal of loyalty to their king and willingly agreed to terms that would never have been acceptable with a foreign enemy. This devotion was repaid by Charles’ perfidy, and the next year he again prepared to invade Scotland. Not waiting for the English armies to reach their boarders, the Scots entered England and completely discomfited the king’s forces at Newburn, almost without striking a blow. With his army dispirited and his nobles lukewarm, the king was forced to again open negotiations with the Scots.

In November, 1640, Parliament met at Westminster. This parliament, known as the Long Parliament, boldly discussed the grievances under which the nation groaned. The king’s two favorites, Strafford and Laud, were impeached and brought to the block. Other reforms were instituted, and many of the effects of the recent years of despotism were swept away by the spirit of reform. It seemed for a time that even the king was converted to the changes. The dark clouds of war seemed to be diminishing; and the king, who had betrayed the faith of his subjects a score of times, was almost trusted by a rejoicing nation.

At this critical moment, terrible tidings arrived from Ireland. A slaughter of Protestants by the Roman Catholics began on October 23, 1641, that rivaled that of the slaughter of St. Bartholomew in France. The butcheries were similar to those imposed on the Waldenses, and the estimates of the total number killed ranged from the low of 50,000 upwards to 300,000. The northern parts of Ireland were nearly depopulated. The persons involved in this atrocity pleaded the king’’ authority and produced Charles’s commission with is broad seal attached to it, reviving the former suspicions of the king’s sincerity and hurrying the king and the nation to a terrible catastrophe.

After the breakdown of a series of exchanges between the king and Parliament, Charles marched to Nottingham where he set up his standard on August 22, 1642.
The first battle between the forces loyal to the king and those recruited by Parliament was at Edgehill, Warwickshire. Both sides claimed the victory over the hard-contested field. From there the tide of battle shifted from one side to the other with the Royalists initially holding the upper hand. The Royalists had the superiority of arms and their soldiers were well discipline, led by commanders who had learned the art of war on the battlefields of the Continent. In contrast, the armies of Parliament were new recruits. As time passed, however, and the new recruits gained skill and experience, the fortunes of war began to shift. Brave from principle and with the consciousness of a noble cause, the army of Parliament was inspired with ardor and courage. The longer the war lasted, the greater became the disparity between the two opposing armies. Finally, on July 1, 1644, at Marston Moor, the virtual fate of the war was decided. From this day on, the king’s fortunes steadily declined.

When the king eventually became a prisoner, England came under a dual directorate, one half of which was a body of debating civilians and the other a conquering army. Parliament soon lost control of the situation and ceased to be master of itself. Cromwell, the virtual head of the army, put himself at the head of affairs and brought the debating to an end. Colonel Joyce was sent to Holmby House, where Charles was confined, and showed such good authority—namely and armed force—that Charles was immediately turned over to him. Colonel Pride was next sent to the House of Commons; and taking his stand at the door with a regiment of soldiers, he admitted only those who could be relied upon. The number to which Parliament was reduced to by this action was no more than fifty or sixty members. This body, known as the Rump Parliament, drew up papers accusing Charles Stuart of high treason. Brought before this tribunal, Charles declined to accept its jurisdiction and was quickly condemned as a traitor and sentenced to be beheaded.

The scaffold was erected before Whitehall on January 30, 1649. An immense crowd filled the street, along which shotted cannon were turned assuring that no tumult would interrupt the unfolding events. A scaffold receiving their sovereign’s blood was a spectacle that England had never before witnessed, and it was a drama they could scarcely believe would go to its end. At the appointed hour, the king stepped to the scaffold, bearing himself with dignity.

For thirty years the popish powers had attempted to overthrow the Protestant movement. Massacres and devastation had overtaken the cities and villages of Bohemia and Hungary. These nations, Protestant when the war began, were forced back and trodden into popish superstition and then into slavery by its end. This period, known as the Thirty Years’ War, continued to sweep over the forces of the Protestant kingdoms of Germany until Gustavaeus Adolphus of Sweden had rolled it back. After his death, Romanism seemed to gain a fresh force; but by this time, England and Scotland had become even more important theaters than Germany was. Knowing that without the overthrow of Protestantism in these two countries their triumphs in other parts of Europe would by to no avail, the Jesuits with their intrigue, sought to corrupt Great Britain and thereby recover both England and Scotland. Their design seemed to be on the very threshold of success when it all ended at the scaffold at Whitehall.

“So sudden a collapse had overtaken the schemings and plotting of thirty years! The sky of Europe changed in almost a single day; and the great wave of popish reaction which had rolled over all Germany, and dashed itself against the shores of Britain, threatening at one time to submerge all the Protestant States of Christendom, felt the check of an unseen Hand, and subsided and retired at the scaffold of Charles I.” Ibid., 556
In the overthrow of the popish plans, Protestantism ascended to a higher platform than it had ever before attained.

The fall of the monarchy in England was soon followed by a military dictatorship, headed by Oliver Cromwell. If Cromwell was a tyrant, he was so in a very different way than Charles had been. Under his government, England suddenly broke forth from a position of weakness to one of great prestige. She again became a force to be reckoned with in Christendom. The massacres were brought to an end in the Waldensian valleys, and even the pope trembled in the Vatican when Oliver threatened to make his fleet visit the Eternal City. For the remainder of his rule, as Lord Protector, until his death in 1658, the people of England experienced the spirit of liberty; and her people could breathe more freely.

The End

Steps to Victory

The word victory means to win a battle, to overcome, to conquer the enemy, to stand and not to fall. “But how shall this victory over the world be obtained? Go to your closet, dear reader, and there plead with God: ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.’ Be in earnest, be sincere; Jacob-like, wrestle in prayer. Do not leave your closet until you feel strong in God. Remain until unutterable longings for salvation are awakened in your heart, and the sweet evidence is obtained of pardoned sin. Then when you leave your closet, watch; and so long as you watch and pray, the grace of God will appear in your life.” Signs of the Times, November 18, 1886.

The first step to victory is prayer. We cannot have victory without it. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7. Then ask and believe what God has said. He will surely fulfill His word, brothers and sisters. The victory must be gained day by day, hour by hour, yea, even minute by minute. We are told that Jesus, our Example, spent entire nights in prayer. We also need to be in constant prayer. Paul tells us, “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The Psalmist says, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to you will I pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” Psalm 5:1-3 says that in our daily life, we can have that attitude of prayer. We can be continually sending up silent prayers to the Lord.

“The darkness of the evil one encloses those who neglect to pray. The whispered temptations of the enemy entice them to sin; and it is all because they do not make use of the privileges that God has given them in the divine appointment of prayer. Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence? Without unceasing prayer and diligent watching we are in danger of growing careless and of deviating from the right path. The adversary seeks continually to obstruct the way to the mercy seat, that we may not by earnest supplication and faith obtain grace and power to resist temptation.” Steps to Christ, 94

The second step to victory is the study of the Word of God. In Matthew 4:4 we read, “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’” Seventh-day Adventists used to be a people of the Bible, but this is no longer true. We are now a part of the television generation. The majority of Seventh-day Adventists spend more time watching television than they do reading the Word.

“The Saviour overcame to show man how he may overcome. All the temptations of Satan, Christ met with the word of God. By trusting in God’s promises, He received the power to obey God’s commandments, and the tempter could gain no advantage. To every temptation His answer was, ‘It is written.’ So God has given us His Word wherewith to resist evil. Exceeding great and precious promises are ours, that by these we ‘might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.’ 2 Peter 1:4.” Ministry of Healing, 181

Do you remember Peter’s experience in walking on the water? As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk; but the minute he looked down and saw the waves, he became fearful. What happened? He sank. “Christ is uplifted in the pages of the Bible, that all may see that in Him alone there is ‘everlasting strength;’ and unless the sinner makes it his life-work to behold the Saviour, and by faith accepts the merits which it is his privilege to claim, he can no more be saved than Peter could walk upon the water unless he kept his eyes fixed steadily upon Jesus.” Review and Herald, September 29, 1896

One of my favorite passages of Scripture says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11. We need to be memorizing these Scriptures today, brothers and sisters. “The heart preoccupied with the Word of God is fortified against Satan. Those who make Christ their daily companion and familiar friend will feel that the powers of an unseen world are all around them; and by looking unto Jesus they will become assimilated to His image. By beholding they become changed to the divine pattern; their character is softened, refined, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 616. Is your character being refined, softened, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom?

This Word will make us perfect if we will hide it in our hearts. We are told, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. We need to uplift the Scriptures and be studying them daily.

“Whoever has the Word of God, the appointed instrument of salvation, abiding in him, will overcome the wicked one, and he will grow up into Christ in all things. But of how many may it be said, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God’! Their weakness is found in the fact that they do not study the Scriptures for the purpose of practicing them in their daily life.” Signs of the Times, October 3, 1895. It is important, brothers and sisters, that we so fill our minds with the Scriptures that there is no room for the enemy, no temptation for him to even get a foothold in the door.

“Do we now obey the Word of God, and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God? Are we established and settled in the present truth? There is need of closely examining yourselves whether you are in the love of God; for except Christ be in you, you are reprobates. Self-deception is dangerous, and not one of us can afford to go in delusion.” Youth’s Instructor, May 18, 1893. As we draw closer and closer to the end, it becomes ever more important that we have Christ abiding in our minds and hearts, controlling all of our thoughts and actions.

The third step to victory is faith. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17. As we study the Word of God, our faith will develop and grow. A.T. Jones defined faith as depending upon the Word of God only and expecting that Word only to accomplish what it says. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6-9. That is the power we have available in our lives today.

“We must have that faith in God that takes Him at His word. We can have no victory without cloudless confidence; for ‘without faith it is impossible to please Him.’ It is faith that connects us with the power of heaven, and that brings us the strength for coping with the powers of darkness… In order to exercise intelligent faith, we should study the Word of God. The Bible, and the Bible alone, communicates a correct knowledge of the character of God, and of His will concerning us.” Review and Herald, September 22, 1910

The fourth step to victory is to cleanse ourselves, healthful living. We are told that, “the controlling power of appetite will prove to be the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan.” Counsels on Health, 574. Many people spend a great deal of time in study and prayer, but they neglect themselves physically. We need to seek the Lord through the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible to see what He would have us to do. Anything we allow to cloud our minds hinders our understanding of the Scriptures. God has given the eight laws of health to keep our bodies as a living, holy sacrifice unto Him.

The fifth step to victory is to educate our minds, thoughts, and habits. We must be educating our minds in the school of Christ.

“To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the work of redemption. This is…the great object of life.” Education, 15, 16

“There are hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil that must be overcome. The training and education of a lifetime must be often discarded that the Christian may become a learner in the school of Christ, and in him who would be a partaker of the divine nature, appetite and passion must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit.” Christian Education, 122. Are we doing that today?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7. Do we love the Lord so much that we want to have this knowledge? To educate and acquire knowledge and the beginning of knowledge is to fear God.

“Educate your mind to study the Word of God. Study it with your whole heart and pray much….Educate it to dwell on the life, the character and the lessons of Christ….But you must resist the devil. You must educate yourself to a different train of thought. Put no confidence in yourself.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 127

Why is it, brothers and sisters, that our people are so susceptible to every heresy that comes along? It is because we have not taught ourselves to think and to reason things out. The Bible is so simple that the common man can understand it. Take it as it reads. It is not complicated, and we do not have to be highly educated to understand it. As a matter of fact, very often education gets in the way of understanding simple Bible truth. “Many seem to have no power to think….some need to discipline their minds by exercise. They should force it to think.” Testimonies for the Church at Alcott, New York, 9

Now as we go into true education, we only have one Teacher, and that is Christ Jesus. He is to be our only instructor. “Jesus was the greatest teacher the world ever knew, and He chose men whom He could educate, and who would take the words from His lips, and send them down along the line to our time. So, by His Spirit and His Word, He would educate you for His work. Just as surely as you empty your mind of vanity and frivolity, the vacuum will be supplied with that which God is waiting to give you,—His Holy Spirit. Then out of the good treasure of the heart you will bring forth good things, rich gems of thought, and others will catch the words and will begin to glorify God. Then you will not have the mind centered upon self. You will not be making a show of self; you will not be acting self; but your thoughts and affections will dwell upon Christ, and you will reflect upon others that which has shone upon you from the sun of righteousness.” Review and Herald, March 15, 1892

The sixth step to victory is sacrifice. Christ sacrificed His position in heaven. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. He became poor that we might have salvation. We are told that, “The Christian church was founded upon the principle of sacrifice. ‘If any man will come after Me,’ says Christ, ‘let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’ He requires the whole heart, the entire affections.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 307

We need to sacrifice self daily, taking up the cross of Christ. In Testimonies to the Church, vol. 9, 53, we read, “Perfection of character cannot possibly be attained without self-sacrifice.” Paul says, “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31

The spirit of sacrifice leads us right into the seventh and final step to victory—Christian service. Matthew 20:26-28 says, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” We need to be servants one to another. As members of the body of Christ, we must all be involved in this work. “But no one will ever enter heaven who is not a laborer together with God.” Review and Herald, February 19, 1895

Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19. We need to be following Christ. The fields are ripe for harvest. Let us take as many as we can into heaven with us, brothers and sisters.

Our home is where our mission is to begin, but it is to extend beyond to our neighborhood. “Everyone who receives the light of truth should be taught to bear the light to others….some may be so constituted as to see failure where God intends success; they may see only giants and walled cities, where others, with clearer vision, see also God and angels ready to give victory to His truth.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 392

As we press forward, we must not become weary along the way. There may be giants in the land, brothers and sisters. Some people see sin as an insurmountable giant; but praise the Lord, there is also victory as we apply these seven steps. “It was Caleb’s faith that gave him courage, that kept him from the fear of man, and enabled him to stand boldly and unflinchingly in the defense of the right. Through reliance on the same Power, the mighty General of the armies of heaven, every true soldier of the cross may receive strength and courage to overcome the obstacles that seem insurmountable.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1113

God is preparing a land for us, and He wants each and every one of us to be there. Let us say, as did Caleb, “It is a goodly land, and we are well able to go up and possess it.” (See Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9.)

The End

Eradication of Liberty

“Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the gospel of Christ now than at any former period in her history. The Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism has done. Catholicism is gaining ground upon every side.” The Great Controversy, 565, 566

Rome has a great history behind her of 1,500 years of exercising supremacy and control over the nations of the world. At this moment, she is moving in Eastern Europe, in Russia, and in Mexico. She is moving in the United States. In one month, our President goes to meet with the pope at the Vatican. This President is Jesuit-trained; and from all indications, he is forming his policy, at home and abroad, in accordance with the general features of liberal Jesuitism that have developed since Vatican II. Rome is moving very swiftly. Through His inspired Word, Christ enables us to cut through the propaganda of the media of our day to get to the bottom of what is happening.

A Roman Catholic conservative author has written that the United States Civil War was a religious war. In her astounding book, The Star Spangled Heresy, Americanism, 110, Solange Hertz writes, “One aspect of the Civil War which has been studiously ignored by establishment historians is its character as a war of religion. Protestants found themselves pitted against Catholics and Anglo-Catholics in a death struggle over two incompatible ways of life.” There is no getting around the fact that the only foreign power to recognize the Confederacy and receive its envoys was the Vatican from whose vantage point in the already-threatened papal states the issues could be distinguished with excessive clarity. When the U.S. authorities remonstrated with the Vatican, Secretary of State Cardinal Antonelli, for providing asylum to Confederates, according to an official report, the Cardinal replied that he intended to take such rebels under his special protection. Mary Surratt’s son, John, sought for complicity in Lincoln’s assassination, was even admitted into the papal states.

A physician friend recently sent me a most significant document. It is an article entitled The Vatican and Russia, by Deacon Herman Ivanov Treenadzaty, of the St. Nicholas Parish in Lyon, France. It opens to us a field of view of Rome’s activity with reference to Russia for hundreds of years. You see, ever since the split with Eastern Orthodoxy in A.D. 1054, Rome has been the implacable enemy of Greek and Russian Orthodoxy. This man, obviously a Russian Orthodox cleric living in Lyon, France, delivered the lecture in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, at the 24th Russian Youth Congress in the Jubilee Year of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus’. He states, “It appears to us that Roman Catholicism is a great danger, threatening both present and future Russia; more dangerous than communism which is already on the decline.” And I would submit that it would not be so much on the decline as might be thought. It is assuming a new form because Rome has, in its encyclical, indicated that she is not in favor of the Stalinistic type of communistic or the laissez faire capitalism, but wants a middle path between the two. Quoting from Dostoyevesky, a Russian writer. He states that, “Roman Catholicism is more dangerous than atheism since it presents to us a profane and desecrated Christ, usurping the earthly throne. The pope took the sword and added lies, intrigue, deception, fanaticism and villiany.” Ivanov then comments that Catholicism is dangerous precisely because it offers a counterfeit Christ.

Ivanov reviewed hundreds of years of Russian history with reference to all of the political, psychological, and diplomatic efforts that the Vatican has made to try to overthrow Orthodoxy in Russia, showing how the Vatican has tried to rewrite the history of the introduction of Christianity to Russia. He reveals how propaganda was introduced through the media in Russia to try to destabilize the situation and pave the way for the Vatican to increase its power there. And even this current pope, today, is part of this picture, he points out. Soon after the overthrow of the czar Nicholas II in 1917, the Fatima visions which have indicated that if certain conditions were fulfilled, Russia would be converted to the papacy. It is now believed that those conditions have been met and that Perestroika is the conversion of Russia to the papacy.

All this sheds light on the gigantic struggle between Orthodoxy and the papacy. It reveals that though historians believed that the Crimean War was largely a human, political, and inter-governmental war, the archbishop of Paris, at the start of the Crimean War, declared that “it is a sacred deed, a God-pleasing deed, to ward off the Orthodox heresy, subjugate, and destroy it with a new crusade. This is the clear goal of today’s crusade. Such was the goal of all the crusades, even if all their participants were not fully aware of it. The war which France is now preparing to wage against Russia is not a political war, but a holy war. It is not a war between two governments or between two peoples, but it is precisely a religious war and other reasons presented are only pretext.” And then he comments that the case could not be more clearly stated.

He pointed out that the Vatican found the destruction of the czar, who had been the protector of Orthodoxy, and the Bolshevik Revolution a great opportunity to gain control in Russia and how disappointed they were when things did not work out the way that they had expected. And yet, they felt that somehow communism could alter the whole picture in Russia so that ultimately the Vatican could move in and take advantage of the devastation wrought by communism.

Why is this so significant? Well, by the early 1980s, more than half of the Orthodox priests in Eastern Europe were prepared to accept the primacy of the pope; and Rome realized that the time had come to strike. Using the solidarity Labor Union, which had been largely developed and fostered by the papacy, she began a chain of evolution in Eastern Europe that toppled one government after another with breath-taking speed.

Rome wants to radicalize nations, to drive them into left wing and right wing, and then, out of the insecurity that develops because of the contending factions, she feels that she can take advantage of the situation to impose a new order. This is exactly what took place in pre-war Germany. The communists were fighting the Free Corps which ultimately became the Nazi Wehrmacht. Both national socialism in Germany and international socialism in Russia had the same common basis. Friederick A. Hayek, an Austrian-born author who was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1974, has written several volumes exposing how the very principles that led to Nazism’s triumph in Germany and Stalinist communism’s triumph in Germany and Stalinist communism’s triumph in Russia are at work in the Western countries through socialism. We are now, in our nation, going into an enormous plunge of socialism based upon the thinking that has been developed in the Institute of Policy Studies. The social security card which was to be kept inviolately secret when it was introduced, never to be known publicly, has now essentially become our national ID card. Now, when through a health care program you have to fill out forms in order to get any medical assistance, delineating every aspect of your life, and the government can begin to control people from birth to death, all your privacy is gone.

The Russian constitution, under the USSR, made provision for religious liberty; but it also stated that if the security of the state was at risk, then those liberties could be suspended in the name of protecting the state. The very same thing happened in World War II in America when tens of thousands of Japanese were interned under the Preamble of the Constitution that it was for the common good. Socialism has, at its basis, the basic Jesuit principle that the end justifies the means.

The European Community is headed by Jacques Delors who is a devout Roman Catholic. When he took control about ten or eleven years ago, he took the European Community from a state of shambles and made it into a very dynamic force. Now we have the North American Free Trade Agreement which is similar in nature.

We have had in our country, for decades now, the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. This organization is now exerting enormous influence in this country. In his book, Secret, F. Stephen Powell documents how the Institute for Policy Studies, started by a communist a number of decades ago, has now found hundreds of front organizations for influencing American policy. It reveals that some of the top advisors to Bill and Hillary Clinton are some of the chief figures in this organization which has worked closely with the KGB for years.

Speaking of the treaty-making power of the United States, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I say the same as to the opinions of those who consider the grant of the treaty-making power as boundless. If it is, then we have no Constitution.” On April 11, 1952, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles said, “Treaties make international law and also they make domestic law. Under our Constitution, treaties become the supreme law of the land. Treaty law can override the Constitution. Treaties, for example can cut across the rights given the people by their constitutional Bill of Rights.” What better way to repudiate the Constitution than to bring in a whole new framework of law. How acquainted are you with the North American Free Trade Agreement? It was written in such ambiguous language that there is a ninety-man commission that will be required to interpret it. Does that sound familiar?

Do you remember what happened to the Bohemians? When Rome wanted to subjugate Bohemia, she brought against them the greatest forces in Europe. She marshaled all of the nations of Europe, virtually, against little Bohemia. She gave the promises of paradise to thieves and murderers and brigands if they would only join and fight against Bohemia and subjugate it for the papacy. But as long as the Bohemians were faithful to the Lord, they could not be overcome, even by the most mighty armies. But there came a day when Bohemia decided to enter into a treaty with Rome. Rome granted all kinds of liberties, but they reserved the right to interpret this treaty. Bohemia was thrown into civil war, and it was a great catastrophe.

Now think of a ninety-man commission, with thirty from Mexico, thirty from Canada, and thirty from the United States. What is the religion of Mexico? There is a large portion of Canada which is French Canadian, which is what religion? Much of the rest of Canada is Anglican which is a step-sister; in fact, Solange Hertz calls them Anglo-Catholics. And then there is the United States. What is the premier school that produces foreign service personnel, the excerpts on international law? Georgetown University, the premier Jesuit university form which Bill Clinton graduated. The administration has chosen to keep secret the names of the people who will be on the commission from United States. They were going to release, them, but then they decided to keep them secret.

Meanwhile, from the Washington Post, Sunday, April 17, 1994, I read, “Clinton Policy Allows Public Housing To Be Searched Without a Warrant.” As you know, this has becoming a growing issue. “The Clinton administration yesterday introduced a new policy to permit police without warrants to raid and search apartments in gang-ridden public housing, but said the plan will not violate the constitutional rights of tenants.”

Harry Martin, editor of the Napa Sentinal, who has been editor and involved in at least six different defense intelligence magazines, has released the contents of a secret memo from the White House regarding the plans of the Administration to completely exterminate private weapons ownership and even camouflage clothing, ultimately, or anything having to do with anything that will enable the citizenry to resist a tyrannical government. This is the very reason, according to our founding fathers, why the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights.

John F. Kennedy conceived of the plan for all of the armies of the world’s nations to be downscaled gradually, while an international force, such as the UN, would be continually building up and increasing in power. Now, as our nation’s military is scaled back, there are reports of foreign vehicles, foreign military aircraft, and other troops pouring in.

At the same time, we see the UN decide to invade Somolia without being asked to come, setting a precedent for UN intervention. We see environmental laws blanketing the globe and a call for an environmental police force to enforce this internationally.

We know, according to Revelation 17, that ultimately there will be a grand unity of the nations. “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:12-14

Commenting on this passage, the Spirit of Prophecy tells us, that, “‘These have one mind.’ There will be a universal bond of union, one great harmony, a confederacy of Satan’s forces. ‘And shall give their power and strength unto the beast.’ Thus is manifested the same arbitrary, oppressive power against religious liberty, freedom to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, as was manifested by the papacy, when in the past it persecuted those who dared to refuse to conform with the religious rites and ceremonies of Romanism. In the warfare to be waged in the last days there will be united, in opposition to God’s people, all the corrupt powers that have apostatized from allegiance to the law of Jehovah.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 983

The law of Jehovah is the foundational question. The law of God is the expression of His character. It is the foundation of His government, and rebellion against His law is rebellion against God. “In this warfare the Sabbath of the fourth commandment will be the great point at issue; for in the Sabbath commandment the great Lawgiver identifies Himself as the Creator of the heavens and the earth.” Ibid., So we have been warned that there is going to be a grand confederacy at the end of time. There will be a grand union, a grand harmony of all of the forces opposed to God’s law; and it will ultimately come down to the testing of spiritual loyalty to God and to His law or else unity with these forces that have confederated themselves against the government of God.

“Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. He will subdue the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet. He will choose our inheritance for us, the excellence of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.” Psalm 47:1-4. He is awesome in His power. His glory, and His majesty. He will arise one day and vindicate the honor of His law which has been violated by puny man. These little specks of dust down here think to enter into rebellion against the great King of the universe.

God calls upon us to have spiritual loyalty in these last days, to know our King, and to act upon His principles. For the gospel of Jesus Christ provides a solution for every human contingency that we may be called upon to face in these last days so that we may emerge as overcomers—more than overcomers—triumphant in Christ.

The End

Good Men Good Church

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:14-17 (KJV)

How could a people or a church ever become so blind that they are actually naked and think they are clothed? It is because they have learned to depend upon their own works and their own righteousness rather than the righteousness of Christ. And, though they think they are clothed, their own righteousness cannot clothe them.

It is a situation similar to the one Jesus spoke of in Luke 18:10-14. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector [or publican]. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’” Today, Pharisees are looked down upon; but back in Jesus’ day, they were respected. Publicans, on the other hand, were the worst of people in the eyes of the Jews. They did not respect God’s church, and the Jews considered them to be collaborating with the Romans. Yet Jesus said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I have often studied with sadness the history of Saul. Here was a man who was chosen and ordained of God. He knew that he had been ordained by God to lead his church. When he went out to fight God’s battles, God fought for him. But when God told him to destroy the Amalekites, he failed to do as he was told. He reasoned, “Let’s take these animals and show our appreciation and gratitude for God. Instead of just killing them and wasting them, we will sacrifice them to God.” Look, however at God’s assessment of what had taken place. “So Samuel said, ‘when you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel? Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD? And Saul said to Samuel, ‘But I obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.’ So Samuel said: ‘Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubborness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.’” 1 Samuel 15:17-23

Saul thought he was so good, but he was blind. He thought he was clothed with righteousness, but he was absolutely naked. It says in verse 23, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.” It is a solemn reality that whom God ordains for service, He can remove; and what He has ordained for service He can also remove. God ordained the children of Israel to be His people. Of them, He said, “Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name): if those ordinances depart from before ME, says the LORD, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.” Jeremiah 31:35, 36. Even if the sun, moon, and stars should be removed, Israel would not be removed from being His people.

The children of Israel reasoned in Jesus’ day, “We are God’s people’ nothing can change that. The tide is still coming in; there are still the sun, moon, and stars.” But somehow they forgot that what God establishes, He can also remove. Though God had established Saul, he also removed Him. As with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, though God appointed them, He also removed them. Thus it was with the leadership in Jesus’ day, and thus it is today. When men begin to think that they are good because of position or works, they are absolutely blind. There is not a position or work in which we can engage that can make any one of us good. If there is any goodness in it, it is the goodness of Jesus that comes by faith in Him. But men have come to the place where they believe that they can break the Sabbath and be held guiltless. They believe that they can lie and bear false charges as the scribes and Pharisees did against Jesus in His day in order to preserve the system because it is for a good purpose, and somehow still be guiltless.

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were in the holy service of God. They had come out of Egypt and gone through the Red Sea; they had eaten manna and drunk the water from the rock. More than that, some of these leaders, possibly even Korah, Dathan, and Abiram themselves, had gone up on Mt. Sinai with Moses. God chose them, through Moses, to be representatives for Him. Moses, on the other hand, was not a representative of leadership; he was a prophet. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, since they were elected and had all of the evidence of God’s leading, came to the place where they became good in their own eyes. They thought that they were “rich and had need of nothing and knew not that they were miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” They came to the place where they thought that they could do things that God had never given them permission to do.

In A.D. 364, the Council of Nicea declared that the sanctity of the Sabbath had been changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week. They did not do this by God’s authority but by church authority and church decree. They did so because they were leaders of God’s church.

It has interested me how people study the Bible and seem to twist everything to their own wishes. That was taking place in Ellen White’s day in the 1890s. The leadership was likening themselves to Moses, and anyone who did not go along with them was like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. You see, in 1888, God had chosen Jones and Waggoner and others to give the message of Christ our righteousness; but the leaders said, “Listen, this message did not go through us. What right do these people have to preach? They are not ordained by us; they have not come through our authority. We are the leaders of God’s church.” Do you know what Ellen White says about that? They were actuated by the same spirit that inspired Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” 1888 Materials, 1067. This is just one place where she says that the leaders were likened to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.

I have been shocked by the way committees of the church today can somehow come to believe that they have been vested with authority to disregard God’s commandments and laws. When we suppose that we can overlook all of God’s counsels on competitive sports and introduce intercollegiate sports into our schools, are we not committing the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram? Are we not coming to the place where we think that we can go against God’s counsels and make our own decisions? When we follow the practices and policies of the world instead of those laid down in the Word of God, are we not committing the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram? When Ellen White says that God will not even hear the prayer of those who go to court against a brother, and we go to court against our brethren, which the Bible strictly prohibits and condemns, are we not committing the same sin as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram? When the church fights the very ministries that God has called into existence, are we not committing the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram? That is the sin of the papacy; and, dear friend, it is becoming the sin of the church today. It is the sin of anyone who decides that they are so good that they do not need to follow God exactly; they can make their own decisions in life.

In Jesus’ day, the church of God had been sending some of their promising young men to the universities of Greece, especially down to Alexandria, Egypt. Of course, they remained members of God’s true church; but they learned and brought into it the Greek philosophy, which is the basis of higher education.

The Greeks had come the place where they believed that the way to be truly educated was to reject everything until it has been proved. When you incorporate that philosophy with the Word of God, it is disastrous because the word of God must be studied by faith and not by doubt. I talked with an educator at one of our colleges, an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister, teaching according to the principles of Greek philosophy. He was asking people how they could know that God had really created the world in seven days. I asked him, “How can you instill this doubt into students’ minds?” He said, “I believe that the way we are educated is to doubt everything. That is the way we learn. This is true faith.” He said, “Faith is when you doubt so much that you come to doubt your doubts and that is faith.”

When this system of doubt is applied to the Word of God, it destroys faith. You cannot study God’s Word except by faith.

In Jesus’ day, the Jew who was not educated was looked down upon as being a heathen because everyone was supposed to have a Christian education; that was a duty of a Jewish parent. The educational system, however, had been taken over by a group of liberals called the Sadducees. They rejected much that was in the Old Testament although they claimed to be true followers of God. What could not be proved, they reasoned away.

You know, it is interesting that there is not a record of a single Sadducee being converted or accepting Jesus as his Saviour. It is a deadly disease, this liberal philosophy that causes people to doubt the Word of God and put human reason and human logic above the Word. But in reaction to the Sadducees came a group of conservative people who said, “We do not believe in this liberal philosophy that puts logic above the Word. We believe the Word simply because God says it.” They were called the Pharisees; but sadly, they became so conservative that they began to look at themselves as good people because they were doing everything the Bible said. As time went on, they began to confuse conservatism with structuralism and to place more and more faith in a structure and in a system rather than in God. They began to worship the church instead of God. In fact, the church was so sacred and so important that if anyone suggested that the church would be destroyed or said that the temple would be destroyed, as Jesus said it would be, that person was worthy of death and they sought to kill him because he was blaspheming God. Any criticism of the structure became criticism of God in their minds, so they killed the person who said that the church would be destroyed.

Do you know what is interesting? The Pharisees were the ones who became the most bitter enemies of Jesus, much more so than the Sadducees. In their minds, anything that did not go through the structure was wrong and was not of God.

The Elijah message was the message that John the Baptist had to bring to the people in his day. (See Matthew 3:7-10). It is interesting that this same message that was to prepare a people before Jesus’ first coming is the same message that is to be brought back to the church today before Jesus’ second coming. Ellen White says, “In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 321

As Saul so sadly learned, what God ordains, He can also remove. John the Baptist told the people of his day that God could raise up children to make a church out of the stones, and God did it. He took the stony hearts of the Gentiles and fashioned them into the true church of Israel in the New Testament. Paul says in Galatians 3, Ephesians 2, and Romans 2, that the Gentiles had now become the true church of Israel. The church survived, but it was made up of different people. John the Baptist said “Do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father [we are the church]’….Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree [not just the trees in John the Baptist’s day but every tree from Saul’s day until Jesus’ second coming] which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

The truth will go through; the movement will go through; God’s true Seventh-day Adventist people, the movement that He has ordained for these last days, is going through. God promised it would go through. This is the last church, but the church is more than a structure. The structure is only an aspect of the church. God can raise up children to this church from the stones.

God says that every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down. In Jesus’ day, the church had become so structuralized that God could not reach it through the system. God had to send John the Baptist as an independent minister, independent of the system. When Jesus came down, He also came as an independent minister. He was never sanctioned or ordained by the church. The church never laid their hands upon Him, and they did not recognize Him.

It is interesting to note that even among those who were in independent ministry, pride and self-sufficiency often came in. We find it in Peter and John. They, thankfully, eventually overcame. But this became the spirit of Judas; and Jesus Himself was betrayed by someone from the independent ministry, from the self-supporting work, even from His own group.

Jesus said that the prevailing problem with the church in the last days would be the problem that has been with the church in all ages—self-righteousness. That is what has brought in all of the errors of the Christian church. It is that righteousness that makes a person so righteous that they no longer need to obey God and they can decide for themselves what is right or wrong. That was the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden. “God knows that in the day you eat this fruit, that you will be so wise and so good that you will know yourself what you should do and what you should not do.” Self-righteousness, the fig leaves of self-righteousness.

God has a message to the church today. It is called the Elijah message—the Laodicean message. It is a message of love. God says, “I love you too much to let you go. If you will accept Me as your Lord and Saviour, if you will simply come and follow Me, I will give you righteousness; you will not have to earn it. I will give it to you as a free gift, and then you can obey Me because you love Me. I will give you the power to obey every precept from a heart of love.” You will no longer try to find out how little you can do to get to heaven. No! You will have salvation because God has given it to you, and you will be doing everything you can do because you love Him. None of if will earn you a place in heaven; that was earned on the cross of Calvary two thousand years ago. Praise the Lord! But it is a gift to the obedient.

The End

The World Class Straw Man, part 1

The “straw-man” technique has been very widely used in recent years by those who are laboring to introduce Calvinistic doctrines into our Seventh-day Adventist faith, but never on such a grand scale as in the recent publication, The Nature Of Christ, by Roy Adams, associate editor of the Review.

We pause to explain that in dialogue and debate, the straw-man technique is used like this: First, you misstate and misrepresent the position of your opponent, thus setting up and artificial “straw man” of your own creating. Second, you vigorously attack your misrepresentation, your straw man, and shoot it to pieces. The hoped for result is that the listeners to or readers of your attack will conclude that you have demolished the position of your opponent, when in fact you have only demolished your own misrepresentation, your artificial straw man. It must be conceded that his is an effective debating technique, but its use creates troubling ethical questions in many minds.

Previous Examples

It was the straw-man technique that was being used, for example, when the anonymous writers of the huge Issues book, which Adams endorses, alleged that:

We Historic Adventists are attacking the church, when we are actually attacking apostasy in the church;

We are setting ourselves up as examples, when we are actually setting up Jesus as the example;

We are defending our personal opinions, when we are actually defending the historic faith of our church as set forth in all of its published statements of faith, and in the new SDAs Believe, etc.

But these straw men are only dwarfs of pygmies by comparison with the world-class straw man that is being set before us in the recent volume by Adams, which requires nothing less than a rearrangement of the realities of our history, a replacement of facts with fantasies.

The Roots Question

Adams directs our attention to the two major theological issues that are troubling our church today regarding the nature of Christ and character perfection. He then poses the question, Where did these problems originate? The theses of his book is that their roots are found in the teachings of A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner in the 1890s, were learned from them and urged upon the church by M.L. Andreason, and were foisted upon the modern church by Robert Wieland. This places a newer and richer meaning upon the phrase “simplistic reasoning.” Here are his words, as found on the first page of a chapter entitled “Examining the Roots, the Legacy of Jones and Waggoner:”

“My thesis throughout is that the theology of these three men [Jones, Waggoner, and Andreason] has provided the spawning ground for the position on righteousness by faith and perfection held by certain Adventists today….

“Without a doubt, the roots of the present agitation go all the way back to Jones and Waggoner.” —page 29
And again on page 37:

“The perfectionist agitation within the Seventh-day Adventist Church today had its genesis in the post-1888 teachings of A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner. In this chapter I wish to show that the linkage of sanctification, perfection, and Christ’s nature that has become dominant among certain groups is a direct legacy of M.L. Andreason’s theology.”

To those who know that God’s chosen Messenger to the Adventist people, Ellen White, published far more material on these subjects than any or all of these men ever did, these are indeed bold and breath-taking assertions. Were the teachings of Jones and Waggoner actually the roots, the origin, of the doctrine that Christ came to earth in the human nature of fallen man and the doctrine that character perfection through God’s power is possible? Had the church members no previous acquaintance with these teachings? Can evidence be produced that they held other or opposite views? The answer to all of these questions is No.

The Evidence

Let the evidence speak. Jones and Waggoner set forth their views on these subjects primarily during the ten year period of 1891-1901. Ellen White had been vigorously promoting the same doctrines for well over thirty years, since 1858. By the end of the year 1898, she had gone into print regarding the nature of Christ a total of 141 times. (The publications, the dates, and the statements are all recorded in our research volume, The Word Was Made Flesh.)

Had all of these publishing endeavors failed of their purpose? Did they all escape the attention of the Adventist people? The journals in which she wrote were primarily the Review and the Signs, to which were added her own books. Did these journals and books have no circulation among the Adventist people? and were they unknown to Jones and Waggoner?

Not exactly. In the year 1895, when Jones made his major presentation on the subject of the nature of Christ at a General Conference session, he quoted the following lines from an as yet unpublished manuscript of Ellen White’s The Desire of Ages. (What does his possession of this manuscript indicate about his relation to her beliefs?)

“In order to carry out the great work of redemption, the Redeemer must take the place of fallen man….

“When Adam was assailed by the tempter, he was without the taint of sin. He stood before God in the strength of perfect manhood, all the organs and faculties of his being fully developed and harmoniously balanced; and he was surrounded with things of beauty, and communed daily with holy angels. What a contrast to this perfect being did the second Adam present, as He entered the desolate wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and deterioration in moral worth; and in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he stood. He assumed human nature, bearing the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He humiliated Himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that He might sympathize with man and rescue him from the degradation into which sin had plunged him….

“Christ took humanity with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man with the possibility of yielding to temptation, and He relied upon divine power to keep Him.”
(There are six other places in The Desire of Ages where Ellen White testifies to her belief about the human nature of Christ. See pages 25, 112, 117, 174, and 311.)
The simple fact is that Jones and Waggoner, like virtually all of our church leaders, had been guided in their thinking about the two doctrines of the nature of Christ and character perfection by God’s special messenger, Ellen White. This is clearly attested by two evidences that are a matter of record and can be easily verified by anyone who cares to visit the archives. These two evidences are, 1.) Ellen White published profusely her convictions that Christ came to earth in the human nature of fallen man and that character perfection, by the power of God, is possible; and, 2.) our other church leaders accepted these doctrines as correct and responded by publishing articles and books of their own which echoed her testimonies, and not infrequently quoted from them.

By the end of the year 1898, other church leaders had published their own views on the nature of Christ, not different from hers, a total of 76 times. (See The Word Was Made Flesh.) This number does not include statements from Jones and Waggoner. It does include statements from such other church leaders as James White, Uriah Smith, Stephen Haskell, W.W. Prescott, J.H. Waggoner, M.C. Wilcox, R.A. Underwood, Alton Farnsworth, Elgin Farnsworth, W.H. Glenn, J.E. Evans, William Covert, J.H. Durland, G.C. Tenney, G.E. Fifield, and others. These writers did not mute their messages. The total includes nine editorials and five front page editorials.
Are we to believe that all of these writers, some of whom published before Jones and Waggoner, found the roots of their beliefs in the teachings of Jones and Waggoner? And what of Ellen White? Were their teachings the roots of her beliefs? Or was it actually the other way around, that they all, including Jones and Waggoner, drew their inspiration from the writings of God’s messenger?

And let us not overlook the fact that while Jones and Waggoner were co-editors of the Signs of the Times (1885-1891), they published in that journal three statements by Ellen White that Christ had come to earth in the human nature of fallen man. In the years 1890-91, Waggoner, as sole editor of the Review (1887-91), published eleven such statements in that journal.

The Mainstream

Jones and Waggoner, far from being innovators or teachers of new doctrines, were actually standing firmly in the mainstream of Seventh-day Adventists theology regarding the nature of Christ and character perfection. Their teachings were emphatically not the root of those doctrines; they were rather the fruit.

In the years following 1901, other church leaders united with Ellen White in propaganda these doctrines with ever increasing emphasis and clarity. In our The Word Was Made Flesh, we document 1200 statements on the nature of Christ that were published by our church leaders between the years 1852 and 1952, 400 of them by Ellen White. During that same period, until her death in 1915, Ellen White published 4500 statements regarding character perfection. (See Tell of His Power.)

A Host of Witnesses

This leads us directly to the other proposition in the structure of straw erected by Adams. Was M.L. Andreason a person who accepted strange and new doctrines from Jones and Waggoner and urged them upon the church, or was he only one among a host of witnesses to generally accepted truths? The number of names presented in the previous paragraph should answer that question. We would only add enough names to the previously supplied list to demonstrate that those whose voices joined with the voice of Andreason were among Adventism’s first line of leadership.

In regard to the nature of Christ, we have documented statements by General Conference presidents Daniells, Watson, Branson, and McElhany; vice-presidents Underwood, Farnsworth, Slade, and Turner; local conference presidents Farnsworth and Evans; Signs and Review editors and associate editors M.C. Wilcox, G.C. Tenney, W.H. Glenn, Uriah Smith, F.D. Nicholl, Oscar Tait, Alonzo Baker, C.M. Snow, and F.M. Wilcox; the first president of our theological seminary M.E. Kern; seminary teacher L.E. Froom; college president W.E. Howell; other teachers and leaders including T.M. French, Merlin Neff, L.C. Wilcox, Meade Macguire, C.L. Bond, and J.E. Fulton; and many, many others. Statements in regard to the generally accepted truth of character perfection are simply too numerous to collate or count.
To view the question from its other side, in the massive research project that we engaged in and reported on in our The Word Was Made Flesh, we did not find a single evidence that any of our leaders or believers held a different view from the mainstream on either the nature of Christ or character perfection until the mid 1900s—not one. And let it be remembered that we made it our goal to examine every article or book that had been published in the English language during the period 1852-1952. We had no CD rom, we examined every page. On the basis of what we saw on those pages, we view the announced purpose of George Knight, whose work Adams applauds, to prove that before the 1920s our people held Calvinistic views of the gospel as utterly preposterous.

Simplistic Reasoning

So in the construction of his world-class straw man, Adams has apparently arbitrarily selected two persons, Jones and Waggoner, from among a large group of Adventist thought leaders, including Ellen White, and assigned to them the responsibility for creating doctrinal attitudes that were actually shared by them all and had been witnessed to by some of them before Jones and Waggoner came along. In similar fashion he selected M.L. Andreason from among an even larger group and assigned to him the responsibility for propagating views that were, in fact, shared and earnestly taught by them all. To cap the strange structure, he has then looked at the Historical Adventists of our time and selected from among them an individual minister named Robert Wieland who holds to certain views about corporate personality and corporate repentance that very few among the Historic Adventists share with him, and has set him forth as the type of and spokesman for us all.

The Technique

This is the traditional first step in the use of the straw-man technique, the use of misstatement and misrepresentation in order to set up an artificial straw man which is alleged to be the position of your opponents. The second step is to vigorously attack the straw man of your own creating in the hope that observers will believe that you have demolished the position of your opponents, whereas you have actually only demolished you own artificial straw man.

Adams faithfully follows the formula and devotes many pages to arguing against the ideas of Jones, Waggoner, Andreason, and Wieland. But what does this have to do with us? Really, nothing. Our faith is not fastened to the thinking of any of these men. Our faith is firmly anchored in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy, and we may rest secure in the confidence that these bulwarks will never be overthrown.

In our next article, we will examine some of the individual and specific straw bundles that are used by Adams in the construction of his world-class straw man.

The End

Living Stones

Speaking about the church, Peter describes it as a spiritual house. He says, “Coming to Him [Christ] as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4, 5. Another definition that the Bible uses of the church is that it is a temple. It is a spiritual building; and the material is not concrete blocks or marble blocks, as the temple in Jerusalem, but living stones—people. You can read about these living stones in Acts of the Apostles. There Ellen White describes these living stones as people who have been quarried, chiseled or cut out from the quarry of the world. They are brought as building materials to be laid up as a living temple—a living temple of living stones, as the Bible describes this spiritual temple of God’s church.

We are looking here at the Christian church and the question arises, How do Christians offer up sacrifices? Do they bring acceptable sacrifices to Christ? Yes, but it is a very special type of a sacrifice that they bring to God; and without this sacrifice, they will not be acceptable to Him.

Turning to Psalm 51:16, 17, we discover the sacrifices that are acceptable to God when offered by His people—those who comprise His church, this living temple. This is the psalm David wrote, you recall, after being reproved by the prophet for committing that terrible sin with Bathsheba. He realized that his sin had been discovered, and here he offered up one of those acceptable sacrifices to God. “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.” So what are the acceptable sacrifices that God’s people are to bring to Him if they are going to be living stones? They bring the sacrifices of a broken and a contrite spirit. In other words, they are repentant. And these are the sacrifices that they bring, trusting in Jesus’ merits.

Friends, we cannot be living stones in God’s temple if we are living in sin. The prerequisite to being a part of God’s temple is that they “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Let us also notice something else. Going back to God’s church as it was under the Jewish system, they were told time and time again to repent of their sins. They claimed to be God’s people. God had called them to fulfill a purpose; but their lives, time and time again, disqualified them from being living stones. Many times they brought sacrifices, they went through all the protocol, they did all of the outward things that were necessary; but with those burnt offerings, those sin offerings, there was not a broken and contrite spirit and they could not be accepted by Him.

The Jewish people had a literal temple of polished marble, but they missed the point that it was but a symbol of the living temple that they were to be. Speaking to them God said, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:16, 17. “Look,” God says, “you claim to be My people, but you are in sin. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil.”

The wonderful thing is, when we cease to do evil, the Lord is so merciful to us. “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’” Isaiah 1:18. Wonderful, precious, merciful God, even to those who are deliberately sinning against Him.

Sadly, the people had been bringing the wrong kinds of sacrifices. “‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?’ says the Lord. ‘I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts?’” Isaiah 1:11, 12. They were offering the sacrifices, but it might as well have been a slaughterhouse. They did not offer them with a broken and contrite spirit.

What did God tell them? “Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.” Isaiah 1:13-16. Then He says, “Come now, and let us reason together. I want to forgive you, but it has to be on the right basis. I want to forgive you, and I will. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.”

Though God is a very merciful God, He expects certain conditions; and if we want to be a living stone in that living temple, we must abide by the conditions that He has laid down. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people [a peculiar people], that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9. Here Peter is using the same terminology which God had used in the Old Testament in referring to Israel. Speaking to Israel, God had said, “‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” Exodus 19:6

So, these living stones were to be a holy nation, a royal priesthood; but again, it was only under certain conditions. “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” Exodus 19:5. Only in obedience could the people meet the conditions of the covenant.

Just as there were conditions to being a living stone in the Old Testament, there are conditions being a living stone in God’s spiritual temple in the New Testament. “That you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9. So, friends, if we are living stones, we are called to come out of the darkness and to show forth “the praises of Him” who has “called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

What kind of darkness is this speaking about? This is the darkness that Peter made reference to when he said, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8. Specifically, what does the darkness mean? “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” Ibid., verse 11. So, the darkness is the unfruitful works; in other words, it is sin. You cannot be a living stone if you are still living in sin, if you are still in spiritual darkness. It just does not work.

The Bible uses some very specific terms to describe those who choose to remain in spiritual darkness and sin. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6, 7 The only way that we can be justified is to come out of the darkness and walk in the light.

Remember when Solomon dedicated the temple in Jerusalem? There was the table of shewbread, the candlestick, the altar of incense, and the gorgeous tapestry veil. In the second apartment, the Most Holy place, there was the ark of the covenant, inside of which were the tables of God’s Law. There were the priests in their beautiful, gorgeous costumes; everything was according to the direction that God had given. But there was something missing. Do you remember? It was the presence of God, the Holy Spirit. God’s shekinah glory was to come down into that temple. Remember that wonderful prayer of Solomon’s as he knelt there before the temple and prayed? As he prayed, what happened? The glorious presence of God was seen to come down and fill that temple. Now that it was filled with the Holy Spirit, it was fulfilling the purpose for its existence.

Jesus wanted to make the apostolic church a habitation for His Spirit; but before Pentecost could take place, those stones had to be made ready to be a fit habitation for the Spirit. For three and a half years Jesus had labored with these men. They were privileged above every other group of people; but the very night that He knew that He was going to be betrayed, there was strife over who was the greatest. He had been grooming them, preparing them to be this building that He could pour His Spirit in, that, like fire in the stubble, they might take the gospel to the then-known world; and here they were, His very last night, contending as to who would be the greatest?

It was customary, as you recall, for someone to wash the feet of the guests. As no one was willing to do it, Jesus got up and, laying aside His robes, got down upon His knees and started pouring out the water. Those last few hours of the life of Jesus were the culmination of what He was seeking to accomplish for them. This act did more to turn those men around than anything else.

You know that whom the Lord loves He chastens, reproves, and prunes. Have you ever received some chastening and reproof? Has God been pruning you recently? Friends, we have to submit to this process because it is part of the polishing that prepares us to finally become the recipient of the latter rain just before Jesus comes. Jesus had to reprove and correct His disciples very often so that they might become qualified to be these living stone, and He has to reprove us.

Well, something did happen to the disciples. As they saw the wonderful love of Jesus, as they beheld that love, that unselfish, self-sacrificing love for them, it just broke them completely. They witnessed the love that He had for them when they deserved it the least. This is the only thing that can break the stubborn, human, sinful heart that rises up against reproof. So there they were in one accord, and God was now able to fulfill His purpose through them. This is why we are told that every day it would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour on the life of Christ, particularly the closing scenes. (See The Desire of Ages, 83.)

When we make the same complete surrender to Christ, friends, as the apostles and the believers did, then God will be able to give us that full outpouring of the Holy Spirit; and He will finish this work very quickly. We are told in Testimonies, vol. 1, that back in the 1850s, which was even before the Seventh-day Adventist Church had taken its name, that Jesus could have come. All of this shows that, while God is willing to use organization and all of our modern methods of communication, he does not need them. He has means of getting this message out that we do not even understand. What He does need is a people who are surrendered. It may be only a few, as in the apostolic age when there were just twelve apostles and a few followers. Though few in number, through the power of Christ, in a few short years they reached the world. Friends, He will do the same today if we will be yielded and allow ourselves to become those polished stones.

About 1859, James and Ellen White were concerned about the spiritual condition of God’s professed people. They thought they were the Philadelphia church, the church of brotherly love; but James and Ellen White came to the conclusion that the church was in the Laodicean state. James White wrote some articles in the Review and Herald and said, in so many words, “Folks, we are Laodicea. We are poor, miserable, blind, wretched, and naked; and we do not even realize it. We need to accept the reproof of the true witness.” James and Ellen White wondered if the people of God would receive this reproof.

By and large, they did; and as they accepted that reproof, they started to get down upon their knees and pray. They started to confess and repent of their sins. They started to receive from Christ that rich cup of grace that they needed. At the very same time that the people of God were surrendering to Christ, there took place out in the world and across this nation a great religious revival. Historians are at a loss as to how to describe how it happened, but it is well chronicled. Even in the stock exchange there were prayer circles.

At the time that this great revival was taking place in America, Ellen White wrote, “As this message affected the heart, it led to deep humility before God. Angels were sent in every direction to prepare unbelieving hearts for the truth.” Testimonies to the Church, vol. 1, 186. God was sending His angels out to work upon hearts and minds and consciences of multitudes of people to prepare them to receive the loud cry of the third angel that was about ready to be given by that little nucleus of Adventists.

Sadly, the people of God did not persevere. They pulled back, and the great work that God was wanting to accomplish came to almost nothing. Then in 1861 there was a civil war. Half a million sons, brothers, and fathers were swept into oblivion. This need not have been the case. Jesus was ready then to pour out His Spirit upon His people, to fill that living temple with the latter rain. That message would have gone around this whole world, and the Lord would have come.

Friends, Christ is still longing to prepare a people to receive the latter rain and give the loud cry of the third angel. When it comes, if we are to be a part of it, we must be among those who have been willing to submit to reproof, to counsel, and to correction that comes through the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy.

“The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to the ‘principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ the final and full display of the love of God.” Acts of the Apostles, 9. May the Lord help us to be those who are part of this, who see it as part of this grand and final display of the love of Jesus Christ.

The End

Cybernetic Warfare, part 1

When I was a freshman attending a Seventh-day Adventist college, I took a psychology course. One sentence in our textbook so intrigued me that I have never forgotten it. It was telling about the purpose of psychology. It was discussing why a person should want to study psychology; and it stated that if you understand the human mind, it would enable you to control the human mind. In other words, if you will understand the way that people’s minds work, you will be able to control them.

There is someone who has been studying the human mind for much longer than any human has. “For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women that none but his voice will be heard.” Medical Ministry, 111. The people whom he has in control, he has linked their mind with his own mind and they do not even know.

One of the things I studied about in psychology was a man by the name of Pavlov. Pavlov was a Russian scientist who did his research with dogs. He developed a system that whenever the dogs would be given their food, a bell would ring. He found out that after this had been repeated many times, all that he needed to do was ring the bell and the dogs would begin to salivate. Psychologists call this a conditioned reflex, and it is a concept that has been much more highly developed and expanded in NLP. It is called anchoring.

With a totally unrelated, external stimulus, Pavlov was able to control physiological functions in these dogs. Now remember, one of the ultimate goals of psychology is to control the mind, that is, other people’s minds.

“This entering in of Satan through the sciences is well devised. Through the channel of phrenology, psychology, and mesmerism [the modern term is hypnotism], he comes more directly to the people of this generation, and works with that power which is to characterize his efforts near the close of probation. The minds of thousands have thus been poisoned, and led into infidelity. While it is believed that one human mind so wonderfully affects another, Satan, who is ready to press every advantage, insinuates himself, and works on the right hand and on the left. And while those who are devoted to these sciences laud them to the heavens because of the great and good works which they affirm are wrought by them, they little know what a power for evil they are cherishing; but it is a power which will yet work will all signs and lying wonders—with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Mark the influence of these sciences, dear reader, for the conflict between Christ and Satan is not yet ended.” Selected Messages, book 2, 351, 352

As time went on, this research by Pavlov was further developed by Skinner and others, and it has reached astounding levels by the practitioners of NLP who claim fight along with the behavioral psychologists that all behavior is the result of some stimulus and that if the right stimulus is present, any desired behavior can be elicited.

Now this advancing knowledge of the human mind was not lost or unnoticed by people who wanted to control the world, such as Hitler and Stalin. In the purges in Russia in the 1930s, high-ranking leaders made some confessions that were simply unbelievable. They sounded completely unreal and we did not understand at the time what was going on. How did they get these people to make those kinds of confessions? Of course, we could postulate that they were made under torture or some terrible, tyrannical pressure. But in the 1950s, for the first time we got some firsthand knowledge of these new, psychological weapons. They were so powerful that they affected changes in people’s thinking and behavior that seemed to be almost permanent.

These techniques that were referred to first of all as brainwashing and later as cybernetic warfare or mind control, have been further developed in the ‘70s and ‘80s and are what is known today as NLP.

I have a list of twelve principles that are used in cybernetic warfare. I would like to try to look at just two if we can, because you have been and are meeting this, not just in the world but in the church and even among independent ministries. Most people are not aware of what is going on. We get telephone calls and letters from these people constantly. They do not have the faintest idea that their thinking has been twisted by someone else. They have been put in a mental trap and changed and they do not even know it. They are “Historic Adventists.”

They are utterly amazed that we do not immediately go along with the conclusions that they have drawn. They would say, “I am an independent thinker,” but they are not. The content of their conversation and letters plainly indicate to any person who has a little training in psychology that they have been influenced by and usually have even adopted some of the techniques of cybernetic warfare, although almost all would vehemently protest this.

By the way, I personally do not have much regard for the concept of independent thinking because I am not convinced that it exists, except for the person who is in Christ. “In the Word of God are represented two contending parties that influence and control human agencies in our world. Constantly these parties are working with every human being.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1119. [All emphasis supplied] There are two parties. They are supernatural parties, and they are contending for the influence and control of human agencies. And how often are they working on every human being? Constantly. Right at this moment, if you have not placed yourself under the control of the Holy Spirit, the devil’s angels are controlling your mind. “Either the evil angels or the angels of God are controlling the minds of men.” Ibid., 1120. It is just that simple. We do not think independently; we are either under the control of God’s supernatural agencies or the devil’s. “Our minds are given to the control of God, or to the control of the powers of darkness; and it will be well for us to inquire where we are standing today—whether under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel, or under the black banner of the powers of darkness.” Ibid.

One of the most wonderful promises we have is the promise that Jesus can keep us from being brought under the control of someone else.

“The soul that is yielded to Christ, becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies, is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not cooperate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it His abiding place. [Matthew 12:43-45] The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin.” The Desire of Ages, 324

During the Korean War, some of our soldiers were taken prisoner by the Chinese. These soldiers had heard of how the Japanese tortured their prisoners in various ways; and they were expecting similar treatment; but something happened that they did not expect. They were gathered in little groups. With these little groups there was an instructor. The Chinese instructors were people who spoke 1950s U.S. English. They had been trained in psychology and sociology at the best universities in the United States and Europe. They wore no uniform and had no gun.

Here is what they said. “Gentlemen, we welcome you to the ranks of the people. We are happy to have liberated you from the imperialist warmongers who have sent you here. We know that you did not want to come here.” By the way, this was true. “You did not start the war. You really do not even know why you are here.” Unfortunately, for the most part, that was true also. “Therefore, we have nothing against you. We want to offer you a proposition. All we want from you is your physical cooperation. We just do not want you to fight.” So the philosophy was, do not fight the problem.

In return for this cooperation, the Chinese made some offers: 1) “There is no work. There are no slave camps here. We do not have those sort of things.” Now, that happened to be a lie, but the prisoners did not know that. “That is capitalistic propaganda that they feed you in the United States. We have no coal mines for you, no road gangs, and no overseers.” 2) “We will give you the best food, clothing, shelter, and medical care that we possibly can. Now, it will not be good because we are a poor country, but we will give you the best that we have.” 3) “We will give you the thing that we know you Americans really like most of all, a chance to learn the truth. We are going to tell you what we think the truth to be about what is going on in the world, about your system and ours. You have only heard one side of the story before because it is the capitalist imperialists who publish your papers and run your radio stations and publish your comic and text books. All we ask from you is just a little American fair play. Just listen to both sides. After you have heard our side, you can make up your mind what the truth is. When the imperialist, Wall Street warmongers have decided that they have used up enough of the excess tanks that have been made by General Motors and the excess petroleum produced in Texas and the profits are high enough and the people have been exploited enough and they let this senseless slaughter end, we want you to go back to your own home and find families and simply tell them the truth as you yourself decide the truth to be.”

In World War II the American soldiers were known as the best in the world for escaping under impossible circumstances and conditions, but in Korea there was not one POW who escaped. Not only that, in a camp that had 600 American POWs, they only had 6 armed guards. Does cybernetic warfare work? It works.

The fact is that what our prisoners of war in North Korea were told was almost all true. The truth, however, was placed in a completely different context than they had ever heard it before. Was it true that the United States was using oil out of Texas? Of course. Was it true that they were using tanks manufactured by General Motors? Of course. But the facts were given a different interpretation.

By changing the context and the words used, the message conveyed may be completely changed. Let me give you a few examples. In the account of an officer in the Nationalist Chinese Army who was captured by the communists, he said that the communists are always turning words upside down. When they say protective custody, what they mean is that they are going to put you in jail. Protective custody does not sound as bad as a jail, does it? When they say protective custody, they try to make you believe that they are trying to protect you, the man, from the mob.

When the Chinese found out something about someone, one of these plain clothed officers would take that person for what was called a walking conference. The two of them would go walking. The instructor would put his arm around the prisoner of war and say, “Now we know such and such about you. You do not need to deny it; we know that it is true. I just want to tell you, we are not going to punish you for this.” Oh, that person felt so relieved. “Now it is anti-social, and we do not want you to get into trouble with your fellow prisoners [or your fellow comrades]. All we want you to do is to decide not to do that again. Sign your name on a document that you will not do it again, and that is all that we ask. No punishment.” They said, “We just want to protect you.” That means they want to put you in jail.

Let me just explain how this technique works in Adventism. In Testimonies, vol. 1, 321, Ellen White says that God requires of His servants today that they preach an even straighter message than John the Baptist. Is John the Baptist’s message a message of reproof? Yes, it is. The Lord said that if His servants do not preach these messages, they will not be acknowledged as His.

But do you know what you can do? You can take that message of reproof from the Lord, and all that you need to do is call it by a different name and it will turn people off. One of the buzz words to call it is criticism. Have you ever heard that? Do you realize that this is cybernetic warfare? It is taking something that God impressed His servant by the Holy Spirit to do and giving it a different name that has a different connotation.

“Paul longed to speak to the church in Corinth of spiritual things. But to his sorrow he found it in great weakness. The church members could not even bear to hear the truth concerning themselves. The spiritual growth of this people was so dwarfed that a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ was an offense to them. Paul knew that by giving them the truth he would be ranked as an accuser and faultfinder.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1086

By the way, if you reprove and rebuke, if you preach according to what Ellen White and the New Testament says to do as your duty as a Christian preacher, you will be accused of being an accuser and a fault finder, the implication being that you are obviously one of the devil’s agents. This is an example of cybernetic warfare.

The devil criticizes and accuses people, trying to destroy them! God’s servants reprove and rebuke people to try to get them to turn around so that they can be saved. That is completely opposite. But with cybernetic warfare, you can turn something, with just a few words, in 180 degrees.

The devil is trying to take control of people’s minds, and he is doing it by the words that are being communicated between people in sermons and in print; and people do not even know it. Our only safety is in a moment by moment communion with Jesus Christ, with His Holy Spirit filling our hearts, giving us a supernatural barricade.

Much of the information in this article was gleaned from the booklet, Brainwashing, an address by Major William E Mayer, M.D. and published by Taft Broadcasting Company.


Editorial – What Really Counts?

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10. One of these days, the things that have seemed to matter to people are going to suddenly change. When the judgment begins, the only thing that will really matter then is, “Do I have on the wedding garment? Am I ready?” “In the day of final judgment, when every man shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body, nothing will seem to have existence but character and the law of God. Man will be stripped of everything but the character he has formed.” Review and Herald, February 12, 1901

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, which searched His children through and through. Then all faces gathered paleness, and those that a God had rejected gathered blackness. Then we all cried out, ‘Who shall be able to stand? Is my robe spotless?’ Then the angels ceased to sing, and there was some time of awful silence.” Maranatha, 289.

We will either be ready or we will not, and it will be too late to change then.

“When we become children of God, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and they remain there until the time of the investigative Judgment. Then the name of every individual will be called, and his record examined by Him who declares, ‘I know thy works.’ If in that day it shall appear that all our wicked deeds have not been fully repented of, our names will be blotted from the book of life, and our sins will stand against us. If the professed believer becomes self-confident, if in word or spirit he breaks the least precept of God’s holy law, he misrepresents Jesus, and in the Judgment the awful words will be spoken, ‘blot out his name from the book of life; he is a worker of iniquity.’ But the Father pities the self-distrustful, God-fearing soul, harassed though he may be with doubts and temptations. Jesus pleads for him, and confesses his name before the Father and His holy angels.” Signs of the Times, August 6, 1885

“Satan will work to quench the light God has for every soul, by casting his shadow across the pathway to intercept every ray of heavenly light. He knows that his time is short. The people of God must cleave to God, else they will lose their bearings. If they cherish hereditary and cultivated traits of character that misrepresent Christ, while professedly His disciples, they are represented by the man coming to the gospel feast without having on the wedding garment, and by the foolish virgins which had no oil in their vessels with their lamps. We must cleave to that which God pronounces to be truth, though the whole world may be arrayed against it.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1179

Sometimes people think that getting ready has to do with right theology; and while wrong theology can certainly result in wrong actions and, therefore, in a person being lost, theology is not really the determining factor. “Those whom Christ commends in the Judgment, may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles.” The Desire of Ages, 638

What are these principles that Ellen White is speaking about? “Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love. There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas.” Ibid., 487

How do we relate to those who do not appreciate us, or who act contrary to our ideas? James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritans. (See Luke 9:54.) “Oh,” someone says, “I would never do that;” but, “the tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” James 3:6

There will be many professed Christians in the day of judgment who will be able to profess to having done great things in the cause of God but who will find out that their words have barred them from eternal life.

The End