SDA Roots, part 1

The Reformation spread quickly during the sixteenth century in Europe. Rome became concerned over the spreading “heresy” and determined to stop it. The persecutions inflicted were not as effective as she had hoped. The more pressure that was put upon the Protestants to yield to her demands, the more they increased. So another approach was initiated.

“The Papacy suffered a major setback throughout the Reformation. The help of the monastic orders was sought, but they were so decadent that they had lost the respect of the people. The Dominicans and Franciscans, peddling relics and indulgences, had become the butt of ridicule and mockery. At this crisis Loyola and his companions offered their services, to go wherever the pope should designate, as preachers, missionaries, teachers, counselors, reformers. A new order was created, authorized in 1540, which infused a new spirit and spread rapidly over Europe. Like a wounded giant, Romanism arose in desperation to recover her lost prestige and enlarge shrunken territory.

“From 1540, then, the Counter Reformation may be dated. Within fifty years the Jesuits had planted stations in Peru, Africa, the islands of the East Indies, Hindustan, Japan, and China, and before long in the Canadian forests and the American colonies. Their members secured important chairs in universities. They became counselors and confessors to monarchs, and were the most able of all Catholic preachers. By 1615 they had a membership of thirteen thousand. Thus through the Jesuits, the Counter Reformation, next to the Protestant Reformation itself, became the most memorable movement in the history of modern times.” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. II, 464.

By 1565 Catholicism had reached a low ebb and it was on the defensive, as Protestantism became victorious in one stronghold after another. In 1566 Pius V revived the Inquisition, the Index, and the Company of Jesus once more assumed the offensive. All this included the Marian persecutions in England, the wars in France against the Huguenots, the burning of heretics by the Inquisition in Spain, the attempt to exterminate the Protestants in the Netherlands and the invasion of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Protestant books were placed on the Index to be destroyed. In addition to these engines of destruction, Rome used polemics against the Protestants, and in an attempt to stem the tide she began a mission program to the heathen.


Deceiving Doctrines


None of these things had any lasting effect on stopping the Reformation. Then the Jesuits came up with an idea that was calculated to have a confusing effect upon those who had been influenced by the reformers. The main thrust of the idea was aimed at the reformer’s prophetic interpretations of Daniel and Revelation, particularly dealing with the antichrist. Luther and others had said that the antichrist of Daniel was the Papacy. To take the heat off the Papacy, the Jesuit, Francisco Ribera of Salamanca in Spain and Robert Bellarmine of Rome put forth a futuristic interpretation of Bible prophecy.

Ribera assigned the first few chapters of Revelation to ancient Rome and the rest to just before the Second Advent. Bellarmine insisted that the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation had no application to the papal power, and that the year-day principle did not apply to the prophecies.

“Protestantism and Catholicism now stand face to face in opposition over the prophecies, each with its weapons of argument drawn. The issues having been clearly enunciated, the battle is begun between the distinctively Protestant and papal interpretations, the two positions being irreconcilable. Stalwarts in the Protestant ranks arose to defend and perfect the Historical School of interpretation, though some compromisers adopted the Catholic countertheories —particularly the Preterist scheme.” Ibid., 506.

The foundation for the interpretation of the time prophecies of the Bible is the year-day principle. Thomas Brightman (1562–1607), a Puritan scholar, confuted Ribera’s Futurism and stressed the year-day principle for interpreting the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation.

As previously stated there were some Protestants that compromised with the Catholic views on the prophecies. These included Hugo Grotius a Dutch jurist, statesman, historian and theologian and Henry Hammond, called the “Father of English Biblical Criticism.” These men, among others, adopted the Catholic Preterist theory. According to this view, the prophecies of Revelation were descriptive of the victory of the early church as fulfilled by the downfall of the Jewish nation and the overthrow of Pagan Rome, thus limiting them to the first six centuries after Christ and implicating Nero as the antichrist.

“By the middle of the sixteenth century the Protestant Reformation had taken firm root in all countries north of the Alps, with the exception of France and the Netherlands. Thus Europe, for the most part, seemed lost to the Holy See. But the Catholic Counter Reformation began, with a program of reform in the Roman church, along with the formation of new religious orders. The church set about recovering the lands from which it had been driven. Its two chief instruments were the Jesuits and the Inquisition, and a third was the Council of Trent.” Ibid., 526.

Between 1555 and 1580 the Reformers were broken up into three groups—Lutherans, Calvinists and Socinians, thus weakening the Protestant position. Eventually Calvinists and Lutherans began persecuting one another; thus the Jesuits regained Poland. Religious wars developed in France and the Netherlands and a strong Catholic reaction soon followed. While the Protestants were losing power, the Catholic Counter Reformation was gaining strength. By the end of the sixteenth century Catholicism had regained almost half of Europe. While in this territory Protestantism was split into two groups, Protestant and Reformed. For some time it seemed that Catholicism would reign supreme again, but it was not to be so. There still remained the cornerstone of individual liberty in men’s hearts that could not be completely subdued. If necessary, men would fight for this freedom despite all odds.


Protestants Agree on Prophecies


During the Post-Reformation period of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, hundreds of Protestant commentaries, large and small, began to appear throughout Europe and England and now for the first time in the North American continent. In spite of some of the differences of interpretation on the part of some of the writers, there was surprising agreement on the essentials.

Throughout the seventeenth century men all over the world were focusing their attention upon the prophecies of Daniel with emphasis upon the 1260 and 2300-day prophecies. For the first time, the 70 weeks were connected to the 2300-day prophecy. Various interpretations were advanced regarding the beginning and ending dates of these prophecies, but the year-day principle of prophetic interpretation had been firmly established in the Protestant world. During the eighteenth century, the interest in and propagation of Biblical interpretation continued to grow and develop in England and Germany especially. The Huguenots in France also held the prophetic banner high. It is obvious to us now that the Lord was preparing the way for the Great Advent Movement of the nineteenth century.

“The Eighteenth century . . . was a climactic period, witnessing the recognized close of one of the greatest of the prophetic time periods. It was a century of extreme contrasts. The seeds of the Jesuit Preterist counterinterpretation sprang up and began to bear their evil fruit of acceptance among German rationalists, and thence to similar groups in England and America. Furthermore, no sooner had premillennialists repudiated the false Augustinian theory of a post millennium, than postmillennialism, introduced among Protestants by a Protestant, swept like a scourge over a large percentage of the churches. And coupled to this was the tragedy of bitter reaction against all Christianity, false and true, as the insidious principles of infidelity and atheism reached their climax in the French Revolution (1793).

“On the other hand, the ending of the 1260 year-day period took place—anticipated for a full century by a line of expositors who believed France might be the instrument to accomplish it. Prophetic students on three continents watched for and recognized the fulfillment, which they duly attested. Prophetic interpretation in the hands of able men in Britain, France, and Germany—and now in America—continued to advance. Errors were corrected, and new principles were discerned. The great Lisbon earthquake was seen as a sign that the approaching end was clearly recognized. And just before the close of the century men in two different lands independently arrived at the identical conclusion that the 70 weeks of years are the first part of the 2300 year-days. Such were the prophetic highlights of this new century.” Ibid., 640, 641.

Isaac Newton (1642–1727), one of the greatest mathematical and philosophical minds of his time, applied the same exactness to prophetic interpretation as he did to the sciences. His understanding of Daniel’s prophecies is manifested by his writings on that subject. For the most part he is correct in his interpretation as evidenced by understanding that the cleansing of the Sanctuary was still future. He also stated that the starting date for the 2300 days was 457 B.C.

There were many others in various parts of the world that were following the same line of thought regarding the prophecies. Men such as John Fletcher (1729–1785) in Switzerland, defended the year-day principle, among other teachings that dealt with prophetic interpretation. John Gill (1697–1771) in England, supported the historic position on the prophecies of Daniel. Johann Bengel (1687–1752) of Germany, taught that the beast was the Papacy and that the crucifixion occurred in the midst of the 70th week. John Petrie (1718–1792), also of Germany, believed that the 70 weeks were a part of the 2300-day prophecy.

The two common denominators that stand out among the Post-Reformation Protestant witnesses are that the Papacy is the predicted antichrist and that the year-day principle was to be applied to the prophecies. From the Renaissance on, prophetic exposition continued to steadily unfold and expand.

With the close of the eighteenth century, it is seen that the two major focal points of that period are the Reformation position that the Papacy is the antichrist and that the French Revolution was a turning point in the absolute controlling power of the Papacy. Although Protestant Historicists differed considerably as to the beginning of the 1260-day period of antichrist, they were all united upon the fact that 1260 years had been allotted him and that that period was drawing to a close. When the French Revolution occurred, it was looked upon as the stroke that brought the Papacy down. It gave a new concept of the freedom from bondage to the Roman Catholic Church.

“And if the papal system received a heavy blow in the theological and prophetic fields through the Reformation, it received an even greater stroke in some ways, through the emancipation of reason by the French Revolution. The shackles of superstition were stricken from the wrists and ankles of humanity, and mankind was seemingly delivered out of Catholicism’s hand.” Ibid., 795.


A New Era in Human History


Not only was the period of the eighteenth century remarkable for these “emancipating events” but it was also a turning point in modern history as well. Just before, during and after this time great advances were made in the harnessing of steam power and the first experiments were done with the electric light and power, which contributed greatly to the Industrial Revolution that brought about profound changes in all aspects of human thought and activity.

Political, religious and intellectual freedom lay at the foundation of all the other advances, including communication and transportation. Freedom of speech and the press resulted in religious revivals and worldwide missions, followed by the establishment of Bible and tract societies. Reformation and development followed in the fields of education, health and temperance.

“So at this turn of the century may be found the beginning of all those far-reaching influences that molded the succeeding century, and which are continuing to operate. But the implications reach not only forward into the future but back into the past. Another discovery was made in thatera—the finding of the Rosetta stone in Egypt in 1799, the deciphering of which became the magic key that unlocked the secrets of Biblical archeology. This not only cleared away many of the mists that had hung like a pall over the early ages of history, but gave us a greater and richer understanding of the Bible and its prophecies. And this, in turn, has provided an antidote for the virus of rationalism projected by the French Revolution.

“Such focusing of vital events, and the bringing forth of new wonders, all having their common beginning around the end of the eighteenth century, indicate beyond peradventure that an old epoch had come to its end and a new era had begun, just as prophecy had predicted.” Ibid., 796.

Next time we will continue our journey through the annals of history watching the unfolding of God’s plan for the continuation of the Reformation and the establishment of the Great Second Advent Movement.


Sanctification of the Life and Body

The life also must be sanctified. “The word of God,” says Paul, “is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul (life) and spirit.” Hebrews 4:12. The life should be spent in the service of God, and we should be willing to lay it down for the sake of the truth, if the cause of God demands it. But we should avoid rashness, and see to it that we wear not our strength and energies, and sacrifice not our lives unnecessarily. Out lives are precious, and we are responsible to God for the use that we make of them. We should not sin against God by suffering and sacrificing our lives when the truth and the glory of God do not require it. There is much suffering that is in vain and worse than lost, that is not for God and his truth. Many lives have been squandered in the cause of error. Many lives have been sacrificed to vain and trifling objects, to other gods besides the true God.

Christ willingly spent his strength and energies, suffered and laid down His life. But this was not in vain. The redemption of a fallen world was at stake. And He says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Matthew 16:24, 25.

He that sets out to walk in the path of holiness, must make up his mind to deny himself, and suffer for Christ’s sake. He that saves his life and ease at the sacrifice of the truth, shall lose eternal life; but he that loses his life and ease for the sake of Christ, shall find it; i.e., shall find eternal life. “For what,” says our Saviour, “is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (life)? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (life)?” Verse 26.

We should not count our lives dear when the truth, the glory of God, and eternal life, are at stake. These should be dearer to us than life, and we should gladly suffer for the sake of Christ who has suffered so much for us. This did the early Christians.

Says Paul, “For thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our mortal flesh! For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” “In labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” “Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Romans 8:36; 1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 4:9; 11:23-28; Acts 20:24; 21:13.

Millions of saints have shown that their lives were sanctified by laying them down for God and His truth; and though we may not now be tested as they were, yet we may know how far our lives are sanctified by our willingness to suffer in the cause of truth. If we are unwilling to deny ourselves and suffer for God now, we certainly would be unwilling to lay down our lives for His sake.

While looking over his sufferings, Paul said, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” Philippians 1:12.

Paul was confident that Christ would be magnified “whether by life or death.” He believed that if he lived, he should glorify God and advance his cause through suffering. He also believed that if he died, his death would be gain to the cause of Christ. He looked not for his own ease, and did not feel free to choose life or death.

It was so with the holy martyrs. They knew that the grace and courage they showed here while suffering would strengthen the saints, and induce others to enlist in the cause they loved, and were willing to sacrifice their lives, knowing that they should find them again, reign with Christ, and have a rich reward in his kingdom.


Sanctification of The Body


We have now come to an interesting and important branch of the subject; to a branch which has been neglected by those who make sanctification a hidden and mysterious work, a work which is shut up in the heart, and which no man can recognize only as it is displayed in boastings or peculiar raptures.

From what we have said on the mind, it can be readily seen that we do not overlook heart work or the sanctification of the mind. But how may we know whether a genuine work is performed in the heart? How may we know whether the mind is sanctified or now? Says the great Teacher; “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. . . .Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:16-18 .

It is the fruit that a tree bears that determines whether it is good or evil, and it is by the fruits or works of men that we are to judge whether they are good or evil, sanctified or unsanctified. The fruits or works of men indicate the condition of their hearts, and these fruits or works cannot be wrought and brought to light without the exercise of the physical faculties.

But says one; We are sanctified by faith. Answer. We admit that we are sanctified by faith; but what is the nature of genuine faith? Does faith confine sanctification to the heart, and exclude good works? The simple definition of Bible faith is confidence in the word of God. Faith takes hold of the truths of God’s word. Now the Scriptures are very explicit on the necessity of being rich in good works. They teach us that Christ gave himself for us that He might purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works, and that we should let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works, and be led to glorify our Father who is in Heaven. Titus 2:14; Matthew 5:16.

The candid and consistent will acknowledge sanctification as they see it carried out in the lives of men. They look at the works, and so does the Lord. To the seven churches, representing the seven different stages of the Christian church, Jesus says, “I know thy works.” Revelation 1-3. The works of men are recorded in Heaven, and it is according to these works that they shall be judged. Revelation 20:12.

Genuine faith is operative, and is made perfect by works. James 2:22; Galatians 5:6. It is a Bible declaration “that faith without works is dead.” James 2:20. And a dead faith will not sanctify a man. To the Romans Paul writes, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Romans 12:1. Here is an exhortation for the brethren at Rome to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, etc. A living sacrifice will show signs of life.

To the Corinthians Paul writes, “I therefore so run not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27. In this text we see the necessity of keeping the body under, and bringing it into subjection, i.e., into obedience to God and His truth. If Paul failed to do this, he would run as uncertainly, fight as one that beateth the air, and be a castaway.

But to come more directly to the subject, we will consider the principal parts and faculties of the body, beginning with the senses, which are five in number, and which are commonly designated as follows: hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and feeling. It is through the senses that ideas are conveyed to the mind. The senses are, as it were, roads through which ideas travel to reach the mind. The sanctification of the senses consists in closing them against sinful impressions and ideas and in opening them to useful and holy impressions and thoughts. Close your senses against unholy impressions and thoughts, and they will not be so apt to invade your mind, and you will better resist the temptations of the enemy. Shut your windows and thieves will not so easily enter your dwelling.

Job made a covenant with his eyes that he might not sin. Job 31:1-3, and David prayed, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken Thou me in the way.” Psalm 119:37. He also said, “Mine eyes fail for Thy word.” “Mine eyes fail for Thy salvation, and for the word of Thy righteousness.” “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” Verses 82, 123; 101:3.

“The ear of the wise,” says Solomon, “seeketh knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15. It is attentive to the word of God. But those whose hearts are opposed to God’s ways do not love to listen to the truth. They love to hear smooth things, and will not hear the law of the Lord. Isaiah 30:8-11. Paul speaks of some who “shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:4. But the wise man says, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Proverbs 28:9.

Christians should set a guard on all their senses. By doing this it will be easier to fix the attention on holy thoughts, and keep the mind from wandering. The mind is often in danger of being diverted from proper thoughts by the senses; and Christians cannot keep the Sabbath aright while they carelessly open their senses to those secular objects and impressions which have interested them during the six laboring days.

Especially should inexperienced children and youth be taught with regard to the right use of the senses, and see the necessity of receiving right impressions. It often becomes necessary for children as well as older persons to shut their eyes and stop their ears against sin. The ears were not made to feast on error and the foolish and simple conversation of the wicked; neither were the eyes designed to behold and feast on vanity. Christ often said to his hearers, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Again he said, “Blessed are your eyes; for they see; and your ears, for they hear.” Matthew 11, 12. It was indeed blessed to see Christ and the works that He performed, and to hear His rich instructions. But is it not also blessed to see the glorious work that is now going on under the last message of mercy? And to hear the messengers of truth speak in reference to our whereabouts and the necessary preparation to stand amid the perils of the last days, and to meet the Son of man at His coming? God grant that we may duly appreciate our privileges, and realize the blessedness resulting from a proper use of all the senses.


The Appetites


The all-wise Creator has implanted in our natures certain appetites, and it is evident that they were designed to help in perpetuating our existence, in promoting our well-being, and in carrying out the great object for which we were made.

As the appetites are peculiar to the body, it is clear that they were made to be governed by reason. Their very nature forbids the idea of their leading the man, and shows that they should be in subjection to the higher faculties of our being. But in consequence of the fall and the inroads that sin has made in the children of men, the appetites are naturally inclined to go beyond the limits assigned unto them, and usurp the authority of the higher faculties. Sanctification brings the appetites within their proper limits—under the direction and control of enlightened reason.

Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we should do all to the glory of God. Now to do this we must, as far as possible, eat and drink that which is sanitary, and avoid intemperance. We should consult the stomach and the state of the health more than the appetites; for it is not always what suits the appetites the best, that is most conducive to the health of the body. We should select for the appetites and cultivate and cherish a taste for healthy food.

We should eat and drink more for need than for pleasure. If pleasure is the great end we have in view, then we do not eat and drink to the glory of God, but to the glory of our appetites. Then eating and drinking becomes an inordinate action, because it is not in the way to the end for which it was designed. In view of these principles what shall we conclude concerning those parents who are almost constantly humoring their children in satisfying their appetites with so many niceties which injure the health and undermine the constitution? Are they not guilty of creating in them unsanctified appetites? Would it not be better for those parents to select good,plain, wholesome food for their children, and feed them only when they really need food, though it may not suit the taste so well at first?

And what shall we say of the appetite for spirituous liquors which dethrones reason, degrades the body and the mind, and has brought so many to an untimely grave? Are those who possess this appetite sanctified?

And shall we overlook the appetites for tea and tobacco? Were these articles made to be used as they are now used? No candid person who has given this subject a careful perusal will say that they were.

These herbs, like all other stimulants, nerve up the system and leave a depression behind. Besides, tobacco is a rank poison, as it has often been proved; and the poisonous ingredients with which tea is often prepared, add to the impropriety of using it as a beverage.

But we are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh, as we have seen, and if the common use of tobacco does not produce filthiness of the flesh, what does? But if the appetites for tea, tobacco and spirituous liquors should be overcome because they injure the health, should not the appetites for unhealthy meats or other hurtful articles be overcome for the same reason?

The Saviour, while giving a description of the last days, says. “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26, 27. It was not wrong for the Antediluvians to eat and drink to maintain their existence; and marriage was as sacred and honorable in the days of Noah as it was when God instituted it in Eden. The great sin of the Antediluvians consisted in going to excess in these things. And is it not so with the masses at the present times? Look at the excess in eating and drinking. Look at those persons of good health whose exquisite taste accepts only the nicest of food, and often causes much perplexity to those who are called upon to satisfy it. Look at the pains taken, and the means expended, and worse than thrown away, to suit the taste and palate, as though the great object of life was to eat and drink and enjoy the pleasures of the appetites.

The Scriptures are very clear on the importance of governing the appetites. Our first parents fell, in lusting after and eating the forbidden fruit. The Israelites were not satisfied with the plain, wholesome manna; they loathed this bread from Heaven, longed for flesh, and murmured against God, and awful consequences followed. And we are told that “these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.” 1 Corinthians 10:6.

The sons of Eli were not satisfied with sodden or boiled flesh; they wanted raw flesh, that they might roast it with fire. It was not unlawful to desire meat roasted, but when it was appointed to be boiled, they refused it, thus evincing intemperance and a nice palate. “Wherefore,” says the record, “the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord; for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 2:12–17.

Proverbs 23:1, 2. “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee; and put a knife to thy throat if thou be a man given to appetite;” or as the French translation reads, “else thou shalt put a knife to thy throat, if thy appetite rules thee.” And what can be the meaning of this wonderful proverb, unless it is this, that he who sits to eat with a ruler (before “dainties” or “deceitful meat,” verse 3), and suffers an unsanctified appetite to control him, is guilty of the same crime that he would be if he literally cut his throat with his knife? That is, he is a self-murderer. He must feel the effects of his excess sooner or later.

Some followed Christ for the loaves and fishes; but he said unto them, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” John 6:26. We are admonished to not be like Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. Hebrews 12:16. We should take heed lest we lose eternal life and the rich blessings connected with it, for the gratification of unsanctified appetites.

Christ is a pattern of self-denial. “When He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered.” And the tempter came to Him and said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” How trying this must have been to the Son of God. How refreshing a morsel of bread would have been to Him in His exhausted condition. But did He yield? No. It was forbidden fruit. He answered, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4.

When famine comes on the earth according to the word of the Lord, Joel 1:14-20, many articles that are now used will have to be dispensed with, and is it not consistent to deny ourselves now and overcome those appetites that injure the body and the mind, and prevent many from desiring and appreciating the lasting pleasures enjoyed in the service of God? Shall we be prepared to meet the Lord if we are slaves to lust?


Food for Life — Sesame Crackers

June! The official month that summer begins. How beautiful nature is at this time of the year. And how we should remember the Creator, who gave us this array of beauty to delight our senses and constantly remind us of Him.

This month we want to mention dress. “The Bible teaches modesty in dress. ‘In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel.’ 1 Timothy 2:9. This forbids display in dress, gaudy colors, profuse ornamentation. Any device designed to attract attention to the wearer or to excite admiration, is excluded from the modest apparel which God’s word enjoins.

“Our dress is to be inexpensive—not with ‘gold, or pearls, or costly array.’ Verse 9.

“Money is a trust from God. It is not ours to expend for the gratification of pride or ambition. In the hands of God’s children it is food for the hungry, and clothing for the naked. It is a defense to the oppressed, a means of health to the sick, a means of preaching the gospel to the poor. You could bring happiness to many hearts by using wisely the means that is now spent for show. Consider the life of Christ. Study His character, and be partakers with Him in His self-denial.

“In the professed Christian world enough is expended for jewels and needlessly expensive dress to feed all the hungry and to clothe the naked. Fashion and display absorb the means that might comfort the poor and the suffering. They rob the world of the gospel of the Saviour’s love. Missions languish. Multitudes perish for want of Christian teaching. Beside our own doors and in foreign lands the heathen are untaught and unsaved. While God has laden the earth with His bounties and filled its storehouses with the comforts of life, while He has so freely given to us a saving knowledge of His truth, what excuse can we offer for permitting the cries of the widow and the fatherless, the sick and the suffering, the untaught and the unsaved, to ascend to heaven? In the day of God, when brought face to face with Him who gave His life for these needy ones, what excuse will those offer who are spending their time and money upon indulgences that God has forbidden? To such will not Christ say, ‘I was anhungered, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink . . . naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not’? Matthew 25:42, 43.

“But our clothing, while modest and simple, should be of good quality, of becoming colors, and suited for service. It should be chosen for durability rather than display. It should provide warmth and proper protection . . .

“Our dress should be cleanly. Uncleanliness in dress is unhealthful, and thus defiling to the body and to the soul. ‘Ye are the temple of God . . . If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.’ 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 . . .

“It should have the grace, the beauty, the appropriateness of natural simplicity. Christ has warned us against the pride of life, but not against its grace and natural beauty . . .

“The most beautiful dress He bids us wear upon the soul. No outward adorning can compare in value or loveliness with that ‘meek and quiet spirit’ which in His sight is ‘of great price.’ 1 Peter 3:4.” The Ministry of Healing, 287–289.

Sesame Crackers

Blend together the following:

2 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Then add:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup corn flour

1/2 cup rye flour

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 t. sea salt

2 T. Fruit Source granules

Mix thoroughly and add enough nut milk (oat, rice or soy) to hold together and form a ball. Roll between wax paper and cut crackers out with a cookie cutter. Bake at 350° for 20–30 minutes.


Nature Nugget — Attractive but Poisonous Creatures

Throughout the animal kingdom, many creatures have bright colors as a warning to would-be predators that they are poisonous. For example, the Coral Snakes of the southern parts of North America have rings of bright red, yellow, and black. They are relatives of the Cobras and, like them, are capable of injecting a powerful neuro-toxin into their victims through short, fixed fangs near the front of their mouths. This neurotoxin they inject attacks the nervous system causing paralysis and respiratory failure.

The Monarch Butterfly is another creature that uses bright colors to warn that it is poisonous. When it was a caterpillar, it fed on the leaves of the poisonous Milkweed plant and stored up toxins from this plant in its body tissues. It has bright orange and black wings to warn birds and other predators that it is poisonous and not to be eaten.

In Central and South America, the Poison-dart Frogs are colored in various bright colors such as reds, yellows, and blues to warn that they have poisonous skin secretions that can cause death in just a few minutes if eaten. Some species are so deadly that just touching them can result in death. Some Indian tribes in South America use these skin secretions to tip their darts and arrows, to make them more lethal.


Poisonous Sins


Even though these creatures are attractive to look at, they are none-the-less poisonous and deadly. Sin is the same way. It is very attractive but the end results are deadly. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25.

“God has made ample provision for His people; and if they rely upon His strength, they will never become the sport of circumstances. The strongest temptation cannot excuse sin. However great the pressure brought to bear upon the soul, transgression is our own act. It is not in the power of earth or hell to compel any one to do evil. Satan attacks us at our weak points, but we need not be overcome. However severe or unexpected the assault, God has provided help for us, and in His strength we may conquer” Patriarchs and Prophets, 421.


In Defense of the Faith

“But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” Job 14:10. This is a question people have been asking for centuries. It is the mystery of death, the realm of the unknown, as many call it. To those of us who are Christians, the mystery of death is not a mystery. Jesus said, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell [the grave] and of death.” Revelation 1:18.

Jesus has the keys to unlock the door to help us understand what lies beyond the grave. Although many people today are confused over the mystery of death, there is no need to be confused, because the Bible gives us the answer.

But, you might ask, What about 2 Corinthians 5:8 where Paul said, “We are . . . willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord”? Is that confusing? I know that sometimes when studying the Bible, we may come across a passage that is not quite clear to us. On the surface, it appears that it could be taken this way or maybe another way.

We need to remember when we study the Bible, that there are two kinds of Bible verses. There are what we call “black and white” verses. In other words, when you read that text it is very clear what it is saying. Then there are texts that we call “gray.” On the surface they appear to mean this or that. What we have to do in order to understand the “gray” passages is allow the “black and white” texts to help interpret or unravel the mystery of the “gray” ones. It is not that you cannot understand these texts or that they are vague, you just need the other passages, that are clear,to help unravel the mystery.

First we will study some “black and white” texts on the state of man in death. “These things” said He [Jesus]: and after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may wake him out of sleep. Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.” John 11:11, 12. At this point, Lazarus is dead, but the disciples do not know it. They still think he is sick. Think for a moment: If you are sick, what is one of the best things you can do in order to recover quickly? Get plenty of rest. So here Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to wake Lazarus up out of his sleep. But the disciples said, “Lord, if he sleep, he will do well.” This is a sad story in relation to the disciples, because they should have been well familiar with the doctrine of the state of the dead. Throughout the Old Testament, there are scores and scores of passages dealing with that particular truth. Yet, somehow, this truth escaped the disciples.

One of the reasons why the disciples failed to recognize the language of Jesus was because, too often, tradition supercedes the Word of the Lord. How many of those who claim to be Christians are taking tradition above a “Thus saith the Lord”? The church is not above the Bible. The word of the Lord is the highest authority. A “Thus saith the Lord” is not to be set aside for a “Thus saith the church” or “Thus saith the state.” The Word of God must be obeyed. By taking the name Christian we claim to be followers of Jesus. But how do we follow Jesus? We follow Him, by obedience to His words.

“Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” John 11:13, 14. These texts are a simple commentary on the doctrine of the state of the dead. Jesus compared death to sleep.

We can see the same thing in Acts 7:57–60: “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him [Stephen] with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this he fell asleep.” There are two ways to interpret this passage. Either at the time that Stephen was being stoned, he laid down and took a nap, or he died. The sleep made reference to in this Scripture has to do with his death, as can be shown in Acts 8:1 “And Saul consenting unto his death . . . ”

Death is compared to sleep. And what do we mean by that? “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything.” Ecclesiastes 9:5. The living know, are consciously aware, but the dead do not know anything! “Neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” Verse 5, 6. The dead are not aware of what is going on in the earth. They have no knowledge of anything that takes place underneath the sun. This particular passage very clearly indicates that it is impossible for anyone to communicate with the dead. For the Bible says they have no memory. They have no love, nor hatred. How can you communicate with people that cannot communicate with you? They cannot even communicate with each other. They are dead. They are unconscious of anything that is going on.

The Scripture also clearly teaches that they will not always remain in that condition. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28, 29.

The Bible discusses two resurrections: the resurrection of life and the resurrection of damnation. There will come a point in time when all that are in the grave will hear His voice and they will come forth; some to the resurrection of life and some to the resurrection of damnation. By the grace of God, we need to be in that first resurrection. What a sad day it will be for so many who think that they are in the first group, when they rise up in the second? I wish that for no one!


The Thief on the Cross beside Jesus


Now let us study some of those “gray” texts on this subject. The thief who was crucified beside Jesus said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42, 43.

There seems to be a difference of opinion regarding the passage, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” Does it mean that when he died, he would be on that day with Jesus in Paradise? Let us assume just for the sake of illustration, that it was on that day when Jesus was crucified that the thief was to be taken to heaven.

“And he said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” Verse 42. So in order for the thief to go to Paradise on that day, Jesus would have had to have gone that day also.

But did Jesus go to heaven on that day (Friday)? Notice John 21:1: “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” This is Sunday, two days after Friday, and Mary comes to the sepulchre. When she gets there the stone is rolled away and a man stands nearby. Thinking he was the gardener, Mary asked him where the Lord had been taken. The man was Jesus, and when He says her name, she immediately recognizes Him. In great excitement Mary rushes up to Jesus and says, “Rabboni [Master]. Jesus saith unto her, touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father.” Verse 17. This is two days after Friday! How could the thief go to Paradise with Jesus on Friday when Jesus said two days later that He had not yet gone to heaven?

The confusion here lies with the comma. I know there are those who take the position that the commas, the chapters, the paragraphs, and the periods are all inspired. That is an extreme position to hold. Chapters, commas and verses were put in by man to make it easier to locate texts. When you read the original Greek and Hebrew, there are no chapters or commas, it is just one flowing, continuation.

In this particular case we need to look at the comma. In verse 43, this is how the passage should be read, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.” In other words, Jesus was saying, I promise you today, that you will be with Me in Paradise.

Let us take the premise that the comma was inspired. If that is the case, I would like someone to explain to me Acts 19:11. (KJV) If that comma is inspired, then this comma in Acts 19:11, 12 must be inspired also. Speaking about the apostle Paul and the things that he was doing, it says this: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” According to the way the comma is placed, diseases and evil spirits were departing from the aprons and the handkerchiefs!

How can the comma in Luke 23:43 be inspired when we see the inconsistency according to Acts 19:11, 12? The comma should not be placed after the words “handkerchiefs and aprons.” It should be placed after the word “sick,” so it should read: “So that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them [meaning the sick] and the evil spirits went out of them [the sick].”


The Rich Man and Lazarus


There is another interesting story given in Luke 16:19–31 about a rich man and Lazarus. Some say this story proves that when you die you go straight to heaven or to hell. The position that is taken is that this is not a parable, but a true story illustrating what Jesus teaches about the subject of death. “And there was a certain rich man,” Underscore that, because it is very, very important. If this is a literal story, then you must take everything in the story literally. If it is a symbolic story to illustrate a literal truth, one must decipher the symbolism in order to understand the literal meaning. Let us look carefully and see if we can discover if this is a real story or a parable?

How did Jesus usually begin His parables? “And He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree . . .” Luke 13:6. “And he said, A certain man had two sons . . .” Luke 15:11. “And He said also unto His disciples, There was a certain rich man . . .” Luke 16:1. This is the language Jesus used over and over again.

The evidence clearly reveals that the story in Luke 16:19, beginning with “A certain rich man,” is a parable consistent with all the ones that Jesus told previously. However, even though the evidence proves that it is a parable, let us assume that this is a literal story. The story goes like this: The rich man goes to hell, and Lazarus, who is sitting next to the dogs, goes to rest in the bosom of Abraham. The rich man cries out, Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.

Remember, we are supposed to take everything in this story literally. Here is a man burning in hell and he requests that the tip of Larazus’ finger be dipped in water, and somehow this will cool him.We have all worked on a hot day outside, maybe in the garden or washing our cars. When I am doing us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given us the earnest of the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 5:3–5. By giving us the Spirit, God has given us a down payment on heaven.

We do not have the fullness yet. That will come when this mortal shall put on immortality. God says, I will give you a sample of what it is like to have life and to have a little bit of heaven. “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.” Verse 6. As long as I am in this tabernacle I am physically absent from Jesus, but we have the hope of glory.

“(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Verses 7, 8. Paul would rather be absent from this physical, earthly house in order to be with Jesus. But that can only take place when this earthly house is exchanged for that heavenly one at the last trump. Then all those who are faithful, will be present with Jesus.

That is why Paul said: “For. . . the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.

” . . . Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20.


Children’s Story — Boardman’s Remarkable Deliverance

I preached one evening at Mould, in Flintshire (England) and the next morning set out for Parkgate on horseback. After riding some miles, I asked a man if I was on the right road. He answered, “Yes, but you will have some sands to go over, and unless you ride fast, you will be caught by the tide.”

It then began to snow so hard that I could scarcely see a step of my way. I got to the sands and rode over them as fast as I could. But the tide came in and surrounded me on every side, so that I could neither go forward nor turn back and to climb the steep rocks on the side was impossible. I prayed and surrendered my life to God thinking that I could not escape death.

In a little while I saw two men running down the hill on the other side of the water. Somehow they got a boat and came to my rescue just as the sea reached my knees as I sat on my horse. They took me into the boat and my horse swam by our side until we reached the land.

While we were in the boat, one of the men said, “Surely, sir, God is with you.” I answered, “I trust He is.” The man replied, “I know He is,” and then related the following incident.

“Last night I dreamed that I must go to the top of such a hill. When I awoke, the dream made such an impression on my mind that I could not rest. I therefore went and called on this man to come with me. When we came to the place, we saw nothing unusual. However, I begged him to go with me to another hill at a small distance, and there we saw you in your distress.”

When we got ashore, I went with my two friends to a public house close to where we landed. As we were telling of the wonderful providence of God, the landlady said, “A month ago we saw a gentleman in your situation, but before we could get to him he jumped into the sea. We thought that he hoped his horse would swim to the shore and thus save him, but they both sank and drowned together.”

I gave the two men who rescued me all the money I had, which I think was about eighteen pence. I stayed at the hotel all night. The next morning I was embarrassed because I had no money to pay my bill. I begged the hotelkeeper to keep a pair of silver spurs until I could redeem them.

But he said, “The Lord bless you, sir, I would not take a farthing (less than a penny) from you for the world.” After some serious conversation with the friendly people, I bade them farewell and again started on my journey, rejoicing in the Lord, and praising Him for His great salvation!

By Pastor Richard Boardman

From Miraculous Powers by M. E. Cornell.


Through Her The Lord Chose to Deliver His People

Most of us have experienced feeling weak sometime. Maybe, when coming down with the flu, your legs felt weak and suddenly gave out from under you. Or, perhaps, after being sick you did not have the strength to stand up without holding onto something for support. If a person is very weak, they have no strength to work, and definitely are of little help in a time of emergency. No one likes to be weak. But God has chosen to do an incredible thing.

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27–29. [All emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted.]

Sometimes God chooses the weak things of this world that His glory may be clearly shown. Ellen White was the weakest of the weak. “When as a teenage maiden she was called to be God’s messenger, it was recognized that God had chosen the weakest of the weak. There was nothing about her background, the vitality of her physique, or her education that could ever lead anyone to point to the individual and say, ‘See what she has performed.’ ” Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years, vol. 5, 1900-1905, 97. [Emphasis in the original.] God has often chosen the weak of this world to confound the mighty. In this manner God once did a marvelous thing in the land of Israel. In this article we will work our way through this story that so well explains the magnificence and unexplainable greatness of God’s dealings with both the weak and the mighty.

This time God chose to use a woman. We know it was God’s choice because we are told in inspiration. (See The Signs of the Times, June 16, 1881.) There were only a few, comparatively, weak men that would be on her side. Not one of these men had a sword or a spear, and against her weak forces was a formidable army; an army that had nine hundred chariots of iron with knives protruding from the axles. This mighty army would go tearing through the enemy’s forces in their chariots, and mow the soldiers down like weeds before the sickle. But God wanted to illustrate to the world what could be done against such a mighty army by the weak.

A background of the history of the times would help us understand the story. It was shortly after the days of Joshua, the mighty captain of God’s army. So powerfully had Joshua taught the children of Israel the law of God, that as long as any one was alive in his generation, there was no idolatry. They did not worship idols, or allow their children to. But even so, that generation planted the seeds of apostasy that were so bitterly reaped in the next few hundred years. They did it by neglecting to follow God’s express command. God had said that they were to, little by little, possess the whole land of Canaan. He told them that He would send hornets and drive the enemy out. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 544, 545.)

Mile after mile they were to possess the land of Canaan. But they were not to stop there. The law of God was to be animated through them and little by little they were to possess the world. They were to teach the whole world the law of God. God had placed His people in Canaan as a mighty breast work to stay the tide of moral evil so it would not flood the world. If faithful to Him, God intended that Israel should go on conquering and to conquer.

What a high destiny was theirs! But regardless of their high destiny, they chose the course of ease and self-indulgence. After all, they reasoned, God had given them a portion of the land where they could establish their homes. Because of their love of ease, they questioned why they needed to drive back the Canaanites and take possession of the whole land. They were established, and they were much stronger than the Canaanites at this point. The Canaanites were just a small people, they did not need to worry about them.

Thus they reasoned in their ease and self-indulgence. So even the parents that would never think of allowing idolatry, by their love of ease planted the future course of misery that was soon to come. In a few short generations their sons and daughters had mingled with the Canaanites and learned their ways. “But [they] were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against His people, insomuch that He abhorred His own inheritance.” Psalm 106:35–40.

By their sins the people of Israel were separated from God. His strength was removed from them and they were open to the attack of their enemies that now prevailed over them. Thus, the very nations they failed to drive out eventually took control of them. In His great mercy, God raised up one deliverer after another. Ehud was a great deliverer. Then there was Shamgar. But again, because of their sins, came a terrible oppression over the land of Canaan. For twenty years the northern tribes were tyrannized by a king named Jabin who banded together with other Canaanite kings and conquered the Israelites and made them tributaries. (See Judges 4.)

The king of Jabin lived just below Lake Muron. It is called by various names on different maps, but it is the lake 15–20 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. Right below that lake was a town called Hazor. King Jabin lived in Hazor, right in the heart of the tribe of Naphtali. The tribe of Dan was to the north of Hazor and the tribe of Zebulun was to the west towards the Mediterranean Sea. King Jabin had banded together with other Canaanite kings and they conquered this territory and made them tributaries. King Jabin took possession of the main road through the area. The road went through Merom, through Ramah, through Parsha and on down to Southern Palestine. The Israelites were not allowed to use the road. The oppression was very heavy in the land.

“And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead. And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.” Judges 4:1–3.

Since the main roads were closed, it caused a slowdown in commerce. Any travel that was done had to be in hidden paths that the enemy did not know about. All the small villages had to close. Everyone had to move into walled towns. Among forty thousand Israelites, not a single spear or sword could be found. All the blacksmiths were closed. It was against the law to be a blacksmith. See Judges 5:6–8.)

Sisera’s archers hid by the well. When the Israelites came to get their water, they were often surprised and many were murdered. (See Judges 5:11.) It was in this time of terrible oppression and apostasy that God chose a woman to deliver His people. “For twenty years, the Israelites groaned under the yoke of the oppressor; then they turned from their idolatry, and with humiliation and repentance cried unto the Lord for deliverance. They did not cry in vain. There was dwelling in Israel a woman illustrious for her piety, and through her the Lord chose to deliver His people.” The Signs of the Times, June 16, 1881.

Do you think God slipped up? Surely, somewhere in the land could be found a faithful man. The way some people act today, you would think that God had made a mistake. But God is not tied down to the rules and ideas of men. He can use whoever He chooses. This time He chose to use a woman to free the land from oppression.

The land was oppressed until: “The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.” Judges 5:7. Oh, that today we would havesome mothers in Israel that would stand up against the vices of the enemy, push back the forces of evil and stand unmoved for right.

This woman was not only a mother, but also a judge. “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” Judges 4:4, 5.

Through Deborah, the Lord called His people to war. “The Lord communicated to Deborah His purpose to destroy the enemies of Israel, and bade her send for a man named Barak.” The Signs of the Times, June 6, 1881.

From his home far to the north, in Kedesh-Naphtali, Barak recognized the call of God. (Kedesh means “holy, a holy place.” Kedesh-Naphtali was given to the Levites and later it became one of the cities of refuge.) Barak believed that Deborah was a prophetess of God. He knew she was judge over all Israel and he could hear the voice of God in her call. But even though he knew it was God speaking, Barak soon displayed his natural timidity and mistrustfulness.

“And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-Naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward Mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots [those chariots with long knives out of the axle] and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; but the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.” Judges 4:6–9.

Deborah and Barak went down to Bethel, and from Bethel they went up to Kedesh, which took them a while, and they summoned the children of Israel to war. Some of the tribes did not respond. Some stayed on their ships, others tended their sheep and debated among themselves whether they should go or not. Like people are doing today, they were still debating when the battle was over. It is now a matter of history that God won this battle, but there was a time when it was a matter of faith that God would win. However, there were some that had faith and came to the help of the Lord.

The battle was to take place in the region of Mount Tabor. It was only five and one-half miles west of the future town of Nazareth, between Mount Tabor and the Sea of Galilee, that this battle would be fought down at the far end of the river Kishon. (Hundreds of years later, the boy Jesus undoubtedly crossed this river and traversed this battle site.)

“And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon. And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.” Judges 4:13–15. The Lord discomfited the army! They were overrun with the river Kishon. (See Judges 5.)

The river Kishon is a short river, but in certain places it is a mighty river. The soil around this river is made up of clay. We have clay soil where I live in Kansas, and after a rain, the soil sticks to your shoes and stacks up until you seem to be on stilts. The horses no doubt had the same problem. Can you imagine the horses trying to knock off the build-up of wet sticky clay? Deborah wrote about “the horsehoofs broken by the means of the prancings, the prancings of their mighty ones.” Judges 5:22. Of course the chariot wheels also bogged down in the sticky clay, making all those long knives sticking out from the axles useless. Consequently, Sisera had no way to escape but on foot.

“Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth [approximately 40 miles] of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.” Judges 4:15, 16.

“Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. And they showed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to Mount Tabor.” Judges 4:11, 12. According to this verse, some of the Kenite people had first told Sisera that Barak and Deborah were marshalling an army and were on their way to Mount Tabor. The Bible tells us that they had made peace with King Jabin. So naturally, after the army was routed, Sisera wanted to run back to these friendly people.

In his flight he followed the main road going north toward Ramah. He could not run toward the sea because it was a mountainous region, making swift travel impossible. Before he could reach the supposed safety of the Kenites in the plain of Zaanaim, he had to pass right by a little town that now has become infamous in sacred history. The little town is Meroz, which was probably “Merrah” and was about seven miles south and a little west of Kedesh-Naphtali. The angel said about the people in this town:

Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” Judges 5:23. Why is such a terrible curse given to the inhabitants of the town of Meroz?

This is one of the worst curses given in the Old Testament. Was it because they were terrible idolaters, murderers, immoral or liars? We have no record of that, instead, the Spirit of Prophecy tells us they were just plain lazy. In fact, they are called “do-nothings.” (See Testimonies, vol. 8, 246.) They reasoned that they were safe in their town, so while Sisera, the enemy of God’s people, was running by, why should they subject themselves to danger? Let someone else do the work was their motto.

“Many of our people are lukewarm. They occupy the position of Meroz, neither for nor against, neither cold nor hot. They hear the words of Christ, but they do them not. If they remain in this state, He will reject them with abhorrence. Many of those who have had great light, great opportunities, and every spiritual advantage praise Christ and the world with the same breath. They bow themselves before God and mammon. They make merry with the children of the world, and yet claim to be blessed with the children of God. They wish to have Christ as their Saviour, but will not bear the cross and wear His yoke. May the Lord have mercy upon you; for if you go on in this way, nothing but evil can be prophesied concerning you.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, 76, 77.

The Lord expects us to do something. There is a world lying in wickedness and we have the truth. We know the law of God, the messages of the three angels, and if we do nothing, we will have the curse of God upon us. We need to get up and work. We cannot stay within our peaceful walls. We have a job to do. God has borne long with us. He has given us every advantage and it is time for us to work. “When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.”Testimonies, Vol. 5, 136. Oh, the terrible sin of Meroz is in our midst. The sin of self-indulgence and the love of ease. Sit by and let someone else fight the battles of the Lord.

The following is a quote from a letter written in 1890 to Elder Olson, President of the General Conference. This letter is by another woman who was called of God to fight in the battle for truth. She was resisted at every step.

“I do not expect to be at your General Conference. I would rather run the other way . . . My brethren, who thought they were doing God’s service in discouraging my heart in obstructing my way, and opposing themselves to all that I was in the fear of God trying to do, could they look upon me, would see something of their work. They made my work fifty-fold harder than it would otherwise have been. I wonder if these earnest, zealous men who were engaged in sowing questionings and doubts and resistance, and stubbornness in rejecting the counsel of God against themselves have thought of these words? ‘Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord,Curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.’ Judges 5:23. We have had entrusted to us a message to bear to God’s people. We have had a raid against that work: Satan, his whole host and traitors, and evil men. We have need of the help which everyone should have been prepared to give to us. We fight not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and against spiritual wickedness in high places.

“But when men who claim to be faithful and true to all purposes engage with the enemy of God to hinder and confuse and perplex minds and keep them on the side of the enemy as has been the case since I left Europe and stepped on American soil, how can the Lord look upon these things that so many have not worked on God’s side of the question? How could the burden but be of crushing weight to my soul when God was opening before me the messages He would have come before the people?” Ellen G. White, 1888 Materials, 648.

Under whose leadership were these professed soldiers of Christ actually engaged? These things have grieved the Spirit of God and the curse of Meroz was applicable to them. We cannot sit by and watch the battle. We have to be a part of it or we are under the wrong general.

The battle rages all around us. It is time to take up our weapons (the Word of the living God and prayer) and go forth to push back the powers of evil. There are thousands of souls dying without a knowledge of the truth. Are we earnestly working?

The men of Meroz chose to stay at ease in their walled town, while a woman carried the battle for the day. “And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? That thou shalt say, No. Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.” Judges 4:18–23.

“Jael was at first ignorant of the character of her guest, and she resolved to conceal him; but when she afterward learned that he was Sisera, the enemy of God and of His people, her purpose changed. As he lay before her asleep, she overcame her natural reluctance to such an act, and slew him by driving a nail through his temples, pinning him to the earth . . .slain by the hand of a woman.” The Signs of the Times, June 16, 1881.

The prophecy was fulfilled, as God has said, that the glory that day would not go to Barak, but to a woman. Deborah wrote the story of God’s marvelous deliverance in a beautiful (albeit gory) poem. As was the custom in those days, the story was put to music so the children could sing about the deliverance of Israel. It is recorded for our benefit in Judges 5.

If you realize you are weak, rejoice. Rejoice! Because if you realize your weakness, God can, through you, do great things for His cause. He has promised: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect through weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things that are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 2 Corinthians 1:27–29.


Babylon the Great City, part 2

In our last article, we looked at the inspired evidence in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that defines who the dragon, the beast power and the false prophet represent. These three powers will form one worldwide confederacy in the last days. This confederacy will be accompanied by great signs and wonders and many miracles, and will persuade the world in general that the greatest revival and reformation of all time is taking place. The people will believe that they are receiving the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. Miraculous healings will take place, and people will be prophesying and casting out spirits. The greatest excitement will prevail. It will appear that war and international distress will be abolished and that worldwide peace will develop.

Ellen White describes this period in this way: “I saw our people in great distress, weeping, and praying, pleading the sure promises of God, while the wicked were all around us, mocking us, and threatening to destroy us. They ridiculed our feebleness, they mocked at the smallness of our numbers, and taunted us with words calculated to cut deep. They charged us with taking an independent position from all the rest of the world. They had cut off our resources so that we could not buy nor sell, and referred to our abject poverty and stricken condition. They could not see how we could live without the world; we were dependent upon the world, and we must concede to the customs, practices, and laws of the world, or go out of it. If we were the only people in the world whom the Lord favored the appearances were awfully against us. They declared that they had the truth, that miracles were among them, that angels from heaven talked with them, and walked with them, that great power, and signs and wonders were performed among them, and this was the Temporal Millennium, which they had been expecting so long. The whole world was converted and in harmony with the Sunday law, and this little feeble people stood out in defiance of the laws of the land, and the laws of God, and claimed to be the only ones right on the earth.” Maranatha, 209.

This three-fold union of the dragon, the beastpower and the false prophet will unite together to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Bring unity and harmony into Christendom. It will be thought that this movement will answer Jesus’ prayer in John 17, and end the disharmony that has existed in Christendom since at least the second century. Eventually, in order to bring this about, all religious groups will come under severe pressures of many kinds, both from the State and the church, to conform to at least a minimum of common beliefs held by all. The absolute minimum will be that all conform to the day of worship accepted by the majority—Sunday.
  2. Usher in the day of the Lord—the return of Christ. Most Christian groups today believe that the day of the Lord, the end of the age, is not far away. It will be thought that this united movement will bring about the consummation of the church’s hopes.
  3. Bring unity not only within Christendom but with the entire world—with all non-Christian groups as well.

The above objectives will be obvious to human observers but there are other powers, spiritual powers, in the universe, that also have objectives to accomplish through these developments. First of all, the devil and his fallen angels. The following are their revealed objectives:

“The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church-members love what the world loves, and are ready to join with them; and Satan determines to unite them in one body, and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of Spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world, and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.” The Great Controversy, 588.

“Zechariah’s vision of Joshua and the Angel applies with peculiar force to the experience of God’s people in the closing scenes of the great day of atonement. The remnant church will then be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects; he has gained control even of many professing Christians. But here is a little company who are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. As he influenced the heathen nations to destroy Israel, so in the near future he will stir up the wicked powers of earth to destroy the people of God. Men will be required to render obedience to human edicts in violation of the divine law.” Prophets and Kings, 587.

The preceding paragraph explains the reason for Sunday laws that most people know nothing about—they are inspired by supernatural powers as a way to bring all the people of the world into violation of God’s law and thereby under condemnation in the day of judgement. It is a master plan, bolstered with the highest sounding benefits to mankind, that in actuality brings man into direct violation of the Law of God and thereby in direct controversy and rebellion against his Creator. The fourth commandment, right in the heart of the Ten Commandments says,”Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall not do any work, you nor your son nor your daughter, nor your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your gates, for in six days, the Lord created the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that in them is and rested the seventh-day, wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8–11.

The entire world knows when the seventh-day is because the whole world refers to a certain day of the week at Easter as “good Friday.” The whole world also knows on which day of the week Jesus arose from the dead. From this it is not hard to know when the seventh-day Sabbath is. According to the commandment of God, it is the day of the week that comes between “good Friday” and resurrection Sunday. (See Luke 23:54; 24:1.)

The devil’s objective has always been to take the place of God and to force others, if necessary, to worship him. “The great apostate has changed the signpost, setting up a false one—a spurious sabbath. He says: ‘I will work at cross purposes with God. I will empower my delegate, the man of sin, to take down God’s memorial, the seventh-day Sabbath. Thus will I show the world that the day sanctified and blessed by God has been changed. That day shall not live in the minds of the people. I will obliterate the memory of it. I will place in its stead a day bearing not the credentials of heaven, a day that can not be a sign between God and His people. I will lead the people who accept this day, to place upon it the sanctity that God placed upon the seventh day. Through my vicegerent I will exalt myself. The first day shall be extolled, and the Protestant world shall receive this spurious sabbath as genuine. Through the non-observance of the Sabbath God instituted, I will bring His law into contempt. The words, ‘A sign between me and you throughout your generations,’ I will make to serve on the side of my sabbath. Thus the world will become mine. I will be ruler of the earth, prince of the world. I will so control the minds under my power that God’s Sabbath shall be an object of contempt. I will make the observance of the seventh day a sign of disloyalty to the authorities of earth. Human laws shall be made so stringent that men and women will not dare to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. For fear of wanting food and clothing, they will join with the world in transgressing God’s law; and the earth will be wholly under my dominion.’ ” Review and Herald, April 17, 1900.

“The warfare against God’s law commenced in heaven. Satan was determined to bring God to his ideas, his way, to force Him to change the law of His government. This was the cause of the war in heaven. Satan worked upon the sympathies of the angelic host by his deceptive attitude, but he was expelled from heaven, and now he is determined to carry out on this earth the plans he instituted in heaven. If he can persuade man to be disloyal to the laws of God, he will feel that he is revenged upon God. He strives to instill into the minds of men his masterly deceptions, thus perverting judgment and justice, and trampling down the law of God. This work—the conflict between truth and error—-lies at the foundation of the trials and tribulations that the children of God will experience. This is the ‘trial of their faith.’ By pressing upon the soul the idea that God is displeased with us, Satan tries to torture us into unbelief.” Letter 24, 1895, 4–6.

“If Satan can induce a union of the church and the world, man-made commandments will supplant the Sabbath. Men do not seem to understand that they are taken in Satan’s snare when they attempt to tamper with the law of God. Satan has them in just the position he wants them when they manufacture laws to control the world and place those laws where God’s laws should be. The enemy knows that, if the church can be controlled by political enactments, she will lose her garments of light as did Adam and Eve. If he can lead the church to unite with the world and accept worldly enactments, they virtually acknowledge him as their head. Then the authority of manmade commandments will work to oppose the rule of the government of heaven. Under the leadership of Satan the knowledge of good and evil will work to dispense with the righteous, holy enactments of God concerning the Sabbath, the observance of which is to be a sign between God and His people forever.” Adventist Apocalypse (Ms. 77, 1899).

The devil is not the only supernatural power who has objectives in the Sunday law movement that will be promoted by the three-fold union mentioned in Revelation 16. God is against this movement designed to force the entire world to transgress His law, but nevertheless, God has specific objectives in allowing it to develop:

“I saw that the enemy would either contend for the usefulness or the life of the godly, and will try to mar their peace as long as they live in this world. But his power is limited. He may cause the furnace to be heated, but Jesus and angels will watch the trusting Christian, that nothing may be consumed but the dross. The fire kindled by Satan, can have no power to destroy or hurt the true metal. It is important to close every door possible, against the entrance of Satan. It is the privilege of every family to so live that Satan cannot take advantage of anything they may say or do, to tear each other down. Every member of the family should bear in mind that all have just as much as they can do to resist our wily foe, and with earnest prayers and unyielding faith, they must rely upon the merits of the blood of Christ, and claim His saving strength. The powers of darkness gather about the soul and shut Jesus from our sight, and at times we can only wait in sorrow and amazement until the cloud passes over. These seasons are sometimes terrible. Hope seems to fail, and despair seizes upon us. In these dreadful hours we must learn to trust, to depend on the sole merits of the atonement, and in all our helpless unworthiness cast ourselves upon the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour. We shall never perish while we do this— never! When light shines on our pathway, it is no great thing to be strong in the strength of grace. But to wait patiently in hope, when all is dark, when clouds envelope us, requires faith and submission which causes our will to be swallowed up in the will of God. We are too quickly discouraged, and earnestly cry for the trial to be removed from us, when we should plead for patience to endure, and grace to overcome.” Review and Herald, April 22, 1862.

“God means that testing truth shall be brought to the front and become a subject of examination and discussion, even if it is through the contempt placed upon it.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 463.

“God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, He has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself. He has made them the depositaries of His law and has committed to them the great truths of prophecy for this time. Like the holy oracles committed to ancient Israel, these are a sacred trust to be communicated to the world. The three angels of Revelation 14 represent the people who accept the light of God’s messages and go forth as His agents to sound the warning throughout the length and breadth of the earth. Christ declares to His followers: ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ To every soul that accepts Jesus the cross of Calvary speaks: ‘Behold the worth of the soul: ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Nothing is to be permitted to hinder this work. It is the all-important work for time; it is to be far-reaching as eternity. The love that Jesus manifested for the souls of men in the sacrifice which He made for their redemption, will actuate all His followers.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 455.

Let’s look at a brief historical review from the first article:

When those religious bodies and groups, who claimed to derive their religion and reason for existence from the Bible (inspired writings alone), rejected the First Angel’s Message, God rejected them. Jesus turned from them with a frown and they fell from their former position of acceptance with God. They became part of what Revelation calls mystical Babylon. The rejection of the First Angel’s Message involved also the rejection of the Sabbath, because the Sabbath is clearly a part of the First Angel’s Message, the fourth commandment actually being quoted from in that message. But that was not the end of the fall into Babylon by these churches: “The Second Angel’s Message of Revelation 14, was first preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the Judgment had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the Advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time, they have fallen lower and lower.” The Great Controversy, 389.

The question then must of necessity be asked, what should our relationship be to those who, according to the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, belong to associations and groups (churches), described by Scripture as Babylon? It is evident in Scripture that these groups cannot be reformed, because God does not call for His people to attempt to improve or reform them, but rather to come out of them. This is what the Three Angels’ Messages accomplish, as the reference quoted above clearly states.

If God is calling His people to come out of these groups, is it possible for a person who has accepted the Three Angels’ Messages and come out of those groups, to simply associate with them, and never call the people to come out of them and still have a clear conscience? Is it possible to simply say, “Well, we will work with these people as best we can on those points which we hold in common”? Is it not clearly evident that it is impossible to in any way be a part of the ecumenical movement and stay true and faithful to the Three Angels’ Messages? If we associate with these people and never call them to come out of Babylon, what do we intend to say to them when they receive the seven last plagues and reproach us for not calling them out of danger into the safety of the remnant? The following is what they will say to us: “In the visions of the night a very impressive scene passed before me. I saw an immense ball of fire fall among some beautiful mansions, causing their instant destruction. I heard someone say: ‘We knew that the judgments of God were coming upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon.’ Others, with agonized voices, said: ‘You knew! Why then did you not tell us? We did not know.’ On every side I heard similar words of reproach spoken.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 28.

While we are ever to be kind and courteous to those who are in error, never by precept or example should we give the wrong impression that they are not in danger of receiving the seven last plagues. If we act like they are our brothers in Christ when, in truth, the organizations with whom they have been affiliated are rejected by the Lord, we are doing them harm. God is calling them to come out from the unclean and be separate so that they can be received of God as His children. (2 Corinthians 6:14–18.) If we want to be a part of that number who will give the final warning, the loud cry to come out of Babylon (the churches fallen because of their errors and sins), how can we now be going directly contrary to the spirit of that message by fraternizing with those that we should be calling out of their religions affiliations?

“The warnings that worldly conformity and cowardice has silenced will have to be given under the fiercest opposition from our enemies.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 463. Where will you be found? Will you be among those who give the warning or will you be one of the large class who have professed faith in the Third Angel’s Message, but not being sanctified through obedience to the truth,abandon your position, join with the ecumenical movement which is enforcing Sunday observance and fight those who are giving the last warning of God to this world? (See Great Controversy, 608.)

“Servants of God, endowed with power from on high, with their faces lighted up, and shining with holy consecration, went forth to proclaim the message from heaven. Souls that were scattered all through the religious bodies answered to the call, and the precious were hurried out of the doomed churches, as Lot was hurried out of Sodom before her destruction. God’s people were strengthened by the excellent glory which rested upon them in rich abundance and prepared them to endure the hour of temptation. I heard everywhere a multitude of voices saying, ‘Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ “Early Writings, 278.


Editorial — When the Cloud Breaks

Preparation for the Latter Rain


Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. “We shall be guided as with a light from heaven when we have a vital connection with God.” Signs of the Times, August 22, 1895. But, “it is an easy matter to idle away, talk and play away the Holy Spirit’s influence.” To “walk in the light is to keep moving onward in the direction of light.” 1888 Materials, 1211.

If we are walking in all the light available to us, if we are living according to the light God has given us, then we will receive the latter rain when it is poured out. “Those who follow in the light need have no anxiety lest that in the outpouring of the latter rain they will not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. If we would receive the light of the glorious angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, let us see to it that our hearts are cleansed, emptied of self, and turned toward heaven, that they may be ready for the latter rain. Let us be obtaining a fitting up to join in the proclamation of the angel who shall lighten the earth with his glory [the loud cry]. Let us be colaborers with Christ. Now is the time for us to let self die, to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts, to deny the cravings of appetite and passion. The minds of many are channels for impure thoughts. They do not have a realizing sense of the offensive character of sin. I call upon you to clear the King’s highway.” Signs of the Times, August 1, 1892.

But with many Christians there is not the vital connection with God, there is not a clearing of the King’s highway. The result is that the life comes under a cloud and only when this cloud breaks and the person is again walking in the light can he be in a condition to receive the Holy Spirit. “I looked over the large congregation assembled in the tent, and thought, If all who have a knowledge of the truth were carrying its sanctifying influence into their home-life . . . But all here—ministers, parents, and children—needed a work done for them which they did not realize. There was a manifest lack of the Spirit of God. I hoped to see the clouds break; for I knew many would never see their true spiritual condition until they should begin to return unto the Lord with full purpose of heart, with repentance, and confession of sins. Some even of those who were preaching the word were as destitute of the Spirit of God as were the mountains of Gilboa of dew and rain.” Review and Herald, October 21, 1884.

Fellow-Christian, are you walking today in Sonlight or under a cloud that is bringing you into darkness? Are you searching your heart as with a lighted candle asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any sin in your life that needs to be repented of and confessed?

“I was shown that God’s people dwell too much under a cloud. It is not the will of God for His people to live in unbelief.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4, 148.

The reason that some are under a cloud is because of carelessness in Sabbath-keeping: “Although they may rest from physical toil upon the Sabbath, their tongues speak out what is in their minds; hence these words concerning cattle, crops, losses, and gains. All this is Sabbath breaking. . . . Ministers . . .should kindly and solemnly reprove those who engage in worldly conversation upon the Sabbath and at the same time claim to be Sabbathkeepers . . . the angels were turning from those who failed to appreciate the sacredness of God’s sanctified day, and were removing from them their light and their strength. I saw them overshadowed with a cloud, desponding, and frequently sad. They felt a lack of the Spirit of God.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 703–705.

Others are under a cloud because of lack of faith, habits of negative thinking, anxiety and depression. (See Messages to Young People, 363.) We must all come out from under these clouds if we are to be ready for the latter rain. “We cannot exert a correct influence when we are under a cloud of anxiety and depression. We must reach out the hand of faith, and grasp the hand of our Redeemer. We must not wait for the latter rain. It is coming upon all who will recognize and appropriate the dew and showers of grace that fall upon us. When we gather up the fragments of light, when we appreciate the sure mercies of God, who loves to have us trust Him, then every promise will be fulfilled.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 177. [All emphasis supplied.]