Children’s Story – Rescue At Sea

In the days of sailing vessels, a Moravian missionary who had been serving in Jamaica, along with his wife and their small daughter, set sail for Mississippi. As it was a trip of only a few days, the ship carried very few provisions. They had not gone far, however, when a storm arose and drove them far from their course. The storm was followed by a dead calm that settled down, making it impossible to sail.

As the days lengthened into weeks, their food and water was almost gone. Each day everyone was given a small biscuit to eat and half a pint of water to drink. Under the hot tropical sun, this was not nearly enough water, and the suffering from thirst became almost more than words can describe. The passengers’ tongues became so swollen from thirst that they could hardly close their mouths.Though they had offered many prayers for help, the day came when the supply of food was nearly gone. The missionary’s wife decided to spend the entire night in prayer, asking God to send someone to help them. Early the next morning, she finally fell asleep. Not long after she fell asleep, she was awakened by her husband’s voice.

“My dear,” he said, “we think we see a sail. I would not disappoint you, but if it is God’s will for us, it will come to our relief.”

As quickly as possible, they made their way up on to the deck. The distant ship was still too far away to be seen by the naked eye, but the passengers took turns looking through the ship’s spyglass. It certainly looked as if it were a ship. Yes; now they were sure it was a ship, but would it come their way. They had seen ships far in the distance before, but each time the ship had passed out of sight without having seen them.

But this ship was coming nearer and nearer. Soon they could see it with the naked eye. Still it kept coming closer until it came close enough that a small boat was let down and four men, one of them evidently the captain, stepped into it and came across to where the stricken vessel sat floating in the water.The captain was the first to come aboard. When he saw their desperate condition, he lifted his hat and solemnly said:

“Now I believe that there is a God in heaven!”

The ship that had rescued them proved to be one of the small steamers that towed sailing vessels into the harbor. By the rules that then bound them, they were only allowed to go a certain distance out of port to look for vessels needing their assistance. Following is the strange story that the captain told.One day after he had gone the full limit, he felt unaccountably impelled to go still farther, although there was not a vessel in sight. His mate remonstrated with him, reminding him of the fine to which he was subject if he continued on beyond the range that was permitted.

“I cannot help it! I have to go on!” was his only reply.

By and by the captain became desperately seasick, something that he had not experienced in twenty years. He became so sick that he was forced to take to his berth, yet he refused to turn back. The crew finally mutinied, for they were now growing short on provision. Thinking their captain had lost his senses, they determined to take things into their own hands and return home with the ship. At this point, the captain became so distressed that he begged them to go on, promising them that if they saw nothing to justify his action by sunrise the next morning, he would give up and promptly return home. The men reluctantly agreed to continue on through the night. When the day dawned, the man at the masthead reported a black, motionless object far out to sea.”Make for it!” exclaimed the captain, emphatically. “That is what we have come after.”

At that instant, the seasickness left him; and he took the post of command. On reaching the ship with the missionaries and seeing their terrible condition, although he had been an infidel for many years, the conviction came to him with overwhelming power that he had been supernaturally guided and that there was a God in heaven. Later, when he learned of how the feeble missionary mother had spent the entire night in prayer, he became fully convinced that He was also a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God.

This is a modern illustration of the fact that God “delivereth and rescueth, and He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth.” Daniel 6:27

The End

Fanaticism In The Church

In John 10, Jesus said that not one true sheep will be taken out of the Father’s hands; not one single soul needs to be lost. God has made ample provision; and yet the sad thing is that while God has made ample provision that all may be saved, so few people actually are saved. In the days of Noah, there were only eight. Today, in the last day and age, there will be just a remnant.

Few are saved because most of us have learned, like Eve, to trust our own wisdom as to what is right and wrong; but Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Can there be something that seems absolutely right and yet be absolutely wrong?

We know very well that millions of people are keeping Sunday, the wrong day, believing that they are keeping God’s holy day. Many people will be lost, not because they are deceived but because they do not believe the truth of the Sabbath when God presents it to them. They hold on to their false ideas, rejecting what is truth. As a result, millions will be lost while believing that they are serving God.

Satan’s greatest concern, however, is with Sabbath-keepers. The Bible says that he will come down with great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (See Matthew 24:24.) A true deception is one that we do not perceive but that we believe to be true. If we perceived it, it would no longer be a true deception.

Satan has a deception for every individual. We could not begin to unravel all of the deceptions of Satan, but I would like to go over some principles. There are two great areas in which Satan is trying to deceive people. Generally, we only look at the area of presumption. It is one great area of deception in which the majority of people are deceived. They presume that God will overlook a requirement or He will accept them in this area or that area. I believe that this is the great sin that we as a church are falling into. We acknowledge that we do not follow everything that the Lord says, but we presume that He will overlook areas of shortcomings. The New Theology is the theology of presumption in which we presume that God is not particular. This idea is sweeping hundreds of thousands of Adventists off of their feet.

Works and Fanaticism

But there is another area that is fully as dangerous as presumption—the area of legalism. Those who fall into legalism decide that they can do enough things to please God. They strive to be accepted of God for their good works. It is most often the case that they are led to fanaticism. The Lord tells us that in the last days we need to be especially careful of fanaticism.

While Satan is trying to keep the majority occupied in areas of worldliness, there are some whom Satan is trying to deceive in areas of fanaticism, knowing that he will never be able to deceive them with his other enticements. Ellen White says, “As the end draws near, the enemy will work with all his power to bring in fanaticism among us.” Gospel Workers, 316. Again in Selected Messages, book 2, 14, “Every phase of fanaticism and erroneous theories, claiming to be the truth, will be brought in among the remnant people of God. These will fill minds with erroneous sentiments which have no part in the truth for this time.” If the Lord says that the devil will work with all of his power to bring fanaticism in among us, then I believe that it will happen.

In the early Advent movement when God called people out of the liberal churches, many of them went on into fanaticism. The devil tried to keep them from accepting the Millerite message and the Adventist message. When he failed in this, he tried to push them into the area of works and fanaticism. Ellen White said, “At this very time, we are suffering from the reproach which was brought on the cause in the first message by unwise, ill-balanced minds who thought they were obtaining a wonderful experience which should receive the credence of all men. In our early experience, we had to encounter their ever-strange humility and false notions. The first labor given me to do was to reprove their man-made tests. The testimony which I bore against fanaticism gained me the envy, jealousy, evil-surmising, and criticism of those who participated in these movements.” The Paulson Collection, 130

The devil really does not care which camp he gets us into as long as he can keep us from following Jesus all the way. Whether we fall short of the Lord’s Word or go beyond His Word, it will suit his purpose.

Today we are indeed seeing every phase of fanaticism coming in like a flood among us. It is sweeping many of our people off of their feet, especially those who are the conservative people among us. Many people seem to be conservative by nature rather than because of a deep study of the Word. They are not rooted and grounded and cannot discern the true revival from some false, fanatical movement. Ellen White says in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 907, “As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error. We need to make every effort to keep the Word of the Lord. We must in no case turn from His guidance to put our trust in man. Those who are guided by the Word of the Lord will discern with certainty between falsehood and truth, between sin and righteousness.”

I am alarmed as I have observed people saying “Amen,” enjoying the messages, and agreeing with everything that I say, but the next week when somebody else comes along teaching just the opposite, these same people are saying “Amen” and agreeing with everything that they say. Who is speaking the truth is not the point. The point is that not both can be true, yet people are drinking in both messages and have no discerning power to determine which message is the truth. We cannot be rooted and grounded in the truth merely by listening to tapes or listening to those whom we have faith in. We have to study the Word and the Spirit of Prophecy for ourselves.

Wisdom Above Inspiration

The first area of fanaticism that I would like to look at is one that probably does not seem important. It is the area of Christmas and Christmas trees. Ellen White does warn us that we should be careful not to become worldly in what we do on Christmas, or even with the Christmas trees. Though we have rarely had a Christmas tree and Christmas has never been an important part of our lives, nevertheless Ellen White says in the Review and Herald, December 11, 1879, “God would be well pleased if on Christmas, each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings, great and small, for these houses of worship.”

But when I point out to people that Ellen White talked about Christmas and about the birth of Jesus at Christmas time, their comment has been, “Ellen White was wrong in this area.” Now when I find people who know more of how we should act, what we should believe, how much different from the world we should become, and what is involved in keeping the commandments than the prophet of the Lord, it causes me great concern because it never stops there. Once they have established their wisdom above the prophet of the Lord, that same spiritual pride carries over into other areas. The belief regarding Christmas is only an opening wedge.

I searched through the Spirit of Prophecy and found twenty-two pages of statements on Christmas. It is interesting that for almost eleven years, Sister White wrote about Christmas every year in the Review and Herald.

Many people, realizing that Christmas has a pagan origin, have come to believe that it is wrong to give any recognition to Christmas. As Christmas is of pagan origin, they conclude that Christmas trees are something that must be pagan and are an abomination, and having a tree is, therefore, just like keeping Sunday. Therefore, if any church has anything to do with Christmas, it has apostatized. But Ellen White identifies this as being narrow minded. “May God forbid that any should be so narrow-minded as to overlook the event because there are uncertainties in regard to the exact time of Christ’s birth.” This Day With God, 360. Those are not my words; they are the Lord’s words. There is a vast difference between Sunday-keeping and Christmas. Sunday has replaced the Sabbath and led to the breaking of God’s commandment.

I remember one Christmas on which I gave a Christmas sermon. I thought that the Lord blessed, but some people told me afterwards that if I was ever preaching at Christmastime again, they would never come to hear because I had mentioned Christmas. To even recognize it, they felt, is the same as keeping Sunday. “Well,” I asked, “what do you do with the statements of Ellen White?” They replied, “Ellen White was wrong in this area.” Now you see, my concern is not Christmas but are we going to follow human wisdom or the Lord’s wisdom? Who understands best what constitutes rebellion against God? Whether or not other people have a Christmas tree is not the point, but their belief in the Spirit of Prophecy is. The Lord must give us balance, as none of us are very balanced to start with. For this reason, we have to lay aside our ideas and accept the Word of the Lord.

God has not forbidden that which allows us to fit into society which is not rebellion in nature. To keep Sunday is breaking the fourth commandment, so that is going to be part of the mark of the beast. To keep a twenty-four hour clock is not necessarily pagan, unless the Lord tells us that it is. As a result, in dealing with civil matters, we generallly use a civil clock, which is pagan. When it comes to keeping the Sabbath, we use God’s clock because we are dealing with holy time; and God has to decide how His day is going to be kept.

Going Beyond What God Says

I have found that once someone goes beyond what God says, it is harder for him to humble himself and come back to simple allegiance than it is to convert a person right out of the world. Fanaticism is the one hardest thing in the world to cure because there is a sense of holiness, a sense of righteousness that puts one head and shoulders above the common, lukewarm, Laodicean Christian. It is not easy to humble oneself and to let go of the fanatical idea.

I have also noticed that many people who take an extreme position on Christmas very shortly end up taking extreme positions in other areas. One area that is becoming popular is the keeping of the feast days.

Paul addresses the matter of continued adherance to the ceremonial law. “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe,” and notice what he is talking about, “days [the various daily ceremonies] and months and seasons [we have seasonal and monthly ceremonies] and years [the years, by the way, is the jubilee].” We have the Jubilee, we have the Passover, we have the Day of Atonement, we have these various things that were added at Sinai or after the Fall. He says, “I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.” Galatians 4:9–11

Now Paul is not saying, “Well, it is fine. Some of you keep the feast days, you who are really holy. For the rest of you, it is not really necessary.” He says, “I am afraid of you who are keeping these feast days, lest I have labored for you in vain.” In chapter 4:22 and onward, he talks about those who are holding on to the ceremonies given at Sinai and compares them to Hagar and Ishmael. In verse 30 he says, “Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.’ ” So Paul says that we are not to allow those who continue to keep the feast days to be a part and parcel of God’s holy church. By the way, to return to keeping the feast days of the ceremonial law is cause for disfellowshipping, according to Paul in Galatians. He says, “Do not allow them to remain. Cast them out.” What does it mean to cast out? If is a very serious thing in Paul’s mind. It is total apostasy in the area of fanaticism.

Total Apostasy

Look at what Paul says in the next chapter. He brings in circumcision. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.” Galatians 5:1–3. Now what is the whole law? The whole law means animal sacrifices, an earthly priesthood. He said that if you are going to keep the Day of Atonement, you have to offer an animal sacrifice; that is the rest of the law. If you are going to keep the Passover, you have to offer an animal sacrifice. If you are going to keep circumcision, you have to offer an animal sacrifice. You have to keep the whole ceremonial law; you cannot pick and choose. Now he says in verse 4, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Now, dear friends, do not think that this thing of going back and keeping the feast days is some new area of sanctification or some new light that has come into the church. It is total apostasy.

Speaking of the ordinance of humility and the Lord’s supper, we are told, “In this ordinance, Christ discharged His disciples from the cares and burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremonies. These no longer possessed any virtue; for type was meeting antitype in Himself, the authority and foundation of all Jewish ordinances that pointed to Him as the great and only efficacious offering for the sins of the world. . . .

“If His disciples had not needed this, it would not have been left for them as Christ’s last established ordinance in connection with, and including, the last supper. It was Christ’s desire to leave to His disciples an ordinance that would do for them the very thing they needed,—that would serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel made no longer of any force. To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1139, 1140

“None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.” The Great Controversy, 593. It is time that we are fortifying our minds. Not one of us is going to make it through the times ahead unless we are fortifying our minds with God’s Word every day.

The End

Getting Out of a Bad Marriage, part 3

There is peace in the thought that God works out all things after the counsel of His own will and that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Then it does not matter what comes against us; for in that it comes against us, it comes against the purpose of God; and that is as sure and firm as the existence of the Almighty can make it. Now who is against us? Satan is against us. That does not make any difference if he is. Satan has tried his power with Christ, and it has proved itself to be nothing. “All power in heaven and earth is given to Me” (see Matthew 28:18), says Christ. Then if all power has been given to Christ in heaven and in earth, and it has been given, where is there any left for Satan? There is none. In a contest with Christ, Satan has no power; so if we have Christ for us, nothing can be against us.

Bible Truth in Song

Some of us have been talking about the power of Satan in the past, but he has none; there is none left for him. Technically speaking, Satan is against us. Who is he? “The prince of the power of the air.” Ephesians 2:2. He brings pestilence; he brings disease; he puts things in our way and arrays them against us. But the very things which he arrays against us to work our ruin, God takes and makes them for us. They are all good. We often sing:Let good or ill befall, It must be good for me,Secure of having Thee in all, Of having all in Thee.

But we very often sing things that we do not believe at all. Now I would not have anyone sing these things any less, but I would have you believe them more. It is often the case that if you took the words from the music and put them into plain prose, there would not be anyone in a whole congregation who would believe or dare to say them. Let us believe them, not because they are in the hymn, but because they are Bible truth.

We are like the people who are represented by the prophet Ezekiel: “Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against [about] thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, everyone to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord.” That is to say, Come, let us go to meeting and hear the sermon. “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.” Ezekiel 33:30–32

I say that a great many of these truths are just a song to many people. They hear them and are interested in them and then pass on, but they do not believe or do them. But the Lord has given them for us to both believe and to do, and they will be our strength. So everything works for good to them that love God. We cannot always see how or tell how; but God has said it, and we know it is so. There are many things that we cannot tell why we believe and to our very senses they do not appear to be so; but the very fact that God has promised that if we do believe them they will be so, makes them so, when we take hold and believe them. We can never know this till we do believe; but when we do believe, then we will know. So if God be for us, who can be against us?

Think of that lone prophet of God, Elisha. He was down in Samaria; the mountains were all around him. A whole host of armed men had come to take him. He stood alone with his servant, and that servant was afraid. He did not think in that moment, nor did he say, that the King of Israel ought to send a troop of horses or some infantry to defend him. The young man came to him and said, “Alas, my master! how shall we do?” Elisha prayed, “Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:15, 16

The whole mountain and plain was filled with chariots and horses, and any one of them was stronger than the whole host of the enemy. It is as true in our case as in that of Elisha, that “they that be for us are more than they that be against us (see verse 16);” and the only thing for us to do is to get our eyes open so that we may see that this is so. What opens our eyes? The Word, it is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path; and if we believe it, we will know that they that are for us are more than they that are against us.

All Things A Blessing to Us

He who is with us is the living God of Israel, Who has power to turn darkness into light and weakness into strength; and every evil thing that comes against us, He turns into a blessing to help us on our way.

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32. Why will He with Christ also give us all things? Because all things are in Him. “Which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:23

He that hath put on Christ is “strengthened with all might!” (See Ephesians 3:16.) Why? Because God has placed Christ “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:21–23. Therefore, everything is in Christ. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He has all power given Him in heaven and in earth. Do you not see that this being the case, it is a foregone conclusion that when God gave Christ for us and freely delivered Him up for us all, that in Him He does give us all things?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3Christ has all power, and He hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Notice that the past tense is used. This has been done for us. Then why do we not have them? For just one reason—because we do not take them. We have been mourning for so long and saying that we want these things. Well, we can have them; they have been given to us, and there is no reason why we should not appropriate them to ourselves.

Suppose that I come to you and say that I am very hungry and I would like something to eat. “All right,” you say, “Just sit down here at the table and we will get something for you.” Soon you place the best of what you have on the table and tell me that there it is and now, eat. But I say, “O, I am so hungry and I do want food so much.” All right, take it and eat. “But I am so hungry and I do want something to eat. I have not had anything for days.” Well, take it. “Yes, but I do want food so badly.” You would say that I was out of my mind if I acted that way and did not eat of the food that was so freely placed before me.

Someone says, “If that is the way that the Lord does with these blessings that pertain to life and godliness, we are certainly foolish that we do not take them; but I do not think that the illustration is a fair one because we cannot see these things that the Lord has to offer, and we can see the food.” Neither do I think that it is a fair illustration, because it does not half fill the bill.

Unseen Realities

Did not you often think that you saw something that you did not see? Does not your sight often deceive you? Sometimes you think you saw a thing that you did not see and then again you saw things that when you came to look at them closely were not as they really appeared to be. But the Word of God never deceives. Therefore, I am more sure of the things promised in the Word of God than if I could see them. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” Romans 4:16

We think that anything that we can see is all right and sure. Therefore we get hold of a house or a piece of land or some other property and think that we have something because there is in our possession something that we can see. But the truth of the matter is that the only things that we can depend on are the things that we cannot see. (See 2 Corinthians 4:18.) We can see the earth, and we can see the heavens; but they are going to pass away. “But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:25

With the psalmist we can say, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” Psalm 46:1, 2. The time is coming when the earth will reel to and fro like a drunken man and be removed like a cottage, and the mountains will skip away and pass over into the ocean. This is going to happen; and there will be some people at that time who will feel perfectly calm and trustful, but they will not be composed of men and women who have never learned to say that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose. The man who doubts God now will doubt Him then. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

All Good Things Belong to Us

Yes, we have everything; we are children of the King, of the Most High. What difference does it make if people do not own us? God owns us, and He knows us; and therefore if men heap on us reproach and persecution, the only thing that we can do is to pity them and labor for them; for they do not know the riches of the inheritance.

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” Romans 8:33. Well, there is one that will do it surely. We have his name, Satan. Here is a testimony concerning him. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Revelation 12:10. Yes, Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He has done it day and night, and he is doing it still—laying everything he can to the charge of God’s elect. But he is cast down, and now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of His Christ. Christ has all power; how good that is.

But one says, “I believe all that, and I have confessed my sins, and I believe that God is faithful and just to forgive them and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness; but these sins keep coming up before me all the time!” Are you sure that it is Satan that brings them up? That is an important point; for if you are sure of that, and they do come up, you ought to be one of the happiest creatures alive.

Why does Satan bring these things up? Because he is the accuser of the brethren, and he is a false accuser; he is a liar and the father of it. Therefore, if Satan brings these sins up and accuses you, then you know that they are forgiven, because he would never have brought them up if they had not been forgiven. He could not tell the truth if he tried; and unless they had been forgiven, he never would bring them up, never in the world, because he would be afraid that you would confess them and they would be forgiven.

There is a time when God brings sins up before us, but it is when they have not been confessed. That is the only time. But it is the Comforter Who convicts of sin, so He comforts us in every place and in the very act of calling to our remembrance the wrongs that we have done. Then when God brings sins to my notice that I have not confessed, I will thank Him for the comfort. When Satan brings them up again, I will praise God again; for if they were not forgiven, Satan would never bring them up; but if they have been confessed, they have been forgiven.In Christ are mercy and truth met together. The same hand that holds the law, holds the pardon also. Remember that when the law was spoken from Sinai in thunder tones, it was in the hand of a Mediator, even our Lord Jesus Christ. Then the same hand which holds the justice and that which convicts of sin holds also the pardon. Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Romans 8:35–37

“We have enemies to contend with,” says one. Do not talk about them or your trials and temptations, but talk of the power of Christ. All power has been given to Him. So when we wrestle, we will remember that it is not an even-handed battle; but we fight a fight of faith, and the power is given unto us whereby we can be more than conquerors through Him that loved us and gave Himself for us. Where sin abounded, there did grace much more abound.

Who are conquerors? They are those who have gained the victory. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12. It is not flesh and blood that we are fighting against, therefore flesh and blood are of no account in the defense. Then how do we meet the foe? “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:12

There comes in that life question again. “Lay hold on eternal life.” The only power that can resist evil is the power of an endless life, and He that hath the Son hath that life. We are to fight the good fight of faith. What is faith? Trusting in another. If I fight a fight with my fists, I do the fighting. If I fight the fight of faith, someone else is fighting for me; and I am getting the benefit. We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Victory A Certainty

Well how is this? Christ has fought hand to hand with Satan here on earth. He conquered Satan and all of his host, and He has put down all might and dominion; for He has been placed above all “principality and power and might.” Ephesians 1:21. How great was the victory of Christ over them? Christ met these very enemies that we have to wrestle with, and He triumphed over them and spoiled them. (See Colossians 2:15.) He has gained the victory over them. What is the result? What always must be the result when a battle has been fought and one side has conquered the other completely?—Peace. Satan would not give in, so the Saviour conquered a peace.

“He is our peace.” “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27. As He has given us His peace and peace follows victory, so the victory has been gained already. And if we have Christ, that victory is ours already. We simply lay hold of the eternal life of Christ; and that is done by laying hold of His Word, which is spirit and life. Thus we bring Christ into our hearts, and so we have Christ and the victory that He has won for us.

Our Cause of Weakness

The great trouble with us is that sometimes we are afraid that Christ will gain the victory. Why? We have some darling sin that we do not want to give up; we are willing, we think, that all the rest should go but that, and so we are afraid that Christ will gain the victory and that that sin will have to be given up. We call Christ in to help defeat our enemy; and when He comes, He finds us on the side of the enemy. But if we will give up all of these things, Christ will give us something that is infinitely better. When we make up our minds from the Word of God that all that God has to give us is in Christ, that He is the fullness of Him that filleth all in all, we will realize that the meager things of this earth are not worth having compared to what is going to be given us.

In 1 John 4:2–4, we have reference to the wicked spirits with which we have to fight, and this assurance is given to the children of God: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” So with Elisha we know that they that are for us are more than they that are against us.

Do we believe that Christ has conquered everything; that when we have Him, we have everything; and that there is no power of darkness that can do us any hurt?When our faith fully grasps this truth, we are crucified with Him. Our own lives have been given up to Christ, but we still live. Then it must be some other life that we live, and that life is the life of Christ. That is the life in which we glory. Christ is our life. He has the victory, therefore we have it. “Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11What is it to put on the whole armour? to stand in Christ complete? He is the truth, the Lord our righteousness. Shod with peace, He is our peace. It is Christ all through. Then take the sword in your hand; it is the Word of God, and Christ is the eternal Word.

“And ye are complete in Him.” Colossians 2:10. Having put on the whole armour, which is Christ, we are complete in Him. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!” Romans 13:14. He is the armour, and the armour is He. Thus it is that in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us and gave His life for us. There is nothing that can take the armour away from us. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39
The End

Food for Life – Is Cheese Edible, part 1

This month we will look at another very serious problem which affects the health of millions and which holds a very prominent place in the diet of many Seventh-day Adventists; Cheese.

This most powerful statement comes to my mind and has to do with every phase of our daily diet. It is found in Counsels on Diet and Foods, 59, 1875. “The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. . . As we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.” As Historic Seventh-day Adventists preparing to meet our soon-coming Jesus in the clouds of heaven, we recognize the importance of overcoming every hereditary and cultivated tendency to wrong.

When God, in His great love for His remnant church, sent the health reform message, He did not always give us the reasons for the restrictions that He placed on our diet. We were to move out in faith, trusting the divine hand that was guiding us. Now we are doubly blessed in having scientific research that vindicates the many questions that, in the past, were raised regarding the Spirit of Prophecy counsels.

Many years ago, the counsel to us was, “Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 368. “It [cheese] is wholly unfit for food.” Ibid., 368. Today there is an abundance of supporting, scientific evidence.

The cheese found in super markets contains rennet, the enzyme coagulant used in the cheese for clotting purposes. This substance is an extraction from finely ground stomachs of calves. In addition, it may also contain an extender, pepsin, which is taken from the stomachs of swine. According to the cheese manufacturers, there is no way of ascertaining with certainty that the cheese you purchase does not contain this extender.

The Spirit of Prophecy also warns that mold can be deadly. As far back as 1985, newspapers carried warnings of bacteria found in a certain Mexican-style cheese which was responsible for thirty deaths in California and four serious illnesses in Fort Worth, Texas. Science News, 59, July 1976, carried the warning, “The mold that creates Roquefort and similar blue cheeses creates a dangerous nerve poison that causes convulsions in mice. The chemical is more concentrated in the heavily molded parts of such cheeses than in the white portions.” Also found in cheddar cheese and other common cured cheeses during the aging period is tyramine. Upon analysis, some cheeses were found to contain sufficient tyramine to affect the heart and raise blood pressure, even in amounts that are usually consumed at a meal.

Another serious concern is the high fat content of cheese. Dr. Julian Whitaker, director of the California Health Treatment Center, in an article in the Natural Health Bulletin states: “When large amounts of fats are eaten, the red blood cells stick together and stack up. This is called ‘rouleaux formation’ and limits the flow of blood cells through the capillaries. It creates ‘sludging’ with a thirty percent reduction of oxygen supply to the heart.” Surely we can see that our Creator knows what is best for the creatures that He has created!

Macaroni & Cheese Sauce

Place in a blender:

2 cups water

1 tsp sea salt

6 oz canned pimentos

1 tbsp onion powder

2 oz green chilies (not hot)

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 ½ cups cashews

When thoroughly blended and smooth, pour into container and add 1 small 4 oz. can of sliced olives, drained, and the cooked macaroni. Mix well, pour into casserole, and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Molded Cheese Loaf

1 cup water

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp green chilies (mild)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp onion powder

2 cups cashews

1 tbsp garlic powder

4–6 tbsp Agar powder

8 oz can pimentos

1 cup water

Thoroughly blend first seven ingredients. Then add cashews and blend till smooth. In small pan, place 1 cup of water and Agar powder. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; add to the above mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour into long Velveeta cheese mold and refrigerate overnight. Place on platter and garnish with parsley. This loaf may be sliced for sandwiches or grated on salads. (Agar is a Japanese seaweed and may be used the same as gelatin for molded fruit salads. We do not use the commercial gelatins because of the animal sources used.)

The End

What Inspiration Says About – Qualifications of Ministers, part 2

1. Prayer

Ministers should be instant in prayer. Among the ministers of Christ there is too little prayer, and too much self-exaltation. There is too little weeping between the porch and the altar, crying, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thy heritage to reproach.” Too little is said about the love and compassion of Jesus. Christ is constantly interceding for sinners. Those who cooperate with Him must do a work which corresponds to that which he is doing in heaven. Review and Herald, March 24, 1903.

I wish I could impress upon every worker in God’s cause, the great need of continual, earnest prayer. They cannot be constantly upon their knees, but they can be uplifting their hearts to God. This is the way that Enoch walked with God. Ibid., November 10, 1885

Ministers who are truly Christ’s representatives will be men of prayer. With an earnestness and faith that will not be denied, they will plead with God that they may be strengthened and fortified for duty and for trial, and that their lips may be sanctified by a touch of the living coal from off the altar, to speak the words of God to the people. Testimonies, vol. 4, 529

If the ministers now laboring in the gospel field, yourself included, felt the necessity of daily examination of self and daily communion with God, they would then be in a condition to receive the words from God to be given to the people. Ibid., 371

2. Love and Courtesy

I wish you, my brethren, to bear in mind that Bible religion never destroys human sympathy. True Christian courtesy needs to be taught and acted, to be carried into all your intercourse with your brethren and with worldlings. There is need of far more love and courtesy in our families than is now revealed. When our ministering brethren shall drink in the spirit of Christ daily, they will be truly courteous, and will not consider it weakness to be tenderhearted and pitiful, for this is one of the principles of the gospel of Christ. Christ’s teaching softened and subdued the soul. The truth received into the heart will work a renovation in the soul. Those who love Jesus will love the souls for whom He died. The truth planted in the heart will reveal the love of Jesus and its transforming power. Anything harsh, sour, critical, domineering, is not of Christ, but proceeds from Satan. Coldness, heartlessness, want of tender sympathy, are leavening the camp of Israel. If these evils are permitted to strengthen as they have done for some years in the past, our churches will be in a deplorable condition. Every teacher of the truth needs the Christlike principle in his character. There will be no frowns, no scolding, no expressions of contempt, on the part of any man who is cultivating the graces of Christianity. Testimonies to Ministers, 156, 157

3. The Dress of the Minister

Our ministers and their wives should be an example in plainness of dress; they should dress neatly, comfortably, wearing good material, but avoiding anything like extravagance and trimmings, even if not expensive; for these things tell to our disadvantage. We should educate the youth to simplicity of dress, plainness with neatness. Let the extra trimmings be left out, even though the cost be but a trifle. Ibid., 180

The minister should be free from every unnecessary temporal perplexity, that he may give himself wholly to his sacred calling. He should be much in prayer, and should bring himself under discipline to God, that his life may reveal the fruits of true self-control. His language should be correct; no slang phrases, no cheap utterances, should fall from his lips. His dress should be in harmony with the character of the work he is doing. Gospel Workers, 145

Carefulness in dress is an important item. There has been a lack here with ministers who believe present truth. The dress of some has been even untidy. Not only has there been a lack of taste and order in arranging the dress in a becoming manner upon the person, and in having the color suitable and becoming for a minister of Christ, but the apparel of some has been even slovenly. Some ministers wear a vest of a light color, while their pants are dark, or a dark vest and light pants, with no taste or orderly arrangement of the dress upon the person when they come before the people.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 610

4. The Minister at Study

Ministers should devote time to reading, to study, to meditation and prayer. They should store the mind with useful knowledge, committing to memory portions of Scripture, tracing out the fulfillment of the prophecies, and learning the lessons which Christ gave to His disciples. Take a book with you to read when traveling on the cars or waiting in the depot. Employ every spare moment in doing something. In this way an effectual door will be closed against a thousand temptations. Had King David been engaged in some useful employment, he would not have been guilty of the murder of Uriah. Satan is ever ready to employ him who does not employ himself. The mind which is continually striving to rise to the height of intellectual greatness will find no time for cheap, foolish thoughts, which are the parent of evil actions.” Ibid., vol. 4, 412

Many of our ministers can present to the people only a few doctrinal discourses. The same exertion and application which made them familiar with these points will enable them to gain an understanding of others. The prophecies and other doctrinal subjects should be thoroughly understood by them all. But some who have been engaged in preaching for years are content to confine themselves to a few subjects, being too indolent to search the Scriptures diligently and prayerfully that they may become giants in the understanding of Bible doctrines and the practical lessons of Christ. The minds of all should be stored with a knowledge of the truths of God’s Word, that they may be prepared, at any moment when required, to present from the storehouse things new and old. Ibid., 414, 415

It will do you good, and our ministers generally, to frequently review the closing scenes in the life of our Redeemer. Here, beset with temptations as He was, we may all learn lessons of the utmost importance to us. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life. By thus contemplating His teachings and sufferings, and the infinite sacrifice made by Him for the redemption of the race, we may strengthen our faith, quicken our love, and become more deeply imbued with the spirit which sustained our Saviour. If we would be saved at last we must all learn the lesson of penitence and faith at the foot of the cross. Christ suffered humiliation to save us from everlasting disgrace. He consented to have scorn, mockery, and abuse fall upon Him in order to shield us. It was our transgression that gathered the veil of darkness about His divine soul and extorted the cry from Him, as of one smitten and forsaken of God. He bore our sorrows; He was put to grief for our sins. He made Himself an offering for sin, that we might be justified before God through Him. Everything noble and generous in man will respond to the contemplation of Christ upon the cross. Ibid., 374

Continual application will accomplish for man what nothing else can. Those who are never content without the consciousness that they are growing every day will truly make a success of life. Ibid., 413

5. The Minister’s Family

The overbearing, dictatorial word must be left unspoken; then a precious victory will be gained. True happiness will be the result of every self-denial, every crucifixion of self. One victory won, the next is more easily gained. Had Moses neglected the opportunities and privileges granted him of God, he would have neglected the light from heaven and would have been a disappointed, miserable man. Sin is from beneath; and when it is indulged, Satan is enshrined in the soul, there to kindle the very fires of hell. God has not given His law to prevent the salvation of souls, but He wants all to be saved. Man has light and opportunities; and if he will improve them, he may overcome. You may show by your life the power of the grace of God in overcoming. Satan is trying to set up his throne in the soul-temple. When he reigns, he makes himself heard and felt in angry passions, in words of bitterness that grieve and wound; but as light has no communion with darkness, and Christ no union with Belial, the man must be wholly for one or the other. In yielding to self-indulgence, avarice, deception, fraud, or sin of any kind, he encourages the principles of Satan in his soul and closes the door of heaven to himself. Because of sin, Satan was thrust out of heaven; and no man indulging and fostering sin can go to heaven, for then Satan would again have a foothold there. Ibid., 345, 346

The largest share of the annoyances of life, its daily corroding cares, its heartaches, its irritation, is the result of a temper uncontrolled. The harmony of the domestic circle is often broken by a hasty word and abusive language. How much better were it left unsaid. One smile of pleasure, one peaceful, approving word spoken in the spirit of meekness, would be a power to soothe, to comfort, and to bless. The government of self is the best government in the world. By putting on the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, ninety-nine out of a hundred of the troubles which so terribly embitter life might be saved. Many excuse their hasty words and passionate tempers by saying: I am sensitive; I have a hasty temper.” This will never heal the wounds made by hasty, passionate words. Some, indeed, are naturally more passionate than others; but this spirit can never harmonize with the Spirit of God. The natural man must die, and the new man, Christ Jesus, take possession of the soul, so that the follower of Jesus may say in verity and truth: I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. Ibid., 348, 349

A minister of Christ should be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. You have made a miserable failure. You must show in your family that kindly consideration, that tenderness, love, gentleness, noble forbearance, and true courtesy, that is becoming to the head of a family, before you can make a success of winning souls to Christ. If you have not wisdom to manage the small number with whom you are closely united, how can you make a success of managing a larger company, who are not especially interested in yourself? Your wife needs to be truly and thoroughly converted to God. Testimonies, vol. 3, 556

When a minister has a child that is as peevish and fretful as yours, so frequently crying if crossed, and exhibiting passion, it is wrong to take the child around with him to be an annoyance to others. People will bear it because you are servants of Christ, but nevertheless you should have a sense of the impropriety of so doing. Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, 236

If the child of a minister manifests passion, and is indulged in nearly all its wants, it has an influence to counteract the testimonies God has given me for parents in regard to the proper management of their children. Testimonies, vol. 4, 382

Is the wife exacting? Does she keep her own spirit under control? Is selfishness at times apparent, even when she is in a position of responsibility, connected with those who are urged to give themselves to the work? While her husband is preaching the truth and laboring for individual cases, to prepare them for the canvassing field, will her influence and example give force to his teaching? Jealousy and evil-surmising are calculated to do much harm to the persons with whom she is brought in connection. Such exhibitions have been made even in the presence of young persons who needed to learn what it means to be a Christian. These things are grievous matters before the Lord. When the servant of the Lord, who is bearing the message of truth to the people, sees anything of this kind in his home, he has a work to do in his own family; while he should ever deal kindly, in the spirit of tenderness, he should deal decidedly, whatever the consequences may be. Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 42

Persons who have not acquired habits of close industry and economy of time should have set rules to prompt them to regularity and dispatch. Washington, the nation’s statesman, was enabled to perform a great amount of business because he was thorough in preserving order and regularity. Every paper had its date and its place, and no time was lost in looking up what had been mislaid. Men of God must be diligent in study, earnest in the acquirement of knowledge, never wasting an hour. Through persevering exertion they may rise to almost any degree of eminence as Christians, as men of power and influence. But many will never attain superior rank in the pulpit or in business, because of their unfixedness of purpose, and the laxness of habits contracted in their youth. Careless inattention is seen in everything they undertake. A sudden impulse now and then is not sufficient to accomplish a reformation in these ease-loving, indolent ones; this is a work which requires patient continuance in well-doing. Men of business can be truly successful only by having regular hours for rising, for prayer, for meals, and for retirement. If order and regularity are essential in worldly business, how much more so in doing work for God! Gospel Workers, 168

It is the motive that determines whether we are really ministers of Christ or of Satan:

All the shepherds who work under the Chief Shepherd will possess His characteristics; they will be meek and lowly of heart. Childlike faith brings rest to the soul and also works by love and is ever interested for others. If the Spirit of Christ dwells in them, they will be Christlike and do the works of Christ. Many who profess to be the ministers of Christ have mistaken their master. They claim to be serving Christ and are not aware that it is Satan’s banner under which they are rallying. They may be worldly wise and eager for strife and vainglory, making a show of doing a great work; but God has no use for them. The motives which prompt to action give character to the work. Although men may not discern the deficiency, God marks it. Testimonies, vol. 4, 377

The End

Meeting for Church Issues

As the Seventh-day Adventist Church moved into the 20th century, the burden for evangelism rested heavily on the heart of God’s messenger. In June, 1909, before the leaders of the work gathered in Washington D.C., she presented a powerful appeal for more work to be done in the great population centers. In spite of her earnestness and the burden under which she labored, she realized, even as she made the appeals, that the brethren, for the most part, largely failed to understand the full scope of the message that she bore. (See Letter 32, 1910.)

It is true that during the months that followed, there were some efforts put forward to fund some work in the metropolitan areas; but as she acknowledged the meager efforts being put forth, Ellen White was constrained to say: “God requires of His people a far greater work than anything that has been done in years past.” The Later Elmshaven Years, 220

Elder A.G. Daniels, then General Conference president, after having directed some attention to this matter, allowed his energies to be diverted by other considerations. A short time later, while on the West Coast, he stopped by Elmshaven to report his progress in following the counsel that had been given, believing that it would certainly cheer Ellen White’s heart. Imagine his surprise when the messenger of the Lord refused to see him, sending word that when the President of the General Conference was ready to carry out the work that needed to be done, then she would see him. Clearly Ellen White recognized that there were times when it was appropriate to meet and discuss situations and there were also times when such a meeting would be productive of no good.

Today, those who are standing firmly for the truth are being severely buffeted by the various winds that are blowing, which threaten to shake their faith to its very foundation. As the shaking among God’s people becomes more intense, it would be well for us to again meditate on these familiar words: “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Life Sketches, 196

We can depend on the Lord to guide us through each and every situation. To the weakest one, deliverance is promised. “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.” Ezekiel 34:16

There have been various times in the history of the church when internal dissension has threatened to tear apart the fabric of the whole. A prominent instance when this took place was when the church faced the crisis that resulted over the issue of circumcision. As a result of the seemingly unresolvable differences, a meeting was called, as recorded in Acts 15. The result of this meeting was a restoration of unity among the believers and a strengthened movement that was better able to fulfill the gospel commission.

In the distress over the disunity present today, some urge that various meetings be called among those who are teaching Historic Adventism, possibly patterning on the meeting of the early church leaders, as being the best way to restore harmony in the prosecution of God’s work. Before accepting or rejecting such a proposal, it might be well to consider all of the circumstances, and the underlying condition of the church, that surrounded the meeting of the brethren in Jerusalem that resulted in such decided good for the church. We will mention a part of what is left on record.

The meeting, as we have already noted, was the result of contention in the church over the subject of circumcision. Because of this, the members of the Antioch church requested a meeting to solve the difficulty. This meeting was initiated on a grass roots level. Paul and Barnabas, along with “responsible men from the church,” were asked to go to Jerusalem. The council was composed not only of apostles and teachers who had been prominent in raising up the Jewish and Gentile Christian churches, but also of delegates who had been chosen from the different churches in various places as well. (See Acts of the Apostles, 190–196.) The Lord honored this meeting by sending the Holy Spirit to guide them into the right decision.

As we saw earlier, there are, however, times and circumstances which could preclude a meeting. The Lord’s messenger has given us much council on meetings such as this. The following counsel is drawn from an article that appeared in Signs of the Times, May 26, 1890, in an article entitled, “Candid Investigation Necessary to an Understanding of the Truth.” We are seeking by grace to come into line with this council.

“We must have greater wisdom than we have yet manifested in regard to the manner in which we treat those who in some points of faith honestly differ from us. It is unbecoming in anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ to be sharp and denunciatory, to stoop to ridicule the views of another.”

“If a brother differs with you, do not become provoked; treat him with candor; do not overwhelm him with assertions. Do not handle the Word of God deceitfully, presenting detached passages of Scripture which you think favor your ideas, and withholding other passages which seem to weaken your position. Let God speak in His Word. If you think your brother believes an error, you should deal with him considerately, manifesting tenderness, patience, and courtesy. You should reason with him from the Word of God, comparing scripture with scripture, considering carefully every jot of evidence. In no case should his words be made a matter of ridicule, for ‘with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’ ” [All emphasis supplied]

In the same article, the prophet warned us that this matter of ridicule is the first step taken down the road to persecuting those who do not agree with you. “The papal authorities first ridiculed the Reformers; and when this did not quench the spirit of investigation, they placed them behind prison walls, and loaded them with chains; and when this did not silence them or make them recant, they finally brought them to the fagot and the sword. We should be very cautious lest we take the first steps in this road that leads to the Inquisition. The truth of God is progressive; it is always onward, going from strength to a greater strength, from light to a greater light. We have every reason to believe that the Lord will send us increased truth, for a great work is yet to be done.”

From this counsel, we would understand that a meeting with those who have sought by ridicule to place in an unfavorable light those who conscientiously disagree with them could be productive of no good; for if we want the blessing of the Holy Spirit upon our meetings, we must not have a critical spirit. “The spirit of criticism unfits men for receiving the light that God would send them, or for seeing what is evidence of the truth.” There would be no profit in trying to meet to find truth if the spirit of criticism is present. All of this must be put away and repented of before we can be learners in the school of Christ.

There are other issues that we believe must be considered in making any decision to meet with the brethren. First of all, it is essential that hard speeches and ridicule that have been spoken be repented of. Second, when private communications have been which have sought to develop a basis for working out differences have been ignored, a public meeting would hardly seem appropriate. Evidently, Ellen White understood very well how to apply wise principles when it came to proposed meetings. As pointed out earlier, she refused to come down to the parlor from upstairs to meet with Elder Daniels. Why? Because she had written him letters which he was ignoring. She sent a message telling him that when he paid attention to the letters that she had written, she would speak to him. Obviously, the best interests of the work are not always met by holding a meeting. Perhaps the lesson we can best learn from the prophet’s example is that it is most important to follow the counsel of the Lord.

Whatever storm may fall upon us and upon God’s people, we may take courage in this promise. “Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen.” Acts of the Apostles, 11, 12. The Lord is well able to bring a calm to the storm that is blowing. If we trust Him perfectly and look to Him for counsel, He will bring us through.

The End

Messages to The World

The closing work of Christ as Priest pertains to the acquittal of His people at His Father’s tribunal, the blotting out of their sins, and the decision accounting them worthy of that world and the resurrection to immortality. Our Lord cannot do this for people in a state of probation. His first work must therefore relate to the righteous dead. And while their cases are severally passing under examination and decision, the living righteous are being prepared for the close of their probation and for the decision of the investigative judgment by the proclamation of the third angel. This work being accomplished and the living righteous being accounted worthy to escape the things coming upon the earth and to stand before the Son of man, our Lord is crowned King, and takes His seat upon the white cloud, with a crown of pure gold upon His head.

The priesthood of Christ began when He presented Himself before the Father at His ascension as our Advocate. It cannot terminate till He has secured the acquittal of His people and the blotting out of their sins in the investigative judgment. The blotting out of sins, which terminates His priesthood, brings the people of God to the refreshing from the presence of the Father, which precedes His act of sending His Son from heaven. (See Acts 3:19–21.)

The whole multitude of the redeemed appear before the throne in raiment that has been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. (See Revelation 7:13, 14.) The work of our High Priest in behalf of His people involves an immense number of individual cases. He has not only borne the sin of all these, but He makes intercession for them and finally obtains the blotting out of their sins on showing from the record that they have completed the work of overcoming. Our Lord does not continue in His priestly office to all eternity. When He comes again, it is without sin unto salvation. But He does not leave His work unfinished. He brings every part of this immense work to a conclusion before He lays it down. The following proposition is both reasonable and scriptural:

There is a period of time at the close of this dispensation devoted to the finishing of the work of human probation, i.e., to the completion of Christ’s work as priest, and of His gospel as the means of salvation.

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:7

The Mystery of God

The mystery of God is seen to be the work of salvation for fallen man through the gospel of Christ. (See Ephesians 3:3–6; Colossians 1:26–28.) It is that which unites Jews and Gentiles in one body as fellow-heirs, having Christ in them the hope of glory. The finishing of the mystery of God is the accomplishment of the work of the gospel. This must have a twofold bearing: 1) upon the priesthood of our Lord, to bring it to a close by completing all of its immense work, and 2) upon the preaching of the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, in causing the proclamation of its final closing messages of warning.

This work is not closed instantaneously, for a space of time is devoted to its completion. And the finishing of this work pertains both to heaven and to earth, to the priesthood of Christ and the proclamation of His gospel to men. But the priesthood of Christ, as we have seen, is finished at the time when the Ancient of Days sits in judgment; and it is while that judgment is in session that the latest messages of warning are addressed to men. (See Revelation 14:6–14.) We do, therefore, understand that the period of time devoted to the finishing of the mystery of God is precisely that space occupied by the Father in the work of the investigative judgment.

It is not stated that the mystery of God shall be finished when the seventh angel begins to sound, for this would denote instantaneous completion. But it is said, “In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound,” etc. This shows beyond dispute that a period of time is devoted to this work. The days of this prophecy are prophetic days, i.e., years, as are those of the fifth and sixth angels. (See Revelation 9.) These years which are devoted to this finishing of human probation begin with the sounding of the seventh angel. They are the earliest years of his voice. The sounding of the seventh angel begins, therefore, with the opening of that investigative judgment that finishes human probation, that determines the blotting out of the sins of the overcomers, that accounts them worthy of the world to come, that terminates the priesthood of Christ, and that witnesses the completion of the preaching of the gospel of the grace of God.

But is not the last trumpet of John’s series of seven the same as Paul’s last trump? The reasons which forbid their identity are perfectly conclusive. The seventh trumpet is the last of a series, no one of which is literally heard by the inhabitants of the earth. It is the accomplishment of certain events that indicates the transition from one of the seven angels to another. The seventh is like each of the preceding six in that it is the trumpet of an angel and in that it is a symbolic and not a literal trumpet. (See Revelation 8, 9, 10, 11.) But the trumpet which awakens the dead is not blown by an angel but by the Son of God Himself. It is not a symbolic trumpet, for it is literally heard by the inhabitants of the earth. (See Matthew 24:31; Zechariah 9:14–16; 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17.) It is called the last trump because when the Almighty descended upon Mount Sinai in glory and majesty, like our Lord’s second advent, (see Exodus 19:16–19; Hebrews 12:18–27; Matthew 16:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8) the trump of God was heard, as it will be once more when the dead are raised. (See 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52.)

Seventh Angel and Judgment

The commencement of the seventh angel’s voice, as we have seen, is the signal for the opening of the investigative judgment; and human probation continues for a term of days, i.e., years, after that voice begins. But the trump of God is not sounded till after that investigative judgment has determined the cases of all the righteous; for when it is heard, everyone who has been accounted worthy of a part in the resurrection to immortality is, in an instant, made immortal. We conclude, therefore, that the seventh angel begins to sound before the advent of Christ and that the first years of his sounding are devoted to the finishing of the work of human probation.

The events under the sounding of the seventh angel, though not given in chronological order are, from their nature, not difficult to be arranged in the order of their occurrence.

In the days, i.e., years, of the beginning of the voice of the seventh angel, the work of human probation is finished. (See Revelation 10:7.) This, as we have seen, involves the closing up of the immense work of our High Priest. It also requires the proclamation of the final warnings to mankind.

The most holy place of the temple in heaven is opened. (See Revelation 11:19.) This is the place where our Lord’s priesthood is finished and, as we shall hereafter see, is the place where the Ancient of Days sits in judgment.

While Christ is finishing His priesthood at the tribunal of His Father in the holiest of the heavenly temple, the judgment of the righteous dead takes place. (See Revelation 11:18.)

The coronation of Christ is announced by the great voices in heaven and by the words of the twenty-four elders. (See Revelation 11:15–17.) This succeeds the close of His priesthood. When Christ begins His reign, He is invested by the Father with that power which Satan usurped from Adam the first. The reign of the second Adam is the re-establishment of the empire of God in this revolted province. Christ does not take His own throne to rule His enemies with a rod of iron till He has closed up His priestly office at His Father’s right hand.

The wrath of God comes upon the wicked when Christ begins to rule them with the iron scepter of His justice. It comes in the seven last plagues. (See Revelation 11:18, 19; 14:9–11; 15:16; 18:20; 19:11–21.)

The anger of the nations comes in consequence of the work of the unclean spirits under the sixth plague who incite them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. (See Revelation 11:18; 16:13,14; 19:19–21.)

The giving of rewards to the servants of God is at the resurrection of the just. (See Revelation 11:18; Luke 14:14; Matthew 16:27.)

The final destruction of those who corrupt the earth is at the end of the 1,000 years in the second death. (See Revelation 11:18; 20:7–9.)

The events of the seventh trumpet do, therefore, extend over the whole period of the great day of judgment. The mighty proclamation which ushers in the seventh angel and the investigative judgment and the work in the second apartment of the heavenly temple for the completion of our Lord’s priestly office, we will now consider.

We have learned that there is a space of time at the beginning of the voice of the seventh angel which is employed in closing up the work of human probation. During this period, the living righteous conclude their probation and are accounted worthy to stand before the Son of man. (See Luke 21:36.) This is the time of the dead that they should be judged, i.e., the time when the righteous dead are accounted worthy of a part in the first resurrection. (See Luke 20:35, 36; Revelation 11:18.) It is when the Ancient of Days sits in judgment that Christ is crowned King, and this same event takes place under the sounding of the seventh angel. (See Daniel 7:9–14; Revelation 11:15–17.) This shows that the judgment scene of Daniel 7 is in the days of the seventh angel and that the judgment of the dead here brought to view is at the Father’s tribunal. Two things next claim our attention: 1) the mighty proclamation which heralds the investigative judgment at the beginning of the voice of the seventh angel and 2) the opening of the most holy place of the heavenly temple for the session of that judgment.

Period of Time to Pass

The second and third woes come in consequence of the voices of the sixth and seventh angels. (See Revelation 8:13.) There is a short space of time between the second and third woes, hence such space must exist between the close of the sixth angel’s voice and the commencement of the seventh. (See Revelation 11:14.) The termination of the hour, day, month, and year of the sixth angel marks the conclusion of the second woe, August 11, 1840. (See Revelation 9:15.)

At the close of the sixth angel’s voice, a mighty angel descends from heaven to herald the sounding of the seventh trumpet. He has a little book open in His hand; and He places His right foot upon the sea and His left foot on the earth and cries with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth. The seven thunders utter their voices, but John is forbidden to write what they utter. The angel, having made proclamation to the inhabitants of the earth, lifts His hand to heaven and swears that time shall be no longer but that in the days of the beginning of the seventh angel’s voice, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets. (See Revelation 10:1–7.)

His act of placing one foot upon the sea and one upon the land implies that His proclamation pertains to all the dwellers upon the globe. He cries with a mighty voice like the roar of a lion, but it is a voice that gives instruction and warning to mankind; for He has a little book open in His hand, a fact which indicates that its contents form the subject of His proclamation. When He has finished His announcement, He confirms it with a solemn oath. The words of this oath give a definite idea of the nature of His proclamation.

That it relates to the definite time of some grand event.

That this event is the sounding of the seventh angel.

That this proclamation is based upon the prophets.

The book of Daniel contains the prophetic periods which mark the very events of the seventh angel’s voice. Among the earliest of these events are the opening of the second apartment of the heavenly temple (see Revelation 11:19), the judgment of the righteous dead (see Revelation 11:18), the finishing of the mystery of God (see Revelation 10:7), and the coronation of Christ for the destruction of His enemies (see Revelation 11:15–19; Psalm 2:6–9). The prophecy of Daniel reveals this very session of the investigative judgment, at which Christ is crowned King upon His own throne (see Daniel 7:9–14), and the final work in the sanctuary of God for the closing up of human probation (see Daniel 8:14), and marks the very time for the beginning of this grand work.

Daniel and Time

The book of Daniel must therefore be that book out of which the angel makes His proclamation of definite time; for this book alone contains the prophetic periods, unless, indeed, we add the book of Revelation, which is but a second edition of the prophecy of Daniel. Now it is a remarkable fact that the book of Daniel was by divine direction closed up and sealed till the time of the end, when the wise were to understand. (See Daniel 12:4–10.) The same power which placed the seal upon it must be employed to take it off. It was by the agency of the angel of God that this book was closed up, and it is by the same means that the seal is removed. Hence, when the angel descends to herald the work under the seventh trumpet, that prophecy which reveals the very events of that trumpet and marks the time of their commencement is open in His hand. Having made His announcement therefrom, He swears that time shall be no longer, i.e., that the events predicted shall occur where He then stands—at the end of the periods contained in the little book.

The time to the finishing of the mystery of God must be the burden of the proclamation of this mighty angel, for the oath which He utters to confirm His proclamation plainly indicates its nature. He swears that time should be no longer, but that the mystery of God should be finished in the days at the beginning of the seventh angel’s voice. The time, therefore, to which He swears must be the time contained in the little book, and which reaches to the events of the seventh angel’s voice.

That this oath uttered by the angel with the open book relates to prophetic time is further evident from the record of the oath which was uttered at the time when that book was sealed up; for the man clothed in linen, standing at a time when the prophetic periods all lay in the future, solemnly attests with an oath the time contained in the sealed book. (See Daniel 12:6, 7.) But the angel of Revelation 10, having the book open in His hand, first proclaims their termination and then swears to the truth of His announcement. His oath marks the end of the time in question. It certainly does not mark the end of time considered as duration, measured by days, or years; for the closing words of the oath speak of days yet future under the seventh angel; nor does it mark the end of human probation, for the words of the oath place this also yet future under the sounding of the seventh angel. (See verse 7.)

Moreover, after the eating of the book by John, who in this personates the church at the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy, he was bidden to prophecy again before many peoples and nations—a clear proof that there is a message of mercy and of warning to men after the oath of the angel that time shall be no longer. (See verses 7–11.) We must therefore conclude that this oath has reference to the time which the angel had announced from the book open in His hand. This oath is the complement of that in Daniel 12. In that, the man clothed in linen swears to prophetic time yet to be; in this, the angel having made solemn proclamation from the open book, lifts His hand to heaven and swears to the accomplishment of the time.

What has been said is quite sufficient to show that the work of the mighty angel of Revelation 10 is of the same nature with that of the angel in Revelation 14:6, 7. His message is uttered while the living are yet in probation. It is termed the everlasting gospel because it is that which contains the good news of the coming kingdom of God. Like the mighty proclamation of the angel of Revelation 10, which pertains to all the dwellers upon the globe, this also is addressed to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. As the angel of Revelation 10 proclaims definite time connected with the seventh angel’s voice, so this angel says with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” Revelation 14:7. There must be definite time to mark the proclamation of this angel; and as men are addressed while yet in probation, that time must be the prophetic periods of the Bible. And herein have we a parallel to the case of the angel of Revelation 10 with the open book in His hand swearing to the fulfillment of time. That relates to the sounding of the seventh angel and the finishing of the mystery of God; this relates to the session of the investigative judgment, which, as we have seen, is the same work. As a further work of prophesying remains after the angel of Revelation 10 swears that time shall be no longer, so in Revelation 14, after the angel has announced that the hour of God’s judgment is come, the like work remains to be performed.

The period designated as the hour of God’s judgment, or the days when the mystery of God is to be finished, is not therefore ushered in by the advent of Christ; for its work is preparatory to that event. But it is announced to the inhabitants of the earth by solemn proclamation, based on definite time and confirmed by an immutable oath. The time must therefore be given rightly. Whenever, in fulfillment of Revelation 14:6, 7, the announcement is made, “The hour of His judgment is come,” the time must be truthfully given. And certainly when the angel of Revelation 10 swears to the fulfillment of time, that time must there expire. Yet in each case, there is a further work of prophesying or proclaiming truth to the children of men.

These scriptures can never have their fulfillment by a succession of time messages, each disproving the truth of its predecessor and each being in turn disproved by the one which succeeds it. When God gives these announcements, they will be rightly given, though they are to be followed by the proclamation of other truths before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those time movements which follow the genuine and which repeat themselves again and again in the persistent effort to fix the time of Christ’s advent never can be in fulfillment of the solemn announcement, “The hour of His judgment is come,” or of the solemn oath that time should be no longer; for these later time movements are but a succession of efforts made to fix the definite time of Christ’s advent, though that is not revealed in the Bible, and though each movement is based upon the failure of all which have preceded it. But the genuine is given for the purpose of announcing the investigative judgment; and its truthfulness being attested by the oath of the angel, it will never be retracted to make way for successive announcements of the time of Christ’s revelation. The opening of the heavenly temple and the final work therein we will now consider.

Christ’s Coronation

The investigative judgment, the finishing of the work of human probation, the close of Christ’s priesthood, and His coronation upon His own throne are events which transpire in the days of the voice of the seventh angel when he begins to sound. They precede the revelation of Christ in the clouds of heaven and are preparatory to that grand event. The field of vision during this closing period of human probation is not simply the earth, where, indeed, the fierce battle between truth and error is being fought, but the temple of God in heaven is opened to our view and becomes the theme of prophetic discourse. (See Revelation 11:19; 15:5.)

We have learned that the priesthood of Christ must continue till He has secured the acquittal of His people at the tribunal of His Father, where their sins are blotted out and themselves accounted worthy of eternal life. It is at this very time and place that the Saviour changes from His priestly to His kingly office. Hence, wherever our Lord closes His priestly office, there must be the place of the judgment session described in Daniel 7.

The End

Martin Luther, part VI – Arrival at Worms

The news that Luther had been summoned to the diet spread rapidly throughout Germany. While the Germans were glad to see the cause of their country and their church taking on an importance that challenged examination and discussion by so august an assembly, they could not help but be filled with apprehension. They trembled when they considered the fate of the man who had become the ablest champion of both their political and religious rights. If Luther should be sacrificed to the hatred of the Church, who then would compensate for his loss to the movement which promised to free them from the tyranny of Rome?

On April 2, the arrangements for travel were completed and Luther, along with three of his more intimate friends, began the trip to Worms. Though Melancthon begged to accompany them, Luther firmly declined, pointing out that should he himself be sacrificed to the malice of Rome, there was no one but Melancthon capable of carrying on. The youth and professors from the university, as well as the towns people, thronged the streets of Wittenberg to witness his departure.

The procession was led by the imperial herald, wearing his insignia and displaying the imperial eagle, showing that the travelers journeyed under the guardianship of the emperor. For Luther’s convenience, the magistrates of Wittenberg, at their own cost, had provided a covered conveyance for his comfort in travel.

Everywhere they went, villagers poured out to catch a glimpse of the monk who dared to stand against Rome, Leipsic being one notable exception. The Roman party had dared to hope that Luther would not accept the invitation to appear. Once the news arrived that he had begun his journey, they did not despair by intrigues and menaces of making him turn back. All along the way both friends and enemies endeavored in vain to turn him from his purpose of appearing before the diet. Little did they know of the character of the man with whom they were dealing. To their dismay, Luther kept his face steadfastly towards Worms.

Rome Fears Luther

Alarm was general in the camp of the pope’s friends. They feared that if Luther entered Worms, all might be lost. To carry him off by force, they could not; for he was traveling under the protection of the emperor. All that was left for them was deception. Glapio, confessor to Charles, and Paul of Amsdorff, the emperor’s chamberlain, decided on a plan which they immediately set out to implement. Finding their way to the castle of Ebernburg, they approached Francis of Sickingen, a knight who was friendly to the Reformed movement. Bucer, a youthful Dominican who had been converted to the evangelical doctrine, had taken refuge there. The knight, who did not understand much about religious matters, was easily deceived by the designs of his visitors. Bucer’s disposition to naturally avoid conflict also played into their hands.

The chamberlain and Charles’s confessor began their attack by making Sickingen and Bucer to understand that Luther was lost if he entered the city. They declared that the emperor was ready to send a few men to Ebernburg to confer with the doctor and indicated that both parties would place themselves under the protection of Sickingen. Further, they asserted that they agreed with Luther on all of the essential points and that it was only on some secondary points that there remained any disagreement. These, they said, they were willing for Bucer to mediate between them. The knight and Bucer were staggered at the apparent change in circumstances. Their two visitors continued by pointing out that the invitation to come to the castle must be presented by Sickingen and Bucer and that they must not allow the too credulous Luther to enter Worms. When his safe conduct expired in three days, who would be able to protect him there?

When Luther arrived at Oppenheim and saw a group of horsemen approaching him, he realized that his safe conduct was only good for three more days. He soon recognized Bucer, a man with whom he had held intimate conversations at Heidelberg. After the first exchange of friendship, Bucer told him that the attending troops were cavaliers belonging to Francis of Sickingen and that the knight had sent him to bring Luther’s party to the safety of his castle. There, he was told, the emperor’s confessor, who held almost unlimited influence with Charles, desired an interview with him in the hope of working out all differences amicably. Aleander, the papal legate in Worms, was not, however, to be trusted.As Bucer was pressing them, Luther’s friends did not know what to think; but Luther had no hesitation. ” ‘I shall continue my journey,’ he replied to Bucer; ‘and if the emperor’s confessor has anything to say to me, he will find me at Worms. I shall go whither I am summoned.’ ” D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation, book 6, chap. 7

Word began to quietly circulate in Worms that the diet was not bound to honor the emperor’s safe-conduct. It was with great apprehension that Luther’s friends heard these whispers. One question came to the minds of all: Was the perfidy of Constance to be repeated in Worms? The elector, greatly alarmed, sent word to Luther by Spalatin, urging him not enter the city. This was perhaps the most difficult obstacle that Luther had yet been forced to deal with, coming as it did from a trusted friend. “Fixing his eyes on the messenger, Luther replied, ‘Go and tell your master that even should there be as many devils in Worms as tiles on the house tops, still I will enter it.’ ” Wylie, History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 333

His Appearance Unexpected

Luther’s friends, and even more so his enemies, did not really expect him to come to Worms. When, however, on the sixteenth of April the sentinel on the lookout sounded his trumpet to announce Luther’s approach, the streets were suddenly flooded by men of all nations and levels of society. So great was the welcome that not even the emperor had received such a turnout. It was only with great difficulty that the procession was able to move through the press of people.

On his journey to Worms, Luther experienced an illness. Though somewhat weakened from his recent recovery, the Reformer arrived in Worms greatly fatigued from his fourteen days of travel and in need of rest. The anxiety of the people to see him was too great to allow for even an hours’ repose. He had but just entered his lodging when princes, dukes, counts, bishops, men of all ranks, both friends and foes, crowded into his apartment. Scarcely had one wave of visitors been dismissed when another pressed its way in.

The crowd of visitors, varying greatly in rank and purpose, pressed about Luther until late into the night. He answered all of their questions with such dignity and wisdom that even his enemies marveled. After the last visitor had left, Luther went to bed and sought rest; but the excitement of the day had left him restless and unable to sleep. After arising and playing a song on his lute, he went to the window. “There were the stars fulfilling their courses far above the tumults of earth, yet far beneath that throne on which sat a greater King than the monarch before whom he was to appear on the morrow. He felt as he gazed, a sense of sublimity filling his soul, and bringing with it a feeling of repose. Withdrawing his gaze, and closing the casement, he said, ‘I will lay me down and take quiet rest, for Thou makest me to dwell in safety.’ ” Ibid., 335

At four o’clock on the day of the hearing, the marshal of the empire appeared to summon Luther before the diet. The crowd that filled the streets was even greater than that which had filled them the day before. It was impossible to advance, and at length the herald ordered some private homes to be opened and they made their way through gardens and private passages to the place where the diet was sitting.

Having at last reached the town hall, Luther and those who accompanied him were again prevented from further advance. By the use of main force, the soldiers were at last able to clear the doors and gain an admittance. On the inside, every corner was crowded. In the antechambers and deep recesses of the windows, there were more than five thousand spectators; and it was only with great difficulty that Luther was able to advance to the entrance of the hall where the diet awaited him.

“As he was about to enter the presence of his judges, an old general, the hero of many battles, said to him kindly: ‘Poor monk, poor monk, thou art now going to make a nobler stand than I or any other captains have ever made in the bloodiest of our battles. But if thy cause is just, and thou art sure of it, go forward in God’s name, and fear nothing. God will not forsake thee.’. . .

“At length the doors opened and Luther went in, and with him entered many persons who formed no portion of the diet. Never had man appeared before so imposing an assembly. The emperor Charles V, whose sovereignty extended over a great part of the old and new world; his brother the Archduke Ferdinand; six electors of the empire . . . ; twenty-four dukes, the majority of whom were independent sovereigns over countries more or less extensive and among whom were some whose names afterwards became formidable to the Reformation,—the Duke of Alva and his two sons; eight margraves; thirty archbishops, bishops, and abbots; seven ambassadors, including those from the kings of France and England; the deputies of ten free cities; a great number of princes, counts, and sovereign barons; the papal nuncios—in all two hundred and four persons: such was the imposing court before which appeared Martin Luther.

A Victory for Truth

“This appearance was of itself a signal victory over the papacy. The pope had condemned the man, and he was now standing before a tribunal which, by this very act, set itself above the pope. The pope had laid him under an interdict, and cut him off from all human society; and yet he was summoned in respectful language, and received before the most august assembly in the world. The pope had condemned him to perpetual silence, and he was now about to speak before thousands of attentive hearers drawn together from the farthest parts of Christendom. An immense revolution had thus been effected by Luther’s instrumentality. Rome was already descending from her throne, and it was the voice of a monk that caused this humiliation.” D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation, book 7, ch. 8

Luther was conducted to a place directly in front of the emperor’s throne. The sudden transition from the uneasy crowd to the calm grandeur of the diet had its effect upon him. As he felt all eyes turn upon him, Luther appeared, for a moment, almost intimidated and bewildered; but it passed and he quickly regained his composure. The sun was near its setting and its golden rays filled the room, accentuating the rich colors of the national costumes. In the midst of all of the imposing grandeur stood Luther in his monk’s frock.

The spokesman for the diet arose and, first in Latin and then in German, addressed Luther, asking him two questions. First he asked, as he pointed to a display of Luther’s books spread out on a table, if he acknowledge these to be his books. Second, was Luther prepared to retract and disavow the opinions that he had advanced in them?

Luther’s First Response

Luther, his bearing respectful and his voice low, began to speak. Some of the members thought that it trembled a little and hoped for a quick retraction.

The first charge Luther frankly acknowledged. As to the second point, he replied. “Seeing it is a question which concerns the salvation of souls, and in which the Word of God—than which nothing is greater in heaven or in earth—is interested, I should act imprudently were I to reply without reflection. I entreat your imperial Majesty, with all humility, to allow me time, that I may reply without offending against the Word of God.” Wylie, The History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 339

It was a wise decision, which was interpreted differently by the papal members of the diet. Confidently, they expressed the belief among themselves that he was merely breaking his fall and would soon retract. They believed that while he might play the heretic in the safety of Wittenberg, he would play the part of a penitent at Worms. How little they penetrated the depth of Luther’s character.

After a deliberation, the diet granted the delay that Luther requested. Luther bowed, and instantly the herald was by his side to conduct him to his hotel.

As he arose the next day, it was not the prospect of death that filled Luther with apprehension but the full realization that the crisis had arrived and he felt unable to meet it. It seemed that the sustaining power that had been with him until that point had deserted him, and all that he could see was an approaching catastrophe. The fear that the enemies of the gospel would triumph distressed him beyond words. In an agony of soul he poured his heart out to God.

Rising from his knees, Luther felt complete calm return to his soul. He then sat down to arrange his thoughts, to draft, in outline, his defense, and to search the Scriptures for passages with which to fortify it. Having completed this task, he laid his left hand upon the sacred Book and raising his right hand to heaven, swore to remain faithful to the gospel and to uphold it, even if it cost him his life. After this, the Reformer experienced a still deeper peace.

At four o’clock that afternoon, the grand marshal and the herald again presented themselves to escort Luther to the hall. On arriving in the outer court, they found the diet in deep deliberation with no indication as to when Luther might expect to be heard. The first hour passed and then a second. So long a delay in such circumstances was sufficient to exhaust him physically and distract him mentally, but the Reformer’s tranquility did not forsake him. The night began to fall, and torches were kindled in the assembly hall.

At last the door opened and Luther entered the hall. If, as some suspect, the delay was arranged by Aleander in the hope that Luther would come before the diet in a state of agitation, he was doomed to disappointment. The Reformer stood before the diet in perfect composure and with an air of dignity.

The End

What Makes A Temple?

In Exodus 25:8, speaking to the children of Israel, the Lord said, “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” When the sanctuary was completed, the glory of God filled the tent; and even Moses could not enter. (See Exodus 40.) Similarly, when God met Moses at the burning bush, He told Moses to take off his shoes because the place where he was standing was holy ground. Wherever God’s presence is, the place is holy.

Later, Solomon’s temple was built. It was a much larger structure and more permanent than the first sanctuary, but the thing that made it holy was the presence and the glory of God that filled it. We are told in 1 Kings 8:10, 11 that the glory of God was so manifested that the priests were unable to enter it. Again, this sanctuary was also a symbol of the presence of God that was among His people.

Then, as today, God’s people seemed to be unable to understand spiritual truth except in terms of what they could see. As they looked at the temple, the symbol came to be the all-important thing in their minds; and they failed to remember that the truth it symbolized had the only real value. It was not the gold or the expensive tapestry that gave it value, for all of these were merely symbols. Even the ark of the covenant containing the tables of the Law was to Israel but a symbol of the divine presence. “The ark of the covenant, containing the tables of the Law,—the ark which was to Israel the symbol of the divine presence, and the pledge of victory in battle.” Signs of the Times, June 3, 1863

If you had the presence of God with you, were you going to have victory in battle? Yes, you were. Jonathan and his armor bearer, though they were only two people, attacked the Philistines. They had the presence of God with them, and they won a great victory. Gideon and his three hundred men attacked a 120,000-man army; but the presence of God was with them, and they also won a great victory. Hophni and Phinehas, on the other hand, confused the symbol with the reality; and they lost the battle.

Symbol Mistaken for Reality

The people in Jeremiah’s time again failed to see beyond the symbol to the reality. Jeremiah said to them, “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’ For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit.” Jeremiah 7:4–8. In spite of the sins that they were committing, they believed that the temple assured them of God’s presence and power.

Today there are people who think that same way. They have failed to learn the lesson that it is possible to have the symbol without having the reality.

For three hundred years, Shiloh, in the tribe of Ephraim, was the center of God’s worship. Three hundred years is a long period of time, and the people had no doubt begun to believe that the worship of God was going to go on in Shiloh forever; but it did not. Through Jeremiah, the Lord told them, “The same thing that I did to Shiloh I am going to do to you if you do not repent and change your ways.” (See Jeremiah 26:6.)You see, the people were again looking at the symbol, making it the all-important thing. They thought that religion consisted in offering sacrifices, going through ceremonies, and worshipping at the temple. They failed to realize that when they did not have that which was symbolized, their religion was worth nothing. They had to learn to focus their attention on something other than what they could see. In order to teach them this lesson, the Lord allowed the temple to be destroyed; and during their captivity, the whole symbolic system was largely suspended. For this reason, some people thought that there was no more religion.

Following the captivity, they returned and again built the temple. It was only a few hundred years, however, until they again had the very same problem. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 23:16, 17. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?” Even in Jesus’ day, His brethren could not understand how anyone claiming to be the Messiah could not be involved in all of the ceremonies, because that is what most people thought religion to be. (See The Desire of Ages, 449, 450.)

A Reoccuring Deception

This misunderstanding has almost always been a point of deception among God’s people. Of the cleansing of the temple, Ellen White says, “In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work. That temple, erected for the abode of the divine Presence, was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and for the world. From eternal ages it was God’s purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One. But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of Heaven is fulfilled. God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart of man becomes again His temple.” The Desire of Ages, 161

In Ephesians 3, Paul tells us that God’s eternal purpose, designed at the beginning of the ages, is going to be fulfilled today and that it is going to be fulfilled through the church.

God desires to have His people be a temple for the indwelling of the Deity. It is very interesting that the apostle Paul speaks of His purpose as applying to individuals and to the group of individuals that composes the church. The church, as well as each individual, is to be a temple. “But the Jews had not understood the significance of the building they regarded with so much pride. They did not yield themselves as holy temples for the Divine Spirit. The courts of the temple of Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple from the world’s buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin.” Ibid.

God’s Eternal Purpose

Oh, friend, is God’s eternal purpose going to be fulfilled in you? Remember, “The living church of God is individually a habitation of God through the Spirit that man may become a well-built temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God; that the Lord Jesus Christ may dwell in his innermost being, ennobling and sanctifying his human nature by His divine attributes.” In Heavenly Places, 283

If God, through His Spirit, is in your heart, then you are a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If He is in your church, then that church is a holy place; but if the Holy Spirit is not there, you are just pretending to be a Christian. It is only when you have been baptized by the Holy Spirit that you are really part of the church. We read in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.”

When I was a young minister, I just assumed that this text was referring to baptism by water, but as I read it carefully, I realized that that is not what it says. It does not say when you are baptized by water; it says when you are baptized by the Spirit. Until you are baptized by the Spirit, you are just professing; you are not really part of the church.

“Where Christ is, even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church. For the presence of the high and holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.” Upward Look, 315. Symbols are wonderful things because they help us to understand the reality. Jesus used symbols all of the time; but unless you have the presence of God’s Spirit in a place, it cannot really be a church.

Many people have a misunderstanding on this point. For hundreds of years the Antichrist power has taught that you obtain salvation by participating in the sacraments and by entering in through these symbols. During the Dark Ages, people were killed for refusing to believe that the symbol was a reality. The Anabaptists were asked, “Do you believe that the bread and wine are the actual body and blood of Christ?” If they said, “No, I think it is a symbol,” they were killed. There will be multitudes of people in heaven who were martyred for the simple belief that the bread and the wine were symbols.

“Oh,” somebody says, “I can prove to you that the church is still the true church whether the presence of Jesus is there or not.” Then they read this statement, “Our Redeemer sends His messengers to bear a testimony to His people. He says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.’ Revelation 3:20. But many refuse to receive Him. The Holy Spirit waits to soften and subdue hearts; but they are not willing to open the door and let the Saviour in, for fear that He will require something of them. And so Jesus of Nazareth passes by. He longs to bestow on them the rich blessings of His grace, but they refuse to accept them. What a terrible thing it is to exclude Christ from His own temple! What a loss to the church!” Testimonies, vol. 6, 262

Yes, it is still the church; and we read in James 2 what kind of church it is. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26. You can have the buildings; you can have the organization with all of the committees; you can have all of the machinery of the church; but if the Spirit is not in it, it is dead. Actually, it is worse than being dead. Ellen White wrote to our ministers that every one of us is going to be under the control of one supernatural spirit or the other. (See Testimonies to Ministers, 79.) This is why we are still here. “The Lord has a time appointed when He will bind off the work; but when is that time? When the truth that is to be proclaimed for these last days shall go forth as a witness to all nations, then shall the end come.” Now read carefully the next sentence. “If the power of Satan can come into the very temple of God, and manipulate things as he pleases, the time of preparation will be prolonged.” The 1888 Materials, 1525

That which makes a church a church is the presence of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus walked out of the temple the last time, He said, “Your house is left to you desolate.” Matthew 23:38. Why? Because He was not coming back.

“Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.’ ” Revelation 11:1. What does it mean to measure the temple? It is talking about judgment. It is not talking about any temple in Jerusalem because when this was written, the temple of Jerusalem was already destroyed. The very next verse speaks about the forty-two months that the holy city was going to be trampled. It is not talking about the church that apostatized; it is talking about the true church. You see, until you understand what we have been talking about, you cannot understand Revelation 11:1, 2. It is talking about the Christian church that will be trampled for forty-two months by the little horn power. The Lord said to measure it. What does it mean when you measure something? We read from the pen of Ellen White, “His [God’s] gaze is piercing every heart. He is measuring the temple and the worshippers thereof, weighing all their actions in the golden scales of heaven and registering the results in the books of record. All things are open to the eye of Him with whom we have to do. He is a discerner of the thoughts, intents, and purposes of the heart. No deed of darkness can be screened from His view. Sin undetected by man, unsuspected by human minds, is noted and registered by the great heart-searcher.

Measuring the Temple

“The grand judgment is taking place and has been going on for some time. Now the Lord says, ‘Measure the temple and the worshipers thereof.’ Remember when you are walking the streets about your business, God is measuring you. When you are attending your household duties, when you engage in conversation, God is measuring you.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 972

The work of measuring is going on. How do you measure up? Let me tell you something; if the Holy Spirit is not inside, there is nothing to measure.

The apostle Paul tells us that our conscience is to be purged from dead works. Anything that you do is dead works unless the Holy Spirit is inside. You are going to be judged according to your works; so if there are no works to measure, there is no way that you are going to get past the judgment. What needs to happen? The soul temple needs to be cleansed. The message that God gave to Adventists about the sanctuary being cleansed has a much more profound meaning than we generally realize.

In the temple in heaven is recorded every sin that each person has ever committed. One of two things has to happen; either the record of the sins must be blotted out, or the individual’s name has to be blotted out. It is just that simple. If the sanctuary is going to be cleansed and purified, something has to happen to the sins.

There are two ways that we individually and as a church can be cleansed. Here is the first way. “Will you suffer Jesus to cleanse the soul temple of its rubbish? Will you permit the Holy Spirit to take possession of the human habitation?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 274–275

Speaking of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ellen White said, “There was a large work to be done in cleansing the temple and the court thereof, but this work was not done. The life and power of God cannot be manifested until there is seen that faith which works by love and sanctifies the soul. As far as the work went, it was done with earnestness, fervor, and true zeal; and so far God’s blessing was given. But in the case of a large number, especially those in responsible positions in our institutions, the work of the Spirit was quenched by deception of the enemy. There was a reaping of anguish that had been sown. These things need to be studied.” Spaulding and Magan Collection, 152

But here is the other way that “the Lord will work to purify His church. I tell you in truth, the Lord is about to turn and overturn in the institutions called by His name. Just how soon this refining process will begin I cannot say, but it will not be long deferred. He whose fan is in His hand will cleanse His temple of its moral defilement. He will thoroughly purge His floor.” Publishing Ministry, 170. It happened to the Jews; and when it was over, they were destroyed.

Whenever I hear people say, “God is going to purify the church,” I feel like shaking inside. I think, Do you know what you are talking about? Certainly God is going to purify His church; but when He finishes, the only people who will be left will be holy. Where are you going to be then? The church is going to be cleansed and purified; there is no question about that. The only question is, What is going to happen to you when it takes place? In which way will the Lord cleanse His temple in you?

Do not let anybody distract you or deceive you by placing the emphasis on the symbol and forgetting what the reality is. You can have buildings; you can have organizations; you can have all of the machinery of religion; but if you do not have the Holy Spirit inside, you are on your way to destruction. God is looking for a people who actually have in their character and in their life what they profess. That is what you and I want to have.

The End

Editorial – What God Has Joined, part 1

Jesus said, regarding marriage, “What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” (See Matthew 19:6.) There are many areas of life where God has left us free to choose. In the Garden of Eden, man was able to choose his diet from any tree in the garden; but there was a limit to this choice. God reserved one tree as off limits. In regard to this one tree, a divine command was given not to eat of it. “God might have created them without the power to transgress His requirements, but in that case there could have been no development of character; their service would not have been voluntary, but forced. Therefore He gave them the power of choice—the power to yield or to withhold obedience.” Education, 23

This restriction was not arbitrary but came from the infinite wisdom and knowledge of God as to what was for the happiness of His creatures. “God, in His great love for man gave him that law by which to order his conduct, that he should be restricted to doing those things which would tend to increase his real happiness, and that of his fellow creatures even in this life. The principles of the commandments, carried out in the daily life, ennoble and sanctify the heart and mind and give one a moral fitness through Jesus Christ for the society of holy angels. Our all wise heavenly Father knew what rules were required to guard man from sin and to regulate his life, leading him to practice such virtues as would make him a fit subject for heaven.” Signs of the Times, July 18, 1878

While we should be cautious, in much prayer and seeking for counsel before marriage, and we are forbidden by an express command of God to unite in marriage with unbelievers (see 2 Corinthians 6:14–18), human beings are forbidden to put asunder what God has joined together. Only one reason is sufficient cause for divorce in the New Testament. (See Matthew 19:9.)

Many times Adventist pastors are asked by this one or that one for permission to obtain a divorce for other than this biblical reason. This is permission that no human being has a right to give—Jesus, the mighty God and everlasting Father, has already made that decision; and His decision is, “What God has joined together let not Man put asunder.” “It has ever proved a dangerous thing for men to carry out their own will in opposition to the requirements of God. Yet it is a hard lesson for men to learn that God means what He says.” Ibid., May 19, 1881

“The instruction given to Abraham touching the sacredness of the marriage relation was to be a lesson for all ages. It declares that the rights and happiness of this relation are to be carefully guarded, even at a great sacrifice. Sarah was the only true wife of Abraham. Her rights as a wife and mother no other person was entitled to share.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 147

Any minister or person helping the public comes in contact with cases which are so serious that sometimes a separation is necessary, at least temporarily, because of physical danger or serious mental trauma. Ellen White had to deal with these, too, but notice that she did not advise divorce, even when separation was necessary.

Example 1: “I cannot see what more can be done in this case, and I think that the only thing that you [Walter C] can do is to give up your wife. If she is thus determined not to live with you, both she and you would be most miserable to attempt it. And as she has fully and determinedly set her stakes, you can only shoulder your cross and show yourself a man.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 57

Example 2: “I have received your letter; and in reply to it I would say, I cannot advise you to return to _____ unless you see decided changes in him. The Lord is not pleased with the ideas he has had in the past of what is due to a wife. . . .

“I feel very sad about this matter. I feel indeed sorry for _____, but I cannot advise you to go to him against your judgment. I speak to you as candidly as I spoke to him; it would be perilous for you to again place yourself under his dictation. I had hoped that he would change. . . .

“The Lord understands all about your experiences, Sister _____. Be of good courage in the Lord; He will not leave you nor forsake you. My heart goes out in tenderest sympathy for you.” Letter 148, 1907(Next month we will look at more examples and consider counsel given, relative to dealing with difficult marriage situations.)

The End