Children’s Story — Starvation Escaped by Prayer

Many years ago a devoted English pastor, while assigned to work in a distant place, became reduced to poverty. His money was all gone, and there was not a particle of food for his family. In great distress he cried mightily unto the Lord at the hour of morning prayer.

When he arose, his little children begged for bread, and as there was none to give them, they all burst into tears. But a sleepless eye had watched all that was happening, and even while the pastor was still praying, God sent a messenger to relieve his distress.

The doorbell rang, and a man handed the astonished wife a small parcel, saying he was directed by a gentleman to leave it there, and that some provisions would arrive shortly. Very soon a countryman drove up with a load of groceries of almost every description. The parcel was found to contain forty gold pieces. Such an abundance had never been known in the house of the poor minister before. It was with feelings of awe as well as boundless gratitude that this marvelous relief was regarded, so plainly was the hand of God to be seen in it. These timely gifts were continued at intervals until the day of his death. Yet it was a long time before he learned where they came from.

At last, it was found to be a benevolent Christian merchant, who had often seen the pastor walking the streets with a solemn, dejected expression. He had been led to inquire privately into the pastor’s circumstances. As a result, he had sent them the gold by his clerk, and the provisions by his country servant, saying, “God forbid that any of Christ’s ambassadors should be strangers and we not visit them; or in distress, and we not assist them.”

The same God, who provided manna for the children of Israel for forty years in the wilderness wanderings, still cares for His children. “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears . . . This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles . . . O fear the LORD, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing . . .The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry . . . The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles . . . The LORD redeemeth the soul of His servants: and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.” Psalm 34:3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 15, 17, 22.

This true story is from the book, Miraculous Powers, by M. E. Cornell. Modernized by Ken and Lois Mc Gaughey

Food for Life — The Rejected Health Message

At last, this very unusual winter is over. At least we hope so! It is May once again, and the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and we are still alive, and have the great God to thank for all these varied and wonderful blessings. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:22. Gratitude, rejoicing, benevolence, trusting in God’s love and care—these are health’s greatest safeguard. “Rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.” Deuteronomy 26:11.

“God gave to Israel instruction in all the principles essential to physical as well as to moral health, and it was concerning these principles no less than concerning those of the moral law that He commanded them: ‘These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.’ Deuteronomy 6:6–9.

” ‘And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, . . . The Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.’ Verses 20–24.

“Had the Israelites obeyed the instruction they received, and profited by their advantages, they would have been the world’s object lesson of health and prosperity. If as a people they had lived according to God’s plan, they would have been preserved from the diseases that afflicted other nations. Above any other people they would have possessed physical strength and vigor of intellect. They would have been the mightiest nation on the earth.” The Ministry of Healing, 283.

Please read Deuteronomy and see the blessing affixed to God’s people had they remained true to His commandments, both in the spiritual world, and the physical world. What a standard for us as a people!

In 1863, God ordained that Ellen White, prophet to us as the remnant church, should hear His health message. The message of health reform swept our ranks, until in March 29, 1908, Mrs. White sent this testimony and pledge to the General Conference. The pledge read: “I solemnly promise, before God, to abstain from tobacco, spiritous liquors, snuff, tea, coffee, fleshmeats, a large amount of salt, and animal fat of all kinds, baking power, soda or saleratus (sodium bicarbonate) in any form, and cheese, and from all exciting articles of good, and to abstain from eating between meals, and to do all I can to induce others to do likewise.”

This testimony on health reform was sent directly to Elder Daniels, but it was withheld and not circulated because he said it would “split the church.” He evidently did not know that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” God’s true church. God’s true church is composed of “faithful souls” (Acts of the Apostles, 11), and those who are in a Laodicean condition are not “faithful souls.” Later when Elder Daniels wanted to see Sister White, she refused to see him saying, “I have nothing more for him.”

“God gave the light on health reform, and those who rejected it, rejected God.” Testimony, Series B, no. 6, 31. What a serious statement, which side do you stand on?

Sweet Potato Bread

1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes

2 T. nut cream

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 T. warm water

1 T. yeast

1/2 t. sea salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water; add salt, nut cream, potatoes, and enough flour to make a smooth sponge; cover, and let rise. When light add the remainder of the flour or necessary amount to make a smooth, elastic dough. Cover and let rise till light. Form into loaves and when doubled in size, bake at 350° for 30–40 minutes. Rolls require about 20 minutes.


Sanctification of the Mind

Sanctification begins with the mind. The carnal mind is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. It dwells and feasts upon carnal thoughts, and is not subject to the law of God. But God looks on the heart or mind, and understands the thoughts of man afar off. He says, “My son, give Me thine heart.” “How long shall vain thoughts lodge within thee?” “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts . . . For My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

Sanctification cleanses the mind from sinful thoughts. It changes the current of the thoughts. It transfers the mind from carnal to spiritual things, from sin to holiness. The mind is the spring of action, the fountain from whence all the words and actions flow. If the fountain is pure the stream that flows from it will also be pure. And if the mind is sanctified, if the thoughts are holy, the works and the actions, the whole life will be holy.

But the mind has faculties and operations which should be sanctified, and some of which we will here examine. And first let us notice




Attention is that faculty of the mind by which we look at ideas. It is, as it were, the eye of the mind. By it we look at the truth. But how often it happens that the attention is diverted from important truths by trifling objects, or by thoughts thrown in by the enemy or by professed friends. No one will fail to see the necessity of setting apart this faculty to see the truth. But as we try to do this, we must ask the Father of lights to open and anoint our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of His law. But to attention we must add,




Attention sees the object; but reflection comes back upon it to examine it with care, so as to preserve distinct ideas about it. Reflection is the faculty of the mind by which it comes back on ideas which had attracted the attention, to acquire an exact knowledge of the same. It is of the utmost importance that this faculty be sanctified. Those who reflect on the truths they have heard or read, will be more apt to retain them. They will also be more apt to take heed to the things which they have heard. But those who do not take pains to come back on what they have heard and seen, are liable to let the truth slip out of their minds, and generally fail to come up to their duty. It is not sufficient to listen to and look at the truth from Sabbath to Sabbath. We should reflect upon it through the week. Oh how many trials we might save ourselves from by being more reflective!




Meditation is “close or continued thought; the turning or revolving of a subject in the mind; serious contemplation.” —Webster. By it we appropriate to ourselves the ideas and truths that the mind has looked at, and penetrate deeper into the knowledge of the truth. Meditation is to the mind what digestion is to the body. By it we digest the truth and turn it, as it were, into a part of our beings. By it we convey the ideas of others to ourselves so as to make them properly our own, and discover new beauties and attractions in the truth.

One day the philosopher Newton was asked how he made so many discoveries in the arts and sciences, and he answered, “By thinking always attentively.” Now if it was necessary for Newton to think always attentively in order to advance in the arts and sciences, is it not necessary for us to meditate on the truth in order to advance in the true science, and make proficiency in sanctification? Many fail to see the glorious attractions of truth because they do not think upon it long enough.

Said Paul to Timothy, “Meditate on these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all (or in all things, margin.)” 1 Timothy 4:15. Here is a plain injunction to meditate on the things of God. Those who do this will better understand the truth and their duty, and be more useful in the cause of their Master.

But two extremes should here be avoided. One extreme is to meditate much without looking to the Lord for wisdom and help. The other extreme is to expect that the Lord will give us wisdom and help while we neglect to meditate. We must both meditate and look to the Lord. We must dig for wisdom by meditation and prayer, expecting divine aid and heavenly assistance.

He that leans to his own understanding entirely, is unwise, Proverbs 28:26, and is liable to run into wild fancies and erroneous opinions. It is safe to trust in the Lord with all our heart. He can easily give a happy and favorable turn to our thoughts, and cast into our minds some clue or suggestion, that will lead us to rich and useful ideas, if we acknowledge Him and rely upon Him in our meditations. Or He can involve our minds in darkness when we neglect Him, and are filled with a vain conceit of our own light.

David prayed that the meditation of his heart might be acceptable unto the Lord, Psalm 19:14, and loved to meditate in the law of the Lord. He says, “I hate vain thoughts; but Thy law do I love.” “I will meditate in Thy statutes.” “Oh, how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” “I prevented the dawning of the morning and cried. I hoped in Thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in Thy word.” Psalm 119:113, 48, 97, 147, 148. Again he says, “I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands.” “How agreeable are Thy works! And Thy thoughts are very deep. How precious are Thy thoughts to me.” “My meditation of Him shall be sweet.” Psalm 143:5; 92:5; 139:17; 104:34.

Let us hear further from the Psalmist: “Thus will I bless Thee while I live. I will lift up my hands in Thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:4–6. What blessedness David here anticipates! But how is it to be realized? The next verse will tell us: “When I remember Thee on my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.” Here is the condition. Those who remember the Lord and meditate on Him will be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and it will be natural and easy for them to bless and praise the Lord with joyful lips, and to lift up their hands in His name. But how often, alas! The mind is suffered to be clogged with meditations of earth, so that it has no room or strength left to meditate on God and His word, and then it is difficult to lift up the hands, praise the Lord, and speak of His goodness.

The Psalmist pronounces that man blessed who meditates day and night in the law of the Lord, Psalm 1:1, 2, and he adds: “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Verse 4.




Memory is the faculty of the mind by which it retains ideas. This faculty should be set apart to retain useful and holy thoughts. Those whose memories are sanctified can, out of the treasure of the heart, bring forth good things. Their mind is like a storehouse furnished with rich and wholesome provisions. It contains truths upon which they can feast, and of which they can invite others to partake.

Said David, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11. David could not do this without the aid of his memory. Those who imitate David in this respect will not be so liable to sin against the Lord. They will remember what He has commanded, and what He has forbidden.

A sanctified memory is like the stream which brings with it the color of the soil through which it passes. Those whose memories are sanctified, remember the lessons they learn in passing through the afflictions the Lord sends them for their good. Many, through neglect and indifference, forget these lessons, and have to learn them over by passing through greater afflictions.

Some will excuse themselves for not learning and retaining the truth, by saying that they have no memory, and that God does not require them to do what they cannot do. But such persons generally remember many things pertaining to their line of business. Some of those who thus excuse themselves will remember every cent their debtors owe them, and when they settle with them, they are very positive that they are right, and would perhaps be offended if they were told they had forgotten some things. Again, some can entertain their friends for hours and days on vain and trifling ideas, that they have learned from unconsecrated persons and from vain and chaffy reading, and can remember every new fashion, and a thousand other things. Can it be said that such have no memory? They have memory, but it is not sanctified.

We do not claim that all are favored with a strong memory. But each individual should set apart the memory that he is favored with to the glory of God, and be continually adding to his store of useful knowledge. The memory, like the rest of the faculties, is strengthened by a proper use, and weakened by disuse. Let all cherish a love for the Word of God, and manifest that interest, earnestness, and care in learning and retaining the truth that consistent persons do in secular matters. And it will not be so difficult to learn and retain the truth, especially those portions of truth that relate to our duty.

When it was difficult to obtain copies of the Bible, Christians were known to commit large portions of the Scriptures to memory. They retained the truth in the love of it, and honored the cause of truth by giving a proper reason of their hope. Now, is less required of those who live in this favored age, when Bibles and other useful books can be so easily obtained, and when an increase of light is shining from the Word of God?

But some will say, I cannot read the Bible, or other good books. Answer. A blessing is pronounced on those who hear, as well as on those who read. Revelation 1:3. And how can persons be blessed for hearing unless they learn and retain what they hear?

If the loins of our minds are girded with truth, we shall be prepared to meet the temptations of the enemy, and the objections of the opposers of truth, as Jesus did when He quoted Scripture to Satan. And if we do what we can on our part to retain and obey the truth, we may expect that the Holy Spirit will bring the truth to our remembrance, and thus make up for our lack of memory.




Imagination is “the power or faculty of the mind by which it perceives and forms ideas of things communicated to it by the organs of sense.” Webster. It is by this faculty that ideal images, or pictures of absent objects and scenes are formed. For instance, when in the silence of the night, reviewing the events of the day, we see the persons that we have visited, the country through which we have passed, and other things which have struck our vision, it is the imagination that pictures these things in our minds.

Imagination was designed to represent real and true objects and scenes; but it sometimes goes farther than this: it creates things that are unreal and untrue. This is seen in mythology, where we read the description of creatures and scenes which have existed only in the imagination. This is also seen in the description of the future state given by Mahomet; also in the doctrine of purgatory, and in many other fanciful doctrines which are the fruit of unsanctified imaginations. Imagination is naturally unruly, and is often used in picturing scenes that encourage the practice of sin, in magnifying the faults of others, and in manufacturing mountains of difficulties out of nothing. To illustrate we will suppose a case: A. and B. meet together. They have always been on good terms. A. moves along toward B. to pass compliments as on other occasions, but observes that B. is sad and rather backward in his remarks. These individuals part. A. looks back to the interview he has had with B. and calls up B. in his imagination, and says, How cold and sour he looked. How he stood off. How little he said. He never treated me so coldly. And the enemy comes in, and adds and adds to the picture, till B. looks ugly, independent and hard, and A. feels that he has been slighted and abused without a cause, and that B. has something against him. Soon A. and B. meet again. But this time B. comes up cheerfully, and A. stands off. Says B. What is the matter, Brother A.? What is the matter, replies A.? You ought to know. You treated me coldly the other day without a just cause, and you have something against me. What makes you think so says B.? I know it is so, answers A. But B. replies, Why, dear Brother, I was examining my own heart and thinking about my imperfections, and since then I have got help,and I now feel free.

This is one case out of many in which we see the wrong use that is made of imagination. If A. had examined his own imperfections and checked his imagination, this trial might have been avoided. With many, an unsanctified imagination takes the lead, and the fruit is evil-surmisings, hatred, envy, lust, evil-speaking, unnecessary trials in families, in neighborhoods, and in the church of God, castles built in the air, fanaticism, etc.

But imagination may be very useful, and a source of much comfort. Would you derive real benefit and comfort from this faculty? Then employ it in picturing useful objects and scenes. Let it represent all that is lovely in the appearance and actions of others, and if you suffer it to represent the evil conduct of others, let it be only that you may help them, and more easily avoid the ways of sin. Let it form images of holy men and women spoken of in the Bible—especially of Jesus, the great example. Follow Him from the manger to the cross.

Behold Him as He goes from place to place on His mission of love, suffering from weariness, hunger and thirst, from persecution and the temptations of Satan. Listen to the rich instructions that fall from His lips. See Him weep over sinners. See Him pray all night alone. Witness His agony in the garden, and the abuses that He receives as He is tried by His enemies. View Him stretched between the heavens and the earth, with His hands and feet pierced, and the crown of thorns mutilating His sacred head. See the precious blood flow freely from His hands and feet. See it fall from His sacred head. Hear Him pray for His enemies, and cry as He bears the sins of the whole world, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Follow Him from earth to the heavenly sanctuary, where He pleads the merits of His blood in behalf of His people, and where His great mediatorial work will soon wind up preparatory to His coming to earth. Behold Him coming in glory and majesty in the clouds of heaven, with all the holy angels. Witness the events connected with His coming. Picture in your minds the right and glorious reward of the just, and the awful punishment of the unjust. And all these scenes will have a tendency to strengthen your faith, and encourage you to love the Lord, and imitate His virtues, to shun the ways of sin, and walk in the path of holiness.




The will is the faculty of choosing or determining. This faculty is the mainspring of the mind. It holds the operations of the mind and the motions of the body at its command. In this respect, it is to the rest of the faculties what a king is to his subjects. A king says to his subjects, Do this, and they obey him; and the will controls, to a great degree, the thoughts and actions of men. How necessary, then, it is for this faculty to be sanctified.

Men do not choose and determine without causes. There are always motives which lead men to choose and decide to act. These motives are either just or unjust, reasonable or unreasonable. The decisions of a sanctified will are based on just and reasonable motives, on reason, sound judgment, and the Word of God.

In the language of another, “Commendable decision implies two things—a knowledge of what is truth and duty, and a fixed determination to conform to them in practice without a compromise.” The mind should first be enlightened. It should first analyze what is held out as truth, and then judge and decide, choose or refuse.

When Joshua had refreshed the minds of the Israelites on God’s dealings with them, and called in exercise their reason and judgment, he said, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve,” Joshua 24:15. Said the Lord to His back-slidden people, “Come now and let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured by the sword.” Isaiah 1:18–20. Jesus and Paul instructed their hearers, reasoning with them from the Scriptures, and then called upon them to judge and decide with regard to the truth. Matthew 12:24–30; John 7, 8; Acts 17:2, 18:4, 19; 24:25, etc. Reason and judgment are not laid aside in the Scriptures; on the contrary, they are made use of and appealed to, that men may be persuaded to choose the truth.

But too often, alas! reason, judgment, and the Word of God are neglected, and the will is used in deciding against the truth.

A. has a strong will, but decides against certain Bible doctrines before he has carefully examined them, and thus shuts the truth out of his mind. If he goes where the present truth is preached, he decides in his own mind what he will believe and what he will not believe, before he really understands what is to be presented. If he decides to read what is held out as truth, he determines before hand to believe only what agrees with his ideas of right, and makes his opinions the rule with which to compare what others say. And if he finally sees his unreasonable and injudicious course, how difficult it is for him to alter his decision, especially if he has a proud heart. But it is wiser to revoke an unsanctified decision than to abide by it, that it may appear that we are firm and unchangeable.

B. is reluctant to decide in favor of the truth because a few ideas connected with it are not clear to his mind. But is it consistent to let a few seeming objections obscure clear and well-established principles, and prevent us from deciding in favor of what we know to be truth? Would it be reasonable for a schoolboy to decide against the science of arithmetic because he has come to a problem that he cannot solve? Reason and consistency require that we pronounce ourselves for what we understand to be truth, and those do violence to their reason and judgment who refuse to do this. By deciding in favor of the truth as far as we see it, we may be enabled to understand those points that are not clear. This has been the experience of thousands. But, although there should remain a few points unexplainable to our minds, we should not suffer these points to shake our confidence in plain and unmistakable evidences. It has been ascertained that the sun has spots which do not emit light, but it would be unwise to conclude that for this reason we should shut our eyes against the sun, and say that it does not shine. It is our duty and privilege to settle on the truth as far as we understand it, and to be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed.

C. understands the truth, but determines to reject it because he does not have the feeling he should like to have. But feeling varies with circumstances, and is not, if separately considered, a safe guide. One of my relatives once urged me with much feeling and tears to become a Roman Catholic. I respected this relative’s honesty, but did not consider her feeling and tears as sufficient evidence to prove the Roman Catholic religion genuine. But bad feeling sometimes grows out of an inward conflict between right and wrong. Let wrong be overcome by sanctified decision and a holy practice, and good feeling may be restored. But, though good feeling should not be restored, we ought not to reject the truth, but rather settle on the merits of the truth.

When seedtime comes, the consistent farmer does not wait for feeling to know whether he had better prepare his ground and scatter his seed; and when the time of harvest comes, he does not wait for feeling to know whether he should harvest his grain. And shall any professing to love Bible truth, dishonor the cause of truth, and disgust the candid, by waiting for feeling, while they see their duty in God’s Word? Consistent persons are willing to trust honest individuals, and labor hard before receiving their wages, and shall Christians fear to trust God? Will they refuse to decide to serve Him till they have a good feeling, or till they receive that blessing which God bestows on those who yield to His truth? Those who leave plain Bible truth to run after feeling, grieve the Spirit of truth, and are in danger of being led by another spirit.

The Christian often feels very bad while in the way of duty. It is then that the enemy comes in with power to discourage and destroy him. No one will claim that Christ had very buoyant and joyous feelings when the sins of the whole world rested upon Him. Yet He was doing the most important work connected with His earthly mission.

D. concludes to reject the truth because of the trials and afflictions connected with it, and perhaps does not realize that those trials and afflictions connected with the truth are very prominent means of sanctification; that they make us know ourselves, and will, if rightly improved, enable us to advance in the attainment of every excellence. Says Job, “When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10. Says Isaiah, “By this, therefore, shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged.” Isaiah 27:9. See, also verses 7 and 9. Says Paul, “They (our earthly parents) verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be made partakers of His holiness . . .” “We glory in tribulation also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Hebrews 12:10, 11; Romans 5:3–5. And James says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience; but let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2–4.

God’s people have ever been a tried people, and the Scriptures plainly declare that, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22. Christ, the great Pattern of the church, was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He was tried in all points; and for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame. When the bitter cup of suffering was presented to Him, He showed that His will was sanctified by using the following language: “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done.” Luke 22:42.

In the above cases, we see some of the unreasonable and unscriptural motives that lead many to refuse the truth, and choose the way of sin and death. It often happens that the will is not checked, and runs impetuously in its course, without regard to consequences. This we see in persons called willful, self-willed, headstrong, who are a source of grief to those who would reason with them. Children are often so; if let alone their stubborn will would lead them to rush on headlong to destruction.

It is a true saying that “yielding pacifieth great offenses.” Ecclesiastes 10:4. It saves many trials and troubles. Most of those trials and difficulties that arise in families, in neighborhoods, and among brethren, can be traced to an unwillingness to yield. But some will say, Must I give up my rights? We answer, It often becomes a duty for individuals to give up, or yield in, what they call their rights. There are many instances in which we can yield or submit to others without sacrificing the truth. We are exhorted in the Scriptures to submit one to another, and we should in many things submit to all. If this principle were followed, many unhappy families and neighborhoods would be made happy, and thousands of grievous trials would be avoided.

Some have not learned to yield their will to their superiors, and how hard it is for such to bow to their Maker. They manifest the same stubborness toward the Lord that they do toward their fellow creatures. How many mighty men and women have fallen because they have rebelled against the Lord? Many have run well till their wills were crossed, and they would not yield to God and His truth. Doubtless, they were blinded to the fact that they were rebelling against God. Perhaps their minds were not raised higher than those who ministered to them in word and doctrine. This was the case with ancient Israel in the days of Moses, the servant of God. This was also the case with Israel at subsequent periods in their history.

David’s advice to his son Solomon was to “serve the Lord with a willing mind.” 1 Chronicles 28:9. Said Hezekiah to the Jews, “Now, be ye not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 30:8. The consequences of stubbornness are awful. Many will yield when it is too late. Says the prophet Amos, “They shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:12. To such, wisdom says, “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all My counsel, and would none of My reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me; for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of My counsel; they despised all My reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way.” Proverbs 1:24–30.

The language of each heart should be, Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth. I will choose thy truth, and do what Thou requirest at my hand. I will follow Thee through evil as well as through good report.

Though it is an exaggeration to say that men can of themselves do what they will, yet it is certain that many fail to gain their object, because they do not enlist their will on their side, and move from a fixed determination. This is true in religion as well as in worldly matters. The will can be a great help to Christians in overcoming their besetments. Said a dying man to his son, “Only have strength to say, No.” If we would have strength to say, No, in our conflicts with the powers of darkness in the time of trouble (Revelation 13:15–17; 14:9–11), we must have strength and decision to say, No, to the temptations that we now have to encounter. Our wills must be wholly swallowed up in the will of God. We read that “Thy people shall be willing in the days of Thy power.” Psalm 110:3. And in the language of Jesus, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.


Now is the Day of Salvation

As the disciples stood looking at the beautiful temple gleaming in the sun, in their admiration, they began to speak to Jesus. But, with these words, He dashed all their grand hopes: “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:2. All their understanding, their visions, their imaginations and their hopes were centered upon Jesus as a king, who would set up an earthly kingdom. Suddenly, in one brief statement, He wiped all their hopes away.

Now Jesus starts to walk. He is going to the Mount of Olives, one of His favorite places. The disciples fall in behind and talk among themselves whispering, “What is He trying to tell us?” When they reached their resting place, the disciples came to Him and asked, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and the end of the world?” Matthew 24:3.

Christ’s first words are, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Verse 4. Who is Jesus warning against being deceived? It is the ministers in the church. He is not talking to the Gentiles. He is warning the church people that as we come to the end of the world, there will be great deceptions in the church, and we need to beware or we will be deceived.

When I used to preach this sermon, I looked at the other churches, and thought Jesus was talking about them, but now I must look at my own church. Jesus said, “For many shall come in my name.” Verse 5. When we take the name Seventh-day Adventist, we come in His name. But if we do not allow the plan of salvation to be worked out in our own lives, we are just coming in His name. We are not truly His until we surrender our will, our mind and our lives completely to God.


Signs in the Earth


In the next three verses Jesus lists world events that will signify that His coming is near: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Verse 6.

When I was in World War II, I thought that it surely must be the end of the world. I believed that, certainly, when that war ended Jesus would come. I was just a young man in those days, and now I am old and Jesus has not come yet. Why? The sole reason lies with us. Soon after 1844, if the church had entered into the experience of the Third Angel’s Message, Jesus would have come. (See Selected Messages, vol. 1, 68.) In 1888, God made another great attempt to bring the people into line with an experience of surrendering themselves so He could pour out His latter rain. But again the message was rejected, and over one hundred years later we are still here. However, I believe Jesus is coming soon. He will not tarry much longer. We have been around the mountain too many times, and the signs of His soon coming are too clear to be mistaken.

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places.” Verse 7. This verse has been fulfilled time and time again in recent years. Nations who rise against other nations are a permanent part of the daily news. One night one man goes to sleep as the king or president of a nation, and the next morning he is in jail and someone else is in power. We call those coups, and they happen all the time in our world.

“There shall be famines.” If you have been to the mission field or a third world country, you know that famines are horrible things. I remember in Africa when the rains did not come, and the gardens did not grow and all that the people had to eat was cassava. The little children were malnourished, and the weak ones died. The ladies would come to my wife in the dispensary and ask, “What are we going to do? We have no food.” It is heart-rending to face people that are dying because there is no food.

As we come to the end, it says that there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places. No one could deny that we now have pestilence and disease on every side. In Kenya, one hundred thousand cattle have died from Mad Cow disease, and now people are dying from the same thing. When I traveled to Australia some time ago, I sat beside a scientist who is working with AIDS in Australia. He told me that there are about thirteen million people who have been diagnosed with AIDS, and at the rate of increase, by the turn of the century there might be as many as sixty million people with AIDS.

Medical science has developed many “wonder drugs,” but, as we come to the end, they do not seem to have an affect on these diseases. People are dying of all kinds of diseases and many times doctors are helpless.


Signs in the Church


We could continue our list of horrors which fulfill Christ’s prophecy of the time just before His coming, but Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Verse 8. What could be worse than wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes? Inspiration says, “We have far more to fear from within than from without.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 122. From verse nine on, Jesus pictures trouble in the church, and warns us that our worst problems will come from within the church. “And then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake.” Verse 9.

In Matthew 10:16–22, Jesus talked about the same situation: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore as wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: [He is talking about church people here] for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues [their churches]; And ye shall be brought before Governors and Kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up brother to death, and the father the child: And the children shall rise up against the parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth unto the end the same shall be saved.”

Continuing on in Matthew 24:10: “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another,and shall hate one another.” From verse nine forward, Jesus is talking about the shaking of the church when everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Only that which cannot be shaken will remain. (See Testimonies, vol. 7, 219 and vol. 9, 15–16.)

“And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many.” Verse 11. Inside the church, there will be many false prophets. Ellen White gave a picture of what would happen with our own ministers: “Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas.’ . . .Let the sin of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and the false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is. Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled with the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much. ‘If thou hadst known,’ said Christ, ‘even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from their eyes.’ ” Testimonies to Ministers, 409–410.

False prophets are the greatest tragedy that has ever happened to Adventism. Tragically, many of these false prophets stand in very high positions. On Sabbath mornings, instead of preaching the real message that God has delivered to the Seventh-day Adventist Church to prepare a people for eternity, the message is what the Baptists or some other church is saying. It is tragic! If Ellen White were alive today, I think she would be busy night and day writing to those from the very top of this church to the bottom.


A Message for Laodiceans


The majority of Adventists do not know the truth. Why? They listen to men and are not studying the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy for themselves. The greatest weakness we have in Adventism today is that hardly anyone is reading the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy. They would rather just listen to a sermon and pay their tithe. It is like joining a club. You walk through the door, pay the dues, go home and go to sleep. That is why we are still here.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Verse 12. In other words, sin is going to be tolerated because of these false prophets that have come in. When sin comes into a church unreproved, problems multiply. You can read about it in Revelation 3:14–19: “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. And as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: Be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Ellen White wrote in Testimonies, vol. 5, 136, “To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord, when champions are few—this will be our test.” Our people in the Adventist churches today are being tested, and many of them are failing. God can only trust with eternal life those that are willing to make a full surrender of the will, mind and body to Him.

It is true—we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked, but we think we are increased with goods and in need of nothing. We are so happy with our situation, that we say, “God we want you to come, but wait a little while until we get through with what we are doing.”

“The message to the church of the Laodiceans is a startling denunciation, and applicable to the people of God at the present time . . . The Lord here shows us that the message to be borne to His people by ministers whom He has called to warn the people is not a peace and safety message. It is not merely theoretical, but practical in every particular. The people of God are represented in the message to the Laodicean as in a position of carnal security . . . What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right when they are all wrong? The message of the true witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God.

“According to the light that God has given me in a vision, wickedness and deception are increasing among God’s people who profess to keep His commandments. Spiritual discernment to see sin as it exists and then to put it out of the camp is decreasing among God’s people; and spiritual blindness is fast coming upon them. The straight testimony must be revived, and it will separate those from Israel that have ever been at war with the means that God has ordained to keep corruptions out of the church. Wrongs must be called wrongs. Grievous sins must be called by their right name. All of God’s people should come nearer to Him and wash their robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. Then will they see sin in the true light and will realize how offensive it is in the sight of God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 252–253.

Our redemption is much nearer than our minds are capable of comprehending. We are comfortable in our daily routine, comfortable homes, comfortable cars and all our possessions, but one of these days everything will change. We talk about it. We read The Great Controversy, especially the last chapters. We believe it, but it is hard for us to get our mind into that framework.


Preparation for the Final Crisis


When Betty and I were in Africa, we went through two revolutions. It was terrible! In the late 1950s, we were at Korrinda mission near Stanleyville, in the Congo, when the place blew up. We escaped three days ahead of Lamumba’s army. They killed thousands. It was only by a miracle that we made it into Uganda. From there, we were sent to Rwanda.

We had pictures of white priests leading five hundred Bhutus, drunk from banana beer, to burn Tutsi villages. There were Belgian paratroopers sitting in their jeeps watching, and if the Tutsis began to win, they turned their machine guns on them.

One morning the Belgian paratroopers went by my house in a jeep, down to the African village, and yelled in French for a Tutsi to come out of his house. It was just daybreak and he was scared to death so he did not come out. They turned their machine gun on the hut, killed him, jumped back in their jeep, and drove by my house, never saying a word.

These are the types of experiences we may have to face one day. People will lose their lives because they refuse to bow to the beast and keep Sunday. (Revelation 20:4.) Where will you and I be in those days? We can stand up in peace and prosperity and preach the truth, but will we stand in front of the courts when we face a death sentence and preach as boldly? We need to pray, because the only way we can do what Huss and the other martyrs did is with God’s special power in our lives.

We also have a preparation to make. If I have to stand in front of a judge and cannot use my Bible, I want to have God’s Word in my mind. It cannot be taken away from me there. And God has promised that if I will put it there, He will take it out when the time comes and give me the words to speak.


The Endurance Race


In Matthew 24:13 there is a most precious promise: “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” We are all in an endurance race. Paul gives a vivid picture of what it takes to win this race in 1 Corinthians 9:24–27: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast away.”

The symbol that Paul used was not unfamiliar to the Corinthians. Corinth was a Greek city and the Greeks were the originators of the Olympic games. I can imagine the apostle Paul looking out of his window, watching these young men prepare themselves for these Olympic games. He said, “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” These men wanted to be sure they were going to win the gold, and no sacrifice was too precious to be made to reach their goal.

Yet, some Seventh-day Adventists have a real struggle with the health message. Many Adventist churches now serve coffee, doughnuts and tea after services. It is a social event, not a strenuous race. But without the preparation of mind and body by temperance and exercise, we will not endure.

I want the gold. How about you? We are in the greatest Olympics that have ever taken place in the six thousand-year history of Planet Earth. Only those that are getting ready for what is about to burst upon us as an overwhelming surprise will endure. Only those who are preparing through study and prayer are going to make it through.

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14. Once God’s people understand what the gospel is and bring their lives into harmony with the truth without any compromise, the end will come. It did not happen in 1844. It did not happen after 1888. And here we have lived one hundred and ten years more and it still has not happened. But it will happen when we are faithful, loyal and obedient to all truth.

The evidence that the end is near is overwhelming and our stay is short. We have to change. We have to get into the Word of God like we have never studied before.

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39.

The Bereans “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11.

“And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13.

Anything less is lost. Why? Because sin is so terrible that God can only trust those who are complete overcomers. We must have a complete and total change: “All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power.” The Desire of Ages, 827. Transformation, how we need it! “And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we will be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God, as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.” Ibid., 668.

We have to hate sin! We have to stop sinning! Not by what we can do, but by what we know God will do in us. That is why we need to pray like we have never prayed before. We need to study like we have never studied before. We need to read the Spirit of Prophecy books and apply them to our lives today.

Jesus will come. There is no question about it. I wake up with it. I walk with it. I go to bed with it. I am excited about going to heaven. But we need to be ready now. We need to tell other people how to get ready for the coming of the Lord now. Now is the day of salvation.


The Origin Of Sunday Observance

The apostle Paul made a prediction in 2 Thessalonians that a gigantic apostasy would take place within the Christian church before the Second Coming of Christ. He said, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3. The words “falling away” come from the Greek word “apostasia,” from which we get the English word “apostasy.” It means a falling away or a departure from the truth.

The apostle Paul warned that there will be a great apostasy before the second coming of Christ. As you read on, you will notice in verse five that he said, “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?” He had taught these things to the Christian churches, and he was not alone in giving this warning call. Peter, too, had predicted the same gigantic apostasy which would sweep through the church. (See 2 Peter 2.)

The apostle Paul also referred to this apostasy in his last interview with the elders at Ephesus. In Acts 20:29–31, where the discussion is recorded, notice several interesting details about what Paul predicted was going to take place. “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”

We see in this passage of Scripture that the greatest danger for the Christian church was not the opposition from the pagan world outside, but from the apostasy which would take place inside. It would come from disciples speaking perverse things to draw disciples away after them. We know that the person who speaks the truth as it is in Jesus will draw disciples to Jesus and not to himself. To draw disciples to oneself, one must pervert the truth and apostatize. No true Christian pastor will ever attempt to draw away disciples to himself.

There is another consideration that made this danger even more perilous. Do you know who these words were spoken to? They were spoken to the bishops, the Christian ministers or elders of the church. Paul said, “Of your own selves,” that is from among the men who had been chosen to guide and care for the church of Christ, there would be those who would pervert their calling in order to build up themselves and gather disciples around themselves.

As we read the letters of the apostles in the New Testament, we see them constantly watching this spirit, checking its influence and guarding against its workings. As stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, the mystery of iniquity was already working. There were at that very time elements abroad which the apostle Paul could see would develop into all that the Scriptures had predicted, and scarcely were the apostles dead when this evil actually appeared in the church.

The historian said about this: “No sooner were the apostles removed from the stage of action, no sooner was their watchful attentions gone and their apostolic authority removed, than this very thing appeared of which the apostle had spoken. Certain bishops, in order to make easier the conversion of the heathen, to multiply disciples, and by this increase their own influence and authority, began to adopt heathen customs and forms.” The Great Empires of Prophecy, 377, by Alonzo T. Jones.

How did this great apostasy begin? It started as a gigantic evangelistic campaign. It was in the interest of evangelism that apostasy began. “In order to make easier the conversion of the heathen, to multiply disciples,” they lowered the standard for church fellowship. Within twenty years of the apostles’ death, the perversion of the truth of Christ had become widespread.

Mosheim writes concerning the developments in Christendom in the second century: “It is certain that to religious worship, both public and private, many rites were added, without necessity, and to the offence of sober and good men.”

The reason for this is stated. “The Christians were pronounced atheists, because they were destitute of temples, altars, victims, priests, and all that pomp in which the vulgar suppose the essence of religion to consist. For unenlightened persons are prone to estimate religion by what meets their eyes. To silence this accusation, the Christian doctors thought it necessary to introduce some external rights, which would strike the senses of the people, so that they could maintain themselves really to possess those things of which Christians were charged with being destitute—though under different forms.” Ecclesiastical History, century 2, part 2, chap. 4, par. 1, 3.

To do this, “was at once to accommodate the Christian worship and its forms to that of the heathen, and was almost at one step to heathenize Christianity. No heathen element or form can be connected with Christianity or its worship, and Christianity remain pure.” The Great Empires of Prophecy, 378. In Old Testament times whenever God’s people attempted to combine any of the forms of idolatry or heathenism with the worship of the true God they were charged by the prophet with committing spiritual adultery. (See Ezekiel 16, 23; Hosea.)

The heathen religions, in the early part of the second century, were almost all centered around sun worship. They worshipped at the dawning of the day facing towards the east. And this was one of the first pagan customs that entered the Christian church. Christians began to meet at the rising of the sun, on what was later called Easter Sunday, and they would say, “This is the time when Christ was resurrected, and we will teach the people that we meet at the rising of the sun, not to worship the sun, but to worship the One who was raised at sunrise.”

Mosheim again says, “Before the coming of Christ, all the Eastern nations performed divine worship with their faces turned to that part of the heavens where the sun displays his rising beams . . . Nor is this custom abolished even in our times, but still prevails in a great number of Christian churches.” Ecclesiastical History, century 2, part 2, chap. 4, par. 7.

The path of compromise, once you start down it, seems like it never ends. In addition to this, the day of the sun was adopted as a festival day, and the people were taught to fast on the Sabbath. Consider the effect this would have on little children growing up, if every Sabbath there was nothing to eat, but on Sunday, a child could have all he pleased. Which day would he learn to love and look forward to?

The forms of sun worship were practiced to such a degree in the “Christian” churches, that before the end of the second century the heathen themselves accused these apostate Christians with worshipping the sun. We know this because one of the Christian fathers, who wrote about A.D. 200, considered it necessary to make a defense of this practice. Here is what he said: “Others again, certainly with more information and greater or veri-similitude believe that the sun is our god . . . The idea no doubt has originated from our being known to turn toward the east in prayer. But you, many of you, also under pretense sometimes of worshipping the heavenly bodies, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise. In the same way if we devote Sunday to rejoicing, from a far different reason than sun worship, we have some resemblance to those of you who devote the day of Saturn to ease and luxury.” Apology, chap. 16, by Tertullian. His argument is, in effect, you do the same thing, and you originated it too, so why are you blaming us?

As these customs spread and such half-pagan disciples were multiplied, so did the number of pagan practices introduced in the church. It was the custom of the Jewish Christians to remember the death and resurrection of Christ during the Passover season. Passover, which was on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish year, would fall on different days of the week each year. Rome, however, and from her all the Western Empire, adopted the day of the sun as the day of this celebration. Rome ruled that the celebration must always be on a Sunday. It was on this point that the bishop of Rome made one of the first claims at absolute power in his attempt to compel obedience.

We do not know precisely when this practice began, but it was practiced in Rome as early as the time of Sixtus the First, who was the bishop of Rome from A.D. 119 to 128. It was promoted by his successor, Antecedus, who was bishop of Rome A.D. 157–158. Here is what the historian has to say about him: He “would neither conform to that [Eastern] custom himself, nor suffer any under his jurisdiction to conform to it, obliging them to celebrate that solemnity on the Sunday next following the fourteenth of the month.” History of the Popes Under Pius and Anicetus, by Bower.

By the close of the second century, Victor, the bishop of Rome from 192 to 202 A.D., wrote a letter to the Asiatic Christian clergy “commanding them to imitate the example of the Western Christians with respect to the time of celebrating the festival of Easter. The Asiatics answered this lordly request through Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, who declared in their name, with great spirit and resolution, that they would by no means depart, in this manner from the custom handed down to them by their ancestors.” Ecclesiastical History, century 2, part 2, chapter 4, par. 11, by Mosheim.

As a result, Victor began to use the weapon of excommunication, broke communion with them, pronounced them unworthy of the name of brethren and excluded them from all fellowship with the Church of Rome.

By the end of the second century, and even more in the third century, it was difficult to distinguish between paganism and this kind of Christianity. During this time, pagan philosophy came in with full force. A school of pagan philosophy, called the Eclectics, sprang up in Egypt. They were called Platonists, and they regarded Plato as the one person above all others who had attained the nearest to truth. It was from these philosophers that a system of allegorizing and mystification of Scripture evolved.

One of the earliest professed Christians to espouse this philosophy, was Clement of Alexandria. He became the head of such a school in Alexandria, Egypt, and later further developed the same philosophical theology. The city of Alexandria, with Rome, are the two cities, in the ancient world, which come up over and over again when you study the history of Sunday observance.

These allegorizers threw great obscurity over the sacred writing and developed a system so that one could find whatever he pleased in any passage of Scripture. By their allegorical rules, the scripture could be made to support any doctrine that was ever invented by the wildest fancy of an ultra fanatic. This philosophy did immense harm to Christianity. “For it led the teachers of it to involve in philosophic obscurity many parts of our religion, which were in themselves plain and easy to be understood; and to add to the precepts of the Saviour, not a few things, of which not a word can be found in the Holy Scriptures . . . It recommended to Christians various foolish and useless rites that suited only to nourish superstition, no small part of which we see religiously observed by many even to the present day.” Ecclesiastical History, century 2, part 2, chap. 1, par. 12, by Mosheim. This allegorizing alienated many in the following centuries from Christianity itself and it produced a mixed variety of religion consisting of a combination of Christian and Platonic principles.

We will here include one example of allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures. These so called Christians, who had drunk deeply of Pagan philosophy, invented the eight-day theory when they studied about Noah and the flood. They said that because eight people were saved in the ark, then Sunday is the eighth day, and therefore we should keep Sunday. They saw in this account of the flood, in Genesis, an argument for keeping Sunday. If you interpret by allegory everything in the Scripture, and you do not just take it for what it says, there is no telling where you may end up.

During the time of Constantine, the new developments in Paganism and the apostate, paganized, sun worshiping form of Christianity merged. In Constantine the aspirations of the former emperors for a universal religion and the philosophy of Origin and the ambition of the self-exalted bishops were all realized and accomplished and a new, imperial, “universal” religion was created.

Milman wrote about it in this way: “The reign of Constantine the Great forms one of the epochs in the history of the world. It is the era of the dissolution of the Roman empire; the commencement, or rather consolidation, of a kind of Eastern despotism, with a new capital, a new patriciate, a new constitution, a new financial system, a new, though as yet imperfect, jurisprudence and, finally, a new religion.” History of Christianity, book 3, chap. 1, par. 1, by Milman. “The epoch thus formed was the epoch of the papacy; and the new religion thus created was the papal religion.” The Great Empires of Prophecy, 395, by Alonzo T. Jones. This was the beginning of that dark and dismal age which oppressed Europe for well over one thousand years.

Another historian says this about the reign of Constantine: “It is the true close of the Roman empire, the beginning of the Greek. The transition from one to the other is emphatically and abruptly marked by a new metropolis, a new religion, a new code, and, above all, a new policy. An ambitious man had attained to imperial power by personating the interests of a rapidly growing party. The unavoidable consequences were a union between the Church and the state, diverting of the dangerous classes from civil to ecclesiastical paths, and the decay in materialization of religion.” Intellectual Development of Europe, chap. 10, par. 24, by Draper.

Before the council of Nicea, in A.D. 325, the bishops in the Donatist controversy had given special dignity to the bishop of Rome declaring that Easter should be kept on the same day and on a Sunday by all the churches in the world. This union of Church and state, the exaltation of the bishop of Rome, the veneration of Sunday, and other pagan customs was not accompanied by a revival or reformation of Christianity, but by the very opposite effect.

It was at this time, in A.D. 321, that the first Sunday law was proclaimed by Constantine. Notice that there is nothing Christian about this law. There is no mention of the resurrection of Christ or the fourth commandment. Here is what it said: “Constantine, Emperor Augustus, to Helpidius: On the venerable day of the sun, let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls, each of them for the second time.)” God Predicts Your Future, 268, by John Grosboll.(Originally from History of the Christian Church, vol. 3, par. 5, note 1.)

Did you note that there is no reference to any Scriptural reasons for keeping Sunday, and what was it called? The venerable day of the sun.

At every step taken in adopting the forms of sun worship and the adoption of the observance of Sunday, those who remain faithful to Christ and to the truth of the pure Word of God protested the popular disloyalty. These Bible believing Christians observed the Sabbath of the Lord according to the commandment, as a sign by which the Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the earth is distinguished from all other gods. (See Hebrews 4 and Exodus 31.) Therefore, these Christians protested every phase and form of sun worship.

When the church tried to enforce Sunday by a law of the state, this protest became stronger than ever. And in order to accomplish her original purpose, it became necessary for the apostate Christian church to secure legislation ending all exemption and prohibiting the observance of the Sabbath so as to quench that powerful protest. This was done by the council of Laodicea in Canon 29, around the year 364 A.D. (The exact year cannot be established.) Here is what this Canon said: “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Sabbath.” Notice the word Judaize. A thousand years later, even to the present day, if you read a document written by a Jesuit and it talks about Judaizing, it is almost every time referring to the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath. This term came to be used against anyone who kept the seventh-day Sabbath.

“Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day, but the Lord’s day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.” Council of Laodicea, Canon 29.

During the time of Theodosius, by a law in A.D. 386, those older changes effected by the emperor of Constantine were more rigorously enforced and in general, civil transactions of every kind were strictly forbidden on Sunday. Whoever transgressed was considered guilty of sacrilege.

This Sunday law banned work, but as the people of that apostate Christian church did not have enough religion to devote the day to pious and moral exercises, the effect of the law was only to enforce idleness. Enforced idleness multiplied opportunities for dissipation and the consequence was that the circuses and the theaters were crowded every Sunday. This was not what the bishops wanted, so they complained that with such competition the theater was vastly more frequented than the church. So the next step taken was to force the circuses and the theaters to close on Sunday and other special church days so that there would be no competition.

In the circuses and the theaters there were large numbers of church members employed, and rather than giving up their jobs they worked on Sundays. The bishops complained that these men were compelled to work and prohibited to worship. They pronounced it persecution and demanded more Sunday laws for “protection,” and so in A.D. 401, another law was enacted which prohibited plays to be performed on Sunday or feast days.

However, there was still a problem. They found out that just closing the circus did not get people to church. The next logical step then was to compel them to be religious and devoted. The theocratical bishops had supplied a theory that exactly met the demand of the case. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo said this: “Many must often be brought back to their Lord, like wicked servants, by the rod of temporal suffering, before they attain the highest grade of religious development.” The Correction of Donatists, chap. 6, by Augustine. Of this theory, the historian justly observes: “It was by Augustine, then, that a theory was proposed and founded, which . . . contained the germ of that whole system of spiritual despotism of intolerance and persecution, which ended in the tribunals of Inquisition.” History of the Christian Religion and Church, vol. 2, sec. 2, part 3, division 1, by Neander.

You see friends, Sunday legislation contains within it the philosophical basis for religious persecution. Do not ever forget that. Whenever Sunday legislation is enacted, persecution is sure to follow.

The Lord predicted this very thing hundreds of years before it happened in Daniel 11: “For the ships from Cypress [or Kittum] shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. He shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.” Daniel 11:30. What is God’s covenant that he will be enraged against? “So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.” As you read in Hebrews 8:10, in the new covenant, God’s law is written in the heart.

We have just seen who this power is which would rise up against God’s law. The time came when the Roman church became so furious against God’s holy covenant that it eventually considered any person who kept the fourth commandment, enjoining the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, or the second commandment, which prohibited the worship of idols, worthy of death—death by the most cruel means that could be devised.

In Daniel 11:33 we read that during this great tribulation, God’s people would, “fall by the sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.” In spite of all the horrible tortures inflicted on these faithful ones, it was impossible to force them to keep Sunday and work on Sabbath. It was impossible to totally quench the desire of truehearted Christians to obey God, to follow His Word and do His will. There were many groups, throughout the world during this time, that kept God’s law and taught it to others.

Let us look at the stories of some of these people:

One of the most famous of all the theologians, during this time, was a man by the name of Lucian, who lived from 250–312 A.D. One of the great biblical scholars, he was a Gentile and has been belittled in recent times by Cardinal Newman as a Judaizer. Why was he called a Judaizer? Because he kept the Sabbath. And why did he keep the Sabbath? “Why should Lucian observe Saturday as sacred? It was the general custom.” Truth Triumphant, 57, by Benjamin Wilkinson. This was written in the fourth century. Notice what Socrates said was happening at that time: “For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this.” Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chap 22, by Socrates.

This is very interesting! A historian in the fourth century says that the Christian churches throughout the world observe the mysteries on Sabbath, except in two places—Alexandria and Rome.

Look at what Sozomen, a historian contemporary to Socrates said: “The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assembled together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria.” Ecclesiastical History, book 7, chap. 19, by Sozomen.

There were communities of Asyrian Christians throughout India, who were faithful in their evangelical missionary life, and who assembled for worship on the Sabbath day. When priests from Rome entered India a thousand years later, papal hatred stigmatized the persecuted church as Judaizers. See Truth Triumphant, 298, 299.

Cosma, who resided near Babylon, widely read for his explorations in the first half of the sixth century, says that there was an infinite number of churches with their clergy and a vast number of Christian people among the Bacterians, Huns, Persians, Greeks, Eadlemites and the rest of the Indians who kept the Sabbath.

The historian A.C. Flick wrote about the Sabbath keeping Christians of the Celtic church (which was located in Wales, Scotland and Ireland). The Celtic church observed Saturday as their sacred day of rest and that reputable scholarship has asserted that the Welsh sanctified it as such until the twelfth century. See Truth Triumphant, 163.

“Widespread and enduring was the observance of the Seventh-day Sabbath among the believers of the Church of the East and the St. Thomas Christians of India who were never connected with Rome. It also was maintained among those bodies which broke off from Rome after the council of Chalcedon; namely, the Abysinians, the Jacobites, the Marinites, and the Armenians.” Truth

Triumphant, 298. “The Armenians in Hindustan . . . have preserved the Bible in its purity, and their doctrines are, as far as the author knows, the doctrines of the Bible. Besides they maintain the solemn observance of Christian worship, throughout our empire, on the seventh day.” Christian Researchs in Asia, by Buchanan, 266.

Here is another historical account about a group of people in Bulgaria. “Bulgaria, in the early season of its evangelization had been taught that no work should be performed on the Sabbath. Pope Nicholas I, in the ninth century, sent the ruling prince of Bulgaria a long document saying in it that one is to cease from work on Sunday, but not on the Sabbath.

“The head of the Greek church, offended at the interference of the papacy, declared the pope excommunicated. The Greek patriarch also sent a circulatory letter to some leading bishops of the East, censoring the Roman Catholic Church for several erroneous doctrines, especially emphasizing its rebellion against past church councils and compelling its members to fast on the Seventh-day Sabbath.” Truth Triumphant, 232.

Two hundred years later the Pope sent three legates to Constantinople with counter charges. Among others the following charge was made by the Pope against the Greek Church: “because you observe the Sabbath with the Jews.” Ibid. The Christian churches of the eastern part of the Roman empire, the Goths, the Waldensians and the Armenians, the Syrians and the Celtic churches, established by Patrick, all sanctified Saturday as the Sabbath.

There is evidence stacked upon evidence that Christians in the British Isles, the Waldenses in Italy, the Albigenses in France, the Christians in Bulgaria, the Armenians in Turkey, the Syrian churches in Palestine, the St. Thomas Christians in India, the Abysinian Christians in Africa, and the Christians in China, Afghanistan and southern Russia, all were Sabbath-keeping Christians, until they were forced to go underground and their most staunch leaders and defenders were killed by the inquisition in the fourteenth century.

Why then do the majority today keep Sunday? It is because most of the ancient Sabbath-keepers were tortured and killed just as predicted in Revelation 17:6, where John saw a woman “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”

Someday, if you are saved, you are going to meet and get acquainted with millions of people who died for the Sabbath. If you have been a Sabbathkeeper, you are going to have a wonderful fellowship with these people. Would you want to say to those who were burned at the stake, or had their heads chopped off, or were hanged, or languished in dark dungeons, “Well, I was afraid to keep the Sabbath because I might have lost my job”? Could you say, “I was afraid that somebody might make fun of me,” or “I was afraid that I might be unpopular if I kept the Sabbath”? We would be ashamed to be around them with such excuses! Very soon, they are going to be raised to life. We want to be with them! In that day, we will want to be found a Sabbath-keeper, to be among that group who have kept God’s Holy Covenant.

Bendigo Promotes Sunday Law

A group of citizens in Bendigo known as the Save our Sundays (SOS) group, has petitioned the city of Great Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, to proscribe Sunday trading. As a result, a referendum was conducted to determine the will of the citizens. “The Save our Sundays group hailed a decision to proceed with a Sunday trading referendum in April as a ‘victory for democracy.’ ” Bendigo Advertiser, December 26, 1997. Whether or not it was a victory for democracy, it was most certainly an alarming breach of religious and civil liberties.

Keith Allen, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Victoria, “threw his support behind the campaign against Sunday trading during a visit to Bendigo yesterday.” Ibid., May 30, 1997. “Anglican Bishop David Bowden supported the call for a referendum, and Catholic Bishop Noel Daly and Uniting Church’s Kerrie Graham spoke against Sunday trading.” Ibid., May 8, 1997. The Uniting Church of Australia is a 1977 union of Congregationalists, Methodists and two-thirds of the Presbyterians.

It would seem that these clerics possess little understanding of the principles of religious and civil liberties. They appear to have learned no lessons from history. Nor does each apparently recall the fact that, in centuries past, members of their denominations suffered severely because the majority religion forced their religion upon them and thus breached their convictions.

Curiously, the chief opposition arose, not from those religious organizations whose religious prerogatives would be breached by this Sunday Law (such as Sabbath-keepers like Seventh-day Adventists), members of non-Christian faiths (such as Moslems), nor even from free-thinkers, agnostics or atheists, but from “twelve Bendigo tourism and business organizations.” Ibid., February 23, 1998. Thus financial loss appeared to be a greater motivating force than potential loss of civil and religious liberties. Two Seventh-day Adventist laymen, Donald Wilson of Mildura and Lance Mc Neill of Bendigo were exceptions to this statement. They wrote a number of letters setting forth their objections to the city’s leading newspaper, The Bendigo Advertiser.

Alerted of this crisis of religious liberty upon his return from a speaking tour of Singapore and India, just one week prior to the commencement of the postal vote, with the issue being judged to be very finely balanced between those supporting and those opposing the matter, Russell Standish decided to take up the issue. Two advertisements were inserted in the Bendigo newspaper and one letter to the editor written. The statements in these media avenues were as follows:

Advertisement One—

March 14, 1998

Sunday Trading Referendum

March 16–April 3

Objection No. 1


This referendum has been promoted by Christians living in the Bendigo District who are convicted that Sunday is a sacred day of worship. They have organized their campaign under the slogan Save Our Sundays (SOS).

Thinking Christians, believers in other faiths and non-believers will ask themselves the crucial question before delivering their vote, Save Our Sundays From What?

Since its founding, Sunday-worshipers in Bendigo have possessed perfect liberty to:

  • Worship on Sundays
  • Close their businesses on Sundays
  • Refrain from shopping on Sundays
  • Pursue their children’s education on days other than Sunday

So from what does Sunday have to be saved?

We thank God and the Australian Constitution that all convicted Sunday observers in Bendigo possess their inalienable right to religious liberty. This is true freedom. Wise statesmen 100 years ago guaranteed this liberty in our Australian Constitution which was confirmed by the citizens of our nation in an Australia-wide referendum.

Article 116 states: “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”

Do the citizens of Bendigo wish to contravene our wise Constitution—

  • by establishing the religious convictions of one segment of citizens?
  • by imposing their religious observances on others?
  • by prohibiting the free exercise of religion?

Seventh-day Adventists and Jews observe the Bible Sabbath (Saturday) as a day upon which they refrain from business. They do not seek to impose their convictions upon other citizens of Bendigo.

Moslems keep Friday holy. They too have refrained from seeking to enforce their religious practice upon those citizens of Bendigo not of their faith.

Citizens of the city who possess no religious convictions whatsoever have not sought a referendum to empower the city authorities to enforce work and business activities on those who possess sincere religious objections to such practices on their days of worship. On what moral grounds then do Sunday-keepers seek the enforcement of their beliefs?

The issue at stake in this referendum is the preservation of the religious and civil liberties of every citizen of Bendigo.

Vote NO in the Sunday trading referendum and preserve the freedoms of all dwellers in Bendigo. Let Bendigo set an example to Australia as a city which by vote of its citizens has declared its city to be one of freedom for all.

Dr. Russell Standish

Advertisement Two—

March 21, 1998

Sunday Trading Referendum

March 16–April 3

Objection No. 2

(See Bendigo Advertiser, March 14 for No. 1)


Save Our Undeniable Liberties (SOUL)

Bendigo citizens have the unique privilege to signal their defense of freedom in the present referendum. It is vital that every citizen votes in this referendum for your civil and religious liberties are at stake. This is no trivial matter.

These liberties have been bought over the centuries by men and women who suffered imprisonment, torture and death rather than yield their inalienable rights to religious and civil liberties.

  • John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress) spent seven years (1661–1668) in Bedford Prision in defense of his right to practice and proclaim his religious convictions. He was a Puritan. He followed the Calvinist theory akin to that of the Presbyterian Church today.
  • In 1661 John James was hanged, drawn and quartered in London because he preached on Saturday contrary to the convictions of the majority.
  • William Penn (founder of the state of Pennsylvania) was only preserved from execution in 1670 for his practice of preaching the Quaker faith in London by the resistance of four of the twelve jurors to convict him. These jurors suffered torture and imprisonment for their stand.

The 1688–89 British Bill of Rights which is part of the Victorian State Constitution emerged as a protection against such persecution and compulsion. Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians and other Sunday-keeping Christians all have a long and tragic history of persecutions for their faith.

Members of these faiths require and merit full religious and civil liberties as much as do Saturday-keepers (such as Seventh-day Adventists and Jews), Friday keepers (Moslems) as well as atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers.

A prohibition upon Sunday trading will deprive every citizen of Bendigo, irrespective of his or her religious persuasion, of religious and civil liberties.

Vote NO in the Sunday Trading Referendum.

Every breach of civil and religious liberties, however piously supported and however little it may appear to encroach upon our liberties, is a large step towards a state of coercion of conscience which, in a large measure, our nation has happily rejected. Sunday-keepers have as much at stake in this referendum as do other citizens.

The words of Winston Churchill spoken on October 5, 1938 in another setting, are full of challenge to the citizens of Bendigo as they consider their vote in the Sunday Trading Referendum.

“Do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless, by supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again, and take our stand for freedom as in the olden times.” Into the Battle, 53.

Vote NO in the Sunday Trading Referendum to preserve the religious and civil liberties of

  • Sunday-keeping Christians
  • Sabbath (Saturday)-keeping Christians
  • Believers of Non-Christian faiths
  • Those without religious convictions

Dr. Russell Standish


Dear Sir,

In my separate advertisements in the Bendigo Advertiser of March 14 and 21, I have dealt with the secular aspects of the religious and civil liberty issues in the present Sunday Trading Referendum.

In this letter I address the religious issues involved. The basis of this Save our Sunday campaign is the sacred nature of Sunday observance. But is Sunday worship a fulfillment of the fourth commandment which enjoins Bible believers to keep the Sabbath holy (Exodus 20:8)? The same commandment states that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Exodus 20:10. Emphasis supplied.

The Bible alone must decide which day is the seventh-day Sabbath. This it does unequivocally. Speaking of Good Friday, Scripture states, “And that day was the preparation day, and the Sabbath drew on.” Luke 23:54. Thus the Sabbath day was the day following Good Friday. Further, speaking of Easter Sunday, the Bible records, “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” Matthew 28:1. Here Easter Sunday is clearly identified as the first day of the week and the day after the Sabbath. Thus the Sabbath day is shown to be the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Only Saturday therefore can be identified as the Sabbath God declared to be holy.

Both Catholics and Protestants freely agree. The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine by Rev. Peter Geirmann, says thus:

“Question—Which day is the Sabbath day?

Answer—‘Saturday is the Sabbath day,’

Question—Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

Answer—‘We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic church, in the Council of Laodicea (336 A.D.) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday’ ” Second edition, 50.

Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, says: “There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath Day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week . . . Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament—absolutely not . . . Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come in use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!” Source Book, 513, 514.

Sir William Domville of the Church of England says: “Centuries of the Christian era passed away before Sunday was observed by the Christian church as the Sabbath. History does not furnish us with a single proof or indication that it was at any time so observed previous to the Sabbatical edict of Constantine in 321 A.D.” The Sabbath Or An Examination of Six Texts, 291.

The Presbyterian Christian at Work said this: “So some have tried to build the observance of Sunday upon apostolic command, whereas the apostles gave no command on the matter at all . . . The truth is, as soon as we appeal to the ‘Litera scripta’ [the literal script] of the Bible, the Sabbatarians have the best of the argument.” (Edition, April 19, 1883.)

The Methodist Theological Compendium states: “It is true, there is no positive command for infant baptism . . . nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week.”

Dr. W. R. Dale (Congregational) in The Ten Commandments, 106, 107, says, “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath.”

The Lutheran position as revealed in The Augsburg Confession of Faith states: “The observance of the Lord’s day (Sunday) is founded not on any commandment of God, but on the authority of the church.”

Episcopalian spokesman Neander writes in The History of the Christian Religion and Church, 186: “The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect, far from them and from the early apostolic church to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.”

Since there is no Biblical basis for Sunday-keeping, the case for the abolition of Sunday trading possesses no religious basis. In addition, there is no moral mandate to enforce one’s personal convictions upon all the citizens of the city.

Yours faithfully,

Russell Standish

BA MB BS (Sydney University) MRCP (UK), FRCP (Edinburgh) FRCP (Glasgow)


Babylon the Great City

We are living in a time when churches and nations are attempting to unite as at no other time in history. It is hoped by many that through gaining unity, war and poverty and many other awful things going on in our world will be eliminated. The promoters of this unification process have been planning and working for the unification of the world for several generations. A carefully planned but rather covert crusade is working to bring this world-unification about. Various facets of this intricate and comprehensive plan can be seen in the educational system, the political and military system, the economic system, the large religious bodies of the world, the media, the medical and legal fraternity, the various secret societies, the money and banking conglomerates, the combinations of the working classes for the protection of their interests and the entertainment industry.

Most of the players in this crusade have little or no idea about what is really going on or what they are actually participating in. The scope of what is happening in our world is so intricate and globally pervasive that not even the thought leaders of the world and the most powerful people comprehend the whole picture. Only by a study of Bible prophecy is it possible to partially unravel to the human mind what is taking place in the world today and get a glimpse of the total picture.

First of all, we know from Bible prophecy that we are living in the last days of this world’s history, described in Daniel 11 as “the time of the end.” In the book of Revelation the great unification of the world during the last of this great epochal period is plainly foretold. The following details are clearly specified:

  1. Almost all of the world will be deceived. Satan “deceives the entire inhabited world.” Revelation 12:9. “And the whole earth wondered after the beast.” (Some translators prefer to translate the verb thaumazo in the previous verse as, “the whole earth worshipped the beast” or “the whole earth followed the beast.”) Revelation 13:3. “All who dwell on the earth shall do him [the beast power] homage, whose names are not in the book of life.” Revelation 13:8. “He [the two-horned beast] deceives those who dwell on the earth.” Revelation 13:14. “And I saw out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are the spirits of demons doing signs to go forth to the kings of the earth and the whole inhabited world to gather them together to battle of that great day of God the Almighty.” Revelation 16:12–14. “Those that dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” Revelation 17:2. “All nations have drunk the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Revelation 18:3. “Your merchants were the great ones of the earth, because by your sorcery all the nations were led astray [or deceived].” Revelation 18:23.

This deception will involve miracles. Ellen White was given a view of that which in her time was mostly in the future: “We are coming right upon the time when Satan is to work with all manner of bewitching influences, and those who are charmed with them now, or give them the least countenance now, will be all ready to be swept right in to act a part with the devil then. Evil angels are working all the time upon the hearts of men. Satan is working with everyone who is not under the control of the Spirit of God. It is the lying wonders of the devil that will take the world captive, and he will cause fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men. He is to work miracles; and this wonderful, miracle-working power is to sweep in the whole world. It is now just beginning.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 51.

  1. The texts above show that the person who deceives the whole world in the last days is the devil (Revelation 12:9); however, he works through human agents and organizations. He will work through a union of three major human powers: the dragon power, the beast power and the false prophet.


The Beast


There are twenty to twenty-five identifying marks of the beast power given in Daniel 7, Revelation 13, 2 Thessalonians 2 and 1 John 4. A few principle items will suffice.

  1. This power would arise among the powers that divided up to become the Roman Empire. (Daniel 7:8.)
  2. It would not become an independent political power (a “horn” or “beast” or kingdom) until three of the ten horns (the Ostrogoths, the kingdom of Odoacer and the Vandals) were uprooted. The earliest date that can be given for this is when the Ostrogoths were defeated and driven from Rome in 538 A.D.
  3. This power was to intend to change times and law. (Daniel 7:25.)
  4. It was to be a persecuting power. (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:7.)
  5. It was to persecute, not atheists or criminals but, the saints or holy people of God. (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:7.)
  6. It was to be a superpower—to exercise power and authority over all nations. (Revelation 13:7; Daniel 7:20.)
  7. It was to be a religious power because men would worship it. (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:3, 8.)
  8. It was to continue until the second advent of Christ—so it is obvious that it is in the world today. (Daniel 7:26, 27; Revelation 19:20; 16:12–14; 2 Thessalonians 2:7, 8.)
  9. It had roots that go all the way back to the apostles. (2 Thessalonians 2:7.)
  10. This power was to persecute the saints for 1260 prophetic days or literal years.
  11. This persecution would be cut short for the elect’s sake. (Matthew 24:22.)
  12. This power was to receive a deadly wound—it would appear to receive such a deadly blow as to destroy it, but it would recover from this deadly wound and afterwards the whole world would follow it again! (Revelation 13:3.) This occurred in 1798 when France (sometimes called the eldest son of the papacy) took the pope prisoner. The pope died in a prison in France and there was no papacy for a number of months.
  13. This deadly wound has now been healed and the entire world is wondering after the papacy again.
  14. This power was to blaspheme (revile, defame or speak evil of) the following three: God’s name, His tabernacle (or sanctuary in heaven) and those who dwell in heaven. (Revelation 13:6.)

When all of these identifying marks are put together it is impossible to conclude that this beast power represents any other than the papacy of Rome.

My brother Marshall explained it to non-Adventists in his prophecy seminar this way: What religious power had its roots in Paul’s day, became involved with politics after the demise of the Caesars, began to persecute people on religious grounds, and had its headquarters among the countries of Europe? As we think about it, there is only one religious-political power of the Dark Ages that even remotely fits this description, (and it fits every detail) and that is the Papacy of Rome.

Did the Papacy of Rome become a political ruler after the breakup of the pagan Roman Empire? Let a Catholic historian answer this question: “Long ages ago, when Rome, through the neglect of the Western emperors, was left to the mercy of the barbarous hordes, the Romans turned to one figure for aid and protection, and asked him to rule them . . . and thus . . . commenced the temporal sovereignty of the popes. And meekly stepping to the throne of Caesar, the vicar of Christ took up the scepter to which the emperors and kings of Europe were to bow in reverence through so many ages.” James P. Conroy, American Catholic Quarterly Review, April 1911.


The Dragon


If the beast power is the papacy, then who and what is the dragon? The dragon is the power that gave to the papacy its power, throne and great authority. It is obvious from the study of history that this power must refer to the pagan or heathen Roman Empire.

That which was started by Constantine and continued by Theodosius was completed by Justinian. Justinian first made a law in 532 A.D., which was to take effect in 533, that was to unite all in one faith. “Whether they were Jews, Gentiles or Christians, all who did not within three months profess and embrace the Catholic faith, were by the edict ‘declared infamous, and as such excluded from all employments both civil and military; rendered incapable of leaving anything by will; and all their estates confiscated, whether real or personal.’ As a result of this cruel edict, ‘Great numbers were driven from their habitations with their wives and children, stripped and naked. Others betook themselves to flight, carrying with them what they could conceal, for their support and maintenance; but they were plundered of what little they had, and many of them inhumanly massacred.’ ” Bower History of Latin Christianity, Book III, Chap. 1 Par. 5, quoted in The Two Republics, by A.T. Jones, 545.

However, this was just the legislative decree giving the papacy his unlimited power and authority. (The throne or seat of government of the papacy [Revelation 13:2] had already been bestowed by Constantine.)

Justinian was persuaded by the Catholic clergy to wage war on all Christians who did not acknowledge the supremacy of the pope over all churches, pastors and individual Christians. “The conquest of Italy by the Greeks was, to a great extent at least, the work of the Catholic clergy. . .The overthrow of the Gothic kingdom was to Italy an unmitigated evil . . . In their overthrow began the fatal policy of the Roman See, fatal at least to Italy. . . which never would permit a powerful native kingdom to unite Italy, or a very large part of it, under one dominion.

Whatever it may have been to Christendom, the Papacy has been the eternal, implacable foe of Italian independence and Italian unity.” Milman, History of Latin Christianity, vol. 1 b. 3, ch. 4.

There had been three nations which had not acknowledged the supremacy of the pope over all, and these three nations were the kingdom of Odoacer which had been destroyed by 493 A.D, the nation of the Vandals (destroyed by Justinian’s armies in 534 A.D.) and the Ostrogoths (driven from Rome by Justinian’s armies in 538 A.D.)

The dragon then represents the pagan Roman Empire and this is a most suitable symbol, for the Roman Empire is where paganism reached the zenith of its development. The religion of paganism is the worship of nature but in its fullest development it becomes the worship of the greatest intellects in God’s creation, or bluntly, the worship of evil spirits. It is impossible to fully develop this thesis in a magazine article, but any research into the nature of idolatry, whether in ancient Egypt or Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece or Rome, will reveal that idolatry in its fullest development involves intercourse with and worship of evil spirits.

The Bible supports this conclusion. Paul said, “But that which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not go God.” 1 Corinthians 10:20. When Paul was called to preach, the Lord told Him that he was to turn the people from the power of the devil to the power of God. (Acts 26:18.) Spiritualism from its development in Eden, in Genesis, has always claimed to make men and women into gods, and the leaders of heathen religions had God-like power over the consciences, minds and bodies of the adherents of those religions. Behind all of this apparent transformation of human beings into gods, was the arch-fiend who controlled the leaders of these religions andthrough them the people.


The False Prophet


The third power through whom Satan will deceive the world in the last days is the False Prophet. This is a most carefully chosen symbol. A prophet is a person who has received a special gift of prophecy from the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4; 1 Corinthians 12.) If a church claims to be led by prophets and live by the teaching of prophets, it will be a church claiming the Bible as its ultimate source of authority, since the Bible was written by prophets, and this is what gives it its authority. A church that lives by tradition or man-made commandments does not even claim to be controlled or ruled by prophets. What power in the world claims to be controlled and led by prophets—claims to receive their religion from the Bible—yet is attempting to influence men and women to receive the mark of the beast? (See Revelation 19:20.) The only group that this can indeed refer to is the Protestant world which is indeed seeking to lead people to receive the mark of papal authority—Sunday observance.

This goes back a long time. The Protestant churches were at one time accepted by God and were progressing in their knowledge of Biblical truth. But the time came when they, as entire churches, rejected the teaching of the First Angel’s Message, and as a result, the Lord rejected them. Those who accepted the truth in all these different bodies were called out to finish God’s work on the earth.

Ellen White described it like this, “Ministers laid aside their sectarian views and feelings and united in proclaiming the coming of Jesus. Wherever the message was given, it moved the people . . .Thousands were led to embrace the truth preached by William Miller, and servants of God were raised up in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the message . . . many who were united with the churches received the healing message; they saw their backslidings, and with bitter tears of repentance and deep agony of soul, humbled themselves before God. And as the Spirit of God rested upon them, they helped to sound the cry, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’ The preaching of definite time called forth great opposition from all classes, from the minister in the pulpit down to the most reckless,heaven-daring sinner . . . these shepherds stepped in between the truth and the people, and preached smooth things to lead them from the truth. They united with Satan and his angels, crying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there was no peace. Those who loved their ease and were content with their distance from God would not be aroused from their carnal security . . . Ministers who would not accept this saving message themselves hindered those who would have received it . . . Angels were watching with the deepest interest the result of the heavenly message, and when the churches turned from and rejected it, they in sadness consulted with Jesus. He turned His face from the churches . . . Satan and his angels triumphed, and cast it in the face of Christ and His holy angels, that His professed people had so little love for Jesus that they did not desire His second appearing.

“The believers in this message were oppressed in the churches . . . As the churches refused to receive the First Angel’s Message, they rejected the light from heaven and fell from the favor of God . . . As the time passed, those who had not fully received the light of the angel united with those who had despised the message, and they turned upon the disappointed ones with ridicule. Angels marked the situation of Christ’s professed followers. The passing of the definite time had tested and proved them, and very many were weighed in the balance and found wanting. They loudly claimed to be Christians, yet in almost every particular failed to follow Christ. Satan exulted at the state of the professed followers of Jesus.

“He had them in his snare . . . As the people of God united in the cry of the second angel, the heavenly host marked with the deepest interest the effect of the message. They saw many who bore the name of Christians turn with scorn and derision upon those who had been disappointed. As the words fell from mocking lips, ‘You have not gone up yet!’ an angel wrote them. Said the angel, ‘They mock God.’ I was pointed back to a similar sin committed in ancient times. Elijah had been translated to heaven, and his mantle had fallen upon Elisha. Then wicked youth, who had learned from their parents to despise the man of God, followed Elisha, and mockingly cried, ‘Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.’ In thus insulting His servant, they insulted God and met their punishment then and there. In like manner, those who have scoffed and mocked at the idea of the saints’ going up, will be visited with the wrath of God, and will be made to feel that it is not a light thing to trifle with their Maker . . .Those who rejected and opposed the light of the First Angel’s Message, lost the light of the second, and could not be benefited by the power and glory which attended the message, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh.’ Jesus turned from them with a frown; for they had slighted and rejected Him . . . I saw Jesus turn His face from those who rejected and despised His coming, and then He bade angels lead His people out from among the unclean, lest they should be defiled.” excerpts from Early Writings, 232–249. All emphasis supplied.

In The Great Controversy, Ellen White describes the same experience as follows: “But as ministers and religious leaders decided against the advent doctrine and desired to suppress all agitation of the subject, they not only opposed it from the pulpit, but denied their members the privilege of attending preaching upon the second advent, or even of speaking of their hope in the social meetings of the church. Thus the believers found themselves in a position of great trial and perplexity. They loved their churches and were loath to separate from them; but as they saw the testimony of God’s word suppressed and their right to investigate the prophecies denied they felt that loyalty to God forbade them to submit. Those who sought to shut out the testimony of God’s word they could not regard as constituting the church of Christ, ‘the pillar and ground of the truth.’ Hence they felt themselves justified in separating from their former connection. In the summer of 1844 about fifty thousand withdrew from the churches . . .

“The first angel’s message of Revelation 14, announcing the hour of God’s judgment and calling upon men to fear and worship Him, was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world and to arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. In this message, God has sent to the church a warning, which, had it been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting them away from Him. Had they received the message from heaven, humbling their hearts before the Lord and seeking in sincerity a preparation to stand in His presence, the Spirit and power of God would have been manifested among them. The church would again have reached that blessed state of unity, faith, and love which existed in apostolic days, when the believers ‘were of one heart and of one soul,’ and ‘spake the word of God with boldness,’ when ‘the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.’ Acts 4:32, 31; 2:47 . . . But the churches generally did not accept the warning.

“In refusing the warning of the first angel, they rejected the means which Heaven had provided for their restoration. They spurned the gracious messenger that would have corrected the evils which separated them from God, and with greater eagerness they turned to seek the friendship of the world. Here was the cause of that fearful condition of worldliness, backsliding, and spiritual death which existed in the churches in 1844 . . .

“The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her confidence and affection to be turned of the marriage vow . . .

“The woman (Babylon) of Revelation 17 is described as ‘arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness . . . and upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots.’ Says the prophet: ‘I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.’ Babylon is further declared to be ‘that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.’ Revelation 17:4–6, 18. The power that for so many centuries maintained despotic sway over the monarchs of Christendom is Rome.

“The purple and scarlet color, the gold and precious stones and pearls, vividly picture the magnificence and more than kingly pomp affected by the haughty see of Rome. And no other power could be so truly declared ‘drunken with the blood of the saints’ as that church which has so cruelly persecuted the followers of Christ. Babylon is also charged with the sin of unlawful connection with ‘the kings of the earth.’ It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot; and Rome, corrupting herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers, receives a like condemnation . . .

“Babylon is said to be ‘the mother of harlots.’ By her daughters must be symbolized churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions, and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God, in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world. The message of Revelation 14, announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt. Since this message follows the warning of the judgment, it must be given in the last days; therefore it cannot refer to the Roman Church alone, for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries. Furthermore, in the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation the people of God are called upon to come out of Babylon. According to this scripture, many of God’s people must still be in Babylon. And in what religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith. At the time of their rise these churches took a noble stand for God and the truth, and His blessing was with them. Even the unbelieving world was constrained to acknowledge the beneficent results that followed an acceptance of the principles of the gospel . . .

“Many of the Protestant churches are following Rome’s example of iniquitous connection with ‘the kings of the earth’—the state churches, by their relation to secular governments; and other denominations, by seeking the favor of the world. And the term ‘Babylon’—confusion—may be appropriately applied to these bodies, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects, with widely conflicting creeds and theories.

“Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their present condition and are longing for clearer light. They look in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they are connected. As these bodies depart further and further from the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the difference between the two classes will widen, and it will finally result in separation.

“The time will come when those who love God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such as are ‘lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’ “The Great Controversy, 376–390.

This three-fold union of Spiritualism (pagan religions are included in this term), the Papacy, and Protestant churches, who seek to shut out the testimony of God’s Word and cling to doctrines originating with the Papacy, sacrifice the truth and approval of God in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world, make up, what the latter part of the book of Revelation refers to as, Mystical Babylon. Babylon will be made up of a union of these three great powers: Spiritualism, the Papacy and Apostate Protestantism.

Ellen White describes this as follows, “Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” The Great Controversy, 588.

“By the decree of enforcing the institution of the Papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with Spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and Republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan, and that the end is near.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 451.

To be continued.


Editorial — This Man Has a Devil, part 3

In the closing paragraph of the editorial, “This Man Has a Devil, Part 2,” December 1997, we concluded: “With such a history—a history of almost constant rejection of every reformer that has appeared in Adventism for over 100 years, what should we expect as we approach the last great crisis? ‘If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub (Devil), how much more shall they call those of His household.’ Matthew 10:25. This has special meaning in the very last days as we shall see.”

The rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish nation was clearly predicted by the Old Testament prophets, but (perhaps mercifully) was not understood by the saints of God generally until after it happened. The same is true of the destruction of Jerusalem and God’s people in the last days. However, this time it will be more dangerous not to understand the prophecies until after they are fulfilled, because in our time probation is going to close. And it will close suddenly, silently and at a most unexpected time. (1888 Materials¸ 754.)

“So in the prophecies the future is opened before us as plainly as it was opened to the disciples by the words of Christ. The events connected with the close of probation and the work of preparation for the time of trouble, are clearly presented. But multitudes have no more understanding of these important truths than if they had never been revealed.” Great Controversy, 594.

What is this future that is opened before us as plainly as it was opened to the disciples? Part of it is that the very same type of experiences which Jesus and Paul endured, will be endured by the true church before the end. And when I say the true church, I do not mean the professed people of God—those who are Seventh-day Adventists by profession—but those who are both professors and doers of the word and not just hearers. “God is honored, not so much by the great number, as by the character of those who serve him. He appreciates moral worth. He draws the dividing line between those who bear his name by profession, and those whose character shows them to be his children. Those who have the fear of God will listen to his counsels, and obey them. They will not be content with spurious theories, nor build upon false principles to secure the friendship of the world.” The Signs of the Times, June 30, 1881. Just as in the time of Christ and the Apostle Paul, the greatest opposition to the true church will come from the professed people of God. The following references will document the truthfulness of this.

“The Third Angel’s Message will not be comprehended, the light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light, by those who refuse to walk in its advancing glory.” Review and Herald, May 27, 1890. This statement was not written to Protestants or Catholics, but to Seventh-day Adventists, as you can easily see if you study the context. So, it is Adventists who will call the loud cry a “false light.”

“There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their ideas and expectations, they will oppose the work. ‘Why,’ they say, ‘should not we know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?’ ” Review and Herald, December 23, 1890. Notice, it will be people who have been “in the work” for many years—this is sometimes called the “organized work.” Some who are looked up to as leaders will oppose the loud cry.

“As the professed people of God [Seventh-day Adventists by profession] depart from Him and lose the simplicity of the faith, the words of His messengers seem to them unnecessarily harsh and severe. They cherish prejudice and unbelief, and finally place themselves fully on Satan’s side. His suggestions seem pleasant and palatable; they are controlled, in spirit and opinion, by the arch-deceiver, and having permitted him to direct their thoughts, they soon permit him to direct their actions.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 229.