Bible Study Guides – “What Manner of Persons Ought Ye to Be?”

June 18-24, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, ‘Be ye holy; for I am holy.’ ” 1 Peter 1:15, 16.

STUDY HELP: Last Day Events, 63–93.

INTRODUCTION: “Enoch was a representative of those who will be upon the earth when Christ shall come, who will be translated to heaven without seeing death. Enoch had temptations as well as we. He was surrounded with society no more friendly to righteousness than is that which surrounds us. The atmosphere he breathed was tainted with sin and corruption the same as ours, yet he lived a life of holiness. He was unsullied with the prevailing sins of the age in which he lived. So may we remain pure and uncorrupted.” Last Day Events, 71, 72.

“Sheep and Goats”

1 What stories did Christ tell to show that mankind will be divided into two groups when He comes? Matthew 25:31, 32. (Read the whole chapter.)

NOTE: See Christ’s Object Lessons, 283.

2 What will be Christ’s words to many who claimed to be His followers? Matthew 7:21–23.

NOTE: “There are persons who believe that they are right, when they are wrong. While claiming Christ as their Lord, and professedly doing great works in His name, they are workers of iniquity. ‘With their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.’ He who declares God’s word is to them ‘as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear Thy words, but they do them not.’ Ezekiel 33:31, 32. A mere profession of discipleship is of no value. The faith in Christ which saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many. ‘Believe, believe,’ they say, ‘and you need not keep the law.’ But a belief that does not lead to obedience is presumption. The apostle John says, ‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ 1 John 2:4. Let none cherish the idea that special providences or miraculous manifestations are to be the proof of the genuineness of their work or of the ideas they advocate.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 146.

“Cares of This Life”

3 Against what snares did Christ warn us? Luke 21:34.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 625, 626.

4 How did Paul amplify Christ’s warning? 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 635.

“For a Witness”

5 Before the end comes, what work must be witnessed by all nations? Matthew 24:14.

NOTE: “‘When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.’ Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.

6 How does Paul describe the way the faithful servant of Christ may reveal the truth of the Gospel? Titus 2:10, last part.

NOTE: “The Lord knows the thoughts and purposes of man, and how easily He can melt us! How His Spirit, like a fire, can subdue the flinty heart! How He can fill the soul with love and tenderness! How He can give us the graces of His Holy Spirit, and fit us to go in and out, in laboring for souls! The power of overcoming grace should be felt throughout the church today; and it may be felt, if we take heed to the counsels of Christ to His followers. As we learn to adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour we shall surely see of the salvation of God.” Counsels on Stewardship, 189.

“Blessed is That Servant”

7 How does Jesus describe the faithful servant? Matthew 24:45–47.

NOTE: “It is the faithfulness, the loyalty to God, the loving service, that wins the divine approval. Every impulse of the Holy Spirit leading men to goodness and to God, is noted in the books of heaven, and in the day of God the workers through whom He has wrought will be commended.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 361.

8 What principle will apply in the judgment? Luke 12:47, 48.

NOTE: “God gives to every one sufficient light and grace to do the work He has given him to do. If man fails to do that which a little light shows to be his duty, greater light would only reveal unfaith-fulness, neglect to improve the blessings given. ‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.’” Christ’s Object Lessons, 265, 266.

“Be Ye Also Ready”

9 What example may we learn from the people of Capernaum? Luke 8:40.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 425.

10 How may we be victorious in the battle with temptation? James 4:7.

NOTE: ‘Prayer and faith are closely allied, and they need to be studied together.…Christ says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal. For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received. We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most.” Education, 257, 258.

“Enter Thou into the Joy of Thy Lord”

11 What words will be spoken by those who have patiently waited for Jesus? Isaiah 25:9.

NOTE: “Remembering the tender mercies of the Lord, we should cast our care upon Him, and with patience wait for His salvation. Through conflict the spiritual life is strengthened. Trials well borne will develop steadfastness of character and precious spiritual graces. The perfect fruit of faith, meekness, and love often matures best amid storm clouds and darkness. ‘The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.’ James 5:7. So the Christian is to wait with patience for the fruition in his life of the word of God. Often when we pray for the graces of the Spirit, God works to answer our prayers by placing us in circumstances to develop these fruits.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 61.

12 With what words will Christ greet His faithful servants? Matthew 25:21.

NOTE: “With unutterable love, Jesus welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of their Lord. The Saviour’s joy is in seeing, in the kingdom of glory, the souls that have been saved by His agony and humiliation. And the redeemed will be sharers in His joy, as they behold, among the blessed, those who have been won to Christ through their prayers, their labors, and their loving sacrifice. As they gather about the great white throne, gladness unspeakable will fill their hearts, when they behold those whom they have won for Christ, and see that one has gained others, and these still others, all brought into the haven of rest, there to lay their crowns at Jesus’ feet and praise Him through the endless cycles of eternity.” Maranatha, 315.

Bible Study Guides – “They Lived and Reigned With Christ a Thousand Years”

June 11-17, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3.

STUDY HELP: Great Controversy, 653–661.

INTRODUCTION: “After the saints are changed to immortality and caught up together with Jesus, after they receive their harps, their robes, and their crowns, and enter the city, Jesus and the saints sit in judgment. The books are opened—the book of life and the book of death. The book of life contains the good deeds of the saints; and the book of death contains the evil deeds of the wicked. These books are compared with the statute book, the Bible, and according to that men are judged. The saints, in unison with Jesus, pass their judgment upon the wicked dead. ‘Behold ye,’ said the angel, ‘the saints, in unison with Jesus, sit in judgment, and mete out to the wicked according to the deeds done in the body, and that which they must receive at the execution of the judgment is set off against their names.’ This, I saw, was the work of the saints with Jesus through the one thousand years in the Holy City before it descends to the earth.” Early Writings, 52, 53.

“The Rest of the Dead”

1 What are we told about those who are not raised at Christ’s Second Coming? Revelation 20:5, first part.

2 What will happen to those wicked people who are alive when Christ comes? 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8. Compare Hebrews 10:27; Hebrews 12:29; 2 Peter 3:7.

NOTE: “At the Second Advent of Christ the wicked shall be consumed ‘with the Spirit of His mouth,’ and destroyed ‘with the brightness of His coming.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:8. The light of the glory of God, which imparts life to the righteous, will slay the wicked.” Desire of Ages, 107.

“They Lived and Reigned With Christ”

3 What are we told about the people of God during the thousand years following Christ’s Second Coming? Revelation 20:6.

4 What work will they engage in during that time? Revelation 20:4. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3.

NOTE: “During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection the judgment of the wicked takes place.…At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says: ‘I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.’ ‘They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.’ Revelation 20:4, 6. It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, ‘the saints shall judge the world.’ 1 Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death.” Maranatha, 335.

“Bound Him a Thousand Years”

5 What will happen to Satan during the thousand years? Revelation 20:1, 2.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 658, 659.

6 How does this experience of Satan fulfill the symbolism of the sanctuary? Leviticus 16:20–22.

NOTE: The word translated ‘scapegoat’ (Leviticus 16:8) literally means ‘the goat for Azazel.’ Azazel is a name of the devil. (See also Great Controversy, 658.)

“For a thousand years, Satan will wander to and fro in the desolate earth to behold the results of his rebellion against the law of God. During this time his sufferings are intense. Since his fall his life of unceasing activity has banished reflection; but he is now deprived of his power and left to contemplate the part which he has acted since first he rebelled against the government of heaven, and to look forward with trembling and terror to the dreadful future when he must suffer for all the evil that he has done and be punished for the sins that he has caused to be committed.” Great Controversy, 660.

“Coming Down From God Out of Heaven”

7 How is the return of Christ to the earth at the end of the thousand years described? Zechariah 14:3, 4.

NOTE: “At the close of the thousand years, Christ again returns to the earth. He is accompanied by the host of the redeemed and attended by a retinue of angels. As He descends in terrific majesty He bids the wicked dead arise to receive their doom. They come forth, a mighty host, numberless as the sands of the sea. What a contrast to those who were raised at the first resurrection! The righteous were clothed with immortal youth and beauty. The wicked bear the traces of disease and death. Every eye in that vast multitude is turned to behold the glory of the Son of God. With one voice the wicked hosts exclaim: ‘Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!’ It is not love to Jesus that inspires this utterance. The force of truth urges the words from unwilling lips. As the wicked went into their graves, so they come forth with the same enmity to Christ and the same spirit of rebellion. They are to have no new probation in which to remedy the defects of their past lives.” Great Controversy, 662.

8 How is the return to the earth of God’s people described? Revelation 21:2, 10.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 663.

“Satan Shall Be Loosed”

9 When will Satan be free to take up again his work of deception? Revelation 20:7. Compare Revelation 20:5.

NOTE: “At the close of the thousand years the second resurrection will take place. Then the wicked will be raised from the dead and appear before God for the execution of ‘the judgment written.’” Great Controversy, 661.

10 What will Satan then set out to do? Revelation 20:8, 9.

NOTE: “Now Satan prepares for a last mighty struggle for the supremacy. While deprived of his power and cut off from his work of deception, the prince of evil was miserable and dejected; but as the wicked dead are raised and he sees the vast multitudes upon his side, his hopes revive, and he determines not to yield the great controversy. He will marshal all the armies of the lost under his banner and through them endeavor to execute his plans. The wicked are Satan’s captives. In rejecting Christ they have accepted the rule of the rebel leader. They are ready to receive his suggestions and to do his bidding. Yet, true to his early cunning, he does not acknowledge himself to be Satan. He claims to be the prince who is the rightful owner of the world and whose inheritance has been unlawfully wrested from him. He represents himself to his deluded subjects as a redeemer, assuring them that his power has brought them forth from their graves and that he is about to rescue them from the most cruel tyranny. The presence of Christ having been removed, Satan works wonders to support his claims. He makes the weak strong and inspires all with his own spirit and energy. He proposes to lead them against the camp of the saints and to take possession of the City of God. With fiendish exultation he points to the unnumbered millions who have been raised from the dead and declares that as their leader he is well able to overthrow the city and regain his throne and his kingdom.” Maranatha, 337.

“The Great White Throne”

11 How is the judgment of the wicked described? Revelation 20:11–13.

NOTE: “As soon as the books of record are opened, and the eye of Jesus looks upon the wicked, they are conscious of every sin which they have ever committed. They see just where their feet diverged from the path of purity and holiness, just how far pride and rebellion have carried them in the violation of the law of God. The seductive temptations which they encouraged by indulgence in sin, the blessings perverted, the messengers of God despised, the warnings rejected, the waves of mercy beaten back by the stubborn, unrepentant heart—all appear as if written in letters of fire.” Great Controversy, 666.

12 What will be the fate of the wicked? Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:8; Malachi 4:1.

NOTE: ‘Fire comes down from God out of heaven. The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. The day has come that shall burn as an oven. The elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein are burned up. Malachi 4:1; 2 Peter 3:10. The earth’s surface seems one molten mass—a vast, seething lake of fire. It is the time of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men—‘the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.’ Isaiah 34:8. …Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished ‘according to their deeds.’ The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch—Satan the root, his followers the branches.” Great Controversy, 672, 673.

“A New Heaven and a New Earth”

13 After the destruction of the wicked, what will the Lord do next? Revelation 21:1–5.

NOTE: “The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin. One reminder alone remains: Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought.” Great Controversy, 674.

14 How is this new earth described? 1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 65:17–25.

NOTE: “In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called “a country.” Hebrews 11:14-16. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On these peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.” Great Controversy, 675.

Bible Study Guides – “The Day of the Lord Will Come”

June 4-10, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10.

STUDY HELP: Last Day Events, 11–17.

INTRODUCTION: “We are living in the last days. The closing scenes of this world’s history, which our Saviour foretold would take place just prior to His coming, are now being enacted before us. Concerning this time He said, ‘As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ The inhabitants of the antediluvian world were utterly unconcerned, and at the appointed time the flood came and took them all away. Had they believed the warning given by Noah, they would not have risked everything by going on in wickedness. Notwithstanding their unbelief, destruction came. Unbelief will not change the certainty of Christ’s Second Coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 178.

“My Lord Delayeth His Coming”

1 About what common attitude in the last days did the apostle Peter prophesy? 2 Peter 3:3–5.

NOTE: “God designs that His people shall fix their eyes heavenward, looking for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. While the attention of worldlings is turned to various enterprises, ours should be to the heavens; our faith should reach further and further into the glorious mysteries of the heavenly treasure, drawing the precious, divine rays of light from the heavenly sanctuary to shine in our hearts, as they shine upon the face of Jesus. The scoffers mock the waiting, watching ones, and inquire: ‘Where is the promise of His coming? You have been disappointed. Engage now with us, and you will prosper in worldly things. Get gain, get money, and be honored of the world.’ The waiting ones look upward and answer: ‘We are watching.’ And by turning from earthly pleasure and worldly fame, and from the deceitfulness of riches, they show themselves to be in that position. By watching they become strong; they overcome sloth and selfishness and love of ease. Affliction’s fire kindles upon them, and the waiting time seems long. They sometimes grieve, and faith falters; but they rally again, overcome their fears and doubts, and while their eyes are directed heavenward, say to their adversaries: ‘I am watching, I am waiting the return of my Lord. I will glory in tribulation, in affliction, in necessities.’ The desire of our Lord is that we should be watching, so that when He cometh and knocketh we may open to Him immediately.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 194, 195.

2 What is the real reason for this scoffing? 2 Peter 3:3, last part. Compare 2 Timothy 4:3.

NOTE: “The apostle does not here refer to the openly irreligious, but to professed Christians who have indulged inclination until they are enslaved by their own ungoverned passions,—‘led away with divers lusts.’ Such desire to hear doctrines that will not interfere with their sinful course, or condemn their pleasure-loving propensities. Hence they are offended by the plain words of the faithful servants of Christ, and choose those teachers who will praise and flatter them instead of rebuking their sins. These teachers ‘they heap to themselves’ as special favorites. Even among the professed ministers of Christ, there are many who do not preach the word, but the opinions of men. They have turned away their ears from truth. The Lord has spoken to them in His word; but they do not care to hear His voice, because it condemns their practices.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 323.

3 How did Christ contrast two attitudes among His professed followers concerning His Coming? Matthew 24:45, 48.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 635.

“The Words Which Were Spoken Before of the Apostles”

4 What is the testimony of the apostles concerning the Second Coming? Titus 2:13; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 3:10; 1 John 3:2, 3.

NOTE: Every New Testament writer, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter and Jude, speaks about the return of Jesus. “The apostles went forth with courage and hope, to do their Master’s work with fidelity. They knew that the most acceptable way of waiting for Christ was to work for Him. It was theirs to direct others to the coming Lord, and to teach them to wait patiently for His appearing. This work was given to every disciple of Christ.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 263.

5 Who was the earliest prophet to speak of the coming of the Lord in glory? Jude 14, 15.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 299.

“A More Sure Word of Prophecy”

6 What time prophecy brings us down to the “time of the end”? Daniel 8:14. Compare Daniel 8:17.

NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 547.

7 When were the prophecies of Daniel to be understood? Daniel 12:4, 9.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 355.

8 What prophecy describes the opening of the book of Daniel? Revelation 10:1–11.

NOTE: “John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel’s prophecies have their proper place in the First, Second, and Third Angels’ Messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time. The books of Daniel and the Revelation are one. One is a prophecy, the other a revelation; one a book sealed, the other a book opened. John heard the mysteries which the thunders uttered, but he was commanded not to write them. The special light given to John which was expressed in the seven thunders was a delineation of events which would transpire under the First and Second Angels’ Messages. It was not best for the people to know these things, for their faith must necessarily be tested. In the order of God, most wonderful and advanced truths would be proclaimed. The First and Second Angels’ Messages had done their specific work. This is represented by the angel standing with one foot on the sea, proclaiming with a most solemn oath that time should be no longer. This time which the angel declares with a solemn oath, is not the end of this world’s history, neither of probationary time, but of prophetic time, which should precede the advent of our Lord. That is, the people will not have another message upon definite time. After this period of time, reaching from 1842 to 1844, there can be no definite tracing of the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844. The angel’s position with one foot on the sea, the other on the land signifies the wide extent of the proclamation of the message. It will cross the broad waters and be proclaimed in other countries, even to all the world. The comprehension of truth, the glad reception of the message is represented in the eating of the little book. The truth in regard to the time of the advent of our Lord was a precious message to our souls.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 99, 100.

“With Power and Great Glory”

9 Will the coming of Christ be secret or visible? Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:27, 30; Acts 1:9–11.

NOTE: “Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror. Not now a ‘man of sorrows,’ to drink the bitter cup of shame and woe, He comes, victor in heaven and earth, to judge the living and the dead. ‘Faithful and True,’ ‘in righteousness He doth judge and make war.’ And ‘the armies which were in heaven followed Him.’ Revelation 19:11, 14. With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms—‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.’ No human pen can portray the scene; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor. ‘His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light.’ Habakkuk 3:3, 4. As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head, but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun.” The Faith I Live By, 349.

10 What sounds will accompany the return of our Lord? 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Psalm 50:3, 4.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 644.

“The Harvest of the Earth is Ripe”

11 How are those described who are ready for Jesus’ coming? Ephesians 5:27. Compare Ephesians 1:4; 1 John 3:2.

NOTE: “Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling.” Great Controversy, 425.

12 What will happen to God’s people when Jesus comes? 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

NOTE: We are told in this verse that “the dead in Christ” and “we which are alive and remain” will meet the Lord together. The Bible does not teach that the dead in Christ meet Him at some earlier time.

“There appears in the East a small black cloud.…The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth,…until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror.…As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head; but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun. ‘And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.’ …The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place. …Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints.…Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live.…All arise with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth.…The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal, and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Oh, what a glorious meeting!” My Life Today, 345.

13 What are we told of the fate of those who are not ready to meet the Lord? 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; Compare 2 Peter 3:10.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 657.

14 What counsel are we, who look for Christ’s coming, given? 2 Peter 3:14, 1 John 3:3.

NOTE: “I cannot express to you the intense desire of my soul that you should all seek the Lord most earnestly while He may be found. We are in the day of God’s preparation. Let nothing be regarded as of sufficient worth to draw your minds from the work of preparing for the great day of judgment. Get ready. Let not cold unbelief hold your souls away from God, but let His love burn on the altar of your hearts.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 590.

“’I was pointed to the earth and saw that there would have to be a getting ready among those who have of late embraced the Third Angel’s Message. Said the angel, ‘Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye will have to die a greater death to the world than ye have ever yet died.’ I saw that there was a great work to do for them and but little time in which to do it.” Early Writings, 64.

Bible Study Guides – “No Man Knoweth the Day nor the Hour”

May 28 – June 3, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:44

STUDY HELP: Last Day Events, 32–39.

INTRODUCTION: “The times and the seasons God has put in His own power, and why has not God given us this knowledge?—Because we would not make a right use of it. A condition of things would result from this knowledge among our people that would greatly retard the work of God in preparing a people to stand in the great day that is to come.…We are not to be engrossed with speculations in regard to the times and the seasons which God has not revealed. Jesus has told His disciples to ‘watch,’ but not for definite time. His followers are to be in the position of those who are listening for the orders of their Captain; they are to watch, wait, pray, and work, as they approach the time for the coming of the Lord; but no one will be able to predict just when that time will come; for ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man.’ You will not be able to say that He will come in one, two, or five years, neither are you to put off His coming by stating that it may not be for ten or twenty years.” Review and Herald, March 22, 1892. We are not to know the definite time either for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or for the coming of Christ.

“But of That Day and That Hour Knoweth No Man”

1 Who alone knows the time of Christ’s coming? Matthew 24:36.

NOTE: “The Lord, who knows all, will make known the very things that are for the best interests of His children; and if He sees fit to veil the events of the future, it is only because He loves us, and would work out our highest good. Should He permit us to see the future mapped out before us, some of us would be distracted by anticipating coming sorrows, and others would be self-confident and daring, and the very good that our heavenly Father intended to bring about by His all-wise providences, would be thwarted and frustrated.” Signs of the Times, August 19, 1889.

2 Because we do not know the time of Christ’s coming, what counsel does Christ give us? Matthew 24:42–44.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 371.

“‘Shall He Find Faith on the Earth?”

3 How does the Bible describe conditions in the religious world in the last days? 2 Timothy 3:1–5.

NOTE: “Men will be living a godless life, professing to be Christians, but by their acts contradicting their profession. They will be heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Is not this idolatry? and is not the guilt of God’s professed people as much greater than was that of ancient Israel, as the light which we enjoy is greater than theirs?” Signs of the Times, May 26, 1881.

4 In what sad words did Christ describe the decline in faith among Christians? Luke 18:8.

NOTE: “Spiritual darkness has covered the earth and gross darkness the people. There are in many churches skepticism and infidelity in the interpretation of the Scriptures. Many, very many, are questioning the verity and truth of the Scriptures. Human reasoning and the imaginings of the human heart are undermining the inspiration of the Word of God, and that which should be received as granted, is surrounded with a cloud of mysticism. Nothing stands out in clear and distinct lines, upon rock bottom. This is one of the marked signs of the last days.” Selected Messages vol. 1, 15. (See also page 17.)

“Peace and Safety”

5 What popular picture of conditions before Christ’s coming will deceive mankind? 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 321.

6 Against what other error did Christ warn us? Matthew 24:26, 27.

NOTE: In the 19th century a Chilean Jesuit, Manuel de Lacunza y Dias, posed as a converted Jew, “Rabbi Juan Josafat ben-Ezra,” to write a book called The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty. This book proclaimed for the first time the theory that Christ would return in secret to snatch His church away from the earth before the final great tribulation should begin. His book was translated into English by Edward Irving, an early practitioner of glossolalia (falsely called “speaking in tongues”.) The secret rapture theory was taken up by John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren and popularized by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield in the “Scofield Bible.” This theory that Christ will return in secret is now widely believed by Evangelical Christians. (See also Desire of Ages, 739.)

“Behold the Bridegroom Cometh!”

7 How did Christ illustrate the state of the church in the period just before His return? Matthew 25:1–5.

NOTE: “The two classes of watchers [in the parable of the ten virgins] represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the Word of God.…The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the parable, all ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s Second Coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,’ many are unready.…. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.” God’s Amazing Grace, 214.

8 In what words does Christ point out the spiritual need of the church? Revelation 3:15–19.

NOTE: “Here is represented a people who pride themselves in their possession of spiritual knowledge and advantages. But they have not responded to the unmerited blessings that God has bestowed upon them. They have been full of rebellion, ingratitude, and forgetfulness of God; and still He has dealt with them as a loving, forgiving father deals with an ungrateful, wayward son. They have resisted His grace, abused His privileges, slighted His opportunities, and have been satisfied to sink down in contentment, in lamentable ingratitude, hollow formalism, and hypocritical insincerity. With pharisaic pride they have vaunted themselves till it has been said of them, ‘Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing’ (verse 17). Has not the Lord Jesus sent message after message of rebuke, of warning, of entreaty, to these self-satisfied ones? Have not His counsels been despised and rejected? Have not His delegated messengers been treated with scorn, and their words been received as idle tales? Christ sees that which man does not see. He sees the sins which, if not repented of, will exhaust the patience of a long-suffering God.” Faith and Works, 83.

“A Faithful and Wise Servant”

9 How does Jesus contrast the activities of the faithful servant and the evil servant? Luke 12:41–48.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 634, 635.

10 What blessing awaits the faithful servants? Luke 12:35–38. (See Revelation 19:9.)

NOTE: “A sacred responsibility rests upon every one who has a connection with the cause of God. He is called upon to do his work with fidelity, to sanctify himself to the service of God that others also may be sanctified. When the case of every soul is decided in the judgment, some will meet their record with joy, and others with hopeless grief. The faithful will be invited in to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and Christ will gird Himself, and come forth to serve them.” Review and Herald, March 7, 1893. (See also Early Writings, 19.)

“The Patience of the Saints”

11 What illustration does James give to show the correct attitude of those who await Christ’s coming? James 5:7, 8.

NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 731, 732.

12 What promise may we rely on? Hebrews 10:35–37.

NOTE: “We are homeward bound. He who loved us so much as to die for us hath builded for us a city. The New Jerusalem is our place of rest. There will be no sadness in the city of God. No wail of sorrow, no dirge of crushed hopes and buried affections will evermore be heard. Soon the garments of heaviness will be changed for the wedding garment. Soon we shall witness the coronation of our King. Those whose lives have been hidden with Christ, those who on this earth have fought the good fight of faith, will shine forth with the Redeemer’s glory in the kingdom of God. It will not be long till we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 287.

Food – Temperance or Intemperance?

What is it that brings May flowers?

Oh yes, April’s rains! We surely have had those haven’t we? How gracious is our Heavenly Father to know just what we need, and henceforth supplies it all. And in some cases, much more than we need…What terrible disasters, only to remind us once again that His coming is “even at the door.” In view of all of this, it does behoove each one of us to get our lives in readiness for that glorious day when He shall appear in all His beauty to reclaim all those who have been true and faithful to Him in all things.…even lifestyle!

“Often intemperance begins in the home. By the use of rich, unhealthful food, the digestive organs are weakened and a desire is created for food that is still more stimulating. Thus the appetite is educated to crave continually something stronger. The demand for stimulants becomes more frequent and more difficult to resist. The system becomes more of less filled with poison, and the more debilitated it becomes, the greater is the desire for these things. One step in the wrong direction prepares the way for another. Many, who would not be guilty of placing on their table wine or liquor of any kind, will load their table with food, which creates such a thirst for strong drink that to resist the temptation is almost impossible. Wrong habits of eating and drinking destroy the health and prepare the way for drunkenness.”

“There would soon be little necessity for temperance crusades, if in the youth who form and fashion society, right principles in regard to temperance could be implanted. Let parents begin a crusade against intemperance at their own firesides, in the principles they teach their children to follow from infancy, and they may hope for success.”

“There is work for mothers in helping their children to form correct habits and pure tastes. Educate the appetite; teach the children to abhor stimulants. Bring your children up to have moral stamina to resist the evil that surrounds them. Teach them that they are not to be swayed by others, that they are not to yield to strong influences, but to influence others for good.”

“Great efforts are made to put down intemperance; but there is much effort that is not directed to the right point. The advocates of temperance reform should be awake to the evils resulting from the use of unwholesome food, condiments, tea, and coffee…”

“All narcotics and unnatural stimulants that enfeeble and degrade the physical nature tend to lower the tone of the intellect and morals. Intemperance lies at the foundation of the moral depravity of the world. By the indulgence of perverted appetite, man loses his power to resist temptation.”

“In relation to tea, coffee, tobacco, and alcoholic drinks, the only safe course is to touch not, taste not, handle not. The tendency of tea, coffee, and similar drinks is in the same direction as that of alcoholic liquor and tobacco, and in some cases the habit is as difficult to break as it is for the drunkard to give up intoxicants. Those who attempt to leave off these stimulants will for a time feel loss, and will suffer without them. But by persistence they will overcome the craving, and cease to feel the lack. Nature may require a little time to recover from the abuse she has suffered; but give her a chance, and she will again rally, and perform her work nobly and well.” Ministry of Healing, 334, 335.

“Please keep in mind that when these words of God were written there were no cola drinks…. and these contain caffeine, which is so harmful, as is chocolate and cocoa. Is my prayer that God gives each and every one of you the victory over any of these to which you may be addicted.

Recipe – Grape Nut Pudding

1-1/2 tablespoons agar

¾ cup finely chopped raisins

¾ cup cooked prunes-finely-chopped

¾ cup Grape Nuts

2 cups boiling water or fruit juice

¾ cup finely chopped Walnuts

¼ cup chopped dates

Stir Agar into boiling water or fruit juice, and boil gently for 10 minutes, until clear. Stir in other ingredients. Let stand until set. Refrigerate.

Children’s Story – The Clock That Struck Thirteen

It was midnight in the town of Plymouth, England. Two men stood by the town’s great clock. As it finished striking the hour, both men, strangers, remarked that it had struck thirteen times instead of twelve. One of these men was a gentleman by the name of Captain Jarvis.

It was not long after this that Captain Jarvis awoke early one morning, got up, dressed, and went down to the front door of his home. As he opened it, he saw, to his surprise, that his groom was standing there with his horse saddles and bridled, ready for him to mount.

The groom explained, “I had a feeling that you would be wanting your horse, sir.” He said the feeling had been so strong that he couldn’t stay in bed, but had to get up and get the horse ready.

This was strange. It had never happened before. But, since the horse was ready, he mounted and rode off. Not having to go anywhere in particular, he let the horse choose where he would take him. Soon they were down by the river, close to the spot where a ferry took passengers across. Imagine his surprise, at this early hour, to see the ferryman there with his boat, waiting to take him across. What was going on?

“How are you here so early, my man?” he inquired.

“I couldn’t rest in my bed, sir, for I had a feeling I was wanted to ferry someone across.”

The Captain and the horse got on the boat, and soon they were on the other side. Now what? Again he let the horse direct the course he would take. After some time they came to a large country town. And seeing a passerby, the captain inquired if anything of interest was going on in the town.

“No, sir. Nothing but the trial of a man for murder.”

So, with no other destination in mind for this strange trip, he thought he would see what was going on. He rode to the place of the trial, dismounted, and entered the building.

As he walked in, he heard the judge saying to the prisoner, “Have you anything to say for yourself—anything at all?”

And the prisoner said, “I have nothing to say, sir, except that I am an innocent man. There is only one man in all the world who could prove my innocence, but I do not know his name nor where he lives. Some weeks ago we stood together in the town of Plymouth when it was midnight. We both heard the great town clock strike thirteen instead of twelve, and we remarked about it to each other—how strange it was that the clock should strike thirteen at the midnight hour.”

“I am here! I am here!” the captain shouted from the rear of the room. “I was the man who stood at midnight beside the great Plymouth clock and heard it strike thirteen instead of twelve. What the prisoner says is absolutely true. I identify him as the man. On the night of the murder, at the very time it was committed, that man was with me at Plymouth, and we remarked to each other how strange it was that the clock should strike thirteen at the midnight hour!”

The condemned man, proved innocent by the captain’s testimony, was immediately set free!

Think of it! Only one man in the world could prove that prisoner’s innocence. And angels, by awakening a groom and a ferryman and impressing them with an urgency they could not understand—and by leading the horse—had brought that one man into the courtroom at the precise moment he was needed!

How the angels must have loved it!

Taken from “It Must Have Been an Angel” by Marjorie Lewis Lloyd

Where Have All the Faithful Gone?

Why do we look back upon the patriarchs and prophets with such respect and awe?

Most importantly, why are there no persons of such character today for us to respect and admire?

Is it possible for there to be a people that love God as much as they did?

Is it possible for God to bless a person or a people the way He did in the days of the patriarchs and prophets?

Does God not still have the capability to give a person the gift of prophecy or the gift of interpreting the Scriptures the way they did?

Why was Isaac, the son of Abraham, so obedient and loving to his father?

Why do we not find any Josephs, Daniels, Elijahs, or Pauls today?

Can a person have a perfect character in the eyes of God the way that Job did?

As we look upon the degenerating generations of today, we should and must ask ourselves these questions, then decide from the Bible, not from modern opinions, what we should do about the problem.

The Solution

Today, the reason we do not find characters like the patriarchs and prophets of old is because no one wants to be like the patriarchs and prophets of old. No one wants to be like Joseph, or Daniel, or Paul. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. “God is no respecter of persons” Acts 10:34. He loves us just as much as he did the Bible characters. He wants to give us the same grace and powers He gave them. It is written in the New Testament that Christians “can do all things through Christ” Philippians 9:13. The only difference between them and us, is that they truly loved God and wanted to please Him. Yes, “God is no respecter of persons,” but God does bless individuals and nations and churches according to their obedience and faith in Him. (See Genesis 17:1–9; 18:19, 32; Romans 4:13.) God promised, in Joel 2:28–31, that in the last days there will be dreams and visions and prophets. This is called the “Latter Rain,” Joel 2:23, and it will be more abundant and more powerful than was the early rain upon the day of Pentecost.

The reason we have no Elijahs today is because we are all like Peter before he was converted. We have no fear to die for our Saviour, but we refuse to live for Him. Tradition and selfishness teach us to be politically correct. We are afraid to live and teach different than our peers. Peter was truly willing to die a hero for his Master, but when he was put in an embarrassing position; he was not willing to live for Him. He was not willing to be thought of as connected to a criminal of the state. A hero is praised, while a criminal is despised and rejected. Peter was willing to die a hero for his Master, but not willing to suffer embarrassment for Him.

Often I hear worldlings, and even many Seventh-day Adventists make the statement that “no one is perfect.” How can anyone judge every single person in the world? I dare say, that had one of the people making this statement walked along side of the Saviour, they would not have seen Him as perfect either. They would have heard Him calling others by names that were not pleasing and would have thought Him as critical, judgmental, and divisive. The character and words of Christ turned many away from following Him. Such people would have noticed that He did not have possessions or wealth, and felt that, because of His unpleasing words, He was not being blessed by God. People that believe no one is perfect will never be perfect themselves, and will never enter the gates of Heaven.

Train Up a Child

It is time that Seventh-day Adventists wake up and live for the Lord. It is time we train the next generation to live for Him, and the Bible plainly teaches us how. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. I have heard many say, “I have done the best I can, now my child is eighteen and he is on his own.” This seems to me to be a self-righteous excuse for the sins of their child.

As a parent who truly wanted to train up his children for God, I can now look back upon their training and see that I did not follow the Bible plan 100%. And friends, when God said, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” He was meaning that the training should be 100% according to His plans. If we follow His counsel 99.9% of the time, we have still failed. Consider the difference in characters between Isaac and Samson. God said of Abraham, Isaac’s father, that “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.” Genesis 18:19. What is the result of properly training up our children the way God commands? Let us look at one of the most beautiful chapters ever written by human hand, to see the results. “At the appointed place they built the altar and laid the wood upon it. Then, with trembling voice, Abraham unfolded to his son the divine message. It was with terror and amazement that Isaac learned his fate, but he offered no resistance. He could have escaped his doom, had he chosen to do so; the grief-stricken old man, exhausted with the struggle of those three terrible days, could not have opposed the will of the vigorous youth. But Isaac had been trained from childhood to ready, trusting obedience, and as the purpose of God was opened before him, he yielded a willing submission. He was a sharer in Abraham’s faith, and he felt that he was honored in being called to give his life as an offering to God. He tenderly seeks to lighten the father’s grief, and encourages his nerveless hands to bind the cords that confine him to the altar.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 152, 153.

Willing to Take the Blame

Though I have wonderful children that I love and cherish, still I have wished many times that my children could be like Isaac. The blame is not on my children, but rather on myself. There can be no doubt that I have not trained up my children in the way they should go when I consider the guidelines laid out in the Bible, and when I consider the many times I have fallen short just so I could please them, the way Samson’s parents pleased him. In other words, there have been many times when my children have been my idols or gods, at their own expense. There have also been many times that I have allowed my children to do things I knew they should not do, because of peer pressure; because others thought I was being too strict. One can be sure that the examples given us in the Scripture will live out their lives in us today. (See 1 Corinthians 10:11.)

The following instructions on raising children is from Patriarchs and Prophets, chapter 54, entitled, “Samson.” “The child will be affected for good or for evil by the habits of the mother. She must herself be controlled by principle and must practice temperance and self-denial, if she would seek the welfare of her child. Unwise advisers will urge upon the mother the necessity of gratifying every wish and impulse, but such teaching is false and mischievous. The mother is by the command of God Himself, placed under the most solemn obligation to exercise self-control. And fathers, as well as mothers, are involved in this responsibility. Both parents transmit their own characteristics, mental and physical, their dispositions and appetites, to their children. As the result of parental intemperance, children often lack physical strength and mental and moral power. Liquor drinkers and tobacco users may, and do, transmit their insatiable craving, their inflamed blood and irritable nerves to their children. The licentious often bequeath their unholy desires, and even loathsome diseases, as a legacy to their offspring. And as the children have less power to resist temptation than had the parents, the tendency is for each generation to fall lower and lower. To a great degree parents are responsible, not only for the violent passions and perverted appetites of their children, but for the infirmities of the thousands born deaf, blind, diseased, or idiotic.

What Shall We Do?

“The inquiry of every father and mother should be, ‘What shall we do unto the child that shall be born unto us?’ The effect of prenatal influences has been by many lightly regarded; but the instruction sent from heaven to those Hebrew parents, and twice repeated in the most explicit and solemn manner, shows how this matter is looked upon by our Creator.

“And it was not enough that the promised child should receive a good legacy from the parents. This must be followed by careful training and the formation of right habits. God directed that the future judge and deliverer of Israel should be trained in strict temperance from infancy. Samson was to be a Nazarite from his birth, thus being placed under a perpetual prohibition against the use of wine or strong drink. The lessons of temperance, self-denial, and self-control are to be taught to children even from babyhood…

Yielding at Last

“Had Samson obeyed the divine commands as faithfully as his parents had done, his would have been a nobler and happier destiny. But association with idolaters corrupted him. The town of Zorah being near the country of the Philistines, Samson came to mingle with them on friendly terms. Thus in his youth, intimacies sprang up, the influence of which darkened his whole life. A young woman dwelling in the Philistine town of Timnath engaged Samson’s affections, and he determined to make her his wife. To his God-fearing parents, who endeavored to dissuade him from his purpose, his only answer was, ‘She pleaseth me well.’ The parents at last yielded to his wishes, and the marriage took place.

“Just as he was entering upon manhood, the time when he must execute his divine mission—the time above all others when he should have been true to God—Samson connected himself with the enemies of Israel. He did not ask whether he could better glorify God when united with the object of his choice, or whether he was placing himself in a position where he could not fulfill the purpose to be accomplished by his life. To all who seek first to honor Him, God has promised wisdom; but there is no promise to those who are bent upon self-pleasing.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 435–437. [all emphasis supplied].

The parents at last yielded. How often we parents yield to the selfish wishes of our children while knowing the story of Samson and the resulting example. And why would you ever allow them to mingle with other children and adults who are not true to God? Today we think that our children must have the association with other children in grade school so they will not be withdrawn and know how to socially interact. I tell you, keep your children away from disobedient children, and even adults that do not make God their all. Let others speak evil of you and call you self-righteous. Protect your children no matter how others may speak of you. Peter’s fear of what others would think caused him to deny his Lord. It is good that God’s children never learn how to socially interact with those who cherish self and place God in second place in their desires. We must never yield.

What is Your Example?

If all of the above good instructions were to be followed to the letter, it would be of no avail unless the husband and wife, mother and father, understand their God-given purpose and roll in life as husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. The father must be allowed to be the head of the house, yet love his wife the way Christ loves the church. If we want obedient, loving children, they must have examples of obedience to God’s instructions by their parents. Young men and women, make sure you choose a God-fearing man or woman for your spouse if you wish to have obedient children and a happy family. Make sure your future spouse is not spoiled, and that they respect their parents and God more than their desires, or you will be in for an ungodly life of misery. Think of the pain and misery that Samson’s parents must have gone through, seeing the results of the one time they yielded. Think of the pain and suffering their dear child went through because of this one temptation. If you are unfaithful in choosing your spouse, your children will suffer the consequence and the pain will be much greater than it would be now to set selfish desires and lust aside.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5, 6. Is it not time we not only give this message, but also train our young people and parents to live it?

One of God’s Great Men

“Soon after the birth of John, the tongue of Zacharias was loosed, and he spake and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them; and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all that heard them, laid them up in their hearts, saying, ‘What manner of child shall this be?’ And the hand of the Lord was with him; and his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his showing unto Israel.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 45.

The parents of John “were to faithfully cooperate with God in forming such a character in John as would fit him to perform the part God had assigned him…. John was the son of their old age, he was a child of miracle, and the parents might have reasoned that he had a special work to do for the Lord, and the Lord would take care of him. But the parents did not thus reason; they moved to a retired place in the country, where their son would not be exposed to the temptations of city life, or induced to depart from the counsel and instruction which they as parents would give him.” Courage and Conflict, 270.

“There was a great work appointed for the prophet John, but there was no school on the earth with which he could connect. His learning must be obtained away from the cities, in the wilderness. The Old Testament Scriptures, God, and the nature which God created, were to be his study books. God was fitting John for his work of preparing the way of the Lord. His
food was simply locusts and wild honey. The customs and practices of men were not to be the education of this man. Worldly engrossment was to act no part in the formation of his character.” Manuscript 131, 1901.

“The prophet John, separated himself from his friends and kindred, and made his home in the wilderness. He denied himself of the ordinary comforts of life. His food was simple. His clothing was a garment made of hair-cloth confined about the waist with a leather girdle. His parents had in a most solemn manner dedicated him to God from his birth.” Review and Herald, vol. 2, January 7, 1873.

John was an example to the young people in these last days, to whom have been committed important and solemn truths. God would have them temperate in all things. He would have them see the necessity for the denial of appetite, for keeping their passions under the control of reason. This is necessary that they may have mental strength and clearness to discern between right and wrong, between truth and error. There is work for everyone of them to do in the vineyard of the Lord, and He would have them fit themselves to act a useful part.” Youth’s Instructor, January 7, 1897.

How much we want to be blessed, as was John the Baptist and his parents, but how unwilling we are to live like John or his parents in order to receive these blessings.

Name withheld at request of author.

Uncertain Sounds

Whether we like it or not, we are on the battlefield of a spiritual war. Bullets are flying all around us. Planes soaring above us are dropping bombs, and field artillery is shelling us. Orders are being shouted at us from all sides, and to make matters worse, the orders are confusing and contradictory. Many of them consist of uncertain sounds.

What is an uncertain sound? Let us begin at the beginning. Sounds communicate; they send messages. We can all agree on that. Paul directs our minds to sounds used in military procedures. These sounds are all produced by the same instrument, the trumpet, but they do not all mean the same thing. There is a sound that says “Wake up,” and a sound that says “Go to sleep.” There is a sound that says “Advance,” and a sound that says “Retreat.” There can be great confusion if, instead of these clear signals, the soldiers hear a sound that they do not recognize and cannot identify. If they hear two contradictory sounds, such as “Advance” and “Retreat,” at the same time, the situation is much, much worse. The poor soldiers will not know what to do. They will be the victims of uncertain sounds—Which brings us to the subject of Christian music. We are being barraged today by music that purports to be Christian, but it sends two contradictory signals, one sensual and one spiritual, at the same time. One who makes this observation and comments on it can expect to stop some bullets being fired at him or her by enthusiasts of the “contemporary music.” They forcefully, if not fiercely, insist that the music does not communicate anything in particular. According to them, it is only the words that matter. “If the words are religious,” it is said, “they can be sung to any kind of music with the same results.”

But is this true? Can this statement bear up under investigation? Do sounds actually not communicate any message of their own?

Sending Contradictory Signals!

If sounds do not communicate a message of their own, why do we find in written materials so many references to persons who spoke in angry tones, etc.? We have no difficulty understanding these words. We are sure that no man has ever proposed to a lady in angry tones. Even the words “I love you,” if spoken in angry tones, would be unconvincing. The words and the tone would contradict each other, resulting in an uncertain sound. The lady would be perplexed and would doubtless reject the proposal.

When I was a boy, our family had a Border Shepherd dog whose name was “Pat.” He was normally quite a well-mannered dog, and when I would say to him, “Pat, come here,” he would come bounding joyously toward me. But I found that if I were displeased with him because he had dug in a flowerbed, or something of that nature, the command would not work. I would use the same words, but he would tuck his tail between his legs and slink away in the opposite direction. The words were nice, but I was not fooling him. He was reading the tones, the sounds. The argument that “sounds do not communicate a message of their own” would have been lost on him.

At Interesting Experiment

What about patterns or arrangements of tones, into what we call tunes? You can conduct a simple experiment to satisfy your mind on this question. Hymns that have the same metrical patterns can be sung to the same tunes. (See the metrical index in the back of your hymnal.) All to Jesus I surrender (number 573 in the older hymnal) can be sung to the tune of Watchman Blow the Gospel Trumpet, (number 619) and vice versa. Try it. The results are ludicrous. Here is a short list of other exchanges that can be made. (All numbers are in the older hymnal.)

630 Some Day the Silver Cord Will Break

585 The Lord’s Our Rock

123 There Was One Who Was Willing

626 Will There be Any Stars?

Again, I invite you to try it. Do it both ways. Sing the words of each to the tune of the other. I have seen people burst out laughing when the words of Watchman Blow the Gospel Trumpet were sung to the tune of All to Jesus I surrender. It just didn’t make any sense. The message communicated by the music, the sounds, was altogether different from the message communicated by the written words. The result is a mixed signal, an uncertain sound. Hearing it, you do not know what to do. You are in the same quandary as the soldiers who are given the trumpet command to “Advance” and the command to “Retreat” at the same time. If you want to explore this subject further, try exchanging the words and tunes in these songs:

223 Come Ye Disconsolate

185 Heir Of The Kingdom

130 O Sacred Head Now Wounded

279 Live Out Thy Life Within Me

The results will range from the ludicrous to the utterly blasphemous. You have now discovered a very important principle of truth. Words and music can communicate different, even contradictory, messages. For a final bit of evidence, consider this situation. There is in the hymnal a song (167) that should be greatly loved, for two reasons. First, it is the oldest Christian song that we know of, having been written by Clement of Alexandria about the year 200 AD. Second, it expresses the church’s concern for its young people, as evidenced by its title, Shepherd of Tender Youth. But I have never heard it used, and I doubt that you have either. Why? Because, although the words are appealing, the tune is hopeless; it is just “blah.” But, try a comparison. Sing the words of this song to the tune of number 510, My Country ‘Tis of Thee. It immediately becomes very singable and satisfying.

Cultural Conditioning

But that will introduce another problem. You and I will not be comfortable with this combination of words and music, because we have so long associated the music with the words of our patriotic hymn, My Country ‘Tis of Thee. We have been culturally conditioned. But is this the entire truth? Are all of our responses to music just the result of cultural conditioning? We must admit that some are, but certainly not all. There is a distinct difference between responses to tones or tunes that are universal and responses that are cultural. Responses that are universal are true for all people at all times. This is not true of responses that are cultural.

While I was teaching at Atlantic Union College, I sometimes heard the students singing a song that they obviously appreciated, entitled, Search Me O God. I thought it was nice, but it did not mean the same thing to me that it meant to them, because in Hawaii I had first learned the tune as the Maori Farewell, with entirely different secular words. In Hawaii, at that time, the Maori Farewell and Aloha Oe were sung to close every social gathering. I never troubled the students about it, because it was not a universal principle, only my own cultural conditioning. I have the same problem when I hear the Christian song Down From His Glory, because I first heard the tune as O Solo Mio. Again, this is my personal problem, and not a universal truth, affecting all people alike. I have been told by a missionary who had served in Africa that in the area where he lived, someone had written Christian words to the tune of Old Black Joe. He could not appreciate it, because of his cultural conditioning, but the local people valued it highly.

So it would be foolish to deny that cultural conditioning exists, but it would be equally foolish to affirm it as a universal principle of truth, applying to all people at all times. It would be worse than foolish to argue that sounds are wholly neutral, communicating no message of their own. This would be an insult to our intelligence, flying in the face of the self-evident realities all about us. It would be like denying that fire is hot, or that ice is cold, or that water is wet, or that band music makes us feel like marching.

Music of Another Dimension

Consider, then, our present condition. We have churches that exist for the purpose of communicating spiritual messages. There are bars, nightclubs, and brothels that exist for the purpose of communicating vile, sensual messages. Both groups have, for centuries, used music to further their own ends, to help them accomplish their distinctive goals. The distinction between the two types of music has been clear and distinct. The churches have used words matched with tunes in such a way that there was no conflict between the two messages. There were no uncertain sounds. The bars, nightclubs, and brothels also used words matched with tunes in such a way that there was no conflict between the two messages. There were no uncertain sounds. But now…

Now we are confronted by an incredible intermingling of the two types of music. I do not mean that spiritual music is now being used in bars, nightclubs, and brothels. The devil, who presides over them, is not that stupid. But the musical forms that have for many years been used in the bars, nightclubs, and brothels are now appearing in churches!

Imitating Our Heros

How has this been accomplished? To a large extent through television. Television has introduced the musical forms, the instruments, the style of performing and the style of singing from the bars, nightclubs, and brothels, into our homes. Our children grow up with these musical forms and accept what they hear as the norm. Thus they become terribly confused. Then when asked to sing for Sabbath school or church, they imitate the singing style of the television artists to whom they have been listening. Witness the heavy breathing into the microphone held close to the lips, the sliding and slurring of notes, the meaningless hand gestures in the air, the facial contortions, the squalling, child-like tones, mingled with half-whispered tones, and the heavy sensual rhythm.

All of these things spell sensuality, which is exactly what the television people want. They are in league with Hollywood, and they are working on the principle that “sex sells.” That is why what they present is consciously and deliberately sensual. They know what they are doing, and they do it very well (from their standpoint). As an illustration of the problem that we are discussing, I once heard a young gospel singer tell of a singing institute that he was planning to conduct. He reported happily that he was going to have some singers there from Hollywood to do part of the teaching. I could scarcely credit my senses. Bringing teachers from Hollywood, the sensuality cesspool of the nation, if not the world, to teach young people how to sing in church! The devil must have been convulsed in hysterical laughter.

Christian Rock?

That is where we are on the battlefield. Some desperately confused church leaders are laboring diligently to bring this mingled music, with its mixed signals and its uncertain sounds, into our own church. Some of the members are deceived by it, while others are troubled but do not know exactly why. The leaders seek to disguise it with high-sounding words such as, “celebration music,” “contemporary music,” “culturally relevant music,” etc., but it is really nothing more than bar, nightclub, and brothel music. Thus the leaders practice deception on innocent church members, whom they mock, deride, and sneer at for their discomfort with the musical selections presented. They stubbornly insist that bar, nightclub, and brothel music can be combined with religious words and be acceptable worship to the God of purity and holiness. Some even go so far as to speak approvingly of “Christian rock.” This is a contradiction in terms. “Rock” music is consciously and deliberately vile. If there can be Christian rock, then there can also be Christian pimps and Christian prostitutes. But angry arguments notwithstanding, there is no such thing as “Christian Rock.”

A closely related phenomenon is the tendency for singers to mangle and mutilate the Christian songs they sing by omitting notes that were written by the composer and substituting notes of their own. This is like walking into a museum where beautiful, historic works of art are being exhibited, then seizing a paint brush and adding some strokes of your own. To do this is to demonstrate an enormous lack of respect for the original artist, along with an equal lack of respect for the people who want to see the work of the artist, not your work. I would earnestly appeal to those who are tempted to do this to write their own songs, and leave the musical treasures of the church alone. They do not need your touching up, your interpretation.

I once listened to a fine sermon on television, after which a singer came onstage. As soon as the pianist started the introduction, I recognized it as The Holy City, and I instinctively reached for the muting button. Then I stopped myself, thinking, “Surely he would not mangle and mutilate that grand old song.” But I was wrong. By the time he was finished I fervently wished that I had made use of the mute button.

In Spiritual Warfare, Content Counts

Let us remember that it is not the label that counts; it is the content. It is not the instrument that counts; it is the manner of playing it. There are many labels being used, such as Contemporary, Country, Nashville, Western, Celebration, Culturally Relevant, etc., and many different instruments are being employed. None of these labels or instruments necessarily indicate sensual music, but it very often appears in all of them. Let us train ourselves to quickly judge them by their content, and as quickly reject all music that is carnal and sensual, regardless of the words. We cannot afford to do otherwise. The issues are too great.

We are on a spiritual battlefield, and the battle is nearing its climax. This is no time for mixed signals, for uncertain sounds. This is no time for the church to listen to those who, in defiance of reality, stubbornly insist that spiritual messages can be communicated with carnal and sensual music. This is the time for messages in words and music that will keep us unperplexed and unconfused, and help us meet successfully the enormous challenges of the time of trouble such as never was.

For further information on this subject, I strongly recommend the two special journals dealing with music that have been published by Adventists Affirm. You can reach them at:

PO Box 36

Berrien Springs, MI 49103

The journals cost $3.00 each, and they are well worth it.

Facing the Crisis – With the Lesser and the Greater Light – Part I

Every day brings us closer to the final crisis. Inspiration describes it as a time of trouble such as never was that is soon to burst upon us as an over whelming surprise. God foreknew the intensity of this end-time conflict. He knew that we would never be able to stand before Satan’s mighty power without special assistance from the Holy Spirit, for Satan will shortly cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark in their right hands or foreheads. So that no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.

How thankful we should be that God has given the Spirit of Prophecy to His church which, together with the Bible, will enable His people, through the power of Christ, to prepare for and to pass through this end-time crisis with divine assurance of victory. Only through His words can we be assured that Christ will stand by each one who faithfully fulfills the divine conditions that are revealed to us through these inspired writings.

It is Time to Awake

Before we explore heaven’s guidelines, let us seek the aid of divinity. It is time to awaken from Satan’s fearful stupor, which is enveloping God’s people. It is time to comprehend the divine instruction that He has sent that we may face this coming crisis fearlessly as soldiers of the cross.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19-21.

Ellen White writes, “The Spirit was not given—nor can it ever be bestowed—to supercede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.…Isaiah declares, ‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Isaiah 8:20.” The Great Controversy, Introduction, vii.

The Spirit of Prophecy Passes all Tests

The writings of the Spirit of Prophecy have passed every test of the Holy Scriptures. They have been proven true to the Word of God. Indeed, Ellen White magnifies the light given by ancient prophets, making their words clearer and more understandable regarding special application for our time.

“The Holy Ghost is the author of the Holy Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy.” Selected Messages, book 3, 30. And on page 32 we read: “The Bible must be your counselor. Study it and the testimonies God has given for they never contradict His word.”

Since the Holy Spirit is the author of both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, I am sure you will agree that the primary purpose of both is to lead men and women to our Saviour who is the Light and Salvation of the world.

Misinterpreted and Misrepresented

There are two quotations found in the Spirit of Prophecy that we frequently hear quoted among us. But they are often taken out of context. These statements are then misinterpreted and misrepresented, not only by individuals, but also by some of the leaders of our church.

The first quotation is taken from Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 20, 1903. “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” Immediately the question must be asked, who is the lesser light and who is the greater light? It is here that Satan has begun to destroy confidence in the writings of the Lord’s servant.

The best way to learn the meaning of a perplexing expression is to ask the author what he or she meant. Surely Ellen White explains what the Holy Spirit, who inspired her thought, meant for her to convey. It will be well for us to read this often-quoted passage in its context.

Who is the Lesser Light?

But first, there are a number of other passages in which Ellen White uses the expressions “the lesser light” and “the greater light.” In solving this statement, these should be helpful. We will begin with one that is found in The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 83, 84. Note carefully her explanation as she describes the work of John the Baptist.

“The prophet John was the connecting link between the two dispensations. He was the lesser light which was to be followed by a greater. He was to shake the confidence of the people in their traditions, call their sins to their remembrance, and lead them to repentance; that they might be prepared to appreciate the work of Christ. God communicated to John by Inspiration, illuminating the understanding of the prophet, that he might remove the superstition and darkness from the minds of the honest Jews, which had, through false teachings, been gathering upon them for generations. But the least disciple who followed Christ, witnessing His miracles, and receiving His divine lessons of instruction and the comforting words that fell from His lips, was more privileged than John the Baptist.

Who is the Greater Light?

No light has ever shone or ever will shine so clearly upon the mind of fallen man, as that which emanated from the teachings and example of Jesus. Christ and His mission had been but dimly understood and typified in the shadowy sacrifice. . . . Although not one of the prophets had a higher mission or greater work to perform than had John, yet he was not to see even the result of his own labors. He was not privileged to be with Christ and witness the divine power attending the greater light.”

Did you notice those last words? “The divine power attending” who? There is no question. The answer is Christ, “the greater light.” This sentence definitely reveals that the greater light was Christ. Whom did she name as the lesser light? The prophet John. In this passage she has defined both of these terms in unmistakable language. As we read other passages from her writings, we will find that she will be consistent.

Let us look at a second passage that is found in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 8, 1873. Herein Ellen White writes that John was, “…one of the greatest prophets that God had sent as a messenger to the earth,… Christ had said of him that he was more than a prophet. … [that] there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.”

In the context of these words, she continues, “John was the lesser light, which was to be followed by a greater light.” Who was that greater light who followed John? Jesus!

In the third statement, in Desire of Ages, 220, “The prophet John was the connecting link between the two dispensations. As God’s representative he stood forth to show the relation of the law and the prophets to the Christian dispensation. He was the lesser light, which was to be followed by a greater. The mind of John was illuminated by the Holy Spirit, that he might shed light upon his people. . . .”

Notice these words that follow; “…but no other light ever has shone or ever will shine so clearly upon fallen man as that which emanated from the teaching and example of Jesus.” From this we can come to only one conclusion. John, the lesser light, was to show the relation of the law and the prophets of the Old Testament to Christ, the greater light, who followed him.

Christ, the “Greater Light”

The Bible confirms Ellen White’s definition to be correct. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:6-9.

In John 5:35, 36, Jesus said: “He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness [meaning light] than that of John.” Then in John 9:5, Jesus declared plainly, “I am the light of the world.” If no other light had shown or ever will shine so clearly as Christ, surely the Old as well as the New Testament prophets were lesser lights. Friend, there is no question about this.

In the fourth passage Ellen White speaks of the Old Testament era as a lesser light and the New Testament era as a greater light. “With the first advent of Christ there was ushered in an era of greater light and glory; but it would indeed be sinful ingratitude to despise and ridicule the lesser light because a fuller and more glorious light had dawned. Those who despise the blessings and glory of the Jewish age are not prepared to be benefited by the preaching of the gospel.” This Day With God, 246.

We can clearly see Ellen White does not depart from her established definition. Christ’s first advent ushered in a time of greater light and glory. God, through the Old Testament prophets, had established the lesser light, the glory of the Jewish age. The purpose of this age was to establish the sanctuary service, which pointed toward the greater light to be ushered in with the first Advent of Christ.

Dispelling the Myth

I believe we are ready to discuss the passage in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 20, 1903. From our pulpits and books this passage it has been declared that Ellen White refers to the Bible as the greater light and to her writings as the lesser light. I refer particularly to the caption in a recently published edition of Selected Messages, book 3, 30, copyright 1980.

It clearly promotes this mistaken position. The caption reads, “Relationship of E. G. White Writings to Bible—The Lesser Light.” Immediately after this, the following passage is printed. “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 20, 1903.

Now, let me ask you a question. Have you ever read this passage in its context? Please note the purpose of this article. From its beginning to its ending, she is promoting the sale of what? her books. To whom? to the people of the world. Why? to lead them to the Saviour, the greater light.

“I thank my Heavenly Father for the interest that my brethren and sisters have taken in the circulation of Christ’s Object Lessons. By the sale of this book great good has been accomplished, and the work should be continued. But the efforts of our people should not be confined to this one book.…The larger books, Patriarchs and Prophets, Great Controversy, and Desire of Ages, should be sold everywhere. These books contain truth for this time, —truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. Nothing is to hinder their sale.…Many more of our larger books might have been sold if church members had been awake to the importance of the truths these books contain, and had realized their responsibility to circulate them. My brethren and sisters, will you not now make an effort to circulate these books?”

“Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her life-work God has been giving her. They contain the precious comforting light that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, [notice] leading them to the Saviour. The Lord has declared that these books are to be scattered throughout the world. There is in them truth which to the receiver is a savor of life unto life. They are silent witnesses for God. In the past they have been the means in His hands of convicting and converting many souls. Many have read them with eager expectation, and, by reading them, have been led to see the efficacy of Christ’s atonement, and to trust in its power.…The Lord has sent His people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” Ibid.

Surely, nothing could be stated more clearly. Some of Ellen White’s books were designed to be distributed widely to the public. Why? “From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour.” She expressed the same thought when, a few sentences later she said, “…The Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.”

Because people had neglected the Bible, which God had given to the world for this purpose, Ellen White pointed to her own writings, though they were precious and inspired, as the lesser light to lead the people of the world to Jesus Christ, the greater light. If this passage meant what is commonly believed, that the greater light is the Bible, it would not be consistent with all of her other passages in which she defines the greater light to be Christ.

Therefore, we must conclude from this article that Ellen White is not demeaning her writings as inferior to the Bible, since the Holy Spirit is the author of her writings as stated in Selected Messages, book 3, 30, and since God—not Ellen White—is the originator of her writings. Then who is it that is teaching that the writings of Ellen White are second class?

Making of None Effect

It is none other than the liberals among us who are being used by Satan to make of none effect the Spirit of Prophecy. Ellen White was taught by the same Holy Spirit of God as were the ancient prophets. If John the Baptist, the greatest of the prophets, was a lesser light, surely the Bible prophets were all lesser lights. Christ alone is the greater light.

In the creation story there is an interesting illustration which may help us to understand the difference between the lesser and the greater light. “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.” Genesis 1:16.

Jon Janiuk calls attention to this illustration in his Great Controversy Endgame, book 3. He points out that in the context of this verse, two questions are answered.

  1. What is the greater light? The answer: The sun that rules the day. The sun is the greater light for it has original light or light emanating from itself.
  2. What is the lesser light that rules the night? The moon. Does the moon have light in itself? No, all the moon can do is reflect the light of the sun. Does this not teach an important Bible principle? A greater light has light in itself while a lesser light can only reflect light.

A thousand moons together could never become the greater light because the greater light is the original light—the sun. Janiuk concludes that the writers of the Bible and Ellen White did not have light in themselves. As the moon, they could only reflect the original light of Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. The Bible promise in Malachi 4:2 states, as “the Sun of Righteousness, [he will] arise [upon us] with healing in His wings.” Why? for Jesus is the light of life.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ Desire of Ages, 463. When He spoke these words, Jesus was in the court of the temple specially connected with the services of the Feast of Tabernacles. In the center of this court rose two lofty standards, supporting lampstands of great size. After the evening sacrifice, all the lamps were kindled, shedding their light over Jerusalem. This ceremony was in commemoration of the pillar of light that guided Israel in the desert, and was also regarded as pointing to the coming of the Messiah. At evening when the lamps were lighted, the court was a scene of great rejoicing.…In the illumination of Jerusalem, the people expressed their hope of the Messiah’s coming to shed His light upon Israel. But to Jesus the scene had a wider meaning. As the radiant lamps of the temple lighted up all about them, so Christ, the source of spiritual light, illumines the darkness of the world. Yet the symbol was imperfect. That great light, [and here she speaks of the sun which He Himself had infused with original light] which His own hand had set in the heavens was a truer representation of the glory of His mission.”

This same thought is expressed in Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 54. “The sun rising in the heavens is representative of Him Who is the life and light of all that He has made.” But let us never forget that man has a part to act in the salvation of the world for Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world.” But humanity has no light in itself. Men are likened not to the sun but to the moon.

Christ, the Source of Light

Man can only reflect the light of Jesus. “Humanity has in itself no light. Apart from Christ we are like an unkindled taper, like the moon when her face is turned away from the sun; we have not a single ray of brightness to shed into the darkness of the world. But when we turn toward the Sun of Righteousness, when we come in touch with Christ, the whole soul is aglow with the brightness of the divine presence. Christ’s followers are to be more than a light in the midst of men. They are the light of the world.” Thoughts From The Mount of Blessings, 40.

As the moon, all human beings are lesser lights, whether they be prophet, priest or king. However, when men turn their faces toward Christ and connect themselves to Him, they can reflect His light to the world. “It is the privilege of the Christian to connect with the source of light, and through this living connection become the light of the world.… As the light of the sun is the light and life and blessing to all that live, so should Christians, by their good works, by their cheerfulness and courage, be the light of the world. As the light of the sun chases away the shades of night and pours its glories on valleys and hills, so will the Christian reflect the Sun of Righteousness which shines on him.” This Day With God, 93.

Is that not beautiful? Oh, what a privilege to reflect the light that shines from the Sun of Righteousness. “O be sure you receive your illumination from the source of all light. He is the great central Light of the universe of heaven and the great Light of the world.” That I May Know Him, 341. May this beautiful counsel be fulfilled in each and every one of us.

“The princely dignity of the Christian character will shine forth as the sun and the beams of light from the face of Christ will be reflected upon those who have purified themselves even as He is pure.” God’s Amazing Grace, 341. So, friend, let us always remember that “the Sun of Righteousness has risen. “Christ our Righteousness is shining in brightness upon us.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 932.

Beloved, Christ does this for us because He loves us. “Christ ‘loved the church, and gave Himself for it.’ It is the purchase of His blood. The divine Son of God is seen walking amid the seven golden candlesticks. Jesus Himself supplies the oil to these burning lamps. He it is that kindles the flame. ‘In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.’ No candlestick, no church, shines of itself. From Christ emanates all its light.” . Ibid., vol. 6, 1118.

Looking to Jesus

Again in Selected Messages, book 2, 249, we are promised: “The trials may be severe, but look to Jesus every moment—not to struggle, but to rest in His love. He careth for you.” I like that. “We know that as trials press closer and closer, the hope grows stronger. The beams of the Sun of Righteousness shall shine into your heart with their healing power. Look beyond the clouds to the brightness, even the light of the Sun of Righteousness.”

With these glorious truths before us, we can better comprehend the damage that is being done to our church when, through misunderstanding, or various means, the writings of Ellen White are downgraded as a lesser light to the Bible. Satan understands the tremendous blessings and encouragement the Testimonies are to God’s church when they are treasured and studied by its members.

I fear this misunderstanding is one way, among others, that Satan is seeking to undermine the ministry of God’s messenger to the remnant church so that eventually her writings will become of none effect in the lives of many. For if Satan can downgrade the Spirit of Prophecy by this and other implications so that the Testimonies are neglected, left on the shelves to collect dust, he knows that God’s people may not detect his final deceptions, deceptions that the Spirit of Prophecy not only points out clearly but also tells us how to avoid.

Never forget that if it were possible, Satan would have all of us perish. “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ (Proverbs 29:18.) Satan works ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.” Selected Messages, book 1, 48.

Oh, friend, let us not despise the last day lesser light or regard Ellen White’s writings as inferior words from God. During my sixty years of ministry for the Lord, I have constantly used both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy in my preaching to Seventh-day Adventists all over the world, and in all of my tape ministry. I have always believed that both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy originated from the same source of authority, the Holy Spirit.

Creation’s Light

May I bring one more beautiful thought? In the beginning when Christ created this world, He sent His healing light upon this void and shapeless earth. “And God said, Let there be light:” and there was light…And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:3, 5.

On that first day there was no light from the sun or the moon. They were not created until the fourth day. But there was light, and who was that light? It was Jesus, the Creator. In the earth made new there will come a time when, in the New Jerusalem, there will be no need of the light from the sun or from the moon for we read in Revelation 21:23, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Jesus was, now is, and ever will be, the Sun of Righteousness; our greater Light forever. Oh, what a Saviour! Praise His name! I appeal to you in the name of our Lord and Master, let us face this coming crisis with absolute assurance of victory in Jesus, because we have accepted the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible as the lesser light which leads us to the greater Light, the Sun of Righteousness; Jesus Christ, who alone is able to save us.

To be continued…

Which Church is Going Through? Part I

The following statement appeared in the Review and Herald almost one-hundred years before my brother was dismissed from employment with the Kansas-Nebraska Conference; “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, March 22, 1887.

In Christ’s day, the disciples (all of the church leaders) were out in a little boat. Think how dangerous it was for the Lord to allow all of the church leaders to get in a little boat and set out to sea. If they drowned, that would be it. Some of us would never have allowed that to happen. They got out there in the middle of the sea, and the devil tried to destroy them all by sending a big storm. Jesus came walking out on the sea. They thought it was a spirit, and they cried out in fear. Jesus said, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27. You see, if Jesus is near, you do not need to be afraid, no matter what you are going through. If you are going through a storm in the sea, in your life, in your marriage, on your job, or wherever you are, if Jesus is close and you are looking to Him and trusting in Him, you do not need to be afraid. He knows how to work out every problem that you have.

Our Greatest Need

We need deliverance from fear; we need to know our Bible better, but of all the things we need, Sister White says that “a revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.”

In life, some things are more urgent than others. This is true in our spiritual life as well. There are some things we have a great need for; they are very urgent and we need them right now! Our greatest need is a “revival of true godliness.” If this is our greatest need, and if it is our most urgent need, should we not try to figure out how it is going to happen? Yes, we should. In fact, it says in Mrs. White’s statement, “To seek this should be our first work.” Ibid.

My brother, Marshall, and I talked about this many times. If this is what we need the most, and if it should be our first work, what do we need to do so it can happen? That is what caused Marshall to be dismissed from employment with the Kansas–Nebraska Conference. He was trying to figure out how to make this revival happen in the church.

Who Needs It?

Notice a little two-letter word in the first sentence. “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.” There is a little word there in the center, spelled u s. It is not talking about the United States: it is talking about us. “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.” Who is the us? This statement was written in the Review and Herald in 1887. That is a church paper. To which group does it belong? The Seventh-day Adventist Church. This paper has been in publication since the 1850s, and Mrs. White’s statement was printed in that paper, an official organ of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If it says “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.…To seek this should be our first work,” to whom does the term “us” refer? It refers to Seventh-day Adventists. So, the greatest need of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, (not just the home churches or the worldwide historic Adventist movement, but every person, anywhere in the world, who professes to be a Seventh-day Adventist, including the conference churches, all the institutions, the General Conference—everyone) is “a revival of true godliness.”

What is It?

The question, “What is godliness?” is something that you need to understand. Read 1 Peter 1:1–25 very carefully and you will understand what godliness (Godlikeness) is. More important, however, is the question How does this godliness come about? It does not do you any good to know what needs to happen, unless you understand how it is supposed to happen. How is this revival of true godliness supposed to happen in the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

One of the big questions that people are asking today is, “Will the Seventh-day Adventist denomination (or structure) go through to glory?” It is interesting to note that there are a number of different answers being given to that question. Within the last year or so, there have been an increasing number of people who have given a resounding “No, the Seventh-day Adventist Church structure is not going through to glory, because it is Babylon, and it is just waiting to be destroyed.” A lot of people are preaching that today.

There are other people who believe similarly, but they say “The structure is not Babylon yet, but it is on the verge of becoming Babylon. We are not sure that the actual decree that it is Babylon has been pronounced.”

The issue of some people believing the church is Babylon must be addressed,
because there are people all over the world who are saying that it is. We have an obligation to help other people find the meaning of the times in which we live and how to get ready for the future. That is why we hold Prophecy Seminars. That is why each one of us needs to be praying and asking ourselves, “To whom do I have a moral obligation to share what is going to happen?”

Newborn Babes

There is an interesting passage in Isaiah which says, “Whom will He (that is the Lord) teach knowledge? And whom will He make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts?” Isaiah 28:9. That is, those who are spiritual babies? The Bible talks about spiritual babies as being people who have just accepted the Christian faith. Peter addressed people who had just accepted the Christian faith and he says, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby.” 1 Peter 2:2.

If you were in trouble in your financial life, business life, or marriage, would you go to a baby to ask advice? No. But people do this spiritually all the time. People who have been Christians for two or three years feel that they know enough about Christianity that they can teach others. The apostle Paul gave some of the strongest rebukes in Scripture about this very thing. In fact, he told Timothy, “You do not ordain a new convert as an elder or a deacon until they have had time to become rooted and grounded in the faith.” (See 1 Timothy 3:6, 10.) You do not go to a baby Christian to find answers to your problems. They are babies. We all love babies, and we want them to grow, but we do not go to a baby to get answers to a hard problem. The same is true spiritually.


After a baby is three years old, would he then be able to help you solve your problems? No, he is still a baby! Yet people will do this spiritually. A three- year-old Christian knows enough to teach people who are not born into Christ yet, and can witness to them. If they have only known Christ for a month, they can share what they have learned about Jesus. But friend, if you are trying to find out who, when, and what is Babylon, you do not go to a three-year-old Christian. “Those just weaned from milk? those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept.” Isaiah 28:9, 10. You must compare Scripture with Scripture.

Have you ever met someone who knows two or three verses of Scripture, and they try to prove Bible doctrine by these few verses? I was in an interdenominational jail ministry where a man from another church said, “We know this because it says,”…and he quoted one verse of Scripture. In the verse of Scripture he quoted, the comma was in the wrong place. If you put the comma in the wrong place, it makes the meaning totally opposite of what is really being said. This man thought he knew something on the basis of one verse of Scripture. When people have a belief, and they only have one or two verses of Scripture to prove it, that is a sign of infanthood. They are not off the milk yet. Scripture says; “Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” Isaiah 28:10. If you want to know what the truth is about any spiritual subject, you need to know what all the inspired writings say on that subject.

Let us look at another principle. “I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” 1 John 2:21. What does it mean that “no lie is of the truth?” “All truth, whether in nature or in revelation, is consistent with itself in all its manifestations.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 114.

You can look up all the texts about Babylon in the Bible, or all of the passages in the Spirit of Prophecy, and if you know the truth, you will be able to see that they all agree. If they do not all agree, there is something wrong with what you believe; you have not studied it thoroughly. The truth is always consistent with itself; “no lie is of the truth.” If two things are the truth, they will not contradict each other.

Is the structure Babylon?

There are people today who, when trying to answer the question as to whether the Seventh-day Adventist Church structure is going to go through to glory, respond that they think we are in the same position that Israel was in just before the crucifixion.

Jesus was entering Jerusalem, and He paused on the crest of the hill.… “When the fast westering sun should pass from sight in the heavens, Jerusalem’s day of grace would be ended.” The Desire of Ages, 578. It was not yet too late. Right at that time, they could have turned around; they could have accepted the Messiah. The door was still open for them to do it, but they would not. Some people believe that our church structure is in that situation now. It is just about over; it is just about too late, but there is still time to turn around.

Saved From Sin

I meet people who wonder whether they have committed the unpardonable sin. They look at their past and at their many sins, and ask, “What shall I do?” Let me tell you something; the worse sinner you are, the more you need Jesus. He came into this world to save sinners. If you are a sinner, you qualify for salvation. Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15. Think this through for just a moment. When Jesus saves someone, He saves them from their sins. (See Matthew 1:20, 21.) Isn’t that the most wonderful news there is? No matter how many times you have sinned, Jesus has come here to this world to save you from that sin. Jesus does not save you so that you can keep on sinning, because you are not saved if you keep on sinning.

If your besetting sin is beating your wife, Jesus does not save you so you can go on beating your wife. He wants to save you from that, so that you do not do it anymore. You see, if this person is saved from beating his wife, he is not saved if he continues beating his wife. The person who has a problem with alcohol, is not saved from alcohol if he is still drinking. Jesus came to save you from your sins. That you can be saved while you are still living a life of sin is the gospel of the antichrist. That gospel has taken a hold over much of the Christian world today. There are actually people who are killing other people; yet, because they go and confess to their priest, they believe that they are saved. Friend, you are not saved while you are living in sin. No one will be taken to heaven while they are living in sin down here. Sin has to be in the past. The Bible tells us that Jesus justifies us, or forgives us, from sins that are past. (See Romans 3:25, 26.)

What is the day of grace all about? What is salvation all about? It is about having sins taken away. Jesus’ salvation from sin involves two things. First, Jesus delivers us from guilt. Secondly, He delivers us from the power of sin in our lives. Because of sinful habits, sin has power in our lives, and Jesus is going to deliver us from that power. That is what salvation is about; what revival is about; what primitive godliness is about; what our greatest and most urgent need is, and it should be our first work to seek for a revival of true godliness. Godliness is holy living, living according to God’s law, instead of transgressing it.

We have looked at two positions dealing with “us.” We know this refers to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and our greatest need is for true godliness. One position is that this does not apply to us anymore because the Seventh-day Adventist Church structure is now Babylon; it is going to be destroyed. The other position is that we are like the children of Israel just before the crucifixion of Jesus. They could have turned around, but their irrevocable sentence was about to be pronounced.

Going Through to Glory

However, the traditional, or the most common, belief among the majority of Seventh-day Adventists today, is not that the denomination will be cast aside as was the Jewish nation, but that the Seventh-day Adventist Church will go through to glory; and if it will go through to glory, you had better stay with it. Let me tell you friend, we had better find out what is true, and we better find out from the Bible.

A few years ago, not by my choice, the local Seventh-day Adventist conference church, of which I was a member, disfellowshipped me. So I am no longer part of that structure. After that happened, a friend wrote me a letter and indicated, point blank, that I was not part of the church anymore. If that is so, I need to do something about it right away, because I want to go to heaven. I do not want to have a false hope and think that I am going to heaven and have the Lord come and say, “John, you are not part of the bride of Christ. You are not part of the church of Christ, you will have to stay here.” We really need to understand the answer to this question. If we do not, if we have the wrong answer, it could involve our eternal destruction, because when Jesus comes back to this earth again, He is coming to take His bride home, and His bride is the church. (See Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 277.) If you are alive when Jesus comes, and you are not part of His bride, you are lost. You need to know whether you are part of it or not, and if you are not part of it, you need to become part of it right away.

The people who believe that the Adventist Church structure will not be cast aside, as was the Jewish church, but will go through to glory, are not naive enough to believe that every member of the church will be part of that triumphant body. They generally explain it with the parable of the wheat and the tares. They say, “We know that there is a lot of apostasy and corruption in the church now, but before Jesus comes, He is going to remove it. That is encouraging, but how is that going to happen?

Some people say the church is just about to become Babylon, and some people say it already is. Some people say the structure is going through to glory, and the Lord is going to clear the apostates out while the true and faithful remain.

Who Do You Say the Church Is?

Has it crossed your mind, as we have looked over these different positions, that if you are going to find the truth, it might be of vital importance for you to know who and what the church is? You see, these different teachings are based on different definitions of who and what the church is, and the conclusion a person comes to is based on who and what he thinks the church actually is.

Let me ask you a few simple questions.

  1. Do you think that God knows who the church is? I am not asking this irreverently, but I want you to think it through. Do you believe that God knows who the church is?
  2. If God knows who the church is, do you suppose that any time He wanted to, He could tell one of His prophets who the church is?
  3. If a prophet came to you and told you who the church is, would you believe them?

That is a hard question. For almost forty years I have noticed that when prophets come and tell people who and what the church is, they do not believe it. There are sermons (not only spoken, but in print) where people have read some of the plainest definitions in the Spirit of Prophecy, (the writings of Ellen White) about who and what the church is. Then they explain it all away.

The question is, what does the prophet actually say, not what do I think it means. That is not what counts. Do we not tell people that in our Prophecy Seminars? Of course! We say, “Don’t believe anything I say unless you can find it in the Bible.” That is a valid position to take. Is it enough if a prophet says this is what it is? Somehow, with this subject, it is not. We have such a deep prejudice that most people will not accept it. They have another definition, and they say, “Well, there are balancing statements.” Red is red. “Oh no it is not; there are balancing statements.” It is another way of saying that there are other statements that contradict it.

1 John 2:21 says, “No lie is of the truth.” If it is all true, does it all have to agree? Yes, and there could never be a balancing statement that would contradict the truth. When the Lord says, “This is the way it is,” you do not say, “Oh no Lord, there has to be a balancing statement.”

God Said It—That Should be Enough

“God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one, nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept we should demand a plain, ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support. The Great Controversy, 595.

Every time I read that statement, it sounds so reasonable to me. If I am a Christian, and I profess to be serving the Lord, and He has all knowledge, if that is whom I serve, and if He tells me something, that should be enough evidence. Right? It seems so reasonable.

In the inspired writings [either the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy], are there plain definition statements about who and what the church is? Yes, there are.

John Knox was talking to the Queen of Scots. She asked him how she was to know whom to believe? Should she believe him or should she believe the Catholics? John Knox said that the Bible meant one thing and the Catholics said the Bible meant something else, how was she to know whom to believe? John Knox told her to believe God, who speaks plainly. Go to plain evidence and take the plain statements. That is the Protestant position.

Line Upon Line

I cannot explain every verse in the Bible, and I have been studying it for years. So I will not take a verse of Scripture that I cannot explain and say, “This is the basis of my faith.” Look for the plain statements all the way through. ‘Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.’ I do not know why these statements are not accepted, but they are not. Here is a plain statement that defines who and what the church is. Just one sentence—”From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth.” Acts of the Apostles, 10. Does that sound to you like a plain definition of who and what the church is? In other words, the church is the people.

Some may say that they have many objections that I have not yet answered. I will. I have checked a hundred or so objections out, and every one can be answered from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy in plain English. But the biggest question is, can you simply believe what God says? Does God have authority in your life? Jesus is looking for the same thing today as He was looking for in the Garden of Eden. He just wanted to know one thing from Adam and Eve and it was this, “Can I trust you?” That was it. The word trust, the word faith, the word faithful, the word believe, in the Greek it is all the same word. So who are the faithful souls? They are the people that believe, who have made a commitment to the Lord. You may have all kinds of sin in your life, but Jesus came to save sinners, so you qualify.

Are You Really Part of the Church?

Have you made the commitment? Are you really part of the church, or are you just going to church? Jesus is looking for people on whom He can depend, and there is no question that He is going to find them. The question is, am I going to be one of them? When things happen that you cannot explain, and it seems like other people have let you down, maybe people in your family, maybe people in your church, can Jesus still depend on you? The angels are keeping a record to see who is trying to follow Jesus.

“Those who keep God’s commandments, those who live, not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, compose the church of the living God.” Manuscript Release, vol. 1, 296. God knows who His church is, and He tells us it is the faithful souls, the ones who do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of His mouth. These are the people who compose His church.

When Jesus comes, what is going to matter is not whether I have my name on a book down here, but whether He will recognize me as being part of His own. Jesus is coming to get a bride. He is coming to get a people that He knows belong to Him. Do you belong to him? You can know you belong to Him for He says, ‘You know it if you live by every word that proceeds out of My mouth.’

To be continued…