Children’s Story – The Best Mother

He was pruning the plants in the posh gardens of an international school. Heat and dust didn’t seem to affect him.

“Ganga Das, Principal Ma’am wants to see you–right now!”

The last two words to the peon had lots of emphasis on them, trying to make it sound like an urgency.

He quickly got up, washed and wiped his hands and headed towards the principal’s chamber.

The walk from the garden to the office seemed never ending. His heart was almost jumping out of his chest. He was trying all the permutation and combination, figuring out as to what has gone wrong that she wants to see him urgently.

He was a sincere worker and never shirked from his duties. Knock, knock!

“Madam, you called me?”

“Come inside…” uttered an authoritative voice laced with crispness which made him further nervous.

She had salt and pepper hair, tied neatly in a french knot, a designer sari-sober and very classic, glasses resting on the bridge of her nose. She pointed out towards a paper kept on the table. “Read this.”

“B…but Ma’am, I am an illiterate person. I cannot read English. Ma’am please forgive me if I have done anything wrong. Give me another chance. I am forever indebted to you for allowing my daughter to study in this school, free of cost. I could have never ever dreamt of such a life for my child.” And he broke down almost trembling.

“Hold on, you assume a lot. We allowed your daughter because she is very bright and you have been our sincere worker. Let me call a teacher in, she will read it out and translate it to you. This is written by your daughter and I want you to read this.”

Soon enough the teacher was called and she started reading it, translating each line in Hindi.

It read: “Today we are asked to write about Mother’s Day.

“I belong to a village in Bihar, a tiny village where medical and education still seem like a far fetched dream. Many women die every now and then while giving birth. My mother was one of them too, she could not even hold me in her arms. My father was the first person to hold me, or perhaps the only person.

“Everyone was sad as I was a girl and I had ‘eaten up’ my own mother. My dad was instantly asked to remarry but he refused. My grandparents forced him by giving all logical, illogical and emotional reasons but he didn’t budge.

“My grandparents wanted a grandson, they threatened him to remarry else he will be disowned. He didn’t think twice. He left everything, his acres of land, a good living, comfortable house, cattles and everything that counts for a good lifestyle in a village.

“He came to this huge city with absolutely nothing – but me in his arms. Life was tough. He worked hard day and night and raised me with tender love and utmost care.

“Now I understand why suddenly he developed a dislike for things that I would love to eat when there was only one piece left in the platter. He would say that he hates eating it and I would finish it considering that he does not like it, but as I grew older I realised the reason and what sacrifice is all about. He gave me the best possible comforts beyond his capacity.

“This school gave him a shelter, respect and the biggest gift—an admission to his daughter.

“If love and care defines a mother, then my father fits in there.

“If compassion defines a mother, my father fits in well in that category too.

“If sacrifice defines a mother, my father dominates that category.

“So, in nut shell, if a mother is made of love, care, sacrifice, and compassion,

My Father is the best mother on earth then.

“On Mother’s Day, I would like to thank my father for being the best parent on earth. I salute him and say it with pride that the hardworking gardener working in this school is my father.

“I know I may fail this test after my teacher reads this – but this would be a very small price one would pay towards an ode to the selfless love of my father. Thanks.”

There was a deafening silence in the room. One could only hear soft sobbing of Ganga Das. The harsh sun could not wet his clothes with sweat, but soft words of his daughter had soaked his chest with tears. He was standing there with hands folded. He took the paper from teacher’s hands, held it close to his heart and sobbed.

Principal got up, offered him a chair, glass of water and said something, but strangely, the crispness of her voice was taken over by a surprising warmth and sweetness.

“Ganga Das, your daughter is given 10/10 marks for this essay. This is the best essay ever written about Mother’s Day in the history of this school. We are having the Mother’s Day gala event tomorrow and the entire School Management has decided to invite you as the Chief Guest for the event.

“This is to honour all the love and sacrifice a man can do to raise his children, to show that you do not have to be a woman to be the perfect parent. And most importantly, this is to reinforce, appreciate, acknowledge the strong belief of your daughter in you to make her feel proud and to make the entire school feel proud that we have the best parent on earth, as stated by your daughter.

“You are a ‘true gardener,’ who is not only looking after the gardens, but also nurturing the most precious flower of your life in such a beautiful way. So, Ganga Das, will you be our Chief Guest for the event?”

Keys to the Storehouse – Little Sir Echo

There is a children’s song that used to be quite popular many years ago called Little Sir Echo. There are good echoes and there are evil echoes. There is an echo which preceded that song which carries with it a spiritual loss, a loss of eternal life for many who believe it. It is an echo from the Garden of Eden, a lying echo. As Eve was questioning God’s withholding of the beautiful fruit, we are told: “Eve was surprised and startled as she thus seemed to hear the echo of her thoughts.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 54.

Her thoughts were questioning God’s request! It is even now that many will question God’s wisdom in withholding foods, etc., and, wonder of wonders, they will hear an echo of their thoughts. Satan cannot read your thoughts but he can tell by your actions, what you are looking at and coveting after and he will make sure, through the voice of friends or family, that it is okay to question God and to go against His will.

“What is this but an echo of the voice from Eden, ‘In the day ye eat thereof’—transgress the divine requirement—‘ye shall be as gods’ (Genesis 3:5)? Satan claimed to have received great good by eating of the forbidden fruit … .” Ibid., 55.

Oh how many times we hear that God is love and it will be okay to transgress a little and it tastes so good so it really can’t be that bad anyway. Little Sir Echo—the echo that does not tell the whole truth! What was the whole truth?

“… he [Satan] did not let it appear that by transgression he had become an outcast from heaven. Though he had found sin to result in infinite loss, he concealed his own misery in order to draw others into the same position.” Ibid., 55.

He concealed his misery! He concealed his loss! Will you be blinded by following that little echo for temporal pleasure and become an outcast? For Adam, “Love, gratitude, loyalty to the Creator—all were overborne by love to Eve.” Ibid., 56. Are you following that little echo through friends and family and choosing them over God’s precious Word? Will you be found in that same misery when the books are opened and the Great Judge looks upon your actions? We cannot use the excuse: “the devil made me do it.”

God offers you eternal life through Jesus Christ and a life with Him for an eternity of unbelievable happiness. Will you follow the little echo and live for now in disobedience or will you follow on in obedience to the glory of God, and be called to live for eternity with all of the heavenly family?

Do not be like Eve who fell when she listened to the little echo but stand strong in the Lord’s army not allowing anything to turn your feet from walking with Him.

Heavenly Father: Thank You for the warnings You have given in mercy because of Your love toward me. I am so thankful for freedom of choice, but I need the mind of Jesus to work in and through me. I need to recognize the little echo that may be drawing me into evil thoughts or actions. “Lead me, O Lord, in Thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make Thy way straight before my face” (Psalm 5:8). Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Amen.

Inspiration – The Message of the Stars

The stars also have a message of good cheer for every human being. In those hours that come to all, when the heart is faint and temptation presses sore; when obstacles seem insurmountable, life’s aims impossible of achievement, its fair promises like apples of Sodom; where, then, can such courage and steadfastness be found as in that lesson which God has bidden us learn from the stars in their untroubled course?

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.” “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed for I am Thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee” (Isaiah 40:26–29; 41:10, 13).

The palm tree, beaten by the scorching sun and the fierce sandstorm, stands green and flourishing and fruitful in the midst of the desert. Its roots are fed by living springs. Its crown of verdure is seen afar over the parched, desolate plain; and the traveler, ready to die, urges his failing steps to the cool shade and the life-giving water.

The tree of the desert is a symbol of what God means the life of His children in this world to be. They are to guide weary souls, full of unrest, and ready to perish in the desert of sin, to the living water. They are to point their fellow men to Him who gives the invitation, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink” (John 7:37, last part).

The wide, deep river, that offers a highway for the traffic and travel of nations, is valued as a world-wide benefit; but what of the little rills that help to form this noble stream? Were it not for them, the river would disappear. Upon them its very existence depends. So men called to lead in some great work are honored as if its success were due to them alone; but that success required the faithful co-operation of humbler workers almost without number—workers of whom the world knows nothing. Tasks uncommended, labor without recognition, is the lot of most of the world’s toilers. And in such a lot many are filled with discontent. They feel that life is wasted. But the little rill that makes its noiseless way through grove and meadow, bearing health and fertility and beauty, is as useful in its way as the broad river. And in contributing to the river’s life, it helps achieve that which alone it could never have accomplished.

The lesson is one needed by many. Talent is too much idolized, and station too much coveted. There are too many who will do nothing unless they are recognized as leaders; too many who must receive praise, or they have no interest to labor. What we need to learn is faithfulness in making the utmost use of the powers and opportunities we have, and contentment in the lot to which Heaven assigns us.

Education, 115–117.

Light in the Darkness

To every voyager on the storm-tossed sea of life, the Lord has given a compass which, if rightly used, will safely guide him into the eternal haven of rest. It was given to our first parents at the gate of Eden, after they had admitted sin into this beautiful earth as well as into their own lives. The compass consists of the following words, which were spoken by the Lord to Satan: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed” (Genesis 3:15). In every heart God has planted an enmity to sin, which, if heeded, will lead to righteousness and eternal life. Any man, whatever his station in life, who will absolutely follow the divine compass placed in his heart, will accept Christ as his Saviour and be led out into the sunlight of God’s love and approval.

As the result of our first parents’ eating of the forbidden fruit, over all the earth hung the gloom of the divine decree, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The marks of death and decay were soon seen in the falling leaves and withered flowers. There was no escaping the decree, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). But a ray of light pierced the darkness when God spoke the following words to Satan: “It (the seed of the woman) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). These words revealed the fact that for those who would cherish the enmity against sin which God had placed in the heart, there was a way of escape from death. They would live, and Satan would die; but before his death he would bruise the heel of the seed of the woman. This was necessary in order that the death of Satan might be made sure, and that mankind might escape eternal death.

Before man was placed on trial, the love of the Father and the Son for him was so great that Christ pledged His own life as a ransom if man should be overcome by the temptations of Satan. Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). This wonderful truth was made known to our first parents in the words spoken by the Lord to Satan, “It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.”

In order that man might realize the enormity of sin, which would take the life of the sinless Son of God, he was required to bring an innocent lamb, confess his sins over its head, then with his own hands take its life, a type of Christ’s life. This sin-offering was burned, typifying that through the death of Christ all sin would finally be destroyed in the fires of the last day.

It was difficult for man, surrounded by the darkness of sin, to comprehend these wonderful heavenly truths. The rays of light which shone from the heavenly sanctuary upon the simple sacrifices were so obscured by doubt and sin, that God in His great love and mercy, had an earthly sanctuary built after the divine pattern, and priests were appointed, who “served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5). This was done that man’s faith might lay hold of the fact that in heaven there is a sanctuary whose services are for the redemption of mankind.

The prophet Jeremiah grasped this great truth, and exclaimed, “A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary” (Jeremiah 17:12). David knew of God’s dwelling place in heaven, and when writing for the generations to come, he said, “He (God) hath looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth” (Psalm 102:19). The faithful ones have always understood that when they sought God with all the heart, “their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, even unto heaven” (2 Chronicles 30:27).

All the worship in the earthly sanctuary was to teach the truth in regard to the heavenly sanctuary. While the earthly tabernacle was standing, the way into the heavenly tabernacle was not made manifest (Hebrews 9:8); but when Christ entered heaven to present His own blood in man’s behalf, God revealed through His prophets much light in regard to the sanctuary in heaven.

To John, the beloved disciple, were given many views of that glorious temple. He beheld the golden altar, on which, mingled with fragrant incense, the prayers of earthly saints are offered up before God. In vision he saw the candlestick with its seven lamps of fire burning before the throne of God. The veil into the most holy was lifted, and he writes, “The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament” (Revelation 11:19).

It is in this “true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man,” that Christ pleads His blood before the Father in behalf of sinful men (Hebrews 8:2). There is the throne of God, surrounded by myriads of the angelic hosts, all waiting to obey His commands; and from there they are sent to answer the prayers of God’s children here on earth.

The heavenly sanctuary is the great power-house of Jehovah, whence all the help necessary to overcome every temptation of Satan is sent to each one who is connected with it by faith.

The heavily laden electric car, with its slender arm reaching up to the wire above, through which it receives strength from the power-house miles away, is a fitting illustration of the Christian. As long as the connection is unbroken, through the darkest night, the car runs smoothly up and down hill alike, not only shedding light on the immediate track ahead, but casting its bright rays of light into the darkness far and near. But the instant the connection is broken, how great is the change! The car remains in darkness, unable to go forward.

So it is that Christ, our great High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, reaches His hand down over the battlements of heaven to clasp the hand of everyone who will reach up by faith and take hold of the proffered help. The one whose faith lays hold of that help, can pass securely over the steepest hills of difficulty, his own soul filled with light while diffusing light and blessing to others. As long as he by faith keeps a firm hold of God, he has light and power from the sanctuary above; but if he allows doubt and unbelief to break the connection, he is in darkness, not only unable to go forward himself, but a stumbling-block in the way of others.

The one who allows nothing to break his connection with heaven becomes an earthly dwelling-place for the Most High: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15). He who separates from sin and puts it far from him, becomes a temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). God loves to dwell in the hearts of His people (Ephesians 3:17–20), but sin cherished in the heart prevents His Spirit from abiding there. Christ knocks at the door of every heart, inviting all to exchange sin for righteousness, that He may come in and abide with them (Revelation 3:20).

There are three temples brought to view in the Bible—the heavenly temple, the dwelling-place of the Most High, where Christ intercedes in our behalf; the temple of the human body, where God’s Spirit rules and reigns; and the earthly temple, with its typical services designed to teach mankind how to receive divine help from the great storehouse above, so that God can honor them by abiding with them continually.

The earthly sanctuary with its types and symbols is like the powerful lenses of the telescope, which make it possible to view heavenly bodies that otherwise would be invisible. To the eye of the ignorant those wonderful lenses appear like ordinary glass; but the astronomer, who longs to know of the wonders of the heavens, is filled with rapture as he gazes through them.

In like manner the Christian who will study the typical service of the earthly sanctuary, not as a collection of dry, lifeless relics of ancient worship, but as a wonderful art gallery, where, by the hand of a master-artist, the different parts of the marvelous plan of redemption are portrayed, will be astonished at the beauty revealed. The figures fairly speak to him, as it were, from the canvas. They tell the beautiful story of the Saviour’s love until his very soul is filled with rapture as he gazes upon them. He sees the vivid picture of the priest in snow-white robe leading the red heifer out to the rough uncultivated valley, there to offer it a sacrifice for sin. He sees him sprinkle its blood on the rough stones of the valley, to teach that Christ died for the most worthless, for the veriest outcast. Who can gaze on that picture without having his heart filled with love for such a compassionate Redeemer?

Again he views a picture of the destitute sinner, longing to be free from sin; and beholding his wealthy brethren pass with their lambs for sin-offerings, the poor ones with their pigeons and doves, he sinks back into despondency, for he has no living thing to offer. Then the light of hope springs into his face as one tells him, “Only a handful of flour will answer.” And as the sinner watches the priest offer the crushed wheat as an emblem of the blessed body to be broken for him, and hears him say, “Thy sin is forgiven,” his heart leaps for joy, as did the heart of the poor man by the pool of Bethesda, who had no one to help him, when the blessed Master told him to take up his bed and walk (John 5:2–9).

If the one who longs to know more of Christ and His infinite love, will study the types and symbols of the earthly sanctuary, connecting each with its glorious antitype, his soul will be filled with rapture. Like the lenses of the telescope, they reveal wondrous beauties in the character of our blessed Redeemer, beauties that are revealed in no other way.

There is a separate and distinct heavenly lesson taught by each of the different types and symbols of the earthly sanctuary service; and when they are all viewed together, they form a wonderful Mosaic painting of the divine character of Christ as none but a heavenly artist could portray it.

Testimony – Maine Blizzard

God’s Answer to Prayer

In just a few short hours the winds were raging as the snow swirled in unabated fury. As the hours passed the snow grew deeper as the winds picked up speed, creating huge drifts everywhere.As it began to snow we almost didn’t notice the small floating snowflakes falling from the sky that morning. The weather report had forecasted that by 11:00 a.m. snow would be falling in all of Maine.

Although reluctant, we knew we had to go out there and remove as much snow as possible from our driveway and the walkway to our front door. We soon realized this blizzard would deliver a massive amount of snow. We remembered last winter not being able to open our front door due to such high snow and drifts. A large snow machine had to come and clear the way.

Our efforts this time were in vain, as so much snow was falling so quickly. Huge, swirling high speed winds of blowing snow made it impossible for us to continue shoveling.

After battling the storm for a few hours, we came inside and prayed that God would somehow deliver us from this blizzard – we were so tired with trying to remove the snow with only shovels, without the help of our large snowblower that was in the shop for repairs. Every 15–20 minutes I still had to go out our front door and remove snowdrifts from our walkway that had accumulated so quickly.

The snow had been blowing and drifting from north to south across the length of our roof onto the sidewalk and driveway all day and evening. Though exhausted, I was ready to continue removal of the snow and drifting into the night, or all night, if necessary. Coming in and out of the front door to the warmth of the wood stove blazing on the front porch was a short reprieve. All the while I continued to pray, pleading with God, “Lord, please help me in this battle, I must sleep now.”

It was now about 2:30 a.m., and I realized I may have to continue this snow vigil through the night. And then, a very curious thing happened. While the winds were still raging, the next time I looked out the front door, I noticed that the snow had no longer accumulated on the walkway since the last time I had removed it. So, I waited awhile and went back to check, and the same thing: no more snow. The snow had not stopped falling, it just wasn’t falling there anymore.

After checking for the third time, I gratefully thanked the Lord, while not yet realizing what had happened. I started to hear the windows on the front porch clattering loudly. After this began, I understood what happened. The wind that had been blowing the snow from our roof all day suddenly had changed course completely. It was now blowing across the width of the roof from west to east, totally bypassing the sidewalk and driveway.

Our front porch windows continued to rattle, and as the new direction of the winds took hold I knew that God had answered our prayers. As the high winds continued to rush at the glass windows in a fury, I felt they might break, but I knew in my heart that my God, who could change the direction of the winds, would surely not let those windows break. I finally fell asleep peacefully on the sofa in front of the warm wood stove.

God has so many ways to answer our prayers that we know nothing about. I think He wants us to trust Him, and to be amazed when He answers in ways we cannot even imagine.

This whole experience makes me think of this wonderful old song:

Will Your Anchor Hold? (Last verse)

When our eyes behold, in the dawning light,

Shining gates of pearl, our harbor bright,

We shall anchor fast to the heavenly shore,

With the storms all past forevermore.


We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roll.

Fastened to the Rock which cannot move

Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

Priscilla J. Owens, 1882/William J. Kirkpatrick

We are looking forward to spring – and in the near future, to our heavenly home where spring reigns eternal.

The Wise and the Foolish – The Test of True Discipleship

There is a differentiating factor between the wise and the foolish virgins. As we read various descriptions of the two classes—the wise and the foolish virgins, see where you might place yourself in the descriptions or illustrations. Be honest with yourself. This is one place where it will be fatal to be self-deceived. “When the foolish virgins reached the banqueting hall, they received an unexpected denial. They were left outside in the blackness of the night.” The Review and Herald, October 31, 1899. These foolish virgins felt secure and expected entrance, but they were denied. This is not an experience we want to have.

“We all need to study as never before the parable of the ten virgins. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. This is the holy oil represented in Zechariah. ‘Then answered I again, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth’ (Zechariah 4:11–14). This representation is of the highest consequence to those who claim to know the truth. But if we do not practice the truth, we have not received the holy oil, which the two golden pipes empty out of themselves. The oil is received into vessels prepared for the oil. It is the Holy Spirit in the heart which works by love and purifies the soul.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1179.

Here is the same definition of the oil, but in different words. “The golden oil represents the grace with which God keeps the lamps of believers supplied, that they shall not flicker and go out. Were it not that this holy oil is poured from heaven in the messages of God’s Spirit, the agencies of evil would have entire control over men.” The Review and Herald, July 20, 1897.

Our Lord describes the foolish, without the oil of God’s grace. “The oil of grace gives to men the courage, and supplies to them the motives for doing every day the work that God appoints to them. The five foolish virgins had lamps (a knowledge of Scripture truth), but they had not the grace of Christ. Day by day they went through a round of ceremonies and external duties, but their service was lifeless, devoid of the righteousness of Christ. The Sun of Righteousness did not shine in their hearts and minds, and they had not the love of the truth which conforms to the life and character, the image and superscription, of Christ. The oil of grace was not mingled with their endeavors. Their religion was a dry husk without the true kernel. They held fast to forms of doctrines, but they were deceived in their Christian life, full of self-righteousness, and failing to learn lessons in the school of Christ, which, if practiced, would have made them wise unto salvation.” Ibid., March 27, 1894.

The difference between the wise and the foolish virgins is that the wise virgins accept and cooperate with God in His plan of redemption. They grasp the promise of the new covenant which is, “The restoration in the human soul of the image of God.” Education, 125. It is “the power of God, ‘which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:57).” Ibid., 125, 126.

Paul says, “I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:10–12).

The Jews were not only unprepared, unready, not looking for and understanding the first advent of Christ, but fulfilled the very prophecies of Christ’s suffering, His rejection, His betrayal and death. This happened because they were driven by self and pride, they had changed their fundamental beliefs, they were foolish virgins.

Some have done the very same thing today. “In the time of the Saviour, the Jews had so covered over the precious jewels of truth with the rubbish of tradition and fable, that it was impossible to distinguish the true from the false. The Saviour came to clear away the rubbish of superstition and long-cherished errors, and to set the jewels of God’s word in the frame-work of truth. What would the Saviour do if He should come to us now as He did to the Jews? He would have to do a similar work in clearing away the rubbish of tradition and ceremony. The Jews were greatly disturbed when he did this work. They had lost sight of the original truth of God, but Christ brought it again to view. It is our work to free the precious truths of God from superstition and error.” The Review and Herald, June 4, 1889.

The prevailing popular error that it is impossible to gain victory over sin will lead many to reject Christ by rejecting the Spirit of Prophecy, which explains clearly, in complete agreement with Scripture, that we must overcome not only our sins but our propensity to sin. Many repeat with all the conviction worthy of pure truth that overcoming sin completely is impossible, but this is Satan’s lie.

Let’s look at this a little more.

All ten virgins have lamps – symbol of light—truth.

All ten are called virgins – they profess a pure truth.

All go out to meet the bridegroom – all believe that Jesus is coming again for they “go out to meet Him” (Matthew 25:6).

All ten expect entrance at the wedding feast.

All these are good attributes but the key element is missing from the foolish virgins, the oil of grace, the Holy Spirit in their lives. Steps to Christ, 58, 59 explains it like this:

“Those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus will bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, ‘love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance’ (Galatians 5:22, 23). They will no longer fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God they will follow in His steps, reflect His character, and purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they once hated they now love, and the things they once loved they hate. The proud and self-assertive become meek and lowly in heart. The vain and supercilious become serious and unobtrusive [inconspicuous, unremarkable, bland, modest, self-effacing, unassuming]. The drunken become sober, and the profligate pure. The vain customs and fashions of the world are laid aside. Christians will seek not the ‘outward adorning,’ but ‘the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit’ (1 Peter 3:3, 4).

“There is no evidence of genuine repentance unless it works reformation. If he restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, confess his sins, and love God and his fellow men, the sinner may be sure that he has passed from death unto life.”

The following two statements are from an article on the parable of the ten virgins entitled “A Solemn Lesson.” “Repentance for sin is the first step in conversion. Repentance is an intense hatred of sin in all its forms. … He who is truly repentant, he who is regenerated, hates sin. All manner of selfishness is distressing to him. Indifference to God on the part of those around him grieves him.” The Signs of the Times, August 13, 1894. The wise virgins are regenerated. They have been born again.

This experience is no happenstance. It is no accident. It is a conscious choice. Again, Steps to Christ describes the path of the wise virgin. “Many are inquiring, ‘How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?’ You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.

“Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians.

“Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith.” Steps to Christ, 47, 48. [Emphasis author’s.]

Here is where the foolish virgins fail. They are not hypocrites. Hear the words of the Lord. “The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working. They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up. This class are represented also by the stony-ground hearers. They receive the word with readiness, but they fail of assimilating its principles. Its influence is not abiding. The Spirit works upon man’s heart, according to his desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God. They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 411.

This is serious business. “They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him.” We learn of God, of Jesus, His character, of His work and purpose for mankind in the holy words of Inspiration.

“The life of Christ that gives life to the world is in His word. It was by His word that Jesus healed disease and cast out demons; by His word He stilled the sea, and raised the dead; and the people bore witness that His word was with power. He spoke the word of God, as He had spoken through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament. The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ, and the Saviour desired to fix the faith of His followers on the Word. When His visible presence should be withdrawn, the Word must be their source of power. Like their Master, they were to live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4).

“As our physical life is sustained by food, so our spiritual life is sustained by the word of God. And every soul is to receive life from God’s word for himself. As we must eat for ourselves in order to receive nourishment, so we must receive the Word for ourselves. We are not to obtain it merely through the medium of another’s mind. We should carefully study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own, and we know ‘what saith the Lord.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 390.

Do you know experientially, “what saith the Lord?” The wise virgins do. They know the voice of their Lord. What about the foolish virgins? We read, “… but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God. They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. Their service to God degenerates into a form. ‘They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness’ (Ezekiel 33:31). The apostle Paul points out that this will be the special characteristic of those who live just before Christ’s second coming. He says, ‘In the last days perilous times shall come: for men shall be lovers of their own selves; … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof’ (2 Timothy 3:1–5).” Christ’s Object Lessons, 411.

Here it is stated again: the foolish are content with a superficial work. They do not believe that it is possible to overcome. So as long as they keep their sins confessed they will be fine. They believe that Jesus did it all at the cross. All that is necessary now is to believe. This is the overpowering yet fatal deception of today.

The foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work and they do not truly know God. What we need is faith that works by love and purifies the soul.

“Those who have divine enlightenment will see the necessity of overcoming, for they will realize something of the purpose of Heaven in regard to the influence they are to exert upon others for their salvation. If those who have serious faults to overcome, would rely on God with earnest faith, he would work for them; and the more diligently they devoted themselves to the cultivation of virtue and the discharge of duty, the more grace would they receive to become like the Pattern. With the experience of conversion to Christ, a new life begins. The apostle says, ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Whoever accepts Jesus will make determined efforts to overcome through the strength imparted to him from Heaven; his whole character must and will be transformed. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith, he will go on from grace to grace, from strength to strength, and power will be given him to uproot every evil. … Faith, living, active faith, works by love and purifies the soul; it becomes an abiding principle in the life. Everyone who has accepted the righteousness of Christ is placed on high vantage-ground. His conversation, his habits, will be of a high, refined character, after the example of his Lord, and then he will not lie against the truth. He will rise above all baser things into the pure atmosphere of heaven.” The Signs of the Times, October 13, 1890.

“Genuine faith is followed by love, and love by obedience. All the powers and passions of the converted man are brought under the control of Christ. His Spirit is a renewing power, transforming to the divine image all who will receive it. It makes me sad to say that this experience is understood by but few who profess the truth. Very many follow on in their own ways and indulge their sinful desires and yet profess to be disciples of Christ. They have never submitted their hearts to God. Like the foolish virgins they have neglected to obtain the oil of grace in their vessels with their lamps. I tell you, my brethren, that a large number who profess to believe and even to teach the truth are under the bondage of sin. Base passions defile the mind and corrupt the soul. Some who are in the vilest iniquity have borrowed the livery of heaven, that they may serve Satan more effectively.

“ ‘Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin’ (1 John 3:9). He feels that he is the purchase of the blood of Christ and bound by the most solemn vows to glorify God in his body and in his spirit, which are God’s. The love of sin and the love of self are subdued in him. He daily asks: ‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?’ ‘Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do’ (Psalm 116:12; Acts 9:6)? The true Christian will never complain that the yoke of Christ is galling to the neck. He accounts the service of Jesus as the truest freedom. The law of God is his delight. Instead of seeking to bring down the divine commands, to accord with his deficiencies, he is constantly striving to rise to the level of their perfection.

“Such an experience must be ours if we would be prepared to stand in the day of God. Now, while probation lingers, while mercy’s voice is still heard, is the time for us to put away our sins. While moral darkness covers the earth like a funeral pall, the light of God’s standard-bearers must shine the more brightly, showing the contrast between heaven’s light and Satan’s darkness.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 119, 220.

Don’t these words from Inspiration just thrill your soul? Oh, to the soul in love with our Saviour, these words are electrifying, they are life. Obedience is not drudgery.

“The service of Christ is not drudgery to the fully consecrated soul. Obedience to our Saviour does not detract from our happiness and true pleasure in this life, but it has a refining, elevating power upon our characters. The daily study of the precious words of life found in the Bible strengthens the intellect and furnishes a knowledge of the grand and glorious works of God in nature. Through the study of the Scriptures we obtain a correct knowledge of how to live so as to enjoy the greatest amount of unalloyed happiness. The Bible student is also furnished with Scripture arguments so that he can meet the doubts of unbelievers and remove them by the clear light of truth. Those who have searched the Scriptures may ever be fortified against the temptations of Satan; they may be thoroughly furnished to all good works and prepared to give to every man that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them.” Ibid., vol. 3, 374.

Another description of the wise virgins from the pen inspired by our God: “When we seek for appropriate language in which to describe the love of God, we find words too tame, too weak, too far beneath the theme, and we lay down our pen, and say, ‘No, it cannot be described.’ We can only do as did the beloved disciple, say, ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God’ (1 John 3:1). In attempting any description of this love, we feel that we are as an infant lisping its first words. Silently we may adore; for silence in this matter is the only eloquence. This love is past all language to describe. It is the mystery of God in the flesh, God in Christ, and divinity in humanity. Christ bowed down in unparalleled humility, that in His exaltation to the throne of God, He might also exalt those who believe in Him, to a seat with Him upon His throne. All who look upon Jesus in faith that the wounds and bruises that sin has made will be healed in Him, shall be made whole.

“The themes of redemption are momentous themes, and only those who are spiritually minded can discern their depth and significance. It is our safety, our life, our joy, to dwell upon the truths of the plan of salvation. Faith and prayer are necessary in order that we may behold the deep things of God. Our minds are so bound about with narrow ideas, that we catch but limited views of the experience it is our privilege to have. How little do we comprehend what is meant by the prayer of the apostle, when he says, ‘That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen’ (Ephesians 3:16–21).” The Review and Herald, November 17, 1891.

This describes the passion of the wise virgin. The foolish virgins do not thrill to these words. The foolish virgins do not understand these words. The foolish virgins are put to sleep by these words, uninterested in these themes.

“Many who profess to be Christians become excited over worldly enterprises, and their interest is awakened for new and exciting amusements, while they are coldhearted, and appear as if frozen, in the cause of God. Here is a theme, poor formalist, which is of sufficient importance to excite you. Eternal interests are here involved. Upon this theme it is sin to be calm and unimpassioned. The scenes of Calvary call for the deepest emotion. Upon this subject you will be excusable if you manifest enthusiasm. That Christ, so excellent, so innocent, should suffer such a painful death, bearing the weight of the sins of the world, our thoughts and imaginations can never fully comprehend. The length, the breadth, the height, the depth, of such amazing love we cannot fathom. The contemplation of the matchless depths of a Saviour’s love should fill the mind, touch and melt the soul, refine and elevate the affections, and completely transform the whole character.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 212, 213.

This is the definition of the wise virgin. Does it fit for you? This is one question where you cannot afford to be self-deceived. “The Lord calls upon His slumbering people to awake out of their sleep. Many who in their ignorance consider themselves to be wise—like the foolish virgins in the parable—do not realize that their lamps are going out. When they awake to their condition it will be too late for them to obtain a fresh supply of oil, and they will be unready to meet the Bridegroom.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 206.

Cleansing the Camp

There are people who do not believe in corporate accountability, or corporate responsibility, or corporate sin; and they believe it is all individual and not corporate. A book that investigates the beliefs of William Miller, called Then Shall the Sanctuary be Cleansed, was written in 1958 by Don Short but not published until 1991 investigates the beliefs of William Miller.

Don Short said, “The first proof we have as respects Christ’s Second Coming to time is Daniel 8:14, ‘Unto two thousand three hundred days, then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.’ By days we are to understand years. Sanctuary we understand the church. Cleansed we may reasonably suppose means complete redemption from sin, both soul and body.” He then makes the comments, “We should note especially that by sanctuary we understand the church. This is uniquely important in understanding the final atonement, a work for God’s people, the church, the New Jerusalem.” Op. cit., 14.

Short continues on page 20 stating, “The daily ministration was different from the yearly made on the 10th day of the 7th month, in making the former [the daily] the priest went into the holy place. But for the later he went into the holy of holies. The former was for the individual cases. The later was for the entire nation, the corporate body.”

This is something the Seventh-day Adventists have taught since the 19th century. Ellen White addressed this issue very clearly and at some length in a letter she wrote to the general conference president and also to S. N. Haskell in 1886. The entire letter was reproduced in Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, starting on page 318. In this letter, she refers to the term corporate body as a group of people that are organized into a church, either local or worldwide.

In paragraph 1 she wrote, “For weeks I have not been able to sleep after half past 3 o’clock. My mind is deeply exercised in regard to our condition as a people. We ought to be far in advance of any other people on the earth because we have greater light and greater knowledge of the truth, which lays us under increased accountability to advance that light and not only profess to believe the truth but to practice it. When we do practice the truth we are then following Jesus, who is the light of the world; and if we as a people are not constantly elevating, becoming more and more spiritually minded, we are becoming like the Pharisees—self-righteous—while we do not the will of God.”

If we are not advancing we are doing just the opposite, going backward. She wrote, “Ministering angels are waiting about the throne to instantly obey the mandate of Jesus Christ to answer every prayer offered in earnest living faith.” Ibid., 318, 319. It is wonderfully comforting to know that heaven is watching and waiting to answer earnest prayers.

However, there is such a thing as corporate responsibility and the possibility of corporate rejection. Giving an example of this she wrote, “I think of His [Jesus] great sorrow as He wept over Jerusalem, exclaiming, ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not’ (Luke 13:34)! God forbid that these words shall apply to those who have great light and blessings. In the rejecting of Jerusalem it was because great privileges were abused, which brought the denunciation upon all who lightly regarded the great opportunities and precious light that were entrusted to their keeping.” Ibid, 319.

There was no group of people prior to that time that had had a greater revelation of divine truth than the Jews had when Jesus was on earth.

Jesus says in Luke 12:48, “… to whom much is given, much is required” (literal translation). With light and knowledge comes responsibility and accountability. She continued, “Privileges do not commend us to God, but they commend God to us. No people are saved because they have great light and special advantages, for these high and heavenly favors only increase their responsibility.

“The more and increased light God has given makes the receiver more responsible. It does not place the receiver in any safer position unless the privileges are wisely improved, prized, and used to advance God’s glory. Christ said,  ‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes’ (Matthew 11:21).” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 319.

It was bad for Chorazin and Bethsaida but even worse for Capernaum. Capernaum was known as Jesus’ own city where He probably did more than in any other city. Notice what He said about Capernaum in Matthew 11:23, 24: “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

In commenting on this Ellen White wrote, “When Jerusalem was divorced from God it was because of her sins.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 319. Peter talks about this principle when he said, “For if God did not spare the angels … and did not spare the ancient world … then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly … and reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:4, 5, 9).

Jerusalem was divorced from God because of her sins. “She fell from an exalted height that Tyre and Sidon had never reached. And when an angel falls, he becomes a fiend. The depth of our ruin is measured by the exalted light to which God has raised us in His great goodness and unspeakable mercy. Oh, what privileges are granted to us as a people! And if God spared not His people that He loved, because they refused to walk in the light, how can He spare the people whom He has blessed with the light of heaven in having opened to them the most exalted truth ever entrusted to mortal man to give to the world?” Ibid.

God has given the Seventh-day Adventist church more light than any previous group of people since the beginning of the world. However, there is a problem.

“We are far from being the people God would have us to be, because we do not elevate the soul and refine the character in harmony with the wonderful unfolding of God’s truth and His purposes. ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people’ (Proverbs 14:34). Sin is a disorganizer. Wherever it is cherished—in the individual heart, in the household, in the church—there is disorder, strife, variance, enmity, envy, jealousy, because the enemy of man and of God has the controlling power over the mind. But let the truth be loved and brought into the life, as well as advocated, and that man or woman will hate sin and will be a living representative of Jesus Christ to the world.” Ibid., 320.

On the day of judgment, “The people claiming to believe the truth will not be condemned because they had not the light, but because they had great light and did not bring their hearts to the test of God’s great moral standard of righteousness.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 377.

Remember, this letter was written in 1886 to the general conference president, making an appeal to all the Adventist people. The 1888 General Conference was held just before a major Sunday law crisis in the United States. It appears, as I study history, that because the church failed to accept the message of righteousness by faith in 1888, everything in God’s plan for finishing His work was put on hold.

“Let the churches who claim to believe the truth, who are advocating the law of God, keep that law and depart from all iniquity. Let the individual members of the church resist the temptations to practice evils and indulge in sin. Let the church commence the work of purification before God by repentance, humiliation, deep heart searching, for we are in the antitypical day of atonement—solemn hour fraught with eternal results.” Ibid., 378.

Repentance results in a change of heart. The basic meaning of the Greek word means to change your mind. What do you change your mind about? You change your mind about sin. The unconverted person loves sin. If you love sin, you hate the law of God. And if you hate the law of God, you really hate God Himself. Paul refers to this in Romans 8. He says that the carnal man, the unconverted man, is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. He is at enmity with the law. So, how do you begin the work of purification? This begins with repentance, which means, instead of loving our sins, we are sorry enough to quit them.

The root of the sin problem is pride and selfishness. To be purified means to become humble in heart with deep heart searching.

The next instruction is for ministers to be “clean vessels.” Isaiah 52:11 says, “Touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.” The same instruction is given in the New Testament: for “… each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor” (1 Thessalonians 4:4).

Clean vessels will then be able to sound a note of warning. “Let the men standing as watchmen and as shepherds of the flock proclaim the solemn truth, sound the notes of warning to all people, nations and tongues.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 321.

God never forsakes people either individually or corporately until they first forsake Him. “The neglect to bring purity and truth into practice will grieve the Spirit of God and weaken them because God is not in their midst to bless. Internal corruption will bring the denunciations of God upon this people as it did upon Jerusalem. Oh, let pleading voices, let earnest prayer be heard, that those who preach to others shall not themselves be castaways. My brethren, we know not what is before us, and our only safety is in following the Light of the world. God will work with us and for us if the sins which brought His wrath upon the old world, upon Sodom and Gomorrah and upon ancient Jerusalem, do not become our crime.” Ibid., 321, 322.

A very sobering thought is that, “The least transgression of God’s law brings guilt upon the transgressor, and without earnest repentance and forsaking of sin he will surely become an apostate.” Ibid., 322.

This letter that Ellen White wrote to the general conference president was in response to their inquiry about what they should do. They were concerned about the pressure being brought to bear on Seventh-day Adventists to sanctify Sunday. Some Seventh-day Adventists had been put in chain gangs in the southern United States at this time.

She wrote: “I can speak in the fear of God, it is right we should use every power we can to avert the pressure that is being brought to bear upon our people. I know that were our people spiritualized by the truth the greatest love would be maintained.

“[We are] not to provoke those who have accepted this spurious sabbath, an institution of the Papacy, in the place of God’s holy Sabbath. Their not having the Bible arguments in their favor makes them all the more angry and determined to supply the place of arguments that are wanting in the word of God, by the power of their might. The force of persecution follows the steps of the dragon. Therefore great care should be exercised to give no provocation. And again let us as a people, as far as possible, cleanse the camp of moral defilement and aggravating sins. When sin is making its march upon the people who claim to be elevating the moral standard of righteousness, how can we expect God to turn His power in our behalf and save us as a people that did righteousness?” Ibid., 322.

Notice, she says “as a people,” a corporate body. She is not referring to individuals here, but a camp. There was a need to cleanse the camp.

I have tried to think this through, in as unbiased a way as possible, what would be involved in cleansing the whole Adventist camp?

Here are a few things that would have to happen.

1    Past wrongs must be repented of, confessed to the appropriate parties, if they are still alive, and then, restitution must be made as far as possible to have genuine revival and reformation. The first thing the Holy Spirit does is to convict of sin.

2    Forsake the wrongs that have been perpetrated.

3    Forsake all hierarchical church organization and seek to get back to New Testament church order. Hierarchical church organization is patterned after the kingly power, manifested by the papacy, and what Israel wanted in the days of Samuel, and to which the Seventh-day Adventist church returned in 1903.

After Israel accepted kingly power they were never able to get back to a pure theocracy.

4    Cease the infighting among God’s professed people.

5    Recognize that in 1904 God authorized the self-supporting work and that these self-supporting workers were authorized to eat the showbread.

The corporate structure of Adventism has either fought or attempted to control self-supporting work ever since it began. Either position is apostasy. Every hand, mind, and heart is needed to finish God’s work.

Ellen White wrote, “All the policy in the world cannot save us from a terrible sifting, and all the efforts made with high authorities will not lift from us the scourging of God, just because sin is cherished. If as a people we do not keep ourselves in the faith and not only advocate with pen and voice the commandments of God, but keep them every one, not violating a single precept knowingly, then weakness and ruin will come upon us.” Ibid., 323.

Many claim to be commandment keepers, but if they are not actually kept, ruin is going to come upon us. “It is a work that we must attend to in every one of our churches.” Ibid.

God is looking for a clean, pure people ready for the return of Jesus Christ. She says, “All the struggles [of those in the southern United States at that time] to carry our appeals to the highest authorities in our land, however earnest and strong and eloquent may be the pleas in our favor, will not bring about that which we desire unless the Lord works by His Holy Spirit in the heart of those who claim to believe the truth. … we shall fail unless the Lord pleads in our behalf. God will be honored among His people. They must be pure; they must be divested of self … But as a people we need the beauty of righteousness, holiness, and truth. The most harmonious theory will not save us.” Ibid., 323, 324.

“There are many doctrines current in our world. There is many a religion current that numbers its thousands and tens of thousands, but there is but one that bears the superscription and the stamp of God.” Ibid., 324.

Here she speaks of the Seventh-day Adventist religion and then about what is going to happen.

“We are to be ready and waiting for the orders of God. Nations will be stirred to their very center. Support will be withdrawn from those who proclaim God’s only standard of righteousness, the only sure test of character.” Ibid.

Those are the people who are proclaiming the law of God as still valid. She says, “And all who will not bow to the decrees of the national councils and obey the national laws to exalt the sabbath instituted by the man of sin to the disregard of God’s holy day, will feel, not the oppressive power of popery alone, but of the Protestant world, the image of the beast.” Ibid.

And when this Sunday law crisis comes, that is going to be a time when more than ever before, we will see the devil work his miracles. They are going to be so powerful to deceive that it will appear that Adventism has disappeared from the face of the earth.

“Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place.” Ibid.

When this happens, who are the only people who will be left? “None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths.” Ibid., 324, 325.

Though it does matter what church or organization you belong to, the most important thing of all is to learn how to overcome sin by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Those who learn this are the only ones that will be left. I want to be among those that are left.

“We must be divested of our self-righteousness and arrayed in the righteousness of Christ.

“The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy. …

“That which God required of Adam before his fall was perfect obedience to His law. God requires now what He required of Adam, perfect obedience, righteousness without a flaw, without shortcoming in His sight. God help us to render to Him all His law requires.” Ibid., 325.

God does not want any to be discouraged when reading His requirements. Remember that whoever wants to do His will He gives His power to accomplish it. If God cannot help me to do what He has told me to do, then He would be a liar. His throne is staked on His promise that if you choose to trust Him, He will enable you to do His will. It is the devil that keeps telling you that you cannot do it.

The answer is to be connected. If you have ever tried to raise grapes, there is an external connection which connects the branch to the vine. But there also has to be an internal connection. You cannot see the internal connection, but the living sap; the living current flows from the vine into the branch. It is invisible, but you can see the results, because the branch will be supple and not brittle. It will be alive and put forth leaves.

That is the living connection. The external connection is belonging to a church—being a church member with your name on the books, but that is not enough. What is needed is a living connection with Jesus Christ. He will come into your life and you will receive power from Him to do His will. That is what it means to have salvation. The result is no more struggling among us regarding who is going to be first.

The first struggle began in heaven with Satan who wanted to be like the Most High. The quest for being the best or first has been a huge problem ever since. Anybody who knows anything about church history knows that this has been a huge problem. Study the history of the Roman Catholic church. Study the history of the Adventist church.

“There is no struggling there [heaven] to be first, to have the supremacy; all will love their neighbor as themselves.” Ibid., 326, 327.

So, there is a great crisis coming. “The great issue so near at hand will weed out those whom God has not appointed, and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain.” Ibid., 327.

We must know from God’s word where we stand, whether we are going to heaven. Those who will enter through those pearly gates will be people who do not lie or commit abomination, or do that which is unlawful. They are not transgressors of God’s law. Transgression must become a thing of the past in our lives.

Remember, when something seems to be whispering in your mind that says it is impossible, it is the devil attempting to cause discouragement. You may fall many times, but get back up and look to Jesus, who is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

If you come to Jesus, He will pick you up and He will give you strength and power. He will put His life into your life through His Holy Spirit and that is what will give you spiritual life and give you the ability to live a Christian life.

Friend, things are often not what they seem in the religious world. Many may appear outwardly to be getting ready for heaven but it is what is happening inside that counts.

God does not see things the way we see them. In heaven, there will be those whom we didn’t expect to be there and many will be missing whom we thought for sure should be. The Lord told Samuel that he looked on the outside. God does not look on the outside. He looks at what is going on in the heart.

We are so near the end of time. We need to pray for each other. We need to pray for our leaders. We need to pray for our fellow church members. We need to pray that the heart work that needs to happen will happen because we each must have that living connection with Jesus if we are going to be saved and be in the Kingdom of Heaven.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Editorial – The Babylonian Captivity

Have you ever had something happen that you previously thought could not happen? When it did happen, did your trust in God waver?

The church has passed through dark days in her long conflict with evil in the past and as we are preparing for the final conflict in the Great Controversy, we need to develop a faith that will not fail when things happen that seem totally unexplainable.

“The darkest hour of the church’s struggle with the powers of evil is that which immediately precedes the day of her final deliverance. But none who trust in God need fear; for when ‘the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall,’ God will be to His church ‘a refuge from the storm’ (Isaiah 25:4).” Prophets and Kings, 725.  (See Daniel 12:1, 2 and Jeremiah 30:1–9.)

The prophet wrote, “To Babylon you shall go. There you shall be delivered” (Micah 4:10).

Ellen White summarized it like this: “Fellow pilgrim, we are still amid the shadows and turmoil of earthly activities; but soon our Saviour is to appear to bring deliverance and rest. Let us by faith behold the blessed hereafter as pictured by the hand of God. He who died for the sins of the world is opening wide the gates of Paradise to all who believe on Him. Soon the battle will have been fought, the victory won. Soon we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. And in His presence the trials and sufferings of this life will seem as nothingness. The former things ‘shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.’ ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.’ ‘Israel shall be saved … with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end’ (Isaiah 65:17; Hebrews 10:35–37; Isaiah 45:17).

“Look up, look up, and let your faith continually increase. Let this faith guide you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the city into the great beyond, the wide, unbounded future of glory that is for the redeemed. ‘Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh’ (James 5:7, 8).” Prophets and Kings, 731, 732.