The Morning Star

For many years before the beginning of the Reformation, the Bible was an almost unknown book. Except for the Waldenses, who had for hundreds of years had the Bible in their own tongue, it had been locked up in a language known only to the highly educated. As centuries passed, the darkness appeared to increase in intensity; but by the beginning of the fourteenth century, in many countries there appeared tokens of the coming dawn. Just as in the darkness of the nighttime sky the morning star can be seen, brightly shining, giving promise of the near approach of day, so in fourteenth century England there arose a man who was destined to strike a blow against Rome that would eventually result in the freeing of men, churches and nations. He was the herald of reform, not only for England but for all of Christendom.

Born in 1324 in the parish of Wycliffe, John followed his ancestors in taking as his surname the place of his residence. There is little known of his early life, for history has preserved for us almost nothing of the personal incidents in his life. The services done for his own time and for future generations are the things that have occupied the interest of historians, almost to the exclusion of any personal matters.

At the age of sixteen, Wycliffe was sent to Oxford. A quick mind, a penetrating intellect and a retentive memory allowed him to advance very quickly in the learning of his day. In addition to his other studies, Wycliffe became proficient in both canon and civil laws. This branch of learning was to be especially valuable to him in the coming battle that was soon to arise between the crown of England and the pontiff of Rome.

While in college, Wycliffe’s attention was directed to the Scriptures. In the study of God’s Word he found satisfaction for the great want of his soul. As he studied, the determination arose within him to share the truths he had found. His devotion to truth, however, could not help but bring him into conflict with Rome.

In 1365, Wycliffe was appointed to be head of Canterbury Hall, a new college at that time. Through rivalry, he was later removed from that position by a new archbishop of Canterbury. He appealed to the pope, but in 1370 the case was decided against him. From this point on, his conflict was no longer to be with the primate of England but with the very pontiff of Christendom. However, to properly understand the situation, we need to go back a century in time.

In 1205, Hubert, the primate, or head of the church in England, died. The churchmen, in a secret meeting that very same night and without consulting with the king, elected Reginald as the new archbishop of Canterbury. By the next morning, Reginald was on his way to Rome to receive his confirmation from the pope. When King John learned of what had taken place, he was furious and set about to place the Bishop of Norwich in that position. Then both parties—the king and the churchmen—sent their representatives to Rome to plead their cause.

The man who then reigned as pope was Innocent III. Innocent, who was vigorously pursuing the course laid out by Gregory VII—that of humbling the pride of kings—was working with all the skill and power at his command to make the power of kings subject to the papal see. John had appealed to the pope to arbitrate the case, and in this he had revealed his weakness. The pope was not slow to recognize the advantage and to make the most of it. Innocent annulled both elections and appointed his own nominee, Cardinal Langton to be archbishop.

King John could clearly see the danger of such an encroachment on the royal pregrogative. The see of Canterbury was the highest seat of dignity and jurisdiction in England, excepting only that of the throne itself, and in an age when ecclesiastical authority was even more to be feared than temporal authority, this was a dangerous threatening of the authority of the king and of the national independence. Filled with the bitterness of humiliation, John ordered all of the prelates and abbots out of England and refused to seat the pope’s appointee. Unfortunately, John was one of the weakest of England’s kings, and the pope was not slow to strike back, placing all of England under interdict. Being under interdict meant that the gates of heaven were locked and that no one in England could enter. All who died were condemned to wander as disembodied ghosts in some doleful region, amid unknown sufferings, until it should please the pope to open heaven to them. The church doors were closed and the dead were buried in ditches or open fields, while marriages were performed in church yards.

The king braved this situation for two whole years. Eventually, Innocent pronounced the sentence of excommunication upon him, deposing him from his throne and absolving his subjects from allegiance to him. It was one thing to pronounce the king deposed but quite another to enforce the decree. In order to fully accomplish this, the pope recognized that he needed an army, and looking around him, he determined to secure the assistance of Philip Augustus of France. Promising Philip the kingdom of England as his prize, the pope succeeded in obtaining his help.

When John saw the fearful danger he was in, his resolve left him and he determined to make peace with the pope at any cost. As a part of the bargain, the king agreed that he and all future kings of England should hold England as tenants of the land, on condition of loyalty to Rome. In recognintion of this arrangement, England would make an annual payment of a thousand marks to Rome. Should John or any of his successors default in payment, they would immediately forfeit all right to their dominions, which would immediately revert to Rome. On May 15, 1213, it is said that the king met with the papal legate and placed his crown at the legate’s feet. The haughty legate there upon kicked it around as though it was a worthless object before placing it again on John’s head.

The barons of England were appalled at John’s cowardly stand. Determined not to be slaves of the pope, they unsheathed their swords and vowed to maintain the ancient liberties of England, or die in the attempt. Appearing before the king in April of 1215, they presented him with a charter confirming the rights of England. Though the king stormed and at first refused, on June 15, 1215, John signed the Magna Charta at Runnymede. This, in effect, told Innocent that John revoked his vow of vassalage and took back the kingdom he had laid at the pontiff’s feet.

When the news reached Innocent, he correctly interpreted the significance of what had taken place. He realized that the Magna Charta was a great political protest against, not only himself but his whole system. In it he saw the beginning of an order of political ideas and a class of political rights entirely antagonistic to the fundamental claims of the papacy. He was infuriated and immediately declared the whole transaction null and void.

The bold attitude of the barons saved the independence of England, and though future kings of England came to the throne without taking the oath of loyalty to the pope, they continued, year by year to send the thousand marks which John had agreed to pay. At last, during the reign of Edward II, the annual tribute payment was quietly stopped without protest from Rome.

Nearly thirty-five years passed without any payment being made. Then suddenly and quite unexpectedly, in 1366, Pope Urban V demanded not only the annual tribute but all of the arrears. Urban, however, was not dealing with John but with Edward III. During the hundred years that had passed since the signing of the Magna Charta, England had been increasing in strength and greatness. Not only had she advance as center of learning but she had won some brilliant military victories and was already beginning to be feared and respected by nations of the continent. When the summons from the pope arrived, England hardly knew whether to meet it with indignation or with derision.

While acting as chaplain for the king, the position he now held, Wycliffe showed that the papal assumption of authority over secular rulers was contrary to both reason and revelation.

At this moment the eyes of all of Europe were on England. Should England submit, it would so greatly add to the prestige and power of the papacy as to reduce the whole world to vassalage. “The demands of the pope had excited great indignation, and Wycliffe’s teachings exerted an influence upon the leading minds of the nation. The king and the nobles united in denying the pontiff’s claim to temporal authority and in refusing the payment of the tribute. Thus an effectual blow was struck against the papal supremacy in England.” The Great Controversy, 82

The crisis was a great one, and the decision of England determined that the tide of papal tyranny would, from that point on, recede. Even though it was Edward III and Parliament who issued the decision that struck the blow against papal tyranny, it was Wycliffe who was the real champion in turning the tide of the battle.

The next great battle that Wyclffe was to fight for England was against the monastic orders. The pope had given these monks the power to hear confessions and to grant pardons. In spite of the fact they were sworn to poverty, these friars were constantly playing upon the superstitions of the people to increase their wealth. Wycliffe began to write tracts against these orders. In his writing, he not so much attacked the men as he sought to point the people to Bible truth. His plain speaking, however, soon attracted the attention of Rome, and bulls were dispatched to England demanding immediate measures be taken against the reformer to silence him. Just when it appeared that his enemies would succeed in silencing him, the pontiff of Rome died.

Though only sixty years of age, Wycliffe became seriously ill. The news of his illness brought great joy to the friars and they quickly made their way to his bedside, expecting to hear his recantation. Instead of recanting, the reformer raised himself and said in a strong voice: “I shall not die, but live; and again declare the evil deeds of the friars. Astonished and abashed, the monks hurried from the room.” Ibid., 88

The idea occurred to Wycliffe to give the whole Bible to the people of England so that every man in the realm might read for himself the Word of God. No one had ever thought to do this before, but this was the work Wycliffe now set himself to do. He realized that if he were successful in this endeavor, he would do more to place the liberties of England on a sound foundation than might be accomplished by a hundred brilliant victories.

Wycliffe had but a few years of time left to complete this great work he had set his hand to accomplish. He was a good Latin scholar and he turned to the Vulgate Scriptures for his source from which to translate, a translation which, unfortunately, contained many errors. In spite of the flawed source, Wycliffe’s Bible was remarkable in its effect upon the language, contributing to the formation of the English tongue by way of perfecting and enlarging its vocabulary. Because he wrote largely for the common people, Wycliffe studied to be simple and clear.

Once having completed this greatest of all his accomplishments, Wycliffe had no fear of death. In giving the Bible to England he had kindled a light which could never be put out. The Magna Charta which the barons had wrested from King John would have turned to little account had not Wycliffe given his countrymen the even mightier charter of freedom. “It might take one or it might take five centuries to consummate their emancipation; but with the Bible in their mother-tongue, no power on earth could retain them in thralldom. The doors of the house of their bondage had been flung open.” Wylie, The History of Protestanism, vol. 1, 111

Once the work was completed, though there were no printing presses, the interest in Wycliffe’s work was so great that hundreds of expert hands were ready to assist in multiplying the copies.

When the hierarchy learned what Wycliffe had done, they were greatly perplexed. They had comforted themselves with the thought that Wycliffe had but a short time to live, and once he was gone, they felt certain his work would come to nothing. Though they might successfully silence the reformer, a mightier voice than his was now raised against the errors of Rome. The horrified prelates raised a great cry.

The question was raised as to the right of the people to read the Bible. As the question had never before been raised in England, there were no laws governing its circulation. Though laws were soon enacted to prohibit it being read, the clergy had been caught so completely by surprise that it had an opportunity to become quite widely distributed before its circulation was banned.

It seems that in the life of every reformer there comes a moment when he must stand alone, forsaken by all others, painfully aware of his isolation. Following the release of his Bible, a general clamor was raised against the reformer. “He was accused of being a heretic, a sacrilegious man; he had committed a crime unknown to former ages; he had broken into the temple and stolen the sacred vessels; he had fired the House of God. Such were the terms in which the man was spoken of, who had given to his country the greatest boon England had ever received.” Ibid., 113

It was under Wycliffe that English liberty had its beginning. The English Bible assured England’s greatness. As she began to resist the papacy she began to grow in power and wealth.

Wycliffe expected that his death would be by violence. The primate, the king and the pope were all working to bring about his destruction. However, on the last Sunday of 1384, while he was in the act of consecrating the bread and wine, he was struck with an attack of palsy and fell to the church floor. He was carried to his bed in the rectory where he died on December 31, 1384. That a man who defied the whole hierarchy and who never gave into compromise of any kind, should die in his own bed, was truly a miracle.

“The papists had failed to work their will with Wycliffe during his life, and their hatred could not be satisfied while his body rested quietly in the grave. By the decree of the Council of Constance, more than forty years after his death his bones were exhumed and publicly burned, and the ashes were thrown into a neighboring brook. ‘This brook,’ says an old writer, ‘hath conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they into the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wycliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world over.’—T. Fuller, Church History of Britain, b. 4, sec. 2, par. 54.

Little did his enemies realize the significance of their malicious act.” The Great Controversy, 95, 96

The political measures that Parliament adopted at Wycliffe’s advice in order to guard the country against the usurpations of the popes, reveal how clearly he saw the true purposes of the papacy to devour the wealth and liberty of the nations. Under his wise guidance, England was able to foresee the great evil and took precautions to protect themselves only after it had all but destroyed them.

In his submission to the Bible lay the secret of Wycliffe’s wisdom. He turned the eyes of England from popes and councils to the inspired Word of God. He taught that the Word of God was an all sufficient rule and that every man, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, had a right to interpret it for himself. Thus he taught men to throw off the blind submission to the teachings of men, which is bondage, and to submit their conscience to the Word of God, which alone is liberty.

It was under Wycliffe that English liberty had its beginnings. The real secret of England’s greatness is found in her acceptance of the Bible, very early in her development, and the principles of order and liberty which it brought her. This love for freedom and submission to law are the foundation upon which our political constitution and our national genius was built. It was Wycliffe who laid that foundation.

“Wycliffe was one of the greatest of the reformers. In breadth of intellect, in clearness of thought, in firmness to maintain the truth, and in boldness to defend it, he was equaled by few who came after him. Purity of life, unwearying diligence in study and in labor, incorruptible integrity, and Christlike love and faithfulness in his ministry, characterized the first of the Reformers. And this notwithstanding the intellectual darkness and moral corruption of the age from which he emerged.” Ibid., 93

The End

Organizational Unity

“It is the work of the Christian to mend, to restore, to heal. This healing process saves many a soul and hides a multitude of sins. God is love; God is, in Himself, in His essence, love. He makes the very best of what appears an injury, and gives Satan no occasion for triumph by making the worst appear and exposing our weakness to our enemies. The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, ‘cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’” Testimonies to Ministers, 265

Do you understand the significance of this statement? If the world is introduced into, and married to the church, it will become Babylon. She does not place it in a time frame, but she says it will happen and our danger as Seventh-day Adventists is that we will be reading the statements Ellen White wrote in the Review and Herald in 1893, which say that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not Babylon, and saying, “See, here this proves everything.” It does not prove everything at all, friends. You have to look at all of the inspired statements before you draw your conclusions. Do not take one group of statements that were addressed to a specific situation in 1893 and then forget everything else that was written and assume that you know it all.

Who ever thought up this terrible heresy that has gone around among God’s people that professed Israel can never become Babylon? There are two cases in the Bible where Israel became Babylon, one in the Old Testament and one in the New. By the introduction of the world into the church, it can become Babylon. We have been inclined to believe that it is only the acceptance, and promulgation of such false doctrines as, Sunday sacredness, and the immortality of the soul, that constitute Babylon, but Ellen White is very clear that while these do clearly mark a church as being part of Babylon, it is the acceptance of these, and kindred heresies, “and the rejection of the truth,” which convert the church into Babylon. See Selected Messages, book 2, 68. This should cause every Seventh-day Adventist great concern.

“Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas.’ Let all who read these lines, take heed. Satan has made his boast of what he can do. He thinks to dissolve the unity which Christ prayed might exist in His church. He says, ‘I will go forth and be a lying spirit to deceive those that I can, to criticize, and condemn, and falsify.’ Let the sin of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories.” Ibid., 409

Friends, we have accepted false witness and been engaged in the sin of deceit for a long time.

One of the greatest shocks I have experienced came a few years ago when I was reading the book The Word Made Flesh. Toward the back of the book is a section that shows how some material is used in the book Questions on Doctrines. The material used is a collection of statements by Ellen White that were put together by one of our “scholars or theologians.” I had done some research in my life and as I was studying over this material, I started comparing the sources and how it was put together. In just minutes I was in a state of shock. I said to myself, “No honest man could do this.” See The Word Was Made Flesh, Section 4, 219-275, and especially pages 249-264. You can disagree with me, but I do not believe that it is possible that anyone who is smart enough to do research could do this with an honest mind.

This took place a number of years ago, but have you ever noticed any public declaration that says we repudiate Questions on Doctrine and appeal to God and all of humanity to forgive us for publishing it? Remember, we have studied that there are four steps that have to be taken before Historic Adventists can ever be in harmony and unity with the world structure. They are: repentance, confession, restitution and a willingness to get back on the stand on the platform of truth. There is only one way to have unity and that is, if we are all willing to repent, confess, make restitution and stand together on the platform of truth.

“Infidelity has been making its inroads into our ranks; for it is the fashion to depart from Christ, and give place to skepticism. With many the cry of the heart has been, ‘We will not have this Man to reign over us.’ Baal, Baal, is the choice. The religion of many among us will be the religion of apostate Israel, because they love their own way, and forsake the way of the Lord.” Ibid.

The word Baal or Baalim in Hebrew means lord. When you are worshipping Baal, you are obeying and following a different lord. You think you are doing your own thing, following your own way, but the devil really has control of you and you do not know it.

We are at a time when the trumpet must give a certain sound. We are to show people that there can be no unity between truth and error and that there can be no unity between those who are standing under Satan’s banner and those who are standing under the banner of the Lord.

“Evil must be assailed; falsehood and error must be made to appear in their true character, sin must be denounced; and the testimony of every believer in the truth must be as one. All your little differences, which arouse the combative spirit among brethren, are devices of Satan to divert minds from the great and fearful issue before us.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1014

If you are a believer in the truth, you must stand against evil and apostasy. If you do not, you cannot be accounted today as one of God’s children. It is just that simple.

“All who live a conscientious life, who bear testimony of the claims of God, of the evil of sin, of the judgment to come, will be called the disturbers of Israel. Those whose testimony awakens the apprehension of the soul, offend pride, and arouse opposition. The hatred of evil against good exists as surely now as in the days of Christ when the multitudes cried, ‘Away with him! Release unto us Barabbas.’” Ibid., 1013

Anyone whom God commissions to do this kind of work is going to be accused of being critical. People are going to speak evil of them and try to destroy their influence.

Have you ever met someone who said, “I want peace. I just can’t stand all of this conflict”? Do you know when we will have true peace? “The true peace will come among God’s people when through united zeal and earnest prayer the false peace that exits to a large degree is disturbed.” Ibid.

There is a false peace in Adventism today and we are out to disturb it. We want to shake people up right down to their shoes so that they no longer feel secure and make them realize that if they do not do something different, they are going to go straight to destruction. We have to go through the steps we have been studying about, repentance, confession, restitution and standing together on the truth.

“While we cannot fellowship with those who are the bitter enemies of Christ, we should cultivate that spirit of meekness and love that characterized our Master—a love that thinketh no evil and is not easily provoked.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1163

Those who are followers of Christ cannot fellowship with those who are His bitter enemies. If you can fellowship with people who are enemies of the cross of Christ and are not teaching Historic Adventism, there is something seriously wrong. You are not headed in the direction you think you are.

Before Jesus comes, God’s people are going to have a true and perfect unity with one another. The question is not whether or not it is going to happen; it is a matter of prophecy. If those whom God has commissioned to have this unity do not do so, he will raise up others who will, but those refused to be united will lose their souls.

Even when we do have unity, we will not have the type of unity that many people expect. Ellen White describes true unity as being “unity in diversity.”


We are not going to come to the point where we all have the same identity or have absolute uniformity. That is not what we are talking about when we talk about unity. Ellen White describes this with the phrase “uniformity in diversity.” We are all still going to be individuals. Like branches that are part of a vine, all are different and yet they are all united to the vine.

One of the problems that even Historic Adventists are having today is that many people believe that in order to have unity, other people have to think the same as they think, sing the same, play the piano the same, preach the same way and right on down the line. If this idea is a reflection of your thinking, not only are you never going to experience the type of unity you are hoping to achieve, but you are actually going to become a roadblock to true unity, because in order to obtain unity you are going to try to get everybody else to be like you are, and that is not the unity we are talking about. All will, however, think the same with regard to the platform of truth. We will all agree on all the truths that God has given us.

I want to study a little bit about church organization, because that is part of this subject.

“God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. He will discipline and fit up His people. They will not be at variance, one believing one thing and another having faith and views entirely opposite, each moving independently of the body.” Testimonies to Ministers, 29

Notice, if we are going to have unity, we are not going to have theological views that are absolutely contradictory to one another, each one of us moving independently from the body. How can you not move independently form the body and still have unity and not compromise any truth? If you do not understand who the true church is versus the professed church, you will never make it. You have an absolutely impossible situation.

“Through the diversity of the gifts and governments that He has placed in the church, they will all come to the unity of the faith.” Ibid. [All emphasis supplied]

Did you notice that coming to the unity of the faith has something to do with the governments that God has placed in His church?

In a book written by a person whom I used to consider a very close friend of mine, the author totally reinterpreted prophecy. The problem with the total reinterpretation is that some of the reinterpretations contradict the Spirit of Prophecy, so I cannot accept that. I am not saying this to criticize that person, because anyone can make a mistake. Fields of secular endeavor are not the only areas in the world where mistakes are made. You can make a mistake in theology even if you are sincere. How am I going to keep from going off on a tangent independent of the body? Sister White points out that one of the purposes of governments in the church is to help us keep from going off on a tangent.

“If one man takes his views of Bible truth without regard to the opinion of his brethren, and justifies his course, alleging that he has a right to his own peculiar views, and then presses them upon others, how can he be fulfilling the prayer of Christ? And if another and still another arises, each asserting his right to believe and talk what he pleases without reference to the faith of the body, where will be that harmony which existed between Christ and His Father, and which Christ prayed might exist among His brethren?” Ibid., 29, 30

If I am really going to find out the opinion of my brethren in some organized way, we must have some kind of church organization. That has to do, Sister White says, with the organization, the governments that God has placed within the body of Christ—so, unity in diversity. This unity can happen if I have regard to the opinion of my brethren and I am willing to keep myself from going off independent of the truth of the body.

“When ministering brethren come together in council, let deference be shown to the expression of intelligent principles, let intellectual freedom be freely accorded to all. There should be unity and love and freedom in communication one with another. It should be a pleasure to consult one with another, to compare ideas and to review plans. An atmosphere of goodness, confidence, and love should be diffused; for this is the assurance of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The presence of God should be felt, and the soul should be humbled in acknowledging the condescension of God in planning for every soul for whom Christ had died, and thus hearts would be softened and broken.” Manuscript Release 311, 30

I may not be in harmony with the professed church, but I must be in harmony with the true church. That is not optional. I must not go off independently on my own, out of harmony with the body. But I cannot be sure that I am in harmony unless we have communication, and that requires some type of association, or “government.”

It is in the order of God that people who are widely different in character, disposition, background and thought should get together to counsel and talk. This is one of the greatest safeguards of unity and the organization of God’s church.

“Perfection of character means perfection in unity.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 179. We will never have perfection of character until we have perfection in unity.

“An army in battle would become confused and be defeated if the individual soldiers should move according to their own impulses instead of acting in harmony under the direction of a competent general. The soldiers of Christ also must act in harmony. A few converted souls, uniting for one grand purpose under one head, will achieve victories in every encounter.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 139

This is a wonderful promise. It is a statement that all of the people in home churches ought to learn. If you are united, if you have harmony and are organized, you are going to have victory at every step.

We have written a booklet entitled No New Organization. Do not get the idea that we are forming some new organization. We absolutely are not. The new organization has already been started. But we did not start it.

Do you remember that the early Adventists did not intend to start any kind of an organization? They were just going to work through the organizations that already existed, but as they began preaching the first angel’s message, they were thrown out of their churches. In the days of John Wesley, these Protestant churches were spiritual Israel. They did not have all of the truth, but they were living up to all of the light that they had. They were spiritual Israel. When they disfellowshipped the true body of Christ, what did they become? They became Babylon.

You who belong to the Adventist world structure, please consider this. The Protestant churches in Ellen White’s day disfellowshipped the true body of Christ and rejected the first angel’s message; and as a result of that, they became Babylon.

After these Adventists had been disfellowshipped, they were widely scattered, yet they resisted the idea of becoming organized. They knew that the churches they had just come out of were Babylon, and they did not want to be like them. Ellen White said that the Adventists afraid to organize because they were afraid they would become Babylon if they organized. But the churches in New York, because of their lack of organization, were already Babylon. See Testimonies, vol. 1, 270.

We have had the same problem of late. People have twisted statements, like the one about no new organization in Notebook Leaflets, 51, until Historic Seventh-day Adventists are afraid to start church organization. If you do not want your home church to become Babylon, you are going to have to get church organization in action.

If you have a home church and you are going to be organized, you need to have one or more elders and deacons in your church so that you can be organized. Read the first part of the book of Acts and you will find there the job of the elders and deacons in the church.

The first step in the organization of the Christian Church was in the ordination of the apostles. See The Acts of the Apostles, 18. In the last year or so we have had many letters and phone calls in which people say, “Well, couldn’t you do the same work if you did not ordain someone, because then it wouldn’t stir up so much controversy?” Well, that is just about the same as saying, “Couldn’t you be a Christian without getting baptized?” Listen, when God teaches you to do something, if you are not in harmony with divine counsel, you are an apostate. There is no other way about it. We did not ordain to stir up controversy, but because the Bible teaches it. We did it to be true to our conscience.

There are people who are saying, “You do not believe in organization.” The fact that we ordained people ought to prove the falsity of this accusation. If we did not believe in organization, we would not ordain anyone.

Unless we can learn to associate together and be able to call councils where we can get together and discuss what we need to do, as the apostolic church did, the devil has a very good chance of destroying us. This is one of the reasons why we are studying the subject of unity. We are determined that we are going to follow all of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy counsel in this matter. Are you willing to follow all of the counsel in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy? If you are, we must become more organized and, by the grace of God, we are going to do it.

The End

The Excellency of Christ

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” Philippians 3:7 NKJV. The life and teachings of the apostle Paul reflect a relationship with Jesus Christ that is so deep and so profound, so all encompassing, that it is a thrill to read the inspired words.

What things do we count to be gained in this life? There are the obvious things that people feel are a gain to them, perhaps their reputation, or even church position. What was Paul referring to in his own experience? To find out, we need to turn back to earlier verses in this chapter.

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel [generations of Seventh-day Adventists going back], of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee [one of the conservative branch]; concerning zeal, persecuting the church [attacking the independents]; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless [or so he thought]. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:1-8 NKJV

Paul is saying that in comparison, to possessing Christ, to having Him as his Saviour, his Lord and King, all else fades into oblivion. And the things that he once put confidence in, that he thought were gain, these he now counts but loss.

“Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:8. [All emphasis supplied.] He says not only that he counts all things which he once considered gain to him as loss for Christ, but moving on now to a greater arena, Paul points us to the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.

Because of the impact of rationalism, modernism, relativism and all of the other philosophies upon our society, we live in a world where people are starving in their hearts. They are turning to the occult and to spiritualism. They are turning inwardly to self to try to find something beyond, but the genius of Christianity is that all things are promised to the believer. There is a greater life, a holier existence, a higher, more elevated plain upon which life can be lived, and an invincible, overwhelming power made available to men through Jesus Christ.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things.” Philippians 3:8. It will be those who have experienced this by faith who will successfully negotiate the perils of the last days, standing for the law of God at the cost of liberty, property and even of life.

Because of the conviction that struck him as Stephen was being stoned, Paul took up the cross where Stephen had laid it down. The wonder and the beauty of Christ transfixed and transformed his heart. This vision never left Paul. When he was shipwrecked, when he was set upon by robbers, when the Jews worked to undermine his work, one look at the cross of Calvary reconsecrated and reinvigorated him, empowe

ring him to continue carrying on the message of Jesus Christ, even to Rome.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as Paul pondered the cross, he saw that Christ was the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. As Paul saw Him to be the foundation of the Jewish economy and that all the promises of God are found in Him, suddenly all of his supposedly bright future vanished in the face of the glory of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. The Sanhedrin no longer held the interest for him that it once did. The driving force within him to take this knowledge of Christ to every person in the known world drove him on and on. Hated, reviled and persecuted, he pressed on. Finally, standing alone before Nero, when all men forsook him, he had something which was beyond anything that this world could offer; and in the wonder, the glory and the beauty of that, all else faded into insignificance.

Therefore Paul says, “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Philippians 3:8

What a statement! In the Greek, the word used for dung means human excrement. Paul did not want anything to interfere; and anything that came close to interfering with the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord he counted as but refuse, that he might win Christ.

What does it mean to “win Christ”? It means everything. It means eternity. It means fellowship with the saved, fellowship with those who have never fallen, fellowship with God Himself. It means to be able to sit on His throne and to commune with Him, to understand the deep things of God. Jesus Christ is the pearl of great price. Everything else has to go, for in finding Him, we find everything else. He must be supreme, and nothing must jeopardize that relationship. All of the life is then negotiated and mediated through Him.

“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” Philippians 3:9 NKJV

The thing that transfixed Paul was the realization that the very righteousness of God Himself could be his by faith.

He then goes on to say, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed unto His death.” Philippians 3:10 NKJV

Christianity is a religion not only of love but of power. Paul wanted to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. Inspiration tells us that when Jesus came forth from the grave, it was by his own power. This power of the resurrection may be ours, for we are told that we will come forth from the grave, should we die before Christ returns, by virtue of the indwelling Christ.

Paul could never forget the part that he played in the stoning of Stephen and in the persecution of the church of Christ. Paul had persecuted the church of Christ, the body of his Lord, and he felt that he was the chief of sinners. Now he could not covet enough to know what the fellowship of His sufferings was. He wanted to be made conformable to the death of Christ, which is why he said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:11, 12

A very interesting construction. Christ Jesus had apprehended him for something and he wanted to apprehend that himself. So he and Christ were working together to apprehend the same thing.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, 14

This work, forming a union with Christ, is a very, very interesting one. As Jesus left the upper room with His disciples, knowing that He was facing the hour of supreme crisis in His life on this earth, with eternity at stake, He sought to explain His mission to the world and the spiritual relationship His disciples were to sustain with Him. The moon was shining, revealing a flourishing grape vine beside them. Jesus drew the attention of the disciples to this grape vine and said to them, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” John 15:1-4

One of the most precious concepts in all of the Scripture is that of abiding in Christ. Ellen White commented on this with these words, “A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a union of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 231

Salvation is a gift which we must receive, but it costs us everything. It is the pearl of great price, and so it is with the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord; it is a gift that can only come to us by the agency of the Holy Spirit, but it costs us everything. We must count all things but loss in order to receive this gift.

Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, a good man from all outward appearances and one of the wealthiest men in Palestine, came to Jesus by night. He came by night because he did not want to have people see him identified with this lowly Teacher who, as yet, did not have recognition from the Sanhedrin. Approaching Jesus, he said, “Rabbi, we know that art a Teacher come from God.” John 3:2. He did not recognize Him as his Lord and Saviour and Master but only as a teacher.

Ellen White tells us that Jesus knew that what this man needed was not the discussion of a theory but a new birth. He needed this work of detachment and attachment to Him as the Saviour of the world and an attachment to Him as the Saviour of the world. Jesus said to him, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” John 3:3, 4

Nicodemus took it literally, but Jesus was talking about a spiritual birth. A struggle is involved in birth, which is why it is referred to a labor. In ancient times, giving birth would often take the mother’s life. It is a struggle for the baby to be born. Even so in spiritual things, the spiritual new birth is a painful work.

Ellen White says of detachment and a work of attachment, “There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness—sin in all its forms—must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is that they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 231

This is why people whom we thought would be faithful to the very end, suddenly flip and are no longer walking in the narrow way. They have not been born again; the painful work of detachment has not taken place in their heart as the Word of God is applied. That is why Jesus said to His disciples, “Ye are clean through My word; ye have been purged.” The grape vine’s tendrils, as it grows, can have a tendency to go down toward this earth; but those tendrils have to be pruned off so that it can reach up toward heaven, toward the light. The pruning is a painful process, but it must take place because no man can serve two masters. There cannot be a divided heart. Christ will not co-exist with sin and with this world. There must be a detaching from the cherished idols and the formation of this attachment with the union with which Christ’s believers become one in Christ. But one branch cannot be sustained by another, the nourishment must be obtained through vital connection with the Vine. We must feel our utter dependence upon Christ. We must live by faith in the Son of God. That is the meaning of the injunction ‘‘abide in Me.”

A mere assent to this union while the affections are not detached from the world, the pleasures and dissipation, only emboldens the heart in disobedience. “God makes no compromise. Until the heart is surrendered unconditionally to God, the human agent is not abiding in the True Vine and cannot flourish in the Vine, and bear rich clusters of fruit. God will not make the slightest compromise with sin. If He could have done this, Christ need not have come to our world to suffer and die. No conversion is genuine which does not change both the character and the conduct of those who accept the truth. The truth works by love and purifieth the soul.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1144

Ellen White draws on this concept of Paul in Philippians, chapter 3, in the book The Great Controversy. In describing the day of the Lord, she speaks of a mighty earthquake that shakes the entire earth. God’s people, hidden in the forest and solitary retreats in the mountains, are being threatened with utter destruction by a universal death decree. Throngs of evil men are about to rush upon them when suddenly, from the throne of God, a rainbow spans the heavens and seems to encircle each praying company. The murderous throngs are arrested. Though it is midnight, the sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow. Everything in nature is turned out of its course; streams cease to flow. Hail stones the weight of a talent are pulverizing the cities of the earth. Graves are opened and a special resurrection takes place. All who have died in the faith of the three angel’s messages come forth from the tomb glorified. Lightnings envelope the earth. Above the terrific roar of thunder, voices, mysterious and awful, declare the doom of the wicked. The day of the Lord has come, and through a rift in the clouds there beams a star whose brilliance is increased fourfold in contrast with the darkness. The star speaks hope and joy to the faithful but severity and wrath to the transgressors of God’s law. And now this statement, where it all comes together, “Those who have sacrificed all for Christ are now secure.” The Great Controversy, 638

They knew what it was to count all things but loss. They knew the voice of their Redeemer when conviction came and the Holy Spirit said the time has come to speak and no longer be silent. The time has come to move with the message. They sacrificed all for Christ and now they are secure, hidden, as in the secret of the Lord’s pavilion. Yes, the message of Paul comes down to us, a message glorious and wondrous in its beauty. Only those who understand what it means to behold Christ and to be transformed into the image of His glory, having been detached from everything in this world, will be secure when the day of the Lord comes. Their voices are raised in triumphant song, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Psalm 46:1-3

Holiness is what binds the faithful as one together with their Lord and with one another—wholeness for God, complete surrender to Him. In the greatest hour of earth’s history, as Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven, those who have made that supreme surrender, who know what it has meant to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord, can now look up at the Lord and say, “Lo, this is our God. We have waited for Him and He will save us.” Isaiah 25:9

The End

Are You Being Sealed?

We are judgment bound Seventh-day Adventists. What is taking place at this moment has never taken place before in the history of the world.

“This mightiest of angels has in his hand the seal of the living God, or of Him who alone can give life, who can inscribe upon the foreheads the mark or inscription, to whom shall be granted immortality, eternal life….

“Those that overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, will be the favored ones who shall receive the seal of the living God. Those whose hands are not clean, whose hearts are not pure, will not have the seal of the living God.” Testimonies to Ministers, 444, 445

It is so plain. First Ellen White gives it in the positive, and then, just to make sure that it is absolutely clear, she gives it in the negative. “Those who are planning sin and acting it will be passed by. Only those who, in their attitude before God, are filling the position of those who are repenting and confessing their sins in the great anti-typical day of atonement, will be recognized and marked as worthy of God’s protection.” Ibid., 445

There are only two seals, or marks received in the last days—the mark of the beast and the seal of God. Only those who overcome the world, the flesh and the devil will be the favored ones who will receive the seal of God. If you do not receive the seal of God, you are lost. How can the new theology teach in one breath, that we can go on sinning and repenting right up until the time that Jesus comes, and in the next breath, still profess to believe the Spirit of Prophecy?

“The only hope of any man lies through Jesus Christ….The pure and holy garments are not prepared to be put on by any one after he has entered the gate of the city. All who enter will have on the robe of Christ’s righteousness, and the name of God will be seen in their foreheads. This name is the symbol which the apostle saw in vision, and signifies the yielding of the mind to intelligent and loyal obedience to all of God’s commandments.” Sons and Daughters of God, 370

It is an amazing thing that, even though Seventh-day Adventists are known as people who keep the commandments, we are hearing less and less about the Ten Commandments in church. We are hearing less and less about the vindication and immutability of God’s law in our periodicals and more about love and social issues. I am all for helping the homeless and hungry, but these are social issues. They may be good issues, but they are not the message God gave to us for this time. If we are not going to preach the three angels’ messages, who will?

“Now is the time to lay up treasure in heaven and to set our hearts in order, ready for the time of trouble. Those only who have clean hands and pure hearts will stand in that trying time. Now is the time for the law of God to be in our minds, foreheads, and written in our hearts.” Early Writings, 58

“The Lord has shown me the danger of letting our minds be filled with worldly thoughts and cares….In these things I saw great danger; for if the mind is filled with other things, present truth is shut out, and there is no place in our foreheads for the seal of the living God. I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the Most Holy Place was nearly finished and that time can last but a very little longer. What leisure time we have should be spent in searching the Bible, which is to judge us in the last day.

“My dear brethren and sisters, let the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ be in your minds continually….When you lie down and when you rise up let them be your meditation. Live and act wholly in reference to the coming of the Son of man. The sealing time is very short, and will soon be over.” Ibid.

Do you have a devotional program? I am talking about a serious devotional program where you set your alarm clock to get up early and spend some time with God.

A favorite tool of the devil is to rob God’s people of devotional time with the Lord by getting them to stay up late so that they do not have that time to spend with the Lord in the morning. Do what ever is necessary to get to bed on time. Set that alarm clock early, and the Lord will make it up to you with strength for the day. This is how you establish a relationship with the Lord and prepare for the sealing time.

“Many are called, but few are chosen. Many hear the invitation of mercy, are tested and proved; but few are sealed with the seal of the living God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 50

What does this statement tell us? It makes it clear that the vast majority of Seventh-day Adventists are not going to receive the seal of the living God but will receive the other seal—the mark of the beast—and they are going to be lost.

“Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our character, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214

Are you tempted to say, “Oh, there is no hope; I cannot make it!”? Let me tell you, folks, there is hope. Don’t ever let the devil tell you otherwise, because the Lord that I serve is able to give you victory over every sin. If there is a sin He cannot give you victory over, I want to know what it is. It does not come by accident; but if you are getting up early and spending that time with the Lord, and if you are staying in an attitude of prayer all day, you will have the victory. If you are not doing these things, you are not getting victory. It is just that simple.

“Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty. Satan knew this, and he was at work in mighty power to keep the minds of as many people as he possibly could wavering and unsettled on the truth.” Early Writings, 43,44

Today, we are seeing the minds of God’s people wavering and being waffled around in indecision by every wind of doctrine. Even among people who claim to be Historic Adventists, people whom we thought were firmly grounded, we are seeing this take place. Errors, over which we thought the truth had been vindicated and had all died, we see coming back again. We find that we can talk with people for hours and hours and when we are finished, they will go to another preacher and ask him the very same question. That preacher will work and study with them for hours, and then they will go to somebody else.

God is drawing a covering over His people. This covering is His protection form the buffetings of Satan, but He can only draw it over those who are settled firmly into the truth. Those who are not covered are being knocked around by Satan. The more unsure they are, the more Satan knocks them around and the more unsure they become. It is a vicious circle. If they do not change, they are lost. You must be settled into the truth, and you must do so now!

“Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling.” Ibid., 44

I do not care how busy you are or what you are doing; if you are not reading, studying and becoming firmly planted in the truth, then you have your priorities upside down. If you are not firmly planted in the truth, you are going to be lost, and that is all there is to it.

“Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 216

Could we say that this applies to people who say one thing and do another? Who say one thing back stage and say something else out on the stage? Could we say it applies to people who make a statement like, “you must do thus and so or you are going to force me to lie”?

“All who receive the seal must be without spot before God—candidates for heaven.” Ibid.

Do you know what this means? It means perfection. And what is perfection? It is walking in victory in Jesus Christ. Many have made the word perfection to mean something terrible, but what does the Bible teach?

Let me ask you a question. This is a loaded question; be careful how you answer it. Can you walk on water? Either answer is right, and both answers are wrong. Through the power and strength of Jesus Christ, you are able to do what it is humanly impossible to do. Peter could not walk on water, but he did. As long as he kept his eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he did what was impossible. Don’t ask me how he did it; he just did it.

Here is another loaded question. Can you live without sinning? When you keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, you can do what it is otherwise impossible to do. Humanly speaking, living without sin is absolutely impossible, even laughable—just as laughable as to think that a man could walk on the water. But Peter did. That is the kind of Lord that we serve. Do not ask me how it is done; it is just done. You step out by faith and say, “Lord, give me the victory over this.” Turn it over to Him, letting Him have full control, and He will do it.

“Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.

“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter!” Early Writings, 71

Have you ever heard an Adventist saying, “Oh, we must have the latter rain. If we could just receive the latter rain, we could finish the work.” They are looking to the latter rain as if it is going to be some transforming power over their lives. No one, however, is going to receive the latter rain unless they have experienced the transforming power of the early rain. It is through the early rain experience that we receive the power of the Holy Spirit that prepares us to receive the power of the latter rain. We have gotten things backwards folks.

“It is now that we must keep ourselves and our children unspotted from the world.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 215

Has anyone ever said to you, “Well, this is a real world that we live in; you just have to let your children get out there and fend for themselves. You are just putting them in a cocoon and are living in too sheltered an environment. You just have to let them learn how to stand on their own two feet”? Have you ever heard these things?

Let me tell you, if you do what they suggest, your children are going to be lost. God gave us Christian homes so that we could bring our children up in a protected environment in this world. If you throw your children to the wolves, that is exactly where they are going to end up.

“It is now that we must wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It is now that we must overcome pride, passion, and spiritual slothfulness. It is now that we must awake and make determined effort for symmetry of character.” Ibid., 216

We are told that the living righteous will receive the seal of God prior to the close of probation. See Selected Messages, book 1, 66. Do you believe that we are near to the close of probation? Do you believe that probation closes first for professed Seventh-day Adventists? Reasoning from cause to effect, if the close of probation is near, and if it closes first for professed Seventh-day Adventists, then probation’s close must be very close for Seventh-day Adventists. Are you beginning to see where we are?

“The judgement is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon—none know how soon—it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Saviour’s admonition: ‘Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.’ Mark 13:33. ‘If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.’ Revelation 3:3.” The Great Controversy, 490

What serious times in which we live. How could anything on this earth possibly take precedence over this? “The destiny of all will be decided. A few, yes, only a few, of the vast number who people the earth will be saved unto life eternal, while the masses who have not perfected their souls in obeying the truth will be appointed to the second death.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 401, 402

If the seal of the living God is being decided at this moment in your case, are you ready to receive it? The Laodicean condition is the most dangerous condition that people can be in. When people believe that they are rich and increased in goods and in need of nothing, while they are really blind, poor, wretched and naked, they are greatly deceived. This, however, is the condition of the Seventh-day Adventist Church today.

“God has made ample provision that we may stand perfect in His grace, wanting in nothing, waiting for the appearing of our Lord. Are you ready? Have you the wedding garment on? That garment will never cover deceit, impurity, corruption, or hypocrisy. The eye of God is upon you. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. We may conceal our sins from the eyes of men, but we can hide nothing from our Maker.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 220

What is hypocrisy? It is claiming to be one thing while being something totally different on the inside. God’s robe of righteousness—the wedding garment—will never cover hypocrisy.

“There is great need that our brethren overcome secret faults. The displeasure of God, like a cloud, hangs over many of them. The churches are weak. Selfishness, uncharitableness, covetousness, envy, evil-surmising, falsehood, theft, robbery, sensuality, licentiousness, and adultery, stand registered against some who claim to believe the solemn, sacred truth for this time. How can these accursed things be cleansed out of the camp, when men who claim to be Christians are practicing them constantly? They are somewhat careful of their ways before men, but they are an offense to God. His pure eyes see, a witness records, all their sins, both open and secret; and unless they repent and confess their sins before God, unless they fall on the Rock and are broken, their sins will remain charged against them in the books of record. Oh, fearful histories will be opened to the world at the judgment—histories of sins never confessed, of sins not blotted out!” Testimonies to Ministers, 146

Oh, brothers and sisters, it is time to take care of these things in our lives. The sealing is taking place. No one knows when the judgment of the living begins. It could be going on now. Are you ready to stand in the judgment before God? Are you ready to receive the seal of the living God?

The End

Go Stand in the Temple

Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, ‘Go stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.’” Acts 5:17-20 NKJV

When we think of the temple, we visualize, first of all, Solomon’s Temple. Though it was later destroyed by Babylon, Ellen White tells us that it was the most magnificent building the world had seen at that time.

Then we think of the second temple, which was rebuilt after the captivity. It was beautiful, but it did not compare with the original. But this was the temple that Haggai the prophet prophesied about, “’ I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of all nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of host.” Haggai 2:7 NKJV

This building, enlarged and rebuilt by Herod, was glorious, and as the prophet had promised, the Desire of all nations did come. He came as a baby to be dedicated there. We would expect that there would be a glorious celebration, but there was not anything like that. Those who were in charge of the affairs of the temple did not see or feel anything unusual. They saw only a husband and a wife, clothed in the garments commonly worn by the poorer people, bringing the offering of the turtle doves that was the offering prescribed for those who did not have money enough to bring something more. They concluded that it was a matter of no consequence, another poor child.

But the Lord of heaven was not going to let the event pass unnoticed. He caused someone to be there who was spiritually tuned in. Simeon, who had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Lord’s Christ before he died, came in by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Seeing the baby, he knew He was the One. Although the priest giving the baby back into the arms of Joseph and Mary did not have any awareness of what was going on, Simeon did. Simeon took that baby and made a prophecy about it, while the priest looked on in wonder.

So it is still. Events upon which the attention of all heaven is centered are undiscerned and their very occurrence is unnoticed by religious leaders and worshippers in the house of God. What a tragic thing, but history does repeat itself.

The prophecy was fulfilled; the Desire of all nations did come. He went first of all to those who should have been foremost in recognizing Him, but something was wrong. They were not in harmony with the Spirit of God. They were desperately confused and did not know what was happening. Nevertheless, He came, fulfilling the promise and witnessing to the leaders of Israel. He witnessed to them several times and, of course, indirectly many times. Finally, He had to give up on the leaders of Israel, but He never gave up on the people.

There seems to be a law of diminishing returns, a point beyond which the Lord recognizes that there is still a little bit of good being accomplished; but the evil being done is so much greater, that it does not justify the continuance of the system.

“The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of Satan. They were doing the work that he desired them to do, taking a course to misrepresent the character of God, and cause the world to look upon Him as a tyrant. The very priests who ministered in the temple had lost sight of the significance of the service they performed. They had ceased to look beyond the symbol to the thing signified. In presenting the sacrificial offerings they were as actors in a play. The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels. The whole system must be swept away.” The Desire of Ages, 36

But God does not give up on people, so, though the priests had put the apostles in prison for preaching in the temple, the angel brought them right out the same door they went in and said, “Go back; go right back and stand in the temple and preach to the people all the words of this life.”

It was the time of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest occasion which drew people to the temple. They were gathered from far and near, and in the sheltered area in Solomon’s porch they gathered to hear messages of the kind the apostles were going to give them. So, that is where the apostles went to speak to them. God had to give up on the leaders of the church, but He never gives up on the people. This has been manifested ever so many times in the history of religion.

We read in The Great Controversy about the experience of Wycliffe, the Morning Star of the Reformation. That very brilliant man, whose work was not exceeded by those Reformers who followed him, even a hundred years later, took his message to the people.

“Wycliffe, like his Master, preached the gospel to the poor. Not content with spreading the light in their humble homes in his own parish of Lutterworth, he determined that it should be carried to every part of England. To accomplish this he organized a body of preachers, simple, devout men, who loved the truth and desired nothing so much as to extend it.” The Great Controversy, 87

These ministers of the gospel were called Lollards. As nearly as we can learn from the records, the word lollard is a bit of an extension of a Dutch word which means to speak or sing softly. These simple, humble preachers went with such success that the new faith was accepted by nearly one half of the people of England. It is interesting to note that the organized church rose up against these humble ministers, these men called from their walks of life, charging them with heresy.

Have you ever noticed that no matter when in the history of religion that heresy appears and heretics embrace heresy, they invariably accuse the faithful of being the heretics.

Zwingli also took his message to the people.

“Another class received with gladness the tidings of redemption through Christ. The observances enjoined by Rome had failed to bring peace of soul, and in faith they accepted the Saviour’s blood as their propitiation. These returned to their homes to reveal to others the precious light which they had received.” The Great Controversy, 175

Calvin took his message to the people. Of him we read, “His work began with the people at their homes. Surrounded by the members of the household, he read the Bible and opened the truths of salvation. Those who heard the message carried the good news to others, and soon the teacher passed beyond the city to the outlying towns and hamlets. To both the castle and the cabin he found entrance, and he went forward, laying the foundation of churches that were to yield fearless witnesses for the truth.” Ibid., 222

As you know, Wesley preached at the entrances to coal mines, in the fields and in the streets. All of the Reformers had to take their message to the people when they were forced to give up on the leaders of the church. A tragic situation but a very constantly reoccurring thing.

In 1888 Ellen White did the same thing. She found such resistance among the leaders of the church to the message of righteousness by faith, that she and A.T. Jones, as well as others, took their message to the people. In response, in 1891 the leadership sent her to Australia to get rid of that problem.

The lesson for us is that God never gives up on the people, and true reformers never give up on the people. True reformers may have to give up on the leaders, but never on the people.

Right after the angel had brought the apostles out of the prisons, he said to them, “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” Acts 5:20 NKJV

I think that three and a half years earlier they would not have been able to handle that command; their childhood training would have been too strong. They would have said, “We cannot disobey the leaders of the church.” But after three and a half years, during which time they had seen the church leaders’ attitude of indifference harden into an attitude of opposition, then into an attitude of bitter hostility, finally ending in the crucifixion, they had no illusions about church leadership. They knew that church leadership can be led of God, but it does not necessarily have to be so. And so, without hesitation they made their decision: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29 NKJV

Now, may I suggest that our problem today is not greatly different. We have been told to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Added to that is the mandate to take the three angels’ messages to every nation, kindred, tribe, tongue and people. As a people, we have made it our first work—so much so, that in our own Adventist cultural jargon, to speak of “the truth” means simply one thing: we are talking about the three angels’ messages. To speak of “the work” means simply the work of spreading the gospel all around the world, This has been our all-encompassing concern, but in our time, we are seeing the uncaring indifference of church leaders hardening into opposition and open hostility. Now they are declaring that you and I are cancers in the body of the church, which must be cut out. So, we ought to lay aside all of our illusions, beloved, and look very carefully at this in the light of the question, What do we do under these circumstances?

We do not have to guess; we do not have to speculate; we are told very clearly what we should do. “The angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, ‘Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.’ We see here that the men in authority are not always to be obeyed even though they may profess to be teachers of Bible doctrine.” Testimonies to Ministers, 69 [Emphasis supplied]

Well, what does “not always” mean? When is it all right not to obey the leaders of the church? “Because those who were once the depositaries of truth became unfaithful to their sacred trust, the Lord chose others who would receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and would advocate truths that were not in accordance with the ideas of the religious leaders.” Testimonies to Ministers, 69, 70

That is pretty clear, isn’t it? When those who were once the depositaries of sacred truth become unfaithful to their sacred trust, they have no authority. Where there is no truth, there is no authority.

“Unless the truth is enthroned in the heart, and a thorough transition takes place from darkness to light, those who handle sacred responsibilities are ministers of darkness, blind leaders of the blind.” Ibid., 81

O that God’s people would open their eyes! How many times I have tried to explain to people who question me that in the Seventh-day Adventist church today, you have three groups of people. On the one side you have one group of people who know very well what they are doing; they are trying to change our doctrines and destroy our historic faith. On the other side you have a group of people who know very well what they are doing; we call them Historic Adventists. They are trying very hard to resist and oppose those unauthorized, ungodly changes. But in the middle, we have the vast majority who do not know what is going on. O that God’s people would open their eyes!

“If a brother is teaching error, those who are in responsible positions ought to know it; and if he is teaching truth, they ought to take their stand at his side.” Ibid., 110

I want to give credit where credit is due, but if any of our modern leaders have ever taken their stand at the side of an Historic Adventist, that has not been reported to me.

We can go on from there to take some examples illustrating the principle that there is no authority higher than the authority of truth, that position without truth has no authority whatsoever. We read here of Caiaphas, “Though clothed with a gorgeous dress, he was acting under the inspiration of Satan.” The Youth’s Instructor, June 7, 1900

“God has made His people the depositaries of His law. They must uphold the claims of that down-trodden law against the opposition of ministers of the gospel, against men of learning, position, and authority.” Sketches From the Life of Paul, 279

So we are not giving blind respect to authority.

“However great the confidence reposed in any man, whatever the authority given him by his position….His position and authority depend upon his connection with God, upon the discernment and wisdom he receives from above.” Review and Herald, May 14, 1895

The fact that a person has an office does not mean that he has authority from God. He may have authority from man but not from God. Wycliffe faced this problem, as did Huss, Luther, Wesley and many others.

According to the apostle Paul in Galatians 1:6, the position of an apostle is not enough if that person is not preaching truth. He must preach the truth, and so must we.

But how shall we handle our problem? In our time, those who have brought apostasy into the church are accusing the faithful of apostasy. When we say, “Would you please point out our heresy to us,” they say, “We will not discuss theology with you; we are only here to talk about authority.”

“Because those who were once the depositaries of truth became unfaithful to their sacred trust, the Lord chose others who would receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and would advocate truths that were not in accordance with the ideas of the religious leaders. And then these leaders, in the blindness of their minds, give full sway to what is supposed to be righteous indignation against the ones who have set aside cherished fables. They act like men who have lost their reason.” Testimonies to Ministers, 69, 70

When they are looking at a problem which is theological from the first word to the last, when they are looking at relationship in the church of tension and stress that is entirely theological and they say that it has nothing to do with theology, have they not lost their reason? When they take heroes of the gospel of Christ and disfellowship them from the temple, are they not acting like men who have lost their reason? When they accuse us of being the cancer in the body of Christ, when they exalt their rules above the Scriptures and above the Spirit of Prophecy, are they not acting like men bereft of reason? When they have taken the policy of credentials, which was established for the purpose of keeping falsehood out of the pulpit and keeping truth in, and prostituted and turned it around to keep falsehood in the pulpit and truth out, are they not acting like men who have lost their reason? But most of all, beloved, when they fantasize that they can destroy the historic faith of the Adventist people, have they not gone stark raving mad? God is going to protect His truth. This truth is going to survive.

In the fall of the year 1977, Jean and I took a public stand against apostasy at Loma Linda, California, and we were so alone. We thought that we would never again have fellowship with anyone else in the same frame of mind. But God is calling out His people. When there is a crisis, God will raise up men and women to meet that crisis. This truth will survive! It will never be destroyed, because it is God’s truth!

I remember Marshall Grosboll once making a statement in the state of Washington. When a certain problem was arising about the ones who wanted to follow the truth faithfully and those who did not, Marshall said, “You will be surprised when the dust has settled how few will stand.” That is sad is it not? We have our determination, our purpose, our intentions, and that is all very well, but we must have the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ if we will be among those who stand in the hour of trial.

The End

The Leaves of Autumn

I am happy to report that there is a simple, inexpensive and effective method of working for the salvation of those who have never heard our message. This simple and effective method is one Dr. Ralph Larson suggested, and is available to all. I call it “Tracts Work.”

“How the angels must feel as they see the end approaching, and see so many of those entrusted with the last message of mercy huddling together, attending meetings for the sake of benefit to their own souls, and feeling dissatisfied if there is not much preaching, while they have little burden and are doing little for the salvation of others. All who are indeed united to Christ by living faith will be partakers of the divine nature. They will be constantly receiving from Him spiritual life, and they cannot be silent.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 443.

“As the disciples, filled with the power of the Spirit, went forth to proclaim the gospel, so God’s servants are to go forth today. Filled with an unselfish desire to give the message of mercy to those who are in the darkness of error and unbelief, we are to take up the Lord’s work. He gives us our part to do in cooperation with Him, and He will also move on the hearts of unbelievers to carry forward His work in the regions beyond. Already many are receiving the Holy Spirit, and no longer will the way be blocked by listless indifference.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 32,33

Using this method of work, I now have nine non-Adventists involved in weekly Bible studies. I have also found that two hours a week, dedicated to passing out literature, will result, on an average, of one person a month inviting themselves to the Bible studies. During the course of the first five weeks I probably spent about $20.00 on materials to hand out.

“The testing truth for this time is not the fabrication of any human mind. It is from God. It is genuine philosophy to those who appropriate it. Christ became incarnate in order that we, through belief of the truth, might be sanctified and redeemed. Let those who hold the truth in righteousness arouse and go forth, shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, to proclaim the truth to those who know it not. Let them make straight paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 211,212

“There is a much greater work devolving upon the individual members of the church than they realize. They are not awake to the claims of God. The time has come when every means would be devised that can aid in preparing a people to stand in the day of God. We must be wide-awake, refusing to let precious opportunities pass unimproved. We must do all that we possibly can to win souls to love God and keep His commandments. Jesus requires this of those who know the truth. Is His demand unreasonable? Have we not the life of Christ as our example? Do we not owe the Saviour a debt of love, of earnest, unselfish labor for the salvation of those for whom He gave His life?” Testimonies, vol. 8, 244

“The lay members of our churches can accomplish a work which, as yet, they have scarcely begun. None should move into new places merely for the sake of worldly advantage; but where there is an opening to obtain a livelihood, let families that are well grounded in the truth enter one or two families in a place to work as missionaries. They should feel a love for souls, a burden of labor for them, and should make it a study how to bring them into the truth. They can distribute our publications, hold meetings in their homes, become acquainted with their neighbors, and invite them to come to these meetings. Thus they can let their light shine in good works.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 245

Here’s how to get the word out, bring souls into the truth, minimize the amount of time required to accomplish all this, and spend very little money.

We have developed a series of tri-fold tracts, on various Bible themes, ranging from salvation by grace to the mark of the beast. By the way, you don’t even have to use our tracts for this technique to work. Just pick out twenty houses and knock on each door. Present the tract saying very simply, “Hi. I’ve brought you something good to read. Hope you enjoy it.” Then leave and go on to the next door. Keep a small notebook with a list of each address in it and a record of which tracts or materials you’ve left at each door.

Now go back to each house one week later with a second tract. It has been our experience, that to be most effective, it is best to be regular, calling at the same time each week. This time just say, “I’m still giving out tracts. Would you like another?” If and when you get a rejection say “Thank you.” (And mean it, they just cut down your workload by one house.) Strike a line through that address and add one more house to your list (starting over with tract #1).

As is obvious, you’ve now spent very little time at each house and nothing you’ve said can possibly be considered pushy. It is only the truth-filled messages in the tracts that will convict hearts and cause people to open up to you. All you do is faithfully show up every week and offer another tract.

As the people see that you are presenting nothing harmful or scary in your literature and that everything is based solidly on the Bible, your reputation will grow in the minds of those who are seeking the truth. In addition, you are not spending time in unpleasant confrontations with people who do not want your message.

“Why has the history of the work of the disciples, as they labored with holy zeal, animated and vitalized by the Holy Spirit, been recorded, if it is not that from this record the Lord’s people today are to gain an inspiration to work earnestly for Him? What the Lord did for His people in that time, it is just as essential, and more so, that He do for His people today. All that the apostles did, every church member today is to do. And we are to work with as much more fervor, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit in as much greater measure, as the increase of wickedness demands a more decided call to repentance.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 33

As the weeks of receiving these tracts go by, hearts will be touched by the Word of God and worked on by His Holy Spirit. You may expect that someone will ask you a question about something that has touched their heart. When they do, just say, “May I show you the answer from the Bible?” At that point you have been invited into their home and have started Bible studies with them. It’s that simple.

“The conversion of souls to God is the greatest, the noblest work in which human beings can have a part. In this work are revealed God’s power, His holiness, His forbearance, and His unbounded love. Every true conversion glorifies Him and causes the angels to break forth into singing.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 52

“Every church should labor for the perishing within its own borders and for those outside its borders. The members are to shine as living stones in the temple of God, reflecting heavenly light. No random, haphazard, desultory work is to be done. To get fast hold of souls ready to perish means more than praying for a drunkard and then, because he weeps and confesses the pollution of his soul, declaring him saved. Over and over again the battle must be fought. Testimonies, vol. 8, 196

My experience in this tract work has convinced me that anyone can do this and bring people to the truth. After about two weeks of passing out tracts, a couple stopped me on the street near their home and asked me to begin regular Bible studies with them in their home. There were five non-Adventists in our study there last week. One of those in attendance for the second time was a young woman who had tried to commit suicide a month before and had been totally opposed to Christianity. Now she eagerly looks forward to each week’s study. Two weeks ago she set the topic for the next week’s lesson by asking, “Would you show us what was nailed to the cross?” Last week, another newcomer set the topic for this week’s lesson by asking if I would explain the “wheat and the tares.” As always I answer in the affirmative. This is, after all, the easiest way to teach the truth. I have one whole week to bone up on any given subject and I have the Spirit of Prophecy to use for my guideline!

“The third angel’s message, embracing the messages of the first and second angels, is the message for this time. We are to raise aloft the banner on which is inscribed: ‘The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ The world is soon to meet the great Lawgiver over His broken law. This is not the time to put out of sight the great issues before us. God calls upon His people to magnify the law and make it honorable.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 197

Two weeks ago as I was having a newsletter printed at the local printer, the manager, a talkative, type, found out I was a Seventh-day Adventist. He commented on the fact that we attend church on Saturday and asked me why. Now that’s an open invitation. On our next meeting I presented the Bible as the sole rule of faith and my reasons for believing it to be the Word of God. He was surprised to learn that the Bible was written by men “who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” and then would not let me leave until he had raised the questions of what constitutes the Mark of the Beast, and what really happens when you die! I trust that there will be more meetings with this man.

“Many are deceived as to their true condition before God. They congratulate themselves upon the wrong acts which they do not commit, and forget to enumerate the good and noble deeds which God requires of them, but which they have neglected to perform. It is not enough that they are trees in the garden of God. They are to answer His expectation by bearing fruit. He holds them accountable for their failure to accomplish all the good which they could have done, through His grace strengthening them. In the books of heaven they are registered as cumberers of the ground. Yet the case of even this class is not utterly hopeless. With those who have slighted God’s mercy and abused His grace, the heart of long-suffering love yet pleads. ‘Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly,…redeeming the time, because the days are evil.’ Ephesians 5:14-16.” The Great Controversy, 601, 602

It is now one of my greatest joys to knock on the door of a house on East 3rd Street. Every time I go there now the woman lights up and tells me how much she enjoyed the previous tract and how she has been looking forward to the next one. If you would like to share in my joy, I will make our tracts available to you and personalize them with your name or the name and address of your ministry. Just send me the exact way you want the name and address to appear on the tracts and I will send you a set of masters (six are currently available) that you can use to make your own tracts as you need them on a copying machine. I do ask that, with your request for these materials, you include a donation to cover my expenses.

The End

The Rending Of The Robe

In the Scriptures, our robe, or our clothing, is used as a symbol of our character. We see this in the experience of Adam and Eve. They had a robe of light, representing a righteous character. When they sinned and lost that covering, they made some fig leaf garments to replace it. These artificial garments have become synonymous with righteousness by works, but they are not acceptable.

In place of the garment of leaves, the Lord prepared a garment for them from the skin of an animal. This garment, which cost the life of the innocent animal, was symbolic of the garment of Christ’s righteousness, which cost the life of His own Son and which all must wear who will be saved. In Revelation 19:7-8, we find our clothing referred to as our works. “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” As acts are repeated, they become habits, and those habits become character.

You can read in Ephesians 5 concerning the church, that the church will be arrayed in linen, a garment of character that will be without spot or wrinkle, without blemish. Speaking of Armageddon, we read: “Behold I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” Revelation 16:15. If your garment is torn or becomes spotted or wrinkled, you will not be ready for Armegeddon.

In the Old Testament, there is one robe that was a special symbol, and that was the robe worn by the high priest. Speaking of this robe, we are told: “The pattern of the priestly robes was made known to Moses in the mount. Every article the high priest was to wear, and the way it should be made, were specified. These garments were consecrated to a most solemn purpose. By them was represented the character of the great antitype, Jesus Christ.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1104

Because it represented Christ’s character, under no condition was this robe to be torn or rent. The penalty for failing to comply with this requirement was death. The Jews, however, had gotten together and had written a church manual that contained rules differing from those in the Bible. According to their church manual, there was one exception to God’s rule. In the case of blasphemy, in order to show his horror, the high priest was allowed to tear his robe. It is quite obvious that Caiaphas placed a higher value on the church manual than on the Bible. By the way, in those days you could not even be a high priest unless you were willing to go along with the church manual. That was a prerequisite.

So, when Caiaphas tore his robe, though his action was approved of by the church manual, according to God’s Word, he was deserving of death. Of course, nothing like this could ever happen again, could it?

“We want to understand the time in which we live. We do not half understand it. We do not half take it in. My heart trembles in me when I think of what a foe we have to meet, and how poorly we are prepared to meet him. The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ.” Selected Messages, book 1, 406

The condition of Israel then, according to Ellen White, was representative of our experience just before the second coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus told the people of His day, “You have made the commandments of God of no affect by your tradition.” Matthew 15:6

Have you ever heard of a “duly appointed leader”? Or have you ever heard the phrase, “properly constituted church authority”? Was Caiphas a duly appointed leader? Well, who is a duly appointed leader? This is something that we need to understand.

“For thus rending his garment in pretended zeal, the high priest might have been arraigned before the Sanhedrin. He had done the very thing that the Lord had commanded should not be done. Standing under the condemnation of God, he pronounced sentence on Christ as a blasphemer. He performed all his actions toward Christ as a priestly judge, as an officiating high priest, but he was not this by the appointment of God, the priestly robe he rent in order to impress the people with his horror of the sin of blasphemy covered a heart full of wickedness. He was acting under the inspiration of Satan.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1105

Was he duly appointed? He was not appointed by God. Who was directing his actions? Do God and the devil ever work in partnership? No! Never! The Bible is very clear on that. First Corinthians 10:20-21 says, “You can not drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils.” It does not say you should not; it says you cannot. You can have it one way or the other but not both.

“Under a gorgeous priestly dress, he was fulfilling the work of the enemy of God.” Ibid.

Is it properly constituted church authority to do the work of the devil? Now notice the next sentence.

“This has been done again, and again.” Ibid.

Let me ask you this question. How much authority did Caiphas have?

“With Caiaphas the Jewish high priesthood ended. This proud, overbearing, wicked man proved his unworthiness ever to have worn the garments of the high priest. He had neither capacity, nor authority from heaven.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 387

How much authority did he have? Though he had what they called properly constituted authority, he had no authority from heaven.

“He had not one ray of light from heaven to show him what the work of the priest was, or for what the office had been instituted. Such ministration could make nothing perfect, for in itself it was utterly corrupt. The priests were tyrannous and deceptive, and full of ambitious schemes. The grace of God had nought to do with this.” Ibid., 388

“Oh,” but someone says, “he was the high priest.” Well, let us just look at that for a moment. Was he the high priest? Now remember, it was several years before A.D. 34. Was Caiaphas the leader of God’s people? No, no he was not. “Virtually Caiaphas was no high priest.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1101

Was he the high priest or was he not the high priest? He was not the high priest, though he may have been so by profession. Do you see why we say that there is a difference between the professed church and the true church? There is a difference, and in a time of apostasy, there is a great difference. We have been trying to teach people this for a few years now, but it is so ingrained that unless the Holy Spirit works on their minds, they never understand the point. Profession and reality are not necessarily the same thing.

How is it with you today, friend? Is your character in harmony with your profession? If it is not, your profession is telling a lie and you can never go to heaven, although you call yourself a Seventh-day Adventist. If the things you profess to believe are not a reality in your life, your life is a lie because your character is not in harmony with your profession.

“He [Caiaphas] was uncircumcised in heart. With the other priests he instructed the people to choose Barabbas instead of Christ.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 388

When Caiaphas asked Jesus if He was really the Christ and Jesus replied that He was, Caiaphas tore his robe. Why did Caiaphas tear his garment? He did it deliberately, and he did it for a reason. It was a custom among the Jews that whenever one of your relatives had died, you would tear your clothes as a way of expressing extreme sorrow and grief. The Lord had prohibited the priests from doing this, but, as was pointed out earlier, they had found a way around God’s clear command.

The experience Christ was subjected to was repeated many times during the Protestant Reformation. First, the Protestant Reformers were excommunicated, or disfellowshipped, from their churches. When this did not stop the Reformation, they were placed in prison. Finally, when other measures had failed to suppress their activities, it was determined that they must die. The men who were responsible would maintain that they certainly hated to treat them so, but they were left no choice. This is what Caiaphas was telling Jesus. He was saying, in essence, “I’m going to have to kill you because of your theological errors, but I’m so sorry about it.” The trouble with such a statement was that Caiaphas was not really sorry at all. Ellen White makes this very clear.

“So perverted had the priesthood become that when Christ declared Himself the Son of God, Caiaphas, in pretended horror, rent his robe, and accused the Holy One of Israel of blasphemy.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1104

It is wrong to pretend under any circumstance, but the worst kind of pretense is when you pretend to be pious, and that is the kind of pretension this was—he was pretending to be in terrible sorrow and shock, and it was not even so. This made the act even more wicked than it would have been otherwise.

By the way, have any of you ever received any letters that begin something like, “I’m so sorry to have to inform you,” and then go on to explain the unpleasant action they have been forced to take? Friend, you had better never tell someone you are sorry if it is not really the truth, because God hates pretense.

Caiaphas also showed that he did not realize, if he ever knew, what his robe represented. It represented the character of the One standing before him. It was terrible blasphemy for him to tear his robe because Christ’s character had not been torn; it had never been defiled.

When he tore his robe, he said, in effect, we will not have this Man to rule over us. What had he done? He separated himself—remember now, he was a representative of the whole Jewish nation—from God.

God has given to you and me the power of choice, but I want to tell you, He honors our power of choice. People say, “Well the church is going through.” Do you believe that we have the power of choice? Did Caiaphas have the power of choice? Certainly he did, but he made a choice, and God honored his choice. I want to tell you, friend, God honors people’s choices.

“In Christ the shadow reached its substance, the type its antitype. Well might Caiaphas rend his clothes in horror for himself and for the nation; for they were separating themselves from God, and were fast becoming a people unchurched by Jehovah. Surely the candlestick was being removed out of its place.” Ibid., 1109

What were they doing? They were become a people unchurched. Do you want a synonym for that? That means they were disfellowshipping themselves. By this act, Caiaphas was separating, or divorcing himself from God; and everyone who followed his example, yielding to his influence, was doing the same thing. Because of this choice, millions of people lost their lives.

By the way, they still went to church; they went to the building; they said the same prayer; they went through the same service. They still had the same organization; they still had the same bank account; they still had the same name; but they were disfellowshipped, and they did not even know it.

If they had been striving to be in harmony with God’s will and to obey Him, Caiaphas would have been killed for the crime he had committed; but they decided instead to follow him.

What was God’s response?

“When Caiaphas rent his garment, his act was significant of the place that the Jewish nation as a nation would thereafter occupy toward God. The once favored people of God were separating themselves from Him, and were fast becoming a people disowned by Jehovah.” The Desire of Ages, 709

God accepted the choice that Caiaphas made; and God is watching the choices that you and I are making, the choices that every minister is making and the choices that every church is making God is going to respond in keeping with the decision of each person.

Here is what happened when Jesus died on the cross:

“It was not the hand of the priest that rent from top to bottom the gorgeous veil that divided the holy from the Most Holy Place. It was the hand of God. When Christ cried out, ‘It is finished,’ the Holy watcher that was an unseen guest at Belshazzar’s feast pronounced the Jewish nation to be a nation unchurched.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1109

Do you realize that this was some time before A.D. 34?

When Caiaphas rent his garment, there was more than one rending that took place. We have been looking at the outward rending of the garment of the high priest and its spiritual significance. It was a symbolic act of the separation, the divorcing of God’s people from Himself. When was this act completed? It was completed when the priest said, “We have no king but Caesar.” John 19:15

The Church is to be the bride, the wife of Christ; but if that church chooses to depart from the Lord and to form an alliance with the state, it has said in effect, we will no longer have the Lord to be our ruler. You cannot have two masters; it is impossible. No church or religious group can go to the state for the enforcement of their religious teachings without having left the Lord, and God will recognize that choice.

Are you aware that the Spirit of Prophecy says that there are three things the Lord will do when the church goes to the state for assistance in enforcing her decrees? First, He says that He will not hear their prayers. If that was the only thing to happen, that would be so serious that it should shake us to the bottom of our foundation. Second, she says that He will take the Holy Spirit away from them. Without the Holy Spirit you are lost. The third thing that the Lord will do is write them in the book of heaven as unbelievers. See Selected Messages, book 3, 299-302. If you are written in heaven as unbelievers, you are not even part of the church. You have torn the garment; you have separated yourself from the Lord.

There is a true rending of the garment.

“Christ mourned for the transgression of every human being. He bore even the guiltiness of Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his soul, while for pretense he rent his robe. Christ did not rend His robe, but His soul was rent. His garment of human flesh was rent as He hung on the cross, the sin-bearer of the race. By His suffering and death a new and living way was opened.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1105

Jesus had an inner rending of His soul, and, friend, we are to enter into that experience if we are going to be saved.

“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;…Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Joel 2:1, 12, 13

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son.” Zechariah 12:10

what are these verses talking about? Oh, friend, when Jesus hung on the cross, it was your sin that pierced Him; and it was my sin that pierced Him. The past, the present and the future are all alike to God. God saw you, and that is why Jesus came and died on the cross. When he hung on the cross, His heart was pierced; it was torn for you. The tearing of His flesh, His hands and His feet is just a symbol or a type of the real pain that was in His heart. The pain in His heart was so great, Ellen White says in the Desire of Ages, that the physical pain was hardly felt. We do not realize how bad sin is until we come to Calvary, and even then we cannot fully comprehend it.

Have you ever met parents who had only one child and that child died? The Lord says, that is the way My people are going to mourn in the last days. They are going to mourn as parents mourn who have lost their only child and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

“Many today who claim to be Christians are in danger of rending their garments, making an outward show of repentance, when their hearts are not softened nor subdued. This is why so many continue to make failures in the Christian life. An outward appearance of sorrow is shown for wrong, but their repentance is not that which needs not to be repented of. See 2 Corinthians 7:10. May God grant to His church true contrition for sin. Oh that we might feel the necessity of revealing true sorrow for wrong-doing!” Review and Herald, June 12, 1900

Did you know that there was one garment that was not torn that day? Jesus had on an outer garment that the Bible says was without seam. As it had no seam, the soldiers decided not to tear it. Prophecy said that it would not be torn; it said they would cast lots for it. Do you realize the significance of this?

“Christ’s seamless garment is a representation of the unity that should exist in the church.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 371

You are never going to have unity with just profession; but if you have a group of people who have had the true rending of the heart and not the garment, you are going to have a true unity. One of the most exciting things that I am finding as I travel is that all over the world God is drawing together faithful, Historic Seventh-day Adventists—just little groups here and there—and they are having the most marvelous experience of unity that I have ever seen. There is no question that God is going to have a united movement at the end. The only question is, Am I going to be part of it?

The devil is determined that this unity will never happen, but it is going to happen anyway. I would consider it the greatest privilege of my life if I could just have a little part in it. How about you?

That seamless robe represents the unity that is to exist among Christ’s true believers, and it must never be torn. We must always think of that seamless robe in all of our dealings with each other. We are not to tear it. The body of Christ is one body, and when one part suffers, all of the rest suffer. Oh, friend, Christ’s seamless robe represents the unity that is to exist among His true followers until the end of time. Do you want to be a part of it?

The End

Editorial – Not A Moment To Lose

In Ephesians 5:26, 27, Paul describes the condition in which God’s church is to be found when Jesus returns—without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, holy and without blemish. See also The Great Controversy, 425. Now let us consider a very practical matter. As we are living in the last days of probation on the very borders of the eternal world, if we are not in this condition now, how are we going to attain this condition in time before it is too late?

Inspiration gives us some insights as to what must take place if we are to be a part of the church triumphant. We will begin looking at the answer to this question in this editorial.

It takes time to get ready and be ready in character for the coming of Christ. Readiness for translation cannot be attained in a moment of time: “The precious graces of the Holy Spirit are not developed in a moment. Courage, fortitude, meekness, faith, unwavering trust in God’s power to save, are acquired by the experience of years. By a life of holy endeavor and firm adherence to the right, the children of God are to seal their destiny.” Ministry of Healing, 454

“When tempted to murmur, censure, and indulge in fretfulness, wounding those around you, and in so doing wounding your own soul, oh! let the deep, earnest, anxious inquiry come from your soul, Shall I stand without fault before the throne of God? Only the faultless will be there. None will be translated to heaven while their hearts are filled with the rubbish of earth. Every defect in the moral character must first be remedied, every stain removed by the cleansing blood of Christ, and all the unlovely, unlovable traits of character overcome.

“How long a time are you designing to take to prepare to be introduced into the society of heavenly angels in glory? In the state which you and your family are in at present, all heaven would be marred should you be introduced therein. The work for you must be done here. This earth is the fitting-up place. You have not one moment to lose. All is harmony, peace, and love in heaven. No discord, no strife, no censuring, no unloving words, no clouded brows, no jars there; and no one will be introduced there who possesses any of these elements so destructive to peace and happiness. Study to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on everlasting life.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 705, 706

As getting ready for heaven is a process that takes time, we must not delay making earnest preparation:

“This work of individual purification of character can not be safely delayed. Let our brethren and sisters take hold diligently of this work, cooperation with Him who ‘loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle are any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’” Review and Herald, November 8, 1906

Delay can be fatal:

“God requires you to make more thorough efforts to subdue and control self. I was shown that God and angels are ready and waiting to help you in this important work. If you delay, if you are even dilatory, it may be too late. Your probation is lengthened, your character is now forming, and soon, my dear brother and sister, it will be stereotyped for ever. Halfway work with you will not advance you one step toward heaven. Indecision soon becomes decision in the wrong direction. Many decide to serve themselves and Satan by not making determined efforts to overcome their defects of character. While many are petting sinful propensities, expecting to be overcomers sometime, they are deciding for perdition….You cannot be wholly the Lord’s while encouraging any degree of selfishness. Such great love as the Redeemer has shown you should be received with great humility and continual rejoicing. In order to be happy, you must control your thoughts and words. It will require a masterly effort on your part; nevertheless it must be done if you are to be the acknowledged children of God. Be not weary in your efforts. Satan is battling for your souls, and he must be disappointed.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 343, 344 [Emphasis Supplied]

Friend, do you understand that you have none too much time and that if you delay in overcoming your defects of character, this delay could cost you eternal life? You might delay until there is not sufficient time for the plan of salvation to be worked out in your life. Do not delay, you have “no time—not a moment—to lose.” Maranatha, 106

(to be continued)