Children’s Story – The Wormy Puffball

We stayed in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota several times during a summer, a few years ago, while my parents were helping at a ministry there. Once while were there, a lady from the ministry picked a nice big puffball for us to eat (a puffball is a type of mushroom).

After waiting a day or two, we decided to cook it. We arrived at the cabin where we were staying, eager to find out what a puffball tasted like.

A little after we arrived, Dad called me up to the cabin door. He held the cut-apart puffball in his hand. Lo and behold, the whole inside seemed to be squirming! It was full of little worms!

I was thinking of how that puffball can represent us. From the outside it looked normal and appetizing. Just so, we can look pretty good on the outside—do things for people, go to Sabbath School and church every week, and act pretty nice—and yet we can still be pretty ugly on the inside—full of jealousy, anger, and pride. If we look pleasant on the outside but are nasty on the inside, we aren’t really Christians (Christians are like Jesus, you know); we are just pretending. That’s called living a lie.

A few days ago, on Sabbath, while we were walking in the hills near our house here in North Dakota, we found some more big puffballs. We broke them open and discovered something interesting—the top parts were good, while the lower parts had worms in them. The little worms evidently enter at the root end!

The devil begins to enter our minds at the deep roots. If you and I aren’t guarding our minds with Jesus’ help, we may not really even notice him until he really has control over us so that our words and actions start getting ugly, too.

Only God can help us keep the devil’s ugliness out of our minds. “Submit ourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Why not ask Jesus now to show you where the devil might be sneaking into your life and to help you overcome him? “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23, 24

The End

Martin Luther, part XII – The Protest at Spires

For three years the Reformation had been left in peace by the wars and strife of her enemies against each other. The Pope was sided with Francis I of France and Henry VIII of England, against Charles V of Spain. Charles lost some battles but won the war decisively, and the Pope seeing he was not strong enough to curb Charles’ might, decided to throw Francis over and attempt to use the might of Charles to his advantage through craft. Clement made peace with Charles on the condition that the Emperor would do all in his power to root out the heretics and exalt the Roman See. Now the foes of the Reformation were again united in their determination to extinguish the heresy of Wittenberg.  The Diet of Spires of 1526, had given freedom to the various states to determine religious matters within their own borders. This freedom was to be in effect until a general council might be held. Charles moved swiftly to call another Diet at Spires for February of 1529.

The Reformers were apprehensive about the future and none the less for the apparent chaos in the natural atmosphere. Noisy meteors shot fire across the sky. Hyperborean lights illuminated the night skies. Rivers flooded whole provinces and great winds uprooted ancient trees. Even Luther partook of the general terror, writing that these signs announced the approach of the last day.

Otto Pack’s Plot

While many real dangers threatened the age, one very doubtful one nearly brought the Reformation to ruin. A nobleman named Otto Pack came to Phillip, the Landgrave of Hesse, claiming to have discovered a terrible secret of concern to the landgrave and the Elector of Saxony. For a sum he would reveal all. The landgrave’s fears were thoroughly aroused and he agreed to the terms.

Pack went on to say that the Popish princes had plotted to attack the two Reformed princes, seize their territories, and take Luther and his followers by force and reestablish the ancient worship. Pack had what he claimed was a copy of the league which bore all the ducal and electoral seals and it appeared to be authentic. Phillip was convinced.

Fearing that they had not a moment to lose, Phillip and John Federic entered into a formal compact and hastily raised an army for the protection of “the sacred deposit of God’s word for themselves and their subjects.” They believed they were facing impending destruction. They agreed to equip a force of 6,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry. Next they looked for allies among the other Reformed princes and had in view a league with the King of Denmark. They resolved to strike the first blow.

“All Germany was in commotion. It was now the turn of the Popish princes to tremble. The Reformers were flying to arms, and before their own preparations could be finished, they would be assailed by the overwhelming host, set on by the startling rumors of the savage plot formed to exterminate them. The Reformation was on the point of being dragged into the battlefield. Luther shuddered when he saw what was about to happen. He stood up manfully before the two chiefs who were hurrying the movement into this fatal path, and though he believed in the reality of the plot, despite the indignant denial of the Duke of George and the Popish princes, he charged the elector and the landgrave not to strike the first blow, but to wait till they had been attacked. ‘There is strife enough uninvited,’ said he…’Battle never wins much, but always loses much, and hazards all; meekness loses nothing, hazards little, and wins all.’

“Luther’s counsels ultimately prevailed, time was given for reflection, and thus the Lutheran princes were saved from the tremendous error which would have brought after it, not triumph, but destruction.” Wylie, 545


The Reformation was winning victories far more glorious than any army could have won, for a martyr is worth more than many soldiers. In Bavaria, where the reformed doctrines could not be preached, these very doctrines were promoted by the burning of Leonard Caspar for holding that justification was by faith alone, that there are but two Sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and that the mass avails nothing, and that Christ alone made satisfaction for us. Other martyrs followed in the provinces under the Popish princes. Nine persons of Landsberg suffered the fire. Twenty-nine at Munich were drowned. Others were victims of the poignard. George Winkler, preacher of Halle, was run through with daggers under suspicion of heresy.

Luther said, “I am but a wordy preacher in comparison with these great doers.” These martyrs testified that the weapons that will “break the power, foil the arts, and stain the pride of the enemy” are patience, meekness, and heroism. Ibid., 547

Famous Diet Of Spires

In this climate of political intrigue, natural disaster, and martyr piles, the famous Diet of Spires was convened. King Ferdinand was to preside in the absence of his brother Charles V. He arrived with trumpet call and a retinue of 300 armed knights. He was followed by the Popes princes with their troops. They exchanged boastful greetings that proclaimed their confidence in carrying the Diet their own way.

Last to arrive were the Reformed princes. John Frederic rode with only Melanchthon at his side. Phillip of Hesse had 200 horsemen. The Lutheran princes held public worship at their hotel with 8,000 attending.

When the deputies of the cities arrived, the Diet was complete and business was opened. The Diet had barely opened when the emperor’s reason for convoking it was made clear. Charles sent a curt and haughty message declaring his expectation of legislation to repeal the Edict of Spires (1526). The Diet was being asked to abolish religious freedom in Germany. The Edict of Spires would mean Luther’s execution and the uprooting of Reformation doctrine. It would mean a flood of persecution in Germany.

“The sending of such a message even was a violation of the constitutional rights of the several States, and an assumption of power which no former emperor had dared to make. The message, if passed into law, would have laid the rights of conscience, the independence of the Diet, and the liberties of Germany, all three in the dust.” Ibid., 548, 549

The struggle began with the Popish members insisting on a repeal of the Edict of Spires. The Reformed princes argued that repeal would mean that a central authority would usurp local rights of administration and destroy the independence of the individual states. The Lutheran princes made clear they would retain their right of resisting such a step with force of arms. To repeal the Edict was to open the way for revolution and war.

A middle ground was proposed which would not repeal but just maintain the current practice in each state with some major exceptions. Where Romanism reigned, the reformed doctrines would still be forbidden, but where Lutheranism was held, the Popish hierarchy, should be reestablished, the mass celebration permitted, and no one could abjure popery and embrace Lutheranism.

In other words no Protestant would be required to renounce his faith but no new converts would be permitted. It had no penalties for existing converts but if the light reached another soul, they must stifle their convictions or suffer the dungeon and the stake. “The proposal drew a line around the Reformation, and declared that beyond this boundary there must be no advance, and that Lutheranism had reached its utmost limits of development. But not to advance was to recede, and to recede was to die. This proposition, therefore, professedly providing for the maintenance of the Reformation, was cunningly contrived to strangle it.” Ibid., 549. It passed by a majority of votes.

It would have been an easy thing to seize the olive branch which Rome was holding out and to justify themselves in a wrong course by being contented with their own freedom. But the Reformed princes acted on faith from principle. They could not accept the right of Rome to coerce conscience and forbid free inquiry, or Rome’s authority to grant freedom only where she chose, thus denying freedom of conscience as a right.

The Reformed princes met for deliberation. The great—liberty or slavery to Christendom. “The princes comprehended the gravity of their position. They themselves were to be let alone, but the price they were to pay for this ignominious ease was the denial of the Gospel, and the surrender of the rights of conscience throughout Christendom. They resolved not to adopt so dastardly a course.” Ibid., 550

King Ferdinand was eager to close the Diet and called the members together and thanked them for voting the proposition. He declared that an imperial edict was soon to be published announcing the decision of the Diet. He turned to the Reformed princes and announced that there was nothing left for them to do but to submit. He would not wait to hear the answer of the Reformed princes. He promptly left the Diet and did not return.

The Great Protest At Spires

The following morning the Reformed princes entered the hall, and before the empty chair of Ferdinand, John Frederic, the Elector of Saxony, read a Declaration. The following are the most important passages.

“We cannot consent to its (the Edict of 1526) repeal. Because this would be to deny our Lord Jesus Christ, to reject His Holy Word, and thus give Him reason to deny us before His Father, as He has threatened…Moreover, the new edict declaring the ministers shall preach the Gospel, explaining it according to the writings accepted by the holy Christian Church; we think that, for this regulation to have any value, we should first agree on what is meant by the true and holy Church. Now seeing that there is great diversity of opinion in this respect; that there is no sure doctrine but such as is conformable to the Word of God: that each text of the Holy Scriptures ought to be explained by other and clearer texts: that this holy book is in all things necessary for the Christian, easy of understanding, and calculated to scatter the darkness: we are resolved, with the grace of God, to maintain the pure and exclusive preaching of His Word, such as it is contained in the Biblical books of the Old and new Testament, without adding anything thereto that may be contrary to it. This Word is the only truth; it is the sure rule of all doctrine and all life, and can never fail or deceive us. He who builds on this foundation shall stand against all powers of hell, whilst all the human vanities that are set up against it shall fall before the face of God.

“For these reasons, most dear lords, uncles, cousins, and friends, we earnestly entreat you to weigh carefully our grievances and our motives. If you do not yield to our requests, we protest by these present, before God, our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Saviour, and who will one day be our Judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and for our people, neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatsoever to the proposed decree, in anything that is contrary to God, to His Word, to our right conscience, to the salvation of our souls, and to the last decree of Spires.” Ibid., 550, 551

Considering the tyranny of Rome which had been practiced for so long, this document stands as “one of the grandest documents in all history, and marks an epoch in the progress of the human race second only to that of Christianity itself.” Ibid., 551. From this day forward the Reformers were known as Protestants.

Luther had stood alone at Worms eight years before but now a host stood with him and the Reformation was not just a doctrine but an organized church.

After meeting together in a small house to prepare a document outlining all that had transpired at the Diet, the princes left Spires. This was significant because Ferdinand had spoken his last word and left. This showed the firmness of their resolve.

Grandeur Of The Issues

“Even Luther did not perceive the importance of what had been done. The Diet he thought had ended in nothing. It often happens that the greatest events wear the guise of insignificance, and that grand eras are ushered in with silence.” Ibid., 551. But the principles of the Protest at Spires offered a wide field for development. “This Protest overthrew the lordship of man in religious affairs, and substituted the authority of God…Then what becomes of the pretended infallibility of Rome, in virtue of which she claims the exclusive right of interpreting the Scriptures, and binding down the understanding of man to believe whatever she teaches? It is utterly exploded and overthrown. And what becomes of the emperor’s right to compel men with his sword to practice whatever faith the Church injoins, assuming it to be the true faith, simply because the Church has enjoined it? It too is exploded and overthrown. The principle, then, so quietly lodged in the Protest, lays this two-fold tyranny in the dust.” Ibid., 551

“But the Protest does not leave conscience her own mistress; conscience is not a law to herself. That were anarchy—rebellion against Him who is he Lord. The Protest proclaims that the Bible is the law of conscience, and that its Author is her alone Lord. Thus steering its course between the two opposite dangers, avoiding on this hand anarchy, and on that tyranny, Protestantism comes forth unfurling to the eyes of the nations the flag of true liberty. Around that flag must all gather who would be free.” Ibid., 553

The centuries that followed demonstrated the results of this freedom to the nations. Where the nations rallied around the Protest there was seen progress of civilization, but where Romanism continued to rule, the people were left in slavery, and the nations experienced decay.

The End

Food for Life – Animal Products

Happy Thanksgiving holidays! This is the time of year when we all look forward to vacations and seeing family that maybe we have not seen for a long time. What a happy thought. As Christians looking forward to the soon coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven we do not look forward to holiday periods in a selfish gluttonous way but as a time for real relaxation alone with God and our families.

To the world the many holidays have become an idol, something that has stolen the affections from God and His government to the gratification of personal pride and taste without thought of others.

While there are families in many places in the world, in other places the population is faced with a temptation to overeat during holidays, and to eat food that will bring upon them degenerative disease. This is a fulfillment of prophecy about world conditions in the last days because Jesus said the last days would be characterized by both famines and feasting and drunkenness. (See Matthew 24:6; and Luke 21:34-36)

The rich foods that are often eaten during holiday seasons usually have the following characteristics—they are low in fiber, high in fats and sugars, and often high in protein. These are foods with which the health-minded Christian is tempted. In the world of course, the food may also be high in animal protein and alcohol plus an array of food additives and preservatives. Animal food accentuates the problems with unwanted food additives because of the antibiotics given to the animals, plus hormones, plus other additives in the animal feed. All of these things change the essential nature of the diet and can have profound metabolic consequences in the body. A few milligrams of hormones can completely change body chemistry. Anybody who has taken birth-control pills or cortizone should understand this.

The residues of antibiotics in animal food, plus the stimulating compounds naturally present in animal food, plus the proven relationship between animal food and heart disease, and certain types of cancers, make animal food undesirable. This is not only true for meat, but the same problems with unwanted hormones and antibiotics, deficiency in fiber, and a positive statistical correlation with the onset of cancer, is present in the use of animal produced foods such as milk and eggs.

Health reform is a step by step process—first elimination of harmful substances containing drugs such as tobacco, tea and coffee, and alcoholic beverages, but later the elimination of foods known to be correlated with degenerative disease—namely animal foods and later animal based foods such as milk, eggs, and cheese. As these things are eliminated from the diet, something wholesome must be used to replace them, so that adequate energy, weight and well-being is maintained. This requires learning to eat new foods, learning how to prepare vegetarian recipes and menus. At all times the diet should be tasty and palatable. We have been given instruction that the diet of those first learning health reform cannot be the same as that of those who have practiced health reform a long time. (See Counsels on Diets and Foods, 283, 289, 367.) We try to provide recipes in this magazine each month to help those who are trying to reform their diet. The recipe this month, although it does not have any oil or refined, sugar, eggs or milk, it is still a rich food and should therefore be eaten with temperance. It will help all our friends and family to appreciate that health reformers can enjoy wholesome food that still is a delight to even a gourmet palate.

Inspired: “Those who are suffering as the result of a wrong course of action are to be shown the necessity of reform in their habits of life. They have violated the laws of health. By the eating of flesh meat and of rich, highly-spiced food, they have injured the digestive organs, and if they would get well, they must adopt a simple, wholesome diet.” Pacific Union Recorder, March 23, 1905

Pecan Pie

Place in Blender:

1 ½ Cups cashew milk

1 ½ Cups date pieces

1 Tbs. Vanilla

1 tsp. Sea salt

Blend thoroughly until smooth.

In small pan place:

¾ Cup distilled water

1 Tbs. Agar powder

Stir until mixture boils and clears. Add quickly to the mixture in the blender and blend again until agar is well distributed throughout the mixture. Remove from blender and add 2-3 Cups pecans. Stir lightly and pour into pre-baked cashew pie crust. Refrigerate.


Lost in Eden, part 1

“And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. If you are trying to find someone, the reason is obvious, you have become separated from someone. Do you understand what is involved in the statement, separated from God? When Adam sinned we know that by this act he lost his connection from God. But a plan of salvation was developed whereby, through the atonement of Christ, Adam and Eve could be reunited once more with their Creator.

“And you, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” Colossians 1:21. Notice the word “alienated.” That means separated. And then it says, “enemies.” Where? In your mind. In Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 396, it tells us that the mind is that which instigates sin. “The mind controls the whole man.” The mind is that which either connects or separates from God, for man is controlled by his mind. The term “separated from God’ refers to a man with a carnal mind who has not been born again of the Holy Spirit and is therefore separated from the spiritual life of God.

Man at Creation

Man was originally created in a state of purity. From the book Healthful Living, 9, Ellen White says, “We are God’s workmanship…a temple which the Lord Himself has fitted up for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” Adam and Eve in Eden were partakers of the divine nature. They were connected with God constantly. But as the consequences of sin in Eden, they lost their intimate connection or their union with God. They lost the robe of light which had previously surrounded them. The nakedness of their bodies now vividly illustrated the present nakedness of their souls, for they were separated from divine nature which they had lost.

Restoration of man to his original condition at creation is the very essence of the gospel. Peter speaks of this in 2 Peter 1:2-4. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Original Sin

Historic Seventh-day Adventists do not accept the original sin doctrine developed by St. Augustine. But we feel 100% safe in following the scripture in which the term “separated” represents the loss of man’s connection with God, through sin, for which Christ offers a remedy. How beautiful to understand that when we refer to man being separated from God, or of a baby having been born separated from God, we do not infer that such a one is cut off from the nearness of God, for there is a plan of salvation in operation.

God watches over the formation of an individual in the womb. He forms every cell. Every heartbeat is created by Him. God furnishes the power for every breath. Every hair of the head is numbered. Angels are sent to watch and protect the little one. When this child becomes an adult and still remains in a state of separation, God is ever near. He constantly sends the Spirit to speak to the mind. He entreats with the invitation, “Come,” producing conviction, repentance, surrender and a spiritual life through the Word. Providence thus ministers and teaches us of the way to God.

Separated from God

The sinner is constantly being led into a response. The person who is in a state of separation is not connected with God; he is lost just as Adam was lost in Eden. Until man closes his probation by persistence to the truth, Christ remains near. So near, we are told that He stands at the heart’s door knocking, calling us to open the door that He may come in. If the sinner responds by refusal to open the door, he remains in a lost condition, separated from God.

Let us consider Adam at his creation. The Spirit of Prophecy in the Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 926, states, “God created him connected with the Father and the Son.” “From eternal ages it was God’s purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator.” Desire of Ages, 161

It was through the indwelling of the Creator that Adam and Eve were partakers of God’s divine nature. The law of God “was written upon their hearts.” This is identical to that which is promised in the new covenant experience. Notice the following statements closely. “Adam and Eve at their creation had knowledge of the original law of God. It was imprinted upon their hearts.” Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1084. “In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart.” Great Controversy, 467. “When Adam and Eve were created and placed in their Eden home, they had knowledge of the law that was to govern them. Its precepts were imprinted on their hearts by Jehovah Himself and they were acquainted with its claims upon them.” Signs of the Times, April, 22, 1886. Perhaps this can be summed up in this beautiful statement in Selected Messages, vol. 3, 133, “All was a sinless transcript of Himself.”

The Power Source

It is good for us to remember that regardless of the purity of Adam and Eve at their creation, in themselves they possessed no inherent spiritual power as an inseparable part of themselves. Signs of the Times, May 31, 1896, says, “God created him that every faculty might be the faculty of His divine mind.”

With such a purpose, God gave man the power of choice. Man could choose to remain united to the source of power, his Creator, permitting God to continually guide his mind, or he could separate himself from His indwelling presence and power. Sadly, Adam and Eve chose separation. When man disregards the divine Spirit, his mind comes under the control of the spirit of Satan. This is how they became lost in Eden.

What did Adam really lose in the fall? “Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One.” Desire of Ages, 161. “Sin brought separation between man and his Maker.” Ministry of Healing, 419. “By sin we have been severed from the life of God.” Desire of Ages, 203

We have no idea of the sorrow that filled heaven when man yielded to temptation. Ellen White stated, “When man sinned all heaven was filled with sorrow; for through yielding to temptation, man became the enemy of God, for through sin, man became carnal and the carnal heart is enmity against God, is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Signs of the Times, February 13, 1893

Adam and Eve unplugged themselves from the source of power; just as you unplug the lamp and the light goes out. So, “The light, the garments of heavenly innocence, departed from these tried, deceived souls, and in parting with the garments of innocence, they drew about them the dark robes of ignorance of God.” Upward Look, 198. What a picture this portrays! “So by sin, man lost his connection with God. Of himself he has no means of salvation.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 165. He was in Eden, but he was lost.

The result of their separation also brought the impossibility of sinless living without God dwelling within them. The result of separation in our lives makes it impossible for us to live sinless lives without an indwelling God. “It was not possible for man out of Eden, separated from the light and the love of God since the fall, to resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength.” Redemption, 44. So the picture is clear.

What Man Lost

Permit me to extract the key phrases from quotations presented. These are direct quotes concerning what happened when Adam fell. Notice, he lost his “connection with God,” he lost his “open communion with his Maker,” he lost his source of divine power to resist Satan,” he lost his beautiful garment of light and love,” he became an “enemy of God,” “a partaker of satanic nature,” his mind became “carnal”; a mind that could not obey the divine law. The law of God was no longer “imprinted upon his heart.” His very nature became “evil.” He drew about him the “dark robes of ignorance of God.” He ceased to be “the temple of God” for “Satan controlled his mind.” Thus fallen man was in a state of continual opposition to the mighty God.

Ellen White tried to impress it upon us, that it is impossible to go to heaven without being connected with God. We hear from the pulpits today that we may sin until Jesus comes and then go to heaven. That is a lie! There must be a connection of the divine power with our life which will give us victory or we shall never see His face. “Satan takes the control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God.” Testimonies to Ministers, 79. At creation man was not made so that he could not be separated from God. If this had been so, he could never have fallen. He would have been a mere automaton. Jesus would have failed as a man if He had not pleaded with God every single day for power.

A Daily Decision

In Acts of the Apostles, 55, it says, “Those only who are constantly receiving fresh supplies of grace, will have power proportionate to their daily need and their ability to use that power.” “Satan charmed the first Adam by his sophistry just as he charms men and women today by leading them to believe a lie. Adam did not reach above his humanity for divine power. He believed the words of Satan.” Signs of the Times, December 3, 1902. They became lost in Eden.

How important it is for you and me to be daily seeking a fresh supply of God’s grace. We may know all the truth. We may be members of God’s true family, but without this personal connection with God, we will never have victory over Satan. Adam and Eve were lost in Eden and we can be in God’s church today and we too, can be lost. We must experience a complete victory over sin to be sealed before Jesus’ second coming. Join me in a deeper daily commitment to God. What does the scripture say? “Ask and ye shall receive.” “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” As Jesus attained daily victory over Satan in His personal connection with God, so we may also experience the same in our lives.

The End

Prophetic View of the Future

I expect that this is the last letter that will reach you before you go on your journey to Europe. I have written but few letters because I have been laboring very hard in Healdsburg. The members who composed the Healdsburg church before so many moved in were weak. One and another wanted the supremacy. There was quarreling in the church; one would advance one thing, another would get up and oppose it. There have been old grudges, old difficulties, which no one dared to meddle with. But I felt urged by the Spirit of God to put forth earnest efforts to dig out these old roots of bitterness. We worked early and late.

I attended every yearly morning meeting and then the following meeting at nine o’clock for these members of the Healdsburg church, and the Lord helped. Matters were settled, the difficulties removed, and confessions made. We had most precious meetings; many were much blessed. I knew I must have rest and came to this place, but my mind is constantly exercised. I feel deeply in regard to our present position. I try to throw off the burden but I cannot lay it down. It will come back.

Friday night several heard my voice exclaiming, “Look, Look!” Whether I was dreaming or in vision I cannot tell. I slept alone. The time of trouble was upon us. I saw our people in great distress, weeping and praying, pleading the sure promises of God, while the wicked were all around us, mocking us and threatening to destroy us. They ridiculed our feebleness, they mocked at the smallness of our numbers, and taunted us with words calculated to cut deep.

They charged us with taking an independent position from all the rest of the world. They had cut off our resources so that we could not buy or sell, and referred to our abject poverty and stricken condition. They could not see how we could live without the world; we were dependent upon the world; and we must concede to the customs, practices, and laws of the world, or go out of it. If we were the only people in the world whom the Lord favored, the appearances were awfully against us. They declared that they had the truth, that miracles were among them, that angels from heaven talked with them and walked with them, that great power and signs and wonders were performed among them, and this was the temporal millennium that they had been expecting so long. The whole world was converted and in harmony with the Sunday law, and this little feeble people stood out in defiance of the laws of the land and the law of God, and claimed to be the only ones right on the earth.

“The angels from heaven have spoken to us (referring to those whom Satan personated that had died, and they claimed had gone to heaven). You will hear the testimony of the heavenly messengers.” They sneered, they mocked, they derided and abused the sorrowing ones. There was much more but I have not time to write it.

But while anguish was upon the loyal and true, who would not worship the beast or his image and accept and revere an idol sabbath, One said, “Look up! Look up! Every eye was lifted, and the heavens seemed to part as a scroll when it is rolled together, and, as Stephen looked into the heaven, we looked. The mockers were taunting and reviling us and boasting of what they intended to do to us if we continued obstinate in holding fast our faith. But now we were as those who heard them not. We were gazing upon a scene that shut out everything else.

There stood revealed the throne of God. Around it were ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands upon thousands, and close about the throne were the martyrs. Among this number I saw the very ones who were so recently in such abject misery, whom the world knew not, whom the world hated and despised.

A voice said, “Jesus, who is seated upon the throne, has so loved man that He gave His life a sacrifice to redeem him from the power of Satan, and to exalt him to His throne. He who is above all powers, He who has the greatest influence in heaven and in earth, He to whom every soul is indebted for every favor he has received, was meek and lowly in disposition, holy, harmless, and undefiled in life.

“He was obedient to all His Father’s commandments. Wickedness has filled the earth. It is defiled under the inhabitants thereof. The high places of the powers of earth have been polluted with corruption and base idolatries, but the time has come when righteousness shall receive the palm of victory and triumph. Those who were accounted by the world as weak and unworthy, those who were defenseless against the cruelty of men, shall be crowned conquerors and more than conquerors.” [Rev. 7:9-17,quoted.]

They are before the throne enjoying the sunless splendors of eternal day, not as a scattered, feeble company, to suffer by the satanic passions of a rebellious world, expressing the sentiments, the doctrines, and the councils of demons.

Strong and terrible have become the masters of iniquity in the world under the control of Satan, but strong is the Lord God who judgeth Babylon. The just have no longer anything to fear from force or fraud as long as they are loyal and true. A mightier than the strong man armed is set for their defense. All power and greatness and excellence of character will be given to those who have believed and stood in defense of the truth, standing up and firmly defending the laws of God.

Another heavenly being exclaimed with firm and musical voice, “They have come out of great tribulation. They have walked in the fiery furnace in the world, heated intensely by the passions and caprices of men who would enforce upon them the worship of the beast and his image, who would compel them to be disloyal to the God of heaven.

“They have come from the mountains, from the rocks, from the dens and caves of the earth, from dungeons, from prisons, from secret councils, from the torture chamber, from hovels, from garrets. They have passed through sore affliction, deep self-denial, and deep disappointment. They are no longer to be the sport and ridicule of wicked men. They are to be no longer mean and sorrowful in the eyes of those who despise them.

“Remove the filthy garments from them, with which wicked men have delighted to clothe them. Give them a change of raiment, even the white robes of righteousness, and set a fair mitre upon their heads.”

They were clothed in richer robes than earthly beings had ever worn. They were crowned with diadems of glory such as human beings had never seen. The days of suffering, of reproach, of want, of hunger, are no more; weeping is past. Then they break forth in songs loud, clear, and musical. They wave the palm branches of victory and exclaim, “Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” [Rev. 7:10].

But I have not time nor eyesight now to write all this wonderful manifestation of God. I cannot get it from my mind day or night. I am just now afflicted with pain in my heart and in my eyes, but I am strong in faith, of good courage, quite weak in body, but I am praying. I shall be strong, for God has promised me strength. I am writing now by the light of my lamp, unable to sleep.

Oh, may God endue us with His Spirit and make us strong in His strength! In that great day of supreme and final triumph it will be seen that the righteous were strong, and that wickedness in all its forms and with all its pride was a weak and miserable failure and defeat. We will cling close to Jesus, we will trust Him, we will seek His grace and His great salvation. We must hide in Jesus, for He is a covert from the storm, a present help in time of trouble.

The End

Hard Hearts, part 2

One time when I was a boy, our pastor came to visit our home. I will never forget the experience. I was not talkative. I just went in and saw him. After he left my mother told me, “You hurt him.” I replied that I had said very little. She said, “You didn’t greet him, you weren’t pleasant, you weren’t courteous. You were almost like you were standing there dead. That hurt him.” In thinking about it, I concluded that I had been hard-hearted.

Last month we studied the first three ways that we can become hard-hearted. (1) By not being trained as children to be kind, sympathetic and affectionate. (2) By forming friendships with worldly people. (3) By refusing to forgive someone who has wronged us, and holding a grudge against them.

A fourth way that we make our hearts hard is by dwelling on the faults of others. This is exceedingly dangerous because so often we say, “Well, I have to recognize reality.” First Corinthians 13 says that love does not keep track of or take account of error. It does not continue to dwell on the sins or errors of others. Every one of us, if we look around, know people, even in our own families, that have faults. If we dwell on them, we will become hard-hearted.

“Let us remember that others’ faults and defects are very poor food. Christ said, ‘If ye shall eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall have eternal life.’ We must grow up into Christ, we must be partakers of his divine nature. Just as the branch is joined to the vine, and partakes of the nature of the vine, so we must be daily receiving nourishment from the True Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ. We must be in Christ and he in us; then the defects will disappear from our characters. The closer we live to Jesus, the more we shall reflect in words and character his image. And the farther we separate from God, the farther we live away from the light of life, and as the sure result, become perverse, dictatorial, hard-hearted.” Review and Herald, August 18, 1885. If I am keeping my eye on Jesus, focusing on Him, studying Him, joined to Him, the defects of my character are going to come out. But if am focusing on somebody else’s defects of character, I am going to become hard-hearted.

A Time To Forget

It is a biblical truth that there are some things we should forget. You do not need to remember every defect of fault or somebody else. It will not be good for you. There is a verse in the Bible where a godly man said, “God made me forget.” Study it sometime. You do not have to remember for the rest of your life some defect, problem, or something said to you that was not nice. You can forget. As we get our eyes focused on Jesus and the loveliness of His character, our hearts will become tender.

Failing to help the erring is a fifth way we can become hard hearted. “Shall any one who professes to love God, and to love the truth, be cold, unsympathetic, and hard-hearted toward those who stumble, toward those who err, and fail to give them a helping hand when they need help? By their neglect of the erring, by their unsympathetic words and indifferent deportment, some show themselves to be of that class that pass by on the other side.” Review and Herald, January 15, 1895. Who are the class who pass by on the other side? The story of the Good Samaritan is a true story. It actually happened just the way it was related by Jesus. The hard-hearted people passed by on the other side; the tender-hearted person stopped to help him.

Speak Words Of Encouragement

If you just pass by on the other side, that is bad enough, but some people just about curse when they are passing by on the other side. Ellen White says, “Some pour out words of gall and bitterness in censure, in reproach of the erring, and it is like pouring vitriol into an open wound, instead of pouring in the healing oil.” Review and Herald, January 15, 1895. There are people all around that make many mistakes. What do you do about it? Are you trying to help them get to heaven? Or are you pouring in some gall?

Have you ever been in trouble because you made a mistake? I have. Has someone else in the church said, “It’s too bad, but it was your own fault.” That might be the complete truth. Some things that are true are not Christ-like. Some words are true that are not Christ-like, because that kind of speech comes from a hard heart.

Because I am a pastor, I know what people tell pastors. Sometimes people that have been given Bible studies come to historic Adventist churches and when the pastor visits them, he finds them discouraged because they feel they are not as good or nice as the people in church seem to be. Why do people think and feel this way? They are hungry for some words of encouragement. Every church member needs to be encouraging people. “Instead of lifting up the finger, instead of speaking vanity, instead of reproving and condemning and taking away the last ray of hope that the son of Righteousness sheds into their hearts, let your words fall as healing balm upon the bruised soul.” Review and Herald, August 20, 1895

Healing Instead of Destroying

There are bruised souls all around you. If you do not know it, it is because you are hard-hearted. Concerning Jesus, scripture says, “The bruised reed He will not break. The smoking flax He will not quench.” What is the bruised reed and the smoking flax? It is a human soul that has almost given up. Jesus was so tender-hearted He reached out to those people and always gave a word of encouragement to them. They found out that they could make it.

There are young people in our own families who are coming to the conclusion that they cannot be Seventh-day Adventists, that the standard is too high. They are discouraged and bruised. What are we doing for them? “Be not like desolating hail that beats down and destroys the tender hope springing up in the heart. Leave not the hungry, starving soul in his helplessness to perish because you fail to speak words of tenderness and encouragement.” Review and Herald, August 20, 1895. Do you see why we need a tender heart instead of a hard heart? A hard heart cannot speak tender words. You have to have a tender heart to speak tender words. As you practice speaking tender words to people, your heart will stay tender.

A sixth reason that we are so hard-hearted is because of selfishness. That is frequently a reason for divorce. We say, “She/he doesn’t make me happy.” A tender hearted person asks what can I do to make him/her happy? We are so hard hearted because of our selfishness. “Those who are unfeeling and hard-hearted do greater harm to themselves than they do to others, for they deceive themselves by their own spirit and course. Selfishness leads the one who exaggerates every little offense, and attaches great importance to that which is said of himself, which leads him to attribute guilt to one who is ignorant of having done wrong. Selfishness works in the unsanctified heart, and leads men to depreciate those who do not highly esteem them and show them the honor which they think is their due.” Review and Herald, May 14, 1895

Have Your Lost Your First Love?

The Lord Himself puts His finger on the seventh reason in Revelation 2:2, 3. “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.” Revelation 2:2-5. This church is not heretical. They have not accepted the new theology. They still teach the apostles’ doctrines, but correct doctrines and theology are not enough. Jesus continues, “Nevertheless I have this against you, you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” Revelation 2:4, 5. When you lose your first love you are in the process of becoming hard-hearted. Jesus likens it to a moral fall. He says, “Remember from where you have fallen. You have lost you first love.” There is nothing like love to make the heart tender. When we lose that first love the heart is starting to become cold and hard.

An eighth reason we become so hard-hearted is because of the desire and ambition to have power. The result is that a person becomes hard-hearted. There is a story in the Bible, about a man who became exceedingly hard-hearted because of his ambition and his desire to show his arbitrary power. It is the story of the unjust judge in Luke 18. The widow came and said, “Avenge me of my adversary.” And he would not do it. Why? His desire for arbitrary power and ambition led him to be hard-hearted toward the needs of others. Self was his god. He finally gave her a judgment to avoid tarnishing his reputation.

Resisting God’s Message

Number nine is really an important one even though it is the last one we are going to consider. People become hard-hearted when they resist evidence and despise messages of warning that God gives them. Ellen White gave a special testimony to those in the Review and Herald office one time. “Some of you have become hard-hearted. You have resisted evidence and have despised the messages of warning of light and truth which the Lord has sent you by the Holy Spirit because He loves you and is loath to give you up.” 1888 Materials, 1452. As you resist the messages of truth and warning that God gives you, you become hard-hearted.

The devil is hard-hearted and likes to cause suffering. And he wants to make you hard-hearted so he can get you to cooperate with what he is trying to get done in the world. Ellen White says, “Some have come to these meetings with a cold, hard, critical, loveless spirit. Such may do great harm for with them is the presence of the evil one that keeps them on the wrong side. Not infrequently their unfeeling attitude toward measures under consideration brings in perplexity, delaying decisions that should made. Testimonies to the Church, vol. 7, 256

We Must Have The Love Of God

I have studied these things, because I wanted to know what could be done in the Historic Adventist movement so that we could learn to get along. And one of the things that has to happen if we are going to learn to get along is that we all have to become tender-hearted. We have to get over our hard-heartedness. Hard heartedness is one of the big reasons for divorce, for trouble in the churches, and one of the big reasons why God’s people cannot get along. We are not going to heaven this way. “Why,” Ellen White asked, “are we so cold? So hard-hearted? So critical? If we are children of God, why not have the love of Jesus revealed in our lives and expressed in our treatment of one another. Should one drop into the grave there would then by hung in memory’s hall the pleasant pictures of kind words spoken, of kindly acts, of a spirit of brotherly love and tender forbearance exercised.” 1888 Materials, 179

If somebody in your family should die right now, would you be struck with remorse because you have not expressed to them tenderness, affection, kindness, and courtesy that you should have? When somebody does die you are never going to do one more kind, courteous thing for them ever in this world. Most of us here have loved ones who have already died and when that happens we can always remember the kind things that we said or did to them. Often, we wish we had done more. The time to change the record is when they are alive. When they are dead it is too late.

Do you want to be cured of hard-heartedness? Everybody in heaven is tender-hearted and we have to become that way if we are going there. I want to be cured of all my hardness of heart. I want the stony heart out and a new heart of flesh. Let us claim the promise of God. He says, “I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

The End

Are You a Student in Abraham’s School?

As a stone, hurled from some mountain peak, crashes its way toward the valley beneath, gaining velocity with each foot of descent, until, wrapped within it, lies a power of destruction unmeasured, so man, turning from the gate of Paradise, began a downward career which in intensity and rapidity can be measured only by the height from which he started. Before the strong will of men of the first ten centuries, few forces could stand. As the plane to which it was possible for him to attain was perfection, so the level to which he descended was confusion itself. Men’s lives, instead of being narrowed by the brief span of threescore years and ten, were measured by centuries; and intellects, mighty by birth, had time as well as power to expand. Adam lived to see his children to the eighth generation; and when we think that from his own lips Enoch learned the story of the Fall, of the glories of the Eden home; when we bear in mind that Enoch probably saw this same ancestor laid in the earth, there to molder to dust, we better understand the relation he desired to sustain to his God. After a life of three hundred years, in which the Sacred Record says, he “walked with God”, earth’s attraction grew so slight that he himself was taken into heaven. This was less than sixty years after the death of Adam. This was the beautiful result of the education received by Enoch.

Two Distinct Classes

Passing beyond the gate of Eden, two classes of minds developed. Clear and distinct as light from darkness was the difference between the two. Cain, by exalting his own reasoning powers, accepted the logic of Satan. Admitting the physical plane to be the proper basis for living, he lost all appreciation of spiritual things and depended wholly upon feeling. True, for a time he adhered to the form of worship, coming week by week to the gate of Eden to offer sacrifices; but his eye of faith was blind. When he saw his brother’s sacrifice accepted, a feeling of hatred sprang up in his breast, and, raising his hand, he took that brother’s life.

Men are startled at the rapidity of the descent from Edenic purity to a condition where murder was easy, but it was the natural result of the educational system chosen by Cain. Reason exalted above faith, makes man like an engine without the governor.

Murder, however, was but one result of the decision made by Cain. He fled from the presence of God, and with his descendants, built the cities of the East. Physical needs predominated so that the whole attention of this people was turned to the gratification of fleshly desires. Pride increased, love of wealth was a ruling passion; the artificial took, more and more, the place once occupied by the natural. In the place of God-worship was self worship, or paganism. This was the religious aspect; and here are to be found the first worshipers of the sun, the human progenitors of the modern papacy.

As there was a change in religion, so there was a change in government.

There could no longer be a theocracy, with the father of the family being the high priest unto God; for God had been lost sight of, and His place was filled by man himself. Hence, these descendants of Cain flocked together into cities where the strong bore rule over the weak, and thus developed an absolute monarchy.

The education which upheld paganism in religion, and monarchy in government, was the same as that which in later days controlled Greece and is known by us today as Platoism. It is but another name for an education which exalts the mind of man above God and places human philosophy ahead of divine philosophy.

Pagan Education

We think, perhaps, that there were schools then; but that is a mistake. “The training of youth in those days was after the same order as children are being educated and trained in this age,…to love excitement, to glorify themselves, to follow the imaginations of their own evil hearts.” Special Testimonies on Education, 92. Their keen minds laid hold of the sciences; they delved into the mysteries of nature. They made wonderful progress in inventions and all material pursuits. But the imaginations of their hearts were only evil continually.

Children educated in the cities had their evil tendencies exaggerated. The philosophical teaching of the age blotted out all faith; and when Noah, a teacher of righteousness, raised his voice against the popular education and proclaimed his message of faith, even the little children scoffed at him.

So polluted were the cities, that Enoch chose to spend much time in retired places where he could commune with God and where he would be in touch with nature. At times he entered the cities, proclaiming to the inhabitants the truth given him by God. Some listened, and occasionally small companies sought him in his places of retirement, to listen to his words of warning. But the influence of early training, the pressure brought to bear by society, and the philosophy of the schools, exerted a power too strong to resist. They turned from the pleadings of conscience to the old life.

Scoffers and Critics

As Noah told of the coming flood, and as he and his sons continued to build the ark, men and children derided. “Water from heaven! Ah, Noah, you may talk of your spiritual insight, but who ever heard of water coming out of the sky? The thing is an impossibility: it is contrary to all reason, to all scientific truth, and to all earth’s experience. You may think such things were revealed to you; but since the days of our father Adam, no such thing ever happened.” Such statements seemed true. Generation after generation had looked into a sky undarkened by storm clouds. Night after night dew watered the growing plants. Why should they believe otherwise? They could see no reason for it. To those antediluvians, the possibility of a flood seemed as absurd as does it’s recital as a matter of history to the modern, higher critic. It was out of harmony with men’s senses, hence an impossibility.

Before the Flood, no peal of thunder had ever resounded among the hills, no lightning had ever played through the heavens. Such a thing had never been seen before. “How unshapely,” say they. “How absurd to think of water standing over the earth until that will float!” but in the ears of the faithful whispered the still, small voice of God; and the work went steadily on.

The controversy was an educational problem. Christian education was almost wiped from the earth. Worldly wisdom seemed about to triumph. In point of numbers, its adherents vastly exceeded those in the schools of the Christians. Was this seeming triumph of evil over good a sign that evil was stronger than truth? By no means. Only in the matter of scheming and deceiving does the devil have the advantage; for God can work only in a straightforward manner.

The tree of life was taken to heaven before the Flood, thus symbolizing the departure of true wisdom from the earth. The Flood came. Deep rumblings of thunder shook the very earth. Man and beast fled terrified from the flashes of lightning. The heavens opened; the rain fell, at first in great drops. The earth reeled and cracked open; the fountains of the great deep were broken up; water came from beneath. A cry went up to heaven, as parents clasped their children in the agony of death; but the Spirit of the Lifegiver was withdrawn. Man, satisfied with schooling his senses, with depending upon his own reasoning powers, closed, one by one, every avenue through with the Spirit of God could work; and nature, responding to the loss, was broken to her very heart and wept a flood of tears.

From the beginning to the end it was a matter of education. Christians today exalt the material to the neglect of the spiritual, as surely as did men before the Flood. Shall we not look for similar results, since similar principles are at work?

The Fall Continues

The ease with which men fall into evil habits is illustrated in the history of the world after the Flood. Upon leaving the ark, for families who had known God, and it had been committed to them the peopling of the earth, but evil tendencies, the result of years of acquaintance with the iniquity of the antediluvian world, gained the ascendancy; and the sons of Noah. Failing to carry out the principles of true education in their homes, saw their children drifting away from God. Not more than a single century had elapsed since the Flood had destroyed all things. The change was a rapid one.

The successive steps in degeneration are readily traced. They chose an education of the senses rather than one of faith; they left country and congregated in cities; a monarchy arose. Schools sprang up which perpetuated these ideas; paganism took the place of the worship of God. The tower was a monument to the sun; idols filled the niches in their structures. Men offered their children as sacrifices.

The slaying of infants and children is but carrying out in the extreme what is always done mentally and spiritually when children are taught false philosophy. That man might not bring upon himself immediate destruction, the language was confused and education in false philosophy thus rendered more difficult.

Abraham Is Called by God

It was from this influence, as found in the city of Ur of the Chaldees, that Abraham was called. Although the family of Terah knew the true God and His worship was maintained in the home, it was impossible for him to counteract the influence of the city with it’s idolatrous practices; so God called Abraham into the country.

He was obliged to go forth by faith. The removal meant the severing of every earthly tie. Wealth and ease were exchanged for a wandering life. How he could make a living Abraham did not know. How he could educate his children he did not understand. But he went forth. Terah, his father, and Lot, his nephew, went with him. They halted at Haran, a smaller city, and remained there until the father’s death. Then came the command to go forward. Out into a new country he went, a pilgrim and a stranger.

Power is synonymous with life; there is no power without life, and a teacher has power in proportion as he lives what he wishes to teach. Abraham was to be a teacher of nations, hence he must have power. Power could come only as the result of a life of faith, so his whole life was one continual lesson of faith. Each experience made him a more powerful teacher.

The Father of Nations

His faith grew by trial and grew only as he mounted round by round the ladder which spanned the gulf twixt heaven and earth, which seemed to lengthen with each successive generation. A period of not less than twenty-five years—years filled with doubt, fear and anxiety—was necessary to bring him to the place where the name Abraham—the father of nations—could be rightly claimed by him. Another quarter of a century rolled over his head, years in which he watched the growth of the child of promise; then the voice of God called him to raise his hand to take the life of that same son. He who had said that in Isaac should all nations of the earth be blessed, now demanded the sacrifice of that life at the father’s hand. But He, the Lifegiver in the event of the child’s birth, was now believed to be the Lifegiver should death rob him of his child, and the father faltered not.

These fifty years, with God and angels as teachers, reveal for us, as no other period does, the results of true education, and merit careful attention. If the workings of the Spirit ever wrought changes in the human heart, those changes came to Abraham. It is not strange that when God called the first, time, the voice seemed far away had but partially awoke the slumbering soul. As if in a dream, he, his father, his nephew, and his wife, broke away from earthly ties and from the beautiful Chaldean plains, where luxury and learning were daily things of life, and journeyed toward the hill country.

In Ur, God said, “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and will make thy name great.” Genesis 12:2. Years passed, age crept on, and still there was no heir. Could he have mistaken the voice which bade him turn his face toward Canaan?

Ninety-nine years passed over the patriarch’s head, and still the voice of heaven’s messenger was greeted with a laugh when the promise was repeated. Sarah turned within the tent door when the angel guest, whom they had fed, repeated to Abraham the promise concerning his wife. But she bare to Abraham a son whom God named Isaac, in whom the nations of the earth were blessed. Joy untold filled the heart of the mother and father as they beheld the babe.

This was the joy of sight. Twenty-five years before, the thing was just as true and Abraham might lawfully have worked upon the basis of its truth; but the stubborn human heart requires many lessons.

Abraham’s School

Those who wished to worship the true God gathered about the tents of Abraham and became pupils in his school. God’s word was the basis of all instruction. This word was the basis for the study of political science, and Abraham’s “methods of government” were carried out in the households over which the [his students] should preside. The equality of all men was a lesson first learned in the home. “Abraham’s affection for his children and his household led him…to impart to them a knowledge of the divine statutes, as the most precious legacy he could transmit to them, and through them to the world. All were taught that they were under the rule of the God of heaven. There was to be no oppression on the part of parents, and no disobedience on the part of children.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 142. His was not a school where theory alone was taught, but the practical was emphasized. In studying political science, they found the nucleus of a divine government; in the study of finances, they actually made and raised the flocks which brought recognition from the surrounding nations. “The unswerving integrity, the benevolence and unselfish courtesy, which won the admiration of kings, were displayed in the home.” Ibid.

God’s Plan For Education Today

The influence of country life and direct contact with nature, in contrast with the enervating influence of the city with its idolatrous teaching and artificial methods, developed a hardy race, a people of faith whom God could use to lay the foundation for the Israelite nation. We see then, that when God founds a nation, he lays that foundation in a school. The nation, of which Abraham and his followers formed the beginning, prefigured the earth redeemed, where Christ will reign as King of kings. The education of the school of Abraham symbolized Christian education.

As faith was the method employed in teaching in the days of the patriarch, so in the schools of today faith must be the motive for work, the avenue to the fountain of wisdom. There are today those who can not harmonize their feelings and their ideas of education with the plan which God committed to His people. Likewise, in the days of Abraham, there was at least one family which withdrew from the influence of the school.

The Road To Destruction

Lot had felt the effects of the teaching of Abraham; but through the influence of his wife, “a selfish, irreligious woman,” he left the altar where they once worshipped together and moved into the city of Sodom. “The marriage of Lot, and his choice of Sodom for a home, where the first links in a chain of events fraught with evil to the world for many generations.” Ibid., 174. Had he alone suffered, we would not need to follow the history; but the choice of a new home threw his children into the schools of the heathen; pride and love of display were fostered; marriage with Sodomites was a natural; final destruction in the burning city was the terrible but inevitable result. “When Lot entered Sodom, he fully intended to keep himself free from iniquity, and to command his household after him. But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had an effect upon his own faith, and his children’s connection with the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interests in a measure with theirs.” Ibid., 168

The injunction to “remember Lot’s wife,” should serve as a warning to Christians against flocking into the cities to give children an education. The words of Spalding are true. “Live not in a great city, for a great city is a mill which grinds all grain to flour. Go there to get money or to preach repentance, but go not there to make thyself a nobler man.” As Quoted by E.A. Sutherland in Living Fountains or Broken Cisterns, 66.

The Results Of Two Types Of Education

The two systems of education are nowhere more vividly portrayed than in the experiences of Abraham and Lot. Education in the tents of Abraham, under the guidance of the Spirit of Jehovah, brought eternal life. Education in the schools of Sodom brought eternal death. This was not an unnatural thing. You can not find here any arbitrary work on the part of God. To partake of the fruit of the tree of life, imparts life. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil it has been said, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

The system of education revealed to Abraham, would, if fully carried out, have placed Israel on a plane of existence above the nations of the world. It was a spiritual education, reaching the soul by a direct appeal to faith, and would have placed the people of God as teachers of nations. Not only a few were intended to teach, but the nation as a whole was to teach other nations. The second Israel will occupy a similar position, and they will be brought to that position by means of Christian education.

The End

Who Shall Enter the Pearly Gates?

In the parable of the marriage feast in Matthew 22:14, Jesus makes the statement, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” I was thinking of that and a quote came to my mind from Ellen G. White where she said over a hundred years ago, that if Jesus was to return today, not one in twenty would be ready to meet their Lord. That means 100 are called, but not even five of 100, are chosen. It almost sounds like this is kind of unfair, but is God unfair or unjust? No! What is the reason that so many are invited and only a few are finally selected? God is the one who is sending out the invitation and He is the One who makes the decision as to who shall enter the pearly gates.

I first want to ask the question, what kind of God do we serve? Is He merciful? Is He long-suffering? Is He kind? Is He just? Is He fair? In Acts 10:34, it says, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.’” God is not looking at my position; He is not looking at my profession; He is not looking at my good looks or bad looks; He is not looking at my wealth or lack of wealth; He is not looking at my status or worldly accomplishments; at my intelligence or church office. The next verse makes it a little clearer, “But in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.” These are exactly the same qualifications of the same message which is preached in the First Angel’s message in Revelation 14:7. It says there, “Fear God, and give glory to him.”

What Is God Like

Moses wanted to know what God was like. Moses said, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” Exodus 33:18. Was that a good request? He wanted to know what God was like. We read in Exodus 34:5-7, “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.’” It is good to know that He is a God who is merciful. However, in the next verse it says, “That will by no means clear the guilty.” Even though He is merciful, long-suffering and kind, yet, He is also just.

In Micah 7:18 it says, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever because he delighteth in mercy.” He loves to do it. Should not we also delight in mercy? “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3, 4. God wants everyone to be saved. He wants everyone to learn truth and to accept Him and to have salvation. This shows us His desires and what He is like.

God Wants You Eternally Saved

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11. Again, God does not want anyone to be lost, rather He wants every single person to have salvation. That is why He sends the invitation to all.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. Over and over again the Bible tells us that the Lord wants every single person to be saved. He has this desire because He wants us to live with Him. One of the greatest truths is that God is merciful and gracious, and one proof is that you and I are still here today so that we can receive a message of invitation. God is merciful, He is still waiting, He is still pleading. He does not want us to be lost.

The Wedding Feast

In Matthew 22:1-14 we read a parable about a wedding feast. “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants [that was the first time] to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.” A king’s invitation is refused. “Again, [a second time] he sent forth other servants, saying, ‘Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.’ But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But saith he to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.’” Now comes the third call. “’Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.’ So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, ‘Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.’”

Why Will So Many People Refuse a Free Gift?

If the Lord called so many people and sent out all the invitations, what is the reason that only a few are responding? “The Word of God plainly tells us that few will be saved, and that the greater number of those, even, who are called will prove themselves unworthy of everlasting life. They will have no part in heaven, but will have their portion with Satan, and experience the second death.” Testimonies to the Church, vol. 2, 293, 294

In Testimonies to the Church, vol. 5, 50, it says, “Many hear the invitation of mercy, are tested and proved; but few are sealed with the seal of the living God. Few will humble themselves as a little child, that they may enter the kingdom of heaven.” Pride makes it difficult to humble ourselves. The reason it is so difficult is because of self. Self is not dead, and it must be crucified.

Make Your Calling and Election Sure

“Probationary time is granted us, opportunities and privileges are given us to make our calling and election sure.” Review and Herald, November 22, 1898. We need to feed upon Jesus. We need to look beyond like Abraham. He looked at the city whose builder was God.

In Psalm 90:12 it says, “Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” When you realize that everything you have here is only for a short time, you start thinking about things which are eternal. Review and Herald, May 8, 1900, says, “’Many are called, but few are chosen.’ This is a true statement of the final outcome. Man is very dear to the heart of God, and all are invited to this feast. But many come not having on the wedding garment. They do not accept Christ’s righteousness. They have not repented and made peace with God. They have not received his free gift.” Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:20, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

True or Artificial Righteousness?

The Pharisees had righteousness, but what kind of righteousness did they have? “The rabbis counted their righteousness a passport to heaven, but Jesus declared it to be insufficient and unworthy. External ceremonies and a theoretical knowledge of truth constituted Pharisaical righteousness. While they were punctilious in ritual observances, their lives were immoral and debased. Their so-called righteousness could never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Desire of Ages, 309

“The greatest deception of the human mind in Christ’s day was that a mere assent to the truth constitutes righteousness.” Desire of Ages, 309. Many today believe this, but it is not true. Jesus says it is unacceptable. “Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly-minded, it is a curse to its possessors and through their influence it is a curse to the world.” Desire of Ages, 310

“’Many are called,’ Christ said, ‘But few are chosen.’ If we would remember that we are on test and trial before the heavenly universe, that God is proving us to see what spirit we are, there would be more serious contemplation, more earnest prayer.” Signs of the Times, August 9, 1899. We are living in the day of the investigative judgment. We are living in the time of probation. We are living in the time when God is testing us to reveal what character we have developed.

The Bible simply states in Matthew 22:3, that after the invited guests received the first invitation, they would not come. They were not interested, is what they were saying. Do you think people know what they missed? No, they did not. They had no idea what they missed, and that is why they refused.


In Luke 14:18-20, talking about the same parable, we are told, “They all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it.’” That is kind of foolish, because he had already bought it. He should have looked at it before he bought it. But he said he had bought a piece of ground and wanted to look at it. “And another said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them.’” Today we probably would say, “We bought a car and we have to try it out.” “And another said, ‘I have married a wife.’” He should have brought her with him. Why are people making excuses? They are simply not interested. There is actually nothing wrong with all these things that the people did. What is wrong is their priorities. Jesus said to seek heaven first. After they were invited the second time, they went further and became more bold. Now they start making fun of the whole thing. They even went so far as to start persecuting the ones who preached the message killing some as they become more bold and hard.

Jesus said, “Many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” Matthew 19:30. “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:11, 12. What a sad situation. The nation of Israel, chosen by God to be missionaries to the world, and He said that they would be in outer darkness.

The Wedding Garment

“When the wedding was furnished with guests, the king came in to see the guests, he saw there was a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, ‘Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?’” Matthew 22:10, 11. What was his answer? Nothing. He had nothing to say. He was invited, and he knew what he was doing, because he was invited and accepted the invitation, but he refused the wedding garment. “By the wedding garment in the parable is represented the pure, spotless character which Christ’s true followers will possess.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 310. That is a requirement; the pure, spotless character of Jesus Christ.

“Are you ready? Have you the wedding garment on? That garment will never cover deceit, impurity, corruption, or hypocrisy.” Testimonies to the Church, vol. 5, 220. “It is character that decides destiny.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 74. “It is not money or land or position, but the possession of a Christlike character that will open to us the gates of paradise.” Christian Service, 247

What are True Christians Like?

What is a Christlike character? A Christlike character is “purity, refinement, peace, and love.” Counsels on Stewardship, 113. “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, and charity are the elements of a Christlike character.” Reflecting Christ, 173. “When the Holy Spirit is abiding in the heart, it will lead the human agent to see his own defects of character, to pity the weakness of others, to forgive as he wishes to be forgiven. He will be pitiful, courteous, Christlike.” The Faith I Live By, 53. “No rebuffs, no harsh, stinging, condemnatory words will come from our lips.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 204. “Those who profess to be followers of Christ, and are at the same time rough, unkind, and uncourteous, in words or deportment, have not learned of Jesus. A blustering, overbearing, faultfinding man is not a Christian; for to be a Christian is to be Christlike.” Reflecting Christ, 305

A holy temper, and Christlike life is not only accessible, it is attainable; and my friends, it is also mandatory. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” The decision is ours. Let us accept the wedding garment on God’s simple condition of obedience. “The white garment is purity of character, the righteousness of Christ imparted to the sinner. This is indeed a garment of heavenly texture, that can be bought only of Christ for a life of willing obedience.” Testimonies to the Church, vol. 4, 88. Many are called, many are invited, but few are chosen. The outcome is based solely on a personally acquired Christlike character, and this is the only condition. If we are like Christ, we will be chosen. God has given us the power, He has given us the promise, He has given the help. May God help us as we do this with a humble heart, is my prayer.

The End

Editorial – The Confusion: Babylon

The devil tries to push people into an extreme and if that does not succeed he will attempt to push them to an opposite extreme. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 644.) Often when we are under attack by the devil we do not know it. We think that we are just studying and learning about something—following is one current example: We have known for over 100 years that the condition of Laodicea described the condition of the professed people of God. We were also told in 1897 that we were on the track of Romanism. (See Testimonies to Ministers, 362.) We were warned in 1886 that we could become a sister of Babylon and we were warned in 1893 (the same time period) not to call the second advent movement Babylon. Whether the professed people of God will become part of Babylon in the future is not the key issue—the key issue is that if we do not recover from our Laodicean condition when the plagues fall it will be just as bad for Laodicea as for Babylon, notice:

“Will the churches heed the Laodicean message? Will they repent, or will they, notwithstanding that the most solemn message of truth—the third angel’s message—is being proclaimed to the world, go on in sin? This is the last message of mercy, the last warning to a fallen world. If the church of God becomes lukewarm, it does not stand in favor with God any more than do the churches that are the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Those who have had opportunities to hear and receive the truth and who have united with the Seventh-day Adventist church, calling themselves the commandment-keeping people of God, and yet possess no more vitality and consecration to God than do the nominal churches, will receive of the plagues of God just as verily as the churches who oppose the law of God. Only those that are sanctified through the truth will compose the royal family in the heavenly mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him and keep His commandments.” Manuscript Release, vol. 19, 176. [All emphasis supplied.]

“It is now the duty of God’s commandment keeping people to watch and pray, to search the Scriptures diligently, to hide the word of God in the heart, lest they sin against him in idolatrous thoughts and debasing practices, and thus the church of God become demoralized like the fallen churches whom prophecy represents as being filled with every unclean and hateful bird.” Review and Herald, May 17, 1887

“When Jerusalem was divorced from God it was because of her sins. She fell from an exalted height that Tyre and Sidon had never reached. And when an angel falls he becomes a fiend. The depth of our ruin is measured by the exalted light to which God has raised us in His great goodness and unspeakable mercy. Oh, what privileges are granted to us as a people! And if God spared not His people that he loved, because they refused to walk in the light, how can He spare the people whom He has blessed with the light of heaven in having opened to them the most exalted truth ever entrusted to mortal man to give to the world?” Manuscript Release, vol. 2, 319, 320

Forgetting the warnings to Laodicea, some people say, if the Seventh-day Adventist church is not Babylon, I will not worry. Returning to a Laodicean condition, they are in a worse condition now than before hearing anything about revival and reformation. Some will never wake up until the plagues begin to fall. (See Early Writings, 71.)

What has happened? The devil pushed individuals hard in an attempt to force them to believe that the Adventist church is Babylon but finally someone convinces them that the church structure is not Babylon. Immediately the devil pushes them to the opposite extreme. They are victimized by “either—or” thinking: If it is not Babylon, all must be well within the borders of God’s professed people. ( It is like saying, everybody that does not have cancer is in perfect health.)

No longer are these in the category of those who “will not hold their peace to obtain the favor of any.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 210. These people will still be holding their peace when the plagues began to fall. One result of this shaking that is going on in many minds is this idea—if the church structure is not Babylon, then there is no need to worry, just wait and the Lord will correct all problems. If you value your soul do not forget the warnings that God has given to Laodicea.