Lessons on Reformation, part 1

“Determined men, inspired and urged on by the first great rebel, would have resisted any interference with their plans or their evil course. In the place of the divine precepts they would have substituted laws framed in accordance with the desires of their selfish hearts, in order that they might carry out their purposes.” Review and Herald, December 10, 1903.

God is love.’ 1 John 4:16. His nature, His law, is love. It ever has been; it ever will be. ‘The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,’ whose ‘ways are everlasting,’ changeth not. With Him ‘is no variableness neither shadow of turning.’ Isaiah 57:15; Habakkuk 3:6; James 1:17.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 33.

Long before the creation of this earth and long before sin entered the courts of heaven, the Father and the Son made a covenant to meet and solve the sin problem. Christ offered to become man’s substitute and to die in his place, paying the penalty of eternal death demanded by the law.

The moment rebellion arose, the plan of salvation was placed in motion. In this and future articles we will trace the reformations that were instituted throughout history—God’s attempt to purify a people so they may be restored to the original condition as they came from His hand. It has been said that, “God will purify the church.” We will look at some of the recorded incidents where reform was begun and trace them to their conclusion to ascertain whether the reformation begun was successful or not.

“The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.’ Romans 16:25, R. V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, ‘that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.” The Desire of Ages, 22.

The great love of God was manifested in the creation of “heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is.” Exodus 20:11. Lucifer complained that Christ was honored above him, therefore, God was unfair and a tyrant. “Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for exaltation. The Scripture says, ‘Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.’ Ezekiel 28:17. ‘Thou hast said in thine heart, . . . I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . . I will be like the Most High.’ Isaiah 14:13, 14. Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet homage due only to the Creator.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 35.

The result of his rebellion was exclusion from the heavenly host. Lucifer, along with one third of the angels who had made their decision to follow him, was cast out of heaven. We humans have the same problem that Lucifer had. We think that we are important and wish for exaltation of self, just as he did, and if we do not recognize our pride and surrender our will to God, we will end up in the same lake of fire with the devil. Pride gets in the way so that God cannot use us as He wishes to. We tend to defend our position, because we are right and the other person is wrong.

“Satan’s rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages—a perpetual testimony to the nature of sin and its terrible results. The working out of Satan’s rule, its effects upon both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the existence of God’s government is bound up the well-being of all the creatures He has made. Thus the history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy beings, to prevent them from committing sin, and suffering its penalty.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 42, 43.

Lucifer continued his rebellious actions by coming to earth and tempting Eve with great success, in spite of the fact that she and Adam had been warned about him. She in turn induced Adam to partake of the forbidden fruit. As sinful human beings, Adam and Eve each began to blame the other for their problem. When sin is pointed out in the church, immediately people become defensive and accuse the person who pointed out the errors as being critical and divisive. Due to their sin, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden and the earth was cursed. But before they were put out, they were given the promise of a way of escape from the final retribution demanded by the Law. A Saviour was promised who would redeem the fallen human race.

Immediately after the fall of man, a reformation was begun by God to restore man to his rightful position. “The plan of redemption was arranged in the councils between the Father and the Son. Then Christ pledged Himself to render an account for man if he proved disloyal. He pledged Himself to make an atonement, which would unite every believing soul to God. He who lays His sins upon the substitute and surety, thus becoming a partaker of the divine nature, can unite with the apostle in saying: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.’ ‘That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.’ In His infinite love Christ devised the plan of salvation. This plan He stands ready to fulfill in behalf of all who will co-operate with Him. In their behalf He says to the Father, Do not impute their sins to them, but lay them on Me. Be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities remember no more. They have accepted My merits, and made peace with Me; and they shall make peace with Me. My righteousness is theirs, and for My sake bless them with all spiritual blessings.” Review and Herald, May 28, 1908.


Man Must Cooperate


In order for the plan of salvation to be successful, man must cooperate with God by complete submission to His will. Jesus said, “I can of Mine own self do nothing . . . I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me.” John 5:30. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.

Seth and Enoch are two men who submitted their wills to the will of God. In spite of the prevailing iniquity that abounded in their time, these men maintained a close connection with God. They had a holy mission to accomplish, that is, to develop a righteous character and to teach the lesson of godliness to men of their time, as well as to future generations. They were reformers of the highest order. Enoch reproved sin and proclaimed that judgments would be poured out upon those who refused to obey the commands of God. His servants are to bare a similar message in the last days. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1. “Satan with all his angels has come down with great power, to work with every conceivable deception to counterwork the work of God. The Lord has a message for His people. This message will be borne, whether men will accept or reject it.” Manuscript 36, 1897.

God is trying to reform His church, but He cannot bring this about unless we individually surrender fully to Him and follow Jesus, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct our lives. It does not pay for man to attempt to do things his way or to lean on the arm of flesh. Jeremiah warns us, “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1.

There are many examples of men who think to fulfill God’s commands their own way. Cain is one example. God said to bring a lamb as an offering, but Cain decided to bring the offering he thought was best. His offering was not accepted and because of that he became angry and ultimately slew his brother. God attempted to reach Cain’s heart and bring about a reform in his life, but he refused to submit to the requirements of Divinity. God will not force us to obey Him, but we will suffer the consequences of our decisions if we choose our way. Cain lost his soul because of his choice to “do it his way.”

In sparing the life of Cain, it was demonstrated what the end result would be of allowing the unrepentant sinner to live forever. It was revealed that the sentence of death pronounced upon the transgressor of God’s law was both just and merciful. “It will be seen that all who have forsaken the divine precepts have placed themselves on the side of Satan, in warfare against Christ. When the prince of this world shall be judged, and all that have united with him shall share his fate, the whole universe as witnesses to the sentence will declare, ‘Just and true are thy ways, Thou King of saints.’ Revelation 15:3.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 79.

Even though the world was in its infancy, the heart of man had become so degraded and evil that God could not allow these men to continue to live. “He said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.’ He declared that His Spirit should not always strive with the guilty race. If they did not cease to pollute with their sins the world and its rich treasures, He would blot them from His creation, and would destroy the things with which He had delighted to bless them.” Ibid., 92.

Before He does anything to correct a bad situation, God always warns people ahead of time. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7. God sent Noah to warn the world of a coming flood upon the earth. He spent the next one hundred and twenty years not only warning the world of what was coming, but he also built an ark inviting all to enter with him into the ark to escape the judgments of God upon an unrepentant generation. Unfortunately, all that were alive when the flood came refused to listen and repent, and continued their round of pleasure and merriment until the flood came and swept them all away.

Are we so busy with our everyday duties that we do not have time to stop and take a look at where we are and what we are doing? It is necessary that we arrange our priorities making God first in our lives. We need to get serious about our lives and where we are headed. What is more important, eternal life on the earth made new, or the pleasures of sin for a season? God is waiting for a people that will reflect perfectly His character, and then He will come and take us home.

After the flood God started over again. He told Noah to “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” Genesis 9:1. The Lord made a covenant with Noah by setting a bow in the clouds, indicating that there would never again be a universal flood. It was the Divine purpose that man would take dominion of the earth once again and fulfill God’s plan for the peopling of this world by those who would obey His Law and live without sin. The Lord waits for the same kind of people today to represent Him to the world.


Downward Trek


Alas, the inhabitants of this planet followed in the footsteps of the antediluvians in their downward trek on the broad path to destruction. “But no sooner was the earth repeopled than men resumed their hostility to God and heaven. They transmitted their enmity to their posterity, as though the art and device of misleading men, and causing them to continue the unnatural warfare, was a sacred legacy.” Letter 4, 1896.

We come now to another people who desired to have their way. Nimrod and his descendants would make a name for themselves by building a tower and a city. “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.” Genesis 11:4. “This confederacy was born of rebellion against God. The dwellers on the plain of Shinar established their kingdom for selfexaltation, not for the glory of God. Had they succeeded, a mighty power would have borne sway, banishing righteousness, and inaugurating a new religion. The world would have been demoralized. The mixture of religious ideas with erroneous theories would have resulted in closing the door to peace, happiness, and security. These suppositions, erroneous theories, carried out and perfected, would have directed minds from allegiance to the divine statues, and the law of Jehovah would have been ignored and forgotten. Determined men, inspired and urged on by the first great rebel, would have resisted any interference with their plans or their evil course. In the place of the divine precepts they would have substituted laws framed in accordance with the desires of their selfish hearts, in order that they might carry out their purposes.” Review and Herald, December 10, 1903.

The Lord had told men to scatter over the earth, but mankind disobeyed the word of God. Once again God intervenes to stop man in his determination to have his own way. Only this time there was not a universal destruction, only the knocking down of a part of the tower and confounding of the language.

When Jesus comes the second time, He will destroy the wicked from off the face of the earth by the brightness of His coming. But the righteous will be preserved from the destruction that takes place all around them. God will be their refuge. “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee.” Psalm 91:9, 10. May we make Christ our refuge and strength in the days that lie ahead.


The Sabbath Sunday Issue, part 1

There have arisen in our Conference questions that need to have careful attention, whether the Sabbath keepers in the Southern States where they are liable to feel the oppressive power of their State laws if they labor on Sunday shall rest on Sunday to avoid the persecution which must some if they do any labor. Some of our brethren seem anxious that a resolution shall be passed by the General Conference advising our Sabbath keeping brethren, liable to imprisonment and fines, to refrain from labor on that day. Such resolutions should not be placed before this Conference, requiring their action.

There are questions about which it is far better to have as little notoriety given as possible, in either case,—for, or against. And our brethren would be wise in not bringing questions of this character to the front, to obtain decisions from the Conference in regard to them. They can be understood and adjusted in a more private way. There are many things that should be conducted in a silent, unobserved way, which would have altogether a better influence upon all minds.

Some minds are so constituted that they can not treat these questions wisely. When the Sunday question is legislated to become a law, there will not be so great a danger of taking steps that are not of a character to receive the sanction of Heaven, though they may receive the sanction of the General Conference,— for the reason that the Lord gives light and knowledge just when it is most needed.

I am afraid of these many resolutions. One year ago resolutions were brought into the Conference for adoption that, had they all been accepted, would have bound about the work of God. Some resolutions were urged by young, inexperienced ones, that never should have received the consent of the Conference. Human traditions and permits and nonpermits have been of a character that would have bound them about with restrictions that were wholly unnecessary, out of God’s order, and that would have created a condition of things that would have been detrimental to the progress of the work. If some resolutions that were accepted had not been proposed, it would have been better, for those who presented them were in darkness and not in the light. Had they been laid upon the table, it would have been far more in accordance with the will of God because all these many resolutions, voting what shall be, and what shall not be, are not after God’s order. What this man shall do, and shall not do, making laws that God has never made, has created principles which should not prevail among us. As reformers, if we had less talk and more of Christ, there would be far greater modesty and humility and we would do far more good.

There are many things that require the wisest and most careful counsel, and should be done without making any noise about it; but there is want of wisdom in throwing every action open to all. Many things are kept reserved through the year for the General Conference to act upon which should be faithfully carried by the State Conferences, a mass of matter that need not be brought before the Conference at all.

Many things had better never see the light of day. They are originated by minds that are not under the light of the Sun of righteousness. It increases the work of the Conference and it might just as well be acted upon in their several churches and councils and take off the Conference a large amount of perplexing questions with which they should not be burdened. Let them be faithful stewards, to pray much, to work diligently, and act discreetly. In [the] General Conference, many things are rushed through without being duly canvassed. All have not had opportunity to think and pray over these things and those who do have the opportunity do not improve it and use their brain power. They devise and execute without God’s counsel. There are councils that should be held of less importance and less expense with less weariness to our leading, responsible men. All minor matters should be settled in the State Conference, thus dealing with many questions that will save time and care and burdens that have greatly taxed the General Conference.

The question of the great need of the soul deserves in these meetings of the Conference far more attention, and many questions that are tossed into the Conference should never appear, but be worked out in your State Conferences. It has become habit to pass laws that do not always bear the signature of heaven. The question of the color line should not have been made a business for the Conference to settle. It is a question which involves principles needing much careful, prayerful thought.

The question that has been before the Conference, whether the brethren where oppressive laws exist should be advised not to work on Sunday, is not a question to be brought before an open Conference. It could not be voted upon without misunderstanding and mismoves and bad results.

I am led to inquire with pain of soul what do our brethren mean by presenting questions of this order before an open conference. If the disciples of Christ needed to assemble together in one place after the ascension of Christ and pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit, there would be greater need of their doing so now when solemn and farreaching principles are involved. Ten days were devoted to earnest seeking of God and ten days would need to extend to twenty before men should venture to put their pens to write out a decision for the people on this point. Much earnest prayer and nothing less than the descent of the Holy Ghost would settle these questions. Then to toss these questions into the Conference without the prayerful consideration of the subject would be the greatest folly.

This is the third angel’s message to our world and men had better keep their hands off the ark. There has been revealed the disposition to cavil over some questions that are plainly revealed in the word of God. Let not any move in their blindness to make decisions on so momentous subjects. Do we [receive] the Bible as the oracles of God? In every State there should be wise instructions given on this point, and can be better given in these States more silently, giving as little notoriety to these points as possible, but advising, counseling in the fear of God after much prayer and fasting and seeking counsel from the unerring Counselor.

No haphazard advice should come from the lips of any ambassador of Christ. He should fear the Lord and have his words in accordance with the will and ways of God. This is a time for much praying and less talking. This subject is not a matter to which to give an off-hand assent or dissent. It is wonderful, sacred, solemn ground on which we stand and we cannot move tecklessly without dishonoring God and ruining souls. All the universe of heaven is astir, looking to us to see what course we will pursue in this matter. While all Sabbath-keepers are anxious and troubled, seeking to penetrate the mysteries of the future, and to learn all they can in regard to the correct position they shall take, be careful that they are advised correctly in regard to Sunday observance. Action cannot be taken in regard to this matter here, and our people of all classes of minds and of varied temperaments should treat it wisely. There will ever be danger of going to extremes. Christ says, “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14). Then to your knees in prayer, have far less of self and depend wholly on the counsel of God. Then, if all would be under the control of the Spirit of God there would be nothing to fear, for all would adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour.

He who has Christ abiding in his heart will so order his conversation as to bring no dishonor or reproach on the sacred truth of God. He will give no occasion to its enemies to blaspheme, will not be filled with self-confidence, but his confidence will be in God. He will not be revealing inconsistencies that are not in harmony with the precious truth of sacred origin. He will not be found going to extremes and furnishing scandal to be circulated far and near in the most exaggerated form. He must be a man that holds communion with God; a man that prays and does not pray in vain: “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” (Psalm 17:5).

If the decision is made that our people shall not labor on Sunday and that our brethren in the Southern States shall appear to harmonize with the Sunday law, because of oppression, how long before all over the world [our people] shall be in like circumstances as they are in the South? The decision is to be a universal one. If it comes to the light of day as it will in degrees and there will be concessions and servile bowing to an idol god by those who claim to be Sabbathkeepers, there will be a yielding of principles until all is lost to them.

If we counsel them not to respect the idol Sabbath exalted to take the place of the Sabbath of the Lord our God, then instruct them in this matter in a quiet way and encourage no defying of the law powers in words or actions unless called to do this for the honor of God to vindicate His downtrodden law. Let there be no unnecessary act of arousing the combative spirit or passions of opponents. There is a selfdeluded enthusiasm in this, bringing in an elevation of Sunday that it will be difficult to handle because “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The counsel to be given is “Finally, my brethren, be strong, in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand”—in harmony in outward appearance with? No, but “against the wiles of the devil.”

There are some trying testimonies to be manfully borne by Sabbathkeepers and some bitter persecution finally endured, for, says Christ, “Ye are my witnesses.” Yes, witnesses for God, standing in defense of His holy law. We are a light to reveal the moral darkness, and the reward will be given to the overcomer.

Let no resolutions be passed here which will encourage half-hearted service or cowardly hiding our light under a bushel or under a bed for we will certainly be tried and tested. The Bible heroes of faith are to be our example and the Bible readers and Bible workers, if truly on the Lord’s side, will be earnest, whole-souled, humble, meek, and lowly of heart, and God will teach them. We need not make any special rules for those who are not dyspeptic Christians; on the other hand, should resolutions be passed that because of the trials and inconveniences that arise because of our faith such ones should cease their labor on Sunday, bowing to the idol Sabbath,will it give those who do this vigorous, spiritual sinew and muscle or will they grow into cowards and be swept away with the delusions of these last days? Leave these precious souls to God’s dictation. Be sure the Sabbath is a test question, and how you treat this question, places you either on God’s side or Satan’s side. The mark of the beast is to be presented in some shape to every institution and every individual.

The position taken by some is, that this evil enactment has no relation to the present observance of the Sabbath. Here again great blindness is shown to be upon them. In this they are not correct,for every move from the first made by Satan was the beginning of his work to continue to the end to exalt the false, to take the place of the genuine Sabbath of Jehovah. He is just as intent now and more determined to do this than ever before. He has come down with great power to deceive them who dwell on the earth with his Satanic delusions. His work has a direct reference to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and should the resolution be passed that because of inconveniences and loss of property, imprisonment and fines, the enactment of laws of the State shall compel Sunday observance, all must obey these laws God would certainly be dishonored; and the lesson given to those who need better advice shall be of a character to open the way and make it easy for souls to be carried away with the bold, swift current of evil. They will be tempted strongly because of the universal scorn which they see thrown upon the law of God to think slightly of it and to place the laws of men on an equality with the laws of God and give less and less reverence to the laws of Jehovah. Shall the overseers of the flock work with the great deceiver to make apostasy from God easy?

We have all the way along known that this battle must come and the two great powers, the Prince of Darkness and the Prince of Light, will be in close battle, and not one of God’s people who understand the truth, if in the light where God would have them to stand, will teach by precept or example any soul to shirk now. Give them strengthening Bible diet and Bible duty to strengthen and brace the soul for the coming conflict. But there will be need at this time of men who have been leaders in this work of keeping step where Jesus leads the way. If they do not walk in the light as Christ leads the way and advance with the increasing light of the third angel’s message,they will surely become blind leaders of the blind. (Exodus 31:12–17).

It is a time now when God calls for brave men having on the whole armor of God, presenting a united front to the foe. And as we meet the emergency the law of God become[s] more precious, more sacred, and as it is more manifestly made void and set aside, in proportion should arise our respect and reverence for that law. David said, “They have made void Thy law; therefore I love Thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” (Ps. 119:126–7).

The Lord will be constantly leading and guiding His people to meet this emergency if they ask the help of God. It is a high point of spiritual advancement they have reached that the love of God’s commandments grows with the contempt which is manifest to that law by those around them. There are great principles in the reformation which must not be overlooked or disregarded. God forbid we should be self-made invalids in this great crisis. Paul prayed for the removal of the aggravating thorn but God sees this is not the best and sends the blessed promise, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” (2 Cor. 12:9). The Lord does not remove the trial, but gives him all that is needed that he can endure it.

In the exercise of the long suffering of God, He gives to nations a certain period of probation, but there is a point which if they pass, there will be the visitation of God in His indignation; He will punish. The world has been advancing from one degree of contempt for God’s law to another, and the prayer may be appropriate at this time, “It is time for Thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void Thy law.” (Ps. 119:126). In answer to this prayer [ere]long the wrath of an offended God will be poured out without mercy, then as we approach this time, be careful what advice and counsel we give to the people who need to be strengthened in Christian experience, lest you prove yourself to be like Aaron who consented to make the golden calf.

This was a terrible thing for him to do because all Israel looked up to him as their leader, a good man. If he had given his voice against this in a certain, decided manner, this wicked worship of an idol would not have been to disgrace the people of God. We do not want to repeat Aaron’s cowardice or Israel’s sin. Let the Lord work for His people, and be careful that you give to the trumpet a certain sound now. We must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

Let all be careful what they say and what they do; be careful to move in God’s order. Keep step with the Captain of the Lord’s host. Let not anyone make any proud boast either by precept or example to show that he is defying the laws of the land. Make no resolutions as to what persons in different States may do, or may not do. Let nothing be done to lessen individual responsibility. To their God they must stand or fall. Let none feel it his duty to make speeches in the presence of our own people, or of our enemies, that will arouse their combativeness and they take your words and construe them in such a way that you are charged with being rebellious to the government, for this will close the door of access to the people.

Let Christ be seen in all that you do. Let all see that you are living epistles of Jesus Christ. Let the soft fillings in the life of character appear. Be lovable. Let your life win the hearts of all who are brought in contact with you. There is too little done at the present time to render the truth attractive to others. There has been some who have in speaking to the people, felt like making a raid on the churches. They sour minds by their censoriousness. We want our hearts mellowed by the love of Jesus. That is in God’s order. If not presented in the most pleasant, acceptable form, truth will be unpalatable to many. While we must present the truth in contrast with error, let it be presented in a manner that shall create as little prejudice as possible.

While we cannot bow to an arbitrary power to lift up the Sunday by bowing to it, while we will not violate the Sabbath, which a despotic power will seek to compel us to do, we will be wise in Christ—Christ’s wisdom and not in our own spirit. A consistent, substantial, lovable Christian is a powerful argument for the truth. We must say no words that will do ourselves harm, for this would be bad enough, but when you speak words, and when you do presumptuous things that imperil the cause of God, you are doing a cruel work, for you give Satan advantage. We are not to be rash and impetuous, but always learning of Jesus how to act in His Spirit, presenting the truth as it is in Jesus.

Do not, in this critical time, mark out ways for God’s people, for how do you know what God designs to do with and for His people? He means to make exhibitions of His power before our enemies. The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord, and His wisdom and His strength are their present and sufficient help in every time of need. We can work for them whatsoever seemeth good in His sight, and nothing can be done for or against them, other than His providence shall permit to be done. The children of light are wise and powerful, according to their reliance upon God, and the wisdom and help of men may defeat the very purpose of God.

The world is against the disciples of Christ but they will obtain help of God, and then, God working for them, they will enlighten and bless those who are not in the truth. In all ages, the righteous have obtained help from God, and the enemies of His people can never put down those whom God would lift up. How often has Satan sought to destroy those whom God is leading and guiding. The faithful disciples of Jesus need not be terrified by the rulers of darkness of this world, because the power of the enemy is limited and beyond his limits he cannot go.

Great and precious promises are to be kept before God’s people that they may have every confidence in God. Then let no decision be made by this Conference to get in the way of the work of the Lord, give Satan’s agents a chance to be provoked and present the rash ones as the representatives of our people. They will have power to present these matters in an exaggerated light, that in the place of these persons removing prejudice and enlightening minds, the prejudice is strengthened and deepened, and the case of God’s people made far worse, and our means of bringing the truth before the people who are in darkness is cut off.

One indiscreet, high-tempered, stubborn-willed man will, in the great question introduced before us, do much harm. Yes, he will leave such an impression that all the force of Seventh-day Adventists could not counteract his acts of presumption because, Satan, the arch deceiver, the great rebel, is deluding minds to the true issue of the great question, and its eternal bearings. He is an accuser of the brethren. Then let everyone be careful and not step off from the ground where God is, on Satan’s ground. Many did this in the ranks of the reformers of past ages. Luther had great trouble because of these elements. Rash persons stepped out of their place and rushed heedlessly forward when God did not send them to do a very objectionable, impulsive work. They ran ahead of Christ and provoked the devil’s wrath. In their untimely, misguided zeal, they closed the door to great usefulness of many souls who might have done great good for the Master.

We have all kinds of material to deal with. There are those who will, through hasty, unadvised moves, betray the cause of God into the enemy’s power. There will be men who will seek to be revenged who will become apostates and betray Christ in the person of His saints. All need to learn discretion; then there is danger on the other hand of being conservative, of giving away to the enemy in concession. Our brethren should be very cautious in this matter for the honor of God. They should make God their fear and their dread. Should this Conference make resolutions and pass them, that it would be right and proper for Seventh-day Adventists to rest on the first day of the week in order to avoid arrests and what might probably arise if they did not obey the laws, would this be showing that we stand in right relation to God’s holy law? Exodus 31:12–17.

I have been shown that from the first rebellion Satan was working to this end, to exalt his own power in contradiction to God’s law and God’s power. He does this in exalting Sunday observance, and anything that shall by this people go forth as their voice, to respect the idol sabbath, would it not dishonor God and confuse minds and place them where they will be deceived by Satan’s devices? Anything we may do that lifts up the spurious to take the place of the true and genuine Sabbath, is disloyal to God and we must move very carefully lest we exalt the decisions of the man of sin. We are not to be found in a neutral position on this matter of so great consequence. The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus must be from conviction of duty inscribed on our banners.

If we shall do as some of our brethren in sympathy with our brethren of the South have urged, then where do God’s people stand? Where will be the distinction from the Sunday observers? How will we be recognized as the Sabbathkeeping people of God? How shall we show that the Sabbath is a sign?

The two armies will stand distinct and separate, and this distinction will be so marked that many who shall be convinced of truth will come on the side of God’s commandment-keeping people. When this grand work is to take place in the battle, prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ’s sake in standing in defense of the truth. They will be brought before kings and rulers, and before councils to meet the false, absurd, and lying accusations brought against them, but they must stand firm as a rock to principle, and the promise is, “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” (Deuteronomy 33:25.) You will not be tempted above what you are able to bear. Jesus bore all this and far more. The express command of God must be obeyed, for God has been working.Luke 21:8–19.

An intelligent knowledge of His Word has been given to prepare men and women to contend zealously for the law of Jehovah; to reestablish the holy law; make up the breech that has been made in the law of God and restore the tables of stone to their ancient, exalted, honorable position. And God’s faithful servants when brought into straight places should not confer with flesh and blood.

There will be, even among us, hirelings and wolves in sheep’s clothing who will persuade the flock of God to sacrifice unto other gods before the Lord. We have reason to know how Paul would act in any emergency. “The love of Christ constraineth us.” (2 Corinthians 5:13.) Youth who are not established, rooted and grounded in the truth, will be corrupted and drawn away by the blind leaders of the blind; and the ungodly, the despisers that wonder and perish, who despise the sovereignty of the Ancient of Days and place on the throne a false god, a being of their own defining, a being altogether such an one as themselves,—these will be agents in Satan’s hands to corrupt the faith of the unwary.

Those who have been self-indulgent and ready to yield to pride and fashion and display, will sneer at the conscientious, truth-loving, God-fearing people, and will, in this work sneer at the God of heaven Himself. The Bible is disregarded, the wisdom of men exalted, and Satan and the man of sin worshiped by the wisdom of this age, while the angel is flying through the midst of heaven crying “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth.” (Revelation 8:13.)

I have been shown that the hand of the Lord is stretched out already to punish those who will become monuments of divine displeasure and holy vengeance, for the day of recompense has come when men who exalted the man of sin in the place of Jehovah in worshiping an idol sabbath in the place of the Sabbath of the Lord Jehovah will find it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, for he is a consuming fire.

We say to our brethren, Do not for Christ’s sake, get in the place of God before the people. Enough of this kind of work has been done. Let God work human minds. Do not hinder the workings of God for His people in this important period of time, when tremendous interests are being enacted among God’s people. Do not in your human wisdom fix up things too much bearing the human imprint. Leave God something to do. Let the hand of God appear in moulding and fashioning men’s minds and character, and let man walk softly and humbly with God. Lift no burdens from God’s people that He would have them to bear. Jesus bore the cruel cross to Calvary. Do not cast burdens upon any class that He would have them released from.

Satan’s work is constantly to perplex, to mix up things, to confuse, to get things into a tangle that is hard to straighten out. It is not a desirable job to be engaged in, to take the work out of God’s hands into your own finite arms. It is best for all parties concerned to leave the people of God in God’s hands for Him to impress and teach and guide their consciences. It is not safe for any one to attempt to be conscience for God’s people. If the servants of God will patiently instruct them by precept and example, to patience, to faith, and to look to God for themselves, to understand their own duty as God would have them, then many, in trying circumstances would obtain a rich experience in the things of God. Teach man to ask wisdom of God. There should be precept and example in lessons given, that God is our only trust and wisdom, and we must pray to Him without ceasing for light and knowledge.

Taken from: Manuscript 6, 1889

Editor’s note: In 1889 Ellen White wrote about the Sabbath-Sunday crisis in the Southern United States and the relation of Adventists to it. This manuscript is found in the 1888 Materials starting on page 471. (Part of it has been printed in Selected Messages, vol. 3 and Manuscript Releases, vol. 6.) However, many Adventists do not have the 1888 Materials and because the content of this manuscript is especially for our time, the editors plan to publish the entire manuscript in Land Marks magazine.


1901 Rejected, part 1

“In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 196.




During a visit with fellow Christians who had escaped severe persecution under Communist controlled Eastern Europe, a discussion came about as to the purpose of the 1901 plan that provided for the European General Conference. Because the plan failed, these people suffered great religious persecution and hardship. To them, the 1901 plan was a call for God’s people to “turn (their) eyes upon Jesus.”

During the opening session, Ellen White said that God’s people must be “born again.”

“There must be a renovation, a reorganization; a power and strength must be brought into the committees that are necessary. Let every one of you go home, not to chat, chat, chat, but to pray. Go home and pray. Talk with God. Go home and plead with God to mold and fashion you after the divine similitude.” The General Conference Bulletin, 1903.

A “renovation” was essential for the 1901 plan of reorganization to function. The call to look to Jesus is the very meaning of the Third Angel’s Message. (Testimonies to Ministers, 93.)

“But the work that all heaven was waiting to do as soon as men prepared the way, was not done; for the leaders closed and bolted the door against the Spirit’s entrance. There was a stopping short of entire surrender to God. And hearts that might have been purified from all error were strengthened in wrong doing . . . and said to the Spirit of God, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season, I will call for thee.” Letter to J.H. Kellogg from Ellen White, August 5, 1902.

When there was no renovation, the plan of reorganization could not be implemented. The 1901 plan was rejected and it had to be replaced with A.G. Daniells’ plan: “a World General Conference” that destroyed the European General Conference. At a time when our people are suffering great persecution in Eastern Europe, there is a call to look to Jesus with the 1901 plan.


The 1901 Plan of Reorganization of the General Conference


When Ellen White stepped to the podium on April 2, 1901 on the first day of the General Conference session, she wasted no time in calling for a reorganization.

“What we want now is a reorganization. We want to begin at the foundation, and to build upon a different principle . . .

“According to the light that has been given me—and just how it is to be accomplished I can not say—greater strength must be brought into the managing force of the conference.” The General Conference Bulletin, 1901, 25.

Just how greater strength within the organization was to be accomplished was not understood until two days later when the Committee on Plans presented the formation of a separate Union Conference for the work of the South. The work in the South had unique requirements and a multitude of problems because of the illiteracy, poverty and racial difficulties still being experienced in the post Civil War period. The Committee on Plans felt that the uniqueness of the work would present special management problems making it desirable for the South to organize into a Union Conference. They had also discussed the formation of the American Union Conference, which had been sanctioned and approved by the General Conference in 1897. The European Union Conference had already been formed in 1898. (The General Conference Bulletin, 1901, 67.) In this discussion, it was assumed that both of the conferences would return a tithe to the General Conference. (The General Conference Bulletin, 1901, 67.)

At this time in history, the Australasian and European Union Conferences were under the administration of the General Conference in Battle Creek. The new proposal would bring two additional Union Conferences in America under the General Conference at Battle Creek.

It was during this meeting, that Mrs. White was given the actual plan of reorganization: “I am thankful that there is to be a time when the mists will be cleared away. I hope that this time has begun here. We want the mists here to be cleared away. I want to say that from the light given to me by God, there should have been years ago organizations such as are now proposed. When we first met in Conference, it was thought that the General Conference should extend over the whole world. But this is not in God’s order.” The General Conference Bulletin, 1901, 68.

Heretofore, it was thought that all territory organized into the conferences would be under the administration of the General Conference at Battle Creek. At that time the Foreign Mission Board was still a separate organization from the General Conference and had the responsibility of the mission fields. Many messages had been given in the prior decade on the decentralization of the work at Battle Creek, but it was not understood until this meeting just how this was to be accomplished. Now it was clear [that] the field was to be divided so that the administrative responsibilities would not be centralized in one General Conference committee. To expect one group of men, regardless of the size of that committee, to grasp the problems and supervise the entire organized world field was beyond the capabilities of finite minds.

Ellen White continued: “Conferences must be organized in different localities, and it will be for the health of the different Conferences to have it thus. This does not mean that we are to cut ourselves apart from one another, and be as separate atoms. Every Conference is to touch every other Conference, and be in harmony with every other Conference. God wants us to talk for this, and He wants us to act for this. We are the people of God, who are to be separate from the world. We are to stand as representatives of sacred truth.” The General Conference Bulletin, 1901, 68–69.

The problem of a General Conference that attempted to extend over the whole world was then illustrated by Mrs. White noting several instances of mismanagement she observed on her trip to Battle Creek. There were delays as well as problems resulting from decision making by those without first-hand knowledge of the issues. Also, the centralization of the work had created a dependency at the local level which caused weakness in the work of God. There was a loss of urgency in giving the Three Angels’ Messages, the most important work ever entrusted to a people and the only hope for a perishing world.

The work of the church was not to utilize the management principles of the world by centralization in finite human beings. The work of God was to centralize in Christ, the great General He would direct the various fields of labor “through the Holy Spirit.”

“We want to understand that there are no gods in our Conference. There are to be no kings here, and no kings in any Conference that is formed. ‘All ye are brethren.’ . . . The Lord God of Israel will link us all together. The organizing of new Conferences is not to separate us. It is to bind us together. The Conferences that are formed are to cling mightily to the Lord, so that through them He can reveal His power . . .

“Remember that God can give wisdom to those who handle His work. It is not necessary to send thousands of miles to Battle Creek for advice, and then have to wait weeks before an answer can be received. Those who are right on the ground are to decide what shall be done. You know what you have to wrestle with, but those who are thousands of miles away do not know.” The General Conference Bulletin, 1901, 68–69.

Decentralization was the theme of the reorganization of the General Conference in 1901. The call for “a renovation, a reorganization on an entirely different principle” on April 2, was now made clear on April 4. Christ was to link heads of conferences and institutions. He would do the binding. The 1901 plan was a call to look to Christ.

The clarification of basic principles of organization on April 4, 1901 resulted in the division of the field and the supervision and management of the work of God being placed in different locations. The European General Conference was formed in July, 1901 with L.R. Conradi as the President. A. G. Daniells became president of the General Conference in America. Our most dedicated Adventist Church history substantiates this fact: “Hence, the European field came to be regarded as a self-sufficient continental unit, and it was called ‘The General Conference in Europe,’ while the organization in the land of origin was called ‘The General Conference in America.’ And there was, besides, the Australasian Union Conference.” Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 3, 348.

The action taken at the 1901 session in limiting the General Conference geographically received the approbation of “the God of heaven and His angels” who “walked up and down the aisles” during that meeting. (The General Conference Bulletin, 1901, 463.)

There was no suggestion of a “World General Conference” in the 1901 plan for reorganization.

“The question to be settled is who is God? . . . In his efforts to dethrone God and to put himself in the place of God, Satan has deceived man in the rebellion . . . When the true God is known and acknowledged for what He really is, when He is given the place which belongs to Him in all things, and we take the place which belongs to us, then He is glorified and we are glorified in Him. This means our salvation from sin now and eternally.” The General Conference Bulletin, 1898, 221.

The geographical limitations of the General Conference in Battle Creek were also in alignment with counsel from the servant of the Lord given in August, 1896: “As a people we should study God’s plans for conducting His work. Wherever He has given directions in regard to any point, we should carefully consider how to regard His expressed will. This work should have special attention. It is not wise to choose one man as president of the General Conference. The work of the General Conference has extended, and some things have been made unnecessarily complicated. A want of discernment has been shown. There should be a division of the field, or some other plan should be devised to change the present order of things.” Testimonies to Ministers, 342.

This counsel appeared in The General Conference Bulletin, 315, in 1897 and said our world work should be divided up into three divisions: “The presidency of the General Conference Association, the presidency of the Mission Board, and the presidency of the General Conference work in North America, should be placed on three different men.”

The brethren honestly attempted to respond to this counsel at the 1897 General Conference session by electing three presidents who presided over the General Conference Committee, and the Foreign Mission Board.

In the 1901 plan of reorganization, Christ was to be the “greater strength” to direct and unify the different General Conferences. Mrs. White was elated. The 1901 plan was the very essence of the Third Angel’s Message applied to church government. Leadership was to look to Christ instead of man. Heads of large conferences and various institutions were to stand as equals under Christ in an apostolic form of church government. However, only a few months after the 1901 session problems erupted over management. Edson White’s ministry in the South caused some difficulties with the administration. Nevertheless, his mother was confident that the problems would be resolved. A portion of a letter from Ellen White to her son Edson has been released for publication: “Your course would have been the course to be pursued if no change had been made in the General Conference. But a change has been made, and many more changes will be made and great developments will be seen.” Letter 54, 1901.

Unfortunately, as the months passed by, leadership’s failure to implement the 1901 plan became evident. Her confession is written in a private letter to a friend and confidant: “The result of the last General Conference has been the greatest, the most terrible, sorrow of my life. No change was made. The spirit that should have been brought into the whole work as the result of that meeting was not brought in because men did not receive the testimonies of the Spirit of God. As they went to their several fields of labor, they did not walk in the light that the Lord had flashed upon their pathway, but carried into their work the wrong principles that had been prevailing in the work at Battle Creek.” Letter to Judge Jesse Arthur from Ellen White, Elmshaven, January 15, 1903.

What happened? The cause was revealed to her ten days prior to writing the letter to Judge Arthur. On January 5, 1903 she was considering what might have been done at the last General Conference when she lapsed into a dream.

“The speaker turned to those who had been praying, and said: ‘We have something to do. We must confess our sins, and humble our hearts before God.’ He made heartbroken confessions and then stepped up to several of the brethren, one after another, and extended his hand, asking forgiveness. Those to whom he spoke sprang to their feet, making confession and asking forgiveness . . . The spirit of confession spread through the entire congregation. It was a Pentecostal season . . . Then I aroused from my unconsciousness, and for a while could not think where I was. My pen was still in my hand. The words were spoken to me: ‘This might have been’ . . . disappointment came over me as I realized that what I had witnessed was not a reality.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 104–106.

Pride prevented certain men in responsible positions at the 1901 session from settling their differences so they could look to Christ. As a result, “What Might Have Been” (The 1901 plan of reorganization) was lost to Seventh-day Adventist Church and to the world. Without an upper room experience, the could be no Pentecost. Pride, presumption, and the love of position prevented Christ from leading a people in an apostolic form of church government. The brethren preferred to be like the “Gentiles” who have “their great ones” exercise “lordship” and “authority upon them.” (Mark 10:42.) Christ was rejected as the “Captain” and the “greater strength” of the 1901 plan. A fundamental principle of “the Third Angel’s Message” was disregarded when the delegates were determined to “look to man and expect much help from man.” (Testimonies to Ministers, 93.) The 1901 plan did not fail, but men failed the plan when they failed to look to Jesus as their Captain.

Taken from the book 1901 Rejected by Deone Hanson, pages 2–7.


The Great Feasts of the Bible — Pentecost

In the typical sanctuary service of ancient Israel it was customary for the High Priest to lay aside his pontifical robes and officiate in the white linen of an ordinary priest. So, the Son of God came down to this earth, laid aside His royal robes and garbed Himself with humanity, to offer Himself as a ransom for you and me.

Speaking of this, Paul wrote, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. To fulfill the requirements of the Passover, Christ became the priest and the victim. It was thus that He made an atonement for our sins. However in God’s great blueprint for complete salvation, He foresaw the need for some additional steps in order to restore man to his rightful place.

The atonement provided only for forgiveness of past sins. But sin had also separated humanity from Christ. Something must be done to reunite man with his Creator. Therefore, God devised further steps so that this could be accomplished. If such detailed plans were followed precisely, this would make it possible for finite man to comprehend how heaven and earth—now separated—could be reunited in oneness.

Immediately following the yearly Passover Sabbath is the first day of the week. “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s Passover . . . And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Speak unto the Children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.” Leviticus 23:5, 9–11.

Jesus fulfilled this requirement of the wave sheaf. The Passover lamb was scheduled to die during the Passover. It was to be slain on Friday at the ninth hour, but it escaped when the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom. At that precise time Christ, the true Lamb of God, died on Calvary. Then during the Sabbath hours He lay in the sleep of death in the tomb. On the first day He will present the wave sheaf offering, for every divine prediction in the Scriptures must be fulfilled.

Christ became the first fruits by His resurrection. Thus He was able to comply with the stipulations which were laid down by God in the laws of Moses a thousand years before. The first sheaf of grain was to be presented on the first day following the Passover Sabbath, not until this was presented could the harvest be gathered.

Early on the first day of the week, after the crucifixion, it is still dark. The great stone covering the entrance to the tomb is still in place, the Roman seal unbroken. Around the tomb stand the Roman guards joined by a host of evil angels. But there is also a heavenly host surrounding the sepulcher.

Suddenly, the early morning silence was broken. “There was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” Matthew 28:2. Instantly all the evil angels flee and the soldiers fall as dead men.

This mighty angel rolls away the enormous stone (it was at least six feet in diameter) as he would a pebble. Then he cried, “Son of God, come forth! Thy Father calls Thee.” Desire of Ages, 780. Immediately, Christ comes forth from the tomb as the angelic host sing with great joy: “Thou hast vanquished Satan and the powers of darkness; Thou hast swallowed up death in victory.” Ibid.

Something else happened while Christ arose. Another startling event has taken place, for an earthquake has opened a multitude of other graves. Individuals that had given their lives as a testimony to God’s truth arise from their graves. These resurrected saints are the Savior’s trophies of victory over the power of death. No longer are they captives of Satan, for they are now redeemed, brought forth from the grave as first fruits of the end time resurrection.

Christ had raised the dead many times while He was here on earth. For there was the son of the widow of Nain and the ruler’s little daughter. There was also Lazarus who had died and was buried four days. But each of these was still subject to death, and they must die again. Unlike them, these resurrected saints, who arose when Christ arose, would never die. They were raised to everlasting life.

Shortly after that event took place, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. Can you imagine her amazement when she discovered that the tomb was empty? She feared that someone had stolen the body of Jesus. “And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not: for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.” John 20:13–17.

Do you comprehend these unforgettable words of Christ? “I ascend to My Father and your Father. To My God and your God.” This is talking about a part of the family of God. Something is about to occur that will reunite heaven and earth. And what is this wonder? Christ is about to ascend to heaven where He will present Himself to the Father as the wave sheaf, the symbol of the first resurrected life of a great harvest to come.

Immediately, Jesus leaves Mary in the garden and goes to heaven. This is why Jesus tells Mary, who is about to embrace His feet in worship, “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” On this resurrection morning, Christ ascended to heaven for the express purpose of conducting a brief visit with the Father in heaven, presenting Himself as the wave sheaf.

Apparently travel in space is no problem with Deity. One moment Jesus is talking to Mary and the next moment He is presenting Himself to the Father in heaven; Himself the first fruit of the eternal resurrection. In this private meeting with the Father the assurance is given that Christ’s sacrifice has been accepted by God Almighty. “He ascended to the heavenly courts, and from God Himself heard the assurance that His atonement for the sins of men had been ample, that through His blood all might gain eternal life. The Father ratified the covenant made with Christ, that He would receive repentant and obedient men, and would love them even as He loves His Son.” The Desire of Ages, 790.

When this short visit with His Father had been accomplished, Christ immediately returned to the earth. During His absence, other women arrived at the tomb. “After He had ascended to the Father, Jesus appeared to the other women, saying, All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.” The Desire of Ages, 793. Now the time had arrived when He can assure the disciples that He has fulfilled His pledge, “To make a man more precious than fine gold.” Isaiah 13:12.

He sends word by these women to His disciples that they are to meet Him in Galilee where He will instruct them for forty days. Acts records this: “To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3.

Ten days after Jesus ascension to heaven, the next great event occurred which the Scripture calls Pentecost. It would be at this coming event that the covenant would be ratified with Christ and His church. Why must this be? Has Christ already died for an atonement? Yes. Has Christ arisen in victory over death? Yes. Has He already presented the wave sheaf to His Father? Yes. And has His Father not only accepted this wave sheaf but also given full approval of what He has done? Yes. Then why must there be a Pentecost? Because something more is needed. The church of God must be given divine power to give the gospel to the entire world and this cannot take place until two additional wave loaves are presented to God the Father. Every divine stipulation given in Scripture must be carried out in the plan of salvation.

“And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. Ye shall bring out of your habitation two wave loaves of two tenths deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the first fruits unto the Lord.” Leviticus 23:15–17.

What do these two loaves of bread literally represent? These verses draw our attention to a special group of saints who arose with Christ on the resurrection morning. They represent the family of God on earth. They must be reunited with the heavenly family, for they are the pledge of assurance that the resurrection of all the righteous will take place when Christ comes the second time. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:14.)

So as Christ arose from the tomb, He brought forth a multitude of captives from the grave. These were to go into the city of Jerusalem and declare to the honest of heart that Christ indeed had risen from the dead and that they were living proof for they arose with Christ. This was necessary for several reasons. The priests had paid the soldiers who had personally witnessed the resurrection to spread a lying report. “Say ye,” said the priests, “His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept.”

Furthermore, the Sadducees had for centuries prepared the people, under the direction of Satan, to believe that there was no such thing as a resurrection. But God never leaves an honest soul in doubt. So for forty days, while Christ prepares His disciples to preach the gospel in all the world, these risen saints go from person to person proving beyond a doubt that Jesus arose from the dead. They declared, Christ is risen and “we be risen with Him.” The Desire of Ages, 786. Thus the prophecy of Isaiah 26:19 was fulfilled: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise . . .and the earth shall cast out the dead.”

But more than this, they are an assurance to us who are alive today that God always keeps His promise, and that we shall soon witness a coming resurrection. “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

“Thus will it be when the voice of Christ shall be heard from heaven. That voice will penetrate the graves and unbar the tombs, and the dead in Christ shall arise. At the Saviour’s resurrection a few graves were open, but at His second coming all the precious dead shall hear His voice, and shall come forth to glorious immortal life. The same power that raised Christ from the dead will raise His church, and glorify it with Him, above all principalities, above all powers, above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world to come.” The Desire of Ages, 787.

Christ spent forty days with His disciples before returning to heaven with His trophies. He also knew that time was needed in heaven to prepare for a glorious homecoming. The disciples also would need time to prepare for heaven’s overflow of this great celebration by being united in prayer, at which time heaven will bestow the Holy Spirit in His fullness, ratifying the covenant with His church.

Jesus the divine Counselor is about to return victoriously to heaven’s court with His trophies. For forty days He has authenticated to His disciples that He is their living Saviour. No longer must He be associated with the tomb. Now they must think of Him as glorified before the heavenly universe. Jesus chooses the spot for His ascension. It will be the Mount of Olives upon which His feet will again rest, at the close of the millennium, when He brings the New Jerusalem to this earth. As Jesus bids His disciples good-bye, He slowly ascends from among them and He speaks the last promise: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20.

As His disciples watch, a cloud of glory hides Jesus from their sight as the chariots of angels receive the Saviour and carry Him up. The air is filled with the sweetest music as the angel choirs sing. Two angels in the form of men speak: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11.

These are the very same two angels who were sent to guard the tomb at the resurrection and they had also been His personal bodyguards during His life on this earth. Now they longed to welcome Jesus in the clouds, but in love for His disciples, they remained to give the disciples comfort. Meanwhile, the multitude of captives, who arose with Christ at His resurrection, has now joined with their Saviour in the clouds. They will accompany Jesus to heaven as He returns to the Father.

These risen saints are an example of what will happen when the Second Coming takes place. “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive.” Ephesians 4:8. As Jesus ascends with His trophies, all heaven is astir in preparation to welcome the Saviour. Jesus leads the way. The multitude of His captives follow Him and the escorting angels cry out, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of Hosts, he is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:8.

Will you look with me at this mighty reception? Heaven’s gates swing wide open as Moses opens the gates of the city of God and the angelic throng sweeps through the city of God amid rapturous music. In the center of Jerusalem stands the mighty throne encircled by the rainbow. Countless sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds, eagerly wait to celebrate Christ’s triumphant return.

Billions of unfallen angels are also in that assembly. This is the same heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and the Son. These are the representatives of the sinless worlds over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion. All are eager to celebrate the triumph of their King. But wait. Christ waves them back as He enters the throne.

“Not yet; He cannot now receive the coronet of glory and the royal robe. He enters into the presence of His Father. He points to His wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet; He lifts His hands, bearing the prints of the nails. He points to the tokens of His triumph; He presents to God the wave sheaf, those raised with Him as representatives of that great multitude who shall come forth from the grave at His second coming.” The Desire of Ages, 834.

Watch as Christ approaches the Father. Sense the joy as God beholds the saints who have been resurrected and presented as trophies. Recall the pledge of God the Father and Christ the Son that took place before sin entered the universe. Recall the covenant promised to redeem sinners. Listen once again to Christ’s cry on the cross. “It is finished.” Now watch as Christ presents His trophies to the Father, one by one.

Then He pleads: “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” John 17:24. And so it takes place. The compact is finally finished exactly as predicted a thousand years before. God responds, justice is satisfied and Satan is forever vanquished. Now Christ’s struggling children are accepted in the Beloved, for where Christ is, there His church is also, because, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10.

Behold, the arms of the Father as they encircle His Son and now He gives the command: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” Hebrews 1:6. “With joy unutterable, rulers and principalities and powers acknowledge the supremacy of the Prince of Life. The angel hosts prostrate themselves before Him, while the glad shout fills all the courts of heaven, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing’. Revelation 5:12.” The Desire of Ages, 834.

Listen to the songs of triumph filling the air as music from the angels’ harps strike a higher note. Finally, the lost have been found. “And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13.

Words cannot possibly express such joy. Here is the fulfillment of our text in which Jesus said, “Say unto My brethren, I go unto My God and your God.” The family on earth is now united with the heavenly family from which it was once separated by sin. Now they are united as one. The celebration of heaven spills over, down to this very earth, for this is Pentecost. It has finally arrived.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1–4.

The universe has now accepted the Saviour. The saving gospel is now beyond question. Believers in Christ will never die. They will only sleep until Jesus comes. Now the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, fills the heart of each disciple on earth and a Spirit-led church marches to victory. “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Revelation 6:1, 2.

When we speak of Pentecost, our memory should recall that Calvary’s atonement had been accepted, that the enemy, death, had been defeated, that Christ had ascended with His risen saints, assuring that a final resurrection is soon to take place. But above all, Pentecost assures us that we are now one with Christ. The joy of heaven’s Pentecost should be our daily experience.

Since Jesus is coming soon, we can repeat the words of Christ with authority that He spoke long ago: “I ascend unto My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.” For the family on earth was finally united with the family of heaven at Pentecost. The joy of Pentecost should be our daily experience.


Food For Life — Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving is approaching. Will it be, as it has been in many instances, a thanksgiving to ourselves? Or will it be a thanksgiving to God? Our Thanksgivings may be made seasons of great profit to our own souls as well as to others if we improve this opportunity to remember the poor among us . . .

“There are a hundred ways that can be devised to help the poor in so delicate a manner as to make them feel that they are doing us a favor by receiving our gifts and sympathy. We are to remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The attentions of our brethren are most liberal to those whom they wish to honor, and whose respect they desire, but who do not need their help at all. Custom and fashion say, Give to those who will give to you; but this is not the Bible rule of giving. The word of God declares against this way of gratifying self in thus bestowing our gifts, and says, ‘He that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.’

“Now a season is coming when we shall have our principles tested. Let us begin to think what we can do for God’s needy ones. We can make them through ourselves the recipients of God’s blessings. Think what widow, what orphan, what poor family you can relieve, not in a way to make a great parade about the matter, but be as a channel through which the Lord’s substance shall flow as a blessing to His poor . . .

“But this does not embrace all your duty. Make an offering to your best Friend; acknowledge His bounties; show your gratitude for His favors; bring a thank offering to God. . . . Brethren and sisters, eat a plain dinner on Thanksgiving Day, and with the money you would spend in extras with which to indulge the appetite, make a thank offering to God.

“Let not any more Thanksgiving days be observed to please and gratify the appetite and glorify self. We have reason for coming into the courts of the Lord with offerings of gratitude that He has preserved our lives another year . . . If a feast is to be made, let it be for those who are in need.

“I think we have something to be thankful for. We ought to be glad and rejoice in God, for He has given us many mercies . . . We want this Thanksgiving to be all that it implies. Do not let it be perverted, mingled with dross; but let it be what its name implies—giving thanks. Let our voices ascend in praise.” Adventist Home, 474, 475.

I, also, would like to give my testimony of thanksgiving to God for His unfathomable, unmeasurable gift of paternal love, in sending His only begotten Son into this ignominious world of shame and heartache, crime and death, to pay the ransom for me. And thank you Jesus, for being willing to come and take all the cruelty and pain that You bore for me, and for shedding Your life blood on Calvary for my sins. Oh God, please, after such a great sacrifice, don’t let me fail to accept the eternal life that was purchased at such an infinite cost by You and Your Son!


Holiday Nut Roll

1 c. walnuts, ground

1 c. almonds, ground

1 c. dates, ground

1 c. fine macaroon coconut

3 T. Carob powder

Mix the above together and set aside in a bowl. Put the following in a sauce pan:

1/2 c. orange juice

1/2 c. date sugar

2 T. Tapioca (soak for 1/2 hour in hot water)

Cook till clear and then add 1 teaspoon vanilla and a dash of salt. Let cool and then pour over nut mixture and knead well. Make into long rolls and then roll each in more ground nuts. Refrigerate to chill. When chilled, cut in slices. Delicious!


The Prayer Satan is Determined Will Not Be Answered

When I was nineteen years old, I started making a careful study of Steps to Christ. It details how to become a Christian and then how to live the Christian life. It is a very interesting book. In the second chapter it says that if Satan could be taken to heaven, he would not enjoy it. Not only would he not enjoy it, he would find heaven a place of supreme torture.

That is an interesting point. At least it was to me. I always thought that heaven would be the most wonderful place for anyone. Ellen White went on to say that if the sinner could be taken to heaven, he would not enjoy it either. You see, it is not really an arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes sinners from heaven. God knows that if He should take sinners there, they would not enjoy it. If God took you to heaven right now, would you enjoy it? Evidently, if God took the majority of the people to heaven right now, they would not enjoy it.

The gospel does not just take away the guilt of our sins. It works a change in our hearts so that we can be taken to heaven and enjoy it. If you could not have happiness in heaven, you will not be happy here in this world, no matter how much you have. When I was pastoring in North Dakota, one of my church members, who had a large farm, told me a story about a man that lived near him. This man owned the largest wheat farm in the United States. He was a very wealthy man.

The area where he lived was along the Red River Valley. For the past four thousand years (since the flood) in the spring time, the Red River has flooded and deposited silt on the soil in the Red River Valley. In the summer time the waters would go back down leaving an almost coal black, alluvial soil that grew bountiful crops.

This man had a very productive farm, and since he was wealthy everyone knew him and thought that he was in a very enviable position. But for some reason, it did not make him happy. One morning he road off in his truck and did not come back. After a while people started looking for him. They found him in a secluded section of his farm, where he had put a gun to his head and ended it all. So, all the riches and possessions he had did not make him happy.

Even heaven would not make you happy unless a change occurs in the heart. This is the change that Jesus prayed for in John 17. He prayed that His followers would be one, would have unity, just as He and the Father are one. (See John 17:22.) It has been almost two thousand years since this prayer was prayed. This is the prayer that the devil is determined will never be answered. But I believe the Father is going to answer Jesus’ prayer, but it has to be answered through you and me.

Have you ever been in a home where there is such unity and harmony that you enjoy being there? As soon as you walk in the door, you can feel that it is a wonderful place. This is the kind of home that all God’s people are to have. When it happens in the homes of God’s people, then it will happen in the church, and as it happens in a local church it will spread around the world.

The devil is at work in every church and family to keep this from ever happening. The devil is a liar. Every time there is a separation or a divorce, in a Christian family, the devil says, See there, it cannot happen. And every time there is fighting in a church the devil says, See there, it cannot happen.

However, the devil is much more deceptive than just stirring things up into contention and fighting. One of the greatest deceptions in the world in the last days will be a false unity. Christian people all over the world will think they are seeing the greatest revival and reformation ever. Most of the world will be involved in this unity: “These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.” How did they get to be of one mind? “I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Revelation 16:13, 14.

Here we should notice some things about this counterfeit unity and how it works. Number One: The counterfeit unity is a unity to the system. In Jesus’ day it was the church organization. The Pharisees decided that anyone that would confess that Jesus was the Christ, would be cast out of the synagogue. (See John 11.)

They could point back to their history and say, “God is the One who ordained our church organization.” That was true, but notice where it went. Caiaphas the High Priest soon said, “Nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one Man should die for the people and not that the whole nation should perish.” John 11:50. He was saying that they must get rid of Jesus or have their church structure destroyed. Nobody would ever do that again, would they? If any church structure tells you to do something contrary to the Bible or to your conscience and you do it, you have made that structure a god. You are not following God, you are following a system. The first commandment says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3. That was the problem with the leaders of our church in 1888. Ellen White wrote to them in Testimonies to Ministers, in an article called, “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me.”

Everything that the angels do is organized, and it is right for God’s people to be organized. But an organization must never take the place of the Bible or your conscience. The elders, the deacons, the officers in the church should be determined never to try to be conscience for anyone in the church. We try to be an encouragement in the church, but we will not be conscience for someone else.

That is what happened in Jesus’ day, and that is what is going to happen at the end of the world. Church organization can be placed above the Bible and the conscience. When that happens it does not matter what the name of that church is, it is wrong. When my brother was a pastor just a few miles from here, people said to him, Why do you not get in harmony with the structure? He said, “I am sorry, I cannot do it with a clear conscience. I am a Protestant and I have to live by my conscience.”

Those same reasons still exist. People ask me, Why cannot you be in harmony with the Conference? Because of my conscience and the Word of God. For us to unite would be a false unity. When you make a church structure a god and it becomes conscience for you, that is a false unity.

Number Two: False unity has the power of the state. There are legislators in countries around the world that think that the way to have unity is to pass laws to bring uniformity. Laws like that are in the works in the United States, Europe, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and China.

Constantine thought the same way, and that is what brought on the Dark Ages. In the Dark Ages, if you had a different religion than the king, you could be killed. Revelation 13:14–17 says that the same thing will take place at the end of the world.

Number Three: Who will people be following? For some people the church system or structure becomes their god or their conscience. For some people it is the state. But for some people it is a person and that is going to be a problem in the last days: “All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the antichrist power], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8. If your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you do not worship this power, false unity or the church structure. Christians believe in obeying all the laws of the state as long as they do not require them to violate the laws of God. If the church structure or the state tells a Christian to do something that is contrary to God’s word, the apostle Peter said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29.

There are a number of other things besides the false unity that can prevent unity from happening. Worldly policy will prevent unity. This is the “If you favor me, I will favor you,” policy. And this is unsanctified worldly policy, which displeases God. It is paying favors and admiration for the sake of gain. It is showing a partiality for certain ones expecting to secure advantages through them. It is a hard thing to see one’s own errors, but everyone should realize how cruel is the spirit of envy, rivalry, distrust, fault finding and dissension.

Many people say, Pastor John, worldly policy (politics) is how the whole world runs. It may be, but it is not how the government of God runs. The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons. James 2 says that if we exercise partiality toward the rich instead of the poor we are guilty of sin! Worldly policy will prevent unity because we have our favorites. Jesus took special pains to be friends with people who did not have friends. He did not have favorites.

It is easy to understand how this worldly policy can prevent unity. Many churches are divided into two groups, the “in group” and the rest. Jesus Christ was a friend of the friendless, those who are not in the “in group.” He got in a lot of trouble with some people for this. All the “in group” said this Man is nothing but a drunkard and a winebibber. They said He was a friend of the tax collectors and of sinners.

This is something for us as a church to pray about. Who are the people that you and I know who have no friends? Those are the people we need to be reaching out to because that is what Jesus did. They were all equal in His eyes.

Feelings of contention will prevent unity from developing in the family or in a church. How does it work? This is from an article Ellen White wrote on unity in 1887. She wrote: “The Spirit of God will not abide where there is disunion and contention among believers in the truth. Even if these feelings are unexpressed, they take possession of the heart and drive out the peace and love that should characterize the Christian Church.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 221. Often if we have feelings of contention we think that if we do not talk about them then we are guiltless, but even if we do not talk about it, peace and love will be driven out of the church.

We need to remember that our church is to be a family. Jesus said to the people in His day, “You are all brothers.” Matthew 23:8. We are to consider each other in the church as our brothers and sisters. Primitive Christians addressed each other as “Brother or Sister.” They addressed each other that way because they were members of one family. They had unity and harmony. That custom has fallen out because unity and harmony has disappeared and there is contention and strife. Christians in church now call each other Mr. and Mrs. Will we ever get back to the old greetings of “Brother or Sister”?

I would like to get back to that place. I would like to have a revival and reformation that would cause this to happen again. This reformation is a change in the heart. We have to go to the Lord and say, “Lord, I want all feelings of contention to come out of my heart. I do not want it any more.” We cannot take it out, but the Lord can.

Sister White said about these feelings of contention: “They drive out the peace and love that should characterize the Christian Church. They are the result of selfishness in its fullest sense.” Ibid.

Unity is also kept from happening because we are too severe and sensitive. The same people who are too severe are too sensitive. “We are too severe upon those whom we suppose to be in error, and are very sensitive to the least blame or question in regard to our own course.” Ibid., 222.

What is the problem? I am too severe on the other person and I am so sensitive about myself. Can that be changed? It can if we will surrender to Jesus. He wants to change us completely. The reason for all this contention, worldly policy, and the reason that we are too severe and too sensitive is because we do not have the love of Jesus in our hearts.

“And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:26. So, the reason we have these problems is that we do not have the love of Jesus in our hearts.

Here is another thing that keeps unity from developing within the church. This is a real problem for some individuals, pastors, the wealthy, professional people, and highly educated people. “He was the majesty of heaven, yet He stooped to minister to the humblest having no respect to persons or station. Our Lord after performing the most humiliating office for His disciples [washing their feet] recommended them to follow His example. This was to keep constantly before them the thought that they must not feel superior to the lowliest saint.” Review and Herald, January 18, 1887.

Who is the lowliest saint in our church? People have different ideas who it is. But whoever it is, we are not to feel superior to the lowliest saint, the lowliest believer in Jesus. The Majesty of Heaven came down and washed the feet of His disciples to teach them that they were to serve each other.

The history of the disciples reveals that in a church where feelings of superiority are manifested there will not be unity. That was one of the biggest problems for the disciples. They were in controversy and strife over who was to be the greatest. Jesus kneeled down and washed their feet. He acted the part of a servant of servants. He showed that He did not feel too superior to perform the lowliest humble service for any of His followers. And it is still that way. Jesus said that we are all brothers regardless of how much education, money or experience we have.

What keeps unity from happening? I had a teacher in elementary school that taught us that before you say something, count to ten. The trouble was that I could count to ten too fast. I found that I needed more help than counting to ten. I needed divine help to control my tongue. James 3 says that no man can tame the tongue. It is full of deadly poison and will destroy the unity and harmony in your home and church.

“Be pleasant and cheerful. Remember that love is the power that binds your children to you. Keep your words and actions free from anger. Do nothing that will destroy the harmony of the home. Let the sharp words that you are tempted to speak die unspoken. Such words wound and bruise the hearts of the hearers.” Signs of the Times, September 16, 1903.

“There is to be no sharp speaking, no fretful scolding for angels of God are walking up and down in every room. Little mistakes may be made but words of censure arouse feelings of retaliation and God is dishonored. Any word spoken thoughtlessly or unadvisedly should be retracted on the spot . . .We are to remember that as Christians professing to work in unity, we must not act like sinners whose sinful words and works unless repented of will condemn them.” In Heavenly Places, 182.

There is nothing unchristian about going to someone in the home and saying, I am sorry and I want you to forgive me. The Lord wants us to learn to stop speaking stinging, sharp, fretful words to the people in our homes whom we love and who love us. And when we learn it at home, things will change in the church.

“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one.” John 17:22. The glory is His self-sacrificing love. The angels will study this throughout eternal ages. (See The Desire of Ages chapter 1.) That is the mystery that Peter said the angels desire to look into. I am not an angel, but I want to understand and experience it also. If we experience it, we will have to know more than theology, we will know Jesus. We will have to study His life and meditate upon it and say, “Lord, what are You trying to teach me by what You said and what you did?”

God’s glory is His character and it was revealed to Moses. “He said, Show me thy glory. And He [the Lord] said, I will make My goodness pass before thee.” Exodus 33:18, 19. “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth . . . Forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” Exodus 34:6, 7.

God’s glory is His character. His character is a love for others and that causes Him to sacrifice Himself. The cross of Christ is the extreme example of how far God will go to sacrifice Himself to save someone else. That is what the angels want to understand, and that is what I want to understand.

1 John 3 says that He gave His life for us, so we should be willing to lay down our lives for the brethren. When we get to the point in a church where everyone loves everyone so much that they would lay down their lives for them, then there will be unity.

That is exactly the spirit that Jesus had. Paul says, “While we were yet enemies, God sent His Son.” Jesus did not die for His friends. He died for His enemies, because He chose to and He wanted to. The love that He wants to give us is the same kind of love that He has.

The second thing that will bring unity is, “Perfection of character means perfection of unity.” (See John 17:21.) Some Christians today do not like their pastors or their teachers to talk about perfection, but Jesus taught and preached about it. The Sermon on the Mount ends with, “Be perfect.” That is a command. Would Jesus command you to do something that He would not give you the power to do?

Perfection of character should not have a negative connotation in your mind. We can never have perfect unity among God’s people until we have perfection of character. One of the reasons that there is so much dissension and disunity all over the Christian world today is because of the character of the people who profess to be Christians. Some who profess to be following the Lord live like the devil. It does not make sense, and it does not lead to unity. That is why the devil is so successful in getting people to think that we will get the church directors and governments together and we will unite the whole world under one system and force it to happen. They will force things to happen all right, but it will not be this unity that Jesus was praying for, because there is no glory of God in the way they are going about it.

Number Three: God is leading a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth. True unity is based on truth. You cannot have a unified people who cannot even figure out whether or not to keep the Ten Commandments. Paul said that the church was the pillar and ground of the truth. If you leave the truth, you have left the true church. 1 Timothy 3:15.

Last of all, if you and I become one with Christ, the result will be that we will be one with each other. We will find that we are close to each other. We have unity and harmony. The Holy Spirit will work in our hearts to create unity and harmony so that people with all kinds of dispositions, temperaments, backgrounds and education, can have unity and harmony and love among them.

It will happen. The only question is, Will it happen to you and me? I am determined that I want to be part of the great unity that is developing around the world. I want to have my heart changed, so that I will have self-sacrificing love inside. Then I will be willing to change on any point to be in harmony with God’s Word. When that happens and I am heart-to-heart with Jesus in His work to save the world, the Holy Spirit will pour the love of God into my heart.


Children’s Story — The Lost Bag

Many years ago, when I was a little girl, the Lord taught me a very important lesson. I have not forgotten it because it made a very big impression on me. You might find the story very funny,but for me it was very serious at that time.

When I was young, my parents did not have much money. We always had enough to eat and clothes to wear, but there was not enough money to buy new clothes very often. Actually, it was very seldom when we would get any new clothes. We usually wore whatever we inherited from cousins or friends.

One day I was happy though. It was New Year’s eve, and that has always been a family evening at my home. We would have a special dinner and then we would worship together. After that we would give each other presents. That night I got a new pair of tights made of a special kind of wool, for winter time. I was so excited that I had gotten something new to wear, something that no one else had used first. It was special for me.

But before long a tragedy happened. That winter was terribly cold, with lots of snow. We lived on a farm in the country, and one day there was so much snow that we couldn’t drive away from our farm with the car. My mother, who worked in the laundry at the SDA college, had to go to work, so my father took her the six kilometers on the tractor.

Since Mommy worked in the laundry, we did not have a washing machine at home, she just always took our clothes with her to work and washed them there. That day our clothes were in the laundry and we needed to get them home. Daddy put them in a big bag and took them home on the tractor. When he reached the farm there was no bag on the tractor any longer. What had happened to it? It must have fallen off somewhere in the snow. Daddy went back to search for it,but he didn’t find anything. What a tragedy! It was especially sad for me because my new tights were missing. Oh, I could have cried. After all this time I had received something new, and now it was lost.

Later that day, after the road was ploughed, my brothers and sister and I started out for school on our bicycles. We had to ride on the same road that father had driven on with the tractor that morning. All the way to school I looked carefully beside the road for the bag, but I did not see it anywhere. One day, two days, three days passed by, but I still could not find the bag, and I decided that someone must have stolen it. A whole week passed by, and I was very sad. Finally, I knelt down and prayed to God. We had already been praying to God that He would help us find the bag, but this was different. I told God how much I wanted my tights back, but I always told Him that if it was not His will, then I would accept it. After that prayer I was much happier. I had accepted whatever would happen and had laid it in the Lord’s hands. The same day, on the way home from school, I had a big surprise. There beside the road, I saw the bag under some small bushes. I was overwhelmed with joy. Quickly, I went home and told Daddy to go and get the bag.

Why hadn’t I seen the bag earlier? For one week we had all been passing by the bag two times a day, but had not seen it. I believe the Lord wanted to teach me a very important lesson, one which I would never forget. When we pray, we should say, “Thy will be done.” Before the Lord answered my prayer, my will had to be surrendered to His will. May the Lord help you always to surrender your will to His.


The Investigative Judgment

“I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” Ecclesiastes 3:17. The judgment of the great day is an event certain to take place. “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.” Acts 17:31. What God hath appointed is sure to come in due time. The resurrection of Christ is an assurance to all men of the final judgment. It is not the fact of the judgment, however, but the order of its work, that at this time engages our attention. The work to be accomplished is of immense magnitude. The judgment relates (1) to all the righteous; (2) to all the wicked; (3) to all the evil angels. The number of cases, therefore, to be acted upon at this grand tribunal exceeds our powers of conception. We must not, however, suppose that there will be any difficulty on the part of the Judge in acting upon every case individually. Far from this, “there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” The judgment, indeed, pertains to an immense number of beings; yet every one of them shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:12. It will not relate to so vast a number as to make it otherwise than a strictly personal matter. Nor will there be aught of confusion or disorder in that final reckoning. God has plenty of time for the work, and He has no lack of agents to do His bidding. That He has order in this work, the Scriptures clearly teach.

  1. The righteous are to judge the wicked; yet the righteous are themselves to pass the test of the judgment. Whence it follows that the judgment must pass upon the righteous before they can sit in judgment upon the wicked.

This is a very important proposition. That it is truthful we know from the express testimony of the Scriptures.

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

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4.

“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Daniel 7:21, 22.

Here is the exalted work of the saints in the judgment. They are to take part in the examination of the cases of all wicked men and fallen angels. But this is not to be till they have been changed to immortality, and exalted to thrones of glory. They do not, therefore, have their cases decided at the same time with the wicked. We believe the reader will acknowledge the justice of this reasoning. Let us state another proposition:

  1. The trump of God sounds as the Saviour descends from heaven. When the trump is heard, all the righteous are, in the twinkling of an eye, changed to immortality. There can be no examination after this to determine whether they shall be counted worthy of eternal life, for they will then have already laid hold upon it. From this it follows that the examination and decision of the cases of the righteous takes place before the advent of Christ. The resurrection of the righteous to immortality is decisive proof that they have then already passed the test of the judgment, and have been accepted of the Judge. That they are thus raised to immortality the following texts plainly teach:

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” “Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:42–44, 51, 52.

These passages are certainly convincing. The resurrection of the saints is to immortal life, and they are made immortal in the very act of the resurrection. The decision of their cases is, therefore, passed before their resurrection, for the nature of their resurrection is declarative of eternal salvation. But the fact that the decision of the judgment in the case of the righteous precedes the advent is proved by another proposition, as follows:

  1. The righteous are to be raised before the wicked have their resurrection. This shows that the examination of their cases takes place before they are raised, for the final discrimination is made in the very act of raising the just and leaving the unjust to the resurrection of damnation.


Second Death


“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:5, 6.

“But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Luke 20:35, 36.

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Literally “the resurrection out from the dead ones.”) Philippians 3:11.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” 1 Corinthians 15:22, 23.

There is a resurrection which bears the inspired designation of the “first resurrection.” All who have part in this resurrection are pronounced “blessed and holy.” On them: “the second death hath no power.” This resurrection is out from among the dead. Paul earnestly labored to attain unto it. It is to be at the coming of Christ. Only those who are Christ’s shall have part in it. All that have part in it are the children of God because they are the children of the resurrection to life. These facts clearly prove that the examination of the cases of the righteous precedes their resurrection at the advent of Christ, that event being really declarative of their innocence in the sight of God, and of their eternal salvation. Such as are accepted of God are raised; the others sleep till the resurrection to damnation. These facts are decisive proof that the righteous are judged before they are raised.

But we have a still more explicit statement yet to notice. Says our Lord: “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead,” etc. Then it is certain that the act of accounting worthy to obtain the resurrection from among the dead, and a part in the world to come, does precede the resurrection of the righteous. But this act of accounting men worthy of a part in the kingdom of God is the very act of acquitting them in the judgment. The investigative judgment in the cases of the righteous is, therefore, past before their resurrection. As the resurrection of the just is at the advent of Christ, it follows that they pass their examination, and are counted worthy of a place in the kingdom of God, before the Saviour returns to the earth to gather them to Himself.

It is proved, therefore, that the resurrection of the saints to immortal life is declarative of their final acceptance before God. Whatever investigation is requisite for the final decision of their cases, must take place before the Saviour in mid-heaven utters the word of command to His angels, “Gather My saints together unto Me.” Psalm 50:5; Matthew 24:31. The act of accounting them worthy must precede all this. The saints alone are to be caught up to meet Christ in the air. 1 Thessalonians 4:17. But the decision who these saints are, who shall thus be caught up, rests not with the angels who execute the work, but with the Judge, who gives them their commission. We cannot, therefore, avoid the conclusion that the investigation of the cases of the righteous precedes the coming of the Saviour. Let us now consider an important proposition.

  1. This period of investigative judgment is ushered in by a solemn proclamation to the inhabitants of the earth; and this investigative work embraces the closing years of human probation. This is a very important statement. But it is susceptible of being clearly proved.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come; and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

The gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” Romans 1:16. No other gospel than this can be preached, not even by an angel from heaven. Galatians 1:8. Whence it follows that the angel of Revelation 14:6, 7, preaching the everlasting gospel, represents some part of the great gospel proclamation. It is a part of that preaching which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. This fact alone is decisive that this proclamation concerning the hour of God’s judgment must be made while human probation still lasts. Two other solemn announcements follow. And it is evident that the human family is still upon probation, when the third angel declares that “if any man worship the beast . . . the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God . . . Here is the patience of the saints.” This is a consecutive prophecy as several expressions plainly indicate. And it is to be observed that the Son of Man is seen upon the white cloud after all these solemn proclamations have been made.


The Judgment Involves All


That this announcement of the hour of God’s judgment precedes the advent of Christ, and is addressed to men while yet in probation, the fourteenth chapter of Revelation clearly proves. That this is not some local judgment is proved by the fact that “every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” are concerned in it. It is evidently that part of the judgment work which precedes the coming of Christ, and, as has been already shown, this is the work of determining who shall be accounted worthy to have part in the resurrection to immortal life, and we may add, who also of the living shall be accounted worthy to escape the troubles that shall come in the conclusion of this state of things, and to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 20:35; 21:36.

  1. When the sins of the righteous are blotted out they can be no more remembered. They are blotted out before Christ comes. There can be, therefore, no act of calling them to account for their sins after the advent of Christ. Thus we read:

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you.” Acts 3:19, 20.

Mr. Wesley, in his “Notes on the New Testament,” gives a different translation, which may be more accurate:

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, that the time of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and he may send to you Jesus Christ, who was before appointed.”

Albert Barnes, in his “Notes on the Acts,” speaking of these two translations, says, “The grammatical construction will admit of either.” One of these represents the blotting out to be when the times of refreshing arrive; the other makes it the cause of that refreshing. But neither of them gives the idea that this blotting out takes place when the sinner turns to God. Both of them throw it into the future. Each of them represents it as preceding the Second Coming of the Lord. But this is especially true of the latter translation, which follows the original in using a conditional verb respecting Christ’s advent; not as though that were a doubtful event, but rather as if His coming to the personal salvation of the ones addressed depended upon their having part in the refreshing, and as if that refreshing was to come in consequence of the blotting out of sins.

The sins of the righteous are blotted out before the coming of Christ. They cannot be called to give account of their sins after they have been blotted out; whence it follows that whatever account the righteous render to God for their sins must be before the advent of the Saviour, and not at, or after, that event.

  1. The sins of men are written in the books of God’s remembrance. The blotting out of the sins of the righteous does therefore involve the examination of these books for this very purpose. That the sins of men are thus written is plainly revealed in the Scriptures.

“For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord God.” Jeremiah 2:22. And thus the Lord speaks of the guilt of Israel: “Is not this laid up in store with Me, and sealed up among My treasures?” Deuteronomy 32:34. And Paul speaks in the same manner: “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds.” Romans 2:5, 6. These statements of wrath being treasured up can have reference only to the fact that God takes notice of men’s sins, and that every sin is marked before Him. To this fact all the texts which speak of the blotting out of sins must have reference. Thus David prays that God would blot out his transgressions. Psalm 51:1, 9. And Nehemiah, and David, and Jeremiah pray respecting certain persons that their sin may not be blotted out. Nehemiah 4:5; Psalm 109:14; Jeremiah 18:23. And Isaiah, in prophetic language, speaks of this blotting out as if it were a past event, just as in the next verse he speaks of the new creation, and the final redemption. Isaiah 44:22, 23. And in the previous chapter he speaks in a similar manner of this blotting out as necessary in order that the sins of the people of God may be no more remembered. Isaiah 43:25. These texts plainly imply that the sins of men are upon record, and that there is a time when these are blotted out of the record of the righteous.


Editorial — This Man has a Devil, part 1

The disciples (and all the followers of Jesus when He dwelt among men) would never have come to Jesus had they listened to the leaders of the professed people of God. They would have stayed away and denounced Him as an imposter. (See The Desire of Ages, 213.) “He who had come to break the power of Satan would be denounced as Beelzebub.” The Desire of Ages, 111. The leaders of God’s chosen professed people became the instruments of Satan. (See The Desire of Ages, 36, 206.) They tried, by every means in their power, to keep God’s professed people from the only means of salvation. But to hate Christ was to love death. (Proverbs 8:36.)

When this One was denounced by the leaders as an imposter or as one possessed of the devil, (John 7:19, 20, 25; 8:48, 52; 10:20) He sent out His disciples to speak in His name. He also pronounced a future judgement on those who would reject the message of truth. To reject the truth, or the messenger of truth, is to reject the author of truth, by whom both the message and the messenger are sent. Jesus said, “Whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Truly I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.” Matthew 10:14, 15. And again, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” Matthew 10:40, 41. This has universal application: “Most assuredly I say to you, He who receives whomever I send, receives Me; and he that receives Me receives Him that sent Me.” John 13:20.

When the Father sent His Son into the world, His professed people hated and despised the divine revelation. Several times they attempted to kill Him. (See Luke 4:29; John 7:30; 8:58; 10:31.) They expressed their resentment with the worst condemnation that they could conjure up concerning His life, miracles and teachings. They accused Him of working through Satan (Matthew 9:34), and concerning this common epithet against Him they said to Jesus, “Do we not say well that You have a devil?”

Even His closest friends and earthly relatives were so dismayed by His life, His attitude and His relationship to the leaders of the church that they feared He was becoming insane: “They were unable to account for His attitude toward the Pharisees, and there were some who feared that His reason was becoming unsettled. His brothers heard of this, and also of the charge brought by the Pharisees that He cast out devils through the power of Satan. They felt keenly the reproach that came upon them through their relation to Jesus. They knew what a tumult His words and works created, and were not only alarmed at His bold statements, but indignant at His denunciation ofthe scribes and Pharisees.” The Desire of Ages, 321.

We plan to look at the reason for all this later, but first we need to understand that if we are following in the footsteps of Jesus we will face similar situations to what He did. Inspiration says, “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, vol. 1, 406.

Christ’s servants just before the second coming of Christ will go through experiences very similar to what Jesus went through when He was here. Their worst enemies will not be from Babylon, Tyre or even from Sodom, but rather their worse enemies will be from God’s professed people. Those who profess to be modern Israel, and who possess not only the Bible but the Spirit of Prophecy, will become their worst enemies.

“While they [the professed people of God—Israel] professed to have great zeal for the honor of God and the good of Israel, they were the worst enemies of both.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 230. “Paul’s worst enemies were among the Jews, who made the highest claims to godliness . . . The most bitter opposers of truth to-day are found among those who profess to be its defenders.” Ibid., 278.

“The worst enemies we have are those who are trying to destroy the influence of the watchmen upon the walls of Zion.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 294.

“If they have called the Master of the House [who was sinless and had a perfect character] Beelzebub, how much more those of His?” Matthew 10:25.