Children’s Story — The Strength of Clinton

When Clinton Stevens was eleven years old, he was taken very sick with pneumonia. During convalescence, he suffered an unexpected relapse, and his mother and the doctor worked hard to keep him alive.

“It is ten to one if he gets well,” Said Dr. Bemis, shaking his head. “If he does, he will never be very strong.”

Mrs. Stevens smoothed Clinton’s pillow even more tenderly than before. Poor Clinton! Who had always been such a rollicking, rosy-cheeked lad. Surely it was hard to bear.

The long March days dragged slowly along, and April was well advanced before Clinton could sit at the window, and watch the grass grow green on the slope of the lawn. He looked frail and delicate. He had a cough, too, a troublesome “bark,” that he always kept back as long as he could.

The bright sunlight poured steadily in through the window, and Clinton held up his hand to shield his eyes. “Why, Ma Stevens!” he said, after a moment, “just look at my hands! They are as thin and white as a girl’s, and they used to be regular paws. It does not look as if I would pull many weeds for Mr. Carter this summer, does it?”

Mrs. Stevens took his thin hands in her own patient ones. “Never mind, dearie,” she said, “they will grow plump and brown again, I hope.” A group of schoolchildren were passing by, shouting and frolicking. Clinton leaned forward and watched them till the last one was gone. Some of them waved their caps but he did not seem elated.

“Mother,” he said, presently, “I believe I will go to bed if you will help me. I—I guess I am not quite so—strong—now as I used to be.”

Clinton did not pull weeds for Mr. Carter that summer, but he rode around with the milkman, and did a little outdoor work for his mother, which helped him to mend. One morning in July he surprised the village by riding out on his bicycle; but he overdid the matter, and it was several weeks before he again appeared. His cough still continued, though not so severe as in the spring, and it was decided to let him go to school in the fall.

Dr. Bemis told Mrs. Stevens that the schoolroom would be a good place to test Clinton’s strength. And he was right. In no other place does a young person’s strength develop or debase itself so readily, for honor or dishonor. Or course, the doctor had referred to physical strength; but moral strength is much more important.

Clinton was a bright lad for his years; and, although he had not looked into his books during the summer, he was placed in the same grade he had left when taken sick. He did not find much difficulty in keeping up with any of his studies except spelling. Whenever he received a perfect mark on that subject, he felt that a real victory had been won.

About Christmas time the regular examinations were held. The teacher offered a prize to each grade, the pupil receiving the highest average in all studies to receive the prize. Much excitement, no little speculation, and a great deal of studying ensued. Clinton felt fairly confident over all his studies except spelling. So he carried his spelling book home every night, and he and his mother spent the evenings in wrestling with the long and difficult words.

Examination day came at length, and the afternoon for the seventh grade spelling was at hand. The words were to be written, and handed in. Across the aisle from Clinton sat Harry Meyers. Several times when the teacher pronounced a word, Harry looked slyly down into the palm of his hand. Clinton watched him, his cheeks growing pink with shame. Then he looked around at the others. Many of them had some dishonest device for copying the words. Clinton swallowed something in his throat, and looked across at Billy Matthews, who pursed up his lips and nodded, as if to say that he understood.

The papers were handed in, and school was dismissed. On Monday, after the morning exercises, Miss Brooks gave out the prizes to the three grades under her care. “I have now to award the prize for the highest average to the seventh grade,” she said. “But first I wish to say a few words on your conduct during the recent examination in spelling. I shall censure no one in particular, although there is one boy who must set no more bad examples. No one spelled all the words correctly—Clinton Stevens the least of any—making his average quite low; yet, the prize goes to him. I will tell you why” as a chorus of Oh! Oh! greeted her ears. “Spelling is Clinton’s hardest subject, but he could easily have spelled more words right had he not possessed sufficient strength to prevent him from falling into the way followed by some of you.”

As Clinton went up the aisle for his prize, he felt like crying, but he managed to smile instead. A few days before, Harry Meyers had ridiculed him because he was not strong enough to throw a snowball from the schoolhouse to the road; now the teacher had said he was strong!

Clinton’s Aunt Jennie came to visit the family in December, bringing her little daughter Grace with her. Now Grace had a mania for pulling other people’s hair, but there was no one in the Stevens family upon whom she dared operate except Clinton. She began on him cautiously, then aggressively. Clinton stood it for a while, and then asked her, politely but firmly, to stop. She stopped for half a day.

One night Clinton came home from school pale and tired. Some of the boys had been taunting him on his spare frame, and imitating his cough, which had grown worse as the winter advanced. Sitting down by the window, he looked out at the falling snow. Grace slipped up behind him, and gave his hair a sharp tweak. He struck out, hastily, and hit her. She was not hurt—only very much surprised —but she began to cry lustily, and Aunt Jennie came hurrying in, and took the child in her arms.

That night after supper Clinton went into the sitting room, and called Grace to him. “I want to tell you something,” he said. “I am sorry that I hit you, and I ask your pardon. Will you forgive me, dear?” Grace agreed quickly, and said shyly, “Next time I want to pull any one’s hair, I will pull my own.”

Aunt Jennie was in the next room and overheard the conversation. “It strikes me, Sarah, she said to Mrs. Stevens later, “that Clinton is a remarkably strong boy for one who is not strong. Most boys would not have taken the trouble to ask a small girl to forgive them, even if they were very much in the wrong. But Clinton has a strong character.”

The year Clinton was thirteen the boys planned to have a corn roast, one August night. “We will get the corn in old Carter’s lot,” said Harry Meyers. “He has just acres of it, and can spare a bushel or so as well as not. I suppose you will go with us, Clint?”

Clinton hesitated, “No,” said he, “I guess not; and I should think if you want to roast corn, you could get it out of your own gardens. But if Mr. Carter’s corn is better than any other, why can you not ask him—” “Oh, come now,” retorted Harry, “do not let it worry you! Half the fun of roasting corn is in—in taking it. And don’t you come, Clinton. We wouldn’t have you for the world. You are too nice, Mr. Coughin.”

Clinton’s cheeks flushed red, but he turned away without a word. When Mr. Carter quizzed Billy Matthews, and found out all about it, Clinton was made very happy by the old man’s words: “It is not every chap that will take the stand you took. You ought to be thankful that you have the strength to say No.”

In the fall, when Clinton was fifteen, his health began to fail noticeably, and Dr. Bemis advised a little wine “to build him up.”

“Mother,” said the boy, after thinking it over, “I am not going to touch any wine. I can get well without it, I know I can. I do not want liquor.” He continued. ” ‘Wine is a mocker,’ you know. Did you not tell me once that Zike Hastings, over in East Bloomfield, became a drunkard by drinking wine when he was sick?”

“Yes, Clinton, I believe I told you so.” “Well, then, I do not want any wine. I have seen Zike Hastings too many times.” In December, Aunt Jennie and Grace made their annual visit. With them came Uncle Jonathan, who took a great liking to Clinton.

“My boy,” said he one day, placing a big hand on the lad’s shoulder, “early in the new year Aunt Jennie and I start for the Pacific Coast. Should you like to go with us?”

“Well, I rather guess I should!” gasped the surprised boy, clasping his hands joyfully. “Very well, then, you shall go,” returned Uncle Jonathan, “and your mother, too.”

Clinton began to feel better before they were outside of Pennsylvania. When they had crossed the Mississippi and reached the prairies, his eyes were sparkling with excitement. The mountains fairly put new life in him. Uncle Jonathan watched him with pleasure. “Tell me,” he said one day, when they were winding in and out among the Rockies, “what has given you so much strength of character?”

“Why, it was this way,” said Clinton, bringing his eyes in from a chasm some hundreds of feet below: “one day when I was beginning to recover from that attack of pneumonia, I saw a lot of the boys romping along, and I felt pretty bad because I could not romp and play, too. Then I thought that if I could not be strong that way, I could have the strength to do right; so I began to try, and—”

“Succeeded admirably,” said Uncle Jonathan, approvingly. “And, really, my boy, I see no reason why you should not shout and play to your heart’s content in a few months.”

And Uncle Jonathan’s words proved true; for Clinton, in a sun-kissed California valley, grew well and strong in a few months. But through all his life he will have cause to be glad that he learned the value of the strength that is gained by resisting temptation, controlling one’s spirit, and obeying the Lord’s commands.

Taken from Stories Worth Rereading, Review and Herald Publishing Assn, Washington, D.C. 1919


SDA Roots, part 6

We pause in our perusal of the history of the rise of the Advent Movement to take a look at four men that unreservedly gave themselves to the propagation of the Second Advent message in 1838. We will consider their “backgrounds, talents, training, standing and diverse religious affiliations.” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, 528.

The first of this quartet of men is Dr. Josiah Litch (1809–1886). Litch was a well-known minister in the New England Methodist Conference. He was born in Higham, Massachusetts, and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church at his conversion, at the age of 17.

Near the beginning of 1838 he received a copy of Miller’s Lectures with the request that he read it and render his opinion on the truth of what it advocated. Litch disagreed with the notion of setting a time for Christ’s coming. He at first refused to read the book. However, to please his friend and to satisfy his own curiosity to discover what evidences could be summoned to support such a doctrine, Litch read the book.

The more he read the more he was convinced of the solid foundation of Miller’s position. He felt that if all the evidences Miller presented in that book were true then he, Litch, had a responsibility to also preach the messages Miller had been giving around New England and elsewhere. Being fully persuaded, of the truth of Miller’s position, he decided to present the truth as he saw it, at any cost to himself.

Litch was studious and keen of mind and immediately began to write on the theme of the Second Coming. His first product was a forty-eight page synopsis of Miller’s views entitled Midnight Cry, or a Review of Mr. Miller’s Lectures on the Second Coming of Christ, About A.D. 1843. A wide distribution of this work resulted in bringing in many friends to the Advent cause. Wherever he went, Litch preached the imminent return of Christ. Throughout New England, Litch was one of only two ministers closely identified with Miller. The other was Charles Fitch who, for a time, had taken his stand with Miller. However, shortly thereafter, he returned to his former views that there would be a temporal millenium before Christ’s coming.

In April of 1838, Litch produced a two hundred-page book entitled The Probability of the Second Coming of Christ About A.D. 1843. Because so many of the prophecies had been fulfilled, he declared, in the preface, his belief in the certainties of prophecy and that the prediction of the Second Coming would be fulfilled in due time. During this same year “He prepared articles for the public print on the subject of the seven trumpets of the Revelation. He took the unqualified position that the sixth trumpet would cease to sound and the Ottoman power would fall on the 11th day of August, 1840, and that that would demonstrate to the world that a day in symbolic prophecy represents a year of literal time.” The Great Second Advent Movement, 129.

The fulfillment of the prediction “intensified the interest of the people to hear upon the subject of fulfilled and fulfilling prophecy. Dr. Litch said that within a few months, after August 11, 1840, he had received letters from more than one thousand prominent infidels, some of them leaders of infidel clubs, in which they stated that they had given up the battle against the Bible, and had accepted it as God’s revelation to man. Some of these were fully converted to God, and a number of them became able speakers in the great second advent movement.” Ibid., 132.

It was not until 1839, in Lowell, Massachusetts, that Litch first met Miller personally. He was on the Committee of Arrangements for the first general conference that was held in October of 1840. He was one of the leading speakers at that convocation as well as in subsequent general conferences.

“In June, 1841, Litch attended the Methodist Episcopal Conference at Providence, Rhode Island. Here he was closely interrogated by the presiding bishops as to his relation to the Millerite teachings. After Litch had expounded his convictions, the bishop asked, ‘Do you think that is Methodism?’ Litch replied, ‘I do. At least it is not contrary to the articles of the Methodist Episcopal Church.’ After considerable discussion the conference also came to the conclusion that Litch held nothing contrary to Methodism, though he had at points gone beyond it. They granted his request to ‘locate’, that is, to retire from the itinerant ministry. This allowed him to devote most of his time to preaching the second advent.” The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, 532.

Litch came to the conclusion that he had to divorce himself from the Methodist ministry that he had carried on for eight years and utilize all his energies in the advent movement. He soon became one of the leading editors of the Millerite paper, The Signs of the Times. He continued traveling and lecturing and was Miller’s companion on his trips to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New York. Eventually he resided in Philadelphia where he became the leading Millerite representative.

Next in our list of ministers, that became closely associated with the Millerite movement is Charles Fitch who lived from 1805–October 14, 1844. He was born in Hampton, Connecticut. After graduating from Brown University, Fitch was ordained to the Congregational ministry and served at Abington, Connecticut, Warren, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, successively. In 1836 he went to the Marlboro Congregational Chapel in Boston, and later to Newark, New Jersey, and Haverhill, Massachusetts. Fitch’s greatest contribution was made at Cleveland, Ohio, after he became the western proponent of the advent message. His other interests included his membership in the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

He was a strong opponent to slavery as revealed by a pamphlet he produced entitled, Slaveholding Weighed in the Balance of Truth, and Its Comparative Guilt Illustrated. In it he stated, “Every man has a tongue, and he can use it; he has influence, and he can exert it; he has moral power, and he can put it forth. Up my friends and do your duty, to deliver the spoils out of the hands of the oppressor, lest the fire of God’s fury kindle ere long upon you.” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, 534.

In 1838, while he was pastor of the Marlboro Street Congregational Church in Boston, he was given a copy of Miller’s Lectures, containing his views on the Second Advent. Fitch wrote to Miller, in March, confessing his “overwhelming interest such as I never felt in any other book except the Bible.” Ibid. After carefully studying the book and comparing the message with Scripture, Fitch stated that he came to believe in the correctness of Miller’s views. On March 4 he preached two sermons on the Second Advent, creating a deep interest among his hearers. He proposed to present the whole subject of the Second Advent to a meeting of the Ministerial Association on March 6. He secured a dozen copies of Miller’s Lectures for distribution stating, “I trust that I may thereby do something to spread the truth.” Ibid.

The Association’s reaction was so negative and accompanied with so much searing ridicule and contempt that Fitch lost confidence in the advent message and he lapsed into his former views of the world’s conversion.

But his mind could not rest. He thirsted for truth and longed for holiness of life. While serving as pastor of the Free Presbyterian Church of Newark, New Jersey, in 1839, he wrote his Views of Sanctification. This was his statement of faith and he stressed sanctification by divine grace through Scripture. This prompted the appointment of a committee by the presbytery to counsel Fitch on his views on perfection. This meeting resulted in the passage of a Resolution of Censure, declaring his views to be a dangerous error and asking him to preach his views no more. Fitch replied in a Letter to the Newark Presbytery in 1840, wherein he November 1998 31 defended his views. He stated that “‘I cannot regard your admonition,’ and offered his reasons.” Ibid.

“After years of unsatisfactory living, he had found, personally and experimentally, the enabling grace of Christ. He had learned the secret of reckoning himself dead to sin. The world had lost its charm, and his heart was filled with joy. He had entered into a new life—and supported his position with an imposing array of texts. He took this stand, he adds, ‘in view of an approaching judgment.’ Then he avers, ‘If you still adhere to that opinion, I must consider myself as no longer of your number.’ The presbytery must do to him as they think our Lord requires. This he soon followed with his Reasons for Withdrawing From the Newark Presbytery, the title page adding, ‘By Charles Fitch, Pastor of the Free Presbyterian Church, Newark.’ The Preface states that he felt called to preach the ‘blessed doctrine of sanctification by faith in Christ.’ He recognized that if he did not withdraw he would be excommunicated. So he states, ‘I do hereby withdraw from you.’ Thus he bade adieu to his Presbyterian brethren.” Ibid.

When Fitch explained his perplexities to Litch the latter said, “What you need is the doctrine of the second advent to put with the doctrine of holiness.” Fitch again studied Miller’s teachings comparing them with the Bible while studying all other available writings on the subject of the Second Advent. After pursuing this course of study for a time and reviewing the Lord’s leading since leaving Brown University, he brought all this before the Lord in fasting and prayer. He stated:

“When Dear Bro. Litch named the second advent, I went to the Lord; I read my Bible, and all the works that I could obtain. I possessed myself of all the evidences in the case that I could; and then with fasting and prayer I laid them and myself with my all before the Lord, desiring only that the Blessed Spirit might guide me into all truth. I felt that I had no will of my own, and wished only to know the will of my Saviour. Light seemed breaking in upon my mind, ray after ray, and I found myself more and and more unable to resist the conviction that it was indeed the truth, that the coming of the blessed Saviour was at the door.” Ibid., 537.

Having made his decision, Fitch threw all his energies into the proclamation of the advent message. He now found doors opening wide on every hand as he joined Miller, Litch and soon Himes, along with a steadily growing number of Adventist preachers.

“And now so soon as I was ready to come out on the Second Advent, the door before me was thrown wide open, and I have been wholly unable for the last 8 months to meet one half the calls which I have received. Wherever I have been God has been with me. Since the first of Dec. last, I have preached as often as every day and about sixty times besides. I have been in all the New England States, congregations have been large in all places. Wherever I have been I have preached holiness. My usual practice has been to preach on Holiness in the afternoon, and on the Second Advent in the evening. I have seen saints sanctified and sinners led to Christ.” Ibid.

While some rejected the message and turned against Fitch, many others accepted the advent truth. Among them were Dr. and Mrs. W. C. Palmer that wrote many advent hymns, including, Watch Ye Saints, number 549 in the old Church Hymnal.

One of Fitch’s most notable productions, at least as far as Seventh-day Adventists are concerned, was his famous “1843” prophetic chart (1842) with the able assistance of Apollos Hale, who usually attended Fitch’s church.

Fitch presented his chart to the Boston General Conference in May, chaired by Joseph Bates. Plans were laid to proclaim the “Midnight Cry” more vigorously. Three hundred copies were authorized for use by the Adventist preachers.

Fitch received more calls to preach than he could fill. Wherever he spoke, large crowds gathered to hear him. The following is his own description of a typical speaking trip: “I reached this place(Montpelier) at about half past twelve o’clock on Wednesday. I had then preached thirteen times in a week, and attended many prayer meetings and then at the end of it instead of taking rest I had had a most fatiguing ride of 75 miles. A meeting however was appointed for me here on the evening of my arrival. Accordingly I went to bed, and after sleeping two hours and a half, I arose exceedingly refreshed, and preached in the evening. The audience was tolerable for numbers—though by no means such as I had left at Claremont. Yesterday I preached twice, and the audience in the evening was much increased. The spirit of the Lord was present, and truth had power.” Ibid., 540.

Toward the end of 1842, Fitch carried the advent message to Cleveland, Ohio, and to Oberlin College near Cleveland. He reveals how the faculty reacted to his messages: “I have never seen the glorious truths of the Bible, teaching the kingdom and coming of Christ, met with more determined opposition, contempt and scorn, than they have been by the Oberlin Faculty; and never, in all my life have I felt such anguish at my heart’s core, or shed such bitter, burning tears as I have at their rejection of the Word of the Lord.” Ibid., 541.

In the spring of 1843, Fitch preached a sermon entitled, “Come Out of Her My People.” He “contended that Babylon was no longer limited to the Roman Catholic Church, as held back in Protestant Reformation days, but now included also the great body of Protestant Christendom. He maintained that, by their rejection of the light of the advent, both branches of Christendom had

fallen from the high estate of pure Christianity. Protestantism was either cold to the doctrine of the second advent or had spiritualized it away.” Ibid., 544.

“But Fitch did not have much longer to live and labor. He was in Buffalo, New York, in October, 1844, when a large number of new believers requested baptism. Others had not yet fully made up their minds. Arrangements were made, and the company who were ready went with him to the lake shore and were baptized in the chilly autumn water. A cold wind was blowing as Fitch started for home in his wet garments—for they had no protective baptismal robes or waterproof waders in those days. But just then he was met by another company of tardy candidates, on their way to the lake, who similarly desired baptism. So, cold as he was, Fitch went back with them and immersed them. And then came a belated third company who had at last made their decision. At their request he turned back a second time, and baptized them also. But Fitch was seriously chilled.

“Ill as he was from the effects of this prolonged exposure, he nevertheless rode several miles the next day in the cold wind to meet another appointment. This proved too much for him, and he was stricken down with fatal illness, doubtless pneumonia, which speedily brought on his death at the early age of thirty-nine. His last triumphant words on October 14, shortly before the day of expectation, were, ‘I believe in the promises of God.’ It may confidently be said that none of the Adventist preachers were more widely loved than Charles Fitch. Couragous and resourceful, helpful and hopeful, he interpreted the love of God in word and deed, in the light of the second advent, to the thousands to whom he ministered.” Ibid., 545.

Next month we will consider the other two prominent Second Advent preachers: Joseph Bates and Joshua V. Himes.


The Saints Sitting in Judgment

The coronation of Christ is for the execution of the judgment. Daniel 7:9–14; Psalm 110; 45:1–7; 2:6–9. Our Lord makes His people sharers with Him in the judgment work. That they may be such, He exalts them to participate with Him in His kingly dignity. Revelation 3:21; 2:26, 27. This exaltation is given them in the morning of the great day. Compare Psalm 49:14, 15; 110:3; 30:5; Isaiah 21:11, 12; Romans 13:11, 12.

They are to sit with Christ in the judgment, but not to determine who shall be saved or who lost. God the Father has already pronounced the decision of who shall have immortality, and the Son has executed that decision by immortalizing His saints. And thus all others are counted unworthy of eternal life, and must receive the second death as their portion. But there are degrees of punishment. Some shall receive greater damnation than others. Luke 20:47; Romans 2:6, 8, 9; Luke 12:47, 48.

Bear in mind, therefore, that the saints have not in their hands the determination of the salvation or damnation of anyone. The Father has decided this when He made them immortal and left all the others as unworthy. Also bear in mind that God keeps books of record (Isaiah 65:6, 7; Jeremiah 2:22; Daniel 7:9, 10; Revelation 20:12), and that He weighs men’s actions, so that they are set down for their true worth. (1 Samuel 2:3.) If the reader will do this, it will not seem strange to him to learn that the immortal saints, with Christ at their head, should be commissioned by the Father to determine the measure of punishment which each wicked man shall receive.

As we have already shown that the final perdition of the wicked is determined by the Father before He makes His saints immortal, if we now clearly prove that the glorified saints are to sit with Christ and determine the measure of guilt of each sinful man, it will be a most convincing proof that there is to be a resurrection of the unjust, that God may inflict the just penalty upon every soul of man that doeth evil. Romans 2:5–9.

When our Lord says to those at His right hand, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” He takes His saints into the presence of His Father (compare John 13:36; 14:1–3; 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17; Revelation 19:1–9), to the Paradise of God, once here upon earth (Genesis 2:8, 9; 3:22–24), now in the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2–4), within the heavenly Jerusalem itself (compare Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14). Here they sit down with Him at His table and eat the marriage supper. Revelation 19:1–9. These things being accomplished, the work of judgment is committed to the saints, a work so vast that we may well conceive the long period which lies between the two resurrections to be requisite for its accomplishment. Revelation 20:4–6. The sitting of the saints in judgment upon the wicked must begin after they have heard the words of Christ approving them in His Father’s name, and before the sentence, “Depart ye cursed,” is pronounced by the Saviour upon those who shall be thus judged. This judgment by the saints is thus presented in the Scriptures: “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.

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5.

“Dare any of you having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 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 6:1–3.

“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 worshiped 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. But the rest of the dead lived not again unto 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 20:4–6.

According to the first of these texts, the saints of the Most High are to have the judgment work committed to them. But before this is placed in their hands, they are themselves to be judged by God the Father. And this very act of determining who are worthy to be saved, really determines that all the others are unworthy of eternal life. The judgment work of the saints cannot, therefore, relate to the salvation or damnation of those who are judged by them, but solely to the determination of the measure of their guilt. The second of these texts, in forbidding the work of judgment “before the time,” plainly implies that when that time does come, then this work is to be done by those who are at present forbidden to do it. And the time is fixed when this prohibition expires, for it is thus limited, “Until the Lord come.” That they will not err in the judgment which they will then perform is guaranteed in the further statement that the Lord shall bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart. And this will no doubt be accomplished by placing in their hands the books of record, which contain an accurate statement of the deeds of those to be judged by them. Barnes, in his notes on this text, makes this remark: ” ‘And then shall every man have praise of God.’ The word here rendered praise, epainos, denotes in this place reward, or that which is due to him; the just sentence which ought to be pronounced on his character. It does not mean, as our translation would imply, that every man will then receive the divine approbation—which will not be true; but that every man shall receive what is due to his character, whether good or evil.” So Bloomfield and Bretschneider explain it.

The third text states, in the most explicit manner, “that the saints shall judge the world.” As it occurs in the same epistle which forbids this judgment “before the time until the Lord come,” it is manifest that this is a work which the saints enter upon immediately after they have been exalted to reign with Christ. The nature of the judgment which the saints are to decide is clearly determined by two facts: 1. It is rendered by the saints after the Lord has brought to light the hidden works of darkness, and made manifest the counsels of the hearts. 2. It is said in this same passage, and in the same manner, that the saints “shall judge angels,” meaning, of course, those angels that have sinned whose cases are thus stated: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” 2 Peter 2:4.

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Jude 6.

These two facts are decisive as to the nature of the judgment which the saints are to engage in when exalted at Christ’s right hand. They are not to be judges over men in a state of probation, something as the ancient judges of Israel were raised up to rule over God’s ancient people, but their judgment is to be rendered in the case of wicked men, when the Lord brings “to light the hidden things of darkness,” and it is to be exercised alike in the case of sinful men and fallen angels. It is not a judgment to determine the guilt or innocence of the parties to be judged; for the guilt of the angels was virtually pronounced to be unpardonable when they were cast out of heaven, and delivered to chains of darkness, i.e. to utter despair, and to the hopeless bondage of their own sins. And the last condition of wicked men has, before their judgment by the saints, already been determined by the resurrection and translation of the just, leaving all others as unworthy of eternal life. This judgment of the saints is, therefore, simply designed to determine the measure of the guilt of wicked men and fallen angels. As their rejection from the kingdom of God is determined by God the Father before they are thus judged by the saints, this judgment by them for the determination of the measure of each man’s guilt, is a most convincing proof that God designs, in rendering to every man according to his deeds, to inflict tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil. (Romans 2:5–9.)

Doctor Bloomfield says of 1 Corinthians 6:2: “Upon the whole, there is, after all, no interpretation that involves less difficulty than the common one, supported by some Latin Fathers, and, of modern divines, by Luther, Calvin, Erasmus, Beza, Cassaubon, Crellius, Wolf, Jeremy Taylor, Doddridge, Pearce, Newcome, Scott, and others, by which it is supposed that the faithful servants of God, after being accepted in Christ, shall be in a certain sense, assessores judicii, by concurrence, with Christ, and being partakers of the judgment to be held by Him over wicked men and apostate angels, who are, as we learn from 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6, reserved unto the judgement of the last day.”

And Doctor Barnes speaks thus: “Grotius supposes that it means that they shall be first judged by Christ, and then act as assessors to Him in the judgment, or join with Him in condemning the wicked.”

But the fourth text relative to this judgment by the saints is very remarkable. It shows that the resurrection by the just precedes the work of judgment by them. It elevates them to thrones of judgment, where they live and reign with Christ, during the period between their own resurrection and that of “the rest of the dead.” It assigns the space of time occupied in this vast work, viz., a thousand years, a period none too long for this examination of the books containing the deeds of all wicked men and fallen angels, even though all the saints engage in it, as we have learned that they do.

There is this statement respecting the thrones, an evident allusion to Daniel 7:9, which speaks of thrones being “cast down,” or, more correctly rendered, “were placed,” as many able critics inform us. These thrones were placed for the judgment work, when entered upon, as we have seen, in the second apartment of the heavenly temple of God the Father. And when the judgment is given to the immortal saints, and they are able to enter the temple after the outpouring of the plagues (Revelation 15:8), it appears that they sit upon the thrones thus placed for them, and with the Saviour at their head finish the work of the judgment as indicated in the text examined. They are, in this exalted state, priests to God and Christ, not as mediators with Them in behalf of wicked men, but as worshipers of God and the Lamb, even as Christians in their mortal state are a royal priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5, 9.

The reason why so vast a period as one thousand years intervenes between the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the wicked, is now made very apparent. The work committed to the saints demands no less a period than that assigned it by the Holy Scriptures. It is that they examine the books of God’s records to determine the measure of guilt of each wicked man, and of every fallen angel. To this great exaltation the psalmist refers in these words: “For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people; He will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written; this honor have all His saints. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 149:4–9.

The saints have no participation in the work of the judgment until the coming of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 4:5. The decision of every case is made by God the Father before He sends His Son to execute the judgment. Daniel 7:9–14, compared with Jude 14, 15. It is the execution of the judgment, therefore, that pertains to the Son. John 5:22, 27. And that work which is given to the Son, He shares with His saints. For when He sits in His throne, all His saints shall sit down with Him in it, as He once thus sat down with the Father. And that power which the Father gives Him over the nations when He receives His own throne, He shares with His saints when He exalts them to His right hand to unite with Him in the execution of the judgment. Compare Psalm 2:6–9; Revelation 2:26, 27. The most important part of this work is the determination of that measure of guilt which pertains to each individual of the lost. God the Father having pronounced them unworthy of eternal life, it is then the business of the saints to determine the measure of punishment which their respective lives of sin demand. This Psalm is worthy of careful study.

  1. When the meek are beautified with salvation, it will be by the change to immortality. They will bear the image of the second Adam, as in this life they bear that of the first. 1 Corinthians 15:47–49. Compare also Isaiah 33:17 with 1 John 3:2.
  2. This beautifying of the saints, and exalting them to glory, precede their participation in the judgment, mentioned in verses 7–9 of Psalm 149.
  3. The two-edged sword in their hand is doubtless the same as that which proceeded out of the mouth of Him whose name is called the Word of God. Revelation 19:11–15.
  4. And if we consider this Psalm from verse 6 to verse 9, we shall see that the work of the immortal saints in the judgment of the wicked is effected by the examination of the book of God, the sharp sword which they hold in their hands (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12), and the written record of their evil deeds; so that the record of their lives will be compared with the rule given them to govern their conduct, and the measure of their guilt thus determined.

A brief survey of Revelation 20 may now be in place. We understand the events of this chapter, as stated in verses 1–11, are given very nearly in strict chronological order, and that verses 12–15 cover some of the same ground, namely, that of the final judgment.

It has already been shown that God the Father sits in judgment before the advent of Christ, and that at this tribunal our Lord acts as advocate for His people, and closes His priesthood with securing their acquittal and the blotting out of their sins. He determines every case, deciding who shall have eternal life, and thus counting all others unworthy of it. Then He commits the execution of the judgment to the Son, who, in fulfillment of this work, makes His saints immortal, and associates them with Himself in the judgment of the wicked. When God thus commits the judgment to His Son, and the Son ceases forever His work of intercession, the words of Psalm 76:7–9 will be found true: “Thou, even Thou, art to be feared; and who may stand in Thy sight when once Thou art angry? Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.”

When the Son of God shall thus save all the meek of the earth, He will raise them up from the dust to inherit the throne of His own glory. 1 Samuel 2:8; Matthew 25:31–33; Revelation 3:21. But the adversaries of the Lord will be broken to pieces; out of heaven will He thunder upon them (Revelation 16:18); He will render decision in strict justice in the case of all men, and then clothe His anointed king with strength to execute that decision (1 Samuel 2:10). Indeed, it is because the Son loves righteousness, and hates iniquity, that He is anointed to do this work. Psalm 45:7; 2:6–9. His arrows will be sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies (Psalm 45:4,5), and none will escape His just infliction of wrath (Romans 2:6–9).

The session of the judgment by God the Father is to determine who shall have part in the resurrection of the just. The session of the Father’s judgment being an event that precedes the advent of His Son, the dead have their cases brought into the judgment in the books which are brought forth, and in particular the righteous dead appear in the person of their Advocate. They do not personally stand as dead men at the Father’s judgment seat, for that is in the heavenly temple; but they are judged by the Father while dead, as if they were personally present at His bar; and all who have secured the services of the only Advocate in the court of heaven, by obeying the gospel while they lived, will have decision rendered, that the Spirit of God shall quicken them to immortality. 1 Peter 4:6. This judgment work begins with the saints who render account through their High Priest; and if they are scarcely accounted worthy of eternal life when weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, what will be the end of those who have no Advocate in the judgment, but who come up to it with all their sins standing against them in the book of God? 1 Peter 4:17, 18. Verily the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment. Psalm 1:5.

When the Ancient of Days was shown to Daniel in vision, sitting in judgment, preparatory to the advent of His Son to execute that judgment, the words of the little horn, spoken at that very time, attracted the prophet’s attention: “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake.” Daniel 7:11. The Hebrew word rendered “then” is very emphatic in the signification of “at that time.” Gesenius renders it, “at that time, thereupon, then.” And it is specially worthy of notice that at this very time the head of the Romish apostasy had assembled at Rome the entire body of popish bishops, almost equal in number to Belshazzar’s lords (Daniel 5), and expected and required of them to pronounce him infallible! It is evident, indeed, that for this very purpose he assembled them, and they obeyed his behest. We have, therefore, heard the great words of the little horn, which even arrested the attention of the prophet while in vision he beheld the tribunal of the Father.

The binding of Satan precedes the resurrection of the just. This seems plain enough from Revelation 20, but it is very plainly taught in our Lord’s parable of binding the strong man and spoiling his house. Matthew 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21, 22. He is evidently bound before the complete slaughter of the wicked in the battle of the great day.

Every mention of the bottomless pit, or deep, or abyss, both in the Old Testament and in the New, seems plainly to refer to our earth, or some part of it, in some form, or at some time. And in the most emphatic sense, after our earth has been turned upside down by the awful convulsions of the great day, and made utterly desolate, we understand it to be fully fitted to constitute the place of Satan’s confinement, termed in this prophecy the bottomless pit. A strong confirmation of this view is found in the fact that this expression is used in the Septuagint in Genesis 1:2, where the earth, while yet without form and voice, is spoken of as the deep; Greek, the bottomless pit. And the Hebrew original signifies the same. And it is predicted that our earth shall be reduced to this condition again. Jeremiah 4:23.

This binding of the devil is to be at the very time when, as the scapegoat, he receives the sins of the righteous. Leviticus 16. And our earth in its utter desolation is the land not inhabited, where he shall remain with this terrible load of guilt upon him, while the saints sit in judgment upon the fallen angels, and upon all the members of the human family who would go on still in their sins.

The judgment of wicked men, and of evil angels, by the saints, during the thousand years, will solve to their minds, by means of the examination of the books of God’s remembrance, the providence of God, which has seemed dark and mysterious; for God will then lay open the hidden springs of human conduct, and bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart. 1 Corinthians 4:5.

The course of those who have diligently used the comparatively small measure of light which has been granted them, will come up to condemn those who have been favored with great light and have neglected it. Matthew 12:41, 42; Luke 11:31, 32.

And in like manner those who have been cut off in their sins, as a warning to others, and who would have repented had as great light been granted them as those who have lived at a later time have enjoyed, will come up in this examination to condemn most fearfully those who have had the example of their fate, and had seen greater light then they, and yet have not repented. Matthew 11:21–23; Luke 10:13.

But even those wicked men who have been thus cut off by God’s judgments as an example to those that after should live ungodly, shall come up in the judgment for the complete punishment of their sins. But their case shall be more tolerable in the judgment than that of those who have had the example of their punishment, and have had far greater light than they were favored with, and yet have refused to repent. Matthew 10:15; 11:22, 24; Luke 10:12, 14. Thus, even the mitigating circumstances are taken into the account in the judgment of the wicked as certainly as are those of an aggravating character. Surely God is, in the highest sense, just and righteous.

The record of the righteous, as we have seen, is passed upon by the Father when He counts them worthy to have part in the resurrection to immortality, and by the Son when they stand before Him to receive according to their labors and sacrifices in the cause of God. And that record will show, in the case of everyone who is able to stand in the judgment, so perfect a work of repentance, and confession, and reparation of wrongs done toward others, that not one sinful man can rise up in the judgment against them. Isaiah 54:17.

The judgment, by the saints of Satan and his angels and of wicked men being accomplished, it appears that, just before the thousand years expire, the holy city, with its immortal inhabitants, descends upon our earth, upon a place prepared for it. See Zechariah 14:4, 5.

At the termination of the one thousand years all the wicked dead hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth (John 5:28, 29); the unjust have their resurrection (Acts 24:15); “The rest of the dead” live again (Revelation 20:5). They come forth from the depths of the ocean and from the caverns of earth; for the sea gives up the dead, and Hades gives them up also. And they come forth alive, for death itself gives them up. Revelation 20:13.

And now Satan is loosed for his final work. He begins it just where he left off. He had gathered the nations to the great battle, when he was bound and they were cut off. Revelation 19. Now, after they have been “many days” in the “prison,” the time comes for Satan to visit them as they are loosed from it for their execution. Isaiah 24:21, 22; Ezekiel 38:8, 9.

He resumes his work by inciting them to capture the city of God. Revelation 20:7–10. And thus, by the direct action of Satan, all the wicked, with himself and his angels at their head, stand in the presence of Christ, for the execution of the judgment.

As the righteous stand in Christ’s presence immediately after they are made immortal, that they may each receive according to their labor (2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 16:27), so do the wicked thus stand in His presence after the second resurrection. As the righteous cannot receive punishment for their sins after they have been blotted out, it follows that those who stand before him to receive for their evil deeds are the wicked, who stand thus in His presence, after the examination of their cases by His saints, during the one thousand years.

We may safely conclude that many who go down to their graves self-deceived, will come up in the second resurrection really expecting to be saved, and quite unaware that it is the resurrection of the unjust. We think this is the very time when our Lord’s words shall have their fulfillment: “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22, 23.

And now, for the first time, all the members of the human family are congregated in one vast assembly. The wicked see the righteous in the kingdom of God, and realize that they themselves are thrust out. And when the wicked realize the mercy which they have slighted, and the infinite sacrifice made for their salvation in the death of God’s only Son, and remember their persistent continuance in sin till God could bear no longer, every knee will bow in deepest abasement, acknowledging that God is just, and that their ruin was caused by themselves alone, while the throne of God is forever clear.

And as both classes behold the final result of faithful obedience, and of persistent sins, they will, with one mind and voice, declare, “Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth.” Psalm 58:11. And now the Son of God pronounces the awful sentence, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41.

And now, after the example of Sodom and Gomorrah, fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. Revelation 20:9; 2 Peter 2:6; Genesis 19:24–28. It is the burning earth that constitutes the great lake of fire in which the wicked shall experience the second death. 2 Peter 3:7–12; Malachi 4:1–3; Proverbs 11:31. Satan and his angels shall share this furnace of fire with wicked men; for, indeed, it was originally prepared for them. Matthew 25:41; Isaiah 30:33.

Finally, the earth shall be not only melted, but also dissolved. 2 Peter 3:10, 11. Such shall be the intense action of the devouring fire, that the earth itself shall be reduced to a molten mass and changed by the power of Him that sitteth upon the great white throne. Hebrews 1:12. Then He that sitteth upon the throne shall say, “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5. And all the elements that were dissolved in the devouring fire shall unite again to form the earth. The New Jerusalem shall have place upon the new earth, and the glory of God shall fill the earth as the waters fill the sea. The saints shall bear the image of the second Adam, as now they bear that of the first, and shall live for endless ages. Sin, being thus struck out of existence, in the utter destruction of all evildoers, shall never rise up again to mar the handiwork of God. The universe shall be as clean as it was before the rebellion of Satan, and God shall be all in all.


The New Theology, part 2

Editor’s Note: Last month we looked at the history of New Theology and compared statements by Desmond Ford, Jack Sequiera and Robert Folkenberg. We noted that the same line of false theology ran through the writings of all three.

Many find it difficult to believe that the very top leadership within God’s Remnant Church is teaching false doctrines, such as those referred to in the first article of this series. But the public statements by these leaders leave undeniable evidence. Statements such as this one by the General Conference President: “Our assurance of salvation is based on God’s grace by faith, not on our behavior or character development.” Called in Christ, 22. Sadly, this is not an isolated statement. This is the message of the New Theology that he consistently writes and preaches.

Some fifty-five years ago, when I was ordained to the ministry, I was admonished that I was to be a watchman on the walls of Zion. I have diligently tried to do this over the years. Along my course, I have noticed that there are always some who, when error is condemned, will say “That is criticism.” But I wish to make it clear that I am still a watchman on the walls of Zion pointing out error to alert our people that some of the books and articles written today, by Adventist authors, will lead you to apostasy.

Keeping this in mind, you will see why I am so alarmed as I read the outrageous falsification of the gospel, which Elder Folkenberg expressed in his closing prayer at the Hope, British Columbia, Camp Meeting in 1991. He prayed, “Lord, thank You for the assurance. Thank you for the promise that if I claim Your name and look up to the cross of Jesus, my name is written in the Book of Life. It has nothing to do with how good I am or how I live or anything else.”

This prayer gives a clear example of how this apostate New Theology embraces a Christ who died to keep us from the penalty of sin, but who will, at the same time, allow us to continue to live in sin with the assurance of eternal life. Such teachings are contrary to the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy. Our General Conference President is in need of our prayers that he may awaken from the Omega of apostasy in which he is leading the flock of God.

The basis for this study is in Jude 3, 4, which says, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God unto lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As we contend for the faith as delivered to the saints by the Holy Spirit, we need to heed the inspired counsels. Sister White wrote: “Few appreciate the importance of striving constantly to overcome. They relax their diligence and, as a result, become selfish and self-indulgent. Spiritual vigilance is not thought to be essential. Earnestness in human effort is not brought into the Christian life.

“There will be some terrible falls by those who think they stand firm because they have the truth, but they have it not as it is in Jesus. A moment’s carelessness may plunge a soul into irretrievable ruin. One sin leads to the second, and the second prepares the way for the third, and so on. We must, as faithful messengers of God, plead with Him constantly to be kept by His power. If we swerve a single inch from duty, we are in danger of following on in a course of sin that will end in perdition. There is hope for everyone of us, but only in one way, and that is by binding ourselves to Christ, and exerting every energy to attain to the perfection of His character.

“That religion which makes of sin a light matter, dwelling upon the love of God to the sinner regardless of his actions, only encourages the sinner to believe that God will receive him while he continues in that which he knows to be sin. This is what some are doing who profess to believe present truth. The truth is kept apart from the life, and that is the reason it has no power to convict and convert the soul.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 540.

There is no question in my mind that we are entering the Omega of apostasy. Compare how inspiration describes it to what we see today. “Be not deceived, many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the Alpha of this danger. The Omega will be of a most startling nature.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 197.

Part of the Omega of apostasy will be the making of none effect the Spirit of Prophecy. “Satan is . . .constantly pressing in the spurious—to lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision the people of God perish.’ Proverbs 29:18. Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.

“There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic. The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 48.

This, so called, New Theology is really nothing more than the old theology of Satan, for the devil has always tried to make void the law of God. In the days of the apostles, there was a group called the Nicolaitans who were teaching that the law of God could not be kept. Speaking about this false doctrine Sister White wrote: “The doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made the law of God of no effect; that by ‘believing’ we are released from the necessity of being doers of the word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned. To the church of Ephesus He says: ‘But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.’

“Those who are teaching this doctrine today have much to say in regard to faith and the righteousness of Christ; but they pervert the truth, and make it serve the cause of error. They declare that we have only to believe on Jesus Christ, and that faith is all sufficient; that the righteousness of Christ is to be the sinner’s credentials; that this imputed righteousness fulfills the law for us, and that we are under no obligation to obey the law of God. This class claims that Christ came to save sinners, and that He has saved them. ‘I am saved,’ they repeat over and over again. But are they saved while transgressing the law of Jehovah?—No; for the garments of Christ’s righteousness are not a cloak for iniquity.” Signs of the Times, vol. 3, 363.

Does the Holy Word make void the law of God through faith, as many claim? Paul answers unequivocally, “God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:12, 14, 18.

New Theology is so clearly denounced by the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, why then is it so common in Seventh-day Adventist churches? It is because there is a sinister plan, devised by the mastermind of evil, seeking the destruction of all who follow Christ. Inspiration has forewarned us of what the devil’s device will be. “Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands kindled from the hellish torch of Satan.” Testimonies to Ministers, 409, 410.

This New Theology, which I believe is called the Omega, is taking a dreadful toll in many of our churches. I will show you four areas where this is most apparent:

  1. In most churches only about half of the members are present in the Sabbath School. When you examine the church membership list, it is alarming to see that thousands upon thousands of those whose names are still listed as members never attend anymore.
  2. Another saddening statistic is the divorce rate among Seventh-day Adventists. You will find that it is nearly fifty percent—just like that of Babylon.
  3. The disaster signal that I find most alarming is the fact that over seventy percent of our youth are leaving the church. And why should they stay, when they have been taught at our colleges and universities to question many of the fundamental doctrines of Adventism, such as the Creation week.
  4. God’s standards are being pushed aside until it is difficult to discern by dress and jewelry the difference between the remnant church and Babylon.

These results of the New Theology are apparent to anyone who has his eyes open. Recently, I received an unsolicited letter of courage from one of our many faithful pastors. I have never met this pastor, but I praise God that he is awake to the results of the New Theology. He wrote:

“Dear Brother Nelson: “From time to time I have had someone give me one of your tapes or have read one of your articles in one of the independent magazines. I want to encourage you to keep up the good work of warning our people of what is coming and what is happening to our beloved church. I, too, have been a minister for many years and am appalled at what is transpiring today, and it seems it is nearly impossible to stop the tide. If one speaks out, he is labeled as a troublemaker and finds himself ostracized. The liberals have well nigh taken over our denomination. Standards have fallen by the wayside and Sabbath keeping is almost non-existent.

Your brother in the true faith, Pastor___” That is not the only letter that I have received from some of our pastors. This letter, from an active pastor, reveals that he knows what is taking place. Could this be the reason for the delay of Christ’s return?

“It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached went not in ‘because of unbelief.’ Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them.

“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years. We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years as did the children of Israel; but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequences of their own wrong course of action.” Evangelism, 696.

I believe that this Omega apostasy began in the mid-fifties when some of our leaders reached across the gulf to clasp hands with the evangelicals. This was followed by a compromise on the nature of Christ and the atonement, as agreed upon with Donald Barnhouse and Walter Martin. The pillars of our faith, which had been held sacred since our beginning and were the very heart of the precious message given by Ellen White, have been torn down. The results being that we no longer fearlessly preach the Three Angels’ Messages, as we should, with the power of the Holy Spirit, that could have finished the work long ago.

In 1977, Elder Robert Pierson, the General Conference President, explored the ramifications of Omega in ten points, which he took from Selected Messages, vol. 1, 193. Look at what he found would be coming into our church:

  1. The principles of truth that God in His wisdom had given to the Remnant Church would be discarded.
  2. It would make of none effect the truth of heavenly origin.
  3. Our religion would be changed.
  4. The Sabbath, of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it.
  5. There would be a supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists and this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith.
  6. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced.
  7. It would seek to weaken the preaching of the second advent by teaching that scenes just before us are not of sufficient importance to be given special attention.
  8. Books of a new order would be written.
  9. A new organization would be established.
  10. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of this new movement.

God has promised that where the shepherds are not true, He will take charge of the flock Himself.

“Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. Those who have rendered supreme homage to ‘science falsely so called’ will not be leaders then . . . Those who have proven themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock . . . They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking testing time will be disclosed to view.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 80.

We should take courage! God’s truth will triumph. Elder Ron Spear in his appeal to the General Conference President has correctly shown the parallel between the day of Christ and the time just before His return. “Helenism and Humanism had captured the church in Christ’s day. Helenism was operative in all the church’s activities. It infiltrated the Jewish educational system and was taught by Jewish schools. The Sadducees became the Helenistic party within the church and to a great degree the Helenistic philosophy was responsible for the crucifixion of Christ, the second power of the Godhead. The humanistic worldly system of education has crept into the educational system of the Adventist Church and today it must be held guilty for what has happened in the Omega apostasy. Humanism and Helenism are the same philosophy. This philosophy leads to a bootstrap religion. You can do anything your mind decides to do, which minimizes the power of God in the life to keep us from sinning and asserts that we cannot keep God’s law. In the great test to come, it will be Humanism to a great degree that will be responsible for the rejection of the third power of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, when the door is shut for unprepared Seventh-day Adventists.” Appeal to the General Conference President, 34, by Ron Spear.

Our present situation is well summed up in the following quotation from Testimonies, vol. 5, 210,211. “While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Here we see that the church—the Lord’s sanctuary—was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their belief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit his people in judgment. Thus ‘peace and safety’ is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together.”

According to Ezekiel 9, the only ones on whom the sealing angel can place the mark of God’s approval are those who are sighing and crying for the corruption that is taking place within the church. They are also the ones who are personally striving for perfection of character, as we are commanded, over and over, that we must do.

The following are just a few of these clear Bible commands:

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.

“Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16.

“Therefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if we do these things we shall never fall.” 2 Peter 1:10.

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” Revelation 3:21.

“He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart; the will is merged in His will; the mind becomes one with His mind; the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him. We live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garments of His righteousness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312.

Praise God! We can overcome, fully and entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape for us that we might overcome every sin and sit down with Him in His throne. Will you follow in His footsteps today?


Food for Life — Vegetables and Fruit

Thanksgiving time again! How quickly time flies, especially at this time of year! “Thank you Lord for all You have done for each one of us in the past year . . . for bringing us through the valley of the shadow of death, being close beside us and giving us of Your strength. Also thank You for the healing you have given so many of us, and thank You for answering the prayers of Your people the world over! We praise Your holy name for everything we have to be thankful for, because if it were not for Thy great goodness we would all be eternally lost.”

“In order to maintain health, a sufficient supply of good, nourishing food is needed.

“If we plan wisely, that which is most conducive to health can be secured in almost every land. The various preparations of rice, wheat, corn, and oats are sent abroad everywhere, also beans, peas, and lentils. These, with native or imported fruits, and the variety of vegetables that grow in each locality, give an opportunity to select a dietary that is complete without the use of flesh meats.

“Wherever fruit can be grown in abundance, a liberal supply should be prepared for winter, by canning or drying. Small fruits, such as currants, gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, can be grown to advantage in many places where they are but little used and their cultivation is neglected.

“For household canning, glass, rather than tin cans, should be used whenever possible. It is especially necessary that the fruit for canning should be in good condition. Use little sugar, and cook the fruit only long enough to ensure its preservation. Thus prepared, it is an excellent substitute for fresh fruit.

” Wherever dried fruits, such as raisins, prunes, apples, pears, peaches, and apricots are obtainable at moderate prices, it will be found that they can be used as staple articles of diet much more freely than is customary, with the best results to the health and vigor of all classes of workers.

“There should not be a great variety at any one meal, for this encourages overeating and causes indigestion.

“It is not well to eat fruit and vegetables at the same meal. If the digestion is feeble, the use of both will often cause distress and inability to put forth mental effort. It is better to have the fruit at one meal and the vegetables at another.

“The meals should be varied. The same dishes, prepared in the same way, should not appear on the table meal after meal and day after day. The meals are eaten with greater relish, and the system is better nourished, when the food is varied.

“It is wrong to eat merely to gratify the appetite, but no indifference should be manifested regarding the quality of the food or the manner of its preparation. If the food eaten is not relished, the body will not be so well nourished. The food should be carefully chosen and prepared with intelligence and skill.” The Ministry of Healing, 299–300.

Tofu Pecan Loaf

1 cup pecans, ground

1 medium onion,

1 1/4 cup tofu, crumbled chopped fine or mashed

1/4 t. celery salt

2/3 cup soymilk

1/2 t. onion salt

1 cup cooked brown rice

1/2 t. garlic salt

1 cup celery, chopped fine

1 T. Bragg’s liquid aminos

Mix and place in sprayed casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350° for 15 minutes.


A Root out of Dry Ground

God’s Word contains the word of life. When Jesus was in the wilderness, He said to the tempter, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. Every word of the Bible is pure and true, but there are some portions that we are especially admonished to memorize. One such chapter is Isaiah 53. In this chapter we see a picture of Christ, the Lamb of God, and His great sacrifice for us.

It begins with these words: “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” Isaiah 53:1. A news report that is unbelievable is in this chapter. Here the story is told of the manifestation of the power of God to save humanity. And this unleashing of God’s power through humanity is unbelievable! The arm of the Lord is a symbol of His power. He said, “My arm is not shortened that it cannot save. Neither is My ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your sins have separated between Me and you so that I cannot reach out and save you.” (See Isaiah 59:1, 2.)

In this chapter, Isaiah gives a description of this Person and the qualifications He has that allow the power of God to work through Him. The first one is tenderness: “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant.” Verse 2. Are we tender? Are our hearts soft towards each other? Jesus’ heart was tender. He was not hardhearted. His heart was touched with the feelings of others.

How did people respond to Christ’s tenderheartedness? Isaiah says He was “as a root out of a dry ground.” Ibid. Jesus did not fit in. He was misplaced like roots growing on top of the ground.

“He hath no form nor comeliness and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” Verse 3.

Jesus lived on this earth with people like you and me. He went to a synagogue, He worked in a carpenter’s shop and He worked and talked with people. But, despite all that He had in common with these people, He was not accepted. They rejected Him and scorned Him. (See The Desire of Ages, 84–92.)

What is so very amazing is that the Scripture says, “He hath borne our grief and carried our sorrows.” Verse 4. He carried the grief and sorrows of the very ones who mocked and derided Him. And what did He receive in return? “Yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Ibid. Seeing Him burdened with the heavy load of our sins, we looked at Him and scoffed, saying that God must have given Him this heavy burden to carry to punish Him! But it was not His burden; it was ours.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes, we are healed.” Verse 5. I need to be healed from the scars of sin, and there is healing through His stripes. That is a promise that each one of us can claim. I do not understand the working of the divine agency, but I know it works because I have experienced it. He heals the broken hearted and brings comfort and joy.

“All we like sheep have gone astray.” Verse 6. Who is this chapter written to? It is written to all of us, because we have all gone astray. Do not let the devil tempt you into thinking that you are in such a bad condition that Christ’s stripes cannot heal your sins. His stripes can bring each one healing and joy—no matter how low we have fallen. What wonderful news!

“We have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” Verse 6, 7. When you are oppressed and ridiculed do you give a quick and angry reply? Whenever you are tempted to do this, think of Jesus before His persecutors. He did not open His mouth to speak a word in retaliation.

“He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death.”Verses 8, 9. How was this Scripture fulfilled? The wicked was the thief on the cross who never repented. The rich is described in a beautiful passage in The Acts of the Apostles, 104: “At this time of peril, Nicodemus came forward in fearless avowal of his faith in the crucified Saviour. Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin and with others had been stirred by the teaching of Jesus. As he had witnessed Christ’s wonderful works, the conviction had fastened itself upon his mind that this was the Sent of God. Too proud to openly acknowledge himself in sympathy with the Galilean Teacher, he had sought a secret interview.” Nicodemus asked for a secret interview because he was proud. He did not want anyone to see him, one of the top leaders in the nation, associated with Jesus. “But when at last Christ had been uplifted on the cross, Nicodemus remembered the words that He had spoken to him in the night interview on the Mount of Olives . . . and he saw in Jesus the world’s Redeemer.” Ibid.

Another man, who before Christ’s death had been too proud to associate with Him, was Joseph of Arimathea. “With Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus had borne the expenses of the burial of Jesus. The disciples had been afraid to show themselves openly as Christ’s followers, but Nicodemus and Joseph came boldly to their aid. The help of these rich and honored men was greatly needed in this hour of darkness. They had been able to do for their dead Master what it would have been impossible for the poor disciples to do; and their wealth and influence had protected them, in a great measure from the malice of the priests and rulers. Now, when the Jews were trying to destroy the infant church, Nicodemus came forward in its defense. No longer cautious and questioning he encouraged the faith of the disciples and he used his wealth in helping to sustain the church at Jerusalem and advancing the work of the gospel. Those who in other days had paid him reverence, now scorned and persecuted him.” Ibid.

Nicodemus was experiencing the steps in Isaiah 53. He, too, became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And besides being scorned and persecuted, “he became poor in this world’s goods, yet he faltered not in defense of his faith.” Ibid.

All the prophecies about the life of Christ were fulfilled just as the prophets gave them. “And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.” Isaiah 53:9.

The next phrase stuns your mind. It is the type of passage that I often feel that the angels should read, because it is far above mortal humans to understand the great love of God it portrays. It reads: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” How can this be? The Father and Son were closer than any human beings have ever been on this earth. They loved more because they had more to love with. And yet, the Lord loves you and me so much that it delighted Him to send His Son to save us. He made a way of escape for us through the only way possible—the death of His precious Son. This is what our Redeemer did to save us.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:10.

What is the pleasure of the Lord? Jesus said, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32. In other words, in His hand there is all the power that is needed to bring you and me into a condition to inherit His kingdom.

“He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:11, 12.

What a touching representation of Christ’s love is given to us in this chapter. No wonder inspiration tells us: “This chapter should be studied. It presents Christ as the Lamb of God. Those who are lifted up with pride, whose souls are filled with vanity, should look upon this picture of their Redeemer, and humble themselves in the dust. The entire chapter should be committed to memory. Its influence will subdue and humble the soul defiled by sin and uplifted by self-exaltation.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 4, 1147.

If you are struggling to follow the meek and lowly Savior, then memorize this chapter and let your mind contemplate it word by word. If the truth it contains becomes a part of your life, your heart will be melted and changed into the likeness of our meek and lowly Savior.

Water From a Different Source

In the remainder of this article I would like to focus on just one phrase from this chapter. It is found in verse 2. It says that Christ was as “a root out of a dry ground.” Consider this carefully. When you pull up a weed, throw it on the ground and leave it in the sun for a few hours, it wilts. Why does it wilt? Because, it no longer has a water supply, and the cells in the plant begin to wither and die.

Jesus was looked upon as a root out of dry ground because He did not draw His nourishment from earthly sources. Jesus’ source of nourishment was streams of heavenly origin. Streams that those who were blinded by worldliness did not want to see. Because they could not see, they could not understand where He derived His strength. To them He was as “a root out of a dry ground.”

What characteristics did Christ have that showed that His nourishment did not come from earthly sources? “Our Redeemer did not come to our world with outward display.” The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 19, 1887. He was not trying to dress, eat, live or to speak so as to draw attention to Himself. The people who rejected Him saw nothing of heaven in His appearance. “They could not see hidden beneath the humble disguise of humanity the world’s Redeemer. They saw before them a ‘Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.’” Ibid. And that is not what they wanted to see.

What is it that they wanted to see? Luke 17:20, 21, records a conversation that Jesus had with the Pharisees on this very subject. “And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation (outward show, margin), neither shall they say, Lo, here! or lo, there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” These people were looking for something on the outside of Him, but Jesus came to do something to the inside of us. He said, “My kingdom is not with outward show.”

“The afflicted, suffering ones who saw Christ as their helper, were charmed with the divine perfection, and beauty of holiness, that shone forth in His character. But the Pharisees could see no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. His simple attire, and humble life, devoid of outward show, rendered Him to them as a root out of dry ground.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1111.

They wanted a king, dressed with the latest and the most expensive clothing as they were. But this was not Christ’s way. “Through all the lowly experiences of life He consented to pass, walking among the children of men, not as a king to demand homage, but as One whose mission it was to serve others.” The Mount of Blessing, 14.

Unless you accept in your own life the principle of self-sacrificing love, you cannot know God. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14. “The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. The gospel of the grace of God with its spirit of self-abnegation can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world. The two principles are antagonistic.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 14.

Each one of us will have only one of these two principles (roots) operating in our lives. The root is the foundation of a plant. From the root, moisture and nutrition are gathered for the plant to give it life. While the plant is growing, you cannot see the root, you can only see the leaves and the fruit. But it is the root that determines the character of the plant. Each one of us will be one of two kinds of roots. We have our choice. Either we will be self-denying and thinking of the good of others or we will be self-serving.

The Tie of Worldly Associations

There was another reason why the Jewish people rejected Jesus, and the same influence causes many today to reject Him. “Worldly associations attract and dazzle the senses so that piety, the fear of God, faithfulness, and loyalty hath not power to keep them steadfast. The humble, unassuming life of Christ seems altogether unattractive.” Adventist Home, 461. If our lives are knit with worldly associations, the life of Christ will not appear attractive to us. It does not make any difference what theory we claim to believe. If we associate with those who love the world, His life of self-abnegation will be to us as a root out of dry ground. We will not want Him, because the people we are associating with have not accepted His invitation. They love the things of this world just as the Pharisees loved pomp, power, fancy clothes, and the admiration of other people. They have the root of the Pharisees instead of the root of Christ.

What is the root of the Pharisees? Evangelism, 633 says, “There is nothing that so much retards and cripples the work in its various branches as jealousy and suspicion and evil surmisings. These reveal that disunion prevails among the workers for God. Selfishness is the root of all evil.” The root of the Pharisees produced a plant with lots of pretty leaves. But that root built up self at the expense of others.

Christ’s own disciples were influenced by this root of selfishness. Inspiration tells us: “Even His disciples were so blinded by the selfishness of their hearts that they were slow to understand Him Who had come to manifest to them the Father’s love.” The Mount of Blessing, 25.

They could not understand the nature of Christ because they still had the root of selfishness in their hearts. With this mindset it was easy for them to accept the theory of the Pharisees that told of a great kingdom where they would rule the earth. This should be a warning to us. We cannot understand the Word of God in its fullness until selfishness is rooted out. If it has not been, then we can interpret any part of the Bible to build ourselves up.

Roots and Their Fruits

How deceptive the devil’s kingdom can be. Since the root is buried, how do you know the root of the situation? “For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” Romans 11:16.

You cannot have a holy root that grows thorns and thistles. If the root is holy, then the fruit is holy.

How can we know for certain what is good fruit and what is bad? Have we been told exactly what Jesus’ root is, so that there can be no mistake? In Christ’s Object Lessons, 128 we read: “Many who claim to believe and to teach the gospel are in a similar error. They set aside the Old Testament Scriptures, of which Christ declared, ‘They are they which testify of Me.’ John 5:39. In rejecting the Old, they virtually reject the New; for both parts are of an inseparable whole. No man can rightly present the law of God without the gospel, or the gospel without the law. The law is the gospel embodied, and the gospel is the law unfolded. The law is the root.”

With the law as the root, the gospel is the fruit. In the new covenant, Jesus said, “I will write them [My laws] in their hearts.” Hebrews 8:10. “I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26.

If the law is written in our heart and is the foundation of our life, then the fruit will be humility and meekness. David said, “Oh, how I love thy law. It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97. If we want the root of selfishness and pride uprooted from our hearts, we must love God’s law as David did and allow it to purify us completely.

John the Baptist told the Pharisees how the root of selfishness could be removed from their hearts. He said, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Matthew 3:10.

A tree cannot be changed by picking off its bad fruit. The axe of God’s Word needs to be laid to the root of the problem. (See Hebrews 4:12.) The root of selfishness needs to be removed. There is no reformation program for the Pharisees plan of action that will make it acceptable to God; a total change must be made.

John the Baptist told the Pharisees, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father.” Matthew 3:9. They claimed to be the heirs of His kingdom. Let us call them the Seventh-day Adventists of their day. When these leaders came to John he looked them straight in the eye and he said, Do not even think of calling yourselves Seventh-day Adventists. Until the root is taken out, you can call yourself whatever you want, but profession is nothing. It all depends on the fruit.

John the Baptist continued: “For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now, also, the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Matthew 3:9–11.

Here is a promise you can claim if you want the root of selfishness taken out of your heart. This prophecy of Christ says, “Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:12.

Get down on your knees with this verse under your fingers and say, “Lord, I want the floor of my heart clean. I want the axe laid at the root of selfishness. I want selfishness, covetousness and the love of money pulled out.” God will answer your prayer. However, when you surrender your sinful self to God you must understand that you will be treated as Jesus was. Do not look for worldly acclaim, for it will not come to you.

On the hills of Palestine, our heavenly Father planted a goodly vine and He Himself was the husbandman. He had no remarkable form that would at first sight give an impression of its value. It appeared to come up as a root out of dry ground and attracted but little attention. But when attention was called to the plant, it was by some declared to be of heavenly origin. The men of Nazareth stood entranced as they saw its beauty. But when they received the idea that it would stand more gracefully and attract more attention than they could, they wrestled to uproot the precious plant and cast it over the wall.

The men of Jerusalem bruised the plant and trampled it under their unholy feet. Their thought was to destroy it forever. But the Heavenly Husbandman never lost sight of His plant. After men thought that they had killed it, He replanted it on the other side of the wall and hid it from the view of men. May you be as humble as Jesus was, and may you have joy as Jesus did. And when you are persecuted, may you endure it as Jesus did, and someday may your future be as glorious as His.

Will Freedom Survive?

Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” What a warning to every Seventh-day Adventist, that, in the last days, there will be those who have heard and proclaimed the faith, have been convicted by it, but who will allow themselves to be seduced by fables and will accept the doctrines of devils.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.” 2 Timothy 3:1–3. Can you imagine Christians despising those who are good? But we know that they are not true Christians, but only professors of truth, because verse 5 tells us that they have “a form of godliness” but they deny the power thereof. They profess to be servants of Christ, but actually they are “traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:4.

How are we commanded to deal with people like this? God says, “From such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:5. We are not to have any part with those who do not practice their profession. God’s warning is very plain. If we socialize with these sort of people, we will eventually become like them. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

What a pitiful representation of those who claim to be a part of the company that believes the truth. And yet, these prophecies are fulfilled in our ears. I hear so many people today in churches of every color and stripe that state, “Why do we worry about doctrine?” That is the cry of the ecumenical movement. They say, “Let us just preach the love of Jesus. The greatest doctrine in Scripture is Jesus’ love.” Every doctrine is vital; for the center of each doctrine is the love of Jesus. How can we preach the Sabbath if we do not love the One who is the Lord of the Sabbath? How can we believe in the state of the dead if we do not follow the One who is the resurrection and the life? How can we study the sanctuary message and that doctrine if we do not believe in our High Priest and Mediator?

Christ is the center of every doctrine. If we destroy the doctrines of Scripture, then we have destroyed our knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Doctrines are essential because the doctrines lead us to the foot of the cross, to Jesus Christ. It is the devil who would destroy the doctrines of Scripture. That is the reason why it is stated here that “they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” They will not endure sound doctrine.

We are living in extremely serious times and as Seventh-day Adventists, we need to be alert. Paul’s warning to the Thessalonians is very appropriate for us today: “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 5. The signs of the times give us startling proof that the day of Christ’s return is very near. Multiple events make it daily more clear that the closing scenes of earth’s history are upon us.

The Pope’s Letter

On July 6, 1998, Pope John Paul II issued an official apostolic letter entitled, “Dies Domini” (The Day of the Lord). This letter, which received a great deal of media publicity, was a call by the Pope for Catholics to come back to faithful Sunday keeping.

The Pope’s letter began with these words, “The Lord’s day—as Sunday was called from apostolic times . . . ” (This is the first falsehood of a continual line that is found in this letter.) As proof for this supposition, the Pope refers us to Revelation 1:10, the only reference to “the Lord’s day,” in the Bible. It is the Pope’s contention that the Lord’s day spoken of here is Sunday. But the Bible never says that. The text simply states, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day . . . ”

We are on a weak and faulty foundation when we rely on the mind of man to decide a matter which is not clear to us, for God has commanded us that the Bible is its own interpreter. This verse is interpreted clearly for us in Luke 6:5. “And He [Jesus] said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Which day is the Lord’s day? It is plain and clear. The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath day, not the first day of the week, the devil’s counterfeit, Sunday. The only day that God hallowed is confirmed also in Matthew 18 and Matthew 12:8: “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.”

Clearly, without any possibility of dispute, the Scripture testifies that the Sabbath is the Lord’s day. But here, in the very initial words of this apostolic letter, the Pope states that the Lord’s day was called Sunday from apostolic times. If that were true, we should be able to search the Scripture and find the evidence there, because many of the apostles authored Scripture. All of them were written decades after the death of Jesus Christ. Instead we find that in the eight brief mentions that are made of the first day of the week, in the New Testament, not once is it called the Lord’s day! The Sabbath is mentioned sixty times, and never once was it referred to as “the former Sabbath that we kept,” or “the old Sabbath.” It is always used in the setting of a sacred day which was still being observed. The apostles knew nothing of Sunday being the Lord’s day.

The Psalmist and Sunday

If that were not enough, at the commencement of the second paragraph, the Pope makes a statement that any elementary school child, reared in a Christian home, would not be so foolish as to make. He wrote, “Rightly then, the Psalmist cry is applied to Sunday. ‘This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ Psalm 118:24.”

Did the Psalmist ever conceive that the day on which he was rejoicing was Sunday? It never entered his mind. But here the Pope is saying, “Rightly, the Psalmist cry is applied to Sunday.” Wrongly it is applied to Sunday! It is astonishing to see that the Pope, who was considered a very fine Roman Catholic theologian before he became Pope, reaching to such lengths of elementary reasoning in an attempt to prove his point. And he was not working alone. This letter is a product of the best theological minds in the Vatican.

What a disgrace to see how the Pope has been applauded by Protestants around the world. The Anglicans said what a wonderful letter it was, and in England he received the same response. The South Pacific Division Record reported that one of the senior lecturers in theology at Avondale College commented on the “wonderful scholarship” of the Pope’s letter! There is only one reason I would give the Pope an “F” for his scholarship in this and that is because you cannot give him anything lower. There is no scholarship at all!

The Pope Explains Sunday Laws

There are other ominous matters in this apostolic letter which we need to give attention to. One such statement is: “Wherefore also in the particular circumstances of our times, Christians will naturally strive to insure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy.” What does he mean? Was he merely saying, “Every convicted Sunday keeper should have the right to follow his convictions?” If that were all that the Pope was saying, we would not contend with it. We believe that every man has the right of religious liberty. However, the Pope did not have religious liberty in mind at all.

Earlier on the same page, he tries to underestimate what happened in centuries past in the Roman Catholic Church. “When through the centuries she has made laws concerning Sunday rest, the church has had in mind above all the work of service and worship.” In other words, “Our laws were only made to give a time of rest for workers and families.” Then you ended at the stake if you did not obey! He forgets to mention the millions of people who lost their lives standing against the evil of the devil’s counterfeit “sabbath.”

He goes on to say, “In this matter, my predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Rerum Novarum, spoke of Sunday rest as a worker’s right, which the state must guarantee.” (Pope Leo XIII, was the Pope, at the end of the nineteenth century, who stated that it was diabolical doctrine to preach religious liberty.) From these statements it is clear—religious liberty is certainly not what the Pope has in mind.

Why an Apostolic Letter Now?

What was the atmosphere in which the Pope sent out this letter full of Biblical falsehoods and scholarship of the poorest type? Many people have been studying this letter, without seeing it in the context of his prior letter that was sent out on May 28, 1998. That letter was sent out in order to inject into the Roman Catholic Canon law some additional penance. Every one of these new laws deals with punishment! And that is the context in which this letter follows.

Those of us who are well acquainted with Revelation 13:15–17, know that the time is nigh when persecution will come to those who are faithful to the law of God, who desire to worship God in holiness on His holy day.

One of these new Canons, number 1436 states: “Whoever denies a truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith or who calls into doubt or who totally repudiates the Christian faith and does not retract after having been legitimately warned is to be punished as a heretic or an apostate with a major excommunication. A cleric moreover can be punished with other penalties not excluding these positions. In addition to these paces, whoever obstinately rejects the teaching that the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops exercising the authentic magisterium have set forth to be held definitively or who affirms what they have condemned as erroneous and does not retract after having been legitimately warned, is to be punished with an appropriate penalty.”

Why did the Roman Catholic Church have to create this new Canon law in May, 1998, just prior to the issuing of this apostolic letter on Sunday, which is calling for civil legislation in the matter of Sunday worship? It is time for us to WAKE UP! We are at the end of earth’s history. Prophecy is being fulfilled and everything is in place. In the United States everything is in place for the enactment of Sunday laws and penalties of a severe nature.

Another new Canon, which was enacted, was Canon 1371. It states: “The following are to be punished with a just penalty: [We know how much justice there was in the penalties meted out during the Dark Ages.] Apart from the case mentioned in Canon 1364, a person that teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff or by an ecumenical council or obstinately rejects the teachings mentioned in Canon 750 or in Canon 752 when warned by the apostolic See or by the ordinary, does not retract, a person who in any other way does not obey the lawful command or prohibition of the apostolic See or the ordinary or superior and after being warned persists in disobedience.”

Did you notice how vague was the designation of those who would be punished? Nowhere does it say, “Those who are faithful to the Catholic faith” or “members of the Roman Catholic Church.” It says only “whoever denies” or “a person” who does these things will receive these punishments. A person means any person. It has not defined that these laws and punishments are applicable to Roman Catholics and Roman Catholics alone.

And did you notice how vague the penalties were? Such words were used as: “punished as a heretic,” “punished with an appropriate penalty” and “punished with a just penalty.” There is no limit placed upon the punishments. However, we do not have to study very far into Catholic history to see what it means to be “punished as a heretic.” Just read the stories of the Waldenses or the Reformers, and you can clearly see what the Papacy calls “an appropriate penalty.” It is time to awake! These things are happening before our eyes and we need to know where we are.

A New View for Catholicism

In this letter, the Pope takes a new view on Sunday keeping that Catholicism has never taken before. In his first statement he asserted that Sunday has been known as the Lord’s day from apostolic times. The Roman Catholic Church has never before proclaimed that their sabbath, Sunday, commenced in apostolic times. That is an absolute denial of what, for For example read the Catechism of Catholic Doctrines, which has the primature of the Catholic Church and was edited by a Roman Catholic priest, Peter Greerman. There a question and answer dialogue is given about Sunday keeping.

“Question: What is the Sabbath day?

“Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.

“Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

“Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea 336 A.D., transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”

Another example from a different priest’s catechism asks the question, “Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals?”

“Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her. Here are Bible believing Protestants who claim to base their religion on the Bible and the Bible alone, sola Scriptura, and yet they are following that which the Roman Catholic Church has instituted. That is the pagan sabbath of Sunday. Had not she had such power she could not have done that which all modern religionists agree with her, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”

Over two and a half centuries passed, beyond apostolic time, before the introduction, by the Roman Catholic Church, of Sunday observance. But now the Pope is taking a new route. He is appealing to those beguiled Protestants who believe that Sunday was kept by the apostles. He wants to have the Protestants of America concur with the Sunday legislation.

Christ, Our Only Safety

Reader, do you see the signs that Jesus is coming very soon? Is it now time for us to ponder what Jesus did to save us from our sins? It is only as we contemplate that amazing mystery that we can possibly be drawn so close to Jesus in love, that we will stand in the mighty test.

I know of no passage of Scripture, in either the Old Testament or New Testament, that so wonderfully brings home to me what Jesus did in order that I might be saved, than Psalm 22. As I read this chapter, I am drawn to Christ in love because of the love that He first had for me. Because of this love, I want to keep His commandments and be prepared to meet Him. (John 14:15.)

These are Christ’s words found in Psalms 22:1–19: “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me? Why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? “O My God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. “But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

“Our fathers trusted in Thee: they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them.

“They cried unto Thee, and were delivered: they trusted in Thee, and were not confounded.

“But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the Lord that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him.

“But Thou art He that took Me out of the womb: Thou didst make Me hope when I was upon My mother’s breasts.

“I was cast upon Thee from the womb: Thou art My God from My mother’s belly.

“Be not far from Me; for trouble is near: for there is none to help . . .

“I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels.

“My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to My jaws; and Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death.

“For dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet.

“I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me.

“They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

“But be not far from Me, O Lord: O my strength, haste Thee to help Me.”

Each time I read that passage I feel so ashamed, for it was my sins that caused His suffering. My heart goes out in love to my Savior. I just so much want to meet Him face to face and thank Him for His matchless gift. I know that anything that I say in gratitude will be very, very inconsequential compared with what I ought to say, but maybe throughout eternity, I will be able to add to my gratitude as I express it to my Savior.

Jesus is coming soon! What we have just studied in these two apostolic letters and the alteration of course the Papacy is now taking, is evidence beyond dispute that everything is coming to the climax of Scripture. I pray, dear reader, that you will be ready, with your family, to meet our dear Savior when He comes.

A House Divided, part 2

“A HOUSE DIVIDED.” These words come directly from the words of Jesus. In Matthew 12:25, He said, “A house divided against itself will not stand.” President Lincoln, in a speech that he based on these words, gave some very wise advice. He said, “If we first understand where we are and whither we are tending, then we could better judge what to do and how to do it.” How true this is today for Adventism. We must face reality. Only when we realize that we are in a divided house can we work to be a part of the solution.

A divided house is not new. A division came into the early church because of apostasy. God sought to lead His people back out of that apostasy through the reformation. At each stage there were people that would go so far and no farther. In the 1830s and 1840s, God sent the Protestant churches a special message of reformation, warning that the hour of God’s judgment was come. But most rejected it! With this rejection, they fell from favor with God. (See Early Writings, 237.) Only a few accepted God’s special message, and, out of that few, Adventism was born.

The devil hates this message regarding the investigative judgment, and he is trying to divide Adventism on this point. Tragically, he has been successful. We are living in a house divided. Let me explain. Some Adventist preachers say that we are, and always will be, slaves to sin, unable to keep God’s law perfectly until Jesus comes again. Others say that we can be delivered and set free from sin through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit working within our lives. One group says we are hopelessly enslaved; the other that we can be set free.

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln said that our country could not long exist half slave and half free. His words proved true, and it took a civil war to solve the problem. Our church is in a parallel condition to the United States, at that time. We are divided. Some teach that you can be free from sin, while others teach that we are all slaves to it. Our church is half slave and half free. The more conviction both sides have, the greater is the guarantee of a civil war. And that is precisely what we have been experiencing in Adventism for several years.


Dividing Doctrines


Satan exults as he sees how successfully his different methods have worked to divide God’s people, through the years. One of his first major efforts was with the pantheism crisis around the turn of the century. By these theories he attempted to destroy the distinctive doctrine of the investigative judgment. Sister White wrote: “There are already coming in among our people spiritualistic teachings that will undermine the faith of those who give heed to them . . . I have seen the results of these fanciful views of God in apostasy, spiritualism and free-loveism. These theories followed to their logical conclusion, sweep away the whole Christian economy. They do away with the necessity for the atonement [which is a part of the investigative judgment].” Testimonies, vol. 8, 291, 292.

About the same time as the pantheism crisis, Albion Ballinger, one of our leading ministers, propagated the theory that Christ went into the Most Holy Place in 31 A.D. It did away with the doctrine of the investigative judgment, which began in 1844 when Jesus went into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. In 1905, Ellen White condemned the theory as contrary to the Bible, and, because of her opposition and that of other leading ministers, it failed to develop in the Adventist Church at that time. However, the devil kept trying until finally he was successful in persuading a large number of our people to accept this theory!

The teachings that were introduced by Desmond Ford in the 1960s and 1970s have their origin in Ballinger’s theories. It is the same old heresy and if you accept it you must throw out the investigative judgment and you will end up out of the truth. The Bible teaches that we are judged on the basis of our works. For every person, the deciding question will be, “Has this person kept My law?” The answer to that question proves whether or not you have been born again. If you have been born again, the Holy Spirit will give you the power to keep God’s law. (See Romans 8; 1 John 5; 1 John 3; Romans 6). You do not earn salvation by obedience. Salvation is a gift. But you cannot receive the gift if you have not been born again.

Ford’s teaching, which so influenced Adventism, and brought many to reject the investigative judgment, has born fruit and today the natural results—sinful indulgence—are rampant in Adventism. Thrown out with the doctrine of the investigative judgment is the standard by which we will be judged. Instead of teaching that one must keep God’s law to be saved, Adventist pastors now tell people that they can have the assurance of salvation, while they are living in sin, breaking God’s law. This presumption is plainly denounced by God. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 155.)

These false doctrines have brought a division and civil war to the house. Those who have stood for the truth have been ridiculed and disfellowshipped. And the civil war will go on! Abraham Lincoln later said about the civil war in our nation: “It is possible that the Lord will let it go on until every drop of blood that has been extracted by the lash will be extracted again by the sword.” We do not know how long our war will go on. That is in God’s hands. But we cannot retreat from it. It will continue until there is only one side left and God’s truth has prevailed.

How fittingly inspiration describes our current condition: “The prevailing spirit of our time is that of infidelity and apostasy—a spirit of pretended illumination because of a knowledge of the truth but in reality of the blindest presumption. There is a spirit of opposition to the plain word of God and to the testimony of His Spirit. There is a spirit of idolatrous exaltation of mere human reason above the revealed wisdom of God . . . But the spirit of antichrist is prevailing to such an extent as never before . . . The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan clothed in angel robes will deceive if possible the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing [that is happening]. Those who have rendered supreme homage to ‘science falsely so called,’ will not be the leaders then. Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 79, 80.

After describing these events, Mrs. White next describes the Sunday law crisis which she says will take place shortly thereafter. (See Ibid., 81.) Are we near this crisis? If you do not think we are near a Sunday law crisis, dear reader, you need to pray that the Lord will open your eyes! Signs all around tell us that it is right at the door.

It is through this crisis that the Lord is going to solve the problem of the divided house. “The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness . . . There are few really consecrated men among us, few who have fought and conquered in the battle with self.” Ibid., 81, 82.

What a solemn warning this is. We must ask ourselves, “Have I gained the victory over self? Have my words and thoughts been brought under the control of Christ?” A Christian does not allow his thoughts to run riot on anything that the imagination seems to suggest. The temptations the devil throws in at every step must be resisted. The devil tries in every possible way to get you involved in sinful thoughts. You cannot go to the grocery store without seeing lurid pictures. Billboards, television programs, videos, magazines, books, pictures and music all carry the devil’s messages. He works so hard in this line because he knows that if our thoughts are sinful, our feelings will also be sinful. And these together make up our moral character. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 310.)

Another way the devil controls people is through their appetite. Have you gained the victory over appetite? This does not mean going to a monastery or a convent and fasting until you nearly kill yourself. That is what Ellen White calls voluntary humility and rigorous severe treatment of the body that is absolutely worthless. Paul says do not have anything to do with it. (See Colossians 2.) Victory over appetite involves eating temperately of good food, and eating for strength and not for drunkenness. Appetite is under our control, we are not controlled by appetite. This is a part of the battle that we must fight in order to conquer self.\


Liberalism and Kingly Power


Liberalism denies that we can win this battle. By denying such fundamental doctrines as the investigative judgment, the Three Angels’ Messages and the sanctuary truth, the power of the gospel is limited. Many will be lost because they have followed these liberal leaders and have been rocked into carnal security while they are enslaved to sin.

However, liberalism is not the devil’s final attempt to divide and conquer the people of God. Around the turn of the century, as Adventism was facing pantheism and the Ballenger crises, the General Conference leaders believed that they needed a strong centralized controlling power to safeguard against all the heresies that were dividing the church. Elder A. G. Daniels and his associates held that the General Conference should control all contributions (meaning all the power and decision making capabilities). This was one of the major disagreements between Elder Daniels and Sutherland, Magan and Ellen White when the self-supporting school in Madison, Tennessee was started.

Through this attempt to control the work by kingly power, the devil was very successful in dividing the house. This sin, which is all too commonly found among our ranks today, goes all the way back to the devil’s original sin in Heaven. He wanted to control others; in fact, he wanted to be a part of the godhead. Ellen White says God refused to let Lucifer be part of the godhead because he was not qualified. But that is what the great controversy started over. He wanted to be like God, but he was a created being.

The devil leads men to seek for the same thing. The result is always terrible trouble. God’s counsel says, “It is right for the workers to counsel together as brethren; but that man who endeavors to lead his fellow workers to seek his individual counsel and advice regarding the details of their work, and to learn their duty from him, is in a dangerous position . . . For years there has been a growing tendency for men placed in positions of responsibility to lord it over God’s heritage . . . In 1905, I had to bear my testimony of warning against it . . . I write thus fully because I have been shown that ministers and people are tempted more and more to trust in finite man for wisdom, and make flesh their arm. To conference presidents, and men in responsible places, I bear this message: Break the bands and fetters that have been placed upon God’s people.” Testimonies to Ministers, 477–480.

God’ people have been shackled, they have been in slavery. The house has been divided in parts—half slave and half free. How long can a house stand in this divided condition? The Bible says not long. The sure result will be civil war, and it will go on until God’s people have been set free.

Does this mean, then, that we should all work independently, refusing to work with others because we might lose our total independence? Inspiration answers: “The Lord desires His workers to counsel together, not to move independently . . . In this work there is no such thing as every man’s being independent . . .This does not authorize any one man to undertake the work of ordering his brethren arbitrarily to do as he thinks advisable, irrespective of their own personal convictions of duty . . . Organizations, institutions, unless kept by the power of God, will work under Satan’s dictation to bring men under the control of men, and fraud and guile will bear the semblance of zeal for truth and for the advancement of the kingdom of God.” Ibid., 485–494.

It is in this context that she said that we are going down the track of Romanism. When you place men under the control of other men, you follow the track of Romanism. “All of Satan’s plans make of some men the slaves of other men.” That is the way the devil has worked from the beginning.


One Solution


How is this problem of a divided house to be solved? Many of God’s people are discouraged. They see civil war going on and they see divisions because of apostasy, fanaticism and kingly power, exercised in the church, and they are ready to give up. But there is a solution—and that solution can be found at the foot of the cross. There we see a lesson in humility, and a lesson in the denial of self and sacrifice for the salvation of others. As our heart is broken, we are freed from the desire to rule others.

In the cross there is also a lesson as to where this division, that was begun by Satan, would lead. You see, the division is also a division of the mind that causes a person to have sympathy for both sides. The problem of the divided house cannot be solved as long as people have divided minds.

An example of this is the angels who did not choose to follow Lucifer. Until the cross, a trace of sympathy lingered in their hearts for Lucifer. They said, “We are on God’s side but we still have some sympathy for the other side.” But at the cross, “Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted. Whatever attitude he might assume, he could no longer await the angels as they came from the heavenly courts, and before them accuse Christ’s brethren of being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin. The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken.” The Desire of Ages, 761.


A Division No Longer


The time is coming when there will no longer be a division in our house. The civil war will continue until one side or the other comes out conqueror. And we know that God will win the battle. He will set His people free and He does not need the majority to do it. He did not need the majority in Gideon’s nor in Jonathan’s time. He just needs a few people that are totally committed to Him.

As in the days of Christ, the house that is divided will not stand. It will perish, and every one in the house will go all the way to one side or the other. “In the day of final judgment every lost soul will understand the nature of his own rejection of truth. The cross will be presented, and its real bearing will be seen by every mind that has been blinded by transgression. Before the vision of Calvary with its mysterious victim, sinners will stand condemned. Every lying excuse will be swept away. Human apostasy will appear in its heinous character. Men will see what their choice has been. Every question of truth and error in the longstanding controversy will then have been made plain. In the judgment of the universe, God will stand clear of blame for the existence or continuance of evil. It will be demonstrated that the divine decrees are not accessory to sin. There was no defect in God’s government, no cause for disaffection. When the thoughts of all hearts shall be revealed, both the loyal and the rebellious will unite in declaring, ‘Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? . . . for Thy judgments are made manifest.’ Rev. 15:3, 4.” The Desire of Ages, 5.

God will solve the problem of a divided house, but not everyone will be saved. Your salvation depends on which side you decide to join. Have you learned the lesson of the cross? The cross solved the problem of the divided house for the angels. It solved the problem of the divided house for the apostles. And only if we come to the cross and understand what it means will the problem of the divided house in Adventism be solved. Are you willing to endure whatever you need to endure so that you can be on God’s side of the question? That is what I want and that is my prayer for you.


Editorial — The Fruits of the Spirit

If Jesus is dwelling in our hearts (John 15:4), then all the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing. (See The Desire of Ages, 676.) But if our hearts are under the control of Satan, one or more of the seventeen works of the flesh, listed in Galatians 5:19–21, will be seen. “Those in whose hearts Christ abides will show in their lives the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness. Those who are controlled by the enemy will be filled with envy, strife, malice, and evil-surmising.” Upward Look, 210.

If any of these works of the flesh are evident in us then we are under the control of the evil one. We must pray for a genuine conversion and to be delivered from the devil’s power. Just as surely as you are converted every day, you will be fruit-bearing branches—branches full of rich clusters of fruit. And what kind of fruit? The fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness, meekness, faith, temperance, and godliness. These are the clusters which grow on that tree. If everyone of us is converted, if we remain in connection with the Vine every day, we shall bear the fruits of His character. (See Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 70, 71.)

The works of the flesh are what make the home miserable: “Unless we control our words and temper, we are slaves to Satan. We are in subjection to him. He leads us captive. All jangling and unpleasant, impatient, fretful words are an offering presented to his Satanic majesty. And it is a costly offering, more costly than any sacrifice we can make for God, for it destroys the peace and happiness of whole families, destroys health, and is eventually the cause of forfeiting an eternal life of happiness. The restraint which God’s word imposes upon us is for our own interest. It increases the happiness of our families and of all around us. It refines our taste, sanctifies our judgment, and brings peace of mind, and, in the end, everlasting life.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 310.

In 1886, Ellen White wrote an article in the Review and Herald about these fruits of the Spirit. In this article are the following words of encouragement: “Any one can be just what he chooses to be. Character is not obtained by receiving an education. Character is not obtained by amassing wealth, or by gaining worldly honor. Character is not obtained by trying to have others fight the battle of life for us. It must be sought, worked for, fought for; and it requires a purpose, a will, a determination. To form a character which God will approve, requires persevering effort. It will take a continual resisting of the powers of darkness to stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel, to be approved in the day of Judgment, and have our names retained in the book of life. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering. Are you in a position where you do not possess these graces? Just as soon as any one crosses you, or offends you, does there arise in your heart a feeling of bitterness, a spirit of rebellion? If this is the spirit you have, bear in mind that you have not the spirit of Christ. It is another spirit. It is the Satan side of your character that is ruling rather than the spirit of Christ. We want a spirit of gentleness.

“We are to believe in God and His promises, and in His power to help and save us. We must believe Him; for He is well able and more than willing to help us in time of trouble, to comfort us in times of affliction and distress, and to deliver us out of all our trials and difficulties. Troubles and difficulties will come, and we must confide in God.

“Christ says: ‘I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.’ How?—By the cultivation of the graces of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith. We want the living faith that will grasp the strong arm of Jehovah. Christ said: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’

“We all need the graces of the Spirit of God in the heart. God help us to seek for this. Do not rest until you have received it. Break the chains of darkness asunder. Come where the living waters flow, and drink of salvation.” Review and Herald, December 21, 1886.