Bible Study Guides – Gather the wheat into My barn

December 19 – 25, 1999

MEMORY VERSE: ‘And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ Revelation 7: 13 – 14.

STUDY HELP: Last Day Events, pages 43 – 62.


‘To-day, as in the past, all heaven is watching to see the church develop in the true science of salvation. Christ has bought the church with His blood, and He longs to clothe her with salvation. He has made her the depository of sacred truth, and He wishes her to partake of His glory. But in order that the church may be an educating power in the world, she must co-operate with the church in heaven. Her members must represent Christ. Their hearts must be open to receive every ray of light that God may see fit to impart. As they receive this light, they will be enabled to receive and impart more and more of the rays of the Sun of Righteousness.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, December 4th, 1900.

‘Put on the whole armour of God’

  •  How does Paul describe the warfare in which the church is engaged? Ephesians 6: 12.

NOTE: ‘The church is God’s fortress, His city of refuge, which He holds in a revolted world. Any betrayal of the church is treachery to Him who has bought mankind with the blood of His only-begotten Son. From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the generation in which they lived. These sentinels gave the message of warning; and when they were called to lay off their armour, others took up the work. God brought these witnesses into covenant relation with Himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth His angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people.’ Acts of the Apostles, page 11.

  • How is the individual Christian to be prepared for this warfare? Ephesians 6: 11, 13 – 18.

NOTE: ‘If we overcome our trials, and get victory over the temptations of Satan, then we endure the time of our faith, which is much more precious than gold, and are stronger, and better prepared to meet the next. But if we sink down, and give way to the temptations of Satan, we shall grow weaker, and get no reward for the trial, and shall not be so well prepared to meet the next. In this way we shall grow weaker, and weaker, until we are led captive by Satan at his will. We must have on the whole armour of God, and be ready at any moment, for a conflict with the powers of darkness. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God, and agonise with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty; but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. O, that all could see these things in their true light, and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus. Then would Israel move forward, strong in God, and in the power of His might.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, September 9th, 1849.

‘The seal of the living God’

  • Before the final catastrophe comes on the world, how will God show His recognition of His people? Revelation 7: 1 – 3.

NOTE: ‘Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads, it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved, just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come.’ Last Day Events, pages 219 – 220.

  • How does Paul describe this shaking? Hebrews 12: 26 – 27.

NOTE: ‘The mighty shaking has commenced and will go on, and all will be shaken out who are not willing to take a bold and unyielding stand for the truth and to sacrifice for God and His cause. The angel said, “Think ye that any will be compelled to sacrifice? No, no. It must be a freewill offering. It will take all to buy the field.” I cried to God to spare His people, some of whom were fainting and dying. Then I saw that the judgements of the Almighty were speedily coming, and I begged of the angel to speak in his language to the people. Said he, “All the thunders and lightnings of Mount Sinai would not move those who will not be moved by the plain truths of the Word of God, neither would an angel’s message awake them.” Early Writings, page 50.

  • What promise do God’s faithful people have that none of them will be lost in the shaking? Amos 9: 9.

NOTE: ‘Jesus and holy angels are bringing up and uniting God’s people into one faith, that they may all have one mind and one judgement. And while they are being brought into the unity of the faith, to see eye to eye upon the solemn, important truths for this time, Satan is at work to oppose their advancement. Jesus is at work through His instruments to gather and unite. Satan works through his instruments to scatter and divide. “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” God is now testing and proving His people. Character is being developed. Angels are weighing moral worth, and keeping a faithful record of all the acts of the children of men. Among God’s professed people are corrupt hearts; but they will be tested and proved. That God who reads the hearts of everyone, will bring to light hidden things of darkness where they are often least suspected, that stumbling blocks which have hindered the progress of truth may be removed, and God have a clean and holy people to declare His statutes and judgements. The Captain of our salvation leads His people on step by step, purifying and fitting them for translation, and leaving in the rear those who are disposed to draw off from the body, who are not willing to be led, and are satisfied with their own righteousness.’ Testimonies Volume 1, pages 332 – 333.

‘There shall no evil befall thee

  • How is the final crisis described in the Book of Daniel and what precious promise is made to God’s people? Daniel 12: 1.

NOTE: ‘The “time of trouble, such as never was,” is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God. “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job” were in the land, “as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14:20.’ Great Controversy, page 622.

  • How is that time described in the Book of Revelation? Revelation 16: 1 – 21.

NOTE: ‘When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9, 10), will be poured out. The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgements which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of God’s people. Says the Revelator, in describing those terrific scourges: “There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image.” The sea “became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” And “the rivers and fountains of waters . . . became blood.” Terrible as these inflictions are, God’s justice stands fully vindicated. The angel of God declares: “Thou art righteous, O Lord, . . . because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.”’ Great Controversy, page 627.

  • What precious promises will comfort God’s people during that fearful time? Psalm 91: 1 – 16.

NOTE: ‘The time of trouble is just before us; and then stern necessity will require the people of God to deny self, and to eat merely enough to sustain life; but God will prepare us for that time. In that fearful hour our necessity will be God’s opportunity to impart His strengthening power, and to sustain His people.’ Testimonies Volume 1, page 206.

‘The Lord has shown me repeatedly that it is contrary to the Bible to make any provision for our temporal wants in the time of trouble. I saw that if the saints had food laid up by them or in the field in the time of trouble, when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it would be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water will be sure at that time, and that we shall not lack or suffer hunger; for God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness. If necessary, He would send ravens to feed us, as He did to feed Elijah, or rain manna from heaven, as He did for the Israelites.’ Early Writings, page 56.

  • What counsel for our present life will prepare us for that time? Matthew 6: 25 – 34.

NOTE: ‘Much unnecessary care and anxiety is felt in regard to our future, concerning what we shall eat and drink, and wherewithal we shall be clothed… Our Saviour would not only have us discern the love of God displayed in the beautiful flowers about us, but He would have us learn from them lessons of simplicity, and of perfect faith and confidence in our Heavenly Father. If God cares to make these inanimate things so beautiful, that will be cut down and perish in a day, how much more careful will He be to supply the needs of His obedient children, whose lives may be as enduring as eternity.’ Pamphlet 69, page 17.

‘The Lord has shown me that some of His children would fear when they see the price of food rising and they would buy food and lay it by for the time of trouble. Then in a time of need, I saw them go to their food and look at it, and it had bred worms and was full of living creatures and not fit for use.’ Maranatha, page 181.

‘They which have come out of great tribulation’

  •  What vision was John given of those who will come through this great tribulation? Revelation 7: 9 – 17.

NOTE: ‘As in the days of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, so in the closing period of earth’s history the Lord will work mightily in behalf of those who stand steadfastly for the right. He who walked with the Hebrew worthies in the fiery furnace will be with His followers wherever they are. His abiding presence will comfort and sustain. In the midst of the time of trouble, trouble such as has not been since there was a nation, His chosen ones will stand unmoved. Satan with all the hosts of evil cannot destroy the weakest of God’s saints. Angels that excel in strength will protect them, and in their behalf Jehovah will reveal Himself as a “God of gods,” able to save to the uttermost those who have put their trust in Him.’ Prophets & Kings, page 513.

  • When the whole world is united against the people of God, who will stand up for them? Daniel 12: 1.

NOTE: ‘In the time of trouble, Satan stirs up the wicked, and they encircle the people of God to destroy them. But he does not know that “pardon” has been written opposite their names in the books of heaven. He does not know that the command has been given, “Take away the filthy garments” from them, clothe them with “change of raiment,” and set “a fair mitre” upon their heads. [Zechariah 3: 1 – 5] The promise made to Joshua is made to all the remnant people of God: “If thou wilt walk in My ways [not in your own ways], and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” Who are these that stand by? They are the angels of God. Could our eyes be opened, as were those of the servant of Elisha at Dothan, we should see evil angels all around us, urging their presence upon us, and watching for an opportunity to tempt and overthrow us; we should also see holy angels guarding us, and with their light and power pressing back the evil angels.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, November 19th, 1908.

‘So shall we ever be with the Lord’

  •  What precious promises will be fulfilled when Jesus returns? Isaiah 25: 8.

NOTE: ‘From garrets, from hovels, from dungeons, from scaffolds, from mountains and deserts, from the caves of the earth and the caverns of the sea, Christ will gather His children to Himself. On earth they have been destitute, afflicted, and tormented. Millions have gone down to the grave loaded with infamy because they refused to yield to the deceptive claims of Satan. By human tribunals the children of God have been adjudged the vilest criminals. But the day is near when “God is judge Himself.” (Psalm 50: 6). Then the decisions of earth shall be reversed. “The rebuke of His people shall He take away.” Isaiah 25: 8. White robes will be given to every one of them. (Revelation 6: 11.) And “they shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord.” Isaiah 62: 12. Whatever crosses they have been called to bear, whatever losses they have sustained, whatever persecution they have suffered, even to the loss of their temporal life, the children of God are amply recompensed. “They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” Revelation 22: 4.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, pages 179 – 180.

  • What will be the cry of God’s people when they see Jesus coming? Isaiah 25: 9.

NOTE: ‘With pity and compassion, with tender yearning and love, the Lord is looking upon His tempted and tried people. For a time the oppressors will be permitted to triumph over those who keep God’s holy commandments. All are given the same opportunity that was granted to the first great rebel to reveal the spirit that moves them to action. It is God’s purpose that all shall be tested and tried, that He may see whether they are loyal or disloyal to the laws that govern the kingdom of heaven. To the last, God permits Satan to reveal himself as a liar, an accuser, and a murderer. Thus the final triumph of His people is made more marked, more glorious, more full and complete. The words of the prophet will then be fulfilled, “The day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come.” The song of the Lord’s people will then be: “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: He sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; and He is high above the people.”’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, December 4th, 1900.

Bible Study Guides – To make ready a people prepared for the Lord

December 12 – 18, 1999

MEMORY VERSE: ‘Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.’ Revelation 19: 7 – 8.

STUDY HELP: Christ’s Object Lessons, pages 405 – 421.


‘In both the Old and the New Testament, the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people. To the mind of Jesus the gladness of the wedding festivities pointed forward to the rejoicing of that day when He shall bring home His bride to the Father’s house, and the redeemed with the Redeemer shall sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb. He says, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; . . . but thou shalt be called My Delight; . . . for the Lord delighteth in thee.” “He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” Isaiah 62: 5, 4, margin; Zephaniah 3: 17. When the vision of heavenly things was granted to John the apostle, he wrote: “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.” “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19: 6, 7, 9.’ Desire of Ages, page 151.

 ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord’

  •  What work was necessary in preparation for the first advent of Christ? Luke 1: 17.

NOTE: ‘John was to reform the children of Israel, and turn them to the Lord. He had the promise that God would work with him. He was “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” John was a representative of the people of God in the last days, to whom God has committed important and solemn truths. The world at large are given to gluttony and the indulgence of base passions. The light of health reform is opened before the people of God at this day, that they may see the necessity of holding their appetites and passions under control of the higher powers of the mind. This is also necessary, that they may have mental strength and clearness to discern the sacred chain of truth, and turn from the bewitching errors and pleasing fables that are flooding the world. Their work is to present before the people the pure doctrine of the Bible. Hence health reform finds its place in the preparatory work for the second appearing of Christ.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, January 7th, 1873.

  • What work must the church accomplish before Christ can return? Matthew 24: 14.

NOTE: ‘The truth will be proclaimed in clear, unmistakable language. As a people we must prepare the way of the Lord under the overruling guidance of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is to be given in its purity. The stream of living water is to deepen and widen in its course. In all fields, nigh and afar off, men will be called from the plough and from the more common commercial business vocations that largely occupy the mind, and will be educated in connection with men of experience. As they learn to labour effectively they will proclaim the truth with power. Through most wonderful workings of divine providence, mountains of difficulty will be removed and cast into the sea. The message that means so much to the dwellers upon the earth will be heard and understood. Men will know what is truth. Onward and still onward the work will advance until the whole earth shall have been warned, and then shall the end come.’ Testimonies Volume 9, page 96.

‘Having the everlasting gospel to preach’

  • What message is needed to prepare the way of the Lord? Revelation 14: 6 – 12.

NOTE: ‘The Lord God of heaven will not send upon the world His judgements for disobedience and transgression until He has sent His watchmen to give the warning. He will not close up the period of probation until the message shall be more distinctly proclaimed. The law of God is to be magnified; its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character, that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel.’ Testimonies Volume 6, page 19.                             –

  • What sort of person is needed to prepare the way of the Lord? Luke 1: 15 – 17.

NOTE: ‘John separated himself from friends and from the luxuries of life. The simplicity of his dress, a garment woven of camel’s hair, was a standing rebuke to the extravagance and display of the Jewish priests, and of the people generally. His diet, purely vegetable, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed. The prophet Malachi declares: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things. The self-denial, humility, and temperance required of the righteous, whom God especially leads and blesses, is to be presented to the people in contrast to the extravagant, health-destroying habits of those who live in this degenerate age. God has shown that health reform is as closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is with the body. There is nowhere to be found so great a cause of physical and moral degeneracy as a neglect of this important subject. Those who indulge appetite and passion, and close their eyes to the light for fear they will see sinful indulgences which they are unwilling to forsake, are guilty before God. Whoever turns from the light in one instance hardens his heart to disregard the light upon other matters.’ Testimonies Volume 3, page 62.

‘The harvest of the earth is ripe’

  • What two harvests will take place when Jesus returns? Revelation 14: 14 – 20.

NOTE: ‘The tares are permitted to grow among the wheat, to have all the advantage of sun and shower; but in the time of harvest ye shall “return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” Malachi 3: 18. Christ Himself will decide who are worthy to dwell with the family of heaven. He will judge every man according to his words and his works. Profession is as nothing in the scale. It is character that decides destiny. The Saviour does not point forward to a time when all the tares become wheat. The wheat and tares grow together until the harvest, the end of the world. Then the tares are bound in bundles to be burned, and the wheat is gathered into the garner of God. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Then “the Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.”’ Christ’s Object Lessons, page 74 – 75.

  • How is the ripeness of God’s people described? Ephesians 4: 13 – 15.

NOTE: ‘“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5: 22, 23. This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life. “When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3: 12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, page 68 – 69.

  • How is the ripeness of the follower of Satan described? Genesis 6: 5 – 6.

NOTE: ‘I was shown the state of the world, that it is fast filling up its cup of iniquity. Violence and crime of every description are filling our world, and Satan is using every means to make crime and debasing vice popular. The youth who walk the streets are surrounded with handbills and notices of crime and sin, presented in some novel or to be acted at some theatre. Their minds are educated into familiarity with sin. The course pursued by the base and vile is kept before them in the periodicals of the day, and everything which can excite curiosity and arouse the animal passions is brought before them in thrilling and exciting stories. The literature that proceeds from corrupted intellects poisons the minds of thousands in our world. Sin does not appear exceeding sinful. They hear and read so much of debasing crime and vileness that the once tender conscience which would have recoiled with horror becomes so blunted that it can dwell upon the low and vile sayings and actions of men with greedy interest. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.”’ Testimonies Volume 3, pages 471 – 472.

‘Ye shall receive power’

  •  How was the early church empowered to accomplish its task of taking the Gospel to the world? Acts 1: 8.

NOTE: ‘On the day of Pentecost the Spirit was given. Christ’s witnesses proclaimed the power of the risen Saviour. The light of heaven penetrated the darkened minds of those who had been deceived by the enemies of Christ. They now saw Him exalted to be “a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5: 31. They saw Him encircled with the glory of heaven, with infinite treasures in His hands to bestow upon all who would turn from their rebellion. As the apostles set forth the glory of the Only-Begotten of the Father, three thousand souls were convicted. They were made to see themselves as they were, sinful and polluted, and Christ as their friend and Redeemer. Christ was lifted up, Christ was glorified, through the power of the Holy Spirit resting upon men. By faith these believers saw Him as the One who had borne humiliation, suffering, and death that they might not perish but have everlasting life. The revelation of Christ by the Spirit brought to them a realising sense of His power and majesty, and they stretched forth their hands to Him by faith, saying, “I believe.” Then the glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost bounds of the inhabited world. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Believers were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. The prophecy was fulfilled, The weak shall be “as David,” and the house of David “as the angel of the Lord.” Zechariah 12: 8. Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of benevolence and love. One interest prevailed. One object swallowed up all others. All hearts beat in harmony. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labour for the enlargement of His kingdom. “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul. . . . With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4: 32, 33. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2: 47. The Spirit of Christ animated the whole congregation; for they had found the pearl of great price. These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the Former Rain, but the Latter Rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fullness by the Holy Spirit’s power.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, pages 120 – 121.

  • What great change had taken place in the hearts of the disciples? Acts 2: 1. (Compare Mark 9: 34, Luke 22: 24.)

NOTE: ‘By the grace of Christ the apostles were made what they were. It was sincere devotion and humble, earnest prayer that brought them into close communion with Him. They sat together with Him in heavenly places. They realised the greatness of their debt to Him. By ear nest, persevering prayer they obtained the endowment of the Holy Spirit, and then they went forth, weighted with the burden of saving souls, filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross. And under their labours many souls were brought from darkness to light, and many churches were raised up.’ Testimonies Volume 7, page 32.

‘It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, March 2nd, 1897.

‘The Latter Rain’

  •  What promise is given of a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power in the last days? Acts 2: 17.

NOTE: ‘The first disciples went forth preaching the Word. They revealed Christ in their lives. And the Lord worked with them, “confirming the word with signs following.” These disciples prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord. They believed Christ’s promise that the blessing would be given, and they prayed in faith. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely; they were weighted with the burden for the salvation of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day. So it may be now. Instead of man’s speculations, let the Word of God be preached. Let Christians put away their dissensions, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them in faith ask for the blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in apostolic days was the “former rain,” and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, November 19th, 1908.

  • What reaction among some of the Jews at Pentecost is a warning for God’s people today? Acts 2: 13.

NOTE: ‘Only those who are living up to the light they have, will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognise the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, March 2nd, 1897.

‘Them that had gotten the victory’

  •  What work must be done by and for those who will experience the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord? Acts 3: 19 – 20.

NOTE: ‘I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of “refreshing” and the “latter rain” to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father. Before this time the awfully solemn declaration has gone forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” I saw that none could share the “refreshing” unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.’ Early Writings, page 72.

  • What promise and hope does the church have that this work will be accomplished by the time that Christ returns? 1 John 3: 2 – 6.

NOTE: ‘The exhortation of the apostle is, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” It is by engaging in this work, and by exercising living faith in God, that we are to perfect Christian character. The work of cleansing the soul-temple and preparing for Christ’s appearing must be done while we are in this world of temptation. Just as Christ finds us in character when He comes, so we shall remain.’ Historical Sketches, page 134.

‘We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes, He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honour, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.’ Testimonies Volume 2, page 355.

Bible Study Guides – And knowest not

December 5 – 11, 1999

MEMORY VERSE: ‘I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.’ Revelation 3: 18.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies Volume 4, pages 87 – 90.


‘I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people. I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified.’ Early Writings, page 270.

 ‘The Faithful and True Witness’

  •  Who is the One who addresses the church of the Laodiceans? Revelation 3: 14.

NOTE: ‘The names of the seven churches are symbolic of the church in different periods of the Christian Era. The number indicates completeness, and is symbolic of the fact that the messages extend to the end of time, while the symbols used reveal the condition of the church at different periods in the history of the world.’ Acts of the Apostles, page 585.

‘The Holy Spirit… comes to the world as Christ’s representative. He is not only the faithful and true witness to the Word of God, but He is the searcher of the thoughts and purposes of the heart. He is the source to which we must look for efficiency in the restoration of the moral image of God in man… His transforming influence was to bring even the thoughts into harmony with the will of God, and establish a living connection between earth and heaven.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, October 8th, 1908.

  • What solemn statement does the faithful and true Witness make to the Laodiceans, and all the churches? Revelation 3: 15, first part. (Compare Revelation 2: 2, 9, 13, 19; 3: 1, 8.)

NOTE: ‘“I know thy works”(not thy profession), says the True Witness. God is now sifting His people, testing their purposes and their motives. Many will be but as chaff, no wheat, no value in them.’ Testimonies Volume 4, page 51.

‘It will be found in the day of final settlement that God was acquainted with everyone by name. There is an unseen Witness to every action of the life. “I know thy works,” says He that “walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” It is known what opportunities have been slighted, how untiring have been the efforts of the Good Shepherd to search out those who were wandering in crooked ways, and to bring them back to the path of safety and peace.’ Testimonies Volume 5, page 435.

‘Neither cold nor hot’

  •  How does the faithful and true Witness describe the spiritual state of the Laodicean church? Revelation 3: 15.

NOTE: ‘Satan is willing that you should be Christians in name, for you can suit his purpose better. If you have a form and not true Godliness, he can use you to decoy others into the same self-deceived way. Some poor souls will look to you, instead of looking to the Bible standard, and will come up no higher. They are as good as you, and are satisfied.’ Testimonies Volume 1, page 162.

‘Were you cold, there would be some hope that you would be converted; but where self-righteousness girds one about, instead of the righteousness of Christ, the deception is so difficult to be seen, and the self-righteousness so hard to be put away, that the case is the most difficult to reach. An unconverted, godless sinner stands in a more favourable condition than such.’ Testimonies Volume 2, page 175.

  • How does the faithful and true Witness describe His reaction to those who are spiritually lukewarm? Revelation 3: 16.

NOTE: ‘The True Witness hates this lukewarmness. He loathes the indifference of this class of persons. Said He: “I would thou wert cold or hot.” Like lukewarm water, they are nauseous to His taste. They are neither unconcerned nor selfishly stubborn. They do not engage thoroughly and heartily in the work of God, identifying themselves with its interests; but they hold aloof and are ready to leave their posts when their worldly personal interests demand it. The internal work of grace is wanting in their hearts.’ Testimonies Volume 4, page 87.

‘This record is made for the special benefit of those who are living in these last days. Many who have had great light have not appreciated and improved it, as it was their privilege to do. They have not practised the truth. And because of this the Lord will bring in those who have lived up to all the light they have had. Those who have been privileged with opportunities to understand the truth, and who have not obeyed its principles, will be swayed by Satan’s temptations for self-advancement. They will deny the principles of truth in practice and bring reproach upon the cause of God. Christ declares that He will spew these out of His mouth, and leave them to follow their own course of action to distinguish themselves. This course of action does indeed make them prominent as men that are unfaithful householders. The Lord will give His message to those who have walked in accordance with the light they have had, and will recognise them as true and faithful, according to the measurement of God. These men will take the place of those who, having light and knowledge, have walked not in the way of the Lord, but in the imagination of their own unsanctified hearts.’ Spalding-Magan Collection of Unpublished Testimonies, page 207.

‘And knowest not…’

  •  How does the Laodicean church regard itself? Revelation 3: 17, first part.

NOTE: ‘What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct. It is difficult for those who feel secure in their attainments, and who believe themselves to be rich in spiritual knowledge, to receive the message which declares that they are deceived and in need of every spiritual grace. The unsanctified heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” I was shown that many are flattering themselves that they are good Christians, who have not a ray of light from Jesus. They have not a living experience for themselves in the divine life.’ Testimonies Volume 3, page 252.

‘Especially should our ministers beware of indolence and pride, which are apt to grow out of a consciousness that we have the truth and strong arguments which our opponents cannot meet; and while the truths which we handle are mighty to the pulling down of the strongholds of the powers of darkness, there is danger of neglecting personal piety, purity of heart, and entire consecration to God. There is danger of their feeling that they are rich and increased with goods, while they lack the essential qualifications of Christians.’ Testimonies Volume 3, page 210.

  • How does the faithful and true Witness view the Laodicean church? Revelation 3: 17, last part.

NOTE: ‘I have been shown that unbelief in the testimonies of warning, encouragement, and reproof is shutting away the light from God’s people. Unbelief is closing their eyes so that they are ignorant of their true condition. The True Witness thus describes their blindness: “And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Faith in the soon coming of Christ is waning. “My Lord delayeth His coming” is not only said in the heart, but expressed in words and most decidedly in works. Stupidity in this watching time is sealing the senses of God’s people as to the signs of the times. The terrible iniquity which abounds calls for the greatest diligence and for the living testimony, to keep sin out of the church. Faith has been decreasing to a fearful degree, and it is only by exercise that it can increase.’ Testimonies Volume 3, page 255 – 256.

‘I counsel thee…’

  •  To restore the Laodicean church, what precious counsel does the faithful and true Witness give? Revelation 3: 18.

NOTE: ‘The True Witness counsels us to buy of Him gold tried in the fire, white raiment, and eyesalve. The gold here recommended as having been tried in the fire is faith and love. It makes the heart rich; for it has been purged until it is pure, and the more it is tested, the more brilliant is its lustre. The white raiment is purity of character, the righteousness of Christ imparted to the sinner. This is indeed a garment of heavenly texture, that can be bought only of Christ for a life of willing obedience. The eyesalve is that wisdom and grace which enables us to discern between the evil and the good, and to detect sin under any guise. God has given His church eyes which He requires them to anoint with wisdom, that they may see clearly; but many would put out the eyes of the church if they could; for they would not have their deeds come to the light, lest they should be reproved. The divine eyesalve will impart clearness to the understanding. Christ is the depository of all graces. He says: “Buy of Me.”’ Testimonies Volume 4, page 88.

  • In order to buy these precious gifts from the faithful and true Witness, what work are the Laodiceans called upon to engage in? Revelation 3: 19.

NOTE: ‘The Lord has shown me in vision some things concerning the church in its present lukewarm state, which I will relate to you. The church was presented before me in vision. Said the angel to the church: “Jesus speaks to thee, ‘Be zealous and repent.’” This work, I saw, should be taken hold of in earnest. There is something to repent of. Worldly-mindedness, selfishness, and covetousness have been eating out the spirituality and life of God’s people. The danger of God’s people for a few years past has been the love of the world. Out of this have sprung the sins of selfishness and covetousness. The more they get of this world, the more they set their affections on it; and still they reach out for more. Said the angel: “It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Yet many who profess to believe that we are having the last note of warning to the world, are striving with all their energies to place themselves in a position where it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for them to enter the kingdom. These earthly treasures are blessings when rightly used. Those who have them should realise that they are lent them of God and should cheerfully spend their means to advance His cause. They will not lose their reward here. They will be kindly regarded by the angels of God and will also lay up a treasure in heaven. I saw that Satan watches the peculiar, selfish, covetous temperament of some who profess the truth, and he will tempt them by throwing prosperity in their path, offering them the riches of earth. He knows that if they do not overcome their natural temperament, they will stumble and fall by loving mammon, worshipping their idol. Satan’s object is often accomplished. The strong love of the world overcomes, or swallows up, the love of the truth. The kingdoms of the world are offered them, and they eagerly grasp their treasure and think they are wonderfully prospered. Satan triumphs because his plan has succeeded. They have given up the love of God for the love of the world.’ Testimonies Volume 1, pages 141 – 142.

‘Behold I stand at the door’

  •  Where is the faithful and true Witness pictured as standing? Revelation 3: 20, first part.

NOTE: ‘I saw that many have so much rubbish piled up at the door of their heart that they cannot get the door open. Some have difficulties between themselves and their brethren to remove. Others have evil tempers, selfish covetousness, to remove before they can open the door. Others have rolled the world before the door of their heart, which bars the door. All this rubbish must be taken away, and then they can open the door and welcome the Saviour in.’ Testimonies Volume 1, pages 143.

‘The True Witness says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.” Revelation 3: 20. Every warning, reproof, and entreaty in the word of God or through His messengers is a knock at the door of the heart. It is the voice of Jesus asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded, the disposition to open becomes weaker. The impressions of the Holy Spirit if disregarded today, will not be as strong tomorrow. The heart becomes less impressible, and lapses into a perilous unconsciousness of the shortness of life, and of the great eternity beyond. Our condemnation in the judgement will not result from the fact that we have been in error, but from the fact that we have neglected heaven-sent opportunities for learning what is truth.’ Desire of Ages, page 490.

  • What exceeding great and precious promise does the faithful and true Witness give to the one who opens the door to Him? Revelation 3: 20.

NOTE: ‘Oh, how precious was this promise, as it was shown to me in vision! “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Oh, the love, the wondrous love of God! After all our lukewarmness and sins He says: “Return unto Me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings.”’ Testimonies, Volume 1, page 143.

‘So great is the unwillingness of the Lord to leave you, and such is His love toward you, that notwithstanding your life has not been in accordance with His will, and your works and ways have been offensive to Him, the Majesty of heaven condescends to beg the privilege of making you a visit and leaving you His blessing: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.” The mansions in glory are His, and the joy of that heavenly abode; yet He humbles Himself to seek an entrance at the door of your heart, that He may bless you with His light and make you to rejoice in His glory. His work is to seek and to save that which is lost and ready to perish. He wishes to redeem as many as He can from sin and death, that He may elevate them to His throne and give them everlasting life.’ Testimonies Volume 2, page 224.

‘The Saviour… is not repulsed by scorn or turned aside by threatening, but continually seeks the lost ones, saying, “How shall I give thee up?” Hosea 11: 8. Although His love is driven back by the stubborn heart, He returns to plead with greater force, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.” The winning power of His love compels souls to come in. And to Christ they say, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” Psalm 18: 35.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, page 235.

‘To him that overcometh…’

  •  What promise is given to the overcomer? Revelation 3: 21.

NOTE: ‘“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.” We can overcome. Yes; fully, entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape for us, that we might overcome every evil temper, every sin, every temptation, and sit down at last with Him. It is our privilege to have faith and salvation. The power of God has not decreased. His power, I saw, would be just as freely bestowed now as formerly. It is the church of God that have lost their faith to claim, their energy to wrestle, as did Jacob, crying: “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” Enduring faith has been dying away. It must be revived in the hearts of God’s people. There must be a claiming of the blessing of God. Faith, living faith, always bears upward to God and glory; unbelief, downward to darkness and death.’ Testimonies Volume 1, page 144.

  • How can we overcome our sins and weaknesses? Revelation 3: 21, 1 Peter 2: 21 – 23.

NOTE: ‘Ample provisions have been made for all who sincerely, earnestly, and thoughtfully set about the work of perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Strength, grace, and glory have been provided through Christ, to be brought by ministering angels to the heirs of salvation. None are so low, so corrupt and vile, that they cannot find in Jesus, who died for them, strength, purity, and righteousness, if they will put away their sins, cease their course of iniquity, and turn with full purpose of heart to the living God. He is waiting to strip them of their garments, stained and polluted by sin, and to put upon them the white, bright robes of righteousness; and He bids them live and not die. In Him they may flourish. Their branches will not wither nor be fruitless. If they abide in Him, they can draw sap and nourishment from Him, be imbued with His Spirit, walk even as He walked, overcome as He overcame, and be exalted to His own right hand.’ Testimonies Volume 2, pages 453 – 454.

‘We are to seek for the pearl of great price, but not in worldly marts or in worldly ways. The price we are required to pay is not gold or silver, for this belongs to God. Abandon the idea that temporal or spiritual advantages will win for you salvation. God calls for your willing obedience. He asks you to give up your sins. “To him that overcometh,” Christ declares, “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. There are some who seem to be always seeking for the heavenly pearl. But they do not make an entire surrender of their wrong habits. They do not die to self that Christ may live in them. Therefore they do not find the precious pearl. They have not overcome unholy ambition and their love for worldly attractions. They do not take up the cross and follow Christ in the path of self-denial and sacrifice. Almost Christians, yet not fully Christians, they seem near the kingdom of heaven, but they cannot enter there. Almost but not wholly saved, means to be not almost but wholly lost.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, pages 117 – 118.

Bible Study Guides – “Known and Read of All Men”

November 28, 1999 – December 4, 1999

Memory Verse

“Ye are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14.

Study Help: Ministry of Healing, 349–355.


“It is no small matter for a family to stand as representatives of Jesus, keeping God’s law in an unbelieving community. We are required to be living epistles known and read of all men. This position involves fearful responsibilities.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 106.

“The effort to make the home what it should be—a symbol of the home in heaven—prepares us for work in a larger sphere. The education received by showing a tender regard for each other, enables us to know how to reach hearts that need to be taught the principles of true religion.…The truth lived at home makes itself felt in disinterested labor abroad. He who lives Christianity in the home will be a bright and shining light everywhere.” Signs of the Times, September 1, 1898.

“Ye Shall be My Sons and Daughters”

  1. How does God use the family to teach us about our relationship with Him? Ephesians 5:21–31; Matthew 6:9; 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.

note: “He who gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet, performed His first miracle at a marriage festival. In the festal hall where friends and kindred rejoiced together, Christ began His public ministry. Thus He sanctioned marriage, recognizing it as an institution that He Himself had established. He ordained that men and women should be united in holy wedlock, to rear families whose members, crowned with honor, should be recognized as members of the family above. Christ honored the marriage relation by making it also a symbol of the union between Him and His redeemed ones. He Himself is the Bridegroom; the bride is the church.…Christ ‘loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it;…that it should be holy and without blemish.’ ‘So ought men to love their wives.’ Ephesians 5:25–28.” Ministry of Healing, 356.

  1. What does Paul teach about the fathers and children? Ephesians 6:1–4.

note: “The children look to the father for support and guidance; he needs to have a right conception of life and of the influences and associations that surround his family; above all he should be controlled by the love and fear of God and by the teaching of His word, that he may guide the feet of his children in the right way.…The father should do his part toward making home happy.” Ministry of Healing, 390, 392.

“The restoration and uplifting of humanity begins in the home. The work of parents underlies every other. Society is composed of families, and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are ‘the issues of life’ (Proverbs 4:23); and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences.” Ministry of Healing, 349.

  1. What part did his mother and grandmother play in Timothy’s spiritual development? 2 Timothy 1:5.

note: “Especially does responsibility rest upon the mother. She, by whose lifeblood the child is nourished and its physical frame built up, imparts to it also mental and spiritual influences that tend to the shaping of mind and character. It was Jochebed, the Hebrew mother, who, strong in faith, was ‘not afraid of the king’s commandment’ (Hebrews 11:23), of whom was born Moses, the deliverer of Israel. It was Hannah, the woman of prayer and self-sacrifice and heavenly inspiration, who gave birth to Samuel, the heaven-instructed child, the incorruptible judge, the founder of Israel’s sacred schools. It was Elizabeth, the kinswoman and kindred spirit of Mary of Nazareth, who was the mother of the Saviour’s herald.” Ministry of Healing, 372.

  1. How should the divine pattern for our relationships show in our earthly families? Ephesians 4:32; Ephesians 5:1, 2.

note: “‘Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?’ Christ Himself became poor for our sake, that we, through His poverty, might come into possession of eternal riches. He has adopted the poor and the suffering as His own peculiar treasure, and has left them to the care of His church. His disciples are to be stewards of His gifts, and to use His bounties in relieving suffering humanity. They are to feed and clothe and shelter those who have need. Parents are to present to their children the example of being God’s almoners, in order that they in turn may become missionaries, may be tender-hearted, pitiful, kind, patient laborers together with God. They are to work as co-partners with Christ to restore, to heal, to save those who are perishing.” Review and Herald, October 15, 1895.

“Ye Are the Light of the World”

  1. What is God’s purpose for the Christian home? Matthew 5:16.

note: “A well-ordered Christian household is a powerful argument in favor of the reality of the Christian religion—an argument that the infidel cannot gainsay. All can see that there is an influence
at work in the family that affects the children, and that the God of Abraham is with them. If the homes of professed Christians
had a right religious mold, they would exert a mighty influence for good. They would indeed be the ‘light of the world.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 144.

  1. Which young people in the Bible show the missionary power of a godly upbringing? 2 Kings 5:1–5; Daniel 1:1–8.

note: “Missionaries for the Master are best prepared for work abroad in the Christian household, where God is feared, where God is loved, where God is worshipped, where faithfulness has become second nature, where haphazard, careless inattention to duty is not permitted, where quiet communion with God is looked upon as essential to the performance of daily duties.” The Adventist Home, 35.

  1. God had important work for Moses, Samuel and John the Baptist. What does the Bible say about the families in which they were brought up? Exodus 2:1–10; 1 Samuel 1; Luke 1:5, 6.

note: “God designs that the families of earth shall be a symbol of the family in heaven. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God’s plan, are among His most effective agencies for the formation of Christian character and for the advancement of His work. If parents desire to see a different state of things in their families, let them consecrate themselves wholly to God and co-operate with Him in the work whereby a transformation may take place in their households. When our own homes are what they should be, our children will not be allowed to grow up in idleness and indifference to the claims of God in behalf of the needy all about them. As the Lord’s heritage, they will be qualified to take up the work where they are. A light will shine from such homes which will reveal itself in behalf of the ignorant, leading them to the source of all knowledge. An influence will be exerted that will be a power for God and for His truth.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 430.

“Sing Unto God, Sing Praises Unto His Name”

  1. How does God care for those who do not have an earthly family? Psalm 68:5 first part; Psalm 27:10; Matthew 19:29.

note: “If we surrender our lives to His service, we can never be placed in a position for which God has not made provision. Whatever may be our situation, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexities, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend. If in our ignorance we make missteps, Christ does not leave us. His voice, clear and distinct, is heard saying, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ John 14:6. ‘He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.’ Psalm 72: 12.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 173.

“Christians may have the joy of communion with Christ; they may have the light of His love, the perpetual comfort of His presence. Every step in life may bring us closer to Jesus, may give us a deeper experience of His love, and may bring us one step nearer to the blessed home of peace. Then let us not cast away our confidence, but have firm assurance, firmer than ever before. ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us,’ and He will help us to the end. 1 Samuel 7: 12. Let us look to the monumental pillars, reminders of what the Lord has done to comfort us and to save us from the hand of the destroyer. Let us keep fresh in our memory all the tender mercies that God has shown us—the tears He has wiped away, the pains He has soothed, the anxieties removed, the fears dispelled, the wants supplied, the blessings bestowed—thus strengthening ourselves for all that is before us through the remainder of our pilgrimage.” Steps to Christ, 125.

  1. Does God understand the hearts of those who are alone? Psalm 68:6 first part; Psalm 68:5 second part; Isaiah 54:5.

note: “Our work in this world is to live for others’ good, to bless others, to be hospitable; and frequently it may be only at some inconvenience that we can entertain those who really need our care and the benefit of our society and our homes.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 645.

“These acts of courtesy God thought of sufficient importance to record in His word; and more than a thousand years later they were referred to by an inspired apostle: ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ Hebrews 13:2. The privilege granted Abraham and Lot is not denied to us. By showing hospitality to God’s children we, too, may receive His angels into our dwellings. Even in our day, angels in human form enter the homes of men and are entertained by them. And Christians who live in the light of God’s countenance are always accompanied by unseen angels, and these holy beings leave behind them a blessing in our homes.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 342.

  1. What counsel did Paul give to those who, like himself, were alone? Philippians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 7:32–35.

note: “Every saint who comes to God with a true heart, and sends his honest petitions to Him in faith, will have his prayers answered. Your faith must not let go of the promises of God, if you do not see or feel the immediate answer to your prayers. Be not afraid to trust God. Rely upon His sure promise: ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from His saints that walk uprightly. Man is erring, and although his petitions are sent up from an honest heart, he does not always ask for the things that are good for himself, or that will glorify God. When this is so, our wise and good Father hears our prayers, and will answer, sometimes immediately; but He gives us the things that are for our best good and His own glory. God gives us blessings; if we could look into His plan, we would clearly see that He knows what is best for us and that our prayers are answered. Nothing hurtful is given, but the blessing we need, in the place of something we asked for that would not be good for us, but to our hurt.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 120, 121.

“In Thee Shall All Families of the Earth be Blessed”

  1. Through whose line are all families of the earth to be blessed? Genesis 12:1–4.

note: “God made the promise to Abraham, ‘In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.’ To Abraham was unfolded God’s purpose for the redemption of the race. The Sun of righteousness shone
upon him, and his darkness was scattered.” Youth’s Instructor, September 13, 1900.

  1. What is that blessing, and through whom does it come to us and our families? Acts 3:25, 26.

note: “The gospel is a wonderful simplifier of life’s problems. Its instruction, heeded, would make plain many a perplexity and save us from many an error. It teaches us to estimate things at their true value and to give the most effort to the things of greatest worth—the things that will endure.…Let them remember that the home on earth is to be a symbol of and a preparation for the home in heaven. Life is a training school, from which parents and children are to be graduated to the higher school in the mansions of God.” Ministry of Healing, 363.

“The gospel is the sanctifying influence in our world. Its influence upon hearts will bring harmony.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 77.

Food – Cashew Rice Loaf

Inspiration Councils Against Stimulants and Narcotics

Here we are again, changing seasons. What a blessing! Well, you may not think so, but where did all the obnoxious bugs go? And the chiggers and the ticks? So there are blessings, depending on which part of the world you live in. We have been marooned in sunny California, since my husband’s accident last March, so we have tried to adjust, and it has not been too difficult. The above nuisances are not to be found here, and we are just two blocks from very excellent medical help in case of an emergency. So we just thank our Heavenly Father, daily, for one more day to praise Him for His wonderful management of our lives. For He knows the end from the beginning, which we definitely do not!

We are now going to study about stimulants and narcotics from God’s Word. “Under the head of stimulants and narcotics is classed a great variety of articles that, altogether used as food or drink, irritate the stomach, poison the blood, and excite the nerves. Their use is a positive evil. Men seek the excitement of stimulants, because, for the time, the results are agreeable. But there is always a reaction. The use of unnatural stimulants always tends to excess, and it is an active agent in promoting physical degeneration and decay.

“In this fast age, the less exciting the food, the better. Condiments are injurious in their nature. Mustard, pepper, spices, pickles, and other things of a like character, irritate the stomach and make the blood feverish and impure. The inflamed condition of the drunkard’s stomach is often pictured as illustrating the effect of alcoholic liquors. A similarly inflamed condition is produced by the use of irritating condiments. Soon ordinary food does not satisfy the appetite. The system feels a want, a craving, for something more stimulating.

“Tea acts as a stimulant and, to a certain extent, produces intoxication. The action of coffee and many other popular drinks is similar. The first effect is exhilarating. The nerves of the stomach are excited; these convey irritation to the brain, and this in turn is aroused to impart increased action to the heart and short-lived energy to the entire system. Fatigue is forgotten; the strength seems to be increased. The intellect is aroused, the imagination becomes more vivid.

“Because of these results, many suppose that their tea or coffee is doing them great good. But this is a mistake. Tea and coffee do not nourish the system. Their effect
is produced before there has been time for digestion and assimilation, and what seems to be strength is only nervous excitement. When the influence of the stimulant is gone, the unnatural force abates, and the result is a corresponding degree of languor and debility.” The Ministry of Healing, 325, 326.

Let us not forget to be thankful this season for all God’s many mercies to us. And especially remember Him in thank offerings and praise for all His goodness to us in many ways; for life itself and health and the wonderful blessing of this health reform message!

Recipe – Cashew Rice Loaf

1 c. cashews

½ c. sunflower seeds

1 medium onion, chopped

1 c. cashew or soy milk

2 ½ c. cooked brown rice

½ c. wheat germ

¼ c. parsley, chopped fine

1 t. sweet basil

2 t. chicken style seasoning

½ t. onion salt

½ t. salt

½ t. Italian seasoning

Blend cashews and sunflower seeds until fine. Add onion and milk and blend slightly. Pour into a bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a casserole dish and bake for one hour at 350°.

Children’s Story – Andy’s Hands

Andy had never had much in life, but he did have his two children and the little cabin in which they lived. Several years before, his wife had left the family one day, and later he learned that she had remarried, and then in an accident had been killed.

How Andy did love those children! And how he cared for them! They worked together on their little mountain farm, when the children were not at the little one-room schoolhouse down the road.

But then one day it happened.

Andy was out in the fields working when the fire started. But that morning both girls were in the house!

As soon as he saw the smoke he ran. His precious Suzy and Cindy! He prayed as he raced across the field and through a wooded area, for he had already learned by experience that God could answer prayer.

When he arrived, the little cabin was in flames. Smashing the door down with his powerful shoulder, he rushed in and found a blazing beam blocking a second door. Hurling it aside with his bare hands, he entered and found his little girls on the floor. Trying to put out the fire, they had both been overcome by the smoke. Reaching down with his strong arms, he picked them up and hurried from the blazing cabin. Just as he set foot on the outside porch, the building rafters collapsed behind him in to the building. Even yet, sparks and smoke and flames seemed everywhere, but somehow he struggled out into the yard.

They were safe.

Hearing about it, the local magistrate said that Andy’s children must be taken from him and given to people who would give them a better home. This put the whole town in an uproar, and on the day of the custody trial, the courtroom was packed.

First, the county attorney stood and told why he thought the children should be taken from Andy. The people respected him because he was influential and had lots of learning. But then Andy got up. Too poor to afford a lawyer, he spoke for himself. With strong tears he told of his love and care for his little ones down through the years. No matter how bad the troubles got, he had given them his whole life—his all.

As he closed, he raised his hands and pled that the children might be restored to him. Reddened, ugly scars disfigured both hands, for in rescuing his beloved, the two hands had been severely burned.

At this, total silence came over the entire room, and the judge tried to speak, but had a hard time getting the words out. Then he said this: “Andy was willing to give his life for his children, and he will carry the scars of his sacrifice in his hands for the remainder of his life. There is no one in this county better qualified to have them. This court rules that the children shall be given back to Andy.”

The whole building erupted in a burst of cheers, for Andy, who loved his own more than the whole world, and had proved himself willing to die to save them—was now to receive his own back again.

Friend, just now, God wants to receive you back again also. On Calvary, Christ paid the price.

This story was taken from the book Shelter in the Storm and used by permission. The entire book may be purchased by calling Steps to Life or writing to the publishers at Harvestime Books, Altamont, TN 37301.

The “Star” of the New Evangelization of America

To begin, I would like to share a statement from the pen of inspiration that is most sobering and pertinent to the times in which we live: “Those who oppose the teachings of spiritualism are assailing, not men alone, but Satan and his angels. They have entered upon a contest against principalities and powers and wicked spirits in high places. Satan will not yield one inch of ground except he is driven back by the power of heavenly messengers. The people of God should be able to meet him, as did our Savior, with the words: ‘It is written.’ Satan can quote Scripture now as in the days of Christ, and he will pervert its teachings to sustain his delusions. Those who would stand in this time of peril must understand for themselves the testimony of the Scriptures.” The Great Controversy, 559. [All emphasis throughout the article is supplied.]

“Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. The foundation of his work was laid by the assurance given to Eve in Eden: ‘Ye shall not surely die.’ ‘In the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ Genesis 3:4, 5. Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time. Says the prophet: ‘I saw three unclean spirits like frogs…they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God almighty.’ Revelation 16:13, 14. Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion. The people are fast being lulled to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God.” Ibid., 561, 562.

The Two Great Errors

There are two doctrinal errors that nearly all Christendom has swallowed as part of the “wine of Babylon.” The first is the false teaching that Sunday, the first day of the week, is the Lord’s day; and the second, which is more deadly, is the hellish doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul and man’s consciousness in death.

Friends, do you realize that two of the pope’s last Apostolic letters deal with these two doctrinal errors? On July 7, 1998, the Vatican released the pope’s 104-page Apostolic letter entitled Dies Domini—On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy. Point 67 of Dies Domini actually states: “Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy….Sunday must be sanctified.” On the same day, The Denver Post quoted Rome as saying; “A violator should be punished as a heretic.” Has not prophecy warned us that “When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state [“civil legislation”] to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image to the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters [heretics] will inevitably result.” The Great Controversy, 445.

Many Seventh-day Adventists are familiar with Dies Domini, but not many are aware of the pope’s Apostolic Exhortation that he gave to the Synod of Bishops, in Mexico City, prior to his historic visit to St. Louis, in January of 1999. It is called Ecclesia [Church] in America of the Holy Father John Paul II: The Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America. At the council of Bishops in Mexico, the theme of the event was to discuss new strategies for evangelism that the church in America must attain in the third Christian millennium (which begins with the year 2000). And will the Virgin Mary be a major player in the new evangelistic efforts of the Roman Catholic Church?

The Star of the New Evangelization

While in Mexico, the pope dedicated the Americas to the Virgin Mary. From the Exhortation, we read: “With the passage of time, pastors and faithful alike have grown increasingly conscious of the role of the Virgin Mary in the evangelization of America. In the prayer of the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops, Holy Mary of Guadalupe is invoked as ‘Patroness of all America and Star of the first and new evangelization. In view of this, I welcome with joy the proposal of the Synod Fathers that the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother and Evangelizer of America, be celebrated throughout the continent on December 12. It is my heartfelt hope that she…will by her maternal intercession guide the Church in America, obtaining the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as she once did for the early church (cf. Acts 1:14), so that the new evangelization may yield a splendid flowering of Christian life.”

Consequently, not only in Central and South America, but in North America as well, the Virgin of Guadalupe is venerated as Queen of all America. Furthermore, the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Mexico City draws 20 million visitors a year. It is regarded as the most sacred shrine outside of Europe. Mary, that is the spirit apparition of Mary, is the “Star” of the Roman Catholic Church’s new evangelization of the Americas.

Before I precede any further, I want you to know that the Catholic Church acknowledges the pagan origin of many of the shrines and statues of Mary. A Catholic publication stated the following: “Devotion to Mary began in the earliest years of Christianity, and she is revered in Christian literature as early as A.D. 150…Throughout the history of the world, sites associated with any one religion have often been re-used by its successor. To do so reinforces the new religion, but may also result in characteristics of deities of different faiths becoming intermingled. Statues of the Virgin…used to be paraded around the fields to ensure a good harvest. The moon and stars, symbols of Diana, Greco-Roman goddess of hunting were later associated with the Virgin, and Mary is frequently referred to as Stella Maria—Star of the Sea. Festivals, too, were assimilated [from paganism] into the new faith: the Festival of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin on 2 February was originally a Roman Festival of purification. And Christians often took over the pagan shrines of the ancient world’s goddesses and rededicated them to Mary. A good example is the shrine to Diana at Ephesus, which was re-established in the fourth century as a shrine to the Virgin.” Shrines of Our Lady, 6, 7.

Amazing! Rome blinds the eyes of ignorant souls worldwide, and once loyalty to their pagan statues is gained, they empty the pockets of their victims. In Acts 19:24, 25, we read: “For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.”

The Love of the Truth or Strong Delusion

Beloved, as a former Roman Catholic and Mary devotee, I am amazed and saddened by the lethargy of Seventh-day Adventists, who have been entrusted with the Three Angels’ Messages, and their silence on this issue! Who is sounding the trumpet? Who is warning our people that spiritualism will soon break upon us with a magnitude that may deceive the very elect! The Bible warns us that the day is near when “miracles” and “lying wonders” will deceive those that “love not the truth.” I believe the warning in 2 Thessalonians 2:10–12 is written for every professed Christian who has either not heeded or even has rejected the light sent from heaven, regardless of his church affiliation, and especially for Seventh-day Adventists.

Paul writes: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie [including the devil’s first lie that “Ye shall not surely die” Genesis 3:4]: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8–12.

What denomination has been given the truth? And please notice, not only do many of the professed Christians whom Paul refers to “love not the truth,” but also they do not love it because they have “pleasure in unrighteousness.” Certainly, the majority of professed Seventh-day Adventists today are enjoying the pleasures of the world, and this is most evident by the celebration worship services they have adopted from Rome—a product of Vatican II!

And what will be the “strong delusions” that will deceive, if possible the very elect? In 1 Timothy 4:1 we read: “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.”

The Alpha and the Omega

Nearly 100 years ago, Ellen White gave the following warning: “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.…I knew that the omega would follow in a little while; and I trembled for our people.” Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, 16, 53. At the time she wrote this statement, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, in his book The Living Temple, was promulgating the doctrine of [New Age] pantheism—that God is in everything in the material world—“the flower, the tree, the atmosphere, and even the sinner, and in each one of us, as virtually ‘doing away with God,’ and therefore seriously undercutting the sanctuary truth.” Manuscript Releases, 760, 1. This leaves you with an impersonal god, not one who is ministering in your behalf in the heavenly sanctuary, but one that is diffused through nature. Such teachings will lead to the worship of the creature, or to creation, rather than to the Creator. After all, is it not Satan’s ultimate goal to rob God of the homage due only Him by whatever medium he himself chooses!

Dear reader, let it be understood that pantheism, the alpha of apostasy, is a form of spiritualism! In fact, the prophet linked pantheism and spiritualism together on a number of occasions. On one occasion she wrote: “Let the world go into spiritualism, theosophy [mysticism], and pantheism, if they choose. We are to have nothing to do with this deceptive branch of Satan’s work.” Battle Creek Letters, 109. Webster’s College Dictionary gives several definitions for the word spiritualism, one of which is: “The belief that all reality is spiritual [pantheism].” Ellen White labeled Kellogg’s teachings as “fascinating, spiritualistic science of Satanic origin.” And she goes on to say: “That these beautiful representations are similar to the temptation that the enemy brought to Adam and Eve in Eden.” Ibid., 103; Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 341.

In Eden, Satan spoke through the medium of a serpent. Pantheism teaches that God is in everything, even animals. Have not even animated, talking animals, such as Disney characters, been used as a form of spiritualism to prepare millions of innocent children to drink of the devil’s future master delusions? In fact, I just learned that a Hollywood movie, called The Sixth Sense, has been the number-one moneymaker for seven weeks in a row! It is about a young boy who is communicating with the dead. Spiritualism, just like pantheism, is a spiritualistic science of Satanic origin! In the last days, in his grand efforts to deceive, Satan will again speak through mediums, but this time expanding “familiar spirits” to include, not only human-like agencies, but also well-known deceased Christians. The world, with the help of Hollywood, is quickly being primed to accept the demon Mary and other imposters that shall appear.

I believe Ellen White saw that spiritualism and its influence upon God’s people would not cease, but, to the contrary, would culminate in the omega of apostasy: “I am instructed to speak plainly. ‘Meet it,’ is the word spoken to me. ‘Meet it firmly, and without delay’.…In the book Living Temple, there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies. The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 200. No wonder she “trembled” for our people, for Satan is determined to sweep “all into the ranks of spiritualism”!!! The Great Controversy, 588.

Spiritualism Will Imitate Nominal Christianity

Revelation 13 warns us that the United States will experience “great wonders…on the earth in the sight of men. And which will deceive them that “dwell on the earth, by the means of those miracles, which he had power to do in the sight of the beast.” Revelation 13: 13, 14. “The time is coming when Satan will work miracles right in your sight, claiming that he is Christ; and if your feet are not firmly established upon the truth of God, then you will be led away from your foundation. The only safety for you is to search for truth as for hid treasures. Dig for the truth as you would for treasures in the earth, and present the word of God, the Bible, before your heavenly Father and say, ‘Enlighten me, teach me what is truth’.…You should store the mind with the Word of God; for you may be separated, and placed where you will not have the privilege of meeting with the children of God. ” Review and Herald, April 3, 1888.

Picture the day when supernatural events, such as Mother Teresa, the Virgin Mary, or the Apostles of Christ walking on this earth, strengthen the efforts of the religious teachers who are urging Americans to obey the altered ten commandments, which include the worship of the Sunday sabbath. “As Spiritualism assimilates more closely to the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things…Through the agency of Spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and express regard for Sunday, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 406. This will be a time when violators will be threatened with civil fines and imprisonment if they refuse to obey the laws of the land and the words of Satan’s “familiar spirits.” What will you do then, beloved? In the exhortation given at the Synod of Bishops in Mexico City, Pope John Paul II saved his best for the last. In Article 73, entitled The Challenge of the Sects, he states: “The proselytizing activity of the sects [historic SDAs?] and new religious groups in America is a grave hindrance to the work of evangelization….The success of proselytism by sects and new religious groups in America cannot be ignored.” Indeed, the end is upon us!

Celebration 2000—The Grand Jubilee

In case you are not aware, Rome is planning a great celebration or jubilee to welcome in the third millennium—the year 2000, a Marian year—and the holy doors will be opened Christmas, December 25, 1999—the starting date of the Grand Jubilee celebration. The Vatican plans a series of masses and other celebrations to mark Christianity’s third millennium, and 20 million people are expected to flock to Rome. John Paul II has declared 2000 a jubilee year—a time of pilgrimage and celebration.

Pope John Paul II, in his new book, Celebration 2000, tells us who in the spiritual realm is in charge of leading the church to Christ in the year 2000. He states: “I entrust this responsibility of the whole church to the maternal intercession of Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer: She, the Mother of fairest love, will be for the Christians on the way to the Great Jubilee of the third millennium the star which safely guides their steps to the Lord.” Celebration 2000, 268.

Malachi Martin, author of The Keys of This Blood, said that the pope is anxiously awaiting a potent worldwide Marian Vision—“an event that will fission human history….It will be an event on public view in the skies, in the oceans, and on the continental landmasses of this planet. It will particularly involve our human sun….But on the day of this event, it will not appear as the master star of our so-called solar system. Rather, it will be seen as the circumambient glory of the Woman whom the apostle describes as ‘clothed with the sun’ and giving birth to ‘a child who will rule the nations with a scepter of iron.’” The Keys of This Blood, 639.

If you doubt this could happen, research what occurred in Fatima, Portugal, on October 13, 1917. The “Miracle of the Sun” took place. “The sun seemed to flicker on and off, first one way and then another. It shot rays in different directions and painted everything in different colors, the trees, the people, the air and the ground. The sun did not hurt the eyes. Everything was still and quiet, everyone looking upwards. At a certain moment, the sun seemed to stop and then begin to move and to dance until it seemed that it was being detached from the sky and was falling on the people. Thousands of the people present saw this phenomenon and the newspapers wrote about it.” Our Lady of Fatima Web Site.

Interestingly, Malachi Martin, ex-Jesuit, died July 27, 1999, and reports are varied on the cause of his death. The Sunday Visitor, August 22, 1999, featured an article by Greg Erlandson, Editor in Chief, in which he labeled Malachi Martin as “half brilliant, half loon, given to incredible conspiracy theories.” Perhaps, he revealed too much!

The Vision

Will the pope’s expected vision be cataclysmic and bring the normal activity of the world to a standstill? Some are praying that Mary—“the Star of the new evangelization”—will walk through the holy doors of the Vatican on Christmas 1999, the inauguration of Jubilee 2000. If the vision occurs, I believe it could be what the pope needs to exalt him as the head of the New World Order. Would world chaos and calamities precede this expected vision? Could it validate the global reign of Pope John Paul II, a Marian pope, who credits Mary with saving his life, and establish him as the spiritual judge of the planet and the Roman Catholic Church as the only true church and this pope as God’s ordained leader? Compare this thought with E.G. White’s conclusion on page 588 of The Great Controversy: “Satan determines to unite them [professed Christians and the ungodly] into one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth [and who believe in the immortality of the soul], will also be deluded…and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.” The Great Controversy, 588, 589. It has been said that those who are involved in the New Age movement will also accept a worldwide Marian (goddess) vision preceding the appearance of the false Christ—the lord Maitreya.

The New Age, Mother Earth, and the Goddess

In his most blasphemous book, The Armageddon Script, The Power of Prophecy and the Secret Life of Jesus, New Ager Peter Lemesurier writes enthusiastically about the worship of the “Great Mother Earth.” He writes as if he is an astronaut in a spaceship in orbit around the earth. “As they rounded the barren lunar globe for the…last time, and the resplendent half-earth once again rose behind that now familiar curved and rocky horizon, what they saw coming up to meet them was strangely familiar….A god out of the world of the archetypes. It was none other than the rounded form of the Great Mother, earth herself, clad in the same flowering robes of shining blue and white that had been those of mother-goddess of earth and sky throughout history—and not least his most recent mother-goddess, the Virgin Mary herself.” The Armageddon Script, 245, 246.

Peter Lemesurier, as a pagan worshipper, has no difficulty recognizing the truth that the worship of the Virgin Mary is ancient pagan idolatry. Therefore, non-Christian Pagans the world over will have little difficulty accepting the worship of “the Virgin Mary,” which is actually an evil spirit impersonating Mary. (See 2 Corinthians 11:13–15.)

Spiritualism and the Unification of Churches

The prophet has warned us that spiritualism is the means by which Satan will “unite the churches,” and Rome will use spiritualism to “validate” that she is the true church! I believe the demon Mary will play a critical role in the accomplishment of this goal, and not only Protestants, but also New Agers, will fall for it, because they all believe Rome’s false doctrine of the devil’s first lie—the immortality of the soul. Remember, “The whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion.” The Great Controversy, 562.

The world is ready and ripe for this almost overpowering deception. In fact, the December, 1996, issue of Life magazine featured, on its front cover, a picture of a statue of Mary and the caption: “Two thousand years after the Nativity, the mother of Jesus is more beloved, powerful, and controversial than ever. The Mystery of Mary.” The ending of this article was especially of interest to me. It stated: “Mary…might lead to an ecumenical reunion of Christian churches [see The Great Controversy, 445.] It might lead to a closer understanding of the teenage girl who gave birth in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago….Can we ask this simple girl to guide what has become not a cult but a huge and passionate congregation, a movement requiring a hero, a world-wide flock that has long demanded more of her? That has demanded, in some instances, that she deliver her message herself? I wonder: If Mary became merely human—if people could truly touch Mary—would Mary be enough?” After all, Rome makes the assertion that not only is the pope the Spiritual father of all Christians, but Mary is their mother! A quote from A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, 27, states: “The Blessed Virgin is our Mother also because, being the brethren of Jesus, we are the children of Mary.”

Will She Deceive the Very Elect?

And will SDAs also be overcome by this wonder-working demon? Please, study the prophecies of Ezekiel 8 and 9. Ellen White alludes to Ezekiel 9 in Volume 5 of the Testimonies in the chapter called The Seal of God, 207–216. Here she likens the destruction of apostate SDAs to the destruction by the slaughtering angels of Ezekiel 9, which begins in the sanctuary, or the church. “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 interest of the people, had betrayed their trust….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.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 211. And for what reason will the Lord destroy the people called by His name? Because the “abominations” in Ezekiel 8 are being practiced in the Lord’s house—His church—one of which is the worship of the “image of jealousy.” “The faithful few… lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 210.

Historian Alexander Hislop tells us in his book, The Two Babylons, that the “image of jealousy” is that of the Babylonian Madonna, the “queen of heaven.” Therefore, what provokes the wrath of God today is that “the child she [Modern Babylon] holds forth to adoration is called by the name of Jesus, His son.” (The Two Babylons, 88). With “Satan himself” being “converted after the modern order of things (see The Great Controversy, 588),” the image would be that of “Babylon, The Great” [Roman Catholicism’s] Madonna, or the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus [who really would be Tammuz (see Ezekiel 8:14)], set up in the church that claims to worship the true God. The Lord commanded: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath….Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” Exodus 20:4, 5. Is it any wonder why the Catholic Church removed the second commandment from the moral law?

Furthermore, Jeremiah records that God’s people obeyed not “the voice of the Lord, nor walked in His law, nor in His statutes, nor in His testimonies,” for they were burning “incense to the queen of heaven.” Jeremiah 44:23, 25. Is this another example of “the sure word of prophecy?” 2 Peter 1:19. Ellen White was shown in vision many years ago that “Modern Israel are in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than were His ancient people.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 609.

“It is to be remembered that the greater the light bestowed, the greater the delusion and darkness of those who reject the word of God and accept fables.” Signs of the Times, November 8, 1899. After all, was it not the leaders of the Jewish nation that had Christ murdered with the aid of the Roman power! Will history be repeated? “However high any minister may have stood in the favor of God, if he neglects to follow out the light given him of God, if he refuses to be taught as a little child, he will go into darkness and satanic delusions and will lead others in the same path.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214.

Financing God’s Last Army

Do you really want Jesus to come soon? Jesus will not return to earth again until the everlasting gospel is preached to the entire world, to every nation, kindred, language and people. (Matthew 24:15; Revelation 14:6,7.) Jesus would not have given the gospel commission if He did not have a plan to accomplish it. This plan is outlined in the Bible, but, because of the feebleness of our comprehension of God’s purposes, He has condescended to outline His plan for a finished work in much more detail in the writings of Ellen G. White.

God Has Devised Methods Of Support For All His Plans

For every plan that God has devised for the finishing of His work, He has devised methods and left instructions about how that plan is to work and how it is to be supported. For example, literature evangelists were to earn their living from the profits of the books that were sold. Physicians and nurses were to be paid from the fees paid to the sanitarium by the patients. Missionary farmers and tradesmen were to receive payment from their crops or the services rendered.

But there was one class of missionary worker that was not to receive their living from the profits of secular labor. That class of workers were those participating in the work of the gospel ministry. This includes more than just those called “ministers.” According to Ellen White the work of the gospel ministry includes the following kinds of workers: “Institutions that are God’s instruments to carry forward His work on the earth must be sustained. Churches must be erected, schools established, and publishing houses furnished with facilities for doing a great work in the publication of the truth to be sent to all parts of the world. These institutions are ordained of God and should be sustained by tithes and liberal offerings.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 464.

“I have had special instruction from the Lord that the tithe is for a special purpose, consecrated to God to sustain those who minister in the sacred work, as the Lord’s chosen to do His work not only in sermonizing, but in ministering. They should understand all that this comprehends.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 187.

It is true that at times the apostle Paul supported himself by a trade to illustrate “in a practical way what might be done by consecrated laymen” (Acts of the Apostles, 355), but this is not actually God’s plan for the support of the ministry for on the next page Ellen White writes: “It is God’s design that such workers shall be freed from unnecessary anxiety, that they may have full opportunity to obey the injunction of Paul to Timothy, ‘Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them.’ 1 Timothy 4:15. While they should be careful to exercise sufficiently to keep mind and body vigorous, yet it is not God’s plan that they should be compelled to spend a large part of their time at secular employment.” Acts of the Apostles, 356.

We Are Responsible For the Use Of Our Tithe

The gospel confers individual responsibility upon each of us. In no case can this personal responsibility be avoided or transferred. If God tells us to spend the tithe for the work of the gospel only, He will not condone our using it for something else. God will not condone our using tithe for the preaching of apostasy or any use other than specified: “There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 261, 262.

“The churches must arouse. The members must awake out of sleep and begin to inquire, How is the money which we put into the treasury being used? The Lord desires that a close search be made. Are all satisfied with the history of the work for the past fifteen years? Where is the evidence of the co-working with God? Where has been heard throughout the churches the prayer for the help of the Holy Spirit? Dissatisfied and disheartened, we turn away from the scene.” The Kress Collection, 120.

Diversion of Tithe

One of Satan’s major goals is to divert the money that should be coming into the Lord’s treasury and thereby dry up the financial resources to finish God’s work.

“A flattering prospect may be presented to invest in patent rights or some other supposed brilliant enterprise around which Satan throws a bewitching enchantment. The prospect of getting more money, fast and easily, allures them. They reason that, although they had resolved to put this money into the treasury of God, they will use it in this instance, and will greatly increase it, and will then give a larger sum to the cause. They can see no possibility of a failure. Away goes the means out of their hands, and they soon learn, to their regret, that they have made a mistake. The brilliant prospects have faded. Their expectations are not realized. They were deceived. Satan outgeneraled them. He was more shrewd than they, and he managed to get their means into his ranks and thus deprive the cause of God of that which should have been used to sustain it in extending the truth and saving souls for whom Christ died.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 665.

We have a responsibility to be sure that our tithe and gifts to God’s cause are supporting the preaching of the truth and that the devil does not outgeneral us and secure, into the wrong storehouse, those assets that God has placed into our hands.

What is the Storehouse?

In order to ascertain a responsible and appropriate Christian decision about the use of tithe we need to understand what the storehouse is.

Only two storehouses exist in the world: “There are only two places in the world where we can deposit our treasures—in God’s storehouse or in Satan’s, and all that is not devoted to Christ’s service is counted on Satan’s side and goes to strengthen his cause.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 447.

All of our tithes and offerings are to be brought to God’s storehouse: “As did Abraham, they are to pay tithe of all they possess and all they receive. A faithful tithe is the Lord’s portion. To withhold it, is to rob God. Everyone should freely, willingly, and gladly bring tithes and offerings into the storehouse of the Lord. In so doing, he will receive a blessing. There is no safety in withholding from God His own portion.” The Kress Collection, 60.

The word “storehouse” is equivalent to the word “treasury:” (“If all tithes were brought into the storehouse, God’s treasury would not be empty.” Pacific Union Recorder, 10.)

We receive rich gifts from God’s storehouse. Eternal life is a gift which we receive from God’s storehouse and every temporal blessing which we receive is from His storehouse. In gratitude to the great giver and to develop the principle of unselfishness in our hearts, we are then to return, as the Lord has blessed us, to His storehouse: “The Lord Jesus is a never-failing storehouse from which human beings may draw strength and courage.” Faith I Live By, 341. “He to whom God has entrusted gifts, should return to the Lord’s storehouse that which he has received, by freely giving to others the benefit of his blessings.” In Heavenly Places, 221.

We lay up treasures in heaven when we give to God’s storehouse: “Very many might be laying up for themselves treasures in heaven, by keeping the Lord’s storehouse supplied with the portion He claims as His own, and with gifts and offerings.” Messages to Young People, 307.

Where is the Storehouse?

If we are going to send tithes and gifts to God’s storehouse, we need to know where it is. Some think that it is near the Tiber river in Italy. Others think that it is in Maryland and still others think that it is their local church. God’s storehouse is much bigger than any of these places. The reason for confusion is that many, if not most, do not know who and what the church is. Notice the following divine counsel:

“I have myself appropriated my tithe to the most needy cases brought to my notice. I have been instructed to do this; and as the money is not withheld from the Lord’s treasury, [the storehouse], it is not a matter that should be commented upon; for it will necessitate my making known these matters, which I do not desire to do, because it is not best. Some cases have been kept before me for years, and I have supplied their needs from the tithe, as God has instructed me to do. And if any person shall say to me, Sister White, will you appropriate my tithe where you know it is most needed, I shall say, Yes, I will; and I have done so. I commend those sisters who have placed their tithe where it is most needed to help to do a work that is being left undone; and if this matter is given publicity, it will create knowledge which would better be left as it is. I do not care to give publicity to this work which the Lord has appointed me to do, and others to do.” Spaulding Magan, 215.

When Ellen White gave tithe directly to those engaged in gospel work, she said that this money had not been withheld from the Lord’s treasury (storehouse) and then she said that the Lord had not only appointed her to do this but also others. Obviously then the storehouse must include more than one organization or group. In fact the Lord has forbidden that all monies go through one organization: “The different conferences have been led to look to the leading men at Battle Creek, feeling that no important move can be made without their approval. This tendency has been growing stronger, until it is a serious hindrance to the advancement of the work. This arrangement should never have been. The Lord would have His people under His jurisdiction. . . . The arrangement that all moneys must go through Battle Creek and under the control of the few men in that place is a wrong way of managing.” Testimonies to Ministers, 321.

“Do not worry lest some means shall go direct to those who are trying to do missionary work in a quiet and effective way. All the means is not to be handled by one agency or organization. There is much business to be done conscientiously for the cause of God. Help is to be sought from every possible source. There are men who can do the work of securing means for the cause, and when these are acting conscientiously and in harmony with the counsels of their fellow-laborers in the field which they represent, the hand of restraint is not to be laid upon them. They are surely laborers together with Him who gave His life for the salvation of souls.” Spaulding Magan, 421.

Also, in order to understand how to keep our tithe from being diverted, we need to understand what should be done with surplus tithe. Surplus tithe is not to be diverted into other areas of God’s work, other than what He has specified. It is to be sent to pay gospel workers in areas of the world where there is little or no tithe income: “There are missions to be sustained in fields where there are no churches and no tithes, and also where the believers are new and the tithe limited. If you have means that is not needed after settling with your ministers in a liberal manner, send the Lord’s money to these destitute places.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 184.

Special Counsel Concerning Bible Workers

Much discussion has arisen as to whether a person should be eligible to receive tithe if not employed by the conference. This question existed in Ellen White’s day though not to the extent as today since the apostasy had not progressed to the enormous extent it has today. Ellen White did comment on this issue, however: “There are minister’s wives, Sisters Starr, Haskell, Wilson and Robinson, who have been devoted, earnest, whole-souled workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive their wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions shall be reversed. The Word says, ‘The laborer is worthy of his hire.’ When any such decision as this is made, I will in the name of the Lord, protest. I will feel it in my duty to create a fund from my tithe money, to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work as the ministers are doing, and this tithe I will reserve for work in the same line as that of the ministers, hunting for souls, fishing for souls. I know that the faithful women should be paid wages proportionate to the pay received by ministers. They carry the burden of souls, and should not be treated unjustly. These sisters are giving their time to educating those newly come to the faith, and hire their own work done, and pay those who work for them. All these things must be adjusted and set in order, and justice be done to all. Proof-readers in the office receive their wages, two dollars and a half and three dollars a week. this I have had to pay, and others have to pay. But ministers’ wives, who carry a tremendous responsibility, devoting their entire time, have nothing for their labor. This will give you an idea of how matters are in this conference. There are seventy-five souls organized into a church, who are paying their tithe into the conference, and as a saving plan it has been deemed essential to let these poor souls labor for nothing! But this does not trouble me, for I will not allow it to go thus.” Spaulding Magan, 117.

Obviously this same counsel would apply to full-time Bible workers today. Very few young people have trained themselves for Bible work. They have been told that there are no job openings (no tithe money) available for this! The entire time that I taught at Southwestern Adventist college, which was over seven years, I only met one person who was training to become a Bible worker! The result is that in this crisis hour when we should have thousands of young people trained and ready to go throughout Europe, Russia and China and other continents, we look about, and alas, there is a dearth of trained Bible workers all over the world. This fact alone, if you had no other information of God’s counsels for medical or publishing or ministerial work, is proof of a gigantic apostasy in Adventism today.

A truly Christian education is at the very foundation of God’s plans to finish His work. Every Christian is to have a part in finishing God’s work. God designed for us to educate not only ministers and Bible workers but physicians, literature evangelists, nurses and teachers and many other skilled persons to finish the gospel commission.

Special Need for Bible Workers

It is God’s will that we prepare thousands to do Bible work. (Testimonies, vol. 9, 126.) “In every school that God has established there will be, as never before, demand for Bible instruction.” Evangelism, 474. What is this Bible instruction to accomplish? The next sentence says, “Our students are to be educated to become Bible workers.” “In every city there should be a corps of organized, well-disciplined workers; not merely one or two, but scores should be set to work.” Christian Stewardship, 72.

This work will require money. “It almost seems as if scarcely anyone dares ask a worker to go into the cities, because of the means that would be required to carry on a strong, solid work. It is true that much means will be required in order to do our duty toward the unwarned in these places; and God desires us to lift our voices and our influence in favor of using means wisely in this special line of effort.” Evangelism, 42.

If We Fail, God’s Plan Will Succeed Through Others

If none of us feel a responsibility to fill the gap and become trained in Bible work and then help to train others, the Lord will pass us by and finish His work with others. He may use “children” as in the triumphal entry into Jerusalem or the rocks may cry out, but if that happens we will lose the blessing God wanted us to have and in the process we might lose our souls, also. If we do not feel a responsibility for all of our tithe to support the giving of the Three Angels’ Messages, God can at any time find other intelligences and other money or sources of support to finish His work, but we will be the losers. If we support apostasy with our tithe and offerings we are not hastening the Lord’s coming by getting the last message to all the world—rather we are delaying His coming and in dire danger of being accounted as an evil servant at the end. (Matthew 24:44-51).

The time will soon come when God will finish His work in a way completely different than we expect. If we oppose what God is doing because it differs from our expectations of how the work should be conducted, we will be found fighting God and will lose our souls just as surely as the unbelieving Jews. Notice the following prophecies:

“Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness.” Testimonies to Ministers, 300.

Note to Home churches: Since the goal of all historic Adventists should be to see the final message given to the world, it is vitally important that home churches be organized so that they can use their finances to further the great commission by hiring Bible Workers or involving themselves in other types of evangelism.

If you would like more information about how to arrange financial matters in your church, call Steps to Life and we will be happy to send you a free information sheet to help you get started.

A Whole Conference Dissolved

In December, 1992, the Zambesi Conference under the Zambesi Union of Seventh-day Adventists and the SDA Association of Southern Africa, headed by president Abdulla Ahomed, was voted to be dissolved at the Annual Council of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. A General Conference representative, Elder Kenneth Mittleider, a vice-president, was sent to Zimbabwe to execute this vote. However, according to the Zambesi Conference constitution, a 75% vote of the conference constituents was required to dissolve the conference.

President Ahomed spoke with Elder Mittleider and told him that the Zambesi Conference would abide by the legal constitution and a vote would be taken by the constituents regarding dissolving the conference. When a vote was taken by the constituent members, 83% voted to retain the Zambesi Conference. It was this decisive vote, not recognized by the General Conference, that created an independent Zambesi Conference with membership at that time of 1200-1500 members.

In January, 1999, after seven years of skirmishes over properties occupied by members of the Zambesi Conference (whose members had for the most paid for them) and other legal matters associated with the Zambesi Conference, the SDA Association of Southern Africa and the Zambesi Union of SDAs took their case to court against the Zambesi Conference. During these interim years of independence, because of active evangelism and missionary work, the Zambesi Conference Sabbath school membership has grown to between six and seven thousand members and the baptized membership now stands at 4,500.

A issue centrally in this dispute is property including 26 buildings consisting of the Zambesi Conference head office complex, houses occupied by pastors and other workers, church buildings, and a large built up campsite in the Vumba mountains. The combined value is estimated at $17 million Zambesi dollars. (The US equivalent is $460,000) As per policy of the Eastern African Division of SDA, all fixed property acquired by churches and conferences must be legally registered in the name of the property holding body, namely the SDA Association of Southern Africa which is registered at the deeds office in Harare, Zimbabwe. However, according to the constitution (constitutions have now been changed for the other three conferences in the Zambesi Union), all title deeds included the proviso that property was being “held in trust” by the association but remained the property of the legal owners, the Zambesi Conference. This designation of properties being “held in trust” by the property holding body is stated in all copies of the constitutions backdated to the establishment of the Zambesi Conference, in 1929.

In the case of the churches, local congregations who raised the funds for these buildings and who underwrote loans and guaranteed financial responsibility for repayment of same, retained the right of real ownership in the event of dispute. Additionally, local church membership and the Zambesi Conference leadership accepted all liability for expenses incurred in the maintenance and operation of properties and buildings. Witnesses testifying have clearly shown that the Zambesi Conference provided the major portion of all funds required in the purchase and construction of these churches, offices and houses. Receipts and documents can be provided by the Zambesi Conference to substantiate this claim of funding. However, in some cases, limited funds were provided by the Zambesi Union and the Eastern Africa Division.

Judgment which normally takes several weeks before publication, was delivered in a few days by the presiding High Court Judge. The ruling was totally in favor of the plaintiffs—the Zambesi Union and the SDA Association of Southern Africa. April 1, 1999, when the appeal by the Zambesi Conference was dismissed, the same High Court Judge also ruled that the Zambesi Union could move into the Zambesi Conference premises.’ This is somewhat unusual, since further appeal can be made and Justice Smith’s ruling could be overturned, thereby returning properties to the Zambesi Conference.

Even before the dismissal of the appeal was communicated to the Zambesi Conference, Pastor Ahomed was asked by Zambesi Union officials to vacate his home with one weeks’ notice. This request was denied as Zimbabwe law requires three months notice of eviction from homes. Conference churches, however, were vacated in less than a week. Members, nearly as a body simply walked away from the buildings they had sacrificed to build and maintain.

At the present time, members of the churches have been meeting in tents, under trees, and in rented facilities. The Zambesi Conference plans to appeal their case to the Supreme Court which they are entitled to do. However, an appeal cannot be made until the High Court Judge places his ruling in writing and as of the end of August 1999, this had not been done.

Members of the independent Zambesi Conference are of good courage in the Lord. They are moving ahead with plans to obtain new facilities and to continue evangelism in their country. High on the priority list is to develop the new camp facilities where children can attend, Pathfinders can be encouraged, campmeetings can be held, and pastors can more effectively be prepared to preach the everlasting gospel. If you would like to have a part in the development of this project and the work in Zimbabwe, mark your gift to Steps to Life for Zimbabwe. Pray for the Lord’s work in this part of the vineyard.

Organization and Discipline

An Overview of the Early Organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

The various forms of organization and church government existing in the several religious bodies of our time, is evidence that church organization and discipline are subjects upon which great and good men have differed. The testimony of the Bible, therefore, especially of the New Testament, must be allowed to decide these subjects of vast importance to the prosperity of the church. In no one chapter or book of the New Testament, has Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, or Jude, written out a complete system of Christian discipline, giving the positions and duties of the several officers of the church.

But that there should be order in the church of God is evident, not only from the declarations of the apostles, and the record of what they did, given in the Acts of the Apostles; but from the great facts relative to organization and order found in the Old Testament. The Jewish church was disciplined by a thorough system of organization. The freedom of the gospel of the Son of God does not consist in laxity and confusion.

The epistles of Paul and Peter distinctly speak of officers of the church, and of their duties. The New Testament clearly defines the relation which Christ sustains to the ministry and to the church, and also the proper relation of the ministry to the church and to one another. But the system of Christian organization is not given as fully in the New Testament as the system of Jewish organization was given in the Old Testament. Having, however, the benefit of both the record of the system of the former and the declarations and acts of the first apostles of the latter, we have all that infinite Wisdom saw necessary for the Christian church.

The relation which Christ sustains to the ministry and to the church, is stated in the following words of our Lord and of Paul: “One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.” Matthew 23:8. “But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:3. Christ is the great Shepherd of all, while His ministers are under-shepherds.

And Paul would impress the church with her duty to the ministry in these words: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God.” Hebrews 13:7. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls as they that must give account.” Verse 17. And yet it was not the design of God that any system of organization should exist in the Christian church that would take the leadership from Christ.

Organization was designed to secure unity of action, and as a protection from imposture. It was never intended as a scourge to compel obedience, but, rather, for the protection of the people of God. Christ does not drive His people. He calls them. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Our living Head leads the way, and calls His people to follow.

Human creeds cannot produce unity. Church force cannot press the church into one body. Christ never designed that human minds should be molded for Heaven by the influence merely of other human minds. “The head of every man is Christ.” His part is to lead, and to mold, and to stamp His own image upon the heirs of eternal glory. However important organization may be for the protection of the church, and to secure harmony of action, it must not come in to take the disciple from the hands of the Master.

All true ministers are Christ’s ambassadors. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20. In their ministry they are to represent the doctrine of Christ, and the interests of His cause in this world. They surrender their own judgment and will to Him who has sent them. No man can be Christ’s ambassador, until he has made a complete surrender of his right of private judgment to Christ. Neither can any man properly represent Christ who surrenders his judgment to his fellow-man.

But the subject must not be left here, with the truth partly expressed. The words of Christ and His apostles relative to unity and the ordained means to secure it, and proper discipline, must have a qualifying bearing upon the subject, lest unsanctified men, who do not submit their will and judgment either to Christ or to church authority, assume the gospel ministry, and divide and scatter the flock of God.

But here we wish it distinctly understood that officers were not ordained in the Christian church to order or to command the church, or to “lord it over God’s heritage.” In the case of difference of opinion that arose in some of the primitive churches relative to circumcision and the keeping of the law of Moses, recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Acts, the apostles and elders at Jerusalem acted as counselors in a manner to give room for the Holy Ghost to sit as Judge. The report of that blessed meeting at Jerusalem to settle a festering difficulty, commences on this wise: “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us.” And the brethren who were from among the Gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia, “rejoiced for the consolation.” Differences settled in this way frequently seem more than settled, and generally remain settled; while those disposed of by the exercise of mere church authority are seldom really settled at all.

Between the two extremes, of church force, and unsanctified independence, we find the grand secret of unity and efficiency in the ministry and in the church of God. Our attention is called to this in a most solemn appeal from the venerable apostle Peter to the elders of his time: “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:1–6.

Those who drafted the form of organization adopted by Seventh-day Adventists labored to incorporate into it, as far as possible, the simplicity of expression and form found in the New Testament. The more of the spirit of the gospel manifested, and the more simple, the more efficient the system.

The General Conference takes the general supervision of the work in all its branches, including the State Conferences. The State Conference takes the supervision of all branches of the work in the State, including the churches in that State. And the church is a body of Christians associated together with the simple covenant to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

The officers of a local church are servants of that church, and not lords to rule over it with church force. “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11. These officers should set examples of patience, watchfulness, prayer, kindness, and liberality, to the members of the church, and should manifest a good degree of the love to those they serve exhibited in the life and teachings of our Lord.

Our State Conference Committees should be men of God, with liberality and breadth of views and feelings that will lead them to have a fatherly care of all branches of the work in the Conference. It is their duty to counsel together in the fear and love of God, and regard themselves as a board of counselors to all the ministers and churches under their supervision, and not a board of directors. Our great leader and director is Christ.

The labors and duties of the General Conference Committee are still more extensive and important than those of the State Conference Committee. They should be men of experience, of breadth of views, and divested of sectional feelings, whose minds and hearts of love can take in the best good of the cause in all its branches, and in all parts of the field. They should be regarded as a board of fathers to the cause in the highest sense.

In the fulfillment of the duties of their office, in taking the general supervision of the entire work, their strength is in so counseling with their brethren in the spirit of tenderness and love as to bind the hearts of all the laborers to their hearts, and give room for the voice of the Holy Ghost, as was manifested in the days of the apostles. They should ever bear in mind that the head of every man is Christ.

They may counsel with the State Conference Committees in reference to ministers laboring here or there, but should never direct. “The head of every man (every minister), is Christ.” The minister who throws himself on any Conference Committee for direction, takes himself out of the hands of Christ. And that Committee that takes into its own hands the work of directing the ambassadors for Christ, takes a fearful responsibility. “One is your Master (Leader), even Christ, and all ye are brethren.” Matthew 23:8. May God preserve to us our organization and form of church discipline in its original simplicity and efficiency.

Taken from The Review and Herald, January 4, 1881.