Romans 7, part 2

Editor’s Note: Last month we looked at the first two symbols that Paul uses in Romans 7 to illustrate the conversion process. This month we will look at the last two which will further clarify what Paul meant in Romans 7:15.


“Until Death Do Us Part”


For the third time, Paul asks: “Know ye not, brethren . . . how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband . . . Wherefore, my brethren ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” Romans 7:1–4.

In this third parallel, freedom from the bondage of sin is likened to marriage which continues until the spouse dies. The surviving spouse is then free to enter a marriage relationship with another. It is the same with one’s obligation to the law of sin; after his death to the law of sin, the Christian is free to follow God’s law. In another place Paul says that even if he is still harassed for a time by his sinful nature, it is crucified and has lost its power to One who is all powerful: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

These three parallels show that Paul was not “sold under sin” and did what he hated when he wrote to the Romans and clarified salvation in Christ, but referred to an earlier experience—an earlier experience without an alternative, which we shall look at more closely.


An Earlier Experience


What Paul deals with, in the seventh chapter of Romans, is a time in his life when he was the Pharisee, Saul, and lived according to the letter of the law. (See Philippians 3:4–9.) After his conversion, he called it a time “without the law.” Although physically blinded by the light from heaven on the road to Damascus, his spiritual eyes were opened and he realized his true relationship with respect to the demands of the law. He said: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” Romans 7:9.

Conversion is more than an outward fulfilling of the law. It reaches our innermost thoughts and imagination. It is here that temptation comes, and if allowed to develop in the thoughts gives birth to sin, finally expressing itself in speech and actions. Therefore, God says: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

Jesus explained the law’s demands to His disciples and said that everyone who is angry with his brother breaks the sixth commandment and that only a look of desire, at a woman, means adultery. The disciples wondered who then could be saved. Christ answered that it is impossible with man, but with God everything is possible. A power outside of mankind is necessary, and Paul establishes that. “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” Romans 7:14.

But after this experience of despair, Paul also experienced reconciliation and became redeemed through God’s Lamb. As a conclusion for the third parallel, he talks about “bondage in the flesh” in times past, and says: “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:5, 6.

Paul talks about former times, “when we were in the flesh,” which is positive proof that he did not write about his converted life in Romans 7:14–23, but about his earlier, unconverted life, for the purpose of teaching the Romans how to adjust to the Christian life. Paul was no longer a slave to his inherited “fleshly” nature. What did he think about the law; was it sinful? No, the law with the commandment is “holy, and just and good.”

Romans 7:12. There was nothing wrong with the law, it was only a curse when compared with his earlier life. The law’s function, among other things, is to teach us what sin is. Because, where there is no law, there is nothing to sin against. Romans 7:7, 8; 4:15.

The law expresses life’s principles and is a reflection of God’s character. The difference between Paul’s relationship to the law, before and after his conversion, is that he was under the curse of the law, before, when he tried to earn his salvation through his own works. Through his conversion, he became agreeable to the law and followed it with gladness because of salvation through the power he received from God. He says: “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:4.


What is “The Flesh”?


“The flesh” is a Biblical term which signifies Adam’s fallen nature which we automatically inherit through ancestry. Therefore, we also have a natural inclination to do evil and soil our characters; the impurity of which then shuts us out of God’s kingdom. However, in Roman Catholic theology, a “sinful nature” in itself is sin. They teach that the guilt of their ancestors is automatically passed on to succeeding generations. In other words, each baby born into the world is automatically guilty, at birth, of the “original sin” of mankind’s first parents. Therefore, Roman Catholics are forced to hold the doctrine that Jesus was born without a sinful nature. He was, they say, as Adam was before the fall, seeing that He was without inherited guilt, but was also as Adam after the fall, seeing that He took upon Himself fallen man’s physical body. Christ could feel hunger, thirst, sorrow and pain—but nothing more.

Roman Catholics say, and Desmond Ford claims: “To teach that Christ was possessed of sinful propensities [is to teach that] He Himself was a sinner in need of a Saviour!” (Desmond Ford, Palmdale Conference on Righteousness by Faith, 39.) But the only definition that the Bible has of sin is that it is “the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. The doctrine of original sin comes from heathendom and was given birth into Roman Catholic theology by Aurelius Augustine (354–430 A.D.) who was strongly influenced by his father’s Persian religion, Zoroastrianism, during his upbringing. The doctrine of original sin was passed on to Protestantism by the Reformers (who were obviously unaware of its hellish implications). God said, however, to the Jews who also fell for such heathenish fables: “Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father . . .? No! The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father . . . the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:19, 20.

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Deuteronomy 24:16.

Paul said that “in all things it behoved [it was necessary for] Him to be made like unto His brethren, [so] that . . . He is able to succor them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:17, 18. Paul also explains that: “God [sent] his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh . . .” Romans 8:3. John reveals to us that those who deny that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” have the spirit of Antichrist. (1 John 4:1–3; 2 John 7.)

To understand what the “nature of the flesh” is, as opposed to what the “Spirit’s new nature” is, Paul shows in his letter to the Galatians what the “works” of each are. “For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh . . . This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I told you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:13, 16–25.

Paul therefore exhorts the Romans, and us, to live a victorious life through God’s infinite power, of which we may partake to live righteous lives.

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:12–14.

John makes it even clearer and adds savor to his expression. He says: “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He [Christ] is righteous. He that commiteth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born ofGod.” 1 John 3:7–9.

This means that so long as we are under the control of the Holy Spirit we cannot sin, seeing that the Spirit, of course, does not sin. If we fall, we have left the Spirit’s leading and have let ourselves be led by the devil who has tempted us through our flesh, that is to say our sinful nature. Then must we flee back to God to be reconciled with Him and receive new strength to conquer.

“Those who are in connection with God are channels for the power of the Holy Spirit. If one who daily communes with God errs from the path, if he turns a moment from looking steadfastly unto Jesus, it is not because he sins willfully; for when he sees his mistake, he turns again, and fastens his eyes upon Jesus, and the fact that he has erred does not make him less dear to the heart of God. He knows that he has communion with the Saviour; and when reproved for his mistake in some matter of judgment, he does not walk sullenly, and complain of God, but turns the mistake into a victory. He learns a lesson from the words of the Master, and takes heed that he be not again deceived.” Review and Herald, May 12, 1896.

The token for victory is that God’s Spirit itself bears witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:16.) This is the Bible’s joyful message. Everything else is a false gospel.


Nature and Character


The “New Theology,” with belief in the doctrine of “original” sin, means that we through our inherited nature bear the guilt for sin even after our conversion. Sin is, according to that belief, even in “the good” which Paul wants to do, yes, as well as in his victory over sin. It also means that even the best that we do is defiled with egotistical motivation, and even our weaknesses are reckoned as sin. Therefore, the “New Theology” focuses only on forgiveness—not on sanctification of the character. The “New Theology” does not make a distinction between our inherited nature and our character, which we form during our life. We are afflicted with our nature until the Second Coming of Christ, at which time He glorifies us in the same way that His own body was glorified on the resurrection morning. With His return He shall “change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body . . .” Philippians 3:21.

When it applies to the character, there is a difference between Jesus and us. Seeing that we have stained our character through our passions and transgressions of the commandments, we have therefore, over and above our sinful nature, even a fallen character with its own acquired customs, to resist. Christ, on the other hand, never sullied His character. He kept it pure and never succumbed to temptation because of the power which He constantly requested of His Father; a power to which we also have full access. “To the consecrated worker there is wonderful consolation in the knowledge that even Christ during His life on earth sought His Father daily for fresh supplies of needed grace.” The Acts of the Apostles, 56. As God helped Jesus to keep His character unspotted, He can recreate our character—and keep it unspotted.

Our fallen nature is not changed until the Second Coming of Jesus, but our character must be transformed and sanctified here and now through God’s power, if we are to be saved at all! Jesus will not perform some miracle with our character when He comes, neither when He pours out “the latter rain.” That would be against our will, seeing that we had not developed the correct attitude to its reception beforehand.

A pure character is a prerequisite for the ability to receive “the latter rain,” the Holy Spirit’s last great outpouring, which shall bear the “Loud Cry” to the whole world before the return of Christ.


To be saved is not, in and of itself, to come to a better world. There is only one purpose in the plan of salvation—to enable human beings to stop committing transgression of the principles of life, because salvation is to be saved from sin. (Matthew 1:21.) Nobody will be saved in his sin (Rev 21:8, 27), because if that were so, the new earth, which God will establish, would be destroyed just as this world has been. However, God has done everything He can for us so that we can conquer sin. The Spirit of Prophecy says encouragingly: “Those who put their trust in Christ are not to be enslaved by any hereditary or cultivated habit or tendency. Instead of being held in bondage to the lower nature, they are to rule every appetite and passion. God has not left us to battle with evil in our own finite strength . . . we can overcome through the power that He is ready to impart.” The Ministry of Healing, 175, 176.

In response to the “Holy Flesh” Movement of 1900, in Indiana, which taught that mankind’s physical sinful nature could be holy now, Ellen White wrote that through the reception of Christ’s sacrifice and the bending of our will to His: “All may obtain holy hearts, but it is not correct to claim in this life to have holy flesh. The apostle Paul declares, ‘I know that in me [that is, in my flesh,] dwelleth no good thing:’ Romans 7:18.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 32.

“As faith thus receives and assimilates the principles of truth, they become a part of the being, and the motive power of the life. The word of God, received into the soul, moulds the thoughts, and enters into the development of character.” The Desire of Ages, 391.

“Through faith in Christ, every deficiency of character may be supplied, every defilement cleansed, every fault corrected, every excellence developed.” Education, 257.

“I saw how this grace could be obtained. Go to your closet, and there alone plead with God: ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’ Be in earnest, be sincere. Fervent prayer availeth much. Jacob-like, wrestle in prayer. Agonize. Jesus, in the garden, sweat great drops of blood; you must make an effort. Do not leave your closet until you feel strong in God; then watch, and just as long as you watch and pray you can keep these evil besetments under, and the grace of God can and will appear in you.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 158.


If the Foundations be Destroyed, part 2

Daniel 8 reveals who and what the little horn power is. It also mentions two armies: 1. The little horn was given an army, (“a host” according to the King James Version), and 2. The army of heaven.

Who is the army of heaven? According to Luke 2 it includes the angels. They are called “the host of heaven.” But the army of heaven is not just the angels. It is also made up of God’s people in the world. Daniel 8 says that God’s army, His host, would be trampled by the little horn power.

Revelation 11 tells us that the Gentiles would trample the worshippers and the court, for forty-two months, and that a time would come to measure the temple, the altar and the worshippers. We are living in that measuring time.

What is the sanctuary spoken of in Daniel 8? This is an important question to answer because our opponents have attacked us on this point for one hundred and fifty years, and we are still being attacked. We are also being attacked from within Adventism on who and what this sanctuary is.

The Lord told His people that they were to build Him a sanctuary so that He might dwell among them. (See Exodus 25:8.) It is God’s presence that makes the building a tabernacle or a temple. The Jews had a problem with this in the days of Christ, and He rebuked them severely. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it [he is guilty].’ ”

Jesus called them fools. He said, “Which is greater, the gold that is the building or the temple that sanctifies the gold?” The temple is not holy because of the gold or because it is a beautiful building. The temple is holy because God’s presence is there.

The Jewish temple in the old covenant is a symbol of the Christian church. (See Ephesians 2:19–22 and The Desire of Ages, 160–162.) It is also a symbol that God wants every human being and every angel to be a temple for the indwelling of the divine Spirit.

“The subject of the sanctuary was the key that unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious.” The Great Controversy, 423. In the old covenant there was an earthly sanctuary. But in the new covenant there is a heavenly sanctuary. (See Psalm 11:4; Jeremiah 17:12; Hebrews 8 and 9; Revelation 1:13; 4:5; 8:3-5; 11:19; 15:4; 14:15, 17; 16:1, 16, 17.)

In the Bible we find two sanctuaries or temples. The earthly sanctuary in the Old Covenant is a type of the heavenly sanctuary in the New Covenant. The reason there was a great disappointment in 1844 is because the people did not understand the Biblical teaching of the sanctuary. They thought that the sanctuary was the earth.

It was like that in the days of Christ. Even the disciples were confused. They did not understand the nature of the kingdom that Christ was going to set up. They were disappointed when Jesus was crucified because they longed and hoped He would set up an earthly, temporal kingdom. They were still in the Old Covenant in their thinking. But the kingdom was a spiritual, eternal kingdom, with its headquarters in heaven.

It was that way with the Adventists in 1844. Their arithmetic was right, the date they set was right, the truth they were preaching was so, but they did not understand the nature of the sanctuary, so they were terribly disappointed. Many people today still do not understand the sanctuary. As we saw stated in part one, our opponents think that in Daniel 8 it is talking about the earthly sanctuary. In this article we will look at the prophecies that pointed to the destruction of Jerusalem, contrasting them with those of Daniel 8.

Daniel 9 contains the seventy-week prophecy. Seventy weeks were cut off for the Jews, beginning in 457 B.C. and ending in 34 A.D. “After the sixty-two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself and the people of the prince who is coming shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Daniel 9:26. What sanctuary is this? This is the earthly sanctuary.

“And the end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then He [the Messiah] shall confirm in a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined is poured out on the desolate.” Daniel 9:26, 27.

In this prophecy a short time after the Messiah is cut off, the earthly sanctuary would be destroyed. Jesus predicted this, “Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and his disciples came up to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.’ ” Matthew 24:1, 2.

Jesus said that it was going to happen in that generation, not sometime way down at the end of history. “Assuredly, I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation . . . Your house is left to you desolate.” Matthew 23:36, 38.

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.” Luke 21:20. Daniel predicted it and Jesus predicted it. The Apostle Paul also predicted it. “In that He says, a new covenant, He has made the first obsolete. Now that which is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:13. It was Jerusalem and the earthly sanctuary that would vanish away a short time after the book of Hebrews was written.

The Apostle Paul attempted to prepare the Christian community for what was going to happen. People were looking to the city of Jerusalem and Paul said in effect, “Do not look there.” “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” Hebrews 13:14. So it is clear when you read Daniel 9:26, 27; Matthew 23 and 24; Luke 21; and the book of Hebrews, that a short time after the crucifixion of Christ, the temple at Jerusalem would be destroyed.


The Sanctuary Destroyed Again?


“So he came near where I stood, [this is the angel who came to explain the vision to Daniel] and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.” Daniel 8:17. The vision here is about the twenty-three hundred days, the little horn power and the time of the end. The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed a short time after the crucifixion, but this vision is not about something in the time of Christ and the apostles. This vision is to extend to the time of the end. It could not possibly be talking about the earthly sanctuary, because the earthly sanctuary was not going to extend to the time of the end.

The prophecy about this sanctuary is something that continues until the time of the end. “Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time, the end shall be . . . And the vision of the evenings and mornings [the vision of the twenty-three hundred days] which was told is true. Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future.” Daniel 8:19, 26.

Referring to the little horn power Daniel says, “And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; Then they shall take away the daily sacrifices [the continuance in rebellion. Called the continuance in Daniel 8:12. Sacrifices should not be there], and place there the abomination of desolation.” Daniel 11:31.

“And from the time that the daily [constant rebellion] is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. But you, go your way till the end [the end of the days]; for you shall rest [stand in your lot in the judgment. See The Great Controversy, 488.].” Daniel 12:11–13. The twelve hundred and ninety days and the thirteen hundred and thirty-five days will extend to the time of the end, or the time of the judgment. Paul makes it very clear in Hebrews 9 that the judgment occurs in the end period of earth’s history.

The continuance and abomination of desolation and the twenty-three hundred days mentioned in Daniel 8, refers to something that will go to the end of time. It could not possibly be talking about the earthly sanctuary because it had been destroyed many hundreds of years before.

The “daily” or “constant rebellion,” that had been constant in the ancient world ever since the days of Cain was taken away and something else called “the abomination that makes desolate” was set up in its place, in 508 A.D.

The sanctuary that is talked about in Daniel could not possibly be the earthly sanctuary. All the lines of evidence are pointing in a different direction. The earthly sanctuary had been destroyed hundreds of years earlier as predicted, long before the prophecies in Daniel 8, 11 and 12 took place. That leaves only one other conclusion, since there are only two sanctuaries that are taught in Scripture: the earthly and the heavenly. It is talking here about the heavenly sanctuary.

What did the little horn power do to this sanctuary? “The place of his sanctuary [the heavenly sanctuary] was cast down . . . How long will the vision be concerning the daily [the daily or constant rebellion] and the transgression of desolation [the abomination of desolation]? The giving of both the sanctuary and the host [the people of God] to be trampled under foot.” Daniel 8:11, 13.

The little horn power is especially pointed out in God’s Word as the power that would cast down the sanctuary, trample it and defile it. What does it mean when it says, “They will cast it down and trample it and defile it?” Revelation 13:16 answers this simply, “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle [sanctuary or temple] and those who dwell in heaven.”


Accountable for all Slain


“Therefore indeed. I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes . . . And some of them you will . . . persecute . . .That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth.” Matthew 23:34, 35.

Jesus told the Jews that they would be accounted guilty of all the righteous blood shed upon the earth. In the end, the God of heaven will accuse Babylon of being guilty of every murder committed in the world. “The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you any more. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.” Revelation 18:23, 24.

The Lord says, “You are to blame. The responsibility is at your door for everything.” If the Jews had accepted the Messiah, the whole history of the world would have been different. And if Babylon had kept hold of the gospel, the whole history of the world would be different also.

Babylon is guilty of all the innocent blood in the world. The little horn power (in Daniel 8) is the culmination of, the continuance in rebellion—paganism. That was the universal constant of the ancient world from the time of Cain until in its second phase it developed into the apostasy of the latter times. The antichrist power, the man of sin, is judged by God as responsible for all the innocent blood shed in the latter times.

It is especially noted in prophecy as being responsible for the defiling of the sanctuary. In Revelation 13:6 this power would open its mouth in blasphemy. It will open its mouth in blasphemy against God’s sanctuary. What was this blasphemy? Let us consider two or three major factors in this blasphemy against God’s sanctuary: that cast it down to the ground and trampled on it.

When Jesus came to this world, He offered His life on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. Ellen White said that after Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven He went to the throne of God to be our Mediator. His work as our Mediator in heaven is just as important and vital to our salvation as His death on the cross.

Ellen White says in The Great Controversy, 488, that the devil hates the truths that bring to the minds of God’s people the fact that they have an all-powerful Mediator. He hates truths like those found in Hebrews 4:14–16, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

We have an all-powerful Mediator who can help, no matter how weak and sinful we are. No matter how much trouble we are in. Jesus said, “All power is given to me.” That means He is able to save perfectly everyone who comes to God through Him. (See Hebrews 7:25.)

One of the significant points of the blasphemy against God’s sanctuary was the removal of the Mediator, and placing instead human mediators. Christ the Mediator was completely removed from the heavenly sanctuary and, in the minds of men, human beings were put in His place. That is blasphemy. Blasphemy against the temple in heaven where there is an all-powerful Mediator.

When men look to human mediators, they do not get the help they need. Then they cannot overcome sin. They invent a theology that allows you to confess and confess and confess. You go and confess and you think you are saved. But there is no power. That is blasphemy. The gospel according to the New Testament presents an all-powerful Mediator. When you come to Him, you receive mercy and grace. That is power to help when you need it.

One of the biggest reasons for the crime and trouble that we have in the world today is because the Mediator has been taken away in many minds. Ellen White is very specific, that God lays at the door of the church the crime in society. (See The Great Controversy, 389.) We have taken away the help and unless you get men’s eyes back on the all-powerful Mediator, there is no help. There is no victory. That is not all, when you take away the divine Mediator, people are going to live in sin because without a divine Mediator to give help, there is no way out from your sin.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. I do not know about you, but that is not hard for me to believe at all. Have you ever tried it? It is easy to see from our society that people without Christ go down hill quickly, and crime, wars and every variety of sin increase.

We must be in harmony with the Law of God or we will be lost. There is no truth that is taught more succinctly than this in the sanctuary system. This theme runs throughout the Bible.

Another part of the blasphemy was to remove the Law altogether. The Law says I cannot divorce my wife except for fornication. The kings of Europe, during the Middle Ages, discovered that if they received permission from the right person, they could divorce their wives and marry someone else.

Why was the seventh commandment no longer enforced? Because the Law had been removed and people did not look to the Law of God. They looked to the church to find out what they could do and what they could not do. As one writer said, If you got permission, you could sleep in peace even if you murdered your own father. Daniel 7:25 predicted that the Law of God will be removed. That was blasphemy against the sanctuary in heaven. The Mediator was removed and the Law was removed.

How is God’s sanctuary to be cleansed or restored? To restore it in the mind of men, their eyes must be focused on God and His Law in the sanctuary. The sanctuary cannot be cleansed until the condition of things done by the little horn is remedied. In your mind you must see that that Law is still valid. It has not been changed. But you need more, you need an all-powerful Mediator that you can pray to and get help to bring your life into perfect harmony with that Law. Until that happens the sanctuary cannot be restored.

The sanctuary can only be cleansed, or restored to its rightful state, when God has a group of people that keep perfectly that Law. “Here is the patience of the saints; Here are those that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. The two things that the little horn did to trample the sanctuary, to cast it down, to defile it, have to be restored. The commandments and the High Priestly ministry of Jesus, the One Mediator, have to be restored to their rightful place.

The sanctuary is going to be cleansed. The judgment and the cleansing of the sanctuary involves three stages: first the righteous will be judged, then the wicked during the millennium followed by their execution at the end and finally the scape goat is dealt with at the end of the millennium.

The sanctuary will be cleansed and we will have a part in it. When it is over, either we will be cleansed from our sins, we will be keeping the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus, or we will be the other part of the cleansing process. Sin will be done away with. God has decided it.

When I look out in the world and see what sin has done, I am glad that God has made that decision. The question now is, Will I be cleansed of sin through the power of the Holy Spirit, through the mediation of Christ? Or will I cling to it and be destroyed when sin is destroyed?

The whole subject of the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:10–14 has an extremely serious message for every single person in the world. That is what Adventism is about. We have a job to tell the world. The sanctuary will be restored to its rightful state and we need to decide what side we will be on when that happens.

I want the Law of God restored in my heart and to put my whole trust in Jesus as my Mediator so that my life can be changed. The best of us are not good enough and the worst of us are not so bad that the Lord cannot save us, if we put our trust in our all-powerful Mediator. I invite you to commit your life to Jesus, your all-powerful Mediator, today.


Unity Round Table

The subject of this discussion will be unity, and how can we have it.

Reeves: A text that I have thought about many times over the last three or four weeks is Hebrews 2:11. It says, “For both He that sanctifieth and they which are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” That is an amazing text. He who sanctifies and we who are being sanctified are all one. And He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Pastor Grosboll, please share some thoughts with us about sanctification and how that leads us to becoming unified.

Grosboll: The world wants unity; they want harmony. And they try to manufacture it in clubs and organizations that use rules and bylaws to try to create unity. Sometimes it creates an exterior unity of purpose. The unity that Jesus is talking about in John 17, when He prayed that His followers might be one, was a unity that involved a unity of character, of thought and of feeling. It is an interior unity. Then the exterior is a result of what is on the inside and not just a veneer over the top. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Make clean first what is inside the cup and the platter and then the outside will be clean also.” In order for us to have unity on the inside with each other, we have to have unity with Jesus. We have to have harmony of purpose. We can’t have unity of thought, purpose, feeling and character with Him unless we are holy. The Bible says, “Be ye holy because I am holy.” God created us for fellowship with Him, and our greatest happiness is found when we have a relationship, a harmony and a fellowship with Him. However, fellowship with anybody involves the fact that you can both experience the same feeling. You cannot experience the same feeling, the same thought and the same purpose with Jesus unless you have the same character.

Let us give this a practical application. For example, two people get married. The purpose of marriage is fellowship. That is one of the great reasons that marriage was created in the beginning. God said that it was not good for man to be alone. He was to be a social being; he was to have fellowship. So if two people get married and one is selfish and the other unselfish, the more selfish the one person is and the more unselfish the other person is, the less fellowship they will be able to have because they will have a different purpose. There can be no fellowship there because they are going in opposite directions; they are living for opposite reasons. Therefore, in order for fellowship to be created something has to change. Either one has to become more selfish or the other has to become more unselfish so that they have some sameness in their character. We do not like to think about this, but it is actually true that two selfish people can have some fellowship because they are both trying to get something. They have some unity in that striving. If I am selfish and God is unselfish, then we cannot have any fellowship together.

Ellen White says in the book Desire of Ages that the devil could not understand the incarnation. He could not comprehend how Jesus would come and humiliate himself to be a man. He could not comprehend it because he was so different in character. So before we can have harmony among the Adventist people we have to come into unity of character with Jesus. When Jesus was praying for His followers to have unity He said, “Sanctify them through your truth, your word is truth.” There can be no true harmony, no true unity, without sanctification, which has its basis in the truth.

Reeves: Brother Anderson, could you give us your thoughts on why we want to have unity?

Anderson: I know there are plenty of wrong reasons why we want unity. Therefore, it is important that we get the right reasons. The devil wants unity too, and he will get it. But it is a unity, which is totally unlike the unity of Christ. I was just reading this passage from Testimonies, vol. 5, 101. Talking about the unity that the devil has, she says, “With the ungodly there will be a deceptive harmony that but partially conceals a perpetual discord. In their opposition to the will and the truth of God they are united, while on every other point they are rent with hatred, emulation, jealousy and deadly strife.” Now that is the wrong kind of unity.

The unity that comes from Christ is different. It is not what you are aiming for; it is what you get when you are aiming for something else. I remember what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “Seek ye first.” That word first is so important. It means that it is the most important thing. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [unity is one of these things] will be added unto you.” For me, that is very simple. When you seek his righteousness—you get your own heart straight with God, you seek the kingdom of God, you do your part in the finishing of God’s work—then unity will come. But if that is not the focus, we will get a unity perhaps, but it will not be the unity of Christ.

Reeves: We do not want to be a part of the wrong unity. People like to parade around and say, I am a good Christian, or pretend to be things that they are not. We do not want to be part of a pretended unity.

Anderson: In a later paragraph she says, “Like will attract like. Those who are drinking from the same fountain of blessing will draw nearer together. Truth dwelling in the hearts of believers will lead to blessed and happy assimilation. Thus will be answered the prayer of Christ that His disciples might be one even as he is one with the Father.” That is unity. Isn’t that beautiful? You achieve unity by drinking from the same fountain of blessing and by having truth dwelling in the heart. You can get another unity another way, but it will not be the right unity.

Reeves: Some of the most blessed experiences that I have ever had in my life have been times when I have joined in group prayer. Unity in Christ is a wonderful experience.

Anderson: Some of the most wonderful experiences of my life during the past five years have been going to countries that I have never been in before, meeting people I have never met before, and yet immediately finding that unity. It is not something that I had to cultivate, but because we were drinking from the same fountain of blessing we felt a oneness of heart.

Reeves: This unity comes with effort. It is not something that just happens automatically. My wife and I get along wonderfully. But there have been times when we had to put a little effort into it. To experience unity there are times when we need to put some effort in it. If we know that someone is possibly upset with us, we are told to go do something about it.

Pastor Shelton, how do you think this unity is going to take place within Historic Adventism?

Shelton: I think we all know there are some severe things happening in Adventism. These are things we need to look closely at. We know we are at a crisis point; something must be done. First of all, we have to admit there is a problem. If we do not admit there is a problem, we are not going to do anything about it. Let us think about John 3 where Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. The best thing Jesus could do for Nicodemus was to be honest. And sometimes that is difficult because of friendship and associations. However, Jesus was so loving and so kind that he simply cut through all the red tape and said, “You need to be born again.” Being born again is the basis of unity. When we are born again and really give our heart and life to Jesus, unity will be the natural outflow. As we often say, an apple tree will bear apples. You do not have to tell it to. It just happens. And the natural thing that happens when you are born again is that your life is changed. Where once you were selfish, suddenly you begin to think about others and you have soul winning on your mind. That is a strange thing to some of us; we were not like that before. Conversion as it came to me was that I had a desire in my heart for others, for souls, where in the past it was “me, mine and I.” I had been in the church all my life, but when conversion really came, I began to see that there were other people out there, and they became so important. Then you begin to think about how you can best work for Jesus. You find the necessity of being linked with those of like minds. Paul said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” If we have the mind of Christ, we will have unity.

I hear people say, “I have perfected Christian character.” That takes a lot of boldness. Yet if a group of people have perfected Christian character, Jesus has promised he that will come. Evidently, it is not completed yet, or He would already be here. We still lack some things. Unity will come, and it is going to be based on the truth of God’s word. Lots of times we go around parading unity and love for each other. But it is really just something that is on the surface.

The whole issue is that we must be born again and have the kind of conversion experience in which the only thing that will be paramount in our hearts and lives is the winning of souls. I believe that as historic Adventists we need to focus on the truth found in John 17—“Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.” We need to have a born again experience and a heart renewal. If we have a heart renewal, unity will be the natural fruit. We may not be experiencing what we need to experience in Jesus or we would already have this unity. It is an automatic thing. It comes through justification, sanctification, and perfection. Study the earthly sanctuary. The sanctuary is the pillar of the Adventist message. Yet very few Adventists really understand the sanctuary, even some of the simplest aspects of it. We need to get into the Bible; we need to be men and women of the book. If we are not experiencing sanctification—reading the word, praying and letting our light shine—then there can be some real difficulties. I know in my own experience that I lived for many years on what I heard somebody say, someone else’s experience of what I should be doing, rather than experiencing it for myself.

I am encouraging people today that there is a way to have unity. Unity will be accomplished, but it can only be through the truth—never compromise. It comes through knowing what truth is. The Bible says, “To the law and to the testimony.” It is about time we start measuring things up the way the Bible says to measure them up. If we do that, we will see unity begin to develop.

Something important to remember is that not everyone is the toe and not everyone is the eye. We need to realize that God has called different individuals to do a different work, even though it is a unified work. Maybe it is a matter of coming to the point of realizing that God has given gifts to the church and recognizing those gifts as God gives them. Last week I said to an individual, “Do you know why we are having so much trouble, and There is not the unity that there ought to be? It is because you’re operating where you should not be operating.” It is an interesting thought. You are operating out of that place where God has put you, and stepping into someone else’s area. How can you tell someone else what to do and how to do it when God has not called you to do that? But if we function where God has called us, we are going to see unity happen and we will have it based upon the truth of God’s word.

Reeves: You were talking about compromise. That is the deadliest thing to Christians. Yet, God’s law is so perfect and so wonderful that if we will learn to look at His law and determine to have it be a part of us, then with compromise out of the way we will be unified.

You said something that made me realize that there really can be no true unity unless we are committed to Christ. It just will not take place. Sanctification has to take place or there is no unity.

Shelton: We have got to realize that we do not have unity. That means there is a problem; we do not have the mind of Christ. There is not a people prepared to go to heaven, so He cannot come. We still have a work to do here, and it starts with my own heart and my own life. And if I give my life to Christ, I will be able to help others.

God gives people special gifts and he puts them in certain areas to do a specific work. God gives different gifts. All are not preachers; all are not teachers; all are not evangelists. A person came to me and said, I have been seeing all the things that have been happening in the church and the ministry and I just do not know how you can stand all these problems thrown in your face all the time. And I said, You know why you cannot? Because, God did not call you to that office. If God calls you to that office, He will equip you to endure that which is laid there for you; He will see you through. He will enable you to do those things when other people are saying it will not work.

Anderson: There is another aspect to that. Yes, we are called to different functions and we have different gifts. But that does not mean we are separate. It means that we cooperate with each other. I cannot do the work that you are doing, but if I can help you in your work then that is going to help unity.

Shelton: That is the key. The Bible says, “We are all called by the Spirit.” And if the right Spirit calls, the Spirit certainly knows how to put together the right people. An important key is that we need to be humble, teachable and loving. If I am humble and teachable, that simply says that I realize that I am not complete. I need the help, support, prayers and the working capability of my brothers.

Reeves: You said that when we are converted we start thinking about others. If we are doing service for others, we are not thinking about making ourselves the priority. That is when unity starts coming a lot easier, and that is what Jesus was teaching at the Last Supper.

Garcia: In the same line of thought, being born again is being a true disciple of Jesus. What Jesus had to say in John 6 is perhaps the most important message he has given to us. John 6:58-60: “This is that bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth of this bread shall live forever.” These things said he in the synagogue in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can hear it?’” Before that in John 6:53 Jesus said, “Verily, verily I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have not life in you.” Jesus expressed a very important truth about eternal life—you either have it or you do not have it. There were certain of the disciples that were following Jesus because they saw in him something very attractive. But when Jesus pointed to something specific, they said that it was too hard to hear. And what did they do? We are told in verse 66, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with him.” It means that there was some truth there that they did not want to hear. And they withdrew from Christ and did not walk with Jesus anymore. Let me ask you a question. If a person does not follow Christ, if a person is not a disciple of Jesus, where can unity come from? Unity is not possible.

Grosboll: When you say that they withdrew themselves, I want to make sure that the people understand that when they withdrew themselves from Christ they made it impossible for any true unity to develop. They still went to the synagogue every Sabbath; they still said I am a member of the church in good and regular standing; I am a member of God’s chosen people. And they thought they were still on the way to the great kingdom of glory when they had just turned their back on it.

Reeves: Elder Berglund, I was very impressed when I was in Sweden. There were several ministries that got together and prayed, and I sensed a unity taking place there in Europe. What are some of the efforts that are being made in Europe to see that all the ministries are working together?

Berglund: First of all, we are trying to get to know each other. And I believe we have realized that real unity will come when we all understand that we are priests in the sight of God and that Jesus Christ is our High Priest. I think we have all experienced meeting people in different churches, and our own churches, with whom we differ on theology. Unity comes to one point and then it stops. Now we have started finding a few people working with the old Adventist message, and we realize that we have the same faith. We still have a job to do in getting to know each other, finding the projects, finding our weaknesses and strengths, and putting together a work. But we are also realizing that unity does not mean that we are all going to do the same thing at the same place and the same time. It means that we have the same message and are led by the same spirit. Then we can organize our activities, help each other, and compliment each other in the work. We are working in different places and different countries, but we have the message and the Spirit. And we have this brotherly love and unity among ourselves. This is what we are seeking to understand and develop.

Reeves: We have not had a lot of examples before us on unity, have we? We have a lot to learn. But the opportunities of unity are so wonderful.

Grosboll: I would like to share a statement written by Ellen White in 1898. It is in Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 179. It says, “Perfection of character means perfection in unity.” Right before this, she said that one of the reasons we do not see the sick healed among us today is because we do not have unity. Therefore, God cannot do for us what he would like to do for us because we are all going our separate ways. She said in Letter 67, written in 1903, “The work committed to us by the Lord will advance rapidly only when we labor in unity.” Now we predict on the basis of prophecy that there is coming a time when the work will travel speedily “like fire in the stubble,” But she says here that the work will not advance rapidly until we are working in unity. That is something we should pray about. We could see many more people baptized; we could see many more churches established. I personally believe that the time is going to come when we are going to see millions of people come in. I do not necessarily mean in one city or one spot. I am talking about worldwide. But that is not going to happen among a people who are fighting and have not learned to be united in Christ. In order for the multitudes to come in they have to see Christ in the church. In the world There is all this discord and strife, disunity and disharmony, hatred and jealousy. When you visit the people in their homes, there is a heart cry in humanity today for something different and better than this world has to offer. They do not know what it is, but they know there has got to be something better than this. When they see the unity and brotherly love and the harmony of Christians that love each other and help each other, it is going to strike a chord that all of our preaching can never do. In fact, the churches that are growing today are the ones where the people help each other. That impresses people in the world even more than our preaching because it is something practical. We need to pray for this to happen in historic Adventism. Of all people, the world should see among us a brotherly love for each other that they do not see anywhere else. John says in 1 John 3 that we ought to be willing to lay down our life for our brother even as Jesus laid down his life on behalf of us. When people see that brotherly love and they see people that may not think the same on everything or understand all points of theology the same, but they love each other so much that they would die for each other, it is going to have an electrifying affect on the world.

Shelton: We have been feeling the necessity of unity, but I think that if we do not relate to this individually, it will never work. In our local church, the leaders—the deacons and the elders—meet every Wednesday night, and we get on our knees and plead, as the leadership of the church, for unity and for the power of the Holy Spirit so that we can be receptive to the Spirit and to all the souls that are out there. He wants to bring them in but they are not coming in because of the discord in the church. Then on Sabbath, as soon as the preaching is done, the leadership meets in the office again and we pray for unity. And what happened with us was that we saw division come in. We prayed for unity and all of a sudden things began to crop up. Some of the leaders got discouraged and said, Why is this happening? And I said, Because God in his infinite wisdom and love is showing us that we need to make improvements. There are things wrong in our hearts. He is showing us that there cannot be unity when we are harboring jealousies, envying and pride. Some almost came to the point of saying, Let us not pray for unity anymore because it is bringing up all these things. God is just trying to reveal to us what we really are so we can take our problems to Him and some changes can be made. We are going through a lot of tests and trials, but He is beginning to show us our defects because we are so close to the end; we need to be making preparation for the end. He simply revealed to us that we need to spend more time in study and prayer. So, let us start really praying for unity. If the leadership in your church has unity, God will bring people in. On the positive side, when we began praying, we had people who began coming to church as a result of outreach that we have done. One man, during his second visit to church, asked what he needed to do to be a part of God’s remnant church! There are people out there and they will come in, but we have to show them that there is unity and love.

Anderson: I think those tests that you talk about are to find out just how serious you are about unity. Just like if you pray for patience God is going to give you lots of situations where you could grow very impatient, because you will never know if God has answered your prayer unless you can face those trials and come through them. If you’re praying for unity, you’re going to have a lot of tests to discover whether you’re serious about wanting unity above all the other things.

Reeves: So the question is, do we really want it? You were talking about people coming in the church when you started praying, and it made me think. One of the struggles that I had a few years ago when I was a member of a conference church was that I felt like I could not bring interests into the church because of the problems and the apostasy that was there. And something just occurred to me. What if the Holy Spirit sometimes looks at our churches and says, I cannot bring converts to them yet? That is pretty serious. Pastor Grosboll read that if there were more unity the sick would be healed. So the next time we drive by the hospital we should realize that there might not be quite as many people there if we were more serious on the topic of unity.

Anderson: The example of the relationship in the home was mentioned earlier. If we were to work on unity in the same way that a good husband and wife work on unity in their home, I think we could see results. A good husband and wife do not compete with each other. They see their roles as complimentary. Are those of us who are in ministry trying to compete with other ministries? Or are we seeing ways in which we can compliment each other? This is one of the things that I feel we are trying to work on in Europe. We have very small ministries; we cannot do everything. So rather than trying to do everything, we are trying to see whether we can cooperate as a group. And for us that is like the marriage. The husband and the wife see roles in which they can not only fulfill their own positions, but they can also help the family to operate. We are a family, and we do not want strife within the family. We want to be all together in brotherly love.

Berglund: That makes unity very personal does not it? It means that my contribution will have to be that the Holy Spirit is Lord in my life. My sins must be forgiven. I must have victory in my life. Then I am ready to be a part of a unity with other people having the Lord as their master.

Anderson: And how many of us in ministry actually take the active step of going on to another ministry, particularly one that may not be happy about us, and say, What can I do to help you? Have we ever thought of the means that the Lord has given us to run our ministries? Have we thought about tithing those means, and using those tithes to help another ministry? These are practical things in which we can build unity, where we can show we are brothers and sisters in the same family.

Reeves: I like that idea. The Spirit of Prophecy has told us that there is danger in competitive sports. But we come up through the system and we get the idea of teams, and if somebody is on a different team then we are out to beat them. The devil has really sown some terrible ideas in our brains because of competitive sports. We have a lot of things to unlearn.

Grosboll: Pastor Shelton mentioned that in their church they were praying for unity and troubles started happening. I believe that in any situation, in any church, ministry, or group that gets together and prays for unity, that trouble is going to happen. I will explain it like this. If you have a broken bone you are already in trouble. But you want your body to work harmoniously together. So what are you going to do? You are going to have to go to a physician. That bone is going to have to be set, or sometimes you might have to have surgery. Something must be done to set that right; and to have that done it is going to hurt. You may even have to take some pain medication. You are going to have more pain before the situation is corrected, but you have to get the situation corrected. It is the same with a boil. When I was a child, I never liked the idea of having a boil lanced, but at some point it has to be done if it is going to heal. If there is something among us that is preventing unity, it cannot be covered up; the problem has to be solved so that we can have healing. And if we are going to have healing in Adventism, the problem has to be solved so that we can have healing. We need healing. There are a lot of people out there that are hurting, discouraged, bitter or angry. The Lord wants to take us all to heaven, but he cannot take us that way. These things have to be healed, and to be healed we have to pray. Then the Lord starts working so that we can work on our problems. When the problems start coming really fast, and we say, No Lord, I’m not going to work on the problem, it is just like when you have a broken bone and you say, No I do not want anybody to set it because it is going to hurt too bad. You can wait, but at some point down the line you are going to have to have it set if you are going to be able to function normally. So, can you hang on through the pain so that we can have the harmony and the unity that God wants us to have? That is the question that historic Adventists need to ask themselves today. Am I willing to hang on through the pain until we get the unity that God is trying to bring about among us?

Shelton: With a broken bone, if you let it go it begins to try to heal itself in the condition that it is in. The longer you let it go, the more difficult it is to have it made right. It would be easier to approach the issue in the beginning and have it set properly rather than to let it start healing in the wrong. You have to break that bone again. It is more painful to let something go rather than to deal with it as quickly as you can.

Reeves: I broke my knuckle one time, and it healed crooked. They had to go in and break it and pin it. It was very painful. What this has made me think about is that the next time I find myself walking down the hall and I know that at the other end of the hall there could be a little friction with somebody, it would be best to turn around right then, rather than letting the wound heal broken so that it has to be broken later. We need a little discipline in our lives.

Berglund: Perhaps more than anything we need humility. We need to go to the people that might have identified themselves as our enemies and say, I care about you; I love you. And we should pray with them. This humility is totally unnatural if Christ is not the Lord in our lives.

Reeves: It is the born again experience. On the one hand, we are thinking of self. When we are born again we change completely and our thinking of others. There is no humility in self, it is pride only.

Anderson: I would like to tell you a story. Our ministry runs entirely on faith. There was a time when the money stopped coming in, and this was serious. For a period of about four or five months no money came in. We started praying and asking, Lord what is going on? What is happening? And the Lord brought back to our minds something that had happened a year or so before when there had been some friction between us and another brother. The friction was still there, and the Lord put upon us very strongly that we needed to go sort that out. I wrote a letter to that brother, and I expressed deep regret for the situation that occurred between us. I asked him if we could be friends again. He wrote me back a very aggressive letter; He was not ready to make peace. But once that letter had been written, the means started coming back for our ministry again. The Lord does not want us to be at odds with each other, but sometimes we have to take the first steps. Sometimes we get kicked for that and it is an unpleasant and painful experience. But the Lord did the same thing. And He set us the example of how to do these things. That taught me a big lesson.

Reeves: It is like Stephen when he was stoned. He prayed that the sin would not be charged against his persecutors. And yet we are so tempted if we see someone that looks cross-eyed at us to cast him or her off to hell. That has got to stop. We need to be like Stephen. When Saul saw Stephen praying, that made an impression, and big things started happening. I think that if we can get some of this selfishness out of our hearts we will see some of those big things happen. You can see why the angels do not want us to get into heaven as long as we have it. They do not like it. It would not be a safe place if we went there with it.

Garcia: I think Jesus gave us some wonderful pictures in nature so that we would understand what true unity is. One is found in the vine and the branches. Where my office is located I have a window that overlooks a vineyard. The branches are connected to the parent stalk, which is Christ, and everyone who grows on the parent stalk will bear fruit. There will be one final, wonderful plant bearing fruit, if they are all connected. Everyone on this vine has pain, because Jesus says in John 15:2, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away.” That is pain; that is separation. God is doing the separating because He does not find any fruit. And He says, “Every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it.” That means He prunes it; He cuts it. Why? So it bears more fruit. That is exactly what God is doing when we are going through trouble. When we pray, when we do our best, sometimes we find ourselves in trouble. God wants to prune us and show us our defects: He wants to help us. Ellen White says in Review and Herald 1897: “Christian unity consists in the branches being in the same parent stalk.” It is very clear.

Anderson: I like the picture, because unity is a fruit. And you have to have the plant for the fruit. I think many people want to have the fruit without the plant. They want to go down to the supermarket and buy the unity rather than grow the plant that brings the unity up. But without the plant, the fruit is useless.

Reeves: Unity is a very sweet fruit isn’t it? It is heaven ordained. We have talked about the fact that unity takes effort. The world is suffering because we have not experienced unity.

So where do we go from here? I can praise the Lord for the way he has brought us, but there is more to go. What do we need to be doing?

Anderson: We need to get out and work for others. Where we see that we are in disunity with others, we have a duty to do. We have to step out and build the bridges back to these people.

Garcia: I believe that one very practical thing is found in the example of the disciples. Were they united? No, they were not. They had fights. Why was that? They needed to have an experience. And that experience was the cross. Jesus talked to them so much about it. He wanted to share with them the need they had of understanding His great mission for the world and for them. But they did not understand that. Then he was crucified, and things started to happen in their lives. They did not understand it at first. They did not understand why Jesus had to die. But as the days went by, Jesus was resurrected, and He talked to them, then they could see things in a completely new light. Jesus was able to teach them something they could never understand before. They had been proud and had their own concept of how to do the work, but when they went through that cross experience, and became willing to learn from God and willing to receive the blessing—the Holy Spirit—then the Bible says they were with one accord, waiting for the blessing.

Anderson: Sister White said that a plant does not bear fruit for itself. It gives seed to the sower—that is Jesus—and bread to the eater. The eaters are the people out there who need this precious message that we have been hoarding to ourselves for so long. We have to realize that unity is not just for the church. It is for Jesus and it is for the folk out there. That is why this fruit has to be shared by us. We have not finished the work because we are not bearing the fruit.

Grosboll: I just wanted to comment about what you said regarding the disciples not having unity until after the cross. Before they had unity, they had to go through an experience where it looked like the church was going to get destroyed. There was almost no one left. There were a few who could not understand everything, but they hung on to their faith. And I want to appeal to historic Adventists—you may not understand what’s going on right now; it may appear that everything is going to ruin. Ellen White told us in Adventist Apocalypse that there was going to be a time when it was going to appear that the devil had won the great controversy. And we have to have enough faith so that when those times come we can hang on and say, Lord, I know that what you’ve told me is the truth and I’m just trusting you no matter what. When the disciples came to the cross, everybody in Jerusalem thought the cause of Christ was over. Yet that is the thing that brought unity. Sometimes the thing that brings unity is the thing that we think will destroy us all.

Reeves: As we have been sharing here the ideas of unity, I really appreciate a comment that was made about the old-fashioned religion. We serve an unchanging God; from the beginning of eternity He has been unchanging. That is an old-fashioned religion. That is the one that draws us together. And as we examine the law of God we are going to be drawn to each other. We have been told that right up to the end there are going to be people falling off the path. We need to help each other. If we see somebody slipping we have must be willing to help them. Through the grace of God we can all be in heaven and our lives can be used so that others will be there. Then we can spend eternity with the Lord.


Editor’s Note: The content of this article was taken from a roundtable discussion on the subject of unity done here at Steps to Life. The participants were Gordon Anderson (England), Elder John Berglund (Norway), Pastor John Grosboll of Steps to Life (Kansas), Daniel Garcia (France), and Pastor Kenny Shelton (Illinois).

Ye Must Be Born Again

As God’s people standing at the border of the Promised Land, God wants to give us a very special experience. We are all longing for Jesus to come, but do we realize that if we want to go home with Him, we need the experience Jesus told Nicodemus about in John 3:3: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

If you and I want to see His kingdom and be ready when He comes, we must be born again. When Israel was at the border of the Promised Land something very special happened. God permitted twelve of the leaders, one from each tribe, to go into the Promised Land to find out if the Lord’s promises were true.

The Lord tested these leaders to see whether or not they were prepared to enter the Promised Land. As they came back with the report, all the people gathered to listen. They told them that it was a good land, and they had substantial evidence to prove their claims. They brought back such a large cluster of grapes that it required two men to carry it. Others came laden with many other types of fruit. The people could see that it was a good land—truly a land flowing with milk and honey.

The multitude was ready to go in immediately upon hearing the reports, but then something happened. Suddenly ten of the twelve spies, who had seen the land, seemed to become confused. Everything the Lord had done for them was forgotten. They no longer trusted Him or His promises. All they could think of was their fear of the people that they had seen in Canaan. They said, “There we saw the giants . . . and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:33. They were so afraid that they told the people that there was no way they could take the land. Only two of the twelve said, “The Lord is with us, we can go in.”

But the majority of these men managed to brainwash the multitude. The ten spies said, “We cannot be victorious; the enemy is bigger than the Lord.” And the people believed them.

When I read that story, I wondered why the children of Israel, did not accept what the two faithful spies said. But they did not. They should have prayed to the Lord and said, “Lord, help us. Give us wisdom to do the right thing.” The Holy Spirit would have reminded them of all the miracles the Lord had wrought for them, and of all the past promises He had given that they had seen fulfilled. He would have reminded them of the plagues in Egypt and of the crossing of the Red Sea. Of how Moses hit the rock and water flowed forth for them to drink. How the bitter water at Mara had been made sweet. He would have reminded them of the battle with Amalek when they were victorious as long as Moses had his arms raised toward heaven. And the pillar of cloud, cooling them by day and giving them light and warmth by night, was a continual testimony of God’s protective care.

They could have said to the ten negative spies, “We do not believe you. We remember how the Lord led us in the past. We trust Him because He has been with us in the past, and He will be with us when we enter the Promised Land.” But these people had the mentality of slaves.

For at least four generations they had been slaves. They were accustomed to listening to and obeying the slave master. So when the spies said, “The enemy is stronger than the Lord, you cannot have victory,” all the people believed them instead of realizing they could have asked the Lord for guidance.

God’s people stand at the border of the Promised Land today. The devil is still using exactly the same method with just as much success. The good news is that we can choose for ourselves. We can read the Word and have an experience with the Lord. We do not have to go along with the majority.

The Israelites then decided to elect new leaders, who believed that they could live as slaves and still be God’s people. Then they wanted to kill that minority who believed that God could give victory. Finally the Lord Himself came down to settle the dispute and to show which ideology He stood for. He said, “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it.” Numbers 14:22, 23. Because they would not believe God’s promises, they would get their wish to stay in the wilderness and wander there for forty more years, until all who had seen the mighty works of God bringing them out of Egypt, were dead.

The Lord has led the Advent Movement to the border of the Promised Land before. I believe we are there now for the last time. This time the Lord will take His people home. There will be a minority who will accept the fact that the Lord is stronger than the enemy and victory can be ours.


A Night Visit


In John 3 we have a little parallel. You are familiar with the story of Nicodemus’ night visit with Jesus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He was a member of the Sanhedrin. As an educated man, he had the answers and was influential with the people. He belonged to the elite class in Israel. As he had observed Jesus and listened to His words, he came to the conclusion, in his own heart, that Jesus had something special, something that he needed.

Nicodemus’ education gave him an advantage and he realized that in the past God had permitted difficulties and trials to come to the children of Israel because the leaders lacked faith. He realized that they had been in captivity because the leaders led the people astray. He did not want to be part of that. One day he decided to find out the truth about Jesus and His kingdom for himself.

Despite all of Nicodemus’ earthly advantages, he was in a state of spiritual darkness. Nicodemus lacked the experience of being born of the Spirit. Jesus saw this and He wanted to guide him into a deeper experience with Him.

Nicodemus came to Jesus with flattery, according to the Jewish custom. He said, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” John 3:2. But Jesus did not answer Nicodemus’ flattery. He pointed immediately to what this man needed to hear.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. Nicodemus had not asked about that at all, but that is what he needed so he could take his next step in spiritual growth. Jesus “knew what was in man.” John 2:25. He knew the attitudes, feelings, thinking and experience that Nicodemus had.

Jesus looked at the Pharisee sitting beside Him, and He felt a longing to lead him all the way. He went right on to tell him that unless he gained this experience he would not see the kingdom of God. His physical circumcision was meaningless without a circumcision of the heart. To be born of the Spirit means to be made into a new person. If you do not have that experience as part of your Christian life, you will not enter the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus was not ignorant of the expression “born again.” The Jews used it to refer to a Gentile becoming a Jewish convert—leaving one set of beliefs and doctrines and accepting another set. It was impossible for him to imagine that Jesus was telling him that he needed a different religion. After all He was a Pharisee—he had the truth.

Nicodemus asked, a little incredulously, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” John 3:4. To answer his question, Jesus led him step by step through the process of the new birth. In verse 8, Jesus said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

The word used here for wind is exactly the same word as Spirit. And the word for blowing is the same as to lead. The word for sound is the same word as voice. So, the Spirit leads where He wants and you hear His voice. You do not know where He will take you. You do not know the future, but you trust, obey and accept. If the Lord wants me to go this way or do that, I reply, “OK, Lord, this is what I want to do.” This is what Jesus is telling us.

Nicodemus did not have that experience, and neither did the children of Israel as they stood at the border of the Promised Land. But that is the experience you and I need if we want to enter God’s kingdom. We have to be born again.

When Jesus said, “You must be born again,” He used the Greek word, anothen, meaning born from above, the movement from a high place towards a low. When Nicodemus countered with how can a man be born again? He used the word, deuteron, meaning, “How can I change my mind and start again with a new set of doctrines?”

Nicodemus referred to the horizontal plane while Jesus is trying to tell him that the born again experience comes from God, that is from the vertical plane. Many Seventh-day Adventists and many Christians in other denominations think that to be a Christian is to believe a set of doctrines. That is not enough! We need to be born again. We need to have an experience where we are totally committed to the Lord. We say, “Lord, whatever is right, whatever You want to do in my life, through me and with me, I want it to happen.” This is an experience where self is dead, crucified on the cross and the Lord is Master in our lives.

There is only one way the everlasting gospel can be a personal experience for every one of us, and that is through the experience of being born again. When a child is born, it is a miracle. It is a new being. There are no old parts. This is the expression that the Bible uses to explain what God wants to do with us. He wants us to be made of all new parts.

Without this experience we cannot enter His kingdom. If we are standing at the border of the Promised Land and this experience is not ours, then this is the message from the Lord for us. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26. He wants to give us a heart that will do what the minority did when the children of Israel stood at the border saying, “We trust Him. We have had experiences with Him in our lives. Whatever He says, we will trust Him.”


One Important Thing


“Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” 1 Corinthians 7:19. It means obedience. It means doing what the Lord wants us to do. In the Greek text it says that there is only one thing that is important, and that is to keep the law of God. There is one thing that matters, and that is to be obedient to God’s commands.

If we ask the Lord how we can become obedient, He will answer, “You must be born again.” We all have evil minds and hearts that are at war with God’s principles. The carnal mind alone cannot be obedient. (Romans 8:7.) We can behave decently because we are afraid of the consequences, but that is not what Jesus was talking about. He was talking about an inner experience that wherever we are we will live according to the Lord’s will, because His law is in our minds and when we would not want to do anything that would grieve Him.

The Bible makes this experience an absolute prerequisite for heaven. Nothing could be more important than for you and me to find out what our part of the work is, while He is doing His work in the Most Holy Place. Our part is to permit Him to cleanse all sin from our lives and ask the Holy Spirit to show us anything that is not according to His will. If you dare to pray that prayer, the Lord will answer. He is gracious and patient with you. He will not show you all the bad things at once, because that would discourage you. But, He will point out some things in answer to your prayer. Then go to the Bible and find the promises.

If I am a man who has a quick temper, becomes jealous or hurt easily, or has unclean thoughts, I must go to the Bible and say, “Lord, I claim Your promises.” And every time the devil tempts, say, “Lord, help me,” and repeat the promises. Resist the devil and victory will be won. That is the only way to live in a born again relationship.

I have met many Seventh-day Adventists who have heard and read about the new birth. They have a vague idea of what it means to be born again. But they do not know how to experience it. They long for it and want it, but how do they obtain it? We must know now. We stand at the border of the Promised Land. The Lord wants to invite us in. But we must be born again from above. There is no other way to find enterance.

The apostle John said, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world. And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. First we are told that those who are born again will be victorious over the world. When you are tempted, you will be victorious. It also says that the secret, the tool that makes this experience ours, is faith. I have met Seventh-day Adventists who believe that faith does not involve gaining victories, but the Bible tells us that it is faith that gives us the victory as we claim His promises.

“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” Verse 18. This experience makes it possible for us to live without breaking God’s law. “Sinneth not,” means not breaking God’s law, since sin is the breaking of God’s law. (1 John 3:4.) The devil can tempt, but the temptations can be resisted through God’s power.

The Bible reveals how this victory, this born again experience, takes place in our lives. 1 John 3:9 tells us that he who is born again does not sin. It does not say it only once but twice, “He cannot sin.”

Some theologians have made a big issue over this verse, promoting the idea that you can be born again and still sin sometimes, but not habitually. If that is true, then 1 John 5 simply means that the person who is born again will be kept and protected by God most of the time but not all the time. And the devil will successfully tempt you sometimes, but not all the time, and you are still born again. This is a false gospel that does not belong to the everlasting gospel of salvation from sin. I have a problem with this interpretation. If the Lord can only keep me sometimes and the devil can get to me once in a while, I need to know when it is that the Lord cannot keep me. In truth, if I let go of His hand and I say to the Lord, “In this situation I want to be master of my own life. I want to stand at the steering wheel; get away, Lord, I want to take over.” It is then I will fall.

Some of our Christian friends say that if you fall like that, you are still born again. In answer I use this illustration. While traveling, you realize that you brought too little money. Suddenly you see a woman leave her purse on a seat in the restaurant you are in. After the person leaves, you pick up the purse, open it and find lots of money. You stick the money in your pocket and leave. You are tempted and you fall. Are you in a born again relationship with the Lord as long as that money is in your pocket? You stole the money and used it. You are not now in a born again relationship with the Lord. Only when you make restitution and seek forgiveness from the woman and the Lord are you right with God again.

Some of the preachers I hear in Norway give us the impression that all Adventists, as soon as they recognize they have done something wrong, fall on their knees and ask forgiveness. That is why they can say that you can sin from time to time and still be born again. That is not right. There are many Adventists that live with known, willful sin in their lives. The standard has been lowered and this is happening all the time. They still believe they have their names written in the Book of Life; they still believe that they are born again.

When Jesus comes and they stand at the border of the Promised Land, with this kind of experience, they will be disappointed. The Lord will say to them, “I do not know you. You did not trust and obey Me. You trusted self. You produced a different gospel.” Then they will weep.


Many are Seeking


Frequently we meet people from other churches and we find that many of them are tired of listening to this New Theology, which says sin and live. They are seeking the gospel we preach. They come to our churches, and there is no everlasting gospel presented. So they leave.

A Catholic priest in Oslo sent us a letter telling us that he studied with a group of members in his church. They all realized that they belonged to the wrong church. The church they belonged to was the harlot, Babylon and the antichrist. He said, “Keep on warning the people about my church, but be very careful.”

Then in another letter he wrote: “Many years ago we heard people telling people in Norway that the Catholic Church is the harlot of Revelation. But we have not heard those words for many years.” It is so sad in my country that Adventists have been reading in our church paper that we should not tell anyone who the Catholic Church is. All the members seem to listen to the leaders, as Israel did as they stood on the border of the Promised Land. We have a whole generation of Adventists growing up that do not know the real Adventist message. They have never been to an evangelistic campaign. They know nothing, but they are going to continue the work of this church! Impossible! We have to get back to the everlasting gospel.

This Catholic priest went to Germany to attend some meetings. Other Catholic priests were there as well as some bishops. Some of them had been very concerned about what is happening within the Catholic Church. Several of the people attending those meetings had questions and realized that something was wrong. In those theological meetings this priest stood up and gave a testimony. He told everyone the conclusion he had come to. He was a bold man. He said, “I believe that the church I have served all my life is the false church described in Revelation.” He told them everything. Three days later he died in his hotel room. The only information we have been able to get is that the German police are investigating his death.

The time will soon come when you and I will have to do the same. We will have to stand up and tell everyone who wants to listen what the Bible says is right and wrong. We have to take our stand now and accept God’s prohibitions and His remedy and plan for our lives. If we do not, we will end up with the great majority.

Revelation 12, 13 and 14 tell us that the whole world will follow the beast except for a little group. When Daniel’s three friends stood before the image and everyone fell down, only these three young men stood among thousands.

Very soon every faithful Seventh-day Adventist will stand, and everyone else in the world will fall down to worship. If we do not have the born-again experience at that time, we do not have a chance. When we are brought to the point that we have to choose between sinning or dying, we will have to have this born again experience if we are going to be faithful.

We need to know that all our sins have been cleansed from our lives. We need to know that we are forgiven. We need to know that Jesus Christ is our Lord. If there is something in your life that you have not committed to the Lord, ask Him to give you victory over that thing. We have no time to waste. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, to change your life. Pray to the Lord and ask Him for the born again experience in your life. May the Lord help us to stand among those who will say, “Here is our Lord, we have waited for Him and He will save us.”


I Have Kept My Father’s Sheep

God says to us people, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8, 9. David’s story makes this very clear.

Picture two big armies standing on hilltops facing each other, a creek in the bottom of the valley and the battle set in array. “For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.” 1 Samuel 17:21. These two armies had been standing there for forty days and nothing had happened; then David came. “And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.” Verses 22, 23.

David had been sent at his father’s command to take supplies to his brothers who were soldiers in the Israelite army. Upon his arrival he saw the giant Goliath standing out in front of the enemy’s army. “And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” Verse 10.

For forty days this giant had been challenging the army of Israel and nothing had happened. David was disappointed and shocked at the reaction of the army. “And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.” Verse 24.

Who are these men, trembling at the very sight of the Philistine giant? These are the professionals of Israel—the best warriors of the nation. They have all the credentials, all the training, all the diplomas and degrees needed. Yet when the challenge comes, they are afraid and ready to retreat. Even the rewards promised did not tempt them. The King said, “that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.” Verse 25. What more could be offered to the hero? All the riches and honors of the world are offered, even the daughter of the king! Yet with all that was offered there is no one ready to stand up and accept the challenge.

How did this affect the young David as he comes out to salute his brothers? “And David spake to the men who stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Verse 26. David saw a bigger perspective in this battle. It was not an ordinary battle that was taking place. It was the battle between the Philistines, representing the world of Satan, and Israel, representing the living God. The Israelites were the depositaries of God’s law. The insults hurled at the Israelite army reflected upon their God. It was this perspective that David was trying to bring to Israel’s soldiers who were afraid of the big giant.

Like Israel, it is not for our sakes that we must fight; we must fight for the truth. We, as Seventh-day Adventists, are not just another Christian Church among many others that are fighting in a battle.

“The Lord chose a people, and made them the depositaries of His truth. It was His purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel men should be drawn unto Him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live.” The Review and Herald, November 12, 1903.

The sacrificial system, along with the sanctuary service, was to be Israel’s instructor. The Israelites were a special people in their day, and they were to teach a correct understanding of the plan of salvation to the surrounding nations.

The sanctuary truth makes us different from any other church on the earth. It is through that truth that we are to teach the people and show forth the character of God that many people may be brought to the light.

The parallels between this situation and what is happening in Adventism today are obvious. We certainly see the reproach that has been brought upon the cause of God. No longer are God’s people the leading people of this earth. They have become the tail. The Lord’s work is folding up in many places in the world and falling back; this is a reproach to God’s work.

What has happened in Scandinavia over the last five years is shocking. Institution after institution is folding up and going under. People everywhere are asking the question, What happened to these people? Is there still a God that is leading?

We have been known in Scandinavia for decades for our health work. Danish books, written in years past describing churches, reveal that a large percentage of Physical Therapy clinics in Denmark were staffed and operated by Seventh-day Adventists as part of their mission. These physical therapists were educated at the Skodsborg Sanitarium. That sanitarium was part of the great mission of Adventism. But that sanitarium no longer functions and very few of the clinics are run by Adventists anymore. You wonder what people think today as they read those books and question whether that church is what it used to be? There is a heavy reproach upon the Lord’s people all over the world.


False Accusations Against God’s People


As soon as David begins to encourage the men, he is accused of false motives. “And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him. And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mayest see the battle.” 1 Samuel 17:27, 28.

Here is a man who is trying to instill a broader perspective into the Israelite soldier’s hearts and what is he being charged with? His own brother accuses him of selfish motives. He said, “You are trying to make yourself something.” He attacked his character.

Does that sound familiar today? The people who stand up for truth are slandered. Their motives are questioned. It encourages me to see David’s response. He did not try to vindicate himself or make all his motives right in their eyes. “And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” Verse 29.

We are not to justify ourselves. That is God’s work. If we are slandered and our characters are ruined, it is the Lord’s work to make it right. Our only thought should be, “Is there not a cause?” What can we do to uphold God’s cause? God will take care of our reputations.

“And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner. And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.” Verse 30, 31.

“And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight this Philistine.” Verse 32. David was ready to take up the challenge. The master’s call today is who will go for Me? David answered that call.

“And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” Verse 33. Saul was not ready to risk the kingdom on David. He was not convinced that this young man could do anything. He was saying, “What do you have that makes you think that you can go up and accomplish this work? Look at the giant. He is a man of war from his youth.” In other words, He is experienced. He has his credentials. He has his education. He has a certificate, all his degrees, anything the world could offer him. He was the mightiest soldier and warrior of his time. There was no way David could go out against him in worldly terms.

Everything was at stake here. The challenge of the giant was, “Give me one man.” How was David to convince the king that he could go? We often hear today, “No, you are not ready. We cannot send you out.” How are we to convince anyone? “And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear: and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and smote him and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, the Lord hath delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” Verses 34–37.

David’s first words in answer to Saul’s questions were, “I kept my father’s sheep.” There as a shepherd boy, David had learned the skills that prepared him to be used to conquer Goliath. David had an experience with God and that was his qualification. He knew that God was with him and that God had worked miracles for him before. He knew that God would work miracles for him again. He went out to fight for His cause, for His name’s sake, as he fought sheep caught by a lion or bear.

It was this faith and trust in God that were his qualifications to go out to fight. “And Saul armed David with his armor, and he put a helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go.” Verse 38, 39.

Saul said, Yes, you may go, but if you go, you had better go the way I tell you and use the methods that work. You need to use the strategies that have given results in other battles. Science has shown that this armor is the best armor. This is what every other army uses when they fight.

Were these worldly methods good enough? Today, when we attempt to win souls, we look around at the other churches in order to find the methods that have proven successful for them and that they think are working. Then we adopt the practices of other churches that God never sanctioned. God says, “Learn not the way of the heathen.” Jeremiah 10:2. David knew that. He knew that these methods were not the methods that God could bless. “And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.” 1 Samuel 17:39.

He took them all off and said, No; these methods do not work. I will use what I know God can bless. So he put aside all of these methods used by the other nations. We should today also. The methods that we are told are working in other Christian churches are not for God’s people. We have methods in the Bible, and these are the methods we need to be using. We need to study and find them and put these other things aside.


God’s Simple Methods


“He took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in his shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.” Verse 40.

I can just imagine the Israelites laughing at him for trying to use these simple things against a world empires with all of its methods and techniques. But David was not ashamed. He took his simple weapons and went, unafraid, because he had seen that God had worked miracles with them. Remember, this was how he had conquered the bear and the lion.

Some read the Word that tells us what to do, and they shake their heads and say, “It sounds too simple to me. People will laugh at me if I use these simple things.” There are some people that laugh at any one who uses hydrotherapy. They say, “This is what we used one hundred years ago. We have better methods now.” But God’s methods work. Though they may be simple, they help to win souls.

In Romania, two years ago, we held an evangelistic crusade. Afterward we did home visitation. One day in the market place we met a lady. She came up and asked, “Can you come to our home and study with us?” When we went to her home, we found that her feet were black and swollen and without feeling. As soon as the medical missionary with us saw that, she said, “I can help your feet.” She began with simple hydrotherapy. Within a few days the feeling began to come back into the lady’s feet. She had been going to doctors for years and they could not help her, but because of God’s methods, she could soon walk normally with no pain. After having Bible studies in her home, the whole family, except the father, was baptized.

God’s simple means will work miracles, though the world may despise them. Take the simple Word of God with you. Some people laugh and say it is just a fable; others point to the theologians and their big books, but it does not matter. We can go with God’s simple means, in faith, knowing that God will work through them as He has promised.

“And the Philistine came on and drew nigh unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest against me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.” Verses 41–43.

How many of us are ready to stand the ridicule when we go out using God’s methods? We are often afraid of what people will say about us. We only want to do what is popular and accepted. We need to learn to be able to stand for what we know is right. “The Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” Verses 44, 45.

It was not just the armies of Israel that Goliath was defying. It was the God of heaven. It was in His name that David went out to do this battle. David’s only interest was to vindicate the name of the Lord and to bring honor and glory back to His people. He said, “This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” Verse 46.

David went forth with an assurance that is amazing for a young man, facing the battle that he faced. But he knew that God was with him and nothing would shake his faith. He was doing an appointed work for God, and he went forward into battle. He said, “And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” Verse 47.

We must take up that same challenge, going out and using God’s methods to show the world that there is a God who can still work miracles and that His principles can work in our health and educational institutions. Never forget, these principles work today. We do not need to bring worldly policies into our institutions. God’s simple methods work and He blesses them.

“So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.” Verse 50. “All the wonders which God has wrought for His people, have been performed by the most simple means. When the people of God are wholly consecrated to Him, then He will employ them to carry forward His work on the earth.” The Signs of the Times, June 30, 1881.

Do we have the experience that David had, of knowing that the Lord has worked miracles in our lives? If not, we need to get it, because it is faith and trust in God that will enable us to go out in the battle to work for our King.

“In this closing work of the gospel there is a vast field to be occupied, and more than ever before, the work is to enlist helpers from the common people. Both the youth and those older in years will be called from the plow, from the vineyard, and from various other branches of labor, and sent forth by the Master to give His message. Many of these have had little opportunity for education. To human wisdom the outlook for them would seem discouraging. But Christ sees in them qualifications that will enable them to take their place in His vineyard if they put their hearts into the work and continue to be learners, He will fit them to labor for Him.” General Conference Bulletin, July 1, 1902. God is looking for a people that are ready.

Young people, do not worry if you do not have a worldly education and degrees. The Lord can use you where you are. If you are a farmer or a plumber or whatever your skills may be, the Lord can use you. He sees qualifications in you that He can use in His work.

People who have simple faith and trust in God, and take Him at His word, He can use. Be a learner of God and make sure that you improve the talents that you have. Then you can be used.

Paul reminds us, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27–29.

God uses simple means and simple people so that He might be glorified by our working for others. Do you want to be part of that army of workers that will reestablish the glory of His people and take away the reproach that has been put upon us by those who are not ready to use His methods in His work? The Lord will turn the captivity of Zion. Are you ready to be a part of those that the Lord can use?

Notice what gave Peter and John their ability. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13.

That is our qualification. If we spend time with Jesus, He will educate us and prepare us to take a place in His army, and take away the reproach of His people. We must be ready to let Him develop in us the faith, trust and courage that it will take to go out against the mightiest of this world. Are you ready to be part of that army? Are you ready to say, “I have kept my Father’s sheep and through that experience I am ready to go forward”?

The Lord is ready to do a mighty work for His people, to finish the work that has been started on this earth. This big battle will be finished and people will see that there is a God in Israel who still works. May we all work faithfully to that end that we soon may go home and together meet our Lord.


The Judgment

The judgment is one of the central doctrines of our people. If we do not have a clear understanding of the judgment, we should not call ourselves Seventh-day Adventists. To help us clearly comprehend this vital subject, we will look deeply into the judgment, and why it is still in progress today.

Why is there a need for a judgment? Does God need a judgment so that He can make up His mind about who is going to have eternal life and who is not? No! God has not needed one hundred and fifty years to make up His mind.

If God does not need a judgment to help make up His mind, why do we need a judgment? We can find the answer in Daniel 7: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9, 10.

Many are present at this judgement scene. There are thousands and thousands of angels and the inhabitants of the unfallen universe who are keenly interested in what is going on in our world. Are they spectators? Paul said that “we are made a spectacle unto the world and to angels and to men.” 1 Corinthians 4:9.

What are they interested in? To answer that question, we need to go back to a time even before this world was created when questions were raised in heaven by a mighty angel. He questioned God’s law and God’s government. This angel questioned whether it was right that the angels should have to obey God’s law. He claimed that God was a tyrant, and that the only thing God was interested in was exalting Himself. He said that changes were needed to God’s law. He claimed that the fact that God was so longsuffering and patient was a sign of His weakness and that he himself was superior to God. He tried his best with his attacks to destroy God’s character.

Sister White had a tremendous vision at Lovett’s Grove, Ohio, in 1858. She went into vision during a funeral service. While the family left the church and went out to the churchyard to bury their loved one, the rest of the congregation stayed in the church for four hours while Sister White was in vision.

This vision made such a deep impression upon her that the bulk of her writings, for the rest of her life, were given to explaining to God’s people what it was all about. We call that vision, “The Great Controversy Vision.” In it given an understanding of the great controversy going on between Christ and Satan and how we, in this world, are involved in the controversy.

It is not until that controversy is settled once and for all that sin and sinners will be done away with and we can all go to our eternal home. The central issue in the great controversy is whether God is what He says He is or whether He is what Satan says He is. Until that is settled, this whole mess of sin will go on.

God is putting His ways, His plans and everything He has done in the open, so that He can be judged. The whole universe has had ample opportunities to see whether Satan is telling the truth or whether God is telling the truth. Paul said, “God forbid: yea, let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.” Romans 3:4. What an amazing thought!

Many of Satan’s accusations were proven to be false when Jesus came to this earth. The inhabitants of earth watched as Jesus walked this earth. They saw how He behaved; they saw what He did. It was hard after that to believe some of the things that Satan was saying. How could they believe that all God wanted was to exalt Himself when they saw Jesus acting the part of a humble servant?


Expect a Miracle


I love John 13. It talks about Jesus’ knowledge that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He came from God and that He went to God. What did Jesus do with that knowledge? He took on the part of a servant and with a towel and a basin and He washed his disciple’s feet. That was unexpected. You would have expected a miracle or a tremendous sermon at that point. And actually there was both a miracle and a sermon, because what He did by kneeling down and washing their feet was a sermon. It was a sermon about what the character of God is really like. It was a miracle, too, that the Creator of all things was prepared to get down and wash their feet. It was truly astonishing.

It was hard for the inhabitants of the universe to believe Satan when he said that all God wanted to do was to exalt Himself when they saw how humble He was. When they saw the love of Jesus even towards His enemies and they compared this with the hatred that Satan was inspiring, how could they ever believe that Satan was superior to God? Jesus disproved that accusation right then and there. However, Satan did not give up. Instead He created new and more deceptive accusations.

One of his most serious accusations was that although the law of God is as perfect as God claims, no one can keep it. Satan claimed that although Jesus kept it, no one else can! That is the issue in the judgment today. Is Satan right when he says that no one can keep the law of God? Or is Jesus right when He says that it can be kept.

The judgment will not be completed until every created being in this universe is convinced of issues like that. It is not going to end until Satan himself kneels down and says that he is wrong and God is right. Paul reminds us, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10–12. The great controversy will not be finished until that has happened.

The judgment of the righteous—those who profess Christ—that has been in progress since 1844 will soon be over. A verdict will be reached and the inhabitants of the universe will have no doubts left. They will say, “Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God. For true and righteous are His judgments.” Revelation 19:1, 2. As far as they are concerned the judgment is finished. But that is not the end of the judgment.

After Jesus comes and God’s people have been taken to heaven they (the redeemed) have a work to do during the millenium. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” Revelation 20:4. Now it is their turn. Those in heaven have bowed their knee and confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord. Now these people have to be satisfied beyond all doubt that Satan is a liar and our Lord is just and true in all His ways. What is their verdict going to be? “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.” Revelation 15:2, 3.

They are convinced. They have no doubts about it. They have examined every single dealing of God with His creation, and they will be able to say of God, “Just and true are Thy ways.” If we are faithful we will be able to see that all God’s dealings are just and true. All our questions will be answered. We will know that whatever God did was just and true, and we would not want it any other way.

Many have heartaches, questions and worries about things that have happened. I have all those, too. A year ago there was a young man who came to stay in my home. He was a spiritual young man in his mid-twenties. He helped me with my printing equipment and worked very hard at it. A few weeks later I had a telephone call to say that he had been killed in an automobile accident! I still have a hard time understanding that. But I am going to know one day why that happened. I am going to know that God’s way was best. That is why I shall praise Him and say, “Great and marvelous are Thy works, O, God Almighty.”

But the judgment is not over then. Revelation 20 tells us that there has to be a second resurrection. Those who have gone to their graves without Christ will be raised. They have to go through this same process until they too make the same confession.

The wicked fall prostrate. They worship the Prince of Life. Finally, Satan, too, kneels. “His accusations against the mercy and justice of God are now silenced. The reproach that he has endeavored to cast upon Jehovah rests wholly upon himself and Satan now bows down and confesses the justice of his sentence. ‘Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name for Thou only art holy. For all nations shall come and worship before Thee for Thy judgements are made manifest.’ ” The Great Controversy, 670.

That is what the judgment is all about. “Every question of truth and error in the long- standing controversy has now been made plain. The results of rebellion, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, have been laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The working out of Satan’s rule in contrast with the government of God has been presented to the whole universe. Satan’s own works have condemned him. God’s wisdom, His justice, and His goodness stand fully vindicated. It is seen that all His dealings in the great controversy have been conducted with respect to the eternal good of His people and the good of all the worlds which He has created. With all the facts of the great controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare: ‘Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.’ ” The Great Controversy, 670, 671.

It is then that the judgment is finished. Why is that day not closer than it is? Why is it that we are one hundred and fifty years into the judgment and it does not seem to be moving? It is clearly stated in the Spirit of Prophecy that heaven is waiting for something, and that we are part of that waiting. What part do we play in the judgment that is going on at this moment? “Satan had claimed that it was impossible for man to obey God’s commandments.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 314. Satan’s claims are directly opposite the Biblical teaching that it is perfectly possible to obey God’s commandments.

We know that in our own strength it is true that we cannot obey them. But Christ came in the form of humanity, and by His perfect obedience, proved that humanity and divinity combined can obey every one of God’s precepts.

How is that issue going to be settled? By God’s people. What part do you play in this? Which side are you on? Can Jesus point to you and say, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus”? Or does Satan point to you and say,
“There is my evidence. See they cannot do it.”?

Jesus is looking for those who profess to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus to be His witnesses in the judgment. We will either witness for Christ or for Satan. We must do something about that, or the judgment is going to go on.

In the early 1920s, my mother became a Seventh-day Adventist. She was a young girl, but she sacrificed to be a Seventh-day Adventist. She never believed that she would grow old and die. But several years ago she died at age ninety. She never believed that time would go on so long.

God has given to every generation since 1844 the challenge, “Will you be My witnesses? Will you be the ones who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?” And every single generation from 1844 has said, “No, we do not want that. We would sooner die.” We may not say it with our words, but we say it with our actions.

I want to go home. But none of us are going home until we are willing to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. It is as simple as that. The judgment is going to go on because Christ is waiting for us. “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His people. 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 to every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.

Are we hastening the coming or are we delaying it? That is the question. Are we doing everything we can, day by day, to hasten the coming? Or are we, by our refusal to let go of sin, delaying the coming of Jesus?


Only Two Questions


There has been a lot of debate in the Seventh-day Adventist Church on righteousness by faith, and it has been made so complicated and theological. I do not believe it is like that. Our message is simple enough to explain to our children.

The following quotation sums up righteousness by faith in a few words: “Often the follower of Christ is brought where he cannot serve God and carry forward his worldly enterprises. Perhaps it seems that some obedience to the plain requirements of God will cut off his means of support. Satan would make him believe that he must sacrifice his conscientious convictions. But the only thing in our world, upon which we can rely, is the word of God. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Even in this life it is not for our good to depart from the will of our Father in heaven. When we learn the power of His word, we shall not follow the suggestions of Satan in order to obtain food or to save our lives. Our only questions will be, What is God’s command? and what His promise? Knowing these, we shall obey the one and trust the other.” Desire of Ages, 121.

We should ask two questions. 1. What is God’s command? It is righteousness. (Righteousness is obedience to the commandments of God.) 2.What is His promise? When we trust His promises, what is that? That is faith. There you have righteousness by faith in twenty-four words.

You remember the story of the Children of Israel coming out of Egypt? When the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt He did a very strange thing. There is a direct road from Egypt to the Promised Land. It is called the way of the land of the Philistines. The Lord said, “You are not going that way. You are going by the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.” That sounded crazy!

They went down that road a ways and the Lord said, “Turn off the road.” And He took them through the mountains and through narrow winding canyons. He brought them right to the border of the Red Sea. That was a tough place. The mountains came right down to the sea on the right hand side. When they looked back over their shoulders they saw an army. Josephus suggests that there were a quarter of a million infantry in that army and fifty thousand cavalry. And all the chariots of Egypt including the six hundred chosen chariots that Pharaoh had.

There was no where to go. Some of them began to lose their faith and they said it would have been far better if we had stayed in Egypt. The Lord gave them the command, “Go forward.” The Lord is saying that to us today. “Go forward.” The promise was, “You will go on dry land through the midst of the sea.” They obeyed the command. They trusted in the promise and they were safe.

It was an amazing scene. The Lord took them right through that sea and brought them safe to the other side. This scene of going through the sea and the water drying up goes right through the Bible, from Exodus to Revelation. It is a symbol of the deliverance of God’s people, and a symbol of the destruction of the enemies of God’s people. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10 that this was a symbol of baptism. Baptism is where you come out of Egypt; you come out of sin. Before you can obtain this new life, you must get into the water. Just like the children of Israel, you do not know what is on the other side of the water.

They had to trust God that He would take them through. Baptism is just the same. The Lord gives us the command that we should be baptized. And He gives us the promise, “Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” That is all we need. The command and the promise. Our only question should be, “What is God’s command and what His promise? Knowing these we shall obey the one and trust the other.”

“In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan, those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off.” The Desire of Ages, 121. I have seen a beautiful painting of Ellen White’s first vision. In the vision she saw a path winding up toward heaven. All the way the path gets narrower and narrower. Along the path there are strewn wagons, horses, shoes, socks and baggage—all left behind. Every earthly support had to be left.

Those people discovered that whenever they came to a hard place, there were ropes hanging down. Those ropes are the promises of God. We lay hold on those promises of God by faith. The travelers came to the point where there was no path anymore. Where they were going was on the other side of a huge gulf. The only way to get over there was by hanging onto the ropes.

Some people asked, “Who is holding the rope up?” The answer came, “God is holding the rope.” He has not let us down so far and He is not going to let us down now. We have nothing to fear for the future except we forget the way the Lord has led us in the past. We must have faith.

Faith in the promises of God will take us through. Over the past six years my wife and I have been trying to put that into practice in our home and ministry. The Lord has been so patient and good to us and He has answered so many prayers and worked so many miracles. Many times we have knelt down in our morning devotions, together, and we have prayed that the Lord would provide the money so we could send out the mail that day, because we did not have the money. Then when we came back from work in the evening, there would be an envelope in the mailbox with the exact amount needed. Think about it. That envelope was mailed the day before we prayed. Before they call, I will answer—the Bible promised and I believe it.

When an envelope is in the mail, we are only part of the prayer. The person who put that envelope in the mail is the other part. I told this experience to a congregation and a lady came up to me afterwards and she was in tears. She said, “I had the strongest impulse that I should have sent you some money that day, but I was busy. I never got around to do it. I could have been the answer to your prayer.”

If the Holy Spirit is asking you to do something, do it now, do not put it off. There is nothing else more important. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” If we put our priorities right, we are going to be the type of people God can take home to His kingdom. The type of people of whom God can say, “These are My witnesses. These are the ones that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”


Food For Life — October 1997

October—what does this month of the year make you think of? The hastening of our Lord’s return? Surely this is a most thought-provoking time of the year. The time when we need to look deep into our innermost souls to see if these thoughts brings to our hearts thoughts of terror or peace! Are we ready to meet our Lord when He comes or are we not?

“It is not wise to look to ourselves and study our emotions. If we do this, the enemy will present difficulties and temptations that weaken faith and destroy courage. Closely to study our emotions and give way to our feelings is to entertain doubt and entangle ourselves in perplexity. We are to look away from self to Jesus.

“When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ’s love and under His protecting care. When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ’s grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish the darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace . . .

“Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings—as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father’s house?

“Those professed Christians who are constantly complaining, and who seem to think cheerfulness and happiness a sin, have not genuine religion. Those who take a mournful pleasure in all that is melancholy in the natural world, who choose to look upon dead leaves rather than to gather the beautiful living flowers, who see no beauty in grand mountain heights and in valleys clothed with living green, who close their senses to the joyful voice which speaks to them in nature, and which is sweet and musical to the listening ear—these are not in Christ. They are gathering to themselves gloom and darkness, when they might have brightness, even the Sun of Righteousness arising in their hearts with healing in His beams.

“Often your mind may be clouded because of pain. Then do not try to think. You know that Jesus loves you. He understands your weakness. You may do His will by simply resting in His arms.

“It is a law of nature that our thoughts and feelings are encouraged and strengthened as we give them utterance. While words express thoughts, it is also true that thoughts follow words. If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have,—the great mercy and love of God,—we should have more faith and greater joy. No tongue can express, no finite mind can conceive, the blessing that results from appreciating the goodness and love of God. Even on earth we may have joy as a wellspring, never failing, because fed by the streams that flow from the throne of God.

“Then let us educate our hearts and lips to speak the praise of God for His matchless love. Let us educate our souls to be hopeful and to abide in the light shining from the cross of Calvary. Never should we forget that we are children of the heavenly King, sons and daughters of the Lord of hosts. It is our privilege to maintain a calm repose in God.” Ministry of Healing, 249–253.

Fruit Leather

1 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)

1 cup crushed pineapple (in its own juice)

1 cup diced bananas

2 Tbsps. Lemon juice

1 cup date pieces

Place above ingredients in blender and liquefy. Place on 2 trays with Saran Wrap underneath in your food dehydrator or cookies sheets in the oven for 8–10 hours, until leather pulls away from the Saran Wrap. Set the dehydrator at 125° or your oven on the lowest setting. Have the oven door open a crack for air circulation.


Children’s Story — A Fjord a Ferry and a Lesson

My name is Elen and I come from Norway. Do you know where Norway is? Norway is a country in northern Europe, in the part of Europe called Scandinavia. Norway looks very different than Kansas. We have hills and fjords.

A fjord is where the ocean water has cut a big lake into the land. It is similar to a bay, but normally it reaches farther into the land and has high banks around the sides. To cross a fjord you must either take a ferry that will bring you and your car over to the other side, or drive all the way around, and that could take several hours.

This story happened one day when my daughter and I went down to take one of those ferries. When we got near the ferry, I took out my purse to get the money to pay the toll. When I took the money out it fell and went down in a crack in the car. Now I did not have enough money left to pay for the ferry ride. I had to get the money out. My daughter and I got down on our knees searching for a way to retrieve the lost coins. We tried using a spoon and a knife and anything else we could find to pry it out, but nothing worked.

My daughter was a teenager at that time. I do not know what teenagers are like here in America, but teenagers in Norway are really shy. They get embarrassed very easily if their parents do something stupid. And my daughter was a teenager just like that.

I said to her, “Well, we if cannot get the money back, we better tell the ferryman what happened. Maybe the ferryman will feel sorry for us and let us go over for the money that we have.”

But she said, “Oh, no Mom, I will not have you to tell that story. It is so embarrassing, and he will not believe it anyway. He will think that you are lying because that story is so stupid.”

“I am not lying and I know that I am not lying,” I replied.

“But He will think you are lying.” She felt so embarrassed that she did not want me to tell the ferryman.

Then she suggested, “Why not tell him that someone stole your purse. He would believe that.”

But I said, “I could not lie.”

Do you know what I do every morning before I open my eyes? When I wake up I always pray that God will help me that day not to break any of His commandments. And if a temptation comes that He will remind me of my prayer, and help me not to break the law.

I told my daughter this, and I said, “I could not break one of His commandments now.”

But she said, “Oh, but I feel so uncomfortable. What if I go and hide in the back of

the car? He would not see me, and you would only have to pay for yourself and the car. Then you do not have to lie.

“That would be lying too,” I said. I would be pretending something that was not true.

What could we do now? My daughter did not want me to tell the truth, and I would not tell a lie, so there was only one thing to do. And that was go all the way around the fjord, even though it would take two hours. My daughter agreed that we must go all the way around. So I turned the car out of the line of all the cars that were there, and we drove back up the hill and started to drive around.

Then my daughter said, “I am so thirsty and tired and it is such a long drive all the way around the fjord. Let’s go back and you can tell that stupid story anyway. I will sit there in the car with my eyes closed and pretend I am not there.”

“Ok,” I said, “We will go back.” We turned the car around and went back again to the ferry. I pulled up to the ferryman and told him the whole story. He looked at me closely and said, “Isn’t there something wrong with your leg?”

“No,” I replied, “My leg is perfectly fine.”

“But no, your legs look bad,” he said. I only charge half price to the handicapped, and so you can pay half price.”

“But I am not handicapped,” I objected.

“Well anyway,” He said, “I am only going to charge you half price.”

So we went on the ferry for half price, and we even had enough money left over to buy my daughter something to drink. Isn’t the Lord good? When we got to the other side I said to my daughter. “Did you learn something today?”

She nodded her head and said, “Yes, I did.”

My young friend, you see if you are honest the Lord will always be with you. Sometimes it can be difficult when you are honest, you might even get into trouble, but remember, God will be there. He has promised that He will be there if you always do His will.


The Everlasting Gospel

“Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.” Revelation 15:4. We should realize that there will come a day when every one on earth will have to stand before God and worship Him. They will admit that He is just and righteous in everything He has done. If we want to be among the group that inherit life eternal we must accept God’s message and cooperate with it. We need to know the everlasting gospel, for time is very short.

Remember that the everlasting gospel was planned before the foundation of the world. In the Garden of Eden God revealed the gospel. The audience was only two people, but they needed the solution that the gospel provided. God said to the devil, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15.

In the Norwegian Bible it says that the woman’s Seed—that is Jesus—shall crush the serpent’s head. Unfortunately, in only a few places, today, is the everlasting gospel being preached. Many fancy gospels are being preached from different pulpits, but they contain no “crushing” of the devil’s head.

Disobedience brought sin into this world. The only solution is obedience. That means that the everlasting gospel that God has given must contain a plan for how disobedient people can be obedient. The disease, the Bible tells us, is sin and the treatment is to be born again. The result is righteousness. That is the essence of the everlasting gospel.

When Jesus left the disciples to begin His service in the heavenly sanctuary, He did not leave them alone. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, He guided them. “He shall . . . bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26.

The gospel was founded upon the very name and character of Jesus. “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. But if you listen to the preaching from many churches in my country, you would think that His name was not Jesus and the salvation He offers is not from sin but from guilt only. There is no crushing of the devil’s head in such a message.

For more than three years the disciples witnessed the everlasting gospel in action in the life of Jesus. They knew His message, and what they should preach. They had no intention of inventing some kind of new gospel or doctrine. They felt an obligation, the Bible says, to teach men and women to believe and observe what the Holy Spirit showed them and what Jesus had preached. They had been there when He met the manipulative Pharisees. They heard Him preach the Sermon on the Mount and the spiritual application of the law. They learned that it was possible for a human being to break God’s commandments in his mind. They realized that salvation must change the inner man into God’s likeness. This was the only gospel they knew. They heard Him say that only the pure in heart will see God, and that He came not to destroy but to fulfill the law. They knew that God could provide the power to overcome through the Holy Spirit. This was their message. They preached it and they believed it.

The members of the early church based their decision on what they heard, and that was the everlasting gospel. They had heard Jesus say, “Turn the other cheek, love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.” They understood what He meant when He said, “If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” They could not preach Jesus, and faith in Him, without preaching what He said and did. That was the everlasting gospel.

They heard His words to the woman taken in adultery, when He said, “Go and sin no more.” They heard Him say, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” They understood that the changing of man’s character is vital for salvation. God can forgive and God can give victory.

They also understood that circumcision is a symbol of belonging to Israel. The real circumcision is that of the heart. Even in the Old Testament God had said, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.” Deuteronomy 10:16. The Lord said in effect, “Let me perform an operation on your mind. Let Me change you. Let Me put My law into your mind.” It is a miracle that takes disobedient people and makes them obedient by writing this law into the mind. That was central to the everlasting gospel.

The disciples preached that God can purge a conscience from dead works. (See Hebrews 9:14.) They preached, “Put off the old man with his deeds.” Colossians 3:9. We can “be dead indeed unto sin.” Romans 6:11. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Romans 6:12. They preached that any character fault, whether hereditary or developed, can be laid at the cross of Jesus. He will cleanse and change us.

You cannot be a Seventh-day Adventist without believing the everlasting gospel. A gospel that says that you can be saved while willfully sinning is not the everlasting gospel!


Depressing or Encouraging?


Some people feel that the everlasting gospel is depressing. Just think about this. When you have trouble with your car, you take it to a mechanic. If he looked it over and said he could not fix it, but that your car would be useless, you would have to live with the car’s problem for as long as you kept the car. Now, that would be depressing.

If the mechanic examined the car and said, “I can fix it. All I need to do is replace the defective part with a new one. What’s more it will not cost you anything.” You would be thrilled. That is just like the everlasting gospel. It is truly good news!

The gospel is good new, but it will not do any good for you or I if we only accept it intellectually. It must be an experience. That is the only way to be a real Christian and to be a Seventh-day Adventist.

Can you see why the devil gets angry at such a gospel? He gets angry with everyone who preaches it. Some of us have been privileged to experience that. Satan knows that the everlasting gospel contains his death sentence. He will lose control of all those who accept and experience this gospel, because it provides the receivers with an armor that stands against the wiles of the devil so his poisonous darts cannot hurt them. (See Ephesians 6:11.)

If you have experienced the everlasting gospel, you will still be tempted, but the Holy Spirit in your life will keep you from falling. That is the promise. The everlasting gospel meets us with both the grace of forgiveness and the grace of victory. Both spring out of God’s love.

For thousands of years the devil has known the effects of the everlasting gospel in men’s lives. He has had plenty of time to devise countless methods to destroy it. He has often tried force. Millions have died as martyrs for Christ as a result of years of persecution. But there is one problem. You cannot force a person who is born again to give up his belief and trust in Christ. Nebuchadnezzer tried to use force against Daniel’s three friends, but it did not work. When everyone else fell down to worship the image, they remained standing. They had made up their minds to be obedient at any cost.

When they were brought before the king, he offered them a second chance because he liked their work as rulers of the Province of Babylon, and he wanted them to continue to serve him. They replied, “we do not have to answer the king a single word.” This may sound rude to us, but in their day it was a commonly used legal phrase. It simply meant, the case is closed. They were saying, “We have made up our minds. You do not need to give us another chance. We will not fall down and worship the image no matter what.”

Soon you and I might meet the same test. When the politico-religious ruler of Babylon, described in Revelation, has an image erected, everyone will be invited to fall down and worship. A few people will stand. But we can be sure that the people who will be standing at that time will have the same experience as the three Hebrews in Babylon had. They were born again. They made their decision to die rather than sin. When Jesus is the Lord of our life, He will fill us with the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. He will give us strength. We do not now know what we will to do when that happens, but if we are born again and remain in that relationship with the Lord, we will know what to say and do to keep from breaking one of God’s commandments.

Nebuchadnezzar wanted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to break one of the Ten Commandments. But they had made up their minds. They knew they would rather die. Ahead of us is an experience where we will be asked to break one of those commandments. If we have not made up our minds before, if we do not have this relationship with the Lord before that day, we will bow down and worship.

There is no way the devil can defeat people who are born again. A Christian who is born again is not proud. Self does not rise up and cause problems. You cannot hurt the person who is born again. You will never hear a born again person say, “You have hurt my feelings.” If you say to a person who is born again, “I hate you!” and you slap him, he will look you right in the eye and he might say, “I do not hate you. I love you. I see that you have problems in your life and I want to help you.”


A New Method


As we gave seen, force does not work against born again individuals, so the devil introduced a new method to ensnare God’s people. It was a false gospel promising salvation, not from sin but in sin. With this method he has been very successful. Again and again Jesus and the disciples warned against false prophets, false preachers inside the church, who would depart from the faith. The Bible says they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They preach a different gospel that cuts the link between faith and obedience. That is the essence of the devil’s false gospel.

When a group of people, at the end, come to Jesus and say, “We have performed so many miracles and done mighty works in Your name. Let us in!” Jesus replies, “I do not know you. You did not obey Me.” The Greek says, “you who live in lawlessness.” You who believe yourself disconnected from my laws. That is His message. You did not accept the truth that says faith always leads to obedience. (See Matthew 7:21–23.)

Included in this false gospel is the message that Jesus conquered the devil because He was different from you and me. That means that His victory is not available to us. Promoters of this doctrine say we must continue sinning because we have a nature that can not be victorious. This is the essence of the false gospel. In our churches in Norway, we hear from the pulpit and in Sabbath School that we can sin knowingly and willfully, and when Jesus comes He will change our character. That is not the everlasting gospel that you find in the Bible. It is the false alternative gospel that the devil has introduced. The consequences in my country are tremendous. Sin flourishes in the church. The spiritual battle that the Bible invites us to be engaged in is nonexistent. The young people in our church live with one foot in the world and the other in the church and they think it is just fine. They will be saved anyway (so they are told)!

In this false gospel the way of salvation was altered and the nature of Christ was changed. The nature of man and sin was changed. God’s law was changed. The organization of the church was also changed to remove Jesus as High Priest and every believer as a priest. The traditions of men were placed above God’s Word, and a verbal confession were put in place of God’s power.

My wife and I have a business in Norway. We teach leadership to executives of companies and government workers. Recently, I was invited to a Norwegian city to have a seminar for ministers in the Lutheran Church. I told them my background and asked, “Since you are Christian people, could I get all my principles from the Bible?” They said, “That would be wonderful. We want you to do that.” I had the opportunity to take two hours in the middle of that seminar to teach the sanctuary service to two hundred and twenty priests from the Lutheran Church and their local bishop.

I told them about the altar where forgiveness is provided. I told them about the first apartment where God had provided all the symbolism for changing man’s character: the bread, the wine, and the light for communication with heaven.

After the seminar, I cried when the old bishop came up and said to the two hundred and twenty ministers with tears in his eyes, “What are we doing?” he asked, “People come to our churches with their sin and they leave with their sin.” He called the Lutheran Church in Norway a Laodicean Church.

This bishop realized that they did not have the full gospel to give. People had come to them with the same character faults for ten, twenty or thirty years without a change. He pleaded with the ministers, “Give the people the gospel that will not only forgive sin but will change their character in harmony with God’s law.”

A couple of the ministers came to me afterwards and said, “Would you be willing to come to our Lutheran Church and preach to our members?” “I think I can manage that,” I said, as I praised the Lord to myself.

It is interesting that at the time most Adventists have stopped giving the everlasting gospel in our churches, in churches all around us people are longing for it. In Norway we find in all the churches, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, and Pentecostal, a small minority who are dissatisfied. They realize something is wrong. They read their Bibles and listen to the preaching and find no harmony. They say they are drifting. We have contacted many of them. They are looking for light. They want the gospel the Lord has given us. We see that all of these churches are being shaken. I believe the Lord is now in the process of collecting all these minorities and creating His church with the messages of our belief.


The Minority in History


It still seems that it is such a small minority who really want the truth. But was it not always that way? It was a minority at the time of Noah. Eight people went into the ark, but the majority did not believe. It was a minority on Mount Carmel. At the time of Jesus it was a minority. In the Dark Ages there was a minority that were true believers. And so it will be a minority at the end of time as well.

The Lord has kept His people all through the ages. At one time the Roman Church was God’s church. But later in history that church developed into God’s greatest enemy. During the Papacy’s rule, God provided for the church in the wilderness: people in towns, mountains and forests. It did not matter how many. There were some here and some there, but they were the true Church. God took care of them even when the majority had fallen away from the truth.

If you belong to a church that has one thousand members and nine hundred and ninety-nine of them leave the everlasting gospel, do not believe in the Three Angels’ Messages and construct some kind of message that they like to hear, has the church fallen in that town if one person still believes? No, I believe that the one person is God’s Church. The other 999 may be lost, even if they have the structure and the system, but the faithful believer is still part of God’s Church.

When Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70 A.D., all the true Christians left. From there the church spread to all lands: to India, Africa, England, even up to Scandinavia. The Waldensians and other early reformers protected the everlasting gospel for twelve hundred and sixty years. God raised up Knox, Zwingle, Tyndale and Luther. In Sweden He raised up the Petrie brothers. In Denmark He raised up Hans Tausen.

In my country, Norway, He raised up a man called Hans Nielson Hauge. He was put in prison by the Lutheran Church in Norway because he preached in the private homes of farmers that had invited him. There was a law in Norway at that time that no one was allowed to have a religious meeting in a private home if he did not have a priest there to interpret the Scriptures.

Hauge continued to preach, and continued to be arrested. Every time they let him out, he went right to the nearest farm and invited people and started to preach again. He was in and out of prison all his life; totaling ten years in prison. While in prison he sang. He learned all the hymns by heart. Then he would kneel down in front of the door of his prison cell preaching the everlasting gospel through the keyhole! During that ten years, several of the guards were converted to Christ. Do you see why the devil has no chance with people who are born again?

God gave a tremendous light to the Adventist movement. The message of salvation from sin is found in Revelation 14. As Jesus completes His High Priestly ministry in heaven, we as His faithful people will have to realize that we have been chosen to restore the foundation of the everlasting gospel.

That means that what He is doing in the sanctuary in heaven right now has to be an experience in our lives. I found that among Adventist people in my country many say, “I believe Christ is my High Priest, I believe in 1844, I believe that He is doing a special work cleansing the sanctuary, I believe in all of that, and I also believe that I can sin willfully and knowingly until Jesus comes to change my character.”

That is not the everlasting gospel. We have to realize that there is an experience the Lord will give us that includes the cleansing of my sins and your sins. If we have not accepted that message, we have not accepted the everlasting gospel.

Read the following promises and claim them:

“For on that day shall the priest make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” Leviticus 16:30.

“And I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.” Isaiah 1:25.

“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Daniel 12:10.

“And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3.

Do you want the Lord to cleanse your life and take away all your sins, no matter what the Holy Spirit is pointing out to you that is preventing the Lord from having full control in your life? Give it to the Lord and say, “Lord, bless me. Take it away. I do not want to be a person like that.” This prayer the Lord will answer.

May the Lord help us to cooperate with Him and help us to receive the everlasting gospel, not as a theory but as an experience. As you look ahead and realize what is going to happen, you do not need to be afraid. Place your hand in the Lord’s hand and live in a born again relationship with Him. He will take care of you. He will give you the strength to live, or to choose death rather than to sin.


If the Foundations be Destroyed, part 1

As historic Seventh-day Adventists we are not teaching, believing or adopting any kind of new theology. We do not need it, because we have the truth. That does not mean that our minds are not open to believe and receive more truth, but the new light will not contradict the old light. We believe in the same old fashioned Adventist message that our pioneers preached over one hundred years ago.

In this article, I want to review the central pillar of our message. What is a pillar? It is something that is very important. Recently my wife and I were in the state of Washington visiting my wife’s father and stepmother. On the way back home we were traveling in the mountains. The freeway we were on was below a two-lane freeway going in the opposite direction that was held up by pillars. I was not worried about it because of those pillars. As long as the pillars stay in place, as long as the foundation stays in place, then there is nothing to worry about because everything will be all right.

What if a foundation is knocked loose? Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” If the foundations are destroyed, we are in big trouble. The whole building can come crashing down, or the freeway will break apart.

When I was attending Walla Walla College a disaster occurred along the Columbia River. A pillar from under the John Day bridge was washed away, and the bridge came down. Some people came down with it and they were never seen again.

It is easy to see then, that if a foundation or a pillar is washed away, disaster is sure to come. The devil knows that, so he does not chip away at the roof of the building, He tries to get underneath and knock the foundation out. The devil has been trying to do this over and over again with the Adventist faith. He has been trying to knock the foundation or pillar out from under it, so the whole thing will come down.

What is the foundation, the central pillar of the Advent faith? “The Scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the Advent faith was the declaration: ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ Daniel 8:14. These had been familiar words to all believers in the Lord’s coming. By the lips of thousands was this prophecy repeated as the watchword of their faith. All felt that upon the events therein foretold depended their brightest expectations and most cherished hopes. These prophetic days had been shown to terminate in the autumn of 1844.” The Great Controversy, 409.

Here it says that the central pillar of Adventism is found in Daniel 8:14. The devil has attacked this Scripture over and over again through our theological opponents for one hundred and fifty years his attacks have not ceased.

If you are a Seventh-day Adventist, or if you are thinking of becoming a Seventh-day Adventist and you want to understand the Seventh-day Adventist faith, you should make a special study of Daniel 8:10–14. Here is the central pillar and the foundation of our message. We will study Daniel 8 in its historical, linguistic and theological context.

“Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour’s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God.” Ibid., 488. All Christians have been given the command to perfect holiness in the fear of God. “The precious hours, instead of being given to pleasure, to display, or to gain seeking, should be devoted to an earnest, prayerful study of the Word of truth. The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God.” Ibid.

We are to clearly understand the sanctuary and the investigative judgment. This is the central pillar and the foundation of our faith. If we do not understand it, then we cannot give anyone a rational reason why we are Seventh-day historic Adventists.

The faith of many Adventists today is in disarray because they do not understand Daniel chapter eight. They do not understand what the investigative judgment is or what the cleansing of the sanctuary is all about and so they do not have a rational reason to be Adventists.

Several years ago I was a teacher at Southwestern Adventist College. In one of the classes one day, after reading the daily devotional Scriptures, I asked the students a question about salvation. When they answered my question, I was shocked. Here were dozens of Adventist young people, even ministers children and they did not know the fundamentals of salvation. They were not talking like Seventh-day Adventists. They were talking like Baptists. Baptists teach that salvation is a one step process. Seventh-day Adventists know from the sanctuary that salvation involves more than a one step process.

I worked with an Inter-denominational jail ministry for a number of years. A Christian worker from another denomination would say to me, “Some people were saved tonight.” I said to myself, “What is he talking about?” As soon as a prisoner said, “I believe,” they thought this person was saved—that it was an accomplished fact. The plan of salvation is more involved than that and Adventists know it. That is one of the reasons that other Christians hated our pioneers. If the sanctuary message is true, there is more to it than merely saying, “I believe.”

We need to understand what the sanctuary doctrine is and what the investigative judgement is. Ellen White said, “All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise, it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith, which is essential at this time, or to occupy the position, which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face.” Ibid.

Daniel 8 begins with a vision in which Daniel sees a ram and a goat, which has a big horn. The he goat destroys the ram and then the great horn is broken. Then there appear four horns. And finally a little horn appears. That is in the first eight or nine verses of Daniel 8. To understand Daniel 8:14 we need to know who and what this little horn is, because the prophecy about the twenty-three hundred days deals with this little horn.

In Daniel 8:20 the angel tells Daniel that the ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. The he-goat represents the kingdom of Greece and specifically Alexander the Great. The ram of Media Persia is described in the Hebrew text as being great. The he-goat is called exceedingly great or very great. Greece was more powerful and a greater empire than the kingdom of Medo-Persia and it took in more territory. The little horn power is described in even stronger terms, translated as “great beyond measure.” From that description it would have to be a power that is much greater than the Medo-Persian Empire which was a world empire. It would have to be even greater than the kingdom of Greece. The only kingdom that fits that description is Rome.

The little horn power was not Antiochus Epiphanes. He was a vassal king and did not have a world empire. He was definitely not greater than Alexander the Great. The theory that Antiochus Epiphanes was the little horn does not make any sense in the Scripture, no matter how our theological opponents present it.

Some people say that the Bible says that this little horn comes out of one of those four horns. It does not say that. The literal Hebrew translation reads, “And there came up four conspicuous horns in its place toward the four winds of the heavens.”

There are two nouns there, one is “horns” and the other is “winds”. “Out of one of them . . .” verse 9. Someone says, “See Pastor John, it says out of one of the horns.” No, it does not say out of one of the horns. It says out of one of “them.” The word “them” in Hebrew is masculine. The word “horn” is feminine. So “them” cannot refer to horns.

In Greek and Hebrew a pronoun always has to agree with its noun in gender. Winds can be either masculine or feminine, but horns can only be feminine. So the word “them” cannot refer to horns. It refers to the winds, which is the noun directly preceding it.

“Out of one of them,” that is, out of one of the winds of heaven, “there came a little horn.” Daniel 8:9. When we look at the linguistic context, we see that the little horn comes out of one of the winds of heaven, the west wind.

We have seen that the historical context proves this little horn to be Rome, and the linguistic context points the same way. Let us look more closely at the little horn power. Verse 10 says, “And it became great, even to the host (army) of the heavens.”

Who is the host of heaven? The armies, or the hosts of heaven, is a term in the Bible that refers often to God’s people. (See Joshua 5:14, 15 and Exodus 12:41.) The angels are also referred to as the armies or the hosts of God. (See Luke 2:13.)

When the angel explained what this meant, he said that this little horn power would “destroy the mighty and also the holy people.” Verse 24. That is God’s people—the armies of heaven.

“He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host.” Verse 11. Jesus Christ is the Ruler of the armies of heaven. Revelation 19 describes His coming back to this world as the head of the armies of heaven. “He has on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16. He is the Commander of the hosts of heaven. This little horn power would even exalt himself to oppose the Commander of the hosts of heaven.

Which government was involved in the crucifixion of Jesus? It was the Roman government. Roman soldiers nailed Him to the cross at the command of a Roman governor. It is not hard to figure out that this little horn power would exalt itself even to the Commander of the armies of heaven.

It [the little horn] cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground and trampled [destroyed] them. (Daniel 8:10.) Verse 24 says, concerning this little horn power, that he would “destroy the mighty and also the holy people.” Then notice what it says will happen. “He magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily was taken away.” Daniel 8:11.

The little horn power exalted the continuous, or the daily, or that which is continual. What is it that was continual? Verse 12 calls it the “continuance in rebellion.” Then it says that the very thing that he exalted, he later was given an army against it. The Bible translators could not figure that out, so they changed the wording to the “daily sacrifice.” They could not figure out how you could exalt something and then have an army given you to destroy it.

Ellen White said that the pioneers and William Miller had the truth on what the “daily” was. The continuance, that which was always in rebellion—even back before the flood; then at the Tower of Babel, in Egypt, in Assyria, in Babylon, in Medo-Persia, in Greece and finally it reached its epitome in Rome. It was the “continuance in rebellion” that was exalted to its highest level in Rome. For four thousand five hundred years it was a continuance in rebellion. It was paganism or heathenism which center around sun worship.

The history of Rome reveals what paganism does to a nation. The horrors and debauchery are too dreadful to be written down, but if you look in Romans chapter 1 you can get a small idea. Romans was written to the people who lived in that city and it describes the society in which they had to live.

Later on it says an army would be given to this little horn power to take away the continuance and set up an “abomination that would make desolate,” or that would depopulate it. In verse 12 it says, “Because of the transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.” The word translated “transgression” means a revolt or a rebellion.

There are two rebellions mentioned in these verses 10–12. The first one, the daily, is the daily in transgression or the “continuance in transgression” or rebellion. (Daniel 8:12.) Then there is the desolating transgression or the desolating rebellion. (See Truth Triumphant, by Benjamin Wilkinson.) The continual rebellion started before the flood and it kept on going after the flood until the beginning of the sixth century, A.D. When it was taken away, something worse was put in its place. That something is described in the Scriptures as Antichrist, the Man of Sin. The apostasy of the latter times that would last until the Second Coming of Christ.

The continuance, plus the abomination of desolation, refers to the sin problem from its beginning to its end. Somehow our detractors and opponents cannot seem to figure that out. It is one of the main thrusts of Daniel 8, 10, 11 and 12. It is connected here in Daniel 8 with the twenty-three hundred days because we read in Daniel 8:13, 14, “And then I heard a certain holy one speaking and he sent another holy one to that one who spoke. ‘Until when is the vision concerning the daily [“the continuance in rebellion”]?’” Daniel 8:13.

How long is the vision concerning the continuance and the desolating rebellion? It has been going on now for thousands of years. The time is coming when it is going to be taken away and the desolating rebellion put in its place. How long are both of these things going to continue into the future, “to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled? And he said to me, Unto two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed [made righteous, purified or restored].” Daniel 8:13, 14.

At the end of two thousand three hundred days, the sanctuary will be restored to its rightful state. “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the Holy City under foot for forty-two months.’ ” Revelation 11:1, 2.

What does it mean for the sanctuary to be restored, vindicated? God’s sanctuary is in heaven. They knew that, even in the Old Testament time. We enter into that sanctuary by faith. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he consecrated for us, through the Veil, that is, his flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19–22. When this sanctuary is cleansed, friend, it is God’s measuring time. He is not just going to measure a building. The sanctuary, the temple, is a symbol of the church (See Ephesians 2:19–22.) The sanctuary, the altar and the worshippers will be measured. God has a measuring rod, and He will measure the people who are in it.

When the measuring is over, you will either be in it or you will be shaken out of it. When you lose your vision, and you turn your back on the Biblical teaching of the judgment like some people are doing today, you have been shaken out. You can go to church every week for the rest of your life, but you have been shaken out of God’s church. The sanctuary cannot be restored to its rightful state as long as those who are worshipping in it by faith are still full of sin. They must be purified, cleansed.

The central pillar and the foundation of the Advent faith cannot be knocked out from under the person who studies the Biblical texts carefully. It is rooted in the Bible. You can study it historically, linguistically, and theologically—any way you want to study it, and it will stand investigation.

It is measuring time and God is doing the measuring. Either by His grace we are going to measure up or we will be shaken out. (See Hebrews 12.) The good news is, Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” If you want to be saved, He will give you enough grace so that you can be purified, so that you will measure up, so that you can be restored. When the worshippers in the sanctuary are measured, when they are all put before the measuring rod, I want to be ready for that time so I will remain and will not be shaken out. How about you?