Bible Study Guides – “I Am the Light of the World”

November 19-25, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

STUDY HELP: Christ’s Object Lessons, 414–421.

INTRODUCTION: “Christ does not bid His followers strive to shine. He says, Let your light shine. If you have received the grace of God, the light is in you. Remove the obstructions, and the Lord’s glory will be revealed. The light will shine forth to penetrate and dispel the darkness. You cannot help shining within the range of your influence. The revelation of His own glory in the form of humanity will bring heaven so near to men that the beauty adorning the inner temple will be seen in every soul in whom the Saviour dwells. Men will be captivated by the glory of an abiding Christ. And in currents of praise and thanksgiving from the many souls thus won to God, glory will flow back to the great Giver.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 420.

“To Cause the Lamps to Burn Continually”

1 What was placed on the south side in the Holy Place? Exodus 26:35. (Read also Exodus 37:17–24.)

NOTE: “On the south was the seven-branched candlestick, with its seven lamps. Its branches were ornamented with exquisitely wrought flowers, resembling lilies, and the whole was made from one solid piece of gold.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 348.

“At God’s command, only man’s most precious gift might be used for the candlestick. So Israel’s purest gold was brought. This sings of Jesus who is more precious than Ophir’s fabled gold (Isaiah 13:12), and whose life holds up the flame of ageless truth.” Hardinge, With Jesus in His Sanctuary, 147.

“The gold mentioned by Christ, the True Witness, which all must have, has been shown me to be faith and love combined, and love takes the precedence of faith.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 36.

2 What instruction was given concerning the candlestick? Leviticus 24:2–4.

NOTE: “There being no windows in the tabernacle, the lamps were never all extinguished at one time, but shed their light by day and by night.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 348.

“We search in vain for windows, only to find that no sunbeam ever plays upon the sacred table nor does moonlight fall upon the golden altar. Only the candlestick’s seven flames chase the darkness from the chamber. Their light illumines the way which stretches with prophetic eye into the most holy shrine, where the pilgrim’s journey will end at God’s throne of mercy. …The lamp of life is Christ, man’s only and complete and everlasting Light.” Hardinge, With Jesus in His Sanctuary, 147.

3 How were the lamps lit? Exodus 27:20, 21; Exodus 30:7, 8.

NOTE: “No common fire might ever be used to ignite the sacred wicks. The wood burning on the altar alone supplied the sacred spark.” Hardinge, With Jesus in His Sanctuary, 153.

“At the hour of worship, as the prayers and praise of the people were ascending to God, two of the sons of Aaron took each his censer and burned fragrant incense thereon, to rise as a sweet odor before the Lord. But they transgressed His command by the use of ‘strange fire.’ For burning the incense they took common instead of the sacred fire which God Himself had kindled, and which He had commanded to be used for this purpose. For this sin a fire went out from the Lord and devoured them in the sight of the people.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 359.

“The Light of the World”

4 How did Jesus describe Himself? John 9:5; John 12:46.

NOTE: “Heaven, looking down, and seeing the delusions into which men were led, knew that a divine Instructor must come to earth. Men in ignorance and moral darkness must have light, spiritual light; for the world knew not God, and He must be revealed to their understanding. Truth looked down from heaven and saw not the reflection of her image; for dense clouds of moral darkness and gloom enveloped the world, and the Lord Jesus alone was able to roll back the clouds: for He was the Light of the world. By His presence He could dissipate the gloomy shadow that Satan had cast between man and God. Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. Through the accumulated misrepresentations of the enemy, many were so deceived that they worshiped a false god, clothed with the attributes of the satanic character. The Teacher from heaven, no less a personage than the Son of God, came to earth to reveal the character of the Father to men, that they might worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 176, 177.

Read The Desire of Ages, Chapter 51.

5 Now that Christ has returned to heaven, who is to continue His work of enlightening the world? Matthew 5:14–16; Philippians 2:15.

NOTE: “The purity, faith, zeal, and consistency of character in those who go forth to work for the Lord, should be so evident that others may see their good works, and be led to glorify our Father who is in heaven. If our profession of faith is sustained by heartfelt piety, it will be a means of good; for thereby souls will be influenced to comply with the terms of salvation. God designs that His grace should be made manifest in the believer, that through the Christlike character of individual members, the church may become the light of the world.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 203.

“A Light unto My Path”

6 What did the psalmist describe as a light? Psalm 119:105. (Compare Proverbs 6:23.)

NOTE: “If we would study the Bible diligently and prayerfully every day, we should every day see some beautiful truth in a new, clear, and forcible light.” Child Guidance, 511.

“We are to give the last warning of God to men, and what should be our earnestness in studying the Bible, and our zeal in spreading the light! Let every soul who has received the divine illumination seek to impart it. Let the workers go from house to house, opening the Bible to the people, circulating the publications, telling others of the light that has blessed their own souls.” Gospel Workers, 353.

7 What particular aspect of Scripture is to be a light to us in this dark world? 2 Peter 1:19.

NOTE: “It was not the scholarly theologians who had an understanding of this truth, and engaged in its proclamation. Had these been faithful watchmen, diligently and prayerfully searching the Scriptures, they would have known the time of night; the prophecies would have opened to them the events about to take place. But they did not occupy this position, and the message was given by humbler men. Said Jesus: ‘Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.’ John 12:35. Those who turn away from the light which God has given, or who neglect to seek it when it is within their reach, are left in darkness. But the Saviour declares: ‘He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ John 8:12. Whoever is with singleness of purpose seeking to do God’s will, earnestly heeding the light already given, will receive greater light; to that soul some star of heavenly radiance will be sent to guide him into all truth.” Maranatha, 17.

“What Fellowship Hath Light With Darkness?”

8 What warnings are we given about trying to mingle light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:5–8.

NOTE: “What can there be in common between these parties? There can be no fellowship, no communion. The word fellowship means participation, partnership. God employs the strongest figures to show that there should be no union between worldly parties and those who are seeking the righteousness of Christ. What communion can there be between light and darkness, truth and unrighteousness?—None whatever. Light represents righteousness; darkness, error, sin, unrighteousness. Christians have come out of darkness into the light. They have put on Christ, and they wear the badge of truth and obedience. They are governed by the elevated and holy principles which Christ expressed in His life. But the world is governed by principles of dishonesty and injustice.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 476.

9 What blessings come to those who walk in the light? 1 John 1:7. (Compare Ephesians 5:8–11.)

NOTE: “Those who wear Christ’s yoke will draw together. They will cultivate sympathy and forbearance, and in holy emulation will strive to show to others the tender sympathy and love of which they feel such great need themselves. He who is weak and inexperienced, although he is weak, may be strengthened by the more hopeful and by those of mature experience. Although the least of all, he is a stone that must shine in the building. He is a vital member of the organized body, united to Christ, the living head, and through Christ identified with all the excellencies of Christ’s character so that the Saviour is not ashamed to call him brother.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 16.

10 What difference will be seen between those who are in the light and those who are in darkness? 1 John 2:9, 10.

NOTE: “The Lord is fitting a people for heaven. The defects of character, the stubborn will, the selfish idolatry, the indulgence of faultfinding, hatred, and contention, provoke the wrath of God and must be put away from His commandment-keeping people. Those living in these sins are deceived and blinded by the wiles of Satan. They think that they are in the light when they are groping in darkness.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 180.

“Under a Bushel”

11 Against what misuse of the light given to us does Jesus warn us? Luke 8:16; Luke 11:33.

NOTE: “Jesus does not bid the Christian to strive to shine, but just to let his light shine in clear and distinct rays to the world. Do not blanket your light. Do not sinfully withhold your light. Do not let the mist and fog and malaria of the world put out your light. Do not hide it under a bed or under a bushel, but set it on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house.…God bids you shine, penetrating the moral darkness of the world.” Our High Calling, 297.

12 What reaction against the light are we warned against? John 3:19–21.

NOTE: “Suppose that because some ship had disregarded his warning beacon, and gone to pieces on the rocks, the lighthouse keeper should put out his lights, and say, ‘I will pay no more attention to the lighthouse;’ what would be the consequence? But that is not the way he does. He keeps his lights burning all night, throwing their beams far out into the darkness, for the benefit of every mariner that comes within the dangerous reach of rocks and shoals. Were some ship to be wrecked because the lights went out, it would be telegraphed over the world that on such a night, at such a point, a ship went to pieces on the rocks because there was no light in the tower. But if some ships are wrecked because they pay no attention to the light, the lighthouse keeper is guiltless; they were warned, but they paid no heed.” Reflecting Christ, 167.

“Salvation to the Ends of the Earth”

13 What is the purpose of the light? Acts 13:47. (Compare 2 Corinthians 4:4, 6; Ephesians 5:13.)

NOTE: See Christ’s Object Lessons, 149.

14 What warning is given to the church that fails to let its light shine? Revelation 2:4, 5.

NOTE: “Let each member of the church study this important warning and reproof. Let each one see if in contending for the truth, if in debating on the theory, he has not lost the tender love of Christ. Has not Christ been left out of the sermons, and out of the heart? Is there not danger that many are going forward with a profession of the truth, doing missionary work, while the love of Christ has not been woven into the labor? This solemn warning from the True Witness means much; it demands that you shall remember from whence you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; ‘or else,’ says the True Witness, ‘I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent’ (Revelation 2:5). O that the church might realize its need of its first ardor of love! When this is wanting, all other excellences are insufficient.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 370.

Bible Study Guides – “A Table in the Wilderness”

November 12-18, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Psalm 23:5.

STUDY HELP: Early Writings, 56–58.

INTRODUCTION: “The Lord will help all who take hold with good courage, and humbly do His work with honesty and fidelity and earnest zeal. The end is near, and I would say to those I love in every place, Be of good courage in the Lord. Ministers and people, the Lord is our Rock. We may be secure. The Lord will not leave His people to the will of the enemy. He will carry us through all the strait places. He can spread a table for us in the wilderness.” Review and Herald, February 12, 1901.

“The Bread of God is He Which Cometh Down from Heaven”

1 What piece of tabernacle furniture was placed on the north side of the Holy Place? Exodus 26:35; Exodus 40:22.

NOTE: “The table of showbread stood on the north. With its ornamental crown, it was overlaid with pure gold. On this table the priests were each Sabbath to place twelve cakes, arranged in two piles, and sprinkled with frankincense. The loaves that were removed, being accounted holy, were to be eaten by the priests.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 348.

2 What was placed upon this table? What other items were needed in the use of this table? Exodus 25:29; Exodus 37:16.

NOTE: See Patriarchs and Prophets, 354.

“A drink offering accompanied the morning and evening sacrifice (Exodus 29:40; Numbers 15:5). For this reason the shewbread table contained dishes, spoons, covers, and bowls, or as other versions render it, dishes, spoons and ‘cups with which they pour out’ (Exodus 25:29, Young’s translation). This drink offering was poured out in the holy place ‘unto the Lord.’ It is not a long step from the table of shewbread mentioned in the Old Testament to the table of the Lord in the New Testament.…” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 719, 720.

“I Am the Bread Which Came Down from Heaven”

3 How did Jesus explain the spiritual significance of bread? John 6:30–35.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 386.

4 In what special sense is Jesus the Bread of life? John 6:51–57.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 389.

“Every Sabbath He Shall Set it in Order”

5 When was the bread to be renewed on the table? Leviticus 24:5–8.

NOTE: “When the bread was removed every Sabbath, to be replaced by fresh loaves, the frankincense was burned upon the altar as a memorial before God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 354.

“The Sabbath hours are sacred, when hungry worshippers enter the courts of God. Common fare can never satisfy. So the preacher must study diligently during the week to gather grains of truth in the fields of scripture. Upon his knees he must labor to grind and sift the flour, while within his heart the fire burns. He must watch to exclude the leaven of self, and include the flavor of heaven’s salt. And he must pray, Sweet Spirit, flow into the dough and anoint it with a cross of oil. And through this toil, the substance of his Sabbath ‘loaf’ will be the Lord Jesus. Then in God’s house, and on God’s day, His pulpit will become a banquet table spread with heaven’s shewbread, ready to satisfy His people’s hunger.” Hardinge, With Jesus in His Sanctuary, 167.

6 What was done with the shewbread removed from the table? Leviticus 24:9.

“They Did Eat and Were All Filled”

7 What mighty miracles did Christ work to demonstrate His power to supply man’s need? Matthew 14:14–20. (Compare Matthew 15:32–37; Mark 6:35–44; Mark 8:1–9; Luke 9:12–17; John 6:5–14.)

NOTE: This is the only miracle recorded by all four Gospel writers. See The Desire of Ages, 365, 366.

8 How had Christ worked similar miracles for His people before? 1 Corinthians 10:1–4. (Compare 1 Kings 17:2–6, 14–16; 1 Kings 19:5–8.)

NOTE: “…there is no place for anxious care. Diligence, fidelity, caretaking, thrift, and discretion are called for. Every faculty is to be exercised to its highest capacity. But the dependence will be, not on the successful outcome of our efforts, but on the promise of God. The word that fed Israel in the desert, and sustained Elijah through the time of famine, has the same power today. ‘Be not therefore anxious (R.V.), saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?…Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Matthew 6:31–33.” Education, 138.

“Thou Preparest a Table Before Me”

9 What regular reminder did Jesus give us of His continuing ability to satisfy the needs of His people? 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 660.

10 How are we assured that Christ will minister also to the soul’s hunger? Matthew 5:6; Psalm 36:7–9.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 660.

“O Taste and See that the Lord is Good”

11 In what precious promises may God’s people put their trust? Psalm 34:8–10.

NOTE: “How shall we know for ourselves God’s goodness and His love? The psalmist tells us—not, hear and know, read and know, or believe and know; but—‘Taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Psalm 34:8). Instead of relying upon the word of another, taste for yourself. Experience is knowledge derived from experiment. Experimental religion is what is needed now. ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’” God’s Amazing Grace, 252.

12 What gracious promise does Jesus make? Matthew 21:22.

NOTE: See Steps to Christ, 111, 112.

Bible Study Guides – “Who Can Bring a Clean Thing Out of an Unclean?”

November 5-11, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalm 51:2.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 2, 609–614.

INTRODUCTION: “The glory of God hallowed the sanctuary; and for this reason the priests never entered the place sanctified by God’s presence with shoes upon their feet. Particles of dust might cleave to their shoes, which would desecrate the sanctuary; therefore the priests were required to leave their shoes in the court, before entering the sanctuary. In the court, beside the door of the tabernacle, stood the brazen laver, wherein the priests washed their hands and their feet before entering the tabernacle, that all impurity might be removed, ‘that they die not.’ All who officiated in the sanctuary were required of God to make special preparations before entering where God’s glory was revealed.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 348.

“The Washing of Regeneration”

1 What was placed between the altar of sacrifice and the Holy Place? Exodus 30:18.

NOTE: “The laver was placed between the altar and the congregation, that before they [the priests] came into the presence of God, in the sight of the congregation, they might wash their hands and their feet. What impression was this to make upon the people? It was to show them that every particle of dust must be put away before they could go into the presence of God; for He was so high and holy that unless they did comply with these conditions, death would follow.” Review and Herald, May 30, 1871.

2 What was the original source of the water for the laver? Exodus 17:5, 6.

NOTE: See Patriarchs and Prophets, 411.

3 How does Paul explain the spiritual significance of water in the plan of salvation? Ephesians 5:26, 27; Titus 3:5.

NOTE: “The refreshing water, welling up in a parched and barren land, causing the desert place to blossom, and flowing out to give life to the perishing, is an emblem of the divine grace which Christ alone can bestow, and which is as the living water, purifying, refreshing, and invigorating the soul. He in whom Christ is abiding has within him a never–failing fountain of grace and strength. Jesus cheers the life and brightens the path of all who truly seek Him. His love, received into the heart, will spring up in good works unto eternal life. And not only does it bless the soul in which it springs, but the living stream will flow out in words and deeds of righteousness, to refresh the thirsting around him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 412.

“Beholding As In a Glass”

4 From what was the laver made? Exodus 38:8.

NOTE: “Between the altar and the door of the tabernacle was the laver, which was also of brass, made from the mirrors that had been the freewill offering of the women of Israel.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 347.

5 Into what mirror should all followers of Christ gaze? 2 Corinthians 3:18.

NOTE: “Pride and vanity are manifested everywhere; but those who are inclined to look into the mirror to admire themselves will have little inclination to look into the law of God, the great moral mirror. This idolatry of dress destroys all that is humble, meek, and lovely in character. It consumes the precious hours that should be devoted to meditation, to searching the heart, to the prayerful study of God’s Word.” Child Guidance, 433.

“There may be marked defects in the character of an individual, yet when he becomes a true disciple of Christ, the power of divine grace transforms and sanctifies him. Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, he is changed from glory to glory, until he is like Him whom he adores.” Acts of the Apostles, 559.

“A Fountain for Sin and for Uncleanness”

6 How does the water from the Rock explain the ministry of Christ? Zechariah 13:1.

NOTE: “In order to gain a proper knowledge of ourselves, it is necessary to look into the mirror, and there discovering our own defects, avail ourselves of the blood of Christ, the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, in which we may wash our robes of character and remove the stains of sin.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 58.

“The time has come for earnest and powerful efforts to rid the church of the slime and filth which is tarnishing her purity. The church of Christ is called to be a holy, powerful people, a name and praise in all the earth. There has been opened a fountain for Judah and Jerusalem, to wash from all uncleanness and sin. There is an astonishing backsliding with God’s people, to whom has been entrusted sacred, holy truth.” Testimonies to Ministers, 450.

7 How often were the priests to wash in the water of the laver? Exodus 30:18–20.

NOTE: See Patriarchs and Prophets, 347, 348.

“If Any Man Thirst, Let Him Come unto Me, and Drink”

8 What gracious invitation did Christ give on the final day of the Feast of Tabernacles? John 7:37.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 453.

9 How is the symbolism of water also used for spiritual cleansing today? Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3, 4.

NOTE: “Man was brought again into favor with God by the washing of regeneration. The washing was the burial with Christ in the water in the likeness of His death, representing that all who repent of the transgression of the law of God receive purification, cleansing, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Baptism represents true conversion by the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Those who have been buried with Christ in baptism, and been raised in the likeness of His resurrection, have pledged themselves to live in newness of life. ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.’ Colossians 3:1, 2.” The Faith I Live By, 143.

10 What further symbol of cleansing was given to us by Jesus? John 13:3–17.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 646, 647.

“A Sea of Glass”

11 What is the counterpart of the laver in the sanctuary in heaven? Revelation 4:6, first part. (See also Revelation 15:2.)

12 What is said of those who will stand on that sea of glass? Revelation 15:2–4.

NOTE: “Through trials and persecution, the glory—character—of God is revealed in His chosen ones. The church of God, hated and persecuted by the world, are educated and disciplined in the school of Christ. They walk in narrow paths on earth; they are purified in the furnace of affliction. They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self-denial and experience bitter disappointments; but their painful experience teaches them the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence. Being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they are destined to be partakers of His glory. In holy vision the prophet saw the triumph of the people of God. He says, ‘I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory,….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.’ ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.’ Revelation 15:2, 3; 7:14, 15.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 31.

Bible Study Guides – “The Offering of the Body of Jesus”

October 29- November 4, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” Ephesians 5:2.

STUDY HELP: Our High Calling, 47.

INTRODUCTION: “Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. To many it has been a mystery why so many sacrificial offerings were required in the old dispensation, why so many bleeding victims were led to the altar. But the great truth that was to be kept before men, and imprinted upon mind and heart, was this, ‘Without shedding of blood is no remission.’ Hebrews 9:22. In every bleeding sacrifice was typified ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29.” Our High Calling, 47.

“The Lamb of God”

1 What quality was to distinguish the creature chosen for a burnt offering? Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 1:2, 3.

NOTE: The words “without blemish” are applied to the sacrifices 17 times in Leviticus.

“Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, with its appropriate meat offering, thus symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. God expressly directed that every offering presented for the service of the sanctuary should be ‘without blemish.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 352.

2 How did Peter link the sacrifices of the sanctuary with Christ? 1 Peter 1:18, 19.

NOTE: “Only an offering ‘without blemish’ could be a symbol of His perfect purity who was to offer Himself as ‘a lamb without blemish and without spot.’ 1 Peter 1:19.Patriarchs and Prophets, 352.

“In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, ‘that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses’ (Matthew 8:17). He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He knew no sin. He was the Lamb ‘without blemish and without spot’ (1 Peter 1:19). Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Saviour’s head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 256.

3 What further lesson may we draw from contemplating Christ as the sacrificial lamb? Romans 12:1.

NOTE: “God requires the body to be rendered a living sacrifice to Him, not a dead or a dying sacrifice. The offerings of the ancient Hebrews were to be without blemish, and will it be pleasing to God to accept a human offering that is filled with disease and corruption? He tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; and He requires us to take care of this temple, that it may be a fit habitation for His Spirit. The apostle Paul gives us this admonition: ‘Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] All should be very careful to preserve the body in the best condition of health, that they may render to God perfect service, and do their duty in the family and in society. It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the Ten Commandments. To do either is to break God’s laws. Those who transgress the law of God in their physical organism, will be inclined to violate the law of God spoken from Sinai.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 52, 53.

“The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World”

4 What must the sinner do with the offering he had brought for his sin? Leviticus 4:32, 33.

NOTE: “In the innocent offering slain by his own hand he beheld the fruits of sin—the death of the Son of God in his behalf. He sees the immutable character of the law he has transgressed, and confesses his sin; he relies upon the merits of the Lamb of God.” That I May Know Him, 17.

5 How did Isaiah teach this vital truth? Isaiah 53:4–7.

NOTE: “The sins of the people were transferred in figure to the officiating priest, who was a mediator for the people. The priest could not himself become an offering for sin, and make an atonement with his life, for he was also a sinner. Therefore, instead of suffering death himself, he killed a lamb without blemish; the penalty of sin was transferred to the innocent beast, which thus became his immediate substitute, and typified the perfect offering of Jesus Christ. Through the blood of this victim, man looked forward by faith to the blood of Christ which would atone for the sins of the world.” Signs of the Times, March 14, 1878.

“He Shall Confess that He Hath Sinned”

6 In addition to bringing his sacrifice, what also was essential for the sinner? Leviticus 5:5, 6.

NOTE: “The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; but the flesh was then to be eaten by the priest.… Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary.” The Faith I Live By, 198.

7 What precious assurance is conditional upon a full and frank confession of our sins? Psalm 32:5.

NOTE: “Satan had represented the chosen and loyal people of God as being full of defilement and sin. He could depict the particular sins of which they had been guilty. Had he not set the whole confederacy of evil at work to lead them, through his seductive arts, into these very sins? But they had repented, they had accepted the righteousness of Christ. They were therefore standing before God clothed with the garments of Christ’s righteousness, and ‘He answered and spake unto those that stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment.’ Every sin of which they had been guilty was forgiven, and they stood before God as chosen and true, as innocent, as perfect, as though they had never sinned.” Review and Herald, August 29, 1893.

“The Lord Hath Laid on Him the Iniquity of Us All”

8 To whom is the guilt of the repentant sinner transferred? 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 421.

9 What was done with the blood of the sin offering? Leviticus 4:30, 17.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 418.

10 When was the sanctuary finally cleansed from the guilt of those sins freely confessed and repented? Leviticus 16:1–19, 29–33. (Note verses 19, 30 and 33.)

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 418, 419.

“Worthy is the Lamb That Was Slain”

11 How did John in vision see Jesus? Revelation 5:6.

NOTE: “Christ is our Mediator and officiating High Priest in the presence of the Father. He was shown to John as a Lamb that had been slain, as in the very act of pouring out His blood in the sinner’s behalf. When the law of God is set before the sinner, showing him the depth of his sins, he should then be pointed to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. He should be taught repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus will the labor of Christ’s representative be in harmony with His work in the heavenly sanctuary.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 395.

12 In what way did Christ desire that we should remember today His blood shed for us? 1 Corinthians 11:23–26.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 652, 653.

Food for Life – Excessive Indulgence

This month we are going to peruse a few vital statements in the Spirit of Prophecy as to the importance of healthful living. You are no doubt aware that food is not the whole message of true health reform! Some think that if they leave off animal products, they are health reformers. But you may be amazed as you follow these statements as to what really constitutes health reform in its entirety. Furthermore, you may also not be aware that there are many various books from the Spirit of Prophecy relating to healthful living and we have only covered the Ministry of Healing. So let me introduce you to some other statements from other valuable books written by the same author and inspired by God.

First I would like to refer you to the wonderful little book entitled “Temperance, 138.” “True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful, and to use judiciously that which is healthful.”

Now this encircles a wide range of activities, right? On the top of the same page we read, “Excessive indulgence in eating, drinking, sleeping, or seeing, is sin.”

Just what does this include? Let’s be perfectly honest with ourselves. Could this possibly include television? Just stop to think of all the rot that Satan has put in this machine! Oh yes, I’m perfectly aware there are many good things on tv—If you have the will power to select carefully, or turn it off when something comes on that shouldn’t be viewed by Christians. But who has the moral courage to do this? Or has the devil so infiltrated your life that you “Really can see no harm in it?” I will have to admit there are captivating things shown on your tv. For instance, there are “miraculous healings” on the air that could captivate you completely. But what is the difference between watching it on your tv screen or going “out to the desert to see Satan impersonating Christ” which he will do, and we are definitely told not to go out when that announcement is made.

“I saw Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling. Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God’ people, and they [were] left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues.” Early Writings, 44.

“Man is God’s workmanship, His masterpiece, created for a high and holy purpose; and on every part of the human tabernacle God desires to write His law. Every nerve and muscle, every mental and physical endowment, is to be kept pure. God designs that the body shall be a temple for His Spirit. How solemn then is the responsibility resting on every soul …Every entrusted faculty is to be improved. Not one is to be neglected.” Temperance, 142, 143.

“With intense interest God and heavenly angels mark the self-denial, the self-sacrifice, and the agonizing efforts of those who engage to run the Christian race. The reward given to every man will be in accordance with the persevering energy and faithful earnestness with which he performs his part in the great contest.” Ibid., 144,145.

Recipe – Garbanzo Balls or Roast

2 cups soaked garbanzos

1 cup distilled water

2 cups cooked wheat 

1 pkg. George Washington onion seasoning

1 tsp. soy sauce

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Blend garbanzos with water until fine. Blend wheat and seasoning, and mix with garbanzos. Form into small balls and bake on a cookie sheet for 35 minutes at 350°. If desired, place in a covered casserole dish for 30 minutes at 350°. Remove cover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Children’s Story – The Water

It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying; cows had stopped giving milk and the creeks and streams were long gone into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through.

Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we did not see some rain soon, we would lose everything.

It was on this day that I experienced the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes: I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He was not walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth, but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back, but he was obviously walking with a great task in mind…trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house.

I went back to making sandwiches, thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow, purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for an hour—he would walk carefully to the woods, then run back to the house.

Finally I could not take it any longer, and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen…as he was obviously doing important work and did not need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked; being very careful not to spill the water he held in them…maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands.

I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him…he did not even move as Billy knelt down. And there I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful little boy’s hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house while I hid behind a tree.

I followed him back to the house, to a spigot where we had shut off the water. Billy had opened it all the way up and a small trickle was creeping out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift “cup” as the sun beat down on his little back.

And it became clear to me. The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he did not ask me to help him. It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back to the woods, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. “I’m not wasting,” was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him—with a small pot of water from the kitchen.

I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops—and more drops—and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, Himself, was weeping with pride.

Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence, that miracles do not really exist, that it was bound to rain sometime. I cannot argue with that—I am not even going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm, just like the action of one little boy saved the life of that fawn.

I tell this story to honor the memory of my beautiful Billy, who was taken from me much too soon—but not before showing me the true face of God, in a little sunburned body.

Facing the Crisis – With Supernatural Intervention

This is such an important article that you will probably wish to read it several times in order to understand every detail. May I suggest that you encourage other church members to also read this article.

The greatest hope of the Christian today is centered in the coming final climax when Jesus returns to gather His saints and take them to their eternal home. Jesus has promised, “…I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John

Today we are surrounded by scores of signs that Jesus is coming soon. But one of the signs that He foretold we seem to have ignored. It is the one sign that tells us exactly when the Second Coming is to take place. In Matthew 24:14 Christ states, “…this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

This truth is emphasized by the Three Angels of Revelation 14:6 in which it is proclaimed that the everlasting gospel is to be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

Christ’s Soon Return Not Possible

Here I must level with you. The fulfillment of a soon-coming Saviour is absolutely impossible without divine intervention. For at the present rate of progress, to reach every nation, tongue and people with the everlasting gospel will take thousands of years.

In the Review and Herald of December 17, 1987, we were told that 80% of the world’s population today has no knowledge of Christianity. At present, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is witnessing, by its presence, to only fifteen percent of the people of the world. Over 2.4 billion people living on this planet have never been reached by any church with the gospel.

Now let me clarify that. I have traveled across India by train and car. In this densely populated country there are approximately one-half million villages. Of these, 475,000 villages have never received any knowledge of Christianity by any denomination. The alarming truth is that we have done so little.

“Our penetration in the Indian languages is, likewise, scant. India has sixteen languages but more than 1,600 dialects. The Bible is available in only 74 of these languages and dialects. The Oriental Watchman Publishing House publishes Adventist literature in only 21 languages. And so we have no publications in hundreds of Indian languages and dialects. The language problem is further compounded by an average literacy rate of 36%.” North Pacific Gleaner, November 11, 1989.

And what about China—over one billion people, and other unentered lands? Yet we find this precious promise. “For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” Romans 9:28. So comes the question, “Just how can this be accomplished?”

Will you pray, with me, that God will help us discover the answer to this perplexing situation? We must acknowledge that our loving Father created us by His hands. He made us with an inquisitive mind, unable to foresee the future as He sees it. But we read in His Word that He will do nothing without revealing it to His prophets. We must ask for heavenly guidance as we search for an answer in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, so we may grasp, by faith, the answer of how the Three Angels’ Messages can be preached quickly to every nation and people and tongue so Jesus may come.

The Eleventh Hour Workers

Let us look in the Bible, to the parable of the eleventh-hour workers. (See Matthew 20:1-9.) In this parable we will note that the kingdom of heaven is compared to a vineyard owner who hires laborers at different times of the day. In fact, he hired five separate groups of men to work in his vineyard. At the end of the day these men were all given the same wages, irrespective of how long they had worked.

The basic lesson being taught is that salvation is by faith. The redeemed will receive eternal life, not according to their works, but according to the generosity and the grace of God. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 394–404.) However, take note that their works were not ignored, for only those who worked were paid. Furthermore, this vineyard owner was in great need to quickly gather in his harvest, for no employer pays a full day’s wage for one hour of labor.

As you read the Scripture, you will realize that the one-hour workers, at the close of the day, were indispensable for the need to quickly finish the task. Now let us look at this parable.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.”

Ellen White, as an agent of the Holy Spirit, gives us an understanding insight as to how God plans to quickly finish the work with the help of these eleventh-hour workers. Scattered through her writings, you will find that she made seven clarifying statements concerning this parable.

We will examine each statement carefully and discover that this parable is actually a prophecy of what is soon to take place. It will change your thinking of what we have been taught that only the remnant will finish the work. As we study these quotations, you will be enlightened and encouraged, but, I also must add, be prepared for some very painful information.

The Storm Within

Now let us discuss the bad news first. As the coming storm of persecutions burst upon us by the beast and its image from without the church, Ellen White also describes an internal storm, which will face the faithful from within the church. These quotations which, when read together, reveal that apostasy will become so bad within the church that only a small remnant will be left to participate in giving the Loud Cry. But God is prepared.

“Already the judgments of God are abroad in the land, as seen in storms, in floods, in tempests, in earthquakes, in peril by land and by sea. The great I AM is speaking to those who make void His law. When God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth, who will then be able to stand? Now is the time for God’s people to show themselves true to principle. When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in the defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason…. All who will gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their defections, and loyalty from their treason, will triumph with the Third Angel’s Message.” Sons and Daughters of God, 201. Praise the Lord for such assurance.

How sad to learn, from this quotation, that few within the church will remain faithful; the majority will forsake the truth. Those that are left will need courage as they witness such deflection. How painful as these thoughts may be, yet this is but the beginning.

We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world…. But how often have the professed advocates of the truth proved the greater obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan’s devices.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 122.

Oh, what a terrible picture of what is to come! “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the Third Angel’s Message, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren.” The Great Controversy, 608.

Promoting Sunday Sacredness

Now, as the result of this, let us see what takes place within our church. “Men in responsible positions will not only ignore and despise the Sabbath themselves, but from the sacred desk, will urge upon the people the observance of the first day of the week, pleading tradition and custom in behalf of this man–made institution.” Signs Of The Times, January 17, 1884.

Beloved, this sounds unbelievable! But do not forget, it is true, for the tares within the remnant church are not going to change. “The forms of religion will be continued by a people from whom the Spirit of God has been finally withdrawn; and the satanic zeal with which the prince of evil will inspire them for the accomplishment of his malignant designs, will bear the semblance of zeal for God.” The Great Controversy, 615.

But take courage! The remaining wheat, though few in number, will be filled with the Latter Rain and will give the Loud Cry. The results will be amazing! “Servants of God, endowed with power from on high with their faces lighted up, and shining with holy consecration, went forth to proclaim the message from heaven. Souls that were scattered all through the religious bodies answered to the call, and the precious were hurried out of the doomed churches, as Lot was hurried out of Sodom before her destruction.” Early Writings, 278, 279.

It is at this time that we will discover that God has a plan by which He will quickly finish the work, for the honest souls who have answered the call and who have come out of Babylon will join the remnant and become the eleventh-hour workers, making it possible to quickly give the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Then we will see “…the Lord can do more in one hour than we can do in a whole lifetime, and when He sees that His people are fully consecrated, let me tell you, a great work will be done in a short time, and the message of truth is to be carried into the dark places of the earth, where it has never been proclaimed.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 347, 348.

Who are the Eleventh Hour Workers?

Now we are ready to explore these seven quotations describing the eleventh-hour workers. The first quotation tells us who the eleventh-hour workers are. “The laborers for the Master were His official servants, upon whom He laid the weightiest responsibilities to do His work…. Some were found waiting for work at the eleventh hour, only one hour before the close of the working–day.” Review and Herald, June 28, 1898. So these are going to be His official servants.

In the second quotation we find where these workers are now located. “There are diligent students of the word of prophecy in all parts of the world, who are obtaining light and still greater light from searching the Scriptures. This is true of all nations, of all tribes, and of all peoples. These will come from the grossest error, and will take the place of those who have had opportunities and privileges and have not prized them. These have worked out their own salvation with fear and trembling, lest they should become deficient in doing the ways and will of God, while those who have had great light, through the perversity of their own natural heart, turned away from Christ because they were displeased with His requirements. But God will not be left without witnesses. The one-hour laborers will be brought in at the eleventh hour, and will consecrate their ability and all their entrusted means to advance the work. These will receive the reward for their faithfulness, because they are true to principle, and shun not their duty to declare the whole counsel of God. When those who have had abundance of light throw off the restraint which the Word of God imposes, and make void His law, others will come in to fill their places and take their crown.” Review and Herald, June 15, 1897.

They are Not Seventh-day Adventists

Now let us analyze these two paragraphs.

  1. The eleventh hour people are scattered all over the world. They are native citizens of every country.
  2. They are not Seventh-day Adventists. How do we know this? Because the eleventh hour people are in gross doctrinal error. Adventists are not in doctrinal error. Ellen White specifically defines gross error as belief in Sunday sacredness, and in the immortality of the soul. (See The Great Controversy, 588.)
  3. Her use of the expression “great light” and “abundance of light” is confined to Seventh-day Adventists.
  4. She says that these (Seventh-day Adventists) would be the ones to throw off the restraints because they were displeased with God’s requirements.
  5. The eleventh-hour workers will take the place of the early workers who have not been true to principle for they had turned away from Christ. And here we find her most astounding prediction that these Seventh-day Adventists will make void the law of God.

The eleventh-hour people will take the crowns of those who failed to walk in the light.

How amazing!

Now we come to the third quotation, which tells us from where these eleventh-hour workers will come. “At the eleventh hour the Lord will gather a company out of the world to serve Him. There will be a converted ministry. Those who have had privileges and opportunities to become intelligent in regard to the truth, and yet who continue to counterwork the work God would have accomplished, will be purged out, for God accepts the service of no man whose interest is divided. He accepts the whole heart, or none.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 320.

As we meditate upon this third quotation, we discover it is not referring to some reform movement that comes out of the body of Adventism, but to a people who come out of the world, for the problem of the early workers was that they lacked conversion. Worse than that, they have counterworked God’s will. Their interests are divided. They will be purged out. The eleventh-hour workers, who are coming, come out of the world and will take their place. What painful words are these.

Who Will Finish the Work?

Now the fourth quotation reveals how the eleventh-hour worker will finish the job. “At the eleventh hour the Lord will call into His service many faithful workers. Self-sacrificing men and women will step into the places made vacant by apostasy and death. To young men and young women, as well as to those who are older, God will give power from above. With converted minds, converted hands, converted feet, and converted tongues, their lips touched with a living coal from the divine altar, they will go forth into the Master’s service, moving steadily onward and upward, carrying the work forward to completion.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 13, 1902.

Did you notice that the word “converted” was used three times? This is the problem of our church today. Only faithful workers will be called to the work. The eleventh-hour people carry the work to completion.

The fifth quotation describes the speed and the special power bestowed upon the eleventh-hour worker. “But I speak not my own words when I say that God’s Spirit will pass by those who have had their day of test and opportunity, but who have not distinguished the voice of God or appreciated the movings of His Spirit. Then thousands in the eleventh hour will see and acknowledge the truth.… These conversions to truth will be made with a rapidity that will surprise the church, and God’s name alone will be glorified.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 16.

A previous quote said the early workers within the church were purged. Quotation five said they were passed by. Why? Because they failed to understand their day of opportunity. The early workers did not know God’s voice when they heard it. They did not appreciate the work of the Holy Spirit. They did not glorify God. Thousands of people will see and acknowledge the truth at the eleventh hour. The work will be finished so fast that the church will be surprised.

“A great work is to be done in a short time.” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888. “In Ezekiel’s vision… The bright light going among the living creatures with the swiftness of lightning represents the speed with which this work will finally go forward to completion.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 754. What a promise!

The sixth quotation reveals that these eleventh-hour workers will enter the vineyard and make possible a finished work. It says, “There are many souls to come out of the ranks of the world, out of the churches—even the Catholic Church—whose zeal will far exceed that of those who have stood in rank and file to proclaim the truth heretofore. For this reason the eleventh hour laborers will receive their penny. These will see the battle coming and will give the trumpet a certain sound. [Praise God!] When the crisis is upon us, when the season of calamity shall come, they will come to the front, gird themselves with the whole armor of God, and exalt His law, adhere to the faith of Jesus, and maintain the cause of religious liberty which reformers defended with toil and for which they sacrificed their lives.…” Selected Messages, Book 3, 386, 387.

Keeping the Commandments of God

Now let us take note. These eleventh-hour people come out of the world and out of other churches, even the Catholic Church. They are not a movement coming out of Adventism. The people who will finish God’s work are still in the ranks of the world, that is, in other churches. Nothing could be more plainly stated. And, consider carefully, will these eleventh-hour workers observe the Sabbath? The answer is “Yes, beyond any doubt.”

How do we know this? Because they will “exalt His law.” How could they possibly exalt His law and not keep the Sabbath? How could they have the faith of Jesus and not understand the conditional immortality and other connected and essential truths? They are the eleventh-hour people.

The sixth quotation ties the parable beyond any doubt to a future time. We have not yet entered a season of calamity as a church. As yet there has been no overwhelming religious liberty crisis. I believe this will take place when the mark of the beast is enforced. We will be faced with a crisis of persecution and difficulty such as we have never dreamed. But praise the Lord! God has a plan to finish the work with the eleventh-hour workers.

The seventh and last quotation reveals the saddest information of all, for it tells us that the early workers within the church will find that their lamps will go out. “Many souls who have come from other denominational churches and, at the eleventh hour, will obey all the truth because they have not set themselves in array against heaven’s light but lived up to all the light they had; while those who have had great light, large privileges and opportunities and have failed to live in the light and walk in the light will drop out by the way. Their light will shine less and less until their lamps will go out for the want of the oil of the grace in their vessels with their lamps.” Letter 36a, 1890.

Remember, “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the Third Angel’s Message,… abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy popular side….They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren.” The Great Controversy, 608.

Opposing Heaven’s Light

These quotations are painful for us to read, but they are not difficult to understand. With slight variation they each tell the same basic story. For want of grace the lamps of the early workers go out. Why? Because they have opposed heaven’s light. “The majority forsake us.” That means more than half. Half may be a conservative estimate. Ellen White says a large class currently in our pews will unite with the world and become our bitterest enemies. They will deceive and mislead souls.

Finally, it is clear beyond any misunderstanding that, in the last hour of time, God will call a new team of workers into His vineyard. People from other churches will pick up the torch of truth and finish the work. We have always felt that no one else could take our place. Ancient Israel had the same false security—and how wrong they were.

Mrs. White has made plain that God’s people will go through, but shaken and sifted. There is no question that truth will triumph. God has expanded this parable in her writings, not to sadden us, but to give us courage for the future. God has His people everywhere. They will come from unexpected places. Praise the Lord! Thus unfamiliar names and unfamiliar faces may largely lead the work of God in the eleventh hour.

We may try to avoid the unpleasant character of these predictions. We might look for a fulfillment sometime in the past, but the internal evidence in these quotations rules out any past fulfillment. These eleventh-hour events are obviously all still future. These are final hour events, eleventh-hour events, to take place just before our Lord returns.

Humble and Uneducated

“Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the daytime we look toward heaven but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine luster.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 80, 81.

On examining this comment it is clear that education and talent are not the ultimate qualifications of the eleventh-hour workers, for “few great men will be engaged.” What God needs is a total dependence on Him. We are told that the faithful servants are not yet disclosed to view. They do not have our light, but they have a genuine Christian character.

When everything turns dark, we will see them. Beloved, here is a description of the coming massive interchange. “In vision I saw two armies in terrible conflict. One army was led by banners bearing the world’s insignia; the other was led by the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel. Standard after standard was left to trail in the dust as company after company from the Lord’s army joined the foe and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy united with the commandment-keeping people of God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 41.

Thank God for such heavenly insight. “As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks…. Those who have had great light and precious privileges, but have not improved them, will, under one pretext or another, go out from us.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 400.

So we have been given the nature of this final conflict to come. It is a time of mortal conflict, when company after company will leave us. Such an exodus has not yet taken place. We have not yet seen the day that tribe after tribe, from the ranks of the enemy, have joined us. It is true that, from time to time, individual ministers from other faiths have joined us, but the picture given here is one of an enormous interchange, not an individual or a few people here and there.

Filling the Ranks

The scenes appear to be simultaneous. While the companies leave us, whole tribes will join us.. It would be rational to believe that these tribes are the eleventh-hour laborers. Soon we may expect a manifestation of the great power of God, for Ellen White says, “The Lord can do more in one hour than we can do in a lifetime, and when He sees that His people are fully consecrated, let me tell you, a great work will be done in a short time, and the message of truth is to be carried into the dark places of the earth, where it has never been proclaimed.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 347, 348.

As you have read these inspired quotations, I trust you have felt the divine impression that God is only waiting for an adequate number of fully consecrated people who will cooperate with Him in finishing the work. Will you be ready? I hope so, for God will soon put His hand to His final work. He will call faithful, humble people wherever He can find them. He will finish His work using only consecrated people. This work will be accomplished against incredible resistance. God will do His work quickly, and He will do it to the eternal glory of Jesus Christ.

Beloved, it is now time for the faithful remnant to prepare for this coming crisis in total consecration to God and His message. The servant of the Lord has told us in The Great Controversy, 464, “Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children.”

We, as God’s end-time people, have now come to the time of this last great revival and reformation which is to take place among the remaining wheat. This will prepare the faithful few for the great outpouring of the Latter Rain which will enable the sealed saints to call out of Babylon the eleventh-hour workers, who will then join with us and together, with converted minds, converted hands, converted feet and converted tongues, with lips touched with a living coal from the divine altar, carry the work forward to completion.

Praise God! It will happen! And Jesus will come for His saints. Will you not pray and prepare for this final revival of primitive godliness, which has not been seen since apostolic times, that we, with the eleventh-hour workers, may quickly gather in the harvest that Jesus may come?

What Must I do to be Saved?

Love Tries to Make the Loved One Happy

Why does a man use his money to support a wife and family when he could live much better if he kept all of his money for himself? Why does a woman work so hard to cook and keep a house for a family when it would be so much easier to live alone and just cook and clean for herself?

“That is love,” we say. Love wants to make the loved one happy. Those questions are easy to answer. But the next question may not be so easy.

Why do fathers and mothers make rules for their children and families to follow? Fathers and mothers will quickly answer, “Because we love them and we want them to be happy. The rules are to keep everyone happy.”

Sometimes children do not see it that way. They think they would be happier if there were no rules. But usually when they become fathers and mothers, they do the same thing—they make rules. Somewhere along the way, they seem to learn that love does make rules, rules that call upon all of the members of the family to be nice to each other so everyone can be happy.

So how about God? If God is love, and love makes rules for happiness, should we not expect God to make rules? Yes we should. And when we look closely at God’s rules, it is easy to see that their purpose is to make us happy. They are God’s happiness rules, given to us because God is love.

What Must I do to be Saved?

This is a question that a certain young man asked Jesus. (See Matthew 19:16.) Of all the questions that we might talk about tonight, surely this is the most important. Eternal life! Think of it! A thousand years—ten thousand, a hundred thousand years—endless life! If I could offer you a medicine that would make you live forever, what would you pay for it? Would you sell your car, your house, and your lands to buy it? Of course you would. Eternal life, what a glorious thought!

I once listened to an old man preach a sermon about eternal life. He said that when he was twenty he thought fifty years of life would satisfy him. When he reached fifty, he thought he would be satisfied if he could reach seventy-five. “But I am seventy-five now,” he said, “and I am sure that I could not be satisfied with less than a hundred and fifty years of life.”

I want to offer you eternal life! Not 50 years, not 75 years, not 150 years, but eternal life in which time is counted because it means nothing. Why count your birthdays if you are going to live forever? I offer you eternal life in the words of Jesus, as He answered the young man’s question: “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” How eagerly we listen to the Saviour’s answer. All conversation stops, every head is turned; every eye is on the Master. Every ear strains to hear. What will He say? Surely this is the great question of all ages. How will He answer it?

Keep the Commandments

Kindly Jesus looks at the young man and answers, “Why callest thou Me good. There is none good but One, that is God. But if thou wilt enter into life”—[now it is coming, listen carefully—] “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

The young man thought he knew what Jesus meant, but he asked, just to be sure, “Which?” In answer, Jesus quoted several of the age-old Ten Commandments, which had been the standard of life for centuries past, and which must still continue to be.

The young man, like many today, knew about the commandments already, but he was hoping for a new way, a modern, easy way to enter into eternal life. But Jesus kindly reminded him that the pathway to eternal life has never changed and never will be changed!

“If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Those words of Jesus fall strangely on the ears of modern Christians, who are used to hearing ministers sneer at the Ten Commandments, and at those who endeavor, by the grace of Christ, to keep them. Many people are greatly surprised by His answer. Try quoting the question to someone, just to check my statement. See if they do not think the answer to question is; “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” But that is not the answer Jesus gave!

Jesus didn’t give that answer to the question. Not because belief is not necessary, for it definitely is. But He knew that one who thinks he believes but does not keep the commandments actually does not believe at all, but has deceived himself. This is clearly shown in 1 John 1:9: “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

The apostle James also adds a word of caution about this empty, intellectual agreement that some people would call belief: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19.

Somebody says, “But I thought all I had to do was love God and nothing else mattered.” Yes, but notice how God tests your love to see if you really love Him: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3.

Yes, the law of the kingdom is the law of love. Not simpering sentimentality, not lip service, but love that is seen in action and in deed, more than in empty words. Christian, do you love your Saviour? Then listen to His words: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” John 14:15.

The Law of the Kingdom of God is the Law of Love

In our own America we cherish freedom. Freedom, liberty, is the law of our great land. Our constitution, our court system, our government, our laws—all are built upon the one great basic principle of liberty and freedom for every man.

Even so, in the kingdom of God the basic principle is the law of love. It is the great principle upon which everything else depends. See how Jesus explains this. “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36–40.

Notice these words—on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. May I remind you that it does not say, “From these two commandments are cut off all the law and the prophets, so that you do not have to worry about them anymore.”

You would be surprised how many people think it says that. But it does not. It says, On these two commandments hang—how much of the law? Read it again. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Remember also what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17–19: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

What Does Fulfill Mean?

Someone says, “What does fulfill mean? When Jesus fulfilled the law did that bring it to an end?” No, indeed, dear friend. The word fulfilled meant the same thing in the language Jesus spoke as it does in English—to carry into effect, to perform completely. By looking at a few verses where the same word is used, you can easily find the answer to your question.

In Galatians 6:2 Paul writes, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Does this mean bring the law of Christ to an end? Obviously not. Paul writes again in Philippians 2:2, “Fulfill my joy.” Does he mean bring his joy to an end?

In Colossians 1:25 we find these words, “…to fulfill the word of God.” Does this mean bring the word of God to an end? Paul sent word to a man named Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.” Does this mean to bring the ministry of the Lord to an end? Certainly not! It means to perform it perfectly and completely. And when John objected to baptizing Jesus, and Jesus said to him, “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Matthew 3:15. Does that mean bring all righteousness to an end? Of course not. It meant to perform it completely.

So Jesus did not say, “I come not to destroy the law, but to bring it to an end.” He said, “I come not to destroy the law, but to perform it perfectly and completely.” And all true followers of Jesus will, by His grace, do the same thing.

May I recommend this to you as a good way to find the true meaning of words used in the Bible. You do not have to know Hebrew and Greek. Just see how the word is used in other verses, and you will not go wrong.

Another good example of this is the statement by Paul in Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” What does that mean? Look at other verses which use the same word, “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.” James 5:11.

Does this mean the Lord is finished? Of course not. It means you have seen the purpose of the Lord.

In 1 Peter 1:9 it says, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls?” This means the purpose of your faith is salvation. Likewise, when Paul wrote that Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness, he did not mean that the law was finished. He meant, Christ is the purpose of the law. He gives the same thought in Romans 8:4: “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

The Two Great Commandments

So the two great commandments are love to God and love to man, and on these two hang all the rest.

As you look at the Ten Commandments you can easily see how true this is. Love to God is the first great principle on which hang the first four commandments. He will have no other gods, he will make no idols or images, he will not take the name of the Lord in vain, and he will keep the Sabbath day which God has commanded.

Love to our neighbor is the second great principle of the law of love. If a man loves his neighbor he will carefully follow the last six of the Ten Commandments. He will honor his father and mother, he will not kill, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet.

Love is the law of the kingdom, and genuine love is seen in action, not in empty words.

Did you ever notice how young girls make plans about the man they will marry? Talk to a young girl. She is going to marry a man who is handsome, cultured, educated, and wealthy. You may be sure that she will not settle for anything less than that.

But you come back in a few years. She is going to get married. You look at her finance. You have seen more handsome men and more cultured men. He does not have much education and he has no money at all! “Why are you marrying this man?” you ask. She has only one answer for all the questions: “He loves me!”

By the mysterious wisdom of a girl’s mind, she knows that it is better to have a poor man who loves her than a rich man who does not truly love her. She knows that a man who loves her will provide for her all he can and treat her kindly. She knows that true love will be seen in action.

A lady came to me in Honolulu one day in deep distress. She had a marriage problem that she wanted to discuss, and I listened in amazement as she told her story.

This woman had been married for about ten years to a certain man, she said, and in all those ten years she had been supporting herself. Her husband kept his food on one side of the refrigerator, and she kept hers on the other side. She bought her own clothes, and he bought his. She paid her expenses, and he paid his. He was not letting marriage cost him anything. They had lived this way for ten years, but now they were having trouble. So she came to me to find out what was wrong.

Of course, it was obvious what was wrong, but how do you tell a woman that her husband does not love her? I had to tell her. “Your husband does not love you, and apparently has never loved you. What his reasons were for marrying you, I do not know, but I am very sure that he does not love you.”

If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments

No man would treat a woman like that if he loved her. Love—true love—is seen in every action of the life, not just in empty words. This is why Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

This is the test by which you may know whether you truly love Him, or if you are among that class of people whom He describes in Matthew 15:8. “These people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”

Eternal life is not for such people—those who say they love God but despise His commandments and those who keep them. You must realize, of course, that Jesus is the author of the Ten Commandments. It was His own finger that traced them in the tables of stone. This is revealed by many verses of Scripture, such as Colossians 1:16: “For by Him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.”

Obviously then, the Ten Commandments were written by Jesus Himself. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:1–3, and 14.

This is clearly talking about our blessed Lord. It is Jesus who is the author and finisher of our salvation. He is the one who has set up all the plan whereby we may be saved. He is the one with whom we have to do, and the one with whom all men have had to do all the way back through the centuries. He startled the Jews, who honored Abraham, with the statement: “Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58.

The Unchanging Christ

The unchanging Christ has provided an unchanging plan of salvation. You must not suppose that Christ changes His mind about anything or experiments with anything. You may not suppose that He will have one plan of salvation for one age and another plan for a different age. We read in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” His love is the same; His law is the same; and His grace is the same throughout all past ages and throughout eternity.

Someone may be saying, “I thought before the cross was the age of the law, and since the cross was the age of grace.” I do not doubt that you may have heard some men say that, but what does the Bible say? Did the grace of Christ begin at the cross? Read 2 Timothy 1:9: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

Beyond any doubt, we can understand His grace better since the cross, just as we can understand His love and mercy better since the cross, but that does not mean that the age of grace began at the cross. The age of grace covers the whole life span of this planet, dear friend. No man has ever been saved except by the grace of Christ. Adam, the first sinner, desperately needed the grace of God, and without it he would never have been forgiven. But the grace of Christ was there, ready to cover the repentant sinner with the blood of Christ, even though Christ had not yet died, because we read in Revelation 13:8 that in the true sense Christ was “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Noah needed the grace of Christ, and it was there for him, too. Read it in Genesis 6:8: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” If he had not found grace, he could never have been saved. But thank God, grace was there to pardon and cleanse him from sin.

Lot, who lived in the sinful city of Sodom, was able to say, “Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life.” Genesis 19:19.

The sinners of that city were the first on earth to be punished by eternal fire from the Lord, but Lot found grace and was delivered and saved by the grace of Christ. (See Jude 7.)

In Exodus 33:12 we find the words of God to Moses, “I knew thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight.” In Jeremiah 3:2 we read, “Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness, even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.”

Unchanging Grace

The unchanging grace of the unchanging Christ was there, dear friend. It was there for the first sinner who needed it, and is still here for the last, until the door of mercy will be finally and forever closed. No, the age of grace did not begin at the cross, but grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, as we have read in 2 Timothy 1:9.

Why did they need the grace of Christ? Because they were sinners. Why were they sinners? Because they had missed the mark, had fallen short, had broken the unchanging law of the unchanging Christ. Remember that it was the unchanging Christ who wrote the Ten Commandments on the tables of stone with His own finger. It was this same unchanging Christ who answered the young man’s question so many years later: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

The pathway to eternal life has never changed and will never change. The people who enter the gates of the eternal city will be commandment-keeping people: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they might have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14.

The judgment of the unchanging Christ will eliminate all commandment breakers. Yes, the unchanging Christ is to be our judge. “For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.” John 5:26, 27.

How will He judge us? By that unchanging law which He Himself wrote into the tables of stone. Is this true of those of all ages? Yes, the unchanging Christ will judge all men by the same standard. Here is a statement from the Old Testament on this point. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.

Now look at how the unchanging Christ will judge New Testament Christians. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James 2:10–12.

So, the unchanging Christ is going to judge all men of all ages by His same Ten-Commandment law, just as He saves all men of all ages who are willing to be saved by His unchanging grace.

These two things—the law of Christ to show us our sin, and the grace of Christ to forgive us and cleanse us from our sin, are two great pillars of the plan of salvation that cannot be moved. They remain the same through all the ages, as unchanging as Christ Himself. You cannot destroy one without destroying the other.

Destroy the Law—You Destroy Grace

If you take away the grace of Christ, you make the law helpless and the sinner helpless. The purpose of the law is to show you your sin and make you feel the need of the grace of Christ to forgive you. But if there is no grace of Christ, the law cannot save you because it cannot forgive.

On the other hand, if you take away the law, then no one needs the grace of Christ at all because, “Where no law is, there is no transgression.” Romans 4:15. What does this word “transgression” mean? “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law, For sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.

Sin is breaking the law, and where there is no law, there is no sin. No one can arrest me for preaching a sermon, because there is no law against it. Suppose a policeman did arrest me and took me to the judge and said, “I caught this man preaching about Christ to the people.” And suppose the judge said to me, “You shouldn’t have done that, but we will forgive you this time and put you under grace.” What then? Should I accept that? Certainly not! I would say, “Your honor, I have broken no law, and until I do break a law I do not need either grace or forgiveness.” Even so, if you take away the Ten Commandments and have no law to show the sinner what sin is, he has no need of grace.

“Where no law is, there is no transgression.”

Which Law?

Someone says, “But Dr. Larson, I read some verses in the New Testament which talk about the law being all changed and done away with.”

Yes, I am sure that you have. But you must always remember a very important thing. There are two laws in the Bible. One is the Ten Commandments, the one that we have been talking about. The one that tells us what sin is. Most Bible scholars call it the Moral Law because it deals with great and unchanging moral principles.

The other law is called the Ceremonial Law and is frequently referred to in the Bible as the Law of Moses. It tells how lambs should be sacrificed, how meat offerings and drink offerings should be made, how the annual, or ceremonial sabbaths, should be kept, and how the ritual of the old sanctuary service should be observed. This is the one that has passed away, not because God changed His mind about it, for God never needs to change His mind. He knows what will happen even before it happens.

The Ceremonial Law passed away because its work was done. It was only supposed to last until Christ came. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” Galatians 3:24. Now that Christ has come, He has taken away the old ceremonies that pointed forward to the cross and has given us new ceremonies, which take our minds back to the cross. In place of the old Passover, we have the Lord’s Supper with the bread and unfermented wine as emblems of His body, which was broken for us, and His blood, which was spilled for us.

In place of the old ceremonial washings we now have the ceremony of baptism, which He said is the memorial of His burial and resurrection.

In place of the sacrifice of a lamb, we now have the sacrifice and atonement of Jesus, the Lamb of God, as John the Baptist called Him.

Paul writes, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28.

So we are no longer under the ceremony of sacrificing a lamb, but we look instead to the one great sacrifice of the Lamb of God. And instead of the many priests of the Old Testament, we now have Christ Himself as our one and only Priest. “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death; But this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the peoples: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the Word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set upon the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 7:12–8:2.

So now we have a new set of ceremonies for the old ceremonies are no longer appropriate. They have brought us to Christ and their job is done, and they are now replaced by the new ceremonies.

Plan of Salvation is Still the Same

Under the two covenants, the old and the new, the plan of salvation is just the same. Sin is the same; the Ten Commandments are the same; the unchanging grace of the unchanging Christ is the same; but the sacrifice is different; the ceremonies are different; and the priesthood is different.

Some people think the gospel is only this side of the cross, but read what the Bible says, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Galatians 3:8. “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith I them that heard it.” Hebrews 4:2.

There is only one gospel of the one unchanging Christ, and it is salvation by faith. No man has ever been saved except by faith in the unchanging Christ. Go to Hebrews 11 and read the names of the heroes of faith, from the earliest times right on down through the ages. By faith Abel; by faith Enoch; by faith Noah; by faith Abraham; by faith Isaac; by faith Jacob; by faith Moses—and so on down through time. They were saved by the only plan of salvation that there ever was, and the only plan of salvation that there ever will be—faith in the unchanging Christ and obedience to His unchanging law, which is possible only through His grace (or indwelling power).

So when you are reading the New Testament, and you find a passage referring to law, always stop and ask, “To which law is the writer referring, the moral or the ceremonial law?” If you cannot be sure from one verse, read a few verses before and a few verses after it. That way you can always be sure.

And so, dear friend, the voice of the unchanging Christ comes ringing down to us through the years: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

There is no other way. There is no modern way. There is no newer, easier way. There is only one way to heaven, and if you want to go there you will have to go that way. Someone has said, “You are free to go to heaven in the way that God has provided, or go to hell any way you want to go.”

You and I stand facing the unchanging law of the unchanging Christ, and we realize our weakness, our helplessness. We are almost afraid to start. But here is where the grace of Christ comes in. We are forgiven for our past mistakes and by His grace we are able to live in harmony with His law. Leaning heavily upon Him, we take our first faltering steps. He helps us, as it says in Hosea 11:3: “I taught Ephraim to go, taking them by their arms…”

But sometimes we grow careless and forget to trust in His power. We stumble and fall. What, then, shall we do? “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1.

Is that not wonderful? If we fall, what should we do? Repent; place our hand in the hand of Christ and go right on again. And as we go, the prayer of Paul will be fulfilled in us:

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20, 21.

Excerpted from His Mighty Love by Ralph Larson

Counsels and Doctrines

Strife Within the Church

Why is strife so common in the home church movement today? What has the devil done that has caused so much dissension and how will it be remedied? These are certainly questions that we should be asking ourselves, and there is not one simple answer.

I believe a good share of the problems we see today are the result of a common misunderstanding. Many today are confused about the difference between inspired counsel and inspired law or doctrine. You may be asking, “Can that really be so very important?” You may not think so at first glance, but in fact, the consequences of this misunderstanding can, and are, causing great harm in many churches and families today.

Let us begin our study by first looking at a lesson that Jesus taught in the eighth chapter of John. In this chapter is recorded the very familiar story of the woman taken in adultery. “Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

Judge Not

It is clear that Jesus did not condone this women’s sin. He instructed her, “Go and sin no more.” But rather, this story was given to teach us a lesson. So often we are quick to judge someone, while we ignore the sins (sometimes even the very sins of which are condemning another) that dwell within our own hearts. I wonder, if Jesus was with us in person today, observing all the strife that is within the church, if he would not again stoop down to write in the sand all the faults and shortcomings of those who are condemning their brethren for not dressing or eating or doing something in the way that they feel is correct.

Today, the scene of this pitiful woman is repeated again and again, only with different circumstances. Brothers and sisters are brought before our private “judgment seat” and condemned for wearing the wrong clothing or eating the wrong food, while we commend ourselves for being such godly Christians. God’s prophet warned, “The ruling, driving, storming spirits need to take their hands off and turn their attention to themselves. Their own destitution of the Spirit of God is the reason of their unquiet, censorious, condemning spirit.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 285.

Think back in your own experience, how many divisions have you seen in churches and families because of this condemning spirit? It is breaking up churches and families everywhere in the world. And so the devil delights, for it is his game plan to divide and conquer homes, churches, husbands and wives. It is his goal to do everything he possibly can to stir up strife, suspicion and fanaticism to divide God’s people, for he knows that united we will stand and divided we will fall.

When Should We Separate?

Should we separate ourselves from a person or group of people that do not eat, dress, etc., exactly as we think they should? Let us look more closely at this subject of separation and unity from an inspired outlook, and notice why there will be a true need for separation in the last days.

“As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks. Some who are now ready to take up weapons of warfare will in times of real peril make it manifest that they have not built upon the solid rock; they will yield to temptation. Those who have had great light and precious privileges, but have not improved them, will, under one pretext or another, go out from us. Not having received the love of the truth, they will be taken in the delusions of the enemy; they will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and will depart from the faith.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 400, 401. [Emphasis supplied.]

Are there times when there should not be a separation? “A house divided against itself cannot stand. When Christians contend, Satan comes in to take control. How often has he succeeded in destroying the peace and harmony of churches. What fierce controversies, what bitterness, what hatred, has a very little matter started! What hopes have been blasted, how many families have been rent asunder by discord and contention!

“Paul charged his brethren to beware lest in trying to correct the faults of others they should commit sins equally great themselves. He warns them that hatred, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, and envyings are as truly the works of the flesh as are lasciviousness, adultery, drunkenness, and murder, and will as surely close the gate of heaven against the guilty.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 244. [Emphasis supplied.]

Separate from Unsound Doctrine

It is perfectly appropriate, and necessary, to sever ties with a church that is not teaching sound doctrine. But is it appropriate to leave a church that is teaching sound doctrine, but where some may be dressing or eating a little differently than we think they should be? These types of issues (where the questions concern inspired counsel not law) are splitting up churches all over the world. Could it be that in fact the real problem is that we are cherishing the age-old sin of pride that Lucifer had in heaven.

“He sought to gain control of heavenly beings, to draw them away from their Creator, and to win their homage to himself. Therefore he misrepresented God, attributing to Him the desire for self-exaltation. With his own evil characteristics he sought to invest the loving Creator. Thus he deceived angels. Thus he deceived men. He led them to doubt the word of God, and to distrust His goodness. Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving. Thus he drew men to join him in rebellion against God, and the night of woe settled down upon the world.” The Desire of Ages, 21, 22.

What is Counsel?

Before we study a Biblical example of the difference between counsel and law, let’s look at the simple dictionary definition of the two words. Counsel is “a mutual exchange of ideas. Advice.” Law is “the rules of conduct established by an authority or any rule expected to be observed.” Webster’s New World Dictionary. And we know that God’s divine laws are “immutable, unchangeable, eternal.” Maranatha, 177.

In the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden, God made a distinction between counsel and law. In the instructions given to Adam and Eve regarding the tree of knowledge there was both counsel and law. The law, if disobeyed, would lead to death.

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom had had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” “And the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17. [Emphasis supplied.]

Counsel vs Command

God told our first parents that they were not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or they would die. “Adam and Eve were permitted to partake of every tree in the garden save one. There was a single prohibition. The forbidden tree was as attractive and lovely as any of the trees in the garden. It was called the tree of knowledge because in partaking of that tree of which God had said, “Thou shalt not eat of it,” they would have a knowledge of sin, an experience in disobedience.” Confrontation, 12.

In the following quotations, see if you can find the counsel that God gave which Eve ignored. “Eve had wandered near the forbidden tree, and her curiosity was aroused to know how death could be concealed in the fruit of this fair tree. She was surprised to hear her queries taken up and repeated by a strange voice. ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ Eve was not aware that she had revealed her thoughts in audibly conversing with herself; therefore, she was greatly astonished to hear her queries repeated by a serpent. She really thought that the serpent had a knowledge of her thoughts, and that he must be very wise.

“She answered him, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’ And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’” Ibid., 13.

“Eve had overstated the words of God’s command. He had said to Adam and Eve, ‘But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ In Eve’s controversy with the serpent, she added ‘Neither shall ye touch it.’ Here the subtlety of the serpent appeared. This statement of Eve gave him advantage; he plucked the fruit and placed it in her hand, using her own words, He hath said, If ye touch it, ye shall die. You see no harm comes to you from touching the fruit, neither will you receive any harm by eating it.” Ibid., 14.

God counseled Adam and Eve not to go near the tree because there Satan would have access to them. But it was not a sin that would cost them their lives, if they did. If you are being tempted, that is not a sin. The temptation becomes sin when you yield to that temptation either in your mind or when you act upon it.

What other counsel did God give Adam and Eve? “The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herself from her husband while occupied in their daily labor in the garden; with him she would be in less danger from temptation than if she were alone. But absorbed in her pleasing task, she unconsciously wandered from his side. On perceiving that she was alone, she felt an apprehension of danger, but dismissed her fears, deciding that she had sufficient wisdom and strength to discern evil and to withstand it. Unmindful of the angels’ caution, she soon found herself gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the forbidden tree.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 53, 54.

Was it a sin for Eve to wander from the side of her husband? No, it says that the angels cautioned her to beware if she should be separated from Adam’s side because she would place herself in unnecessary danger. The only place Satan could have access to the pair in Eden was at the tree of knowledge of good and evil. “The angels charged them to closely follow the instructions God had given them in reference to the tree of knowledge, for in perfect obedience they were safe, and this fallen foe could then have no power to deceive them.” Lift Him Up, 20. [Emphasis supplied.]

The Problem with Fanaticism

All of God’s counsel is given for our good, and how much hardship and misery it would have saved our first parents if they followed God’s counsel. When they ignored God’s counsels they placed themselves in a position where they could more easily be lead into sin. However, we need to understand the definition of sin. “Our only definition of sin is that given in the Word of God; it is ‘the transgression of the law;’ it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government.” The Great Controversy, 492. This is the only definition given in the Bible of what sin is. It is breaking God’s law, either in the mind or openly.

However, sometimes we want to go beyond what the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy say in order to try to make it support our own ideas. This is what the Spirit of Prophecy calls “fanaticism.” As fanaticism takes a firm hold on a group or person criticism always follows. This particular point becomes the only subject discussed and studied and those who do not agree with our cherished opinion are chastised and condemned.

Sister White faced many types of fanaticism in her day. In Early Writings, 22, she gives this account. “At this time there was fanaticism in Maine. Some refrained wholly from labor and disfellowshiped all those who would not receive their views on this point, and some other things, which they held to be religious duties. God revealed these errors to me in vision and sent me to His erring children to declare them; but many of them wholly rejected the message, and charged me with conforming to the world.”

“In every age Satan has sought to impair the efforts of God’s servants by introducing into the church a spirit of fanaticism. Thus it was in Paul’s day, and thus it was in later centuries during the time of the Reformation. Wycliffe, Luther, and many others, who blessed the world by their influence and their faith, encountered the wiles by which the enemy seeks to lead into fanaticism overzealous, unbalanced, and unsanctified minds.” Acts of the Apostles, 348.

She warned a certain brother, “I consider you to be in positive peril. I present this because I know that you are in great danger of being seduced by Satan. We are living in a time when every phase of fanaticism will press its way in among believers and unbelievers. Satan will come in, speaking lies in hypocrisy. Everything that he can invent to deceive men and women will be brought forward.” Medical Ministry, 114. [Emphasis supplied.]

We are certainly living in that day and age right now. The devil has stolen a march upon us. He has successfully wounded the revival and reformation movement within Adventism today by the fanatical theories that are coming into the church. He is using men and women who have unbalanced minds to bring in some form or another of fanaticism to divide and conquer. And friend, we must each be on guard because the devil has been studying human nature for nearly six thousand years and he has designed some fanaticism to exactly fit each of our personalities and temperaments.

We have many lessons to learn. May God help us that we might each surrender our lives and our opinions to Him that He may cleanse us from the root of bitterness and the condemning spirit which destroys unity and impedes the gospel work. There is no longer time to waste in bickering and strife, there is world waiting to be warned. May the Lord bless each of you.

No King, but Caesar

In the Scriptures, our robe, or our clothing, is used as a symbol of our character. We see this in the experience of Adam and Eve. They had a robe of light, representing a righteous character. When they sinned and lost that covering, they made some fig-leaf garments to replace it. These artificial garments have become synonymous with righteousness by works, but they are not acceptable.

In place of the garment of leaves, the Lord prepared a garment for them from the skin of an animal. This garment, which cost the life of the innocent animal, was symbolic of the garment of Christ’s righteousness, which cost the life of His own Son and which all who will be saved must wear.

In Revelation 19:7–8, we find our clothing referred to as our works: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” As acts are repeated, they become habits, and those habits become character.

You can read in Ephesians 5 concerning the church, that the church will be arrayed in linen, a garment of character that will be without spot or wrinkle, without blemish. Speaking of Armageddon, we read: “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” Revelation 16:15. If your garment is torn or becomes spotted or wrinkled, you will not be ready for Armageddon.

Consecrated Robes

The Old Testament speaks of one robe that was a special symbol, and that was the robe worn by the high priest. “The pattern of the priestly robes was made known to Moses in the mount. Every article the high priest was to wear, and the way it should be made, were specified. These garments were consecrated to a most solemn purpose. By them was represented the character of the great antitype, Jesus Christ.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1104.

Because it represented Christ’s character, under no condition was this robe to be torn or rent. The penalty for failing to comply with this requirement was death. The Jews, however, had gotten together and had written a church manual that contained rules differing from those in the Bible. According to their church manual, there was one exception to God’s rule. In the case of blasphemy, in order to show his horror; the high priest was allowed to tear his robe. It is quite obvious that Caiaphas placed a higher value on the church manual than on the Bible. (See Matthew 26:57-65.) By the way, in those days you could not even be a high priest unless you were willing to go along with the church manual. That was a prerequisite.

So when Caiaphas tore his robe, though his action was approved of by the church manual, according to God’s Word he was deserving of death. Of course, nothing like this could ever happen again, could it?

“We want to understand the time in which we live. We do not half understand it. We do not half take it in. My heart trembles in me when I think of what a foe we have to meet, and how poorly we are prepared to meet him. The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the Second Coming of Christ.…” Selected Messages, Book 1, 406.

The condition of Israel then, according to Ellen White, was representative of our experience just before the Second Coming of Jesus. Jesus told the people of His day, “…you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.” Matthew 15:6.

Properly Constituted Church Authority

Have you ever heard of a “duly appointed leader”? Or have you ever head the phrase, “properly constituted church authority”? Was Caiaphas a duly appointed leader? Well, who is a duly appointed leader? This is something that we need to understand.

“For thus rending his garment in pretended zeal, the high priest might have been arraigned before the Sanhedrin. He had done the very thing that the Lord had commanded should not be done. Standing under the condemnation of God, he pronounced sentence on Christ as a blasphemer. He performed all his action toward Christ as a priestly judge, as an officiating high priest, but he was not this by the appointment of God. The priestly robe he rent in order to impress the people with his horror of the sin of blasphemy covered a heart full of wickedness. He was acting under the inspiration of Satan.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1105.

Was he duly appointed? No! He was not appointed by God. Who was directing his actions? Satan. Do God and the devil ever work in partnership? No! Never! The Bible is very clear on that. “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:21. It does not say you should not; it says you cannot. You can have it one way or the other, but not both.

“…Under a gorgeous priestly dress, he was fulfilling the work of the enemy of God.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1106.

Is it properly constituted church authority to do the work of the devil? No! Now notice the next sentence. “This has been done again and again.…” Ibid.

By Whose Authority?

Let me ask you this question. How much authority did Caiaphas have?

“With Caiaphas the Jewish high priesthood ended. This proud, overbearing, wicked man proved his unworthiness ever to have worn the garments of the high priest. He had neither capacity, nor authority from heaven.…” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 387.

How much authority did he have? Though he had what they called properly constituted church authority; he had no authority from heaven.

“He had not one ray of light from heaven to show him what the work of the priest was, or for what the office had been instituted. Such ministration could make nothing perfect, for in itself it was utterly corrupt. The priests were tyrannous and deceptive, and full of ambitious schemes. The grace of God had nought to do with this.” Ibid. 388.

Profession vs Reality

“Oh,” but someone says, “he was the high priest.” Well, let us just look at that for a moment. Was he the high priest? Now remember, it was several years before a.d. 34. Was Caiaphas the leader of God’s people? No! No, he was not. “Virtually Caiaphas was no high priest.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1101.

Was he the high priest or was he not the high priest? He was not the high priest, though he may have been so by profession. Do you see why we say that there is a difference between the professed church and the true church? There is a difference, and in a time of apostasy, there is a great difference. We have been trying to teach people this for a few years now, but it is so ingrained in them, that unless the Holy Spirit works on their minds, they never understand the point. Profession and reality are not necessarily the same thing.

How is it with you today? Is your character in harmony with your profession? If it is not, your profession is telling a lie, and you can never go to heaven, although you call yourself a Seventh-day Adventist. If the things you profess to believe are not a reality in your life, your life is a lie, because your character is not in harmony with your profession.

“He [Caiaphas] was uncircumcised in heart. With the other priests he instructed the people to choose Barabbas instead of Christ.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 388.

Rending the Robe

When Caiaphas asked Jesus if He was really the Christ and Jesus replied that He was, Caiaphas tore his robe. Why did Caiaphas tear his garment? He did it deliberately, and he did it for a reason. It was a custom among the Jews that whenever one of their relatives had died, they would tear their clothes as a way of expressing extreme sorrow and grief. The Lord had prohibited the priests from doing this, but, as was pointed out earlier, they had found a way around God’s clear command.

The experience Christ was subjected to was repeated many times during the Protestant Reformation. First, the Protestant Reformers were excommunicated, or disfellowshipped, from their churches. When this did not stop the Reformation, they were placed in prison. Finally, when other measures had failed to suppress their activities, it was determined that they must die. The men who were responsible for the deaths would maintain that they hated to treat them so, but that they were left with no choice. This is what Caiaphas was telling Jesus. In essence, he was saying, “I am going to have to kill you because of your theological errors, and I am so sorry about it.” The trouble with such a statement was that Caiaphas was not really sorry at all. Ellen White makes this very clear.

“So perverted had the priesthood become that when Christ declared Himself the Son of God, Caiaphas, in pretended horror, rent his robe, and accused the Holy One of Israel of blasphemy.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1104.

It is wrong to pretend under any circumstance, but the worse kind of pretense is when you pretend to be pious. That is the kind of pretension this was—he was pretending to be in terrible sorrow and shock, and it was not even so. This made the act even more wicked than it would have been otherwise.

We Will Not Have This Man

By the way, have any of you ever noticed any letters that begin something like, “I am so sorry to have to inform you,” and then go on to explain the unpleasant action they have been forced to take? Friend, you had better never tell someone you are sorry if it is not really the truth, because God hates pretense.

Caiaphas also showed that he did not realize, if he ever knew, what his robe represented. It represented the character of the One standing before him. It was terrible blasphemy for him to tear his robe, because Christ’s character had not been torn; it had never been defiled.

When he tore his robe, he said, in effect, “We will not have this Man to rule over us.” What had he done? He separated himself from God. Remember now, he was a representative of the whole Jewish nation, but he separated himself from God.

God has given to you and to me the power of choice, and I want to tell you, He honors our power of choice. People say, “Well, the church is going through.” Do you believe that we have the power of choice? Did Caiaphas have the power of choice? Certainly, he did. He made a choice, and God honored his choice. I want to tell you, friends, God honors people’s choices.

An Unchurched People

“In Christ the shadow reached its substance, the type its antitype. Well might Caiaphas rend his clothes in horror for himself and for the nation; for they were separating themselves from God, and were fast becoming a people unchurched by Jehovah. Surely the candlestick was being removed out of its place.” Ibid., 1109.

What were they doing? They were becoming an unchurched people. Do you want a synonym for that? That means they were disfellowshipping themselves. By this act, Caiaphas was separating, or divorcing, himself from God; and everyone who followed his example, yielding to his influence, was doing the same thing.

By the way, they still went to church; they went to the building; they said the same prayers; they went through the same service. They still had the same organization; they still had the same bank account; they still had the same name; but they were disfellowshipped, and they did not even know it.

If they had been striving to be in harmony with God’s will and to obey Him, Caiaphas would have been killed for the crime he had committed, but they decided instead to follow him.

God Accepts Our Choice

What was God’s response?

“When Caiaphas rent his garment, his act was significant of the place that the Jewish nation as a nation would thereafter occupy toward God. The once favored people of God were separating themselves from Him, and were fast becoming a people disowned by Jehovah.” The Desire of Ages, 709.

God accepted the choice that Caiaphas made; and God is watching the choices that you and I are making, the choices that every minister is making and the choices that every church is making. God is going to respond in keeping with the decision of each person.

Here is what happened when Jesus died on the cross: “It was not the hand of the priest that rent from top to bottom the gorgeous veil that divided the holy from the most holy place. It was the hand of God. When Christ cried out, ‘It is finished,’ the Holy Watcher that was an unseen guest at Belshazzar’s feast pronounced the Jewish nation to be a nation unchurched.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1109.

Do you realize that this was some time before a.d. 34?

When Caiaphas rent his garment, there was more than one rending that took place. We have been looking at the outward rending of the garment of the high priest and its spiritual significance. It was a symbolic act of the separation, the divorcing of God’s people from Himself. When was this act completed? It was completed when the priest said, “…We have no king but Caesar.” John 19:15.

The church is to be the bride, the wife of Christ; but if that church chooses to depart from the Lord and to form an alliance with the state, it has said, in effect, “We will no longer have the Lord to be our ruler.” You cannot have two masters; it is impossible. No church or religious group can go to the state for the enforcement of their religious teachings without having left the Lord, and God will recognize that choice.

Divorced by God

Are you aware that the Spirit of Prophecy says that there are three things the Lord will do when the church goes to the state for assistance in enforcing her decrees?

  1. He will not hear their prayers. If that was the only thing to happen, that would be so serious that it should shake us to the bottom of our foundation.
  2. He will take the Holy Spirit away from them. Without the Holy Spirit, you are lost.
  3. They will be written in the book of heaven as unbelievers. (See Selected Messages, Book 3, 299–302.) If you are written in heaven as unbelievers, you are not even part of the church. You have torn the garment; you have separated yourself from the Lord.

There is a true rending of the garment, however.

“Christ mourned for the transgression of every human being. He bore even the guiltiness of Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his soul, while for pretense he rent his robe. Christ did not rend His robe, but His soul was rent. His garment of human flesh was rent as He hung on the cross, the sin–bearer of the race. By His suffering and death a new and living way was opened.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1105.

Jesus had an inner rending of His soul, and friend, you and I must enter into that experience if we are going to be saved.

“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;…Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.” Joel 2: 1, 12, 13. KJV.

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son.…” Zechariah 12:10. NKJV.

Who Killed Jesus?

What are these verses talking about? Oh, friend. When Jesus hung on the cross, it was your sin that pierced Him and it was my sin that pierced Him. The past, present and future are all alike to God. God saw you, and that is why Jesus came and died on the cross. When He hung on that cross, His heart was pierced; it was torn for you. The tearing of His flesh, His hands and His feet is just a symbol, or a type, of the real pain that was in His heart. The pain in His heart was so great, Ellen White says, that the physical pain was hardly felt. (See Desire of Ages, 753.)

We do not realize how bad sin is until we come to Calvary, and even then we cannot fully comprehend it.

Have you ever met parents who had only one child and that child died? The Lord says that is the way His people are going to mourn in the last days. They are going to mourn as parents mourn who have lost their only child and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

“Many today who claim to be Christians are in danger of rending their garments, making an outward show of repentance, when their hearts are not softened nor subdued. This is why so many continue to make failures in the Christian life. An outward appearance of sorrow is shown for wrong, but their repentance is not that which needs not to be repented of. [See 2 Corinthians 7:10]. May God grant to His church true contrition for sin. Oh that we might feel the necessity of revealing true sorrow for wrong-doing!” Review and Herald, June 12, 1900.

Unity, at What Cost?

Did you know that there was one garment that was not torn that day? Jesus had on an outer garment that the Bible says was without seam. As it had no seam, the soldiers decided not to tear it. Prophecy said that it would not be torn; it said they would cast lots for it. Do you realize the significance of this?

“Christ’s seamless garment is a representation of the unity that should exist in the church.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 371.

You are never going to have unity with just profession, but if you have a group of people who have had the true rending of the heart and not the garment, you are going to have a true unity. One of the most exciting things that I am finding as I travel all over the world is that God is drawing together faithful, historic Seventh-day Adventists—just little groups here and there—and they are having the most marvelous experience of unity that I have ever seen. There is no question that God is going to have a united movement at the end. The only question is, am I going to be part of it?

Satan is determined that this unity will never happen, but it is going to happen anyway. I would consider it the greatest privilege of my life if I could just have a little part in it. How about you?

That seamless robe represents the unity that is to exist among Christ’s true believers, and it must never be torn. We must always think of that seamless robe in all of our dealings with each other. We are not to tear it. The body of Christ is one body, and when one part suffers, all of the body suffers.

Christ’s seamless robe represents the unity that is to exist among His true followers until the end of time. Do you want to be part of it?