Glance at the Past

As we look back upon the great Advent movement, with its joyful expectations and bitter disappointments, its prosperity and adversity, its triumphant victories and its trials, it appears just like the work of God in separating a people from the world, to purify, make white, and try, and thus make them ready for the coming of their Lord. Have Adventists been disappointed? So were the Israelites, in not immediately entering Canaan, and the disciples, as Jesus died upon the cross. Have the faith and patience of Adventists been tried? So were the faith and patience of the Israelites tried in their term of forty years’ wandering in the wilderness. And that of the disciples was severely tested in the unexpected death of their beloved Teacher. Have but comparatively few of the once happy expectants of the King of glory held fast their faith and hope? And have many cast away their confidence in this work and drawn back to perdition? Caleb and Joshua alone, of the six hundred thousand male adults that left Egypt, entered the goodly land. And what of the chosen twelve in the hour of our Lord’s apprehension? “Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” Matthew 26:56.

God has never been able to make anything very great or very good of man. It has been His plan to prove His people in every age, to test their faith and patience. This has been for the good of man and the glory of His name. It was necessary that such noble characters as Noah, Abraham, Job, and Daniel, should suffer the severest tests. And how unlike the work of God in all past time, had the many thousands of Adventists triumphantly entered the kingdom at the point of expectation, with hardly a single trial. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life.” James 1:12. This is God’s unfading glory. As I “call to remembrance the former days,” touching the Advent movement, and see its adaptation to the wants of the people, and God’s great plan of saving men, my soul says, “He hath done all things well.”

It was necessary, in order that the first message should arouse the people and separate those who should receive it from the spirit of the world, that it should not only relate to the fearful realities of the Judgment, but also to the period when it might be expected. “Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His Judgment is come.” The proclamation of the time was a part of God’s plan. This brought the coming of the Lord very near. This was right. This was necessary to move the people. And when the time passed, instead of calling the attention of believers to some period in the future to which they might look for the coming of the Lord, the Spirit of God sweetly and powerfully applied to their consecrated minds and hearts, such passages as, “Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”

How long this little while would be, no one knew. It was not best that anyone should know when it would terminate. And more, it was God’s plan that this should not be known; but that they should move along through the period of the patience of the saints, Revelation 14:12, up to the coming of the Lord, ever keeping that event just before them. Those who have taught the three messages the past twenty years, have all the way presented the coming of Christ at hand. This has been as God designed. And those who would murmur at God’s ministers for this, murmur against the providence of God.

It is painful to hear those who have their faces set toward Egypt, complain that the message was not properly preached to them. The coming of the Lord was presented too near. And that if they had understood the matter, they should have laid their plans for the future differently, and now their property might be double its present value. These murmur against the direct providences of God. The coming of the Lord was brought very near in 1844, to rid men of the love of this world, that they might share the love of the Father, and seek a preparation for the coming of His Son. They cannot have both. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. And it was designed that the coming of Christ should be viewed near by believers, every step of the way from the disappointment in 1844 to the gates of the golden city, to keep them free from the love of this world.

An energetic Advent minister, on visiting the believers at Roxbury, Mass., being asked, “What is your message now, Bro. B.?” [He] answered, “Come out of her my people.” Soon after the passing of the time he visited that people again, and in reply to the inquiry, “What is your message now, Bro. B.?” [he] made the apt and appropriate reply, “Stay out of her my people.” So Heaven designed that the coming of Christ should be brought very near to tear from men the love of this world, and that in their faith they should ever hold His coming just before them all the way till faith should be lost in the blazing glories of the coming of the Son of Man. If we keep the coming of Jesus ever near, and live consistently with such a faith, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, we may be saved. But remove the coming of the Lord to the distant future, become imbued with the love and spirit of this world, and remain in such a state, and perdition is certain. Let the painful history of the past relative to those who have said in their hearts, “My Lord delayeth His coming,” have apostatized and have been scattered to the world and to Satan, be a warning to all to be ever “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.”

When the warning voice of the first angel was first heard, it found the nominal churches asleep upon the subject of the second advent, dreaming of the world’s conversion. But the truth was clear, and, in the hands of devoted men, was powerful. Every where the message was proclaimed it produced general conviction. The Scriptures were searched as never before; a great revolution in religious belief took place in a few short years; and at least fifty thousand in America alone, became decided believers. The prophetic times in connection with that message served their purpose, and terminated with that message. The first angel’s message was a time message. The second and third are not time messages. That aroused men in view of the fast approaching Judgment. These tell them what they must do to be saved. And it has been Satan’s grand object to institute numerous time movements among certain Adventists since 1844, to contravene this work of preparation. The passing of each time has weakened the faith of believers, and has caused unbelievers to look upon Adventists with increasing disgust. And confusion and irreligion have resulted from these spurious time movements everywhere they have reached.

The title page of this work calls attention to the great Advent movement as illustrated by the three angels of Revelation 14. The truth and work of God in this movement, commencing with the labors of William Miller, and reaching to the close of probation, is illustrated by these three angels. The first was a time message, and related to the Judgment. The second described the condition of corrupted Christianity. The third is a solemn warning relative to what men may not do, and what they must do, in order to be saved at the coming of Christ. These angels illustrate the three great divisions of the genuine movement. They do not illustrate the numerous time movements which have appeared since 1844; therefore, to say the very least, these movements were not from Heaven.

Seventh-day Adventists hold fast the great Advent movement, hence have use for the messages. They explain them in their sermons, treat upon them in their books, and give them a place with the other prophetic symbols upon their charts. They cannot spare these links in the golden chain of truth, that connect the past with the present and future, and show a beautiful harmony in the great whole.

Timeists, and in fact all Adventists who do not acknowledge the special providence of God in the work of William Miller and his associates, in 1843 and 1844, have no use for the three angel’s messages. They do not introduce them into their sermons and printed expositions of prophecy, unless it be to oppose us. They find no place for them among the other prophetic symbols upon their charts. Indeed, they treat them with all that neglect that would be justifiable, were they a wicked interpolation by men who sought to corrupt the sacred Scriptures. And no reason can be given why these men should pursue their fanatical course in relation to definite time, and other fancies not symbolized by the three angels, and therefore no part of the great movement, and resist the truth of God for this time, unless it be that in consequence of not receiving and retaining the love of the truth of the fulfillment of the prophecy in the Advent movement, God has given them over to strong delusions. I repeat it. The three messages symbolize the three parts of the genuine movement. That which has appeared not symbolized by the three angels, though it be branded “Adventism,” is spurious.

Again, the sanctuary was the heart of the typical system. It was the repository of the ark of God, in which ark His law was deposited. By this law the people had the knowledge of sin. It was also the place where they, in figure, found pardon for their sins through the offerings there made. This entire system, with its great center, the sanctuary, was but the shadow of the realities of the present system of salvation. The shadow was on earth; the realities in Heaven. The facts are stated by the apostle in few words: “We have such an High Priest, who is set on 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 8:1, 2. The sanctuary of the new covenant, which is in Heaven, is the great heart of the plan of redemption. There Christ offers His blood for the sins of men. In the real tabernacle there are two holies, if there were two in the shadow. In the holiest is the ark of God, containing the ten precepts of His law, if they were in the holiest of the shadow. Here is a theme worthy the attention of all Christians. And it is one in which they should feel the deepest interest, as each has a case of eternal consequence pending there.

The work of cleansing this sanctuary, at the close of the 2300 days, is a subject which should materially interest all Adventists. It pertains to the confession, pardon, and blotting out of sins. A correct and intelligent faith sees the adorable Redeemer in the most holy of the true tabernacle, offering His blood before the mercy seat for the sins of those who have broken the law of God beneath it in the ark. True faith reaches within the second vail, where Jesus and the ark of God are seen. There, by the law we have the knowledge of sin, and through the blood of Jesus we may find pardon, and share eternal redemption. The subject of the cleansing of this sanctuary, then, is one of most thrilling interest, especially to all Adventists. It is the key to the great Advent movement, making all plain. Without it the movement is inexplicable.

Seventh-day Adventists dwell upon this subject with great delight. It opens to them the ark of God, in which is seen the ten precepts of His law. They keep them. It presents Jesus before the mercy-seat, ready to plead the cause of sinners, who in the spirit of penitence and confession, go to Him for help. They love and seek to obey Him, so that it is said of them, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” They treat upon the subject of the sanctuary in their sermons and books, and find a place for it among the symbols of prophecy upon their charts. Seventh-day Adventists cannot spare the subject of the sanctuary, as it is the great center around which all revealed truth relative to salvation clusters, and contributes more toward defining their present position, than any other.

But nominal Adventists treat the subject as one of no interest or importance to them. Having in their own hearts abolished the ten commandments, they have no use for the ark of God, and cast it aside as an antiquated and unfashionable piece of furniture. Their sermons, and their printed essays and expositions, do not refer to the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, unless it be to oppose the views of Seventh-day Adventists, and ridicule them, and ignorantly and contemptuously talk of Heaven being dirty, and needing cleansing. And as in the case of the three angels, you do not find the sanctuary represented upon their prophetic charts.

But these we value above all earthly good, and make them prominent in all our religious teachings, because the truth of God for this time, or present truth, is in them. And for this reason those who “call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter,” cast this subject from them, as unworthy of their notice, unless it be to oppose, denounce and ridicule.


John Wesley, An English Reformer, part 2

John Wesley’s conversion in May of 1738, was a change from a mere intellectual belief in salvation to one of the heart. Because of this experience at Aldersgate, Wesley was truly converted. As a result, many people began to experience the same thing at his meetings. From this point on, Wesley’s preaching was marked with a zeal and enthusiasm that was not seen before.

As a result of this heart conversion, Wesley now determined to put his whole energy into laboring for the salvation of lost humanity. He spent the rest of his life preaching for the sole purpose of saving lost sinners for Jesus Christ.

Last month we left Wesley leaving for Germany to visit and observe the Moravians. He was received cordially by Count Zinzendorf, the leader of the Moravians, and spent three months observing these God-fearing people. He recorded some of their practices that he would later utilize in his own work as an evangelist.

Returning to England in August, he began preaching, uniting with a group of like-minded members of the Church of England. He also spent some time reading, studying, praying and preaching to those who were in prison, offering them free salvation and celebrating Holy Communion. The next few weeks were spent preaching at various churches in London and making a trip to Oxford.

John and his brother Charles preached wherever they had the opportunity, but the opportunities to preach in churches were rapidly diminishing. By the end of 1738 most of the churches in London were closed to the Wesleys because of their enthusiastic preaching of the doctrine of mystical conversion.

While preaching around London when the opportunities opened up, Wesley received an invitation from George Whitefield to participate in open field preaching.

Whitefield had returned to England from America in December of 1738, but because of some things he had written and published in his journal, he had lost favor with the English ministry. Consequently, all Church of England churches were closed to him. As a result he turned to preaching wherever he could. Thus began the preaching in open fields or on street corners. This was to be Wesley’s mode of preaching for the rest of his life.

“Wesley became an itinerant evangelist, preaching in the open, because only in this way could he reach those who were out of touch with God. His congregations were made up largely of those who were beyond the range of the usual ministrations of the Church. This in itself was an indictment of the Church’s failure to fulfil its proper function, for, considered in terms of the New Testament, it exists primarily for the purpose of bringing Christ to the people and the people to Christ. That this should be regarded as at all abnormal in the eighteenth century was an indication of how far the contemporary Church had fallen from its original standards. Unless the Church is an outgoing society, it is untrue to its own nature.” A.S. Wood, The Burning Heart, 137.

In the spring of 1739, Wesley traveled to Bristol and on April 2 he preached to about three thousand in a field outside the city. Wesley’s quiet manner of preaching was often enlivened. This caused him to be accused of being “enthusiastic” which was anathema to the Church of England. By actual test, Wesley’s voice was found to be heard over four hundred feet away.

Wesley’s mission was largely to the laboring class of people but he was not indifferent to all other classes. His “audiences included farmers, lawyers, clergymen and nonconformist ministers, university undergraduates and civic leaders” as well as “those from foreign lands—especially the Germans in Newcastle.” Ibid., 145.

The success of the Methodist meetings may be attributed to the singing as much as to the preaching of the Wesleys. Charles Wesley was a prolific hymn writer and many of his hymns were sung by those who attended the meetings.

Whitefield left for America in August, 1739, and the Wesleys continued their field preaching for the next three years with their headquarters located in London and Bristol.

The preaching of Whitefield moved thousands to repentance and faith, but no separate structure was provided to nurture the converts. John Wesley decided that some sort of organization was needed to take care of those who were brought to a knowledge of salvation and accepted Christ as their Savior.

He organized “society” groups patterned after the Oxford Holy Club and the Moravian groups in which he had participated. It was not his intention to establish a new church but to develop these “societies” as a part of the Church of England. These “societies” were divided into classes made up of about a dozen persons who met once a week with a leader for spiritual discussions and guidance. They enumerated their temptations, confessed their faults and shared their concerns testifying to the working of God in their lives.

These societies flourished under the direction of the leaders, most of whom were women. As Methodism grew, Wesley encouraged laymen to become his helpers and assistants as preachers. Some of these were full time itinerant preachers and served the societies by encouraging and counseling with them.


A New Career


In May of 1742, Wesley’s work was expanded to the north of England as far as Newcastle. On May 30, He walked into the poorest part of town and, introducing himself, sang the hundredth Psalm. After preaching a sermon, he announced that he would preach again at five in the evening. Thus began a career of itinerant field preaching that was to last for the next fifty years. Although his territory was mainly the triangle made up of Bristol, London and Newcastle, he journeyed into Scotland, Ireland and Wales exercising his control of the “societies” located in these lands. Until he was seventy years of age his mode of travel was almost always by horseback.

In 1744, the Annual Conferences were begun where Wesley met with his preachers each year to discuss theology, the mission of Methodism and appoint to preachers their areas for the coming year.

“Opposition to the new religious movement was inevitable. Both the conditions of the country and the character of the Methodist revival made opposition certain. The invasion of Methodist preachers was resented by high and low alike, but while the bishops replied with quartos; the mob resorted to clubs and stones. The whole story throws a flood of light on social and intellectual conditions in the middle of the century.” Umphrey Lee, The Lord’s Horseman, 92.

In the 1740’s, England was made up of isolated communities with virtually no communication between any of them. At the same time there was the fear of invasion by the French, with anticipation far worse than the event when it happened. Even the slightest suspicious act made a person liable to arrest. An uprising by the Catholics was dreaded because their cause was supposed to be the same as that of the Pretender then living in Rome.

Wesley met many kinds of opposition while he was preaching. Especially in the early years of his open air ministry he was harassed by mobs that pelted him with rocks and dirt. Cattle were driven through the audience and loud noises were emitted in an attempt to drown out the voice of the preacher. Many times Wesley and some of his preachers were threatened with physical harm. But all of the opposition they experienced did not have any lasting effect upon Wesley’s work. During the later years of his ministry the mob violence virtually ceased.

Wesley made sure that none of his preachers misinterpreted his motto, “I look upon the world as my parish,” as giving them the freedom to go wherever they chose. In the Methodist church one of the gravest mistakes is for one preacher to invade the parish of another. However, Wesley considered that he had the calling to go anywhere the Lord directed him.

Opposition to Methodism took many forms. There were a number of anti-Methodist publications including those by playwrights and novelists as well as those published by the clergy. In answer to the objections of the clergy Wesley responded by saying, “He had a mission to fulfill, and if existing protocol stood in the way then it would have to be set aside. ‘I would observe every punctilio of order, he told George Downing, chaplain to the Earl of Dartmouth, “except where the salvation of souls is at stake. There I prefer the end before the means.’” The Burning Heart, 102.

“He was determined not to be restricted by ecclesiastical barriers. Hervy had inquired how Wesley could justify the invasion of other men’s parishes upon catholic principles. It was a characteristic of Anglican Evangelicals like Hervy to adhere to the parochial system. Wesley’s reply is a classic one. ‘Permit me to speak plainly. If by catholic principles you mean any other than scriptural, they weigh nothing with me. I allow no other rule, whether of faith or practice, than the Holy Scriptures; but on scriptural principles I do not think it hard to justify whatever I do. God in Scripture commands me, according to my power, to instruct the ignorant, reform the wicked, and confirm the virtuous. Man forbids me to do this in another’s parish: that is, in effect, to do it at all; seeing I have now no parish of my own, nor probably ever shall. Whom, then, shall I hear, God or man? If it be just to obey man rather than God, judge you. A dispensation of the gospel is committed to me; and woe is me if I preach not the gospel. But where shall I preach it, upon the principles you mention?” Ibid., 105, 106.

Uniformity of opinion was not required by the Methodist Societies but uniformity of conduct was according to the following: First, by doing no harm; by avoiding evil of every kind. . . Secondly, By doing good. . . Thirdly, by attending upon all ordinances of God.

John was finally married in February of 1751 to a widow named Mary Vazeille. The marriage was a rocky one from the first because he refused to stop his itinerant preaching tours. Also he was not an attentive husband, devoting his time and energy to the Methodist work. Becoming discouraged by John’s continual absence and jealous of his correspondence with the many women in the Methodist movement, Mary separated from him many times until her death in 1781. Wesley was out of town and did not hear of her death until after the funeral.

On February 8, 1750, an earthquake struck London. A second occurred a month later creating a frenzy among the people. Charles preached a sermon on “The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes” followed by a pamphlet of hymns suitable for calamities such as this. Both John and Charles considered earthquakes as instruments of God to punish sinners. John announced publicly that he was thankful that God had so lightly warned the people by the first shocks.


Untiring Labor


The year 1753 finds John Wesley often ill, but he refused to slow down. On October 22 he went to Canterbury even though he was sick. All week he complained of sickness but had no time for treatment as he met with classes from morning to night. This was typical for the whole year.

During the fifties He visited Ireland and Scotland (twice), traveling extensively around the two countries preaching and sightseeing.

In the years 1755 and 1756 the great issue was the question of separation from the Church of England. Charles was convinced that all the preachers in the north were for separation and he agreed with them. John on the other hand refused to see the inevitable separation coming and remained a staunch supporter of the Church of England.

In 1757, Charles retired from itinerant preaching and settled down with his wife in Bristol, leaving John to continue his superintending of the Societies and itinerant preaching. Two years later, in November 1759, John preached two sermons and observed the general thanksgiving for the success of the British armies in capturing Canada from the French.

In spite of his bad experience in Georgia, Wesley maintained a lively interest in America and the American colonies. From 1768 he had preachers in the colonies. In 1769, two missionaries were sent with fifty pounds, as a gift, to the work in America.

As conflict began brewing between England and the American colonies, Wesley instructed his preachers to labor for peace. He wrote to his preachers stating, “You were never in your lives in so critical a situation as you are at this time. It is your part to be peace-makers, to be loving and tender to all, but to addict yourselves to no party. In spite of all solicitations, of rough or smooth words, say not one word against one or the other side. Keep yourselves pure, do all you can to help and soften all; but beware how you adopt another’s jar.” The Lord’s Horseman, 185.

Being a High Churchman, Wesley was loyal to the crown. However, he eventually overcame his prejudice against the colonies in their desire for freedom, but he would not condone armed rebellion and said, “If a blow is struck, I give America for lost, and perhaps England too.” Ibid., 189. In spite of this he retained his faith in the American cause.

John Wesley’s attitude on the American question was making it difficult for him to retain control over the Methodist work in America. It was becoming evident that American Methodism would be independent of Wesley or the Church of England. In 1779, some Methodist preachers took it upon themselves to administer the sacraments without being ordained. He was faced with the fact that fifteen thousand Methodists “would not be content to be members of a religious society—they would have nothing less than a church.” Ibid., 197.

In February of 1784, John Wesley met with his preachers to consider sending missionaries to the East Indies, but it was decided that the time was not right because there was no “providential opening.”

In March he started out on a seven months journey to west England, Scotland and Wales. He preached continually, reproving the people for not attending the early services. The intense cold made him sick and he said, “I shall pay no more visits to new worlds, till I go to the world of spirits.”

In the meantime, pressure for secession was building to a high pitch. The American Methodist preachers clamored for ordination that they might ordain their own successors to the ministry. Wesley finally gave in to them but stipulated that he would ordain them only for the work in America. This did not satisfy other preachers in other lands. He was persuaded to ordain for Scotland, where they had no chance to receive the sacraments as those in the American colonies.

Charles, after a lingering illness, died on March 29, 1788. John did not hear of his death until after the funeral, thus he could not attend.

“On June 28, 1782, Wesley wrote in his Journal: ‘I entered my eightieth year; but, blessed by God, my time is not labour and sorrow. I find no more pain or bodily infirmities than at five-and-twenty. This I still impute (1) to the power of God fitting me for what He calls me to; (2) to my still traveling four or five thousand miles a year; (3) to my sleeping, night and day, whenever I want it; (4) to my rising at a set hour; and (5) to my constant preaching, particularly in the morning.” Ibid., 198.

For the next nine years John Wesley continued to travel and preach until July 16, 1790. That day he made his last entry in his expense book and his diary ended on the same day. On that day he also wrote a letter to William Wilberforce encouraging him in his fight for the abolition of slavery.

At ten o’clock in the morning Wednesday, March 2, 1791, John Wesley, the greatest of the English reformers, died “without a groan or a sigh.”

“The men who survived to fight the battle of Methodism were good men, many of them capable and intelligent; and within a few years they had built a church—built, it must be said on foundations laid by John Wesley himself. But the catholic minded man, who had dreamed of a new world in which men might adventure in the spirit without clash of creed or order, was dead; and what he would have thought and said of the works of his successors, no one will ever know.” Ibid., 214.


Children’s Story — Stuck on Shadow Mountain

It was early spring of 1971. We had moved to the High Desert area of Southern California, and wanted to witness to our neighbors. An inspired statement says, There is more religion in a good loaf of bread than one would think.

Homemade bread! What a wonderful idea! Soon I took three beautiful loaves of bread from my oven. The Lord had blessed my efforts. In the early evening, I jumped in my Fiat (1967 1100-R model), the steaming hot bread beside me, and zipped over the desert to one neighbor, then another. The last neighbor lived on the other side of Shadow Mountain, but there was a short cut.

The short cut was fun. The sand was churned up and you could speed, turning the corners too fast, sliding in the sand—and yet not get stuck. I was soon there, delivered the bread and started home. By now it was dark, and there was no moon. My headlights stabbed the velvety darkness but I had difficulty following the short cut.

Suddenly I realized that I was driving uphill on hard ground with small brown pebbles. Oh, I should go back and find the short cut. Why? The car is moving along all right. Maybe this is a shorter short cut.

The pebbles became rocks and the incline was steeper. Maybe I should turn around. Lois, do not be a worry wart. You will make it! The rocks got bigger and I came to the top of wherever I was. The adrenaline started to flow and I was getting scared. Oh, why worry? I will just drive down the other side.

By now there were good-sized boulders. As I was dodging them, I saw an erosion ditch to my right. My fear was full blown and I thought of turning around. No, you have gone too far to turn around, and so, I went on. The erosion ditch was getting deeper and deeper.

Suddenly my headlights showed the erosion ditch right in front of me. It was a full sized gully with huge boulders on the other side of it. Well, this is the end of this trip. I had really better turn around now. Not much room. Oh, well, it is a small car. I will make it.

So I backed up with wheels cramped as far as they would go. Move forward with the wheels cramped the other way. About ten times I see-sawed. Finally my little Fiat was headed back up the mountain. Ahhh, put it in low gear, gently let the clutch out and I am home free!

Zzizzizzizzizztt. The tires were spinning on loose sand. Well, the sand cannot be very deep up here, I will just try again. Zzizzizzizzizztt. Oh, Heavenly Father, I have been so foolish. You have been trying to warn me for the past fifteen minutes and I would not listen. Please do not leave me here on Shadow Mountain. Please help me get home.

Now, I had prayed. Surely it would be all right. Put it back in gear, gently let the clutch out. Zzizzizzizzizztt! If I kept on spinning the wheels, I would dig myself in down to the axles. Admit it, Lois, you are stuck! I got out of the car to better assess my situation. A breeze was blowing. It would escalate into a stiff wind. I was wearing a sleeveless light dress and rubber thongs on my feet. No sweater. No flashlight. No moon, and the stars were pale. I was already getting cold.

I humbly confessed my foolishness to God. I freely confessed that I had ignored His counsel. How easy it would have been to turn around when I was first going wrong. I told God that I did not deserve any help from Him and I was willing to take my lumps. With tears streaming down my face, I asked for forgiveness and made things right with my Heavenly Father. Peace filled my heart.

In the distance, like a beautiful jewel on a black velvet cloth, I could see my home. Light was streaming from every window. It meant warmth and comfort, security from the elements and the companionship of my husband. How I longed to be there!

I had two options: Stay in the car all night and be miserably cold. Or I could walk home. It was only one mile, but in the dark I would have to crawl over the huge boulders and feel my way down. I had seen rattlesnakes in that area, and they come out at night. And walking across the desert in flimsy rubber thongs, the cholla cactus were sure to get my toes.

I decided to go home. The breeze whipped my dress and I shivered. Well, (sigh) guess I had better get going. But before I could take a step, I heard the still, small voice. Lois, try it one more time.

Yes, Lord, I will be glad to. I jumped into the car, offered a short prayer, started the engine, put it in gear and slowly let the clutch out. Zzizzit. The wheels started to spin and then stopped. At that moment I felt my guardian angel give the car a little push and ever so slowly it began to move forward. Praise God for His goodness! I carefully retraced my way and was soon home.

I learned three valuable lessons that night.

  1. There is a way that seemeth right—but it does not take you where you want to go.
  2. It is never too late to turn around when you are going the wrong way.
  3. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.


How He Learned to Pray

The Story of a Man Who Decided to Pray :

One evening not long ago two gentlemen walking down the street came to a small group of gospel workers praying. As they paused for a moment on the edge of the crowd, one of them removed his hat, and bowed his head. Later in the evening, when asked why he had done so, he told the following story:—

“Late one fall about fifteen years ago, I was with a hunting and fishing party up in northern California. The hunting was good; and so one afternoon when all the rest were off fishing, I took my rifle, and went out in search of game. I had gone several miles over a rough country, when a light snow began to fall. ‘About time I was making for camp,’ I said to myself, and started to retrace my steps. But as it grew darker, the snow thickened, and I lost my way.

“It was growing bitterly cold; and though I looked everywhere for shelter, I could find none. The night was intensely dark, and the snow was blinding. I knew that if I stayed where I was, I should certainly freeze to death. There wasn’t a living soul within five miles, and the trees one the mountain afforded no shelter.

“Well, my mother had taught me to pray; and I got down there in the snow, and, for the first time in years, told God all about it, and solemnly promised that if He would lead me to safety, I would be a better man.

“When I got up, I felt impelled to go ahead. I didn’t know which way I as going, but I just went on, perhaps a hundred yards, when splash! Down went my foot in a pool of water. ‘Worse luck yet,’ I thought; ‘that may mean a frozen foot.’ But as the water soaked through my shoe I found it was warm. I knew then that I had chanced across a hot spring. Losing little time, for I was becoming chilled, I found a place where the water was deep enough to cover me, and sat down in it. All that night I sat there, thanking God for the way he had saved my life. In the morning the rest of the party found me, and brought me dry clothes.

“Ever since then I have been a firm believer in the power of prayer; and whenever I come where people are praying, I am impelled to bow my head in reverence to the power there represented.”


Edison J. Driver

Taken from The Youth’s Instructor, June 28, 1900.


The Great Feasts of the Bible — The Passover

The precious atonement of Jesus, as portrayed by the Passover, was not an afterthought or something that came by chance. The sacrifice of God’s Son was foreseen by Deity long before the world came into existence. The atonement was planned in every detail to the very moment. The life of Christ on earth was laid out from birth to the cross, before He ever came to this world.

But more than this was entailed in the atonement. God chose to schedule events from Eden to the cross. This leaves no possible room for doubt as to its divine purpose. Christ had a schedule to meet. Not only a time to be born in Bethlehem, and a time to die on the cross of Calvary, but also an exact time for His second coming and an exact time for His third coming at the close of the millennium. Yes, Christ had a schedule to meet. “Jesus said unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” John 2:4.

Jesus’ words, “Mine hour is not yet come,” point to the fact that every act of Christ’s life on earth was in fulfillment of the plan that had existed from the days of eternity. Before He came to earth, the plan lay out before Him perfect in all its details. His last Passover supper spent on this earth was scheduled to the exact day. “And He said, Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with My disciples.” Matthew 26:18.

The reason Christ went to the Garden after spending the Passover with His disciples was that this, too, had been scheduled. For it was here that He was to be betrayed. “Then cometh He to His disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” Matthew 26:45.

Jesus knew the time had come. Just as the Passover commemorated the deliverance from Egypt, so Christ understood the Passover lamb pointed to His coming sacrifice. Even the Passover in Egypt was scheduled in the time frame of God, for it took place exactly on the day that it was planned.

Abraham was told that his children would go into Egypt for four hundred and thirty years as slaves. (See Genesis 15.) “Now the sojourning of the Children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:40, 41.

It required some drastic judgments from God, such as the world had never seen before, to bring it to pass on the exact day. Water was turned to blood, there were plagues of frogs, lice and hail, darkness and finally a never-to-be-forgotten night. For in the land of Goshen the first Passover was held. Each family met together to kill a lamb and sprinkle its blood on their doorposts. The lamb was to be roasted and eaten just as the angel of death passed over each home at midnight.

While in the land of Egypt the same angel of death struck in every home including the king’s palace. Every firstborn of man and beast was slain. Never was there such a cry of death that struck every family of a whole nation at the same moment. The Israelites were commanded to leave immediately—and it all happened at the precise time God had predicted.

Israel was commanded to keep the Passover when they should reach the Promised Land of Canaan, as a memorial of this mighty deliverance by the hand of God. The Passover was kept in the day of Christ. Jesus was twelve years old when He went to Jerusalem to keep His first Passover. As He watches the priest carrying out the Passover activities, Jesus suddenly discovers a sublime truth; for He understands that every act of His life is bound up in what the priest has done with the little lamb.

New impulses awaken within Him. God is His Teacher. Like a sudden clap of thunder His mission in life opens up before Him. Silently, absorbed in divine thoughts, He studies the sin problem as never before. Finally the moment arrives. He sees Himself as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world.

Immediately there is a change in this boy of twelve. His meekness as a willing child has changed to an awareness of a higher responsibility. He addresses His parents, Joseph and Mary, in a remarkable new manner. “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49. Divine inspiration tells us that as He spoke these words, He pointed heavenward, to the astonishment of His earthly parents. At this young age, he was aware of His divine Father.

His purpose in life has now become clear as crystal. Just as God delivered His people from the slavery of Egypt, so Jesus is to deliver His people from the slavery of sin. He, the Son of God, is to become the Passover Lamb by giving His own life as a sacrifice for our sins. Every moment of His life from then on was dedicated to preparation for the moment of sacrifice.

This demanded total surrender to God’s will and a full commitment to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Every day of His life was a twenty-four hour battle with Satan. “Satan was unwearied in his efforts to overcome the Child of Nazareth. From His earliest years Jesus was guarded by heavenly angels, yet His life was one long struggle against the powers of darkness. That there should be upon the earth one life free from defilement of evil was an offense and a perplexity to the Prince of Darkness. He left no means untried to ensnare Jesus. No child of humanity will ever be called to live a holy life amidst so fierce a conflict with temptation as was our Saviour.” The Desire of Ages, 71.


Battle with Satan


You and I may think we have a hard time in this battle with Satan, but we in our struggle with evil do not commence to meet the battle as He did. The Son of God experienced temptation one thousand times greater that you and I. “You have not a difficulty that did not press with equal weight upon Him nor a sorrow that His heart has not experienced. His feelings could be hurt with neglect, with indifference of professed friends, as easily as yours could. Is your path thorny? Christ’s was so in a tenfold sense. Are you distressed? So was He. How well fitted was Christ to be an example.” Our High Calling, 59.

Will we ever be tempted in a way Christ was not? “If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore, Jesus was ‘in all points tempted like as we are.’ Hebrews 4:15.” The Desire of Ages, 24.

He endured every trial to which we are subject and He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As a man, He met temptation and overcame in the strength given Him from God. And so it can be with you and me. “To Jesus, Who emptied Himself for the salvation of lost humanity, the Holy Spirit was given without measure. So it will be given to every follower of Christ when the whole heart is surrendered for His indwelling. Our Lord Himself has given the command, ‘Be filled with the Spirit.’ Ephesians 5:18.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 21.

This is what Paul tells us. “For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and you have come to fullness of life in Him.” Colossians 2:9, 10. Again Peter admonishes us with the same encouragement. “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:3, 4. How we should praise God for what He has made possible for us.

After the baptism of Jesus, three years of public ministry was scheduled in which Jesus was to reveal God’s love by miracles and by teachings. This accomplished, He knew His time had finally come to attend the last Passover of His life here on this earth. He said, “Go into the city to such a man and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with My disciples.” Matthew 26:18.

The final crisis had arrived. The destiny of the whole universe was at stake. This is so serious that Christ felt He must find a place to be alone with His Father. For as a man, He can do nothing without God’s help. He chooses the Garden of Gethsemane. As He enters the Garden, He becomes sad and silent. His form begins to sway as if He is about to fall. Every step is labored. He groans aloud, for He is under a terrible burden. The sins of the entire world are being placed upon Him.

Twice His companions prevent Him from falling to the ground. He cries, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. His frame convulses with anguish as He falls prostrate to the cold ground. He was overpowered with fear as God removes His presence from Him, and He is alone with the pressure of the sins of the whole world weighing down on Him.

The gulf of sin becomes so wide, black and deep that His spirit shudders before it. He clings convulsively to the ground as if to prevent Himself from being drawn still further from God. His convulsed lips wail that bitter cry, “Oh, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless, not as I will but as Thou wilt.”

If you are in tune with God, these thoughts will break your heart and bring tears to your eyes. The undeniable fact is this, that sin and God cannot dwell together. In the struggle, eternal separation from God was possible. “Everything was at stake with him (Satan). If he failed here, his hope of mastery was lost; the kingdoms of the world would become Christ’s; he himself would be overthrown and cast out. But if Christ could be overcome, the earth would become Satan’s kingdom, and the human race would be forever in his power. With the issues of the conflict before Him, Christ’s soul was filled with the dread of separation from God. Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan’s kingdom and would nevermore be one with God.” The Desire of Ages, 687.

What a struggle! Satan painted a picture that would discourage the strongest heart. He points to the ingratitude of man, to God’s people who will reject Him and His very own church who will seek to destroy Him. Even His disciples will forsake Him and one of them will betray Him. “Christ’s whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible. Its measure was the guilt of His nation, of His accusers and betrayer, the guilt of a world lying in wickedness. The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ, and the sense of God’s wrath against sin was crushing out His life.” Ibid.

It was like a compressor forcing air into a tank, pumping away until it explodes. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. “He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish under the Father’s displeasure. He sees the power of sin, and the utter helplessness of man to save himself. The woes and the lamentations of a doomed world arise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that perishing millions through Him may gain everlasting life. He left the courts of heaven, where all was purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that had fallen by transgression, and He will not turn from the mission He has chosen. He will reach to the very depths of misery to rescue a lost and ruined race.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 99, 100.

Having made this decision He falls in a dying condition to the earth. Had it not been for an angel, who was sent from heaven to support Him, He would have died then and there. But the angel enabled our Saviour to drink the cup. Christ now stands in the sinner’s place, forsaken by God and forsaken by man.

“The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish, which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” The Desire of Ages, 753. What a cost for our salvation!

Christ knew that His hour had come. He knew that the Passover lamb would be offered in the temple at the moment that He would die on Calvary’s cross. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit He sees it all. As the priest lifts the knife to slay the lamb on the altar, suddenly there is a rending noise as the veil of the temple is torn open from top to bottom. Thus opening the way into the heavenly sanctuary in which the true Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, will mediate for us before God the Father.

“All is terror and confusion. The priest is about to slay the victim; but the knife drops from his nerveless hand, and the lamb escapes. Type has met antitype in the death of God’s Son. The great sacrifice has been made. The way into the Holiest is laid open. A new and living way is prepared for all. No longer need sinful, sorrowing humanity await the coming of the High Priest. Henceforth the Saviour was to officiate as Priest and Advocate in the heaven of heavens.” Ibid., 757.

What an atonement Jesus made on Calvary for our sin! “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. It is one thing to believe this happened for us, but in reality, more than belief is necessary. There are actions of response required by each of us.

“It is not enough that the Pascal lamb be slain; its blood must be sprinkled upon the door posts; so the merits of Christ’s blood must be applied to the soul. We must believe not only that He died for the world, but that He died for us individually. We must appropriate to ourselves the virtue of the atoning sacrifice.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 277.

That is why we must come to the place where we know of a surety that Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Hyssop, used to sprinkle the blood (symbol of purification), was used by the priests to cleanse the leper, and those defiled by contact with the dead. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7.

The lamb was to be prepared whole, for not a bone was to be broken in the Lamb of God. This represented the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice. A full ransom was to be paid.

After the sacrifice, the flesh of the Pascal lamb was to be eaten. “It is not enough even that we believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin; we must by faith be constantly receiving spiritual strength and nourishment from Him through His Word. Said Christ, ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life.’ John 6:53, 54.” Ibid.

To explain what He meant, He said, The words that I speak unto you they are spirit, and they are life. What does this mean? “The followers for Christ must be partakers of His experience. They must receive and assimilate the word of God so that it shall become the motive power of life and action. By the power of Christ we must be changed into His likeness, and reflect the divine attributes.” Ibid., 278.

And there was another lesson we would do well to recognize. “The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs, as pointing back to the bitterness of the bondage in Egypt. So when we feed upon Christ, it should be with contrition of heart, because of our sins.” Ibid.

“The use of unleavened bread also was significant. It was expressly enjoined in the law of the Passover . . . that no leaven should be found in their houses during the feast. In like manner the leaven of sin must be put away from all who would receive life and nourishment from Christ.” Ibid.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump . . . For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. We have ministers today who are teaching us that we may sin until Jesus comes. God forbid!

Consider the blood that was sprinkled on the doorposts. This was a sign to show that the family was completely separated from Egypt. They must show their faith in the deliverance to be accomplished. They must separate themselves and their family from the Egyptians and gather within their own dwelling. This is the same message that has been given to the Remnant today. Come out from among them and be ye separate.

“Had the Israelites disregarded in any particular the directions given them, had they neglected to separate their children from the Egyptians, had they slain the lamb but failed to strike the door posts with the blood, or had any gone out of their houses, they would not have been secure. They might have honestly believed that they had done all that was necessary, but their sincerity could not have saved them. All who failed to heed the Lord’s directions would lose their first-born by the hand of the destroyer.” Ibid.

The atonement Christ provided for each of us on the cross of Calvary demands not only belief but also obedience. “By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith. So all who hoped to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ should realize that they themselves have something to do in securing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to obedience. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith must be shown by his works. God has given His Son to die as a propitiation for sin, he has manifested the light of truth, the way of life, He has given facilities, ordinances, and privileges; and now man must cooperate with these saving agencies; he must appreciate and use the help that God has provided—believe and obey all the divine requirements.” Ibid., 279.


One With Christ in God

The Lord calls for men of genuine faith and sound minds, men who recognize the distinction between the true and the false. Each one should be on his guard, studying and practicing the lessons given in the seventeenth chapter of John, and preserving a living faith in the truth for this time. We need that self-control which will enable us to bring our habits into harmony with the prayer of Christ.

The instruction given me by One of authority is that we are to learn to answer the prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John. We are to make this prayer our first study. Every gospel minister, every medical missionary, is to learn the science of this prayer. My brethren and sisters, I ask you to heed these words and to bring to your study a calm, humble, contrite spirit, and the healthy energies of a mind under the control of God. Those who fail to learn the lessons contained in this prayer are in danger of making one-sided developments, which no future training will ever fully correct.

“Neither pray I for these alone,” Christ said, “but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.

“And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.

“Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:20–26.

It is the purpose of God that His children shall blend in unity. Do they not expect to live together in the same heaven? Is Christ divided against Himself? Will He give His people success before they sweep away the rubbish of evil surmising and discord, before the laborers, with unity of purpose, devote heart and mind and strength to the work so holy in God’s sight? Union brings strength; disunion, weakness. United with one another, working together in harmony for the salvation of men, we shall indeed be “laborers together with God.” Those who refuse to work in harmony greatly dishonor God. The enemy of souls delights to see them working at cross purposes with one another. Such ones need to cultivate brotherly love and tenderness of heart. If they could draw aside the curtain veiling the future and see the result of their disunion they would surely be led to repent.

The world is looking with gratification at the disunion amongst Christians. Infidelity is well pleased. God calls for a change among His people. Union with Christ and with one another is our only safety in these last days. Let us not make it possible for Satan to point to our church members, saying: “Behold how these people, standing under the banner of Christ, hate one another. We have nothing to fear from them while they spend more strength fighting one another than in warfare with my forces.”

After the descent of the Holy Spirit the disciples went forth to proclaim a risen Saviour, their one desire the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of the communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth’s sake. In their daily association with one another they revealed the love that Christ had commanded them to reveal. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts.

The believers were ever to cherish the love that filled the hearts of the apostles after the descent of the Holy Spirit. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment:

“As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34. So closely were they to be united to Christ that they would be enabled to fulfill His requirements. The power of a Saviour who could justify them by His righteousness was to be magnified.

But the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. Dwelling upon mistakes, giving place to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour and of the great love He had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others they forgot their own errors. They forgot the lesson of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives, and that soon they would walk in darkness, having shut the love of God out of their hearts.

The apostle John realized that brotherly love was waning in the church, and he dwelt particularly upon this point. Up to the day of his death he urged upon believers the constant exercise of love for one another. His letters to the churches are filled with this thought. “Beloved, let us love one another,” he writes; for love is of God . . . God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4:7–11.

In the church of God today brotherly love is greatly lacking. Many of those who profess to love the Saviour neglect to love those who are united with them in Christian fellowship. We are of the same faith, members of one family, all children of the same heavenly Father, with the same blessed hope of immortality. How close and tender should be the tie that binds us together. The people of the world are watching us to see if our faith is exerting a sanctifying influence upon our hearts. They are quick to discern every defect in our lives, every inconsistency in our actions. Let us give them no occasion to reproach our faith.

It is not the opposition of the world that endangers us the most; it is the evil cherished in the hearts of professed believers that works our most grievous disaster and most retards the progress of God’s cause. There is no surer way of weakening our spirituality than by being envious, suspicious of one an-other, full of faultfinding and evil surmising. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:15–18.

Harmony and union existing among men of varied dispositions is the strongest witness that can be borne that God has sent His Son into the world to save sinners. It is our privilege to bear this witness. But, in order to do this, we must place ourselves under Christ’s command. Our characters must be molded in harmony with His character, our wills must be surrendered to His will. Then we shall work together without a thought of collision.

Little differences dwelt upon lead to actions that destroy Christian fellowship. Let us not allow the enemy thus to gain the advantage over us. Let us keep drawing nearer to God and to one another. Then we shall be as trees of righteousness, planted by the Lord, and watered by the river of life. And how fruitful we shall be! Did not Christ say: “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit”? John 15:8.

The heart of the Saviour is set upon His followers’ fulfilling God’s purpose in all its height and depth. They are to be one in Him, even though they are scattered the world over. But God cannot make them one in Christ unless they are willing to give up their own way for His way.

When Christ’s prayer is fully believed, when its instruction is brought into the daily life of God’s people, unity of action will be seen in our ranks. Brother will be bound to brother by the golden bonds of the love of Christ. The Spirit of God alone can bring about this oneness. He who sanctified Himself can sanctify His disciples. United with Him, they will be united with one another in the most holy faith. When we strive for this unity as God desires us to strive for it, it will come to us.

Taken from Testimonies, vol. 8, 239–244.


The Vistorious Life

Dear Friend:  The Lord has given me a message for you, and not for you only, but also for other faithful souls who are troubled by doubts and fears regarding their acceptance by the Lord Jesus Christ. His word to you is, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.” You desire to please the Lord, and you can do this by believing His promises. He is waiting to take you into a harbor of gracious experience, and He bids you, “Be still, and know that I am God.” You have had a time of unrest; but Jesus says to you, “Come unto Me, . . . and I will give you rest.” The joy of Christ in the soul is worth everything. “Then are they glad,” because they are privileged to rest in the arms of everlasting love.

Put away your distrust of our heavenly Father. Instead of talking of your doubts, break away from them in the strength of Jesus, and let light shine into your soul by letting your voice express confidence and trust in God. I know that the Lord is very nigh to give you victory, and I say to you, Be helped, be strengthened, be lifted out of and away from the dark dungeon of unbelief. Doubts will rush into your mind, because Satan is trying to hold you in captivity to his cruel power; but face him in the strength that Jesus is willing to give you, and conquer the inclination to express unbelief in your Saviour.

Do not talk of your inefficiency and your defects. When despair would seem to be sweeping over your soul, look to Jesus, saying, He lives to make intercession for me. Forget the things that are behind, and believe the promise, “I will come to you,” and “abide with you.”

God is waiting to bestow the blessing of forgiveness, of pardon for iniquity, of the gifts of righteousness, upon all who will believe in His love and accept the salvation He offers. Christ is ready to say to the repenting sinner, “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” The blood of Jesus Christ is the eloquent plea that speaks in behalf of sinners. This blood “cleanseth us from all sin.”

It is your privilege to trust in the love of Jesus for salvation, in the fullest, surest, noblest manner; to say, He loves me, He receives me; I will trust Him, for He gave His life for me. Nothing so dispels doubt as coming in contact with the character of Christ. He declares, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out;” that is, there is no possibility of My casting him out, for I have pledged My word to receive him. Take Christ at His word, and let your lips declare that you have gained the victory.

Is Jesus true? Does He mean what He says? Answer decidedly, Yes, every word. Then if you have settled this, by faith claim every promise that He has made, and receive the blessing; for this acceptance by faith gives life to the soul. You may believe that Jesus is true to you, even though you feel yourself to be the weakest and most unworthy of His children. And as you believe, all your dark, brooding doubts are thrown back upon the archdeceiver who originated them. You can be a great blessing if you will take God at His word. By living faith you are to trust Him, even though the impulse is strong within you to speak words of distrust.

Peace comes with dependence on divine power. As fast as the soul resolves to act in accordance with the light given, the Holy Spirit gives more light and strength. The grace of the Spirit is supplied to cooperate with the soul’s resolve, but it is not a substitute for the individual exercise of faith. Success in the Christian life depends upon the appropriation of the light that God has given. It is not an abundance of light and evidence that makes the soul free in Christ; it is the rising of the powers and the will and the energies of the soul to cry out sincerely, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.”

I rejoice in the bright prospects of the future, and so may you. Be cheerful, and praise the Lord for His loving-kindness. That which you cannot understand, commit to Him. He loves you and pities your every weakness. He “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” It would not satisfy the heart of the Infinite One to give those who love His Son a lesser blessing than He gives His Son.

Satan seeks to draw our minds away from the mighty Helper, to lead us to ponder over our degeneration of soul. But though Jesus sees the guilt of the past, He speaks pardon; and we should not dishonor Him by doubting His love. The feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross, or it will poison the springs of life. When Satan thrusts his threatenings upon you, turn from them, and comfort your soul with the promises of God. The cloud may be dark in itself, but when filled with the light of heaven, it turns to the brightness of gold; for the glory of God rests upon it.

God’s children are not to be subject to feelings and emotions. When they fluctuate between hope and fear, the heart of Christ is hurt; for He has given them unmistakable evidence of His love. He wants them to be established, strengthened, and settled in the most holy faith. He wants them to do the work He has given them; then their hearts will become in His hands as sacred harps, every chord of which will send forth praise and thanksgiving to the One sent by God to take away the sins of the world.

Christ’s love for His children is as tender as it is strong. And it is stronger than death; for He died to purchase our salvation, and to make us one with Him, mystically and eternally one. So strong is His love that it controls all His powers, and employs the vast resources of heaven in doing His people good. It is without variableness or shadow of turning—the same yesterday, today, and forever. Although sin has existed for ages, trying to counteract this love and obstruct its flowing earthward, it still flows in rich currents to those for whom Christ died.

God loves the sinless angels, who do His service and are obedient to all His commands; but He does not give them grace; they have never needed it, for they have never sinned. Grace is an attribute shown to undeserving human beings. We did not seek after it; it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow grace upon all who hunger and thirst for it, not because we are worthy, but because we are unworthy. Our need is the qualification which gives us the assurance that we shall receive the gift.

It should not be difficult to remember that the Lord desires you to lay your troubles and perplexities at His feet, and leave them there. Go to Him, saying: “Lord, my burdens are too heavy for me to carry. Wilt Thou bear them for me?” And He will answer: “I will take them. ‘With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.’ I will take your sins, and will give you peace. Banish no longer your self-respect; for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine. Your weakened will I will strengthen. Your remorse for sin I will remove.”

“I, even I, am He,” the Lord declares, “that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye Me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Respond to the calls of God’s mercy, and say: “I will trust in the Lord and be comforted. I will praise the Lord; for His anger is turned away. I will rejoice in God, who gives the victory.”

The last writings of Ellen White, written in California, June 14, 1914. Taken from Testimonies to Ministers, 216–220.


Could Peter ‘s Denial Be Mine?

The Ruler of the Universe, the King of kings, left His throne, and sacrificed and suffered more than any one ever has. Why did He do it? Because He loves you and me with a love that we cannot comprehend. His love is so infinite, that we will be able to study it throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity, and never exhaust it.

If you wanted to impress someone, would you show up broke? Or if you wanted to make the greatest social change ever, would you show up in the clothing of a servant? Jesus did. He came in poverty and humiliation, and yet, He wrought the greatest change that has ever been made. He made it in a way that we do not understand. Jesus came in humiliation to be our Example and our Redeemer.

To all who believed the ship was going through in Jesus day, it seemed impossible that He was the looked-for Redeemer. But, the ship did go through! The problem then, as now, is that people were looking for a bigger vessel with more worldly recognition. The ship that is going through is a little embarrassing to most people.

The right ship is well identified in Revelation 12:17. It is those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 19:10 says the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.)

Do we have the marks? If we do not, we are on the wrong boat. But it is not too late if someone does not have the marks. You can still be a part of the ship that is going through. But you need to realize that it will not be a popular place to be. It will be lonely, because most people do not want to be seen on this ship.

To be among God’s people has never been popular. In Jesus’ day, as in ours, the people were looking for popularity and prosperity, not humility and selfless service. The Scribes and Pharisees were prepared to receive an earthly king. But One who sought to establish in their hearts a kingdom of righteousness and peace, they were not ready to accept.

In this article we are going to look at one of the few people who did accept Jesus. We begin when John the Baptist was preaching at the Jordan, preparing the people to receive Jesus as the Messiah. One day John and Andrew were in the crowd. They heard him when, pointing at Jesus, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. “And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” Verse 36.

Jesus turned around and asked them, “What seek ye? They said unto Him, Rabbi . . . where dwellest Thou?” John 1:37, 38. They wanted to find out more about Jesus, more than a roadside conversation could tell, so they asked to go to His house. And they did. Their hearts were thrilled as they listened to Jesus’ words.

Andrew was so impressed he went immediately to tell his brother, Simon Peter. “Andrew sought to impart the joy that filled his heart. Going in search of his brother, Simon, he cried, ‘We have found the Messias.’ Simon waited for no second bidding. He also had heard the preaching of John the Baptist, and he hastened to the Saviour. The eye of Christ rested upon him, reading his character and his life history. His impulsive nature, his loving, sympathetic heart, his ambition and self-confidence, the history of his fall, his repentance, his labors, his martyr’s death—the Saviour read it all, and He said, ‘Thou art Simon son of Jonah: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone.” The Desire of Ages, 139.

Peter, the disciple Jesus called the stone, is the one we are going to study about. We will learn through his experience of victories and defeats, what we must do to be on the ship that will go through.


They Toiled All Night


The disciples were weary from a night of fruitless toil. They were still in their boat on the lake, but Jesus had gone to the shore to find a quiet place away from the multitudes that constantly thronged Him. His rest was short, as soon the people came and crowded around Him to hear the truths of the kingdom.

Peter brought his boat to where Jesus was. Jesus stepped in and said, Push out a little way so everyone can hear Me. What a scene for the angels to behold! The King of the Universe, sitting in a little boat rocking with the waves, talking to the common people about the precious truths of His kingdom.

There could not have been a more fitting scene—the lake, the mountains, the spreading field, the sunlight flooding the earth. Here Jesus could teach the people. Every moment more people were added to the multitude. Many came bringing their sick to Jesus for healing. It was just as Isaiah prophesied, “The land of Zebulun, the land of Naphtali, Toward the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people which sat in darkness saw a great light and to them which sat in the region and the shadow of death, to them did light spring up.” Matthew 4:15,16.

After Jesus finished the sermon, He said to Peter, Launch out into the sea and let down your net. Peter was disheartened. As he watched the empty nets, the future seemed dark and discouraging. He said, Master, we toiled all night and caught nothing, nevertheless, since You asked us to, we will do it.

Peter knew that night was the time to catch fish with nets, so what hope was there during the day? But Simon and his brother let down the net. Immediately, it was so full of fish they could not pull it in! They called to James and John who were in a boat near by, and they came to help. The contents of the net was so great that it filled both boats to the point of sinking.

You can see Peter there. He kneels at the feet of Jesus and grabbing Jesus’ feet he said, Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord. It seems ironic to take hold of someone’s feet, and then say, Depart from me. But Peter recognized his own unworthiness, and yet he could not endure the thought of being without Jesus.

“It was the same presence of divine holiness that had caused the prophet Daniel to fall as one dead before the angel of God. He said, ‘My comeliness was turned into corruption, and I retained no strength.’ So when Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord, he exclaimed, ‘Woe is me for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.’ Humanity, with its weakness and sin, was brought in contrast with the perfection of divinity, and he felt altogether deficient and unholy. Thus it has been with all who have been granted a view of God’s greatness and majesty.” The Desire of Ages, 246.

Speaking of the same story, Ellen White wrote in The Desire of Ages, 249, “The deeper lesson which the miracle conveyed for the disciples is a lesson also for us. He whose Word would gather the fishes from the sea, could also impress human hearts and draw them by cords of His love so that His servants might become fishers of men.” That is an amazing lesson. At that moment Peter committed himself completely to being a disciple of Jesus and became a fisher of men.


Bread, a King, and a Storm


One of the most famous stories of Peter is found in Matthew 14. There we see the people sitting on a grassy plain. It is a beautiful spring evening. The people have just finished eating the meal Christ provided from the five loaves and two fishes. All there that day had benefited from the creative power of God. The people knew that no human power could take five loaves and two fishes and feed a multitude of thousands of people. As the day progressed, the conviction grew—This is the long-looked for Deliverer, were the words on many lips.

Yes, He was the Deliverer, but He had not come to deliver in the way they thought. They said, Jesus can make Judea an earthly paradise; He can heal the wounded soldiers; He can feed the armies; He can conquer the nations and He can give Israel the long awaited dominion.

It all sounded wonderful, but many questioned, Would Jesus ever urge His claim to the throne of David? They talked it over and decided to take Him by force. They were going to force Jesus to help make them great. In fact, they thought they would even force the arrogant priests and rulers to honor Jesus.

Jesus saw what was happening, and he saw the result. Even now priests and rulers were planning His death. He knew that violence and insurrection would be the result of an effort to put Him on the throne, and the work of His spiritual kingdom would be hindered.

Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, Take the boat and go to Capernaum. Never had they had a command from Jesus that was so hard to obey. This was a golden opportunity to place their Master on the throne. They protested, but Jesus spoke with an authority that He had never before manifested toward them. Realizing that further opposition would be useless, they reluctantly went toward the sea.

Jesus now commands the multitude to dispense and they dare not disobey. Men are stopped in their steps as they attempt to grab Him and make Him king. The glad, eager looks on their faces fade. They recognize Jesus’ authority and without question they submit and disperse.

Jesus now goes up to the mountain to pray. For hours He pleads with God, not for Himself, but for men. He prayed for the disciples. He prayed for you and me. He prayed for power to reveal to men the divine character of His mission.

Jesus knew the days of His ministry on earth were ending and only a few would receive Him as the Redeemer. He knew His disciples would be grievously tried. In place of a throne, there was a cross. It was painful to Jesus to see that even His own disciples conception of His kingdom was limited mainly to worldly aggrandizement and honor. For them, He poured out supplications with bitter agony and tears.

Meanwhile, the disciples had not started for Capernaum. They waited, hoping that Jesus would go with them. As darkness began to fall, they reluctantly got in their boat and headed toward Capernaum.

They left Jesus with dissatisfied hearts; more impatient with Him than they had ever been. They murmured because they were not allowed to proclaim Him king. They blamed themselves. They should have been more persistent they thought. Unbelief was taking place in their hearts.

It was hard for them to be connected to One who so obviously had the truth and yet was reviled as a deceiver. Were they always to be accounted as followers of a false prophet? Would Christ ever assert His authority as King? The disciples reasoned like this until they worked themselves into spiritual darkness. They asked, Could Jesus be an impostor like the Pharisees say?

The disciples had witnessed the wonderful works of Christ that day. It was a wonderful day, like heaven on earth. It should have filled them with hope. If they had talked about what had happened that day, they would not have been taken into temptation. But instead, disappointment filled their hearts.

Their minds were stormy and unreasonable, so the Lord gave them something else to afflict their souls and occupy their minds. Danger was fast approaching. A violent storm was crashing down upon them and they were unprepared. Disaffection, unbelief and impatience were forgotten. Everyone was hard at work to keep the boat from sinking. Despite their efforts, they were being blown farther and farther away from their destination.

On the fourth watch, they gave themselves up for lost. They realized their helplessness and they longed for their Master. Jesus had not forgotten them. He had been watching that little boat with its precious burden. When their hearts were subdued, their unholy ambition quelled and when in humility they prayed for help, it was given.

When they believed themselves lost, a gleam of light reveals a mysterious figure walking upon the water. Terror overpowers them. They did not know it was Jesus coming to help them, they thought it was an enemy. The hands that had gripped the oars with iron-like muscles let go. The boat is rocking to and fro.

All eyes are riveted on this form of a Man walking upon the white-capped billows of the foaming sea. They cry out in fear. Jesus walked as though He was going to pass them by. But they recognize Him and cry out for His help. His voice silences their fear. He said, Be of good cheer. It is I, be not afraid.

Peter cries out, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me to come to Thee on the water. Come, Jesus said. Looking at Jesus, Peter walks securely on the water. But in self-satisfaction he turns to see those who were in the boat. The waves are high, he loses sight of Jesus and begins to sink. He lifts his eyes from the angry waters and again he sees Jesus.

He cries out, Lord save me! Immediately Jesus reaches out His hand and lifts Peter up. He said, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Walking side by side, Peter and Jesus come to the boat. Peter is now subdued and silent. He has no reason to boast. Through unbelief and self-exaltation, he almost lost his life. When he turned his eyes away from Jesus, he sank in the water.

When trouble comes, how often we are like Peter. We look at the water instead of Jesus. We need to learn that if we will put our trust in Him, He will save us. Jesus never asks us to follow Him then to forsake us. Jesus says to you, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flames kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” Isaiah 43:1–3.

When Peter thought he was invincible, he was weak. When you and I exalt self, we are weak also. When we recognize our needs, it is then we are strong. If Peter had learned his need of Jesus there, he would not have failed later in the great test.

When Jesus and Peter had taken their place in the boat, immediately the wind was calm and they were at their destination. The disciples and the others bowed down before Jesus and said, Of a truth, Thou art the Son of God. Just a few hours before they had questioned whether Jesus was an impostor. But now they said, No, you are the Son of God.


Peter’s Great Test


It was the Last Supper that the disciples would have with Jesus. It was the custom for someone to wash their feet before they ate the meal, but there was no servant present. And so, Jesus girded Himself and washed the disciples’ feet.

When it was Peter’s turn, he said with astonishment, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet? Christ’s condescension broke his heart. He was filled with shame that not one of the disciples was willing to perform this humble service. Christ said, What I do thou knowest not now. But thou shalt know hereafter.

Peter could not bear to see the Son of God acting the part of a servant. His whole soul rose up against this humiliation. With great emphasis Peter exclaimed, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Solemnly Jesus said to Peter, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

The service, which Peter refused, was a type of the higher cleansing, cleansing the stain of sin from the heart. When Jesus said to Peter, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me, Peter surrendered his pride and self-will. He could not endure the thought of separation from Jesus.

Peter answered, Not my feet only but my hands and my head, also. Jesus said, If I wash your feet, you are all clean. Here Jesus was talking about more than just the body cleansing. The disciples had been washed in the great fountain, open for sin and uncleanliness. Christ acknowledged them as His. But temptation had led them to evil and they needed His cleansing grace. When Jesus girded Himself with a towel to wash their feet, He really wanted to wash alienation, jealousy and pride from their hearts. Until brought into this state of humility, they were unworthy to take part in the Paschal Supper. Pride and self-seeking create dissension and hatred. But Jesus washed all this away, in washing their feet.

Like Peter, we have been washed in the blood of Jesus. Yet through contact with evil our heart’s purity is soiled. We must come to Christ for cleansing. Peter shrank from having his soiled feet come in contact with Jesus’ hands. Yet we bring our soiled hearts in contact with Jesus’ heart. How grievous to Him is our evil temper, our vanity and pride. We must bring all defilement to Him because He alone can cleanse us. Alone we can do nothing to make ourselves better.

After the hymn, they went out through the crowded streets, through the gates toward the Mount of Olives. As they made their way, Jesus said, All ye shall be offended because of me tonight. The disciples listened in amazement. At the supper Jesus said that one of them would betray Him and that Peter would deny Him, but now He said that they would all be offended.

Peter protested. He said, Although all shall be offended yet I will not. It was in the upper chamber that he declared; I will lay down my life for thee. Jesus warned him then and He warned him again. He said, Verily I say unto you before the cock crows two times, you are going to deny Me three times. Peter asserted, I would die with you. I will not deny you.

Peter was unprepared for the test. If Peter had cried out like he did that night on the lake, Lord, save me! Jesus would have delivered him. But he did not. Instead, Peter thought Jesus distrusted him. In fact, he was already offended and he became more persistent in his self-confidence.

That night after Jesus had been taken by the mob, Peter and John followed at a distance. At the hall, one of the priests recognized John as a disciple of Jesus and let him in. He wanted John to see the humiliation that Jesus was going through so that he would forsake Him.

John recommended Peter and he was allowed in also. It was the coldest hour of the night and they built a fire to keep warm in the court. Peter presumptuously took his place with those who had brought Jesus in. He did not want to be recognized as Jesus’ disciple.

The woman at the door thought he might be a disciple of Jesus and she asked him, Are you not one of Christ’s disciples? Peter was startled. He pretended not to hear, but she was persistent. She said, This man was with Jesus. Peter felt compelled to answer and he answered angrily, Woman, I know Him not. This was the first denial and immediately the cock crew. (Oh, Peter, how soon you are ashamed of your Master, how soon you deny your Lord.)

John did not try to conceal who he was. He went off to a corner to watch the procedings. He did not pretend that he was not a follower of Jesus, and so he was not questioned. If Peter had been asked to fight for his Master, he would have valiantly complied. But when the finger of scorn was pointed at him, he proved to be a coward.

Peter was surprised and angry that Jesus would submit to such inhuman treatment. He tried to join those who were reviling Jesus, but his appearance was unnatural. He could not restrain expressions of indignation when he saw abuse heaped upon his Master.

Peter was again charged with being a follower of Christ. He declared with an oath, I do not know the Man! An hour passed. A near kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off said, Did I not see you in the garden? Surely you are one of them. You are a Galilean. I can tell by your speech. At this, Peter flew into a rage. Jesus’ disciples were known for their purity of speech, so to reinforce his lie, Peter denied his Master with cursing and swearing.

Again the cock crew. Peter heard it then and remembered. While the degrading oaths were still on his lips, while the ringing of the cock’s crow was still in his ears, the Saviour turned from the frowning judges. At the same time Peter looked at the Master. In His face, Peter saw pity and sorrow, but not one trace of anger.

Immediately, Peter ran out into the night. He ran blindly in his remorse, ending up at the place where Jesus had been praying. Peter remembered Jesus words that very night, Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. He knew that if he had prayed, this would not have happened. The pain of regret filled his heart. How could he have denied his precious Lord?


Peter Do You Love Me?


After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, some of the disciples were by the Sea of Tiberious reminiscing about past events: Jesus feeding the multitude, the miraculous catch of fish, the storm on the Sea and about the future. They now wanted to follow Jesus completely.

Peter said, Let us go fishing so we can buy what we need. In the boats once again they cast out their nets, but all night they caught nothing. As the day dawned, they saw someone on the shore, This person called to them, Children, do you have any meat? They said, No. He said, Cast your net on the right side of the boat. They cast it and immediately it was full to overflowing. John said to Peter, That is Jesus. Peter put on his coat, jumped into the water and went to the shore.

Jesus had prepared a meal for them, and while they were eating, Jesus turned to Peter and He asked, Peter, do you love Me? Peter said, You know I do. This time it was different. He did not say, They might all deny You but I will never. He said, You know my heart, You know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my lambs.

Again Jesus asked, Peter, do you love Me? Peter answered, You know that I do. Jesus said, Feed my sheep. The third time Jesus said, Peter, do you love Me? Peter said, You know I do. And once more Jesus said, Feed my sheep.

Peter had denied Jesus three times and Jesus here demonstrated before the other disciples three times that Peter was sorry for what he had done and Jesus had forgiven him. Jesus went for a walk with Peter and He told Him how is life was going to end. Peter was faithful. He died a martyr’s death, hung on a cross upside-down. He lived his life for Jesus, and was truly changed into His image. Peter experienced the change that we all need, and it enabled him to be a mighty worker for God.

Years after that day on the seashore, he wrote the church leaders advising them: “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:1–4.

Peter learned his lesson. He is a part of that ship that is going through. May we determine, like Peter, to learn the lesson of putting self aside. God needs each one of us in His work. Some of the mighty works that Peter did, God might enable us to do someday. But first we must learn the lesson of humility.


Were the Jewish Rulers Part of the Church?

This is a loaded question usually asked by theological opponents who expect the answer to be yes, since the Jewish rulers and people are repeatedly called God’s people. (See for example Christ’s Object Lessons, 293.) They then expect to ask if the leaders in the structure of Adventism are not by the same criteria God’s people today. The next question is, aren’t they part of His church if they are part of His people? As with other loaded questions, multiple hypothetical assumptions are contained within the question. These underlying assumptions must be dealt with first from inspired writings. All emphasis is supplied in the following quotations.

  1. The first assumption is that profession equals the real or the true. Contrary to this assumption, inspired writings draw a sharp distinction between professed and true. Profession can be the same as true or it can be the complete opposite of true. Inspiration sharply distinguishes between those who profess to be the true church and the true church in reality.

Notice the distinction in the following two statements: “I saw that the church of God was then pure. There was no danger of men with corrupt hearts coming into the church of God then; for the true Christian, who dared to declare his faith, was in danger of the rack, the stake, and every torture which Satan and his evil angels could invent, and put into the mind of man.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, 118. Who was the true church of God? It was those who were being martyred.

Who was attempting to destroy the true church? Notice who it was in the following quotation: “Through the agency of Romanism, Satan took the world captive. The professed church of God was swept into the ranks of this delusion, and for more than a thousand years the people of God [the true church, see Great Controversy, 64, 65] suffered under the dragon’s ire.” Signs of the Times, November 1, 1899. So who was it that killed members of the true church for over 1,000 years? It was “the professed church of God.”

It should be more than obvious from these two statements that inspired writings draw a sharp distinction between the true church and the professed church. The professed church is part of the true church only when she lives out her profession.

It is not the true church who persecutes those who believe differently than she, but rather it is the professed church which is actually controlled by the devil: “The civil power is called to the aid of the Church in persecuting those who keep holy the seventh day. The Church and the world are united in trampling upon God’s commandments, and those who obey these commandments they threaten with death. John declares, ‘The dragon was wroth with the woman.’ ” Review and Herald, July 16, 1901.

“ ‘The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ We can see from this scripture that it is not the true church of God which makes war with those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is the people who make void the law, who place themselves on the side of the dragon, and persecute those who vindicate God’s precepts.” Signs of the Times, April 22, 1889.

  1. The second assumption is that the professed church is recognized by God as being equivalent to the true church. It is true that God recognizes those people who have made a covenant with Him by baptism, on their confession of faith, to serve Jesus as their only Lord and Saviour from sin. But does God equate the professed church with the true church? Again the question is loaded with a false assumption because the truth is that, “God is honored, not so much by the great number, as by the character of those who serve Him. He appreciates moral worth. He draws the dividing line between those who bear His name by profession, and those whose character shows them to be His children.” Signs of the Times, June 30, 1881. “Time proved that his profession was not real.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 278. “It is something more than a profession that distinguishes the children of obedience from the children of disobedience.” Signs of the Times, September 17, 1894. “The sum is proved by one who never makes a mistake. The contradiction between the life and the profession of the Christian who speaks evil of his brethren is self-evident.” Signs of the Times, October 30, 1901. “If sin is practiced in daily life, there is no real value in all their profession.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 4, 1893. “John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God’s law, they were not His people.” Desire of Ages, 107.

God gives opportunity to everyone who makes a profession to demonstrate and develop a perfect character, but if a person deliberately chooses to live in sin, his profession is obviously worthless. “The Lord will not compel men to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God; He sets before the human agent good and evil, and makes plain what will be the sure result of following one course or the other. Christ invites us, saying, ‘Follow me.’ But we are never forced to walk in His footsteps. If we do walk in His footsteps, it is the result of deliberate choice. As we see the life and character of Christ, strong desire is awakened to be like Him in character; and we follow on to know the Lord, and to know His goings forth are prepared as the morning. We then begin to realize that ‘the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’ ” Review and Herald, March 31, 1896 (See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 318; Desire of Ages, 764; Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1143, 1144; Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 192.)

  1. A third assumption is a false definition of the church. Since it is assumed that the professed church and the true church in reality are the same, it is assumed that the true church contains faithful and unfaithful, the loyal and the traitors, the angelic and the demonic. Statements in the inspired writings, speaking about the professed church, are used in an attempt to prove this. But definition statements of the true church in the inspired writings do not contradict, they cannot contradict without destroying the prophets and the Bible altogether. “All truth, whether in nature or in revelation, is consistent with itself in all its manifestations.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 114.

Inspired writings cannot have mutually contradictory definition statements unless they are inspired by the devil. “God never contradicts Himself. Scripture proofs are misapplied if forced to testify to that which is not true. Another and still another will arise and bring in supposedly great light, and make their assertions. But we stand by the old landmarks.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 162.

Here is the way the true church is always defined in the writings of Ellen G. White: “The Jewish tabernacle was a type of the Christian church . . . The church on earth, composed of those who are faithful and loyal to God, is the ‘true tabernacle,’ whereof the Redeemer is the minister. God, and not man, pitched this tabernacle on a high, elevated platform.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 931. “Christ is withdrawn only from the eye of sense, but He is as truly present by His Spirit as when He was visibly present on earth. The time that has elapsed since His ascension has brought no interruption in the fulfillment of His parting promise,—‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ God has provided light and truth for the world by having placed it in the keeping of faithful men, who in succession have committed it to others through all generations up to the present time. These men have derived their authority in an unbroken line from the first teachers of the faith. Christ remains the true minister of His church, but He delegates His power to His under-shepherds, to His chosen ministers, who have the treasure of His grace in earthen vessels. God superintends the affairs of His servants, and they are placed in His work by divine appointment.” Signs of the Times, April 7, 1890.

Notice, God is still in charge and people are placed in His work, in His church, by His own divine appointment. It is up to the church to recognize those who give evidence that the Holy Spirit has called and ordained them to a certain work. However, in the dark ages the professed church chose to burn His faithful servants at the stake instead. Persecution of those who are thought to be heretics is a sure sign that the professed church has forsaken her professed Lord, is serving another Master, and is in a state of apostasy. A church that is in a state of apostasy is attracted to other churches in apostasy: “The great I AM has decided what shall constitute the rule of faith and doctrine, and He has designed that the Bible shall be a household book. The church that holds to the word of God is irreconcilably separated from Rome. Protestants were once thus apart from this great church of apostasy, but they have approached more nearly to her, and are still in the path of reconciliation to the Church of Rome. Rome never changes. Her principles have not altered in the least. She has not lessened the breach between herself and Protestants; they have done all the advancing. But what does this argue for the Protestantism of this day? It is the rejection of Bible truth that makes men approach to infidelity. It is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy.” Signs of the Times, February 19, 1894.

“The church on earth, composed of those who are faithful and loyal to God, is the ‘true tabernacle,’ whereof the Redeemer is the minister. God, and not man, pitched this tabernacle on a high, elevated platform. This tabernacle is Christ’s body, and from north, south, east, and west, He gathers those who shall help to compose it.” Signs of the Times, February 14, 1900.

“Faithful souls have constituted the church of God on earth, and He has taken them into covenant relation with Himself, uniting His church on earth with His church in heaven. He has sent forth heavenly angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 266.

“The church is God’s fortress. His city of refuge, which He holds in a revolted world . . . From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth . . . God brought these witnesses into covenant relation with Himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth His angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people.” The Acts of the Apostles, 11.

Man may fulfill his profession and thereby demonstrate that he is a member of the true church, or he may deny his profession by his speech or actions and thereby cease to be a part of the true church and become part of the synagogue of Satan. “Satan is earnestly striving to lead souls away from right principles. Multitudes who profess to belong to God’s true church are falling under the enemy’s deceptions. They are being led to swerve from their allegiance to the blessed and only Potentate.” Review and Herald, October 15, 1903.

“Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and willful separation from the true church. But these accusations apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from ‘the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Jude 3.” The Great Controversy, 51. When a person(s) lays down the banner of Christ and departs from the faith, he has separated from the true church. This is universally true and unfortunately shows that large numbers of professed Seventh-day Adventists have separated from the true church. As in the apostasy of the church in Rome during the early centuries, the unfaithful majority still had the church buildings, organization, bank accounts, pastors, and all the outward machinery of a church. Yet, they were still the separationists. The faithful, loyal, and true to God remain the true church even if they are disfellowshipped or burned at the stake.

“I was shown, Oct. 2, 1868, the state of God’s professed people. [Notice this testimony is to and about the professed church which in this case is not really the true church.] Many of them were in great darkness, yet seemed to be insensible of their true condition . . . Especially is this the case in Battle Creek. Men in responsible places at the heart of the work are asleep. They are paralyzed by Satan, that his plans and devices may not be discerned while he is active to ensnare, deceive, and destroy. [Some people believe that you can be paralyzed by Satan and at the same time be a soldier of Christ in His army. Does this not approach blasphemy? Does Christ have any army over which He Himself is not in control? Would anyone say that the Lord is not able to organize and maintain a spiritual army of human beings under His own direction and control?] Those who are occupying the position of watchmen to warn the people of danger, have given up their watch, [They are not actually watchmen anymore.] and recline at ease. They are unfaithful sentinels. [They are not the faithful who compose the true church—they are unfaithful.] They have remained inactive and indolent while their wily foe has entered the fort, and works successfully by their side to tear down what God has commanded to be built up. [Is it possible for Satan to work side by side with a soldier in the true church and nothing happen?] They see that Satan is deceiving the inexperienced and unsuspecting, yet they take it all quietly, as though they had no special interest, as though these things did not concern them. They apprehend no special danger. They see no cause to raise an alarm. All to them seems to be going well, and they see no necessity of raising the faithful, trumpet tones of warning they hear in the plain testimonies borne showing the people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins . . .

“These are the true feelings of a large class in Battle Creek. Satan exults at his success in controlling the minds [Does Satan control the minds of the people of the true church of God?] of so many who profess to be Christians. He has deceived them, benumbed their sensibilities, and planted his hellish banner right in their midst, [Has the devil deceived the people of the true church and planted his hellish banner in their midst with no resistance?] and they are so completely deceived that they know not that it is he. The people have not erected graven images, yet their sin is no less in the sight of God. They worship mammon. They love worldly gain. Some will make any sacrifice of conscience to obtain their object. God’s professed people are selfish and self-caring. [Repeatedly, Ellen White tells you whom she is talking about, it is the professed people of God. They are not the true church because they are unfaithful, and are controlled, deceived, fraternizing with, and paralyzed by Satan, and have fellowship with the works of darkness.] They love the things of this world, and have fellowship with the works of darkness. They have pleasure in unrighteousness. They have not love toward God, nor love for their neighbors. They are idolaters—worse, far worse, in the sight of God, than the heathen graven-image worshipers who have no knowledge of a better way.” Appeal to the Battle Creek Church, 1–3.

Ellen White clearly states that these members of the professed church were not in reality members of the true church, not really children of God: “Christ’s followers are required to come out from the world and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they shall be sons and daughters of the Lord. If the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise of being children of the Most High God, members of the royal family.” The Southern Work, 13, 14. [For anyone who cares to investigate, the expression “royal family” is one of the definitive descriptions of who the true church is in the Spirit of Prophecy. This is therefore, a most explicit statement that these Seventh-day Adventists in Battle Creek are not part of the true church in reality.]

“A profession of Christianity is nothing in the sight of God; but true, humble, willing obedience to His requirements designates them as the children of His adoption, the recipients of His grace, the partakers of His great salvation. Such will be peculiar, a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Their peculiar, holy character will be discernible, and will distinctly separate them from the world, from its affections and lust. I saw that but few answer to this description in Battle Creek. Their love to God is in words, not in deed and in truth. Their course of action, their works testify of them, that they are not children of the light, but of darkness.” Ibid. [Notice they are not the children of God, but they are the children of the devil. To be part of the church by profession is to claim to be a child of God, but to be part of the church in reality is to be a child of God in character by obedience.] “I call upon every church in our land to look well to your own souls. [The context shows that she is using the word “church” here, as in hundreds or thousands of other places, to refer to the professed church. However, the rest of the paragraph shows that not all in the professed church are actually children of God. All of the professed church is not part of the true church.] ‘Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?’ God makes no distinction between the North and the South. Whatever may be your prejudices, your wonderful prudence, do not lose sight of this fact, that unless you put on Christ, and His Spirit dwells in you, you are slaves of sin and of Satan. Many who claim to be children of God are children of the wicked one, and have all his passions, his prejudices, his evil spirit, his unlovely traits of character. But the soul that is indeed transformed will not despise any one whom Christ has purchased with His own blood.” The Southern Work, 13, 14.

“In both the Old and the New Testament the Lord has positively enjoined upon His people to be distinct from the world, in spirit, in pursuits, in practice, to be a holy nation, a peculiar people. The east is not farther from the west than are the children of light, in customs, practices, and spirit, from the children of darkness. And this distinction will be more marked, more decided, as we near the close of time. It is not a profession of faith, or a name registered in the church book [The church book on earth is the professed church. She is not saying not to make the profession—all of the members of the true church will make the profession. The point is that profession is not enough to really be a child of God and to actually be a part of the true church.] that constitutes us children of God. It is a vital connection with Christ. We must be one with Him, imbued with His Spirit, partakers of the divine nature, crucified to the world with its affections and lusts, renewed in knowledge and true holiness.” Review and Herald, November 12, 1914. See also General Conference Bulletin, July 1, 1900, paragraph 16; General Conference Bulletin, February 4, 1893, paragraph 8; 1 John 3:7–10.

“Who are the children of God? They are members of the royal family, a royal nation, and a peculiar people, showing forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. They do not worship idols, they love God with all the heart, and their neighbors as themselves.” Review and Herald, August 1, 1893.

“Their works have been in selfishness, in unrighteousness. Their works have not been wrought in God. Their hearts are strangers to His renewing grace. They have not experienced the transforming power that leads them to walk even as Christ walked. Those who are living branches of the heavenly Vine, will partake of the sap and nourishment of the vine. They will not be withered and fruitless branches. They will show life, and vigor, and will flourish and bear fruit to the glory of God. They will be careful to depart from all iniquity, and perfect holiness in the fear of God.” For those who care to investigate, there is another parameter distinguishing between the true church in reality and those who are the true church by profession only. It is that the true church member has an inner vital connection with the true vine. The person who is a member by profession but not in reality has an outer connection but the inner vital connection is lacking. “The church [In her opening sentence she made it clear that she is talking about the professed church. The professed Seventh-day Adventist church in Battle Creek, which, according to the testimony, was not part of the true church in reality at all.] has departed from the light, neglected her duties, abused her high and exalted privileges of being peculiar and holy in character, and thereby dishonored her God, like ancient Israel. They have violated their covenant to live for God and Him only. They have joined in with the selfish and world-loving. Pride, the love of pleasure, and sin, are cherished, and Christ has departed. His Spirit has been quenched in the church.” Appeal to the Battle Creek Church, 4.

Concerning the true church in reality she says, “To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church.” Acts of the Apostles, 55. The fruit is the difference between the true church and the church by profession only. “Satan works side by side with professed Christians; yet they are so destitute of spirituality and discernment that they do not detect him. They have not the burden of the work. The solemn truths they profess to believe are not a reality to them. They have not genuine faith. Men and women will act out all the faith they in reality possess. By their fruits ye shall know them. Not their profession, but the fruit they bear, shows the character of the true.” Appeal to the Battle Creek Church, 4. Every member of the true church in reality makes an outward profession but everybody who makes a profession is not a member of the true church in reality.

The true church has sometimes had to flee, (Revelation 12:6) but it is not invisible. Every member makes an outward, public profession of faith and is baptized in a visible service. There is great confusion about this today because of false teaching. There will be many people from Babylon and from heathen countries who will be saved, but these people cannot now be described as belonging to an invisible or any other kind of church of God. (See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary vol. 5, 1121; Desire of Ages, 239, 638.)

“Many have a form of godliness, their names are upon the church records, but they have a spotted record in Heaven. The recording angel has written deeds. Their acts have been faithfully written. Every selfish act, every wrong word, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling, is faithfully chronicled in the book of records kept by the recording angel. Very many profess to be servants of Jesus Christ who are none of His. (See Romans 8:9.) They are deceiving their own souls to their own destruction. While they profess to be servants of Jesus Christ, they are not living in obedience to His will. Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; Whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Many, while professing to be servants of Jesus Christ, are obeying another master, and working daily against the Master of whom they profess to be servants.” Ibid., 5. (See also Testimonies, vol. 2, 439.)

  1. A fourth assumption is that the past approximately equals the present. Stated in a different way, what was true in the past is true today. This false assumption was one of the great deceptions in Christ’s day. The Jews thought that because God had started their organization, and instituted the temple and all its services, that what had been true in the past was still true then. They did not discern that having the oracles of truth and all the symbols of true religion was not worth anything without a change of heart. That being lineal descendants of Abraham was worthless unless conversion was experienced, “The Jewish people might have repented, if they would, but they were clothed with the garments of their own self-righteousness. They claimed to be the descendants of Abraham, and looked upon every promise made to Israel as theirs. But the Israel of God are those who are converted, not those who are the lineal descendants of Abraham. [It was this conversion experience and not the fact that they were lineal descendants of Abraham that made them the people of God, even in Old Testament times.] ‘What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.’ Romans 3:1, 2. ‘For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.’ Romans 2:28, 29.” Upward Look, 80.

“The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as he did, a life of obedience to God. They would not try to kill One who was speaking the truth that was given Him from God. In plotting against Christ, the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with Him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not His children.

This principle bears with equal weight upon a question that has long agitated the Christian world,—the question of apostolic succession. Descent from Abraham was proved, not by name and lineage, but by likeness of character. So the apostolic succession rests not upon the transmission of ecclesiastical authority, but upon spiritual relationship. A life actuated by the apostles’ spirit, the belief and teaching of the truth they taught, this is the true evidence of apostolic succession. This is what constitutes men the successors of the first teachers of the gospel.” The Desire of Ages, 466, 467.

The same false assumption is evident today. The past experience of the true and faithful in Adventism does not equal anything today unless we are true and faithful as they were. The nation of Israel according to the flesh (according to profession) cannot be equated to the true church of God. (See Romans 9:6–8.) It is the children of the promise, the spiritual children that are accounted for the seed—the true church. The children of the flesh, those who make a profession but do not fulfill their profession by their life and character, are not in reality God’s church (like Ishmael). Only the children of the promise are accounted for the seed.

So, were the Jewish rulers in Christ’s day part of the true church?

  1. They were part of the true church by profession but in character or reality “they were not His people.” The Desire of Ages, 107. They were given many opportunities to repent, return and become His people in reality, but they “cut themselves away from Him.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 293.

In the chapter on the Lord’s vineyard in Christ’s Object Lessons, Ellen White is talking about the “professed church” or the “professed people of God” and often refers to this group simply as the church, but the context shows clearly what she is talking about—“the professed followers of Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 303. She declares that the professed followers of Christ were “unfaithful” Ibid. She says that they bear Christ’s name, but they “are not under Christ’s rule.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 304. She says that “they are under the control of the enemy.” Ibid. Can anybody believe that the true and faithful children of God (His true church) are under the control of the devil? Obviously these people, part of the professed church are not in reality part of the true church. They do not have the true identifying marks even if they go to church every Sabbath. The reasons that these who profess to be members of the true church, who bear Christ’s name are actually under the control of the enemy is given in the same page: “They are not heeding His instruction [they will not listen to the counsel of the Holy Spirit given in the Spirit of Prophecy] and they are not doing His work.” Ibid. Anytime you see this you may know that those in whom these criteria develops, are under the control of Satan and are members of the true church by profession only and not in reality.

  1. The true church is defined as follows: “In holy vision, John saw the remnant church on the earth, in an age of lawlessness, and he points them out in unmistakable language: ‘Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ ” Signs of the Times, February 3, 1888. To keep the commandments of God has always been an identifying mark of the true church. But the meaning of keeping the commandments is to love God supremely and your neighbor as yourself. (See Review and Herald, November 17, 1896.) Since the Jewish rulers “did not love God” (Christ’s Object Lessons, 293), they could not possibly be described as being part of the true church.
  2. The true church from the beginning has been composed of faithful souls (Acts of the Apostles, 11). But these Jewish rulers were “unfaithful.” (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 34.)
  3. The true church is made up of the people of God but the Jewish rulers were the children of the devil. (John 8:44.) They were the children of God by profession but the children of the devil in reality or in character.

God bears long with His professed people. He gives them ample opportunities to become vitally connected with the true vine, if they choose. He gives everyone opportunity for all the tares (evil traits of character) to be uprooted from his heart so that only the wheat (the divine character traits) will be left. He gives all opportunity to develop and manifest their true character and be a member of the true church, not just by profession, but in character. But this opportunity does not go on forever. When tares go to seed, when members of the professed church of God openly demonstrate a life of sin, they are to be disfellowshipped. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 71.)

If the tares get in control of the church (the professed church), Jesus said to “let them alone.” Failure to heed this counsel resulted in the eternal destruction of millions of Jews and (would to God that He would forbid such to happen again) could indeed happen in Adventism. The destruction of Jerusalem is a faint picture of what will indeed happen in Adventism if those who make such a high profession deny such profession by their works, and fail to be sanctified by the truth and perfect holiness in the fear of God.

As we approach the final judgment (which approach has been in process since 1844—over 150 years) the tares go to seed and are removed from the field by the angels. Another name for the separation of the wheat and the tares is the shaking. We believe that this removal and separation is taking place with alarming rapidity during these closing years. When people lay down the banner of Christ and depart from the faith once delivered to the saints, they are by that very act separated from the true church, they are bound up in bundles to be burned, all the while assuming that they are part of the true church headed for glory. The deception is the very same as was upon the Jews in Christ’s day. The National Sunday Law will make it evident to the whole universe which bundle each person is part of. “Not one who is abiding in Christ will fail or fall.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 368.

Day by day each Adventist is preparing to be in one group or the other for the final roll call which will be the last phase of the shaking (the separation of the wheat from the tares). The fact that the Jewish rulers were not part of the true church and will end up in the blackness of eternal night, assumes ominous proportions when one considers the following prophecies:

“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—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control of the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious truth.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 406.

“In His Word the Lord declared what He would do for Israel if they would obey His voice. But the leaders of the people yielded to the temptations of Satan, and God could not give them the blessings He designed them to have, because they did not obey His voice but listened to the voice and policy of Lucifer. This experience will be repeated in the last years of the history of the people of God, who have been established by His grace and power. Men whom He has greatly honored will in the closing scenes of this earth’s history pattern after ancient Israel.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 379.

“The time of the judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares. Those who have been members of the same family are separated. A mark is placed upon the righteous.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 234.


Editorial — A Hard Lesson

“It has ever proved a dangerous thing for men to carry out their own will in opposition to the requirements of God. Yet it is a hard lesson for men to learn that God means what He says.” Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1000.

Some have gone so far in presumption as to claim that Christ’s warning, that He would vomit the Laodicean church out of His mouth if Laodicea did not repent, will not happen because Laodicea is the last church in the list, and therefore must go through to glory! But contrary to all deceptive theology and philosophy, “The Lord has not given so many terrible threatenings, pronounced so severe judgments in His Word, simply to have them recorded, but He means what He says.” Review and Herald, October 21, 1890.

The destiny of the church hangs on whether she receives the straight testimony to the Laodiceans. All who do not receive this strait testimony will be spewed out of Christ’s mouth:

“Unless divine power is brought into the experience of the people of God, false theories and erroneous ideas will take minds captive, Christ and His righteousness will be dropped out of the experience of many, and their faith will be without power or life. Such will not have a daily, living experience of the love of God in the heart, and if they do not zealously repent, they will be among those who are represented by the Laodiceans, who will be spewed out of the mouth of God.” Review and Herald, September 3, 1889. (See also Early Writings, 270.)

“God means what He says, ‘I want a change here.’ Will it be the same thing, going over and over the same ideas, the same committees—and here is the little throne: the king is in there,” Spaulding Magan Collection, 166. (The words “throne” and “king” are not speaking of the God of heaven but are used in a sarcastic sense for the Adventist General Conference leaders in Battle Creek who had usurped kingly power.)

“God means what He says, and He will not be trifled with. Oh! how many shortsighted, sinful mortals plead with God to induce Him to come to their terms, while if they would only yield themselves unreservedly into His hands He would compass their salvation and give them precious victories.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 112.

“The Lord does not give light on health reform that it may be disregarded by those who are in positions of influence and authority. The Lord means what He says.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 18, 1897.

“We must believe that God is in earnest with us, and that He is not to be trifled with. He means what He says, and He requires of us implicit faith and willing obedience.” The Signs of the Times, April 1, 1875.

“But in all the history of God’s dealings, it will be found that although He may bear long with the sinner, disobedience will surely meet its punishment. There are limits to the forbearance of God; there is a point at which it becomes necessary to interpose His vengeance, and visibly to rebuke the impiety of men. And it is no less apparent, that those who love and obey God’s law will realize that He means what He says, and that all His precious promises to the faithful and obedient will be fulfilled to the letter.” The Signs of the Times, December 9, 1880.

“We are in the world, where, because of their sin, our first parents lost the beautiful Eden that God had given them. Adam and Eve were placed in the garden, and were given permission to eat of every tree in the garden but one. But they ate of the forbidden fruit, and their sin opened the flood-gates of woe upon our world. From that time sin grew worse, till God destroyed the world by a flood, saving only Noah and his sons. Since that time sin has been steadily increasing. Men have not learned that God means what He says.” The Signs of the Times, May 26, 1898.

“Ask my institutions and churches, ‘Do you believe the Word of God? What then are you doing in missionary lines? Are you working with self-denial and self-sacrifice? Do you believe that the Word of God means what it says? Your actions show that you do not. How will you meet at the bar of God the countless millions who, unwarned, are passing into eternity? Will there be a second probation? No, no. This fallacy might just as well be given up at once. The present probation is all that we shall have. Do you realize that the salvation of fallen human beings must be secured in this present life, or they will be forever lost?’ ” Notebook Leaflets, 34.