The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart.” Psalms 24:1–4.

God is looking for a pure people. A people who are totally His and who have the pure character of Christ, unmixed and unadulterated by the sins and practices of the world.

“When the character of the Saviour shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim His own.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 324. The reason Christ has not yet come is because His character has not been reproduced in us. It is still mixed with impurities that should not be there. But when we represent Christ and our homes represent Christ’s home, then He will come to receive us unto Himself. It is time, brethren and sisters, that we take the impurities out of our lives and out of our homes. Shall we do it?


From time to time we hear of government inspectors finding other things in hamburgers besides beef. Some hamburger chain is trying to cut down on its costs and so they find some cheaper substance to mix with their beef. It may be a soy product or it may be a pork product, but whatever it is it should not be there and it is against the law. For when a product is labeled as “hamburger,” that signifies that it is all beef. Any added alteration makes it an adulterated product. This is what the government inspectors call it.

When you add an alteration to what something is supposed to be, it becomes adulterated or an adulteration. The dictionary says adulterate means: “To make impure by mixing in a foreign or inferior substance.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 1974.

Thought Question:

If there is not a pattern or standard for a product (if there is no label), can you alter it? Can it become adulterated?

The Home Pattern

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:22–26.

“God would have our families symbols of the family in heaven. Let parents and children bear this in mind every day, relating themselves to one another as members of the family of God. Then their lives will be of such a character as to give to the world an object lesson of what families who love God and keep His commandments may be. Christ will be glorified; His peace and grace and love will pervade the family circle like a precious perfume.” Adventist Home, 17.

The family is a symbol of heaven. Can you think of another symbol of heaven that God has given to this earth? Hebrews 8:5 says, “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Hebrews 9:23.

The sanctuary that Moses built was patterned after the exact same object which the home is patterned after. They are both patterned after and are a symbol of heaven.

Thought Question:

If you made two copies of the same thing, would they resemble each other?

Our families are to be built upon heaven’s plan and this Divine Plan for our families is graphically illustrated in the sanctuary. In fact, as the home is copied after heaven, as illustrated in the sanctuary, the home becomes a miniature sanctuary itself: a place patterned after heaven so closely that it becomes a little heaven on earth where God meets with His children.

God said: “And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8. “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?” Psalms 77:13.

“The subject of the sanctuary . . . should be clearly understood by the people of God.…Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.” The Great Controversy, 488.

God’s way, His Divine pattern, is found in the sanctuary. This is where He meets in a special way with His people. As our homes copy this pattern, they in-turn become miniature sanctuaries and God in-turn meets in a special way with its occupants there.

“From the sacredness which was attached to the earthly sanctuary, Christians may learn how they should regard the place where the Lord meets with His people. . . . The house is the sanctuary for the family.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 491.

Adventists used to be known as the Sabbath and Sanctuary people. The sanctuary was so important that it was the very first thing God presented and enjoined upon us as a people—even before the Sabbath message. We used to preach and preach and preach about the sanctuary, but now it has become almost a dead subject to some members.

Let us look at heaven’s pattern and maybe we will see some alterations that have been added in our families and in our homes.

The Sanctuary

Who was allowed in the different areas of the sanctuary?

Court…………………… Israelites

Holy Place ………………… Priests

Most Holy Place ……. High Priest

It is noteworthy to observe that the further into the sanctuary you go, the more beautiful, luxurious, and holy it becomes and the more exclusive it becomes. The Most Holy place was filled with gold and tapestries and exquisite workmanship which radiated with untold glory.

And what was it that kept other people out of the respective places? The veil. The veil was a curtain that hung in front of each compartment to keep people out who should not be in. The veil, or curtain, that was rent from top to bottom at the time of Christ’s death, signified that there was no more sanctity in the Most Holy Place. Without the veil, there was no sanctity or holiness! The veil kept out what was not supposed to be there. It kept out any added alteration: any adultery. The veil provided the protection that maintained the purity and holiness within.

No Guided Tours

Once upon a time there was a very good king in Judah. The Bible says that “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 26:4. His name was Uzziah and because he was such a good king the Lord permitted him to reign a very long time and gave him prosperity all around. No king since Solomon had been so prosperous and no king had ruled longer. “He sought God…(and) God made him to prosper.” “And God helped him against the Philistines.…And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.” “And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong.”
2 Chronicles 26:5, 7, 8, 15.

He was a professional. He was the king. He had rights and privileges which no one questioned. So one day, he decided he wanted a guided tour of the temple. He wanted to see what all was in there. He wanted to take part in its services. The priests, not seeming to understand his profession and authority, tried to dissuade him, but he would not be turned aside from his heart’s desire.

Uzziah took the “censer in his hand to burn incense . . . (and) leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the incense alter. . . . And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 26: 19, 21.

What a severe punishment! And for one who had been so good for so long! But God said there would be no guided tours of the holy sanctuary. Only certain people were to go beyond the veils and anyone else was an added alteration to God’s heavenly plan.

Thought Question:

Why were these curtains covering things up? Why were others not allowed to go in? Was it because there was something bad going on in there? Why was only the High Priest allowed in the Most Holy place? Was there something “dirty” and unholy about the service?


No! It was quite the opposite. (There are doors that do cover up things because they are unholy and “dirty” but that is not the case here.) These veils formed a sacred enclosure. Within each enclosure was found a more intimate and personal relationship with God until the high priest himself, alone, stood personally face to face before God.

It was totally holy for the right people, but totally unholy for all others. But remember, the sanctuary is but a symbol of heaven and of heaven’s relationship with us (like the home is).

Each individual can have a sanctuary relationship with God. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 491.) Each individual can have the same personal relationship with God that the high priest illustrated. Each of us can enjoy all of God’s riches as though they were meant just for us. Each of us can receive the blessing of Christ’s sacrifice as though it was done just for us.

“The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.” Steps to Christ, 100. That is worth memorizing!

And as the sanctuary represents Christ’s plan of government—His love—for us, so our homes and families do the same thing. “Through the… deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He [God] has sought to reveal Himself to us.” Ibid., 10.

What are the “deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know?” Mrs. White says that “The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth.” The Ministry of Healing, 356.

As in the sanctuary, so there are certain expressions of love and service that are perfectly proper within the church but which would be improper outside of the church body—such as foot washing. This is represented by the court.

Within the family there is more intimacy and devotion that is sacred and holy—but only as it remains in the family. This is like the Holy Place of the sanctuary.

But it remains for the husband and wife to receive the full glory of intimacy—and only within the veil. Is this exclusiveness because there is something that is unholy about marriage and its ordinances of love and service? No, Paul says:

“Marriage is honourable in all [some religions teach that it is not], and the bed undefiled; but [he quickly adds] whoremongers and adulterers [ones that have added alterations to the marriage—added a person that should not be there] God will judge [as He did Uzziah].” Hebrews 13:4.

Within the Most Holy

Within the Most Holy Place of the family, God would teach us that we are to give our allegiance to only one. We are to be all to God and He will be all to us. And so there is to be only one man for each woman and only one woman for each man. They are to be all to each other. (See Adventist Home, 177; 1 Corinthians 7:3, 4.)

“For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to
his wife: And they twain (2) shall be
one flesh?” Matthew 19:5. (To see how this teaches us about God, read
John 17:21–23.)

Christ said that they twain shall be one. Not they three or they four but they twain. Any third party to this union is an added alteration that is contrary to the pattern (or label). Around this sacred institution God has placed a “sacred circle” to maintain its purity and any third person makes it impure.

Thought Question:

Who all are excluded from this principle? Kings? Professionals? Friends? Parents?

(For further reading, read what Mrs. White says about physicians preserving “those barriers of reserve [the sacred veil] that should exist between men and women” in Counsels on Health, 363–365.)

Around every married couple and around every family God has put a veil, a sacred circle, which must be preserved. “There is a sacred circle around every family which should be preserved. No other one has any right in that sacred circle. The husband and wife should be all to each other. The wife should have no secrets to keep from her husband and let others know, and the husband should have no secrets to keep from his wife to relate to others. The heart of his wife should be the grave for the faults of the husband, and the heart of the husband the grave for his wife’s faults. Never should either party indulge in a joke at the expense of the other’s feelings. Never should either the husband or wife in sport or in any other manner complain of each other to others, for frequently indulging in this foolish and what may seem perfectly harmless joking will end in trial with each other and perhaps estrangement. I have been shown that there should be a sacred shield around every family.

“The home circle should be regarded as a sacred place, a symbol of heaven, a mirror in which to reflect ourselves. Friends and acquaintances we may have, but in the home life they are not to meddle. A strong sense of proprietorship should be felt, giving a sense of ease, restfulness, trust.” Adventist Home, 177.

“And they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain; but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Matthew 19:5, 6. God formed the union between man and woman in the garden of Eden. It was one of the two sacred institutions that were established even before sin.

God made man and woman with certain essential characteristics which would draw them together into this circle of love—into partnership—into being one.

God made man to notice (his wife!)

God made woman to be noticed (by her husband!)

It is as this plan is carried out in the home that the two become one. This is sacred and holy within the Most Holy Place of the home. But God made this blending to be carried on between two people, only, and around these two people he has put a sacred veil. Any third party within this enclosure is an added person and is adultery.

Thought Question:

God made man to notice his wife. Would the husband noticing another woman be, in actuality, introducing a third party into the relationship—and therefore committing adultery?

Christ understood this principle (for He had established it). He said: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28.

Have you ever wondered why Christ did not mention women looking at men, but only men looking at women? This is man’s special problem, not woman’s. When a woman looks at another man, she is hoping that he will notice her.

God put into man the desire to notice his wife and any third party is adultery. (And any “third party” attraction of the husband lessens the attraction he should have for his wife.)

And yet, just as Satan has perverted the Sabbath institution so he has perverted the marriage institution. The seventh commandment is just as rarely kept today as the fourth. But those who go to heaven will be keepers of the commandments; the seventh as well as the fourth.

All around the devil has attractions which lead men to look at and notice other women than their wives. The whole television industry is built upon immorality—upon showing attractive women to catch men’s attention. Immorality is so common today that we take it for granted. But the chosen, peculiar people of God are going to be a pure, unadulterated people; keepers of the seventh commandment. They are likened to virgins. (Revelation 14:4.)

But if any man is going to escape the corruption that is in the world, he is going to have to have a veil in front of his eyes! We will have to be as a people that have ears and hear not and have eyes and see not.

Christ said that if you do not have this veil in front of your eyes, it would be better to cut out your eyes—because that would be the only way that you could be saved.

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Matthew 5:29.

The television “eye” in the living room is more precious to many people than would be their own right eye. But most people, if they are ever going to be saved at all, are going to have to cut this eye out from their life—because most of us do not have a good enough veil to block all the “third party” sexuality that comes over the screen. (Plus there are other commandments that are broken on television.)

The beginning of Lucifer’s fall was the desire to invade the sacred veil that enshrouded the Father and the Son. He wanted to be included in their councils and to be a third party into their relationship. We must learn to respect the veil God has put around man and woman before we can be trusted in heaven.

A Woman’s Problem Too

Listen! Do you think this is only a man’s problem. No, it is just as much a woman’s problem but it is in a different area. Because God made man to notice and He made woman to be noticed. The woman’s problem is in seeking to be noticed rather than in noticing!

The man’s veil must be in front of his eyes, but the woman’s veil must be in front of her body and conduct. The woman’s dress and demeanor are her covering veil (not a wedding ring—that does not cover nearly enough).

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.” 1 Peter 3:1–5.

Notice that after telling women to be subject to their “own husbands” Peter immediately goes into the dress question and into conduct and the “adorning” and “putting on of apparel” and “chaste conversation.” These are a woman’s veil.

And remember, did the veil around the temple say to “come in” or “stay out”? The woman must resist the attentions and attractions of “third party” men or she is allowing a third party into the marriage relation and is also committing adultery.

“Any woman who will allow the addresses of another man than her husband, who will listen to his advances and whose ears will be pleased with the outpouring of lavish words of affection, of adoration, of endearment, is an adulteress and a harlot.” Testimonies to Ministers, 434.

Have you ever wondered why the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy talk so much about woman’s dress and not about man’s? It is for the same reason that the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy talk so much about man’s “eyes” and not about woman’s. They each have their particular veil to keep, in order to preserve the sanctity of the marriage. And the devil has made it equally hard on each of them.

Have you, as a man, ever wondered why women have such a problem with their dress—but do you always guard your eyes? Or do you as a woman ever wonder why men have such a problem with their eyes—and yet, you have not mastered the dress problem?

A woman’s demeanor and dress are her veil. What would you think of someone in the sanctuary taking a pair of scissors and cutting off some of the veil in front of the Most Holy Place? Think about it.

The Home Is a Symbol of Heaven

Let us now remember, that as the sanctuary is a symbol of heaven, so is the home. As in the home there is to be no “third party” in the marriage relation, so there is to be no third party in our relation with God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3.

God is all sufficient. He wants to be all to us (as the wife and husband are to be to each other. (Adventist Home, 177.) God wants us to have an exclusive relationship with Him only. No courting with the devil. No enticing glances. No attracting. No lust.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. It is time to break away from our besetting sins and become wholly married to God. Then He will come back and claim us as His own.

The Lord is waiting to reproduce His character in us and to reproduce His home in ours; to establish His sanctuary in our midst. “And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, [they will have sanctified homes], when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” Ezekiel 37:28. When the sanctuary is reproduced in our homes and in our church, then Christ “will come to claim His own.”

As We Near the End of Time, Part IV

In this series, we have been dealing with unscriptural marriages. There are two or three other points that we need to consider as well. I apologize that these topics are so sensitive, but our God is a holy God, and we must come up to the standard that He has set for the way that we think, feel, act, and talk.

Fornication and Adultery

We should be balanced and look at all sides of an issue. How does the church deal with the sin of fornication and adultery? Ellen White wrote a number of statements about this. A few will be given in this article. She says: “We are nearing the judgment, and those who bear the message of warning to the world must have clean hands and pure hearts. They must have a living connection with God. The thoughts must be pure and holy, the soul untainted, the body, soul, and spirit [must] be a pure, clean offering to God, or He will not accept it. . . .

“The youth, for misdemeanors of a comparatively light character, are treated with much severity. But when men and women of large experience, who have been considered patterns of piety, are revealed in their true character—unsanctified, unholy, impure in thought, debased in conduct—then it is time for such to be dealt with in a decided manner. The greater forbearance that is exercised toward them has only had, as far as my knowledge extends, the influence to cause them to regard their fornication and adultery as a very light matter, and all their pretense has proved to be like morning dew when the sun shines upon it. . . .

“Cleanse the camp of this moral corruption, if it takes the highest men in the highest positions. God will not be trifled with. Fornication is in our ranks. I know it, for it has been shown me to be strengthening and extending its pollutions. There is much we will never know, but that which is revealed makes the church responsible and guilty unless they show a determined effort to eradicate the evil. Cleanse the camp for there is an accursed thing in it.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 235–237. Friends, do not look at some other church, some other organization. This applies to us in the Historic Adventist movement. We have the problem!

Don’t be a Pharisee

Then she says this about people who have been ministers: “I have no real ground of hope for those who have stood as shepherds to the flock, and have for years been borne with by the merciful God, following them with reproof, with warnings, with entreaties, but who have hid their evil ways, and continued in them, thus defying the laws of the God of heaven by practicing fornication. We may leave them to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling [Philippians 2:12], after all has been done to reform them, but in no case entrust to them the guardianship of souls.” Ibid., 237. That is a strong statement, with which we must come into harmony. Notice she does not say they have committed the unpardonable sin. If we look at the context, she is not talking about someone who has been a repeat offender.

“I am compelled to deal plainly and rebuke sin, and then I have it in my heart, placed there by the Spirit of Christ, to labor in faith in tender sympathy and compassion for the erring. I will not let them alone.” Ibid., 241. She is talking about people who are in the situation she just described. They cannot serve as pastors anymore, she says, but she cannot let them alone. She did not have the heart of a Pharisee; she wanted the people involved in that degradation to be saved. We have to pray that the Lord will help us not to go into the ditch on either side of the road. In one ditch (Babylon) we just let things go, let them continue to happen, and in the other ditch (Phariseeism), we just cast the offenders away to be lost. “I will not leave them to become the sport of Satan’s temptations. I will not myself act the part of the adversary of souls, as is represented by Joshua and the Angel. Souls cost the price of my Redeemer’s blood.” Ibid.

When Jesus was here, He was successful in saving a lot of the people whom the Pharisees had totally given up on and said there was no hope of them ever having salvation. When we read The Desire of Ages, or other Ellen White books, she mentions the man in Matthew 9 who was paralyzed, the man who was healed by the pool of Bethesda (see John 5), and the woman taken in adultery (see John 8). Jesus saved a lot of these seemingly hopeless people. We have to pray and ask the Lord to help us to not be like Babylon and just let anything go, and at the same time to help us to bring salvation to all of the sinners we can.

Mrs. White continues: “Our probation is short at best. We have no time to spend in indulging corrupt impulses. The familiarity of married men with married women and young girls is disgusting in the sight of God and holy angels. The forwardness of young girls in placing themselves in the company of young men, hanging around where they are at work, entering into conversation with them, talking common, idle talk, is belittling to womanhood. It lowers them, even in the estimation of those who themselves do such things.

“There is a positive necessity for reform in all our institutions. All frivolity, all undue attention of men and women, must be condemned and discontinued. Some, even married men, who have indulged in this trifling familiarity, have endeavored to excuse themselves and escape censure by claiming that they have done no moral wrong. Was it no moral wrong to jest, joke, and pay flattering attentions to young women? Are you not starting in their minds a train of thought which it is impossible for you to change? Do you not by your levity and coquetry, sanction such conduct?” Ibid., 245, 246.

Church Action

Then she talks about the danger of the entire church, and this is something about which we need to study and pray—the danger of the entire church bringing the frown of God upon them because they will not act. “I saw that the seventh commandment [Exodus 20:14] has been violated by some who are now held in fellowship by the church. This has brought God’s frown upon them. This sin is awful in these last days, but the church [members] have brought God’s frown and curse upon them by regarding the sin so lightly. I saw that it was an enormous sin and there have not been as vigilant efforts made as there should have been to satisfy the displeasure of God and remove His frown by taking a strict, thorough course with the offender.

“It has had an awful, corrupting influence upon the young. They see how lightly the sin of breaking the seventh commandment is regarded, and the one who commits this horrid sin thinks that all he has to do is to confess that he was wrong and is sorry, and he is then to have all of the privileges of the house of God and be held in [the] embrace or fellowship of the church.

“They have thought it was not so great a sin, but have lightly esteemed the breaking of the seventh commandment. This has been sufficient to remove the ark of God from the camp, if there were no other sins to cause the ark to be taken away and weaken Israel. [See 1 Samuel 4:10, 11.]

“Those who break the seventh commandment should be suspended from the church, and not have its fellowship nor the privileges of the house of God. Said the angel, ‘This is not a sin of ignorance. It is a knowing sin and will receive the awful visitation of God, whether he who commits it be old or young.’

“Never was this sin regarded by God as being so exceedingly sinful as at the present time. Why? Because God is purifying unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [Titus 2:14.] It is at the very time when God is purifying this peculiar people unto Himself that [unsanctified] individuals step in among us. Notwithstanding the straight truths they have heard—the terrors of the Word of God set before them, and all the blazing truth for these last days calculated to arouse Israel—they sin with a high hand, give way to all the loose passions of the carnal heart, gratify their animal propensities, disgrace the cause of God, and then confess they have sinned and are sorry!

“And the church receives them and says ‘Amen’ to their prayers and exhortations, which are a stink in the nostrils of God, and cause His wrath to come upon the camp. He will not dwell in their assemblies. [This sin in the camp will prevent us from receiving the Holy Spirit.] Those who move on thus heedlessly, plastering over these sins, will be left to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings.

“Those who anciently committed these sins were taken without the camp and stoned to death. Temporal and eternal death was their doom; and because the penalty of stoning to death is abolished, this sin is indulged in beyond measure and is thought to be a small offense.” Ibid., 248, 249. If we continue to allow such sin and do not act against it, then we are going to become a sister to Babylon.

More Than Discipline

Now let us look at the other side. We must do something more than just have strict discipline. How much farther must we go? First of all, after a person has been in this kind of situation, if they come to repentance and go straight for a period of time, demonstrating that their repentance is genuine, Mrs. White said that they could be restored.

“In regard to the case of the injured Sister A. G., we would say in reply to the questions of J. H. W., that it is a feature in the cases of most who have been overtaken in sin, as her husband has, that they have no real sense of their villainy. Some, however, do, and are restored to the church, but not till they have merited the confidence of the people of God by unqualified confessions, and a period of sincere repentance.” Ibid., 250. Some people actually do have sincere and genuine repentance, and it is demonstrated in their subsequent life.

If someone has a problem that we do not have, it is always easy for us, as human beings, to criticize them for their problem and not realize that we might have a different problem that is even worse. In Jesus’ day the Pharisees criticized the kinds of individuals about which we have just read. Jesus told the Pharisees that they were even worse. Concerning this, Ellen White wrote, in 1902, “Let those who condemn others take heed to themselves lest they be condemned by God for Phariseeism.” Ibid., 265.

There is Hope!

There will be some, as they read this, who will ask, Is there any hope for me? There is hope! Jesus can save the most hardened sinner, if that person is willing to come and submit and surrender to Him.

The Spirit of Prophecy gives us an example of a man who had long continued in sin. He was a married man, but he had a mistress for a very long time. He was growing old, and Ellen White told him he did not have very much longer to live. She wrote letters to both this man and to his mistress. The letter that she wrote to him shows that there is hope for people who have been trapped in the pit of sin by the devil’s temptations. She wrote: “You have a work to do for your own soul. Make haste, or it will be forever too late. God will now forgive the scarlet sin if you will do those things you ought to do to make your wrongs right. I do not say your case is hopeless, but you have certainly almost sinned away your day of grace; and yet Jesus is in the sanctuary. Jesus pleads in your behalf. Your brethren and your sisters have labored much for you; so much interest have they manifested for you that you have regarded crime and sins as a light matter. But Jesus loves you, and I present or lift up Jesus before you.

“Satan tells you that it is not best for you to cease sinning, you have gone so far in disobedience and transgression that it is no use for you to try to come back to God. While I feel that full disgrace of your sins is upon you, while I would have you see sin as it is, I would all the time present Jesus as a sin-pardoning Saviour.

“The sands of your life are nearly run out, and now if you will come to God just as you are, without one plea but that He has died to save the chiefest of sinners, you will find pardon even in this the eleventh hour. Man must cooperate with God. Christ did not die to have the power to cover transgression unrepented of and unconfessed. Not all sins are to be confessed publicly, but some are to be confessed alone to God and the parties that have been injured. . . .

“The robes of Christ’s righteousness never cover cherished sins. No one can enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb without the wedding garment on, which is the righteousness of Christ. Without holiness no man shall see God. God is waiting to give divine power to every soul to combine with human effort. ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.’ [Philippians 2:12.]” Ibid., 133, 134.

I do not know what happened in this case. Salvation involves our personal decision. There were people in Ellen White’s day that she said if they were saved, they would have to be saved alone. They could not be in the fellowship of the church because of what they had done; they would drag the reputation of the whole church down before the world. But they could still be saved. (See Ibid., 249, 250.) We serve a Saviour; we have a Mediator who is all powerful!

When people have fallen, we must not do what Babylon does. We must not just turn our head and pretend nothing is happening. On the other hand, we have to ask the Lord to teach us and show us what to do so that these people can be saved. They may have to be disfellowshipped from the church. Ellen White said that these people who have committed adultery have to be suspended from church fellowship.

Strive to Understand

“When one at fault becomes conscious of his error, be careful not to destroy his self-respect. Do not discourage him by indifference or distrust. Do not say, ‘Before giving him my confidence, I will wait to see whether he will hold out.’ Often this very distrust causes the tempted one to stumble.

“We should strive to understand the weakness of others. We know little of the heart trials of those who have been bound in chains of darkness and who lack resolution and moral power. Most pitiable is the condition of him who is suffering under remorse; he is as one stunned, staggering, sinking into the dust. He can see nothing clearly. The mind is beclouded; he knows not what steps to take. Many a poor soul is misunderstood, unappreciated, full of distress and agony—a lost, straying sheep. He cannot find God, yet he has an intense longing for pardon and peace.” Ibid., 260, 261.

That is what we need to understand. Have we not had chains of sins that we have had to go to the Lord and plead that He set us free? Others, in and out of the church, who are bound surround us, and we need to consider them as they really are. Someone may say, “It is their choice.” Yes, it is, but the devil has them bound in slavery from which they can never get free unless the Lord delivers them.

If we are going to stay on the narrow road and go all the way to the Holy City, we cannot fall off into the ditch on one side or the other. We have to ask the Lord to help us not go into the ditch on either side.

We are Weak

Whatever our natural weaknesses, Christ has made provision. “For all the natural weaknesses Jesus has made ample provision, that they may be overcome through His grace.” Ibid., 91. We are the weakest generation there has ever been. We are weak morally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Remember, the apostle Paul had an affliction. He thought this affliction would be taken away, if he would earnestly pray for its removal. (See 11 Corinthians 12.) Jesus told him to not talk to Him anymore about it. The Lord did not take it away, but He told the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” [Verse 9.] Although we are weak and sinful, there is grace sufficient for us, if we will come to Jesus, surrender to Him, and ask for it.

Jesus made a wonderful assertion to His disciples, just before His ascension: “All authority in heaven and upon the earth is given to Me.” Matthew 28:18. The devil does not want us to know that, because he knows, if we fully realize and recognize that we serve a Mediator who is all-powerful, that the bondage, the shackles of sin, will be broken in our lives. Whatever your weakness, however you have fallen, whatever your past has been, whatever situation you are in right now, Jesus says, ‘All authority is given to Me in heaven and earth.’ We serve an all-powerful Mediator, and in the situations in which we find ourselves today, we need that Mediator. We need His power and His grace in our personal lives, in our homes, and in the church.

Another wonderful promise, which I have pondered and claimed many times, is: “He is able to save perfectly those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession on their behalf.” Hebrews 7:25. If we are clear at the bottom, in a hopeless situation, there is Someone who is able to save us perfectly—to bring us to perfect holiness, to perfect purity! He is in the business of solving impossible problems.

Whatever our situations may be—in our church, in our marriage, in our family—they may be so complicated that we have to do as Mrs. White said and leave them to the Lord. But the Lord that we are going to leave them to is all-powerful, and He can solve the problem if we are willing to surrender all to Him.

For those of you who are suffering because of something you have done in the past or that your spouse has done in the past, I want you to remember the promise in Matthew 19:29. If you are suffering because you decided to stand for the right and your spouse decided to divorce you because you did that, remember this; Jesus told His followers: “Whatever you suffer, whatever you lose in this world for My sake, you will receive a hundred-fold, plus eternal life.” That is a promise to which you can cling. There is going to be a payday someday, and if you hang on, even if you are suffering, and you commit your life to Christ and choose to follow Him, He is going to reward you for your faithfulness to Him. Do not give up because you are suffering and let the devil trick you into going back out into the world. The Lord is a better paymaster; He is a better master all the way around. Stick to Him; give your life to Him, and ask Him to lead you through all the difficult experiences you may have.

Pastor Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life Ministry and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas.

The Ten Commandments, Part XIV – ’Til Death Do us Part’

In this series, we have been studying the Ten Commandments as recorded in Deuteronomy 5, and we have discovered that there are some changes and some additions in comparison to Exodus 20. Deuteronomy 5 is a pastoral rendering of the law by Moses in one of his Sabbath sermons to the children of Israel, just before they crossed over the Jordan River.

In this article, we will be studying the seventh commandment as found in Deuteronomy 5:18. In this text, it contains one extra word from that which is recorded in Exodus 20:14. “Neither shalt thou commit adultery.” The additional word is neither, which connects this text to the commandment that is given in verse 17: “Thou shalt not kill.”

The first three commandments given in the second table are very specific in their order. They center around the home and on the lives of those who make up the home. The fifth commandment, you may recall, tells us how we are to relate to that place, to those people, where life begins and where relationships have their origin—the home. The sixth commandment unfolds the sacredness of human life.

Just as the sixth commandment points to the value of human life, the seventh commandment points to the place of sexuality in human life. Writing on this commandment, one biblical scholar stated that sexuality is enormously wondrous and enormously dangerous. The danger of sexuality is that it is capable of evoking desires that are destructive of persons and of communal relations.

When the ancient Israelites interpreted the commandment about adultery, they understood it in a very limited sense: it was a prohibition against sexual relations with the wife of another man. The violation of another man’s wife was viewed so seriously that it was a capital offense. Leviticus 20:10 reads, “And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man’s wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

A Sacred Gift

Human life centers in more than just one person; it centers in two people—the male and the female. Each is uniquely different, but when they are brought together, the Bible tells us, they become “one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. They form a beautifully composed unit of oneness. Human sexuality is a gift from God that is sacred and that is meant to be reserved for nurturing the lives of a man and a woman together into the bonds of an everlasting unity. The seventh commandment deals with the guarding of that relationship of oneness from any outside source of interference, so that the happiness and the perpetuity of the home and the family can be maintained on the earth.

God made provision for everything that would affect the human family so as to promote the greatest safety and harmony. The most intimate, the most binding, the most sacred of all human relationships is marriage, and it is upon this relationship that the very existence and the perpetuity of the human race depend. Marriage is a divine ordinance, older than any other human institution. Marriage is older than man’s fall and sin. Marriage is as old as Eden and the creation of man and woman.

After God had finished the creation of all animal life on the sixth day, He saw that “it was very good.” Genesis 1:31. When God said that “it was very good,” this included everything about the human creation. It included the very fact that God has placed in His Law a commandment that deals with sexuality. Sexuality is very good, as far as God’s pronouncement is concerned. What has happened, however, is that sexuality, as a result of sin, has become something nasty and bad in the minds of many people, and it is taught and perpetuated that way.


In Genesis 1:28, God commands the first man and woman whom He created to “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth.” The process of obeying this command is a sexual process—man and woman, sperm and egg, coming together in union form a new creature, ordained by God, blessed by God through the sanctity of marriage. No problem was considered that would affect this process, until sin came on the scene. When sin entered the Garden of Eden, almost immediately a shame came upon Adam and Eve, the Bible says, because “they were naked.” Genesis 3:7. Selfishness set in, and the divine plan that God had ordained turned into human purpose and was driven by human emotions. Adultery is the supreme example of selfishness—I need this for me; my wife or my husband does not meet my needs.

Great changes began to take place in that which God had pronounced as “very good.” One of the human family became subjugated by the other. Man held the rule, and woman became subjugated by man. God’s plan was distorted. The earth became wicked and violent, and, as a result of that violence, God destroyed everything upon the earth except that which was contained in the ark.

God designed the commandment that forbids adultery for the human family to protect husband and wife and to safeguard the rearing of children who had respect for God and for the human race. The seventh commandment is in God’s Law for this purpose.

A Sensitive Subject

Sex is a very sensitive subject because we have been subjected to unbalanced and false information. Very early on, in the Christian church, tampering began to take place, as far as sexuality was concerned, in the human mind. The church began to tamper with other commandments, and we know the result of that as far as the Sabbath/Sunday issue is concerned. We, as Seventh-day Adventists, have focused on that aspect of the tampering of the commandments. But, in reality, even though the wording of the seventh commandment was not tampered with, the understanding and the application of sexuality in the human family was.

By the fifth century, a monk in the Catholic Church by the name of Augustine began to set the tone for Christian thinking that would continue for centuries. Orders of monks came into being as well as convents for nuns and a distorted view of what God had pronounced “very good.” They began to teach and believe that chastity was the most favored position that the human race could hold. Such beliefs were taught in the schools of the church. The leaders began to destroy any and all documents and arts that had any reference to sexual matters. This is why, to a large extent in the European areas where Catholic influence has been felt, we have very little understanding of sexuality in earlier centuries. We have to go into areas where the Catholic influence was not felt to really understand the teachings that were going on at that time.

Out of this period came the Victorian era. The Victorian era is responsible for negatively impacting more people psychologically than perhaps any other era that has come to pass in this earth’s history. Today, we are still feeling the results of the Victorian era concerning sexuality. Generally, the first references children hear regarding their sexual organs are terms such as icky pooh and nasty. That comes from the Victorian mentality, and such thoughts have messed up innumerable people.

So, sex is indeed a very sensitive subject, because we have never fully understood what the Bible has to say about sex. We have never been able to come completely out of the Victorian era, which contended that sex is wrong, that it should not be preached about or discussed.

In Your Heart

Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:27, 28.

Jesus expands on these verses from the Sermon on the Mount telling what this commandment is prohibiting. It is not just the overt behavior of adultery that is being prohibited, but also the very disposition within us that underlies such behavior—the lust within us that gives rise to the kind of leers that veritably “undress” another person in order to feed the fires of our fantasized desires.

If you admire something long enough, you will soon want it. And if you want something long enough and bad enough, you will probably find a way to get it. We need to be careful, because sin starts in the mind. So the sin begins in looking and in thinking about that which is forbidden. The mind is the incubator of almost every deed that is done.

Ellen White counsels: “Our meditations should be such as will elevate the mind. ‘Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’ [Philippians 4:8.] Here is a wide field in which the mind can safely range. If Satan seeks to turn it to low and sensual things, bring it back. When corrupt imaginings seek to gain possession of your mind, flee to the throne of grace, and pray for strength from heaven. By the grace of Christ it is possible for us to reject impure thoughts. Jesus will attract the mind, purify the thoughts, and cleanse the heart from every secret sin. ‘The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God; . . . casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ [11 Corinthians 10:4, 5.]” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 136.

Adultery Lifestyles

Adultery is more than living a Clinton lifestyle. There is long distance adultery; the Internet opens up the possibilities for cyber adultery. This is a sin. Imagine spending hours tantalizing and playing with another human. And how do you even know if you are talking to a male or a female? If a married person allows his or her mind to fantasize about another person, they are playing with a fire that might just burn up their marriage. Your marriage gets torched when you are in the chat room dabbling with another person. Do not play with fire unless you want to spend some time in the burn unit. You know, I am sure, when the burn unit will occur. The New Testament is just as clear as the Old Testament when it says that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians 5:21.) Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers will be in the kingdom of heaven. The Bible is very plain on this.

Another kind of adultery is pornographic adultery. You get burned when you allow your mind to feast on pornographic images, which come onto your computer screen or into your mailbox. You need to avoid these temptations. Job had it figured out, when he said, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” Job 31:1. That is a good covenant to make.

We need to eliminate anything that stirs us up with this type of temptation. Maybe we need to clean out the magazines in our houses. Maybe we need to get rid of some of the videos in our houses. Maybe we need to call the cable company and cancel certain channels, or, better yet, get rid of the television! We need to get our Bibles and read them.

Heed the counsel given in 1 Corinthians 7:2, 3: “Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.”

And then there’s another type of adultery. We would call it premarital adultery, or fornication or cohabitation. Did you know that individuals who cohabit and then marry are 33 percent more likely to divorce than if they had not?

Purity is also expected if you are unmarried. Fornication includes those who live together before marriage. A girl who is shacked up with her boyfriend is very likely to suffer physical abuse. A child who lives in such a home with his or her mother’s boyfriend is 73 times more vulnerable to experience fatal abuse than a normal child. (See Maggie Gallagher, The Abolition of Marriage, Regnery Publishing, Washington, D.C., 1996, 31.)


Adultery does have consequences that are not usually shown in the fictitious world of movies, television soaps, or make-believe stories and books. Those things teach us that adultery is all love and fun, and everything is fine. But, I will tell you that eternal life is certainly jeopardized. Health is endangered. Happiness is squandered. Your reputation is cheapened. Your marriage is often irreparably destroyed. Your children suffer the consequences for generations to come. Your family name will be dragged into the dirt. Can you really afford adultery?

Breaking the seventh commandment produces broken homes and poverty. Almost 75 percent of American children living in fatherless households will experience poverty before the age of 11, compared to only 20 percent of those raised by two parents. Such children tend to drop out of school and develop emotional or behavioral problems, commit suicide and fall victim to child abuse or neglect. Males from such households are more likely to become violent criminals. In fact, men who have grown up without dads currently represent 70 percent of the prison population serving long-term sentences. (See Michael G. Moriarty, The Perfect 10, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1999, 113.)

Consider as well the other commandments that are broken when adultery occurs. Adultery is stealing; it steals the love from another; it steals someone’s spouse away. Adultery destroys trust, and jeopardizes the family. Adultery is a living lie. It is done without the knowledge of the spouse. Adultery is coveting someone who does not belong to you.

A Symbol

In faithful, lifelong committed relationships—those in which the partners say, and really mean, “ ’til death do us part”—we have the opportunity to mirror something that is divine. We have the opportunity to mirror in our own relationships that same quality of faithfulness with which, throughout our lives, God relates to us.

By being faithful to your spouse, you are enhancing your ability to be faithful to God. The purpose of the seventh commandment is to build an atmosphere where two people can experience the highest joy and deepest intimacy as they both grow more and more into the fullness of the image of Jesus Christ. God’s commitment and fidelity to us is eternal. He created us, too, for fidelity. God wants to protect that bond, but Satan works overtime to destroy the Christian home, because it represents that connection.

This seventh commandment is about chastity, faithfulness, and the overcoming of lust. Yet the truth of the matter is that these qualities in our relationships are too difficult for us to accomplish all on our own. You see, the rest of society is just too heavily invested in tempting us away from these. So to come anywhere near succeeding at them, we need to understand the value and worth of chastity, faithfulness, and the overcoming of lust, and ask God to help us obtain and maintain His virtue in our lives each day.

“Let every one who desires to be a partaker of the divine nature, appreciate the fact that he must escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. There must be a constant, earnest struggling of the soul against the evil imaginings of the mind. There must be a steadfast resistance of temptation to sin in thought or act.” Review and Herald, June 12, 1888.

The apostle Paul writes, in 1 Thessalonians 4:3: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality.”

To be continued . . .

A retired minister of the gospel, Pastor Mike Baugher may be contacted by e-mail at: landmarks@stepstolife.org.

Immorality Before Crossing the Jordan

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

God said in five words what others take many thousands to explain.

Martin Luther’s right hand man, Melanchthon, once said that the Bible must first be understood grammatically before it can be understood theologically. In other words, we must first determine what the words are, then determine what those words mean individually and only then can it be determined what those words mean compositely. Only after that groundwork has been done can we then deduce a theological meaning.

The word Thou is of the second person pronoun which can be either singular or plural. In other words, it is you, the second person. The word shalt, or shall, in the more familiar English, is a strong assertion or an intention, you shall.

The word not is added to any auxiliary verb in the English language and forms the negation of that verb. You will not do this. The word commit means to carry out, to accomplish.

The fifth and final word is adultery. Mr. Webster defines adultery as a violation of the marriage bed via sexual intercourse, unchastity. God therefore commands that you will not violate the marriage bed, you will not be unchaste, you will not be immoral. You will not be licentious. It is very interesting to note that the very command, you will not do this, implies that you can. What would be the purpose in God commanding something that we could not do? When we talk about the moral law of God, God is asking us either to do or not to do that which we are capable of doing.

In the Hebrew text this command is even clearer, because it is stated in just two words: no adultery. We have already modified this statement into the English, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” In the Hebrew it simply states, “No adultery.” Is that unclear? The essence of the command is, “Do not be sexually involved with anyone who is not your spouse.” Often we take a very narrow view of adultery, and I have had people say to me that they cannot break that commandment because adultery is only violating the marriage vow, so if they are not married, how can they violate the marriage vow?

The essence of this command is to prohibit any sexual involvement outside of a marriage commitment. This commandment can also be violated by those who are not married. Jesus utterly affirmed this in Matthew 5:31 where He intensified the command: “Furthermore, it has been said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” “You have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in his heart.” Verses 27, 28. Jesus does not diminish the requirement of the law; He does not take away from the letter or the spirit, but He magnifies it and says, You thought it only pertained to the literal act, but I am telling you, you can be found guilty of this command somewhere between your ears.

Immorality is widespread today and it has become a major problem even in the Christian church. Not only are there blatant affairs going on, but many are looking at magazines and computer screens depicting every imaginable thing. People’s lives are being ruined, families are shattered and children are left with little or no direction with no proper role models to follow and it is happening all within the private confines of their own perverted imagination.

Jesus says in verse 32, “I say to you, That whosoever divorces his wife for any reason except for sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery.” Our definition of adultery is the violation of that marvelous union that God has instituted. Whoever marries a woman who is divorced without proper Biblical grounds commits adultery. Jesus magnified the law when adding that if you look on a woman to lust after her, and if you divorce a woman for a non-Biblical reason, that is the proliferation of adultery. Jesus in no way diminished the command, but He intensified it.

Jesus said, “Out of the heart proceeds all these evil thoughts, murders” (Matthew 15:19), which is commandment number six. And then He says, “adulteries, fornications,” referring to the seventh commandment. Jesus used two words to encapsulate this. He then goes on to say, “thefts” referring to commandment number eight. “Thou shalt not steal” and then, “false witness,” which is commandment number nine. This is very interesting; Jesus here describes commandments six, seven, eight and nine in a single word, except in the case of “Thou shalt not commit adultery” where He uses the words, adulteries and fornications. Here again Jesus is letting us know, as He did in Matthew, chapter five, that the command, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” is not simply something a married individual can do. It involves the whole umbrella of sexual vice and impurity. He uses two words, adulteries, which is the Greek word for the violation of the marriage bed and the word fornications which is the word for porneo, pornography.

This commandment Jesus describes, is as broad and does not just refer to adultery between married people. This commandment covers all kinds of sexual perversity and immorality. I don’t think anyone would disagree with the fact that we live in a sex-crazy, sensual, seductive society. Our culture is sex consumed.

God made man to be a social creature, and not be alone. The vast majority of us are social beings with a desire for a permanent relationship in which to share the most intimate experiences of life. God gave man the institution of marriage as a haven of safety, a place of sacred trust, in which to enjoy and to satisfy this most basic longing to be one with another. The oneness that a man shares with his wife in mind, body and soul is designed to be a type of the oneness that Jesus desires of His people, giving all to that relationship and forsaking all others.

Primarily there are two groups of people that fall into sexual sin, which is plainly forbidden: the unmarried, that is to say the single, whether never married, or married and divorced, and the unhappily married. As a general rule, those who are happily married in a wonderful, mutual, godly relationship are not usually the people who fall into sexual sin. This does not mean that they are immune and cannot fall, but it does mean that the people who are generally struggling with sexual sin are either single, or they are unhappily married. A happy, contented marriage will not only solve the problem of adultery, but it also solves the problem of pornography.

This is not to say that there would not be some who would remain single. Jesus did say and Paul agreed that there were certain people who could receive the gift of celibacy and these people are in the minority, but to those who desire companionship, the Apostle Paul advises in I Corinthians 7:9, “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Pornography has grown into a multi-billion dollar per year industry, destroying morals, people and marriages along the way. Internet pornography has not gotten any worse in terms of its substance in the last twenty years, but it has just become more accessible. Previously it used to be only available in the more seedy places, in truck stops, along the wrong side of the tracks and the red light district. Some people had the victory over pornography because they were afraid of being seen in these places, but now it is readily available in the public library or right in the living room of your own home. The percentage of pornography related Internet usage is off the charts and, incidentally, the top Google search words are all porn-related.

Tragically, pornography has become too accessible, and almost impossible to escape. Regular advertising of general products now often use sexual innuendos with suggestive pictures plastered on billboards and simply going through the checkout at local grocery stores makes it difficult to ignore the numerous magazines advertising the sexual exploits of the rich and famous.

But what a blessing to be able to have victory over the curse of a sin that is completely accessible!

Just as the children of Israel were on the borders of the land of Canaan preparing to cross the Jordan River Satan attacked with one of his most effective weapons—ungodly licentious adultery. Women were brought into the camp and the men became far too familiar with them, causing many to lose sight of the Promised Land.

When Satan’s temptations are the strongest and the most accessible, that is the time when God’s people will stand the strongest. It is of no great virtue to have victory over an inaccessible temptation, but it is a tremendous honor to God when standing strong in the face of overwhelming temptation. Licentiousness is the special sin of this age. I believe that the person who is committed to the lifestyle of pornography is in an absolute violation of their marriage vow.

This is distinguished from the person who falls and makes a mistake and stubs his toe and utterly repents. If you are struggling with this sin, you need two things. You need Biblical spirituality and you need genuine accountability. The Bible says the flesh lusts against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). You need the Spirit in your life. Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, Jesus said, they are spirit, and they are life.” You need to daily be filling your tank with spiritual food. If you find that you are failing and falling and fumbling, it is likely because you have not filled up your spiritual tank with true spiritual words from Jesus. His words are spirit and life. You need accountability.

The Bible says in II Corinthians 10:3–5, “For though we walk in the flesh [that means we are stuck in these bodies], we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses, the pulling down of strongholds. We are destroying speculations, and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Spiritual food is needed to fuel the spiritual energy in your tank if you are going to get the victory over these specific temptations, which are the sin of our age. No one is immune to sexual temptation. You would need to be wiser than Solomon, more godly than David, stronger than Samson, and that seems unlikely.

It is a proven fact that men are primarily driven by their eyes and they are visually stimulated. This is why Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “If a man looketh on a woman …” He constituted men that way. The Bible says, “God made Adam.” Genesis 1:27. But when it comes to Eve the Hebrew text says, “He built her.” The temptation for women is to build castles or have fantasies. Women are more likely to watch soap operas and read romance novels where all the characters are beautiful, rich and famous, leaving her discontented with reality. While women are castle-building, dreaming up the ideal life, and the men are looking around being driven sensually or visually, you can see what happens when a conflict arises in the marriage. The woman starts going her way, looking for that perfect man bearing flowers to come and sweep her off her feet. And the man starts to go his way and he is looking for a woman who is looking to be swept off her feet, and these two collide neither recognizing in each other what they need because they think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Men have the ability to size up a woman in one second with just a passing glance. So, the advice I have for men is simply this: Stop looking! There are way too many lookers. Make a covenant with your eyes to turn them away and stop looking! Jesus said, “Husbands, love your wives.” Ephesians 5:25. Learn the true meaning of love and you will never be happier than with your wife.

For women, stop being dissatisfied with your husband. Maybe he doesn’t have six pack abs, and maybe he doesn’t bring you roses every single night, but get over it! You are his helpmeet, the one God has chosen to help your husband meet his potential. You have the power to make your home a sanctuary where peace and love reign if you will but take seriously your God given responsibility to your husband and your children. Learn the meaning of grace; learn the meaning of forgiveness and your home will be a haven where angels love to dwell.

Beloved, I suggest to you a simple remedy for a good marriage: It is the five “Cs.”

Get converted—Figures show that the divorce rate is going down, now at about 42%, but research shows that it is because fewer people are getting married. Think about it. Marriage is a Christian institution and it is understandable not to expect unconverted people to do well in a Christian institution. So, if you want a good marriage, get converted. If two people are genuinely converted in a marriage, they cannot get a divorce. The reason for this is that God hates divorce and He would not lead two godly people, two converted people, to do something He hates.

Be committed—Not for a day, not for a year, not for a decade, but be committed for life.

Learn to compromise—You want the blue car and she wants the red car —you get the black car.

Have a little compassion—My advice to newlyweds who come into my office is, “You worry about the compassion, and the passion will take care of itself.”

Have a healthy dose of communication—Spend time talking together. There are many resources available that are excellent tools to help you develop your communication skills. e.g., Love and Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Beloved, in closing, I just want to appeal to your hearts. Some of you are divorcees and God does give Biblical grounds for divorce. I believe in my heart He gives only one single ground for divorce on Biblical grounds and that is the violation of the marriage bed, adultery. In the book, The Adventist Home, 341, God sent a message through His prophet because we were mistaking the plain words of Jesus. It says, “Nothing but the violation of the marriage bed can either break or annul the marriage vow.”

Nothing, nothing, but the violation of the marriage bed can annul the marriage vow. Is that clear enough? Is there any confusion there? Now, if you have been divorced on Biblical grounds or even non-Biblical grounds, and you want to start anew, you want to start afresh, the good news about our God is that He meets you where you are. But grace is not a license to sin.

I stand before you here today as a man who has been happily married for almost ten years and I can say in the fear of God and with absolute candor, I am more in love with my wife today, ten years later, than I was the day I married her. She is more beautiful to me. She is a fantastic mother. She has put up with all of my idiosyncrasies. She is a godly woman. Perfect? Not yet—close, but not perfect yet! But I would invite you to give your marriage to God, give your struggles to God, give your sexuality to God, and I would close with five simple words: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

David Asscherick’s sermon was taken from the Ten Commandment Weekend, 2008 series aired on 3ABN. For more information contact 3ABN.org.

Bible Study Guides – Lessons from the Wilderness

July 8, 2012 – July 14, 2012

Key Text

“Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 124–133.


“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” The General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 29, 1893.


  • What was a very old custom among God’s people when extraordinary events took place, and why? I Samuel 7:12; Joshua 4:5–7; Malachi 3:16.

Note: “Every deliverance, every blessing, that God in the past has granted to His people, should be kept fresh in memory’s hall as a sure pledge of further and richer, increasing blessings that He will bestow. The Lord’s blessings are adapted to the needs of His people.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1183.

  • Why is the study of history so important? Ecclesiastes 1:9; Romans 15:4.

Note: “Every part of the Bible is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. The Old Testament no less than the New should receive attention. As we study the Old Testament we shall find living springs bubbling up where the careless reader discerns only a desert.” Education, 191.

“The work of God in the earth presents, from age to age, a striking similarity in every great reformation or religious movement. The principles of God’s dealing with men are ever the same.” The Great Controversy, 343.


  • What specific Bible history is symbolic of God’s people approaching the final days of earth’s history? I Corinthians 10:6–15.

Note: “The experience of Christians in these days is much like the travels of ancient Israel. Please read I Corinthians 10, especially from the 6th to the 15th verse.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 284.

  • How did Satan manage to bar Israel from entering the Promised Land? What was his aim, and how is this a warning to us? Hebrews 3:9–12, 16, 17.

Note: “Satan was determined to keep his hold on the land of Canaan, and when it was made the habitation of the children of Israel, and the law of God was made the law of the land, he hated Israel with a cruel and malignant hatred and plotted their destruction. Through the agency of evil spirits strange gods were introduced; and because of transgression, the chosen people were finally scattered from the Land of Promise.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 688, 689.

“The sin of unbelief, by which their confidence in the Son of God was destroyed, led Israel far astray. At the very time when they should have been praising God and magnifying the name of the Lord, talking of His goodness, telling of His power, they were found in unbelief, and full of murmuring and complaint. The deceiver was seeking through every means possible to sow discord among them, to create envy and hatred in their hearts against Moses, and to stir up rebellion against God.” The Signs of the Times, April 25, 1895.

“Some are always anticipating evil or magnifying the difficulties that really exist, so that their eyes are blinded to the many blessings which demand their gratitude. The obstacles they encounter, instead of leading them to seek help from God, the only Source of strength, separate them from Him, because they awaken unrest and repining.

“Do we well to be thus unbelieving? Why should we be ungrateful and distrustful? Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare; and our anxiety and fear grieve the Holy Spirit of God. We should not indulge in a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials. No place should be given to that distrust of God which leads us to make a preparation against future want the chief pursuit of life, as though our happiness consisted in these earthly things.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 293, 294.


  • Since God’s principles are distinct from the principles of the world, what is He calling for among us? Amos 3:3; II Corinthians 6:14–17; Mark 14:38.

Note: “Our holy faith cries out, Separation.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 240.

“Christ’s followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise.” Ibid., vol. 2, 441.

“This history [of evil spirits introducing strange gods to cause God’s chosen people to transgress] Satan is striving to repeat in our day. God is leading His people out from the abominations of the world, that they may keep His law; and because of this, the rage of ‘the accuser of our brethren’ knows no bounds. … The antitypical land of promise is just before us, and Satan is determined to destroy the people of God and cut them off from their inheritance.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 689.

  • What is the result of voluntary unity with the world? James 4:4.

Note: “Whoever voluntarily enters into such [ungodly] relations will feel it necessary to conform, to some degree, to the habits and customs of his companions. The time thus spent is worse than wasted. Thoughts are entertained and words are spoken that tend to break down the strongholds of principle and to weaken the citadel of the soul.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 563.

“To parents who are living in the cities, the Lord is sending the warning cry, Gather your children into your own houses; gather them away from those who are disregarding the commandments of God, who are teaching and practicing evil. Get out of the cities as fast as possible.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 400.

  • What question should we ask ourselves? II Corinthians 13:5.

Note: “It is the duty of every child of God to inquire: ‘Wherein am I separate from the world?’ Let us suffer a little inconvenience, and be on the safe side.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 278.


  • Why was Israel’s 40-year wilderness wandering needed? Numbers 32:11–13.

Note: “They [most of the Israelites] had complained at nothing, and now God gave them cause to weep. Had they mourned for their sin when it was faithfully laid before them, this sentence [to wander in the wilderness for forty years] would not have been pronounced.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 392.

  • What marked the entrance into Israel’s time of testing in the wilderness, and what marked its conclusion? Exodus 14:21, 22, 29–30; Joshua 3:15–17; 4:18. How is this paralleled in the history of the Advent believers?

Note: “The history of ancient Israel is a striking illustration of the past experience of the Adventist body. God led His people in the advent movement, even as He led the children of Israel from Egypt. In the great disappointment their faith was tested as was that of the Hebrews at the Red Sea. Had they still trusted to the guiding hand that had been with them in their past experience, they would have seen the salvation of God. If all who had labored unitedly in the work in 1844, had received the third angel’s message and proclaimed it in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts. A flood of light would have been shed upon the world. Years ago the inhabitants of the earth would have been warned, the closing work completed, and Christ would have come for the redemption of His people.

“It was not the will of God that Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness; He desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan and establish them there, a holy, happy people. But ‘they could not enter in because of unbelief.’ Hebrews 3:19. Because of their backsliding and apostasy they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the Promised Land. In like manner, it was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be so long delayed and His people should remain so many years in this world of sin and sorrow. But unbelief separated them from God. As they refused to do the work which He had appointed them, others were raised up to proclaim the message. In mercy to the world, Jesus delays His coming, that sinners may have an opportunity to hear the warning and find in Him a shelter before the wrath of God shall be poured out.” The Great Controversy, 457, 458.


  • What types of issues will the people of God be facing in these last days? Numbers 11:4; I Corinthians 10:6.

Note: “It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in ‘because of unbelief’ [Hebrews 4:6]. Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them.

“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” Evangelism, 696.

  • Lust was the problem the Israelites faced in the wilderness (I Corinthians 10:6). In this context, what lust will we be facing in our time? Philippians 3:19; I Samuel 15:23.

Note: “When God led the children of Israel out of Egypt, it was His purpose to establish them in the land of Canaan a pure, happy, healthy people. Let us look at the means by which He would accomplish this. He subjected them to a course of discipline, which, had it been cheerfully followed, would have resulted in good, both to themselves and to their posterity. He removed flesh food from them in a great measure. He had granted them flesh in answer to their clamors, just before reaching Sinai, but it was furnished for only one day. God might have provided flesh as easily as manna, but a restriction was placed upon the people for their good. It was His purpose to supply them with food better suited to their wants than the feverish diet to which many of them had been accustomed in Egypt. The perverted appetite was to be brought into a more healthy state, that they might enjoy the food originally provided for man—the fruits of the earth, which God gave to Adam and Eve in Eden.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 377, 378.

“With the history of the children of Israel before us, let us take heed, and not be found committing the same sins, following in the same way of unbelief and rebellion.” The Review and Herald, April 18, 1893.


1 How can the study of history be of great value to us?

2 What Bible history is cited as a type for God’s church in the last days?

3 How does voluntary association with unbelievers affect believers?

4 What event in the history of modern Israel compares to the crossing of the Red Sea?

5 What are the sins that delay the second coming of Christ?

Extra Reading

“It was not the teaching of the schools of Egypt that enabled Moses to triumph over his enemies, but an ever-abiding, unflinching faith, a faith that did not fail under the most trying circumstances. At the command of God, Moses advanced, although apparently there was nothing ahead for his feet to tread upon. More than a million people were depending on him, and he led them forward step by step, day by day. God permitted these lonely travels through the wilderness that His people might obtain an experience in enduring hardship, and that when they were in peril they might know that there was relief and deliverance in God alone. Thus they might learn to know and to trust God, and to serve Him with a living faith.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 408, 409.

“Temptations will come to us in the most seductive guise, but it is at our peril that we turn from the plain command of God to follow the assertions of men. To follow the word of the Lord, to embrace the truth, involves cross-bearing and self-denial; but it is not safe to do otherwise than to bear the cross. As you see the light, walk in the light. Let a solemn, unalterable purpose take possession of you, and resolve in the strength and grace of God, that henceforth you will live for Him, and that no earthly consideration shall persuade you to disown the divine law of ten commandments, and thus disown your Saviour and your God. Seek your counsel of God, and you will find that the path of obedience to His commandments is the path of the just, that ‘shineth more and more unto the perfect day’ [Proverbs 4:18].

“The first step in the path of obedience is to surrender the will to God. This may seem a difficult thing to do; for Satan will present every possible objection, and will manufacture difficulties, and magnify perplexities before the mind; but take the first step, and the next step on the ladder of progress will be easier. The ladder of progress must be climbed round by round; but God is above the ladder, and His glory will illuminate every step of advancement. The path of faith and self-denial is an upward path; its way is heavenward, and as you advance, the misleading clouds of doubt and evil will be left behind.” The Review and Herald, October 9, 1894.

© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Editorial – What God Has Joined, part 3

Instead of trying to find a way to be able to violate God’s counsel and still be saved, the converted Christian will be seeking to bring every aspect of his life into harmony with the divine standard. If Jesus truly has our heart, we will be willing to suffer inconvenience, and even hardship, rather than dishonor our Redeemer by disregarding His revealed will. All of the universe is watching to see who we deem worthy of the greatest honor and whether or not we are trustworthy and faithful servants. The one who is saved is one who swears to his own hurt (as many have done in their marriage vows) and changes not. (See Psalm 15.)

“I have received a letter from your husband. I would say that there is only one thing for which a husband may lawfully separate from his wife or a wife from her husband, and that is adultery.

“If your dispositions are not congenial, would it not be for the glory of God for you to change these dispositions? . . .

“My sister, you cannot please God by maintaining your present attitude. Forgive your husband. He is your husband, and you will be blessed in striving to be a dutiful, affectionate wife. Let the law of kindles be on your lips. You can and must change your attitude.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 161.

Following an editorial like this one, we will no doubt receive many letters and calls. However, please let me tell you in advance, as we have told many others, we do not believe that any church, or any human being, has the prerogative to determine morality—a determination as to what is right and what is wrong. God has revealed the standard of morality in His Law and in the explanations of that Law given us in the inspired writings. While we can share with you these messages, we dare not venture to advise you as to the course that you must follow.

“Oh,” somebody might say, “mine is a special case.” No matter now singular it is, all that a Protestant pastor can do is read what the Word of God says that is applicable. While we fully believe in the grace of God over people in complicated situations, let us be careful that we do not abuse the grace of God and outrage the Holy Spirit (see Hebrews 10:26), thereby losing our soul. Over and over again the apostle Paul urged upon Christians not to deceive themselves. If the record book in heaven reveals that the divorce you are contemplating was made from selfishness, all of the reasons in the world will be of no avail in excusing you from following God’s revealed will. What will you say in the day when the Lord asks you why you were not afraid to put asunder that which He had joined together? How will you escape a verdict that you are a traitor against the divine government and not subject to the Lord of heaven?

“The last great day is right upon us. Let all consider that Satan is now striving for the mastery over souls. He is playing the game of life for your souls. Will there be sins committed by you on the very borders of the heavenly Canaan? Oh what revealings! The husband will know for the first time the deception and falsehood that have been practiced by the wife whom he thought innocent and pure. The wife for the first time will know the case of her husband, and the relatives and friends will see how error and falsehood and corruption have been clustering about them; for the secrets of all hearts will stand revealed. The hour of Judgment is almost here,—long delayed by the goodness and mercy of God. But the trump of God will sound to the consternation of the unprepared who are living, and awaken the pale nations of the dead.” Review and Herald, May 24, 1887.

The root of the apostasy that led to the Dark Ages was the idea that something could be added or taken away from the Word of God by the church or the clergy. This concept was the very fountain from which flowed the errors of Babylon. (See The Great Controversy, 289, 290.) If we ever condone that which God has not condoned, we will be in serious trouble indeed.

“We must as a people arouse and cleanse the camp of Israel. Licentiousness, unlawful intimacy, and unholy practices are coming in among us in a large degree; and ministers who are handling sacred things are guilty of sin in this respect. They are coveting their neighbors’ wives, and the seventh commandment is broken. We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?” Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 188.

Bible Study Guides – Disaster in Israel

May 31, 2015 – June 6, 2015

Key Text

“And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.” Numbers 25:3.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 453–461.


“But agreeable as were their physical surroundings, the Israelites were here to encounter an evil more deadly than mighty hosts of armed men or the wild beasts of the wilderness.” The Signs of the Times, November 18, 1880.


  • While Moses was preparing to cross the Jordan River with Israel’s armies for the occupation of Canaan, why was the anger of the Lord kindled against Israel? Numbers 25:1–3.
  • Who was the mastermind behind this great evil? Revelation 2:14; Numbers 31:15, 16.

Note: “At Balaam’s suggestion, a grand festival in honor of their [the Moabites’] gods was appointed by the king of Moab, and it was secretly arranged that Balaam should induce the Israelites to attend. … Great numbers of the people [of Israel] joined him in witnessing the festivities. They ventured upon the forbidden ground, and were entangled in the snare of Satan. Beguiled with music and dancing, and allured by the beauty of heathen vestals, they cast off their fealty to Jehovah. As they united in mirth and feasting, indulgence in wine beclouded their senses and broke down the barriers of self-control. Passion had full sway; and having defiled their consciences by lewdness, they were persuaded to bow down to idols. They offered sacrifice upon heathen altars and participated in the most degrading rites.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 454.


  • What were Moses and the judges of Israel commanded to do before God’s punishment would be removed? Numbers 25:4, 5.

Note: “Their [the Moabites and Midianites’] iniquitous practices did that for Israel which all the enchantments of Balaam could not do—they separated them from God. By swift-coming judgments the people were awakened to the enormity of their sin. A terrible pestilence broke out in the camp, to which tens of thousands speedily fell a prey. God commanded that the leaders in this apostasy be put to death by the magistrates. This order was promptly obeyed. The offenders were slain, then their bodies were hung up in sight of all Israel that the congregation, seeing the leaders so severely dealt with, might have a deep sense of God’s abhorrence of their sin and the terror of His wrath against them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 455.

  • What happened while the people were weeping and confessing their sins? Numbers 25:6–8, 12, 13.

Note: “All felt that the punishment was just, and the people hastened to the tabernacle, and with tears and deep humiliation confessed their sin. While they were thus weeping before God, at the door of the tabernacle, while the plague was still doing its work of death, and the magistrates were executing their terrible commission, Zimri, one of the nobles of Israel, came boldly into the camp, accompanied by a Midianitish harlot, a princess ‘of a chief house in Midian’ (Numbers 25:15), whom he escorted to his tent. Never was vice bolder or more stubborn. Inflamed with wine, Zimri declared his ‘sin as Sodom’ (Isaiah 3:9), and gloried in his shame.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 455.

  • How many perished at the hand of God in the plague? Numbers 25:9. What did the census that was taken shortly afterwards further reveal? Numbers 26:1, 2, 63–65.

Note: “The judgments visited upon Israel for their sin at Shittim, destroyed the survivors of that vast company, who, nearly forty years before, had incurred the sentence, ‘They shall surely die in the wilderness’ (Numbers 26:65).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 456.


  • As the Midianites were among the most degraded enemies of God and among the most dangerous neighbors of Israel, what was Moses instructed to do? Numbers 31:1–3, 8.
  • What will God do to them that devise mischief against His people? Psalm 94:1, 2, 20–23.

Note: “He [God] Who slumbers not, Who is continually at work for the accomplishment of His designs, will carry forward His own work. He will thwart the purposes of wicked men, and will bring to confusion the counsels of those who plot mischief against His people. He who is the King, the Lord of hosts, sitteth between the cherubim, and amid the strife and tumult of nations He guards His children still.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 121.

  • On what condition has God promised to protect His people? Deuteronomy 28:1–7.

Note: “The church is God’s agency for the proclamation of truth, empowered by Him to do a special work; and if she is loyal to Him, obedient to all His commandments, there will dwell within her the excellency of divine grace. If she will be true to her allegiance, if she will honor the Lord God of Israel, there is no power that can stand against her. …

“If the church will put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness, withdrawing from all allegiance with the world, there is before her the dawn of a bright and glorious day. God’s promise to her will stand fast forever. He will make her an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Truth, passing by those who despise and reject it, will triumph. Although at times apparently retarded, its progress has never been checked. When the message of God meets with opposition, He gives it additional force, that it may exert greater influence. Endowed with divine energy, it will cut its way through the strongest barriers and triumph over every obstacle.” The Acts of the Apostles, 600, 601.


  • Why should we, and especially those who have been called to take part in the work of God, study the ups-and-downs in the history of Israel? Romans 15:4. Why does the apostasy that took place at the Jordan deserve special attention?

Note: “The Israelites, who could not be overcome by the arms or by the enchantments of Midian, fell a prey to her harlots. Such is the power that woman, enlisted in the service of Satan, has exerted to entrap and destroy souls. … It was thus that the children of Seth were seduced from their integrity, and the holy seed became corrupt. It was thus that Joseph was tempted. Thus Samson betrayed his strength, the defense of Israel, into the hands of the Philistines. Here David stumbled. And Solomon, the wisest of kings, who had thrice been called the beloved of his God, became a slave of passion, and sacrificed his integrity to the same bewitching power.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 457.

  • What warning is addressed to this last generation of Christians? I Corinthians 10:8, 11.

Note: “As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul. It is not the ignorant and uncultured merely that need to be guarded; he will prepare his temptations for those in the highest positions, in the most holy office; if he can lead them to pollute their souls, he can through them destroy many. And he employs the same agents now as he employed three thousand years ago. By worldly friendships, by the charms of beauty, by pleasure seeking, mirth, feasting, or the wine cup, he tempts to the violation of the seventh commandment.

“Satan seduced Israel into licentiousness before leading them to idolatry. Those who will dishonor God’s image and defile His temple in their own persons will not scruple at any dishonor to God that will gratify the desire of their depraved hearts. Sensual indulgence weakens the mind and debases the soul.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 457, 458.


  • What condition (or conditions) prepared the way for the people of Israel to fall prey to the sensual temptations of Satan when they came to the Jordan River? Ezekiel 16:49, 50.

Note: “It was when the Israelites were in a condition of outward ease and security that they were led into sin. They failed to keep God ever before them, they neglected prayer and cherished a spirit of self-confidence. Ease and self-indulgence left the citadel of the soul unguarded, and debasing thoughts found entrance. It was the traitors within the walls that overthrew the strongholds of principle and betrayed Israel into the power of Satan. It is thus that Satan still seeks to compass the ruin of the soul. A long preparatory process, unknown to the world, goes on in the heart before the Christian commits open sin. The mind does not come down at once from purity and holiness to depravity, corruption, and crime. It takes time to degrade those formed in the image of God to the brutal or the satanic. By beholding we become changed. By the indulgence of impure thoughts man can so educate his mind that sin which he once loathed will become pleasant to him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 459.

  • What warning should we always bear in mind? I Corinthians 10:12; I Peter 5:8.


1 Who was the mastermind behind the great apostasy that took place in Israel shortly before crossing the river Jordan?

2 How was the way prepared for the Israelites to fall on that occasion?

3 How were the most guilty punished?

4 What lesson should we learn from the fact that the Midianites had to be destroyed without making efforts to evangelize them?

5 What will a true servant of God be able to say if he or she follows the example of Paul in Philippians 4:9?

© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – David’s Repentance and Retribution

August 16, 2015 – August 22, 2015

Key Text

“Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” Isaiah 27:5.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 727–745.


“Whoever under the reproof of God will humble the soul with confession and repentance, as did David, may be sure that there is hope for him or her.” To Be Like Jesus, 383.


  • How did God suddenly disturb the false sense of peace that David had after committing great sins? II Samuel 12:1–4. In response, what sentence did David unwittingly pronounce upon himself? II Samuel 12:5, 6.
  • What straight testimony did Nathan the prophet give to David, and how did David respond? II Samuel 12:7–10, 13, first part; Psalm 51:4.

Note: “Conscience was uttering bitter and humiliating truths to David. While his faithful subjects wondered at his sudden reverse of fortune, it was no mystery to the king. He had often had forebodings of an hour like this. He had wondered that God had so long borne with his sins and had delayed the merited retribution. …

“Many a wrongdoer has excused his own sin by pointing to David’s fall, but how few there are who manifest David’s penitence and humility. How few would bear reproof and retribution with the patience and fortitude that he manifested.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 737.


  • How was the personality of David affected by his sins? Psalm 51:3, 17.

Note: “There was a great change in David himself. He was broken in spirit by the consciousness of his sin and its far-reaching results. He felt humbled in the eyes of his subjects. His influence was weakened.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 723.

  • How did David, through his sinful behavior, loose the respect of the people and, in particular, of his sons? Psalm 27:6, 7. What consequence followed immediately, and why? II Samuel 12:14.

Note: “Now his subjects, having a knowledge of his sin, would be led to sin more freely. His authority in his own household, his claim to respect and obedience from his sons, was weakened. A sense of his guilt kept him silent when he should have condemned sin; it made his arm feeble to execute justice in his house. His evil example exerted its influence upon his sons, and God would not interpose to prevent the result.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 723.

“God and His word have been blasphemed, souls have been hardened in unbelief, and many, under a cloak of piety, have become bold in sin.” Ibid.

  • Why did God permit the story of David’s fall to be included in the Bible? I Corinthians 10:12.

Note: “Those who, by pointing to the example of David, try to lessen the guilt of their own sins, should learn from the Bible record that the way of transgression is hard. Though like David they should turn from their evil course, the results of sin, even in this life, will be found bitter and hard to bear.

“God intended the history of David’s fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 724.


  • How did David’s son Absalom avenge the crime committed against his sister by Amnon? II Samuel 13:28, 29. What happened three years after Absalom had fled from David? II Samuel 13:37–39; 14:23, 24, 28.
  • After an apparent reconciliation with his father, how did Absalom then “steal the hearts” of the people of Israel? II Samuel 14:33; 15:1–6. What attitude on David’s part lay at the heart of Absalom’s rebellion? Ecclesiastes 8:11.

Note: “Through the influence of Joab, Absalom was again admitted to his father’s presence; but though there was an outward reconciliation, he continued his ambitious scheming. He now assumed an almost royal state, having chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And while the king was more and more inclined to desire retirement and solitude, Absalom sedulously courted the popular favor.

“The influence of David’s listlessness and irresolution extended to his subordinates; negligence and delay characterized the administration of justice. Absalom artfully turned every cause of dissatisfaction to his own advantage.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 729.

  • What instruction did Absalom’s spies carry to all the tribes of Israel? II Samuel 15:10. When David received news of Absalom’s rebellion, rather than bring bloodshed into Jerusalem, what did David decide to do? II Samuel 15:13, 14.

Note: “David was suddenly aroused, to see rebellion breaking out close beside his throne. His own son—the son whom he had loved and trusted—had been planning to seize his crown and doubtless to take his life. In his great peril David shook off the depression that had so long rested upon him, and with the spirit of his earlier years he prepared to meet this terrible emergency. …

“His decision was taken. The horrors of war should not fall upon the chosen city. He would leave Jerusalem, and then test the fidelity of his people, giving them an opportunity to rally to his support.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 731.


  • As David and his company were fleeing, why did he send various friends back to Jerusalem?

The men who were carrying the ark. II Samuel 15:24, 25, 29.

Hushai. II Samuel 15:32–37. What was his advice, and why? II Samuel 17:7, 14–16, 23.

Note: “God, who dwelt between the cherubim, had said of Jerusalem, ‘This is My rest’ (Psalm 132:14); and without divine authority neither priest nor king had a right to remove therefrom the symbol of His presence.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 732.

“Again David was forced to recognize in his calamities the results of his own sin. The defection of Ahithophel, the ablest and most wily of political leaders, was prompted by revenge for the family disgrace involved in the wrong to Bathsheba, who was his granddaughter. …

“At David’s request Hushai returned to Jerusalem to offer his services to Absalom and defeat the crafty counsel of Ahithophel.” Ibid., 735.

  • What did David say to one of his soldiers who wanted to kill the man who was cursing David? II Samuel 16:9, 11, 12.

Note: “The spirit that leads man to triumph over, to revile or distress, one who is in affliction is the spirit of Satan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 736.

  • With a chance to further escape, how did David divide his forces, and what instruction did he give them concerning Absalom his son? II Samuel 17:24; 18:1, 2, 5.


  • What was the outcome of the battle between the loyal forces and the rebel army? II Samuel 18:7, 8.
  • What was the end of Absalom, the instigator of the rebellion? II Samuel 18:9–11, 14, 16, 17.
  • What lesson may we learn from Absalom’s history in our work as evangelists today? Romans 15:4.

Note: “Again and again was ancient Israel afflicted with rebellious murmurers. … In many cases, men of renown, rulers in Israel, turned against the providential leading of God and fiercely set to work to tear down that which they had once zealously built up. We have seen something of this repeated many times in our experience. …

“The church will yet see troublous times. She will prophesy in sackcloth. But although she must meet heresies and persecutions, although she must battle with the infidel and the apostate, yet by the help of God she is bruising the head of Satan. The Lord will have a people as true as steel, and with faith as firm as the granite rock.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 594.


1 When prophet Nathan said to King David, “Thou art the man,” what reproach did he bring against the king?

2 How did David, through his sinful behavior, lose the respect of the people and, in particular, of his sons?

3 How has the serious stain on King David’s reputation brought reproach upon the Judean-Christian religion?

4 For what purpose did God permit the story of David’s fall to be included in the Bible?

5 In what sense was the history of Absalom recorded as a warning for church leaders, evangelists, and for the believers in general?

© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

A Sentence of Death – The Beginning of Life

And the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman taken in adultery. And standing her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned. You, then, what do you say?’ They said this, tempting Him so that they might have reason to accuse Him. But bending down, Jesus wrote on the ground with His finger, not appearing to hear. But as they continued to ask Him, He lifted Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.’ And again bending down, He wrote on the ground. And hearing, and being convicted by conscience, they went out one by one, beginning at the oldest, until the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. And bending back up, and seeing no one but the woman, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are the ones who accused you? Did not one give judgment against you?’ And she said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I give judgment. Go, and sin no more.’ ” John 8:3–11 NKJV.

This story is a powerful illustration of a stark reality as expressed in the following quote from Selected Messages, Book 1, 219. It says, “They [sinners] must feel themselves sinners, exposed to the wrath of God, before they will realize their need of a Saviour.”

The Desire of Ages vividly portrays the position of the woman caught in adultery, the reality of her situation, and poignantly illustrates the reality. Try to wear her shoes, empathizing with her in her position, feeling her shame and terror, her abjection, wretchedness, and despair. After all, we are told in Revelation 3:14–17 that this is indeed our state, not just hers. So take into your very soul the reality of her situation, because it is your own.

The Desire of Ages, 460–462: “A group of Pharisees and scribes approached Him, dragging with them a terror-stricken woman, whom with hard, eager voices they accused of having violated the seventh commandment. Having pushed her into the presence of Jesus, they said to Him, with a hypocritical show of respect, ‘Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest Thou’ (John 8:5)? …

“Jesus looked for a moment upon the scene—the trembling victim in her shame.

“The woman had stood before Jesus, cowering with fear. His words, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone’ (John 8:7), had come to her as a death sentence. She dared not lift her eyes to the Saviour’s face, but silently awaited her doom.”

Picture the scene. The woman, caught in the very act, shamed and embarrassed, dragged through the streets before the eyes of all, and cast at the feet of Jesus, facing the death she knew she deserved.

But she was painfully, terrifyingly aware of more than this. Not only was she facing death, death by stoning, she was facing an eternity without her Lord and Saviour. She knew she was a sinner. She knew of the purity and holiness of Jesus. She was brought face to face with death—eternal death; terrifying, hopeless, forever lost. She knew she was not ready to die.

Yet, there she was, caught in the act of adultery, surrounded by the temple dignitaries, accusing, pointing fingers, condemning, seeking her death. She heard the hard, judging voices, pressing upon Jesus for His decision, and with downcast eyes, and fearful heart she awaited the whistle of stone flying through the air and the first crushing blow.

But as she waits, the seconds stretching into eternity, nothing happens. No stone whistles through the air to wound, to bruise, to destroy. Only a painful silence descends upon the air, and eventually the shuffling of feet fading into the distance reaches her ears. Time passes, and lo, she is left alone with Jesus. “In astonishment she saw her accusers depart speechless and confounded; then those words of hope fell upon her ear, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.’ Her heart was melted, and she cast herself at the feet of Jesus, sobbing out her grateful love, and with bitter tears confessing her sins.” The Desire of Ages, 462.

Her encounter with death, physical and eternal, was to her the turning point to a new life, a new life in Jesus, a life free from the degradation and shame of sin. It is this same encounter that we each one must face in order to appreciate, and hunger and thirst for the redeeming grace of a Saviour.

“They [sinners] must feel themselves sinners, exposed to the wrath of God, before they will realize their need of a Saviour.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 219. The woman realized, in her encounter with death, that she was a sinner. There was not a shadow of a doubt in her mind. She realized the reality of the following words from the same book, page 342: “He [the sinner] has nothing of his own but what is tainted and corrupted, polluted with sin, utterly repulsive to a pure and holy God.” This was an inescapable, brutal truth to her. I believe that she had reached the point stated in Testimonies, vol. 5, 620: “We must realize how terrible are the pains of the second death.” She tasted this stark reality.

But the story does not end there. It is rather, in fact, simply the beginning; the beginning of a new and different life, a life in Jesus, free, pure, joyous, full of gratitude and thanksgiving, with a heart overflowing with love for our Saviour and Redeemer.

“This was to her the beginning of a new life, a life of purity and peace, devoted to the service of God. In the uplifting of this fallen soul, Jesus performed a greater miracle than in healing the most grievous physical disease; He cured the spiritual malady which is unto death everlasting. This penitent woman became one of His most steadfast followers. With self-sacrificing love and devotion she repaid His forgiving mercy.

“In His act of pardoning this woman and encouraging her to live a better life, the character of Jesus shines forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness. While He does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, He seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope. The Sinless One pities the weakness of the sinner, and reaches to her a helping hand. While the hypocritical Pharisees denounce, Jesus bids her, ‘Go, and sin no more.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 462.

What made the Pharisees hypocritical? It was nothing more or less than pretending that they were without sin, without need, but rather rich and increased with spiritual good. Jesus never told them “Go, and sin no more.” They never received of Jesus’ mercy, His grace, His power to overcome sin and live a life of purity and peace. Why? Because they did not see themselves as “sinners, exposed to the wrath of God.”

It was after her traumatic encounter with death, and her ensuing rescue that, with a heart full of gratitude and filled with love for her Saviour, that the woman, enabled by His power of love fulfilled the command of Jesus, “Go and sin no more.”

Although there is no conclusive proof that the woman taken in adultery is Mary, the similarity of the two situations is evident. Whether or not the two are the same is immaterial, for in both situations, the repentance of the sinner is clear. The following statement from the book The Spirit of Prophecy, although spoken of Mary at Simon’s banquet, could rightfully be said of the woman taken in adultery:

“Though she had been very sinful, her repentance was sincere, and Jesus, while reproving her guilt, had pitied her weakness and forgiven her. Mary’s heart was filled with gratitude at the compassion of Jesus. Seven times she had heard His stern rebuke to the demons which then controlled her heart and mind, and she had listened to His strong cries to His Father in her behalf. She knew how offensive everything impure was to the unsullied mind of Christ, and she overcame her sin in the strength of her Saviour. She was transformed, a partaker of the divine nature.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 377.

“Jesus knows the circumstances of every soul. You may say, I am sinful, very sinful. You may be; but the worse you are, the more you need Jesus. He turns no weeping, contrite one away. He does not tell to any all that He might reveal, but He bids every trembling soul take courage. Freely will He pardon all who come to Him for forgiveness and restoration.

“Christ might commission the angels of heaven to pour out the vials of His wrath on our world, to destroy those who are filled with hatred of God. He might wipe this dark spot from His universe. But He does not do this. He is today standing at the altar of incense, presenting before God the prayers of those who desire His help.

“The souls that turn to Him for refuge, Jesus lifts above the accusing and the strife of tongues. No man or evil angel can impeach these souls. Christ unites them to His own divine-human nature. They stand beside the great Sin Bearer, in the light proceeding from the throne of God. ‘Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us’ (Romans 8:33, 34).” The Desire of Ages, 568.

Dear friends, fellow sinners, do you recognize that you have “nothing of his (your) own but what is tainted and corrupted, polluted with sin, utterly repulsive to a pure and holy God?” Do you feel yourself a sinner, “exposed to the wrath of God?” If you do not, for your soul’s sake, and for the sake of Him Who spilled His blood on Calvary, plead with God to show you your wretchedness and sin. Plead that He will open your eyes to the reality in which you stand before Him. Then He will fulfill His promise. Of our Father it is said, “God’s plan is not to send messengers who will please and flatter sinners, He delivers no messages of peace to lull the unsanctified into carnal security. But He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces his soul with sharp arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God, to deepen the sense of his great need and prompt the agonizing cry: ‘What shall I do to be saved?’ The very hand that humbles to the dust, rebukes sin, and puts pride and ambition to shame, lifts up the penitent, stricken one, and inquires with deepest sympathy: ‘What wilt thou that I shalt do unto thee’ (Mark 10:51)?” Testimonies, vol. 4, 178.

“When man has sinned against a holy and merciful God, there is no course for him to pursue so noble, as to sincerely repent and confess his errors in tears and bitterness of soul. This God requires of him and will accept of nothing less than a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” The Signs of the Times, February 12, 1880. And then His promise is “He lifts up the penitent, stricken one, and inquires with deepest sympathy, ‘What wilt thou that I shalt do unto thee?’ ” Ibid.

Let us join this woman taken in adultery, bowed at the feet of Jesus, trembling, recognizing our shame, our sin, our degradation. It is the truth. It is our reality just as much as it was hers. Let us accept that we are sinners; accept that we are “exposed to the wrath of God;” accept that we have “nothing of [our] own but what is tainted and corrupted, polluted with sin, utterly repulsive to a pure and holy God.” It is then, and only then that we will realize our need of a Saviour. And it is only as we recognize our need that we will seek—and receive healing. It is then, as with her, that Jesus will say to us, “Neither do I give judgment. Go, and sin no more.”

Brenda Douay is a staff member at Steps to Life. She may be contacted by email at: brendadouay@stepstolife.org.