Bible Study – The Holy Scriptures

April 3 – 9, 2022

Key Text

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

Study Help: Education, 185–192


“Only he who receives the Scriptures as the voice of God speaking to himself is a true learner. He trembles at the word; for to him it is a living reality.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 59



1.a. What does the apostle Paul say about the origin of the Holy Scriptures? 2 Timothy 3:15–17

 Note: “Our only safety is in receiving the whole Bible, not taking merely detached portions, but believing the whole truth. Your feet are upon sliding sand if you depreciate one word that is written. The Bible is a divine communication, and is as verily a message to the soul as though a voice from heaven were heard speaking to us. With what awe and reverence and humiliation should we come to the searching of the Scriptures.” The Signs of the Times, September 18, 1893

1.b. What did Jesus say about the writings of the Old Testament? John 5:39; Luke 24:27, 45. What will be the result of constantly studying and obeying the Scriptures? Psalm 119:11; 2 Timothy 3:15

 Note: “Those who continually feed upon the word of God will not turn aside, as did Adam and Eve, and disobey God’s law. The word of God will give them grace and strength.” The Signs of the Times, September 5, 1895

“If studied and obeyed, the word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute.” Christ Objects Lessons, 100



2.a. What did the apostle Paul understand to be the central theme in the preaching of the gospel of salvation? 1 Corinthians 2:1, 2

 Note: “The crucified Messiah is the central point of all Christianity. The most essential lessons for teachers and students to learn are those which point, not to the world, but from the world to the cross of Calvary.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 23, 24

“The central theme of the Bible, the theme about which every other in the whole book clusters, is the redemption plan, the restoration in the human soul of the image of God.” Education, 125

2.b. In all sermons presented, what is the main point which should be presented? 1 Corinthians 1:23, 24; 15:3; Ephesians 2:20

 Note: “Put Christ into every sermon. Let the preciousness, mercy, and glory of Jesus Christ be dwelt upon; for Christ formed within is the hope of glory.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 158

“In plain, simple language, tell every soul what he must do to be saved. God is your helper; He calls upon you to make known the hidden, unsearchable riches of the grace of Christ. Preach not your fancies, but preach Christ. Let the light of His righteousness shine into your hearts, and be revealed in your teaching. Living faith in Christ must be the very warp and woof of every sermon, the very sum and substance of every discourse; it must be woven into every appeal and every prayer.” Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, Nos. 7, 8, 9

“There is one great central truth to be kept ever before the mind in the searching of the Scriptures—Christ and Him crucified. Every other truth is invested with influence and power corresponding to its relation to this theme. It is only in the light of the cross that we can discern the exalted character of the law of God. The soul palsied by sin can be endowed with life only through the work wrought out upon the cross by the Author of our salvation.” That I May Know Him, 208



3.a. Why is it so important to study the word of God and put into practice its teachings? Psalm 119:105, 116, 133; Proverbs 2:1–5

 Note: “To all, old and young, the word of the Lord is: Let the truth of God be inwrought in mind and soul. Let your prayer be, ‘O Lord, preserve my soul, that I shall not dishonor thee.’ Let your prayers ascend to God, that He may sanctify the soul in thought, in word, in spirit, in every transaction. Plead with God that not one thread of selfishness shall be woven into the fabric of your character. Let the prayer be offered: ‘Sanctify my heart through the truth. Let Thy angels keep my soul in strict integrity. Let my mind be impressed with the simple, searching maxims in Thy word, given to guide me in this life as a preparation for the future, eternal life.’ ” The Review and Herald, July 19, 1906

“The grand principle maintained by these [English] Reformers—the same that had been held by the Waldenses, by Wycliffe, by John Huss, by Luther, Zwingli, and those who united with them—was the infallible authority of the Holy Scriptures as a rule of faith and practice.” The Great Controversy, 249

3.b. What is assured about the infallibility of Bible prophecies and predictions? Isaiah 34:16; 55:10, 11

 Note: “In His word, God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience” God’s Amazing Grace, 198

“The word of the only true God is infallible. Infinite wisdom, holiness, power, and love are blended in pointing us to the standard by which God measures character. God’s word so plainly defines the laws of His kingdom that none need to walk in darkness. His law is the transcript of His character.” In Heavenly Places, 137

“All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order.” Education, 178



4.a. What method of Bible study is recommended to those who wish to learn the truth? Isaiah 28:9, 10, 13; Acts 17:10, 11

Note: “The Bible is its own expositor. One passage will prove to be a key that will unlock other passages, and in this way light will be shed upon the hidden meaning of the word. By comparing different texts treating on the same subject, viewing their bearing on every side, the true meaning of the Scriptures will be made evident.” Christian Education, 85

“The rich gems of truth do not lie on the surface. You must dig for them. Take your Bible, and compare passage with passage, and verse with verse, and you will find the precious jewels of truth. You should put the precious gems of light in a beautiful setting, and hang them in memory’s hall.” The Review and Herald, April 16, 1889

“Open the Bible to our youth, draw their attention to its hidden treasures, teach them to search for its jewels of truth, and they will gain a strength of intellect such as the study of all that philosophy embraces could not impart. The grand subjects upon which the Bible treats, the dignified simplicity of its inspired utterances, the elevated themes which it presents to the mind, the light, sharp and clear, from the throne of God, enlightening the understanding, will develop the powers of the mind to an extent that can scarcely be comprehended, and never fully explained.” Messages to Young People, 254, 255

4.b. What important factor is necessary to comprehend the truths of the Bible? James 1:5–8

 Note: “We should come with reverence to the study of the Bible, feeling that we are in the presence of God. All lightness and trifling should be laid aside. While some portions of the word are easily understood, the true meaning of other parts is not so readily discerned. There must be patient study and meditation, and earnest prayer. Every student, as he opens the Scriptures, should ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; and the promise is sure that it will be given.” Messages to Young People, 261

“If you come to the study of the Scriptures in humility, with earnest prayer for guidance, angels of God will open to you its living realities.” The Signs of the Times, September 18, 1893



5.a. What is written of those who do not study the Bible? 2 Timothy 4:2–4

Note: “The multitudes do not want Bible truth, because it interferes with the desires of the sinful, world-loving heart; and Satan supplies the deceptions which they love.” The Great Controversy, 595

“ ‘Sound doctrine’ is Bible truth—truth that will promote piety and devotion, confirming God’s people in the faith.” Gospel Workers, 311

5.b. In the time of trouble, what will happen to those who are neglecting to study God’s truths now, in this probationary time? Amos 8:11, 12

Note: “Those who had not prized God’s word were hurrying to and fro, wandering from sea to sea, and from the north to the east, to seek the word of the Lord. Said the angel, ‘They shall not find it. … Day after day have they slighted salvation, prizing earthly riches and earthly pleasure higher than any heavenly treasure or inducement. They have rejected Jesus and despised His saints. The filthy must remain filthy forever.’ ” Early Writings, 281, 282

“Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father.” Ibid., 71



1    What is the result of failing to obey all that God has written?

2    What is the most important theme in all the Scriptures?

3    Why is prophecy encouraging to the soul?

4    What attitude is necessary if we are to successfully learn from the Bible what God would have us know?

5    Why is it highly essential right now that we take Bible study seriously?

Copyright 2000, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Inspiration – The Book of Books

All would pronounce the Bible the most interesting book they ever perused if their imagination had not become perverted by exciting stories of a fictitious character.

If we study the word of God with interest, and pray to understand it, new beauties will be seen in every line. God will reveal precious truths so clearly that the mind will derive sincere pleasure and have a continual feast as its comforting and sublime truths are unfolded.

To the diligent Bible student new light, new ideas, new gems of truth will constantly appear and be eagerly grasped, for it is impossible for any mind to comprehend all the richness and greatness of even one promise of God. One catches the glory from one point of view, and another the beauty and grace from another point, and the soul is filled with the heavenly light.

After the first acquaintance with the Bible the interest of the earnest seeker grows rapidly. The discipline gained by a regular study of the word of God enables him to see a freshness and beauty in truth that he never before discerned.

The Bible may be studied as a branch of human science would be; but its beauty, the evidence of its power to save souls that believe, is a lesson that is never thus learned. It is a leaf from the tree of life, and by eating it, by receiving it into our minds, we grow strong to do the will of God.

Those who bring to the investigation of the word a spirit of which it does not approve, will take away from the search a spirit which it has not imparted. We should take up the study of God’s word with humble hearts. All selfishness, all love of originality, should be laid aside. Long cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible.

Those who study the Bible simply to find texts to prove their theory or vindicate their opinion, will not be enlightened by the Spirit of God. Not through controversy and discussion is the soul enlightened. We must look and live. We must search the scriptures in order to receive life for the soul.

When the heart is brought into harmony with the word, a new life will spring up within, a new light will shine upon every line of the word, and it will become the voice of God to the soul. Then the truth of God’s word will be regarded with new interest, and will be explored as if it were a revelation just from the courts above. Every declaration of inspiration concerning Christ will take hold of the in-most soul of those who love Him. Envy, jealousy and evil surmising will cease. The Bible will be regarded as a charter from heaven. Its study will absorb the mind, and its truths will feast the soul.

Several times each day, precious golden moments should be consecrated to prayer and the study of the Scriptures, if it is only to commit a text to memory, that spiritual life may exist in the soul. We should take one verse and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us until it becomes our own, and we know “what saith the Lord.”

The mind must be restrained and not allowed to wander. It should be trained to dwell upon the Scriptures; even whole chapters may be committed to memory, to be repeated when Satan comes with his temptations. Even while you are walking on the streets, you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in your mind, and God will flash the knowledge obtained into the memory at the very time when it is needed.

We should open the Scriptures with reverence, and never allow one expression of lightness and trifling to escape our lips when quoting from them. As we take our Bible into our hands let us remember that we are on holy ground.

There is little benefit derived from hasty reading of the Scriptures. One may read the whole Bible through, and yet fail to see its beauty or comprehend its deep hidden meaning. One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind, and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained.

If Christians would earnestly search the Scriptures, more hearts would burn with the vivid truths therein revealed. Their hopes would brighten with the precious promises strewn like pearls all along through the sacred writings. In contemplating the history of patriarchs and prophets, the men who loved and feared God and walked with Him, hearts will glow with the Spirit that animated these worthies. As the mind dwells on the virtue and piety of holy men of old, the Spirit which inspired them will kindle a flame of love and holy fervor in the hearts of those who would be like them in character, and as they gather the golden truth from the word, the heavenly Instructor is close by their side.

In the word is poetry, wisdom, history, biography and the most profound philosophy. Here is a study that quickens the mind into a vigorous and healthy life, and awakens it to the highest exercise. Studied and obeyed, the word of God would give to the world men of stronger and more active intellect than will the closest application to all the subjects which human philosophy embraces. It would give men of strength and solidity of character, of keen perception and sound judgment: men who would be an honor to God and a blessing to the world, for it enlarges the mind, expands, elevates and endows it with new vigor, by bringing its faculties in contact with stupendous truths.

Even unconsciously we imitate that with which we are familiar. By having a knowledge of Christ—His words—and His Lessons of instruction, we instinctively borrow the virtues of the character which we have so closely studied and become imbued with the Spirit which we have so much admired. The West Michigan Herald, October 26, 1904.

Mining for Gems

An Inexhaustible Source of Strength, Power, and Grace

There is a passage in the book Education which deserves contemplation. It reads, “The most valuable teaching of the Bible is not to be gained by occasional or disconnected study. Its great system of truth is not so presented as to be discerned by the hasty or careless reader. Many of its treasures lie far beneath the surface, and can be obtained only by diligent research and continuous effort. The truths that go to make up the great whole must be searched out and gathered up, ‘here a little, and there a little’ (Isaiah 28:10).” Education, 123.

Scripture and inspired writings often present critical points of faith and sources of strength that are not readily apparent to the surface reader—“the hasty or careless reader.” These hidden gems need to be ferreted out by diligent searching and critical reasoning. Inspiration equates this effort with mining. By this diligent effort, “the intellect will find themes of the most elevated character to call out its powers. There is nothing that will so endow with vigor all our faculties as bringing them in contact with the stupendous truths of revelation. The effort to grasp and measure these great thoughts expands the mind. We may dig down deep into the mine of truth, and gather precious treasures with which to enrich the soul. Here we may learn the true way to live, the safe way to die.” The Review and Herald, January 4, 1881.

Note that our study of Scripture and inspired writings not only teach us “the true way to live,” but also “the safe way to die,” the latter being perhaps a seldom considered blessing.

An example of a hidden gem in Scripture—and there are many—occurs in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews. In chapter 3, Paul spends a good bit of time explaining to them that Jesus is greater than Moses. To ensure that his readers understand why this is true and to help them understand the importance of faith in Christ as their Redeemer—and to comprehend that which makes Him greater than Moses, he provides some strong words of caution: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

It should be recognized that here Paul equates unbelief with having an evil heart. We can conclude therefore that if we believe in and accept Christ Jesus as “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1), we have a good heart, which, according to Jesus, is essential to achieving behavioral compliance with His word.

A Good Heart

When Christ was explaining the meaning of the Parable of the Sower to His disciples, He said, “But the ones [seeds] that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).

The importance of having a good heart cannot be underestimated. Those with a good heart readily accept the word of God, “keep it and bear fruit.” God expects nothing more—and nothing less—of His followers.

When we possess a good heart, we naturally possess a good character. The result is an assurance of victory.

“Young men and women should regard a good character as a capital of more value than gold or silver or stocks. It will be unaffected by panics and failures, and will bring rich returns when earthly possessions shall be swept away. … Integrity, firmness, and perseverance are qualities which all should seek earnestly to cultivate; for they clothe the possessor with a power which is irresistible, a power which makes him strong to do good, strong to resist evil, strong to bear adversity.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 656.

Inspired writings as well as Scripture contain these hidden gems. An interesting example occurs in a passage from a manuscript Sister White wrote in 1912, just a few years before her death.

“God’s children are always being tested in the furnace of affliction. If they endure the first trial, it is not necessary for them to pass through a similar ordeal the second time; but if they fail, the trial is brought to them again and again, each time being still more trying and severe. Thus opportunity after opportunity is placed before them of gaining the victory and proving themselves true to God. But if they continue to manifest rebellion, God is compelled at last to remove His Spirit and light from them.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1146.

A careful analysis of this passage reveals that failure to successfully endure our trials is a manifestation of rebellion. While some might consider that a rather bold and severe conclusion, its truth can be confirmed with some further “mining” of scripture and Inspiration.

There are unnumbered promises in God’s word in which divine assistance is assured to enable us to persevere when we are engaged in our daily battle with the enemy. One of the strongest is given in the first few verses of Peter’s second epistle.

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:1–4).

If Jesus Christ “has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” there remains nothing more that we could require to successfully overcome every encounter with the temptations that Satan daily throws across our path. The problem, therefore, lies with “an evil heart of unbelief,” which causes us to fail to grasp the grace freely provided that enables us to overcome every effort of the enemy of souls to lead us astray. Failure to accept as absolute truth the promise of divine aid, and therefore fail to act on that promise, is indeed an act of rebellion.

It should be recognized that in all cases, when we fail to resist Satan’s efforts to lead us astray, we are committing a transgression of the divine will and are reckoned as a rebel in the books of heaven.

It should also be recognized that the power to resist temptation is provided in all its fullness in the grace so freely dispensed at our command and reception. Confirmation of the liberal dispensation of the power to overcome is provided in the following passage.

“ ‘Grace and peace’ will be multiplied ‘through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.’ Here is the Source of all spiritual power, and faith must be in constant exercise, for all spiritual life is from Christ. Knowledge of God inspires faith in Him as the only channel to convey heaven’s blessing to the soul, elevating, ennobling, refining the soul, as—through the knowledge of God—it is brought up to the high attainment of glory and virtue. ‘According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.’ ” Our High Calling, 67.

That “high attainment of glory and virtue” is—or should be—the objective of every Christian. By taking advantage of the grace and power so freely provided by Christ’s sacrifice, that attainment is indeed possible. Failure to take that advantage, failure to grasp that Mighty Arm in times of temptation and successfully overcome, according to the previously cited passage from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, is indeed rebellion.

Acknowledgment that we need divine assistance in our daily battle with the powers of evil is an essential step in overcoming self, in the crucifixion of the old man and becoming a new man in Christ Jesus.

Paul addresses this issue fairly directly in the third chapter of Colossians, a chapter that is loaded with hidden gems, and a chapter that repeats a concept that Paul expresses in different words in his second letter to the Corinthians.

In Colossians 3:2, Paul says to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” In 2 Corinthians 10:5, he pleads that his readers should be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The consistency of these two passages should be evident, and the fact that Paul provides this counsel twice to two different churches should give us some indication of its importance.

It should also be evident why, very early in holy writ, we are advised, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). This is the technique that reveals those hidden gems that, once discovered, increase our faith, smooth the rough places, and straighten the crooked paths.

John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at:

Bible Study Guides – “He That Heareth the Word, and Understandeth It”

MEMORY VERSE: “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew13:23.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 8, 299–304.

INTRODUCTION: “The word of God should be thoroughly studied. All other reading is inferior to this. A careful study of the Bible will not necessarily exclude all other reading of a religious nature; but if the word of God is studied prayerfully, all reading which will have a tendency to divert the mind from it will be excluded. If we study the word of God with an interest, and pray to understand it, new beauties will be seen in every line. God will reveal precious truth so clearly that the mind will derive sincere pleasure and have a continual feast as its comforting and sublime truths are unfolded.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 337, 338.

  1. How did Jesus describe the fate of those who hear God’s Word but do not understand it? Matthew 13:19.

NOTE: “The seed sown by the wayside represents the word of God as it falls upon the heart of an inattentive hearer. Like the hard-beaten path, trodden down by the feet of men and beasts, is the heart that becomes a highway for the world’s traffic, its pleasures and sins. Absorbed in selfish aims and sinful indulgences, the soul is ‘hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’ Hebrews 3:13. The spiritual faculties are paralysed. Men hear the word, but understand it not. They do not discern that it applies to themselves. They do not realize their need or their danger.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 44.

  1. What prayer should be ours whenever we read God’s Word? Psalm 119:169.

NOTE: “In the experience of Philip and the Ethiopian is presented the work to which the Lord calls His people. The Ethiopian represents a large class who need missionaries like Philip, missionaries who will hear the voice of God and go where He sends them. There are those in the world who are reading the Scriptures, but who cannot understand their import. The men and women who have a knowledge of God are needed to explain the word to these souls.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 58.

“Many think that they must consult commentaries on the Scriptures in order to understand the meaning of the word of God, and we would not take the position that commentaries should not be studied; but it will take much discernment to discover the truth of God under the mass of the words of men. How little has been done by the church as a body professing to believe the Bible, to gather up the scattered jewels of God’s word into one perfect chain of truth? The jewels of truth do not lie upon the surface, as many suppose. The mastermind in the confederacy of evil is ever at work to keep the truth out of sight and to bring into full view the opinions of great men. The enemy is doing all in his power to obscure heaven’s light through educational processes; for he does not mean that men shall hear the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’Isaiah 30:21.” Christian Education, 85.

  1. How do the following verses illustrate some of the techniques of the Bible’s poetry?

  • Psalm 34:3, Isaiah 55:8. The second line echoes the thought of the first in different words.
  • Psalm 34:4, Psalm 23:1. The first line gives a statement and the second gives the result or consequence arising from it.
  • Psalm 34:10, Isaiah 40:8. The second line contrasts with the first.
  • Psalm 43:5, Psalm 42:11. The first line poses a question and the second gives the response.

NOTE: Bishop Lowth, in 1741, first used the term “parallelism” for this poetic style. He pointed out that, because it is based on meaning, it survives translation into other languages with little or no loss, unlike poetry that depends mainly on complex patterns of rhyme, rhythm, word patterns or vocabulary. Some Bible poetry does, sometimes, use such patterns. For example, in Psalm 119, in each section, all eight verses begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Other psalms also begin each verse with a different letter of the alphabet in sequence. In the book of Lamentations, each of chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 contain 22 verses which begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order. Chapter 3, in contrast, has 66 verses that are grouped in threes, each group beginning with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. These are called acrostics. The fact that such poetic patterns do not easily translate does not, however, significantly detract from the poetry of these passages.


“As an educating power, the Bible is of more value than the writings of all the philosophers of all ages. In its wide range of style and subjects, there is something to interest and instruct every mind, to ennoble every interest. The light of revelation shines undimmed into the distant past, where human annals cast not a ray of light. There is poetry which has called forth the wonder and admiration of the world. In glowing beauty, in sublime and solemn majesty, in touching pathos, it is unequalled by the most brilliant productions of human genius.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 428, 429.

  1. How did God teach those who lived before Christ the plan of salvation? Hebrews 8:5; 10:1.

NOTE: “Through the teachings of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before all nations, and all who would look to Him should live. Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. The whole system of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption.” Acts of the Apostles, 14.


“The power of Christ, the crucified Saviour, to give eternal life, should be presented to the people. We should show them that the Old Testament is as verily the gospel in types and shadows as the New Testament is in its unfolding power. The New Testament does not present a new religion; the Old Testament does not present a religion to be superseded by the New. The New Testament is only the advancement and unfolding of the Old.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 392.

  1. How did Paul explain the significance of some of the feasts of the Lord? 1 Corinthians 5:7–8; 15:20–23.

NOTE: “The Passover was followed by the seven days’ feast of unleavened bread. On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year’s harvest, a sheaf of barley, was presented before the Lord. All the ceremonies of the feast were types of the work of Christ. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was an object lesson of redemption, which the Passover was intended to keep in memory. The slain lamb, the unleavened bread, the sheaf of first fruits, represented the Saviour.” Desire of Ages, 77.

  1. Besides the sanctuary service, what Old Testament stories are presented as types of future events and experiences? 1 Corinthians 10:1–13.

NOTE: “The smitten rock was a figure of Christ, and through this symbol the most precious spiritual truths are taught. As the life-giving waters flowed from the smitten rock, so from Christ, ‘smitten of God,’ ‘wounded for our transgressions,’ ‘bruised for our iniquities’ (Isaiah 53:4, 5), the stream of salvation flows for a lost race. As the rock had been once smitten, so Christ was to be ‘once offered to bear the sins of many.’ Hebrews 9:28. Our Saviour was not to be sacrificed a second time; and it is only necessary for those who seek the blessings of His grace to ask in the name of Jesus, pouring forth the heart’s desire in penitential prayer. Such prayer will bring before the Lord of hosts the wounds of Jesus, and then will flow forth afresh the life-giving blood, symbolized by the flowing of the living water for Israel.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 411.

  1. What Old Testament figure was selected to be a type of the prophetic message to prepare people for the coming of the Lord? Matthew 11:12–14, (compare Malachi 4:5).

NOTE: “The prophet Malachi declares: ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.’ Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 62.

  1. What do some of the things connected with the tabernacle symbolize?

  • The lamb. Exodus 12:3–5. Compare John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:7.
  • The table of shewbread. Numbers 4:7. Compare John 6:35; 6:51.
  • The candlestick. Exodus 25:31–35. Compare John 1:9; 8:12.

NOTE: “Everything in the Jewish service had been misinterpreted and misapplied. The purpose of the sacrifice offerings had been perverted. They were to symbolize Christ and His mission, that when He should come in the flesh, the world might recognize God in Him, and accept Him as the world’s Redeemer. But their lack of true heart service for God had blinded the Jews to a knowledge of God.” Signs of the Times, July 14, 1898.

“In patriarchal times the sacrificial offerings connected with divine worship constituted a perpetual reminder of the coming of a Saviour, and thus it was with the entire ritual of the sanctuary services throughout Israel’s history. In the ministration of the tabernacle, and of the temple that afterward took its place, the people were taught each day, by means of types and shadows, the great truths relative to the advent of Christ as Redeemer, Priest, and King; and once each year their minds were carried forward to the closing events of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purification of the universe from sin and sinners. The sacrifices and offerings of the Mosaic ritual were ever pointing toward a better service, even a heavenly. The earthly sanctuary was ‘a figure for the time then present,’ in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices; its two holy places were ‘patterns of things in the heavens;’ for Christ, our great High Priest, is today ‘a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.’ Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:2.” Prophets and Kings, 684, 685.

  1. By what method did Christ seek to fix eternal truths in the minds of His listeners? Matthew 13:34.

NOTE: “Parable teaching was popular, and commanded the respect and attention, not only of the Jews, but of the people of other nations. No more effective method of instruction could He have employed. If His hearers had desired a knowledge of divine things, they might have understood His words; for He was always willing to explain them to the honest inquirer. Again, Christ had truths to present which the people were unprepared to accept or even to understand. For this reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teaching with the scenes of life, experience, or nature, He secured their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons, they recalled the words of the divine Teacher. To minds that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance of the Saviour’s teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries grew clear, and that which had been hard to grasp became evident. Jesus sought an avenue to every heart. By using a variety of illustrations, He not only presented truth in its different phases, but appealed to the different hearers. Their interest was aroused by figures drawn from the surroundings of their daily life. None who listened to the Saviour could feel that they were neglected or forgotten. The humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a voice that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 21.

  1. What reply did Jesus give when His disciples asked Him why He taught in parables? Matthew 13:10–17.

NOTE: “And He had another reason for teaching in parables. Among the multitudes that gathered about Him, there were priests and rabbis, scribes and elders, Herodians and rulers, world-loving, bigoted, ambitious men, who desired above all things to find some accusation against Him. Their spies followed His steps day after day, to catch from His lips something that would cause His condemnation, and forever silence the One who seemed to draw the world after Him. The Saviour understood the character of these men, and He presented truth in such a way that they could find nothing by which to bring His case before the Sanhedrin. In parables He rebuked the hypocrisy and wicked works of those who occupied high positions, and in figurative language clothed truth of so cutting a character that had it been spoken in direct denunciation, they would not have listened to His words, and would speedily have put an end to His ministry. But while He evaded the spies, He made truth so clear that error was manifested, and the honest in heart were profited by His lessons. Divine wisdom, infinite grace, were made plain by the things of God’s creation. Through nature and the experiences of life, men were taught of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 22.

  1. Why are the stories of Bible times recorded for us? 1 Corinthians 10:1–11.

NOTE: “A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God, a blessing if they come out from the world and are separate, and walk in the path of humble obedience; and a curse if they unite with the idolatrous, who trample upon the high claims of heaven. The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they. ‘Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 609.

“We have evidence in God’s word of the liability of His people to be greatly deceived. There are many instances where what may seem to be a sincere zeal for the honour of God has its origin in leaving the soul unguarded for the enemy to tempt and to impress the mind with a perverted sense of the real state of things. And we may expect just such things in these last days, for Satan is just as busy now as he was in the congregation of Israel. The cruelty and strength of prejudice are not understood.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 353.

  1. Against what specific danger do these stories warn us? 1 Corinthians 10:12.

NOTE: “Satan well knows the material with which he has to deal in the human heart. He knows, for he has studied with fiendish intensity for thousands of years, the points most easily assailed in every character; and through successive generations he has wrought to overthrow the strongest men, princes in Israel, by the same temptations that were so successful at Baalpeor. All along through the ages there are strewn wrecks of character that have been stranded upon the rocks of sensual indulgence. 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.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 458.

Bible Study Guides – “No Prophecy of the Scripture is of Any Private Interpretation”

MEMORY VERSE: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:20.

STUDY HELP: Acts of the Apostles, 529–537.

INTRODUCTION: “The perils of the last days are upon us, and in our work we are to warn the people of the danger they are in. Let not the solemn scenes which prophecy has revealed be left untouched. If our people were half awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed in the Revelation, a reformation would be wrought in our churches, and many more would believe the message. We have no time to lose; God calls upon us to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Advance new principles, and crowd in the clear-cut truth. It will be as a sword cutting both ways. But be not too ready to take a controversial attitude. There will be times when we must stand still and see the salvation of God. Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, ‘the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star’ Revelation 22:16.”

Testimonies, vol. 6, 61.


“As we near the close of this world’s history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the Revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. ‘The wise shall understand’ (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God’s people all through the centuries, the promise is, ‘Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ Revelation 1:3.” Prophets and Kings, 547, 548.

  1. The name “Daniel” means “God is my Judge.” Judgement is a theme running throughout this book. Notice the following:

  • Daniel 1:18–21. Nebuchadnezzar judges Daniel and his three friends.
  • Daniel 3:13–29. Nebuchadnezzar judges Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but God overrules.
  • Daniel 4:31–33. God pronounces judgement upon Nebuchadnezzar.
  • Daniel 5:18–28. Daniel pronounces God’s judgement on Belshazzar and Babylon.
  • Daniel 6:16–17, 24. Darius pronounces sentence on Daniel. God overrules and Darius condemns Daniel’s enemies.
  • Daniel 7:9–14, 26. Daniel sees in vision God’s judgement.
  • Daniel 8:13–14. Daniel hears the prophecy concerning the time of God’s judgement.
  • Daniel 12:10. God’s judgement on both the righteous and wicked.
  1. Judgement means “to bring justice.” Notice how the following passages explain the Bible concept of judgement.

  • Genesis 4:10. Abel’s blood cries out to God for justice.
  • Psalm 10:12–15. The psalmist cries out to God “to requite mischief and spite with Thy hand.”
  • Daniel 8:13. The call to God is, “How long is evil to be permitted to oppress God’s people?
  • Revelation 6:10. The martyred saints cry out to God to judge and avenge their blood.
  1. The Book of Daniel promises deliverance for God’s people.

  • Daniel 2:5, 13, 48–49. God delivers Daniel and his three friends from Nebuchadnezzar’s death decree.
  • Daniel 3:27. God delivers Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Nebuchadnezzar’s death decree.
  • Daniel 6:20–22. “My God hath sent His angel and hath shut the lion’s mouths.”
  • Daniel 7:25–27. The little horn wears out the saints of the Most High but it is they who receive the kingdom.
  • Daniel 12:1. “A time of trouble such as never was…and at that time thy people shall be delivered.”
  1. The Book of Daniel is the book of the kingdom. Every chapter begins with a reference to kingly power, either man’s or God’s.

  • Daniel 1:1–2. The apparent destruction of the kingdom of God by Babylon. (But notice that God gave Jehoiakim into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. God is in control.)
  • Daniel 1:1. The conflict is between Jerusalem and Babylon. This conflict continues between spiritual Babylon and spiritual Jerusalem in Revelation. This is the conflict between true and false worship. Idolatry and its conflict with true worship runs through much of Daniel and Revelation.
  1. The first six chapters of Daniel contain history with some prophecy. The last six chapters of the book contain prophecy with some history. What has been acted out in narrative form is taught by prophetic vision.

  • Those who worship idols are inferior in wisdom to those who worship and obey God. Compare Daniel 1 and 2.
  • Those who refuse to submit to idolatrous worship will be delivered by God. Compare Daniel 3 and 6 with Daniel 12.
  • Earthly laws fall to the ground before the decree of the Divine Lawgiver. Compare Daniel 6 with Daniel 7:25–26.
  • God will condemn self-worship and blasphemy. Compare Daniel 4 and 5 with Daniel 7:25–27. Worship, true and false, is the major issue. Compare Revelation 13 and 14.
  1. Daniel is the book of the sanctuary.

  • The pivotal verse of the entire book is Daniel 8:14.
  • Can you find mention of the sanctuary in chapters 1, 5, 8, 9, 11 and 12? The sanctuary has been defiled by the sins of God’s people, desolated by Babylon and will be cleansed by the Son of man at the time of the end.
  • In the Book of Daniel, God uses the teaching technique of repetition and expansion. Each vision rehearses the ground of the previous vision and focuses on some part of it to add additional light. Those who fail to appreciate this truth will find themselves reaching private interpretations. For example, since Daniel 2 ends with Rome in both its imperial and its papal forms, (first the iron and then iron mixed with clay) each of the other visions, Daniel 7, Daniel 8–9 and Daniel 11–12, will also end with Rome, in its imperial and then its papal form. Failure to see this led to some to substitute Turkey for papal Rome in the final vision.


  1. How is the book of Daniel contrasted with the Book of Revelation? Daniel 12:4, 9, Revelation 22:10.

NOTE: “In the Revelation are portrayed the deep things of God. The very name given to its inspired pages, ‘the Revelation,’ contradicts the statement that this is a sealed book. A revelation is something revealed. The Lord Himself revealed to His servant the mysteries contained in this book, and He designs that they shall be open to the study of all. Its truths are addressed to those living in the last days of this earth’s history, as well as to those living in the days of John. Some of the scenes depicted in this prophecy are in the past, some are now taking place; some bring to view the close of the great conflict between the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven, and some reveal the triumphs and joys of the redeemed in the earth made new. Let none think, because they cannot explain the meaning of every symbol in the Revelation, that it is useless for them to search this book in an effort to know the meaning of the truth it contains. The One who revealed these mysteries to John will give to the diligent searcher for truth a foretaste of heavenly things. Those whose hearts are open to the reception of truth will be enabled to understand its teachings, and will be granted the blessing promised to those who ‘hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ ” Acts of the Apostles, 584- 585.

  1. The first eleven chapters of Revelation deal with three great visions, the Seven churches, the Seven Seals and the Seven Trumpets. Each vision looks at the period from apostolic times to the time of the end.

  • The seven churches describe the spiritual state of the church during this period in seven stages: Ephesus, the apostolic church which began well but lost its first love, Smyrna, the church of the imperial persecutions, “faithful unto death,” Pergamos, the church which compromised with false worship, Thyatira, the persecuted church in the wilderness, Sardis, the church of the failed reformation, with “a name that thou livest and art dead,” Philadelphia, the church of the advent awakening, and finally Laodicea, a people judged, woefully unprepared for her Lord’s scrutiny.
  • The seven seals describe the history of the church. First, a rider on a white horse “conquering and to conquer.” Then a rider on a red horse, suffering and persecuted. Then a rider on a black horse at a time of spiritual famine. Next a rider on a deathly pale horse suffering the terrible persecutions of the dark ages. Next comes the cry of the martyrs calling to God for judgement on their persecutors. Next we see the signs of Christ’s soon coming and the cry, “Who shall be able to stand?” In answer to this question, John hears that 144,000 will be able to stand and then he sees the great multitude of those who will come through the Great Tribulation because they have washed their robes.
  • The seven trumpets reveal God’s judgements on Rome, the persecutor of God’s people. First are pictured the attacks on the Western Roman empire and the African Roman empire through Alaric and the Goths, Genseric and the Vandals, Atilla and the Huns and Odoacer and the Heruli. The final three trumpets are called “woes” and, under the 5th trumpet, we see the rise of Islam in response to the darkness brought by papal Rome. Then follow the Turks who destroy the Eastern Roman Empire. Read Great Controversy, 334–335 for the marvelous fulfilment of Revelation 9:15. Revelation 10 describes the Great Disappointment and Revelation 11 begins with a brief mention of the judgement of God’s people. The 1260 years of the papal suppression of the words of God is described and the rise of atheism is also described. All these events come within the period of the 6th trumpet. The vision ends with the 7th trumpet, the establishment of the kingdom of Christ and the judgement.
  • The remainder of Revelation deals with the beginning, progress and triumphant outcome of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan, first in heaven and then on earth. We see the final conflict and its outcome for the enemies of God, Babylon, and for God’s people, the New Jerusalem. It would be well to read the final two chapters of this book aloud.


  1. What attitude should we take towards the Book of Revelation? Revelation 1:3.

NOTE: “In the Scriptures are presented truths that relate especially to our own time. To the period just prior to the appearing of the Son of man, the prophecies of Scripture point, and here their warnings and threatenings pre-eminently apply. The prophetic periods of Daniel, extending to the very eve of the great consummation, throw a flood of light upon events then to transpire. The book of Revelation is also replete with warning and instruction for the last generation. The beloved John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, portrays the fearful and thrilling scenes connected with the close of earth’s history, and presents the duties and dangers of Gods people. None need remain in ignorance, none need be unprepared for the coming of the day of God. It is not enough to have an intellectual knowledge of the truth. This alone cannot give the light and understanding essential to salvation. There must be an entrance of the word into the heart. It must be set home by the power of the Holy Spirit. The will must be brought into harmony with its requirements. Not only the intellect but the heart and conscience must concur in the acceptance of the truth.” Review and Herald, September 25, 1883.

Children’s Story – Shut Up With a Bible

When Nicholas I became emperor of Russia, his first task was to put down a formidable sedition among the aristocracy of his realm. Many nobles, detected in guilt, and many who were simply suspected, were thrown into prison. One, who was innocent, was by nature a man of fiery temper; his wrongful arrest infuriated him, and he raved like a wild animal. Day after day, brooding over his treatment, he would stamp shrieking through his cell, and curse the emperor and curse God. Why did He not prevent this injustice?

No quiet came to him save in the intervals of exhaustion that followed his fits of rage. A visit from the venerable clergyman on the ninth day of his confinement, produced no softening effect. The good man’s prayer was heard with sullen contempt. The divine words, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” sounded like mockery to the embittered prisoner. The aged minister went away, leaving a Bible in the cell, which he begged the prisoner to read.

As soon as his visitor was gone, the angry nobleman threw the Bible into a corner. What to him was the word of a God who lets tyrants abuse him?

But when the terrible loneliness of succeeding days had nearly crazed him, he caught up the volume, and opened it, and his first glance fell on the middle of the fiftieth psalm: “Call upon me in the day of trouble: and I will deliver thee.” The text surprised and touched him, but his pride resented the feeling, and he dropped the book.

The next day, desperation drove him again to the only companion of his solitude, and from that time he read the Bible constantly. Then he began to study it, and commit whole chapters to memory. The story of the Savior’s life and death totally changed him. He saw himself a fellow sufferer with Christ who was unjustly accused and slain.

Revengeful rage gave way, and the spirit of a martyr took its place. Like the persecuted Christians shut up in the Roman catacombs, he forgave his enemies. An unworldly joy took up the time he had once spent in harsh thoughts and words. The shadows of wrong and death vanished in the new light that shone upon him from beyond.

The company of the book—the one Book in all the world that could have done it—had given the proud noble another heart.

Madame Dubois, once a beloved prison missionary in New York, from whose writings this story is taken, was in Russia when the condemned man’s aunt and sister, with whom she was visiting received a letter, which was believed to be his last. It was the outpouring of an exalted soul superior to fate.

He had undergone his trial; and, unable to prove his innocence, had been sentenced to death.

On the day set for his execution, while the ladies of his mansion walked in tears through the crape-hung parlors, suddenly the sight of their doomed kinsman himself astonished them at the door!

It was an unhoped for deliverance at the last moment. When the jailer’s key unlocked the prisoner’s cell, instead of the messenger of death, the czar of Russia stood before him. A conspirator’s intercepted letter had placed the innocence of the suspected nobleman beyond question, and the czar made what amends he could by bestowing on him a splendid castle and a general’s commission.

Seventy-five years have passed since then, and with them the life of the almost-martyred Russian; but the fruits of his devout fidelity and kindness among his fellow men, the hospital he built for the sick and friendless, and the very Bible he was shut up with in his own distress, still bear witness to a consecration that was worth all personal cost, and infinitely more.

Taken from The Youth’s Instructor, January 3, 1901.

Is There Any Word From God?

“For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth He devise means that His banished be not expelled from Him.” 2 Samuel 14:14. A woman of Tekoah preached this little sermon as a rebuke to the king of Israel.

The Bible story begins when Amnon, the king’s son wronged his half sister, Tamar, who was a full sister to Absalom. Absalom took revenge by killing Amnon then fleeing into exile to avoid revenge being taken upon him. For three years he lived with a foreign king, far from his homeland. For three years he anxiously watched and waited, asking everyone whom he thought might know, “Is there any word from the king?” But the king remained silent. There was no indication that he even cared about Absalom. Finally, the woman of Tekoah, in consultation with Joab, preached this little sermon to the king as a rebuke. Pointing out that his action was unlike the action of the Lord that he professed to love and obey, she reminded him that the merciful God we serve devises means whereby the banished may be restored.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve enjoyed open communication with the Lord. We are told, “The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly care of God but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no obscuring veil between.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 50. All that changed when sin came in.

Have you ever noticed the way nations relate to other nations in modern diplomacy? When two nations are not getting along, very often they do not communicate directly but talk to each other through a third party. They fear that direct communication would blur the message of condemnation that they are trying to give, and cause people to say, “Well, it must not be all that bad. They are still on speaking terms.” So a means is devised by which communication can go on, but still the testimony, against what is conceived to be evil, remains.

God has used a similar method to bear testimony against the evil of man’s rebellion. God recognized that to communicate directly with man would blur the testimony and cause confusion. Maybe the rebel would say, “Well, I must not be so bad, the Lord is still talking to me.” So the Lord had to break off direct communication, yet He devised a means to continue communication. He chose individuals who were not in rebellion against Him and through them He sent messages to those in rebellion. In this way He communicates to the rebel, but at the same time He declares to the universe His rejection of the evil action of the rebel. We call this Divine Diplomacy.

This special class of people, through whom the Lord communicates, we call prophets. They can declare, “Now the word of the Lord came unto me,” and this gives them a sense of commission that is unlike anything the world has ever seen. We look in amazement at prophets going before their kings and demanding that they come into line. That is certainly not something a common man would do, for it would mean risking his life.

Recall the time when a certain king of Israel asked a prophet what would happen if he went to war. The prophet told him truthfully that he would not come back because the Lord did not approve. The king in fury said, “Take this man and throw him in the prison and keep him there until I come back.” We would expect the man to drop to his knees and plead for mercy, but he did not. He said, “Your majesty, if you come back at all, the Lord has not spoken by me.”

The history of the prophets’ relationship to their kings reveals their steadfast integrity, their unflinching and unyielding demand for righteousness on every level from the highest to the lowest classes of society. There is not any class of men like them in the world, and they produced literature. Some of their messages appear to us in a Book that is unlike any other book in the world—the Bible. We value it because we believe it contains revelations from God.

Theories and Facts

What actually is revelation? To fully answer this question, I first present an example to you. Suppose that you are the king of one of the Hawaiian Islands where a horse has never been seen. Some Europeans arrive and tell you that in Europe there is a large animal called a horse. How are you going to know what a horse is like? One way that you could find out is to call a committee of the most learned men in your kingdom and commission them to collectively study this matter out and report their findings back to you. The only problem is, they have never seen a horse. They only have fragments of information about a horse, and the largest animals they know are sharks and whales. It would not be too surprising, then, if the report they brought back to you is that a horse is something like a whale or a shark. Having never seen a horse, that would be the best they could do.

Another way to learn about a horse would be to send a few thousand dollars to Europe to have a horse shipped to your island. When the horse arrived in Hawaii, your learned men could examine the horse and then draw up their final conclusion. That would be a perfectly appropriate method as long as they did not try to ignore the evidence and force their previous theories on the actual horse!

Consider a theory that some of the best brains in our world adhered to before men had ever walked on the moon. They recognized the Law of Gravity in the world and in the universe. They believed that the degree of the pull of gravity was related to the size of the planet. The larger the planet, the stronger the pull; the smaller the planet, the less the pull. Since the moon is so much smaller than the earth, they reasoned that there would be very little gravitational pull there, which would mean that the surface of the moon might be extremely soft. Gravity would not have pulled it in as hard as it is here on earth and a man landing on the moon might sink in to his waist or even to his neck.

Finally, the day came when a man landed a spacecraft on the moon and stepped out onto its surface for the first time—and he only sunk in about two inches. There was not that much dust. What if the scientists had said, “We will not accept that; we know that the surface of the moon is soft”? That would have been ridiculous! Instead, they corrected their theory when the facts were in. They could not force their theory on the moon!

All of the examples I have given you are leading to a very crucial concept: there is nothing wrong with speculative thinking, but it should always be corrected by the observable data!

Man’s Theories about Revelation

As we come back to our basic question, What is revelation?, we discover that man has a very strong tendency to set up a theory about revelation and force it on the Bible instead of letting the Bible tell them what revelation is! Here are just a few of the many examples I could give you.

People theorize that if there is such a thing as revelation, if there is a Book in existence which contains information revealed by the God of the universe, certainly it would have just one heavenly literary style throughout that whole Book. But, when we look at the Book, it is not like that. There are sections of it that are purely historical in style. Sections of it are dramatical in style, like the book of Job. Others are poetical, like the Psalms, and others are apocalyptic, like Daniel and Revelation. What should we do with these facts? Will we let the facts correct our theory? Or are we determined to hold to our theory no matter what?

Another very common way that many have reasoned is that if there is something in the world called revelation, if God has spoken to man, then certainly that message would come from God in the highest language and with the most perfect vocabulary known to man. However, as men studied the New Testament, written in Greek, they saw a great difference between the Greek of the New Testament and the Greek of the classical writers. At the same time archeologists were finding written materials in the Greek language. There were contracts, deeds, instructions, bills of lading, and receipts. They finally found that the truth of the matter was that the language of the Greek New Testament was the simple everyday language of the common people. The idea that the Greek of the New Testament must be an especially elevated form of Greek had to be laid aside.

Some people had real trouble with that. They reasoned that it would be impossible that God could pass by the beautiful language of high Greek for the common language spoken on the street. It was a jolt to them. But that is exactly what God did, and we had better allow our theories be corrected by the facts.

Men speculate that if the Bible is a revelation from God then every description of a single incident should be exactly like every other description. But this is not true at all. We look at the Gospel records of the life of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and they are not contradictory, but they are different. They apparently reflect the different interests of the writer.

A study of the gospel of Mark shows that he wrote for the non-Jewish reader. His gospel contains many explanations telling why the Jews had certain customs or explaining a word that had a particular meaning for the Jews. Matthew, on the other hand, obviously wrote for the Jew and he often notes how prophecies, well known to Jews, had been fulfilled. Luke was the careful historian trying to set everything in the context of the events around it. He often says, it was in such and such a year of a certain ruler, it was such and such a time, or in such and such a place. John had a very different emphasis. He was the theologian. In his gospel, he spends very little time on locations, but he spends a lot of time on the theological meanings of what Jesus said. All of the gospels are true and contain important lessons for us, but they do not provide identical accounts. Here again we have to let our theory be corrected by the facts.

Some would argue that if the Bible is from God, it should be so legally precise that it is impossible to misunderstand it. But God, we discover, is not interested in forcing anyone to believe. He sets before us enough evidence that we can believe if we choose to, and with that He is finished. He will not try to force anyone. So we do not find the Bible to be legally precise. In order to be sure we have the right picture, we must compare many verses, one with another.

More of Men’s Theories

According to men’s theories, if the Bible is a divinely inspired book, we should not find any records of evil. But we find that the Bible records, in frank and honest detail, the sins of David and the apostasy and betrayal of Peter and other things that are painful for us to read. So we have to let that correct our theory again.

According to our theory, the Bible should be systematically organized. Everything should be in proper chronological order, but this is not true either. Take, for example, the book of Jeremiah. When you read it, it looks as though Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary, collected all of the masses of Jeremiah’s writings and just bound them together in a book, without any attempt at all to put them in proper chronological order.

In the New Testament, even the parables are not recorded in the same order in the different gospels. If you tried to figure out which one came first, you would not find it easy. Ellen White suggests that the narrative of what Jesus said and what He did was called back to the authors minds by certain circumstances and so the different events of Christ’s ministry and the lessons He taught, do not always appear in chronological order in the different gospels.

We theorize that if the Bible truly is the word of God, certainly it must be entirely original. It does not seem logical that in it there would appear anything a man had copied from another man. But that does not check out either. When you look at your Bible, you find that there is clear evidence that there was some copying done.

If you begin with 2 Peter 2:4 and compare it with Jude 6, and read about the next ten verses in each chapter, you will conclude that someone did some copying. Either Peter had Jude’s epistle before him as he wrote or Jude had Peter’s epistle before him as he wrote. Matthew also must have had the book of Mark before him as he was writing, and Luke must have had both Matthew and Mark before him as he was writing. Some scholars tell us that ninety-five percent of the book of Mark is copied word for word into Matthew and Luke.

In the book of Genesis there is a strong indication that earlier records were incorporated into Scripture. Genesis chapter 1 through chapter 2 verse 3, covers the story of creation. There we see a record of the days of creation and exactly what happened on every day, including the seventh. And then, verse 4 starts in with another new story of creation. It begins, “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.” What is then recorded is not contradictory to the first account, any more than Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are contradictory, but it is different.

Look at that word “generation” in verse four. In the past scholars believed that writing was unknown in the ancient world. Some skeptics insisted that we know Moses could not have written Genesis because writing was not being done in Moses’ time. However, the archaeologists have corrected our understanding and we now know there was a great deal of writing being done long, long before Moses was born. In the days of Abraham they even kept little clay tablets with Bills of Sale and Title Deeds to their property. So certainly writing was not uncommon.

Archaeologists have discovered genealogical tablets called the towledah. These little tablets would have all the names of one’s ancestors, so it was the towledah of that man or family. And towledah is the word used in Genesis 2:4, translated “generations.” There is strong indication here that when Moses wrote the book of Genesis he incorporated some pre-existing records into his own record of the early history of our earth. We believe that the Holy Spirit would not have let him include them if they had been faulty. But they were accurate records and so Moses simply copied them right into his own record.

We could go on and compare Kings and Chronicles and add many more illustrations, but the evidence is already conclusive and leads to one point—we must correct our theories by the facts revealed in the Word of God. We must let the Bible tell us what revelation is and not force our theories upon the Bible.

God’s Penmen Not His Pen

Another theory that is commonly held by many sincere Christians is that if God spoke to a man by His Holy Spirit, then certainly the man merely copied the words spoken to him. But that does not check out, either. I learned something about this with an experience of my own.

There was a time when I feel that the Lord talked to me directly. It happened when I was pleading with the Lord for guidance in an important decision that had to immediately be made about an evangelistic series. I began to quote to the Lord one of His own Scriptures which said, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” I said, “Lord, You have to tell me what to do. You have to give me a sign. I have to decide this quickly.” And the Lord responded. I did not hear a voice, but my mind was instantly illuminated with a complete thought, like a flash. I cannot quote it to you as quickly as it came, because I have to report it to you in words and the words take time. But the message came in a thousandth of a second. “What are you doing reading to Me a promise of wisdom while you ask Me for a sign? A sign is not wisdom.” That hit me so hard that I stopped praying. I said, “I guess that is right.” And so, I sat down on my chair and I said, “What would wisdom do?” Then I laid out a little plan, I tried it and it worked. It was a miraculous thing.

I cherish the memory of the few times in my experience that I believe the Lord spoke to me directly. I cannot tell you by what method it was done, but it was immediate and the whole message was there in my mind.

I tell people that experience in different words from time to time, words calculated to reach the understanding of the person I am talking to. I do not think that does any violence at all to the experience. It was not given to me in words that I either heard or saw.

Ellen White tells us that the writers of the Bible had to do something like that. “The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. . . . The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen.” Ibid., 20, 21. (See also Selected Messages, vol. 1, 20–48.)

I have listened with great interest to many earnest and sincere scholars in the university classroom, as they struggled desperately to describe how God speaks to a man in revelation. They could not do it. I cannot do it either. But Ellen White reminds us that we see the same thing in revelation that we see in the incarnation. No man can tell precisely how humanity and divinity are blended in Jesus Christ. No man can tell precisely how humanity and divinity are blended in the Word of God. It is beyond the human understanding. This is probably a subject we will be studying through the ages of eternity.

She goes on: “It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expression but on the man himself. . . . The words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will, thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God.” Ibid. And then summing it up, she says, “I take the Bible just as it is, the inspired Word. I believe its utterances in the entire Bible.” Ibid., 17.

The Bible can be compared to a tall man bending down to talk to a child, then getting down on one knee so that his eyes are level with the child’s and trying to communicate with him. It is God stooping down to communicate with us in language that we can understand. Human language is not adequate to fully contain the thought of God, but God devised a means to communicate the truths vital to our salvation in a way that we mortals could understand.

God Calls Us Back

David devised means whereby Absalom could be brought back. But notice the difference. David did not act until he was urged. God devised the means long before there was a need. He was ready with His plan that His banished would not be expelled and that those separated from Him by sin would not be hopelessly separated. He devised a means to bring them back, to restore them.

David’s restoration of Absalom was not complete. He told Joab to bring him back to Jerusalem and let him live in his own house free, but not to let him see his face. That is not like God. Remember in the story of the Prodigal Son, the father saw his prodigal son returning and he did not say, “Well, I see my son is coming back. Send one of the servants to take him to the servants quarters and we will send some clothing down there. But see to it that he does not come to this house.” Oh, no, Jesus describes the father, himself, going out to meet him. He wraps his arms around him and draws him close to his heart of love. Then he commands that a robe be brought to cover his filthy rags and he calls everyone to celebrate his restoration so that all will know that his restoration is complete. The son is restored as fully and completely as if he had never sinned. That is the way the Lord works. His ways are much higher than the ways of men.

How thankful we are that God devised means for rebellious mankind. It is as if the rope tying man’s boat to the dock is cut and man is on the boat drifting ever farther and farther away from God. But God was not content to sit in silence in His palace, like David did, and say, “That is too bad. It is not My problem.” God made it His problem. He devised a means and because He did, we have His Book in our hands.

This precious, invaluable Book is the greatest treasure we can have because it comes from God. I suggest that we lay aside all of our preconceived theories and let this Book tell us what revelation is and does and what it does not do. Let us thank God that He devised the means so that everywhere man may go, there is always this Book waiting for him. Whenever man in his exile asks, “Is there any word from the King?” the answer is always “Yes, there is a word from the Lord.” You can turn to it anytime, anywhere and discover that the Lord is waiting to welcome you home.

“Come, every soul by sin oppressed.

There’s mercy with the Lord,

And He will surely give you rest,

By trusting in His Word.”

That Word is always there. There is always a word from the Lord saying, “Come home and be forgiven. Be as fully restored as if you had never sinned.”

Editorial – The Infallible Guide, Part II

We showed the first part of this series (in the editorial in July 1999), that informed Adventists do not claim verbal inspiration or infallibility in the strictest sense of the word for inspired writings. But at the same time we saw that inspired writings are an infallible guide to salvation and that no one will be able to say, in the day of judgement, that he followed the inspired writings and was lost.

“The Bible presents a perfect standard of character; it is an infallible guide under all circumstances, even to the end of the journey of life.” Signs of the Times, March 21, 1906.

“It was the Spirit of God that inspired the Bible, it is impossible that the teaching of the Spirit should ever be contrary to that of the word.” The Great Controversy, vii.

“Divine power is infallible. Then let us come to God, pleading for the guidance of His Holy Spirit.” Testimonies to Ministers, 485.

As is evident in the above quotations, the reason that the Bible is an infallible guide to heaven is because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit and divine power is infallible. Since the Spirit of Prophecy, as manifested in the writings of Ellen G. White, is also inspired by the same power and person, the Spirit of Prophecy, which is confirmed, is also an infallible guide. No one will be able to claim, in the day of judgement, that they studied and read these books and attempted to follow the counsel therein contained and then lost their soul. The danger is that through neglect that the following will come to pass: “Many are going directly contrary to the light which God has given to His people, because they do not read the books which contain the light and knowledge in cautions, reproofs, and warnings. The cares of the world, the love of fashion, and the lack of religion have turned the attention from the light God has so graciously given.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 681.

The following letter illustrates the vital importance of the Spirit of Prophecy for the remnant living in the last days: “The truths given us after the passing of the time in 1844 are just as certain and unchangeable as when the Lord gave them to us in answer to our urgent prayers. The visions that the Lord has given me are so remarkable that we know that what we have accepted is the truth. This was demonstrated by the Holy Spirit. Light, precious light from God, established the main points of our faith as we hold them today. And these truths are to be kept before the mind. We must arouse from the position of lukewarmness, from being neither cold nor hot. We need increased faith and more earnest trust in God. We must not be satisfied to remain where we are. We must advance step by step, from light to greater light.

“The Lord will certainly do great things for us if we will hunger and thirst after righteousness. We are the purchased property of Jesus Christ. We must not lose our devotion, our consecration. We are in conflict with the errors and delusions that have to be swept away from the minds of those who have not acted upon the light they already have. Bible truth is our only safety. I know and understand that we are to be established in the faith, in the light of the truth given us in our early experience. At that time one error after another pressed in upon us; ministers and doctors brought in new doctrines. We would search the Scriptures with much prayer, and the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to our minds. Sometimes whole nights would be devoted to searching the Scriptures, and earnestly asking God for guidance. Companies of devoted men and women assembled for this purpose. The power of God would come upon me, and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error.

“As the points of our faith were thus established, our feet were placed upon a solid foundation. We accepted the truth point by point, under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. I would be taken off in vision, and explanations would be given me. I was given illustrations of heavenly things, and of the sanctuary, so that we were placed where light was shining on us in clear, distinct rays.

“All these truths are immortalized in my writings. The Lord never denies His word. Men may get up scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to seduce souls from the truth, but all who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in these last days.” Letter 50, 1906. [Emphasis supplied]

The Star of the New Evangelization of America, Part III

Editor’s Note: In the last two parts (Part I and Part II) of this series we have looked at the role spiritualism will play in the last days, especially as it relates to Adventism. This month we will examine, in detail, the Marian phenomena and how we should relate to it.

Thousands of Supernatural Apparitions

Satan has been preparing the world for a master deception for quite some time. Mary apparitions have been reported for centuries, and, more recently, the phenomena is steadily increasing. “Spiritualism is about to take the world captive. There are many who think that Spiritualism is upheld through trickery and imposture; but this is far from the truth. Superhuman power is working in a variety of ways, and few have any idea of what will be the manifestations of Spiritualism in the future.” Signs of the Times, May 28, 1894. Is it any wonder, then, that all over the world major Mary apparitions and pilgrimages are increasing each year? “Since the first recorded supernatural appearance of Mary to a third-century pagan lawyer turned Christian named Gregory Thaumaturgus.…thousands of apparitions of the Virgin…have been claimed.…Hundreds of visions have been reported in the twentieth century alone, although only a few have ever received official ‘approval’ by the Catholic Church.” Searching for Mary, 6.

The December 30, 1991, Time magazine reported that “the late 20th century has become the age of the Marian pilgrimage” to shrines established to commemorate the many sightings of the Virgin Mary in recent years. Perhaps the two most famous shrines are at Lourdes, France, and Fatima, Portugal. But, “there are thousands of shrines of Our Lady in every country of the world.” Shrines to our Lady, 5. Shrines are usually built at locations where an apparition has appeared. Especially in the twentieth century, Mary apparitions have been reported and shrines erected in Portugal, Ireland, Rwanda, Venezuela, Italy, Yugoslavia, Korea, Mexico, Japan, and many other countries, drawing millions of visitors every year.

A major U.S. newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, on December 25, 1998, featured the following headline: Virgin Mary Fervor Grows As More Sightings Reported. The Chronicle cited that the three major reasons for the added Marian fervor are the approach of the millennium, the strong devotion of Pope John Paul II to Mary, and the continuing influence of events at Medjugorje, a Bosnian village where the mother of Jesus supposedly appeared in 1981. In Carthage, Missouri, 50,000 were estimated for the 21st annual observance of Marian Days. (Scope, August 12, 1998.) Then, “in Conyers, Georgia, 100,000 people gathered on a farm to hear a middle-aged housewife named Nancy Fowler channel messages from the Virgin Mary.” Ibid.

On the feast of Guadalupe, about two dozen Mexican farm workers and their families gather around a large shade tree at a Yuba City housing project. They claim to see an image of Mary in a large knothole and have candles and poinsettias at the base of the tree. The Chronicle continues: “This rising devotion to Mary cuts across lines and denominational boundaries.” (See The Great Controversy, 445.)

Blood, Tears, and Roses

In Thornton, California, 50,000 devoted pilgrims from all over the country arrive, many in motor homes, in hopes of seeing a repeat performance of the “moving statue of Mary.” Many others have reported statues of the Virgin shedding tears of blood. “In the small town of Naju, located near the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula, Our Lady began giving urgent messages and signs to Julia Kim. On June 30, 1985, Our Lady’s statue, owned by Julia, began weeping tears, and on October 19, 1986, it began weeping tears of blood. Until January 14, 1992, the statue wept for a total of exactly 700 days. The tears of blood were tested and found to be human blood. Now the statue has been giving off odors of fragrant oil.…Julia is surrounded by the sweet fragrance of roses. Also, when she kisses a rosary or simply holds it in her hands for a few seconds, it becomes fragrant.” Our Lady of Naju Web Site. In Stockton, California, my hometown, two statues recently transported from the Philippines sporadically emitted a “palatable fragrance of sweet-scented oil.” The Record, May 5, 1999.

Outside California City, in the Mojave Desert, a Mexican-born mystic and visionary named Maria Paula, has drawn crowds numbering in the thousands since 1989. “The crowds come on the thirteenth of every month for prayer and to witness Maria Paula’s reception of an apparition and a message from the Virgin Mary. Pilgrims have reported sun miracles, visions, healings, and numerous other miraculous phenomena.” Searching for Mary, 169.

In Corpus Christi, Texas, a $12.00 statue of the Virgin “turned its head, opened its eyes, and took mincing steps.” The Star Tribune, June 6, 1998. About 50 people a minute visit the site where a subway worker’s child noticed a water stain on the floor of Mexico City’s Hidalgo Metro station, a likeness to the nation’s most powerful religious symbol—the beloved Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. (The Denver Post, June 14, 1997.)

The Great Chastisements

“Medjugorje (‘between the hills’) has become well known in Bosnia-Hercegovina, and the world, because of six young people who claim to have seen visions of the Madonna. Beginning on June 24, 1981, the Blessed Mother appeared to and later told the visionaries God had sent her to our world to help us convert our hearts and lives back to Him.” Medjugorje Web Site. Visions and apparitions at Medjugorje—sometimes called The New Fatima—are continually being reported.

In Fatima, Portugal, on July 13, 1917, the Virgin reportedly imparted three secrets to three shepherd children. The second secret included the Virgin’s desire that the pope consecrate Russia to her immaculate heart, thus securing the conversion of that nation. [Interesting how communism was defeated through the conspiracy of Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan! Beware, beloved, for while in Mexico, the same pope consecrated the Americas to Mary, calling for solidarity!] “Fatima’s third secret, still unrevealed, has been kept under lock and key at the Vatican since the late 1950s and has been the subject of much speculation since its existence was first made known. It is widely supposed that the secret concerns a coming worldwide cataclysm and the approach of the end-times.” Searching for Mary, 10, 11.

Garabandal, Spain—A Masterful Deception

From 1961 through 1965, in Garabandal, Spain, four young girls experienced more than two thousand apparitions of the Virgin Mary over a four-year period. These particular visions and apparitions are a perfect example of the devil’s ability to perform masterful delusions and lying wonders—a prelude of what is to come. On July 1, 1961, a shining, winged angel spoke to the children and told them that the following day they would see the Blessed Virgin. The next day the Virgin appeared with two angels and continued to appear throughout the month. “Each time the girls went into ecstasy, during which they exhibited extraordinary physical changes: they became insensitive to pinpricks, extreme noise and bright lights, and their slight bodies could hardly be lifted from the ground by two strong men.…The Virgin would pass the infant Jesus to one of the girls to cuddle, or remove her crown and let the girls try it on.…The girls received out-of-body experiences during which they claimed they were taken on spiritual journeys through the heavens by the Virgin. Many eyewitnesses declared on oath that they had observed the girls seeming to fly over the ground at great speed when Our Lady was calling them to her.” Shrines of Our Lady, 153.

According to Conchita Gonzales, one of the four children: “On an unspecified date in the future…the Great Miracle…will take place in a grove of pines near Garabandal. Everyone who is in the area will see it; the sick who are present will be cured, sinners will repent, and Russia will be converted. The second phase of the miracle is to establish a permanent, miraculous sign in the groves of pines. The sign will be capable of being photographed and touched, its divine origin will be beyond question, and it will last until the end of time. The final leg of the prophecy, the Chastisement, is a global catastrophe held in reserve by God in the event the Warning and Miracle don’t have their intended effects.” Searching for Mary, 11, 12.

Calamities Will Increase

In Bayside, N.Y., “The Lourdes of America,” Jesus and Mary are reported to speak to the world through a seer named Veronica Lueken. Warnings of impending doom are presented of a massive world monetary depression and Russian plans of attack. Mary warns of increasing natural disasters through the elements of nature, and that these judgments from God—His chastisements—are increasing because the world has violated His moral law—the Ten Commandments.

Again, compare the words of the “demon” Mary (a demon masquerading as Mary) with the words of E. G. White: “Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows.…While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power….These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous.The Great Controversy, 589, 590.

A category-five tornado in Salt Lake City, a first of its kind, causing millions of dollars in damage; the worst hurricane to hit Texas in over ten years; 72 tornadoes in one day in Kansas and in Oklahoma City; one of the ten most deadly earthquakes in history, killing forty thousand in Turkey—such calamities as these are becoming “more frequent and disastrous.”

So in the future, as these calamities increase and Sunday worship is urged upon us, we can expect nominal SDA ministers [whose testimonies will be seconded by the demon spirits (see The Great Controversy, 590, 591)] in “responsible positions taking a course directly opposite to that pursued by Nehemiah.…In churches and in large gatherings in the open air, ministers will urge upon the people the necessity of keeping the first day of the week. There are calamities on sea and land: and these calamities will increase, one disaster following close upon another; and the little band of conscientious Sabbath-keepers will be pointed out as the ones who are bringing the wrath of God upon the world by their disregard of Sunday.” And it will also be asserted “that this sin has brought calamities that will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity.” Review and Herald, March 18, 1884; The Great Controversy, 590. Obviously, these leaders are practitioners of the omega!

The Thunder of Justice

I remember the first time I read The Thunder of Justice, written by two Catholics who are very active in the Marian Movement, how alarmed I was by their frequent use of Adventist terms. The book, which focuses on prophetic, end-time events, appears to be the Catholic’s version of The Great Controversy. In fact, it uses the very language of Ellen G. White—the language with which SDAs are familiar. This book attempts to counterfeit the Three Angels’ Messages and to give all the glory to the Virgin Mary. Some terms used in this false Spirit of Prophecy are “the little flock,” “the remnant,” Mary’s message to “recite and keep the Ten Commandments,” and that she is “the prophetess of the last days.”

The Thunder of Justice tells us that the demon Mary prophesied that rockets will hit New York in the near future. (The Thunder of Justice, 344.) Interestingly, Ellen White has foretold of a time when New York will suffer a great fire: “I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven….The scene that next passes before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings and said: ‘They are perfectly safe.’ But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 12, 13.

I have often wondered why SDAs are not more alarmed by the inroads of spiritualism and Satan’s use of Mary in his efforts to deceive the world, and us also. The demon Mary claims to be the “Mother of the Second Advent,” and that she is preparing us for Christ’s Second Coming. Friends, that is the work of our church! For we are the true church that has been called to give the Elijah message to the world! But the “demon” Mary insists: “I am the Virgin of Revelation.” I am the “woman clothed with the sun who does battle with the dragon and his powerful army of evil.” The Thunder of Justice, 90, 99.

The audacity of the “demon” Mary to take the symbolic vision given to John in Revelation 12, which is a symbol of God’s true church, and incorrectly apply it to herself! The false Mary also elaborates on the Holy Spirit’s role in the last days: “On the feast of Pentecost, May 22, 1988, the message from Our Lady to the Marian Movement of Priests was clear: ‘The Holy Spirit will come to establish the glorious reign of Christ.…What will come to pass is something so very great that it will exceed anything that has taken place since the beginning of the world.’” Ibid., 309, 310. Friends, are we not waiting for the outpouring of the Spirit?—that “time when the events of the day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion…and [a time] to maintain such a close connection with Him that they may be partakers of the latter rain when it shall be poured out.” Review and Herald, July 20, 1886.

The “demon” Mary also says that the apostles, “Saint Peter and Saint Paul, having come down from Heaven, shall preach in the whole world and designate a new Pope. A great light will flash from their bodies and will settle upon a cardinal who is to be Pope. Christianity, then, will spread throughout the world. He is the holy Pontiff, chosen by God to withstand the storm. At the end, he will have the gift of miracles, and his name shall be praised over the whole earth. Whole nations will come back to the church and the face of the earth will be renewed. Russia, England, and China will come into the church.” The Thunder of Justice, 353.

I do not know whether this scenario will happen or not, for Satan is the “father of lies.” But Ellen White has warned us that “the apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth. They deny the divine origin of the Bible [the Roman Catholic Church denies that the Bible is the sole authority of God’s word and defends the founding fathers and their traditions], and thus tear away the foundation of the Christian’s hope.” The Great Controversy, 557.

The comparisons continue with Mary’s counterfeit message that she “will bring you to the full understanding of Sacred Scripture.…Above all, I will read to you the pages of its last book [Revelation], which you are living.” The Thunder of Justice, 90. Then, believe it or not, on page 100 of the same book, she quotes the Three Angels’ Messages from Revelation 14!!! Dearly beloved, “Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11.

Demons Will Appear Before Our Eyes

“I saw that Satan has power to bring before us the appearance of forms purporting to be our relatives or friends who sleep in Jesus. It will be made to appear as if these friends were actually present, the words they uttered while here, with which we were familiar, will be spoken, and the same tone of voice that they had while living will fall upon the ear. All this is to deceive the world and ensnare them into the belief of this delusion.

“I saw that the saints must have a thorough understanding of present truth, which they will be obliged to maintain from the Scriptures. They must understand the state of the dead; for the spirits of devils will yet appear to them, professing to be beloved relatives or friends, who will declare to them unscriptural doctrines. They will do all in their power to excite sympathy and will work miracles before them to confirm what they declare. The people of God must be prepared to withstand these spirits with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who thus appear are the spirits of devils [including the relative of Jesus—the Virgin Mary—his mother!]…This delusion will spread, and we will have to contend with it face to face; and unless we are prepared for it, we will be ensnared and overcome. But if we do what we can on our part to be ready for the conflict that is just before us, God will do His part, and His all-powerful arm will protect us. He would sooner send every angel out of glory to make a hedge about faithful souls, than have them deceived and led away by the lying wonders of Satan.” Early Writings, 262.

Please read the chapter in The Great Controversy entitled The Scriptures a Safeguard, 593–602! Seventh-day Adventists have been given the truth on the state of the dead. We have been entrusted with the most precious light ever given to mortals to save us from the masterful, spiritualistic deceptions of Satan in these last days. Scripture support is abundant in defense of this truth that unmasks the lie perpetrated by Satan in the beginning that “ye shall not surely die.” The only defense for Seventh-day Adventists during the omega—when deceased loved ones, the apostles, the demon Mary, etc. begin making their false appearances, is a “thus saith the Lord.”

The Scriptures a Safeguard

And will it be Mary who will introduce, through the almost overpowering delusion, her son, the false Christ, to the world—”the crowning act in the drama of deception”? “In his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth.” Our cry must be “it is written:” “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything;” “the dead praise not the Lord, neither any [including Mary] that go down into silence;” for “his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalms 115:17; 146:4.

The words of Job address this subject quite clearly: “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call and I will answer thee.” Job 14:14, 15. And John 5:28 and 29 tells us that it is the voice of Christ that wakes the sleeping saints on resurrection morn: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

Mary, the beloved mother of Jesus, “is both dead and buried, and [her] sepulchre [no one knows its location] is with us unto this day.” Contrary to Roman Catholic teaching, Mary, like David, “is not ascended into the heavens.” Acts 2:29, 34. In fact, David himself wrote in Psalms 17:15 “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Such words also apply to Mary!

Jesus spoke of death as sleep. In John 11:11 and 14, Christ stated: “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go to awake him out of sleep…Then Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” In sound sleep one is wholly lost to consciousness; time goes by unmeasured; and mental activity is suspended for the time being. “Blessed rest for the weary righteous! Time, be it long or short, is but a moment to them. They sleep; they are awakened by the trumpet of God to a glorious immortality.” Great Controversy, 550.

The Sound of the Trumpet

There are three portions of Scripture that specifically mention a trumpet blast just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. And when these Scriptures are compared, they clearly reveal the exact time a deceased person will regain consciousness. The first trumpet verses are in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55: “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Only God has immortality (see 1 Timothy 6:16), and no mortal will receive the gift of immortality until the last trumpet sounds at the Second Coming of Christ!

The second trumpet” verses say: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessa-lonians 4:15-18. Here again the Scriptures confirm that no man receives his immortality until he is awakened by the trumpet of Christ at the Second Coming.

The third trumpet verses actually address the magnitude of spiritualism and Satan’s lying wonders before the Second Coming of Christ: “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Immediately after the tribulation of those days…He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:26, 27, 29a, 31. Careful examination of the three paragraphs above place the trumpet sounds at the time of the Second Coming—when the resurrected saints will receive their eternal reward of immortality, and not before! Praise God, the Scriptures are our safeguard!

The Origin of Man’s Consciousness in Death

The doctrine of consciousness after death, of the spirits of the dead being in communion with the living, has no foundation in the Scriptures, and yet this theory is affirmed as truth. The doctrine of man’s consciousness in death, especially the belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modern spiritualism. Nearly all forms of ancient sorcery and witchcraft were founded upon a belief in communion with the dead. Modern spiritualism is founded upon the first lie by which Satan beguiled Eve in Eden: “Ye shall not surely die.”

And it was the Roman Catholic Church that originated and perpetuated the teaching of the Assumption—that Mary was assumed into heaven before her body saw corruption in the grave. “At the end of her life on earth, the Church teaches, Mary was ‘assumed’ body and soul, into heaven. This teaching was first proclaimed by St. Gregory of Tours in the sixth century. An earlier tradition has it that all the Apostles witnessed her death, but that when her tomb was opened years later it was found to be empty. The doctrine of the Assumption was defended in the Middle Ages by St. Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas. It has been adhered to by Christians from the earliest times, and eventually, on 1 November 1950, Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin to be an article of faith. It is celebrated annually on 15 August.” Shrines of Our Lady, 6.

“Through the false doctrine [of the immortality of the soul] the way has been opened for the spirits of devils to deceive the people in representing themselves as the dead. Satanic agencies personate the dead [even the mother of Jesus Christ], and thus bring souls into captivity. Satan has a religion, he has a synagogue and devout worshippers. To swell the ranks of his devotees he uses all manner of deception. The signs and wonders of Spiritualism will become more and more pronounced as the professed Christian world rejects the plainly revealed truth of the word of God and refuses to be guided by a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ accepting instead the doctrines and the commandments of men.” Signs of the Times, May 28, 1894.

Two Astonishing Letters

While writing this article, I received two amazing letters that I want to share with you. The first letter came from a woman in Puerto Rico who informed me that a statue of the Virgin Mary or “La Virgen del Rosaria del Pozo” is going to be built in the town of Sabana Grande. The statue’s size will be greater than that of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Here is what she wrote:

“Dear brethren of Modern Manna:

“I talked to Pastor Vierra about reaching the town of Sabana here in Puerto Rico. In May, 1953, the ‘Virgin’ appeared near a well (always wearing a rosary), to three children, two girls and a boy—still living. Thousands of people visited the island, 24 hours a day. Many ‘miracles’ happened, most of them healings of all kinds (See Great Controversy, 588.) Since then, this town celebrates a ‘Virgin Marathon,’ when around 200,000 to 300,000 people come to adore the Virgin. They celebrate mass and everything else. Now they are planning the ‘Ciudad Mystica’ (Mystic City), in order to attract people from all over the world. Enclosed is the newspaper story about it. Maranatha!”

It is interesting to note that the artists rendition of the new statue in the newspaper I received from Puerto Rico had the Virgin Mary decked with the colors white and blue—the very colors of Mother Earth as previously mentioned by New Ager, Peter Lemesurier. Mary is often portrayed in pictures and statues as dressed in these colors.

The second letter I received was initially sent to Pastor Bill Hughes in Florida from an SDA minister from Ghana, West Africa. It reads:

“Dear Pastor:

“On the 12th of August, 1999, I decided to go to a certain village and share the word of God with them [and] more particularly what is bound to happen before Jesus comes. Before that, it appeared in our daily paper that the Virgin Mary has appeared bod`ily in Togo, a country which shares the common border with Ghana and millions of people went to Togo to see the Virgin Mary. I thank God and you for clearly opening my eyes because I read it in one of your books sent to me—Is the Virgin Mary Dead or Alive? Chapter 19 clearly talks about how Satan will manifest himself through the Virgin Mary, and this has really motivated me to carry the message across whether rain or shine.”

Demons Will Urge Sunday-keeping

Before I close, I want to make another vital point. We read and hear much about the Sabbath vs. Sunday issue. This one papal error is trumpeted ever so loud and clear. Ads are run and books written, small and large, that expound on this subject with clarity and precision. But what is usually overlooked is the fact that wonder-working demons, in the form of dead humans, even the Virgin Mary, are going to urge upon the world Sunday-keeping, and that the violation of God’s moral law is the cause of the chaos and calamities that are increasing.

Once again, quoting from The Great Controversy: “The miracle-working power manifested through spiritualism will exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men. Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to convince the rejecters of Sunday [Reader, that may be you!] of their error, affirming that the laws of the land should be obeyed as the laws of God. They will lament the great wickedness in the world and second the testimony of religious teachers that the degraded state of morals is caused by the desecration of Sunday. Great will be the indignation excited against all who refuse to accept their testimony.” Great Controversy, 588, 589.

It would be worth your while to research the Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4 . On page 406 it contains an extremely vital point: “As the spirits will profess faith in the Bible and express regard for Sunday, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.” Later in The Great Controversy, in the chapter entitled The Time of Trouble, the prophet warns us that as the “crowning act in the drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ.” That he will heal the diseases of the people and claim “to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday,” and will command all to hallow the day which he has blessed. Great Controversy, 624.

But, have you ever considered that before he appears to give support to this claim, the demon Mary, along with other demons impersonating well-known deceased Christians and infidels, will have already been advocating Sunday-keeping? Has anyone ever warned you of this? Is it possible that a false Ellen White might appear and contradict her very own writings, as the false Apostles of Christ will theirs? Are you prepared, beloved? Spiritualism is the means the devil will use to persuade the world and the churches into accepting the false sabbath! That is exactly why God has expressly warned us that “through the two [not one] great papal errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions.” Great Controversy, 588. Spiritualism will put the teeth into the Sunday issue!

Remember the past, dear friends, the alpha of apostasy resulted, within one devastating year, in the destruction of two major SDA institutions—Battle Creek Sanitarium and the Review and Herald Publishing Company! Never forget the prophet’s words: “The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 200. A fearful woe is upon them! For if any form of spiritualism, like the warning given against pantheism, is accepted, it will result in the sweeping away of the structure! (See Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, 54, 55).

Friends, please take a close look at the Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4. You will find the chapter entitled “Spiritualism” immediately preceding the chapter entitled “The Aims of the Papacy.” I believe the Lord deliberately linked the two chapters together to clearly magnify the fact that through spiritualism and its imposters, such as the Virgin Mary, the aims of the papacy will be accomplished—the enforcement of Sunday worship!

Watch, Pray, and Warn

Please, watch and pray, beloved, for soon: “The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” Great Controversy, 588.

Friends, the church and the world must be warned! Remember, Satan will not give one inch when we labor to expose his most powerful tool—spiritualism. Oh, how we have seen this prophecy fulfilled at Modern Manna since the publishing of Is the Virgin Mary Dead or Alive? But, thank God for Jesus and the heavenly messengers that have been promised to guard us from evil. All of those who are looking for the soon coming of our Lord have been commanded by Almighty God to scatter earth’s final message to warn the world—the Three Angels’ Messages that unmask the threefold union. We must scatter the Mary book wherever possible while there is still a remnant of time.

In the very near future, legislation may be passed that will classify the little God-given book as hate literature. What we must do, we must do quickly! And, please, do not only watch, but pray for the courage to proclaim the message and to stand for the truth when champions are few, knowing that the final warning will enrage the wicked against us. Soon the loud cry will be given with the power of the latter rain: “‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’ The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844.” Early Writings, 277. The omega is coming! Maranatha!

Facing the Crisis – Preparation for Persecution, Part II

There is absolutely nothing of more importance in the preparation for persecution than to fully know, without a doubt, that you are right with God. Such a knowledge requires a person to have repented of every known sin and to have accepted Jesus Christ as one’s personal Saviour, and by the power which only Christ can give, to daily live victoriously. This is the only way an individual can be assured of eternal life.

Only One Reason to Endure Persecution

A totally surrendered life is the only reason to endure persecution. Never be misled. Suffering in any amount will never justify a person in God’s judgment. It is only a daily, living relationship with Jesus, through a love and obedience experience, that provides the needed strength to meet coming persecutions.

As the daily storm warnings reveal a coming storm of persecution that will exceed our strongest expectations, we praise God’s name that we may trust the words of His Son, for He has promised, “…lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20. In this study we pray for God’s divine Spirit to help us discover the special preparations we must make in order to withstand the united forces of Satan.

Turning to the Scriptures we read in Ephesians 6:11-18, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

God-given Weapons

God has given us these great weapons with the assurance that we can defeat Satan. Foremost in the Christian’s arsenal is the Holy Spirit; for without the Holy Spirit no one can stand against the power of Satan. When the Christian Church began, Jesus told her members, “…ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Acts 1:8.

Not only does the Holy Spirit provide courage and power but Jesus added that He will send us a Comforter and when He comes, ” He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13. What is more, He will give you the fruits of the Spirit, which will make it possible to even love your enemies when they persecute you.

With this gift, in persecutions we can also experience joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. “The Spirit furnishes the strength that sustains striving, wrestling souls in every emergency, amidst the hatred of the world, and the realization of their own failures and mistakes. In sorrow and affliction, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone,—these are the times when, in answer to the prayer of faith, the Holy Spirit brings comfort to the heart.” Acts of the Apostles, 51.

Prepared to Stand Firm

Oh, friend, how we should praise God for such a gift. Every Christian who draws such strength from the Holy Spirit will be prepared to live and suffer for God and remain steadfast to the truth. They will refuse to receive the mark of the beast of the coming world religion, even though they know that obedience to God’s seventh-day Sabbath will mean persecution, suffering and, perhaps, death.

Jesus has given us counsel that in these lasts days many will be misled by Satan’s deceptions. In Mark 13:22 we read, “…false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.”

Errors Presented as Bible Truth

Times are changing. Many of God’s people are being misled today. Instead of emphasis on a diligent study of God’s Word to teach men the way to prepare for the troublous times ahead, all too often, as Ellen White pointed out, errors are being presented to God’s people as if they were Bible truths. How sad!

Errors do not prepare anyone for the soon coming trials and persecutions. Errors can only prepare men for perdition. In Testimonies to Ministers, 409 and 410, Ellen White prophesies that “Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan.”

At times it seems that even now we are beginning to see a partial fulfillment of this prophecy. This is why it is so important that each member of God’s faithful remnant personally obtain a knowledge of the Scriptures so they will be able to identify, resist and counteract the lies of Satan with an “It is written.”

“None need be deceived. The Law of God is as sacred as His throne, and by it every man who cometh into the world is to be judged. There is no other standard by which to test character. ‘If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’” (See Isaiah 8:20.) Ellen White comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1099.

“If we have not a deep experience in the things of God, if we have not a thorough knowledge of His Word, we shall be beguiled to our ruin by the errors and sophistries of the enemy. False doctrines will sap the foundations of many, because they have not learned to discern truth from error. Our only safeguard against the wiles of Satan is to study the Scriptures diligently, to have an intelligent understanding of the reasons of our faith, and faithfully to perform every known duty. The indulgence of one known sin will cause weakness and darkness, and subject us to fierce temptation.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 58.

None Need be Deceived

But what a comfort to know that none of us need be deceived. Satan hates the Scriptures. In the past, through his agent, the papacy, Satan attempted to destroy the Scriptures by burning the Word of God and passing laws to prohibit the reading of the Bible. This could happen again.

Just notice this quote: “The time will come when many will be deprived of the written word.” Did you know that? “The time will come when many will be deprived of the written word. But if this word is printed in the memory, no one can take it from us.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 64.

A classic example of the memorization of Scripture is the experience of U. S. soldiers in Vietnamese prison camps during the war. Their Bibles had been taken from them, but some soldiers searched their memories from childhood and wrote down portions of the memory verses they had learned in Sunday Schools. These they shared with other prisoners, and soon they possessed a facsimile of comforting Scriptures. They did likewise with gospel songs learned in their childhood, so they could sing together the songs of Zion.

It is so difficult with the freedoms that we now enjoy to realize that today, in some countries in the world, like Red China, it can mean imprisonment to possess the Scriptures. From the underground churches, we learn that they hide the folded sheets of Scripture in their shoes until an opportunity presents itself to share the good news with others.

Bible Study and Prayer

Together with Bible study, an important part of our preparation is prayer, including intercessory prayer. This could well be the secret of surviving as victorious Christians. Consider with me the way Ellen White describes prayer, “…prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence.” Steps to Christ, 94, 95.

What a wonder that many of us pray so little! How we should praise God for the counsel, “Jesus said to His disciples, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. Do we take Him at His Word? The assurance is broad and unlimited, and He is faithful who has promised. When we do not receive the very things we ask for, at the time we ask, we are still to believe that the Lord hears and that He will answer our prayers. We are so erring and short-sighted that we sometimes ask for things that would not be a blessing to us, and our heavenly Father in love answers our prayers by giving us that which will be for our highest good—that which we ourselves would desire if with vision divinely enlightened we could see all things as they really are. When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most. But to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption. God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. Then do not fear to trust Him, even though you do not see the immediate answer to your prayers. Rely upon His sure promise, ‘Ask and it shall be given you.’ Ibid. 96.

“Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants to His children. ‘The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.’ James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows, and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. ‘He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:3. 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.” Ibid. 100.

What words of assurance! Praise God! “Jesus said, ‘Ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you.’ ‘I have chosen you:…that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.’ John 16:26, 27.” Ibid., 100.

Speaking of intercessory prayer, when open persecutions come to a group that has learned to pray together, such a prayer life can continue, even when the believers are scattered, because they can continue to pray for each other. Though Satan may win a temporary victory in scattering the believers, their prayer fellowship can continue, even though they may be unjustly imprisoned or exiled. Such a group will find prayer a source of their strength.

When God’s early church was threatened by persecution, the believers gathered together in prayer. We read of this in the fourth chapter of Acts. Here is the model for us to follow when faced with persecutions. As you read of their prayers, note that they recognize God as their Almighty Power. They also recall Bible prophecy foretelling such troubles as they face. They did not pray for deliverance from persecution but pleaded for holy boldness to stand firm.

An Overwhelming Surprise

Notice verse 29. “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word.” Though it may be peaceful now, I firmly believe that when persecutions come, they will burst upon us as an overwhelming surprise.

“Everything is preparing for the great day of God. Time will last a little longer until the inhabitants of the earth have filled up the cup of their iniquity, and then the wrath of God, which has so long slumbered, will awake, and this land of light will drink the cup of His unmingled wrath.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 363.

The wicked will then blame God’s people for bringing upon them the wrath of God. Persecutions will explode on the righteous. Accompanied by prayer, a study of God’s Word regarding those who were persecuted in Bible times will strengthen our faith. Learn why certain Bible characters reacted in the way they did to oppressive authorities. This will prove as a guide to you when you meet similar circumstances.

You will discover how God directed individuals in different ways. For instance, In 1 Kings 17, Elijah boldly defied the king. Yet on another occasion the Lord told him to hide. In Daniel 3:16–18 we read of the three Hebrews refusing to worship an image when commanded to do so by King Nebuchadnezzar.

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:16-18.

Satan’s Last Desperate Effort

Ellen White warns, “…some of us may be brought to just as severe a test,” Selected Messages, vol. 3, 420. Having not succeeded to induce the saints to work on the Sabbath and rest and worship on Sunday, Satan will make a last desperate effort. He will personate Christ’s Second Coming.

Just as Nebuchadnezzar of old commanded the hosts to worship the golden image representing himself, we will be commanded to worship Satan. “He will come personating Jesus Christ, working mighty miracles; and men will fall down and worship him as Jesus Christ. We shall be commanded to worship this being, whom the world will glorify as Christ.” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888.

Ellen White describes his deception further in these words: “Satan sees that he is about to lose his case. He cannot sweep in the whole world. He makes one last desperate effort to overcome the faithful by deception. He does this in personating Christ. He clothes himself with the garments of royalty which have been accurately described in the vision of John. He has power to do this. He will appear to his deluded followers, the Christian world who receive not the love of the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness [transgression of the law], as Christ coming the second time. He proclaims himself Christ, and he is believed to be Christ, a beautiful, majestic being clothed with majesty and, with soft voice and pleasant words, and with glory unsurpassed by anything their mortal eyes had yet beheld. Then his deceived, deluded followers set up a shout of victory, ‘Christ has come the second time! Christ has come! He has lifted up his hands just as He did when He was upon the earth, and blessed us.’ . . . The saints look, on with amazement. Will they also be deceived? Will they worship Satan?” Last Day Events, 164.

I repeat, Will they worship Satan? Surely not! As Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego of old, the saints will not bow down. Will they not rather say, “We are not careful to answer you in this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us out of your hand. But if not, be it known to you that we will not serve your god.” What an encouragement the Old Testament experiences, like the fiery furnace, will be to the saints at that time.

Martyred for Christ

As you study Paul’s life, you will discover that sometimes the Holy Spirit commanded him to flee, at other times to stay and preach and sometimes to ask for a miracle. As you read the great faith chapter of Hebrews 11, you will find some believers were delivered while others were tortured and killed. In fact, Paul himself was finally martyred. It is clearly revealed to us that, in the closing conflict, there will be martyrs, many martyrs.

“…prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ’s sake in standing in defense of the truth.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 397.

Many of God’s servants will be protected, as were the three Hebrews in the burning fiery furnace; yet God will, nonetheless, permit many others to lose their lives. For as in earlier ages, the blood of martyrs will serve to water the seed of truth. (See Selected Messages, Book 3, 420.)

If martyrdom is to be our lot, God will sustain His own through the ordeal. Further preparations for this time of persecution can be made by spreading the book, The Great Controversy. Here I must pause to be very frank. You must read this book, The Great Controversy, this year. This book was written especially for the small remnant who are to face unbelievable persecutions just prior to our Lord’s return. This book reveals how God’s faithful, in past ages, resisted papal oppressions. More importantly, your mind will be so fortified with truth that you will know how to meet the coming evil forces when the papal power will again rule the entire world by force just before Jesus comes.

Though faced with persecutions, God’s servants will not be in hiding when it is time for the Loud Cry to go to the world. Thousands of voices all over the world will give the Third Angel’s Message with a loud voice. At this time God Himself will take charge of the work, and the work will proceed contrary to any human planning.

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

“Under the showers of the latter rain the inventions of man, the human machinery, will at times be swept away, the boundary of man’s authority will be as broken reeds, and the Holy Spirit will speak through the living, human agent, with convincing power. No one then will watch to see if the sentences are well rounded off, if the grammar is faultless. The living water will flow in God’s own channels.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 58, 59.

Ellen White lays down the guidelines. “In choosing men and women for His service, God does not ask whether they possess learning or eloquence or worldly wealth. He asks: ‘Do they walk in such humility that I can teach them My way? Can I put My words into their lips? Will they represent Me?’” Colporteur Ministry, 48.

Perfect Unity in Christ

Under the leadership of Christ, during the Loud Cry there will be perfect unity. In Early Writings, page 271, Ellen White describes this company as follows. “…they were clothed with an armour from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, like a company of soldiers. . . . I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. It had effect. . . . I asked what had made this great change? The angel answered, ‘It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.’”

At that time the saints will stand openly for the truth and for the consequences. Now, one more fact. Never trust your preparations, for your only security is in Jesus Christ. Prayer, fasting, commitment, memorizing Scriptures, knowledge of past heroes of God are all-important. But one’s personal security must come only from the Lord. Never trust in your own preparations or in your human reasoning power. There is but one example to follow. It is Jesus Christ.

In 1 Peter 2:22, 23 it says, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” Remember that Christ suffered for His faith. We, too, must be prepared to do likewise. Peter stated in 1 Peter 4:12, 13, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

Beloved, determine now, right now, this very moment, to mentally and spiritually be prepared to choose God’s law above any manmade law. Do not expect church leadership to make this decision for you, as this will be an individual test. Every man, woman and child will be forced to make such a decision. When the Sunday law is enacted in your country, there will be no escape.

Out of the Cities

We will have to break the laws of man in order to keep the law of God. “…Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21. Yes, there is one physical preparation that we each should be making by the grace of God. What is this physical preparation we should be making? God has counseled us time and time again to leave the cities now in preparation for coming persecutions.

Listen carefully to these quotes. “I could not sleep past two o’clock this morning. During the night season I was in council. I was pleading with some families to avail themselves of God’s appointed means, and get away from the cities to save their children. Some were loitering, making no determined efforts. The angels of mercy hurried Lot and his wife and daughters by taking hold of their hands. Had Lot hastened as the Lord desired him to, his wife would not have become a pillar of salt. Lot had too much of a lingering spirit. Let us not be like him. The same voice that warned Lot to leave Sodom bids us, ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean.’ (2 Corinthians 6:17). Those who obey this warning will find a refuge. Let every man be wide awake for himself, and try to save his family. Let him gird himself for the work. God will reveal from point to point what to do next.”
Selected Messages, Book 2, 354.

“So long as God gives me power to speak to our people, I shall continue to call upon parents to leave the cities and get homes in the country, where they can cultivate the soil and learn from the book of nature the lessons of purity and simplicity. The things of nature are the Lord’s silent ministers, given to us to teach us spiritual truths. They speak to us of the love of God and declare the wisdom of the great Master Artist.” Manuscript Releases, No. 20, 153.

“The time is not far distant, when, like the early disciples, we shall be forced to seek a refuge in desolate and solitary places. As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation in the decree enforcing the papal sabbath will be a warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities, preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 464 (1885).

However, let us not wait until such a time of crisis to leave the cities. Notice carefully, “…erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities that those who wish to leave them will not be able. We must be preparing for these issues.” General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.

“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.

Friend, nothing could be written more clearly, but let me add one more. “If our people regard God’s instruction as of value, they will move away from the city, so that they will not be pained by its revolting sights, and that their children will not be corrupted by its vices. [And notice these words,] Those who choose to remain in the cities, surrounded by the houses of unbelievers, must share the disaster that will come upon them.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 350.

Hide His Word in Your Heart

The following relevant spiritual quotations are taken from the book, Storm Warnings, by Don Mac Elvaney. Surely it is vital that we heed these Scriptures. “‘Thy Word have I hid in my heart.’ Hide the Word in your heart. If it is, no man can take it from you. Psalm 119:11. And Paul said, ‘That I may know Him.’ May this also be yours in all the striving to care for yourself and immediate needs. Let your highest ambition always remain to know Jesus intimately and the power of His resurrection. Philippians 3:10. Remain in a high spiritual plane instead of the more physical existence. Heap coals, words, ‘walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.’ Galatians 5:16. In times of severe testing remember ‘that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.’ Romans 8:28. And when the love of men grows cold, remember, nothing ‘shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Romans 8:38, 39. In times of great deception, which always lead to bondage, know the truth. It alone can set ‘you free.’ John 8:32. And when you wonder if the testing or temptation of the time should cause you to lose your faith, remember the promise, No man ‘is able to pluck them out of the Father’s hand.’ John 10:29. And in every circumstance fear God, not man. ‘Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ Matthew 10:28. And in time of testing remember that God knows your limits better than you, for He ‘will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ I Corinthians 10:13. ‘Rejoice and do not be anxious.’ The words spoken by Paul as he was in prison waiting to be beheaded. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:4–7. And in every situation remember God can be trusted, but do not content yourselves by simply believing in God but rather follow the example of Abraham, of whom it is said, concerning the promise made to him, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.’ Romans 4:3. And finally, When you suffer the loss of all things, even life, nevertheless as Paul says, ‘For all things are yours; . . . or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.’ 1 Corinthians 3:21, 23. ‘For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.’ Isaiah 54:10.” Ibid., 333, 334.