What God Hath Joined

The first institution ever established on earth was the family. Before governments or churches, before sin or sacrifices, even before the Sabbath—the family was instituted in Eden.

“God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. ‘Marriage is honorable;’ it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.” The Adventist Home, 25, 26.

The family was the center of God’s creation. It was not the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), or the tree of life, and certainly not the tree of knowledge. It was not Adam; it was not Eve, but it was Adam and Eve together as a family. The family was the center of creation and today it is still the center of creation. The center of all society, and the center of every nation, and the center of the church is the family.

“Society is composed of families, and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are ‘the issues of life’; and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences.” The Adventist Home, 15.

As the last act of creation week and as the first institution on earth, God established marriage and created the family. God is the creator of this institution—He is the manufacturer. (Matthew 19:6.) And one of the reasons why marriage has not been working in the twentieth century is that man has forgotten the family’s Creator. Man has been trying a do-it-yourself job with the marriage institution.

There is a sign that hangs in many repair shops: “When all else fails, try the manufacturer’s instructions.” That is the sign that should hang in more marriage chambers and in more pastor’s offices and in the waiting rooms of marriage counselors. But is it not a shame that we have to try everything else first, and make a total mess of things before we will try God’s way (if we will then).

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Hosea 4:6.

Peter said: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them [your wives] according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7.

Oh, you mean this can even hinder prayers from being answered? That is what it says. If we are not living up to the “manufacturer’s instructions,” not only will the home be a failure, but God will not answer the prayers that ascend from that family. The way the family is run is not a take it or leave it situation. The family is a sacred institution to be honored according to the laws of God, just as is the Sabbath.

Thought Question:

If the marriage institution is to be run according to the Law of God, can these laws be learned from worldly sources any more than the true laws of the Sabbath can be learned from worldly sources?

Besides it being a duty to God to follow the manufacturer’s instructions in the marriage, and besides it being necessary for prayers to be answered, it is also the only way that will make the marriage work. There is only one way that marriage will work! Only one!

There are several different answers to home government, but only one that works. Is it so hard to understand? When a person makes a car to run on gasoline, that is the only substance that will make it run. Oh, sure, there are many things you can put in the gas tank, but only one substance will make it run.

That is exactly the way it is with marriage and that is exactly the reason marriages are not working right today. God has the answers, the only answers for running a home, but we want to try every other way. We want to find out the answers from every other source but the manufacturer. And the world’s principles of home management and the manufacturer’s principles are opposite. They do not go together! They do not mix. There is no worldly university in the land where you can go and find out God’s principles of how to run a home. And even if it is an Adventist teacher or counselor that learns his principles from worldly sources, they are still wrong principles and they still will not work.

How many answers are there to the equation 2 + 2? Only one? Isn’t that narrow minded? Three point nine is very close, wouldn’t that work? How about 3.99999? Only one right answer? Yes, but let me ask you friend, how many wrong answers are there? Many. There are always many wrong answers. That is why there are so many churches and that is why there are so many philosophies and “answers” to marriage problems, and that is why so few homes work. They work just to the proportion that they are run according to God’s principles.

The Devil Has An Advantage Over God

God has only one answer, but the devil has many. He has one for every personality. And he will have one that just fits your personality. He can manufacturer one that might even seem better than God’s plan. That is why we have to manage our homes by faith. We must study God’s way and follow it—not from feeling, but from principles. Let us throw out all the worldly books on marriage—whether written by Adventists or non-Adventists—and come to the true source of knowledge.

“Those who would have that wisdom which is from God must become fools in the sinful knowledge of this age, in order to be wise. They should shut their eyes, that they may see and learn no evil. They should close their ears, lest they hear that which is evil and obtain that knowledge which would stain their purity of thoughts and acts. And they should guard their tongues, lest they utter corrupt communications and guile be found in their mouths.” The Adventist Home, 404.

The Story of Eve

In the beginning God made man, but He saw that he was lonely. God does not want anyone to be lonely, so He made a companion for Adam. Using a very graphic illustration, as God often does, He took a rib from Adam’s side to make a helpmeet for him. She was not to rule over him, neither was she to be trampled under foot, but she was to be loved, guided and protected. She was an equal and yet God made her the weaker vessel and ordained that Adam should be her rightful protector—to protect her equality, purity and happiness.

God made Eve weaker than Adam—not just physically, but emotionally. God made Eve to want to be noticed and He knew that this desire could be taken advantage of. Adam was to see that no one took advantage of this attribute. In later years after sin, it would be part of Adam’s job to protect Eve from needlessly exposing herself to temptation by the way she dressed and enticed other men. Adam would better understand than Eve the wondering and lusting eye of man and the subtlety of his words and compliments. He would understand from experience that: “Chaste simplicity in dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils.” Education, 248.

But even in the Garden of Eden there were dangers to beware of. They were to be a veil and a wall of protection to each other.

“The angels warned them of Satan, and cautioned them not to separate from each other in their employment, for they might be brought in contact with this fallen foe. The angels enjoined upon them to closely follow the directions God had given them, for in perfect obedience only were they safe. And if they were obedient, this fallen foe could have no power over them. “Satan commenced his work with Eve, to cause her to disobey. She first erred in wandering from her husband. . . .” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, 20.

The instruction to remain by the side of her companion was especially given to Eve (Patriarchs and Prophets, 53), but unconsciously she wandered from Adam’s side.

“On perceiving that she was alone, she felt an apprehension of danger, but dismissed her fears, deciding that she had sufficient wisdom and strength to discern evil and to withstand it.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 53, 54.

Eve was a mature woman, and wise enough to take care of herself, or so she thought. But Satan came in an unsuspecting way. He came through a close and trusted acquaintance—an animal friend of theirs—and “with subtle praise of her surpassing loveliness” began to play on her natural, God given feelings of wanting to be noticed. And it worked.

Two Trees

There were two trees in the Garden of Eden. One was a tree of life and the other was a tree of knowledge. That is not to say that the tree of life did not contain knowledge. It just did not contain as much knowledge—it presented only one side of things. But the tree of knowledge presented both sides of the picture and offered many answers to life.

The serpent was found in the tree of knowledge. He first commenced to recognize Eve’s true qualities. But as she received the attentions from another than her husband, her confidence and love for that one was increased. And as the serpent offered his own personal testimony as to the help this knowledge had brought him, Eve was induced into partaking of this knowledge herself.

“Eve really believed the words of Satan, but her belief did not save her from the penalty of sin. She disbelieved the words of God, and this was what led to her fall.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 55.

You may truly believe Satan, you may have true confidence and trust in your friends’ and acquaintances’ testimonials and theories, but this will not save you from the consequences of a broken home. What will save you is belief in Christ and His word. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Not knowledge from the tree of knowledge, but knowledge from the tree of life.

“The serpent plucked the fruit of the forbidden tree and placed it in the hands of the half-reluctant Eve.” (Being half-reluctant did not save her either.) “Perceiving no evil results from what she had done [receiving the fruit], Eve grew bolder.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 55, 56. Eve did not rush into things. She took them a step at a time. As she saw that there was no harm resulting from what she had done and as she saw the fruit was good for food, she ate.

And low and behold, the serpent was right.

“As she ate, she seemed to feel a vivifying power; and imagined herself entering upon a higher state of existence.” Ibid.

The serpent was right! Now she had a personal testimony of her own to give to her husband! “Look what it has done for me.” This knowledge (this book, this course, this magazine, etc.) has really helped me. This is what you need to help you in your problems. And if you do not have any problems it will still make life better.

“Ah,” says Adam, “I don’t believe that fruit will really help you.” “But have you tried it?” replied Eve. “You cannot criticize something you have not tried!” (That argument gets more people than any other.) “Just try it and see for yourself. Be more open minded. Try it with an open mind and you will find that it is true.” And so Adam fell, too.

Get the Good and Reject the Bad

The tree was a tree of knowledge of good (and a little bad). Why should not Eve get all of the good she could? Would God deprive her of that? Why should not she just eat the good part of the fruit and leave the bad?

And so we have the same philosophy today in marriage books and in almost every other source of information. “You cannot expect anything to be perfect, so go through the book (or course) and get what good there is in it and leave the rest.” When we follow this counsel, we usually end up doing as good a job as Eve.


And so the devil works today mixing truth and error. He is not always as bold as he is in the religion of Taoism where they teach that the whole universe came into existence through the blending of good and evil (yang and yin), and it is only as these two qualities are maintained in equilibrium that peace and health are preserved.

The Mormons teach the same thing in just a little less blatant form. They teach that sin had to be in order for us to ever understand righteousness, happiness and purity. They, like Satan, teach that sin was a necessity in order for righteousness to exist. Sin was a necessity; God’s program would have never worked without Satan; there had to be a blending of the two.

All such philosophy is straight from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. To put the finishing proof on where this philosophy came from, Mormons teach that Jesus Christ Himself came down and told Joseph Smith that He had changed the Sabbath to Sunday. Who was this? Who is trying to change God’s law? As in Daniel 7:25, the devil is the originator of any such teaching.

And yet Adventists will study “Fascinating Womanhood” without any qualms—and it is straight from Mormonism! Oh, but there is so much good in it! So was there in the tree of knowledge of good (and evil.) Oh, but I got such a benefit! So thought Eve. Oh, but I will just get the good and discard the evil! You will do as good a job at that as did Eve.

We have been feasting at the tree of knowledge of good and evil and that is why we are having so many marriage problems in our church. And the devil enjoys it, for he knows that the heart… of the church…is the household. The well-being…of the church…depend(s) upon home influences.” The Adventist Home, 15.

As long as he can keep this situation existing in the church; as long as he can keep Adventists feasting on the tree of knowledge of good and evil so they will not be able to have good homes, Satan knows that he can prevent Jesus from coming. But there is coming a time when the church and the families that are “the heart” of the church will be purified.


The results of eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil can be seen all around. We can see it in the lukewarm state of our church. We can see it in the divorce rate among Seventh-day Adventist couples. (But the actual divorces are only the mere tip of the iceberg of the marriage problems. More than any other place, we can see the results in our philosophies, practices and thinking.)

Mrs. White says: “It is not in harmony with the instructions given at Sinai that gentlemen physicians should do the work of midwives. The Bible speaks of women at childbirth being attended by women, and thus it ought always to be.” Counsels on Health, 365. Notice, that this problem of women going to women for their female problems (both mental and physical) is not just a matter of modesty—it is a matter of keeping or breaking God’s law.

And if you think this might just be an isolated quotation, see the shaded box with just a few more of the many times Sister White wrote on this subject.

Sister White applies the same principle for female health-care workers and male patients.

“Women physicians should utterly refuse to look upon the secret parts of men. Women should be thoroughly educated to work for women, and men to work for men. Let men know that they must go to their own sex and not apply to lady physicians. It is an insult to women, and God looks upon these things of commonness with abhorrence.” Ibid.

Why have I included all of this counsel from God’s prophet on this delicate and unpopular subject? Only for the reason that we stated at the beginning: this was only an example to show how much we have been influenced by the world’s knowledge of good and evil. How many today even consider this subject when they choose a physician? There are even some people that feel that it is not a woman’s job to deliver babies and deal with female problems. All such thinking is a gross perversion of the devil and must be cleaned out of our midst before we will be a pure people for God to come and take home. We have a long ways to go, don’t we? We have been feasting at the tree of knowledge of good and evil—it is time we come back to the tree of life.

This was but an example so obvious that no one could miss it and so simple that all can understand it. It is an example of mixing good with evil. It is good to treat people and maintain health, but it is bad to do it in an immoral way.

In this world of sin, God’s ways are always hard—they are contrary to the popular way of doing things. The Sabbath is not popular either. But God’s ways can be followed if we really want to follow them. It just depends how badly we want to follow. If we want excuses, we can find them. If we want to find reasons for not following God’s plan, the devil will supply us with what we want. If we want another way than God’s way, there are plenty. But if we are determined to follow God’s way and only God’s way, we can do it—and we will have successful homes. “Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 333.

Thought Question:

The example of following the world’s customs of male-female relationships in medicine was just an example. In how many other areas do you suppose we have been influenced by eating of the tree of knowledge of good (and a little evil)?

Friends, we do not have to go to the tree with the serpent in it for our knowledge. We have the tree of life and it is all sufficient. The tree of life was symbolic of Jesus and the fruit was symbolic of His words. Jesus also likened His words to another kind of sustaining food—the bread of life. He said, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth [the worldly sources of knowledge], but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you.

“My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.…And Jesus said…I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.

“Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life…I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.

“As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever.

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” John 6:27, 32–35, 47–51, 57–58, 63.

The tree of life is where we should be feasting. From this tree we can find all the answers for our homes today. This is the sacred institution of God, created in the Garden of Eden along with the Sabbath. “The Sabbath and the family were alike instituted in Eden, and in God’s purpose they are indissolubly linked together.” Education, 250.

If you can go to the world to learn how to keep the Sabbath, then you can go to the world to learn how to keep the marriage. If the Sabbath is just a matter of convenience, than so is keeping the marriage institution.

Eating from the Tree of Life

But friend, it is not just important that we do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is just as important that we do eat of the tree of life. The home is based on true love. What should be in the home is true, sanctified love. This is the basis of a sanctified home. And this can only be found at the tree of life.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:7, 8.

If you love, you know God.

If you do not love, you do not know God.

If you know God, you love.

If you do not know God, you do not love.

Therefore, if you want more love, where is the only place you can go to find it? God is the only one you can get love from and if you do not know Him, you do not have it.

The only way you can have love is to know God. The only way you can have love daily is to know God daily. The only way you can know God is through devotions (prayer, meditation and the study of His word). Friend, if you are not having daily devotions, you do not have a good home! No gimmicks will work. No courses will work. No books will work. Only daily communing with God will work. Make the choice today to start having daily devotions always. Make this your first work.

“The presence of Christ alone can make men and women happy. All the common waters of life Christ can turn into the wine of heaven. The home then becomes as an Eden of bliss; the family, a beautiful symbol of the family in heaven.” The Adventist Home, 28.

Bible Study Guides – “Teach Us to Pray”

December 30, 2000 – January 5, 2001

General Introduction

“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.

“When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us.

“Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, ‘in all points tempted like as we are;’ but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer. Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little, and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.” Steps to Christ, 93, 94.

“After This Manner Therefore Pray Ye”

MEMORY VERSE: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6.

STUDY HELP: Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 102–122.


“Jesus gives them no new form of prayer. That which He has before taught them He repeats, as if He would say, ‘You need to understand what I have already given. It has a depth of meaning you have not yet fathomed.’ The Saviour does not, however, restrict us to the use of these exact words. As one with humanity, He presents His own ideal of prayer, words so simple that they may be adopted by the little child, yet so comprehensive that their significance can never be fully grasped by the greatest minds. We are taught to come to God with our tribute of thanksgiving, to make known our wants, to confess our sins, and to claim His mercy in accordance with His promise.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 103.

“When Ye Pray, Say ‘Our Father’”

  1. How did Jesus teach us to address God? Was this a new insight into God? Luke 11:2. (Compare Psalm 89:26; Psalm 103:13; Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8.)

NOTE: “Jesus teaches us to call His Father our Father. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 2:11. So ready, so eager, is the Saviour’s heart to welcome us as members of the family of God, that in the very first words we are to use in approaching God He places the assurance of our divine relationship, ‘Our Father.’” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 103, 104.

  1. How does Jesus make it possible for us to become sons and daughters of God? John 1:12.

NOTE: “Satan had claimed that it was impossible for man to obey God’s commandments; and in our own strength it is true that we cannot obey them. But Christ came in the form of humanity, and by His perfect obedience He proved that humanity and divinity combined can obey every one of God’s precepts.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 314.

“Hallowed be Thy name”

  1. In our prayers, how should we speak the name of God? Matthew 6:9.

NOTE: “To hallow the name of the Lord requires that the words in which we speak of the Supreme Being be uttered with reverence. ‘Holy and reverend is His name.’ Psalm 111:9.…When you pray, ‘Hallowed be Thy name,’ you ask that it may be hallowed in this world, hallowed in you.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 106, 107.

  1. What prayer and petition should introduce our prayers? Matthew 6:9, 10.

NOTE: “The petition, ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,’ is a prayer that the reign of evil on this earth may be ended, that sin may be forever destroyed, and the kingdom of righteousness be established.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 110.

“Give Us Day by Day Our Daily Bread”

  1. How should our prayers demonstrate our dependence on God? Luke 11:3.

NOTE: “When you have thus made God’s service your first interest, you may ask with confidence that your own needs may be supplied. If you have renounced self and given yourself to Christ you are a member of the family of God, and everything in the Father’s house is for you.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 110.

  1. For what other kind of bread do we need daily to pray? Matthew 4:4; John 6:27, 51.

NOTE: “We receive Christ through His word, and the Holy Spirit is given to open the word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts. We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the truth that will strengthen our souls for the day’s need.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 112, 113.

“Forgive Us Our Sins”

  1. What further petition should also be an essential part of our daily prayer? Luke 11:4, first part.

NOTE: “When God gives the promise that He ‘will abundantly pardon,’ He adds, as if the meaning of that promise exceeded all that we could comprehend: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:7–9. God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 114.

  1. What condition accompanies God’s promise to forgive us as we confess? Matthew 6:14, 15.

NOTE: “We are not forgiven because we forgive, but as we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found in the unmerited love of God, but by our attitude toward others we show whether we have made that love our own. Wherefore Christ says, ‘With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’ Matthew 7:2.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 251.

“Deliver Us From the Evil One”

  1. What petition for divine guidance and protection should form part of our prayer? Luke 11:4, last part.

NOTE: “The prayer, ‘Bring us not into temptation,’ is itself a promise. If we commit ourselves to God we have the assurance, 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.’ 1 Corinthians 10:13. The only safeguard against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 118.

  1. What precious promises of deliverance may we claim in prayer? Psalm 50:15; Psalm 86:7; Psalm 91:15.

NOTE: “But the promise, ‘My grace is sufficient’ (2 Corinthians 12:9), has been fulfilled in my case. There can be no doubt on my part. My hours of pain have been hours of prayer, for I have known to whom to take my sorrows. I have the privilege of reinforcing my feeble strength by laying hold upon infinite power. By day and night I stand on the solid rock of God’s promises. My heart goes out to Jesus in loving trust. He knows what is best for me. My nights would be lonely did I not claim the promise, ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me’ (Psalm 50:15).” Selected Messages, Book 2, 240.

“For Thine is the Kingdom”

  1. When Daniel was shown the succession of mighty persecuting powers, what assurance was he given? Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:27.

NOTE: “Fearful perils are before those who bear responsibilities in the cause of God—perils the thought of which make me tremble.…but let us not forget that the three great powers of heaven are working, that a divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring His purposes to pass.” Evangelism, 65.

  1. What blessed hope and assurance should conclude our prayers? Matthew 6:13, last part.

NOTE: “We are now standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. A crisis is before us, such as the world has never witnessed. And sweetly to us, as to the first disciples, comes the assurance that God’s kingdom ruleth over all. The program of coming events is in the hands of our Maker.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 121.

Bible Study Guides – Spiritualism, Evil Angels and Their Work

November 1, 2003 – November 7, 2003

Memory Verse

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 4:1, 2.

Suggested Reading: Early Writings, 262–266; The Great Controversy, 495–498, 551–562.


“None need be deceived by the lying claims of spiritualism. God has given the world sufficient light to enable them to discover the snare. . . . The theory which forms the very foundation of spiritualism is at war with the plainest statements of Scripture. The Bible declares that the dead know not anything, that their thoughts have perished; they have no part in anything that is done under the sun; they know nothing of the joys or sorrows of those who were dearest to them on earth.” The Great Controversy, 556.

1 What falsehood has furnished the foundation for spiritualism? Genesis 3:4.

note: “The deification of the dead has held a prominent place in nearly every system of heathenism, as has also the supposed communion with the dead. The gods were believed to communicate their will to men, and also, when consulted, to give them counsel. Of this character were the famous oracles of Greece and Rome.

“The belief in communion with the dead is still held, even in professedly Christian lands. Under the name of spiritualism the practice of communicating with beings claiming to be the spirits of the departed has become widespread. It is calculated to take hold of the sympathies of those who have laid their loved ones in the grave. Spiritual beings sometimes appear to persons in the form of their deceased friends, and relate incidents connected with their lives and perform acts which they performed while living. In this way they lead men to believe that their dead friends are angels, hovering over them and communicating with them. Those who thus assume to be the spirits of the departed are regarded with a certain idolatry, and with many their word has greater weight than the word of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 684, 685.

2 What does the Scripture teach concerning those who are dead? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.

note: “A correct understanding of ‘what saith the Scriptures’ in regard to the state of the dead is essential for this time. God’s Word declares that the dead know not anything, their hatred and love have alike perished. We must come to the sure word of prophecy for our authority. Unless we are intelligent in the Scriptures, may we not, when this mighty miracle-working power of Satan is manifested in our world, be deceived and call it the workings of God; for the Word of God declares that, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. Unless we are rooted and grounded in the truth, we shall be swept away by Satan’s delusive snares. We must cling to our Bibles. If Satan can make you believe that there are things in the Word of God that are not inspired, he will then be prepared to ensnare your soul. We shall have no assurance, no certainty, at the very time we need to know what is truth.” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888.

3 Then by what agency must the wonders of spiritualism be wrought? Revelation 16:14.

note: “Fearful sights of a supernatural character will soon be revealed in the heavens, in token of the power of miracle-working demons. The spirits of devils will go forth to the kings of the earth and to the whole world, to fasten them in deception, and urge them on to unite with Satan in his last struggle against the government of heaven. By these agencies, rulers and subjects will be alike deceived. Persons will arise pretending to be Christ Himself, and claiming the title and worship which belong to the world’s Redeemer. They will perform wonderful miracles of healing and will profess to have revelations from heaven contradicting the testimony of the Scriptures.” The Great Controversy, 624.

4 In what way do fallen angels receive worship? 1 Corinthians 10:19–21; Psalm 106:37, 38.

note: “The Lord declared to Israel: ‘The soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set My face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.’ Leviticus 20:6.

“The ‘familiar spirits’ were not the spirits of the dead, but evil angels, the messengers of Satan. Ancient idolatry, which, as we have seen, comprises both worship of the dead and pretended communion with them, is declared by the Bible to have been demon worship. . . . [1 Corinthians 10:20 and Psalm 106:37, 38 quoted.] In their supposed worship of dead men they were in reality worshiping demons.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 685.

5 What is Satan able to do? 11 Corinthians 11:14, 15.

note: “Satan will work in a most subtle manner to introduce human inventions clothed with angel garments. But the light from the Word is shining amid the moral darkness; and the Bible will never be superseded by miraculous manifestations. The truth must be studied, it must be searched for as hidden treasure. Wonderful illuminations will not be given aside from the Word, or to take the place of it. Cling to the Word, receive the ingrafted Word, which will make men wise unto salvation.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 100.

6 What has the Spirit revealed would take place in the last days? 1 Timothy 4:1, 2.

note: “Let the truths that are the foundation of our faith be kept before the people. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. They talk science, and the enemy comes in and gives them an abundance of science; but it is not the science of salvation. It is not the science of humility, of consecration, or of the sanctification of the Spirit. We are now to understand what the pillars of our faith are,—the truths that have made us as a people what we are, leading us on step by step.” Review and Herald, May 25, 1905.

7 Against whom are Satan and his angels especially to war? Revelation 12:17. What is the testimony of Jesus? Revelation 19:10.

note: “Those who love and keep the commandments of God are most obnoxious to the synagogue of Satan, and the powers of evil will manifest their hatred toward them to the fullest extent possible. John foresaw the conflict between the remnant church and the power of evil, and said, ‘The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ [Revelation 12:17.]

“The forces of darkness will unite with human agents who have given themselves into the control of Satan, and the same scenes that were exhibited at the trial, rejection, and crucifixion of Christ will be revived. Through yielding to satanic influences, men will be transformed into fiends; and those who were created in the image of God, who were formed to honor and glorify their Creator, will become the habitation of dragons, and Satan will see in an apostate race his masterpiece of evil—men who reflect his own image.” Review and Herald, April 14, 1896.

“Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” Colporteur Ministry, 125.

“We have the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the spirit of prophecy. Priceless gems are to be found in the word of God. Those who search this word should keep the mind clear. Never should they indulge perverted appetite in eating or drinking.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 114.

8 To what are the fallen angels reserved? Jude 6; 11 Peter 2:4.

note: “The earth looked like a desolate wilderness. Cities and villages, shaken down by the earthquake, lay in heaps. Mountains had been moved out of their places, leaving large caverns. Ragged rocks, thrown out by the sea, or torn out of the earth itself, were scattered all over its surface. Large trees had been uprooted and were strewn over the land. Here is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a thousand years.” Maranatha, 313.

9 At the time of judgment of the fallen angels, who will take part? 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3.

note: “During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection, the judgment of the wicked takes place. . . . At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says: ‘I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.’ ‘They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.’ Revelation 20:4, 6. It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, ‘the saints shall judge the world.’ 1 Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death.

“Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people.” The Faith I Live By, 354.

10 What fate awaits the devil and his angels? Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:7–9.

note: “I entreat that there may be a putting away from the life every action which does not bear the approval of God. We are drawing near to the close of earth’s history; the battle is growing daily more fierce. There is a day appointed when men who have bowed to the mandates of Satan will find themselves the subjects of the wrath of God, when the Judge of all the earth shall pronounce the sentence against Satan and his adherents, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.’ [Matthew 25:41.]” Loma Linda Messages, 228.

11 What prophecy will then have been fulfilled? Malachi 4:1.

note: “Then are fulfilled the words of the prophet: ‘The indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them, He hath delivered them to the slaughter.’ Isaiah 34:2. ‘Upon the wicked He shall rain quick burning coals, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.’ Psalm 11:6, margin. Fire comes down from God out of heaven. The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. The day has come that ‘shall burn as an oven.’ Malachi 4:1. The elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein are burned up. (11 Peter 3:10.) The fire of Tophet is prepared for the king, the chief of rebellion; the pile thereof is deep and large, and ‘the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.’ Isaiah 30:33. The earth’s surface seems one molten mass—a vast, seething lake of fire. It is the time of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men—‘the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.’ Isaiah 34: 8.” The Story of Redemption, 428, 429.

12 What shall not arise the second time? Nahum 1:9.

note: “The plan of salvation, making manifest the justice and love of God, provides an eternal safeguard against defection in unfallen worlds, as well as among those who shall be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Our only hope is perfect trust in the blood of Him who can save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary is our only hope in this world, and it will be our theme in the world to come. Oh, we do not comprehend the value of the atonement! If we did, we would talk more about it. The gift of God in His beloved Son was the expression of an incomprehensible love. It was the utmost that God could do to preserve the honor of His law, and still save the transgressor. Why should man not study the theme of redemption? It is the greatest subject that can engage the human mind. If men would contemplate the love of Christ, displayed in the cross, their faith would be strengthened to appropriate the merits of His shed blood, and they would be cleansed and saved from sin.” The Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889.

These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1912.

Ask the Pastor – Make Peace and Create Evil


I have been troubled for some time about Isaiah 45:7, which says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these [things].” Can you help me understand what this is talking about?


This is one of those texts that, if taken out of context, can be confusing. Isaiah 45 begins with God’s call to Cyrus. Cyrus was the king who invaded Babylon and took the empire from the control of Belshazzar. Although Cyrus was a heathen king, practicing a heathen religion, he was used of God to fulfill His Word. God used this king in spite of his belief structure to accomplish His will in overthrowing Babylon.

The heathen faith of Cyrus was centered in a concept called dualism. That is a belief in which two equal gods—one good, one evil—struggle for the supremacy of the world. This theory is still prevalent today, in many forms, around the world. Many non-Christians still practice the ying/yang, good/evil, and light/darkness as a religion. God, in addressing Cyrus, makes this statement (Isaiah 45:7) about light and darkness and good and evil to let him know that there were not two equal gods warring but that Jehovah was the only God, and He was in charge of the universe.

Jehovah God is responsible for everything that takes place, in the same way that a parent is responsible for what their child does. The parent does not do the evil that the child does, but the ultimate responsibility rests with the parent, by virtue of creation. God created all of His creatures with free will. It was a risk, but that is the only way that freedom could exist. When sin entered, through Adam’s disobedience, God took the responsibility and made possible a way of escape. (See John 3:16.)

As the plan of salvation is fulfilled, it will be shown that God is indeed love. He made Himself vulnerable by taking responsibility for the evil that came into the world. The mind of the Hebrew saw God in this way. Jehovah God was the power and force behind everything that happened.

In the process of all this, Cyrus needed to understand that the false gods of his kingdom were responsible for nothing. God was responsible for everything. The worlds hung in space by His Word. The light and the darkness were not the result of a war between rival gods, but God was responsible for it all. God took the blame for the evil as well as the good, but He was not the author of evil. Evil existed because of freedom gone awry.

God wanted Cyrus to understand that Someone greater than the gods of his kingdom was in control, and it was God’s plan that good should prevail, not evil. Notice verse 8 of this chapter: “Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.”

The Bible holds all the answers, which will clarify any questions, if we will just study things through by first starting with the immediate context and then incorporating our understanding of the plan of salvation. I hope that this has helped you in your quest for greater understanding of God’s Word.

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life Ministry. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to: landmarks@stepstolife.org, or mail it to: LandMarks, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.

The Power of Speech, Part III

[Editor’s Note: This article continues a compilation of counsel given to strengthen and encourage anyone who is struggling through a crisis caused by the “Power of Speech.”]

One brother said that he had been impatient, and had not kept up the family altar. He thought that his wife would now be in the faith had he set before her such an example as a Christian should. Another had cherished hard feelings against his brother, and he made this confession that the wound might be healed.” Review and Herald, October 28, 1884.

Neglect Not Duty

“Whatever the neglect of duty, of parents to children or of neighbor to neighbor, let it now be understood and repented of. If we have sinned against the Lord, we shall never have peace and restoration to his favor without full confession and reformation in regard to the very things in which we have been remiss. Not until we have used every means in our power to repair the evil, can God approve and bless us. The path of confession is humiliating, but it is the only way by which we can receive strength to overcome. All the dropped stitches may never be picked up so that our work shall be as perfect and God-pleasing as it should have been; but every effort should be made to do this so far as it is possible to accomplish it.” Ibid., May 22, 1888.

“Suppose that one brother misjudges another. He might have had opportunity to learn whether his suspicions were well founded; but instead of waiting to do this, he repeats to others his surmisings. Thus evil thoughts are stirred in them, and the evil becomes wide-spread. And all the time the one pronounced guilty is not told of the matter; there is no investigation, no inquiry is made directly of him, so that he may have an opportunity either to acknowledge his fault or to clear himself from unjust suspicion. A serious wrong has been done him because his brethren had not the moral courage to go directly to him and talk with him freely in the spirit of Christian love. From all who have thus neglected their duty, confession is due; and none will shrink from it who deem it of any importance for them to seek to answer the prayer of Christ. . . . How can this prayer be answered by one who has wronged his brother, and whose heart is not softened by the grace of Christ so that he will make confession? How can his brethren, who know the facts, still have unshaken confidence in him, while he seems to feel no conviction of the Spirit of God? He is doing a wrong to the whole church, and especially if he occupies a position of responsibility; for he is encouraging others to disregard the word of God, to pass along with sins unconfessed. Many a one will say in heart, if not in words, ‘There is an elder of the church; he does not make confession of his errors, and yet he remains an honored member of the church. If he does not confess, neither will I. If he feels that it is perfectly safe for him not to show any contrition, I, too, will risk it.’ ” Ibid., December 16, 1890.

Sin Will Stand Until . . .

“There are sins and mistakes and errors to be confessed. The record has been made in the books of heaven, but when confession is made from contrite hearts, the words of the apostle are fulfilled, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ [1 John 1:9.] God requires repentance and confession, and restitution will always follow genuine repentance. If you have prevaricated, if you have borne false witness, if you have misjudged and misinterpreted your brother, if you have misstated his words, ridiculed him, if you have injured his influence in any way, go right to the persons with whom you have conversed about him, with whom you have united in this work, and take all your injurious misstatements back. Confess the wrong that you have done your brother; for your sin will stand charged against you in the books of record until you do all that lies in your power to correct the evil your words have wrought. When you have done all that God requires of you, pardon will be written against your name.” Ibid., May 28, 1889.

Stubbornness of Heart

“By repentance and confession you can have pardon registered against your name; or you can resist the conviction of the Spirit of God, and, during the rest of your life, work to make it appear that your wrong feelings and unjust conclusions could not be helped. But there stands the action, there stands the evil committed, there stands the ruin of those in whose hearts you planted the root of bitterness; there are the feelings and words of envy, of evil-surmising, that grew into jealousy and prejudice. All these testify against you.” Ibid., December 16, 1890.

“If you indulge stubbornness of heart, and through pride and self-righteousness do not confess your faults, you will be left subject to Satan’s temptations. If when the Lord reveals your errors you do not repent or make confession, his providence will bring you over the ground again and again. You will be left to make mistakes of a similar character, you will continue to lack wisdom, and will call sin righteousness, and righteousness sin. The multitude of deceptions that will prevail in these last days will encircle you, and you will change leaders, and not know that you have done so.” Ibid.

“You who have erred and have made crooked paths for your feet, so that others who look to you for an example have been turned out of the way, have you no confession to make? You who have sowed doubts and unbelief in the hearts of others, have you nothing to say to God or to your brethren? Review your course for years in the past, you who have not formed a habit of confessing your sins. Consider your words, your attitude, you whose influence has counteracted the message of the Spirit of God, you that have despised both the message and the messenger. After seeing the fruit borne by the message, what have you to say? Weigh your spirit, your actions, in the balance of eternal justice, the law of God: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, . . . and thy neighbor as thyself.’ [Mark 12:30, 31.] Unless your sins are canceled, they will testify against you at that day when every work shall pass in review before God.” Ibid.

An Appeal to the Churches

“There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their ideas and expectations, they will oppose the work.” Ibid., December 23, 1890.

“If we would offer acceptable prayer, there is a work to be done in confessing our sins to one another. If I have sinned against my neighbor in word or action, I should make confession to him. If he has wronged me, he should confess to me. So far as is possible, the one who has wronged another is to make restitution. Then in contrition he is to confess the sin to God, whose law has been transgressed. In sinning against our brother, we sin against God, and we must seek pardon from him. Whatever our sin, if we but repent and believe in the atoning blood of Christ, we shall be pardoned.” Ibid., February 9, 1897.

“Our names are registered as Christians. We go to the Lord’s table; we profess to be sons and daughters of God, members of the Lord’s family, children of the Heavenly King. But too often those who claim to love Jesus, deny him by their lack of confidence in one another. Too often evil is watched for, actions are viewed in the worst light, words are misconstrued and misinterpreted. Many talk earnestly about the faults of others, but their own faults trouble them little. If they would devote their voices to the confession of their own sins, it would be better. God knows the ways of his children. Every word, every thought, every motive, is open before the eyes of him who sees all things.” Ibid., April 27, 1897.

“Holiness to God through Christ is required of Christians. If there are wrongs in the church, they should receive immediate attention. Some may have to be sharply rebuked. This is not doing the erring one any wrong. The faithful physician of the soul cuts deep, that no pestilent matter may be left to burst forth again. After the reproof has been given, then comes repentance and confession, and God will freely pardon and heal. He always pardons when confession is made.” Ibid., December 11, 1900.

Act Your Part

“My brethren and sisters, prepare the way, that you may come to God and be forgiven. Act your part in the work of confession. It is not your brother’s sin that you are to confess, but your own.” Ibid., April 8, 1902.

“Those who have laid stumbling-blocks before the feet of the inexperienced, clouding with doubt the minds of those who have not a personal knowledge of the Lord’s dealing with his people in the past, can undo their work only by making their confession as broad as their influence for wrong has been, reaching all to whom, by their resistance of the Holy Spirit, they have brought uncertainty and confusion.” Ibid., June 3, 1902.

Words of Penitence

“On the day of Pentecost the Infinite One revealed himself in power to the church. By his Holy Spirit he descended from the heights of heaven as a rushing, mighty wind, to the room in which the disciples were assembled. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now heaven rejoiced in being able to pour upon the church the riches of the Spirit’s power. And, under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession were mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible Love. Lost in wonder, the apostles and disciples exclaimed, ‘Herein is love.’ 1 John 4: 10. They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed?—Thousands were converted in a day. The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power, and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief.” Ibid., January 13, 1903.

“We are living in the great day of atonement, when every person should confess his sins, that the conviction of the Spirit of God may come to his heart. If you think that there is something standing between you and God, go to him, and ask him to help you to make the confession necessary in order that the wrong, whatever may be its character, may be taken out of the way. And ask him to help you not to repeat the wrong.” Ibid., May 18, 1905.

“God will always accept confession, if the evil that has been done is repented of.” Ibid., May 31, 1906.

Repair the Evil

“I write plainly, in the hope that every effort may be made on the part of all to remove from them the frown of God. Whatever the neglect of duty, of parents to children, or of neighbor to neighbor, let it now be understood and repented of. If we have sinned against the Lord, we shall never have peace and restoration to his favor without full confession and reformation in regard to the very things in which we have been remiss. Not until we have used every means in our power to repair the evil, can God approve and bless us. The path of confession is humiliating, but it is the only way by which we can receive strength to overcome. All the dropped stitches may never be picked up so that our work shall be as perfect and God-pleasing as it should have been; but every effort should be made to do this so far as it is possible to accomplish it.” Ibid., November 19, 1914.

“The record of every life is written in the books of heaven. Every sin that has been committed is there registered. Every regret for sin, every tear of repentance, every confession of guilt, and the forsaking of every darling sin, is also recorded. When the judgment shall sit and the books are opened, every case will have to stand the test of the law of God. God has a law by which he governs intelligences both in heaven and in earth. Jehovah is the supreme Governor of nations, and no greater or more fatal deception could take hold on human minds than that which leads men to declare that the law of God has been abolished. Were this so there could be no judgment; for there would be no rule by which character could be tested, and actions weighed. But we read that the judgment is to sit, and that the books are to be opened, and that every man is to be rewarded according as his works have been. If God has no moral standard by which to measure character, there can be no judgment, no reward.” The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1895.

“Make confession to the ones you have injured. If others manifest wrong feelings toward you, or have injured you, carry them some token of regard. Tell them that you do not want anything of contention or division to exist between you; for this dishonors God. Then, tho you may not be able to soften the heart of the one who has wronged you, tho your kindness may be repulsed, you have done your duty, and God will bless you. He will give you His peace of mind and His grace. He will increase your trust in Him. Then you can bring your offering to God. Bring soul and voice and being to His altar, to be used to glorify Him, and He will accept the offering.” Ibid., March 15, 1899.

Forsake the Sin

“We must never forget that God ascribes sin to the one who transgresses; it is not registered against Satan, but against the sinner. God never accepts the agency of Satan as an excuse for the committal of one sin. When there is any excuse for a seemingly wrong act, it is not sin. Satan triumphs when he hears the professed follower of Christ offering excuses for his defects of character. Sin unrepented of, unconfessed, can never be blotted from the books of God’s record. Through faithful, thorough confession of sin, the heart is cleansed from its moral impurity. There must be a forsaking of the sins the Lord has reproved, before the soul can stand acquitted before God, humbled and repentant, realizing that he has served Satan, pleased him, glorified him, and dishonored his Lord.” Ibid., December 13, 1899.

“If a hasty word is spoken, take it [back] by confession as soon as possible, and heal the wound and keep in the sunshine and you will not only be happy yourselves, but be a blessing to others.—Letter 22, 1870, pp. 3–5. (To Edson and Emma White, December 16, 1870.)” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 297.

Spirit of God Insulted

“The words and actions of every one who took part in this work will stand registered against them until they make confession of their wrong. Those who do not repent of their sin will, if circumstances permit, repeat the same actions. I know that at that time the Spirit of God was insulted, and now when I see anything approaching to the same course of action, I am exceedingly pained. The people of God have had an opportunity to see what is the work these agents are doing, and yet those who are opposed to the points of truth which they brought out will, if occasion affords them a chance, make it appear that they are not in harmony with them, as much as to say, Beware of what they teach, for they carry matters to the extreme; they are not safe men.” Ibid., vol. 15, 83, 84.

“I have had to vindicate myself and my brethren, press with all my powers against the prejudice, unbelief, false statements and misrepresentations until it almost gives me a nervous chill to think of the blindness and unreasonable Phariseeism that has been adjusted as a garment about men in prominent positions. If they have changed their course of criticism and scattering the seeds of doubt and unsettling the confidence of the churches in the testimonies, I ask, who is the wiser for it? What confession and restitution and restoring of confidence have they done? Will the past be blotted out of the books of heaven where they are registered without one humiliation on their part for wounding and bruising the souls of God’s people by their jealousies, evil surmisings and opposition to that which is pure Bible truth, just because they were unwilling it should come from the source which the Lord chose to send it?” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 676, 677.

Do Not Censure Others

“You must confess your faults without censuring any other one.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 322.

“You have been very close with us in regard to your true feelings, but have sympathized with others, and expressed great dissatisfaction of James’ [White] course, and have received sympathy in return. Your manifesting so much suffering of mind has awakened strong sympathy in others, when you had no foundation for such feelings but your own imagination wrought upon by a tempting enemy. Your appearance has exerted the worst possible influence. If you had felt aggrieved, Bro. White was the one for you to have gone to and freely unburdened your mind to him, then you would have been convinced that your feelings arose from prejudice, misunderstanding, and misconstruction of his words. God’s frown is upon these things. That a company so closely connected in his work as Uriah [Smith], Harriet [Smith], and James, should be so exclusive and secretive as you have been. Those who labor together in that Office, their souls must be one, every separate interest should be laid aside, and they should have perfect confidence in each other, and perfect frankness and openness. And I saw that this must be so. Your influence has been against this. I saw that things in that Office must go forward with entirely different feelings and from different principles or God will have everything in that Office turned upside down. For months Harriet, you have felt wrong, acted wrong, spoken wrong, and been controlled by the enemy. You may call your feelings grief, but you have not realized your condition. You have at times manifested anger, and you have been selfish. The present truth has rested very lightly upon you, and selfishness has woven itself closely with nearly all you do. It is the natural besetment of your family, and it is a sin which God has rebuked them for, but which they would not confess. You have never realized it as it is. Your influence instead of strengthening and helping Uriah has hindered him, and planted in his breast feelings which would never have existed there if you had been consecrated to God. Your influence, appearance and actions have had just that strong influence on the wrong side that the Lord showed me two years ago that they would have, unless you stood in the counsel of God, consecrated to his service, with your judgment sanctified by his Spirit. Had you heeded the vision given you and Uriah two years ago you would have saved much; but you neglected all that light, chose your own views of matters, have been free to make confidants of those you should not, but have been very close and secretive to us, whom of all others you should confide in. This is the greatest injustice.” Pamphlet 016, 15–17.

God Wants to Save Us

“The Lord is anxious to save us. He is anxious that everything separating us from Him should be put away, that our hearts may beat in unison with heaven. It is time to be in harmony with God. Let us spend a little while in clearing the King’s highway. If we have been indulging in the sin of telling others’ faults, let us confess it before the Lord and before our brethren. When probation ends it will come suddenly, unexpectedly—at a time when we are least expecting it. But we can have a clean record in heaven today, and know that God accepts us; and finally, if faithful, we shall be gathered into the kingdom of heaven.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 378.

“In Oakland, in Battle Creek, and in other places where the deep movings of the Spirit of God have been felt, the people confessed their sins, and made restitution for their wrongs. The servants of God desired to make clean work for eternity. They confessed their jealousies, evil-speaking, mur-murings, and uncleanness. They desired to have Jesus dwell in their souls, but he can never abide in hearts that are full of uncleanness. We must brush out the corners with the dust-brush. We must not hide our evils. Of course we should not expose evils to the public that are matters to be confessed to God alone. But while it is a disgrace to sin, it is no disgrace to confess sins. I entreat you, Do not rest until your souls stand free before God. You may have ten-fold more success in influencing others than you have had in the past.” Review and Herald, March 12, 1889.

To be continued . . .

Pastor Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life Ministry and pastor of the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: historic@stepstolife.org or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

The Pen of Inspiration – Christ Our Life

“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.” John 5:28, 29.

This statement was called out by a remark previously made with reference to the salvation of the soul. Jesus was presenting before his hearers, the Pharisees and Sadducees, the great principles of true religion; for they had become corrupt through sin, and were ignorant both of the Scriptures and the power of God. He would impress upon his hearers that all who will finally be heirs of the kingdom of heaven must be satisfied with nothing short of a conversion, a moral change, which is equal to a new creation.

The scribes and Pharisees listened in amazement to such words as these: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” [John 5:24.] The conversion of the soul is, as it were, a resurrection from the dead. It is like a re-creation to those, who, through the transforming power of the grace of God, have passed from death unto life. Those who listened to the Saviour’s words did not believe them. They said in their hearts, This is an impossibility. Jesus discerned their incredulity, and added: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” [John 5:25.]

Now we want to keep in mind these two great facts: the change that takes place at conversion, and that which takes place at the resurrection of the dead. There are but two classes brought to view in the text. They are not divided into many grades, one composed of very great sinners, another of persons not so guilty, and still others of persons a little less guilty; but the two classes stand distinct. They are those who have accepted Christ, and those who have not.

There is no way to reach the city of God but by the cross of Calvary. As we lift this cross, which is covered with shame and reproach in the eyes of men, we may know that Christ will help us; and we need divine aid. The sinner has lived in sin; he must die to sin, and live a new life of holiness to God. Paul wrote to the Colossians: “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” [Colossians 3:3.] The apostle here refers to the death to sin, the death of the carnal mind, and not to the death of the body.

Let me emphasize the importance of making Christ our hope and refuge every day of our lives. It is a pleasing fable that is presented to us in this age, that if we only believe in Christ, that is all that is required; works have nothing to do with our acceptance with God. Many trample the law of God under their feet, cherishing in their hearts the delusive thought that it is not binding on them. This is not the truth. In the resurrection all will come forth, they that have done good and they that have done evil, and the fate of each will be decided according as his works have been. All good works spring from genuine faith, and the fruits in the works show the character of the faith. Hence it is by our works that we shall be judged.

We each have a work to do in character-building. As we advance in this work, Satan stands ready to oppose us, and there are crosses to take up, and obstacles to be overcome; but our efforts may be a success. When we take hold on the merits of Christ, we shall overcome. He has made it possible for every one to gain eternal life. Many, looking forward to the solemn realities of the future, tremble in their hearts as they question. How will it be with me in the Judgment? To what fate shall I awaken, when all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live? This is a question for us to decide each for himself. All stand on an equal footing. We are all free moral agents; we may accept God’s terms—keep his commandments and believe on Christ—and live; or we may disbelieve, pursue our own course, and perish.

The distance from earth to heaven may seem very great, for sin has fixed a great gulf; it has separated man from God, and has brought woe and misery upon the human race. But Christ throws himself into the gap. He it is that opens communication between man and God. He is the ladder that Jacob saw in his vision, the base resting on the earth, and the top reaching into the highest heaven. . . .

The God of the universe has given our cases in the Judgment into the hands of his Son, one who is acquainted with our infirmities, and knows that we are but dust. He has taken our nature upon him, and has himself felt the force of our temptations; he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. When man rebelled, Christ became his surety and substitute. He undertook the combat with the powers of darkness; and when through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, the highest honors were bestowed upon him. He ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and sat down at the right hand of God;—the very Jesus who had borne the curse of sin for us. And there was given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. To him God has delegated his power; he has the keys of death and the grave.

And they that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth. Jesus shall come, and the angels of God with him; and the glory of his appearing shall flash on human eyes as the vivid lightning or as a consuming fire. He will descend with a shout and with the voice of a great trumpet, and those that hear that vivifying voice will spring rejoicing from the grave. And they will recognize the voice that awakens them to immortal life as that of Him who said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] . . .

Now we have opportunity to prepare for the solemn scenes before us. We may be converted to God, and have a change of character; but when Christ shall come there will be no time for this. The change then will be with our bodies. “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” [1 Corinthians 15:53.] A new year is opening before us, and what shall its record be? You look back upon the past year, and you see many things that you would be glad to have different, that you wish had been better. How will it be with the new year that is just opening? Shall we not at its commencement present ourselves to God, an acceptable offering, to work, to suffer, and to endure according to his will? Shall we not, every one of us, live a life of faith in the Son of God?

Bible Echo, January 15, 1889.

Editorial – Counsel from the True Witness, continued

In last month’s editorial, we saw the condescension of God in attempting to save the chief of sinners. However, we can only be saved if whatever problem we have with sin is completely dealt with on this earth. Therefore, God deals directly with sin. We continue the letter Ellen White wrote to a brother who was in deep trouble. God wanted to save him, as He wants to save you. There is no partiality of persons with Him.

This letter shows us several common problems that we human beings have: (1) the difficulty of making confession; (2) trying to cover up the evil; (3) trying to get sympathy for oneself and against whoever has reproved the evil; and (4) the great difficulty God has getting sinners to acknowledge their problem, confess it, and forsake it.

“When I tried to show you the aggravated character of sin in the sight of God of a watchman upon the walls of Zion, you did not seem to feel or to sense the sin, but you seemed as unimpressionable as a stone. I know you are seeking to cover your ways from the Lord. I did not then open them to you, as I have done now, with my pen. And I do not wish to have this opened to others, for I do hope that you will see and sense the evil and confess your sin to God and to your brethren and make clean work, that you may have this foul blot removed from you by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. You have not confessed your wrongs. You have done great wickedness; you have committed adultery, broken the seventh commandment.

“I have carried this heavy load upon my soul all this time. When we had the meetings in you knew just what you ought to confess. You knew the warnings were sent of God; you knew the communications I sent to you from Europe were truth. And when I carried the burdens until my soul seemed crushed, you obtained [the] sympathy of your friends by leaving the impression upon their minds that I was not just, but partial, and very severe; that you were suffering under accusations which were very difficult to bear; that the testimonies I had given were my own judgment, my own words; that I had wronged you; and that false reports had been brought to me. But my brother, nothing could be more deceptive than this.

“You stated at the camp meeting and since then, that you had not been guilty of any moral wrong, and that was the reason why you persisted in your course, notwithstanding counsel and warnings had been given you. You will remember I met your remarks promptly.

“I showed you that your position as a minister of the gospel would make any such course as you had pursued a reproach to the cause of God, a matter of scandal, and your actions a savor of death rather than of life. . . .

“What can be more dreadful than a minister of Jesus Christ a commandment breaker? I see only one way for your escape—break with the temptations of Satan at once, and rush for the light! Even ministers who claim to believe the truth are only blind guides if the truth is not enthroned in the heart, and a thorough transition from darkness to light has [not] taken place. . . .” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 160, 161.

Bible Study Guides – Pride and Destruction

August 30, 2009 – September 5, 2009

Key Text

“Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:15.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 35–41; The Great Controversy, 493–499.


“The first sinner was one whom God had greatly exalted. He is represented under the figure of the prince of Tyrus flourishing in might and magnificence.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 387.

1 How do the Scriptures depict the character and destiny of Lucifer? Ezekiel 28:6, 9. Why did Satan resent God’s law?

Note: “Under the symbol of the king of Tyrus, the Scriptures give us a description of the character and destiny of the first great rebel against the law of God. He who knows the end from the beginning, had his laws and commandments before the world was created, and Satan chose to question his claims before the angels of heaven, because the law set forth the Omnipotent as the only true and living God, and forbade the worship of any other being.” The Signs of the Times, September 24, 1894.

2 Why have the deceptions of Satan always been so alluring? Ezekiel 28:11–14. What counsel and warning is given us concerning Ezekiel 28?

Note: “I ask our people to study the twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel. The representation here made, while it refers primarily to Lucifer, the fallen angel, has yet a broader significance. Not one being, but a general movement, is described, and one that we shall witness. A faithful study of this chapter should lead those who are seeking for truth to walk in all the light that God has given to His people, lest they be deceived by the deceptions of these last days.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1162.

3 How does Inspiration summarize the steps of Satan’s rebellion? Ezekiel 28:15.

Note: “Little by little Satan came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. … Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet homage due alone to the Creator. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1162.

4 Why was Satan’s behavior displeasing to God? Ezekiel 28:16–18, first part. What attitude are we urged to cultivate?

Note: “In this place ‘traffick’ is the emblem of corrupt administration. It denotes the bringing of self-seeking into spiritual offices. Nothing in spiritual service is acceptable to God except the purposes and works that are for the good of the universe. To do good to others will redound to the glory of God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1163.

5 How did God deal with Satan? Revelation 12:7–9.

Note: “God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but He did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force. Compelling power is found only under Satan’s government. The Lord’s principles are not of this order. His authority rests upon goodness, mercy, and love; and the presentation of these principles is the means to be used. God’s government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power.” The Desire of Ages, 759.

6 What is prophesied about Satan’s influence in the last days? II Thessalonians 2:7–9; I Peter 5:8.

Note: “[II Thessalonians 2:7, 8; Ezekiel 28:2, 6–10 quoted.] The time is fast approaching when this scripture will be fulfilled. The world and the professedly Protestant churches are in this our day taking sides with the man of sin. … The great issue that is coming will be on the seventh-day Sabbath.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1163.

“Satan has originated fables with which to deceive. He commenced in heaven to war against the foundation of God’s government, and since his fall he has carried on his rebellion against the law of God, and has brought the mass of professed Christians to trample under their feet the fourth commandment, which brings to view the living God. He has torn down the original Sabbath of the Decalogue, and substituted in its place one of the laboring days of the week.

“The great original lie which he told to Eve in Eden, ‘Ye shall not surely die,’[Genesis 3:4] was the first sermon ever preached on the immortality of the soul. That sermon was crowned with success, and terrible results followed. He has brought minds to receive that sermon as truth, and ministers preach it, sing it, and pray it.

“No literal devil, and probation after the coming of Christ, are fast becoming popular fables.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 342.

7 What did Satan declare? Isaiah 14:12–14. How can we overcome the tendency toward pride and ambition? James 4:6, 7, 10.

Note: “Christians should regard it as a religious duty to repress a spirit of envy or emulation. They should rejoice in the superior reputation or prosperity of their brethren, even when their own character or achievements seem to be cast in the shade. It was the pride and ambition cherished in the heart of Satan that banished him from heaven. These evils are deeply rooted in our fallen nature, and if not removed they will overshadow every good and noble quality and bring forth envy and strife as their baleful fruits.

“We should seek for true goodness rather than greatness. Those who possess the mind of Christ will have humble views of themselves. They will labor for the purity and prosperity of the church, and be ready to sacrifice their own interests and desires rather than to cause dissension among their brethren.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 242, 243.

8 What struggle is before us? Ephesians 6:11–13.

Note: “Satan’s aim had been to reproduce his own character in human beings. No sooner was man created than Satan resolved to efface in him the image of God, and to place his stamp where God’s should be. And he has succeeded in instilling into the heart of man the spirit of envy, of hatred, of ambition. In this world he has set up a kingdom of darkness, of which he, the leader in guilt, is prince. He desired to usurp the throne of God. Failing in this, he has worked in darkness, in crookedness, in deception, to usurp his place in the hearts of men. He has set up his throne between God and man, to appropriate the adoration that belongs to God alone.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1119.

9 What will be the end of Satan? Ezekiel 28:18, last part, 19; Revelation 20:10; Malachi 4:1–3.

Note: “Satan’s rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages, a perpetual testimony to the nature and terrible results of sin. The working out of Satan’s rule, its effects upon both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the existence of God’s government and His law is bound up the well-being of all the creatures He has made. Thus the history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy intelligences, to prevent them from being deceived as to the nature of transgression, to save them from committing sin, and suffering its punishment.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1162.

10 In what sense will the universe be safe after the destruction of Satan? Nahum 1:9.

Note: “The whole universe will have become witnesses to the nature and results of sin. And its utter extermination, which in the beginning would have brought fear to angels and dishonor to God, will now vindicate His love and establish His honor before the universe of beings who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law. Never will evil again be manifest. Says the word of God: ‘Affliction shall not rise up the second time.’ Nahum 1:9. The law of God, which Satan has reproached as the yoke of bondage, will be honored as the law of liberty. A tested and proved creation will never again be turned from allegiance to Him whose character has been fully manifested before them as fathomless love and infinite wisdom.” The Great Controversy, 504.

“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.” Ibid., 678.

Additional Reading

“When men and women can more fully comprehend the magnitude of the great sacrifice which was made by the Majesty of heaven in dying in man’s stead, then will the plan of salvation be magnified, and reflections of Calvary will awaken tender, sacred, and lively emotions in the Christian’s heart. Praises to God and the Lamb will be in their hearts and upon their lips. Pride and self-esteem cannot flourish in the hearts that keep fresh in memory the scenes of Calvary. This world will appear of but little value to those who appreciate the great price of man’s redemption, the precious blood of God’s dear Son. All the riches of the world are not of sufficient value to redeem one perishing soul. Who can measure the love Christ felt for a lost world as He hung upon the cross, suffering for the sins of guilty men? This love was immeasurable, infinite.

“Christ has shown that His love was stronger than death. He was accomplishing man’s salvation; and although He had the most fearful conflict with the powers of darkness, yet, amid it all, His love grew stronger and stronger. He endured the hiding of His Father’s countenance, until He was led to exclaim in the bitterness of His soul: ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ [Matthew 27:46.] His arm brought salvation. The price was paid to purchase the redemption of man, when, in the last soul struggle, the blessed words were uttered which seemed to resound through creation: ‘It is finished.’ [John 19:30.]”

“Many who profess to be Christians become excited over worldly enterprises, and their interest is awakened for new and exciting amusements, while they are coldhearted, and appear as if frozen, in the cause of God. Here is a theme, poor formalist, which is of sufficient importance to excite you.

“Eternal interests are here involved. Upon this theme it is sin to be calm and unimpassioned. The scenes of Calvary call for the deepest emotion. Upon this subject you will be excusable if you manifest enthusiasm. That Christ, so excellent, so innocent, should suffer such a painful death, bearing the weight of the sins of the world, our thoughts and imaginations can never fully comprehend. The length, the breadth, the height, the depth, of such amazing love we cannot fathom. The contemplation of the matchless depths of a Saviour’s love should fill the mind, touch and melt the soul, refine and elevate the affections, and completely transform the whole character. The language of the apostle is: ‘I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.’ [I Corinthians 2:2.] We also may look toward Calvary and exclaim: ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’ [Galatians 6:14.]” Testimonies, vol. 2, 212, 213.

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

New Age Worship

Genesis 3 is a summary of principles introducing us to the beginning of what is called the New Age. Any philosophy on spiritual things that is not based upon the word of God leads in the wrong direction. It may include some truths from the Bible, like believing the truth of creation and a healthy diet, but without a firm foundation, that knowledge mixed with error can only produce an incorrect and false spirituality that will not last.

In the beginning God created the world and all that is in it. He made a beautiful garden to be a home for our first parents, Adam and Eve, and in the midst of the garden He planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of all the trees in the garden, this tree was the only one that God held back from them, prohibiting them from eating of it. All of the others were to be for their food.

At the end of each creation day God declared His work “good.” Jesus, while on earth spoke with a rich young ruler who came to Him asking, “ ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.’ ” Luke 18:18, 19. When God said, at the end of each day of creation week, that what He saw was good, He meant that the things He made were like God but not God. The moon, the stars and all that was created were good. Everything created for man right down to the smallest mote in the sunbeam had, as they came from the Creator’s hand, the character of God impressed upon them. But though these things were like God, they were not God.

The New Age belief and pagan spirituality make created things, like the sun, moon and the forces of nature, gods to be worshiped instead of the creator God. From the tree of knowledge of good and evil Satan was able to introduce this seed of error craftily mixed with an element of truth.

Today, Eastern religions have become very popular presenting a diagram of the spiritual notion of the balancing of forces, half black and half white—some good in the bad and some bad in the good. This would mean that there is some bad in God and some good in Satan, but this is a deception. There was no poison in the garden home; there was no sin and there was nothing evil. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was put there as a test for Adam and Eve to choose to whom they would give their allegiance. Sin came about by the blending of truth with error. There was a preacher in the Garden of Eden, a preacher of unrighteousness, and as he preached his message to Eve she started to believe the principles of New Age—new philosophies that God did not create.

The serpent said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1. It was a certainty, that as a result of transgressing the will of God, there would be death, but the seed of doubt was planted there, it took root and germinated.

Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. This is a very clear statement. By eating that fruit offered by Satan, our first parents transgressed God’s law; they stole what was not theirs and committed murder. By that simple act they caused the death of billions of their descendants. Every imaginable sin has now come into this world as a result of that first indiscretion. How simple it seems; how horrid the results!

Satan well knows that for sin or error to be attractive and effective it has to be connected with truth. Sin and its results, devoid of any truth, would stand out in all of its unattractiveness and horror without anything to attract the unsuspecting person. That is why yin and yang exist, the black has some white and the white has some black creating a very cunning and deceptive belief.

Genesis 3:1 says, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” In other words, did God say that? Seriously, is that what He said? Are you sure He said that? Here, with all of his subtle cunning, Satan created doubt in the mind of Eve as to what instruction God had actually given.

Then Satan outright contradicts what God had said: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” Verse 4. In Genesis 3 verses 1 and 4, we see the beginning of New Age, the beginning of the teaching of false and erroneous doctrines; a false philosophy resulting in a false system of religion. As we see in Genesis 3:1, the idea of questioning or inculcating doubt in the certainty of God’s word is the foundation of New Age and false religion.

We have been told that man was made a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7), but New Age says that man is an angel. God says He created man, but the New Ager says man is god! The whole belief that man “shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4) as a result of his transgression of God’s command implying doubt in connection with the truth, is the foundation of false religion and the New Age.

From this idea of not really dying, we have a myriad of false concepts that have come into the world—soul migration, reincarnation, and other different types of beliefs of what happens to you when you die and that there is some other consciousness or some kind of life. Even some people who claim to believe in the Bible tend to believe that there is some after-life that is separated from consciousness in this form.

The Bible says, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing.” Ecclesiastes 9:5. They experience no more hatred or variance for there is no more consciousness because there is no more memory in the grave where they go. The Bible is very clear in Ecclesiastes 9 that whatever you have to do, do it while you are alive for there will not be another opportunity in the grave. This being the truth, how then do so many have the idea that there is so much light after death and that the soul goes on and on? Unbelief mixes truth with error becoming a faulty foundation bearing doubt in the clear word of God.

Within this foundation of truth and error there is really no penalty for sin for “you will not surely die.” Not only is there no penalty for sin, but the soul lives on in some kind of life after death. In Genesis 3:5 it says, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.” That is the ideal illumination, eyes opened. By partaking of this secret truth Satan claims that the mysteries of the world will be revealed, bringing out that which is already in you by partaking of his spiritual exercises and various practices and “you shall be as gods.” However, unless God Himself has revealed them, those mysteries of the world belong with God alone.

What the devil actually says here is that by your transgression of God’s instruction, you will not die and your eyes will be opened. You will mix both good and evil and by this method you will become like God. It is no wonder Jesus said that Satan was “a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44.

Martial Arts

All martial arts widely practiced in the East and other various places are connected with religion and usually the religion of the town from which it came. The postures and stances are forms of worship. When entering the traditional school, it is necessary to first bow to the creator of the skies, which is usually a picture on the wall of the person who developed that particular type of martial art. The picture is always situated on the eastern wall. After bowing in that direction, to the place of the rising sun, you then bow to the senior student or the teacher. After bowing to these three, you make a triangle and place it upon the floor, bowing down and placing your forehead into this triangle. The forehead is the location in the brain where the frontal lobe is situated. This is the place of all reasoning and from here all decisions are made. By bowing into the triangle, the will is submitted to the leader or picture of the leader and also to the instructor. This routine is by no accident and is very significant.

New Age religion, like paganism, encompasses the worship of the solar system—the sun and stars. As well as the animals, the powers of man, including his sexual power is worshiped as in the ancient Baal worship. The serpent is revered, considering it to be the greatest creature and believing it to be one of the highest forms of divinity.

In many religions today various portions or principles can be found that were forbidden in the book of Genesis.

The foundation of New Age is contraindicated in the Bible. The eyes of many have been taken away from worshiping God to worshiping His creation, the sun, moon and the stars.

God has revealed His character, His good, in His creation. A study of the human body with its healing and restorative powers, all reveal the character of God demonstrating His love and compassion. Even when we transgress He wants to bring us healing. His creation has no power of its own, but so many direct their worship to mere objects instead of the Source of all power.

Many say they simply use items to enhance their worship with God, but who is it that has the right to dictate worship? Who is it who dictates what is right and what is wrong; is it the creature or the Creator? Who is able to argue with God? Job tried! He did not sin, but he tried to dialog with God Who made him realize his place. Job became quiet realizing the majesty and creative power of God as He started showing him all these mysteries and various things He had created in the world (Job 38; 39). Job came to the conclusion that he had to close his mouth at the wisdom and manifold power of God (Job 40:4, 5).

We cannot tell God what we need to do in order to worship Him. Cain thought he could adjust his sacrifice to the fruit of his own labor (Genesis 4:3), from the sacrificial lamb that God had instructed. He found out the hard way that it was not accepted (verse 5). It is interesting that the result of Cain’s disobedience was to kill his brother, whose offering God accepted. This same attitude has existed throughout the generations, resulting in religious persecution up to today where hatred is still exhibited against those who continue to worship God in the manner He has commanded.

God is not happy when we endeavor to make up our own rules when it comes to worship. Paul says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” Romans 1:18.

As we recognize the qualities and power that God has put in His creation, we are to fall on our knees and recognize His greatness and glory and direct our praise to Him, not bow down and worship beasts and things whether they be living or just representations of them. By worshiping the creature we “hold the truth in unrighteousness.” It says, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest [made clear or made evident] in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him [the things we cannot see, the spiritual things, the things that are not able for our eyes to see clearly] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:19, 20.

We are to examine creation in order to understand the Creator and God has left us no excuse. There was a time when everyone knew who God was. Adam and Eve knew who God was; they saw Him face to face and their children saw the angels with the flaming swords guarding the entrance to the garden so that they would no longer have access to the tree of life. Our first ancestors had much evidence of divine power and understood these things. But, “when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God [they did not give Him praise and reflect His character], neither were thankful; but became vain [self-centered] in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Verse 21. They had the truth and they held it in unrighteousness, their own imagination, which became vain or unprofitable, or outside of what God had said. How insulting to God for man to praise the stars, the gold and silver, fall down and worship things able to be burned and destroyed instead of the One who gave them for man’s enjoyment and for him to see His manifold love and return to Him the deserved blessings for being a good Father.

Man would rather cut down a tree, cutting it up into pieces and from that tree build a house. He would then build a fire and take some of the wood to warm himself. Out of another piece he would make some implements of very different furniture, and then take a part of it and make a god and fall down and worship it. How ignorant is man to think that a piece of wood or stone has any power, yet he will fall down and say, “This is my god, hear me!” (See Isaiah 44:14–17.)

Many today are under the same delusion of pagan worshipers, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:22.

All of the pagan mystery religions are based upon the concept of giving you wisdom. Darwinism, Buddhism and the various other religions of the East all claim to give the highest form of wisdom. The books of these various teachings are seen as fruit to be desired to make one wise, but they all result in transgression against the law of God.

James says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally.” James 1:5. All wisdom comes from God through His word. We are to meditate upon God’s word. It is not to meditate in the way that New Age teaches to blank out the mind, resisting all thoughts and impressions to the reciting of some poem, or some cone or mantra or looking at nature.

Eastern meditation is clearly not meditating on God’s word, but emptying the mind, disallowing the prompting of the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin, which is the only means of revealing our need of a Saviour. The vacant mind makes it susceptible to the deception of the evil one who promises the false wisdom. We are told to meditate on God’s word, which will develop the mind, allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin. It is very dangerous to block out the impressions that come from the Holy Spirit.

The New Age belief is very dangerous, but the majority of people allow their children to watch cartoons and various television shows that teach its principles in a far more effective way than any temple or book can do. If you research the authors and the creators of these things, you will find that they are New Age advocates following these religions. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7.

This philosophy is pervading the whole earth, flooding it from many different channels, and we must be vigilant and fight against it. God is not the forces of nature—He created them! God is not the sun, moon and the stars. God is not internal energy—God is the creator of all these things! Each is to have its proper place but never an object of worship. It is in vain that man says, “I’m god too, so I’m going to take this stone and make my image, made in the image of a man. I will take this gold and make an image of a calf and worship it. I will make an image of Buddha and worship it.” Others keep those trinkets, claiming they don’t actually worship them but just have them to help them find God. That is like Aaron, supposedly in charge of the Israelites while Moses was on the mount receiving the tables of commandments, while trying to excuse himself for building the golden calf in the wilderness said that he just threw the chains and the bracelets inside the oven and the big calf jumped out!

When confronted with truth, don’t run in a different direction. There is only one way to find wisdom and one way of salvation and that is through Jesus Christ who was in the image of God. Laying aside His divinity He took on human nature that we might be partakers of His glory. We were originally made in the image of God and by Satan’s deception inherited the image and character of Satan, but we have all been invited to receive Christ’s robe of righteousness and once more reflect the image of God physically, mentally and spiritually.

We are to be restored and live godly by the power of God under the principle of purity.

John R. Cofer is currently engaged in establishing training schools under the name, The Schools of the Prophets for the youth. He and his wife, Maria, have established a digital media company to create and promote video media teaching the unique message of Adventism using social media such as Facebook and Youtube. He can be contacted by email at: landmarks@stepstolife.org.