Bible Study Guides – Prejudices of the Jewish People

Bible Study Guide- Week 5

By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” James 2:1.

STUDY HELP: Gospel Workers, 330-336.

INTRODUCTION: “Then as the children of God are one in Christ, how does Jesus look upon caste, upon society distinctions, upon the division of man from his fellow-man, because of color, race, position, wealth, birth, or attainments? The secret of unity is found in the equality of believers in Christ. The reason of all division, discord, and difference is found in separation from Christ. Christ is the center to which all should be attracted; for the nearer we approach the center, the closer we shall come together in feeling, in sympathy, in love, growing into the character and image of Jesus. With God there is no respect of persons.” Review and Herald, December 22, 1891.

How did Paul express the essential brotherhood of all mankind? Acts 17:26.

NOTE: “The Savior longed to unfold to His disciples the truth regarding the breaking down of the `middle wall of partition’ between Israel and the other nations-the truth that `the Gentiles should be fellow heirs’ with the Jews and `partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.’ Ephesians 2:14; 3:6. This truth was revealed in part at the time when He rewarded the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, and also when He preached the gospel to the inhabitants of Sychar. Still more plainly was it revealed on the occasion of His visit to Phoenicia, when He healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman. These experiences helped the disciples to understand that among those whom many regarded as unworthy of salvation, there were souls hungering for the light of truth. Thus Christ sought to teach the disciples the truth that in God’s kingdom there are no territorial lines, no caste, no aristocracy; that they must go to all nations, bearing to them the message of a Savior’s love. But not until later did they realize in all its fullness that God `hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.’ Acts 17:26, 27.” Acts of the Apostles, 19, 20.

In what ways did Christ seek to break down the racial prejudices of the Jewish people? Mark 7:24-29.

NOTE: “They saw that their Master treated her with indifference, and they therefore supposed that the prejudice of the Jews against the Canaanites was pleasing to Him. But it was a pitying Saviour to whom the woman made her plea, and in answer to the request of the disciples, Jesus said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Although this answer appeared to be in accordance with the prejudice of the Jews, it was an implied rebuke to the disciples, which they afterward understood as reminding them of what He had often told them,-that He came to the world to save all who would accept Him.” The Desire of Ages, 400.

How was the truth brought home to Peter? Acts 10:9-16; Acts 10:28; Acts 11:4-9.

NOTE: “How carefully the Lord worked to overcome the prejudice against the Gentiles that had been so firmly fixed in Peter’s mind by his Jewish training! By the vision of the sheet and its contents He sought to divest the apostle’s mind of this prejudice and to teach the important truth that in heaven there is no respect of persons; that Jew and Gentile are alike precious in God’s sight; that through Christ the heathen may be made partakers of the blessings and privileges of the gospel.” Acts of the Apostles, 136.

What story did Jesus tell to show the relations that should exist among all peoples? Luke 10:25-37.

NOTE: “The great difference between the Jews and the Samaritans was a difference in religious belief, a question as to what constitutes true worship. The Pharisees would say nothing good of the Samaritans, but poured their bitterest curses upon them. So strong was the antipathy between the Jews and the Samaritans that to the Samaritan woman it seemed a strange thing for Christ to ask her for a drink. `How is it,’ she said, `that Thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?’ `For,’ adds the evangelist, `the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.’ John 4:9. And when the Jews were so filled with murderous hatred against Christ that they rose up in the temple to stone Him, they could find no better words by which to express their hatred than, `Say we not well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?’ John 8:48. Yet the priest and Levite neglected the very work the Lord had enjoined on them, leaving a hated and despised Samaritan to minister to one of their own countrymen. The Samaritan had fulfilled the command, `Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,’ thus showing that he was more righteous than those by whom he was denounced. Risking his own life, he had treated the wounded man as his brother. This Samaritan represents Christ. Our Savior manifested for us a love that the love of man can never equal. When we were bruised and dying, He had pity upon us. He did not pass us by on the other side, and leave us, helpless and hopeless, to perish. He did not remain in His holy, happy home, where He was beloved by all the heavenly host. He beheld our sore need, He undertook our case, and identified His interests with those of humanity. He died to save His enemies. He prayed for His murderers. Pointing to His own example, He says to His followers, `These things I command you, that ye love one another’; `as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ John 15:17; 13:34.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 380, 381.

What example of prejudice was found in the early church? James 2:1-4.

NOTE: “Jesus did not seek the admiration or applause of the world. He commanded no army, He ruled no earthly kingdom. He passed by the wealthy and honored of the world. He did not associate with the leaders of the nation. He dwelt among the lowly of the earth. To all appearances He was merely a humble man, with few friends. Thus He sought to correct the world’s false standard of judging the value of men. He showed that they are not to be estimated by their outward appearance. Their moral worth is not determined by their worldly possessions, their real estate or bank stock. It is the humble, contrite heart that God values. With Him there is no respect of persons. The attributes that He prizes most are purity and love, and these are possessed only by the Christian.” The Southern Work, 10.

How did Jesus condemn, among Christians, the distinctions based on rank? Matthew 23:8-12.

NOTE: “He also reproved the vanity shown in coveting the title of rabbi, or master. Such a title, He declared, belonged not to men, but to Christ. Priests, scribes, and rulers, expounders and administrators of the law, were all brethren, children of one Father. Jesus impressed upon the people that they were to give no man a title of honour indicating his control of their conscience or their faith. If Christ were on earth today, surrounded by those who bear the title of `Reverend’ or `Right Reverend,’ would He not repeat His saying, `Neither be ye called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ’? The Scripture declares of God, `Holy and reverend is His name.’ Psalm 111:9. To what human being is such a title befitting? How little does man reveal of the wisdom and righteousness it indicates! How many of those who assume this title are misrepresenting the name and character of God! Alas, how often have worldly ambition, despotism, and the basest sins been hidden under the broidered garments of a high and holy office! The Savior continued: `But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.’ Again and again Christ had taught that true greatness is measured by moral worth. In the estimation of heaven, greatness of character consists in living for the welfare of our fellow men, in doing works of love and mercy.” The Desire of Ages, 613, 614.

How does Christ condemn those who seek the praise of men? Matthew 23:5-8; Matthew 6:1, 2.

NOTE: “In such plain words the Savior revealed the selfish ambition that was ever reaching for place and power, displaying a mock humility, while the heart was filled with avarice and envy. When persons were invited to a feast, the guests were seated according to their rank, and those who were given the most honorable place received the first attention and special favors. The Pharisees were ever scheming to secure these honors. This practice Jesus rebuked.” The Desire of Ages, 613.

What counsel does Jesus give to His followers? Luke 14:7-10.

NOTE: “In this parable Christ gives a safe precept as to the proper manner of conducting ourselves when so greatly honored as to be invited as a guest to the house of one who is honorable. The word of God not only lays out the great principles that should underlie our actions, but also gives a definite rule with which to regulate our conduct. How perfectly adapted are the lessons of Christ to the regulation of society! The Lord desires that all who claim God as their Father should bring their actions into accordance with heavenly principles. He would have men recognize their obligation to their fellowmen. He would not have His children striving for the highest place. In this parable the Lord shows us that He disapproves of the efforts of men who seek to be thought the greatest. The spirit that urges men to seek the highest place, is accompanied with pride, selfishness, and self-esteem, and the result will be that he who struggles for the highest position will find himself in the lowest. Nothing will make a man really great except to be truly good. But he who is wholly consecrated to God does not have the exaltation of self in view, but the glory of God.” Review and Herald, October 8, 1895.

What spirit must never be found among the followers of Christ? Matthew 20:25-27.

NOTE: There was to be a difference between His kingdom and the kingdoms of the world. `The princes of the Gentiles’ were ambitious, and sought for place and power; but their course in this respect resulted from false ideas of greatness and the pride of the human heart. Among the disciples of Christ an entirely different state of things was to exist. One was not to aspire to dominion over his brethren, and to seek to be lord over God’s heritage.” Signs of the Times, January 15, 1885.

How does God regard those who practice respect of persons? James 2:9.

NOTE: “At the feet of Jesus, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, meet together, with no thought of caste or worldly pre-eminence. All earthly distinctions are forgotten as we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced. The self-denial, the condescension, the infinite compassion of Him who was highly exalted in heaven, puts to shame human pride, self-esteem, and social caste. Pure, undefiled religion manifests its heaven-born principles in bringing into oneness all who are sanctified through the truth. All meet as blood-bought souls, alike dependent upon Him who has redeemed them to God.” Gospel Workers, 330.

What principle of God’s judgement did Jesus reveal? Luke 14:11.

NOTE: “Let us examine ourselves, and see how many vain thoughts dwell within our hearts, how much we love praise, how selfishness is shown in our manners, how often we misjudge the character and motives of others, or feel contempt for them because their appearance is not prepossessing. Let us think how our words sound in the ears of God, how our selfish thoughts look in His sight, when we judge and condemn others, who may be better in heart and purpose than ourselves. . . . The teachings of Christ give no countenance to a spirit of self-righteousness which would exalt self over others. Vanity is never the result of virtue and true piety. `Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'” Signs of the Times, February 19, 1885.

Bible Study Guides – “We Have Sinned and Committed Iniquity”

May 5, 2001 – May 11, 2001


“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” Isaiah 42:6.

STUDY HELP: Prophets and Kings, 367–372.


“They (Israelites) rendered outward service to God as the means of attaining to national greatness. They did not become the light of the world, but shut themselves away from the world in order to escape temptation to idolatry. In the instruction given through Moses, God had placed restrictions upon their association with idolaters; but this teaching had been misinterpreted. It was intended to prevent them from conforming to the practices of the heathen. But it was used to build up a wall of separation between Israel and all other nations. The Jews looked upon Jerusalem as their heaven, and they were actually jealous lest the Lord should show mercy to the Gentiles.” The Desire of Ages, 28, 29.

“A Light to the Gentiles”

  1. What was God’s purpose in selecting Israel as His people? Isaiah 60:1–6; Isaiah 49:6.

NOTE: “It was in order that the Israelites might be a blessing to the nations, and that God’s name might be made known ‘throughout all the earth’ (Exodus 9:16), that they were delivered from Egyptian bondage. If obedient to His requirements, they were to be placed far in advance of other peoples in wisdom and understanding; but this supremacy was to be reached and maintained only in order that through them the purpose of God for ‘all nations of the earth’ might be fulfilled.” Prophets and Kings, 368, 369.

  1. What made it impossible for Israel to fulfill God’s purpose? Jeremiah 3:6–8. Compare Revelation 18:1–4.

NOTE: “When I study the Scriptures, I am alarmed for the Israel of God in these last days. They are exhorted to flee from idolatry. I fear that they are asleep and so conformed to the world that it would be difficult to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. The distance is widening between Christ and His people, and lessening between them and the world. The marks of distinction between Christ’s professed people and the world have almost disappeared. Like ancient Israel, they follow after the abominations of the nations around them.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 277.

“Rising Up Early”

  1. By what means did God seek to bring His people back to Himself? Jeremiah 7:23–26.

NOTE: “Jerusalem had been honored of God above all the earth. The Lord had ‘chosen Zion,’ He had ‘desired it for His habitation.’ Psalm 132:13. There, for ages, holy prophets had uttered their messages of warning. There priests had waved their censers, and the cloud of incense, with the prayers of the worshipers, had ascended before God. There daily the blood of slain lambs had been offered, pointing forward to the Lamb of God. There Jehovah had revealed His presence in the cloud of glory above the mercy seat. There rested the base of that mystic ladder connecting earth with heaven (Genesis 28:12; John 1:51)—that ladder upon which angels of God descended and ascended, and which opened to the world the way into the holiest of all. Had Israel as a nation preserved her allegiance to Heaven, Jerusalem would have stood forever, the elect of God. Jeremiah 17:21–25. But the history of that favored people was a record of backsliding and rebellion. They had resisted Heaven’s grace, abused their privileges, and slighted their opportunities.” The Great Controversy, 19.

  1. What was Israel’s response to the prophets God sent to her? Matthew 21:33–36; Matthew 23:29–35.

NOTE: “Grievously had the children of Israel ‘sinned against the Lord their God, . . . and wrought wicked things.’ ‘They would not hear, but . . . rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them.’ It was because they had ‘left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal,’ and refused steadfastly to repent, that the Lord ‘afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight,’ in harmony with the plain warnings He had sent them ‘by all His servants the prophets.’” Prophets and Kings, 291.

“Because Ye Have Not Heard My words”

  1. Because of their failure to fulfil His purpose, what did God allow to happen to His people? Amos 7:16, 17; Jeremiah 25:8–11.

NOTE: “The Lord graciously revealed Himself. He spread before Israel the things that were for the welfare of the nation. ‘I have written to him the great things of My law,’ He declared through Hosea, ‘but they were counted as a strange thing.’ ‘I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.’ Hosea 8:12; 11:3. Tenderly had the Lord dwelt with them, instructing them by His prophets line upon line, precept upon precept. Had Israel heeded the messages of the prophets, they would have been spared the humiliation that followed. It was because they had persisted in turning aside from His law that God was compelled to let them go into captivity. ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,’ was His message to them through Hosea. ‘Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee: . . . seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God.’ Hosea 4:6.” Prophets and Kings, 296, 297.

  1. How did Daniel acknowledge the reason for the captivity? Daniel 9:5, 6.

NOTE: “The prophet Daniel was an example of true sanctification. His long life was filled up with noble service for his Master. He was a man ‘greatly beloved’ (Daniel 10:11) of Heaven. Yet instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet identified himself with the really sinful of Israel as he pleaded before God in behalf of his people: ‘We do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great mercies.’ ‘We have sinned, we have done wickedly.’ He declares: ‘I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people.’” The Great Controversy, 470.

  1. Whom especially did the Lord hold accountable for His people’s apostasy? Ezekiel 34:7–10.

NOTE: “The shepherds who lead the sheep in false paths will hear the charge made against them, ‘It was you who made light of truth. It was you who told us that God’s law was abrogated, that it was a yoke of bondage. . . . The blood of our souls is upon your priestly garments. . . . Now will you pay the ransom for my soul? . . . What shall we do who listened to your garbling of the Scriptures and your turning into a lie the truth which if obeyed would have saved us?’ When Christ comes to take vengeance on those who have educated and trained the people to trample on God’s Sabbath, to tear down His memorial, and tread down with their feet the feed of His pastures, lamentations will be in vain. Those who trusted in the false shepherds had the word of God to search for themselves, and they find that God will judge every man who has had the truth and turned from the light because it involved self-denial and the cross. Rocks and mountains cannot screen them from the indignation of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.” Maranatha, 290.

“As a Shepherd Seeketh Out His Flock”

  1. What was God’s purpose in permitting the captivity of His people? Jeremiah 24:1–10.

NOTE: “Among the children of Israel who were carried captive to Babylon at the beginning of the seventy years’ captivity were Christian patriots, men who were as true as steel to principle, who would not be corrupted by selfishness, but who would honor God at the loss of all things. In the land of their captivity these men were to carry out God’s purpose by giving to heathen nations the blessings that come through a knowledge of Jehovah. They were to be His representatives. Never were they to compromise with idolaters; their faith and their name as worshipers of the living God they were to bear as a high honor. And this they did. In prosperity and adversity they honored God, and God honored them.” Prophets and Kings, 479.

  1. What promise did the Lord make concerning those who would return from the captivity? Jeremiah 31:10, 31–33.

NOTE: “Humbled in the sight of the nations, those who once had been recognized as favored of Heaven above all other peoples of the earth were to learn in exile the lesson of obedience so necessary for their future happiness. Until they had learned this lesson, God could not do for them all that He desired to do. ‘I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished,’ He declared in explanation of His purpose to chastise them for their spiritual good. Jeremiah 30:11. Yet those who had been the object of His tender love were not forever set aside; before all the nations of earth He would demonstrate His plan to bring victory out of apparent defeat, to save rather than to destroy. To the prophet was given the message: [Jeremiah 31:10–14, 23–25, 31–34 quoted].” Prophets and Kings, 475.

“Seventy Weeks are Determined upon Thy People”

  1. What period of probationary time did the Lord allocate to Israel? Daniel 9:24.

NOTE: “God gives nations a certain time of probation. He sends light and evidence, that, if received, will save them, but if refused as the Jews refused light, indignation and punishment will fall upon them. If men refuse to be benefited, and choose darkness rather than light, they will reap the results of their choice. ‘Behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.’ The professed Christian world is advancing, as did the Jewish nation, from one degree of sinfulness to a greater degree, refusing warning after warning, and rejecting a Thus saith the Lord, while crediting the fables of men. The Lord God will soon arise in His wrath, and pour out His judgments upon those who are repeating the sins of the inhabitants of the Noachic world. Those whose hearts are fully set in them to do evil, as were the hearts of the inhabitants of Sodom, will like them be destroyed. The fact that God had long forbearance, patience and mercy, the fact that His judgments have been long delayed, will not make the punishment any less severe when it does come.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1143, 1144.

  1. How did Jesus prophesy the end of Israel’s probation? Matthew 21:43. Compare Matthew 23:37, 38.

NOTE: “Christ came to save Jerusalem with her children; but Pharisaical pride, hypocrisy, jealousy, and malice had prevented Him from accomplishing His purpose. Jesus knew the terrible retribution which would be visited upon the doomed city. He saw Jerusalem encompassed with armies, the besieged inhabitants driven to starvation and death, mothers feeding upon the dead bodies of their own children, and both parents and children snatching the last morsel of food from one another, natural affection being destroyed by the gnawing pangs of hunger. He saw that the stubbornness of the Jews, as evinced in their rejection of His salvation, would also lead them to refuse submission to the invading armies. He beheld Calvary, on which He was to be lifted up, set with crosses as thickly as forest trees. He saw the wretched inhabitants suffering torture on the rack and by crucifixion, the beautiful palaces destroyed, the temple in ruins, and of its massive walls not one stone left upon another, while the city was ploughed like a field. Well might the Saviour weep in agony in view of that fearful scene.” The Desire of Ages, 577.

“Lo, We Turn unto the Gentiles”

  1. What events signalled the end of the probation of the Jewish people? Acts 7:57–59; Acts 9:1–6, 15; Acts 11:5–9, 15–17.

NOTE: “Then, said the angel, ‘He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years].’ For seven years after the Saviour entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself; and afterward by the apostles. ‘In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.’ Daniel 9:27. In the spring of A.D. 31, Christ the true sacrifice was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease. The one week—seven years—ended in A. D. 34. Then by the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the gospel; the disciples who were scattered abroad by persecution ‘went everywhere preaching the word’ (Acts 8:4); and shortly after, Saul the persecutor was converted, and became Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.” The Desire of Ages, 233.

  1. What lesson may we learn from God’s rejection of the Jews as His chosen people? Romans 11:18–22.

NOTE: “The branches represent the believers in Jesus Christ. Those who truly believe, will do the same works that He did. They are united to Christ by the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. As the branch is nourished by the sap which flows from the parent stock, so the believer in Christ is sustained by the life of Christ. The branches represent the very youngest of the followers of Christ, as the branch includes all the tiny tendrils that belong to it. Jesus is our center. He is the parent stock that bears the branches. In Him our eternal life is centered. The words that He has spoken unto us are spirit and life, and those who feed upon His word, and are doers of His word, represent Him in character. His patience, meekness, humility, and love pervade their hearts.” Review and Herald, January 14, 1896.

From the Pen of Inspiration – The First Advent of Christ

The Jews had separated themselves so far from God by their wicked works, that angels could not communicate to them the tidings of the advent of the infant Redeemer. God chooses the wise men of the East to do his will.

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” [Matthew 2:1, 2.] These men were not Jews; but they had been waiting for the predicted Messiah. They had studied prophecy, and knew the time was at hand when Christ would come; and they were anxiously watching for some sign of this great event, that they might be among the first to welcome the infant heavenly King, and worship him. These wise men were philosophers, and had studied the works of God in nature. In the wonders of the heavens, in the glories of the sun, moon, and stars, they traced the finger of God. They were not idolaters. They lived up to the dim light which shone upon them. These men were regarded by the Jews as heathen; but they were more pure in the sight of God than the Jews who had been privileged with great light, and who made exalted professions, yet did not live up to the light God had given them. These wise men had seen the heavens illuminated with light, which enshrouded the heavenly host who heralded the advent of Christ to the humble shepherds. And after the angels returned to Heaven, a luminous star appeared, and lingered in the heavens.

This light was a distant cluster of flaming angels, which appeared like a luminous star. The unusual appearance of the large, bright star which they had never seen before, hanging as a sign in the heavens, attracted their attention. They were not privileged to hear the proclamation of the angels to the shepherds. But the Spirit of God moved them out to seek this heavenly Visitor to a fallen world. The wise men directed their course where the star seemed to lead them. And as they drew nigh to the city of Jerusalem, the star was enshrouded in darkness, and no longer guided them. They reasoned that the Jews could not be ignorant of the great event of the advent of the Messiah, and they made inquiries in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

The wise men are surprised to see no unusual interest upon the subject of the coming of the Messiah. They fear that after all they may not have read the prophecies correctly. Uncertainty beclouds their minds, and they become anxious. They hear the priests repeating and enforcing their traditions, and expounding the law, and exalting their religion, and their own piety. They point to their phylacteries, and the borders of their garments, upon which the precepts of the law and their traditions are inscribed, as evidences of their devotion, while they denounce the Romans and the Greeks as heathen and sinners above all men. The wise men leave Jerusalem not as confident and hopeful as when they entered it. They marvel that the Jews are not interested and joyful in prospect of this great event of the advent of Christ.

The churches of our time are seeking worldly aggrandizement, and are as unwilling to see the light of the prophecies, and receive the evidences of their fulfillment which show that Christ is soon to come, as were the Jews in reference to his first appearing. They were looking for the temporal and triumphant reign of Messiah in Jerusalem. Professed Christians of our time are expecting the temporal prosperity of the church, in the conversion of the world, and the enjoyment of the temporal millennium. . . .

The city of Jerusalem was thrown into great excitement by the sayings of the wise men. The news was immediately carried to Herod. He was exceedingly troubled, yet disguised the discomfiture, and received the men with apparent courtesy.

The advent of Christ was the greatest event which had taken place since the creation of the world. The birth of Christ, which gave joy to the angels of Heaven, was not welcome to the kingly powers of the world. Suspicion and envy were aroused in king Herod, and his wicked heart was planning his dark purposes for the future. The Jews manifested a stupid indifference to the story of the wise men. But Herod is intensely interested and excited. He summons the scribes, and the chief priests, and urges upon them to search carefully prophetic history, and tell him where the infant king was to be born. The careless indifference and apparent ignorance of the scribes and chief priests, as they turn to their books for the words of prophecy, irritate the fully aroused king. He thinks they are trying to conceal from him the real facts in regard to the birth of the Messiah. He authoritatively commands them to make close search in relation to their expected king. [Matthew 2:4–8 quoted.]

Although Herod received the wise men with apparent respect, yet the intimation by them of the birth of a King to reign in Jerusalem, excited his envy and hatred against the infant whom he thought might prove his rival, and drive him, or his descendants, from the throne. A storm of opposition and satanic fury took possession of Herod, and he determined to destroy this infant king. Yet he put on a calm exterior, and requested a private interview with the wise men. . . . The wise men were not able to read the heart of the tyrant Herod; but God, who is acquainted with every emotion of the soul, with the intents and purposes of the heart, was not deceived by his hypocritical pretenses. . . .

After the wise men had left Jerusalem, they again saw, to their great joy, the guiding star in the heavens, which directed them to the birthplace of our Saviour. [Matthew 2:11 quoted.] The wise men found no loyal guard to debar their entrance to the presence of Christ. The honorable of the world are not in attendance. In place of the people who should have welcomed with grateful homage the Prince of life, he is surrounded with dumb, beasts. . . .

The Lord moved upon the wise men to go in search of Jesus, and he directed their course by a star. This star, leaving them when near Jerusalem, led them to make inquiries in Judah; for they thought it was not possible for the chief priests and scribes to be ignorant of this great event. The coming of the wise men made the whole nation acquainted with the object of their journey, and directed their attention to the important events which were transpiring. God well knew that the advent of his Son to earth would stir the powers of darkness. Satan did not want that light should come into the world. The eye of God was upon his Son every moment. . . . The Lord provided a way for Joseph to preserve his own life, and the life of Jesus, and that of the mother, by their fleeing into Egypt. He provided for the necessities of their journey, and for their sojourn in Egypt, by moving upon the wise men of the East to go in search of the infant Saviour, and to bear him valuable offerings as a token of honor. The Lord is acquainted with the hearts of all men. He directed the course of Joseph into Egypt, that he might there find an asylum from the wrath of a tyrannical king, and the life of the infant Saviour be preserved. The earthly parents of Jesus were poor. The gifts brought to them by the wise men sustained them while in the land of strangers.

Herod waited anxiously for the return of the wise men; for he was impatient to carry out his determined purpose to destroy the infant King of Israel. After he had waited long for the knowledge he desired, he feared his purpose might be thwarted. . . .

Herod issued a proclamation to a large body of soldiers, whose hearts were hardened by crime, war, and bloodshed, to go throughout Bethlehem and all the coasts thereof and massacre all the children from two years old and under. . . .

This was the reception the Saviour met as he came to a fallen world. . . . He who came to bring life to man, met, from the very ones he came to benefit, insult, hatred, and abuse. God could not trust his beloved Son with men while carrying on his benevolent work for their salvation, and final exaltation to his own throne. He sent angels to attend his Son and preserve his life, till his mission on earth should be accomplished, and he should die by the hands of the very men he came to save. Review and Herald, December 24, 1872.

[All Emphasis Supplied.]

Editorial – Preconceived Opinions

In Jesus’ day, the Jews had many preconceived opinions about how prophecy was going to be fulfilled. They clung so tenaciously to these preconceived opinions (many of which were hundreds of years old—venerable with age) that, when prophecy was fulfilled in a different way than their pre-conceived opinions, they rejected the evidence of fulfilled prophecy. This was one of the reasons for the rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. One of the Jews’ preconceived opinions was that nobody would be able to tell where the Messiah was from, another was that the Messiah would appear at the head of armies for their deliverance from the Romans. The irony of all this is that nobody really could explain where Jesus was from, because the virgin birth could not be explained then or now. They rejected it, and accused Jesus of being born of fornication; they were sure that they were right because Joseph had been engaged to Mary at the time that she became pregnant. The Messiah would have delivered them from the tyranny of the Romans if they had accepted Him, but not in the way that they pre-conceived this to happen. Notice how clearly this is stated in The Desire of Ages, 576: “If Jerusalem had known what it was her privilege to know, and had heeded the light which Heaven had sent her, she might have stood forth in the pride of prosperity, the queen of kingdoms, free in the strength of her God-given power. There would have been no armed soldiers standing at her gates, no Roman banners waving from her walls. The glorious destiny that might have blessed Jerusalem had she accepted her Redeemer rose before the Son of God. He saw that she might through Him have been healed of her grievous malady, liberated from bondage, and established as the mighty metropolis of the earth. From her walls the dove of peace would have gone forth to all nations. She would have been the world’s diadem of glory.” [Emphasis supplied.]

How much they missed because they clung tenaciously to their preconceived opinions! Is there any danger of that today? Do we have preconceived opinions about how prophecy is to be fulfilled? If prophecy is fulfilled in a completely different way, will we recognize it, or will we reject the light and go into darkness? It has been my observation for many years that misinterpretation of prophecy is usually based on reading something into the prophecy that it does not exactly say, based on preconceived opinions that are widely held. This has been a reason for the controversy over who and what the church is—is it exactly what the Bible says, no more and no less, or not? (The book of Ephesians tells us exactly who and what it is.) The same is true in regard to statements in the Spirit of Prophecy—many of these statements were given in a specific context and cannot be given a universal or restricted technical application. (See Ellen G. White Volume 6 The Later Elmshaven Years 1905–1915, by Arthur L. White, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., 1982, 384, 385.)

In future editorials we will look at some of these preconceived opinions by which we read things into inspired writings. We all need to ask ourselves the question, “Do I believe what the prophet actually wrote and no more, or do I believe what I think it means?”

Keeping Up with the Light

The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. Notice, this verse does not say the room of the just, but the path of the just. As you walk that path, if you stay on it, the light is going to become brighter and brighter. But it is also true, friend, that if you do not keep walking on the path, the light is going to become darkness, because the light is moving.

The Bible talks about present truth. (See II Peter 1:12.) There are certain things that can be preached at one time that cannot be preached at another time. There are some truths that are timeless, but there is some truth that is present truth. What is present truth today is not exactly the same as it was 100 years ago.

I believe that very soon God’s servants are going to have to preach things that we have never thought we were going to preach. We are in a situation very similar to the Jews in the time of Christ. The devil had manipulated them into a situation, through what they had been taught, so that they were ready to reject the truth. They had developed a series of criteria which, if Jesus was the Messiah, they believed He would meet. Interestingly enough, they based these expectations on the Old Testament. Jesus did not, however, meet their criteria. It is interesting to note, in the study of history, that almost every time prophecy which is fulfilled is not fulfilled in the way expected.

Seventh-day Adventists used to wonder what Ellen White meant when she said, “I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 608. Very soon we are going to find out.

This concept that spiritual light is moving and the person who does not keep walking in the light finds himself in the dark explains many spiritual phenomena that are happening all around us that otherwise would be very confusing. A few years ago, two Seventh-day Adventist ministers came to question me. One of them asked something like this: “Do you believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization was ordained by God? Well, do you or don’t you?” Well, let me ask you some questions? Do you believe that the Jewish church organization was ordained by God, or that He had a hand in setting it up? Was there a time when the Jews were in the light? Yes, there was. The Jews had been called by God and chosen as His special people. They had been in the light. They had, friends, the spirit of prophecy. They had all of the Old Testament; that is the spirit of prophecy. But when the light moved, they did not move with it. God had more light for them, but they would not accept it. They stayed put and, as a result, they were left in the dark.

Jesus is the light of the world. I want you to notice Revelation 14:4 and what it says about the 144,000. “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” When the light (Jesus) moves, the 144,000 follow. The problem today is that when the light moves, there are so many people who do not follow it; they stay put. They are left in the dark and are then spiritually blind. There was a time when they were in the light; but the light moved, and they did not move with it. “As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation.” The Desire of Ages, 232. Did you notice that she said that this has taken place in every succeeding generation? “Again and again the history of Christ’s withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the Word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light.” Ibid. What happened? The religious leaders refused to walk in the light. “And those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth.” Ibid. Everyone who does not love the truth is going to be deceived and be lost.

“Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the Word of God.” Ibid. Did you know that there are many people who no longer believe that this statement can apply today? Have you ever heard people say, “Well, the cycles have to stop somewhere, and they stopped in 1863 because that is when we incorporated”? The trouble is, friends, The Desire of Ages was not even written until 1898.

We are living in a time that a few years ago no one expected to see. We believed that when persecution came, it would come from outside of the church. We failed to understand what Ellen White meant when she said that we have far more to fear from within than from without. (See Selected Messages, Book 1, 122.) Who would have thought that in Adventism the apostasy would become so great that in many places it would become spiritually dangerous to even attend the local Seventh-day Adventist Church because error was being “forced home to the people”? (See Early Writings, 125.) We were not expecting the true and faithful Seventh-day Adventists to be disfellowshipped and persecuted by their former brethren all over the world, as is taking place today. But when we go to the inspired writings, we see all of this prophesied—we just did not understand it. People have come to believe that these things would not happen until after the National Sunday Law. Friend, that theory is a dangerous deception. The National Sunday Law does not initiate the shaking; it brings the shaking to a climax! Those who are waiting to take a bold, unyielding stand for the truth until the Sunday law test comes are simply preparing to receive the mark of the beast.

You see, when anyone rejects the light of truth that God has given to this people, he has turned his back on the light and goes out in darkness. He may still call himself a Seventh-day Adventist, but if he does not believe the First Angel’s Message and the truth of the Investigative Judgment beginning in 1844, he has gone into darkness. You cannot, with safety, go to his church and listen to him preach. When a person rejects the truth of the great Day of Atonement that began in 1844 and says that instead of afflicting the soul (Leviticus 16:29, 30) it is time to celebrate, they have gone out into darkness. If a preacher says that you will sin until Jesus comes, he has accepted Satan’s fatal sophistry (See The Great Controversy, 489.), and you dare not go and listen to him preach lest you be deceived and lose your own soul. Finally, if you are not hearing the historic doctrines of Adventism preached in your church, if you are hearing the same kinds of sermons that you could hear in any other church, then you are endangering your soul if you do not either find a Historic Seventh-day Adventist congregation, or start a home church where you can teach the truth, at least to your own family.

Our opportunities for learning and knowing God’s last message to a perishing world and being prepared for what is coming on the world are very limited at best, and we dare not allow ourselves and our families to be exposed to either heretical preaching or “peace and safety” messages that come just before destruction. “I saw that we have no time to throw away in listening to fables. Our minds should not be thus diverted, but should be occupied with the present truth, and seeking wisdom that we may obtain a more thorough knowledge of our position, that with meekness we may be able to give a reason of our hope from the Scriptures. While false doctrines and dangerous errors are pressed upon the mind, it cannot be dwelling upon the truth which is to fit and prepare the house of Israel to stand in the day of the Lord.” Early Writings, 125.

Every Sabbath after church, you should be more fitted to stand in the day of the Lord than before. But the prophet wrote sadly, “Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ring-leaders in apostasy and examples in indifference and in the abuse of God’s mercies. Their wicked course He will tolerate no longer, and in His wrath He deals with them without mercy.

“It is with reluctance that the Lord withdraws His presence from those who have been blessed with great light and who have felt the power of the word in ministering to others. They were once His faithful servants, favored with His presence and guidance; but they departed from Him and led others into error, and therefore are brought under the divine displeasure. …

“Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart.

“By their lack of devotion and piety, and their failure to reach a high religious standard, they make other souls contented with their position. Men of finite judgment cannot see that in patterning after these men who have so often opened to them the treasures of God’s Word, they will surely endanger their souls. Jesus is the only true pattern. Everyone must now search the Bible for himself upon his knees before God, with the humble, teachable heart of a child, if he would know what the Lord requires of him. However high any minister may have stood in the favor of God, if he neglects to follow out the light given him of God, if he refuses to be taught as a little child, he will go into darkness and satanic delusions and will lead others in the same path. …

“What are you doing, brethren, in the great work of preparation? Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212–216.

Friends, it is a dangerous thing to fail to advance in the opening providence of God. The light is moving. Are you moving with it or are you in the dark? Early in her experience, Ellen White saw a vision about this light. You can read this vision in Early Writings, 15–20. In other places in her writings, she speaks about the light that was set up at the beginning of the path that the Advent company was traveling that shone all of the way up to the Holy City. This path, friends, is narrow, and if you do not have light on the path, you are going to stumble and fall off.

What was that light that was set up at the beginning? Sister White says that it was the Midnight Cry. The Midnight Cry was based on the Bible prophecies of Daniel 8 and 9, and Revelation 14:6, 7—the message of the 2300 days and the sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment. The devil knows that if we reject these truths, we will stumble and fall off the path. It is amazing how successful the devil has been in leading people to reject them.

We have been told that, “When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No after suppositions contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 161. Yet there are Adventist teachers and ministers today who no longer believe these truths. Friend, if you are in the situation where you listen to this error, you are in the dark; you are going to lose your way. The Lord is not going to work a miracle to save you; you have turned your back on the light. This idea that you can have a spirit of free inquiry and ask any question you want to is not according to the Scriptures. Jesus rebuked people for their doubt. Friend, if these truths are not being upheld in your church, your church is in the dark.

In Testimonies, vol. 2, 594–597, Ellen White describes a very impressive dream. “I dreamed of being with a large body of people. A portion of this assembly started out prepared to journey. We had heavily loaded wagons. As we journeyed, the road seemed to ascend. On one side of this road was a deep precipice; on the other was a high, smooth, white wall. … As we journeyed on, the road grew narrower and steeper. … We concluded that we could no longer travel with the loaded wagons. We … took a portion of the luggage from the wagons and placed it upon the horses, and journeyed on horseback. As we progressed, the path still continued to grow narrow. … We then cut the luggage from the horses, and it fell over the precipice. We continued on horseback. … A hand seemed to take the bridle and guide us over the perilous way. As the path grew more narrow, we … left the horses and went on foot, in single file. … At this point small cords were let down from the top of the pure white wall; these we eagerly grasped. … The path finally became so narrow that we concluded that we could travel more safely without our shoes, so we slipped them from our feet. … Soon it was decided that we could travel more safely without our stockings; these were removed, and we journeyed on with bare feet.”

One of the most interesting points of this dream is that several changes were made. They began with heavily loaded wagons, then changed to horses with a portion of the luggage, to horses with no luggage, to single file on foot, to removing their shoes, and finally to removing their stockings. Notice that “at every change some were left behind, and those only remained who had accustomed themselves to endure hardships. The privations of the way only made these more eager to press on to the end. … We pressed close to the white wall, yet could not place our feet fully upon the path, for it was too narrow. We then suspended nearly our whole weight upon the cords, exclaiming: ‘We have hold from above!’ ” Ibid.

The light, friends, is moving. Are you keeping up with the providence of God? Are you aware that the road we are traveling is getting narrower? Have you noticed it? How are you going to stay on the path and keep up with the providence of God? The only way is to have faith. These cords represent faith. A few years ago a good friend of mine told me that he was sorry that I had worked so many years for the Adventist denomination and now had to give up all of my retirement benefits. If you stay on the road all the way to the end, you are going to give up much more than retirement benefits.

Oh friend, how much time are you spending in prayer? If you are energetic enough to get up and to pray, God will hear and answer.

“Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim.” The Desire of Ages, 825. You must not only study your Bible and pray, you must be actively involved in missionary work. If you are not, ask the Lord to show you what to do to become involved in some type of outreach program spreading the Third Angel’s Message.

We did not follow the path to the end of the vision. The time came, however, when the path disappeared and all that was left were the cords that had been let down from above. When you come to this place in your experience, will you have a faith that will hold you? Do you want the Lord to let down a cord of faith today so that you can get a hold from above? If so, determine that from this day forward you will faithfully walk in the light as God sheds it upon your pathway.

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

Bible Study Guides – God’s Claims Forgotten—A Call to Repentance and Reformation

January 15, 2006 – January 21, 2006

Key Text

“For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:10.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 367–378; 618–627; 661–668.


“In his study of the causes leading to the Babylonish captivity, Ezra had learned that Israel’s apostasy was largely traceable to their mingling with heathen nations. He had seen that if they had obeyed God’s command to keep separate from the nations surrounding them, they would have been spared many sad and humiliating experiences. Now when he learned that notwithstanding the lessons of the past, men of prominence had dared transgress the laws given as a safeguard against apostasy, his heart was stirred within him. He thought of God’s goodness in again giving His people a foothold in their native land, and he was overwhelmed with righteous indignation and with grief at their ingratitude. . . .

“The sorrow of Ezra and his associates over the evils that had insidiously crept into the very heart of the Lord’s work, wrought repentance. Many of those who had sinned were deeply affected. ‘The people wept very sore.’ Ezra 10:1. In a limited degree they began to realize the heinousness of sin and the horror with which God regards it. They saw the sacredness of the law spoken at Sinai, and many trembled at the thought of their transgressions.” Prophets and Kings, 620, 622.

1 What did God say would result from His blessings upon ancient Israel if they would carry out His will? Deuteronomy 28:10–13.

note: “God surrounded Israel with every facility, gave them every privilege, that would make them an honor to His name and a blessing to surrounding nations. If they would walk in the ways of obedience, He promised to make them ‘high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor.’ [Deuteronomy 26:19.]” Education, 40.

2 What illustration of the ingathering of the strangers came to Israel early in their conquest of Canaan? Joshua 2:3, 8–14; 6:25.

note: “The children of Israel were to occupy all the territory which God appointed them. Those nations that rejected the worship and service of the true God were to be dispossessed. But it was God’s purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel men should be drawn unto Him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live. All who, like Rahab the Canaanite, and Ruth the Moabitess, turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God, were to unite themselves with His chosen people. As the numbers of Israel increased they were to enlarge their borders, until their kingdom should embrace the world.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 290.

3 Because of their failure to be loyal, whom did God leave in the land to prove Israel? Judges 2:20–23.

note: “God had placed His people in Canaan as a mighty breastwork to stay the tide of moral evil, that it might not flood the world. If faithful to Him, God intended that Israel should go on conquering and to conquer. He would give into their hands nations greater and more powerful than the Canaanites. . . .

“But regardless of their high destiny, they chose the course of ease and self-indulgence; they let slip their opportunities for completing the conquest of the land; and for many generations they were afflicted by the remnant of these idolatrous peoples . . . .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 544.

4 When the service of God was established in the temple of Jerusalem, how did God signalize His acceptance of His sanctuary in Israel? 11 Chronicles 5:14; 7:1–3. In his prayer at the dedication of the temple, what petition did Solomon offer for the stranger? 1 Kings 8:41–43.

note: “In the prophetic prayer offered at the dedication of the temple whose services Hezekiah and his associates were now restoring, Solomon had prayed, [1 Kings 8:33, 34 quoted]. The seal of divine approval had been placed upon this prayer; for at its close fire had come down from heaven to consume the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord had filled the temple.” Prophets and Kings, 335.

“One of the most touching portions of Solomon’s dedicatory prayer was his plea to God for the strangers that should come from countries afar to learn more of Him whose fame had been spread abroad among the nations.” Ibid., 66.

5 What experiences show that rulers and people forgot the evidences of divine leadership? 1 Kings 11:1–8. As a result of their departure from God, what conditions eventually prevailed in Israel and Judah? 1 Kings 14:21–24; 12:26–31.

note: “So gradual was Solomon’s apostasy that before he was aware of it, he had wandered far from God. Almost imperceptibly he began to trust less and less in divine guidance and blessing, and to put confidence in his own strength. Little by little he withheld from God that unswerving obedience which was to make Israel a peculiar people, and he conformed more and more closely to the customs of the surrounding nations. Yielding to the temptations incident to his success and his honored position, he forgot the Source of his prosperity. An ambition to excel all other nations in power and grandeur led him to pervert for selfish purposes the heavenly gifts hitherto employed for the glory of God. The money which should have been held in sacred trust for the benefit of the worthy poor and for the extension of principles of holy living throughout the world, was selfishly absorbed in ambitious projects.” Prophets and Kings, 55.

6 When God could no longer bear with Israel’s rebellions and apostasy, what came upon them? 11 Kings 17:5; Hosea 4:17; Amos 7:11.

note: The Lord permitted Samaria to be invaded “by the hosts of Assyria under Shalmaneser; and in the siege that followed, multitudes perished miserably of hunger and disease as well as by the sword. The city and nation fell, and the broken remnant of the ten tribes were carried away captive and scattered in the provinces of the Assyrian realm. . . .

“The Assyrians were merely the instruments that God used to carry out His purpose. . . .

“Not all who were carried captive were impenitent. Among them were some who had remained true to God, and others who had humbled themselves before Him. Through these, ‘the sons of the living God’ (Hosea 1:10), He would bring multitudes in the Assyrian realm to a knowledge of the attributes of His character and the beneficence of His law.” Prophets and Kings, 291, 292.

7 As Judah failed to learn from the experience of Israel, what fate eventually overtook them and the holy city? 11 Kings 24:10, 14; 25:8–11.

note: “The king was even too weak to be willing that his courtiers and people should know that he had held a conference with Jeremiah, so fully had the fear of man taken possession of his soul. If Zedekiah had stood up bravely and declared that he believed the words of the prophet, already half fulfilled, what desolation might have been averted! . . .

“The enemy swept down like a resistless avalanche and devastated the city. The Hebrew armies were beaten back in confusion. The nation was conquered. . . . The beautiful temple that for more than four centuries had crowned the summit of Mount Zion was not spared by the Chaldeans. . . .

“Zion was utterly destroyed; the people of God were in their captivity.” Prophets and Kings, 458, 459, 461.

8 What promise had been made concerning the duration of the captivity? Jeremiah 29:10; 11 Chronicles 36:21. In order that the prophecy might be fulfilled, whom did God influence in behalf of Israel? Ezra 1:1–4. Under what Persian King was the promise to Jeremiah definitely and finally fulfilled? Ezra 7:11, 21–26.

note: “Jeremiah declared that they were to wear the yoke of servitude for seventy years; and the captives that were already in the hands of the king of Babylon, and the vessels of the Lord’s house which had been taken, were also to remain in Babylon till that time had elapsed. But at the end of the seventy years God would deliver them from their captivity and would punish their oppressors and bring into subjection the proud king of Babylon.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 169.

“Just as long as we are in this world, and the Spirit of God is striving with the world, we are to receive as well as to impart favors. We are to give to the world the light of truth as presented in the Sacred Scriptures, and we are to receive from the world that which God moves upon them to do in behalf of His cause. The Lord still moves upon the hearts of kings and rulers in behalf of His people, and it becomes those who are so deeply interested in the religious liberty question not to cut off any favors, or withdraw themselves from the help that God has moved men to give, for the advancement of His cause.

“We find examples in the word of God concerning this very matter. Cyrus, king of Persia, made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it into writing, saying: [Ezra 1:2, 3 quoted]. A second commandment was issued by Darius for the building of the house of the Lord, and is recorded in the sixth chapter of Ezra.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 202, 203.

“The decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus for the restoring and building of Jerusalem, the third issued since the close of the seventy years’ captivity, is remarkable for its expressions regarding the God of heaven, for its recognition of the attainments of Ezra, and for the liberality of the grants made to the remnant people of God.” Prophets and Kings, 610.

9 Because of their past sins and their punishments, what did the people seek to learn when they were restored to their own land? Nehemiah 8:1–3, 8.

note: “Wherever Ezra labored, there sprang up a revival in the study of the Holy Scriptures. Teachers were appointed to instruct the people; the law of the Lord was exalted and made honorable. The books of the prophets were searched, and the passages foretelling the coming of the Messiah brought hope and comfort to many a sad and weary heart.” Prophets and Kings, 623.

10 What followed the people’s study of the Law of God? What was to be their attitude toward the Sabbath? What pledge of support did they make for the house and worship of God? Nehemiah 10:28–33.

note: “The people took a solemn oath ‘to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His judgments and His statutes.’ [Nehemiah 10:29.] The oath taken at this time included a promise not to intermarry with the people of the land. . . .

“The people still further manifested their determination to return to the Lord, by pledging themselves to cease from desecrating the Sabbath. . . .

“Provision was also made to support the public worship of God. In addition to the tithe the congregation pledged themselves to contribute yearly a stated sum for the service of the sanctuary.” Prophets and Kings, 667.

11 While binding themselves thus carefully by vows to prevent apostasy, what weighty obligations were eventually forgotten? Matthew 23:23, 25–28.

note: “The Pharisees were very exact in tithing garden herbs, such as mint, anise, and rue; this cost them little, and it gave them a reputation for exactness and sanctity. At the same time their useless restrictions oppressed the people and destroyed respect for the sacred system of God’s own appointing. They occupied men’s minds with trifling distinctions, and turned their attention from essential truths. The weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and truth, were neglected.” The Desire of Ages, 617.

12 What was the attitude of the later Jews toward the stranger in their midst? John 4:9; Acts 10:28.

note: “The Jews and the Samaritans were bitter enemies, and as far as possible avoided all dealing with each other. To trade with the Samaritans in case of necessity was indeed counted lawful by the rabbis; but all social intercourse with them was condemned. A Jew would not borrow from a Samaritan, nor receive a kindness, not even a morsel of bread or a cup of water. The disciples, in buying food, were acting in harmony with the custom of their nation. But beyond this they did not go. To ask a favor of the Samaritans, or in any way seek to benefit them, did not enter into the thought of even Christ’s disciples.” The Desire of Ages, 183.

“The people who had been given every opportunity to understand the truth were without a knowledge of the needs of those around them. No effort was made to help souls in darkness. The partition wall which Jewish pride had erected, shut even the disciples from sympathy with the heathen world. But these barriers were to be broken down.” Ibid., 400.

Editorial — This Man has a Devil, part 2

In our first look at this subject we saw how Jesus was considered to be possessed of a demon by earthly relatives. The Apostle Paul was considered insane and thought to be serving the devil. (See Sketches from the Life of Paul 59, 259.) Paul said that he and Apollos were the refuse of the world and the offscouring of all things. He was not just talking about the heathen—at that very time he was being judged by the church in Corinth and they said his speech was contemptible. (See 1 Corinthians 4; 2 Corinthians 10.) The spirit in that church resulted in their losing one of the greatest Christian teachers—Apollos hastily left Corinth because of the strife in the church.

To God’s professed people (the professed church) the Master of the House said, “Behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and of them you shall kill and crucify; and of them you shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth.” Matthew 23:34, 35.

Will the history of the Jews be repeated by modern Israel? “Modern Israel are in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than were His ancient people.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 609.

“Those who believe and teach the truths of God’s word in these last days, meet with similar opposition [as Paul in Lystra from the professed people of God] from unprincipled persons who will not accept the truth, and who do not hesitate to prevaricate, and even to circulate the most glaring falsehoods in order to destroy the influence and hedge up the way of those whom God has sent with a message of warning to the world. While one class make the falsehoods and circulate them, another class are so blinded by the delusions of Satan as to receive them as the words of truth. They are in the toils of the arch-enemy, while they flatter themselves that they are the children of God.Sketches from the Life of Paul, 60. [All emphasis supplied.]

We must face the reality that, in practice, Ellen White has been rejected as a prophet for a long time. While we have professed to believe in her as a prophet, many Adventists not only reject some of the plainest things that she wrote but oppose anybody who is conscientiously trying to live according to these testimonies of God’s Spirit.

In 1888 the Adventist people rejected what could have been the beginning of the latter rain and the loud cry and the final finishing of God’s work on the earth.

Following 1888 the brethren sent Ellen White to Australia, which she said was not God’s will. (See 1888 Materials, 1622.) After thirteen crisis years, there was an attempt to correct the problems at the 1901 General Conference. This 1901 General Conference was in essence reversed at the 1903 General Conference. During this time, the devil was trying to destroy the second Advent movement completely, by attacking it from multiple directions at once with the pantheism crisis, then the Ballenger crisis, which eventually took root in the Adventist church in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

When the Lord sent messengers to Adventism, they were rejected by the majority and all manner of false charges were used to destroy their influence. This has happened many times but just a few cases will suffice to prove the case. In 1904, when the Lord directed through the Spirit of Prophecy in the development of Madison Sanitarium and College, by Sutherland and Magan, the message on educational reform was not accepted. Rather, it was largely rejected by leaders in the General Conference and, consequently most leaders never accepted this institution. (One of the highest officials in this school when it was finally closed by church leaders, told me that its closure was entirely unnecessary.) The Lord sent reformer after reformer to bring Adventism back into harmony with Divine Counsel. Julius Gilbert White was not accepted. B.G. Wilkinson was not accepted. W.D. Frazee was not accepted. Strong opposition and charges were leveled against these reformers. Where did these charges come from—not from Babylon generally, but from the professed remnant of God. Elder Frazee’s father told me privately that the brethren “scorched him.” I heard charges against him at Loma Linda in the late 1970’s and both earlier and later in the south. With such a history—a history of almost constant rejection of every reformer that has appeared in Adventism for over 100 years, what should we expect as we approach the last great crisis? “If they have called the Master of the House Beelzebub how much more those of His household.” Matthew 10:25. This has special meaning in the very last days as we shall see.


Editorial — This Man has a Devil, part 1

The disciples (and all the followers of Jesus when He dwelt among men) would never have come to Jesus had they listened to the leaders of the professed people of God. They would have stayed away and denounced Him as an imposter. (See The Desire of Ages, 213.) “He who had come to break the power of Satan would be denounced as Beelzebub.” The Desire of Ages, 111. The leaders of God’s chosen professed people became the instruments of Satan. (See The Desire of Ages, 36, 206.) They tried, by every means in their power, to keep God’s professed people from the only means of salvation. But to hate Christ was to love death. (Proverbs 8:36.)

When this One was denounced by the leaders as an imposter or as one possessed of the devil, (John 7:19, 20, 25; 8:48, 52; 10:20) He sent out His disciples to speak in His name. He also pronounced a future judgement on those who would reject the message of truth. To reject the truth, or the messenger of truth, is to reject the author of truth, by whom both the message and the messenger are sent. Jesus said, “Whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Truly I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.” Matthew 10:14, 15. And again, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” Matthew 10:40, 41. This has universal application: “Most assuredly I say to you, He who receives whomever I send, receives Me; and he that receives Me receives Him that sent Me.” John 13:20.

When the Father sent His Son into the world, His professed people hated and despised the divine revelation. Several times they attempted to kill Him. (See Luke 4:29; John 7:30; 8:58; 10:31.) They expressed their resentment with the worst condemnation that they could conjure up concerning His life, miracles and teachings. They accused Him of working through Satan (Matthew 9:34), and concerning this common epithet against Him they said to Jesus, “Do we not say well that You have a devil?”

Even His closest friends and earthly relatives were so dismayed by His life, His attitude and His relationship to the leaders of the church that they feared He was becoming insane: “They were unable to account for His attitude toward the Pharisees, and there were some who feared that His reason was becoming unsettled. His brothers heard of this, and also of the charge brought by the Pharisees that He cast out devils through the power of Satan. They felt keenly the reproach that came upon them through their relation to Jesus. They knew what a tumult His words and works created, and were not only alarmed at His bold statements, but indignant at His denunciation ofthe scribes and Pharisees.” The Desire of Ages, 321.

We plan to look at the reason for all this later, but first we need to understand that if we are following in the footsteps of Jesus we will face similar situations to what He did. Inspiration says, “The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 406.

Christ’s servants just before the second coming of Christ will go through experiences very similar to what Jesus went through when He was here. Their worst enemies will not be from Babylon, Tyre or even from Sodom, but rather their worse enemies will be from God’s professed people. Those who profess to be modern Israel, and who possess not only the Bible but the Spirit of Prophecy, will become their worst enemies.

“While they [the professed people of God—Israel] professed to have great zeal for the honor of God and the good of Israel, they were the worst enemies of both.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 230. “Paul’s worst enemies were among the Jews, who made the highest claims to godliness . . . The most bitter opposers of truth to-day are found among those who profess to be its defenders.” Ibid., 278.

“The worst enemies we have are those who are trying to destroy the influence of the watchmen upon the walls of Zion.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 294.

“If they have called the Master of the House [who was sinless and had a perfect character] Beelzebub, how much more those of His?” Matthew 10:25.


Were the Jewish Rulers Part of the Church?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We want to understand the time in which we live. We do not half understand it. We do not half take it in. My heart trembles in me when I think of what a foe we have to meet, and how poorly we are prepared to meet him. The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control of the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious truth.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 406.

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

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


The Multitude

“Israel had been a favored people; God had made their temple His habitation; it was ‘beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth.’ Ps. 48:2. The record of more than a thousand years of Christ’s guardian care and tender love, such as a father bears his only child, was there. In that temple the prophets had uttered their solemn warnings. There had the burning censers waved, while incense, mingled with the prayers of the worshipers, had ascended to God. There the blood of beasts had flowed, typical of the blood of Christ. There Jehovah had manifested His glory above the mercy seat. There the priests had officiated, and the pomp of symbol and ceremony had gone on for ages.” 576. [All page numbered references are from The Desire of Ages by Ellen White.] What was the condition of this favored people when their rightful King came to save them?

God had chosen Israel to reveal God to men, “But the Israelites fixed their hopes upon worldly greatness.” 28. After the return from Babylonian captivity, schools were established “to teach the principles of righteousness. But these agencies became corrupted.” 29.

Finally, the people who God chose to reveal His righteousness to the world became the agents for its destruction. “They had hoarded the living manna, and it had turned to corruption. The religion which they tried to shut up to themselves became an offense. They robbed God of His glory, and defrauded the world by a counterfeit of the gospel. They had refused to surrender themselves to God for the salvation of the world, and they became agents of Satan for its destruction. The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of Satan . . . The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels.” 36.

Just when this great deception had reached its height, God sent His Son into this world to save it. “At the very crisis, when Satan seemed about to triumph, the Son of God came with the embassage of divine grace . . . the Deity was glorified by pouring upon the world a flood of healing grace that was never to be obstructed or withdrawn till the plan of salvation should be fulfilled.” 37.


The Multitude


When Jesus came, what was His work? “It was His work to reach the multitudes who were in ignorance and error. He gave His lessons of truth where they could reach the darkened understanding. He Himself was the Truth, standing with girded loins and hands ever outstretched to bless, and in words of warning, entreaty, and encouragement, seeking to uplift all who would come unto Him.” 298.

“Jesus ministered to the vast multitudes that gathered about Him.” 349. “The Saviour’s teaching moved their hearts as they hung entranced upon His words.” 716. The sick, the lame and the blind flocked to Jesus. The dying were laid at His feet. He healed the sick, cast out devils and raised the dead. His power was felt in the hearts of men. They recognized the teaching of Christ as superior to all that had ever been given.

“Those who received the heavenly instruction He was always ready to impart were greatly blessed. As the multitudes followed Christ through the open fields, He unfolded to them the beauties of the natural world.” 524, 525. “Multitudes who were not interested in the harangues of the rabbis were attracted by His teaching.” 205.

After Christ was rejected in Judea, He moved His work to the seaport towns along the Sea of Galilee. At first His work among them seemed very successful. “To those busy towns about the Sea of Galilee, heaven’s richest blessings had been freely offered. Day after day the Prince of life had gone in and out among them. The glory of God, which prophets and kings had longed to see, had shone upon the multitudes that thronged the Saviour’s steps. Yet they had refused the heavenly Gift.” 489.

How could the multitude that had “hung entranced upon His words,” refuse the heavenly gift of love? Evidently, the satisfaction that comes from hearing a powerful, truth-filled sermon is not enough. Even the sermons from the lips of Jesus did not keep the multitude. How did it happen that the multitude turned from following Jesus? How could their love turn to hatred and their praise to curses so quickly?


An Innovation


One of the main reasons the multitude rejected Jesus was because He did not come the way they expected Him to. They looked upon the priests and rabbis as “the church.” They always believed that the Messiah would come through the priestly system. But they looked on Jesus work as an innovation. Webster’s defines that to be: “the introduction of something new,” “a new idea, method or device.” You could say that the people looked at the priests as “the” organization and they looked on Jesus as a “new” organization. Oh yes, they were impressed with Jesus, but they did not surrender their lives to the truth He taught. They failed to see that the church is where the truth is.

Multitudes of Jews began rejecting Jesus even when they were impressed with Him. They made the fatal mistake of not realizing the absolute authority of truth. “They were impressed by the divine authority of Jesus; but with them the influence of the priests and rulers was paramount. They regarded Christ’s mission as an innovation, and questioned His right to interfere with what was permitted by the authorities of the temple.” 164. They stifled their convictions of truth because Jesus had offended them, and fell back to their pre-conceived opinions of how the Messiah was to appear.


A Cross


The multitudes loved the blessings that Jesus came to bestow. But, to deny self, to endure ridicule and hardship, they would not accept. They “did not desire to see the cross in the work of Christ.” 415. But Jesus was very explicit. He said, “whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27. “If men could have had the world with Christ, multitudes would have proffered Him their allegiance; but such service He could not accept.” 383.

The cross is not optional if one is following Jesus—it is a part of salvation. “They must walk in the narrow path traveled by the Man of Calvary, if they would share in the gift of life and the glory of heaven.” 391.

“When the crowds follow, and the multitude s are fed, and the shouts of triumph are heard, their voices are loud in praise; but when the searching of God’s Spirit reveals their sin, and bids them leave it, they turn their backs upon the truth, and walk no more with Jesus.” 392. “When truth is brought home to the heart, they see that their lives are not in accordance with the will of God. They see the need of an entire change in themselves; but they are not willing to take up the self-denying work. Therefore they are angry when their sins are discovered. They go away offended.” 392.




Because Jesus’ work was regarded as an innovation and He required His disciples to bear their cross—the multitude s rejected their Creator. Rather than an innovation, Caiaphas and his associates were viewed by the multitude as the highest authority on earth.

Caiaphas was seeking the same things the multitude was—worldly greatness and honor. The Jews wanted dominion over the Romans. They were very willing to have Jesus as their king if He would give them a piece of the pie. But Jesus could not accept their allegiance on these conditions. “Multitudes who desired to exalt Him to the throne today would turn from Him tomorrow. The disappointment of their selfish ambition would turn their love to hatred, and their praise to curses.” 383.

The multitude s ended up following Caiaphas rather than Jesus. Caiaphas was predicting a Messiah to appear who would give them worldly blessings. The priests taught the people from the Bible, that the Messiah would give them riches and honor. To the multitude, it seemed much easier to follow Caiaphas than to walk on a path of self-denial and hardship. Their pre-conceived opinions of truth, were stronger in their minds, than the truth it self. Martin Luther correctly said: “I feel more and more every day how difficult it is to lay aside the scruples which one has imbibed in childhood.” The Great Controversy, 143. Not a few of the multitude who had once praised the name of Jesus eventually raised the awful cry, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” The multitude pressed by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, called for the crucifixion of Christ. It is never safe to follow our pre-conceived opinions.


The Chosen


When the multitude turned away from Christ there were only a few who remained. It was to these few, who were willing to deny self and follow Christ, the Rock, that He spoke these words. “Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18. There is no foundation that can be laid than what is already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11. Jesus Christ, in His humiliation and self-denial, in His agony and death on the cross, is the foundation of the true church and the Christian’s hope.

“In the presence of God, and all the heavenly intelligences, in the presence of the unseen army of hell, Christ founded His church upon the living Rock. That Rock is Himself,—His own body, for us broken and bruised. Against the church built upon this foundation, the gates of hell shall not prevail.” 413.

There are very few who are willing to follow these conditions in order to be a part of God’s church. Notice in the following paragraph that only those who choose Jesus in His self-denial were referred to as the church; the great multitude and even the Sanhedrin were excluded. “How feeble the church appeared when Christ spoke these words! There was only a handful of believers, against whom all the power of demons and evil men would be directed; yet the followers of Christ were not to fear. Built upon the Rock of their strength, they could not be overthrown.” 413.

Not the multitude , but only the few who were willing to take up their cross of self-denial are Christ’s church. Not the evil men who are fighting Jesus’ followers, but the meek ones are His church. Even the disciples of Jesus struggled with this concept. It was foreign to everything they had ever been taught by priest and rabbi. The disciples believed that Jesus would take over the temple and reign as Israel’s King. “That the hatred of the priests and rabbis would never be overcome, that Christ would be rejected by His own nation, condemned as a deceiver, and crucified as a malefactor,—such a thought the disciples had never entertained.” 415.

When Jesus was on earth, “the disciples were still far from understanding Christ’s mission. The opposition and misrepresentation of the priests and rulers, while it could not turn them away from Christ, still caused them great perplexity. They did not see their way clearly. The influence of their early training, the teaching of the rabbis, the power of tradition, still intercepted their view of truth. From time to time precious rays of light from Jesus shone upon them, yet often they were like men groping among shadows.” 412.

The disciples were slow to comprehend that the entrance to Christ’s church was through the door of self-denial. “It was to Peter a bitter lesson, and one which he learned but slowly, that the path of Christ on earth lay through agony and humiliation. The disciple shrank from fellowship with his Lord in suffering. But in the heat of the furnace fire he was to learn its blessing.” 416.

If the disciples, who listened for three years to the greatest teacher this world has ever know, could not understand—what about us? How often are we, like the disciples, groping among the shadows? Does the influence of our early training, the teaching of the rabbis, the power of tradition, still intercept our view of truth today? Our pre-conceived ideas are so difficult to get past. The only way to understand is in learning to bear our cross.


The Church Today


Like the Jews of old, God raised up Seventh-day Adventists to represent Him to the world. As temple and priests were to minister God’s grace and truth to the nations of old, so we were organized for service to give the Three Angels’ Messages to the world. God organized us through the special guidance of His last day messenger. We, too, have been a favored people. But time has passed and as a people, we have let the truth slide. In fact, many who call themselves Seventh-day Adventists are fighting the truth as the Jews did in Christ’s day. “These men who refuse to receive truth, interpose themselves between the people and the light. But there is no excuse for any one’s refusing the light, for it has been plainly revealed. There is no need of any one’s being in ignorance. We must clear the King’s highway; for God will remove hindrances out of the way. God calls you to come up to his help against the mighty. Instead of pressing your weight against the chariot of truth that is being pulled up an inclined road, you should work with all the energy you can summon to push it on. Shall we repeat the history of the Jews in our work? The leaders of the people in the time of Christ brought all their power to bear against the work of Christ, that His way might be hedged up. The people must go to God for themselves, and pray that all wrong impressions may be removed from their hearts,—pray that the word of God may not be clouded by men’s interpretations.” Review and Herald, March 18, 1890.

Here is another warning, which should be ringing loudly in our ears. “The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control of the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious truth.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 406.

Satan succeeded with the Jewish nation as a whole. There was a small remnant who followed Jesus, but as a whole, the nation was lost. We are given graphic descriptions of the Jews before Christ’s first coming. Since the prophet saw again and again the similarity of our position to theirs—could this description of them fit us? “They robbed God of His glory, and defrauded the world by a counterfeit of the gospel. They had refused to surrender themselves to God for the salvation of the world, and they became agents of Satan for its destruction.” 36. To apply this description to Seventh-day Adventists leaves one reeling and could not be considered except by the special warning from God’s messenger.

We cannot demand of God to finish the work the way we think it must be. It will be finished very much out of the natural order of things. Those who are fighting the truth will have no part in it. There is no set of men whom God is forced to use. When He came the first time, He was not forced to use the priests of His day. Rather God is looking for the meek of the earth, those who do not bow to human authority, but submit to His authority.

The Multitude


Multitude s of Seventh-day Adventists are seeking for the original power we had when our pioneers first gave the warning message. We speak of the “good old Seventh-day Adventist message.” We long for it but seldom hear it. Once again God has sent messengers with a call to repent. They have instructed us in the “old [historic] paths, where is the good way.” Jeremiah 6:16. The multitude loves this preaching that has power. We love to sit entranced listening to the words of truth. It makes us feel that we are still on the right road.

But, we reason, no matter how wonderful the truth is—the work cannot be finished without the “regular channels,” these “irregular channels” are only an innovation. We still want to stick with what is established and not stake everything on some innovation.

Worst of all, the reformation preachers call for obedience to the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible. That means self-denial, health reform and all those reforms. That would be too embarrassing. We would not want to be a fanatic!! Unbelief takes possession of the heart. It “will ever find excuse for doubt, and will reason away the most positive proof.” 386.

We conclude that we will continue to listen to the wonderful messages based on the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible. But we would not want to put all our eggs in one basket. So we reason on and on until we are ready to follow Caiaphas—the symbol of human authority.


Who to Follow?


It is no small question one asks, who wants to know if he is following truth. Many times various forms of this question were asked of Jesus. Yet, even with His clear answers, few ended up applying His answers to themselves. “Christ’s humanity so completely veiled His glory that it was difficult for even His disciples to believe in Him; and when He died on the cross, they felt that their hopes had perished. As Christ told them the things He must suffer at the hands of wicked men, He said, ‘If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?’ Luke 23:31. If they do these wicked acts to your divine Lord, what will they do to those that bear the testimony that He came from God, that He was God in human flesh?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 393.

Jesus spoke of His time on earth as the time of the green tree. “By the green tree, Jesus represented Himself.” 743. The time of the green tree was a time when the world could see the embodiment of truth and righteousness in human flesh. The living Messiah, the Creator, the Saviour of the world was in their midst. They could walk and talk with Him. A whole nation of millions of people were expecting the Messiah to appear. Yet when He was on earth, there were very few who followed Him to the end. “At one time there remained only eleven and a few faithful women.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 138. Even though it was difficult to believe, these few stayed with Jesus. The only safe place was with them. To be in Jesus’ church is always safe—even though it was only eleven men and a few women. To be out of it is always disastrous.

However today we are in the time of the dry tree. Jesus said, “For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry”? Luke 23:31. Jesus was the express image of His Father. And still people rejected Him, the way, the truth and the life. But, God’s messengers today are faulty human beings. Today there is not even a living prophet among us. We truly are in the time of the dry tree. This question comes with pounding force upon us: How can we find the track of truth today, since so few people found it in Jesus day? We are not going to find truth by making our decisions from our pre-conceived opinions of truth, or from the scribes and Pharisees, it will not be found at the university or even in the pew at the churches of today.

The only place to find the truth seems below our dignity: “When man is willing to be instructed as a little child, when he submits wholly to God, he will find the truth in His word. If men would be obedient, they would understand the plan of God’s government. The heavenly world would open its chambers of grace and glory for exploration. Human beings would be altogether different from what they now are, for by exploring the mines of truth men would be ennobled.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 114.

To follow the truth, we must respect God’s messengers. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1. We are here commanded to follow along with a messenger when he is following Christ.


Who Not to Follow


It is not safe to follow Caiaphas or anyone who follows Caiaphas. That is anyone who puts tradition above the commands of God. The one who wants to be recognized and honored in this world is never safe to follow. The Lord will show us who not to follow. “Before the great trouble shall come upon the world such as has never been since there was a nation, those who have faltered and who would ignorantly lead in unsafe paths will reveal this before the real vital test, the last proving, comes, so that whatsoever they may say will not be regarded as voicing the True Shepherd.” 1888 Materials, 1002.

The question comes, “What about Nicodemus?” Was he safe to follow? Nicodemus was safe to follow once he started following Christ. But I would rather have been by the side of Matthew and Peter than Nicodemus. As long as Nicodemus was following the ideas of Caiaphas, it would be dangerous to follow him. What about the “great company of the priests [who] were obedient to the faith?” Acts 6:7. They were unsafe to follow until they started following Jesus.

There was one, a respected scribe, to whom Jesus said: “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” Mark 12:34. He understood something about righteousness and the inability of man to obtain it through his own works. But until the scribe followed Christ, he was not in His kingdom. “The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness.” 608. Not even the sincere scribe, who was commended, was safe to follow. Jesus said concerning the churchmen of His day: “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” Matthew 24:3. Jesus did not instruct the people to follow error: “Jesus bade His hearers do that which the rabbis taught according to the law, but not to follow their example.” 612. Evidently, they sometimes taught the truth.


Caiaphas’ Destination


Those who follow Caiaphas will be found undermining God’s messengers. They will use any means to turn the multitude against the truth. “The Pharisees had sought to condemn Him as a Sabbathbreaker. They had tried to arouse the Herodians against Him. They represented that He was seeking to set up a rival kingdom [new organization], and consulted with them how to destroy Him. To excite the Romans against Him, they had represented Him as trying to subvert their authority. They had tried every pretext to cut Him off from influencing the people.” 538.

Caiaphas offers an easy road, one of worldly greatness, of full churches, large crowds and great honor. But the end of that road is destruction. Caiaphas promised that Jerusalem would be freed from the Romans, but the Romans destroyed it and its inhabitants.

“Christ came to save Jerusalem with her children; but Pharisaical pride, hypocrisy, jealousy, and malice had prevented Him from accomplishing His purpose. Jesus knew the terrible retribution which would be visited upon the doomed city. He saw Jerusalem encompassed with armies, the besieged inhabitants driven to starvation and death, mothers feeding upon the dead bodies of their own children, and both parents and children snatching the last morsel of food from one another, natural affection being destroyed by the gnawing pangs of hunger. He saw that the stubbornness of the Jews, as evinced in their rejection of His salvation, would also lead them to refuse submission to the invading armies.” 577. Those who follow Caiaphas or even his followers, are stubborn to their own destruction.


Followers of Christ


The followers of Christ eventually end up faced with the cross. The cross of reproach and loneliness looks hard to carry at first. But in lifting the cross we find it lifts us. “As you lift the cross of Calvary, it lifts you. Bearing the cross after Jesus, following in His consecrated, self-denying footsteps—only thus can you find salvation.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 25. “We are to lift the cross, and follow the steps of Christ. Those who lift the cross will find that as they do this, the cross lifts them, giving them fortitude and courage, and pointing them to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1095. In full surrender of our will to God we find the only path of real happiness. As we come to partake of His sufferings we revel in His love. “It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace, must be assimilated.

“But even these figures fail to present the privilege of the believer’s relation to Christ. Jesus said, ‘As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.’ As the Son of God lived by faith in the Father, so are we to live by faith in Christ. So fully was Jesus surrendered to the will of God that the Father alone appeared in His life. Although tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world untainted by the evil that surrounded Him. Thus we also are to overcome as Christ overcame.” 389.

Jesus invites us to pick up our cross and follow Him. “Whenever men reject the Saviour’s invitation, they are yielding themselves to Satan. Multitudes in every department in life, in the home, in business, and even in the church, are doing this today.” 341 Today is not the time to follow the multitude. It is time to be a part of the faithful few who follow Jesus when the multitude forsake Him for Caiaphas. It is the time to take up our cross; for only those are His disciples—His church, and only Jesus’ church will go through.