Bible Study – Marriage—a Divine Institution

This We Believe 

May 1 – 7, 2022

Key Text

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

Study Help: Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 63–65


“As the Creator joined the hands of the holy pair in wedlock, saying, A man shall ‘leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one’ (Genesis 2:24), He enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 63, 64



1.a. After Adam named every animal, what event took place? Genesis 2:18, 21, 22. How does God regard marriage? Hebrews 13:4

Note: “God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. … When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.”

“Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46



2.a. What event shows that the Lord approved the marriage institution? John 2:1, 2

Note: “Christ came to our world to cause heavenly light to shine amid the moral darkness. He came to make men and women understand that the marriage institution is sacred. His presence at Cana gave high endorsement to this ordinance.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 10, 188

“Christ came not to destroy this [sacred and holy] institution, but to restore it to its original sanctity and elevation. He came to restore the moral image of God in man, and He began His work by sanctioning the marriage relation. He who made the first holy pair, and who created for them a paradise, has put His seal upon the marriage institution, first celebrated in Eden.” Ibid., 203

“In both the Old and the New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people, the redeemed ones whom He has purchased at the cost of Calvary.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 64

2.b. What do the Scriptures say about a happy home? Psalm 128

Note: “The Scriptures state that both Jesus and His disciples were called to the marriage feast [at Cana]. Christ has given Christians no sanction for saying, when invited to a marriage, We ought not to be present on so joyous an occasion. By attending this feast Christ taught us that He would have us rejoice with those who rejoice in the observance of His statutes. He never discouraged the festivities of mankind when they were carried on in accordance with the laws of heaven. A gathering that Christ honored by His presence, it is right that His followers should attend. After attending this feast, Christ attended many others, sanctifying them by His presence and instruction.” The Signs of the Times, August 30, 1899

 ‘If our happiness consists in making others happy, we are happy indeed. The true disciple will not live to gratify beloved self, but for Christ, and for the good of His little ones. He is to sacrifice his ease, his pleasure, his comfort, his convenience, his will, and his own selfish wishes for Christ’s cause, or never reign with Him on His throne.’ ” Testimonies, Vol. 1, 85, 86

“Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward the church is the spirit that husband and wife are to manifest toward each other.” Ibid., Vol. 7, 46



3.a. The Bible specifies joint obligations on husband and wife. Sometimes husbands cite the wives’ obligations forgetting that there are mutual obligations, and one spouse cannot be held hostage to fulfill their obligations if the other spouse is not fulfilling theirs. What are these joint obligations? Ephesians 5:22–31; Colossians 3:19

Note: “The Lord has constituted the husband the head of the wife to be her protector; he is the house-band of the family, binding the members together. … Christ’s authority is exercised in wisdom, in all kindness and gentleness; so let the husband exercise his power and imitate the great Head of the church.” The Faith I Live By, 259

3.b. Specify the right attitudes in contrast to the wrong ones in a husband and father. Genesis 18:18, 19; Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:7–9

Note: “The father should enforce in his family the sterner virtues—energy, integrity, honesty, patience, courage, diligence, and practical usefulness. And what he requires of his children he himself should practice, illustrating these virtues in his own manly bearing.” The Ministry of Healing, 391

“It is no evidence of manliness in the husband for him to dwell constantly upon his position as head of the family. It does not increase respect for him to hear him quoting scripture to sustain his claims to authority. It will not make him more manly to require his wife, the mother of his children, to act upon his plans as if they were infallible.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 13, 82

“Many husbands do not sufficiently understand and appreciate the cares and perplexities which their wives endure, generally confined all day to an unceasing round of household duties. They frequently come to their homes with clouded brows, bringing no sunshine to the family circle. If the meals are not on time, the tired wife, who is frequently housekeeper, nurse, cook, and housemaid, all in one, is greeted with faultfinding. The exacting husband may condescend to take the worrying child from the weary arms of its mother that her arrangements for the family meal may be hastened; but if the child is restless and frets in the arms of its father, he will seldom feel it his duty to act the nurse and seek to quiet and soothe it. He does not pause to consider how many hours the mother has endured the little one’s fretfulness, but calls out impatiently, ‘Here, Mother, take your child.’ Is it not his child as well as hers? Is he not under a natural obligation to patiently bear his part of the burden of rearing his children?” The Adventist Home, 224, 225 [Emphasis author’s.]



4.a. How does the Bible describe a true, virtuous, Christian wife? Proverbs 18:22; 19:14; 31:10, 11, 30

Note: “The husband is the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the church; and any course which the wife may pursue to lessen his influence and lead him to come down from that dignified, responsible position is displeasing to God. It is the duty of the wife to yield her wishes and will to her husband. Both should be yielding, but the word of God gives preference to the judgment of the husband. And it will not detract from the dignity of the wife to yield to him whom she has chosen to be her counselor, adviser, and protector.” Testimonies, Vol. 1, 307, 308

“Many husbands stop at the words, ‘Wives, submit yourselves,’ but we will read the conclusion of the same injunction, which is, ‘As it is fit in the Lord.’ Manuscript Releases, Vol. 13, 74

4.b. What injunction does the Lord direct to the queen of the home? 1 Peter 3:1, 2; Philippians 2:14

Note: “While the mistress of the household may perform her outward duties with exactitude, she may be continually crying out against the slavery to which she is doomed, and exaggerate her responsibilities and restrictions by comparing her lot with what she styles the higher life of woman, and cherishing unsanctified longings for an easier position, free from the petty cares and exactions that vex her spirit. She little dreams that in that widely different sphere of action to which she aspires trials full as vexations, though perhaps of a different sort, would certainly beset her. While she is fruitlessly yearning for a different life she is nourishing a sinful discontent and making her home very unpleasant for her husband and children.

“The true wife and mother will pursue an entirely opposite course from this. She will perform her duties with dignity and cheerfulness, not considering that it is degrading to do with her own hands whatever is necessary for her to do in a well-ordered household. If she looks to God for her strength and comfort, and in His wisdom and fear seeks to do her daily duty, she will bind her husband to her heart, and see her children coming to maturity, honorable men and women, having moral stamina to follow the example of their mother.” The Health Reformer, August 1, 1877



5.a. In harmony with the word of God, how long does the marriage vow bind husband and wife? Mark 10:6–12; Romans 7:1–3; 1 Corinthians 7:39

 Note: “This [marriage] vow links the destinies of the two individuals with bonds which nought but the hand of death should sever.” Testimonies, Vol. 4, 507

“What of the marriage relation today? Is it not perverted and defiled, made even as it was in Noah’s day? Divorce after divorce is recorded in the daily papers. This is the marriage of which Christ speaks when He says that before the Flood they were ‘marrying and giving in marriage’ (Matthew 24:38).” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 7, 56

5.b. If there is separation between husband and wife and no adultery has been committed, what are the two alternatives? Malachi 2:13–16; 1 Corinthians 7:10–14

 Note: “Jesus came to our world to rectify his [man’s] mistakes and to restore the moral image of God in man. Wrong sentiments in regard to marriage had found a place in the minds of the teachers of Israel. They were making of none effect the sacred institution of marriage. Man was becoming so hardhearted that he would for the most trivial excuse separate from his wife. …

“Christ came to correct these evils, and His first miracle was wrought on the occasion of the marriage. Thus He announced to the world that marriage, when kept pure and undefiled, is a sacred institution.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 10, 198

5.c. Because of various kinds of sin, some marriages must be dissolved. What does the Bible say about remarriage in such an instance? Matthew 19:3–9

Note: “Dear Brother D: I hoped the change which seemed to take place in your wife at the meeting in Chicago would be lasting, and was so grateful to our heavenly Father when I heard her confession, for I thought that a most severe task was lifted from my shoulders; but the … dangers and difficulties which she will create if her whims are gratified, are almost incredible to those who do not understand the spirit which actuates her. …

“However earnestly her husband may endeavor to pursue a straightforward course to serve God, she will be his evil angel, seeking to lead him away from righteousness. In her own estimation she is the idol he must worship; in fact, she is Satan’s agent, seeking to occupy the place where God should be. She has followed the impulses of her own unconsecrated heart until Satan has almost complete control of her. …

“Unless there is a change, a time will come soon when this lower nature in the wife, controlled by a will as strong as steel, will bring down the strong will of the husband to her own low level. … In this case it is not the woman whom Brother D is dealing with, but a desperate, satanic spirit. The Lord has a work for Brother D to do; but if he is overcome by these outbursts on the part of his wife, he is a lost man, and she is not saved by the sacrifice. …

“His best course with this child-wife, so overbearing, so unyielding, and so uncontrollable, is to take her home, and leave her with the mother who has made her what she is. Though it must be painful, this is the only thing for him to do, if he would not be ruined spiritually, sacrificed to the demon of hysterics and satanic imaginings. Satan takes entire control of her temper and will, and uses them like desolating hail to beat down every obstruction. Her husband can do her no good, but is doing himself incalculable harm, and robbing God of the talents and influence He has given.

“Sister D is determined to rule or ruin. I was shown that she has so thoroughly yielded herself into Satan’s hands that her husband fears for her reason, but he will make one of the gravest mistakes of his life if he permits himself to be controlled by Satan through the device of his wife. I tell you plainly, she is controlled by demons, and if these evil spirits have their way, your liberty, Brother D, your manhood, is gone; you are a slave to her caprices. … She is just as much possessed by a demon as was the man who tore and cut himself when Jesus cast out the devils. … Brother D must let Satan rage, and not allow himself to be cut off from religious privileges because his wife desires it.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 7678. (See Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 7678 for Mrs. White’s complete counsel to Brother D.)



1    How does the Bible describe the creation of the woman?

2    When only can a wedding be a truly joyous occasion, and why?

3    How can a husband improve his relationship with his wife?

4    How can a wife improve her relationship with her husband?

5    What is the evidence that God in His wisdom designed marriage to be a lifelong vow?

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

Bible Study Guides – Love and Self-respect

May 2 – 8, 2021

Key Text

“We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

 Study Help: The Adventist Home, 50–54; Testimonies, vol. 2, 200–215.


“The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. … In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the ruling principle of action.” The Acts of the Apostles, 551.



1.a. What is love? 1 John 4:16.

Note: “Love is power. Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle, and cannot be separated from it. The power of wealth has a tendency to corrupt and destroy; the power of force is strong to do hurt; but the excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good, and to do nothing else than good. Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God regards more with how much love one worketh than the amount he doeth. Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly growth, which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 135.

1.b.      What does true love lead one to do? Romans 13:10; John 15:9–14.

Note: “Christ’s love is deep and earnest, flowing like an irrepressible stream to all who will accept it. There is no selfishness in His love. If this heaven-born love is an abiding principle in the heart, it will make itself known, not only to those we hold most dear in sacred relationship, but to all with whom we come in contact. It will lead us to bestow little acts of attention, to make concessions, to perform deeds of kindness, to speak tender, true, encouraging words. It will lead us to sympathize with those whose hearts hunger for sympathy.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1140.

“Love is a plant of heavenly origin. It is not unreasonable; it is not blind. It is pure and holy. But the passion of the natural heart is another thing altogether. While pure love will take God into all its plans, and will be in perfect harmony with the Spirit of God, passion will be headstrong, rash, unreasonable, defiant of all restraint, and will make the object of its choice an idol.” The Review and Herald, September 25, 1888.



2.a. Why was marriage largely associated with sin in Noah’s day? Luke 17:26, 27.

Note: “There is in itself no sin in eating and drinking, or in marrying and giving in marriage. It was lawful to marry in the time of Noah, and it is lawful to marry now, if that which is lawful is properly treated, and not carried to sinful excess. …

“In Noah’s day it was the inordinate, excessive love of that which in itself was lawful, when properly used, that made marriage sinful before God. There are many who are losing their souls in this age of the world, by becoming absorbed in the thoughts of marriage, and in the marriage relation itself. …

“God has placed men in the world, and it is their privilege to eat, to drink, to trade, to marry, and to be given in marriage; but it is safe to do these things only in the fear of God. We should live in this world with reference to the eternal world.” The Review and Herald, September 25, 1888.

2.b.      What parallel of marriage does Scripture give in illustrating love? Ephesians 5:25, 26.

Note: “In all the deportment of one who possesses true love, the grace of God will be shown. Modesty, simplicity, sincerity, morality, and religion will characterize every step toward an alliance in marriage.” The Review and Herald, September 25, 1888.



3.a. How is genuine love demonstrated? 1 John 3:16–18.

Note: “The proof of our love is given in a Christlike spirit, a willingness to impart the good things God has given us, a readiness to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice in order to help advance the cause of God and suffering humanity. Never should we pass by the object that calls for our liberality. We reveal that we have passed from death unto life when we act as faithful stewards of God’s grace. God has given us His goods; He has given us His pledged word that if we are faithful in our stewardship, we shall lay up in heaven treasures that are imperishable.” The Review and Herald, May 15, 1900.

3.b.      Give an example of pure, sanctified love. John 12:3; Luke 7:40–47.

Note: “Talk, pharisaism, and self-praise are abundant; but these will never win souls to Christ. Pure, sanctified love, such love as was expressed in Christ’s lifework, is as a sacred perfume. Like Mary’s broken box of ointment, it fills the whole house with fragrance. Eloquence, knowledge of truth, rare talents, mingled with love, are all precious endowments. But ability alone, the choicest talents alone, cannot take the place of love.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 84.



4.a. In what sense are the servants of God encouraged to be wise? Proverbs 9:12, first part. How does home ownership relate to self-respect?

Note: “The sense of being owners of their own homes would inspire them [the poorer classes] with a strong desire for improvement. They would soon acquire skill in planning and devising for themselves; their children would be educated to habits of industry and economy, and the intellect would be greatly strengthened. They would feel that they are men, not slaves, and would be able to regain to a great degree their lost self-respect and moral independence.” The Adventist Home, 373.

4.b.      Describe the contrast between self-support and dependence upon charity and the government. Proverbs 10:16; 21:25.

Note: “Those who are endeavoring to reform should be provided with employment. None who are able to labor should be taught to expect food and clothing and shelter free of cost. For their own sake, as well as for the sake of others, some way should be devised whereby they may return an equivalent for what they receive. Encourage every effort toward self-support. This will strengthen self-respect and a noble independence. And occupation of mind and body in useful work is essential as a safeguard against temptation.” The Ministry of Healing, 177.

“Many who are qualified to do excellent work accomplish little because they attempt little. Thousands pass through life as if they had no great object for which to live, no high standard to reach. One reason for this is the low estimate which they place upon themselves. Christ paid an infinite price for us, and according to the price paid He desires us to value ourselves.” Ibid., 498.



5.a  What does God do when man fully humbles himself? James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6, 7.

Note: “It should not be difficult to remember that the Lord desires you to lay your troubles and perplexities at His feet, and leave them there. Go to Him, saying, ‘Lord, my burdens are too heavy for me to carry. Wilt Thou bear them for me?’ And He will answer: ‘I will take them. “With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.” I will take your sins, and will give you peace. Banish no longer your self-respect; for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine. Your weakened will I will strengthen. Your remorse for sin I will remove.’ ”  Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 519, 520.

“Let us, under all circumstances, preserve our confidence in Christ. He is to be everything to us—the first, the last, the best in everything. Then let us educate our tongues to speak forth His praise, not only when we feel gladness and joy, but at all times. …

“Let us not talk of the great power of Satan, but of the great power of God.” Sons and Daughters of God, 328.

5.b.      How can we have confidence toward God? Romans 8:1; 1 John 3:21.

Note: “It is not pleasing to God that you should demerit yourself. You should cultivate self-respect by living so that you will be approved by your own conscience, and before men and angels. … It is your privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed, and to stand before the law without shame and remorse. [Romans 8:1 quoted.] While we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, the word of God does not condemn a proper self-respect. As sons and daughters of God, we should have a conscious dignity of character, in which pride and self-importance have no part.” The Review and Herald, March 27, 1888.



1    Describe the difference between love and passion. Define true love.

2    What is pure, holy love? Contrast God’s ideal for marriage with the concept prevalent in the days of Noah.

3    How can love be proven?

4    What are some ways to gain self-respect?

5    How can self-respect be maintained?

Copyright 1995 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Heaven on Earth

While the children of Israel were camped at Mount Sinai, Moses was called up to the mount. God said to him, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). A sanctuary is God’s house, a place where He longs to be. He desires that each home be a sanctuary, for He longs to be part of each one’s life and be present in every house.

In the book, Education, 258, we read this inspired comment: “It was in the mount with God that Moses beheld the pattern of that wonderful building which was to be the abiding place of His glory. It is in the mount with God—in the secret place of communion—that we are to contemplate His glorious ideal for humanity. Thus we shall be enabled so to fashion our character building that to us may be fulfilled His promise, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people’ ” (2 Corinthians 6:16).

We are called up into the mount, as Moses was, to behold the heavenly, because we also have something to build on earth that is like the heavenly pattern – the home, God’s masterpiece as far as an earthly temple is concerned. In the sanctuary of the home God wants to reveal His purpose to dwell with men.

In this mount with God, we are to contemplate His glorious ideal for humanity, but what is humanity made up of? “Society is composed of families.” The Adventist Home, 15. Often we think of the world as a whole, but it is divided up among nations. Most governments have their territory broken down into different divisions. We have the states, the counties, the smaller divisions, but as God looks at society, He thinks of it as grouped in families and those families are what the heads of families make them. “ ‘Out of the heart are the issues of life’  (Proverbs 4:23); and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household.” Ibid. When we are dealing with the family, we are dealing with something very important and very precious to God.

When Moses was called up to the mount, he saw the temple of God and was told to make a copy of it here in this world. He accomplished that task. God recognized it and dwelt with His people during their wilderness wanderings and His presence was made manifest in that earthly copy of the heavenly sanctuary.

“Home should be made all that the word implies. It should be a little heaven upon earth.” Ibid.

Unfortunately that is not always the case and frequently, too many homes are a hell on earth. Then there are multitudes of homes that in a sense are neither heaven nor hell. The parents are ill-equipped and don’t know the best way to raise their children. Many of these homes are far from hell, but they are a long way from heaven.

We are told it is possible to experience a little heaven on earth; so why not take hold of it. After all, it has been bought and paid for by the death of Jesus. He rose and went back to heaven and is pleading for us in the heavenly sanctuary. Someday those who are faithful are going to heaven, but it will be enjoyed only by those who have already enjoyed heavenly principles on this earth. God offers us a little sample of it here if we would just taste and see whether we like it or not. If we do like it, He lets us have some more. His grace can provide an endless supply of heavenly principles. No fictitious manifestation from Hollywood or anything that money can buy can help us get there, for no eye has seen what the Lord has prepared for His people.

Though Moses spent many years in Egypt being educated the world’s way, it took another 40 years for God to prepare him to lead the children of Israel out of bondage. Pray that God will make us capable of and willing to cast much of what we have learned into the garbage can where it belongs and have that mountain top experience with Jesus and listen while He speaks and points out the right way. Our pattern is in heaven; that is the pattern of the Christian home. “Home should be made all that the word implies.”

“Every family in the home life should be a church, a beautiful symbol of the church of God in heaven.” Child Guidance, 480.

Fathers and mothers and children alike are to experience in each home a church life like the church of God in heaven. “All His [God’s] biddings are enablings.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 333. This experience doesn’t come naturally. It takes effort. To make our home like the pattern, we must behold it and then build just as Moses did. First he beheld and then went to work and built.

God said, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). Since “God is love” (1 John 4:8), if God dwells in the sanctuary, love abides there.

“Every home should be a place of love, a place where the angels of God abide.” The Adventist Home, 18.

On the veil at the entrance of the sanctuary that Moses built, as well as on the veil between the holy and the most holy, were embroidered angels. Angels were represented throughout the sanctuary. Your home also is to be a place where the angels of God abide. The more you sense the presence of the angel watchers, the more you will love what they love and hate what they hate.

God’s great purpose in our reproducing the heavenly plan here on earth is to enable us to know Him better. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). To know God is to have life eternal. We get to know Him through His word, the Bible; we know Him through the life of Jesus, and we know Him through His creation.

There is yet another way to know Him. One of the sweetest statements in Inspiration is in Steps to Christ, page 10: “Through … the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He [God] has sought to reveal Himself to us.” Think of the different human relationships we have. The relationship between parents and children is one of the best. If you had a wonderful mother and father, you would have many good memories. If somehow that pattern was marred through human frailty, remember God’s ideal still stands and can be revealed to you. The close relationship between parents and children is designed to reveal God.

“His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6). God is our Father. God gave the relationship between a father and his child for two reasons. The first is so the child growing up could learn to love his father and thus learn to know God. The second reason is so the father, in loving and training the little child, could learn to know how God feels.

Remember there was a man in the Bible who was especially set forth in that connection. The Bible says that Enoch walked with God 300 years after he begat Methuselah. It is not only the children who learn to know God through being in the home; it is also the parents, both the father and the mother, who learn to know God by being parents. All of us, whether we are men or women, as we think back to our childhood, can appreciate this verse in Isaiah 66:13: “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” That verse sparks memories of my own mother who so lovingly attended to my hurts with salve and a kiss.

God says, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” He uses that picture to reveal Himself to us, using father love and mother love, not just the receiving of it on the part of the children, but the giving of it on the part of the father and mother. Dear parents, every time your heart goes out to your children, every time you are concerned about their behavior, every time you seek to comfort them in sorrow or to guide them in counsel, remember, you are not only to reveal God to that child; in that experience a revelation of God is to come to you. That is the great purpose of families.

This same purpose is true also with other relationships. Take the relationships between brothers and sisters. There are so many precious things in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy about the relation of brother and brother and sister and sister and brother and sister and sister and brother – precious relationships. “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Jesus is set forth as our elder brother and those who know the joy of sharing in loving fellowship as brothers and sisters have a revelation of the character of God.

However, there is one relationship that is more intimate than any other—the relationship between husband and wife. Basic to the whole pattern of human life, the core and center of every successful family is the relationship between husband and wife. The relationship between parents and children is not the primary relationship. Neither is the sibling relationship. Primary to all other relationships is that between a husband and wife. It was the first relationship that God established on this planet between two individuals, Adam and Eve, who were joined in wedlock by the Creator Himself. The purpose of marriage was, “… to reveal Himself to us through the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know.”

Dear husbands, have you thought it through that the purpose of the marriage relation is to reveal God to you? Do you know that the purpose of the marriage relation is to reveal God to your wife through you? The purpose of marriage is that the husband and the wife shall know God as they could know Him in no other way. There are views of the character of God that you can get as a married man, a married woman, that cannot be understood in any other way. No matter how far up the ladder of achievement in successful married life you are, there is something glorious beyond. I tell you this from experience. I know that this is true.

As I think of my own experience and enter into the experience of any other people in the 40 years I have been in the ministry, this statement sums it up so wonderfully. “To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.” The Adventist Home, 105. You can never graduate from this course while you are alive. We are dealing with infinite riches with tremendous possibilities.

This relationship is not mere sentimentalism as is often expressed in many poems and love songs where most are dealing with people who have not made a serious commitment to each other. Today, many people are unable to weather the storms and trials that may arrive and are on their second, third or even fourth marriage. We surely need the guidance of the Lord in choosing our spouse. We need to come up into the mount with God and look at the pattern. After all, how could a carpenter put up a stable building if he never looked at the blueprint?

A healthy marriage takes work and prayer. Both partners must climb the mount and study for themselves what the Lord requires, then go together. Take time down on your knees to behold and then arise and build according to the pattern and you can experience heaven on earth.

Inspiration tells us, “There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily, that bears the sanction of God, and places the parties in a position better to glorify Him.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 504.

Reading this can be discouraging, especially when the devil then whispers, Well that’s the trouble, you got the wrong mate. But friends, there is good news. There are glorious possibilities with the companion you have. Do not listen to the devil, for he is a liar.

Inspiration writes about a young woman beloved of God who was held in bondage to a godless youth. Her nervous system was shattered. “Her marriage was a deception of the devil. Yet now she should make the best of it.” The Adventist Home, 351. Here was a woman who had the word of the living God that her marriage was a deception of the devil, yet now she is to make the best of it. If she could do this, don’t you think you can make the best of your situation?

Many people become infatuated and are thus allured into marriage. Very soon they find out that they are incompatible, not realizing that almost everybody who has ever been married since Adam and Eve came out of Eden has been incompatible. One of the great purposes of marriage is to help people learn how to be compatible.

“Though difficulties, perplexities, and discouragements may arise, let neither husband nor wife harbor the thought that their union is a mistake or a disappointment.” Ibid., 106.

Martin Luther used to say, “You can’t keep birds from flying over your head but you can prevent them from making nests in your hair.” The devil may say that your problem is that you married the wrong person, but never harbor that thought. Don’t let it in even if it hollers around outside. Don’t open the door and argue with it or pay it any attention. Here is what to do instead.

“Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other.” Ibid. What we learn in marriage is the science of love. Love is not selfishness, but is unselfishness. In marriage we are not to dwell on what I wish my companion would do for me, but how I can be all that is possible to be to my companion. The greater the incompatibility, the more need there is to get down to business and work at this job. This is how to make the best of it.

We are living in an age where it is easy to just throw up things to our partner and complain, but that is from the devil. Make the best of it. This best is not some second-rate thing, but the best. No matter how big a mess you have made of things, or what a miserable failure you or your companion are, the two of you together can have heaven on earth. God guarantees it. “Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other. Continue the early attentions. … Study to advance the happiness of each other. … Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.” Ibid.

“Remember, my dear brother and sister, that God is love and that by His grace you can succeed in making each other happy, as in your marriage pledge you promised to do.” Ibid., 112. God guarantees that you can succeed in making each other happy, but it will take the two of you together.

Men and women can reach God’s ideal for them if they will take Christ as their helper. “Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children.” Education, 18. “What human wisdom cannot do, His grace will accomplish for those who give themselves to Him in loving trust. His providence can unite hearts in bonds that are of heavenly origin. … Heart will be bound to heart in the golden bonds of a love that is enduring.” The Adventist Home, 112, 113.

Even for those couples who have experienced heaven on earth from the day they were married to the present hour, there is still something more wonderful ahead. Remember, no one graduates from this school of marriage. It is the work of a lifetime.

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1, 2). Again this is the language of the sanctuary—the fragrant incense. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it” (verse 25). When husbands love their wives, the wives will know better how to fit in to the part they are to play in the relationship. Christ’s love to each other is to be manifest in the home.

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is the great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (verses 28–33). These verses are clearly referring to Christ and His church and husbands and wives.

“In early Christian usage, the term ‘mystery’ did not mean something that could not be understood, as it does today, but something that could be understood only by those who were initiated; that is, those who had the right to know.” A Commentary on Daniel and Revelation from The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 740.

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery” (Ephesians 5:31, 32, first part).

Only married people can understand this mystery, but just being married does not automatically initiate you and reveal this mystery to you. The successful marriage is one in a hundred, so 99 out of 100 couples that get married still do not know the mystery. Many get caught up with the fluff and bubble of the ceremony and then become disappointed, not realizing that the mystery is only unlocked by having a heart connection.

The challenge is, just as there is something more to the union with Christ than baptism, although it includes baptism, there is something more to the union of marriage than the physical experience of man and woman joined together. Certainly, it includes that, but if all people know is the physical side of marriage then they will miss the greatest blessing.

Jesus said, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). If any two people on earth have the right to claim this wonderful promise, it is the husband and wife.

Alone with God and each other get down on your knees and take this verse. Read it to each other and say, What is it that we want? What is it that we desire? Pick out your hardest problem and your greatest need, pick out your deepest longing and agree together to ask God for a miracle. For it is a miracle when two people can live together in happiness and love and that is what it takes to have heaven on earth. No matter how much you have already been blessed, why not reach up to get the richer gift and the larger blessing that is being offered and know what it means to be fully, completely blended. For each of us there are heights above that we have never yet reached.

Dear Lord, teach us the science of love, teach us the art of love. We need it for we are naturally selfish but teach us this wonderful experience, not just so we can get along together but so that we can know You, so that we can understand God, so that we can reveal God to our children and to others. Amen.

Elder W.D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Elder Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. Thus began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he can fill. His life followed this principle and he encouraged others to do the same.


By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Galatians 5:14.

STUDY HELP: Thoughts for the Mount of Blessing, 134–137.

INTRODUCTION: “Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship, the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.


  1. As Adam was giving names to the different animals and birds, what lack in his own life did he become aware of? Genesis 2:20.

NOTE: “After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion, but among them ‘there was not found an help meet for him.’ Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.

  1. How did God supply Adam’s need? Genesis 2:21–22.

NOTE: “Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.

  1. What counsel are we given that would help us to avoid some of the problems that arise in marriage? 2 Corinthians 6:14–15.

NOTE: “No one who fears God can without danger connect himself with one who fears Him not. ‘Can two walk together, except they be agreed?’ Amos 3:3. The happiness and prosperity of the marriage relation depends upon the unity of the parties; but between the believer and the unbeliever there is a radical difference of tastes, inclinations, and purposes. They are serving two masters, between whom there can be no concord. However pure and correct one’s principles may be, the influence of an unbelieving companion will have a tendency to lead away from God… The marriage of Christians with the ungodly is forbidden in the Bible. The Lord’s direction is, ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.’ 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17, 18.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 174, 175.

  1. What counsel is given to husbands and wives? Ephesians 5:22–25, 28, 33.

NOTE: “Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward the church is the spirit that husband and wife are to manifest toward each other. Neither husband nor wife is to make a plea for rulership. The Lord has laid down the principle that is to guide in this matter. The husband is to cherish his wife as Christ cherishes the church. And the wife is to respect and love her husband. Both are to cultivate the spirit of kindness, being determined never to grieve or injure the other.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 46–47.


  1. How did Christ express the permanence which marriage should have? Matthew 19:4–6.

NOTE: “Examine carefully to see if your married life would be happy, or inharmonious and wretched. Let the questions be raised, Will this union help me heavenward? Will it increase my love for God? And will it enlarge my sphere of usefulness in this life? If these reflections present no drawback, then in the fear of God move forward. But even if an engagement has been entered into without a full understanding of the character of the one with whom you intend to unite, do not think that the engagement makes it a positive necessity for you to take upon yourself the marriage vow, and link yourself for life to one whom you cannot love and respect. Be very careful how you enter into conditional engagements; but better, far better, break the engagement before marriage than separate afterward, as many do.” Review and Herald, January 26, 1886.

  1. Why, according to the Lord, was divorce permitted? Matthew 19:8.

NOTE: “He referred them to the blessed days of Eden, when God pronounced all things ‘very good.’ Then marriage and the Sabbath had their origin, twin institutions for the glory of God in the benefit of humanity. Then, as the Creator joined the hands of the holy pair in wedlock, saying, A man shall ‘leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one’ (Genesis 2:24), He enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time. That which the Eternal Father Himself had pronounced good was the law of highest blessing and development for man. Like every other one of God’s good gifts entrusted to the keeping of humanity, marriage has been perverted by sin; but it is the purpose of the gospel to restore its purity and beauty. In both the Old and the New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people, the redeemed ones whom He has purchased at the cost of Calvary.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 63–64.

  1. How did Jesus express the condemnation of heaven for many divorces? Matthew 19:9.

NOTE: “Among the Jews, a man was permitted to put away his wife for the most trivial offences, and the woman was then at liberty to marry again. This practice led to great wretchedness and sin. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared plainly that there could be no dissolution of the marriage tie, except for unfaithfulness to the marriage vow.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 63. “In cases of the violation of the seventh commandment, where the guilty party does not manifest true repentance, if the injured party can obtain a divorce without making their own cases and that of their children, if they have them, worse by so doing, they should be free. If they would be liable to place themselves and their children in worse condition by a divorce, we know of no scripture that would make the innocent party guilty by remaining. Time, and labor, and prayer, and patience, and faith, and a godly life, might work a reform. To live with one who has broken the marriage vows, and, covered all over with the disgrace and shame of guilty love, and realizes it not, is an eating canker to the soul; and yet, a divorce is a life-long, heart-felt sore. God pity the innocent party. Marriage should be considered well before contracted. Why! oh, why! will men and women who might be respectable, and good, and reach Heaven at last, sell themselves to the Devil so cheap, wound their bosom friends, disgrace their families, bring a reproach upon the cause, and go to hell at last? God have mercy. Why will not those who are overtaken in crime manifest repentance proportionate to the enormity of their crime, and fly to Christ for mercy, and heal, as far as possible, the wounds they have made? But, if they will not do as they should, and if the innocent have forfeited the legal right to a divorce, by living with the guilty after his guilt is known, we do not see that sin rests upon the innocent in remaining, and her moral right in departing seems questionable, if her health and life be not greatly endangered in so remaining.” Review and Herald, March 24,1868.

  1. What counsel did Paul give to those who are married to unbelieving partners? 1 Corinthians 7:12–16.

NOTE: “He who has entered the marriage relation while unconverted, is by his conversion placed under stronger obligation to be faithful to his companion, however widely they may differ in regard to religious faith; yet the claims of God should be placed above every earthly relationship, even though trials and persecution may be the result. With the spirit of love and meekness, this fidelity may have an influence to win the unbelieving one.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 175.


  1. What counsel did Paul give to Christians who are aware of the nearness of Christ’s Second Coming? Hebrews 10:25.

NOTE: “The Israelites needed the benefits of assembling for worship and entering into covenant together to serve the Lord. In separating themselves from the place of worship divinely appointed, they lost much. God had servants whose lips he unsealed to speak words of warning, encouragement, and reproof, so that the light received from Heaven by one shone not for himself alone, but to lighten the path of others. God knows best what His people need. His words come down to us, in warning and instruction, ‘Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.’ At the present day, as in ancient times, the people of God plead their own ease or convenience as an excuse for neglecting divine service. They will devise means to preserve the Christian name without making any sacrifice of time or means. God requires His people to maintain His worship. And those who are burdened with care and responsibility, should be the last to excuse themselves from religious privileges. They need wisdom from above. They need to be constantly reaching upward to lay hold on the divine arm, lest they stumble and fall.” Signs of the Times, July 28,1881.

  1. What testimony is given of the practice of the early Christian believers? Acts 2:42.

NOTE: “Everyone should feel that he has a part to act in making the Sabbath meetings interesting. You are not to come together simply as a matter of form, but for the interchange of thought, for the relation of your daily experiences, for the expression of thanksgiving, for the utterance of your sincere desire for divine enlightenment, that you may know God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. Communing together in regard to Christ will strengthen the soul for life’s trials and conflicts. Never think that you can be Christians and yet withdraw yourselves within yourselves. Each one is a part of the great web of humanity, and the experience of each will be largely determined by the experience of his associates. We do not obtain a hundredth part of the blessing we should obtain from assembling together to worship God. Our perceptive faculties need sharpening. Fellowship with one another should make us glad. With such a hope as we have, why are not our hearts all aglow with the love of God? We must carry to every religious gathering a quickened spiritual consciousness that God and His angels are there, co-operating with all true worshipers. As you enter the place of worship, ask the Lord to remove all evil from your heart. Bring to His house only that which He can bless. Kneel before God in His temple, and consecrate to Him His own, which He has purchased with the blood of Christ. Pray for the speaker or the leader of the meeting. Pray that great blessing may come through the one who is to hold forth the word of life. Strive earnestly to lay hold of a blessing for yourself. God will bless all who thus prepare themselves for His service. They will understand what it means to have the assurance of the Spirit because they have received Christ by faith.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 362–363.


  1. What duty is an essential part of the Christian’s life? Galatians 5:14.

NOTE: “The World’s Redeemer clearly defines what our duty is. To the lawyer who asked Him how he should obtain eternal life, He said: ‘What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?’ Then Jesus related the parable of the good Samaritan, and clearly showed that he is our neighbor who most needs our charity and help. We are to practice the commandments of God, and stand true to the relation which God has designed shall exist between man and his fellow man. It was never God’s purpose that society should be separated into classes, that there should be an alienation between the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the learned and the unlearned. But the practice of separating society into distinct circles is becoming more and more decided. God designed that those to whom He entrusted talents of means, ability, and gifts of grace, should be good stewards of His beneficence, and not seek to reap all the advantages for themselves. God does not estimate man by the amount of wealth, talent, or education that he may have. He values man in proportion as he becomes a good steward of His mercy and love.” The Southern Work, 37.

  1. In what way did Jesus show that this duty to our neighbor extends to little things as well as great deeds? Matthew 10:42.

NOTE: “Do not shut yourselves up to yourselves, satisfied to pour out all your affection upon each other. Seize every opportunity to contribute to the happiness of those around you, sharing with them your affection. Words of kindness, looks of sympathy, expressions of appreciation, would to many a struggling, lonely one be as a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. A word of cheer, an act of kindness, would go far to lighten the burdens that are resting heavily upon weary shoulders. It is in unselfish ministry that true happiness is found. And every word and deed of such service is recorded in the books of heaven as done for Christ. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,’ He declares, ‘ye have done it unto Me.’ Matthew 25:40.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 50.

The Divine Plan

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” Psalms 19:1–3.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many things in God’s creation that seem to be so similar? Take the similarity in construction of the solar system and of the atom. True, there are certain differences, but there are many basic principles that remain the same. Why?

Of course we know that it was the same Creator that created both the solar system and the atom. But couldn’t He have figured out different principles for different systems? Of course He could have.

But, besides all having the same Creator, we have a perfect Creator. And He created all things perfect. For many things there is only one perfect way of doing things. Thus, the perfect way of holding the solar system together is the same perfect way of holding the atom together.

Thus it is in our social nature. There are certain principles which God says were the very best for fulfilling social needs and thus He established the same principles in Heaven and on earth. The center of social life is the home and family.

“When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.” Adventist Home, 26.

The principles of the home are divine principles. They are principles that are found in heaven. When these principles are followed the home becomes a sanctified home.

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” Genesis 1:27.

Man is created in God’s image—not so much physically (for “He is a Spirit.” John 4:24), but mentally, socially and spiritually. In this article we are dealing with primarily the social and we are going to seek to find the ideal for our social nature by looking at the pattern and copying it.

It is important that we copy the pattern exactly, in every detail—just as Moses was admonished to do with the sanctuary. “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, ‘See,’ saith He,‘that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.’ ” Hebrews 8:5. If we will spend the time in communion with God and in studying the pattern (the heavenly family), our homes will become sanctified—or, a sanctuary.

To be sanctified means to be set apart for holy use. When a home is sanctified, it becomes a sanctuary for God to dwell in. Thus we find that many of heaven’s principles for our homes are demonstrated even in the earthly sanctuary that Moses pitched. When we start realizing these principles of our homes being copied after the pattern of heavenly things, the whole Bible takes on meaning for home and family improvement. “God would have our families symbols of the family in heaven.” Adventist Home, 17.

Now we will look at some of the heavenly principles that our homes are to be patterned after.

The #1 Principle: LOVE—of course

This must be the basis for anything that is copied after heavenly things for “God is love.” 1 John 4:8. But the point is, what is true love? Is it a feeling, sentimentalism, a physical act? What is love? And how is it displayed?

True love is a principle—a sanctified principle. (A sanctified principle is one which has been set apart or established by God.)

“True love is a high and holy principle, altogether different in character from that love which is awakened by impulse, and which suddenly dies when severely tested.” Adventist Home, 50.

“Sanctified principle should be the basis of every action [in the marriage relation].” Ibid., 122.

Love is a heaven established principle. This love principle is the good, old, heaven established principle of give and take! Not the give and take that we find in the world, but the give and take that is based on oneness with others—to give to others as though you were giving to yourself and to receive from others as though receiving from yourself (to appreciate the gift as though it had been you that had made the sacrifice.) The world’s counterfeit to this is a give and take that is based on selfishness.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12.

God demonstrates His love by giving and we demonstrate our love to Him by taking (or, in others words, by accepting His gifts and obeying His instructions.)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” John 3:16.

“If ye love Me, keep [accept] My commandments.” John 14:15.

The worldly, selfish way of giving commands is usually to bring glory and happiness to the commander. But Christ gave commands, instruction and Him-self, to bring happiness to the receiver.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11.

Another way of saying “giving and taking” is to say “leading and submitting.” Leadership and submission is a universal and divinely established (sanctified) plan. It is a law of all social relationships in the whole universe. It is also a law of Satan, but his is based on force and selfishness rather than on voluntary compliance and on love for the other person.

Circles of Love

As with the solar system and the atom, so the same circle of love that is manifested by guidance and submission between God and parents, is the same circle of love God intended should exist between parents and children. In fact, so similar is the relationship that God is called “our Father” and Christ, like a mother, brought us all into the world by His creative power.

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45.

“As one whom his mother com-forteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:13.

God’s relationship to us is like the ideal parent-child relationship. Therefore, to truly understand how to correctly raise a child, where would we turn to for our understanding?

“Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents is rejecting the authority of God.” Adventist Home, 293.

Where the problem comes in is that sin has messed up the “circle of love” pattern. Parents have never learned to submit themselves but expect their children to submit. (They expect of their children that which they are not willing to do themselves.) And because they themselves have never experienced the loving guidance of God, they do not know how to exercise loving guidance over their children. So the children are placed at a double disadvantage—they neither witness the example of their parents submitting to God nor do they experience the loving guidance which would cause them to want to submit, which God alone can teach to the parents. You can learn all the theory you want, but if you do not have a “circle of love” relationship with God—you know nothing about raising children correctly.

To Obey God or Man?

“When children have unbelieving parents, and their commands contradict the requirements of Christ, then, painful though it may be, they must obey God and trust the consequences with Him.” Adventist Home, 293.

“He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37.

“But,” someone may say, “I thought we just finished reading in Adventist Home, 293, that ‘parents shall stand in the place of God to their children.’ ” The sentences before that said “during the early years.” As soon as the child is old enough to develop a “circle of love” relationship of his own with God, then he becomes accountable to God personally.

Does this mean that the child is no longer under duty to be submissive to his parents? “‘Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.’ This is the first commandment with promise. It is binding upon childhood and youth, upon the middle-aged and the aged. There is no period in life when children are excused from honoring their parents. This solemn obligation is binding upon every son and daughter.” Adventist Home, 292.

There should be no conflict between obeying God and obeying our parents. But because of sin this is not the case. As long as we can obey God, we are to obey our parents all of our lives. But in case there is a conflict between obeying God or our parents, we must obey God.

We submit the most completely to those we love the most. (In the worldly “circle of selfishness” people submit most completely to those whom they either fear the most or think they can benefit the most from.) If we truly love God the most, we will submit to Him.

Think through these texts in relationship to this question.

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29.

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:37, 38.

“He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37.

Thought Question:

Does “obeying God rather than man” just involve keeping the Sabbath and paying tithe or could it involve the social, physical and mental aspects of life as well as the spiritual?

Let us illustrate the principle of submitting to God or to man by a worldly example:

Suppose we have a lineman who works on an assembly line and he takes his orders from the foreman. The foreman takes his orders from the boss of the company. If a lineman does not have any relationship with the boss and only knows what the foreman tells him, then the foreman stands in the place of the boss to the lineman and the lineman is responsible for only what the foreman tells him. This is the way a child is responsible to his parents as to God until he has a relationship of his own with God.

But now, suppose the boss becomes acquainted with the lineman and gives him a direct order contrary to what the foreman has said, now who is he responsible to? The boss himself. However, because the foreman may have been in disagreement with the boss on one point does not excuse the lineman for disobeying the foreman on every other account. And also, because the foreman himself may not be in perfect compliance with the boss on every point does that change the lineman’s relationship to the foreman (except where there is a direct conflict of orders)?

Submission from Love or Fear

There are three different types of relationship to God:

  1. Nonsubmission
  2. Submission from fear
  3. Submission from love

Whichever type of relationship a parent has toward God, his child will tend to have the same relationship.

“Parents should themselves be converted and know what it is to be in submission to God’s will, as little children, bringing into captivity their thoughts to the will of Jesus Christ, before they can rightly represent the government that God designed should exist in the family.” Adventist Home, 306.

Who Loves First?

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10.

Just as God loves us first and thereby wins our affection, just so the parent loves the child first and gains his trust, and the child in turn loves the parent and submits to his loving guidance. The parent does not bring the child home from the hospital and tell him “you submit to my control now—I’m going to show you that I am in control and you are going to obey the fifth commandment and obey me.” No! He showers him with love and soon the child is returning the parents affections and submitting to their loving guidance.

Husbands and Wives

“Now we are down to the real thing,” someone is going to say. Yet, we have been talking about the principles of husbands and wives this whole time. As we have noticed before, the same principles of relationships exist throughout the universe and apply to the husband and wife as well.

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

“So,” says the wife, “I am in the same relationship to my husband as a child.” Some of the same principles apply (as they do throughout the rest of the universe) but there are some real differences. Namely, that the wife is equal with the husband; whereas, in the relationships we have been talking about up to this point, we have had superior versus inferior beings. God is superior to the parents and the parents are superior to the child.

In this day of “equal rights,” submission is not a popular word. Liberation is the battle cry. Equality itself is an old established Bible principle.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28.

“Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self; showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” Adventist Home, 25.

So how does equality fit in with this heaven ordained principle of guidance and submission as commanded in Ephesians 5:22–26? In the world, authority is based on superiority; but not so in heaven. Again, to understand this mystery we go to our heavenly pattern.

These are lines of authority for choices that involve more than one being. God has given freedom to all and no one is to be a robot. But for things to involve more than one being, there are the lines of authority and submission that God set up.

Another real difference between the relation of husband and wife and that of parent and child is that parents are raising the child and helping him to form right character principles. But the husband is not raising the wife; they are to become one and are equal—and both are to help each other in character development. The principle of government between the husband and wife is so they can live together unitedly, work harmoniously and so learn to fit into the government of heaven.

“Your life would be much happier if you did not feel that absolute authority is vested in you because you are a husband and father.” Adventist Home, 225.

“You have peculiar views in regard to managing your family. You exercise an independent, arbitrary power which permits no liberty of will around you. You think yourself sufficient to be head in your family and feel that your head is sufficient to move every member, as a machine is moved in the hands of the workmen. You dictate and assume authority. This displeases Heaven and grieves the pitying angels. You have conducted yourself in your family as though you alone were capable of self-government. It has offended you that your wife should venture to oppose your opinion or question your decisions.” Ibid., 226.

“You think too much of your opinion; you have taken extreme positions, and have not been willing that your wife’s judgment should have the weight it should in your family. You have not encouraged respect for your wife yourself nor educated your children to respect her judgment. You have not made her your equal, but have rather taken the reins of government and control into your own hands and held them with a firm grasp. You have not an affectionate, sympathetic disposition. These traits of character you need to cultivate if you want to be an overcomer and if you want the blessing of God in your family.” Ibid., 227.

In the Godhead, we notice that the Father and the Son counsel together and make joint decisions, but the Father is still the head. This is the kind of headship the husband is to be. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3.

Another difference between the husband-wife relationship and that of parent-child is that the husband and wife are not to keep any secrets from each other that they might share with someone else. They are to be united and as one flesh.

“The husband and wife should be all to each other. The wife should have no secrets to keep from her husband and let others know, and the husband should have no secrets to keep from his wife to relate to others.” Adventist Home, 177.

“For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” John 5:20.

But many times there are things that are not revealed unto the children. “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” John 16:12.

Angelic Submission

The angels demonstrate this same principle of guidance and submission that is demonstrated between the Father and Son and should be demonstrated between husband and wife.

“Angels work harmoniously. Perfect order characterizes all their movements. The more closely we imitate the harmony and order of the angelic host, the more successful will be the efforts of these heavenly agents in our behalf. . . . Subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 649, 650.

The reason the angels work so harmoniously together, as though they were one, is because they have perfect submission. They have all learned perfect submission.

There was only one that refused to learn submission—Lucifer. But watch this—for those who say the wife is supposed to be subject unto the husband in all things even to disobeying God—what happened to the angels that remained subject unto Lucifer in his rebellion?

Submission is a principle learned by all the angels—and it must be learned by all of the family—not just the wife. Submission is a universal principle and it is just as much a principle for the husband to learn as for the wife to learn. The only difference is who they are immediately subject to. Never can perfect harmony reign in a home until every member learns the principle of submission.

Thought Question:

What if one family member has not learned submission—do the other members still have a duty to learn it?

Submission is a universal principle, and regardless of what any other member of the family may do, every member that ever makes it to heaven will have to learn the true principles of submission. Lack of submission to Christ forced the angels out of heaven and we are definitely not going to be taken there until we learn the principle.

But is submission hard? Not if the one doing the guiding has the love of Christ. Christ loved us enough to die for us—and that while we were yet sinners (before we had learned to submit). He even loves us enough to take us back and forgive us after we committed spiritual adultery against Him. Here are lessons for us all. (Note, however, that there is such a thing as an unpardonable sin.)

Learning the Principle

Guidance and submission is based on true love. It is the outworking of this heavenly principle. If we learn true love, guidance and submission will be the natural result.

“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.” The Desire of Ages, 668.

When we learn of God, the submission of self will be but the carrying out of our own impulses. For guidance and submission to work it must be based on love and the only place we can learn true love is from God.

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

If you want more love, where is the only place you can find it? Can you find it from Hollywood, from worldly marriage counsellors, from worldly books?

And secondly, if you do not know God, can you know love? Can a Hollywood producer who does not know God or a worldly marriage counsellor who does not know God know about true love?

But more importantly, can your spouse or child know true love without knowing God? And what are you doing, therefore, to encourage them in their daily devotional life? But most importantly of all, can you know true love without knowing God through a daily relationship with Him?

This principle of true love is one which we will be learning more about throughout eternity. And as long as we are in a family on earth, we can daily learn more of the joys of this principle.

“To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.” Adventist Home, 105.

But this growing experience can only come through a daily relationship with God: through daily devotions. “Continual devotion establishes so close a relation between Jesus and His disciple that the Christian becomes like Him in mind and character.” The Desire of Ages, 251.

This includes prayer, Bible and Spirit of Prophecy study and meditation. If you are not having this relationship, you do not as yet know true happiness in marriage! “But,” you say, “not very many people have daily devotions that amount to anything.” That is true, and that is why, “There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 504.

But you can be the “one.” You can enjoy this happiness. You can have it if you will daily learn from the pattern.

“The sweetest type of heaven is a home where the Spirit of the Lord presides. If the will of God is fulfilled, the husband and wife will respect each other and cultivate love and confidence.” The Adventist Home, 15.

What God Hath Joined

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought Question:

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

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

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

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

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

The Devil Has An Advantage Over God

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

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

The Story of Eve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Trees

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

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

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

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

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

And low and behold, the serpent was right.

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

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

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

Get the Good and Reject the Bad

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought Question:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eating from the Tree of Life

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

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

If you love, you know God.

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

If you know God, you love.

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

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

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

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

The Galling Yoke

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Matthew 22:29, 30.

To many people this is one of the greatest promises in all the Bible. These are the two verses that have given countless scores of miserable people, who are held in bondage by their marriage vows, strength to continue. While some-especially the naïve youth who think that marriage is just bliss-think this is a most discouraging passage, Jesus saw that it was the very promise that some people needed. Most people would be happier unmarried. For most people marriage is a galling yoke.

“Few have correct views of the marriage relation. Many seem to think that it is the attainment of perfect bliss; but if they could know one quarter of the heartaches of men and women that are bound by the marriage vow in chains that they cannot and dare not break, they would not be surprised that I trace these lines. Marriage, in a majority of cases, is a most galling yoke. There are thousands that are mated but not matched. The books of heaven are burdened with the woes, the wickedness, and the abuse that lie hidden under the marriage mantle. This is why I would warn the young who are of a marriageable age to make haste slowly in the choice of a companion. The path of married life may appear beautiful and full of happiness; but why may not you be disappointed as thousands of others have been?” The Adventist Home, 44.

Most of the success we observe in marriage is a put-on, and so few know it. It seems like everyone thinks they are the only ones that are putting on and everyone else is lucky enough to have a lot better marriage-but of course they are not going to let anyone else know that their marriage is not what it should be. (And they should not. What they should do is just get down to business and correct the situation, but the trouble is they do not know how or where to go. No one has told them that God has the only answer.)

Not only does the public not know about the galling yoke that is weighing down so many of their acquaintances, but many times even their spouses do not know. The poor people are carrying a most heavy load all by themselves. To these people, Christ’s promise is a most blessed assurance. But until Christ’s promise is fulfilled in heaven, they need help-they need someone to direct them to the source of happiness. They need someone of their own sex whom they can trust, and who has the answers, and who has true purity and understanding. This is where many Adventist women can fill a great role. While there are sometimes godly pastors who the men can counsel with, often there are few godly women that other women can go to for counsel in times of need. (It might interest you to know that this is where both E.J. Waggoner and A.T. Jones began to get off track. They had a burden for helping women with their problems and they got themselves and these other women into problems.) We need more women counselors. For those who would like to gain the knowledge necessary to do this, a good place to start is with the section on the home, in The Ministry of Healing.

Marriage-Like a Taste of Heaven or Hell?

To most people, marriage is a galling yoke. Is it any wonder that Paul said: “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.” 1 Corinthians 7:1, 7, 8.

“Satan is constantly busy to hurry inexperienced youth into a marriage alliance. But the less we glory in the marriages which are now taking place, the better.” The Adventist Home, 80.

Why did they say these things? Were Paul and Mrs. White sour on marriage? No. Paul is the same author who wrote Ephesians 5 and Hebrews 13:4, and Mrs. White wrote many beautiful passages, about what marriage can be, in The Adventist Home. They were not down on marriage, they knew what a beautiful institution it was intended to be and which it can be. But they also knew how things usually are. They understood that the devil has more to do with many marriages than Christ. They understood that marriage is usually a symbol of hell rather than heaven. They have seen some of the “heartaches of men and women that are bound by the marriage vow in chains that they cannot and dare not break.” They knew that “marriage, in the majority of cases, is a most galling yoke.” This is why they warned “the young who are of marriageable age to make haste slowly. . . . The path of marriage life may appear beautiful and full of happiness; but why may not . . . [they] be disappointed as thousands of others have been?”

Paul was not sour on marriage, but his heart must have bled as he was shown the misery that has resulted from the marriage institution. What was intended to be a blessing has turned into a curse for many.

If Paul and Mrs. White warned against marriage, what should be our counsel to others?

“In this age of the world . . . the fewer the marriages contracted, the better for all, both men and women.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 366.

It is so easy when a married couple achieves a home which is a little heaven on earth, to want every other single friend to have the same experience. But the prophets have encouraged us to make haste slowly and the fewer marriages the better. Let us give the same counsel.

God’s Way

For most people marriage is a galling yoke. But suppose you are one of the rare people who follow God’s counsel and have a little heaven in your home and you wish that your happy marriage could continue throughout eternity. Do not worry, God never takes anything away but what He gives something better. In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read about heaven, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

But as to what God has prepared for our family relation in heaven, the silence is golden. We are not to speculate. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29. (See also Selected Messages, Book 1, 173.)

While a majority of marriages are a galling yoke, even most of the minority that are left are not heaven. While many marriages are not yet a perfect hell, they are far from being a heaven either. “There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily, that bear the sanction of God, and places the parties in a position better to glorify Him.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 504. Oh, they may experience a few thrills along the way, but the real peace and lasting happiness and security of heaven are not there.

Some might say: “Only one in one hundred? Why, no wonder my marriage is lousy, I do not have a chance.” Yes, it is true that less than one in a hundred have happy homes, but that is because less than one in a hundred follow God. But every couple can have perfect happiness at home if they choose. And it works much better if they choose together.

Every couple can achieve all that God intended for their home if they choose together. Choose together, study together, work at it together, pray about it together and claim Matthew 18:19 together. “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven.” And in all your togetherness, maintain your individual relationship and devotions with God. He claims your highest service. Never forget Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

What If Only You Choose?

But what happens if your partner does not care? If this is the case, you may not be able to have a happy home, but you can have happiness through Christ and you can bear the burden silently and quietly, pouring out your burdens only to God, until the day that Christ gives you something better than marriage. If you are called to suffer for Christ’s sake, rejoice. For Christ said, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:38.

Whenever one person decides to follow Christ all the way (in the marriage relation as well as in all other affairs of life) and the other person has not decided to do so (even though the other person may be a Seventh-day Adventist) there is always friction. Not because the one following Christ has brought friction, but because the other person is resisting Christ and His way. Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36.

We do not live in a world of peace. Even when we are following God ourselves, we are not always going to have an ideal home situation. Jesus was accused and spit upon and beaten and crucified, not because He had done wrong, but because others had done wrong. We do not always receive our just reward in this life-either for good or for evil.

“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” Matthew 10:24, 25.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:11, 12.

These texts apply as much to the home as anywhere else. This life is a preparatory period for the one above. We do not need to expect that we will go through without trials. If we could get to heaven without having any trials, we would not feel that we had any right to the place. “Would you enter heaven if you could without suffering, and dwell in the presence of that Jesus, who suffered so much for us? . . . O, it would be no place for you. Any other place would be far preferable. You would feel that you had no right there.” Review and Herald, February 17, 1853. But when we get to heaven, we will have passed through trials and overcome, and we will feel we have a perfect right to the city. (See Early Writings, 17.)

However, remember, many people suffer trial and heartache, not for Christ’s sake, but because of their own stubbornness and fanaticism. The only suffering that results in blessing is that which is suffered for Christ’s sake.

Our duty, as we follow Christ, is not to be loved, but to love. Our duty in our home, as we seek to follow Christ’s example, is not to be loved, but to love. (1 John 4:7-10.) This, all of us can do. We may not all receive love, but we can all give love. Our duty is to love, and we must trust God to supply us with the love we all need. This is a matter of developing faith, and God will not let us down.

“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Matthew 10:29, 30.

Our duty is to learn to love. We must love first, not for reward, but because Christ first loved us. We must trust and wait for the reward from Christ. As we show this unselfish love, in many cases, we will win the affection and love of our partners over to us.

The apostles spoke of this. Paul said, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” 1 Corinthians 7:14, 16. Peter also admonished, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.” 1 Peter 3:1.

No, not everyone will be won, but, the more loving we become, the greater the probabilities. And if it does not happen, count yourself a partner with God-His love is rejected all of the time.

The Work of Sanctification

But what happens when you both decide to follow God by patterning your home after His? Will you have heaven the next morning? No. You can and will have heaven, on this earth, in your home, and it can start tomorrow (today even), but it will be a growing process. It will be a growing process that will not end in this life. You can have sanctified homes, but, “there is no such thing as instantaneous sanctification. True sanctification is a daily work, continuing as long as life shall last.” Sanctified Life, 10.

“Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, or a day. It is a continual growth in grace.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 340.

“The Scriptures plainly show that the work of sanctification is progressive.” The Great Controversy, 470.

“Sanctification is the work of a lifetime.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 65.

The sanctification of the home is the work of a lifetime. Let none think they have arrived. No matter how much happiness you may have experienced in your home today, you can experience more tomorrow. No matter how much sorrow you may have experienced in your home today, you can, in the future, have a sanctified, happy home-if you start the process of sanctification today. “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

Have faith in God. Trust your life to Him. He will not let you down. He is as concerned about you as if you were the only person on the face of the universe. (Steps to Christ, 100.)

Enter this school toward a sanctified home, today. You can do this by having daily devotions (prayer, mediation and the study of God’s word), by learning of God’s character and then treating your spouse and children as God treats you. Pattern your relationships after the heavenly.

“To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.” The Adventist Home, 105.

The articles on the family we have printed these last four months have been but a brief introduction. There is so much more we have not covered: communication, finances, recreation, the relation of healthful living to the home, excess and insufficiency of the physical union, and much more. But the answers are in God’s word-in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Are you studying these books? (A five-minute glance is not studying.) We should have books like The Adventist Home worn out.

Read no faster than you can assimilate. If all you can absorb at one time is one sentence, spend your whole hour of study on that one sentence, praying and pleading with God to make it a part of your life. God’s word is not to be read as a story book, it is to be eaten, digested and absorbed into our lives as fruit from the tree of life. Every word that Christ has given to us is for our happiness and the success of our homes. (John 15:11.)

And along with your reading, pray. Pray to God as you would talk to a friend. Learn to enjoy communion with Him, and soon the fifteen minutes, the half hour, the hour that you are spending in prayer with God, in the morning, will be the most precious part of the day. Tell Him your burdens and joys, your desires and heartaches. He will listen and He will help. He will walk with you all day long. He will sanctify you and He will sanctify your home, with the peace and joy of heaven.

“It is in accord with the will of God that man and wife should be linked together in His work, to carry it forward in a wholeness and a holiness. They can do this.

“The blessing of God in the home where this union shall exist is as the sunshine of heaven, because it is the Lord’s ordained will that man and wife should be linked together in holy bonds of union, under Jesus Christ, with Him to control, and His spirit to guide. . . .

“God wants the home to be the happiest place on earth, the very symbol of the home in heaven. Bearing the marriage responsibilities in the home, linking their interests with Jesus Christ, leaning upon His arm and His assurance, husband and wife may share a happiness in this union that angels of God commend.” The Adventist Home, 102.

The Last Invitation – Part I

We live in a world and a generation of great darkness. I do a little colporteuring from time to time, and I meet various people. I can tell you that there is a lot of darkness, but I can tell you as well, there are also some bright lights. It is like the night sky. As you look into the heavens, the majority of what you see is darkness, but interspersed between the darkness, is the light.

God wants you and me to be part of the program to spread the light. There is one thing, and only one thing, that helps us bear the darkness in this world, whether it is physical darkness or spiritual darkness, and that is light. When it is dark, there is just something about light.

There Will be an End

Three or four things that I am going to mention have something in common about them. See if you can identify the common denominator. All of us, at sometime, have begun reading a book, and we have found it so interesting that sometimes we did not want to put it down. Is that right? This has something in common with making a dress, building a front porch or going on a vacation. They all share a commonality. Have you found it? There is something that is the same within all of those tasks,—there is an expected end in view. When you pick up a book, you know that there is going to be an end. And if it is a good book, the more you read, the more desirous you are to get to the end. When the ladies make a dress, as they begin cutting the fabric and putting it together, the further along they get the more desirous they are of getting it finished. Is that right?

It is the same with building a porch, and it is the same with taking a vacation. The closer we get to our completed project, the more excited we become. Is that right?

That excitement is like the experience God wants us to have with Him. You and I can gain in earnestness and desire only as we progress in the Gospel truth. As we choose to walk in the way with Jesus and make progress in the Christian life, we are going to grow in earnestness and desire to reach the expected end.

God says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, . . . thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11. You see, God has something in view for you and me and for all humanity, if we are willing to respond; He has an expected end in view for us.

No Power without His Righteousness

In Romans 1:16, 17, Paul declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

You see, the power of God for salvation is in His righteousness. There is no power unto salvation without His righteousness. Paul makes that very clear.

If we want power in our lives, we must have the righteousness of God within—period. The gospel of Jesus Christ is an invitation from God to all humanity. God is not in the business of coercing us into heaven. He will not twist our arms. He will not force us, but He will invite us, and He is inviting us.

There may be some reading this who have never accepted Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour. I tell you that God is beside you, and He invites you to come to Him today. There are some of us who have accepted and responded to the invitation, but God is calling us to a greater commitment. He has an expected end in view. Do you? We must have the same view that He has. We must be in harmony with His mind if we are going to reach His expectation.

The gospel is an invitation to “Come.” “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live.” Isaiah 55:3. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18.

High Expectations

God has a high expectation for humanity, higher than most professed Christians understand in this generation. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.

It is an invitation, brothers and sisters, by the God of heaven to His created in this world. How you and I respond to this invitation will determine where we are when we see the reality of the expected end.

The expected end is revealed in Revelation 19:9: “And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” “These are the true sayings of God;” God does not lie, and what God says will happen, will happen.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

There will be a marriage supper of the Lamb. It is the expected end that He has in view for you and for me. How we receive the invitation, brothers and sisters, will depend on whether or not we are at that supper.

Jesus brings to view the reality of the expected end in the marriage supper of the Lamb in Luke 22:29, 30. “‘And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me; That ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”

Jesus wants us to someday sit down at His table, at the marriage supper of the Lamb. There we will eat and drink with the rest of the redeemed. I do not want to miss this supper. Do you want to be there?.

Jesus, the Servant

Jesus gives us a startling revelation in regard to the marriage supper of the Lamb. He lifts the veil a little bit so we can catch a view of the expected end. “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” Luke 12:37.

Who is going to be one of the servants to serve the redeemed at the marriage supper of the Lamb? Who will come over to you and ask, “Would you like the pineapple, the watermelon or the cantaloupe?” Our Saviour Himself will serve us!

It is all reality, brothers and sisters, because what God says will happen, will happen. The question is, are you and I going to be a part of the happening?

He wants us there. He has a place, if I may say, a placesetting, that He wants to put out for you and for me at His table. Jesus said, “‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1–3.

The Royal Table

I would suggest to you that it is more than a mansion that Jesus is preparing; it is a place at the table of the Lamb. It is reality, brothers and sisters, because these are the true sayings of God.

In Matthew 22, Jesus brings to view the marriage supper of the Lamb through a parable. This parable is fraught with all kinds of warnings for us. “And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid [invite] to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.’” (Verses 1–10.)

What a hard time the God of heaven has! You can sense it right there, can you not? He has a hard time getting humanity to respond to an invitation to eternal life. It is hard to understand! “‘

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him in the outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Verses 11, 12.)

Quite a revealing parable, to say the least, in regard to the marriage supper of the Lamb, which is the expected end that God has in view for His redeemed at the beginning of their eternal life with Him. You and I have the potential, by our choice, to make Jesus glad or sad in regard to this invitation.

Jesus is Preparing for You

There are seven things in this parable I want to review with you. Let us go back to some of the statements Jesus made.

“‘All things are ready.’” (Verse 4.) “‘Behold, I have prepared My dinner.’” All things are ready? Yes, God the Father, the Son and the Spirit have made all things ready that are necessary for us to be there at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Everything has been taken care of. Everything! God has not missed one point. He has taken care of it all. He is waiting for you and for me to choose to be in harmony with His readiness. They are ready, are we? Are we getting ready?

“‘But they made light of it.’” (Verse 5.) They made light of the invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb. You see, ultimately, you and I choose whether we are going to be earnest or whether we are gong to make light of it. It is our choice. They made light of it. They came to a decision within themselves to think it was not all that necessary to make all of these preparations to be ready for the supper. They allowed their minds to be focused somewhere else.

But, they remained being professed people of God. There is a total distinction between being professed and being possessed. God wants a people who are possessed with His righteousness. It is the only thing that will prepare us for the supper.

“‘They were not worthy.’” (Verse 8.) The wedding is ready, but they, which were bidden, were not worthy. Why were they not worthy? Because they were not ready. To be worthy is to be ready. Again, our choice is involved.

They went out in the highways and the byways and they gathered in people. (Verse 10.) There were two categories of people who responded to the invitation. What were they? the bad and the good. Now, do you and I have the ability to distinguish between those two categories within the church? No, God does. God reads the heart. God knows why you are reading this article. God knows where your thoughts are as you read. God knows where your heart is at this moment.

The Wedding Garment

As you read on in the parable, you find that heaven views those who are not putting on the wedding garment as bad. All you have to do is be reluctant to put on the robe of His righteousness to be deemed of heaven as one of the “bad ones.”

This should alarm us, brothers and sisters, because in every congregation of professed Christians, God tells us there are bad and good. The ultimate question is, which are you; which am I?

So, Paul, the great apostle, says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” II Corinthians 13:5. It does not matter if you are in the church. It does not matter how faithful you are in coming to church. Examine your heart, whether you are in the faith. Faith has everything to do with His righteousness, as we read in Romans 1:16, 17. Look at this phrase: “‘Which had not on a wedding garment.’” (Verse 11.) He came in and saw one of the guests. In the parable, this is the only item that is given that qualifies for sitting down at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Do not miss it. It is the only thing. It is the wedding garment. We must understand what that wedding garment is, and what it is not, if we are to some day sit at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

No Excuses

There will be no excuses. When he found that there was no wedding garment on this man, he asked him about it (Verse 12). What was the man’s response? He was speechless. There was nothing to say. All the excuses, all the self-justifying had just vaporized, and this man knew why he was lost. In the second resurrection, after the millennium, when God brings up every soul who is lost, who chose not to receive the invitation, there is no one with a voice saying, “I did not have a chance. This was unfair.”

There is no voice raised in that vast crowd, that sea of lost souls. Sad to say, they are speechless, because they all know why they are where they are. Then, in verse 13, Jesus says of those who will be lost: “‘Cast him away into outer darkness.’”

This parable brings time to view, brothers and sisters. There is a time to get ready, a time to be ready, and then there is no more time. The time will soon come when it is too late; it is over. Those who die no longer have a choice. It is over. It is done. There are no more choices; there are no more opportunities in the grave. So now, while we are living and breathing and moving, oh, what an opportunity we have to accept this invitation extended by a marvelous God. It is sad to see what a slow response God is getting.

Now, I want you to notice something. When the king came in and he saw this man, this guest, without a wedding garment, the man had come into the marriage supper believing he was all right. I have heard some people, as I go from door to door colporteuring, say, “I am good. I am ready. I am ready to go. I am good to go, I do not need any books.”

Well, this man thought that he was good and ready. The man was deceived. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. God can. So David, in Psalm 139:23, 24, says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Believing Does Not Make it So

That is the attitude you and I need to have. That is the spirit you and I need to have. Do you want to be at the expected end that God has in view for you? I do. I want to cooperate. You see, apart from God’s grace upon our hearts, we will be deceived. Our hearts will deceive us. I do not care how long you have known the Gospel truth; I do not care how much of the truth you know. If you walk outside of God’s grace, you are opening the door to being deceived by your own heart into thinking everything is right when everything is wrong.

To be continued . . .

As We Near the End of Time, Part I

We are living in very serious times. We must have divine power in our lives, or we will be eternally lost. As I have studied in the Spirit of Prophecy lately, I have noticed over and over that Ellen White writes, “As we draw near the end,” and then she states some things that are going to happen “As we approach the close of time.”

As we near the end, Scripture tells us, “And these things happened to them for types [some translations say for examples, or ensamples] and it is written for our warning unto whom the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11. Paul is here writing about the children of Israel, especially their experience in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan, and he says that things happened to them there that were types. Now types do not mean anything unless there is an antitype. What is the antitype? The antitype is what is going to happen to God’s people in the end of time. It is written, Paul says, for our warning.


Some people do not like warnings, but warnings keep us out of trouble. Inspiration writes, “The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for the benefit of the Israel of God to the close of time. . . . God would have His people in these days review with a humble heart and teachable spirit the trials through which ancient Israel passed, that they may be instructed in their preparation for the heavenly Canaan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 293. I personally feel a great need for being instructed so that I can be prepared for the heavenly Canaan.

One of the things that we are instructed against in 1 Corinthians 10:8 is, “Neither commit fornication just as some of them committed fornication and fell one day 23,000.”

This story is first recorded in Numbers 25, but it is referred to over and over again in the Old Testament. Obviously it is an important lesson that God’s people need to understand. This story occurred as the children of Israel neared the end of their wilderness sojourn. They knew the 40 years were just about up—they were going into the Promised Land! It should have been the most exciting of all times, but instead, they had the following experience: “Israel dwelt in Shittim and the people began to commit fornication with the daughters of Moab. And the people were called to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and they bowed down to their gods, and Israel was joined to Baal Peor. [Baal Peor was the heathen religion, and associated with this heathen religion were temple prostitutes and all the trappings of the central practices that went along with heathenism.] The wrath of Jehovah glowed against Israel.” Numbers 25:1–3. How did this happen?

In the book Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 453–457, Ellen White goes into great detail about this story. Here are six points concerning this story that we need to keep clearly in mind:

  1. This sin happened just before they went into the Promised Land.
  2. The children of Israel were in very attractive surroundings. They were encamped on a high plain that had a tropical climate, and there was an abundance of acacia trees. On the western border of this plain was Jericho, with an abundance of palm trees.
  3. They were living a life of ease and inaction; they were at peace. Friend, if that is your situation, pay special attention to this story. Ellen White says that the devil is never more successful than when he comes to people in their idle hours, and in the Western World, especially in the United States, we have more spare time today than any previous generation. (See Messages to Young People, 214; The Adventist Home, 284.)
  4. This country was utterly defiled by Baal worship. It was a land polluted by vileness and licentiousness and the accompaniments of Baal worship.
  5. While they were at ease and inactive, with idolatry and the practices of idolatry around them, unconsciously they came into a condition where they fell prey to temptation.
  6. The people were not forced to sin, but they were seduced into sin.


As I looked through the statements in Patriarchs and Prophets about how they were seduced and how the same thing can happen today, I found 17 points.

1 There was friendship with the heathen, idolatrous women. Some of these women, no doubt, were temple prostitutes for the Baal worship. At first it was only friendship. Do you realize that there will be many millions of people lost because of who their friends are? You cannot have a friend without that friendship having an effect on you. Who are your friends?

2 They entered into social entertainment with these heathen people, and it seemed perfectly innocent. Is that not so often the way sin is—at first it seems as though nothing is wrong. Many people will lose their soul because of their social life. Everyone needs some social outlet, but you need social outlet with people who fear God and who keep His Commandments.

3 In these social entertainments, they did what we do today—they prepared a big meal. There was feasting. A person who has just eaten a big meal is more susceptible to sensual temptation than a person who is fasting.

4 They not only had feasting, they were “beguiled with music,” Ellen White says, brought in by the Midianitish women. Patriarchs and Prophets, 454.

5 They also had dancing. (See Ibid.)

6 They were “allured by the beauty of heathen vestals,” that is, by the heathen women who were the temple prostitutes. Ibid. Ellen White says that their consciences were defiled by lewdness. (See Ibid.) We are living in a land today where, unless we are continually on guard, our consciences are defiled by lewdness. If you are a man, you cannot even go through the checkout counter in the grocery store without having to avert your eyes, or you will be looking on women who are not properly dressed; your conscience will be defiled by lewdness. You will be looking at things you should not be looking at, and after you have done that over time, you will say things that formerly you would not say; you will do things that you would not formerly do.

7 There was mirth in these festivities. (See Ibid.) Mirth is when people are laughing and joking and acting frivolously.

8 They also had a little wine to go along with everything else. When an alcoholic beverage is consumed, one of the first things affected is the cerebrum, the very front of the brain. That is where your inhibitions, your judgment, your conscience are located. These become anesthetized—your inhibitions are gone; your judgment is gone, and the limbic system of the brain takes over. That is the pain and pleasure center of the brain. Study what Ellen White says about the animal passions controlling the higher powers of the mind when alcoholic beverages are used. (See Counsels on Diet and Foods, 433.)

It was not long before the poison had spread like a deadly infection through the camp of Israel. The children of Israel, who would have conquered these people in battle, were overcome by seduction; they seemed infatuated. The apostasy became national, and the Lord instructed Moses that these people would have to be killed. (See Numbers 25:4,5.) Between 23,000 and 24,000 people were killed that day.

In commenting on this, Ellen White says, “Satan well knows the material with which he has to deal in the human heart. He knows—for he has studied with fiendish intensity for thousands of years the points most easily assailed in every character.” Friend, do you know what your weak point is? The devil does! She continues, “Through successive generations he has wrought to overthrow the strongest men, princes in Israel, by the same temptations that were so successful at Baal Peor. All along through the ages there are strewn wrecks of character that have been stranded upon the rocks of sensual indulgence. As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul. It is not the ignorant and uncultured merely that need to be guarded; he will prepare his temptations for those in the highest positions, in the most holy office; if he can lead them to pollute their souls, he can through them destroy many. And he employs the same agents now as he employed three thousand years ago.Patriarchs and Prophets, 457, 458.

“A long preparatory process, unknown to the world, goes on in the heart before the Christian commits open sin. The mind does not come down at once from purity and holiness to depravity, corruption, and crime. It takes time to degrade those formed in the image of God to the brutal or the satanic. By beholding we become changed. By the indulgence of impure thoughts man can so educate his mind that sin which he once loathed will become pleasant to him.” Ibid., 459. When you watch what you are not supposed to be watching, the result is that impure thoughts come into your mind, and as you keep watching the impure, you cannot get the thoughts out of your mind and eventually you are going to do it.

Seduction in our Day

Here are some things Ellen White mentions regarding our day:

  1. “We cannot walk the streets of our cities without encountering flaring notices of crime presented in some novel.” The Adventist Home, 406. What are you reading? Somebody says, “I am just reading that for entertainment.” Oh? Do you want entertainment to take you to eternal destruction? Different people have different temptations.
  2. She continues, “. . . notices of crime to be acted out at some theatre.” Ibid. We act out, in our theatres today, all of the famous crimes that have been committed in the world. We watch them enacted in the theatres, on the television, or on video over and over again. Does that have any effect on us? “By beholding we become changed.” Ibid., 330. That is a law of the mind.
  3. Ellen White writes about the periodicals and the magazines too. She says, “The course pursued by the base and vile is kept before the people in the periodicals of the day, and everything that can excite passion is brought before them in exciting stories.” My Life Today, 87. Every time a magazine is published, if a large circulation is desired, something must be included that will grab people so they just have to read it! You know what is in those magazines, and they are getting worse and worse. It is so bad that, if you go to a bookstore to buy something, you almost feel that you have to have a blinder on so that you can only look straight ahead and not see all of the stuff scattered all over the place. It is evil, and if you look at it, evil thoughts will be injected into your mind. Concerning these periodicals, she says, “They hear and read so much of debasing crime [there are magazines that specialize in that] that the once tender conscience, which would have recoiled with horror from such scenes, becomes hardened, and they dwell upon these things with greedy interest.” IbidAfter these things have been going on, and a person has been involved in such, they still cannot seem to figure out why their marriage becomes ruined. As a pastor I hear many heartbreaking stories, and I feel terrible about each situation, but most of the time there is very little that I can do. There was not much that Moses could do either; he just ordered the transgressors to be killed.
  4. The drama. That is the motion picture industry today.
  5. The opera.
  6. The masquerade. That is pantomime. That was the beginning, in Ellen White’s day, of the motion picture industry that we have today.
  7. The dance.
  8. The card table. This is a tool of the devil’s to get people going down the road to sensuality. If you do not understand what is wrong with card playing, or
    with a deck of cards, there is a book, written by a Protestant preacher, entitled, A Deck of Cards,
    [Charles F. Weigle, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1955.] that explains exactly what is in a card game and what the symbols represent. Card games have been used for centuries as a sensual device, and it is used in the practice of fornication, even today. You have heard of something called strip poker? That is exactly what it is; it is evil. Ellen White says that Satan uses the card table to “break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual indulgence.” The Adventist Home, 515.
  9. “In every gathering for pleasure, where pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul.” Ibid. That is something well worth thinking through.

Unscriptural Marriages

There are some people who feel that they are immune to these things. They think the preacher is talking to somebody else, because these things are not their problem!

During the last few years there has been an increasing discussion among historic Adventists about the identity of Babylon and whether the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is part of it, and although that is not the subject of this study, it is definitely related to it.

I want to share a statement that Ellen White wrote to the General Conference President, G. I. Butler, in 1886: “We must as a people arouse and cleanse the camp of Israel. Licentiousness, unlawful intimacy, and unholy practices are coming in among us [Seventh-day Adventists] in a large degree; and ministers who are handling sacred things are guilty of sin in this respect. They are coveting their neighbors’ wives, and the seventh commandment is broken. We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage of every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 380.

People have read that statement and then said, “I have read this statement, and I know what happened in the General Conference session in Toronto [Ontario, Canada] in 2000, so I believe that statement has now been fulfilled. I believe the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is in the ‘fallen sister’ category.”

If that is your criteria about who Babylon is, then friend, there are many historic Adventist churches who are also part of Babylon. First, they are led by ministers whose divorce and remarriage is not recognized in heaven; and second, they have members who are in the same category.

Remember what Ellen White said?

“All along through the ages there are strewn wrecks of character that have been stranded upon the rocks of sensual indulgence. As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 457.

Friend, he has his snares laid for you, and he has his snares laid for me. We are walking, as it were, through a mine-field. What are we going to do? We are up against somebody who has thousands of years of experience, and he knows our weak points in character and how to trip us up.

Babylon or Pharisee

There are two courses of action that are common in these situations. I have seen these two approaches taken almost universally, in both conference churches where I have been a member and in independent Adventist churches.

One course leads directly to sisterhood with Babylon. If, in your church, people can practice fornication and still be a member, you are part of Babylon already. It would be good to come out of that church. Historic Adventists say, “We are not going to do that; we will take the second course.” That course leads directly to Phariseeism. Some people go one way, some go the other way, and the devil gets you either way. From my past experience, I am more afraid of the Pharisees in Adventism than I am of the Babylonians in Adventism.

I know this is sensitive, but we need to study this business of unscriptural marriages which are found throughout Adventism, especially in the western countries. I want to make a special appeal to people who are not yet trapped in an unscriptural marriage, who are not living in sin, to listen to the advice that the apostle Paul gave to a young minister. “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily [this is referring to not ordaining deacons, elders, or ministers of whom you know nothing—do not ordain people too quickly] neither be a partaker of other men’s sins. Keep yourself pure.” 1 Timothy 5:22.

Share not Sin

My young friends, do not let the devil, or any of his agents, ever convince you that you are missing anything because you are not engaging in the temporary pleasures of sin. You are missing sorrow and grief, but you are not missing anything else. The Bible calls it the temporary pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:25), but after the pleasure is the pain, the trouble, the sorrow and the grief. For a short period of pleasure, a person makes repentance for the rest of their lives.

The time to decide that you are not going to get in the devil’s trap is before you get in the trap! You see, there are some traps, especially for the young, that the devil can get you in that you will never get out of in this world, even if you repent. Paul said, do not be a sharer in other men’s sins (1 Timothy 5:22). Keep yourself pure. Do not commit fornication. The Scripture says, “If anyone destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him.” God will make good on His Word. “Those that do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:21.)

There was a man who fell into this trap, and he wrecked his life and a whole nation. He himself eventually left the way of sin that had damaged him, but the nation he had wrecked was taken captive by the heathen. His name was Solomon. Before you yield to the temptations of Satan, listen to what Solomon has to say: “The lips of a strange woman drip honey, and her palate is smoother than oil, but afterwards she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. . . . Remove your ways far from her and do not come near the door of her house lest you give to others your honor and your years to the cruel one [that is the devil] lest strangers be filled with your strength and thy toil be in the house of a stranger and you moan at the last when your flesh and body are consumed.” “Her house leads down to death. None that go to her return again. Her guests are in the depths of sheol.” Proverbs 5:3, 4, 8–11, 6.

Devil’s Trap

Oh friend, as we approach the end, the devil is going to do the same thing that he did with Israel just before they went into the Promised Land. Adventist preachers have never had so much trouble with this in the history of the church as they are having now. You do not want to be part of the 23,000 or 24,000 that went down. Those people, who were killed, not only lost their temporal life, they lost eternal life. They lost everything! There are multitudes today who are losing eternal life for a few moments of sensual pleasure. How stupid can we be!

The devil has a trap set for you. Many of the people I meet have already stepped into the trap. Let me tell you, it is a lot harder to get out of the trap than it is to just stay out of the trap in the first place. Pray that God will give you wisdom and guide your choices, so you are not caught in the devil’s snare.

Somebody may say, “I am already in an unscriptural marriage. Now what am I going to do?” Well, you are going to have trouble in this world, but you can be saved. We will study that in Part 11 of this article when we look at Babylon and at the Pharisees.

[All emphasis supplied. Bible texts quoted are literal translation.]

To be continued . . .

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

As We Near the End of Time, Part II

I need to share with you about something which I do not want to address, but which I must address. It concerns something that snared the children of Israel just before they entered the Promised Land. The Bible says, “And these happened to them for examples, and it is written for our warnings, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11. These things happened to them as types of things that would happen again at the end of the world.

One of the things that brought them to the position of committing fornication with the daughters of Moab was that they were “allured by the beauty of heathen vestals.” Their consciences were defiled by lewdness. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 454.)

Defiled by Lewdness

I am going to go directly, very pointedly, to the subject at hand. The consciences of the children of Israel were defiled by lewdness—they were allured by the beauty of these heathen vessels. What was going on? After Adam and Eve had sinned, the Bible says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Genesis 3:7. The Hebrew word used in this text for coverings, kahgoroth, means a loin covering. Loin coverings are still being made, and people are still wearing them. Just go anyplace where people are sunbathing or swimming and you will see men and women clothed in the loin covering.

When God came to the Garden, did Adam tell God that he was clothed, or did he tell God that he was naked? He was wearing the fig leaves, but what did he tell God? He said he was naked. Even he knew it. We live in the blindest generation. Let me put it very, very simply. People think when the Bible uses the word naked it means someone is not wearing any clothes. It does not mean that at all. In the Bible, a person was called naked if they did not have on sufficient clothing. Adam had the fig leaves on, but he knew that he was naked. God also knew he was naked. The Bible says that God clothed them. If God clothed them, it means they were naked before that.

Another literal definition of the Hebrew word kahgoroth is a belt. That is what Adam and Eve made, they made little belts. Such belts are still being made today. They are called mini-skirts. Those are the two most literal definitions of this Hebrew word. It is also translated as girdle or apron. Neither one of those would make you think you were fully dressed, would they?

An Outer Garment

In Bible times both men and women, before they went out in public, put on an outer garment, and that garment covered them from their shoulders to almost their ankles. If they did not have on this garment, they were called naked. When Isaiah 20 speaks of Isaiah walking about barefoot and naked among God’s people for three years, he was not talking about the prophet going about without any clothing. No, God never asked any prophet to do something obscene such as that. But Isaiah did not wear the outer tunic, and that was a sign that the children of Israel would be similarly dressed as they entered into captivity.

In John 21, when Peter was fishing about 300 feet from shore with the other disciples after the resurrection, Jesus appeared on the shore, and it says that Peter put on his outer garment and cast himself into the sea, because he was naked. (Verse 7.) That does not mean that he was fishing all night without any clothes on but that he did not have on his outer garment. He was not afraid for the Lord to see him with his clothing wet, because he swam in, but he did not want the Lord to see him without his outer garment on, being naked.


We need to understand what the Bible says about the subject of modesty. The next time you study Exodus 20, notice very carefully what it says in the last verse. And in Revelation an account of the seven last plagues is given, and right in the middle of the discussion the Creator of the universe issues a warning, a call to all of the peoples of this world, and He says, “I am coming like a thief. Watch and keep your garments lest you walk naked and they see your shame.” Revelation 16:15. If you understand what the word naked means in the Bible, you will realize that we have congregations full of naked people every Sabbath, according to the Bible definition; we have people coming into our churches everywhere, naked. But we do not understand what it means. We are so blind; we think it means you do not have on any clothes. That is not what the Bible is talking about. In the Bible, anyone who is clothed immodestly is called naked.

Sometimes we fall on our face before the Lord, and we ask for the Holy Spirit to come upon us, like Joshua, after the Israelites were defeated at Ai. Joshua fell on his face, and he said, “Lord, if you do not go with us, we cannot do anything.” The Lord said, “Get up, and go clean up the camp!” (See Joshua 7:6–15.) Friends, we need to get on our knees and ask the Lord to help us clean up our camp. God is not going to pour out the latter rain upon a naked people. God did not accept the fig leaves in Adam’s day—and those fig leaves were probably more modest than some of the fig leaves people wear today. He is not going to accept a kahgoroth now, because God does not change. This is one of the things that brought Israel into terrible apostasy. Ask the Lord to deliver you from the curse of nakedness that is afflicting professed Christians all over the world, especially in the western countries.

Sensual Indulgence

“All along through the ages there are strewn wrecks of character that have been stranded upon the rocks of sensual indulgence. As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 457.

The Bible says, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away. So also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37–39.

I used to read those verses and I would ask myself the question, What is Jesus talking about? Even as a boy I had gone to many weddings in Seventh-day Adventist churches, conducted by Seventh-day Adventist ministers. We ate every day, and we drank water and other healthful beverages every day. But what is the problem with the things that Jesus mentioned there? Ellen White comments on these verses in Matthew: “Very plainly Christ saw what the condition of society would be in the future. He saw that selfindulgence would control men and women. What of the marriage relation today? Is it not perverted and defiled, made even as it was in Noah’s day? Divorce after divorce is recorded in the daily papers. This is the marriage of which Christ speaks when He says that before the flood they were ‘marrying and giving in marriage.’ Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 56.

“As it was in the days of Noah, every kind of evil is on the increase. Divorce and marriage is the order of the time.” Ibid., vol. 10, 261.

Marriage after Divorce

What we are studying is very sensitive material. With this subject, it is possible that people will get wrong impressions, and there are ditches on both sides of the road. We need to study this completely. We must be clear about what the Bible teaches, or we can go into the ditch on one side or the ditch on the other side. We can become part of Babylon, or we can become part of the Pharisees. The Bible says, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, like this it shall be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage until that day Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26, 27.

After Ellen White quoted the verses from Matthew 24:37–39, she said, “How true a description this is of the condition of the world today. The daily papers are full of notices of divorce and marriage after divorce —the marriage condemned in the words of the Saviour.” Letter 153,1901 (unpublished). What was Jesus talking about in Matthew 24? Jesus was talking about marriage after divorce! Ellen White wrote to the general conference president and said: “We must, as a people, arouse and cleanse the camp of Israel. Licentiousness, unlawful intimacy,and unholy practices are coming in among us in a large degree; and ministers who are handling sacred things are guilty of sin in this respect. They are coveting their neighbors’ wives, and the seventh commandment is broken. We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 380.

So, you can be a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, even if you get divorced and remarried three, four, or five times. That is what Jesus was talking about happening in the last days, just like it happened in the days just before the flood. Ellen White says if we do not do something about this, if we just let it go and do not do anything about it, we will become a sister of Babylon. Do you want to become part of Babylon? Do you want your church to become part of Babylon?

She says, “The Lord is soon to come; there must be a refining, winnowing process in every church, for there are among us wicked men who do not love the truth. . . . Will the church arise and put on her beautiful garments?” Review and Herald, March 19, 1895.

She also said, “When God works so wondrously, man, the human agent, should become intelligent in regard to the machinery of his body, that this temple of God shall not be misused, and become the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 364, 365.

“Today the nominal churches are full of every foul spirit, the cage of every unclean and hateful bird. The work is becoming confusing because the converted and the unconverted have united in them.” Ibid., vol. 20, 252. Ellen White said to the general conference president, If we do not do something about this, we are going to become a sister of fallen Babylon. Babylon is a system that allows for the full development of sensuality, while at the same time condemning it.

If you read the public notices, the Pope is against divorce. The Catholic Church is against fornication, and they have lots of publications against it. They are against adultery. If you go to almost any Babylonian church, they will tell you that they are against divorce, fornication, and

adultery, but they allow it, just the same. You can be a member while doing all those things. Yes, they have a little trouble once in awhile. Somebody in the choir goes to bed with the organist, and then they have a little upheaval in the church. Things have to be ironed out, and there may be a switch with some people going to a church on the other side of town. Things like that happen all of the time. That is what happens in Babylon. And friends, I am sorry to tell you that it has come into Adventism, even into historic Adventism.

Unscriptural Marriage

There are people throughout Adventism who are unscripturally married. There are two ways that a person can be unscripturally married. One is if a Christian decides to marry a non-Christian. That is forbidden in the Bible. (See Deuteronomy 7:1–4; 2 Corinthians 6:14.) It is forbidden for a person who is in the faith to marry a person who is not in the faith.

Another example of an unscriptural marriage is a person whose wife or husband did not commit adultery against them, but they divorced and remarried someone else. (See Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:11, 12; Luke 16:18.) That practice is the very essence of Babylon. There is a reason why, in the Scriptures, Babylon is referred to over and over and over again as a harlot, and that she commits fornication, because she administers the communicants committing fornication. She administers the whole process.

The Church Debates

When I was a young minister, Adventism was in the process of making the changes that have come to pass now. We used to have debates about whether you should be able to divorce your spouse when there is no adultery and go and marry someone else and stay in the church with nothing happening. This was a big debate when I was a young minister. Vehement arguments would occur in these debates. One time this debate came up among a group of seminary students in the Andrews University Field School of Evangelism. The teacher said, “We have studied that, but Romans 7 still says the same thing.”

We, as Seventh-day Adventists, used to believe and use Romans 7 as one of our proof texts that such things should not be allowed. “Do not be ignorant, brothers, for we know the law says that the law is lord over a man as long as he is alive. For the woman having a living husband, is bound by the law to that husband. But if the husband is dead, she is released from the law of the husband. Therefore, then, if the husband is alive, she shall be called an adulterous if she be [married] to another man. But if the husband is dead, she is free from the law so that she shall not be called an adulterous if she be [married] to another man.” Romans 7:1–3.

God’s Moral Standard

After the teacher read this text, there was still some arguing, but there was not much to say. The Scripture says, this is the way that it is. Ellen White says the same thing. She wrote to a physician one time, “Your ideas in regard to the marriage relation have been erroneous. Nothing but the violation of the marriage bed can either break or annul the marriage vow. . . . “Men are not at liberty to make a standard of law for themselves, to avoid God’s law and please their own inclination. They must come to God’s great moral standard of righteousness. . . . God gave only one cause why a wife should leave her husband, or the husband leave his wife, which was adultery. Let this ground be prayerfully considered.” “A woman may be legally divorced from her husband by the laws of the land and yet not divorced in the sight of God and according to the higher law. There is only one sin, which is adultery, which can place the husband or wife in a position where they can be free from the marriage vow in the sight of God. Although the laws of the land may grant a divorce, yet they are husband and wife still in the Bible light, according to the Laws of God.” The Adventist Home, 341, 342, 344.

This is a problem that the church has been wrestling with for a long time. The Catholic Church has also been wrestling with it for a long time. The conclusion is, if your spouse has not committed adultery against you and you divorce, or your spouse divorces, and you marry somebody else, you are committing adultery. Our ministers thought that through, and they said, “All right, that means that you are living in sin for the rest of your life.” So, there were many Adventists that came to the conclusion that these unscriptural marriages should be broken up, because these people are living in sin. They said that anybody who stayed in such a marriage, since he was constantly living in sin, should not be allowed to be a member of the church, let alone a teacher or a pastor, unless they separated.

Standards Relaxed

Over a period of several decades, this literal understanding was relaxed a little bit so that by the time I was a young man, growing up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a person who was unscripturally married was allowed to be a member of the church but was forbidden to be a pastor, minister, or leader in the church. I remember one of the first times I saw this happen in the church of which I was a member. A man, who was a leader in the church, left his wife and children and married another woman. He faced the potential of being disfellowshipped. So he moved to another state, was rebaptized, and became a leader in that church. Have you ever heard of that happening? That is the way it was in the 1950s or 1960s. By the time the 1980s arrived, instead of moving to another state, a person in such a situation just went to another church 20 to 30 miles away and started over again. Soon they were again teaching a Sabbath School class and taking up church leadership.

There has been an internal fight going on in the Adventist Church over what to do about these situations, because we have had the same thing develop in Adventism that happened with the Hebrew people just before they entered Canaan. This problem has gotten worse and worse. There are churches that say they have no one in the church that can meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 to hold the office of an elder or a deacon.

Approaching the Problem

How should the problem of unscripturally married individuals holding church office be approached? There are two common ways of dealing with this problem. One is that you talk against it, say you are against it, but let it happen. You allow the people to stay in the church as teachers and leaders, even ministers. That is what happens in Babylon, and Ellen White told the general conference president that, if we did not step up and do something, we would become a sister of Babylon.

The other way Seventh-day Adventists have approached this issue is to become very strict. Some, in Ellen White’s day, decided they were going to break up some of these unscriptural marriages so that these people quit living in sin. They became so strict in enforcing their ideas, that Ellen White accused them of becoming like the Pharisees. As you read the context, you see that she is talking about people who have been involved in sexual sins and unscriptural marriages. She said, “I am more pained than I can express to see so little aptitude and skill to save souls that are ensnared by Satan. I see such a cold Phariseeism, holding off at arm’s length the one who has been deluded by the adversary of souls, and then I think: What if Jesus treated us in this way? Is this spirit to grow among us? If so, my brethren must excuse me; I cannot labor with them. I will not be a party to this kind of labor.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 242. That is a very strong statement in regard to what the church was doing.

The question that I suppose we have never yet answered in Adventism is this: Can we avoid becoming a sister of Babylon and at the same time avoid becoming Pharisees? You see, there is a ditch on both sides of the road. In my opinion, we have not succeeded yet. But when Jesus comes, would you want to be found a Pharisee even if you were not in Babylon? [All emphasis supplied. Bible texts quoted are literal translation.]

To be continued . . .