Bible Study Guides – The Smitten Rock

February 21 – 27, 2021

Key Text

“And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (Numbers 20:12).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 411–421.


“To dispel forever from the minds of the Israelites the idea that a man was leading them, God found it necessary to allow their leader to die before they entered the land of Canaan.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1116.



1.a. How were the Israelites supplied with water during their wilderness wanderings? Psalm 105:41; Isaiah 48:21.

Note: “From the smitten rock in Horeb first flowed the living stream that refreshed Israel in the desert. During all their wanderings, wherever the need existed, they were supplied with water by a miracle of God’s mercy. The water did not, however, continue to flow from Horeb. Wherever in their journeyings they wanted water, there from the clefts of the rock it gushed out beside their encampment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 411.

1.b.      Who was the source of all their temporal as well as spiritual blessings during their wanderings? Psalm 78:52–55.

Note: “He [Christ] is the source of all power, the giver of all temporal and spiritual blessings. He employs human beings as co-workers, giving them a part to act with Him as His helping hand. We are to receive from Him, not to hoard for self-gratification, but to impart to others.” The Review and Herald, April 4, 1907.



2.a. What trial of faith did the people of God have when they again came to Kadesh, and what was their reaction? Numbers 20:1–5.

Note: “Just before the Hebrew host reached Kadesh, the living stream ceased that for so many years had gushed out beside their encampment. It was the Lord’s purpose again to test His people. He would prove whether they would trust His providence or imitate the unbelief of their fathers.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 413.

“Before God permitted them to enter Canaan, they must show that they believed His promise. The water ceased before they had reached Edom. Here was an opportunity for them, for a little time, to walk by faith instead of sight. But the first trial developed the same turbulent, unthankful spirit that had been manifested by their fathers. No sooner was the cry for water heard in the encampment than they forgot the hand that had for so many years supplied their wants, and instead of turning to God for help, they murmured against Him.” Ibid., 414.

2.b.      What did Moses and Aaron do when they heard the complaints of the people? Numbers 20:6.

2.c. What were Moses and Aaron directed to do to satisfy the needs of the people? Numbers 20:7, 8. What mistaken idea, still cherished by the people, was the Lord trying to correct?

Note: “In all their wanderings, the children of Israel were tempted to attribute to Moses the special work of God, the mighty miracles that had been wrought to deliver them from Egyptian bondage. They charged Moses with bringing them out of the land of Egypt. It was true that God had manifested Himself wonderfully to Moses. He had specially favored him with His presence. To him God had revealed His exceeding glory. Upon the mount He had taken him into a sacred nearness to Himself, and had talked with him as a man speaks to a friend. But the Lord had given evidence after evidence that it was He Himself who was working for their deliverance.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1115, 1116.



3.a. How did Moses dishonor God when addressing the people? Numbers 20:9–11.

Note: “By his rash act Moses took away the force of the lesson that God purposed to teach. The rock, being a symbol of Christ, had been once smitten, as Christ was to be once offered. The second time it was needful only to speak to the rock, as we have only to ask for blessings in the name of Jesus. By the second smiting of the rock the significance of this beautiful figure of Christ was destroyed.

“More than this, Moses and Aaron had assumed power that belongs only to God. The necessity for divine interposition made the occasion one of great solemnity, and the leaders of Israel should have improved it to impress the people with reverence for God and to strengthen their faith in His power and goodness. When they angrily cried, ‘Must we fetch you water out of this rock?’ (Numbers 20:10)? they put themselves in God’s place, as though the power lay with themselves, men possessing human frailties and passions.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 418.

3.b.      What punishment did Moses and Aaron bring upon themselves? Why? Numbers 20:12; Deuteronomy 3:23–27.

Note: “God did not on this occasion pronounce judgments upon those whose wicked course had so provoked Moses and Aaron. All the reproof fell upon the leaders. … Moses and Aaron had felt themselves aggrieved, losing sight of the fact that the murmuring of the people was not against them but against God. It was by looking to themselves, appealing to their own sympathies, that they unconsciously fell into sin, and failed to set before the people their great guilt before God.

“Bitter and deeply humiliating was the judgment immediately pronounced. … With rebellious Israel they must die before the crossing of the Jordan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 418, 419.

“The transgression was known to the whole congregation; and had it been passed by lightly, the impression would have been given that unbelief and impatience under great provocation might be excused in those in responsible positions. But when it was declared that because of that one sin Moses and Aaron were not to enter Canaan, the people knew that God is no respecter of persons, and that He will surely punish the transgressor.” Ibid., 420.



4.a. Of whom was the smitten rock a type, and why was it wrong to smite the rock again? Isaiah 53:3–5.

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

4.b.      On what occasion and how was the flowing of water from the rock celebrated by the Jewish people in the days of Christ? John 7:37–39.

Note: “The flowing of the water from the rock in the desert was celebrated by the Israelites, after their establishment in Canaan, with demonstrations of great rejoicing. In the time of Christ this celebration had become a most impressive ceremony. It took place on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles, when the people from all the land were assembled at Jerusalem. On each of the seven days of the feast the priests went out with music and the choir of Levites to draw water in a golden vessel from the spring of Siloam. They were followed by multitudes of the worshipers, as many as could get near the stream drinking of it, while the jubilant strains arose, ‘With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation’ (Isaiah 12:3). Then the water drawn by the priests was borne to the temple amid the sounding of trumpets and the solemn chant, ‘Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem’ (Psalm 122:2). The water was poured out upon the altar of burnt offering, while songs of praise rang out, the multitudes joining in triumphant chorus with musical instruments and deep-toned trumpets.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 412.



5.a. What lesson should we learn from the mistake of Moses? Psalm 106:33.

Note: “Moses was not guilty of a great crime, as men would view the matter; his sin was one of common occurrence. The psalmist says that ‘he spake unadvisedly with his lips’ (Psalm 106:33). To human judgment this may seem a light thing; but if God dealt so severely with this sin in His most faithful and honored servant, He will not excuse it in others. … The more important one’s position, and the greater his influence, the greater is the necessity that he should cultivate patience and humility.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 420.

5.b.      What warnings are calculated to keep us from self-exaltation? James 4:6, 7; 1 Corinthians 10:12.

Note: “However great one’s spiritual light, however much he may enjoy of the divine favor and blessing, he should ever walk humbly before the Lord, pleading in faith that God will direct every thought and control every impulse. …

“However great the pressure brought to bear upon the soul, transgression is our own act. It is not in the power of earth or hell to compel anyone to do evil. Satan attacks us at our weak points, but we need not be overcome. However severe or unexpected the assault, God has provided help for us, and in His strength we may conquer.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 421.



1    How did God supply water for the Israelites as they traveled? How does He supply our needs today?

2    How did the people react when God tested their faith? What about me?

3    Where was the focus of Moses and Aaron when they failed? Where is my focus, and what will the result be?

4    How was the beautiful lesson of the smitten Rock ruined by Moses?

5    How can I be kept safe from self-exaltation?

 Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Christian Contemporary Music

Is it Christian and is it contemporary? In reality it is neither.

In Ezekiel 28:13 we find a description of Lucifer, who later became Satan. It reads: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.”

From this verse we see that Lucifer had built-in percussion in his voice. Tabrets were a kind of drum used in ancient times during secular dance music—never in the temple. Pipes signify the ability to sing multiple parts at the same time. He was the master musician of heaven and well knew how to use his abilities. Of course, he also is well capable of perverting his abilities. So, we can see that a lot of so called Christian contemporary music is neither Christian nor contemporary since it was created by the prince of darkness long before this world began.

Unfortunately, if someone today is going to present a talk or paper on any given subject, that individual must prove that he/she has the qualifications to speak on that subject. Since I am going to speak to the subject of Christian Contemporary Music, I must present my credentials for doing so.

My mother had a degree in music from a prestigious music college and began teaching piano to me at age five. After taking lessons from her for more than ten years, she recognized that I needed more advanced teaching and arranged that I study under the concert pianist for the Tacoma, Washington, symphony orchestra. I also had lessons in pipe organ and trumpet and voice lessons which enabled me to sing in three different a Capella choirs. Over the years I collected an extensive library on the subject of music, its structure, and its usage in Scripture, and have been very interested in what the Spirit of Prophecy has to say about it. Throughout the Scriptures, there are 505 texts that deal with music in one manner or another.

Where I lived in northeast Ohio for 30 years is significant as well as the fact that I have been to Haiti on two different occasions. During those 30 years in northeast Ohio I was a pediatric anesthesiologist in a large pediatric hospital. Almost no one knows more about consciousness or unconsciousness, including altered states of consciousness, than an anesthesiologist for it is important to understand what happens in the brain during these times.

Christian contemporary music acquires its rhythms from music that has a “rock” beat. A “rock” beat places the emphasis on the second and fourth beat of the measure instead of the usual emphasis on the first and third beat of the measure. These rhythms were brought to this country from the Voodoo of West Africa by the slaves that were brought to this country from the 1600s through the 1800s. The majority of these slaves came in through the port of New Orleans. New Orleans was a “bawdy’’ city with many brothels and night clubs of unsavory reputation. Each business attempted to attract clients. Many had their own bands which had picked up on these African rhythms. This is not only my reasoning.

The National Geographic, April 2007 edition, in a 4-page spread-out clearly shows the evolution of “rock” and “rap” music. I also have in my possession a photograph of a chart produced by Mick Jagger and his “Rolling Stones” showing the exact same thing.

As the African rhythms evolved, we find the birth of Jazz.  This may be crude, but it is unfortunately the necessary truth and can be checked out on Wikipedia. Since so much perverted sex has been involved in these rhythms you would only expect “Jazz” to come from the same venue also. The word Jazz is derived from the slang word for the male ejaculation called Gizz pronounced like “Jazz” with the sound of a short “i” as in the word “it”.

As these African rhythms evolved, they developed into what is called “rhythm and blues.” All these various rhythms had the same strong emphasis on the second and fourth beats of each measure. The emphasis was always by the overpowering beat of a drum.

By the time we get to the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, such performers as Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, and others, became popular. This is where northeast Ohio comes in. The following information was acquired right out of the Akron public library. There was a disc jockey by the name of Alan Freed, who around 1948–1950 became very popular playing ONLY rhythm and blues music. About that time, Alan received a job offer from station WGAR in Cleveland, a 50,000-watt clear channel station that covered 38 states and half of Canada.

In Cleveland, Ohio, there is a street by the name of East Prospect Avenue. In the ‘50s from East Ninth to East Thirtieth there was nothing but little beer joints, sleazy night clubs, and places for prostitution. Alan Freed frequented these places so much so that he knew most of the “ladies of the evening” on a first name basis. Every profession has its own colloquialisms that are unique to that profession and prostitution in Cleveland at that time was no different. There were TWO words that were used by the prostitutes … and they were NOT used together as they are today in “Rock and Roll.”

To “rock” meant to jump into bed with the prostitute and perform the illegitimate sex act. To “roll” was derived from the old expression, “to ‘roll’ a drunk.” To roll a drunk was derived from when someone would notice some drunk lying in a doorway with an empty bottle of booze next to him while he was oblivious to everything. The inebriated person would be turned over and his pockets would be searched to steal whatever he might have left. It would then be said that the drunk had been rolled. The prostitutes of East Prospect Avenue in Cleveland had picked up this term and applied it to the “John” (the prostitute’s client) by taking his money from him for services rendered.

Alan Freed also picked up on these terms. In early 1953 he got the idea to have a jam session composed of half a dozen of these new bands that had taken to playing the relatively new kind of music known as “rhythm and blues.”  As the session began to take shape it was scheduled to be held in the Aragon Ballroom in Cleveland which is still there today.  Alan had decided to hold the session on March 21, 1953. Notice the date – the spring equinox. People involved in this kind of music are frequently involved in the occult as well. The spring equinox is of particular significance to people who dabble in astrology and spring fertility rites, such as the Druids.

About a month before this grand, first-time jam session was to take place Alan was about to go live one evening for his disc jockey program. As the microphone went live, Alan yelled into the “mic” … “Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to ‘rock’ and we are going to ‘roll’ all night long,’’ and the term “Rock and Roll” was coined. This is why the Rock and Roll hall of fame is in Cleveland, Ohio, and not in New York or Hollywood.

The term “Rock and Roll” came right out of illicit sex and prostitution and whatever else goes along with that lifestyle. So, the next time some young man decides to say to another about some good-looking young lady, “wow, she rocks,” it would be wise to consider just what he is saying. No self-respecting young lady would want that to be said about her.

Now to Haiti. My wife and I went there in 1983 and 1984 with an interdenominational medical team of about 25. About the third night after we arrived, we heard the drums start up and they went on incessantly for hours into the night. A couple of days later we learned that there had been a Voodoo ritual up on the mountainside, and that a young man had been gruesomely sacrificed. This of course was illegal, and when the secret police hunted down the perpetrators they were dealt with just as viciously.

The book, Dark Sunrise, printed by The Review and Herald in 1957 was written by a lady and her husband who had been missionary teachers in Haiti for nine years. In it are three chapters containing much information about Voodoo and its music. I will at this time quote some from this book, as it is the best source from someone who lived there for many years.

“Ceremonial drums are constructed in accordance with a ritual born many generations ago in the heart of Africa. Upon completion they are dressed for baptism in white net and lace and are baptized in the name of the loa (Voodoo god) to whom they are thus dedicated. From then on, they are considered not simply the mysterious agents that call down spirits and keep them earth-bound; they are actually worshiped as gods. It is believed that the drum has a will of its own, and that if for some reason it disapproves of the drummer’s attitude or tactics, it will refuse to respond to him. As for the gods, food offerings are placed for the drums, to strengthen them for the performance of duty. They are put to sleep at night with much tender regard, and nearby are placed magic charms to protect them from harm. When the spirits come, they often pay elaborate homage to the drums, for without them they would be seriously handicapped in making their earthly visits. Externally they enter on water and fire, but they are led to the inner consciousness of men on a drumbeat.

“Each of the three drums had a definite and particular beat, different from the other two, yet all beats integrated to form a whole rhythm pattern, a rhythm that suffused the atmosphere with mysticism and a quality of seductive subtlety that seeped into the consciousness of the dancers until it became part of their being, and they in turn became part of a larger, fuller rhythm pattern—the heartbeat of Haiti. It was a steady rhythm, maintained without interruption that eventually took on a substantial character, a sort of magnet that drew all motion around itself like an enveloping cloak. Other activity came and went—the chants, the prostrating, the greetings to the gods—but the drumming went on relentlessly, its tone and intensity rising and falling, but always above and beyond all else, unifying sound and movement into a continuous whole.” Dark Sunrise, p. 238, 239.

I have personally seen the site of one of these Voodoo rituals. Describing it once to an audience, a little black lady from Haiti stood up and confirmed what I had said as the absolute truth. Different spirits are called up on the beat of a drum. The Voodoo priest has spent years learning his trade and he knows which particular beat or rhythm to use in order to call up a particular spirit demon. When this kind of devil music is brought into one of our churches, the people do not have the slightest idea which spirit demon they might be calling up to possess them.

On our second visit to Haiti, we went to the Adventist church on the campus of our school and college near Port-au-Prince. The music was beautiful.  A couple sang a Mozart aria. Of course, it was in the official language of Haiti, which is French. At the end of the service a 50-voice choir sang some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.  Later that afternoon as my wife and I were walking across the campus we saw the young man who sang in the duet coming towards us. As he came near, I stopped him and asked why the people in Haiti sing such beautiful music in their churches while in the United States the churches are bringing in this “rock style music” and just adding some “Jesus” words to it. His answer was, “Very simple … we know where it came from!”

As an anesthesiologist I know that human brains function with different wave patterns. There are Alpha and Beta and Delta and Theta waves. Each shows what level of activity is going on in the person’s brain. Alpha waves are relatively slow … in the range of 2-7 waveforms per second. This activity is found during deep sleep and also during the altered state found during a trance, such as during hypnosis. This waveform is also induced in a matter of seconds when music containing an overpowering “rock’’ beat is incorporated.

In making this presentation, I am accused of just not liking this style of music. However, “like” has nothing to do with it. There are many things in my carnal nature that I like which I no longer choose to do. If “like” was the criterion for everything that we do we would certainly be in a sad state, for it is written in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it’’? It is not safe to trust in one’s own feelings, likes, or dislikes.  One must base all choices on a “thus saith the Lord.”

The time has come for the watchmen on the wall to stand up and give the trumpet a certain sound. It is time that we stand up and walk out of any place where the music of the devil is being performed. Heaven help us.

 Gene Swanson was an Adventist pediatric anesthesiologist in a large pediatric hospital. He retired in Montrose, Colorado, before he passed away.

Holy Flesh and Celebration Music, Part I

In 1898, Satan, through a false teaching known as the “Holy Flesh Movement” in Indiana, made an unsuccessful attempt to introduce a false Christ and a “Pentecostal” or “Celebration” type of worship into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Elder S. S. Davis, Indiana Conference evangelist, developed these strange new teachings, never before known among Seventh-day Adventists. Elder R. S. Donnell, President of the Indiana Conference, along with a majority of the ministry of the Conference, was swept away by the erroneous teachings. The advocates of this strange new phenomena believed the movement was the outpouring of the “Latter Rain,” and the teachings swept through the Indiana Conference with the speed of a prairie fire.

It is interesting to note that “Pentecostal” type of worship, and Pentecostal denominations as we know them today, had their beginnings in the skid row, clapboard, store-front churches of Los Angeles at the turn of the century. This erroneous type of “Pentecostal” worship was introduced into the Seventh-day Adventist Church at precisely the very same hour in history!

Ellen White was in Australia at the time and knew nothing of the development of this erroneous form of worship in Indiana. The General Conference sent Elder Stephen N. Haskell to investigate the new movement. He reported to Ellen White in two letters. (Note: These two letters will be referred to as Haskell Letter #1 and Haskell, Letter #2. Both letters are on file at the Ellen G. White Estate and are available for research).

“To describe it, I hardly know what to say,” Haskell wrote to Ellen White. “It is beyond all description. I have never seen any company held with a firmer grasp by a certain number of the leading ministers, than they are held in Indiana.” Letter #1, S. N. Haskell to Ellen G. White, Sept. 25, 1900. [Emphasis in all quotations is supplied.]

Notice that the Conference leaders of this erroneous movement in Indiana used crowd-control to deceive the people. One should always be aware that control of the masses is one of Satan’s most effective tools to “deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24.

In her reply to Haskell, Ellen White recalled the improper use of music, in worship, in fanatical movements of the past. “I bore my testimony, declaring that these fanatical movements, this din and noise, were inspired by the spirit of Satan, who was working miracles to deceive if possible the very elect.” Letter 132, 1900, 5–8, October 10, 1900; Released December 10, 1971.

Notice that Ellen White called the Holy Flesh deception a “din and noise,” and that this din and noise was “inspired by the spirit of Satan.” One of the outstanding features of this deception was a “Celebration” type of worship and music, utilizing a full band with drums. But that was not all. Along with the erroneous style of worship was taught dangerous heretical doctrines.

The Doctrine of the Holy Flesh Movement

The central doctrine of the Holy Flesh advocates was (1) that Jesus was born with Holy Flesh—with a human nature like that which Adam possessed in the Garden of Eden before the fall. (2)Jesus passed through an experience in the Garden of Gethsemane and those who followed Him through this experience would have holy flesh like Jesus had (and which Adam possessed before the fall), and this experience would fit the individual for translation. (3) After this experience the individual would then possess flesh like Jesus had and therefore would no longer sin. (4) After passing through this Garden of Gethsemane they experience the Holy Flesh. (The Early Elmshaven Years, vol. 5, 108.)

“Brother R. S. Donnell is president, and they have an experience in getting the people ready for translation,” Stephen N. Haskell wrote to Ellen White. “They call it the ‘cleansing message.’ Others call it the ‘holy flesh.’” Haskell Letter #1, September 25, 1900.

Individuals who did not pass through this “Garden Experience” were considered “adopted sons,” and therefore did not possess translation faith. These individuals would have to pass through the grave and “go to heaven by the underground railway.” The Early Elmshaven Years, vol. 5, 108.

“Attempting to gain this Garden experience that would give them holy flesh, the people gathered in meetings in which there were long prayers, strange, loud, instrumental music, and excited ,extended, hysterical preaching,” Arthur White wrote. “They were led to seek an experience of physical demonstration. Bass drums and the tambourines aided in this.” Ibid., 101. [Emphasis supplied.]

Notice the three important elements of this erroneous type of worship. (1) “Long prayers.” (2)”Extended, hysterical preaching.” (3) “Strange, loud, instrumental music,” and the fact that “bass drums and the tambourines” aided in the deception. These three elements are absolute essentials to elevate the emotions of any church gathering. In the “holy flesh” meetings, in Indiana, some of the people would reach a state of hysteria and pass out on the floor. Monitors would carry these individuals to the front “where a dozen or more people would gather around and shout, ‘Glory to God!’ while others prayed or sang.” Ibid. When they regained consciousness they were said to have “holy flesh” and were then considered fit for translation.

The Holy Flesh Movement and Celebration Music

In their meetings, the Holy Flesh leaders used loud instrumental music and hysterical preaching to elevate the emotions of the people to a frenzy until a state of delirium existed. This method of crowd control was developed more fully the following year in the Pentecostal tongues-speaking movement in the clapboard storefront, skid-row churches of Los Angeles. This form of satanic worship progressed into “false healing,” “false speaking in tongues,” “handling of snakes in worship,” and other satanic delusions. In the past ninety-eight years, the phenomena has grown to worldwide proportions in the so-called “Full Gospel” Pentecostal churches of today. Is it not curious that this satanic delusion was first developed among Seventh-day Adventists? Satan’s clever movements can be detected if the Christian is wide-awake, studying his or her Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The Seventh-day Adventist Christian should never forget “how the Lord has led us, and His teaching, in our past history.” Life Sketches, 196.

“As the conference president stood speaking one evening,” Arthur White wrote, “he held his arms outstretched toward the congregation, and later reported that he had felt great power coursing down his arms and passing through his fingers out to the people.” Early Elmshaven Years, vol. 5, 101.

There is a great power that goes with the movement that is on foot there,” Haskell wrote to Ellen White. “It would almost bring anybody within its scope, if they are at all conscientious, and sit and listen with the least degree of favor, because of the music that is brought to play in the ceremony.” Haskell Letter #1.

Please notice, dear Adventist friend, that in this “celebration” type of worship “there is a great power,” and that power is in the music! Pioneer Adventist, Stephen Haskell, said that if one would “listen with the least degree of favor,” they would be swept away with the deception “because of the music that is brought to play in the ceremony!”

“They have an organ, one bass viol, three fiddles, two flutes, three tambourines, three horns, and a big bass drum, and perhaps other instruments which I have not mentioned,” Haskell observed. “They are as much trained in their musical line as any Salvation Army choir that you ever heard.” Ibid.

“In fact, their revival effort is simply a complete copy of the Salvation Army method,” Haskell added, “and when they get on a high key, you cannot hear a word from the congregation in their singing, nor hear anything, unless it be shrieks of those who are half insane. I do not think I overdraw it at all.” Ibid.

“Those things which have been in the past will be in the future,” Ellen White warned. “Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted. God calls upon His people, who have the light before them in the Word and in the Testimonies, to read and consider, and to take heed.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 38.

Loud Music the Prerequisite for Speaking In Tongues

“A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing,” Ellen White wrote. “The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit’s working.” Ibid.

All historians of contemporary music know that Rock’ n Roll developed in the 1950s and had its roots in black and Pentecostal gospel music. Indeed, in the NBC television production of the early career of Elvis Presley, one complete episode portrayed how Elvis developed his music from the Pentecostal church services he attended with his mother and father as a young lad.

In this episode, Elvis was appearing on his first Grand Ole’ Opry country music show. The crowd was not responding to his rendition of a beautiful ballad. Elvis was “bombing”, as the entertainment industry would describe the incident. In his mind’s eye Elvis was taken back to the Pentecostal church he attended as a lad and was impressed by the audience’s response to the wild gyrations of the minister at the service. He could clearly see the reaction of the people to the minister’s loud preaching and crowd-control methods. Presley immediately broke into a black Rhythm and Blues tune and began to imitate the gyrations of the Pentecostal minister he had observed. At that precise moment the legend of Elvis Presley was born. The cameras focused in on his mother and girl friend standing at the side of the auditorium. The camera neatly captured the expression of astonishment on their faces. Their stunned expression revealed that they too realized there was a power, a supernatural force at work that neither they nor Elvis could ever reverse. This supernatural, demonic, musical influence eventually killed Elvis Presley, and it will destroy an individual or group, denomination or church, who dare to embrace this dangerous last-day delusion of Satan!

In the 1960s, this form of music developed into small “electronic” Rock bands of four or more members. First, there was the “Beatles” of England. Soon other groups followed, such as the “Animals,” the “Rolling Stones,” and many more too numerous to mention. This Satanic music developed into what was termed “acid” music because of the drug LSD that was advocated by the musicians of the era. Later, homosexual groups appeared, such as “Alice Cooper,” and “Kiss.” Then Satan really revealed himself in the “Satan Rock” of the 1970s.

In the 1970s this satanic form of music made its entrance into the major Christian denominations of America—and even into the Roman Catholic Church! The two motion picture productions, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Godspell, will suffice as proof enough to substantiate this claim. These two blasphemous movies were accepted totally by major denominations around the world as a tool to reach the youth for Christ. These movie productions were even accepted in some Seventh-day Adventist circles—at least the music was accepted as tools to reach the youth in Sabbath Schools around the English-speaking divisions of the Church. A true Christian who has seen either of these two blasphemous productions can come away with nothing less than complete disgust.

Is it not curious that the phenomena of “speaking in tongues” came to these major denominations immediately after the lively Rock and Country gospel music was introduced into their church worship services? Another proof of this theory is that contemporary Christian Rock music did not make an entrance into the Church of Christ denomination. Why? Because the Church of Christ does not believe in the use of instrumental music in the worship service. Therefore, the phenomena of speaking in tongues did not make an entrance into that denomination!

“Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the church. Some have been deceived here. The fruits of all this have not been good. ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits.’ Fanaticism and noise have been considered special evidences of faith. Some are not satisfied with a meeting unless they have a powerful and happy time. They work for this and get up an excitement of feeling. But the influence of such meetings is not beneficial. When the happy flight of feeling is gone they sink lower than before the meeting because their happiness did not come from the right source.” Last Day Events, 159, 160. [Emphasis supplied.]

Notice that Ellen White states that this kind of music has “been considered gifts which God has placed in the church,” but, “the fruits of all this have not been good.” She added further “the influence of such meetings is not beneficial.” Why? It was “because their happiness did not come from the right source.”

“The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with such a confusion of noise and multitude of sounds as passed before me last January,” Ellen White stated. “Satan works amid the din and confusion of such music, which, properly conducted, would be a praise and glory to God. He makes its effect like the poison sting of the serpent.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 37.

The subtitle of this article in Selected Messages is, “Music Is Made a Snare.” A publisher’s note states; “These comments were made in connection with the ‘Holy Flesh’ movement at the Indiana Camp Meeting of 1899. For further details, See Selected Messages, Book 2, 31–39.” [Sub-title and Publisher’s Note omitted in later editions.]

History of the Past to be Repeated

Those things which have been in the past will be in the future,” Ellen White warned. Why will these things be repeated? Because “the itching desire to originate something new results in strange doctrines.” Ibid., 38.

“Last January the Lord showed me that erroneous theories and methods would be brought into our camp meetings, and that the history of the past would be repeated. I felt greatly distressed. I was instructed to say that at these demonstrations demons in the form of men are present, working with all the ingenuity that Satan can employ to make the truth disgusting to sensible people; that the enemy was trying to arrange matters so that the camp meetings, which have been the means of bringing the truth of the Third Angel’s Message before multitudes, should lose their force and influence.” Ibid., 37.

Notice that Ellen White was “instructed to say” by a heavenly being that “demons in the form of men are present, working with all the ingenuity that Satan can employ to make the truth disgusting to sensible people.” At these contemporary Seventh-day Adventist “celebration” worship services “demons in the form of men are present.” Dear Adventist friend, beware!

History Repeated Just Before the Close of Probation

“The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation,” Ellen White wrote to Stephen Haskell. “Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated.” Last Day Events, 159.

Notice that this satanic phenomena “would take place just before the close of probation” in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and that “every uncouth thing will be demonstrated.” All the practices of the Holy Flesh Movement will be, and are being, repeated in the Church “just before the close of probation.” (For further study see, Last Day Events, 159,160; Maranatha, 226; Selected Messages, Book 2, 36–39; The Voice in Speech and Song, 417, 418; Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 107–109; The Early Elmshaven Years, 100–107.)

“And while those who are devoted to these sciences laud them to the heavens because of the great and good works which they affirm are wrought by them, they little know what a power for evil they are cherishing; but it is a power which will yet work with all signs and lying wonders—with all deceivableness of unrighteousness,” Ellen White concluded. “Mark the influence of these sciences, dear reader, for the conflict between Christ and Satan is not yet ended.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 352.

Those who love the new “celebration” style of worship “laud them to the heavens.” Why? “Because of the great and good works . . . they affirm are wrought by them.” However, “they little know what a power for evil they are cherishing.” Ellen White warned that this type of celebration worship is a power which will yet work with all signs and lying wonders—with all deceivableness “There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing,” Ellen White warned. “The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions.” Last Day Events, 159. In the book Maranatha, article, “Drums, Dancing and Noise,” page 234, the sentence is added: “And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.”

Notice also that in this testimony Ellen White states that, “There will be.” Not possibly, or maybe, but there will be! What will there be? “Shouting, with drums, music and dancing,” and, “the senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions.” Will this happen overnight? No, Satan never works that way. He is not stupid. It will come with portions of the above introduced a little at a time. Holy dancing will probably be the last part to be accepted by “rational beings” who “cannot be trusted to make right decisions.” Today we already have the drums and the music in celebration worship services in liberal Seventh-day Adventist churches across America. Next will probably be the shouting, false speaking in tongues and false healings, then the holy dancing.

Mark this point carefully, dear reader. There are two major differences between this final hour deception of Satan, and the deception he introduced to Seventh-day Adventists in the Holy Flesh Movement of 1900. Added to the instrumentation of the “holy band” of the Holy Flesh Movement of 1900, would be the essential 1990s instrumentation of contemporary Rock’ n Roll music. (1)Electric amplified guitar; (2) electric amplified bass, (3) electric amplified keyboards, (4) a full set of drums, not just a “bass drum.” The key word here is “amplified.” If the reader observes this combination of electric instrumentation in any church worship service—beware!

Remember that Ellen White warned that, (1) “Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted.” (2) The music would be loud, “a bedlam of noise.” (3) “God calls upon His people…to take heed.” Ibid., 38.

False Manifestations of the Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise,” Ellen White counseled. “This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 107. “No encouragement should be given to this kind of worship.” Ibid., 108.

“Brother and Sister Haskell, we must put on every piece of the armor, and having done all, stand firm,” Ellen White counseled. “We are set as a defense for the gospel, and we must compose a part of the Lord’s grand army for aggressive warfare.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 38.”By the Lord’s faithful ambassadors the truth must be presented in clear-cut lines,” Ellen White continued. “Much of that which today is called testing truth is twaddle which leads to a resistance of the Holy Spirit.” Ibid.

“Much is being said regarding the impartation of the Holy Spirit, and by some this is being so interpreted that it is an injury to the churches,” Ellen White wrote to Haskell. “Eternal life is the receiving of the living elements in the Scriptures and doing the will of God.” Ibid., 38, 39.

Are You a Living Stone?

Some of the most misunderstood verses in all of the New Testament are found in Matthew 16. In this chapter Jesus asks His disciples who He is and Peter, answering Him, in verse 16, said: “ ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter (Petros), and on this rock (Petra) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:16–19.

The word “petros” that is translated Peter, means a stone. “And on this Petra (a very large boulder or rock) I will build My church.” On what Rock is the church built? Peter knew the Rock upon which the church was built. He wrote: “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.” 1 Peter 2:4–8. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone upon which the church is built. (To see that this authority was given to the whole church, and not Peter alone, see also Ephesians 2:19–22; Matthew 21:44.)

Even though we clearly understand who the rock is, Christ’s command in Matthew 16 has still been difficult for many to understand. Jesus told Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19. Here Jesus gave the Christian church enormous authority—authority which involves eternal life. (See also Matthew 18:18; John 20:19–23.)

I believe that the reason we have had such a difficult time understanding this verse is because we have not paid careful attention to who and what constitutes Christ’s church. We are in big trouble if we do not know who and what the church is, because the church has the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

It was by means of these Scriptures that the Bishops of Rome attained authority over the then-known world, during the Dark Ages. Dissidents, Bible-believing Christians, were tortured or burned at the stake. Robes and miters, with pictures of demons, snakes and devils painted on them, were placed upon them. Then the bishops would say, “Not only are you going to die, but we are consigning you to hell and you will burn forever.” By means of these Scripture texts, peasants, kings and nations submitted to the Roman authority.

However, many have failed to realize that this authority, which Christ conveyed upon the Christian church, has three big qualifications.

  1. The people that have the authority must have received the Holy Spirit. (See John 20.)
  2. They must have been taught of God. (See Matthew 16.)
  3. And they must follow the principles of gospel order. (See Matthew 18.)

Words From the Reformers

To help us better understand these qualifications, I will share with you what the reformers taught about the church to whom Christ gave this solemn authority.

John Knox, a Scottish reformer, said that the church was “a divinely originated, a divinely enfranchised and a divinely governed society. Its members were all those who made profession of the gospel; its law was the Bible, and its king was Christ.” The History of Protestantism, vol.2, 496, by J. A. Wylie.

Jesus Christ established the church and is the head of it. Olaf Petri (Paterson), a Protestant reformer in the Land of Sweden, said that the church was the body of Christ, and that believers were the members of that body. The question was whether the Pope and Prelates had the power to cast out of the church those that were its living members and in whose hearts dwelt the Holy Spirit, by faith. This he simply denied. “To God alone it belonged to save the believing, and to condemn the unbelieving. The Bishops could neither give nor take away the Holy Ghost. They could not change those who were the sons of God into sons of Gehenna. The power conferred in the eighteenth chapter of Saint Matthew’s Gospel, he maintained, was simply declaratory; what the minister had power to do, was to announce the solace or loosing of the gospel to the penitent, and its correction or cutting off to the impenitent. He who persists in his impenitence is excommunicated, not by man, but by the Word of God, which shows him to be bound in his sin ’til he repent. The power of binding and loosing was, moreover, given to the church, and not by any individual man, or body of men. Ministers exercise, he argued, their office for the church, and in the name of the church; and without the church’s consent and approval, expressed or implied, they have no power of loosing or binding any one. Much less, he maintained, was this power of excommunication secular; it was simply a power of doing, by the Church and for the Church, the necessary work of purging out notorious offenders from the body of the faithful.” Ibid., vol. 2, 18, 20.

The New Testament teaches clearly that the church is the body of Christ. (See Ephesians 1:22, 23; Colossians 1:18, 24 and 1 Corinthians 12.)

Petris main argument was that those that have the Holy Spirit make up the church. This is revealed in Ephesians 2:22. Baptism by water is a symbol of being baptized by the Holy Spirit. A person is only playing church if the Holy Spirit does not baptize him. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:13.

Petri saw that this issue of who had the authority to cast anyone out of the church, required an understanding of what constitutes the church. The church does have divine authority to bind and loose, but the question is, “Who is the church that has that authority?”

Taussan, a reformer in Denmark, drew up a confession which became the confession of the Protestants in Denmark. “It declared Holy Scripture to be the only rule of faith, and the satisfaction of Christ in our room the only foundation of eternal life. It defined the church to be the communion of the faithful, and it denied the power of any man to cast anyone out of that church, unless such shall have first cut himself off from the communion of the faithful by impenitence and sin. It affirmed that the worship of God did not consist in canticles, masses, vigils, edifices, shaven crowns, cowls, and anointings, but in the adoring of God in Spirit and in truth: that ‘the true mass of Christ is the commemoration of His sufferings and death, in which His body is eaten and His blood is drunk in certain pledge that through His name we obtain forgiveness of sins.’ It goes on to condemn masses for the living and the dead, indulgences, auricular confession, and all similar practices. It declares all true believers to be priests in Christ, who had offered Himself to the Father a living and acceptable sacrifice. It declares the head of the church to be Christ, than whom there is no other, whether on earth or in heaven, and of this head all believers are members.” Ibid., 42, 43.

Apostolic Succession

There was a remnant of the apostolic church in Italy called the Waldenses. They were terribly persecuted. One of the main issues with the Waldenses was who is the church? The Waldenses said that they were the Church, the spiritual descendents of the apostles, because they followed the pure teachings of the disciples. For this they were martyred and massacred by the millions. The Waldenses were a perpetual monument of what the church used to be and, as long as they maintained their purity, they were a living witness to testify against how far professed Christendom had departed from the original faith.

One of the early leaders of these people, around 820 A.D., was a godly man by the name of Claude of Turin. Ellen White speaks of him as a devout man who held back the tide of apostasy for a time. Regarding the church, Claude maintained “that there is but one Sovereign in the Church, and He is not on earth…Know thou that He only is apostolic who is the Keeper and Guardian of the apostles’ doctrine and not he who boasts himself to be seated in the chair of the apostle, and in the meantime doth not acquit himself of the charge of the apostle.” Ibid., vol. 1, 21, 22.

The question of apostolic succession has agitated minds in the Christian world for hundreds of years. Some boast, “Our church goes all the way back to the apostles and your church just started at such-and-such time.” Who really are the successors of the apostles? The way to understand this is to ask the question that was commonly asked in Christ’s day— “Who is the true church? Who are Abraham’s seed?”

The Jews told Jesus that they had never been in bondage, because they were Abraham’s descendents. (See John 8:33.) They said, “We are the true church and we are going to have eternal life.” They believed that the Gentiles had no hope of salvation because they were not Abraham’s seed. However, Christ attempted to enlighten their minds. He said, “ ‘I know that you are Abraham’s descendents, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.’ They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.’ ” John 8:37–39. That is, you would have a character like Abraham.

Worthless Profession

Our characters are formed by our habits (or our works) day by day. And all throughout the Bible, it is clearly taught that we will be judged according to our works, or our characters. (See Revelation 20; Matthew 17:27, 28). Ellen White said that the day of judgment would be a day of bitter disappointment to most of the Christian world, because they make a profession but they do not have a character that matches that profession. A profession is worthless unless the character coincides with it.

If you profess to be a Seventh-day Adventist, you profess to be a member of the church mentioned in Revelation 12:17 that keeps the commandments of God and has the testimony of Jesus. However, if you do not keep the commandments of God, nor have the faith of Jesus, your profession is worthless!

Notice how Jesus drove this point home to the Jewish leaders. “‘But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.’ Then they said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.’” John 8:40–44.

These people professed to be the true church, but actually, Christ said, they were of the devil. They were representatives of Satan. (See The Desire of Ages, 36.)

How do you tell who the spiritual successors of the apostles are? The descendents of the apostles are those that teach the same thing the apostles taught and are filled with the same Spirit. (See The Desire of Ages, 466, 467.)

Profession is worthless unless you show, by your life, that you follow the doctrine you profess. Claude maintained in the ninth century, “Know thou that he only is apostolic who is the keeper and guardian of the apostles’ doctrine.”

The evangelicals during the time of the Reformation said that the church is not the clergy, it is the congregation of godly men. What is usually called the church is merely the old synagogue. The true church is the assembly of the just. In other words, as Ellen White said, “From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth.” The Acts of the Apostles, 11.

Nowhere in the Spirit of Prophecy does Ellen White say that the church is both the faithful and the unfaithful. It is the faithful only. If you are unfaithful and make a profession, your name may be on a church book but you are not part of the church. Your profession is false. The Jews made a profession, but their characters proved that they were the children of the devil. It is character that counts.

Wherever a group of people is filled with the Holy Spirit, living godly, righteous lives and meeting together in an assembly to worship, there is the church. The reformers all understood this, and it gave them the strength to stand before the Bishops who condemned them to eternal hell fire, and confess, “I know my Redeemer liveth!”

One of these faithful believers wrote, “If two or three cobblers or weavers, elect of God, meet together in the name of the Lord, they form a true church of God.”

Fryth, a leading reformer, in England, who was burned at the stake in the sixteenth century said, “‘I understand the church of God in a wide sense. It contains all those whom we regard as members of Christ. It is a net thrown into the sea.’ This principle, sown at that time as a seed in the English Reformation, was one day to cover the world with missionaries.” The Reformation in England, vol. 2, 126, by J.H. Merle d’Aubigne.

Another true and faithful believer, named Bennett, had this experience. “For a whole week, not only the Bishop, but all the priests and friars of the city, visited Bennett night and day. But they tried in vain to prove to him that the Roman church was the true one. ‘God has given me grace to be of a better church,’ he said.—‘Do you not know that ours is built upon Saint Peter?’—‘The church that is built upon a man,’ he replied, ‘is the devil’s church and not God’s.’” Ibid., vol.1, 465.

Tyndale Debates More

Another famous reformer was William Tyndale, a scholar that translated the Bible from the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts into English. On one occasion Tyndale was in a debate with Thomas More, a Roman Catholic. Their discussion went like this:

“More: We must not examine the teaching of the church by Scripture, but understand Scripture by means of what the church says.

“Tyndale: What! Does the air give light to the sun, or the sun to the air? Is the church before the gospel, or the gospel before the church? Is not the father older than the son? God begat us with His own will, with the word of truth. (James 1:18.) If He who begeteth is before him who is begotten, the word is before the church, or, to speak more correctly, before the congregation.

“More: Why do you say congregation and not church?

“Tyndale: Because by that word church, you understand nothing but a multitude of shaven, shorn and oiled, which we now call the spirituality or clergy; while the word of right is common unto all the congregation of them that believe in Christ.

“More: The church is the Pope and his sect of followers.

“Tyndale: The Pope teaches us to trust in holy works for salvation, as penance, saints’ merits and fryer’s coats. Now, he that hath no faith to be saved through Christ, is not of Christ’s church.” Ibid., 395.

The reformer said that wherever the word is faithfully preached and the sacraments purely administered, there is the church. Rome said, Wherever there is a line of sacramentally ordained men, there and only there, is the church.

The Struggle of Separation

For many of the reformers, who grew up believing this distorted view of the church, the realization of the apostasy and the decision of what they must do in response came only with great difficulty. Calvin, the great Swiss reformer faced a terrible struggle. “The doubts by which his soul was now shaken grew in strength with each renewed discussion. What shall he do? Shall he forsake the church? That seems to him like casting himself into the gulf of perdition. And yet, can the church save him? There is a new light breaking in upon him in which her dogmas are melting away. The ground beneath him is sinking. ‘There can be no church,’ we hear Calvin say to himself, ‘where the truth is not.’” History of Protestantism, vol. 2, 152.

Do you believe that? Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:15: “But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Leaving the truth, is leaving the church. For many years Romanists have accused Protestants of heresy and of separation from the true church. But Ellen White says, “This accusation applies rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from the ‘faith that was once delivered unto the saints.’ Jude 3.” The Great Controversy, 51.

The church stays with the truth because the church is the pillar of the truth. When Calvin began to understand that, it set his mind free. “‘There can be no church,’ we hear Calvin saying to himself, ‘where the truth is not.’…If I shall come back to the truth, as contained in the Scriptures, will I not come back to the church? and will I not be joined to the holy company of prophets and apostles, of saints and martyrs? . . . In fine, Calvin concluded that the term ‘Church’ could not make the society that monopolized the term really ‘the Church.’ High sounding titles and lofty assumptions could give neither unity nor authority; these could come from the Truth alone; and so he abandoned ‘the Church’ that he might enter the Church—the Church of the Bible.” The History of Protestantism, vol. 2, 154.

We are living so near the end that it is time for us, as historic Adventists, to wake up to reality and not be deceived by pretension and profession. Our profession must coincide with our character. Unless our lives are in harmony with God’s law, we are not His people and our profession is worthless.

God’s church is going through as it always has in the past. The church went through in Samuel’s time, however, most of the professed people did not go along with it! The church went through in Jeremiah’s and Daniel’s time. And the church went through in the time of Jesus and the apostles; although the leaders of the professed church were not really a part of God’s church.

Latimer, another Protestant reformer, who was burned at the stake, wrote concerning the church: “Lively stones are needed to build up the temple of God.” The Reformation in England, vol. 2, 42. A church is not just bricks and mortar or corporations or theology. It is people who, as a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit, are spoken of in the Bible as living stones that emit light all around.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Do you want to be part of that light? Our greatest danger is that we will be deceived, thinking we are part of the light, because we make a profession, but we do not have a character to back it up. What will we do if we come to the Day of Judgment and have only a profession without having the wedding garment on? I cannot think of a more terrible moment, for then it will be all over and each person’s eternal destiny will be forever fixed. It will be too late to change.

But today, my dear reader, it is not too late. Jesus invites you to become a part of His body. He wants you to become a living stone built into that beautiful building of His church. Is eternal life worth everything to you? The decision is yours.

Uncertain Sounds

Whether we like it or not, we are on the battlefield of a spiritual war. Bullets are flying all around us. Planes soaring above us are dropping bombs, and field artillery is shelling us. Orders are being shouted at us from all sides, and to make matters worse, the orders are confusing and contradictory. Many of them consist of uncertain sounds.

What is an uncertain sound? Let us begin at the beginning. Sounds communicate; they send messages. We can all agree on that. Paul directs our minds to sounds used in military procedures. These sounds are all produced by the same instrument, the trumpet, but they do not all mean the same thing. There is a sound that says “Wake up,” and a sound that says “Go to sleep.” There is a sound that says “Advance,” and a sound that says “Retreat.” There can be great confusion if, instead of these clear signals, the soldiers hear a sound that they do not recognize and cannot identify. If they hear two contradictory sounds, such as “Advance” and “Retreat,” at the same time, the situation is much, much worse. The poor soldiers will not know what to do. They will be the victims of uncertain sounds—Which brings us to the subject of Christian music. We are being barraged today by music that purports to be Christian, but it sends two contradictory signals, one sensual and one spiritual, at the same time. One who makes this observation and comments on it can expect to stop some bullets being fired at him or her by enthusiasts of the “contemporary music.” They forcefully, if not fiercely, insist that the music does not communicate anything in particular. According to them, it is only the words that matter. “If the words are religious,” it is said, “they can be sung to any kind of music with the same results.”

But is this true? Can this statement bear up under investigation? Do sounds actually not communicate any message of their own?

Sending Contradictory Signals!

If sounds do not communicate a message of their own, why do we find in written materials so many references to persons who spoke in angry tones, etc.? We have no difficulty understanding these words. We are sure that no man has ever proposed to a lady in angry tones. Even the words “I love you,” if spoken in angry tones, would be unconvincing. The words and the tone would contradict each other, resulting in an uncertain sound. The lady would be perplexed and would doubtless reject the proposal.

When I was a boy, our family had a Border Shepherd dog whose name was “Pat.” He was normally quite a well-mannered dog, and when I would say to him, “Pat, come here,” he would come bounding joyously toward me. But I found that if I were displeased with him because he had dug in a flowerbed, or something of that nature, the command would not work. I would use the same words, but he would tuck his tail between his legs and slink away in the opposite direction. The words were nice, but I was not fooling him. He was reading the tones, the sounds. The argument that “sounds do not communicate a message of their own” would have been lost on him.

At Interesting Experiment

What about patterns or arrangements of tones, into what we call tunes? You can conduct a simple experiment to satisfy your mind on this question. Hymns that have the same metrical patterns can be sung to the same tunes. (See the metrical index in the back of your hymnal.) All to Jesus I surrender (number 573 in the older hymnal) can be sung to the tune of Watchman Blow the Gospel Trumpet, (number 619) and vice versa. Try it. The results are ludicrous. Here is a short list of other exchanges that can be made. (All numbers are in the older hymnal.)

630 Some Day the Silver Cord Will Break

585 The Lord’s Our Rock

123 There Was One Who Was Willing

626 Will There be Any Stars?

Again, I invite you to try it. Do it both ways. Sing the words of each to the tune of the other. I have seen people burst out laughing when the words of Watchman Blow the Gospel Trumpet were sung to the tune of All to Jesus I surrender. It just didn’t make any sense. The message communicated by the music, the sounds, was altogether different from the message communicated by the written words. The result is a mixed signal, an uncertain sound. Hearing it, you do not know what to do. You are in the same quandary as the soldiers who are given the trumpet command to “Advance” and the command to “Retreat” at the same time. If you want to explore this subject further, try exchanging the words and tunes in these songs:

223 Come Ye Disconsolate

185 Heir Of The Kingdom

130 O Sacred Head Now Wounded

279 Live Out Thy Life Within Me

The results will range from the ludicrous to the utterly blasphemous. You have now discovered a very important principle of truth. Words and music can communicate different, even contradictory, messages. For a final bit of evidence, consider this situation. There is in the hymnal a song (167) that should be greatly loved, for two reasons. First, it is the oldest Christian song that we know of, having been written by Clement of Alexandria about the year 200 AD. Second, it expresses the church’s concern for its young people, as evidenced by its title, Shepherd of Tender Youth. But I have never heard it used, and I doubt that you have either. Why? Because, although the words are appealing, the tune is hopeless; it is just “blah.” But, try a comparison. Sing the words of this song to the tune of number 510, My Country ‘Tis of Thee. It immediately becomes very singable and satisfying.

Cultural Conditioning

But that will introduce another problem. You and I will not be comfortable with this combination of words and music, because we have so long associated the music with the words of our patriotic hymn, My Country ‘Tis of Thee. We have been culturally conditioned. But is this the entire truth? Are all of our responses to music just the result of cultural conditioning? We must admit that some are, but certainly not all. There is a distinct difference between responses to tones or tunes that are universal and responses that are cultural. Responses that are universal are true for all people at all times. This is not true of responses that are cultural.

While I was teaching at Atlantic Union College, I sometimes heard the students singing a song that they obviously appreciated, entitled, Search Me O God. I thought it was nice, but it did not mean the same thing to me that it meant to them, because in Hawaii I had first learned the tune as the Maori Farewell, with entirely different secular words. In Hawaii, at that time, the Maori Farewell and Aloha Oe were sung to close every social gathering. I never troubled the students about it, because it was not a universal principle, only my own cultural conditioning. I have the same problem when I hear the Christian song Down From His Glory, because I first heard the tune as O Solo Mio. Again, this is my personal problem, and not a universal truth, affecting all people alike. I have been told by a missionary who had served in Africa that in the area where he lived, someone had written Christian words to the tune of Old Black Joe. He could not appreciate it, because of his cultural conditioning, but the local people valued it highly.

So it would be foolish to deny that cultural conditioning exists, but it would be equally foolish to affirm it as a universal principle of truth, applying to all people at all times. It would be worse than foolish to argue that sounds are wholly neutral, communicating no message of their own. This would be an insult to our intelligence, flying in the face of the self-evident realities all about us. It would be like denying that fire is hot, or that ice is cold, or that water is wet, or that band music makes us feel like marching.

Music of Another Dimension

Consider, then, our present condition. We have churches that exist for the purpose of communicating spiritual messages. There are bars, nightclubs, and brothels that exist for the purpose of communicating vile, sensual messages. Both groups have, for centuries, used music to further their own ends, to help them accomplish their distinctive goals. The distinction between the two types of music has been clear and distinct. The churches have used words matched with tunes in such a way that there was no conflict between the two messages. There were no uncertain sounds. The bars, nightclubs, and brothels also used words matched with tunes in such a way that there was no conflict between the two messages. There were no uncertain sounds. But now…

Now we are confronted by an incredible intermingling of the two types of music. I do not mean that spiritual music is now being used in bars, nightclubs, and brothels. The devil, who presides over them, is not that stupid. But the musical forms that have for many years been used in the bars, nightclubs, and brothels are now appearing in churches!

Imitating Our Heros

How has this been accomplished? To a large extent through television. Television has introduced the musical forms, the instruments, the style of performing and the style of singing from the bars, nightclubs, and brothels, into our homes. Our children grow up with these musical forms and accept what they hear as the norm. Thus they become terribly confused. Then when asked to sing for Sabbath school or church, they imitate the singing style of the television artists to whom they have been listening. Witness the heavy breathing into the microphone held close to the lips, the sliding and slurring of notes, the meaningless hand gestures in the air, the facial contortions, the squalling, child-like tones, mingled with half-whispered tones, and the heavy sensual rhythm.

All of these things spell sensuality, which is exactly what the television people want. They are in league with Hollywood, and they are working on the principle that “sex sells.” That is why what they present is consciously and deliberately sensual. They know what they are doing, and they do it very well (from their standpoint). As an illustration of the problem that we are discussing, I once heard a young gospel singer tell of a singing institute that he was planning to conduct. He reported happily that he was going to have some singers there from Hollywood to do part of the teaching. I could scarcely credit my senses. Bringing teachers from Hollywood, the sensuality cesspool of the nation, if not the world, to teach young people how to sing in church! The devil must have been convulsed in hysterical laughter.

Christian Rock?

That is where we are on the battlefield. Some desperately confused church leaders are laboring diligently to bring this mingled music, with its mixed signals and its uncertain sounds, into our own church. Some of the members are deceived by it, while others are troubled but do not know exactly why. The leaders seek to disguise it with high-sounding words such as, “celebration music,” “contemporary music,” “culturally relevant music,” etc., but it is really nothing more than bar, nightclub, and brothel music. Thus the leaders practice deception on innocent church members, whom they mock, deride, and sneer at for their discomfort with the musical selections presented. They stubbornly insist that bar, nightclub, and brothel music can be combined with religious words and be acceptable worship to the God of purity and holiness. Some even go so far as to speak approvingly of “Christian rock.” This is a contradiction in terms. “Rock” music is consciously and deliberately vile. If there can be Christian rock, then there can also be Christian pimps and Christian prostitutes. But angry arguments notwithstanding, there is no such thing as “Christian Rock.”

A closely related phenomenon is the tendency for singers to mangle and mutilate the Christian songs they sing by omitting notes that were written by the composer and substituting notes of their own. This is like walking into a museum where beautiful, historic works of art are being exhibited, then seizing a paint brush and adding some strokes of your own. To do this is to demonstrate an enormous lack of respect for the original artist, along with an equal lack of respect for the people who want to see the work of the artist, not your work. I would earnestly appeal to those who are tempted to do this to write their own songs, and leave the musical treasures of the church alone. They do not need your touching up, your interpretation.

I once listened to a fine sermon on television, after which a singer came onstage. As soon as the pianist started the introduction, I recognized it as The Holy City, and I instinctively reached for the muting button. Then I stopped myself, thinking, “Surely he would not mangle and mutilate that grand old song.” But I was wrong. By the time he was finished I fervently wished that I had made use of the mute button.

In Spiritual Warfare, Content Counts

Let us remember that it is not the label that counts; it is the content. It is not the instrument that counts; it is the manner of playing it. There are many labels being used, such as Contemporary, Country, Nashville, Western, Celebration, Culturally Relevant, etc., and many different instruments are being employed. None of these labels or instruments necessarily indicate sensual music, but it very often appears in all of them. Let us train ourselves to quickly judge them by their content, and as quickly reject all music that is carnal and sensual, regardless of the words. We cannot afford to do otherwise. The issues are too great.

We are on a spiritual battlefield, and the battle is nearing its climax. This is no time for mixed signals, for uncertain sounds. This is no time for the church to listen to those who, in defiance of reality, stubbornly insist that spiritual messages can be communicated with carnal and sensual music. This is the time for messages in words and music that will keep us unperplexed and unconfused, and help us meet successfully the enormous challenges of the time of trouble such as never was.

For further information on this subject, I strongly recommend the two special journals dealing with music that have been published by Adventists Affirm. You can reach them at:

PO Box 36

Berrien Springs, MI 49103

The journals cost $3.00 each, and they are well worth it.

Which Church is Going Through? Part III

There is a text in the Bible that says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3. No matter how wonderful the building is that you build, if the foundation is not solid, if it is not secure, it can all go to ruin. Every one of you have seen instances, perhaps on television, when a flood swept away large houses. In Matthew 7, Jesus told a story about the man who built his house on the rock and the man who built his house on the sand. When the storm came, one house did not have a foundation. This is true not just for physical buildings. Jesus did not tell that story just so we would know how to build our house. What house was Jesus talking about? What does the Bible say is the house of God? Look at 1 Timothy 3:15 “…if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” If the church is built on the rock, it will stand the storm. But every church that is not built on the rock is going to get blown away. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said to Peter, “…you are Peter, [Petros: that is a stone] and on this rock [petra: that is a large rock or boulder] I will build My church.” Jesus is the living rock. If the church is built on the right foundation, it will go through. Every church that is built on the right foundation will go through and every church that is not built on the right foundation will not go through. It is very important to know what the foundation is because otherwise we will not know which church is going through. Let me give you an illustration on that.

There are texts in the Bible that tell us to flee from Babylon. How can you flee from something if you do not even know what it is? Have you ever thought about that?

Who is the Church of God?

There are texts in the Bible that tell us that we should seek to find the way to Zion. We know Zion is a symbol of God’s church. But, how can you go to Zion if you do not know what Zion is? I receive many letters from historic Seventh-day Adventists who do not know what Zion is. I also have books on the subject. What these books and letters tell me is a common misconception and a common false theory about the foundation of the church. These letters and books tell me that the church organization is the church. Have you ever heard that? These people tell me that the church organization is the church, and they send me stacks of material with references from the Spirit of Prophecy or from the Bible. I have read all of these references very carefully and I have not found one statement yet that says that the church organization is the church. I have read the books where they have attempted to prove this point, and I have read all of the statements and all of the inspired statements in these books. There is not one statement, I believe, in the Spirit of Prophecy, which defines the church this way. Not even one! There are many statements in Inspired writings, however, that exactly define God’s church. We read some of those in our previous articles.

In Acts of the Apostles, page 11 Ellen White says, “from the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church.” That is a statement that people have spent a tremendous amount of time trying to explain or get around. They say that is about something that is invisible. But if you read the whole context, it is not talking about anything invisible, it is talking about something very visible that you can see. Or the one in Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, page 296 that is also in the SDA Bible Commentary, page 949, tells us who it is that composes the church of God. It says it is those that keep God’s commandments. It is those that live by every word that proceeds out of the Lord’s mouth. That is who it is.

The Faith of Jesus

One of the commandments that first began to be broken in heaven by Lucifer was the ninth commandment. The ninth commandment says that you shall not bear false witness. Did you know that it is very possible for a person who comes to church, who is a Christian, and who is a member of a church to bear false witness? How does a person become a member of a church, and what does it mean to become a member of a church? When a person studies the Bible and they learn the truth of this Book, they learn about the commandments of God and decide that they are going to keep all the commandments of God, including the fourth one. They learn about the faith of Jesus. The faith of Jesus is a faith that gives you the power to change your life—to obey. You receive divine power through the Holy Spirit to live a new life. That is recorded all through the New Testament. (Romans 8; Romans 6; 1 John 3.) When a person studies those things and wants to be part of this group that it talks about in Revelation 14:12—those who keep the commandments of God, those who have the faith of Jesus, they will be one of those who will be ready to go to heaven when Jesus comes, and I want to be part of that group.

What does the Lord tell people to do if they want to be part of His church? What did He say to His disciples just before He left? He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Mark 16:15, 16. So when a person decides they are going to live by every word in the Bible, and they say that is what they choose to do; they leave aside their sinful life. The apostle Paul spoke to people in the Corinthian church who had been involved in all kinds of sin, and I want to tell you, friend, if you want to be saved, you can be saved. There is nobody who cannot be saved because they are too bad of a sinner. God can save every single one of us. Look what it says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul lists a whole bunch of terrible sins. He says these people are not going to be in the kingdom of God. But notice verse 11: “And such were some of you.” There were people in the Corinthian church who had been sodomites, thieves and adulterers; they had been involved in every kind of sin. Paul said those people are not going to inherit the kingdom of God. Some of them were like this, but notice what happened to them: “…but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Ibid. These people had been involved in every kind of sin that you can think of. He lists a whole bunch of awful ones right there in verses 9 and 10. He said the people who do these things are not going to be in the kingdom of God. You were like this, but you have been washed. Washed! What are you washed in? Revelation 1:5 says, “To Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Washed—you cannot get sin out of your life with just water. But Jesus came and washed us from our sins with His blood.

There may be some whom the devil has tempted so much that you have felt like you will have to give up. You think you are so bad you cannot make it. You are no worse than these people were. These people were saved. God is no respecter of persons. God can save you. Is that good news? I am so happy when I preach the gospel. In fact, if I could not share this good news, I do not know if I could preach. How would you like it if a preacher got up to preach and said, “Look, some of you here can be saved because you are in this category, and some of you are such bad sinners that you cannot be saved. You are just stuck. You might as well leave the church right now because you cannot make it.” How would you like to hear that? That would be bad news would it not? But the word ‘gospel,’ means the glad tidings, the good news, “…that Christ Jesus came [Paul said] into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15.

Paul was a bad sinner; he was a murderer. Can God save murderers? Yes! The apostle Paul is going to be in heaven, and he was a murderer. The people he murdered were not criminals. They were the most holy men and women on the face of the earth. But Paul was changed; he was washed. Do you want to be washed from your sins? Are you willing to commit your life to Christ and say, ‘Lord, I am committing my life to You. I will follow You. I am surrendering to You; please wash me from my sins.’ That is what it means to get baptized. When you are baptized, that is a symbol of the fact that your sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus.

God’s People Have Two Qualifications

Remember we were looking at the ninth commandment? Is it possible for me to make all of that profession, and then not follow through? Is that possible? It not only is possible, but it has happened hundreds of millions of times. What if I make a profession but then I do not live according to my profession? You see, there is a church that is God’s people by profession. God’s remnant church, by profession, are those who call themselves Seventh-day Adventists. Seventh-day Adventists are the only people in the world who meet the specifications in Revelation 14:12. This text specifies who God’s people are going to be in the last days; and they have two qualifications.

First, they keep the commandments of God. James 2:10 says that if you keep all the law but you offend in one point you have broken it all. The Ten Commandments are not ten laws; the Ten Commandments are one law. Always remember that. (See Exodus 24:12.) If you break any one of the precepts, you have broken the whole law. God’s last day people will be people who keep all ten of the Ten Commandments.

Secondly, they have the faith of Jesus. I love to talk about the faith of Jesus. Do you have the faith of Jesus? What does the faith of Jesus do? If you have the same kind of faith that Jesus had, you are trusting God completely that He is going to get you through each test. Jesus prayed to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane because He was afraid. Have you ever been afraid? Do you know why Jesus was afraid? Jesus was afraid that His humanity would not be able to stand the test, because He knew what test was coming; He knew He was going to the cross. He was afraid that His humanity would not endure. So He prayed. Did God answer His prayer? A mighty angel came from heaven to strengthen Him. Not to take away the test, but to strengthen Him. That is the faith of Jesus. Are you having any tests? Do you ever become afraid and say, “Oh, Lord, I will never make it. I will not be able to survive this test; I am going to fall; what am I going to do?” Do you ever feel like that? What is the faith of Jesus? The faith of Jesus is when you are depending on God and crying out to Him to give you the power and the strength to get you through whatever test it is that you are facing.

A Form of Godliness

There is a church that is God’s chosen people by profession. They claim to believe Revelation 14:12, to be part of that group; and some of these people really are that group. Unfortunately, some make a profession, but their profession is not true. They are breaking the ninth commandment. Often the professed church of God has gone so far in apostasy that it has persecuted the true church. This is predicted to happen at the end. “He [God] draws the dividing line between those who bear His name by profession and those whose character shows them to be His children.” Signs of the Times, June 30, 1881. God draws the dividing line, and some people are on one side of the line and some people are on the other side of that line. All the people make a profession, but where is the line? The line is between those who simply make a profession and those who show by their character that their profession is true. On which side of the line are you?

“Not their profession, but the fruit they bear, shows the character of the true. Many have a form of godliness, their names are upon the church records but they have a spotted record in heaven.” Appeal to the Battle Creek Church. It is not the profession, but the fruit. This is the difference between the wheat and the tares. The wheat bears fruit. The tares do not bear fruit. They look just like wheat for a long time, but in the harvest time there is no fruit. The Bible tells us what the fruit is in Galatians 5:22, 23. It talks about the fruit of the Spirit. If you really have the Holy Spirit inside and it is not just a profession, some fruit will appear in your life. Even if you have committed all of those sins that we just read about in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 10, the Holy Spirit can purify your heart and give you love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, self-control, and temperance. All of those things the Holy Spirit can produce in your life no matter what your past has been. Is that good news? The gospel, Christianity, is a miracle religion. The person who has been beating his wife, stops. He does not just make a profession; he actually changes his behavior. The person who has been an alcoholic, stops using that poison. The person who has been a profligate, living an immoral life, becomes faithful and true. Their family, their spouse, can depend on them. The gospel actually changes their life. We all need to make the profession, but the profession needs to be true.

The Truth is to Change My Life

It would be better for us if we had never seen the light of truth than to profess to accept it and not be sanctified by it. If I profess to accept the truth, the truth is to change my life. Like we read in the last part of 2 Peter 2, it would be better if a person never even knew the truth than to know it and not be changed in character and in life. The good news of the gospel is that God wants to change your heart and mine through the Holy Spirit so that our profession becomes real and there is actually spiritual fruit in our lives. Because if there is not fruit in the life, the time is near when we are going to be separated. The wheat and the tares are going to be separated. It is a scary subject, but it is true and it is going to happen. It is not only going to happen, but it is happening right now. There is plenty of Inspired instruction that shows that clearly.

There is a reason that we have to spend so much time talking about who and what is the church, if you do not understand who and what it is, at the end you are going to be lost, because you will be going from the wrong place to the wrong place. Now if you are going from the wrong place and you are going to the wrong place, how can you be saved? In other words, if you think this is the church and you are running towards it, but it is not; and if you think that that is not the church and so you are running from it and it is the church, what is your situation? You are lost. Let us think this text through, and let us remember the inspired definitions of who and what the church is.

They Went Out From Us

The only thing that you can depend on is inspiration. There must be a “thus saith the Lord” for what you believe if you are going to be saved. In 1 John 2:19, it says, “They went out from us.” Who is the ‘us’? Is ‘us’ the church organization? Be careful! Who is the ‘us’? If you read from 1 John 1 up to 1 John 2:19, you should be able to figure out who the ‘us’ is, because it tells who the ‘us’ is. For instance, look at 1 John 2:13. It says, “…I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.” Look at verse 14. He says again, “…and you have overcome the wicked one.” John calls these people His little children and he specifies in the first part of chapter 2, verses 3-11, the test of those who really know God. Notice, he says in verses 3 and 4, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Where is he drawing the line? It is those who keep the commandments. Does that sound similar to Revelation 14:12? Continuing in verse 6 we read, ” He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” He has the faith of Jesus. These are the people who are overcoming. These are the people who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus. That is who the ‘us’ is.

Then who are the ‘they’? Look at verse 19 again. “They went out from us.” Now the us are the people who are keeping God’s commandments. They are the people who have the faith of Jesus because they are walking like He walked. (See 1 John 2:6.) These are the people who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus. That is who the us is in verse 19. Then who are the ‘they’? It says, “They went out from us.” They used to be part of us then. Or did they? Have you read the whole verse yet? They went out from us, but they were not of us. How do you explain that? They used to be here with us, but they were not of us. Continuing in verse 19 we read, “If ‘they’ had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” How do you explain that? They were apparently church members; they were part of the church, but they were not really, they just professed to be. Apparently they were church members; they were apparently part of us, but not really. This verse is worth a lot of study. “They went out from us.” They left those who were keeping the commandments of God and had the faith of Jesus. They left them. That does not necessarily mean that they left the church building or quit going to church. The Spirit of Prophecy makes that very clear.

Bible Study Guides – The Suffering Servant

February 15, 2009 – February 21, 2009

Key Text

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 741–757; “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 974.


“We must not shrink from the depths of humiliation to which the Son of God submitted in order to raise us from the degradation and bondage of sin to a seat at His right hand.” That I May Know Him, 65.

1 What did John the Baptist understand about the promised Messiah? How was God’s glory revealed? Isaiah 40:5; John 1:14.

Note: “Alone in the silent night he [John the Baptist] read God’s promise to Abraham of a seed numberless as the stars. The light of dawn, guilding the mountains of Moab, told of Him who should be as ‘the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds.’ II Samuel 23:4. And in the brightness of noontide he saw the splendor of His manifestation, when ‘the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.’ Isaiah 40:5.

“With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah’s coming—the promised seed that should bruise the serpent’s head; Shiloh, ‘the peace giver,’ who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David’s throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, already the Christ was born.” The Desire of Ages, 102, 103.

2 How did Christ reveal the Father? John 1:18; 17:25, 26.

Note: “By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to men and to angels. He was the Word of God—God’s thought made audible. In His prayer for His disciples He says, ‘I have declared unto them Thy name’—‘merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth’—‘that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.’ [John 17:26; Exodus 34:6; John 17:26.] But not alone for His earthborn children was this revelation given. Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. God’s wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which ‘angels desire to look,’ [I Peter 1:12] and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which ‘seeketh not her own’ [I Corinthians 13:5] has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.” The Desire of Ages, 19, 20.

3 How did Christ respond to the abuse heaped upon Him by sinful men? Isaiah 50:4–6; 52:14; 53:3–7.

Note: “It was to bring the bread of life to His enemies that our Saviour left His home in heaven. Though calumny and persecution were heaped upon Him from the cradle to the grave, they called forth from Him only the expression of forgiving love.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 71.

4 How did the prophecy of Isaiah 53:12 meet its fulfillment? Luke 22:37; 23:33. What effect does this have upon each one of us? John 3:14–16; 12:32.

Note: “Christ on the cross, not only draws men to repentance toward God for the transgression of His law—for whom God pardons He first makes penitent—but Christ has satisfied justice; He has proffered Himself as an atonement. His gushing blood, His broken body, satisfy the claims of the broken law, and thus He bridges the gulf which sin has made. He suffered in the flesh that with His bruised and broken body He might cover the defenseless sinner. The victory gained at His death on Calvary broke forever the accusing power of Satan over the universe, and silenced his charges that self-denial was impossible with God and therefore not essential in the human family.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 974.

5 What encouraged Christ to endure the torments of His trial and crucifixion? Isaiah 53:11.

Note: “What sustained the Son of God in His betrayal and trial? He saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. He caught a view of the expanse of eternity and saw the happiness of those who through His humiliation should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and with His stripes they were healed. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 43, 44.

6 How should Christ’s suffering and death affect our lives on a practical, daily basis? Romans 6:10, 13; Galatians 6:14.

Note: “The cross of Calvary appeals in power, affording a reason why we should love Christ now, and why we should consider Him first, and best, and last, in everything. We should take our fitting place in humble penitence at the foot of the cross. We may learn the lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind as we go up to Mount Calvary, and, looking upon the cross, see our Saviour in agony, the Son of God dying, the Just for the unjust. Behold Him who could summon legions of angels to His assistance with one word, a subject of jest and merriment, of reviling and hatred. He gives Himself a sacrifice for sin. When reviled, He threatened not; when falsely accused, He opened not His mouth. He prays on the cross for His murderers. He is dying for them. He is paying an infinite price for every one of them.” That I May Know Him, 65.

7 What is one of the greatest needs of every individual? Isaiah 26:3; 48:18; Psalm 40:7, 8.

Note: “Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. The Lord says, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.’ Isaiah 26:3. Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the glory—character—of Christ will be received into the Paradise of God. A renovated race shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy.” The Desire of Ages, 331.

8 How did Jesus fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 26:3 for us? Matthew 11:28–30.

Note: “As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation: Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. All that human nature can bear, we may receive here.” The Desire of Ages, 331, 332.

9 What is the position of Jesus Christ in our spiritual building? Isaiah 28:16; I Corinthians 3:10, 11; Ephesians 2:20.

Note: “Human power and human might did not establish the church of God, and neither can they destroy it. Not on the rock of human strength, but on Christ Jesus, the Rock of Ages, was the church founded, ‘and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ Matthew 16:18. The presence of God gives stability to His cause. … God’s glorious work, founded on the eternal principles of right, will never come to nought.” Prophets and Kings, 595, 596.

10 What does Christ, the Rock, do to us if we accept Him, and what does He do to us if we reject Him? Luke 20:17, 18.

Note: “To those who believe, Christ is the sure foundation. These are they who fall upon the Rock and are broken. Submission to Christ and faith in Him are here represented. To fall upon the Rock and be broken is to give up our self-righteousness and to go to Christ with the humility of a child, repenting of our transgressions, and believing in His forgiving love. And so also it is by faith and obedience that we build on Christ as our foundation. … Without this connection, no man can be saved. Without the life of Christ in us, we cannot withstand the storms of temptation. Our eternal safety depends upon our building upon the sure foundation.” The Desire of Ages, 599.

“Christ is coming, and Christ is to be revealed in you, if you will only allow His image to be revealed in you. Fall on the Rock and be broken. … You want to break in pieces before God your pride, yourself, your folly, your wickedness, your dishonesty, your corruption of heart, your licentiousness, your impurity.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 212.

“And on ‘whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.’ [Matthew 21:44.] The people who rejected Christ were soon to see their city and their nation destroyed. Their glory would be broken, and scattered as the dust before the wind. And what was it that destroyed the Jews? It was the rock which, had they built upon it, would have been their security. It was the goodness of God despised, the righteousness spurned, the mercy slighted. Men set themselves in opposition to God, and all that would have been their salvation was turned to their destruction.” The Desire of Ages, 600.

Additional Reading

“Christ has left us a perfect, sinless example. His followers are to walk in His footsteps. If they are not transformed in character, they can never dwell with Him in His kingdom. Christ died to elevate and ennoble them, and those who retain hereditary tendencies to wrong can not dwell with Him. He suffered all that it is possible for human flesh to suffer and endure, that we might pass triumphantly through all the temptations Satan may invent to destroy our faith.

“In Christ is our only hope. God has daily victories for His people to gain. … By His heavenly gifts the Lord has made ample provision for His people. An earthly parent can not give his child a sanctified character. He cannot transfer his character to his child. God alone can transform us. Christ breathed on His disciples, and said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost.’ [John 20:22.] This is the great gift of heaven. Christ imparted to them through the Spirit His own sanctification. He imbued them with His power, that they might win souls to the gospel. Henceforth Christ would live through their faculties, and speak through their words. They were privileged to know that hereafter He and they were to be one. They must cherish His principles and be controlled by His Spirit. They were no longer to follow their own way, to speak their own words. The words they spoke were to proceed from a sanctified heart, and fall from sanctified lips. No longer were they to live their own selfish life; Christ was to live in them. … He would give to them the glory that He had with the Father, that He and they might be one in God.

“Young men and young women should realize that to be one with Christ is the highest honor to which they can attain. … Consecrate all that there is of you—soul, body, and spirit—to the Lord. Yield every power you have to the control of the Holy Spirit.” Sons and Daughters of God, 294.

“Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God would impress upon Abraham the gospel of salvation to man. In order to do this, and make the truth a reality to him as well as to test his faith, He required him to slay his darling Isaac. All the sorrow and agony that Abraham endured through that dark and fearful trial were for the purpose of deeply impressing upon his understanding the plan of redemption for fallen man. He was made to understand in his own experience how unutterable was the self-denial of the infinite God in giving His own Son to die to rescue man from utter ruin. To Abraham no mental torture could be equal to that which he endured in obeying the divine command to sacrifice his son.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 369.

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

The Ten Commandments, Part VI: Judged by the Rock

As we look at the Ten Commandments, in Deuteronomy 5, we are able to see that eight of those ten begin with a negative prohibition, “Thou shalt not.” But we need to remember that wherever there is a negative, there is also a positive. With every negative command that is to prohibit us from something, there is always a positive encouragement to do what is right and good.

The negative command we will be considering in this article is the one of not taking the name of the Lord in vain. This negative command indicates that there is a positive command to serve God in an acceptable way with reverence and godly fear. From this positive perspective, we know that those who keep this commandment will have a reverent attitude. They recognize that the character of God is to be found in His name, and any time they are in proximity with God, they are to have a reverent attitude.

God’s name and His character are inseparable. You cannot look at one without looking at the other. You cannot examine one without being exposed to the other. As we study this commandment, we need to recognize this fact as well.

A Good Name

When we speak of a person having a good name, such as, “John has a good name in the community,” what are we really saying? He has a good character; he has integrity; he is upright; he treats other people right; everything about him is of a respectable nature. This is why the Bible says, “A [good] name [is] rather to be chosen than great riches.” Proverbs 22:1. Many people have found themselves seeking after riches only to discover that they have lost their good name.

In the name of God, we see His character revealed. In this commandment, we see the endorsement that we are to come up to the level of all that God is in character. This is why, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.

Come Up

We are called to come up. We may not yet be at the highest point, but the call is to continually come up. So often we find that people are content with where they are, but we, as Christians, and particularly as Seventh-day Adventist Christians, should never, ever be content with where we are in our lives. Even though we may go day after day without the real sense that we have committed a sin, we know, because of our human natures, that we are in peril; we are in a constant state of temptation. We may feel that we are right with God, but we should never be content to stay where we are. We should always be studying and trying to discover more of what God can mean to us.

We are to live up to all that God’s name means. If we are not living up to all that God’s name means, in regard to His character, we are indeed taking His name in vain.

Meaning of a Name

What does “the name of the Lord” mean? The phrases, “name of God,” “the name of the Lord thy God,” and “thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God,” are immensely comprehensive. These mean more than merely titles or descriptions by which Deity is distinguished from all other deities. They mean all that may be properly established or conceived of God.

When, for instance, we think of the name of George Washington, the first President of the United States, there immediately comes to our minds everything that we have learned and known about this man. There should be a great amount of respect for the name, but if we allow ourselves to think a moment about it, we will discover that it is a symbol for something more. When this great man’s name comes to our minds, we think of his character, his wisdom, his integrity, his patriotism, his heroism. Everything that Washington was and did comes to our minds. The same thing is true as far as God is concerned. When we think of the name of God, everything that He is and has done should come to our minds. It should have an effect on our hearts.

When we think of the name of God, we find that it signifies His nature, His attributes, His character, His authority, His purposes, His methods, His providences, His words, His institutions, His truth, His kingdom, or, in other words, everything and all that God is comes into mind. All that God asks is also included in His name.

Characteristics of Name

We can see all these things as we study the peculiar characteristics of the word name in Scripture and how they apply to God. All of these things come to bear upon the commandment that says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

For instance, in Psalm 8:1, we read: “O Lord our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” Something interesting is brought out in this text. The first Lord is given in capital letters, meaning Jehovah God. “O Jehovah God, our Master,” is really what it is saying when it uses the word Lord. “O Jehovah, the God that we serve, the One that we love, how excellent is thy name in all the earth.”

Psalm 111:9 says, “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend [is] his name.” The commanded covenant, of course, is the Ten Commandments. How long will the Ten Commandment Law be in existence? Forever. It was in effect before the world was created; it will be in effect in the New Earth.


Another attribute is revealed to us in Malachi 3:16: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard [it], and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.” In other words, those who fear the Lord, who have a reverent attitude concerning the Lord, are the ones who are going to reflect upon the character of God and what that means to them as relating to their Master.

In Matthew 6:9, the Lord is teaching the disciples how to pray: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” The word hallowed means holy. The name of God, the character of God, the attributes of God, everything about God is holy, and we should keep that in mind when we approach God.

“And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” Luke 9:48. This is why we are told, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20.

In Matthew 28:19, 20, is given the commission of Jesus just before He ascended to heaven: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.” In this passage, we learn also that we are to baptize in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Godhead possesses a particular aspect that is to be revealed in the life of the baptismal candidate.


Finally, we read, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.” Revelation 3:12. What does it mean to have the name of God written upon us? It means that our lives are to reveal the character of God. And not only the name of God is to be written upon us but also the name of the city, and Jesus says, “I will even write My new name on him.” What a privilege it is for sinful, fallen human beings, who have been utter wretches, who have gone through the degradation of sin, to be lifted and exalted, to sit upon thrones, to have a new name given.

There are many stories that could be told about the process of adoption, of how families take in those who have no name, give them a name, and then try to instruct those children how to live up to that name. I remember one occasion when I was speaking with my son on the telephone. He was going through a particular trial, and he was relating to me that he was going to do a certain thing to an individual who had wronged him. I told him, “You cannot do that.”

“Why not?” he wanted to know.

“Because,” I said, “you are a Baugher. That is why you cannot do it. You must live up to the name.”

God expects the very same thing of us. Once we have entered into that relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, having been baptized in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, we have a life to live that should never have any shame cast upon it. He has called us into a family that has a name above all names, and we must live up to it.

Revelation 17:14 tells us, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful.” God has a plan and a purpose for us all. We are called; we are chosen; and we are to be faithful to the Lord of lords and King of kings.

Each Term Significant

The character of God is so great, so magnanimous, that there are about 350 different terms or names that are applied to God. Each title used to describe Him or used to describe His work reveals a little something different about the One called God.

I have been called a lot of things in my life. Some of them, used to describe what the other person felt was my character, were not so nice. Not so with God. Every aspect of the name that is used to describe God tells something wonderful about Him.

The most sacred name of all names or designations of God is that of Jehovah or Yahweh. It was considered so sacred among the Jews that if they were walking down a street and they saw a piece of paper lying in the way, they would never step on that piece of paper for fear that the name of God was written on it. We kind of snicker in our minds at some of the extremes the Jews used in this regard, and yet, when we stop and think about it, should we not be as careful as far as God and His name are concerned?

Need for Respect

I do not know about you, but I personally never, ever, ever, ever like to lay anything on the Bible. There is just something about that action that says, here is where the profane comes in contact with the holy. I do not even like to lay another Bible on the Bible, if I can keep from it. Now, this may sound like an extreme, but it helps me to have the sense that there is something holy about that Book which tells me about the God of the Bible.

Christians today, in many ways, are in danger of going to the other extreme by frequently being too familiar with God and not having the reverence that they are supposed to have with concern to God.

In a meeting I once attended, it was suggested, based upon the Greek text, that we should address God as Papa, Daddy, or other similar terms, because, some people said that this is what Jesus meant when He addressed His Father as Abba. This does not set quite right with me. We need to have a greater reverence for God than to call Him Daddy. We can think of Him as an endearing parent, but it should be done with reverence. There are things that can drag us down to the level of the common and the profane, if we allow them to happen.

This is one of the reasons why the seventh church of Revelation, the church of Laodicea, is designated to reflect the day and the age in which we are living. Their character is reflective of the common attitude toward the use of the name of God.

More Than Curse Words

What about taking God’s name in vain? How do we take the name of God in vain? This is what the third commandment prohibits. To take the name of the Lord in vain is thought by many to deal with cursing or profanity. If we use an expletive where the words God and Jesus are used, we think this is a violation of the commandment, and indeed it is encompassed there. We should not minimize that in the least, but it is not only that with which the commandment is dealing. It is dealing with something that is more profound than just curse words on our lips, where we use the name of the Lord when we hit our thumb with the hammer.

The word profanity is made up of two Latin words: pro, meaning “in front of,” and fane, meaning “temple.” When we use profanity, it is really an indication of irreverence for holy things. It is defying God, as it were, in the very precincts of His temple. This is one of the reasons why I believe this commandment covers all aspects of reverent attitude in the sanctuary of God.

If we could understand this, it would make a significant difference in the way we treat the sanctuary of God—if we truly believe the Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth be silent. There are very few of us who think about this commandment in terms of irreverence in the sanctuary of God. If we look at the sanctuary as the dwelling place where God is found, where we come to meet with Him, it would change our whole attitude as to how we relate to Him.

“The Lord [is] in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:20. We all need to guard ourselves more closely on this particular point.

The Lord’s Name

We are treading on very dangerous ground when we use profanity that is touching on the Lord’s name. Some use profanity, believing that by doing so they are exalted in the eyes of their peers. This is how young people are usually trapped. As many enter into the age of individuality and separate from family ties, they begin to curse and swear. Anytime we seek for exaltation at the expense of God or at the expense of our fellowmen, we are surely going to be brought down as a result.

There are some who try to excuse the use of profanity as a weakness—the result of temper. I have heard people say, “I have such an awful temper. My father had an awful temper, and I guess I am just like him.” When confronted with such excuses as this, we need to ask some questions. One of the questions that we should ask is, “Are you born again?” If the answer is yes, then ask, “Is God your Father?” If the answer is yes again, remind this person of 11 Corinthians 5:17, 18: “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”

“The old nature, born of blood and the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up; for grace is not inherited. The new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies. Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ. When men who claim to be Christians retain all their natural defects of character and disposition, in what does their position differ from that of the worldling? They do not appreciate the truth as a sanctifier, a refiner. They have not been born again.” Review and Herald, April 12, 1892.

“By” Words

There are certain “by” words that we, as historic Seventh-day Adventist Christians, have a tendency to slide by and still use, because we have not grown to understand that some of these words are profanity, as far as God’s name is concerned. Some words are right on the edge of profanity, and we use them as substitutes for the actual profane words. I am referring to words such as goodness or phrases such as goodness gracious. These words describe attributes of God, yet we hear people use them as expletives, never really thinking that these are attributes of God Himself or that they are taking this profanity upon their lips in saying such words.

Other examples of “by” words include mercy and abbreviations of the name of God or the name of Jesus, such as gee, golly, or gosh. A Christian, who is a disciple, will never use such slang words. If we have a habit of using these abbreviations, we need to cleanse our speech, because the language of Christ’s disciples should be as pure as any language can be.

As a college student, I was rebuked for using the phrase, for crying out loud. When I used this in the presence of a church member, he asked, “Do you know the origin of this phrase?” I had to admit that I did not; it was just an expression I had learned as a youngster. He explained to me that this is a phrase that came from Jesus just before He died on the cross, and that a Christian should never use such phraseology. Since that day, I have not used it.

Do Not Help the Devil

Many of these things we just do not think about, because we have been exposed to them on so many different occasions in non-religious settings that they do not bring a frown from anyone, so we continue using them. I share these things with you because we need to be careful in our speech that we do not, in the slightest way, profane our Lord.

In Mark 14:66–71, the scene is related of Peter in the courtyard during Jesus’ trial. “And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is [one] of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art [one] of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth [thereto]. But he began to curse and to swear, [saying], I know not this man of whom ye speak.” The speech of Christ’s disciples was different from that of the average person of that time. In an attempt to disassociate himself as a follower of Jesus, Peter spoke with cursing and swearing. Christ’s disciples did not use that kind of language.

The devil is very clever in how he is able to do his work in reproaching God. Let us make sure that we do not help him through our speech!

False Swearing

Another area covered by the third commandment is false swearing. Leviticus 19:12 says, “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I [am] the Lord.” In other words, we should never link the name of God with taking an oath, and then violate that oath by telling a lie.

You may have heard someone say, “I am telling the truth. I will swear to it on a stack of Bibles.” If someone says that, you may begin to wonder about his or her truthfulness! Perjury is one of the greatest crimes in our modern world today. Often, God’s name is presumptuously and blasphemously taken in vain by those who take a judicial oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God,” and then bear false witness. It is an insult to the truth and to the Author of all truth. It is treating His name with contempt and defying His holy Law. Remember, “the Lord will not hold [him] guiltless that taketh his name in vain,” in the final day of reckoning.


Perhaps the chief application of the third commandment concerns the sin of hypocrisy. We play the hypocrite when we lie with our lives.

As you probably have heard before, the Greek word for hypocrite is one that is used for an actor, a person who plays a part and is really someone different under the mask. A hypocrite is a person who wears a mask. Theater actors in ancient Greece portrayed themselves by wearing masks. The actors are hypocrites; they play a double role in their daily lives, professing to be one thing by acting a part. There is no other sin that has so aroused the indignation of Jesus as the sin of hypocrisy.

This is why, on one occasion, Jesus rebuked the Jews for making the Commandments of God of none effect. He said to them, “[Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:7–9.

It is a dangerous thing to use the name of the Lord when we do not know Him, and perhaps even more dangerous when we profess to know Him. Many professed Christians feel secure, as far as the third commandment is concerned. Because they do not use vile oaths or vulgar language, they think that they are not in violation of the commandments of God. Yet, all the while, their lives are not representing God.

God’s name can be hallowed only by doing His will on earth, as it is in heaven. God’s will can only be done if we are living lives that are in harmony with His character. If we are living lives that are not in harmony with His character, then we are hypocrites. The hypocrisy may not be visible to those about us, but we are hypocrites nonetheless.

We must make sure that we are rightly representing God’s name. When we take the name of Christian, we are taking the name of Christ upon ourselves. If we live a life that is contrary to the name of Christian or the name of Christ, then we are hypocritical, and we are in dire violation of the third commandment.

Penalty for Violation

A study of the commandments also reveals the penalty for those who, in Old Testament times, violated the commandments. It was death by stoning. If they had other gods, it was grounds to take them out and stone them. If they were guilty of worshipping idols, it was grounds for stoning. If they were Sabbath-breakers, it was grounds for stoning. If children would not honor their parents, it was grounds for stoning. If they were guilty of committing adultery, it was grounds for stoning. The Bible says so. We do not stone people today, but it was done back then.

Why were people stoned who were in violation of the Ten Commandments? Why were they not beheaded? Why were they not hanged or pushed off a cliff? Let me ask you a question, and by finding the answer, you will know the reason why. Upon what were the Ten Commandments written? On stone. If the commandments were violated, punishment came from the commandments. It was just that simple. Think about it.

Fall on the Rock

The Bible tells us some of the names that reveal the character of God: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6.

How glad we should be to serve the Creator God. How glad we should be to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. When we think about other gods and what their worship required of the faithful, we realize that they were not wonderful. They were demanding. But our God is wonderful. When we are perplexed, He is our Counseller; that is His name. We are to go to Him. He is the One that we are to seek after to find the answers to life’s problems. His answers are better than any $100-per-hour “shrink”! He is the Mighty God, the Eternal Father, the Prince of Peace.

With what great care we should take these meaningful names upon our lips! Every time we violate the third commandment, we soil the name of our God. Every time we violate the third commandment, His name is no longer “Wonderful.” His name is no longer “Counseller.” We have made those names a pro-fanity. Most likely we have all been guilty of this at one time or another. But the Bible gives the assurance that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.

Perhaps there are things I have shared with you in this study that, as you reflect upon them, you are saying, “Woe is me. I am undone. I have never thought about these things before.” Now is the time that we can confess these things and say, “Lord, by Your grace, I never want to come into these kinds of attitudes ever again. I do not want to think this way. I do not want to be this way. I do not want to live this way.” Claim the promise from 1 John. Jesus tells us of a certainty that if we have not entered into this experience, if we have not fallen upon the Rock and become broken, the Rock is going to come upon us, and it is going to grind us to powder.

The counsel of the apostle Paul is important for each of us: “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:17. It should be our greatest desire to rightly represent Him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, may we reflect the image of Jesus daily.

To be continued . . .

A retired minister of the gospel, Pastor Mike Baugher may be contacted by e-mail at:

Bible Study Guides – Rock or Sand—Your Choice

March 14, 2010 – March 20, 2010

Key Text

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 1, 416, 417; The Faith I Live By, 314.


“Here is the greatest deception that can affect the human mind; these persons believe that they are right when they are wrong.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 417.

1 Who will enter into the kingdom of heaven? Matthew 7:21.

Note. “Christ declares that those who do His words are like a man who built his house upon a rock. This house the tempest and flood could not sweep away.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 368.

“Christianity is simply living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We are to believe in, and live in, Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. We have faith in God when we believe His word; we trust and obey God when we keep His commandments; and we love God when we love His law.” The Review and Herald, March 25, 1902.

2 Those who profess to know God but deny Him in works are described in what way? Titus 1:16; I John 2:4.

Note. “These may profess to be followers of Christ, but they have lost sight of their Leader. They may say, ‘Lord, Lord’; they may point to the sick who are healed through them, and to other marvelous works, and claim that they have more of the Spirit and power of God than is manifested by those who keep His law. But their works are done under the supervision of the enemy of righteousness, whose aim it is to deceive souls, and are designed to lead away from obedience, truth, and duty.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 975, 976.

3 What ground did the wise man, who heard the Lord’s words and did them, build his house upon? Matthew 7:24.

Note. “To a great extent everyone is the architect of his own character. Every day the structure more nearly approaches completion. The Word of God warns us to take heed how we build, to see that our building is founded upon the Eternal Rock. The time is coming when our work will stand revealed just as it is. Now is the time for all to cultivate the powers that God has given them, that they may form characters for usefulness here and for a higher life hereafter.

“Faith in Christ as a personal Saviour will give strength and solidity to the character. Those who have genuine faith in Christ will be sober-minded, remembering that God’s eye is upon them, that the Judge of all men is weighing moral worth, that heavenly intelligences are watching to see what manner of character is being developed.” Child Guidance, 164, 165.

4 What ground did the foolish man, who did not follow the Word of God, build his house upon? Matthew 7:26.

Note. “With some the knowledge of their true state seems to be hidden from them. They see the truth, but perceive not its importance or its claims. They hear the truth, but do not fully understand it, because they do not conform their lives to it, and therefore are not sanctified through obeying it. And yet they rest as unconcerned and well satisfied as though the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, as token of God’s favor, went before them. They profess to know God, but in works deny Him. They reckon themselves His chosen, peculiar people, yet His presence and power to save to the uttermost are seldom manifested among them. How great is the darkness of such! yet they know it not. The light shines, but they do not comprehend it.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 406, 407.

5 The result of professing to keep the law of God, yet walking contrary to the principles of that law is seen in which house? Matthew 7:26, 27.

Note. “Those who do not do Christ’s words are like the man who built his house upon the sand. Storm and tempest beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. It was an entire wreck. The result of professing to keep the law of God, yet walking contrary to the principles of that law, is seen in the wrecked house. Those who make a profession while failing to obey cannot stand the storm of temptation. One act of disobedience weakens the power to see the sinfulness of the second act. One little disregard of a ‘Thus saith the Lord’ is sufficient to stop the promised blessing of the Holy Spirit. By disobedience the light once so precious becomes obscure. Satan takes charge of the mind and soul, and God is greatly dishonored.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 368, 369.

6 The foolish virgins and the stony ground hearers that had no root are parallels with the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. Matthew 13:5, 6. How would you explain a plant with no root in comparison with the foolish virgins and the foolish man?

Note. “Jesus explained this part of the parable as referring to a certain class of hearers. He said: ‘He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for awhile: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended’ [Matthew 13:20, 21]. This class of hearers is again represented by the parable of the foolish builder. Jesus says, ‘Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it’ [Matthew 7:26, 27].

“The seed sown upon stony ground finds little depth of soil in which to take root.” The Review and Herald, June 7, 1892.

7 A fool is not obedient to the Laws of God, is lacking in discernment or comprehension which comes from God and so describes a foolish virgin or a foolish builder. What does the Word of God say about a fool and what they have become? Psalm 53:1–3.

Note. “He who would build up a strong, symmetrical character must give all and do all for Christ. The Redeemer will not accept divided service. Daily he must learn the meaning of self-surrender. He must study the Word of God, getting its meaning and obeying its precepts. Thus he may reach the highest standard of Christian excellence. There is no limit to the spiritual advancement that he may make if he is a partaker of the divine nature. Day by day God works in him, perfecting the character that is to stand in the day of final test. Each day of his life he ministers to others. The light that is in him shines forth and stills the strife of tongues. Day by day he is working out before men and angels a vast, sublime experiment, showing what the gospel can do for fallen human beings.” In Heavenly Places, 148.

8 A hearer of the law will listen and enjoy all that is said but has not been rendered just, or justified and therefore his house is built on sand. Why has he not been set free or rendered just? Romans 2:13.

Note. “In the lives of many whose names are on the church books there has been no genuine change. The truth has been kept in the outer court. There has been no genuine conversion, no positive work of grace done in the heart.” In Heavenly Places, 148.

9 A doer of the law is a performer, or accomplishes in thoughts, words and actions, what he has heard. Has the doer been rendered just or set free? Where is his house setting? Romans 2:13.

Note. “We should bear in mind that it is not the hearers of the law that are justified before God, but the doers of the law. If the principles of God’s law rule in our hearts, we shall have the spirit of Christ; we shall manifest in our daily life that mercy which is better than sacrifice. Every Christian must be a learner in the school of Christ; and there is need of diligent and persevering effort to reach that standard of righteousness which God’s word requires.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 232.

“The question of deepest interest to each one should be, Am I meeting the requirements of the law of God? … Only by a close examination of self in the light of God’s Word can we discover our deviations from His holy rule of right.” Lift Him Up, 342.

10 Wouldn’t it be terrible to think our foundation is all right when it is not? Our thoughts, words and actions are fruits flowing from our foundation. Matthew 7:20. On what foundation is your house sitting?

Note. “No stronger delusion can deceive the human mind than that which makes them believe that they are right, and that God accepts their works, when they are sinning against Him. They mistake the form of godliness for the spirit and power thereof. They suppose that they are rich, and have need of nothing, when they are poor, wretched, blind, and naked, and need all things.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 406, 407.

Additional Reading

“Those who obtain eternal life must give evidence to the world that they love God with all the capabilities that He has given them. They are to obey the two supreme commands, which embody all the whole law, acknowledging by their course of action that they are doers of the law.” The Upward Look, 367.

“The end of all things is at hand. The Lord is soon coming. Already his judgments are abroad in our land. We are not only to talk of Christ’s coming, but in every action, we are to reveal the fact that he is soon to be manifested in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Have we the wedding garment on? Have we personal piety? Have we co-operated with divine agencies, in a whole-hearted, unreserved manner, in weaving into our life’s practices the divine principles of God’s holy law? It is one thing to talk the law, and it is another thing entirely to practice it. It is the doers of the law that shall be justified before God; for those who do the law represent the character of God, and lie not against the truth.” Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers, vol. 3, 12.

“Those who claim modern sanctification would have come boastingly forward, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, do you not know us? Have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works’ [Matthew 7:22]? The people here described, who make these pretentious claims, apparently weaving Jesus into all their doings, fitly represent those who claim modern sanctification, but who are at war with the law of God. Christ calls them workers of iniquity, because they are deceivers, having on the garments of righteousness to hide the deformity of their characters, the inward wickedness of their unholy hearts. Satan has come down in these last days, to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. His satanic majesty works miracles in the sight of false prophets, in the sight of men, claiming that he is indeed Christ Himself. Satan gives his power to those who are aiding him in his deceptions; therefore those who claim to have the great power of God can only be discerned by the great detector, the law of Jehovah. The Lord tells us if it were possible they would deceive the very elect. The sheep’s clothing seems so real, so genuine, that the wolf cannot be discerned only as we go to God’s great moral standard and there find that they are transgressors of the law of Jehovah.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1087, 1088.

Lesson Studies were prepared by Judy Hallingstad of the LandMarks staff. She can be contacted at .

Editorial – The Rock

“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice. … Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you. … Their rock is not like our Rock.” Deuteronomy 32:4, 18, 31.

Jesus is called the chief cornerstone of the church and the foundation of which nobody can lay another (Ephesians 2:19–22; I Corinthians 3:11). But, because of the confusion that has been in existence for over a thousand years on this point, we will allow the Anabaptists from the 16th century explain Matthew 16:18:

“They misinterpret the word petra, as though thereby was meant the apostle Peter; but this is a great and palpable error. For the Lord there plainly distinguishes between the name Petros (Peter) and the word petra (rock); saying immediately before, ‘Thou art Peter’ [Petros], but afterwards, ‘and upon this rock [petra]; … I will build my church;’ so that the Lord does not promise there, to build His church upon Peter [Petros], but upon the rock [petra]; which he plainly mentions.” Martyrs Mirror, 47. The word petros is a masculine word whereas the word petra is a feminine word—they are completely different words with different meanings.

There is also confusion over the word Cephas in John 1:42 which some say signifies a foundation stone. This word is a derivative of the Hebrew word Keph but the Hebrew words for foundation stone are Sela or Zur (see Deuteronomy 32:13). “Thus Peter is indeed called a stone in holy Scripture, yet not a foundation stone, but only such a one as is generally built upon a foundation. Christ is properly the foundation stone, as Peter Himself declares, when he calls Christ the living stone (I Peter 2:4); … whereupon he adduces the words of the prophet Isaiah, saying, ‘Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him (that is build upon him through faith) shall not be confounded.” ’ I Peter 2:6 from Isaiah 28:16. Therefore he admonishes the believers to build themselves, as living stones, to a spiritual house, upon the foundation which is laid—Christ.” Ibid.

“Christ is referred to as the cornerstone upon which the apostles and prophets are built (Ephesians 2:19–22). It is not inconsistent with this, that the twelve apostles, of whom Peter was one, are called twelve foundation stones in Revelation 21:14. For, even if it were admitted that by the words, city of God in this place there is to be understood the church of God here on earth, this would only prove that Peter, as well as the other apostles, was one of the twelve foundation stones of the church of Christ; which by no means confirms the proposed objection, that Peter alone is the foundation stone, or foundation, of the church.”

“Thus Christ is the ground, bottom, or foundation of His church; the apostles, through their doctrine, are the foundation stones; and the church is the building erected upon these foundation stones and the foundation.” Ibid.