Chapter 8 Desire of Ages — Chapters 74 & 75

The Church “Then”. . . . . .and the Church Now

by Terry S. Ross

Oh, the love of our Saviour and His Father! Can we really grasp even a particle of the vast truth about the gift that heaven emptied out for our salvation in the life and death of our Master and friend Jesus Christ?

The God Who was and is the originator of our very existence, the God Who is the way, the truth and the life was about to experience death for us. In this trip through Gethsemane’s gate Jesus would know what it means to be separated from the blessings of His Father and what the fate of those who reject His offering of redemptive mercy will suffer.

DA 686: “The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man’s sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression.

“Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. His suffering can best be described in the words of the prophet, ‘Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts. ’ (Zech. 13: 7.) As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself. “As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness….”

It is so difficult for the dull minds of sinful humanity to comprehend the price paid to give us an opportunity for salvation, or even to realize that God loves us so much that He would want to do it in the first place!

Christ was now going through an experience that was new and unspeakably dreadful. But in doing so, He demonstrated two powerful lessons for those who choose to believe.

God will separate from Himself those who continue in sin. If Christ Who knew no sin was separated when He was made sin for us, then it is crystal clear that those who choose to make sin a part of themselves will indeed be separated from the Father.

What is the solution to our sin problem and how can we escape this eternal separation? The answer lies in the second lesson: total faith, the faith OF Jesus Christ — that is the key that opens the door of victory. The faith of Jesus is the only way through our own Gethsemane. It is in this garden experience that our eternal destiny hangs and it is only those who choose the faith of Jesus who will come out of it victorious as Jesus did. Those who continue to make excuses for their unbelief, lack of trust in God, and their love for sin will not share in the victorious glory of the redeemed. Rather, they will share in the experience of Judas who was separated as a betrayer of sacred trust. IT IS THE FAITH OF JESUS THAT IDENTIFIES HIS TRUE CHURCH.

DA 367: “Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan’s kingdom, and would never more be one with God.

“… How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: ‘The people who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected you. They are seeking to destroy you, the foundation, the center and seal of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of your own disciples, who has listened to your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray you. One of your most zealous followers will deny you. All will forsake you. ’ Christ’s whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible.”

Satan told Christ that the Ancient Adventist Church, who made the same claim that the modern Adventist “Church” makes, were the very people seeking to destroy Him! Is this happening today? Is there a real correlation between the experience of the past and that of our present day? Sadly to say, the answer is “yes.” The organization has slipped into the same spiritual pride of our forefathers. It is true that not all are demonstrating this rejection of Jesus but the evidence of apostasy is overwhelming. Only those who have been blinded by things other than inspiration can’t see or won’t see the obvious truth or the present situation.

I want to say, as well, that I have known for some time that there has been a tremendous struggle behind the scenes to hold on to the pillars of our faith by the Josephs and Nicodemuses in the organization. Please allow me to tell you a little story that took place several years ago to demonstrate.

Several months after Cathy and I initially exposed the “Celebration” churches, I received a phone call from out of state. The lady on the other end at first requested that I not insist she identify herself until we had spoken awhile, and to this I agreed. She told me that her husband was a well- known writer who wrote for the Review and that he had been asked to write on a certain subject within the next few months.

I will not disclose the contents of the article because I do not wish to break a trust, but I will tell you that she asked me to send her all our materials which we had gathered to that point. She wished to provide her husband with this material to allow him to be well- versed in what was really going on. I shared with her that I would be more than happy to do this; I believed at the time that she was an honest Christian and I still believe it.

We spoke for a few more moments and then she revealed who she was. Immediately I knew who her husband was and told her so. I think she was checking my attitude about certain things and this was all right. I have found out on several different occasions with very different people that when honest hearts get together, even when they may disagree in some areas, in many cases if they understand your attitude is one of salvation rather than destruction, all still can be friends. Far too many “Christians” are making enemies unnecessarily. Far too many “Christians” are turning away from people whom the Lord loves and would not cast aside. Far too many “Christians” are taking the attitude that it’s my way or no way at all.

Brothers and Sisters, it is my continued experience that those who truly do have my eternal interests in mind are not the enemy! We may not be able to come together on certain things just now, but the Lord will sort out these differences if we are truly seeking to uphold His truth and not our own. (And who knows if I might be the one who needs a little character development myself!) Well, I think you get the point. Pride and politics have polluted God’s people to an alarming and deadly degree. Anyway, back to the story.

Before we ended our phone conversation I just had to ask this Sister a question. I shared with her that I just couldn’t believe that with everything that was going on there wasn’t some kind of internal struggle, behind the doors, in the organization. She told me, “Terry, if you only knew what struggles have really been going on that the general laity have no idea about.” And then she went on to say, “The younger generation of pastors and administrators told us some time ago that when they came into power things would be different. Now they are beginning to outvote us and we can’t stop it. They are now taking over.”

We need to realize that not all the people in the Conferences are Judases; we also need to realize that not all in the Independents are Christ’s true disciples. We are in a transitory time and this will take more than a few weeks. I do want to add something here, however. Time is certainly running out for everyone and decisions will have to be made before it’s forever too late. Remember that probation closes on God’s professed people first. Joseph and Nicodemus didn’t always work behind the scenes and there are great and important lessons for those who are still doing this work. I ask you in brotherly love to understand what part these two men finally played and do that which they did. I fear that if you don’t, your experience will end up different from theirs. When these two honest souls finally understood where Jesus was leading, they eagerly followed and became a tremendous help to His true people and church.

By the way, the above husband in our story did write an article for the Review right at the time his wife said he would. It still remains the finest article on the subject in the Review since we began revealing the apostasy. We openly thank this Brother for writing it and commend him for taking the stand he did. If he or his wife reads this book, they will understand.

Satan had come directly to Christ and pressed some truth upon Him in an attempt to get Him to turn aside from His chosen path. Logically speaking, Satan’s argument made sense. But Jesus knew that God had promised just the opposite of what Satan was telling Him and in faith He clung to these promises. I have found that Satan’s tactics are very interesting and he will lie and contradict his own arguments if it serves his purposes.

Today Satan is telling professed Adventists (and all other professed Christians) just the opposite of what he told Jesus in the garden. Today, from many professed Seventh- day Adventist pulpits, comes the modern message that we can go on sinning and there will be no separation from the Father. Two thousand years ago Satan told Jesus that if He became sin, the separation would be eternal. Today he tells us that if we remain in sin, the separation of which he tried to convince Christ doesn’t really exist! Unbelievably, most professed Seventh- day Adventists refuse to see the contradiction! Because of their love for sin most “Christians,” including Seventh- day Adventists, either knowingly or unknowingly forsake the very Jesus Whom they claim to honor.

DA 688: “They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.”

DA 688- 89: “… the disciples trusted to themselves. They did not look to the mighty helper as Christ had counseled them to do. Thus when the Saviour was most in need of their sympathy and prayers, they were found asleep. Even Peter was sleeping.

“And John, the loving disciple who had leaned upon the breast of Jesus, was asleep. Surely, the love of John for his Master should have kept him awake. His earnest prayers should have mingled with those of his loved Saviour in the time of His supreme sorrow. The Redeemer had spent entire nights praying for His disciples, that their faith might not fail. Should Jesus now put to James and John the question He had once asked them, ‘Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? ’ they would not have ventured to answer, ‘We are able. ’ (Matt. 20: 22).”

Many of us, quickly, need the experience of watching and praying — not just prayer that covers the areas of the larger crisis we find ourselves in the midst of, but also in our everyday decisions. Total victory follows close behind total reliance on God and total communion with God. This must be our experience! It WILL be the experience of the redeemed. It is not confidence in self that will win for us the prize, but communion with God that gains for us that which we cannot possibly realize on our own.

With urgency I say we must understand that: “Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty. …

“Some of these agents of Satan were affecting the bodies of some of the saints— those whom they could not deceive and draw away from the truth by a Satanic influence. Oh, that all could get a view of it as God revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan and be on their guard! I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing STIFFLY FOR PRESENT TRUTH. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not FIRMLY PLANTED ON THE TRUTH, and the covering of Almighty God could NOT BE DRAWN OVER THEM WHILE THEY WERE THUS TREMBLING. …

“Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God’s people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. God has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter. God will work in power for His people; and Satan will be permitted to work also.” EW 43- 44

Two thousand years have not changed the minds of men. We are still the same people with the same basic problems of self- reliance. We still are suffering from the same problems of which the people of Christ’s day suffered. Somehow we must realize that we are, in fact, in the time in which this covering process is taking place! I am convinced that this event is NOT in the future! I think we are going through the process right now! Only those who understand the gravity of these events and choose to be convinced by God’s Word will have a chance to make a decision for eternal life. All others will be deceived and not know it until it is too late! Please get on you knees with the Word of God and honestly ask Him to show you what you must know. The God Who was willing to give all for our salvation still reigns on the throne. Praise His name!

DA 690- 93: “But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission.”

Jesus knows what it means to be tempted to leave a post of duty. He knows and understands the pressure to want to walk away. I believe Jesus has a special place in His heart for pastors who are holding to their sacred trusts but are sorely tempted to leave their post. He understands, first hand, what the convincing arguments are which Satan uses to turn the true minister aside from his sacred vows.

Even as I write this book, Cathy and I are becoming more aware of the tremendous pressures being applied to every person and every family. We have asked different ones if they have felt the increase of this pressure over the last several years and almost without exception, the answer has been a firm “yes.” We see pastors falling under the load and we know of fragmented families and marriages.

Cathy and I are aware of situations where a spouse who wishes to leave the other spouse and may not even be convinced that their own marriage is under this sort of decay. We also know of those whom we thought solid in the faith who have left those whom we thought weak. And there are families even in leadership (not necessarily in Conferences only) who are showing the public a much different picture than that which is the truth behind closed doors.

It is unnecessary to name names or try to convince anyone here. You know in your heart whether this scenario fits you. You also know, or at least I would hope you are honest enough to know, it matters not if you are able to fool every single human being on the entire face of the earth. It will make no difference in the soon coming judgment.

Whether we are Conference, Independent, Self- supporting, Reform (or whatever we deem appropriate) leaders or laity, the principles of God’s eternal government are exactly the same for everyone. If we don’t accept it now, we will know soon enough when probation closes that God has a mutual respect for every single soul. He loves us supremely but at the same time will in no wise clear the guilty. Whether prince or pauper, His treatment of us in the judgment will be the same. If we are to be safe in our salvation, we must understand, accept, and enter into these terms with an honest willingness to vindicate God’s character and not our sinful ones. To vindicate our character is to choose eternal death and separation. To lay it down and despise it, to replace it with the eternal righteousness of the Father and the Son is to chose life. Although this process may at times be embarrassing and painful to be sure, we hope and pray that you will choose life.

The lesson of Christ’s experience in the garden is multifaceted of course, but one of the important lessons is that we may at times have to stand alone in our decision for Jesus. In the end we will feel alone even though we may have many others around us. Salvation is offered to each individual and becomes an experience for and of the individual. Because of sin it can be an awful experience of death and sacrifice but, nonetheless, it is the experience we must be willing to go through. In the end we will know that heaven was cheap enough and our awful experience will forever be turned into a glorious one.

DA 693: “The Saviour trod the wine- press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.

“But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour’s agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of Satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin.”

DA 694: “… He heard the footsteps of the mob in search of Him, and said, ‘Rise, let us be going; behold, he is at hand that doth betray Me. ’

“No traces of His recent agony were visible as Jesus stepped forth to meet His betrayer. Standing in advance of His disciples He said, ‘Whom seek ye? ’ They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth. ’ Jesus replied, ‘I am He. ’ As these words were spoken, the angel who had lately ministered to Jesus, moved between Him and the mob. A divine light illuminated the Saviour’s face, and a dove- like form overshadowed Him. In the presence of this divine glory, the murderous throng could not stand for a moment. They staggered back. Priests, elders, soldiers, and even Judas, fell as dead men to the ground.”

In this portion of the Garden experience we find the structure, calling themselves the “church,” has joined forces with the government of their day in order to kill God. The Great Controversy and the book of Revelation tell us this experience will be repeated in the near future. The apostate people of God will use the government to persecute God’s true and faithful. As a matter of fact, it will be apostate Seventh- day Adventists who will turn in true Adventists so that they may be killed! Jesus said to the disciples that their worst enemies would be those of their own household. Jesus knew what He was talking about. After all, it was the Ancient Adventist Church that put Him on the cross.

Having said that and wanting to stay fair to the story, let’s not forget that the betrayer of Christ was an Independent Leader who refused to be converted. Although he had held this position of leadership for several years, he turned back to a corrupt priesthood in the end to betray the Lord. This will be the fate of any pastor, no matter what “group” he’s in or how extensive his following, who refuses to be fully converted. This conversion is only demonstrated in practical Christian living. Preaching straight sermons is not enough. It is that experiential knowledge of which we are speaking here that the Spirit of Prophecy is concerned with. Only those who engage in the character changes that God has promised to give will be or stay loyal to the Lord.

DA 696: “The disciples had thought that their Master would not suffer Himself to be taken. For the same power that had caused the mob to fall as dead men could keep them helpless, until Jesus and His companions should escape. They were disappointed and indignant as they saw the cords brought forward to bind the hands of Him whom they loved. Peter in his anger rashly drew his sword and tried to defend his Master, but he only cut off an ear of the high priest’s servant. When Jesus saw what was done, He released His hands, though held firmly by the Roman soldiers, and saying, ‘Suffer ye thus far, ’ He touched the wounded ear, and it was instantly made whole. He then said to Peter, ‘Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? ’”…

In reprimanding Peter for resorting to violence, Christ demonstrated that these methods are not to be the weapons of our warfare. The warfare is one of a spiritual nature and we are to lean on the Father as did Jesus, in faith. While defending the honor of God we are to leave the vengeance to Him and not take it into our own hands. While we are to expose error, we are not to do so with violent human passion.

DA 696: “The official dignity of the Jewish leaders had not prevented them from joining in the pursuit of Jesus. His arrest was too important a matter to be trusted to subordinates; the wily priests and elders had joined the temple police and the rabble in following Judas to Gethsemane. What a company for those dignitaries to unite with, — a mob that was eager for excitement, and armed with all kinds of implements, as if in pursuit of a wild beast.”

The Ancient Adventist Apostate Church Leaders could not stoop low enough in their pursuit to maintain their power over the people. The priesthood itself took the lead in the planning and capture of Christ. The laity later got caught up in this Satanic frenzy, but it was clearly the Ancient Conference that was still leading in the death of Christ. The people, although guilty were relatively innocent compared to those who ruled over them.

DA 697: “Turning to the priests and elders, Christ fixed upon them His searching glance. The words He spoke they would never forget as long as life should last. They were as the sharp arrows of the Almighty. With dignity He said, You come out against Me with swords and staves as you would against a thief or a robber. Day by day I sat teaching in the temple. You had every opportunity of laying hands upon Me, and you did nothing. The night is better suited to your work. ‘This is your hour, and the power of darkness. ’”

This darkness of which Jesus speaks concerning His own church is once again enshrouding us. The same methods of the Ancient structure are realized in the modern. As the Ancient Adventist Conference played the lead role two thousand years ago, we see an exact replica of our future in the movement of the present Conference.

The journey through Gethsemane was just the beginning of the end for Jesus and this experience of decision and faith was only the gate which led to Golgotha’s hill. Upon Christ’s capture by the then recognized “church” Jesus was whisked away to face the General Conference President and the Conference Committee. Even though they had become grossly corrupt, they were still recognized by the laity as the voice of God. I hope you are still paying attention to Prophetic Parallels.

DA 698: “Annas was the head of the officiating priestly family, and in deference to his age he was recognized by the people as high priest. His counsel was sought and carried out as the voice of God. He must first see Jesus a captive to priestly power. He must be present at the examination of the prisoner, for fear that the less- experienced Caiaphas might fail of securing the object for which they were working. His ARTIFICE, CUNNING, and SUBTLETY must be used on this occasion; for at all events, Christ’s condemnation must be secured.”

Once again I decided to look up a few key words taken from this paragraph and would like to share their meaning with you. Artifice (from the same root word as artificial interestingly enough) — a clever trick or stratagem; tricky; guile; or craftiness. Remember that the church which goes through is comprised of people who have no guile. Cunning — skill employed in a crafty manner, as in deceiving. And, subtly — fine or delicate, often when likely to elude perception or understanding, otherwise well- skilled in the qualities of oration and used to persuade others to ones argument by use of deception; able to baffle people by skilled argumentation.

Is it any surprise that the structure is pouring thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into learning skills in communication which involve practices that are deceptive and covert in nature? And yet with these evils unearthed, the majority still recognize a polluted Conference as the voice of God. It is strange that the Lord brings forth all this evidence and gives us all this history and still we refuse to learn. It’s no wonder that our own prophet stated that we are worse than they, the Ancient people. Praise God that there are many more today who have and are recognizing the truth in these matters as the Lord continues to show the clear evidence of these parallels.

DA 699: “Not a few among the priests and rulers had been convicted by Christ’s teaching, and only fear of excommunication prevented them from confessing Him. The priests well remembered the question of Nicodemus ‘Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? ’ (John 7: 51). This question had for the time broken up the council, and thwarted their plans. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were not now to be summoned, but there were others who might dare to speak in favor of justice. The trial must be so conducted as to unite the members of the Sanhedrin against Christ. There were two charges which the priests desired to maintain. If Jesus could be proved a blasphemer, He would be condemned by the Jews. If convicted of sedition, it would secure His condemnation by the Romans. The second charge Annas tried first to establish. He questioned Jesus concerning His disciples and His doctrines, hoping the prisoner would say something that would give him material upon which to work. He thought to draw out some statement to prove that He was seeking to establish a secret society, with the purpose of setting up a new kingdom. Then the priests could deliver Him to the Romans as a disturber of the peace and a creator of insurrection.”

Can a better description of what is going on be found? The Conferences are trying desperately to find anything to discredit the Independent Ministries. They are bringing the charge of lack of respect for properly constituted church authority to gain the support of the people. This is the echo of insurrection or disruption inside the church. One day in the near future when the judgments of God are falling on the land before the seven last plagues, these same people will transfer this charge to a broader scope and blame the faithful few for the judgments falling upon the land.

Also, as stated previously in this chapter the Josephs and Nicodemuses need to understand that their eternal fate will depend on what choices they make: either to come forward for God or remain behind for apostate Adventism. They need to side with the true people of God, or they WILL side with those who are against the government of God and be forever lost. The middle ground is forever disappearing and soon, if a decided choice is not made for the right, a choice for the wrong will be registered in the books of heaven by the names of those who refused to take a stand for Jesus. The trial that Jesus went through and all of its players will be duplicated in this our day. This we must realize, and we must make a firm choice to stand for the right if we are indeed TRUE Seventh- day Adventist Christians. If this choice is not made, we are, in reality, Seventh- day Adventists in name only.

DA 699: “The Saviour contrasted His own manner of work with the methods of His accusers. For months they had hunted Him, striving to entrap Him and bring Him before a secret tribunal, where they might obtain by perjury what it was impossible to gain by fair means. Now they were carrying out their purpose. The midnight seizure by a mob, the mockery and abuse before He was condemned, or even accused, was their manner of work, not His. Their action was in violation of the law. Their own rules declared that every man should be treated as innocent until proved guilty. By their own rules the priests stood condemned.” By their own “Church Manual,” the trial of Christ was not legal. Take it from a person who has first- hand experience in this matter. These same trials and this same disregard for their own rules, when it’s convenient for them to do so, is very much alive and in operation today. There’s an old saying “there’s no honor among thieves.” That also goes for liars and power mongers. These people will use every means to save their own authority. They will even break their own rules when it seems necessary. In reality, and it will eventually be seen, there are no rules among this group, at least none which have anything to do with Christian morals. The only reason they have to give an impression that there is, is for the purpose of fooling those whom they want to support them. But as with any corrupt organization, these very leaders will find out all too soon and far too late that their leader, the Devil, has no rules either and they, mean nothing to him. In the end they will lose all their authority and their very existence. If you understand this you will also understand why it’s fatal to give these people any authority over your spiritual life.

DA 700: “Christ suffered keenly under abuse and insult. At the hands of the beings whom He had created, and for whom He was making an infinite sacrifice, He received every indignity. And He suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness and His hatred of sin. His trial by men who acted as fiends was to Him a perpetual sacrifice. To be surrounded by human beings under the control of Satan was revolting to Him. And He knew that in a moment, by the flashing forth of His divine power, He could lay His cruel tormentors in the dust. This made the trial the harder to bear.”

If we could but comprehend just a sliver of the truth concerning Christ’s sacrifice, we would not only understand Him as our only true friend, but our hearts would take the opportunity to reach out to Him with the appreciation we owe Him. It is in this approach to God’s grace and His law that we find a balance and subvert both cheap grace and legalism. I do what I do because Christ first loved me. I do the works of Christ because I appreciate what He has and is doing for my salvation. This is love in action and the pure motivation that actuates from a heart that wants to say to God, “Thank you, Lord.”

When it comes to personal trial, we need to learn the ways of Christ so much! His spirit of longsuffering, calmness, and gentleness is the hallmark of God’s love.

We also need to grasp from whom these insults and abuses were coming from and why it hurt Jesus so much. As we do, it will help us to understand much about our immediate future.

DA 703- 4: “When the council had assembled in the judgment- hall, Caiaphas took his seat as presiding officer. On either side were the judges, and those specially interested in the trial. The Roman soldiers were stationed on the platform below the throne. At the foot of the throne stood Jesus. Upon Him the gaze of the whole multitude was fixed. The excitement was intense. Of all the throng He alone was calm and serene. The very atmosphere surrounding Him seemed pervaded by a holy influence.

“Caiaphas had regarded Jesus as his rival. The eagerness of the people to hear the Saviour, and their apparent readiness to accept His teachings, had aroused the bitter jealousy of the high priest.”

Just a couple of questions: What council had assembled? Caiaphas sat as presiding officer. Who was Caiaphas? Who were the judges? Who were those especially interested in the trial? And why did Caiaphas regard Jesus as his rival?

DA 705: “There were plenty of witnesses to prove that Christ had denounced the priests and scribes, that He had called them hypocrites and murderers; but this testimony it was not expedient to bring forward. The Sadducees in their sharp contentions with the Pharisees had used to them similar language. And such testimony would have no weight with the Romans, who were themselves disgusted with the pretensions of the Pharisees. There was abundant evidence that Jesus had disregarded the traditions of the Jews, and had spoken irreverently of many of their ordinances; but in regard to tradition the Pharisees and Sadducees were at swords’ points; and this evidence also would have no weight with the Romans. Christ’s enemies dared not accuse Him of Sabbath- breaking, lest an examination should reveal the character of His work. If His miracles of healing were brought to light, the very object of the priests would be defeated.

“False witnesses had been bribed to accuse Jesus of inciting rebellion and seeking to establish a separate government. But their testimony proved to be vague and contradictory. Under examination they falsified their own statements.”

How many times have you heard the statement from different others whose religious experiences differ widely that “Jesus never condemned anyone? And so we should never say anything against anyone, especially the leadership, or anything that might offend anybody.” I have thought frequently how these same people and multitudes of others don’t understand or believe the plain Word of God. This teaching of many a Conference man is pure falsehood and an attempt at self- preservation. Many Conference men and laity are hypocritical in this area. Jesus certainly did condemn others and also the leadership of His day. For this very reason the Adventist Church of two thousand years ago murdered Him on a cross!

As the struggle in the great controversy intensifies, the gulf between the two camps within the movement will broaden. These sons of Ancient Apostate Adventist Conference Leaders will continue to play out their role in the attempted destruction of Jesus in the persons of His people one last time.

DA 706- 7: “Patiently Jesus listened to the conflicting testimonies. No word did He utter in self- defense. At last His accusers were entangled, confused, and maddened. The trial was making no headway: it seemed that their plottings were to fail. Caiaphas was desperate. One last resort remained; Christ must be forced to condemn Himself…

“At last, Caiaphas, raising his right hand toward heaven, addressed Jesus in the form of a solemn oath: ‘I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God. ’

“To this appeal Christ could not remain silent. There was a time to be silent, and a time to speak. He had not spoken until directly questioned. He knew that to answer now would make His death certain. But the appeal was made by the highest acknowledged authority of the nation, and in the name of the Most High. Christ would not fail to show proper respect for the law. More than this, His own relation to the Father was called in question. He must plainly declare His character and mission. Jesus had said to His disciples, ‘Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. ’ (Matt. 10: 32). Now by His own example He repeated the lesson.”

Christ did not defend Himself. He maintained a spiritual dignity that confused and exposed His accusers. It would be well for us to realize that just as important as not defending self is the lesson that when God’s honor is brought into question, our silence is a denial of our profession and Jesus denies us before the Father.

DA 708: “The thought that there was to be a resurrection of the dead, when all would stand at the bar of God, to be rewarded according to their works, was a thought of terror to Caiaphas. He did not wish to believe that in [the] future he would receive sentence according to his works. These rushed before his mind as a panorama the scenes of the final Judgment. For a moment he saw the fearful spectacle of the graves giving up their dead, with the secrets he had hoped were forever hidden.”

Just as now, because pastors, have gone to Babylon to be educated, the Ancient Adventist pastors, were split even within their own ranks because of unbiblical theology. Caiaphas shuddered at the thought of having to meet his works at the judgment bar so he openly taught there was no resurrection. Today, Apostate Adventist pastors shudder at the thought of having to meet their sins at the judgment bar, so they openly teach that we don’t have to quit sinning and God will still save us.

DA 708: “The scene passed from the priest’s vision. Christ’s words cut him, the Sadducee, to the quick. Caiaphas had denied the doctrine of the resurrection, the Judgment, and a future life. Now he was maddened by Satanic fury. Was this man, a prisoner before him, to assail his most cherished theories? Rending his robe, that the people might see his pretended horror, he demanded that without further preliminaries the prisoner be condemned for blasphemy. ‘What further need have we of witnesses? ’ he said; ‘behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy. What think ye? ’ And they all condemned Him.”

This piece of inspiration definitely states that this leader — the official head of the structure — placed Christ on trial and pressed to take His life, not because Jesus had wrong theology but because He assailed Caiaphas’ cherished theories. The reflection of this experience can be seen in many of today’s “trials” being held by the conferences in regard to certain people who are “rocking the boat.”

DA 709: “Everything worn by the priest was to be whole and without blemish. By those beautiful official garments was represented the character of the great antitype, Jesus Christ. Nothing but perfection, in dress and attitude, in word and spirit, could be acceptable to God. He is holy, and His glory and perfection must be represented by the earthly service. Nothing but perfection could properly represent the sacredness of the heavenly service. Finite man might rend his own heart by showing a contrite and humble spirit. This God would discern. But no rent must be made in the priestly robes, for this would mar the representation of heavenly things. The high priest who dared to appear in holy office, and engage in the service of the sanctuary, with a rent robe, was looked upon as having severed himself from God. By rending his garment he cut himself off from being a representative character. He was no longer accepted by God as an officiating priest. This course of action, as exhibited by Caiaphas, showed human passion, human imperfection.

“By rending his garments, Caiaphas made of no effect the law of God, to follow the tradition of men.”

The representation of the perfect garment is the equivalent to the perfect character of Christ and His righteousness. This lesson has great significance in the light of the present situation. Two things happened if a pastor tore his garments. One, he made of none effect the law of God and second, he immediately disqualified himself from being a pastor. The teaching of what has become known as the new theology today is the same, spiritually speaking, as rending the robe. It rends the pure, righteous character of God and makes it something that is both human and satanic. In teaching these things pastors are disqualifying themselves from representing Christ and leading God’s people, just as surely as did Caiaphas when he tore that which represented to the people the character of God. Dear people Jesus did not accept this authority. As a matter of fact He did everything in His power to tear it down! Is this what you are doing? Or are you siding with a power which seeks to destroy God’s government and all who support it?

DA 709: “When Caiaphas rent his garment, his act was significant of the place that the Jewish nation as a nation would thereafter occupy toward God. The once favored people of God were separating themselves from Him, and were fast becoming a people disowned by Jehovah.” As the modern day officials of the structure continue to lower the standards in the “church” and in the official papers, as they continue to teach new theology and defend their unbiblical positions of authority, they are doing exactly what Caiaphas did. God has not changed, so the result will be the same. If you choose to support them, your result will be the same, as well.

DA 714- 15: “And so by the third condemnation of the Jewish authorities, Jesus was to die. All that was now necessary, they thought, was for the Romans to ratify this condemnation, and deliver Him into their hands.

“Then came the third scene of abuse and mockery, worse even than that received from the ignorant rabble. In the very presence of the priests and rulers, and with their sanction, this took place. Every feeling of sympathy or humanity had gone out of their hearts. If their arguments were weak, and failed to silence His voice, they had other weapons, such as in all ages have been used to silence heretics, — suffering, and violence, and death.

“When the condemnation of Jesus was pronounced by the judges, a Satanic fury took possession of the people. The roar of voices was like that of wild beasts. The crowd made a rush toward Jesus, crying, He is guilty, put Him to death! Had it not been for the Roman soldiers, Jesus would not have lived to be nailed to the cross of Calvary. He would have been torn in pieces before His judges, had not Roman authority interfered, and by force of arms restrained the violence of the mob. “Heathen men were angry at the brutal treatment of one against whom nothing had been proved. The Roman officers declared that the Jews in pronouncing condemnation upon Jesus were infringing upon the Roman power, and that it was even against the Jewish law to condemn a man to death upon his own testimony. This intervention brought a momentary lull in the proceedings; but the Jewish leaders were dead alike to pity and to shame.

“Priests and rulers forgot the dignity of their office, and abused the Son of God with foul epithets. They taunted Him with His parentage. They declared that His presumption in proclaiming Himself the Messiah made Him deserving of the most ignominious death. The most dissolute men engaged in infamous abuse of the Saviour. An old garment was thrown over His head, and His persecutors struck Him in the face, saying, ‘Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, Who is he that smote Thee? ’ When the garment was removed, one poor wretch spat in His face.

“The angels of God faithfully recorded every insulting look, word, and act, against their beloved Commander. One day the base men who scorned and spat upon the calm, pale face of Christ, will look upon it in its glory, shining brighter than the sun.”

ALL of the above events, ALL of the heinous crimes committed against the person of Jesus Christ WILL BE AGAIN committed by professed Seventh- day Adventist Christians! It got so bad that even the heathen soldiers became indignant at the depths of cruelty these “church” leaders and laity could heap upon another human being. Brother and Sister, why do you suppose all of this has been left for us to understand by the same Jesus Whom this abuse was leveled upon? Who was it that made sure an accurate account was left for us who are facing these issues today? We must know present truth! If we don’t, we will not know that this is the time of our visitation and we will treat it just as the Apostate Church did. We certainly don’t want that to be the eternal account written by our name, do we?

Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross

Table of Contents
Acknowledgements and Forward
Chapter 1 Desire of Ages — Chapter 63
Chapter 2 Desire of Ages — Chapter 64
Chapter 3 Desire of Ages — Chapter 65
Chapter 4 Desire of Ages — Chapters 66 & 67
Chapter 5 Desire of Ages — Chapters 68 & 69
Chapter 6 Desire of Ages — Chapters 70, 71 & 72
Chapter 7 Desire of Ages — Chapter 73
Chapter 8 Desire of Ages — Chapters 74 & 75
Chapter 9 Desire of Ages — Chapters 76 & 77
Chapter 10 Desire of Ages — Chapter 78

Chapter 7 Desire of Ages — Chapter 73

The Church “Then”. . . . . .and the Church Now

by Terry S. Ross

DA 663: “While He was building mansions for them, they were to build characters after the divine similitude…

“There are not many ways to heaven. Each one may not choose his own way. Christ says, ‘I am the way…. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me. ’”

Today, many demonstrate either by word, action, or both that they believe there is more than one way to heaven. These leaders are using their influence to try to convince others that it really doesn’t matter how we worship God. Remember that Cain had this same attitude. These same folks are also saying that we need not worry so much about forming perfect characters because Jesus understands we are only human. Unfortunately, most people will continue to believe this lie. You see, Jesus DOES understand our humanity! And the problem isn’t Jesus, but us. We need to understand His divinity! Those who do and trust Jesus all the way will find the ONLY way to heaven. We will discover eventually that all of these “poor little me” arguments to excuse sin are in vain. What good will have been accomplished at that time? It will be forever too late when people see that God was right. We cannot afford to allow this to be our experience. You have all that is necessary for yours to be a success story in the books of heaven. All you need is a sanctified choice (will) and Jesus. If you will do your part, Jesus has given His life to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, He will do His part. What good will it have been to have gone to church or anything else if it’s all been wasted in the end? Won’t you determine just now that you will cast your lot with Christ no matter what any man says? Won’t you promise yourself, right this moment, that you will take God and not man at His word? Those who in the end are safe to be saved for eternity will be those who trusted God will all their minds, bodies, and souls. It is a law of the universe that if we choose to place our confidence in man instead of God; if we choose to doubt God’s ability to bring us all the way to a perfected character, then our doubts will be realized. It is all the way with Christ or none of the way with Him. Those who meet Jesus halfway will lose heaven all the way.

DA 664: “How earnestly and perseveringly our compassionate Saviour sought to prepare His disciples for the storm of temptation that was soon to beat upon them. He would have them hid with Him in God.”

It was education time in the Ancient Adventist Church and this education Christ came to impart to His disciples. Even these Independent Ministers who were to take this education to the Conference and laity alike were not prepared for the approaching storm that was to commence within the structure. The message that Jesus gave to these men to share would cause them much trouble but, nonetheless, it was the message they were to give if they would remain faithful. These same messages of warning and education are being brought again at the Lord’s command, for the last time. Only those, as in the Ancient Adventist days, who heed the messages will be protected in the end.

DA 664: “As Christ was speaking these words, the glory of God was shining from His countenance, and all present felt a sacred awe as they listened with rapt attention to His words. Their hearts were more decidedly drawn to Him; and as they were drawn to Christ in greater love, they were drawn to one another.”

Much emphasis is placed on unity these days within the circles of Adventism. Certainly Jesus prayed for His people to have unity and all heaven is waiting for this to take place. “Christ calls for unity. BUT HE DOES NOT CALL FOR US TO UNIFY ON WRONG PRACTICES. The God of heaven draws a sharp contrast between pure, elevating, ennobling truth and false, misleading doctrines. He calls sin and impenitence by the right name. He does not gloss over wrongdoing with a coat of untempered mortar. I urge our brethren to UNIFY UPON A TRUE, SPIRITUAL BASIS.” (1SM 175)

All this talk of unity will have no value in the sight of God if it isn’t based on His high standard. Unity in itself is against God’s kingdom if it’s based on any other foundation than to hold up truth and the pure principles of the heavenly kingdom. God will have some day soon this unity among His true people. Will you and I be among this group? No man can make us do otherwise if this is where we choose to be.

DA 664: “The Saviour was deeply anxious for His disciples to understand for what purpose His divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in Him that He might be manifested in them. JESUS REVEALED NO QUALITIES, AND EXERCISED NO POWERS, THAT MEN MAY NOT HAVE THROUGH FAITH IN HIM. His PERFECT HUMANITY is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.”

Love for the pure truth of God is the glue that alone will bring this binding together of which so many speak. This unity will ONLY come to those who honestly have the eternal interests of God’s government in mind. ONLY those who protect God’s throne while on this earth of sin will share in His glory in the world made new. This class is the ONLY one who will survive the great controversy.

DA 667: “All who will go to work, trusting not in what they themselves can do, but in what God can do for and through them, will certainly realize the fulfillment of His promise. ‘Greater works than these shall ye do, ’ He declares: ‘because I go unto my Father. ’”

Oh, friend! Do you believe that Jesus has enough power to overcome all the sin in your life? Do you believe that Jesus is your only hope if you are to be an overcomer? Do you believe that Jesus will help you cease from liking whatever sin it is that you may be holding on to? Are you tired of playing Catholicism with your Adventism? If you can answer “yes” to the preceding questions, Brother or Sister, there is hope! But you and I must be willing to put it all on the altar of the Lord. We must be willing to agonize, if need be, in order to overcome. As Christ overcame through this agonizing in the garden, so we too must travel this road. Remember, God is not building for just a moment but for eternity.

There are three identifying marks of the remnant church. We hear of two quite often but we need to understand the third much more than we seem to. The last church will keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy. But this is not all. The last church also will have the faith OF Jesus Christ.

What does it mean to have the faith OF Jesus Christ? It means that the people who comprise the last church, the only church that’s going through, will have the same faith that Jesus had. This faith is much more than a profession of belief. This faith believes with the total soul. It’s THE faith that the entire universe possesses. This is the only faith that entrusts itself completely and totally to the Heavenly Father. It is total trust, total commitment, total partnership with the Creator. This faith is the secret ingredient, and the only one, that will ensure total victory. This living faith will, for eternity, bar sin from ever returning to God’s expansive domain. Only those who obtain this faith will be trusted with the responsibilities of the faithful. The wonderful, wonderful news of Adventism is that all of heaven is active in giving us all the help we need to make the faith of Jesus our own, if we want it more than anything else. But we must want it just as much as Jesus wanted it. We must want it enough to lay down our own lives for the Father, for he that loses his life for My sake, Jesus said, shall find it.

DA 667: “As yet the disciples were unacquainted with the Saviour’s UNLIMITED RESOURCES AND POWER. He said to them, ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name. ’ (John 16: 24.) He explained that the secret of their success would be in asking for strength and grace in His name. He would be present before the Father to make request for them. The prayer of the humble suppliant He presents as His own desire in that soul’s behalf. Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His own perfection.”

If we are honestly seeking to follow God’s will, although we may not know how to ask properly, Jesus takes our personal requests upon Himself and presents them in such a manner that the Father is pleased to grant to us the blessing sought.

DA 667- 8: “ ‘In My name, ’ Christ bade His disciples pray. In Christ’s name His followers are to stand before God. Through the value of the sacrifice made for them, they are of value in the Lord’s sight. Because of the imputed righteousness of Christ they are accounted precious. For Christ’s sake the Lord pardons those that fear Him. He does not see in them the vileness of the sinner. He recognizes in them the likeness of His Son, in whom they believe.

“The Lord is disappointed when His people place a low estimate upon themselves. He desires His chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price He has placed upon them. God wanted them, else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them. He has a use for them, and He is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises.

“But to pray in Christ’s name means much. It means that we are to accept His character, manifest His spirit, and work His works. The Saviour’s promise is given on condition. ‘If ye love Me, ’ He says, ‘keep My commandments. ’ He saves men, NOT IN SIN, BUT FROM SIN; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience.

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

“AS CHRIST LIVED THE LAW IN HUMANITY, SO WE MAY DO if we will take hold of the Strong for strength.”

It is true that we are not to be proud and selfish. We are to esteem others better than ourselves, as well. But the fact that heaven paid such a high price for our redemption should help us to realize that we are valued highly in the eyes of the Father. Have you ever had a friend who you KNEW valued you? You had been through a lot together, perhaps, and your friendship had stood the test. As a matter of fact, on reflection about some of the hard times, you have come to realize that these times helped to cement the relationship even more. This is how God feels about you, my friend. It is hard to explain the love of God, but He has proven to us this love is real.

The Father is not looking for people who have learned to follow a set of do’s and don’ts. The majority have been taught that God is lurking somewhere, everywhere, just waiting to pounce on them when they sin or even make mistakes. With this belief, is it any wonder that the requirements of God seem negative to most Christians? What the Father is really “lurking” around for is to find someone to appreciate Him, just as we would a true friend who has done much for us. God will have a people who finally realize their Best Friend has paid the supreme sacrifice because He so much wants them to be with Him. With this belief in tact, they will understand rightly that they are so much in His debt, they will literally do anything for Him. And this is exactly what they will be doing for eternity. Eternity with God will be living with your Best Friend forever.

Those who are saved out of this last generation, and especially the 144,000, will understand this love relationship better than any other generation before it. True obedience can never come from a heart that HAS to do what the Lord says. True obedience comes from a heart that WANTS to do what the Lord says because that heart wants to please their Best Friend.

DA 669: “When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of unrighteous tribunals, Christ stands by his side. All the reproaches that fall upon him, fall upon Christ. Christ is condemned over again in the person of His disciple. When one is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ ravishes the heart with His love.”

When the battle really heats up, as it surely will, the Lord has promised to bring the needed help. We are not to be concerned about this, for “Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, He is always at our right hand to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer” (DA 670).

Already we are seeing examples of how family members and many in the structure follow the mandates of the leadership to shun or ignore the true and the faithful. We are now getting glimpses of our own future, Brothers and Sisters. The treatment of those who are preaching and standing for the plain truth is but a prelude of worse, much worse abuses to come. But Jesus has promised that though these things would happen and all would forsake us, as they forsook Him, He would NEVER leave us.

DA 670: “Jesus had opened before His disciples a vast tract of truth. BUT IT WAS MOST DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO KEEP HIS LESSONS DISTINCT FROM THE TRADITIONS AND MAXIMS OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES. THEY HAD BEEN EDUCATED TO ACCEPT THE TEACHING OF THE RABBIS AS THE VOICE OF GOD, AND IT STILL HELD A POSER OVER THEIR MINDS, AND MOLDED THEIR SENTIMENTS. Earthly ideas, temporal things, still had a large place in their thoughts. They did not understand the spiritual nature of Christ’s kingdom, though He had so often explained it to them. Their minds had become confused. They did not comprehend the value of the scriptures Christ presented. Many of His lessons seemed almost lost upon them.”

When I read this statement, I thought how nothing, absolutely nothing has changed since two thousand years ago. The trouble in Christ’s day and the trouble in our own is the same. I looked up four key words in the quotation and thought it very interesting. The word “maxims” — rules of conduct written in precise form. I thought about the “church” manual immediately. “Scribes” — official writers, copyists, editors. I immediately thought of the Review. “Pharisees” — (leaders) who insisted on the validity of the tradition of the Elders. I immediately thought about Conference Committees who enforce “commandments” by opinion or popular vote — putting man’s opinion above God’s requirements. “Sentiments” — a mental attitude or response to a person, subject or idea conditional entirely by feeling instead of reason. I knew this was speaking of the reason the “church” is in so much trouble. People are acting upon feeling instead of principle. After looking up these words, I put the above quotation into the modern day language and this is how it reads:

Jesus had opened before His Independent Leaders a vast tract of truth. But it was most difficult for them to keep His lessons distinct from the traditions and church manual and writings of the Review and Conference. They had been educated by these same people to accept the teaching of the Conference as the voice of God, and it still held a power over their minds and molded their feelings.

Of course, this was before the upper room experience but it demonstrates all too well just the situation in which most Adventists find themselves. Most Adventists are placing their confidence in the wrong place. Most Adventists are confused and are having a difficult time taking God at His Word. Most Adventists have been educated by the Conference Leaders to accept whatever they say as the voice of God. But here is what the prophet has to say about that:

“… We hear that the voice of the Conference is the voice of God, but IT IS NOT, because some in connection with it are not men of faith and prayer, they are not men of elevated principle.” (Manuscript Release # 365).

Two thousand years ago the disciples and the general populace of the “church” had some real problems with Jesus because they had been educated by their Conference Leaders to believe that the Conference was the voice of God. When Jesus tried to show them the truth, they were confused and upset that Jesus had such an apparent disregard for that which was sacred to them. Nonetheless, Jesus forged ahead with the work of re- educating the people who would listen.

The Conference was on one side and Jesus on the other. The Conference was telling the people that Christ was a liar and an imposter. They were telling the people that the “church” was going through. Of course, the people automatically equated the church with the Conference because of the way they had been taught by these men. Their sentiments (feelings) had been molded in such a fashion as to effectively block the work of Christ.

Today, the exact same thing is happening throughout the ranks of Adventism. The sentiments of the people are the same as in former days. The confusion is also the same, as well as the effectiveness of the Conference. But in former times, not all the people stayed confused. There were some who finally took Jesus at His word. It was (as it is now) these who went through; not the Conference. It was these who were the REAL church that went through and Biblical history dictates these facts. The Conference is NOT the church! God’s church is made up of people who follow Him; not traditions and maxims of Scribes and Pharisees who don’t follow Him.

It was not Christ’s purpose to be at odds with the very system He had raised up. Christ came to save the lost and make salvation sure for all those who would except His truth. But here’s where the rub comes in. Christ ended up at odds with the counter system because it stood directly in the way of His real purpose, which was saving people. The Conference of His day was leading the people contrary to His Father’s will and hence not to heaven, but to hell. This left Christ with no choice but to oppose this corrupt Conference.

Most of us who find ourselves in the exact position of Christ’s day have not purposed in life to be at odds with the system that Christ has raised up. We want to do the same work that Christ did and has called us to do which is bringing the truth of salvation to the people. But the Conference is standing directly in the way of truth. The modern Conference, like the ancient one, is leading the people contrary to the Father’s will and hence not to heaven, but to hell. This leaves us with no choice but to oppose this corrupt Conference. They may be proclaiming, “The church is going through.” But, as in the old days, they mean that the Conference is going through. Frankly, we know better because the principles of God have not changed since two thousand years ago. We understand that the same history WILL, without a doubt, bring the same result.

I realize the process of which I speak is sometimes painful and upsetting. It’s hard for us to change and come to some of these realizations. As the disciples said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” But Jesus understands this all too well and He will help us if we seek it. If we don’t, we will never come to understand — “We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.” (1 SM 37).

Whether we like it, whether we admit it, whether we choose to deal with — we are living in the mirror image of Christ’s day, His first coming. The situation is the same and our choices, as in the days of old, will determine not so much IF the church is going through, but IF we are in THE church that does!

Dear friends, I would never ask you to take my word for this. That’s what led most Ancient Adventists into trouble and that’s what is causing the trouble now — people taking a man at his word. The Bible says that the only way to prove things is to the law and to the testimony. Please don’t take any man’s word, but rather study to show yourself approved. This is our only safety. We can have confidence that Jesus is still leading and through the Holy Spirit, guide you into all truth, if this truly is your desire.

DA 671: “The Comforter is called ‘the Spirit of truth. ’ His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. IT IS THROUGH FALSE THEORIES AND TRADITIONS THAT SATAN GAINS HIS POWER OVER THE MIND. BY DIRECTING MEN TO FALSE STANDARDS, HE MISSHAPES THE CHARACTER. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself.”

Can you comprehend these words, Brothers and Sisters? Jesus is showing us how the deception comes. He is showing us not only how and why the Conference of His day rejected him but how and why we are living in the parallel time. Twenty years ago the Religious Liberty Department of the Seventh- day Adventist Church warned the Church to keep the Charismatic Movement OUT of the system! Now the Charismatic Movement is well received. We know it as the Celebration Movement. As a matter of fact, at this writing, one of the “king- pins” who helped to bring this whole movement into the Adventist system just got a call to the General Conference, coming from Oregon Conference. “By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character.”

Through the New Theology and the Church Manual, Satan gains his power over the mind. This IS exactly what has happened in the structure and why it won’t go through. Oh, some, perhaps many, will say that I can’t possibly know what I am speaking about. After all, as defective as it is, the Lord has promised that the church is going through. What I fear that most do not realize are two things of premier importance. God’s promises to anyone, or any organization or any nation are always based on obedience. The one who expects the promise to come true is expected to hold to his end of the contract. Also, you have to realize what God’s church is. How will we know what His church is? Well the study that you are now doing in Desire of Ages is a good place to find out. It is in the inspired words which tell the history of our forefathers where the secret lies. Why do you suppose Jesus has been so particular in having these things written? Why do you think the Bible plainly says these things were written down for those whom the end of the Earth comes upon? These are not cunningly devised fables or just bedtime stories. Our very existence depends on our acceptance of God’s Word as it is stated. It is not God Who is trying to deceive us, but men. What we have such a hard time accepting is that “we have far more to fear from within than without.” It is inside the system we must fear the enemy the most. And if we look at the past with candor and an honest seeking for truth, we shall learn the lessons Christ desires us to know and which we must know.

DA 671: “The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this Satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. CHRIST HAS GIVEN HIS SPIRIT AS A DIVINE POWER TO OVERCOME ALL HEREDITARY AND CULTIVATED TENDENCIES TO EVIL, AND TO IMPRESS HIS OWN CHARACTER UPON HIS CHURCH.”

For forty centuries the power of evil had steadily strengthened before Jesus came the first time. It has now been sixty centuries and we are told the days in which we live are worse then when Jesus was here. Two thousand years ago, did the church that claimed to be THE church take on Christ’s character? Did the Ancient Adventist Conference? Was THAT Conference, which made the exact same profession that the modern- day Conference is now making, THE church? Is the same question directed at the current Conference any less valid simply because it lays at our own door? Who is God’s church? The Conference which refuses the high standards of Heaven or those who accept the character of Christ and become overcomers?

DA 672: “Christ has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples. But like EVERY OTHER PROMISE, IT IS GIVEN ON CONDITION. There are many who believe and profess to claim the Lord’s promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us. Through the Spirit God works in His people ‘to will and to do of His good pleasure. ’ (Phil. 2: 13.) BUT MANY WILL NOT SUBMIT TO THIS. THEY WANT TO MANAGE THEMSELVES. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift. Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given. The power of God awaits their demand and reception. THIS PROMISED BLESSING, CLAIMED BY FAITH, BRINGS ALL OTHER BLESSINGS IN ITS TRAIN. It is given according to the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive.”

Those who claim to be “Christians” but continue to rule on the throne instead of God will come to their end. Their kingdom will perish. It is only by having the faith of Jesus (perfect trust in God) that God’s true and faithful can and will receive the blessings of the Early and Latter Rain.

In the gift of the early rain, all other blessings will follow in their train. God’s people will realize the gift of character perfection and become the reflection of Jesus. They will share in the experience of the overcomer and will at last be free indeed! The fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the character, not one missing. Heaven’s work for this people will be accomplished. God has promised, this WILL happen! There’s no question about it. The question is, will you and I choose to be a part of this experience?

In the blessing of the latter rain the fourth angel will combine his power with the third angel’s message, giving it convincing persuasion on the heart of the recipient. Those who have been totally engaged in the work of the early rain will be privileged at the time of the latter rain to bring others to the feet of Jesus. During Pentecost thousands were converted in a day! “These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fullness by the Holy Spirit’s power. Men will discern the value of the precious pearl, and with the apostle Paul they will say, ‘What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. ’” (COL 121, Phil. 3: 7,8.)

DA 675: “Israel had been represented as a vine which God had planted in the promised land. The Jews based their hope of salvation on THE FACT OF THEIR CONNECTION WITH ISRAEL. But Jesus says, I am the real Vine. Think not that through a connection with Israel you may become partakers of the life of God, and inheritors of His promise. Through Me alone is spiritual life received.”

The Jews (Ancient Adventists) based their hope of salvation on the fact their church had been handpicked by God. It was true that God had handpicked their church. It was also true that this same God was now standing directly in front of them, telling them plainly that they were lost unless they followed Him. Today, the Adventists (modern Jews, spiritually speaking) are claiming that their salvation is sure because their church was handpicked by God. It is true that God handpicked the Adventist church. It is also true that this same God is now for the last time, through His Word and the Spirit of Prophecy, standing directly in front of US, telling US plainly that we are lost unless we follow Him. It is ONLY by following Jesus that we are saved, not by following an apostate Conference. Our connection with “Israel” will not get us into heaven.

DA 675: “Many were attracted by the beauty of this Vine, and declared its heavenly origin. But to the LEADERS IN ISRAEL it appeared as a root out of a dry ground. They took the plant, and bruised it, and trampled it under their unholy feet. Their thought was to destroy it forever. But the heavenly husbandman never lost sight of His plant. After men thought they had killed it, He took it, and replanted it on the other side of the wall. The vine- stock was to be no longer visible. It was hidden from the rude assaults of men. But the branches of the Vine hung over the wall. They were to represent the Vine. Through them grafts might still be united to the Vine. From them fruit has been obtained. There has been a harvest which the passers- by have plucked.”

The Ancient Adventist Conference Leaders bruised, beat, and killed the Vine Stock (Jesus). The Father took Him back unto Himself and Jesus commissioned His Independent Leaders to bring His message of life to all who would listen. First to the Jews and then to the Gentiles was this message given. All who studied these things and believed the Ancient Independent Leaders came into the light of truth. Those who were faithful were saved although the Ancient Adventist Conference was lost.

DA 675: “Though He was about to be removed from them, their spiritual union with Him was to be unchanged. The connection of the branch with the vine, He said, represents the relation you are to sustain to Me. The scion is engrafted into the living vine, and fiber by fiber, vein by vein, it grows into the vine- stock. The life of the vine becomes the life of the branch. So the soul dead in trespasses and sins receives life through connection with Christ. By faith in Him as a personal Saviour the union is formed. The sinner unites his weakness to Christ’s strength, his emptiness to Christ’s fullness, his frailty to Christ’s enduring might. Then he has the mind of Christ. The humanity of Christ has touched our humanity, and our humanity has touched divinity. Thus through the agency of the Holy Spirit man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is accepted in the Beloved.”

We are accepted by the Father only if we, by our own free choice, are grafted into His Vine, Jesus Christ. When this happens, the life of the Stock becomes the life of the branch. The fruit comes from the Stock and is exemplified in the branch. Christ’s victory becomes our own.

DA 676: “This union with Christ, once formed, MUST BE MAINTAINED. Christ said, ‘Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. ’ This is no casual touch, NO OFF- AND- ON CONNECTION. The branch becomes a part of the living vine. The communication of life, strength, and fruitfulness from the root to the branches is unobstructed and constant. Separated from the vine, the branch cannot live. No more, said Jesus, can you live apart from Me. The life you have received from Me can be preserved only by continual communion. Without Me you cannot overcome one sin, or resist one temptation.”

When anyone preaches a message that is anything short of what upholds total victory through the power of Jesus Christ, utilizing justification and sanctification, you may know that he is a false shepherd. The generation that is now in power to a great extent in the Adventist system is that generation that has always rebelled against authority. It was educated to do the precise work of destroying the moral fiber of Christianity. It believes, “if it feels good, do it!” The power structure of the Adventist system has shifted from one that paid attention to the high standards of God’s moral government to no standard, that of the world. This is why the Leaders are acting from policy in the place of principle. But I can assure you on the authority of inspiration that entrance into God’s kingdom will never be based on Conference Committee vote! Whether or not we choose to take God’s standard serious, He does! This and this alone will determine our entrance into His kingdom or the barring of us from it. God HATES sin and He is NOT going to allow anyone off this planet who will continue to pollute His creative work. He sets before us life and death. It may not be popular with the “now” generation, but soon enough it will be realized that the “now” generation will be the extinct generation! For one, I do not wish to be a part of the “now” generation. How about you? Wouldn’t you rather be popular with God than man if it has to be that way?

DA 676: “So long as the soul is united to Christ, there is no danger that it will wither or decay. …

“When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our life; not one will be missing.”

The precious news of true Adventism is, it matters not what background we have. It makes no difference who our parents are or what they stood for or didn’t stand for. It is not of supreme importance if they have German, Irish, Italian, Hispanic or African blood running through their veins. If we give ourselves over to Christ, the victory that He has gained for us will be ours. It is not excuses for our lack of faith that will be heard, but exercises in our faith that will be seen by those who see Jesus in us.

DA 676: “ ‘… Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away. ’ While the graft is outwardly united with the vine, there may be no vital connection. Then there will be no growth or fruitfulness. So there may be an apparent connection with Christ, without a real union with Him by faith. A profession of religion places men in the church, but the character and conduct show whether they are in connection with Christ. If they bear no fruit, they are false branches. Their separation from Christ involves a ruin as complete as that represented by the dead branch.”

Many, many Adventists have been taught that the fruits spoken of above indicate the number of people we have influenced into being baptized into the “church.” This is incorrect. The fruits spoken of are primarily the fruits of the Spirit found in 1 Corinthians 13, and the fruits of obedience. Personal character development with all the fruits of the Spirit, active and vibrant, is the evidence that we are co- laborers with Christ.

DA 678: “This love is the evidence of their discipleship. ‘By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, ’ said Jesus, ‘if ye have love one to another. ’ When men are bound together, not by force or self- interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. Where this oneness exists, it is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity, that a new principle of life has been implanted. It shows that there is power in the divine nature to withstand that supernatural agencies of evil, and that the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart.”

The love for the truth and love for the salvation of souls creates the unity among His people that Christ prayed for. This Satan hates, and his agents, those who refuse this love and converting power of the gospel, will intensify the persecution until the end. Some of the most flagrant demonstrations of hatred will come from those within the “church.”

DA 678: “This love, manifested in the church, will surely stir the wrath of Satan. Christ did not mark out for His disciples an easy path. ‘If the world hate you. ’ He said, ‘ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me. ’ THE GOSPEL IS TO BE CARRIED FORWARD BY AGGRESSIVE WARFARE, IN THE MIDST OF OPPOSITION, PERIL, LOSS, AND SUFFERING. BUT THOSE WHO DO THIS WORK ARE ONLY FOLLOWING IN THE MASTER’S STEPS.”

Now are you sure you want to be just like Jesus? Many do not as yet comprehend or quite believe that there was war in Heaven. They do not realize that the way to eternal bliss is blocked by the devil and that we will have to overthrow him as Christ did to seize the promised land. There is NO OTHER WAY for this last generation but through this terrible struggle. We especially who have been spoiled by “civilization” are at a great disadvantage. If we are to gain the eternal prize at all, it will only be by aggressive warfare in the midst of opposition, peril, loss, and suffering. But praise the Lord! He has traveled this road before us and He knows the way to safety. If you want Him to guide you through this wilderness on to the promised land, you must be willing to follow Him wherever He leads. Are you willing?

DA 679- 80: “It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame.

“Christ designs that heaven’s order, heaven’s plan of government, heaven’s divine harmony, shall be represented in His church on earth. Thus in His people He is glorified. Through them the Sun of Righteousness will shine in undimmed luster to the world. Christ has given to His church ample facilities, that He may receive a large revenue of glory from His redeemed, purchased possession. He has bestowed upon His people capabilities and blessings that they may represent His own sufficiency. The church, endowed with the righteousness of Christ, in His depositary, in which the riches of His mercy, His grace, and His love, are to appear in full and final display. Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection, as the reward of His humiliation, and the supplement of His glory,– Christ, the great Center, from whom radiates all glory.”

If you are convinced that what you are reading above is inspiration, then this has to be read as more than just a statement of purpose. It is also a promise of what church Christ will present before the universe and to the Father. We MUST decide if we will be a part of this church or not. This is our opportunity to do something in return for Him who gave us His all. Those who submit fully to Jesus will be to Him the long awaited reward. Then all His suffering and sacrifice will have been worth it. His heart will be satisfied.

DA 680: “As a consecrated high priest He intercedes for His people. As a faithful shepherd He gathers His flock under the shadow of the Almighty, in the strong and sure refuge. For Him there waits the last battle with Satan, and He goes forth to meet it.”

In the faithful of the Lord — the ONE AND ONLY true church of God — lies the last great battle between Christ and Satan. Those who develop a pure love for Christ will not desert Him because it costs them something. To the contrary! They firmly and resolutely engage in the warfare with one purpose — to vindicate the character of God.

Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross

Table of Contents
Acknowledgements and Forward
Chapter 1 Desire of Ages — Chapter 63
Chapter 2 Desire of Ages — Chapter 64
Chapter 3 Desire of Ages — Chapter 65
Chapter 4 Desire of Ages — Chapters 66 & 67
Chapter 5 Desire of Ages — Chapters 68 & 69
Chapter 6 Desire of Ages — Chapters 70, 71 & 72
Chapter 7 Desire of Ages — Chapter 73
Chapter 8 Desire of Ages — Chapters 74 & 75
Chapter 9 Desire of Ages — Chapters 76 & 77
Chapter 10 Desire of Ages — Chapter 78

Chapter 4 Desire of Ages — Chapters 66 & 67

The Church “Then”. . . . . .and the Church Now

by Terry S. Ross

DA 601 “The priests and rulers had listened in silence to Christ’s pointed rebukes. They could not refute His charges. But they were only the more determined to entrap Him, and with this object they sent to Him spies,…”

We have seen this kind of behavior in our present day. These priests and rulers weren’t interested in the truth, they were interested in entrapping Jesus. You will notice that they could not refute His charges and that these charges were pointed. For many years the evidence has been continuing to pile up against the corrupt priesthood of our day and yet they can not and will not refute the charges with a “thus saith the Lord” for in the attempt, they would only expose themselves all the more.

DA 602: “He [Christ] declared that since they were living under the protection of the Roman power, they should render to that power the support it claimed, so long as this did not conflict with a higher duty. But while peaceably subject to the laws of the land, they should at all times give their first allegiance to God.”

The reason for directing readers to this quotation is that there are those today who advocate and promote such law- breaking as refraining from procuring a marriage license or paying taxes. They say that if you get a marriage license, the children become a “product” of the state for, after all it was the state which “allowed” you to become married. The marriage license, therefore, becomes a tool of the state enabling it to seize from you your children when and if it chooses to do so.

The Lord declared that we should obey the laws of the land as long as they didn’t conflict with the higher duties of a Christian. This includes doing things that are morally correct and shunning the appearance of evil, which avoiding getting legally married would not do. Certainly a piece of paper doesn’t give a person grounds for divorce, but Jesus said that when it is appropriate to do so, we should obtain such papers, so as to do things in order. I guarantee that when the state decides to take your children, it will do so regardless of whether you have a marriage license or not.

Some also say that, because the government is corrupt, we shouldn’t be paying taxes. I will admit I don’t know very many people who believe that the way taxes are collected is totally fair or who enjoy paying them but that’s not the bigger point. The Lord told us to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. Also, I have yet to run into these non- paying advocates who refuse to use the highways or the many other conveniences the tax dollars subsidize. Unfortunately, these folks are bringing on a time of trouble before they should and will bring reproach to the cause of God in the process.

DA 603: “The Pharisees were rigid adherents to tradition. … But Christ declared that they made void the law of God by teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

You will notice, it didn’t say the Pharisees were rigid adherents to God’s Word. In the early 1890’s, a committee of ten men were chosen to do a study and report on whether the Seventh- day Adventist Denomination should adopt a church manual. J. N. Loughborough was one of the men on the committee which unanimously voted that the Adventist Denomination should NEVER do such a thing. Following is the insight that Brother Loughborough offered which has turned into somewhat of a prophetic statement: E. G. White, Early Years #1 p. 453: “The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth, to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And fifth, to commence persecution against such.”

Could anyone have expressed a truer summation of what is transpiring today? One of the greatest charges ever leveled at the Ancient Conference by Christ was that they made void the law of God by teaching the doctrines of man for the commandments of God. In other words, making of none effect the testimonies of the Spirit of God. “Satan is… constantly pressing in the spurious— to lead away from the truth. The VERY LAST DECEPTION OF SATAN will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish; (Prov. 29: 18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, TO UNSETTLE THE CONFIDENCE OF GOD’S REMNANT PEOPLE IN THE TRUE TESTIMONY.” 1SM 48.

This was the major reason for the fall of the Ancient Adventist Conference two thousand years ago. This is the very last deception to be used by Satan to unsettle the confidence of GOD’S REMNANT PEOPLE in the true testimony. If you can’t see that we are squarely living within the borders of this prediction, I beg you to get on your knees and plead with your Lord for help. Now instead of telling you where I think the Conference is headed, let me ask you an honest question. All I ask in return is for you to give an honest answer. If the Lord rejected the very Ancient Adventist Conference He had raised up because they made of none effect the testimony of God, and the conditions were the same today, would we expect the same results from a God Who never changes but is the same yesterday, today, and forever?

DA 608: “In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man’s duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins.”

One cannot look to God’s law with success without looking to God’s Son. The reason for a large number of the problems in the Adventist structure is because of the self- righteousness of the “Scribes” and “Pharisees.” They refuse to operate the structure in the power of Jesus Christ. They are trying to assert their own power and in so doing have set themselves higher than Christ. They will fail, as did the Jews.

DA 610- 11: “He [Christ] had set before these leaders their real condition, and the retribution sure to follow persistence in their evil deeds. The warning had been faithfully given. Yet another work remained for Christ to do. Another purpose was still to be accomplished.

“The interest of the people in Christ and His work had steadily increased. They were charmed with His teaching, but they were also greatly perplexed. They had respected the priests and rabbis for their intelligence and apparent piety. In all religious matters they had ever yielded implicit obedience to their authority. Yet they now saw these men trying to cast discredit upon Jesus, a teacher whose virtue and knowledge shone forth the brighter from every assault. They looked upon the lowering countenances of the priests and elders, and there saw discomfiture and confusion. THEY MARVELED THAT THE RULERS WOULD NOT BELIEVE ON JESUS, WHEN HIS TEACHINGS WERE SO PLAIN AND SIMPLE. They themselves knew not what course to take. With eager anxiety they watched the movements of those whose counsel they had always followed.”

What a fitting description of the atmosphere in Adventism today! As I have stated previously, approximately four years ago except for a handful of people, Cathy and I stood alone. Now, however, we are happily witnessing the interest of the people in Christ’s present truth steadily increasing. We are also aware that a large number of the professing Adventists are in the valley of decision and seem to be greatly confused. We can understand why. We don’t question these dear folk’s honesty but rather think the statement above reveals to us today the same problem as was in ancient times. The people have respected the Conference Pastors and Leaders for their intelligence and apparent piety. In all religious matters, they have ever yielded implicit obedience to their authority. This is where the problem lies. Jesus had this trouble at first with His own disciples.

There’s much said today by the Conference Leaders about respecting “properly constituted church authority” and how those of us who have challenged them have not had, as we should, the proper respect for their authority. We certainly want to do everything in order and according to the principles that the Lord has laid before us. Jesus manifested proper respect when and where it was due; He was not intimidated, on the other hand, by men who were trying to manipulate people into doing that which dishonored His Father. Let’s take an example from the Word of God to illustrate how Jesus handled the exact problem in the exact atmosphere that parallels our day. This example will also illustrate that even the disciples didn’t initially understand how to properly handle the issues or where certain principles lay.

Matthew 15: 1- 16: “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 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 do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

“And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

“Then came his disciples, and said unto him, KNOWEST THOU THAT THE PHARISEES WERE OFFENDED, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. LET THEM ALONE: THEY BE BLIND LEADERS OF THE BLIND. AND IF THE BLIND LEAD THE BLIND, BOTH SHALL FALL INTO THE DITCH.

“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, ARE YE ALSO YET WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING?”

First of all, it might be well for us to remember that Jesus was the One who set forth this system of religion for which He certainly had respect. But it wasn’t a lack of respect He showed toward the Ancient Adventist Movement when He denounced the corrupt leadership of His day. It was a lack of respect for the apostasy which they promoted. It was a disdain for the way they were leading and a hatred for what it was doing to the people. Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Father do not like, approve, or respect deception. They certainly are not in the business of supporting those who claim to be leaders in a system which is involved in deceptive practices. Our Heavenly Father represents just the express opposite — honesty and forthrightness. Please notice, as well, that although the laity (including the disciples) equated their Conference Leadership as being men of God, Jesus plainly stated that this wasn’t the case. “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” In other words, Jesus was informing His disciples that while they might have been taught that being a Conference Leader automatically made them of God’s choosing, His Son said it was not the case. This is something that we desperately need to get straight in our own minds. Just because a Conference Leader or a Conference Committee insists that they are to be respected because God chose them and because they told you so, doesn’t mean anything unless you believe it! The test is: HOW do leaders lead and WHERE do leaders lead? It is not: I told you I was chosen and that’s the end of it — now keep quiet and follow me! And if you don’t, I’ll have you kicked out of the synagogue!

These Conference men had come to Jesus and had asked Him why His disciples did not follow the “Church Manual.” Jesus asked them in return what many are asking the present- day leaders of the structure, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?”

As God had set forth the Commandments, they were just and good. But the Conference Leaders commanded control of the people and so they formulated a creed to gain an authority they would not have otherwise had, which belong to God alone. This authority, as it developed, actually kept the people from a true knowledge of God! This “authority” did Jesus not only disapprove and disrespect, but openly attacked and rebuked! Jesus rightly understood that the “Leadership” was standing in the way of the people’s salvation. They were actively keeping the flock from an experiential knowledge which would allow them to enter the kingdom of God (we’ll prove this later). This is the meaning of verse nine — “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

The people and even the disciples were confused and questioned Jesus (God Himself) as if to ask, “Do you know what you are doing?” When His disciples pointed out to Him that He had just offended the Conference Leaders, as people expect today, He admitted His lack of respect for “properly constituted church authority” and went immediately and apologized. Right? No! If He had, He would have been doing the work of the devil, not of His Father! He told His disciples that if they expected to find the heavenly path, they must STAY AWAY FROM THE “LEADERSHIP.” It wasn’t Jesus who misunderstood THE work, but those who had put their trust in a corrupt priesthood. Jesus had an extremely difficult time convincing people (even His disciples) because they had so much unfounded faith (blind faith) in the professed leadership of their day.

I certainly pray that you are seeing the parallels to all of this in our presentday situation. If you are, you are starting to come to a knowledge that Jesus so wanted His disciples to have. As a matter of fact, we learn later that until these men came to this knowledge, they could not be too effective in bringing others to salvation. I hope you are beginning to realize that the confusion of their day and the reasons for it are the same as in our own day. This understanding is just as vital now as it was then. This is why Jesus has brought (and is bringing) this knowledge to you, just now. Dear Brother and Sister, we are passing through the exact portal that the disciples passed through and it is the way of Christ’s leading. This is the road that leads to the feet of Him who has traveled this road before us. I hope that you will trust Him, as did His disciples, and that you will follow. The way of the cross leads home. I am confident that as we move through this transition, the Lord will eventually have a people who will understand and follow Him wheresoever He leadeth.

DA 611- 12 “In the parables which Christ had spoken, it was His purpose both to warn the rulers and to instruct the people who were willing to be taught. But there was need to speak yet more plainly. Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. THESE CHAINS CHRIST MUST BREAK. THE CHARACTER OF THE PRIESTS, RULERS, AND PHARISEES MUST BE MORE FULLY EXPOSED.”

At times it’s difficult for an author to not capitalize the whole paragraph. I must admit that this is one of those times. These few words are loaded with information which will take us far down the path of understanding if we desire to know why they were left for us.

Many have indicated that they want to be “just like Jesus” and “do the same work Jesus did.” Do we really realize what we are saying when we make such statements or is this just an ascent to some dreamy ideal? Are we just trying to impress others with these statements or could it be we don’t understand what Jesus was really like? It seems that perhaps the latter is the most appropriate. We have been taught that Jesus is just “love and hugs.” This seems wonderful but it can be a deadly deception if we’re not on our toes. In this “Dr. Spock, if- it- feels- good- do- it generation,” we don’t want anything to do with discipline because it’s so “negative.” These same sentiments rule in the “church.” Those of us who care to see the reality of where this has lead us understand all too well why our society is in so much trouble and why double- standard government doesn’t work except for evil. Unfortunately, the same problem exists to a gross extent among those who claim to be “the church.”

When Jesus was on earth, His work was two- fold as we are told above. These are inspired words, folks, not mine or anyone elses for that matter. “It was His purpose both to WARN THE RULERS and to instruct the people WHO WERE WILLING TO BE TAUGHT.” This is exactly what many Independent Leaders have been doing for the last several years. Jesus understood that He had come to a professed church who “Through their REVERENCE FOR TRADITION and their BLIND FAITH IN A CORRUPT PRIESTHOOD, THE PEOPLE WERE ENSLAVED.”

You see, Jesus was in the business of saving people, not playing politics. Because He came to the “Seventh- day Adventist Church” didn’t mean He had to ask permission to do the work. It didn’t mean that he had to bow to the Conference men when they walked into the room. It didn’t mean that He had to get their corrupted opinions before He could press on with the job His Father had given Him to do. It didn’t mean He had to seek unity at all costs with “the church.” It didn’t mean He had to exchange heavenly principles for earthy power. It didn’t mean that paying attention to “properly constituted church authority” was more important than paying attention to His Father’s authority. But He came to a people who had placed their faith in corrupt men instead of a Holy God. Today, my friend, we find ourselves in this carbon copy dilemma.

By the time Christ showed up on the earthly scene, and it’s a shame to have to say it, He had to save the people FROM the Conference, not IN the Conference! Was this His fault? Was He to blame for all the trouble His message of reform brought? Was He the rebellious One? You know the answers to all these questions. Are you willing to answer the same questions that are their present- day parallel just as honestly? I believe your eternal salvation depends on it!

If Christ was going to save His people, if Jesus was going to bring the people to a balanced knowledge of His Father, if He was going to instruct those who were willing to be taught but were enslaved to a corrupt priesthood by their blind loyalty, what was He to do?

The Desire of Ages says, “THESE CHAINS CHRIST MUST BREAK.” In order for Jesus to give the people a real opportunity to come to a knowledge of salvation, He must break the chains of slavery the corrupt priesthood had over them. The Spirit of Prophecy has much to say regarding kingly power and Sister White had her share of trouble with it. We’ll not take the time here, but it is an interesting study which I would encourage you to pursue.

Jesus didn’t like being in this kind of predicament, loving the people so much, He knew He must break this stranglehold the Conference men had on the laity. If the people were going to have an opportunity to hear what was truth, He would have to break the confidence the people had placed in these men who were leading away from God, not toward Him as they claimed. And how was the strength of these chains to be overcome? “THE CHARACTER OF THE PRIESTS, RULERS, AND PHARISEES MUST BE FULLY EXPOSED.”

Now are you sure you want to be just like Jesus? Many have said and continue to say that it is the work of the devil to “speak against the leadership of the church,” but if this is true, Jesus clearly did the work of the devil or many would have to believe He did. The problem is not what Christ did but rather concerning the same prejudice that He had to deal with. It’s like trying to convince someone who is an alcoholic (who denies it) that he has a drinking problem. The problem lends itself to denial, and in turn to misunderstanding, and in turn to difficulty in achieving a successful turn- a- round. We should be careful how we treat the leadership of the church. We had better make sure, however, that we realize who they are and what the church is.

Nonetheless, Christ stood His ground and did the disagreeable duty, even though at the time hardly anyone understood, supported, or agreed with what He was doing. I’m so glad that Jesus did what He had to do, aren’t you? If He were to pay attention to what the majority are shouting today, you and I wouldn’t even be here much less have an opportunity to live forever. We must learn what is hard to learn and unlearn some of that which we’ve been taught. We must understand what was so difficult for the disciples to understand. The work of Christ is freeing people to live for His Father and His Father only. The work of Jesus is showing people that they are to follow and worship not man, but God. As long as the leaders whom Christ raised showed the people these truths, everything was as it should have been. But when a priesthood becomes corrupt and leads those for whom Christ died to the one who killed Him, He has no choice but to go to the next step of exposing the apostasy and breaking the chains.

These leaders were willing to sacrifice Christ, God Himself, in order to save their precious Conference authority. They had said that it was better to sacrifice one man (meaning Jesus) in order to save the nation (meaning the Conference). They were saying that they were willing to sacrifice the truth in order to maintain their status. Jesus had no choice but to break the chains of enslavement. The character of the Pastors, Conference Presidents, and the General Conference Leaders must be more fully exposed.

Should you have any remaining doubt regarding what you are reading, let’s take a quick look at Ezekiel chapter 8:

Ezekiel 8: 6- 9: “He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.

“And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.”

I could write a small book on this topic alone. It is full of treasure for our present- day understanding and I hope you will take the time to study it. Our own books tell us that the judgement starts with the Seventh- day Adventist movement and from the top down, meaning those who claim to be leaders down through the ranks.

Folks, we are witnessing the living expression of Ezekiel, chapter 8! We are living in this chapter’s day of fulfillment. We need to understand that God is no respecter of persons. This isn’t meant to say that He doesn’t respect or love people. It simply means that His judgment is fair and doesn’t make exceptions to the eternal principles He has set forth. If the rules or principles can be changed, they are flawed and this is not possible for God is perfect.

God is not going to let Brother A into His kingdom because He loves him more, and shut Brother B out because popular opinion views him as being “difficult.” The reverse is true as well. The Father is not going to keep a TRUE gospel worker out of the kingdom just because popular opinion “votes” to censure or disfellowship him, and let an apostate leader in just because he has the majority vote of a church.

When we are standing at the judgment bar, spiritually speaking, God is not going to ask the Conference Committee or the editors of the Review if it’s all right to let us in. It will work the same for those who should be kept out. This may come as a shock but nobody, nobody, is going to heaven except those who follow Jesus. It doesn’t matter what position we may have had or how long we have held it. The requirements for entrance are the same for every single individual. The only difference it will make is that, if you make a great profession, if you claim to be a leader and DO NOT LEAD OTHERS TO JESUS, you only increase and lengthen your own damnation!

The work of Ezekiel 8 Jesus did while here, and that same work is being done for the last time, right now. I strongly encourage you to take a look at the next event to take place which is found in the next chapter of Ezekiel. We are told that this will be literally fulfilled.

18MR 236: “Study the ninth chapter of Ezekiel. These words will be LITERALLY FULFILLED; yet the time is passing, and the people are asleep. They refuse to humble their souls and to be converted. Not a great while longer will the Lord bear with the people who have such great and important truths revealed to them but who refuse to bring these truths into their individual experience. The time is short. God is calling. Will you hear? Will you receive His message? Will you be converted before it is too late? Soon, very soon, every case will be decided for eternity.”

Ellen White’s 1888 Materials 1303: “The Lord reads the heart as an open book. The men who are not connected with God have done many things after the imagination of their own evil hearts. The Lord declares concerning them, ‘They have turned unto Me their back, and not the face, though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them; yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction. ’ We are amid the perils of the last days, the time will soon come when the prophecy of Ezekiel 9 will be fulfilled; that prophecy should be carefully studied, for IT WILL BE FULFILLED TO THE VERY LETTER.”

The only way the people could be free to follow the Father was if the chains were broken. The only way the chains could be broken was for Jesus to expose the characters of these apostate leaders. This work is in process even as you read this book. Please ask the One who lead His disciples to the path of life to guide you just now to the same path. He certainly will if you let Him.

DA 612: “ ‘The scribes and the Pharisees, ’ He said, ‘sit in Moses’ seat. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not. ’ The scribes and Pharisees’ claimed to be invested with divine authority similar to that of Moses. They assumed to take his place as expounders of the law and judges of the people. As such they claimed from the people the utmost deference and obedience. Jesus bade His hearers do that which the rabbis taught according to the law, but not to follow their example. They themselves did not practice their own teaching.

“And they taught much that was contrary to the Scriptures. Jesus said, ‘They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. ’ THE PHARISEES ENJOINED A MULTITUDE OF REGULATIONS, HAVING THEIR FOUNDATION IN TRADITION, AND UNREASONABLY RESTRICTING PERSONAL LIBERTY. And certain portions of the law they so explained as to impose upon the people observances which they themselves secretly ignored, and from which, when it served their purpose, they actually claimed exemption.”

As Jesus plainly states above, we are to follow only those things leaders teach which uphold the law and are the requirements of the Father. He told the people however, not to follow their example. Why? Because they weren’t following the truth or the law of God, they were not even following their own teaching when it didn’t suit their purpose.

Sighting a modern- day example is a startling, personal situation experienced approximately 12 years ago. I was in the midst of a discussion regarding Sabbath breaking as some friends were collecting money for registration at the camp we were attending. My argument was that business should be done on any day other than the Sabbath, believing the Sabbath commandment to be so clear that what I was saying was a foregone conclusion. To my utter surprise and amazement, the California Conference guest speaker entered into the discussion along with another leader from the East coast and proceeded to give me a shellacking! They informed me that I should understand that Adventist Leaders everywhere traveled on planes, in taxies, and bought food in restaurants on Sabbath in order to “do the Lord’s work.” I, a Literature Evangelist at the time, informed them, much to their dislike, that no true Adventist Leader did these things unless under extreme emergencies. I asked them if they had ever heard of packing a sack lunch or fasting so far as having to buy food on the Sabbath. I have to tell you that I was offended by these loose leaders professing to be the standard- bearers for the Seventh- day Adventist Church. But I better understood why we are having so much trouble with standards among the laity.

At the same time these types of leaders are leading the people to lower the pure, elevated standards of Jesus, they are enjoining a multitude of regulations having their foundation in tradition, and unreasonably restricting personal liberty.

How many times have you or someone you know had to ask for “permission” from the Pastor or Conference Leaders before you could do some work the Lord has placed on your heart? More than this, how many of you have ever experienced (or know someone who has), these same “leaders” telling you that you could not do this work! The above quotation is also speaking loudly and clearly about “the church manual.” I know of a young man who recently was at his own disfellowshipping and the Pastor asked for the use of a church manual to make his point. This young man took a Bible and tried to hand it to the Pastor telling him THIS was the church manual. The Pastor wouldn’t except it! At my own trial, the Conference Leaders threw out the “church” manual because it didn’t serve their purpose, exactly as the Spirit of Prophecy said they would. Moving on.

DA 613: “When persons were invited to a feast, the guests were seated according to their rank, and those who were given the most honorable place received the first attention and special favors. The Pharisees were ever scheming to secure these honors. This practice Jesus rebuked.

“He also reproved the vanity shown in coveting the title of rabbi, or master. Such a title, He declared, belonged not to men, but to Christ. Priests, scribes, and rulers, expounders and administrators of the law, were all brethren, children of one Father. Jesus impressed upon the people that they were to give no man a title of honor INDICATING HIS CONTROL OF THEIR CONSCIENCE OR THEIR FAITH.

“If Christ were on earth today, surrounded by those who bear the title of ‘Reverend’ or ‘Right Reverend, ’ would He not repeat His saying, ’ ‘Neither be ye called MASTERS; for one is your Master, even Christ’?”

This has always bothered me and this is the appropriate place to share it with you. I don’t intend to give it much space but I do ask for your prayerful consideration and I also wish to demonstrate how, to the letter, we are living in the parallel of Christ’s day. I will place my concern in the form of yet another question.

How can any Seventh- day Adventist Pastor accept the title of Master or Doctor of Divinity? If bestowing such titles to any human on earth today is not dangerously close to open blasphemy and in direct violation of Jesus’ expressed command concerning this subject — I don’t know what is. I’ll be the first to confess that I didn’t attend the “rabbinical” schools, but I can read in simple English in the Inspired Word of God, that ONLY THE GODHEAD have any right to claim the title of Masters of Divinity!

Now we come to a quotation which is quite revealing. This ancient experience gives us an invaluable modern- day lesson. This is for all the New Theology people and their pastors. Those of you who want to be set free may indeed know and understand what the Lord is trying to tell us in the next few words:


Dear Christian friend, what is Jesus telling you and me in this statement? It seems to me that He is revealing that these apostate leaders are perverting the Scriptures in such a way as to not only deceive people but to actually KEEP THEM FROM GAINING A KNOWLEDGE THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BRING THEM TO PRACTICAL CHRISTIAN LIVING WHICH IS ESSENTIAL TO TRUE HOLINESS. Is that what you read? If not, then what? Are these apostate leaders bringing people to an understanding that there is no excuse for sin, not even one?! Are they showing that — “God leads His people on step by step. The Christian life is a constant battle and a march. There is no rest from the warfare. It is by constant, unceasing effort that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. As a people we are triumphing in the clearness and strength of the truth. We are fully sustained in our positions by an overwhelming amount of plain Scriptural testimony. But we are very much wanting in Bible humility, patience, faith, love, self- denial, watchfulness, and the spirit of sacrifice. We need to cultivate Bible holiness. Sin prevails among the people of God. The plain message of rebuke to the Laodiceans is not received. Many cling to their doubts and their darling sins while they are in so great a deception as to talk and feel that they are in need of nothing. They think the testimony of the Spirit of God in reproof is uncalled for or that it does not mean them. Such are in the greatest need of the grace of God and spiritual discernment that they may discover their deficiency in spiritual knowledge. They lack almost every qualification necessary to perfect Christian Character. They have not a PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF BIBLE TRUTH, WHICH LEADS TO LOWLINESS OF LIFE AND A CONFORMITY OF THEIR WILL TO THE WILL OF CHRIST. They are not living in obedience to all God’s requirements.” 3T 253.

This is just as serious as your next breath! As a matter of fact, it is more important! Jesus told His disciples to flee from the “New Theology” Pastors of His day. He told them they were being lead by these leaders in the way of death not the way of life. It took them, admittedly, a while before they listened but they did listen and were saved! Are we listening today? Are we determining to follow our baptismal vows even if it leads in the same direction as it did the disciples? I pray that we are for, in fact and in reality, we must go the same way the disciples went or we WILL end up in a place that we would rather not be. Better to be alone in heaven than to be in unity with the crowd in the lake of fire!

DA 614: “The Pharisees had great influence with the people, and of this they took advantage to serve their own interests. They gained the confidence of pious widows, and then represented it as a duty for them to devote their property to religious purposes. Having secured control of their money, the wily schemers used it for their own benefit. To cover their dishonesty, they offered long prayers in public, and made a great show of piety. This hypocrisy Christ declared would bring them the greater damnation. The same rebuke falls upon many in our day who make a high profession of piety. Their lives are stained by selfishness and avarice, yet they throw over it all a garment of seeming purity, and thus for a time deceive their fellowmen. But they cannot deceive God.”

Listen, you “pious widows” and all the rest of us who need to heed this lesson. I have heard some real horror stories of how once the Conference obtains someone’s trust account or property, the trusting party has a terrible time retrieving it if they want, and sometimes can’t. We are witnessing the same demonstration involving the local churches and this reveals the great “sin” in handing over the deed to the Conference to be the “trustee.” We are now witnessing the closure of some of these churches in the very faces of those who paid for and built them! And who is doing this shameful work of padlocking these churches against their rightful owners? The trustees!

Here’s some free advice. If the people of your church haven’t given the deed over to the “trustees,” DON’T! If you are going to build a church, make sure you have no intention of giving it away. If you let the “trustee” look after your property they may take it away! Isn’t this exactly what the parable of the Husbandman is all about? God placed the vineyard into the “trustee’s” hands and when He sent His Son to claim it, they killed Him and stole the property! It’s past time we paid attention, don’t you think? If you don’t agree, you WILL pay the price!

DA 616: “The Saviour continued His denunciations of the scribes and Pharisees: “Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. Ye fools and blind, for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? and, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind; for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?” The priests interpreted God’s requirements according to their own false and narrow standard. They presumed to make nice distinctions as to the comparative guilt of various sins, passing over some lightly, and treating others of perhaps less consequence as unpardonable. For a money consideration they excused persons from their vows. And for large sums of money they sometimes passed over aggravated crimes. At the same time these priests and rulers would in other cases pronounce severe judgment for trivial offenses.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” In these words Christ again condemns the abuse of sacred obligation. The obligation itself He does not set aside. The tithing system was ordained by God, and it had been observed from the earliest times. Abraham, the father of the faithful, paid tithes of all that he possessed. The Jewish rulers recognized the obligation of tithing, and this was right; but THEY DID NOT LEAVE THE PEOPLE TO CARRY OUT THEIR OWN CONVICTIONS OF DUTY. Arbitrary rules were laid down for every case. The requirements had become so complicated that it was impossible for them to be fulfilled. None knew when their obligations were met. As God gave it, the system was just and reasonable; but the priests and rabbis had made it a wearisome burden.”

Included in a tithe tract we wrote, we shared three letters which plainly shows that money, especially tithe money, is not a test of fellowship or membership in the Adventist Church. But is tithe paying not a test of fellowship? All these letters were written from March to May of 1986. The letters come from (strangely enough) a President of the Oregon Conference, President of Northwest SDA Headquarters, and a very well known General Conference Leader. We will send them to you upon request. Just send for the tithe tract, “A Personal Responsibility” which deals with kingly power, as well, and you will receive the letters which are part of the tract.

This money problem and the manipulation of the people through this medium is nothing new. Desire of Ages shows us clearly that 2,000 years ago the Apostate Leadership of Christ’s day also used God’s money to manipulate the people. They censored and disfellowshipped those who would not support them and they made money a test of fellowship. Many Adventist Pastors use Malachi, chapter 3, extensively to support their view using specifically verses 8 and 10: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. … Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

When it comes to money, leaders are to grant freedom to people by the Biblical standard in upholding and preaching the truth. But they are to leave the people to carry out their own convictions of duty. They are not to set up arbitrary rules and then use money as a weapon against certain groups as we see happening throughout the Adventist structure. If the leaders were truly concerned for the right reasons, regarding the subject of tithe, why are they only disciplining those who choose not to pay their tithe to them? Why aren’t they disciplining the majority of the people who are actually robbing God and not paying tithe at all? The fact that the Conference Leaders are only picking on one group of people reveals not only their prejudice but their lack of consistency and their self- serving purposes.

We believe that people should leave others alone regarding this subject, except for trying to guide them in the right path. The principle of tithe paying is right and it should be shared with the people. But how many times have you heard that the Lord was reproving the leadership for mishandling His money in Malachi 3?! The reproofs and promises of Malachi are plainly to the leadership as well as to the people. Read chapter two and you will see whom the Lord is speaking to and about. Also, look as verse 3 of chapter 3. “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify THE SONS OF LEVI, and PURGE THEM as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”

Why is the Lord saying in Malachi that He must purify these pastors? Because they were not pure. Of course, the laymen weren’t pure either, and not being so was an individual responsibility but it was largely due to the leadership because: “The church will rarely take a higher stand than is taken by her ministers. We need a converted ministry and a converted people. Shepherds who watch for souls as they that must give account will lead the flock on in paths of peace and holiness. Their success in this work will be in proportion to their own growth in grace and knowledge of the truth. When the teachers are sanctified, soul, body, and spirit, they can impress upon the people the importance of such sanctification.” 5T 227.

DA 618: “The Pharisees built the tombs of the prophets, and adorned their sepulchers, and said one to another, If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have united with them in shedding the blood of God’s servants. At the same time they were planning to take the life of His Son. This should be a lesson to us. IT SHOULD OPEN OUR EYES TO THE POWER OF SATAN TO DECEIVE THE MIND THAT TURNS FROM THE LIGHT OF TRUTH. Many follow in the track of the Pharisees. They revere those who have died for their faith. They wonder at the blindness of the Jews in rejecting Christ. Had we lived in His day, they declare, we would gladly have received His teaching; we would never have been partakers in the guilt of those who rejected the Saviour. BUT WHEN OBEDIENCE TO GOD REQUIRES SELF- DENIAL AND HUMILIATION, THESE VERY PERSONS STIFLE THEIR CONVICTIONS, AND REFUSE OBEDIENCE. THUS THEY MANIFEST THE SAME SPIRIT AS DID THE PHARISEES WHOM CHRIST CONDEMNED.”

Today various tours are available both on the East coast and the West coast to view the places where Ellen G. White lived, worked, had visions, and died. Many nice things are said and outwardly she is honored during these times. At the same time, a large group of leaders are actively trying to destroy her inspired work and influence, just as the Ancient Adventist Leaders did in the days of Christ. It has always been amazing to me that a person can be honored for showing the Baptist, Catholic, Mormon, Lutheran, Jehovah Witness, or the many other people in various churches their mistakes and bringing them to the truth, but when you bring the truth “home” to the Adventist, you are no longer a hero but a heretic. Why is this?

We need to have a stiff respect for the power of the enemy. Satan is roaring as a lion and he is very angry especially toward those who are determined to maintain the truth as it is in Jesus. The Laodicean condition is the most dangerous position to be in. It is a position where persons really do not study for themselves but rather place their trust in those who seem to. They are riding on the shirttails of someone else’s experience. I might add that this condition exists in people no matter what “group” they may be in. One can have the Laodicean condition in the Historic or Reform group just as easily as in the structure. Truth- filled books, magazines, audio tapes, and videos are good. They should be utilized as tools to further one’s knowledge but that certainly shouldn’t be the total sum of the experience. We must hunger and thirst after righteousness and study to show ourselves approved. We must know for ourselves what and why we believe the way we do. We cannot get to heaven by hitching a ride on the shoulders of someone else. Jesus Christ is the only way.

Many find it so easy to speak of the stupidity of the ancient Jews and how we would never do what they did. At the same time we are doing things far worse then what they did! How can this happen? How can we have all their failures in open view and still be making the same mistakes, having the same spiritual pride and end up persecuting the same people within our own ranks? It boggles the mind to try to comprehend it! “But when obedience to God requires self- denial and humiliation, these very persons stifle their convictions, and refuse obedience. Thus they manifest the same spirit as did the Pharisees whom Christ condemned.” Did you notice here that inspiration plainly says that Christ condemned people? Next time you hear someone insisting that Jesus never condemned anyone, ask him or her to explain this quotation for you. If honest people are around you, it should take care of the argument or at least let everyone know who’s interested in truth and who isn’t.

How many times have you heard of someone reading a simple and plain “thus saith the Lord” to someone, just to hear the response, “I haven’t been convicted on that.” These things should open our eyes to the power of Satan to deceive those who have turned away from the light. We should ask the True Witness for all the help He has promised to give us that we might discern what is truth.

Remember the four little words, “not blind, nor bitter?” Although we are in a real battle, although we must fight the enemy for every inch of ground, although the Christian walk is a battle and a march, although we must expose apostasy and call sin by it’s right name, and although we will end up being hated, persecuted, and possibly killed by those who once said they loved us, we need to maintain our Christian dignity and spirit of salvation toward others, even our enemies. In the spirit of Christ we want to be “not blind, nor bitter.”

DA 619: “Christ’s indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people, and dishonoring God. In the specious, deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers, He discerned the working of Satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self- possession.”

Our struggle must be fought on a higher level than that of our enemies. We must always have the best interests of others in mind even in times of rejection, even in times when others refuse to recognize our motives for what they are, even in times of persecution and slander, and in the face of death. Yes, we have real, live enemies. Yes, they can hurt us and break our hearts. They can cause us undue pain and grief. But our Lord and Saviour gave up all that He possessed to travel this road before us. He showed the way that leads home and He has demonstrated that to live His life is the best and only way. He revealed that even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, by His example and power we will still preserve calmness and self- possession.

Dear Brother and Sister, see Jesus in the garden. See Him being taken by that brutal mob and betrayed by one of His own. View our lovely Jesus in the hall at His trial. How calm and self- possessed is His countenance. By His example, isn’t it this calmness and self- possession that draws you to Him? Isn’t it this that is partly the reason Jesus is so much your hero? Don’t you wish to be this way in the face of adversity? Then enter the battle you must. There is no other way except through the garden, to the trial, and on up Golgotha’s hill. We must be “crucified” to self and given totally to Jesus. But praise the Lord! He will “resurrect” us anew. He has provided for our every need and He so much wants to give us, each one, of His Spirit. Just take that which He offers, friend. It matters not what our heritage may be. We can be German, Irish, Scottish, Latin, French, or Italian. We can continue to excuse our human tempers and be lost or we can give them to Jesus and be saved. The decision is as simple as that. But if we choose to trust ourselves to Jesus, if we are willing enough to place our lives into His nailed- scarred hands, He will finish in us that which He has started.

Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross

Table of Contents
Acknowledgements and Forward
Chapter 1 Desire of Ages — Chapter 63
Chapter 2 Desire of Ages — Chapter 64
Chapter 3 Desire of Ages — Chapter 65
Chapter 4 Desire of Ages — Chapters 66 & 67
Chapter 5 Desire of Ages — Chapters 68 & 69
Chapter 6 Desire of Ages — Chapters 70, 71 & 72
Chapter 7 Desire of Ages — Chapter 73
Chapter 8 Desire of Ages — Chapters 74 & 75
Chapter 9 Desire of Ages — Chapters 76 & 77
Chapter 10 Desire of Ages — Chapter 78

Apostasy and Revival

The Anatomy of Apostasy

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord.” Jeremiah 7:12.

Jeremiah was sent to speak to God’s people, and he was to speak to them in God’s house. These people came to worship God regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath.

And God said, Jeremiah, I want you to go and talk to My people. Let us see what God asked Jeremiah to tell them. “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.” Verses 3–8.

They undoubtedly had turned away from God’s Word to listen to somebody else’s word, because we know that God’s Word never lies. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and what God says, He means. And what God means, He says, and it is truth. It is as endurable as is God. But here was a people who professed to be God’s people, but they were believing lying words.

“Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not?” (Verse 9.) Do you see how deep this apostasy has become? They professed to be worshippers of the living God, yet they were committing murder, stealing, and worshipping images.

After you have done all this, God says, “And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord.” (Verses 10, 11.)

He Watches Us, In Love

The statement, “Behold, even I have seen it”, is very interesting. Does God see everything? Oh, yes, He does. Yet, in all our weakness of humanity, we need to be constantly reminded of that fact—not that we should fear and tremble under condemnation, but so we know there is a God who is so concerned that He watches us. He is interested in us.

There was a time that I thought otherwise. I thought God wanted to watch me to see when I made a mistake. Some of us still carry that concept. In Psalm 40:5 we find that God’s thoughts toward us are a multitude that cannot be numbered. Jeremiah points out that God’s thoughts toward us are not thoughts of evil, but of expectation of the end that He wants to give us.

We see Israel just before they went into the 70-year Babylonian captivity. God is seeking to deliver His people from such captivity, and with His mercy and pity, He pleads with Israel through Jeremiah. Let us see how bad things had become. “They hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:24. “Yet they hearkened not unto Me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.” (Verse 26.)

Apostasy Does Not Diminish

“They did worse than their fathers.” The sad reality is that apostasy does not diminish; it grows. It is a malignancy with which man cannot deal—apart from God. If we separate ourselves from God, we are definitely headed toward apostasy, and there is no cure apart from God. They did worse than their fathers did, and the apostasy grows, not only through the years, but through the decades and the centuries, until we find ourselves today in deep darkness.

In Jeremiah 6:19, we find clearly delineated the cause of this apostasy. God is speaking: “Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto My words, nor to My Law, but rejected it.”

What had they rejected? They had rejected the words and counsel of God, and they had rejected the Law of God. Every subsequent apostasy by God’s people has followed this same anatomy. Not only as a group, but also as individuals. When we reject the Law of God, we start walking in a way that is contrary to God.

It is a marvelous and wonderful Law! It is actually the very transcript of God’s character. Paul refers to that in Romans 7:12, where he describes the Law of God as holy, just, and good. That is a description of our God, the God who created us.

He is holy. He is altogether whole. As Solomon put it, “He is altogether lovely.” Song of Solomon 5:16. He is a God of justice, and we live in a generation where justice seems to be nonexistent. We live in a very unjust, unfair world, but we serve a God Who is just and who someday will make things right.

He is a good God. Has He been good to you? He has been good to me. We bend, sometimes, to the weakness of the flesh. It is easy to look at the enormity of the injustice, unfairness, trials, temptations and trouble that comes into our lives through various sources and forget the goodness of God.

Overcoming by the Grace of God

If we would be mindful of the goodness of God in regard to those things that we take for granted, a problem that we think is a huge mountain, will become less than a mountain. It will become something that, by the grace of God, we can overcome. Let us focus on the goodness that God gives to us.

Let us look away from those things that trouble us and we may find victory a lot easier. He is mindful of our weakness. He knows us. Two thousand years ago He sent His Son into this world, and Hebrews 4 tells us that Jesus took upon Himself our flesh. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.

He knows what it means to be tired; He knows what it means to be hungry; He knows what it means to be tempted; He knows what it means to be misunderstood, and He knows what all this weakness means. Yet He overcame, and He wants to give us that victory.

The reason for the apostasy was that Israel turned away from God’s holy, just, and good Law. They found themselves in darkness. However, they did not think they were in darkness.

What are we really rejecting when we reject the Law of God?

Rejecting Knowledge

God says, through the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against Me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.” Hosea 4:6, 7.

When we walk away from God’s Law, the result is a lack of knowledge. We come into an experience where we do not have the knowledge that God wants to give us. What knowledge does the Law give, that, when we reject it, we lose? Paul clearly states in Romans 3:20, that the Law of God reveals to us our sins.

The Law of God is a revelation to us of sin. But if you and I are oblivious to what sin is, then we do not know we need a Saviour. We do not know we need One to save us from our sins. As we look out over the Christian community today, we can see that this is their experience. They have rejected the Law of God in one manner or another.

Knowing Christ’s Righteousness

God wants us to have knowledge, not only of what sin is, but a knowledge of truth. Psalm 119:142 tells us that the law of God is the truth of God. It also tells us that all of God’s “commandments are righteousness.” (Verse 172.) So, we not only see from the Law of God what sin is, but we see also what is righteousness.

God has created us as free moral agents. He has given us the ability to think, to reason, and to choose. Marvelous, indeed! Is it any wonder that the Psalmist said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”? Psalm 139:14. God will not trespass that marvelous gift of free choice that He has given us. He honors it; even if it costs us our salvation. This was part of the price paid at Calvary. Christ died that we might have a choice of something other than sin.

Israel rejected the Law. Once they rejected the knowledge needed to understand God and themselves, what happened to their thinking? “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; they put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20. What was Israel thinking? They were thinking; I am all right. I am in the light. But God said, What you are doing is calling light darkness, and darkness light.

The ultimate result of rejecting God’s Law is confusion. It is confusion concerning what constitutes God’s righteousness, and once we are in confusion and we have no standard for righteousness, we start setting up our own standard of righteousness, even as we continue to profess to be the people of God. So it was with Israel.

Sounds Right —All Wrong

There is a very interesting statement in Scripture, which says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12. It seems right; so if it seems right, it should be right. Is that right? Oh, no, that is not what God says. God says, It may look right, it may sound right, but it may be all wrong!

Have you ever come to the realization that if we are saved at last in the kingdom of God, it will not be by our own wisdom or by our own power? But it will be by our own decision!

We find that when we reject God’s Law we reject the knowledge that we need to determine what is right and what is wrong. The consequence of this rejection is confusion of mind. The ultimate result is rejection of God. “But My people would not hearken to My voice; and Israel would none of Me.” Psalm 81:11.

It is very hard to read those words once you come to know Him and know that He is everything He says He is. It is very hard to reject the individual who loves you the most. But what is harder, is to understand what this rejection means to Him. We catch glimpses of it in the life of Jesus.

Alone and Rejected

Jesus came into a world that He had created altogether good. He came unto His own, and His own rejected Him. At the end of His ministry, just prior to Calvary, we find Him on the hill of Olivet, preparing to go into Jerusalem on that triumphant entry. He paused and He wept. He wept not only for what He saw was coming to the people who had rejected Him, but, I believe, in response to their rejection of Him.

Each one of us played a part in that rejection. Each of us knows wherein, in times past, we have rejected Him. We may know some areas wherein we are rejecting Him today. But He is pitiful and merciful, and He is willing to forgive to the uttermost.

He wants us to become a reflection of His Law—holy, just and good. That is what He wants from you and from me. Is it any wonder that the psalmist says, I delight to meditate day and night upon the Law of God? (See Psalm 1:2.) Maybe there is something that we have not seen in that Law. Maybe we all need to study the Law in the light of Calvary, because that is where the Law takes on its significance. Christ thought enough of that Law to die for us. The anatomy of apostasy stands before us as a lesson of the past, but what about the present?

Let us look at Laodicea. 2,000 years ago, the prophet John, while on the Isle of Patmos, received a revelation from Gabriel and from Jesus Himself. In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus portrays the dispensation from the beginning of the Christian Church all the way down to the very end, where we find ourselves today.

Seven Churches depict seven different periods in the Christian Church. Laodicea is what we are concerned with, because it is the one in which we find ourselves. What does God see? John takes us back to the fact that God sees everything. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched.…” Revelation 3:15–17.

Here we find a counterpart to ancient Israel. This is the sad reality that God foresaw 2,000 years ago. There is an attitude among Laodicea which says, We are all right, when they are indeed all wrong—not only in the manner that they are walking, but also in the attitude they are taking.

A Vast Deception

The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that this message is more specifically applicable to those to whom God has entrusted the special messages which are to be given to the world for the end time. (See Review and Herald, March 10, 1904.) It is us! I am not sharing anything new. We need to become riveted in the old ways. We need to go back to the paths that were traveled by the people of God—the faithful and true, the prophets of old who walked in all the truth. That is the path that God is lifting up before His people today. A path filled with truth, but also filled with sorrow and sighing.

So Laodicea finds itself doing as did ancient Israel and suffering the same delusion. It is interesting to note that this apostasy in Laodicea has the same ultimate consequence in regard to Jesus Christ.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.…” (Verse 20.) Notice where He is standing; He is outside; just as surely as ancient Israel put Jesus outside and would have none of Him, so Laodicea has done the same thing. The reason they have done the same, is because, like Israel, they are rejecting the Law of God while professing to uphold it.

What a vast deception! To profess something, to do something totally contrary to what you are professing, yet believe that you are doing what you are professing, is deception! It almost gets mind boggling! It is confusion! “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door.…” Ibid.

There again, God is not going to trespass your decision, your will that He has given to you. He wants you to consent. Let us open that door by which He can come in and do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Ibid.

It is a marvelous thought that our God, the mighty God, the wonderful God, the One who is altogether lovely, not only wants to talk to us, but He wants to walk with us.


Paul had a tremendous burden for Israel. Paul had been caught up in apostasy for years. But one day light came, a bright and brilliant light, for that is what our God is. On the road to Damascus, Paul experienced a conversion. He came to see things in an altogether different light, and he no longer called darkness light and light darkness. He was no longer confused. He wanted to share that experience with those who were still in the apostasy. In Romans 10 he tells us his burden, but he also tells us what Israel was doing in regard to this apostasy.

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” Verses 1, 2.

Now we know what that is. We know why they do not have this knowledge. He continues in verse 3, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” God’s righteousness is linked up with God’s Law.

So here was a people professing great things about the Law of God, but Paul comes along and says, You are totally ignorant about that law; you do not understand the righteousness of God that is found in that Law. They were adding and subtracting from God’s righteousness, which is found in His Law. That is what we do if we only have a profession of religion without the possession. If we are subtracting from what God has said, then we are adding our own opinion, our own standard, our own manuals. We are turning away from God’s manuals. Where there is subtraction there is always addition.


Mark tells us more descriptively what Israel was doing in regard to this apostasy. Speaking concerning Israel, Jesus said, “‘Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’” Mark 7:7.

Israel was replacing the commandments of God with the commandments of men. “‘Making the word of God of none effect.’” (Verse 13.) How did they do that? “. . . through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” Ibid.

Jesus said that Israel was putting tradition above the word of God. We live in a dispensation of earth’s history in which the majority of professed Christianity today are doing the same thing. If we are basing our experience on the past experience of our forefathers, who may have walked contrary to some of God’s Laws, it follows that we, too, will be contrary to those Laws. This is what happened to ancient Israel and is now happening to professed Christiandom..

There was a time, and I say this sadly, when my life was full of apostasy, and I walked away from God totally and completely. And I can tell you, not only from God’s Word but also from my own experience, that God can save a person out of apostasy. Paul would tell you the same thing. Yes, you can be brought out of apostasy, whether it is in an organization or whether it is in your own heart. God help us not to be deceived into thinking that if we hold the truth, externally, in our hands that we have it in our hearts. I hope you understand that you can actually hold it in your hands and not have it in your heart.

What is the Solution?

What is the solution to apostasy, whether it is on a corporate level or whether it is in our personal lives?

What was God’s plea to Israel in the days of Jeremiah? “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16. God is calling us back to His Law. He turns us back to those truths that have been riveted upon the Rock of our salvation by His people in past generations who have chosen to walk in those paths.

God calls for us to get back on the path of truth—not merely to look at it, not merely to observe it, not merely to hear it, but to walk in it. That is the experience to which God is calling us—an experience of walking in His Law, a Law that is holy, just, and good.

Micah enlarges upon this: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8. This is what the whole plan of redemption entails. It is a call from our wonderful God in heaven, to walk humbly with Him!

God not only wants to talk to us, He wants to walk with us. He created us for that purpose. He has made a way by which we can walk with Him. Romans 5:8 says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Sin is transgression of the Law. While we were rejecting God’s Law, He was dying for us. Oh, we cannot comprehend it all! But what we can comprehend will be sufficient for His grace to save us. We are told that through eternal ages we will constantly be looking and reflecting upon this subject and never come to the fullness of His infinite goodness! (See Steps to Christ, 109.)

This story is an eternal story, and God wants us to be a part of telling that story through eternity. He has made a way, and it cost Him everything.

“Come Unto Me”

Jesus gives us a solution to our predicament in apostasy. He gives us two invitations. He is the One who created us. He is the only One who can re-create us into His likeness, and so, with mercy and pity in His voice, knowing the weakness of our flesh, He says, “‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’” Matthew 11:28. He will give us rest, and if there is one thing that we need, it is rest. It is the peace and confidence of knowing that we are right with Him.

We need that experience because what stands before us in the remaining time of this earth’s history is a very dark and troublesome time. God wants to give us confidence, right now, that when we walk into that trouble, we shall be at peace. He is preparing a people. He is calling a people, one by one.

Is He calling you? Is He inviting you? Oh, yes, “Come unto Me.” And then He asks us to do something more. He says, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me.” (Verse 29.) We will never learn of Jesus unless we become laborers together with Him. We will never learn the burden that He carries for this world until we take the yoke. And it is interesting to find that His yoke is involved in service and it is the very Law of God, because the Law of God is a manifestation of God’s divine love. It is a love that is constantly being revealed in heaven, as we minister unto one another of the love of God. This, and only this, will banish apostasy from the midst of our churches and from the midst of our hearts.

That is what the Law of God does in our hearts. That is why Paul could say, in Romans 13:10, that love is the fulfilling of the Law. We now know how God is able to solve the apostasy problem, but when will this happen?

“For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2. God has called us. He continues to call us, because He continues to love us.

Brothers and sisters, God tells us that we do not have to wait another year or another month. No, we need not wait even another day to receive the solution to the apostasy that may be found in some of our hearts as a result of compromising God’s Laws. He tells us that the “acceptable time” (See Isaiah 49:8.) is now. He tells us that He “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (See 2 Peter 3:9.) We can choose today, right now, to turn from compromise to commitment, from darkness to light, from apostasy to “walking humbly with thy God.” (See Micah 6:8.) He invites us today to “come now, and let us reason together…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. May we determine to receive the invitation and allow Him to make us bright and shining lights in these last days of earth’s apostasy.

Inspiration – Take Heed How Ye Hear

God desires us to give attention to the words of truth. We are to hear and practise them; for the truth is a message of Heaven to those who take heed. The oftrepeated charge of the Lord is, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Of the Israelites the apostle says, “The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” This opens before us the reason why so little is accomplished by the many discourses given. The words may be indited by the Holy Spirit, but if those who hear do not hear with a desire to be benefited, the words spoken do not profit them.

It makes every difference whether the word spoken is received into good and honest hearts. The Israelites had the word spoken to them by Christ from the pillar of cloud, but like many who today hear the glad tidings of truth and righteousness, they did not hear with consecrated ears. They brought guilt upon themselves by failing to hear by faith, and practise the word spoken. Selfishness and pride, murmuring and unbelief, compassed them about as a garment.

It was faith that men lacked in the days of Noah, and it was this lack that brought destruction upon them. How different would have been the result had they heeded Noah’s appeals as the voice of God speaking through him. But they were unwilling to hear and receive the word which would have saved them.

The teacher of truth is to take heed how he presents the truth. He is to speak every word plainly and distinctly, with that earnest conviction which carries conviction to hearts. If the words spoken are crowded upon each other, the impression that should be made is lost. The talent of speech needs to be cultivated, that the truth shall not be spoken in an excited, spasmodic style, but slowly and distinctly, that not a syllable may be lost.

Rapidity of speech can and should be corrected. The teacher must learn daily in the school of Christ, that he may speak in such a way as to make the best and most lasting impression upon his hearers. The appointed guardian of truth, he must conscientiously guard the sacred treasures. He is not to gather only a limited number of surface truths, but is to purchase the field, that he may possess the treasure it contains. He is to seek to improve in methods of labour, and make the very best use of the organs of speech. If the words of truth are of sufficient importance to be spoken before an audience, they are of sufficient importance to be spoken distinctly. The guidance of the Spirit never leads to indistinctness of speech. The Spirit takes the things of God, and presents them through the human instrument to the people. Then let them come from our lips in the most perfect manner possible.

When the pure gospel of Christ is cherished and appreciated, the jewels of truth will be presented as precious pearls. Every teacher, . . . every minister, . . . is to make an earnest effort to obtain knowledge from the Source of all knowledge. All are to have a daily increasing appreciation of the wisdom which is eternal life to the receiver. The teacher of truth needs to learn daily of Christ. He is not to be satisfied with human acquirements; for they are narrow and insufficient. He is to hunger for a deeper knowledge of Christ. “This is life eternal,” the Saviour said, “that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”

God would have us realize that, as His delegated messengers, we are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, until we perfect a character that is in entire conformity to His will. His attributes have been presented to us that we may cherish them, and thus learn to use the treasures of truth in such a way as to draw souls to Him.

Christ says to us, “A new heart also will I give you.” You shall act on new, strong principles. By believing and obeying, we are brought into fellowship with Christ, and we partake of the glory revealed by Him. The willing, obedient soul will continue to advance, following the Lord Jesus step by step, until he is complete in Him. God loves those who are one in Christ, even as He loves His only begotten Son.

Earnest and sincere is the Author of our redemption. He humbled Himself that He might uplift the perishing and give them a knowledge of the true God. He desires His followers to represent Him by showing a faith that works by love and purifies the soul, by telling others of the love that has done so much for them. He has made the plan of redemption so definite and complete that the attention of all who are led to look to Him will be attracted.

The words of the true Christian are a power for good; for they are the living echo of the Scriptures. When the teachers of truth learn from Christ as they should, those who listen to their words will not say with indifference, “I have heard that discourse a number of times. It is only a repetition.” If the Lord’s ambassador is what he should be,—an earnest seeker for the hidden treasure,—he will have a daily filled treasure house, from which he can draw things new and old; and if his hearers take heed how they hear, they will go from the service fully prepared to testify, Did not our hearts burn within us, while He walked with us, and opened to us the Scriptures?

Many religious teachers have opposed the precious light sent them from heaven. They have refused to obey the words, “Take heed how ye hear.” They think that they complete their work and secure their conquests by a continual repetition of fables and traditions, and by shouting, “Victory.” But their efforts are the essence of feebleness, though put forth with an authority which misleads those who do not search the Scriptures for themselves.

Through His Holy Spirit the Lord is seeking to teach men humility. Those who are privileged to hear truth need to listen with receptive minds, appreciating the precious words spoken. Those who are trusted with the presentation of the sacred oracles need to feel the necessity of being taught by the great Teacher. They must remember that instruction is often sent through their fellow-labourers and through laymen, whom the Lord has set apart to teach the truth.

Let every teacher be a constant worker; then the Lord will educate and train the soul, moulding and fashioning it after the divine similitude. Teachers may learn in many ways. They are to gather every ray of light from those whom they have reason to know have a living experience in the things of God. They are to accept abundantly from the great Teacher, that they may give abundantly. They are not to depend on old discourses which they have had for years, but they are to go on progressing, digging for the precious jewels of truth, that they may present them to their hearers.

The teacher must be willing to surrender his will to the will of God. Preparation for the gospel ministry can be obtained only by searching the Scriptures, and seeking the Lord with full purpose of heart. At the altar of God, by self-renunciation, the soul is educated to believe and receive and impart. Those who receive this education realize their own insufficiency, and the wonderful power of God.

Bible Echo, August 14, 1899.

Bible Study Guides – Dry Brittle Skins

February 7, 2010 – February 13, 2010

Key Text

“Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 278, 279; Lift Him Up, 259; The Signs of the Times, September 19, 1892.


“The effort to unite the teachings of Jesus with the established religion would be vain. The vital truth of God, like fermenting wine, would burst the old, decaying bottles of the Pharisaical tradition.” The Desire of Ages, 279.

1 What does the hope of glory mean to us? Colossians 1:27.

Note. “When God’s people are one in the unity of the Spirit, all of Phariseeism, all of self-righteousness, which was the sin of the Jewish nation, will be expelled from all hearts. The mold of Christ will be upon each individual member of His body, and His people will be new bottles into which He can pour His new wine, and the new wine will not break the bottles. God will make known the mystery which hath been hidden for ages. He will make known what are the ‘riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 386.

2 To be a real Christian is to have Christ in us; where then is self? Galatians 2:20.

Note. “This is the most perfect interpretation in a few words, in all the Scriptures, of what it means to be a Christian. This is the whole truth of the gospel. Paul understood what many seem unable to comprehend. How intensely in earnest he was! His words show that his mind was centered in Christ, that his whole life was bound up with his Lord. Christ was the author, the support, and the source of his life.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 903.

3 What takes the place of cherished ideas and/or traditions of men? Galatians 5:6.

Note. “God’s people must go on from light to a greater light, or they will become, as did the Pharisees, unwilling to receive additional light. They will find themselves in the condition represented by withered, dried-up bottles.” The Signs of the Times, September 19, 1892.

“In the scribes, Pharisees, and rulers, Jesus found not the bottles for his new wine. He was obliged to turn from them to humble men, whose hearts were not filled with envy, covetousness, and self-righteousness. The lowly fishermen obeyed the call of the divine Teacher, while the scribes and Pharisees refused to become converted.” The Signs of the Times, December 11, 1893.

4 Since self is filled with ceremonies and traditions, what does God want to give to us? Ezekiel 36:26.

Note. “He must find men who were willing to have regeneration of heart. He came to give to men new hearts. He said, ‘A new heart also will I give you’ [Ezekiel 36:26]. But the self-righteous of that day and of this day feel no need of having a new heart. Jesus passed by the scribes and the Pharisees, for they felt no need of a Saviour. They were wedded to forms and ceremonies. These services had been instituted by Christ; they had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty; but the Jews had lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms after spiritual life was extinct among them.” The Review and Herald, March 20, 1894.

5 If we do not receive that new heart, our old heart, those old decaying bottles of Pharisaical tradition, dry and brittle, will perish. Why? Matthew 9:17.

Note. “The skin bottles which were used as vessels to contain the new wine, after a time became dry and brittle, and were then worthless to serve the same purpose again. In this familiar illustration Jesus presented the condition of the Jewish leaders. Priests and scribes and rulers were fixed in a rut of ceremonies and traditions. Their hearts had become contracted, like the dried-up wine skins to which He had compared them. While they remained satisfied with a legal religion, it was impossible for them to become the depositaries of the living truth of heaven. They thought their own righteousness all-sufficient, and did not desire that a new element should be brought into their religion.” The Desire of Ages, 278, 279.

6 Knowing that the new bottle is the new heart, what happens when the new wine, Christ’s teachings, is poured in? Matthew 9:17.

Note. “The mold of Christ will be upon each individual member of His body, and His people will be new bottles into which He can pour His new wine, and the new wine will not break the bottles. God will make known the mystery which hath been hidden for ages. He will make known what are the ‘riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27–29).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 386.

7 The Pharisee claimed to be whole and had no need. What was his real need? Luke 5:31, 32.

Note. “The Pharisees claimed to be spiritually whole, and therefore in no need of a physician, while they regarded the publicans and Gentiles as perishing from diseases of the soul. Then was it not His work, as a physician, to go to the very class that needed His help?

“But although the Pharisees thought so highly of themselves, they were really in a worse condition than the ones they despised. The publicans were less bigoted and self-sufficient, and thus were more open to the influence of truth.” The Desire of Ages, 275.

“Man must be emptied of self before he can be in the fullest sense a believer in Jesus; and when self is subdued, then the Lord can make of man a new creature. New bottles can contain new wine. Truth will be received into the heart, the character will be transformed into the likeness of Christ; the Son of God will be revealed to the world by his followers, as the Father was revealed to the world by the Son. And all who reveal Christ, are revealing the Father also.” The Signs of the Times, November 16, 1891.

8 Is this same message repeated to the Laodicean church? How does it parallel to the Pharisees? Revelation 3:17.

Note. “It is a fact that we have the truth, and we must hold with tenacity to the positions that cannot be shaken; but we must not look with suspicion upon any new light which God may send, and say, Really, we cannot see that we need any more light than the old truth which we have hitherto received, and in which we are settled. While we hold to this position, the testimony of the True Witness applies to our cases its rebuke, ‘And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked’ [Revelation 3:17]. Those who feel rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, are in a condition of blindness as to their true condition before God, and they know it not.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 33.

9 What is the counsel to us when our hearts become dried up wine skins of ceremonies and traditions? Revelation 3:18, 19.

Note. “In the days of Christ the religious leaders of the people felt that they were rich in spiritual treasure. The prayer of the Pharisee, ‘God, I thank Thee, that I am not as the rest of men’ (Luke 18:11, R.V.), expressed the feeling of his class and, to a great degree, of the whole nation. But in the throng that surrounded Jesus there were some who had a sense of their spiritual poverty.

“Jesus had presented the cup of blessing to those who felt that they were ‘rich, and increased with goods’ (Revelation 3:17), and had need of nothing, and they had turned with scorn from the gracious gift. He who feels whole, who thinks that he is reasonably good, and is contented with his condition, does not seek to become a partaker of the grace and righteousness of Christ. Pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give. There is no room for Jesus in the heart of such a person. Those who are rich and honorable in their own eyes do not ask in faith, and receive the blessing of God. They feel that they are full, therefore they go away empty.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 7.

10 Jesus turned from the Pharisees to find new bottles, new hearts, to the publican and the woman of Samaria so He could pour in the new wine. Where should our affections be set and where should our lives be hid? Colossians 3:2–4.

Note. “The Pharisees thought themselves too wise to need instruction, too righteous to need salvation, too highly honored to need the honor that comes from Christ. The Saviour turned away from them to find others who would receive the message of heaven. In the untutored fishermen, in the publican at the market place, in the woman of Samaria, in the common people who heard Him gladly, He found His new bottles for the new wine. The instrumentalities to be used in the gospel work are those souls who gladly receive the light which God sends them. These are His agencies for imparting the knowledge of truth to the world. If through the grace of Christ His people will become new bottles, He will fill them with new wine.” The Desire of Ages, 279.

“We need to be constantly filling the mind with Christ, and emptying it of selfishness and sin.” The Review and Herald, March 15, 1892.

Additional Reading

“When God’s people are one in the unity of the Spirit, all of Phariseeism, all of self-righteousness, which was the sin of the Jewish nation, will be expelled from all hearts. The mold of Christ will be upon each individual member of his body, and his people will be new bottles into which he can pour his new wine, and the new wine will not break the bottles. God will make known the mystery which hath been hidden for ages. He will make known what are the ‘riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily’ [Colossians 1:27–29].” Ibid., March 20, 1894.

“The scribes and the Pharisees appeared to be very punctilious in living out the letter of the law; but Christ said to his disciples, ‘Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [Matthew 5:20]. What a startling declaration was this! It made manifest the insufficiency of legal or natural religion, and showed the need of moral renovation and the necessity of divine enlightenment. The Jewish nation had occupied the highest position; they had built walls great and high to inclose themselves from association with the heathen world; they had represented themselves as the special, loyal people who were favored of God. But Christ presented their religion as devoid of saving faith. It was a combination of dry, hard doctrines, intermingled with sacrifices and offerings. They were very particular to practice circumcision, but they did not teach the necessity of having a pure heart. They exalted the commandments of God in words, but refused to exalt them in practice; and their religion was only a stumbling-block to men. The old bottles were found unfit to contain the new wine, and new bottles must be provided for the new wine. Thus it was with priests and rabbis, scribes and Pharisees; they were as old bottles that could not contain the new wine of the kingdom of Christ. Although they had hitherto held undisputed authority in religious matters, they must now give place to the great Teacher, and to a religion which knew no bounds and made no distinction of caste or position in society, or of race among nations. But the truth taught by Christ was designed for the whole human family; the only true faith is that which works by love and purifies the soul. It is as leaven that transforms human character. The truth brought into the soul temple cleanses it of moral defilement; but where there is no change in the characters of those who profess to believe it, it is evident that it is not taken into the soul temple, and is simply no truth to those who advocate it. Such are under a deception.” Ibid., April 30, 1895.

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

Bible Study Guides – The Dark Ages

October 3, 2010 – October 9, 2010

Key Text

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 55–60. The Acts of the Apostles, 265–268.


“ ‘There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.’ Hosea 4:1.” The Great Controversy, 60.

1 What special truth is laid aside by the papal teaching that exalts Mary and the so-called “saints”? I Timothy 2:5.

Note: “The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed.” The Great Controversy, 55.

2 What does the papacy use to create new unscriptural doctrines, and what does God’s Word say of such things? Matthew 15:1–3, 7–9.

Note: “When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that ever results from setting aside the law of God.” The Great Controversy, 55.

3 What did Jesus say concerning the experience of those who choose to obey God’s Word rather than human teachings? Luke 21:16, 17.

Note: “Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headsman’s ax. Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: ‘Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake.’ Luke 21:16, 17. Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield.” The Great Controversy, 54, 55.

“Often those who suffer reproach or persecution for their faith are tempted to think themselves forsaken by God. In the eyes of men they are in the minority. To all appearance their enemies triumph over them. But let them not violate their conscience. He who has suffered in their behalf, and has borne their sorrows and afflictions, has not forsaken them.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 172.

“The servants of God must expect that they will be reviled, misrepresented, maligned, persecuted, and oppressed; for all who ‘will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution’ [II Timothy 3:12]. The people of God will stand firm to the faith only through the grace of God.” The Signs of the Times, November 14, 1895.

4 What event established the power of the papacy and marks the beginning of the Dark Ages? Revelation 13:2, last part, 5–7; Daniel 7:25.

Note: “In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon had given to the beast ‘his power, and his seat, and great authority.’ Revelation 13:2. And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5–7.

“The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened.” The Great Controversy, 54, 55.

5 What means were used by the teachers of Rome to uphold the spiritual power of the bishops and the authority of the church? John 8:44.

Note: “Notwithstanding that vice prevailed, even among the leaders of the Roman Church, her influence seemed steadily to increase. About the close of the eighth century, papists put forth the claim that in the first ages of the church the bishops of Rome had possessed the same spiritual power which they now assumed. To establish this claim, some means must be employed to give it a show of authority; and this was readily suggested by the father of lies. Ancient writings were forged by monks. Decrees of councils before unheard of were discovered, establishing the universal supremacy of the pope from the earliest times. And a church that had rejected the truth greedily accepted these deceptions.” The Great Controversy, 56.

6 What kinds of workers were raised up by God during this period of time when false teachings and persecution prevailed? II Timothy 2:3; II Corinthians 4:16–18.

Note: “Workers were raised up who ably defended the faith once delivered to the saints. History bears record to the fortitude and heroism of these men. Like the apostles, many of them fell at their post, but the building of the temple went steadily forward. The workmen were slain, but the work advanced. The Waldenses, John Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, Martin Luther and Zwingli, Cranmer, Latimer, and Knox, the Huguenots, John and Charles Wesley, and a host of others brought to the foundation material that will endure throughout eternity.” The Acts of the Apostles, 598.

7 What is needed today if we will withstand the hour of temptation? Revelation 14:12; Matthew 24:12, 13.

Note: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Education, 57.

8 During the period of papal persecution from 538–1798 (1260-day prophecy of Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 12:6), millions were martyred for their faith in the Word of God. In the thirteenth century, following the description given by Christ in Matthew 24:22, 23, what institution was created by the papacy?

Note: “In the thirteenth century was established that most terrible of all the engines of the papacy—the Inquisition. The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the papal hierarchy. In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes. ‘Babylon the great’ was ‘drunken with the blood of the saints’ [Revelation 17:5, 6]. The mangled forms of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power.

“Popery had become the world’s despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. The destinies of men, both for time and for eternity, seemed under his control. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed, its festivals generally observed. Its clergy were honored and liberally sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power.” The Great Controversy, 59, 60.

“Every indignity, reproach, and cruelty that Satan could instigate human hearts to devise, has been visited upon the followers of Jesus. And it will be again fulfilled in a marked manner; for the carnal heart is still at enmity with the law of God, and will not be subject to its commands. The world is no more in harmony with the principles of Christ today than it was in the days of the apostles. The same hatred that prompted the cry, ‘Crucify Him! crucify Him!’ [Luke 23:21] the same hatred that led to the persecution of the disciples, still works in the children of disobedience. The same spirit which in the Dark Ages consigned men and women to prison, to exile, and to death, which conceived the exquisite torture of the Inquisition, which planned and executed the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, and which kindled the fires of Smithfield, is still at work with malignant energy in unregenerate hearts. The history of truth has ever been the record of a struggle between right and wrong. The proclamation of the gospel has ever been carried forward in this world in the face of opposition, peril, loss, and suffering.” The Acts of the Apostles, 84, 85.

9 While the papacy claims to represent Christ on earth, what contrast exists between them? Matthew 20:25–28.

Note: “The Lord Jesus came to our world full of mercy, life, and light, ready to save those who should come unto him. But he can save no one against his will. God does not force the conscience; he does not torture the body that he may compel men to compliance with his law. All this work is after the order of Satan. Through the papacy Satan has carried out his decree by compelling men to acquiesce to his will, and in this way will seek to restrict religious liberty. But God deals with men after a different plan. He will give the sinner sufficient evidence to convict his conscience, and then if, of his own free will, he yields to the winning invitation of Jesus, he will receive the Spirit of God.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 17, 1893.

10 Even before the time of Martin Luther, whom did God raise up to bring light to the people?

Note: “In the Netherlands the papal tyranny very early called forth resolute protest. Seven hundred years before Luther’s time the Roman pontiff was thus fearlessly impeached by two bishops, who, having been sent on an embassy to Rome, had learned the true character of the ‘holy see’: God ‘has made His queen and spouse, the church, a noble and everlasting provision for her family, with a dowry that is neither fading nor corruptible, and given her an eternal crown and scepter; … all which benefits you like a thief intercept. You set up yourself in the temple of God; instead of a pastor, you are become a wolf to the sheep.’ Gerard Brandt, History of the Reformation in and About the Low Countries, b. 1, p. 6.” The Great Controversy, 237.

Additional Reading

“The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed. A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. Thus the minds of the people were turned away from God to fallible, erring, and cruel men, nay, more, to the prince of darkness himself, who exercised his power through them. Sin was disguised in a garb of sanctity. When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that ever results from setting aside the law of God.

“Those were days of peril for the church of Christ. The faithful standard-bearers were few indeed. Though the truth was not left without witnesses, yet at times it seemed that error and superstition would wholly prevail, and true religion would be banished from the earth. The gospel was lost sight of, but the forms of religion were multiplied, and the people were burdened with rigorous exactions.

“They were taught not only to look to the pope as their mediator, but to trust to works of their own to atone for sin. Long pilgrimages, acts of penance, the worship of relics, the erection of churches, shrines, and altars, the payment of large sums to the church—these and many similar acts were enjoined to appease the wrath of God or to secure His favor; as if God were like men, to be angered at trifles, or pacified by gifts or acts of penance!” The Great Controversy, 55.

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

Inspiration – The Present Crisis

The faith and patience of those who have waited long, have been sorely tried. “Hope deferred has made the heart sick;” and the cry has come up before God, “Lord, how long?” But now the signs are fulfilling—nation rising against nation, startling calamities by land and by sea, famine, pestilence, fearful storms, sweeping floods, and great conflagrations. All these testify that we are approaching the grand consummation. The cry going up to God from the waiting ones, will not be in vain. The response will come, “It is done.”…

The crisis is now upon us. The battle is to be waged between the Christianity of the Bible and the Christianity of human tradition. Is there not a criminal neglect in our present sleepy condition? There must be a decided advance movement among us. We must show to the world that we recognize, in the events that are now taking place in connection with the National Reform movement, the fulfillment of prophecy. …

The National Reform movement, that the world and the church have linked hands to bring about, will manifest the same oppression, haughtiness, arrogance, and intolerance which have prevailed in past ages. …

This nation has been highly favored of God. It has been the great center of religious light and liberty. O, do not sleep now, and in your inactivity feel that you are doing the will of God! The experience of God’s commandment-keeping people now should correspond with the events that are crowding upon us.

It should be the business of all the righteous in the land, as they see signs of the approach of peril, to arouse to action, and not sit in calm expectation of ruin, comforting themselves with the belief that this work must go on, because prophecy has foretold it, and that the Lord will shelter his people in the day of trial. Effectual, fervent prayers should be ascending to Heaven, that this calamity may be deferred; for we are not ready to meet it.

Every passing hour now is one of activity in the heavenly courts, to make ready a people upon the earth to act a part in the great scenes that are soon to open upon us. These transient moments, that seem of so little value to us, are weighty with eternal interests. They are molding the destiny of souls for everlasting life or everlasting death. The words we utter today in the ears of the people, the works we are doing, the spirit of the message we are bearing, will be to human souls the savor of life unto life or of death unto death. We must be washing our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. If we would be saints above, we must first be saints below.

We have lost much time in inaction, because we have not realized the time in which we are living. This we deplore, and would humble our souls before God, pleading with him for pardon for sleeping at our post of duty, and allowing the enemy to gain the advantage over us. Many have chosen to do nothing, when they should have been diligent to repulse the enemy. Let your services now be dedicated to God. Gird on the armor for vigorous work, saying, “Here am I, Lord, send me.”

It is essential that we be much in prayer to God, that his voice and his power may be manifested in behalf of his people, and that the angels may hold the four winds until the truth is more fully proclaimed, and the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. God is not pleased with the attitude of his people. Satan is taking the world captive, and the sentinels for God and the truth are letting him do it. “Watch then, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” [I Corinthinians 16:13]. Arouse, and come to the front. Be stanch to defend your religious liberty.

Many of our people are registered in the books of heaven as slothful servants. They have buried their talents of money and capability in the world, and the work they should have done has been left undone. Some to whom the Lord has intrusted means, have been ease-lovers, and have not done their duty in the fear and love of God. Many have left the smaller churches, to unite with larger ones, where they carry no burden of responsibility, and are only in the way. Such lose their spirituality and vital force, because they do comparatively nothing for the truth. What account will these have to give to the Master when he shall say, “Give account of thy stewardship”?

We are not ready for this great issue to which the enforcement of the Sunday law will bring us. Let the members of our churches become missionaries for the Master; let them not linger in ease and indifference; but let them go forth to work for God. Their spiritual muscles have been nearly palsied with inaction. Go without the camp, bearing the reproach for Christ and the truth. Work today in the Lord’s vineyard. Go out into the highways and hedges, and stir up the people to investigate the truth. Woe to all who profess to walk in the light, yet who are at ease in Zion. They absorb the God-given rays of righteousness, but do not diffuse the light to others. The parable of the faithless servant who hid his Lord’s money, condemns them, and they are classed among those who refuse to be co-laborers with Jesus Christ, selfishly caring for their own ease, and leaving those for whom Christ has died, to perish without the knowledge of the truth which God has graciously given to them. Those who have been the receivers of spiritual light, may become the receptacles of darkness, to whom the words of Christ are applicable, “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! [Matthew 6:23] …

Every true child of God should now be inquiring, “What wouldst thou have me to do? Brethren, for Christ’s sake, do something, and do it now. Satanic influences are all around us, to be met and resisted. The tares are mingled with the wheat, error with truth, coldness with zeal, darkness with light. There must be a returning to our first love. We must battle nobly with tribulation and danger, in the midst of trials, tests, and provings of God. We must be rich in faith and good works. The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to those who have been made the repository of rich truth. This church is distinguished in prophecy by its great profession of advanced light; yet it was filled with spiritual pride and lukewarmness in religion. They had a religious theory, but were greatly lacking in moral power and holiness. They are pronounced wretched, poor, blind, and naked. O that our people would realize the danger, and heed the counsel of the True Witness, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed; … and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see” [Revelation 3:18].

Will we now, who have such great light, make some sacrifice for Jesus, who for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich? We must arouse, and through piety and earnest work for the Master, partake of his spirit of love for souls, of faith in God, that he may work with us, by us, and through us.

Excerpts from The Review and Herald, January 1, 1889.

Editorial – Tradition

The Roman Catholic belief is that tradition is equally valid with the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments but the Protestant position is that only writings inspired by God are valid as authority in matters of faith and religion. What is your position?

In an attempt to prove that tradition has authority, it is common for Roman Catholics to quote II Thessalonians 2:15: “Therefore brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, either by word or our epistle.” This text is supposed to support the authority for oral tradition (“by word”) and written tradition (“an epistle from us”). These churches had received instruction both orally and in written form from the apostles and they recognized, as we also recognize today, that this instruction was inspired of God and had divine authority. Peter refers to the writings of Paul as inspired Scripture (II Peter 3:15, 16) and the rule of the early church was that if the writing was from an apostle then it had divine authority and was part of Scripture. But if the writing was not from an apostle, then it did not have divine authority and was not part of Scripture. The only question then and the only question now is, Is this epistle or book from an apostle of Jesus Christ or not?

Today, it is impossible to know for sure whether what is called “apostolic tradition” is actually from the apostles or whether it is a product that has been corrupted during the last 1900 years. This same problem existed in Jesus’ day. There was a multitude of ancient tradition that was held to be authoritative, but Jesus did not espouse the use of any tradition as authoritative in religious matters. This is why New Testament Protestant Christians today do not espouse the use of any tradition as authoritative—because there is no proof of divine source. In Jesus’ day, the method used to show that a writing was divinely inspired was to attach the name of a prophet as the author, or attach the writing to a book of the Bible, just as later it became a practice to claim that some tradition or written document had an apostolic source.

Jesus had the following to say about these traditions: “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 15:8, 9.

Paul taught that following tradition could deprive one of eternal life (see Colossians 2:8). All traditions, customs and teachings from any source must be tested by the inspired word of God.

Types and Shadows

On May 6,1875, Ellen White published in the Review and Herald an article entitled “The Law of God.” In this article she gave attention to all of the rules and regulations that God (or Christ) gave to Israel through Moses. She divided these rules and regulations into three classes or categories, not only two, as we might have expected. She emphasized that although some are commonly called the Law of Moses, that “Moses himself framed no law,” and that they were all actually given by God (or Christ). She uses the terms God and Christ interchangeably, but emphasizes that Christ was deeply involved in the law-giving experience at Sinai: “Christ was the angel appointed of God to go before Moses in the wilderness, conducting the Israelites in their travels to the land of Canaan. Christ gave Moses his special directions to be given to Israel.”After having stated that Christ, the Angel whom God had appointed to go before His chosen people, gave to Moses statutes and requirements necessary to a living religion and to govern the people of God, she quotes 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, and continues:”Christ, who went before Moses in the wilderness, made the principles of morality and religion more clear by particular precepts….”What are the three kinds of laws, according to her arrangement of them? Two, as we might expect, are the moral law and the ceremonial law. She introduces the moral law, the Ten Commandments, in the first two paragraphs of her article and makes several comments on it later.

Putting these comments together, we can make a list of 10 characteristics which she ascribes to the moral law:

  • It dates back to creation. [Emphasis supplied]
  • It points back to creation.
  • It was worded to meet the case of fallen intelligences.
  • It was repeated at Sinai, where it was spoken and written by God Himself.
  • It is as unchangeable as God Himself.
  • It is based on love to God and love to man.
  • It is binding upon all men in every dispensation.
  • It will exist through time and eternity.
  • It is not a shadow.
  • It is as enduring as the throne of Jehovah.

This agrees with all that we have understood about the moral law, the Ten Commandments, and so we move on.

Next she introduces the ceremonial law and points out that it is “clear and distinct” from the moral law. From her various comments on the ceremonial law, we can also gather a list of its characteristics as she saw them:

  • It was given by Christ in counsel with God.
  • It was glorious
  • It was given because of man’s transgression of the moral law and did not exist from eternity like the moral law.
  • It “consisted in sacrifices and offerings, pointing to the future redemption.”
  • The sacrifices and offerings typified Christ.
  • She calls it a law of types.
  • She calls it the law of Moses.
  • She calls it the Jewish law.
  • She calls it “shadowy types” and “a shadowy ceremony of types.”
  • She emphasizes strongly that it lasted only to the sacrifice of Christ. Thus unlike the moral law, it had an earthly beginning and an earthly ending.

This, again, agrees with what we have understood. Agreement would probably be without exception among Seventh-day Adventists about these descriptions of the moral law and the ceremonial law.

But what of the third kind of law that she describes? Here, unfortunately, our agreement is not full and complete, without exceptions.

What is the third kind of law that she describes? She calls it statutes and judgments, and also sometimes includes it in the more general term, precepts. Let us make a list of the characteristics of these statutes and judgments as she describes them:

  • Christ gave them to Moses.
  • They were not the Ten Commandments, the moral law, but were given to guard it. “These statutes were explicitly given to the Ten Commandments.” “…guarding the sacred law of God….” [All emphasis supplied.] (They could not be part of the moral law if they were given to guard it.)
  • They were not part of the ceremonial law. “They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ.”
  • They were to govern the people of God.
  • They were to govern the everyday life.
  • They were for the purpose of protecting life.
  • They made the principles of morality and religion more clear.
  • They specify the duty of man to God and to his fellowman.
  • They clearly and definitely explained the moral law and were enforced by it.
  • They define and simplify the principles of the moral law.
  • They increase religious knowledge.
  • They applied to marriage.
  • They applied to inheritances.
  • They applied to strict justice in business affairs
  • They were to keep the people from following the customs of other nations.
  • They were to be binding upon all men in all ages as long as time should last

These are the statutes and judgments. She tells us that they are not part of the moral law nor yet part of the ceremonial law. They have an explaining, applying and enforcing relationship to the moral law, but apparently no relationship at all with the ceremonial law. They are not shadowy types, to end at the cross, but will retain their validity as long as time shall last.

Where did she find these statutes and judgments? In Exodus 21:1 and on to 23:11, right after the Ten Commandments in chapter 20.

“Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.” Exodus 21:1 (Compare Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-6, “statues and judgments.”)

Exodus Chapter 21
(Numbers indicate verse where sections begin.)

  • Laws for men servants.
  • For women servants.
  • 12. For manslaughter.
  • 16. For stealers of men.
  • 17. For cursers of parents.
  • 18. For smiters.
  • 22. For a hurt by chance.
  • 23. For an ox that goreth.
  • 33. For him that is an occasion of harm.

Exodus Chapter 22:

  • Of theft
  • Of damage
  • Of trespasses
  • 14. Of borrowing
  • Of fornication
  • Of witchcraft
  • Of bestiality
  • Of idolatry
  • Of strangers, widows, orphans
  • 25. Of usury
  • 26. Of pledges
  • 28. Of reverence to magistrates

Exodus Chapter 23:

  • Of slander and false witness
  • 3. Of justice
  • Of charitableness

Beginning with verse 12, the topic shifts back to the sabbaths, feasts and related things. These do not typify anything. They are not types and shadows. These statutes sometimes fall short of New Testament ideals, but are far in advance of other nations of that time. For example, the “man-servant” (or slave) in other nations had no rights. He could be killed by his master. Under Hebrew law a “man-servant” (or slave):

  • Could not serve longer than six years—then he was free.
  • Was still “Thy brother.” Deuteronomy 15:12
  • Was not to go away empty. Deuteronomy 15:13-14
  • In the year of Jubilee, all went free regardless of term of service.

We must look for the principles of these statutes. We could make some modern comparisons. For example, Ellen White recommends that young girls should be taught how to harness horses. In our time she would say, no doubt, they should be taught how to change a tire on a car. We do not have an ox to gore someone, but what about our dog, horse, or car? The principle of not letting them do damage to someone else still applies. These, of course, are not found in the ceremonial law.

Ellen White writes that these are not “shadowy types.” As we look them over, we recognize that this is true. There is nothing about them that points forward to the sacrifice of Christ, as the types and shadows do.

Now we come to a crucial question. We have seen several statements that define the types and shadows as sacrifices and offerings and affirm that they ended at the cross of Christ, when “type met antitype.” But what about the days upon which these sacrifices and offerings were celebrated? They are called sabbaths. Should we still honor and observe them as holy days, sabbath days, even though we do not make sacrifices?

Perhaps we can find the answer in two ways. According to Colossians 2:14-17, which Ellen White refers to in her discussions, the ceremonial sabbaths are shadows, just as the sacrifices are shadows:

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

Clearly then, according to Paul, the days are shadows. Second, we remember that the same law that establishes the sacrifices also establishes the days, and the law, the ceremonial law, is done away. This is the message of Colossians 2:14-17 and of Ephesians 2:11-15. It is also the message of many references in Ellen White’s writings.

“There are two distinct laws brought to view. One is the law of types and shadows, which reached to the time of Christ, and ceased when type met antitype in His death.” Signs of the Times, July 29, 1886

“The Jewish ceremonial law has passed away.” Review and Herald, October 10, 1899

“If Adam had not transgressed the law of God, the ceremonial law would never have been instituted.” Selected Messages, book 1, 230

“While the Saviour’s death brought to an end the law of types and shadows, it did not in the least detract from the obligation of the moral law.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 365

“When Jesus at His ascension entered by his own blood into the heavenly sanctuary to shed upon His disciples the blessings of His mediation, the Jews were left in total darkness to continue their useless sacrifices and offerings. The ministration of types and shadows had ceased.” The Great Controversy, 430

“His lessons to His disciples are received by all who would become His disciples, to the end of time. These lessons discharge His followers from the bondage of the ceremonial law, and leave them the ordinance of baptism to be received by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the only One who can take away sin.” Review and Herald, June 21, 1898

“When type met antitype in the death of Christ, the sacrificial offerings ceased. The ceremonial law was done away.” Review and Herald, June 26, 1900

“After Christ died on the cross as a sin offering, the ceremonial law could nave no force.” Lift Him Up, 147

“Peter here referred to the law of ceremonies, which was made null and void by the crucifixion of Christ.” The Acts of the Apostles, 194

“Many in the Christian world also have a veil before their eyes and heart. They do not see to the end of that which was done away. They do not see that it was only the ceremonial law which was abrogated at the death of Christ.” Selected Messages, book 1, 239

“This ritual law, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be performed by the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings were to cease. It is this law that Christ ‘took…out of the way, nailing it to His cross.’ Colossians 2:14.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 365

“But there is a law which was abolished, which Christ ‘took out of the way, nailing it to His cross.’ Paul calls it the ‘the law of commandments contained in ordinances.’ This ceremonial law, given by God through Moses, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be binding upon the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings and services were to be abolished. Paul and the other apostles labored to show this, and resolutely withstood those Judaizing teachers who declared that Christians should observe the ceremonial law.” Signs of the Times, September 4, 1884

There would seem to be no reason for doubt that the ceremonial law is passed away, according to Ellen White. If we put together the various expressions that she used to describe its passing, we are left with no doubts. She writes that the ceremonial law of types and shadows is ended, ceased, has no force, has passed away, is null and void, is abrogated, was nailed to the cross and has been abolished.

It would seem strange to believe that although she argued so forcefully that the ceremonial law had passed away, nevertheless the feast days, the ceremonial sabbaths, that were established by that law yet remain. Such a position would need to be sustained by very strong evidence, since it would contradict Paul’s statement that these sabbaths are “shadows” (Colossians 2:17). And those who advance this proposition should also present a clear explanation as to why Ellen White did not lead the church to observe the feast days while she was alive.

But no such strong evidence is offered. Instead, we are led to Ellen White’s May 6, 1875 article on “The Law of God,” and in particular this paragraph:

“In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts, which were to govern the every-day life. These statues were explicitly given to guard the Ten Commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law.”

We are asked to believe that the words “these statues” in this paragraph are a reference to the feast days of the ceremonial law. This would seem to be a grievous misunderstanding of the intention of the writer.

Our first question would be: How could these words enforce the feast days of the ceremonial law without enforcing the sacrifices of the ceremonial law? Second, why should we ignore her statement that these statutes are not “shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ?” Third, why should we ignore her own definitions and descriptions of the statutes and judgments?

There are five passages in Ellen White’s article in which she discusses the statutes and judgments. Let us place them all together and examine them.

“The statutes and judgments specifying the duty of man to his fellow-men, were full of important instruction, defining and simplifying the principles of the moral law, for the purpose of increasing religious knowledge, and of preserving God’s chosen people distinct and separate from idolatrous nations.

“The statutes concerning marriage, inheritance, and strict justice in dealing with one another, were peculiar and contrary to the customs and manners of other nations, and were designed of God to keep his people separate from other nations. The necessity of this to preserve the people of God from becoming like the nations who had not the love and fear of God, is the same in this corrupt age, when the transgression of God’s law prevails and idolatry exists to a fearful extent. If ancient Israel needed such security, we need it more, to keep us from being utterly confounded with the transgressors of God’s law. The hearts of men are so prone to depart from God that there is a necessity for restraint and discipline.

“In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern the everyday life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the Ten Commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law.

“Christ, the Angel whom God had appointed to go before his chosen people, gave to Moses statutes and requirements necessary to a living religion and to govern the people of God.

“God graciously spoke his law and wrote it with his own finger on stone, making a solemn covenant with his people at Sinai. God acknowledged them as His peculiar treasure above all people upon the earth. Christ, who went before Moses in the wilderness, made the principles of morality and religion more clear by particular precepts, specifying the duty of man to God and his fellow-men, for the purpose of protecting life, and guarding the sacred law of God, that it should not be entirely forgotten in the midst of an apostate world.

“Christ, to enforce the will of His Father, became the author of the statutes and precepts given through Moses to the people of God.”

A relationship between the “statutes and judgments” and the moral law is stated eight times. No relationship to the ceremonial law is suggested.

All the way through this discussion she relates the statutes and judgments to the moral law and never to the ceremonial law. Their purpose is made so clear as to require no comment. And let us note in her last paragraph a reference to the mistaken practices of the Jewish people.

“They attach as much importance to shadowy ceremonies of types which have met their antitype, as they do to the law of Ten Commandments….”

When we remember that the Jewish people honor the feast days but make no sacrifices, we are forced to the conclusion that these feast days are the “shadowy ceremonies of types” to which she is referring.

Let us heed the appeal of Paul in Galatians 5:1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

The End