The Simplicity of the Gospel

When Jesus was on earth, He tried to help the people find salvation by using parables and stories that they could relate to their own lives. However, their minds had been dulled by the molding of the church leaders of their day which made it hard for them to comprehend the meaning of these lessons. Each lesson was a key to open their minds to the wonders of the Kingdom of Heaven. They had been inundated with “holy” traditions of the church and had lost sight of the true significance of the Law of God.

As Jesus went about doing miracles and wonders in the sight of the people, He slowly tried to point them back in the right direction that would lead to salvation. “I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture,” Jesus said to them (John 10:9 NIV). He was trying to help them understand that the burnt sacrifices, the weekly tithe, the good works, the attendance of church on the Sabbath, would not bring them salvation, but in Him was the fullness of the Godhead and only through Him could they be saved.

“We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith. ‘Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him’ (1 John 3:5, 6). Here is the true test. If we abide in Christ, if the love of God dwells in us, our feelings, our thoughts, our purposes, our actions, will be in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the precepts of His holy law. ‘Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous’ (1 John 3:7). Righteousness is defined by the standard of God’s holy law, as expressed in the ten precepts given on Sinai.” Steps to Christ, 61.

Jesus, of course, encouraged good works; He set down conditions that require our tithe, but He always and continually pointed back to Himself as the way, the truth and the life for a fulfilling and sanctified life. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ ” (John 14:6 NIV). Jesus is the embodiment of righteousness, so if we are to be righteous, it stands to reason we need Him embodied in us. How do we obtain this holy character? That is probably the most commonly asked question among Christians that genuinely want to be like Jesus.

The answer is simple, but in practice it takes a struggle. The gospel of Christ is simply this: confess your sins and make restitution where applicable, repent of your sins by turning from them and commit them no more, and then follow the Lord in all that He says. After all, He gave us the free gift of salvation through His glorious sacrifice, He paid the price for our lives, He did all He could do to make the way as easy as possible for us to have salvation. Our part is to give all of ourselves back to Him.

The struggle is quite real, and many become discouraged, but Jesus is right there next to us, waiting for us to reach out to Him for help. Many are tempted by sin and trials, and Paul said if we are not in a struggle, then we may be lacking. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). We all have fallen short of godliness and this is the reason we need our Saviour each day to guide us. We must help one another in this fight, for we wrestle with powers unseen. The prophet tells us to uplift one another when we see a brother or sister struggling with sin. The gospel may be simple but the fight for our soul is ongoing.

“There is many a brave soul sorely pressed by temptation, almost ready to faint in the conflict with self and with the powers of evil. Do not discourage such a one in his hard struggle. Cheer him with brave, hopeful words that shall urge him on his way. Thus the light of Christ may shine from you. ‘None of us liveth to himself’ (Romans 14:7). By our unconscious influence others may be encouraged and strengthened, or they may be discouraged, and repelled from Christ and the truth.” Steps to Christ, 120.

So, how do we have success in the Christian walk? It is through the love of God that all things are possible. The books of John are the books of love, for he talks about how to have that success in Christ. Love conquers all as it is applied to our lives. It can overcome temptation, strife, anger, family issues, faultfinding, evil surmising, and most of all pride and selfishness. These are all enemies of love. Love that flows from the heart is tender, self-sacrificing, humble, and kind, it gives off a scent of a sweet-smelling fragrance. The one who loves is the one who is close to Christ. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).

Love is the simplicity of the gospel because it encompasses all that Jesus taught. In love, we keep His commandments simply because He said to. There are no questions about it. We know that He loves us and all that He requires of us will only bring happiness and peace. By embracing the love of Jesus, we can become holy. He willingly sends the Holy Spirit to us as soon as we ask for it, for He will not withhold that for which we ask. If we will submit to His will, He marries His Spirit with our will to make it one.

“ ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son’ (John 3:16). He gave Him not only to live among men, to bear their sins, and die their sacrifice. He gave Him to the fallen race. Christ was to identify Himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who was one with God has linked Himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be broken. Jesus is ‘not ashamed to call them brethren’ (Hebrews 2:11); He is our Sacrifice, our Advocate, our Brother, bearing our human form before the Father’s throne, and through eternal ages one with the race He has redeemed—the Son of man. And all this that man might be uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin that he might reflect the love of God and share the joy of holiness.” Steps to Christ, 14.

As we follow the love of Jesus to its finality, the Lord will use it to sanctify us. This is not a work that we can perform; it must be achieved through the working of the Holy Spirit. Only He can create the changes needed in each life. No one person is the same as another; therefore, a special work must be done in each one. “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). The way we can see this change being wrought in us is through love. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

“What is the work of the Holy Spirit? Jesus told His disciples: ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth’ (John 16:13). And the psalmist says: ‘Thy law is the truth’ (Psalm 119:142). By the Word and the Spirit of God are opened to men the great principles of righteousness embodied in His law. And since the law of God is ‘holy, and just, and good’ (Romans 7:12), a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience to that law will be holy. Christ is a perfect example of such a character. He says: ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ ‘I do always those things that please Him’ (John 15:10; 8:29). The followers of Christ are to become like Him—by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.” Maranatha, 231.

The law of truth is the law of love in Christ Jesus. In it He has set before us the path to holiness and happiness. Jesus said He knows His sheep and His sheep know Him. They know Him because of the great love they have for Him. Not because they loved Him first, but because He first loved them and showed them true love. “We love Him because He first loved us” and if we love Him, He says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (1 John 4:19; John 14:15). His commandments are not burdensome because we love Him. If you love your wife or husband or mother or father, would you not try to please them, and do as they ask? How much more so for the One who gave all for us that we may not perish, but have everlasting life with Him.

Jesus illustrated this simple gospel of love in the parable of the good Samaritan. Here was a man beaten and robbed and left to die on the side of the road. The priest and Levite who saw the man beaten and bruised walked past on the other side of the road. They did not want to get involved. They had pressing business in town that would further their own self-interest much more than to help this poor man. These were the professed leaders of God’s church that showed disdain for those who were of a lower class than they. Yet a Samaritan man stopped to help this man. The Samaritan was of a class of people that the Jews considered to be lower than themselves and would have nothing to do with them. Yet the Samaritan saw the pain and suffering of this injured man who was near death and offered him the hand of love. He didn’t know if this man was rich or poor, Jew or Greek, a godly person or an atheist. All he knew was that he needed help. So, he lifted him up and took him to shelter and paid for his care that he might be made well again. The prophet of God remarks about this love shown by the one who was inspired by the love of God, for love only comes from the God of Heaven.

“All this is but a fulfillment of the principle of the law—the principle that is illustrated in the story of the good Samaritan, and made manifest in the life of Jesus. His character reveals the true significance of the law, and shows what is meant by loving our neighbor as ourselves. And when the children of God manifest mercy, kindness, and love toward all men, they also are witnessing to the character of the statutes of heaven. They are bearing testimony to the fact that ‘the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul’ (Psalm 19:7). And whoever fails to manifest this love is breaking the law which he professes to revere. For the spirit we manifest toward our brethren declares what is our spirit toward God. The love of God in the heart is the only spring of love toward our neighbor. ‘If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?’ Beloved, ‘if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us’ (1 John 4:20, 12).” The Desire of Ages, 505.

Oh, what perfect love to love one another as Christ loved us. It is the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus. Love motivates us to confess our sins, and Jesus has promised to cleanse us. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Love is the inspiration that turns us to repentance. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Love is the catalyst that drives us to follow all that Jesus has said and to “Live by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 John 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:3). But through our love for God and one another, we can be confident that Jesus is living through us. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).

Looking forward, we can see that time is short and if we are to live in Christ, we must prepare for the future. We must pray more fervently, we must struggle harder, we must send up more supplications for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on us that we may fulfill the plan that God has for each of our lives. Most of all, we must ask the God of Heaven to fill us with His love that we may have a change of heart.

The beginning of a life in Christ demands love and not strife. It requires sacrifice and not slothfulness, and that love will produce the perfect character that will fit us for Heaven. Let us come boldly before the throne of God with hearts filled with love for perishing souls. Let us work tenderly, recognizing that we are no better than the worst person in this world. If we love God, we will love them, too, and try to reach those within our sphere of influence.

Remember, on the cross of Calvary Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). We were once one of those people mired in sin without hope until Someone who loved us lifted us up. Let us give the gift of love that was given to us back to others.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Michael C. Wells lives in Wichita, Kansas, and is director of Anointing Oil Ministries.

Keys to the Storehouse – Faith Triumphs Over Fear

Life often deals out situations that seem so hard to navigate, and this past year surely has been no exception. On top of all the normal every-day struggles, we have had to survive the COVID-19 storm and for those living in the United States, the appalling lead-up to the Federal elections. It makes one wonder just how much they can endure. To cope, we can either choose faith or fear.

Think about the disciples on a boat when a life-threatening storm erupted on the lake. They were unprepared to face the danger, realizing that at any moment they might die. While they all panicked, Jesus, who was with them, slept peacefully through the storm. Instead of trusting His reaction to the storm, the disciples allowed the situation to dictate their reaction.

Jesus’ gentle rebuke, asking them why they were afraid, was intended for them to realize their lack of faith that He could see them through the storm. So how should we respond when passing through storms over which we have no control?

Trust in Him who does have control over the wind and waves of life. The situation may not change, but we can always choose to trust God. When storms come, do we focus on the size of the storm or on the One who already knows the outcome? Any situation can be navigated with His wisdom and peace.

It is so easy to be fearful when we are unable to control the outcome. We are called to live by faith and trust in the One who does know our future and is in the business of saving all who seek Him. There are always two choices when one is overwhelmed: either focus on the circumstances or on Jesus. He will walk by the side of those who depend on Him. No storm that anyone will ever face is more powerful than our Saviour. Remember, Jesus is always beside us and will guide us safely to the heavenly shore.

Father, thank You for the promise You have made to never leave us or forsake us. Give us the courage to always keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who alone can overpower any situation we find ourselves in and walk with us through the storms of life until we triumph at last. Amen.

Inspiration – The Trial of Our Faith

In this time of trial, we need to be encouraged and comforted by each other. The temptations of Satan are greater now than ever before, for he knows that his time is short, and that very soon every case will be decided, either for Life, or for Death. It is no time to sink down beneath discouragement, and trial now; but we must bear up under all our afflictions, and trust wholly in the mighty God of Jacob.

The Lord has shown me that His grace is sufficient for all our trials; and although they are greater than ever before, yet if we trust wholly in God, we can overcome every temptation, and through His grace come off victorious.

If we overcome our trials, and get victory over the temptations of Satan, then we endure the trial of our faith, which is much more precious than gold, and are stronger, and better prepared to meet the next. But if we sink down, and give way to the temptations of Satan, we shall grow weaker and get no reward for the trial, and shall not be so well prepared for the next. In this way we shall grow weaker, and weaker, until we are led captive by Satan, at his will. We must have on the whole armor of God, and be ready at any moment for a conflict with the powers of darkness. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God, and agonize with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty; but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. Oh, that all could see these things in their true light, and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus. Then would Israel move forward strong in God, and in the power of His might.

God has shown me that He gave His people a bitter cup to drink to purify and cleanse them. It is a bitter draught, and they can make it still more bitter by murmuring, complaining, and repining. But those who receive it thus, must have another draught, for the first does not have its designed effect upon the heart. And if the second does not effect the work, then they must have another, and another, until it does have its designed effect, or they will be left filthy and impure in heart. I saw that this bitter cup can be sweetened by patience, endurance and prayer, and that it will have its designed effect upon the hearts of those who thus received it, and God will be honored and glorified. It is no small thing to be a Christian, and to be owned and approved of God. The Lord has shown me some who profess the present truth, whose lives do not correspond with their profession. They have got the standard of piety altogether too low, and they come far short of Bible holiness. Some engage in vain and unbecoming conversation, and others give way to the risings of self. We must not expect to please ourselves, live and eat like the world, have its pleasures, and enjoy the company of those who are of the world, and reign with Christ in glory.

We must be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here, if we would share in His glory hereafter. If we seek our own interest, how we can best please ourselves, instead of seeking to please God and advance His precious suffering cause, we shall dishonor God and the holy cause we profess to love.

We have but a little space of time left to work for God. Nothing should be too dear to sacrifice for the salvation of the scattered and torn flock of Jesus. Those who make a covenant with God by sacrifice now, will soon be gathered home to share a rich reward, and possess the new kingdom forever and ever.

O, let us live wholly for the Lord, and show by a well ordered life and godly conversation that we have been with Jesus, and are His meek and lowly followers. We must work while the day lasts, for when the dark night of trouble and anguish comes, it will be too late to work for God. Jesus is in His Holy Temple, and will now accept our sacrifices, our prayers, and our confessions of faults and sins, and will now pardon all the transgressions of Israel, that they may be blotted out before He leaves the Sanctuary. When Jesus leaves the Sanctuary, then he that is holy and righteous, will be holy and righteous still; for all their sins will then be blotted out, and they will be sealed with the seal of the living God. But those that are unjust and filthy will be unjust and filthy still; for then there will be no Priest in the Sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions, and their prayers before the Father’s throne, Therefore, what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of wrath, must be done before Jesus leaves the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary.

A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White, published by James White, ©1851, 27–29.

Bible Study Guides – Building for Eternity

September 13 – 19, 2020

Key Text

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Study Help: Education, 301–309.


“He who co-operates with the divine purpose in imparting to the youth a knowledge of God, and molding the character into harmony with His, does a high and noble work. As he awakens a desire to reach God’s ideal, he presents an education that is as high as heaven and as broad as the universe; an education that cannot be completed in this life, but that will be continued in the life to come; an education that secures to the successful student his passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher grade, the school above.” Education, 19.



  • What do we have to look forward to in eternity? 1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4.

Note: “God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48). This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan.” The Desire of Ages, 311.

“The education begun here will not be completed in this life; it will be going forward throughout eternity, ever progressing, never completed. Day by day the wonderful works of God, the evidences of His miraculous power in creating and sustaining the universe, will open before the mind in new beauty. In the light that shines from the throne, mysteries will disappear, and the soul will be filled with astonishment at the simplicity of the things that were never before comprehended.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 328.



  • What often accompanies us in our Christian life, and what should our attitude be as a result? Why? 1 Peter 4:12, 13.

Note: “God’s children are always being tested in the furnace of affliction. If they endure the first trial, it is not necessary for them to pass through a similar ordeal the second time; but if they fail, the trial is brought to them again and again, each time being still more trying and severe. Thus opportunity after opportunity is placed before them of gaining the victory and proving themselves true to God. But if they continue to manifest rebellion, God is compelled at last to remove His Spirit and light from them.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1146.

  • What is tested by the fire of trial? 1 Corinthians 3:9, 10, 12.

Note: “It makes every difference what material is used in the character building. The long-expected day of God will soon test every man’s work. ‘The fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is’ (1 Corinthians 3:13). As fire reveals the difference between gold, silver, and precious stones, and wood, hay, and stubble, so the day of judgment will test characters, showing the difference between characters formed after Christ’s likeness and characters formed after the likeness of the selfish heart. All selfishness, all false religion, will then appear as it is. The worthless material will be consumed; but the gold of true, simple, humble faith will never lose its value. It can never be consumed; for it is imperishable. One hour of transgression will be seen to be a great loss, while the fear of the Lord will be seen to be the beginning of wisdom. The pleasure of self-indulgence will perish as stubble, while the gold of steadfast principle, maintained at any cost, will endure forever.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1087, 1088.

“This character building is a most important work. It is not a work that ends in this life, but which tells in the future life. What you make of yourself here through the merits and grace of Christ will be retained through eternal ages, and I am most earnest that you should not meet a low standard. ‘Learn of me,’ says the Great Teacher, ‘I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest to your soul’ (Matthew 11:29). The peace that Christ gives will never, never bring sorrow with it.” This Day With God, 37.



  • What is revealed by the fire? 1 Corinthians 3:13.

Note: “The angels of God are walking up and down the streets of these cities, and marking the deeds of men. They record in the books of God’s remembrance the words of faith, the acts of love, the humility of spirit; and in that day when every man’s work shall be tried of what sort it is, the work of the humble follower of Christ will stand the test, and will receive the commendation of Heaven.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 987.

“Young men and women should regard a good character as a capital of more value than gold or silver or stocks. It will be unaffected by panics and failures, and will bring rich returns when earthly possessions shall be swept away. … Integrity, firmness, and perseverance are qualities which all should seek earnestly to cultivate; for they clothe the possessor with a power which is irresistible, a power which makes him strong to do good, strong to resist evil, strong to bear adversity.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 656.

  • How were Lot and Solomon saved “as by fire?” Genesis 19:16, 17; 1 Kings 11:4.

Note: “Lot chose Sodom as a place of residence because he looked more to the temporal advantages he would gain than to the moral influences that would surround himself and his family. What did he gain so far as the things of this world are concerned? His possessions were destroyed, part of his children perished in the destruction of that wicked city, his wife was turned to a pillar of salt by the way, and he himself was saved ‘so as by fire’ (1 Corinthians 3:15). Nor did the evil results of his selfish choice end here; but the moral corruption of the place was so interwoven with the character of his children that they could not distinguish between good and evil, sin and righteousness.” Messages to Young People, 419.

“Solomon may have been saved ‘as by fire,’ yet his repentance could not efface those high places, nor demolish those stones, which remained as evidences of his crimes. He dishonored God, choosing rather to be controlled by lust than to be a partaker of the divine nature.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1031.



  • How does the fire affect our learning and our future? 1 Corinthians 3:14, 15.

Note: “Eternity is before us. All improvements we make here of our mental powers, all the high attainments we make in refining and elevating ourselves by connecting closely with heaven, will be translated with us, while if we dwarf our capabilities by inaction, if we deteriorate our talents, which are susceptible of the highest cultivation, we cannot in the better world redeem that past neglect of self-culture, that great loss.

“Some may be saved as by fire. Their useless life has brought to them infinite loss. We should make improvement in this life, all that we can by the help and grace of God, knowing we can take these improvements with us into heaven. We will glorify our Father in heaven in proportion as we purify and perfect our characters here.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 21.

“To go forth into the next, the future life, deprived of half the power which might be carried there is a terrible thought. The days of probation lost here in acquiring a fitness for heaven, is a loss which will never be recovered. The capacities of enjoyment will be less in the future life for the misdemeanors and abuse of moral powers in this life. However high we might attain in the future life, we might soar higher and still higher, if we had made the most of our God-given privileges and golden opportunities.” This Day With God, 350.

  • How did Daniel and his companions show the results of building their education on the eternal Rock? Daniel 1:20.

Note: “The youth should be learners for the next world. Perseverance in the acquisition of knowledge, controlled by the fear and love of God, will give them an increased power for good in this life, and those who have made the most of their privileges to reach the highest attainments here, will take these valuable acquisitions with them into the future life. They have sought and obtained that which is imperishable. The capability to appreciate the glories that ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard’ (1 Corinthians 2:9), will be proportionate to the attainments reached in the cultivation of the faculties in this life.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 49.



  • How can we make up for lost opportunities? Ephesians 5:16.

Note: “We are admonished to redeem the time. But time squandered can never be recovered. We cannot call back even one moment. The only way in which we can redeem our time is by making the most of that which remains, by being co-workers with God in His great plan of redemption.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 342.

“The greatest possible good we can do to our fellow men is to overcome our own faults and improve our characters, making them as excellent and symmetrical as possible.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 21.

  • How much time are we given to make the right decision? Hebrews 3:12–15.

Note: “We should watch and work and pray as though this were the last day that would be granted us. How intensely earnest, then, would be our life. How closely would we follow Jesus in all our words and deeds.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 200.

  • What should our prayer be? Psalm 139:23, 24.

Note: “Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 159.



1    How does education throughout our lifetime constitute only a beginning?

2    What purpose does testing and trial serve in the work of education?

3    How do our choices affect our usefulness and even our eternal destiny?

4    What does it mean to be saved “as by fire”?

5    How can we ensure that we do the best work for eternity?

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

Editorial – If You Are Loyal and True

When King Nebuchadnezzar had the three Hebrews cast into the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3), “his triumph suddenly came to an end. He saw something that he thought must be an illusion. … With a voice trembling with excitement, he cried, ‘Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.’ (Daniel 3:25). [Emphasis author’s.] …

“History will be repeated. False religion will be exalted. The first day of the week, a common working day, possessing no sanctity whatever, will be set up as was the image at Babylon. …

“Trial and persecution will come to all who, in obedience to the word of God, refuse to worship this false sabbath. Force is the last resort of every false religion. At first it tries attraction, as the king of Babylon tried the power of music and outward show. If these attractions, invented by men inspired by Satan, failed to make men worship the image, the hungry flames of the furnace were ready to consume them. So it will be now. The Papacy has exercised her power to compel men to obey her, and she will continue to do so. …

“ ‘If ye love Me,’ said Christ, ‘keep My commandments.’ ‘He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him’ (John 14:15, 21). And has not Christ manifested Himself to His faithful children? Did He not walk in the furnace with the captives who refused to yield to the golden image one tittle of the reverence which belonged to God? Did He not manifest Himself to John, banished to the Isle of Patmos for his faithfulness? …

“Truth is to be obeyed at any cost, even tho gaping prisons, chain-gangs, and banishment stare us in the face. If you are loyal and true, that God who walked with the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, who protected Daniel in the lions’ den, who manifested Himself to John on the lonely island, will go with you wherever you go. His abiding presence will comfort and sustain you; and you will realize the fulfilment of the promise, ‘If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him’ (verse 23).” The Signs of the Times, May 6, 1897.

Chapter 9 Desire of Ages — Chapters 76 & 77

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

by Terry S. Ross

DA 716: “The history of Judas presents the sad ending of a life that might have been honored of God. Had Judas died before his last journey to Jerusalem, he would have been regarded as a man worthy of a place among the twelve, and one who would be greatly missed. The abhorrence which has followed him through the centuries would not have existed, but for the attributes revealed at the close of his history. But it was for a purpose that his character was laid open to the world. It was to be a warning to all who, like him, should betray sacred trusts.

“… Through becoming the slave of one vice he gave himself to Satan, to be driven to any lengths in sin.”

The testimony of Judas is a solemn warning left for all to understand that we may fool all around us for a time, but we cannot fool God. I know that I take the experience of Judas very seriously. It tells me that all people, especially pastors whether Conference or Independent who continue to break sacred trusts will in no wise enter God’s kingdom. It also tells me that although it is right to support those whom God has raised up to lead, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and not man.

How solemn to realize that one cherished sin will keep us out of heaven. How many of us have clung to some cherished idol knowing deep inside that we need to let it go and telling ourselves that we will, tomorrow? But tomorrow never comes, Brothers and Sisters. Letting go of our sin will never get any easier than it will be today. Now is the time to make this resolve and cling to the Rock of Jesus Christ. The Lord loves us, but be certain that no matter what we may think we have accomplished in this life, if we cling to one vice He will not make exception for us. Either we will make Jesus bigger than our sin or our sin will become bigger in our life than Jesus.

DA 717: “He felt in his own person the evidence of Christ’s power. He recognized the teaching of Christ as superior to all that he had ever heard. He loved the great Teacher, and desired to be with Him. He felt a desire to be changed in character and life, and he hoped to experience this through connecting himself with Jesus. The Saviour did not repulse Judas. He gave him a place among the twelve. He trusted him to do the work of an evangelist. He endowed him with power to heal the sick and to cast out devils. But Judas did not come to the point of surrendering himself fully to Christ. He did not give up his worldly ambition or his love of money. While he accepted the position of a minister of Christ, he did not bring himself under the divine moulding. He felt that he could retain his own judgment and opinions, and he cultivated a disposition to criticize and accuse.”

Of course, the above principle applies to each soul, but the specific lesson in this paragraph is regarding a pastor. Pastors have been given a broad scope of influence because of the position they hold and, therefore, that position is a serious one. With this position comes all the dangers that were the end of Judas. A large number of pastors will share the fate of Judas because they have abused their sacred trust and brought others, not to Jesus, but to their own perverted teachings. And let us not forget that Judas was an Independent Leader.

DA 720: “At the reproof from Jesus his very spirit seemed turned to gall. Wounded pride and desire for revenge broke down the barriers, and the greed so long indulged held him in control. This will be the experience of every one who persists in tampering with sin. The elements of depravity that are not resisted and overcome, respond to Satan’s temptation, and the soul is led captive at his will.”

These few words that you just read are full of instruction and warning that we all must reflect upon. We must plead with the Lord to help us to be honest with ourselves and to be open with our weaknesses in our dealings with Him. Please notice that it doesn’t say that this might be the experience of every one who persists… but this WILL be the experience!

Pride is a dreadful killer. It stalks its prey slowly, its danger undetected at first until it finally consumes its possessor. I have taken stock of what some of the attributes of pride are and one thing that is most scary is that pride is what I’ll call super- self protecting. Even when you recognize that you have the problem, when it raises its ugly head and is in control, it can take total possession. Pride, it almost seems, has a life of its own. I believe it to be a most dangerous vice. Another problem is, when the Lord allows a man to accomplish much, we human beings must be extremely guarded, for pride is a natural tendency of the human heart. Pride spoils the best of blessings and can ruin a life that otherwise would have been full of glory as demonstrated in the life of Judas. Even if someone has preached the straight truth for years, pride is so bad that those who cling to it will finally lose all reason and seek to literally annihilate those who dare to expose their sins. I have personally seen this in action. Everything goes along smoothly and it’s fine to expose the sins of others, but when you point out a concern for the one who is cherishing pride, although you thought this person to be a good friend, he can turn on you with a vengeance. This turning is for no other reason than pride that is filling the heart. Pride is why the church of two thousand years ago killed God. We must recognize it for what it is and give it to Jesus. He alone can cure this cancer.

DA 721- 22: “As the trial drew to a close, Judas could endure the torture of his guilty conscience no longer. Suddenly a hoarse voice rang through the hall, sending a thrill of terror to all hearts: He is innocent; spare Him, O Caiaphas!

“The tall form of Judas was now seen pressing through the startled throng. His face was pale and haggard, and great drops of sweat stood on his forehead. Rushing to the throne of judgment, he threw down before the high priest the pieces of silver that had been the price of his Lord’s betrayal. Eagerly grasping the robe of Caiaphas, he implored him to release Jesus, declaring that He had done nothing worthy of death. Caiaphas angrily shook him off, but was confused, and knew not what to say. The perfidy of the priests was revealed. It was evident that they had bribed the disciple to betray his Master.

“ ‘I have sinned, ’ again cried Judas, ‘in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. ’ But the high priest, regaining his self- possession, answered with scorn, ‘What is that to us? See thou to that. ’ (Matt. 27: 4.) The priests had been willing to make Judas their tool; but they despised his baseness. When he turned to them with confession, they spurned him.”

This will be the fearful experience of many a pastor who has falsified his sacred obligations. Even the devil, although he uses these people, hates a coward. The experience of Judas’ terror will be replayed by every pastor and all in positions of influence, no matter what “group” they are in, who choose not to let go of their pride. Pride is the ultimate lie about oneself. It says to its lover that he is something he is not. It strokes the ego of man until man forgets that NOTHING good can ever be accomplished by any person unless God sees to it. No man deserves anything but death, yet pride robs God of His goodness and perverts man into thinking God’s glory belongs to himself. The true Christian understands and realizes that if the Lord gives him anything good to do, it is a privilege and nothing else. This realized privilege, in turn, melts the heart of its receiver and the glory continues to be returned to the rightful owner — God.

DA 722: “Judas now cast himself at the feet of Jesus, acknowledging Him to be the Son of God, and entreating Him to deliver Himself. The Saviour did not reproach His betrayer. He knew that Judas did not repent; his confession was forced from his guilty soul by an awful sense of condemnation and a looking for of judgment, but he felt no deep, heart- breaking grief that he had betrayed the spotless Son of God, and denied the Holy One of Israel. Yet Jesus spoke no word of condemnation.” In this act of “repentance” is a future scene brought to light which can be found in Revelation, chapter 3, verse 9. At that time it will be seen that these people do have a church. But the church they belong to is the synagogue of Satan.

DA 723: “In the judgment- hall of Pilate, the Roman governor, Christ stands bound as a prisoner. About Him are the guard of soldiers, and the hall is fast filling with spectators. Just outside the entrance are the judges of the Sanhedrin, priests, rulers, elders, and the mob.

“After condemning Jesus, the council of the Sanhedrin had come to Pilate to have the sentence confirmed and executed. But these JEWISH OFFICIALS would not enter the Roman judgment- hall. According to their ceremonial law they would be defiled thereby, and thus prevented from taking part in the feast of the Passover. IN THEIR BLINDNESS THEY DID NOT SEE that murderous hatred had defiled their hearts.”

In parallel terms, who were the judges of the Sanhedrin, priests, rulers, elders, and the mob? They were none other than the Conference Committee, pastors, Conference workers, and elders or otherwise the acknowledged “Adventist Church” of their day. It certainly doesn’t take a degree to figure out this simple truth. Another truth is that we are repeating the history of our spiritual forefathers! The same spiritual pride is blinding the majority so that they do not know who and what the church is. In reality just as it was two thousand years ago, most will not see the truth until it’s too late! Run to the Lord, friend, and plead with Him not to let this happen to you. God’s people must understand what it means to be let go to a reprobate mind. The strong delusions and the deception to come upon the unconsecrated mind will be total.

DA 724: “Again Pilate asked, ‘What accusation bring ye against this man? ’ The priests did not answer his question, but in words that showed their irritation, they said. ‘If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto thee. ’ When those composing the Sanhedrin, the first men of the nation, bring to you a man they deem worthy of death, is there need to ask for an accusation against him? They hoped to impress Pilate with a sense of their importance, and thus lead him to accede to their request without going through many preliminaries. They were eager to have their sentence ratified; for they knew that the people who had witnessed Christ’s marvelous works could tell a story very different from the fabrication they themselves were now rehearsing.”

What is happening to Historic Adventists across this nation and around the world (within the structure) not only mirrors what happened between Pilate and Christ, but what will happen in the courts again. The Apostate Adventist Leaders could not bear up under honest scrutiny and this is why they pressed their own authority instead of the authority of God’s Word. Many today are being brought either under censure or disfellowshipped on a charge that is the same — not respecting properly constituted church authority. This charge, the same tactic used by the ancient forefathers, is now being utilized by the modern- day Sanhedrin. For a time it may seem that they have the upper hand, but in reality their authority will be short- lived.

DA 725: “The priests were in a dilemma. They saw that they must cloak their hypocrisy under the thickest concealment. They must not allow it to appear that Christ had been arrested on religious grounds. Were this put forward as a reason, their proceedings would have no weight with Pilate. They must make it appear that Jesus was working against the common law; then He could be punished as a political offender.”

Now, why do you suppose the Ancient Adventist Conference was trying desperately to keep the focus away from religious grounds? They knew that this exposure would show their true purpose and reveal them for who they really were. Their type of argumentation has already been seen today in the modern Adventist structure and will be seen in the courts soon enough.

DA 726: “With noisy cries, priests, scribes, and rulers demanded that He be sentenced to death. The cries were taken up by the mob, and the uproar was deafening. Pilate was confused. Seeing that Jesus made no answer to His accusers, Pilate said to Him, ‘Answerest Thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against Thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing. ’

“Standing behind Pilate, in view of all in the court, Christ heard the abuse; but to all the false charges against Him, He answered not a word. His whole bearing gave evidence of conscious innocence. He stood unmoved by the fury of the waves that beat about Him. It was as if the heavy surges of wrath, rising higher and higher, like the waves of the boisterous ocean, broke about Him, but did not touch Him. He stood silent, but His silence was eloquence. It was a light shining from the inner to the outer man.”

God speaks to each heart so we know when we are defending self, even in the midst of a religious battle. The spirit of Jesus shines brightest when we refuse to defend self during those times when we are being abused for His name’s sake.

DA 727: “Christ affirmed that His word was in itself a key which would unlock the mystery to those who were prepared to receive it. It had a self- commending power, and this was the secret of the spread of His kingdom of truth.”

Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. If the message we bear, either verbally or physically, is not a continual self- commending message (an understanding of soul value), it is not of Christ. Those who see Jesus will discern whether or not a man is walking with Christ. Those who live by heavenly principles, keeping their eyes firmly fixed on their Leader, will be able to rightly judge what is the truth about that man. Remember, it is not so much what is preached but what is lived that is the factor which determines whether or not a man is converted. Those who are convinced merely by the words that a man preaches can be fooled as those same people would have been in their opinions of Judas. In thus being fooled, they place themselves in a position of disadvantage with Satan. He then has an opportunity to have some control of the person who places confidence in the one preaching who is not truly converted.

DA 727: “These words from a heathen judge were a scathing rebuke to the perfidy and falsehood of the rulers of Israel who were accusing the Saviour. As the priests and elders heard this from Pilate, their disappointment and rage knew no bounds. They had long plotted and waited for this opportunity. As they saw the prospect of the release of Jesus, they seemed ready to tear Him in pieces.”

Be not fooled! Even today there are those of us who realize the Conference is plotting to “do in” certain individuals and certain Independent Ministries. The true reasons and the arguments starting to surface are strangely similar to those of long ago. We are not blind to the forecast on the horizon. There are many who may be unwary of these things, but be certain that not everyone is. The Lord has left us these plain Testimonies for serious contemplation and not everyone will forsake the Word of the Lord. While the majority are literally “dumping” the Spirit of Prophecy, there are others who are praising God’s Holy Name for this extended blessing.

DA 728: “Angry voices were now heard, declaring that the seditious influence of Jesus was well known throughout the country.”

Sedition — conduct or language inciting to rebellion against the authority of the state.

The ancient leaders were, in fact, worried about Christ causing rebellion but not against the state! They are still worried today about the same thing. It will be seen in the future that this concern for the overthrow of their own apostate power will be transferred to the state level in order that testimony might be brought against God’s true people. Our own books reveal out how it will all end as in the trial of Jesus we can clearly define our own future, whether we are faithful or among those who are not.

DA 729: “Herod questioned Christ in many words, but throughout the Saviour maintained a profound silence. At the command of the king, the decrepit and maimed were then called in, and Christ was ordered to prove His claims by working a miracle. Men say that Thou canst heal the sick, said Herod. I am anxious to see that Thy wide- spread fame has not been belied. Jesus did not respond, and Herod still continued to urge: If Thou canst work miracles for others, work them now for Thine own good, and it will serve Thee a good purpose. Again he commanded, Show us a sign that Thou hast the power with which rumor hath accredited Thee. But Christ was as one who heard and saw not. The Son of God had taken upon Himself man’s nature. He must do as man must do in like circumstances. Therefore He would not work a miracle to save Himself the pain and humiliation that man must endure when placed in a similar position.”

If we could but understand what Christ was willing to do because of His love for us while we were yet His enemies. I have heard not a few claim that Christ had an advantage in His overcoming sin that we don’t have. I shudder to think what many of us would have done if we had the power that was Christ’s, which He chose not to use for our sakes. The statement above shows that in many ways Christ had a decided disadvantage which made His journey as an overcomer all the more difficult. Jesus took no “advantage” that we cannot take if we choose to have it. The problem is not with any advantage or disadvantage but with people who murmur about wanting to go to heaven while clinging to their cherished sins. We can’t have it both ways.

DA 730: “Again the priests and rulers, in great anxiety, urged their accusations against Him. Raising their voices, they declared, He is a traitor, a blasphemer. He works His miracles through the power given Him by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.”

When people credit Lucifer with the work of God or the other way around, they are the ones guilty of blaspheming. It would be wise to understand that not all claimed miracles are such nor are they from the Lord. Another point to ponder is the true works of God, done by the true and the faithful, will be misaligned by those who wish to discredit the influence of the servant. We should know that this will be the lot of those who choose to stand on the side of the Lord. When these events come about (it’s already started), we cannot afford to allow them to discourage us. We must take a firm resolve as did Job and stay on course no matter who brings us a discouraging report, even if it be our “friends.”

I think I’ll take an opportunity here to mention the subject of gossip in the church. Please understand, gossip is a form of murder. When rightly understood, it will be detested by God’s people. Reporting that which is true within the framework of God’s principles is proper, but in many cases these principles are not followed. A gossiper is one who reports without verifying the truth of the matter. A gossiper is one who reports publicly the shortcomings of one who is truly not rebellious or in open sin but who is struggling to overcome. A gossiper is one who is more interested in the destruction of the one being spoken of than in his salvation. I can assure you that no gossipers will be found in heaven. Before we go reporting on someone, let’s consider our own motivation and let’s make sure we have followed Biblical principle.

Having said that, let’s also understand and accept the fact that the majority have no interest in what is written above and therefore gossip will continue and get worse. It happened to Jesus and He told His disciples that it would happen to them. As we follow God’s principles as true followers, it will save us much grief in at least two ways. We ourselves will not be gossipers and when we hear gossip, if we follow God’s principles, will find out the truth before we believe what was said or pass it on. I believe if this one evil was overcome, it would be a great blessing to us. A gossiper literally invites the devil to dine at his table.

DA 731: “No sooner were these words spoken, than a rush was made for Christ. Like wild beasts, the crowd darted upon their prey. Jesus was dragged this way and that, Herod joining the mob in seeking to humiliate the Son of God. Had not the Roman soldiers interposed, and forced back the maddened throng, the Saviour would have been torn in pieces.” Once again I ask the question, who made up the crowd that made Jesus a prey? Who was the crowd that the Roman soldiers had to stop? If it had been left to the “church” two thousand years ago, it would have torn Jesus to bits! There is indeed a future fulfillment of this scene and the players represented at the trial of Christ will all be in their places to act out their parts.

DA 731- 2: “He had declared that Jesus was innocent, yet he was willing for Him to be scourged to pacify His accusers. He would sacrifice justice and principle, in order to compromise with the mob. This placed him at a disadvantage. The crowd presumed upon his indecision, and clamored the more for the life of the prisoner. If at the first Pilate had stood firm, refusing to condemn a man whom he found guiltless, he would have broken the fatal chain that was to bind him in remorse and guilt as long as he lived. Had he carried out his convictions of right, the Jews would not have presumed to dictate to him. Christ would have been put to death, but the guilt would not have rested upon Pilate. But Pilate had taken step after step in the violation of his conscience. He had excused himself from judging with justice and equity, and he now found himself almost helpless in the hands of the priests and rulers. His wavering and indecision proved his ruin.”

The principles of action displayed by Pilate are a sad testimony of how many are acting, right now. Rather than taking a stand for the truth as it is in Jesus, many pastors and laity alike are swarming to the popular side. This fatal mistake can be changed but only by taking a firm stand for what is right and leaving the consequences with God. Those who cannot bring themselves to trust totally in the Lord will have no place with Him.

An example of this in today’s Adventist society is that many times of late I have heard complaints about placing such books as the Great Controversy in the forefront. The comments generally go something like this: “You are bringing on a time of trouble before it is time.” These comments are coming from the laity and Conference folks alike. At the same time these comments are being made, we have clear testimony in numerous places that tells us that God could have come over a hundred years ago if we would have done our part. To the unbelieving, the comment of bringing on a time of trouble prematurely will ALWAYS be valid. What is really being stated, however, to the discerning mind is that we want to live out our lives in peace and wish not to be disturbed. In this generation, the evidence is clear that everyone’s peace will be disturbed. The Lord is convincing many that it’s time to go into the promised land. I firmly believe that no matter what the complaint, this work is on its way to completion and nothing will stop it this time. It was the murmuring of Israel which kept them out of the promised land and it will be murmuring that will keep out the majority this time. Let’s pray that we will stop our murmuring and place our trust and confidence in our Guide and go home!

DA 733: “He was confused by his own conflicting emotions. But while he had been delaying to act, the priests and rulers were still further inflaming the minds of the people. Pilate was forced to action.”

The “church” played on the emotions of Pilate. These pastors and administrators knew how to apply the pressure and they seized this opportunity with success. Pilate was FORCED into action because his emotions ruled his principles instead of the other way around. This is why the big push on the mushy love that’s been pouring from the pulpits for so long. True love is a combining balance of mercy and justice. The laity are being force- fed the mercy without the justice which is nothing more than what we blame other churches for, but with a different name — cheap grace.

DA 736: “ ‘Speakest Thou not unto me? Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee, and have power to release Thee? ’

“Jesus answered, ‘Thou couldst have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above; therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin. ’”

An extremely important lesson which we need to ask the Lord to help us to learn has to do with God’s sovereign power. As we enter into our own experience of persecution, we must understand what Jesus always knew. What gave Him the faith to be victorious? He knew that nothing could happen to Him except as His Father would allow. He knew that His Father wouldn’t betray Him in His hour of need. This solid belief allowed Jesus to leave events and consequences fully in His Father’s hands. This is how to have the faith OF Jesus Christ.

DA 737: “ ‘He that delivered Me unto thee, ’ said Jesus, ‘hath the greater sin. ’ By this Christ meant Caiaphas, who, as high priest, represented the Jewish nation. They knew the principles that controlled the Roman authorities. They had had light in the prophecies that testified of Christ, and in His own teachings and miracles. The Jewish judges had received unmistakable evidence of the divinity of Him whom they condemned to death. And according to their light would they be judged. “THE GREATEST GUILT AND HEAVIEST RESPONSIBILITY BELONGED TO THOSE WHO STOOD IN THE HIGHEST PLACES IN THE NATION, THE DEPOSITARIES OF SACRED TRUSTS THAT THEY WERE BASELY BETRAYING. Pilate, Herod, and the Roman soldiers were comparatively ignorant of Jesus. They thought to please the priests and rulers by abusing Him. They had not the light which the Jewish nation had so abundantly received. HAD THE LIGHT BEEN GIVEN TO THE SOLDIERS, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TREATED CHRIST AS CRUELLY AS THEY DID.

“Again Pilate proposed to release the Saviour. ‘But the Jews cried out saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend. ’ Thus these hypocrites pretended to be jealous for the authority of Caesar. Of all the opponents of the Roman rule, the Jews were most bitter. When it was safe for them to do so, they were most tyrannical in enforcing their own national and religious requirements; but when they desired to bring about some purpose of cruelty, they exalted the power of Caesar. To accomplish the destruction of Christ, they would profess loyalty to the foreign rule which they hated.”

Those at the top who are betraying their sacred trust will be condemned the most — not by men, but by God!

I want to point out an insight here and I pray that you grasp it. You will notice that the ancient Jews hated the Romans but when they needed them, they would exalt them. Today we hear the Conferences making the claim that they would never enter into league with the Roman power. But I ask you this: do you really think that the makeup of the human brain has changed? If you do, you are sadly mistaken. History has been and is being repeated because the minds of men have not changed. So, will an apostate conference go into league with the Roman power? The answer is seen in the trial of Christ. Jesus is trying to show us the truth in these matters. IT IS ONLY THOSE WHO ACCEPT THESE TRUTHS WHO WILL JOIN HIM ON HIS THRONE.

DA 737- 8: “… by choosing a heathen ruler, the Jewish nation had withdrawn from the theocracy. They had rejected God as their king. Henceforth they had no deliverer. They had no king but Caesar. To this the priests and teachers had led the people. For this, with the fearful results that followed, they were responsible. A NATION’S SIN AND A NATION’S RUIN WERE DUE TO THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS.”

By choosing the programs of Babylon and using the courts of the land against other Seventh- day Adventists, the Conferences have left the theocracy and chosen a king other than God. We are told in the book Great Controversy that the religious leaders of this nation will bring about national ruin. The guilt of this disaster will not rest upon the leaders of other Protestant churches alone but upon apostate Adventist leaders as well. As a matter of fact, the guilt of these Adventist leaders will be the greater because of their greater claim to the truth of Adventism.

DA 738: “Pilate longed to deliver Jesus. But he saw that he could not do this, and yet retain his own position and honor. Rather than lose his worldly power, he chose to sacrifice an innocent life. How many, to escape loss or suffering, in like manner sacrifice principle. Conscience and duty point one way, and self- interest points another. The current sets strongly in the wrong direction, and he who compromises with evil is swept away into the thick darkness of guilt.”

Many professed Christians, not excluding Seventh- day Adventists, will share in the feelings of Pilate because they are living by the same compromise he did. We must remember that it is the law of the universe that for every cause there is an effect. Whatever we choose to do will have its consequences somewhere down the line. For those of us who have made our share of mistakes, now is the pristine time to give our shortcomings to the Lord that the effect of our bad choices might be minimized and not be held on our account for eternity.

DA 738- 40: “When Pilate declared himself innocent of the blood of Christ, Caiaphas answered defiantly, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children. ’ The awful words were taken up by the priests and rulers, and echoed by the crowd in an inhuman roar of voices. The whole multitude answered and said, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children. ’

“The people of Israel had made their choice. Pointing to Jesus they had said, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas. ’ Barabbas, the robber and murderer, was the representative of Satan. Christ was the representative of God. Christ had been rejected; Barabbas had been chosen. Barabbas they were to have. In making this choice they accepted him who from the beginning was a liar and a murderer. Satan was their leader. As a nation they would act out his dictation. His works they would do. His rule they must endure. That people who chose Barabbas in the place of Christ were to feel the cruelty of Barabbas as long as time should last.

“Looking upon the smitten Lamb of God, the Jews had cried, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children. ’ That awful cry ascended to the throne of God. That sentence, pronounced upon themselves, was written in heaven. That prayer was heard. The blood of the Son of God was upon their children and their children’s children, a perpetual curse. “Terribly was it realized in the destruction of Jerusalem. Terribly has it been manifested in the condition of the Jewish nation for eighteen hundred years, — a branch severed from the vine, a dead, fruitless branch, to be gathered up and burned. From land to land throughout the world, from century to century, dead, dead in trespasses and sins!

“… Those who mocked and smote Him will be there. The priests and rulers will behold again the scene in the judgment- hall. Every circumstance will appear before them, as if written in letters of fire. Then those who prayed, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children, ’ will receive the answer to their prayer. Then the whole world will know and understand. They will realize who and what they, poor, feeble, finite beings, have been warring against. In awful agony and horror they will cry to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand? ’” (Rev. 6: 16, 17.)

To claim to be spiritual Israel but not to follow Christ’s instructions is to share in the curse of “let His blood be upon us and our children!”

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

Parallels in the Time of Trouble, Part I

In 1998 I received a videotape from Tim Simkin, a close friend of mine. In this video he drew parallels between Christ’s experiences in His “time of trouble,” and the experiences of those who will pass through the final time of trouble. The message contained in that video moved me to tears, and as I studied it further, I was astonished at just how deep this subject goes. It is my hope that God will bless you as richly as He has blessed me.

A Time of Trouble Such as Never Was

Bible prophecy makes it very clear that just prior to Christ’s second advent, “…there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.…” Daniel 12:1. “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble.…” Jeremiah 30:7. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21.

The pen of inspiration has attempted to help us understand how serious this crisis will be. “It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal.” Great Controversy, 622. “…soon the time of trouble, such as never was, will come upon us, of which we have but little idea.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 241. “We are on the very verge of the time of trouble, and perplexities that are scarcely dreamed of are before us.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 43. “It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended” Last Day Events, 266. “We are standing on the threshold of the crisis of the ages.” Prophets and Kings, 278. “The conflict that is right upon us will be the most terrible ever witnessed.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 407. “The most momentous struggle of all the ages is just before us.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 711. From this perspective, let us now begin to look to Jesus, and to draw parallels between His experience and ours.

“Now [in Gethsemane] the tempter had come for the last fearful struggle. For this he had been preparing during the three years of Christ’s ministry. Everything was at stake with him. If he failed here, his hope of mastery was lost…” Desire of Ages, 686. And today, in preparation for the time of trouble, “The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 11. And paralleling Jacob’s experience with ours Ellen White says, “The crisis in his life has come; everything is at stake.” Great Controversy, 617.

Why is God willing that His children go through such a terrible crisis? What purpose will it serve? To answer this question, we must look to Calvary where Christ triumphed over “principalities and powers,” and “made a shew of them openly.” Colossians 2:15. “Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings.…Yet Satan was not then destroyed. The angels did not even then understand all that was involved in the great controversy. The principles at stake were to be more fully revealed. And for the sake of man, Satan’s existence must be continued. Man as well as angels must see the contrast between the Prince of Light and the prince of darkness. He must choose whom he will serve.” Desire of Ages, 761. So in Christ’s time of trouble, God purposed to reveal Satan’s character and uproot sympathy for him. But when will “man as well as angels” have this experience? “The time of trouble is the crucible that is to bring out Christ like characters. It is designed to lead the people of God to renounce Satan and his temptations. The last conflict will reveal Satan to them in his true character, that of a cruel tyrant, and it will do for them what nothing else could do, to uproot him entirely from their affections.” Our High Calling, 321. Praise God!

“At the cross of Calvary, love and selfishness stood face to face. Here was their crowning manifestation. Christ had lived only to comfort and bless, and in putting Him to death, Satan manifested the malignity of his hatred against God. He made it evident that the real purpose of his rebellion was to dethrone God, and to destroy Him through whom the love of God was shown.” Desire of Ages, 57. Brethren, a yet greater manifestation of satanic hatred will be shown against those “through whom the love of God is shown,” for it is written: “The wrath of Satan increases as his time grows short, and his work of deceit and destruction will reach its culmination in the time of trouble.” Great
, 623.

We Have a Law

The religious leaders of Christ’s day had cried out to the state authority: “…We have a law, and by our law He ought to die…” John 19:7. So in the time of trouble, “…the image of the beast should both speak [legislate], and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelation 13:15. “…the Jews said…’We have a law, and by our law He ought to die.’ Over and over again this will be repeated.” Signs of the Times, May 26, 1898. “The religious character of professed Christians makes them act like demons. ‘We have a law,’ they say, ‘and by our law He ought to die.’ More than common contempt will be shown to those who make the Word of God their criterion. The scenes of Christ’s condemnation will be acted out in the courts by the people of this age who claim to be serving God.… Men will do the deeds of their fathers, repeating as far as possible the course of action pursued against Christ.” Signs of the Times, January 31, 1900.

Again, paralleling Christ’s experience with ours, Mrs. White says: “…the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument eighteen hundred years ago was brought against Christ by the ‘rulers of the people.’ ‘It is expedient for us,’ said the wily Caiaphas, ‘that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.’ John 11:50. This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death.” Great Controversy, 615. How full of meaning to us are the words of our Lord: “…the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service…. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them.” John 16:2,4.

Speaking of the religious leaders of His time, Jesus said “They hated Me without a cause.” John 15:25. (See also Psalms 69:4, 109:3-5.) This hatred reached its culmination as Jesus hung upon the tree. Why? “There was never one who walked among men more cruelly slandered than the Son of man. He was derided and mocked because of His unswerving obedience to the principles of God’s holy law. They hated Him without a cause.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 32. And why will those who follow the Lamb be hated by the world in the time of trouble? “As Christ was hated without cause, so will His people be hated without cause, merely because they are obedient to the commandments of God and do His works in the place of working directly contrary to them.” Manuscript Releases, No. 19, 163. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18.

Infuriated Mobs Rush In

In Gethsemane, Christ “…heard the footsteps of the mob in search of Him…” Desire of Ages, 694. So too will the righteous be hunted by wicked mobs: “Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs.…” Early Writings, 56.

“Turning to the multitude he [Herod] angrily denounced Jesus as an imposter.… No sooner were these words spoken than a rush was made for Christ. Like wild beasts, the crowd darted upon their prey.” Desire of Ages, 731. The sealed remnant will have a similar experience. “…the wicked were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands upon us to thrust us into prison.…” Early Writings, 15.

Who was stirring up the wicked in the closing scenes of our Saviour’s conflict? “Satan with his angels, in human form, was present at the cross. The archfiend and his hosts were co-operating with the priests and rulers.” Desire of Ages, 746. What about our time of trouble? “Satanic agencies in human form will take part in this last great conflict.…” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 383. Will these agencies again work hand in hand with the rulers of this world? “Urged on by Satan, the rulers of this world are seeking to destroy them; but… angels of God encamped about them.…” Testimonies, vol. 5, 475.

Heavenly messengers also had a part to act. “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.” Desire of Ages, 694. Angels will again interpose between the wicked and the righteous in the coming conflict. “Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified, will endeavor to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty guardians stationed about every faithful soul.” Great Controversy, 631.

To Stand Alone

“Repentant sinners stand before the Father justified, because the Innocent One has borne their guilt. ‘…I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with Me.… I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold…’” Signs of the Times, August 26, 1903. Though the 144,000 will at times have the companionship of each other and the guidance of angels, they will, nonetheless, be (collectively) alone and helpless. “In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan, those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off.Desire of Ages, 121. And during some periods they will be individually cut off. “…at this time…they will be tried singly, not in groups. Every one must stand the test for himself.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1143. “The faith of individual members of the church will be tested as though there were not another person in the world.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 983. (See also Last Day Events, 260.)

“I invite you to look to the Man of Calvary.…Look to him who was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, who was despised and rejected of men.” Review and Herald, May 10, 1892. “…his [Noah’s] message was rejected and despised. So it will be now.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 102. “Said the angel, ‘…They have rejected Jesus and despised His saints. The filthy must remain filthy forever.’” Early Writings, 281.

We Must Drink the Cup

“The awful moment had come—that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, Let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin, and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humiliation and agony?” Desire of Ages, 690 “…the cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11. But Jesus asked another question: “…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 say unto Him, We are able. And He saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.…” Matthew 20:22-23. When will the words of Jesus reach their complete fulfillment? When will people experience most deeply that cup? “The people of God must drink of the cup and be baptized with the baptism.… Yet for the elect’s sake the time of trouble will be shortened.” Great Controversy, 630.

As the mysterious cup trembled in the balance, the angel Gabriel was sent to minister to Jesus. Did he come to remove or lessen the force of that terrible cup?

“The angel came not to take the cup from Christ’s hand, but to strengthen Him to drink it.…” Desire of Ages, 693. So too, “In the time of trouble just before the coming of Christ, the righteous will be preserved [to drink their cup] through the ministration of heavenly angels.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 256.

“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, ‘O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’” Matthew 26:42. “Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. 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. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: ‘If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’” Desire of Ages, 690. And in the time of trouble, “Day and night their cry ceased not: ‘Thy will, O God, be done! If it can glorify Thy name, make a way of escape for Thy people!…’ All seemed to have a deep sense of their unworthiness and manifested entire submission to the will of God; yet, like Jacob, every one, without an exception, was earnestly pleading and wrestling for deliverance.” Early Writings, 272.

Paleness Sits Upon Every Face

“The disciples roused from their slumber to find their Master standing over them in a state of mental and bodily anguish such as they never before had witnessed. They saw the grief and agony of His pale face, and the bloody sweat upon His brow, for ‘His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’” Signs of the Times, August 14, 1879. “…His pale countenance expressed a sorrow past all description.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 95. Jeremiah, when shown in vision the last experience of the faithful, asked the solemn question: “…wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble.…” Jeremiah 30:6-7. “Like Jacob, all are wrestling with God. Their countenances express their internal struggle. Paleness sits upon every face. Yet they cease not their earnest intercession.” Great Controversy, 630.

“…From the pale, quivering lips of the innocent Sufferer a prayer of pardoning love was breathed for His murderers: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’” Testimonies, vol. 2, 208. “…Those hands so often reached out in blessing, nailed to the wooden bars; those feet so tireless on ministries of love, spiked to the tree; that royal head pierced by the crown of thorns; those quivering lips shaped to the cry of woe.” Desire of Ages, 755. But in the time of trouble, those righteous lips will be shaped to a “silver trumpet” which will be heard echoing throughout the lengths of the earth. And then, “…from His lips they hear the request, presented before His Father and the holy angels, ‘I will that they also, whom thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’ John 17:24. Again a voice, musical and triumphant, is heard, saying: ‘They come! they come! holy, harmless, and undefiled. They have kept the word of My patience; they shall walk among the angels;’ and the pale, quivering lips of those who have held fast their faith utter a shout of victory.” Great Controversy, 636.

Mental Anguish Draws Sweat of Blood

“‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’ ‘Tarry ye here,’ said He, ‘and watch with Me.’ He was bowed to the earth with mental anguish, and in an agony He prayed to His Heavenly Father.” Signs of the Times, August 14, 1879. “His heart was broken by mental anguish.” Desire of Ages, 772. No amount of mental anguish can be compared with that of the Prince of sufferers, for no one will ever be called to bear the guilt of the sins of the world. Nevertheless, “The righteous in their mental anguish will cry to God day and night for deliverance from the hand of the wicked who surround them.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 121. What degree of mental anguish? “…I saw the saints suffering great mental anguish. They seemed to be surrounded by the wicked inhabitants of the earth.” Early Writings, 283.

“…And His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44. “The temptations to which Christ was subjected were a terrible reality.… He ‘resisted unto blood’ in that hour when the fear of moral failure was as the fear of death. As He bowed in Gethsemane, in His soul agony, drops of blood fell from His pores, and moistened the sods of the earth.” Youth’s Instructor, October 26, 1899. In describing a vision of the time of trouble, God’s messenger said, “My husband was just before me. Large drops of sweat were falling from his brow, the veins in his neck and temples were increased to double their usual size, and suppressed, agonizing groans came from his lips. The sweat was dropping from my face, and I felt such anguish as I had never felt before. A fearful struggle was before us.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 596. Beloved, it would seem that the following words were penned for us, more than for any other people that have ever lived. “…let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:1–4. For how long? “But ‘ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.’ We have an incessant strife, but is not the reward at the end of the conflict worthy of all the labor?” Signs of the Times, September 7, 1891.

“Could one sin have been found in Christ, had He in one particular yielded to Satan to escape the terrible torture, the enemy of God and man would have triumphed. Christ bowed His head and died, but He held fast His faith and His submission to God.” Desire of Ages, 761. So also, “…in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed.…” Great Controversy, 620.

Forsaken by God

In the first verse of the twenty-second Psalm, David prophesied as to how Jesus would feel as He was dying upon the cross. In fulfillment of this prophecy, Jesus uttered the very words that David had penned. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice… ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?’” Matthew 27:46. So too has Ellen White prophesied (brace yourself): “The remnant in the time of trouble will cry, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’” Special Manuscript, 2a.

As we close part 1 of this study, it would be well to ponder anew the significance of the words that follow. “It will do you good, and our ministers generally, frequently to review the closing scenes in the life of our Redeemer. Here, beset with temptations as He was, we may all learn lessons of the utmost importance to us. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life.” Gospel Workers, 1892 edition, 246. In our next article we will examine even more intense parallels between our Saviour’s experience and ours.

(all emphasis supplied by the author unless otherwise noted.)

Contending For the Faith

The trial of Raphael Perez vs. the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists began March 13, 2000, and involves a lawsuit against Pastor Perez for illegally using the trademarked name, Seventh-day Adventist. This court case has attracted worldwide attention and is of vital interest to all who cherish their religious freedom!

Opening Statements

Both sides presented opening statements on Tuesday, March 14, 2000.

The prosecution (or the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists) contends that Pastor Perez and his organization are an offshoot church. They labeled him a “hate group” and claimed he was a breakaway church trying to use the mother church’s name.

Robert Pershes, attorney for the defense, claimed that the name “Seventh-day Adventist” is a generic term describing a belief system, a religion. He stated that the trademark law was being used in a religious context here, when it was intended to be used commercially. He stated if you are a believer in Seventh-day Adventism, and you believe in the writings of Ellen G. White as a prophet, and if that prophet said that the name Seventh-day Adventist was given to us by God, you believe it. At this point there were several “Amens” from the spectators. The judge admonished the spectators that this was a courtroom, not a church, and further comments would cause him to clear the courtroom of spectators.

The Prosecution

Witnesses for the Prosecution were then called.

George Reid, current director of Biblical research for the General Conference, was first. He stated his educational background as such: He received his BA from Lincoln Ministerial School, and his Masters of Divinity from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary.

Mr. Reid, who, at one time, served as head of the Religion Department at Southwest Adventist University in Keene, Texas was questioned as an expert witness on the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1860. It was his testimony that one must be a member of the General Conference to be a Seventh-day Adventist, “based on the understanding of unity.”

Attorney, Robert Nixon, stated Seventh-day Adventist does not refer to someone who believes in Seventh-day Adventism, but consists of Seventh-day Adventists in good and regular standing. They need to have membership in the Seventh-day Adventist organization.

The Survey

Harry O’Neill, researcher with Roper Worldwide, was paid $29,000 to conduct a telephone survey which took place between June 24 and July 2, 1999. The survey included a random selection of 1200 telephone numbers, (2% were Adventists) and asked the following questions:

  1. Have you ever heard or seen the term Seventh-day Adventist?
  2. What type or organization, if any, comes to mind when you hear Seventh-day Adventist?
  3. Do you associate the term Seventh-day Adventist with anything else? If so, what?

Responses to questions 2 and 3 were combined when presenting the final outcome.

70% of the 1200 respondents (or 840) had heard of Seventh-day Adventists.

44% of the 1200 respondents (or 528) responded that they thought of a church, a group, or a church organization.

56% of the 1200 respondents (or 672) responded that they thought of a religious group.

The Defense attorney objected to question number two of this survey as being leading. The fact that they used the word, “organization,” in their question, tainted the respondent’s answers, he claimed.

Dr. Standish for the Defense

The defense began their presentation by calling Dr. Colin Standish to the stand. Dr. Standish did a good job of defending our faith, and the judge, James Lawrence King, soon developed a good rapport with him. About fifteen minutes into Dr. Standish’s testimony, the judge asked the defense attorney to stand aside. The judge then began to question Colin directly about self-supporting work, the history of it, the name Seventh-day Adventist, and other things. The judge basically did all of the questioning for the defense with this witness.

After questioning Dr. Standish, the judge chastised the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists for bringing this issue to trial, and quoted 1 Corinthians 6, about bringing your brethren to trial. The judge quickly recognized this to be a religious liberty issue and stated that it should never have been brought into his courtroom. He instructed both sides to get together and see if they could work out an agreement and let him know the following day. When the prosecution tried to present and label Pastor Perez and his group as a “hate group,” Judge King threw that out as not being relevant to this trial. He stated that he was only concerned with the trademark issue.

No Agreement

The prosecution and the defense attorneys, along with the General Conference men and Pastor Perez, sat down together and attempted to come to an agreement as they had been instructed by the Judge. Pastor Perez stated that he would be happy to put a disclaimer under the name Seventh-day Adventist, stating that he was not affiliated with the General Conference. This was not good enough for them. They wanted the work stopped, and Pastor Perez could not agree to that.

The trial was to continue as scheduled.

The courtroom was filled to capacity, with the court personnel having to bring in additional chairs to accommodate the crowd. In spite of the fact that there are dozens of “Conference Churches” in the area, there were no attendants from the “conference church” other than those who were there to give testimony.

The Defense Argues

Two of the main points that were drilled home by the witnesses for the defense were these:

  1. The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has consistently removed the name “Seventh-day Adventist” from its magazines, buildings, schools, and hospitals.
  2. Since we believe that Ellen G. White was a prophet, and the prophet states that this name was a God-given name denoting a people and their belief, we cannot give it up.

Witnesses for the Defense:

David Zic, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement testified to the necessity of using the name as it identifies them. He stated that a church consists of faithful believers, not the buildings.

Also testifying for the defense were John Nicolici, Dr. Russell Standish, Pastor John Grosboll, and one or two others.

Pastor Grosboll testified that, in order to keep peace, we would be happy to change our name if we could. But, since this name was given to us by God, Himself we cannot, dare not change it to appease man.

In a small anteroom off to the side of the courtroom, the pastors gathered to intercede in prayer as each and every defense witness was called. It was not unusual for the judge to gain admittance to the courtroom using this route, and he would walk through the room while the pastors were gathered in prayer. Especially was Raphael Perez’ name lifted before the Father’s throne.

Obey God Rather than Man

Raphael Perez was extensively examined and cross-examined for over an hour. When asked if his newspaper ads started after the Southeastern Conference had told him he could not use the name, Seventh-day Adventist, Raphael stated that he did not need authorization from human beings to use a name given by God. It is not a matter of waiting for permission—permission has already been established by God, and we are to obey God rather than man. (Acts 5:29.)

Many attempts were made to trip Pastor Perez up in his testimony, but God worked with him in a mighty way to keep him focused and to give him understanding of the English language, that he might not only understand, but that his reply might be clearly understood. He firmly defended the faith.

The Prophet Speaks

Please note the following quotations. Two from the Spirit of Prophecy and one from Scripture:

“We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world. Unbelievers have a right to expect that those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will do more than any other class to promote and honor, by their consistent lives, by their godly example and their active influence, the cause which they represent. But how often have the professed advocates of the truth proved the greatest obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan’s devices.”Selected Messages, Book 1, 122. (1887.)

“This action, of appealing to human courts, never before entered into by Seventh-day Adventists, has now been done. God has permitted this that you who have been deceived may understand what power is controlling those who have had entrusted to them great responsibilities.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 302.

“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, ‘That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, ‘My lord delayeth his coming’ and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:46-50.

Heartbreaking Verdict

Sadly, despite the promising outlook, Judge James Lawrence King rendered a verdict in favor of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. We must pray that the Lord might strengthen and sustain Raphael and his little church, as they plan their appeal to a higher court. We know that God is still in control, and that in the end His name will be uplifted, honored, and vindicated. We must also pray for each other. There are others out there who are also targeted by the General Conference. The following is a list of groups who have already had suits started against them by the General Conference:

  • Word of Faith Congregational Seventh-day Church

3505 Pulaski Pike
Huntsville, AL 35810

  • United Seventh-day Adventist Church

128 9th Street, N.W.
Mason City, IA 50401

  • The Ten Commandments Universal Saturday Seventh-day Adventist Temple

1509 Ray Road, Apt. #301
Hyattsville, MD 20782

  • Seventh-day Adventist

Congregational Church
Kona Hawaii

  • Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Inc.

PO Box 3840
Los Angeles, CA 90078

  • Trinidad Church of Seventh-day Adventist

1201 Staples Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002

  • Tabernacle Seventh-day Adventist Church

3600 Martin Luther King Blvd., S.E.
Mason City, IA 50401

  • Eternal Gospel Church of Seventh-day Adventist

5419 Southern Boulevard
West Palm Beach, FL 33415

The Inquisition has begun!

(Emphasis the author’s.)

Bible Study Guides – The Rewards of the Christian Life

March 24-30, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

STUDY HELP: Selected Messages, Book 1, 389–400; The Great Controversy, 673–678.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The Christian’s rewards are everlasting!

INTRODUCTION: “Not one who is earnest and persevering will fail of success. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. The weakest saint, as well as the strongest, may wear the crown of immortal glory. All may win who, through the power of divine grace, bring their lives into conformity to the will of Christ.…Every act casts its weight into the scale that determines life’s victory or defeat. And the reward given to those who win will be in proportion to the energy and earnestness with which they have striven.” Acts of the Apostles, 313, 314.

Victory over Sin

1 What has God promised to do for us in every temptation? 1 Corinthians 10:13.

NOTE: “Temptation is not sin. Jesus was holy and pure; yet He was tempted in all points as we are, but with a strength and power that man will never be called upon to endure. In His successful resistance He has left us a bright example, that we should follow His steps. If we are self-confident or self-righteous we shall be left to fall under the power of temptation; but if we look to Jesus and trust in Him we call to our aid a power that has conquered the foe on the field of battle, and with every temptation He will make a way of escape.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 426. See also Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 960.

2 What are we promised we, like Jesus, can do by God’s grace? Revelation 3:21.

NOTE: “Those who would overcome must put to the tax every power of their being. They must agonize on their knees before God for divine power. Christ came to be our example, and to make known to us that we may be partakers of the divine nature. How?—By having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Satan did not gain the victory over Christ. He did not put his foot upon the soul of the Redeemer. He did not touch the head though he bruised the heel. Christ, by His own example, made it evident that man may stand in integrity. Men may have a power to resist evil—a power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master; a power that will place them where they may overcome as Christ overcame. Divinity and humanity may be combined in them.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 409. See also Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 929.

3 If we are abiding in Christ and allowing God’s Word to abide in us, what will we not be doing? 1 John 3:5-9.

NOTE: “It is genuine faith that says, I know that I have committed sin, but that Jesus has pardoned my sin; and hereafter I will resist temptation in and through His might. ‘Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.’ He has an abiding principle in the soul, that enables him to overcome temptation. ‘Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not.’ God has power to keep the soul who is in Christ, when that soul is under temptation. ‘Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.’ That is, every one who is a true believer is sanctified through the truth, in life and character.” Sons and Daughters of God, 297.

Jesus’ Presence in Every Trial

4 What three things does God promise He will do for us in every time of trouble? Isaiah 41:10.

NOTE: “Never is the tempest-tried soul more dearly loved by His Saviour than when he is suffering reproach for the truth’s sake. ‘I will love him,’ Christ said, ‘and will manifest Myself to him.’ John 14:21. When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of earthly tribunals, Christ stands by his side. When he is confined within prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him and cheers his heart with His love. When he suffers death for Christ’s sake, the Saviour says to him, They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul.” Acts of the Apostles, 85.

5 Where has Jesus promised to be with us? Joshua 1:9.

NOTE: “All who are seeking to work in harmony with God’s plan of education will have His sustaining grace, His continual presence, His keeping power. To everyone He says: ‘Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee.’ ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ Joshua 1:9, 5.” Ministry of Healing, 405.

“Talk of Jesus, and let self go; let it be submerged in Christ, and let this be the language of your heart: ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ Jesus will be to you a present help in every time of need. He will not leave you to battle with the powers of darkness alone.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 321.

6 How does Solomon describe the close relationship Jesus has with those who love Him? Proverbs 18:24.

NOTE: “Through all your trials…you have had a never-failing Friend, who has said, ‘I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ But how often is the Lord neglected for the society of others, and for things of no value!…We dare not let His name languish on our lips, and His love and memory die out of our hearts. ‘Well,’ says the cold, formal professor, ‘this is making Christ too much like a human being;’ but the Word of God warrants us to have these very ideas. It is the want of these practical, definite views of Christ, that hinders so many from having a genuine experience in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.…Communion with Christ—how unspeakably precious! Such communion it is our privilege to enjoy, if we will seek it. The everlasting assurance shall be yours that you have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Sons and Daughters of God, 167.

Resurrection of the Righteous

7 When He returns, what miracle will Jesus perform for His saints? 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.

NOTE: “Then Jesus’ silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the sleeping saints, then raised His eyes and hands to heaven, and cried, ‘Awake! awake! awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise.’ Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted, ‘Alleluia!’ as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.” Early Writings, 16.

8 What will be the experience of those raised in the first resurrection? Revelation 20:6.

NOTE: “‘There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust,’ ‘for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ But a distinction is made between the two classes that are brought forth. ‘All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.’ They who have been ‘accounted worthy’ of the resurrection of life, are ‘blessed and holy.’ ‘On such the second death hath no power.’ But those who have not, through repentance and faith, secured pardon, must receive the penalty of transgression. Said the angel, ‘Satan is the root, his children are the branches. They are now consumed root and branch. They have died an everlasting death. They are never to have a resurrection, and God will have a clean universe.’” Sons and Daughters of God, 367.

9 What will the resurrected righteous put on at the second coming of Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:51–53.

NOTE: “The earth mightily shook as the voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints. They responded to the call and came forth clothed with glorious immortality, crying, ‘Victory, victory, over death and the grave! O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ Then the living saints and the risen ones raised their voices in a long, transporting shout of victory. Those bodies that had gone down into the grave bearing the marks of disease and death came up in immortal health and vigor. The living saints are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and caught up with the risen ones, and together they meet their Lord in the air.” Early Writings, 287. See also Sons and Daughters of God, 359.

“Heaven Will be Worth it All”

10 What will the redeemed saints nevermore have to experience? Revelation 21:4.

NOTE: “The earth promised to the meek will not be like this, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. ‘We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.’ ‘There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.’ 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 22:3. There is no disappointment, no sorrow, no sin, no one who shall say, I am sick; there are no burial trains, no mourning, no death, no partings, no broken hearts; but Jesus is there, peace is there. There ‘they shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.’ Isaiah 49:10.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 17, 18. See also Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 988.

11 Where has Jesus prepared a place for every redeemed saint? John 14:1–3.

NOTE: “Long have we waited for our Saviour’s return. But nonetheless sure is the promise. Soon we shall be in our promised home.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 254.

“A fear of making the saints’ inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon the new earth as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them. Those who accept the teachings of God’s Word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode.” The Story of Redemption, 430.

12 How does Paul sum up the indescribable glories of what God has prepared for them that love Him? 1 Corinthians 2:9.

NOTE: “Paul had a view of heaven, and in discoursing on the glories there, the very best thing he could do was to not try to describe them. He tells us that eye had not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for those that love Him. So you may put your imagination to the stretch, you may try to the very best of your abilities to take in and consider the eternal weight of glory, and yet your finite senses, faint and weary with the effort, cannot grasp it, for there is an infinity beyond. It takes all of eternity to unfold the glories and bring out the precious treasures of the Word of God.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1107.

“Heaven will be cheap enough, if we obtain it through suffering. We must deny self all along the way, die to self daily, let Jesus alone appear, and keep His glory continually in view.” Early Writings, 67.

The Consecrated Way, Part IV

We have been making our way through the passage of Scripture found in 2 Peter 1—Peter’s ladder. Centuries before, Jacob, when fleeing from Esau, laid his head on a rock, weary from the flight. There, in visions of the night, God gave Jacob a dream of a ladder that extended from the earth to heaven. The ladder was meaningful to Jacob. It assured him that God was with him; it encouraged him that there is indeed a ladder extending from earth to heaven. Peter picks up where this dream left off by presenting the idea that Jesus is coming again and that we need to get ready for that wonderful and great event by climbing the ladder. Sister White makes it very clear that each rung of that ladder is important to us in reaching the kingdom of heaven.

“The apostle Peter presents before us the ladder of progress that we must climb round by round in order to meet the approval of God. [2 Peter 1:5–7 quoted.] Those who would make men of honor, men of trust, men of fidelity, must begin to be faithful in the smallest matters, and they must begin at home. Everyone who would be perfect must mount this ladder of progress. Many have neglected to put their feet upon the first rounds of the ladder. They want to mount to the topmost rounds without the trouble of climbing, but the only sure way is to take the painstaking way of going up by gradual advance, round after round.” Signs of the Times, May 25, 1891.

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience ….”
2 Peter 1:3–6.

The Climb Gets Harder

When we arrive at patience, we find that we are half way up the ladder in the goal that leads to Christian perfection of character. The climb does not seem to be getting any easier. As a matter of fact, it is getting somewhat more difficult. There are some folks who are afraid of heights. They do not like to climb very far for fear of falling.

The rung of this ladder, called patience, is one that speaks to every one of us—so elusive and yet so desirable. Webster defines patience: “The state, quality, power or fact of being patient.” It does not say a whole lot to us, does it? What is patience? Further research results in three meanings that come to bear on our climb:

  1. bearing pains or trials calmly without complaint,
  2. manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain, and
  3. being steadfast, despite opposition, difficulty or adversity.

I would like to suggest that each one of these meanings has an application to the Christian today, as he is looking for the soon return of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory. Revelation 14:12 serves as a hallmark for Seventh-day Adventists. After having outlined the events that will surround the last generation just before Jesus comes, the proclamation of the Three Angels’ Messages, John wrote, under inspiration, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

Beautiful Harmony

It is marvelous to see the harmony of the words of inspiration. Peter must have known that patience was a necessary part of character development for the last generation. He gave direction through the Spirit of God that patience was a part of that development. Then, through the same Spirit while John sees the culmination of all the events of earth’s history, he writes, “Here is the patience of the saints.”

Someone once said that, “Patience is the guardian of faith, the preserver of peace, the cherished of love, the teacher of humility. Patience governs the flesh, strengthens the spirit, sweetens the temper, stifles anger, extinguishes envy, and subdues pride. Patience bridles the tongue, restrains the hand, tramples on temptations, endures persecutions, and consummates martyrdom. Patience produces unity in the church, loyalty in the state, harmony in families and societies. She comforts the poor and moderates the rich. She makes us humble in prosperity, cheerful in adversity, and is unmoved by reproach. She teaches us to forgive those who have injured us and to be first in asking forgiveness of those whom we have injured. She delights the faithful and invites the unbelieving. She adorns the woman and approves the man. Patience is beautiful in either sex and every age.” The Royal Path of Life, © 1997 Bud and Debbie Neptune, R. R. 1 Box 131a, Dawn MO 64638 <> (cited March 26, 2002).

It is a little better than Webster’s definition, is it not? This is what Peter is telling us that we need to add to temperance. I believe there is significance to the order in which these Christian graces were given. Add to temperance, patience. Did you know that we cannot have patience without temperance? What affects the body affects the mind.

Continuing the Climb

What we fail to provide for physically we cannot expect to reap spiritually. On the other hand, it is also apparent that we can climb on to the rung of temperance and not climb any higher. We might be exercising all sorts of temperance in our lives; we may be eating all the right kinds of foods; we may have never violated any of the rules of health; we may be exercising, getting proper sleep; our temperance may be impeccable, yet we may lose eternal life, because we have not climbed any higher in the development of our Christian character.

This is what happened to the Pharisees. They were perfectionists in all their physical aspects—those things that could be seen, felt, and heard—but they were lost because they did not develop spiritually. They did not climb, as they should have. We have many Christians today who are classed in the same group as were the Pharisees. They are doing everything right as far as temperance and health reform is concerned, but they have not continued to climb higher.

Peter says that God’s plan for us is to climb that ladder, round by round, ultimately stepping off into the Promised Land. I hope that you have not stopped in your climb.

Bearing Pains or Trials

Have you added to your temperance, patience—the ability to bear pains or trials calmly without complaint? If things do not go just the way you want them to go, do you lose your patience? It is quite a trial. When you are crossed, do you fly off the handle? Do you lose control of yourself and perhaps rant or rave just a little bit? What would a non-Christian think if he were to come upon you then? What is the angel writing down? Sometimes our lack of patience causes us to say things that will condemn us in the judgment, because every word is recorded.

Have you been able to manifest forbearance under provocation or strain? I remember a neighbor of ours who, when I was just a boy, had an old Packard car. The old Packard engines were straight eights, and they had a long hood on them. It was in the wintertime, and he had run the battery down trying to get the car started, so he tried starting the engine by using a crank. He cranked and cranked, but it still did not start. So, in his lack of patience, he pulled the crank out of its place and began to beat it across the hood, the fenders, and the headlights. When that did not produce the amount of satisfaction he wanted, he shattered the windshield with the crank. But that did not start the car either.

He was not a Christian, but surprisingly there are Christians who display similar behavior. Patience. Oh, golden patience. Have you been able to be steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity? If you have not developed patience, what do you suppose it is going to be like when you find yourself in the throes of the events that are going to transpire just before Jesus comes?

Steadfast Despite Adversity?

I do not know whether you sense it or not, but it seems to me, at least in these last few years, that the intensity of everything is growing. How are we going to fare? Are we going to be steadfast despite opposition and difficulty or adversity? As we have heard, we have not yet seen anything compared to what is coming. Do you have the patience of the saints that will see you through those times?

The apostle Peter is not the only one who understands the need for patience as a Christian virtue. Paul, writing to the Romans, tells them something similar. “Let love be without dissimulation [hypocrisy]. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” Romans 12:9–12.

As a matter of fact, Paul mentions patience in his writings more than all the other Bible writers put together. “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Hebrews 10:36, 37.

Paul tells us here that the kingdom of God comes with patience. We cannot rush ahead of God; we need to have patience. We might consider ourselves ready, but while He is working for the salvation of others, we need to have patience. If we are not ready to meet the Lord with peace in our hearts, we need to commit ourselves to Christ today.

Not the Only One

You are not the only one with whom Jesus is working. You are not the only one with whom the Holy Spirit is striving to bring to a knowledge of salvation. While we may be ready, there are others who are not, and it calls upon us for patience to wait for God’s timing.

Patience calls for us to wait upon the Lord to do His will. Deliverance will come; Paul says it will come with patience. In the meantime, there are things in our lives on which we need to work.

Moses Makes a Mess of Things

The Bible tells of a man who thought that he knew more than he did about the situation in which he found himself, and he did not exercise patience when he should have. It did not prove to be very healthful for some people. The children of Israel went into Egypt to keep from starving to death during a famine. Joseph made provision for them under the guidance of God, but finally Joseph died, and they were still in Egypt.

“Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” Exodus 1:8–12.

God’s plan did not provide for them to remain in bondage. So a deliverer was born—born with a destiny to free God’s children from their bondage. “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian . . . .” Exodus 2:11–15.

Moses, because of a lack of patience, made a mess of the whole plan of God. We should each ask ourselves: Am I working in the plan of God, or am I working in a frustrating, impatient way against the plan of God? Moses had every advantage, but the thing that he lacked was patience.

There is no question in my mind that Moses knew that God had something special in mind for him to help his people. There was too much connected with his life, too many providential leadings, for him not to know. But Moses was not a man who was a patient man. According to Acts 7:22, “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” Interestingly, all that wisdom, all that might in words and in deeds, all that he could do was not enough to undo what he had done through lack of patience.

Angel Ministry

“The elders of Israel were taught by angels that the time for their deliverance was near, and that Moses was the man whom God would employ to accomplish this work. Angels instructed Moses also that Jehovah had chosen him to break the bondage of His people. . . . In slaying the Egyptian, Moses had fallen into the same error so often committed by his fathers, of taking into their own hands the work that God had promised to do. It was not God’s will to deliver His people by warfare, as Moses thought . . . .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 245, 247.

Are there times when you think that God has a plan of which you are to be a part, and you are determined to do it your way? Your way may have been the way you were taught and trained and the way that you have always done it, so you think that is the way it always has to be. You might be surprised. Moses was. Moses was trained; he had all the skill and wisdom of the Egyptians. He thought he would do things his way! Lo and behold, it was not God’s way at all. Why? Because God was patient; Moses was not.


“It was not God’s will to deliver His people by warfare, as Moses thought, but by His own mighty power, that the glory might be ascribed to Him alone. Yet, even this rash act was overruled by God to accomplish His purposes. Moses was not prepared for his great work. He had yet to learn the same lesson of faith that Abraham and Jacob had been taught—not to rely upon human strength or wisdom, but upon the power of God for the fulfillment of His promises. And there were other lessons that, amid the solitude of the mountains, Moses was to receive. In the school of self-denial and hardship he was to learn patience, to temper his passions.” Ibid., 247.

Moses, at 45, was a young man in his prime. He was in the first one-third of his life. It took him almost the same amount of time, another 40 years, to unlearn what he had learned in the courts of Pharaoh.

What have you learned in the first one-third of your life? Have you been adding those virtuous graces to your character, or will you need to unlearn what you learned before? Do you wonder why things are going so slow, why things are not progressing as rapidly as they should?

Sometimes it is much more difficult to use a used ball of string than a ball of string that is new, because a used ball of string can snarl easier. If you have ever tried to unsnarl a ball of string, you know what it is like. That is your life. That is what God is trying to work through now. For Moses, who had all the skills, all the background, all the wonders of education and experience, God had to take his life and unsnarl it. God said, “Now, I will give you some sheep to herd; let that unsnarl your mind.”

Learning Patience

If there is anything that can teach a person how to be patient, it is herding sheep. Reflect back upon what God did with David and Moses and other sheepherders. What a marvelous lesson in the school of self-denial and hardship—you will learn patience, control of your temper.

During the next 40 years Moses learned patience. He learned meekness, and finally, when he had gone through a transition and change, God called him back to deliver Israel. Exodus tells the story: “And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” Exodus 4:10.

Moses did the job that the Lord had called him to do, and he was able to do the job because he had learned patience. How many of us have felt a calling to do a job for the Lord, but we find that many times we have run ahead of the Lord, that the timing just was not quite right? Do we stand back and learn the lesson that we failed to learn, to do it in God’s time? Or do we just shove ahead? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Moses stood back and learned God’s lessons.

Is God calling you to do a great work? How is your patience with your wife? How is your patience with your husband? How is your patience with your children? Do you say mean and passionate words to them? Are you in the Lord’s will? Are you in a position that will provide avenues for the Lord to use you?

If not, the Lord may have to deal with you in a way that may not at all be pleasant. The Bible says that the Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (See 2 Peter 3:9.) If you are impatient, there is no way that the Lord can take you to heaven. God forbid that we should ever reach a point, like the children of Israel of old, who, seeing they see not; hearing they hear not. (See Matthew 13:13.)

A Last Day People

The word patience is used more in the book of Revelation than in any other book of the Bible. Paul used it more, totally, but as far as books are concerned, it is used the most in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation is the book of last things, the special book that has been given to guide God’s people through the last days.

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. I get the distinct impression that unless we are able to have patience—patience that is developed through association with family, church members, jobs, business associates, the trials that come day by day—we are not keeping the commandments of God nor are we able to have the faith of Jesus.

That becomes pretty serious, does it not? The question that we need to ask ourselves then, is this: Can we afford to give vent to our impatience and to forfeit our growth in this area and lose out in the end because we have not been able to climb any higher in the ladder of character development?

God has made every provision for us to go higher. We will never be able to stand before the Lord and say, “Well, you know, it was not possible, Lord, for me to obtain patience.” Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. “I overcame impatience,” He says, “and you can, too.”

He was tempted in all points just like we are tempted, yet without sin. (See Hebrews 4:15.) He had no advantage over us—we are starting at the same place Jesus started, but He has walked the road before us, and He says, I am by your side, My grace is sufficient, you can add to your temperance, patience.