Bible Study Guides – “He That Heareth the Word, and Understandeth It”

MEMORY VERSE: “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew13:23.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 8, 299–304.

INTRODUCTION: “The word of God should be thoroughly studied. All other reading is inferior to this. A careful study of the Bible will not necessarily exclude all other reading of a religious nature; but if the word of God is studied prayerfully, all reading which will have a tendency to divert the mind from it will be excluded. If we study the word of God with an interest, and pray to understand it, new beauties will be seen in every line. God will reveal precious truth so clearly that the mind will derive sincere pleasure and have a continual feast as its comforting and sublime truths are unfolded.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 337, 338.

  1. How did Jesus describe the fate of those who hear God’s Word but do not understand it? Matthew 13:19.

NOTE: “The seed sown by the wayside represents the word of God as it falls upon the heart of an inattentive hearer. Like the hard-beaten path, trodden down by the feet of men and beasts, is the heart that becomes a highway for the world’s traffic, its pleasures and sins. Absorbed in selfish aims and sinful indulgences, the soul is ‘hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’ Hebrews 3:13. The spiritual faculties are paralysed. Men hear the word, but understand it not. They do not discern that it applies to themselves. They do not realize their need or their danger.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 44.

  1. What prayer should be ours whenever we read God’s Word? Psalm 119:169.

NOTE: “In the experience of Philip and the Ethiopian is presented the work to which the Lord calls His people. The Ethiopian represents a large class who need missionaries like Philip, missionaries who will hear the voice of God and go where He sends them. There are those in the world who are reading the Scriptures, but who cannot understand their import. The men and women who have a knowledge of God are needed to explain the word to these souls.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 58.

“Many think that they must consult commentaries on the Scriptures in order to understand the meaning of the word of God, and we would not take the position that commentaries should not be studied; but it will take much discernment to discover the truth of God under the mass of the words of men. How little has been done by the church as a body professing to believe the Bible, to gather up the scattered jewels of God’s word into one perfect chain of truth? The jewels of truth do not lie upon the surface, as many suppose. The mastermind in the confederacy of evil is ever at work to keep the truth out of sight and to bring into full view the opinions of great men. The enemy is doing all in his power to obscure heaven’s light through educational processes; for he does not mean that men shall hear the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’Isaiah 30:21.” Christian Education, 85.

  1. How do the following verses illustrate some of the techniques of the Bible’s poetry?

  • Psalm 34:3, Isaiah 55:8. The second line echoes the thought of the first in different words.
  • Psalm 34:4, Psalm 23:1. The first line gives a statement and the second gives the result or consequence arising from it.
  • Psalm 34:10, Isaiah 40:8. The second line contrasts with the first.
  • Psalm 43:5, Psalm 42:11. The first line poses a question and the second gives the response.

NOTE: Bishop Lowth, in 1741, first used the term “parallelism” for this poetic style. He pointed out that, because it is based on meaning, it survives translation into other languages with little or no loss, unlike poetry that depends mainly on complex patterns of rhyme, rhythm, word patterns or vocabulary. Some Bible poetry does, sometimes, use such patterns. For example, in Psalm 119, in each section, all eight verses begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Other psalms also begin each verse with a different letter of the alphabet in sequence. In the book of Lamentations, each of chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 contain 22 verses which begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order. Chapter 3, in contrast, has 66 verses that are grouped in threes, each group beginning with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. These are called acrostics. The fact that such poetic patterns do not easily translate does not, however, significantly detract from the poetry of these passages.


“As an educating power, the Bible is of more value than the writings of all the philosophers of all ages. In its wide range of style and subjects, there is something to interest and instruct every mind, to ennoble every interest. The light of revelation shines undimmed into the distant past, where human annals cast not a ray of light. There is poetry which has called forth the wonder and admiration of the world. In glowing beauty, in sublime and solemn majesty, in touching pathos, it is unequalled by the most brilliant productions of human genius.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 428, 429.

  1. How did God teach those who lived before Christ the plan of salvation? Hebrews 8:5; 10:1.

NOTE: “Through the teachings of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before all nations, and all who would look to Him should live. Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. The whole system of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption.” Acts of the Apostles, 14.


“The power of Christ, the crucified Saviour, to give eternal life, should be presented to the people. We should show them that the Old Testament is as verily the gospel in types and shadows as the New Testament is in its unfolding power. The New Testament does not present a new religion; the Old Testament does not present a religion to be superseded by the New. The New Testament is only the advancement and unfolding of the Old.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 392.

  1. How did Paul explain the significance of some of the feasts of the Lord? 1 Corinthians 5:7–8; 15:20–23.

NOTE: “The Passover was followed by the seven days’ feast of unleavened bread. On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year’s harvest, a sheaf of barley, was presented before the Lord. All the ceremonies of the feast were types of the work of Christ. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was an object lesson of redemption, which the Passover was intended to keep in memory. The slain lamb, the unleavened bread, the sheaf of first fruits, represented the Saviour.” Desire of Ages, 77.

  1. Besides the sanctuary service, what Old Testament stories are presented as types of future events and experiences? 1 Corinthians 10:1–13.

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

  1. What Old Testament figure was selected to be a type of the prophetic message to prepare people for the coming of the Lord? Matthew 11:12–14, (compare Malachi 4:5).

NOTE: “The prophet Malachi declares: ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.’ Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 62.

  1. What do some of the things connected with the tabernacle symbolize?

  • The lamb. Exodus 12:3–5. Compare John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:7.
  • The table of shewbread. Numbers 4:7. Compare John 6:35; 6:51.
  • The candlestick. Exodus 25:31–35. Compare John 1:9; 8:12.

NOTE: “Everything in the Jewish service had been misinterpreted and misapplied. The purpose of the sacrifice offerings had been perverted. They were to symbolize Christ and His mission, that when He should come in the flesh, the world might recognize God in Him, and accept Him as the world’s Redeemer. But their lack of true heart service for God had blinded the Jews to a knowledge of God.” Signs of the Times, July 14, 1898.

“In patriarchal times the sacrificial offerings connected with divine worship constituted a perpetual reminder of the coming of a Saviour, and thus it was with the entire ritual of the sanctuary services throughout Israel’s history. In the ministration of the tabernacle, and of the temple that afterward took its place, the people were taught each day, by means of types and shadows, the great truths relative to the advent of Christ as Redeemer, Priest, and King; and once each year their minds were carried forward to the closing events of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purification of the universe from sin and sinners. The sacrifices and offerings of the Mosaic ritual were ever pointing toward a better service, even a heavenly. The earthly sanctuary was ‘a figure for the time then present,’ in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices; its two holy places were ‘patterns of things in the heavens;’ for Christ, our great High Priest, is today ‘a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.’ Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:2.” Prophets and Kings, 684, 685.

  1. By what method did Christ seek to fix eternal truths in the minds of His listeners? Matthew 13:34.

NOTE: “Parable teaching was popular, and commanded the respect and attention, not only of the Jews, but of the people of other nations. No more effective method of instruction could He have employed. If His hearers had desired a knowledge of divine things, they might have understood His words; for He was always willing to explain them to the honest inquirer. Again, Christ had truths to present which the people were unprepared to accept or even to understand. For this reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teaching with the scenes of life, experience, or nature, He secured their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons, they recalled the words of the divine Teacher. To minds that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance of the Saviour’s teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries grew clear, and that which had been hard to grasp became evident. Jesus sought an avenue to every heart. By using a variety of illustrations, He not only presented truth in its different phases, but appealed to the different hearers. Their interest was aroused by figures drawn from the surroundings of their daily life. None who listened to the Saviour could feel that they were neglected or forgotten. The humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a voice that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 21.

  1. What reply did Jesus give when His disciples asked Him why He taught in parables? Matthew 13:10–17.

NOTE: “And He had another reason for teaching in parables. Among the multitudes that gathered about Him, there were priests and rabbis, scribes and elders, Herodians and rulers, world-loving, bigoted, ambitious men, who desired above all things to find some accusation against Him. Their spies followed His steps day after day, to catch from His lips something that would cause His condemnation, and forever silence the One who seemed to draw the world after Him. The Saviour understood the character of these men, and He presented truth in such a way that they could find nothing by which to bring His case before the Sanhedrin. In parables He rebuked the hypocrisy and wicked works of those who occupied high positions, and in figurative language clothed truth of so cutting a character that had it been spoken in direct denunciation, they would not have listened to His words, and would speedily have put an end to His ministry. But while He evaded the spies, He made truth so clear that error was manifested, and the honest in heart were profited by His lessons. Divine wisdom, infinite grace, were made plain by the things of God’s creation. Through nature and the experiences of life, men were taught of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 22.

  1. Why are the stories of Bible times recorded for us? 1 Corinthians 10:1–11.

NOTE: “A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God, a blessing if they come out from the world and are separate, and walk in the path of humble obedience; and a curse if they unite with the idolatrous, who trample upon the high claims of heaven. The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they. ‘Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 609.

“We have evidence in God’s word of the liability of His people to be greatly deceived. There are many instances where what may seem to be a sincere zeal for the honour of God has its origin in leaving the soul unguarded for the enemy to tempt and to impress the mind with a perverted sense of the real state of things. And we may expect just such things in these last days, for Satan is just as busy now as he was in the congregation of Israel. The cruelty and strength of prejudice are not understood.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 353.

  1. Against what specific danger do these stories warn us? 1 Corinthians 10:12.

NOTE: “Satan well knows the material with which he has to deal in the human heart. He knows, for he has studied with fiendish intensity for thousands of years, the points most easily assailed in every character; and through successive generations he has wrought to overthrow the strongest men, princes in Israel, by the same temptations that were so successful at Baalpeor. All along through the ages there are strewn wrecks of character that have been stranded upon the rocks of sensual indulgence. As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul. It is not the ignorant and uncultured merely that need to be guarded; he will prepare his temptations for those in the highest positions, in the most holy office; if he can lead them to pollute their souls, he can through them destroy many. And he employs the same agents now as he employed three thousand years ago. By worldly friendships, by the charms of beauty, by pleasure seeking, mirth, feasting, or the wine cup, he tempts to the violation of the seventh commandment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 458.

Is There Any Word From God?

“For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth He devise means that His banished be not expelled from Him.” 2 Samuel 14:14. A woman of Tekoah preached this little sermon as a rebuke to the king of Israel.

The Bible story begins when Amnon, the king’s son wronged his half sister, Tamar, who was a full sister to Absalom. Absalom took revenge by killing Amnon then fleeing into exile to avoid revenge being taken upon him. For three years he lived with a foreign king, far from his homeland. For three years he anxiously watched and waited, asking everyone whom he thought might know, “Is there any word from the king?” But the king remained silent. There was no indication that he even cared about Absalom. Finally, the woman of Tekoah, in consultation with Joab, preached this little sermon to the king as a rebuke. Pointing out that his action was unlike the action of the Lord that he professed to love and obey, she reminded him that the merciful God we serve devises means whereby the banished may be restored.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve enjoyed open communication with the Lord. We are told, “The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly care of God but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no obscuring veil between.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 50. All that changed when sin came in.

Have you ever noticed the way nations relate to other nations in modern diplomacy? When two nations are not getting along, very often they do not communicate directly but talk to each other through a third party. They fear that direct communication would blur the message of condemnation that they are trying to give, and cause people to say, “Well, it must not be all that bad. They are still on speaking terms.” So a means is devised by which communication can go on, but still the testimony, against what is conceived to be evil, remains.

God has used a similar method to bear testimony against the evil of man’s rebellion. God recognized that to communicate directly with man would blur the testimony and cause confusion. Maybe the rebel would say, “Well, I must not be so bad, the Lord is still talking to me.” So the Lord had to break off direct communication, yet He devised a means to continue communication. He chose individuals who were not in rebellion against Him and through them He sent messages to those in rebellion. In this way He communicates to the rebel, but at the same time He declares to the universe His rejection of the evil action of the rebel. We call this Divine Diplomacy.

This special class of people, through whom the Lord communicates, we call prophets. They can declare, “Now the word of the Lord came unto me,” and this gives them a sense of commission that is unlike anything the world has ever seen. We look in amazement at prophets going before their kings and demanding that they come into line. That is certainly not something a common man would do, for it would mean risking his life.

Recall the time when a certain king of Israel asked a prophet what would happen if he went to war. The prophet told him truthfully that he would not come back because the Lord did not approve. The king in fury said, “Take this man and throw him in the prison and keep him there until I come back.” We would expect the man to drop to his knees and plead for mercy, but he did not. He said, “Your majesty, if you come back at all, the Lord has not spoken by me.”

The history of the prophets’ relationship to their kings reveals their steadfast integrity, their unflinching and unyielding demand for righteousness on every level from the highest to the lowest classes of society. There is not any class of men like them in the world, and they produced literature. Some of their messages appear to us in a Book that is unlike any other book in the world—the Bible. We value it because we believe it contains revelations from God.

Theories and Facts

What actually is revelation? To fully answer this question, I first present an example to you. Suppose that you are the king of one of the Hawaiian Islands where a horse has never been seen. Some Europeans arrive and tell you that in Europe there is a large animal called a horse. How are you going to know what a horse is like? One way that you could find out is to call a committee of the most learned men in your kingdom and commission them to collectively study this matter out and report their findings back to you. The only problem is, they have never seen a horse. They only have fragments of information about a horse, and the largest animals they know are sharks and whales. It would not be too surprising, then, if the report they brought back to you is that a horse is something like a whale or a shark. Having never seen a horse, that would be the best they could do.

Another way to learn about a horse would be to send a few thousand dollars to Europe to have a horse shipped to your island. When the horse arrived in Hawaii, your learned men could examine the horse and then draw up their final conclusion. That would be a perfectly appropriate method as long as they did not try to ignore the evidence and force their previous theories on the actual horse!

Consider a theory that some of the best brains in our world adhered to before men had ever walked on the moon. They recognized the Law of Gravity in the world and in the universe. They believed that the degree of the pull of gravity was related to the size of the planet. The larger the planet, the stronger the pull; the smaller the planet, the less the pull. Since the moon is so much smaller than the earth, they reasoned that there would be very little gravitational pull there, which would mean that the surface of the moon might be extremely soft. Gravity would not have pulled it in as hard as it is here on earth and a man landing on the moon might sink in to his waist or even to his neck.

Finally, the day came when a man landed a spacecraft on the moon and stepped out onto its surface for the first time—and he only sunk in about two inches. There was not that much dust. What if the scientists had said, “We will not accept that; we know that the surface of the moon is soft”? That would have been ridiculous! Instead, they corrected their theory when the facts were in. They could not force their theory on the moon!

All of the examples I have given you are leading to a very crucial concept: there is nothing wrong with speculative thinking, but it should always be corrected by the observable data!

Man’s Theories about Revelation

As we come back to our basic question, What is revelation?, we discover that man has a very strong tendency to set up a theory about revelation and force it on the Bible instead of letting the Bible tell them what revelation is! Here are just a few of the many examples I could give you.

People theorize that if there is such a thing as revelation, if there is a Book in existence which contains information revealed by the God of the universe, certainly it would have just one heavenly literary style throughout that whole Book. But, when we look at the Book, it is not like that. There are sections of it that are purely historical in style. Sections of it are dramatical in style, like the book of Job. Others are poetical, like the Psalms, and others are apocalyptic, like Daniel and Revelation. What should we do with these facts? Will we let the facts correct our theory? Or are we determined to hold to our theory no matter what?

Another very common way that many have reasoned is that if there is something in the world called revelation, if God has spoken to man, then certainly that message would come from God in the highest language and with the most perfect vocabulary known to man. However, as men studied the New Testament, written in Greek, they saw a great difference between the Greek of the New Testament and the Greek of the classical writers. At the same time archeologists were finding written materials in the Greek language. There were contracts, deeds, instructions, bills of lading, and receipts. They finally found that the truth of the matter was that the language of the Greek New Testament was the simple everyday language of the common people. The idea that the Greek of the New Testament must be an especially elevated form of Greek had to be laid aside.

Some people had real trouble with that. They reasoned that it would be impossible that God could pass by the beautiful language of high Greek for the common language spoken on the street. It was a jolt to them. But that is exactly what God did, and we had better allow our theories be corrected by the facts.

Men speculate that if the Bible is a revelation from God then every description of a single incident should be exactly like every other description. But this is not true at all. We look at the Gospel records of the life of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and they are not contradictory, but they are different. They apparently reflect the different interests of the writer.

A study of the gospel of Mark shows that he wrote for the non-Jewish reader. His gospel contains many explanations telling why the Jews had certain customs or explaining a word that had a particular meaning for the Jews. Matthew, on the other hand, obviously wrote for the Jew and he often notes how prophecies, well known to Jews, had been fulfilled. Luke was the careful historian trying to set everything in the context of the events around it. He often says, it was in such and such a year of a certain ruler, it was such and such a time, or in such and such a place. John had a very different emphasis. He was the theologian. In his gospel, he spends very little time on locations, but he spends a lot of time on the theological meanings of what Jesus said. All of the gospels are true and contain important lessons for us, but they do not provide identical accounts. Here again we have to let our theory be corrected by the facts.

Some would argue that if the Bible is from God, it should be so legally precise that it is impossible to misunderstand it. But God, we discover, is not interested in forcing anyone to believe. He sets before us enough evidence that we can believe if we choose to, and with that He is finished. He will not try to force anyone. So we do not find the Bible to be legally precise. In order to be sure we have the right picture, we must compare many verses, one with another.

More of Men’s Theories

According to men’s theories, if the Bible is a divinely inspired book, we should not find any records of evil. But we find that the Bible records, in frank and honest detail, the sins of David and the apostasy and betrayal of Peter and other things that are painful for us to read. So we have to let that correct our theory again.

According to our theory, the Bible should be systematically organized. Everything should be in proper chronological order, but this is not true either. Take, for example, the book of Jeremiah. When you read it, it looks as though Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary, collected all of the masses of Jeremiah’s writings and just bound them together in a book, without any attempt at all to put them in proper chronological order.

In the New Testament, even the parables are not recorded in the same order in the different gospels. If you tried to figure out which one came first, you would not find it easy. Ellen White suggests that the narrative of what Jesus said and what He did was called back to the authors minds by certain circumstances and so the different events of Christ’s ministry and the lessons He taught, do not always appear in chronological order in the different gospels.

We theorize that if the Bible truly is the word of God, certainly it must be entirely original. It does not seem logical that in it there would appear anything a man had copied from another man. But that does not check out either. When you look at your Bible, you find that there is clear evidence that there was some copying done.

If you begin with 2 Peter 2:4 and compare it with Jude 6, and read about the next ten verses in each chapter, you will conclude that someone did some copying. Either Peter had Jude’s epistle before him as he wrote or Jude had Peter’s epistle before him as he wrote. Matthew also must have had the book of Mark before him as he was writing, and Luke must have had both Matthew and Mark before him as he was writing. Some scholars tell us that ninety-five percent of the book of Mark is copied word for word into Matthew and Luke.

In the book of Genesis there is a strong indication that earlier records were incorporated into Scripture. Genesis chapter 1 through chapter 2 verse 3, covers the story of creation. There we see a record of the days of creation and exactly what happened on every day, including the seventh. And then, verse 4 starts in with another new story of creation. It begins, “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.” What is then recorded is not contradictory to the first account, any more than Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are contradictory, but it is different.

Look at that word “generation” in verse four. In the past scholars believed that writing was unknown in the ancient world. Some skeptics insisted that we know Moses could not have written Genesis because writing was not being done in Moses’ time. However, the archaeologists have corrected our understanding and we now know there was a great deal of writing being done long, long before Moses was born. In the days of Abraham they even kept little clay tablets with Bills of Sale and Title Deeds to their property. So certainly writing was not uncommon.

Archaeologists have discovered genealogical tablets called the towledah. These little tablets would have all the names of one’s ancestors, so it was the towledah of that man or family. And towledah is the word used in Genesis 2:4, translated “generations.” There is strong indication here that when Moses wrote the book of Genesis he incorporated some pre-existing records into his own record of the early history of our earth. We believe that the Holy Spirit would not have let him include them if they had been faulty. But they were accurate records and so Moses simply copied them right into his own record.

We could go on and compare Kings and Chronicles and add many more illustrations, but the evidence is already conclusive and leads to one point—we must correct our theories by the facts revealed in the Word of God. We must let the Bible tell us what revelation is and not force our theories upon the Bible.

God’s Penmen Not His Pen

Another theory that is commonly held by many sincere Christians is that if God spoke to a man by His Holy Spirit, then certainly the man merely copied the words spoken to him. But that does not check out, either. I learned something about this with an experience of my own.

There was a time when I feel that the Lord talked to me directly. It happened when I was pleading with the Lord for guidance in an important decision that had to immediately be made about an evangelistic series. I began to quote to the Lord one of His own Scriptures which said, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” I said, “Lord, You have to tell me what to do. You have to give me a sign. I have to decide this quickly.” And the Lord responded. I did not hear a voice, but my mind was instantly illuminated with a complete thought, like a flash. I cannot quote it to you as quickly as it came, because I have to report it to you in words and the words take time. But the message came in a thousandth of a second. “What are you doing reading to Me a promise of wisdom while you ask Me for a sign? A sign is not wisdom.” That hit me so hard that I stopped praying. I said, “I guess that is right.” And so, I sat down on my chair and I said, “What would wisdom do?” Then I laid out a little plan, I tried it and it worked. It was a miraculous thing.

I cherish the memory of the few times in my experience that I believe the Lord spoke to me directly. I cannot tell you by what method it was done, but it was immediate and the whole message was there in my mind.

I tell people that experience in different words from time to time, words calculated to reach the understanding of the person I am talking to. I do not think that does any violence at all to the experience. It was not given to me in words that I either heard or saw.

Ellen White tells us that the writers of the Bible had to do something like that. “The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. . . . The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen.” Ibid., 20, 21. (See also Selected Messages, vol. 1, 20–48.)

I have listened with great interest to many earnest and sincere scholars in the university classroom, as they struggled desperately to describe how God speaks to a man in revelation. They could not do it. I cannot do it either. But Ellen White reminds us that we see the same thing in revelation that we see in the incarnation. No man can tell precisely how humanity and divinity are blended in Jesus Christ. No man can tell precisely how humanity and divinity are blended in the Word of God. It is beyond the human understanding. This is probably a subject we will be studying through the ages of eternity.

She goes on: “It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expression but on the man himself. . . . The words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will, thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God.” Ibid. And then summing it up, she says, “I take the Bible just as it is, the inspired Word. I believe its utterances in the entire Bible.” Ibid., 17.

The Bible can be compared to a tall man bending down to talk to a child, then getting down on one knee so that his eyes are level with the child’s and trying to communicate with him. It is God stooping down to communicate with us in language that we can understand. Human language is not adequate to fully contain the thought of God, but God devised a means to communicate the truths vital to our salvation in a way that we mortals could understand.

God Calls Us Back

David devised means whereby Absalom could be brought back. But notice the difference. David did not act until he was urged. God devised the means long before there was a need. He was ready with His plan that His banished would not be expelled and that those separated from Him by sin would not be hopelessly separated. He devised a means to bring them back, to restore them.

David’s restoration of Absalom was not complete. He told Joab to bring him back to Jerusalem and let him live in his own house free, but not to let him see his face. That is not like God. Remember in the story of the Prodigal Son, the father saw his prodigal son returning and he did not say, “Well, I see my son is coming back. Send one of the servants to take him to the servants quarters and we will send some clothing down there. But see to it that he does not come to this house.” Oh, no, Jesus describes the father, himself, going out to meet him. He wraps his arms around him and draws him close to his heart of love. Then he commands that a robe be brought to cover his filthy rags and he calls everyone to celebrate his restoration so that all will know that his restoration is complete. The son is restored as fully and completely as if he had never sinned. That is the way the Lord works. His ways are much higher than the ways of men.

How thankful we are that God devised means for rebellious mankind. It is as if the rope tying man’s boat to the dock is cut and man is on the boat drifting ever farther and farther away from God. But God was not content to sit in silence in His palace, like David did, and say, “That is too bad. It is not My problem.” God made it His problem. He devised a means and because He did, we have His Book in our hands.

This precious, invaluable Book is the greatest treasure we can have because it comes from God. I suggest that we lay aside all of our preconceived theories and let this Book tell us what revelation is and does and what it does not do. Let us thank God that He devised the means so that everywhere man may go, there is always this Book waiting for him. Whenever man in his exile asks, “Is there any word from the King?” the answer is always “Yes, there is a word from the Lord.” You can turn to it anytime, anywhere and discover that the Lord is waiting to welcome you home.

“Come, every soul by sin oppressed.

There’s mercy with the Lord,

And He will surely give you rest,

By trusting in His Word.”

That Word is always there. There is always a word from the Lord saying, “Come home and be forgiven. Be as fully restored as if you had never sinned.”

Editorial – The Infallible Guide, Part II

We showed the first part of this series (in the editorial in July 1999), that informed Adventists do not claim verbal inspiration or infallibility in the strictest sense of the word for inspired writings. But at the same time we saw that inspired writings are an infallible guide to salvation and that no one will be able to say, in the day of judgement, that he followed the inspired writings and was lost.

“The Bible presents a perfect standard of character; it is an infallible guide under all circumstances, even to the end of the journey of life.” Signs of the Times, March 21, 1906.

“It was the Spirit of God that inspired the Bible, it is impossible that the teaching of the Spirit should ever be contrary to that of the word.” The Great Controversy, vii.

“Divine power is infallible. Then let us come to God, pleading for the guidance of His Holy Spirit.” Testimonies to Ministers, 485.

As is evident in the above quotations, the reason that the Bible is an infallible guide to heaven is because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit and divine power is infallible. Since the Spirit of Prophecy, as manifested in the writings of Ellen G. White, is also inspired by the same power and person, the Spirit of Prophecy, which is confirmed, is also an infallible guide. No one will be able to claim, in the day of judgement, that they studied and read these books and attempted to follow the counsel therein contained and then lost their soul. The danger is that through neglect that the following will come to pass: “Many are going directly contrary to the light which God has given to His people, because they do not read the books which contain the light and knowledge in cautions, reproofs, and warnings. The cares of the world, the love of fashion, and the lack of religion have turned the attention from the light God has so graciously given.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 681.

The following letter illustrates the vital importance of the Spirit of Prophecy for the remnant living in the last days: “The truths given us after the passing of the time in 1844 are just as certain and unchangeable as when the Lord gave them to us in answer to our urgent prayers. The visions that the Lord has given me are so remarkable that we know that what we have accepted is the truth. This was demonstrated by the Holy Spirit. Light, precious light from God, established the main points of our faith as we hold them today. And these truths are to be kept before the mind. We must arouse from the position of lukewarmness, from being neither cold nor hot. We need increased faith and more earnest trust in God. We must not be satisfied to remain where we are. We must advance step by step, from light to greater light.

“The Lord will certainly do great things for us if we will hunger and thirst after righteousness. We are the purchased property of Jesus Christ. We must not lose our devotion, our consecration. We are in conflict with the errors and delusions that have to be swept away from the minds of those who have not acted upon the light they already have. Bible truth is our only safety. I know and understand that we are to be established in the faith, in the light of the truth given us in our early experience. At that time one error after another pressed in upon us; ministers and doctors brought in new doctrines. We would search the Scriptures with much prayer, and the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to our minds. Sometimes whole nights would be devoted to searching the Scriptures, and earnestly asking God for guidance. Companies of devoted men and women assembled for this purpose. The power of God would come upon me, and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error.

“As the points of our faith were thus established, our feet were placed upon a solid foundation. We accepted the truth point by point, under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. I would be taken off in vision, and explanations would be given me. I was given illustrations of heavenly things, and of the sanctuary, so that we were placed where light was shining on us in clear, distinct rays.

“All these truths are immortalized in my writings. The Lord never denies His word. Men may get up scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to seduce souls from the truth, but all who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in these last days.” Letter 50, 1906. [Emphasis supplied]

Bible Study Guides – “In All Things Like Unto His Brethren”

January 8, 2000 – January 14, 2000

Memory Verse

“Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17.

Study Help: Confrontation, 32–47.


“The Elder Brother of our race is by the eternal throne. He looks upon every soul who is turning his face toward Him as the Savior. He knows by experience what are the weaknesses of humanity, what are our wants, and where lies the strength of our temptations; for He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He is watching over you, trembling child of God. Are you tempted? He will deliver. Are you weak? He will strengthen. Are you ignorant? He will enlighten. Are you wounded? He will heal. The Lord ‘telleth the number of the stars;’ and yet ‘He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:4, 3.’” Desire of Ages, 329.

“The Word Was Made Flesh”

1 How does John describe the incarnation of Christ? John 1:14.

note: “The Son of God stooped to uplift the fallen.…He was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He knew what it meant to be hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He was a stranger and a sojourner on the earth–in the world, but not of the world; tempted and tried as men and women of today are tempted and tried, yet living a life free from sin. Tender, compassionate, sympathetic, ever considerate of others, He represented the character of God.” Acts of the Apostles, 472.

2 How did Paul describe the incarnation of Christ? Philippians 2:7.

note: The marginal reading for “made Himself of no reputation” is “emptied Himself.” It is to this that Charles Wesley referred in his well-known hymn, “Amazing Love.” “He left His Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite His grace, emptied Himself of all but love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race.”

“Jesus came to the world not as an angel of light; we could not have endured His glory if He had come thus.…For our sake Jesus emptied Himself of His glory; He clothed His divinity with humanity that He might touch humanity, that His personal presence might be among us, that we might know that He was acquainted with all our trials, and sympathized with our grief, that every son and daughter of Adam might understand that Jesus is the friend of sinners.” Signs of the Times, April 18, 1892.

“I Can of Mine Own Self Do Nothing”

3 How did Jesus show that He had laid aside His omnipotence? John 5:19, 30.

note: “Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.” Desire of Ages, 664.

4 How did Jesus state His dependence on His Father? John 7:16; John 12:49, 50; John 14:10.

note: “The knowledge of divine truth is promised to those who will render obedience to the light and truth that have been given to them. An entrance into the strait gate is not dependent upon the possession of learning or riches, but it is dependent upon the possession of a teachable spirit.” Ye Shall Receive Power, 110.

5 How did Jesus show that even His miracles were not accomplished through His own power? John 14:10–12.

note: See Steps to Christ, 75.

6 What did Jesus want us to learn from His earthly life? John 8:28.

note: “So utterly was He emptied of self that He made no plans for Himself. He accepted God’s plan for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. If Jesus was so wholly dependent, declaring, ‘I do nothing of Myself,’ how much more should the human agents depend upon God for constant instruction, so that their lives might be the simple working out of God’s will. Oh, that failing, erring mortals would be content to seek wisdom from God, and be entirely submissive in working out His directions, in exemplifying His character! If ever mortals needed to send to heaven an earnest cry, ‘Lord, show me Thy way; teach me the way of the Lord,’ it is now. Only those will have a fitness for the mansions above who give to God full and implicit obedience. God knows that we would not appreciate His rarest gifts if we were not perfectly submissive to His will.” Signs of the Times, November 21, 1892.

“In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh”

7 Why did Christ share our common humanity? Hebrews 2:14.

note: See The Desire of Ages, 117.

8 Which of Christ’s earthly ancestors does the Bible especially mention? Romans 1:3; Hebrews 2:16.

note: See The Desire of Ages, 49.

9 What warning does John give against those who deny the completeness of Christ’s humanity? 1 John 4:1–3.

note: “By misrepresentation and falsehood the emissaries of Satan had sought to stir up opposition against John and against the doctrine of Christ. In consequence dissentions and heresies were imperiling the church. John met these errors unflinchingly. He hedged up the way of the adversaries of truth. He wrote and exhorted, that the leaders in these heresies should not have the least encouragement. There are at the present day evils similar to those that threatened the prosperity of the early church, and the teachings of the apostle upon these points should be carefully heeded.” The Sanctified Life, 64, 65.

“Yet Without Sin”

10 Despite the fact that Jesus was tempted in exactly the same way that we are, of what are we assured? Hebrews 4:15.

note: “We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.…He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He ‘knew no sin.’ He was the Lamb ‘without blemish and without spot.’ Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Savior’s head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope. Not even by a thought could Christ be brought to yield to the power of temptation.…Christ declared of Himself, ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’” The Faith I Live By, 49.

11 How did Paul explain the purpose of Christ assuming our fallen nature? Romans 8:3, 4.

note: “The sinful nature of man was weak, and he was prone to the transgression of God’s commandments. Man had not the power to do the words of God; that is why Christ came to our world, that He might give him moral power. There was no power in heaven or in earth but the power of Christ that could deliver. . . . He came to meet the difficulty and to remove it. His own arm brought salvation. God sent forth His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh that He might condemn sin in the flesh and reveal the fact to heaven, to the worlds unfallen and also the fallen world, that through the power of divine grace, through partaking of the divine nature, man need no longer stand under the curse of the law or remain in transgression.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 82, 83.

See also Signs of the Times, January 16, 1896; Review and Herald, May 7, 1901.

The Star of the New Evangelization of America, Part III

Editor’s Note: In the last two parts (Part I and Part II) of this series we have looked at the role spiritualism will play in the last days, especially as it relates to Adventism. This month we will examine, in detail, the Marian phenomena and how we should relate to it.

Thousands of Supernatural Apparitions

Satan has been preparing the world for a master deception for quite some time. Mary apparitions have been reported for centuries, and, more recently, the phenomena is steadily increasing. “Spiritualism is about to take the world captive. There are many who think that Spiritualism is upheld through trickery and imposture; but this is far from the truth. Superhuman power is working in a variety of ways, and few have any idea of what will be the manifestations of Spiritualism in the future.” Signs of the Times, May 28, 1894. Is it any wonder, then, that all over the world major Mary apparitions and pilgrimages are increasing each year? “Since the first recorded supernatural appearance of Mary to a third-century pagan lawyer turned Christian named Gregory Thaumaturgus.…thousands of apparitions of the Virgin…have been claimed.…Hundreds of visions have been reported in the twentieth century alone, although only a few have ever received official ‘approval’ by the Catholic Church.” Searching for Mary, 6.

The December 30, 1991, Time magazine reported that “the late 20th century has become the age of the Marian pilgrimage” to shrines established to commemorate the many sightings of the Virgin Mary in recent years. Perhaps the two most famous shrines are at Lourdes, France, and Fatima, Portugal. But, “there are thousands of shrines of Our Lady in every country of the world.” Shrines to our Lady, 5. Shrines are usually built at locations where an apparition has appeared. Especially in the twentieth century, Mary apparitions have been reported and shrines erected in Portugal, Ireland, Rwanda, Venezuela, Italy, Yugoslavia, Korea, Mexico, Japan, and many other countries, drawing millions of visitors every year.

A major U.S. newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, on December 25, 1998, featured the following headline: Virgin Mary Fervor Grows As More Sightings Reported. The Chronicle cited that the three major reasons for the added Marian fervor are the approach of the millennium, the strong devotion of Pope John Paul II to Mary, and the continuing influence of events at Medjugorje, a Bosnian village where the mother of Jesus supposedly appeared in 1981. In Carthage, Missouri, 50,000 were estimated for the 21st annual observance of Marian Days. (Scope, August 12, 1998.) Then, “in Conyers, Georgia, 100,000 people gathered on a farm to hear a middle-aged housewife named Nancy Fowler channel messages from the Virgin Mary.” Ibid.

On the feast of Guadalupe, about two dozen Mexican farm workers and their families gather around a large shade tree at a Yuba City housing project. They claim to see an image of Mary in a large knothole and have candles and poinsettias at the base of the tree. The Chronicle continues: “This rising devotion to Mary cuts across lines and denominational boundaries.” (See The Great Controversy, 445.)

Blood, Tears, and Roses

In Thornton, California, 50,000 devoted pilgrims from all over the country arrive, many in motor homes, in hopes of seeing a repeat performance of the “moving statue of Mary.” Many others have reported statues of the Virgin shedding tears of blood. “In the small town of Naju, located near the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula, Our Lady began giving urgent messages and signs to Julia Kim. On June 30, 1985, Our Lady’s statue, owned by Julia, began weeping tears, and on October 19, 1986, it began weeping tears of blood. Until January 14, 1992, the statue wept for a total of exactly 700 days. The tears of blood were tested and found to be human blood. Now the statue has been giving off odors of fragrant oil.…Julia is surrounded by the sweet fragrance of roses. Also, when she kisses a rosary or simply holds it in her hands for a few seconds, it becomes fragrant.” Our Lady of Naju Web Site. In Stockton, California, my hometown, two statues recently transported from the Philippines sporadically emitted a “palatable fragrance of sweet-scented oil.” The Record, May 5, 1999.

Outside California City, in the Mojave Desert, a Mexican-born mystic and visionary named Maria Paula, has drawn crowds numbering in the thousands since 1989. “The crowds come on the thirteenth of every month for prayer and to witness Maria Paula’s reception of an apparition and a message from the Virgin Mary. Pilgrims have reported sun miracles, visions, healings, and numerous other miraculous phenomena.” Searching for Mary, 169.

In Corpus Christi, Texas, a $12.00 statue of the Virgin “turned its head, opened its eyes, and took mincing steps.” The Star Tribune, June 6, 1998. About 50 people a minute visit the site where a subway worker’s child noticed a water stain on the floor of Mexico City’s Hidalgo Metro station, a likeness to the nation’s most powerful religious symbol—the beloved Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. (The Denver Post, June 14, 1997.)

The Great Chastisements

“Medjugorje (‘between the hills’) has become well known in Bosnia-Hercegovina, and the world, because of six young people who claim to have seen visions of the Madonna. Beginning on June 24, 1981, the Blessed Mother appeared to and later told the visionaries God had sent her to our world to help us convert our hearts and lives back to Him.” Medjugorje Web Site. Visions and apparitions at Medjugorje—sometimes called The New Fatima—are continually being reported.

In Fatima, Portugal, on July 13, 1917, the Virgin reportedly imparted three secrets to three shepherd children. The second secret included the Virgin’s desire that the pope consecrate Russia to her immaculate heart, thus securing the conversion of that nation. [Interesting how communism was defeated through the conspiracy of Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan! Beware, beloved, for while in Mexico, the same pope consecrated the Americas to Mary, calling for solidarity!] “Fatima’s third secret, still unrevealed, has been kept under lock and key at the Vatican since the late 1950s and has been the subject of much speculation since its existence was first made known. It is widely supposed that the secret concerns a coming worldwide cataclysm and the approach of the end-times.” Searching for Mary, 10, 11.

Garabandal, Spain—A Masterful Deception

From 1961 through 1965, in Garabandal, Spain, four young girls experienced more than two thousand apparitions of the Virgin Mary over a four-year period. These particular visions and apparitions are a perfect example of the devil’s ability to perform masterful delusions and lying wonders—a prelude of what is to come. On July 1, 1961, a shining, winged angel spoke to the children and told them that the following day they would see the Blessed Virgin. The next day the Virgin appeared with two angels and continued to appear throughout the month. “Each time the girls went into ecstasy, during which they exhibited extraordinary physical changes: they became insensitive to pinpricks, extreme noise and bright lights, and their slight bodies could hardly be lifted from the ground by two strong men.…The Virgin would pass the infant Jesus to one of the girls to cuddle, or remove her crown and let the girls try it on.…The girls received out-of-body experiences during which they claimed they were taken on spiritual journeys through the heavens by the Virgin. Many eyewitnesses declared on oath that they had observed the girls seeming to fly over the ground at great speed when Our Lady was calling them to her.” Shrines of Our Lady, 153.

According to Conchita Gonzales, one of the four children: “On an unspecified date in the future…the Great Miracle…will take place in a grove of pines near Garabandal. Everyone who is in the area will see it; the sick who are present will be cured, sinners will repent, and Russia will be converted. The second phase of the miracle is to establish a permanent, miraculous sign in the groves of pines. The sign will be capable of being photographed and touched, its divine origin will be beyond question, and it will last until the end of time. The final leg of the prophecy, the Chastisement, is a global catastrophe held in reserve by God in the event the Warning and Miracle don’t have their intended effects.” Searching for Mary, 11, 12.

Calamities Will Increase

In Bayside, N.Y., “The Lourdes of America,” Jesus and Mary are reported to speak to the world through a seer named Veronica Lueken. Warnings of impending doom are presented of a massive world monetary depression and Russian plans of attack. Mary warns of increasing natural disasters through the elements of nature, and that these judgments from God—His chastisements—are increasing because the world has violated His moral law—the Ten Commandments.

Again, compare the words of the “demon” Mary (a demon masquerading as Mary) with the words of E. G. White: “Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows.…While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power….These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous.The Great Controversy, 589, 590.

A category-five tornado in Salt Lake City, a first of its kind, causing millions of dollars in damage; the worst hurricane to hit Texas in over ten years; 72 tornadoes in one day in Kansas and in Oklahoma City; one of the ten most deadly earthquakes in history, killing forty thousand in Turkey—such calamities as these are becoming “more frequent and disastrous.”

So in the future, as these calamities increase and Sunday worship is urged upon us, we can expect nominal SDA ministers [whose testimonies will be seconded by the demon spirits (see The Great Controversy, 590, 591)] in “responsible positions taking a course directly opposite to that pursued by Nehemiah.…In churches and in large gatherings in the open air, ministers will urge upon the people the necessity of keeping the first day of the week. There are calamities on sea and land: and these calamities will increase, one disaster following close upon another; and the little band of conscientious Sabbath-keepers will be pointed out as the ones who are bringing the wrath of God upon the world by their disregard of Sunday.” And it will also be asserted “that this sin has brought calamities that will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity.” Review and Herald, March 18, 1884; The Great Controversy, 590. Obviously, these leaders are practitioners of the omega!

The Thunder of Justice

I remember the first time I read The Thunder of Justice, written by two Catholics who are very active in the Marian Movement, how alarmed I was by their frequent use of Adventist terms. The book, which focuses on prophetic, end-time events, appears to be the Catholic’s version of The Great Controversy. In fact, it uses the very language of Ellen G. White—the language with which SDAs are familiar. This book attempts to counterfeit the Three Angels’ Messages and to give all the glory to the Virgin Mary. Some terms used in this false Spirit of Prophecy are “the little flock,” “the remnant,” Mary’s message to “recite and keep the Ten Commandments,” and that she is “the prophetess of the last days.”

The Thunder of Justice tells us that the demon Mary prophesied that rockets will hit New York in the near future. (The Thunder of Justice, 344.) Interestingly, Ellen White has foretold of a time when New York will suffer a great fire: “I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven….The scene that next passes before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings and said: ‘They are perfectly safe.’ But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 12, 13.

I have often wondered why SDAs are not more alarmed by the inroads of spiritualism and Satan’s use of Mary in his efforts to deceive the world, and us also. The demon Mary claims to be the “Mother of the Second Advent,” and that she is preparing us for Christ’s Second Coming. Friends, that is the work of our church! For we are the true church that has been called to give the Elijah message to the world! But the “demon” Mary insists: “I am the Virgin of Revelation.” I am the “woman clothed with the sun who does battle with the dragon and his powerful army of evil.” The Thunder of Justice, 90, 99.

The audacity of the “demon” Mary to take the symbolic vision given to John in Revelation 12, which is a symbol of God’s true church, and incorrectly apply it to herself! The false Mary also elaborates on the Holy Spirit’s role in the last days: “On the feast of Pentecost, May 22, 1988, the message from Our Lady to the Marian Movement of Priests was clear: ‘The Holy Spirit will come to establish the glorious reign of Christ.…What will come to pass is something so very great that it will exceed anything that has taken place since the beginning of the world.’” Ibid., 309, 310. Friends, are we not waiting for the outpouring of the Spirit?—that “time when the events of the day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion…and [a time] to maintain such a close connection with Him that they may be partakers of the latter rain when it shall be poured out.” Review and Herald, July 20, 1886.

The “demon” Mary also says that the apostles, “Saint Peter and Saint Paul, having come down from Heaven, shall preach in the whole world and designate a new Pope. A great light will flash from their bodies and will settle upon a cardinal who is to be Pope. Christianity, then, will spread throughout the world. He is the holy Pontiff, chosen by God to withstand the storm. At the end, he will have the gift of miracles, and his name shall be praised over the whole earth. Whole nations will come back to the church and the face of the earth will be renewed. Russia, England, and China will come into the church.” The Thunder of Justice, 353.

I do not know whether this scenario will happen or not, for Satan is the “father of lies.” But Ellen White has warned us that “the apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth. They deny the divine origin of the Bible [the Roman Catholic Church denies that the Bible is the sole authority of God’s word and defends the founding fathers and their traditions], and thus tear away the foundation of the Christian’s hope.” The Great Controversy, 557.

The comparisons continue with Mary’s counterfeit message that she “will bring you to the full understanding of Sacred Scripture.…Above all, I will read to you the pages of its last book [Revelation], which you are living.” The Thunder of Justice, 90. Then, believe it or not, on page 100 of the same book, she quotes the Three Angels’ Messages from Revelation 14!!! Dearly beloved, “Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11.

Demons Will Appear Before Our Eyes

“I saw that Satan has power to bring before us the appearance of forms purporting to be our relatives or friends who sleep in Jesus. It will be made to appear as if these friends were actually present, the words they uttered while here, with which we were familiar, will be spoken, and the same tone of voice that they had while living will fall upon the ear. All this is to deceive the world and ensnare them into the belief of this delusion.

“I saw that the saints must have a thorough understanding of present truth, which they will be obliged to maintain from the Scriptures. They must understand the state of the dead; for the spirits of devils will yet appear to them, professing to be beloved relatives or friends, who will declare to them unscriptural doctrines. They will do all in their power to excite sympathy and will work miracles before them to confirm what they declare. The people of God must be prepared to withstand these spirits with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who thus appear are the spirits of devils [including the relative of Jesus—the Virgin Mary—his mother!]…This delusion will spread, and we will have to contend with it face to face; and unless we are prepared for it, we will be ensnared and overcome. But if we do what we can on our part to be ready for the conflict that is just before us, God will do His part, and His all-powerful arm will protect us. He would sooner send every angel out of glory to make a hedge about faithful souls, than have them deceived and led away by the lying wonders of Satan.” Early Writings, 262.

Please read the chapter in The Great Controversy entitled The Scriptures a Safeguard, 593–602! Seventh-day Adventists have been given the truth on the state of the dead. We have been entrusted with the most precious light ever given to mortals to save us from the masterful, spiritualistic deceptions of Satan in these last days. Scripture support is abundant in defense of this truth that unmasks the lie perpetrated by Satan in the beginning that “ye shall not surely die.” The only defense for Seventh-day Adventists during the omega—when deceased loved ones, the apostles, the demon Mary, etc. begin making their false appearances, is a “thus saith the Lord.”

The Scriptures a Safeguard

And will it be Mary who will introduce, through the almost overpowering delusion, her son, the false Christ, to the world—”the crowning act in the drama of deception”? “In his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth.” Our cry must be “it is written:” “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything;” “the dead praise not the Lord, neither any [including Mary] that go down into silence;” for “his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalms 115:17; 146:4.

The words of Job address this subject quite clearly: “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call and I will answer thee.” Job 14:14, 15. And John 5:28 and 29 tells us that it is the voice of Christ that wakes the sleeping saints on resurrection morn: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which 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.”

Mary, the beloved mother of Jesus, “is both dead and buried, and [her] sepulchre [no one knows its location] is with us unto this day.” Contrary to Roman Catholic teaching, Mary, like David, “is not ascended into the heavens.” Acts 2:29, 34. In fact, David himself wrote in Psalms 17:15 “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Such words also apply to Mary!

Jesus spoke of death as sleep. In John 11:11 and 14, Christ stated: “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go to awake him out of sleep…Then Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” In sound sleep one is wholly lost to consciousness; time goes by unmeasured; and mental activity is suspended for the time being. “Blessed rest for the weary righteous! Time, be it long or short, is but a moment to them. They sleep; they are awakened by the trumpet of God to a glorious immortality.” Great Controversy, 550.

The Sound of the Trumpet

There are three portions of Scripture that specifically mention a trumpet blast just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. And when these Scriptures are compared, they clearly reveal the exact time a deceased person will regain consciousness. The first trumpet verses are in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55: “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Only God has immortality (see 1 Timothy 6:16), and no mortal will receive the gift of immortality until the last trumpet sounds at the Second Coming of Christ!

The second trumpet” verses say: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessa-lonians 4:15-18. Here again the Scriptures confirm that no man receives his immortality until he is awakened by the trumpet of Christ at the Second Coming.

The third trumpet verses actually address the magnitude of spiritualism and Satan’s lying wonders before the Second Coming of Christ: “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Immediately after the tribulation of those days…He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:26, 27, 29a, 31. Careful examination of the three paragraphs above place the trumpet sounds at the time of the Second Coming—when the resurrected saints will receive their eternal reward of immortality, and not before! Praise God, the Scriptures are our safeguard!

The Origin of Man’s Consciousness in Death

The doctrine of consciousness after death, of the spirits of the dead being in communion with the living, has no foundation in the Scriptures, and yet this theory is affirmed as truth. The doctrine of man’s consciousness in death, especially the belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modern spiritualism. Nearly all forms of ancient sorcery and witchcraft were founded upon a belief in communion with the dead. Modern spiritualism is founded upon the first lie by which Satan beguiled Eve in Eden: “Ye shall not surely die.”

And it was the Roman Catholic Church that originated and perpetuated the teaching of the Assumption—that Mary was assumed into heaven before her body saw corruption in the grave. “At the end of her life on earth, the Church teaches, Mary was ‘assumed’ body and soul, into heaven. This teaching was first proclaimed by St. Gregory of Tours in the sixth century. An earlier tradition has it that all the Apostles witnessed her death, but that when her tomb was opened years later it was found to be empty. The doctrine of the Assumption was defended in the Middle Ages by St. Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas. It has been adhered to by Christians from the earliest times, and eventually, on 1 November 1950, Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin to be an article of faith. It is celebrated annually on 15 August.” Shrines of Our Lady, 6.

“Through the false doctrine [of the immortality of the soul] the way has been opened for the spirits of devils to deceive the people in representing themselves as the dead. Satanic agencies personate the dead [even the mother of Jesus Christ], and thus bring souls into captivity. Satan has a religion, he has a synagogue and devout worshippers. To swell the ranks of his devotees he uses all manner of deception. The signs and wonders of Spiritualism will become more and more pronounced as the professed Christian world rejects the plainly revealed truth of the word of God and refuses to be guided by a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ accepting instead the doctrines and the commandments of men.” Signs of the Times, May 28, 1894.

Two Astonishing Letters

While writing this article, I received two amazing letters that I want to share with you. The first letter came from a woman in Puerto Rico who informed me that a statue of the Virgin Mary or “La Virgen del Rosaria del Pozo” is going to be built in the town of Sabana Grande. The statue’s size will be greater than that of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Here is what she wrote:

“Dear brethren of Modern Manna:

“I talked to Pastor Vierra about reaching the town of Sabana here in Puerto Rico. In May, 1953, the ‘Virgin’ appeared near a well (always wearing a rosary), to three children, two girls and a boy—still living. Thousands of people visited the island, 24 hours a day. Many ‘miracles’ happened, most of them healings of all kinds (See Great Controversy, 588.) Since then, this town celebrates a ‘Virgin Marathon,’ when around 200,000 to 300,000 people come to adore the Virgin. They celebrate mass and everything else. Now they are planning the ‘Ciudad Mystica’ (Mystic City), in order to attract people from all over the world. Enclosed is the newspaper story about it. Maranatha!”

It is interesting to note that the artists rendition of the new statue in the newspaper I received from Puerto Rico had the Virgin Mary decked with the colors white and blue—the very colors of Mother Earth as previously mentioned by New Ager, Peter Lemesurier. Mary is often portrayed in pictures and statues as dressed in these colors.

The second letter I received was initially sent to Pastor Bill Hughes in Florida from an SDA minister from Ghana, West Africa. It reads:

“Dear Pastor:

“On the 12th of August, 1999, I decided to go to a certain village and share the word of God with them [and] more particularly what is bound to happen before Jesus comes. Before that, it appeared in our daily paper that the Virgin Mary has appeared bod`ily in Togo, a country which shares the common border with Ghana and millions of people went to Togo to see the Virgin Mary. I thank God and you for clearly opening my eyes because I read it in one of your books sent to me—Is the Virgin Mary Dead or Alive? Chapter 19 clearly talks about how Satan will manifest himself through the Virgin Mary, and this has really motivated me to carry the message across whether rain or shine.”

Demons Will Urge Sunday-keeping

Before I close, I want to make another vital point. We read and hear much about the Sabbath vs. Sunday issue. This one papal error is trumpeted ever so loud and clear. Ads are run and books written, small and large, that expound on this subject with clarity and precision. But what is usually overlooked is the fact that wonder-working demons, in the form of dead humans, even the Virgin Mary, are going to urge upon the world Sunday-keeping, and that the violation of God’s moral law is the cause of the chaos and calamities that are increasing.

Once again, quoting from The Great Controversy: “The miracle-working power manifested through spiritualism will exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men. Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to convince the rejecters of Sunday [Reader, that may be you!] of their error, affirming that the laws of the land should be obeyed as the laws of God. They will lament the great wickedness in the world and second the testimony of religious teachers that the degraded state of morals is caused by the desecration of Sunday. Great will be the indignation excited against all who refuse to accept their testimony.” Great Controversy, 588, 589.

It would be worth your while to research the Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4 . On page 406 it contains an extremely vital point: “As the spirits will profess faith in the Bible and express regard for Sunday, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.” Later in The Great Controversy, in the chapter entitled The Time of Trouble, the prophet warns us that as the “crowning act in the drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ.” That he will heal the diseases of the people and claim “to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday,” and will command all to hallow the day which he has blessed. Great Controversy, 624.

But, have you ever considered that before he appears to give support to this claim, the demon Mary, along with other demons impersonating well-known deceased Christians and infidels, will have already been advocating Sunday-keeping? Has anyone ever warned you of this? Is it possible that a false Ellen White might appear and contradict her very own writings, as the false Apostles of Christ will theirs? Are you prepared, beloved? Spiritualism is the means the devil will use to persuade the world and the churches into accepting the false sabbath! That is exactly why God has expressly warned us that “through the two [not one] great papal errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions.” Great Controversy, 588. Spiritualism will put the teeth into the Sunday issue!

Remember the past, dear friends, the alpha of apostasy resulted, within one devastating year, in the destruction of two major SDA institutions—Battle Creek Sanitarium and the Review and Herald Publishing Company! Never forget the prophet’s words: “The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 200. A fearful woe is upon them! For if any form of spiritualism, like the warning given against pantheism, is accepted, it will result in the sweeping away of the structure! (See Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, 54, 55).

Friends, please take a close look at the Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4. You will find the chapter entitled “Spiritualism” immediately preceding the chapter entitled “The Aims of the Papacy.” I believe the Lord deliberately linked the two chapters together to clearly magnify the fact that through spiritualism and its imposters, such as the Virgin Mary, the aims of the papacy will be accomplished—the enforcement of Sunday worship!

Watch, Pray, and Warn

Please, watch and pray, beloved, for soon: “The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” Great Controversy, 588.

Friends, the church and the world must be warned! Remember, Satan will not give one inch when we labor to expose his most powerful tool—spiritualism. Oh, how we have seen this prophecy fulfilled at Modern Manna since the publishing of Is the Virgin Mary Dead or Alive? But, thank God for Jesus and the heavenly messengers that have been promised to guard us from evil. All of those who are looking for the soon coming of our Lord have been commanded by Almighty God to scatter earth’s final message to warn the world—the Three Angels’ Messages that unmask the threefold union. We must scatter the Mary book wherever possible while there is still a remnant of time.

In the very near future, legislation may be passed that will classify the little God-given book as hate literature. What we must do, we must do quickly! And, please, do not only watch, but pray for the courage to proclaim the message and to stand for the truth when champions are few, knowing that the final warning will enrage the wicked against us. Soon the loud cry will be given with the power of the latter rain: “‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’ The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844.” Early Writings, 277. The omega is coming! Maranatha!

Bible Study Guides – “This Same Jesus”

April 23-29, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11, last part.

STUDY HELP: Desire of Ages, 829–835.

INTRODUCTION: “The promise of Christ’s Second Coming was ever to be kept fresh in the minds of His disciples. The same Jesus whom they had seen ascending into heaven, would come again, to take to Himself those who here below give themselves to His service. The same voice that had said to them, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end,’ would bid them welcome to His presence in the heavenly kingdom.” Acts of the Apostles, 33.

“The Glorious Appearing of the Great God, Our Saviour, Jesus Christ”

What promise was made to the disciples as they watched the Lord ascending to heaven? Acts 1:10–11.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 832.

What does the Bible tell us about the identity of “this same Jesus”? John 1:1–3, Titus 2:13.

NOTE: “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.” Desire of Ages,530.

“It was Christ who from the bush on Mount Horeb spoke to Moses saying, ‘I AM THAT I AM…” Desire of Ages, 24.

“The Word Was Made Flesh and Dwelt Among Us”

How complete was Christ’s assumption of human nature? Hebrews 2:11, 14–18.

NOTE: “If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man’s behalf. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker of the divine nature.” Selected Messages, Book 1,408. (See also Desire of Ages, 117.)

In taking upon Himself man’s fallen nature, did Jesus participate in man’s sin? Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 5:7–9.

NOTE: “In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, ‘that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matthew 8: 17.) He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He knew no sin. He was the Lamb ‘without blemish and without spot.’ (1 Peter 1:19.) Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Saviour’s head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 256.

“Even As I Also Overcame”

What was the secret of Christ’s victory over temptation? Hebrews 5:7.

NOTE: “Jesus came to bring moral power to combine with human effort, and in no case are His followers to allow themselves to lose sight of Christ, who is their example in all things. He said, ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth.’ Jesus presents the truth before His children that they may look upon it, and by beholding it, may become changed, being transformed by His grace from transgression to obedience, from impurity to purity, from sin to heart-holiness and righteousness of life.” Review and Herald, December 22, 1891.

What example did Jesus give of “the faith of Jesus”? John 11:41–42.

NOTE: “For any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received. We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most. To live thus by the word of God means the surrender to Him of the whole life. There will be felt a continual sense of need and dependence, a drawing out of the heart after God. Prayer is a necessity; for it is the life of the soul.” Education, 258.

“Looking Unto Jesus”

How may we receive all things that are needed for us to attain to eternal life and godliness? 2 Peter 1:3–4.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 123.

What was Peter able to do by “looking unto Jesus;” and what happened when he looked away? Matthew 14:24–31.

NOTE: “When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter! We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour. Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls. Desire of Ages, 382.

“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”

In order to receive God’s blessings, what must we do? Matthew 7:7.

NOTE: See Steps to Christ, 94.

What are the conditions under which we must ask? James 4:3; 1 John 3:22.

NOTE: “He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal.” Education, 257.

“True faith rests on the promises contained in the word of God, and those only who obey the Word, can claim the glorious promises contained in it. ‘If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ John 15:7. Whatsoever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.’ 1 John 3:22.” Experience and Views of Ellen G. White, 59.

“When Ye Pray, Believe That Ye Receive”

What further condition must we fulfil for answered prayer? Matthew 21:22.

NOTE: “’Ye let go of the arm of the Lord too soon. Press your petitions to the throne, and hold on by strong faith. The promises are sure. Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them.’ I was then pointed to Elijah. He was subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly. His faith endured the trial. Seven times he prayed before the Lord, and at last the cloud was seen. I saw that we had doubted the sure promises, and wounded the Saviour by our lack of faith.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 127.

What does James say of the one who does not believe that his prayer will be answered? James 1:6–7.

NOTE: “True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realized and felt. We must send up our petitions in faith within the second veil, and let our faith take hold of the promised blessing, and claim it as ours. We are then to believe that we receive the blessing, because our faith has hold of it, and according to the Word it is ours. ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. Here is faith, naked faith, to believe that we receive the blessing, even before we realize it. When the promised blessing is realized and enjoyed, faith is swallowed up.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 126.

In presenting our requests to God, what must we not forget to do? Philippians 4:6. Compare John 11:41–42.

NOTE: “Not because we see or feel that God hears us are we to believe. We are to trust in His promises. When we come to Him in faith, every petition enters the heart of God. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have received it.” Desire of Ages, 200.

The Need for Certainty – Part II

In Part 1 of this article we learned that all of the apostles taught the infallibility of the church. Even the apostles, themselves, were infallible. If this is the case, in such an uncertain world and uncertain times, in what, then, can we believe?

The One Infallible, Certainty!

How can you know with certainty, how can you know with infallible certitude, exactly what you believe? How can you know for sure? This is a question that every Bible- believing Christian needs to understand. Where can you find certainty? How can you know for sure that something is infallible, that all the demons of hell or the governments of the world cannot change it because it is the truth? Where can you find that kind of certainty? That is what people are looking for today. We read from the Bible in Revelation 2:18–26 that you cannot get it from the church, you cannot get it from church councils (See Acts 21:18), you cannot get it from theologians (See Acts 20). You cannot even get it from the apostle Peter.

Since you need to know for a surety, I will show what is absolutely for certain. It is infallible. It has infallible certainty. You can know the truth, and by means of the truth you can have salvation, if you choose it. We will go to a source that is accepted by every Roman Catholic in the world. We will go to a source that is accepted by Protestants. We are going to go to the apostle Peter himself.

We see in Galatians 2 that Peter himself was not infallible, but Peter knew the source of infallible certainty. He knew where to get it, and he tells us where we can get it. He says, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming [that is the Second Coming] of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” 2 Peter 1:16–18. Here, Peter is referring to a story in Matthew 17.

In Matthew 16:28 Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Now who were the ones that were standing right there that were not going to see death until they saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom?— Peter, James and John. How could He say that? Because, in just a few days Jesus was going to show them, in miniature, what the Second Coming of Christ would be like. We read in the very next chapter, Matthew 17:1–5, “Now after six days [six days after Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:28] Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’” Notice, Jesus was transfigured before them into a glorious personage, just as He will appear in the clouds at His Second Coming, and there were two people talking with Him. One of them was Moses, who had died on Mount Nebo as recorded in Deuteronomy, but Jude tells us Moses had been resurrected from the dead and taken to heaven. Who did Moses represent? Moses represented all those who have died in Christ. We all probably know someone, a Christian who loved and followed Jesus, who has died. But they are not going to stay dead, because Jesus is coming again. The graves are going to open up, and they are going to come up in the clouds. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 the dead in Christ are going to rise first, so Moses represents those who have died in Christ but who will be resurrected to go with the Lord. Elijah was also there, and the book of Kings tells us that Elijah was taken by a chariot of the Lord up into heaven. Who did Elijah represent? Since he never died, and never will, he represents the people who are living on the earth in the last generation and who are ready to meet the Lord. You see, the Transfiguration was a symbol of the Second Coming of Christ, in miniature. And, you notice, Peter was one of the ones that saw this. He heard the voice of the Father saying out of the luminous cloud, “This is My beloved Son. The Jews may decide to crucify Him. They may decide to spit in His face. The Roman Soldiers may nail Him to a cross, but just remember, this is My Son in whom I am well pleased. You listen to Him.”

So Peter says to the people, “What we told you when we preached about the Second Coming of Christ and His coming in glory, it was not some cunningly devised fable. It was not something that we made up. We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. We saw it. We heard it.” But now remember what you need? You need something that is infallible. You need something that you know absolutely for certain. Do you know that there is something that is even more certain than what the apostles saw? They saw the Second Coming of Christ in miniature; they heard the voice of God themselves, and they reported it to us.

An Even More Sure Word

But there is something that is even more certain than that. Look at 2 Peter 1:19, “We also have the more sure prophetic word.” More sure than what? Made more sure than what you see and hear. It is infallible! The church is not infallible, the theologians are not infallible, the preachers are not infallible, even the apostles are not infallible, but the Word of the Lord, the word of prophecy is infallible. It is more sure than what you see and hear, and you can depend on it. It will never ever fail.

Do you know how many learned people have tried to prove the Bible is wrong? They have been trying for hundreds of years. My grandfather was one of them. There was a time when he was a skeptic. William Miller was, at one time, a skeptic. These people tried to prove that the Bible was wrong. They used to say, “There never were any people like the Hittites.” The Bible talks a lot about the Hittites. They said, “Somebody made that up, because we do not have any record that there were any Hittites.” They are not saying that any more, because archeologists have found abundant evidence in the Middle East of a large nation in ancient times called the Hittites.

People used to say, “There never was a king Belshazzar as written of in Daniel, because we do not have any record of it in the Greek records of the Babylonian kings.” But, archeologists have since discovered a great deal of evidence, so no one is arguing today whether Belshazzar existed. They all know that they were wrong.

That is what happens every time skeptics try to prove the Bible wrong. The Bible is an infallible guide to truth. Peter says it is more sure than what you see and hear. It is infallible. You can depend on it.

“We also have the more sure prophetic word which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19–21.

Whenever this subject comes up there immediately is a controversy between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Roman Catholics say that the church gave us the Bible. The Protestants say that the Bible gave us the church. Which is so? Let us go to the Bible itself for the answer. In James 1:17, 18, James is talking to the Christian church, as you can see in verse seventeen, and he says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will [It is not talking about the church here, it is talking about God in heaven.] He brought us [the church] forth….” Who is the parent here, and who is the child? The parent is God in heaven; the child is the church.

The church was formed by the Word of God. The Word of God produced the church. The church does not produce the Word.

I have been questioned about how we acquired the Bible. Jesus, Himself, tells us. “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’” Luke 24:44. Those are the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible that contain exactly the same books that we have today in the Old Testament. Jesus confirms that we still have the same books in the Old Testament as they had in His day. It is infallible. You can depend on the Old Testament.

How about the New Testament? Jesus answers that for us, also. “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth [Holy Spirit] who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15:26, 27. Who did Jesus say was to bear witness to the whole world that He was the Messiah? It was the apostles. He selected them. The early church did not produce the New Testament. Do not ever get confused on that. That is a lie. The apostles wrote the New Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and the church received it from them. The Bible is not the word of the church. The Bible is the Word of the Lord.

The early church understood this concept. There were all kinds of people (see Revelation 2 and 3), who were coming to the early church saying, “I am an apostle.” The early church tested these people claiming to be apostles and found out that they were liars. The early church had one simple rule as to whether a book should appear in the New Testament—was it written by an apostle? All of the books in the New Testament came from apostles.

Peter knew the prophetic Word was Scripture. He says, “…that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:15, 16. Peter recognized that the apostle Paul’s writings were Scripture. The apostle Paul wrote over half the books in the New Testament, so there is the evidence for over half the books in the New Testament. This Book, the Scriptures, is infallible.

“Oh,” somebody says, “can you really say something like that?” Yes, I can. “But aren’t there some mistakes in the Bible? Did the translators make some mistakes? Did the copyists make mistakes?” Let me ask you something. Suppose you received a letter. The person who wrote you the letter dictated it to his secretary, and the secretary misspelled a word. The person told you the truth, but the secretary they dictated the letter to misspelled a word. Do you throw out the letter as being in error? No. This is what happened with the Bible. When we look at the Greek text, we can see that the people the apostles dictated to sometimes made a grammatical mistake. It does not change the message. I want to tell you something. It is all true. It is infallible. If you follow it, you will be saved.

The Strongest Arguments

The two strongest evidences in the Bible that prove that it is infallible are:

1 Fulfillment of prophecy. Prophecy has been fulfilled over and over and over again.

Just a hundred years ago people who were studying Bible prophecy said, “The time is going to come in the United States when this country is going to get very close to Rome.” And people said, “Oh no, this is a Protestant country; that will never happen here.” But it is happening here! How did they know that? They knew it from studying Revelation 13, 14 and 17.

As a boy I can remember when all the different churches were split up. There were people who studied Bible prophecy in Revelation 17 who said, “According to Revelation 17 there is going to be a movement when all the churches are going to try to get together.” People did not believe them. The Bible told the truth nineteen hundred years ago. It is that way with every single Bible prophecy.

Infallibility. This is the strongest proof of all that the Bible is true, that it is infallible. In Romans 8 the apostle explains the Gospel. He shows how a sinner, who cannot save himself, can have his sins taken away by the blood of Christ. If he puts his trust in Jesus, all of his guilt can be taken away; his life can be changed; he can receive the Holy Spirit, and he can live a new life. Then in Romans 8:16 Paul says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” When you surrender your heart to Jesus as your Lord and Saviour from sin, the Holy Spirit changes your heart. The Holy Spirit comes in, changes your heart, and takes away the hate, the bitterness, the anger, the clamor, the competition, the sourness, the negativeness; all these awful things of sin that have ruined your life and ruined your family, the Holy Spirit takes them all away. That is the strongest evidence that the Bible is infallible and that it is true! And that is what all the apostles taught.

Maybe you have tried a hundred times to change. Mark Twain said that it is not hard to stop smoking. He said, “I quit smoking a thousand times.” That means that he started again at least nine hundred ninety-nine times. You may say, “I am not going to speak that way anymore to my wife because it hurts her,” and then you do it again. You try, and you try, and you try, and you find out, like the Bible says, that the sinner is in hell. He is bound with the cords of his sins, and there is nothing he can do about it. The Holy Spirit sets you free and gives you the power. He gives you a new heart so that you think differently; you feel differently; you speak differently; and everybody says, “What has happened? This is not the same person anymore.” The Holy Spirit is living inside, and when the Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, you are not a child of the devil anymore. You do not have covetousness anymore. You do not have wrath, anger, clamor and strife in your home anymore, because you have given your heart to the Lord, and you have the peace of heaven in your heart and in your home. When that happens, that is a miracle that all the philosophy, all the psychology, all the sociology, all the learning of this world cannot produce. None of those things can give you a new heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do that, and that happens when you yield yourself to Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

The strongest proof that the Bible is true is the miracle that God has worked in your life. No matter how many unbelievers there are, you know the Bible is infallible and it is true, because it has happened to you.

Do you want that miracle to happen in your life? It can. Even if you are the worst sinner, it can happen to you. Paul said that Jesus came to this world to save sinners “of whom I am chief.” I Timothy 1:15. Paul was a murderer, you know, and the people he murdered were not criminals. They were holy people. Do you want Jesus to come into your heart and your life to give you a new heart? That is a Bible promise. The Lord says, “I will give you a new heart, a new spirit. If you will seek me with all your heart you are going to find me.” (See Ezekiel 26:36, Jeremiah 29:13.) Jesus said, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,…and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30.

Do you want to come? Do you say, “Lord Jesus I want the strife, the anguish, the trouble, the anger, the wrath, the bitterness, all of these awful things that sin has produced, out of my life; I want a new heart! Is that what you want? Only He can give it to you, and He will give it to you, if you want it. He said, “If you come to Me I will give you rest for your souls.” Ibid. You will have the evidence that the Bible is so. It is the infallible proof of the Christian religion. It is infallible, and if you follow and do what it says, you will be saved.

Bible Study Guides – Word Made Flesh

October 20–October 26, 2002

Memory Verse

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.

Suggested Reading: The Desire of Ages, 19–26; “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 903–905.


“The Lord Jesus condescended to clothe his divinity with humanity, and to stand as a representative of God upon earth, an example of what God would have humanity become through the grace of Christ.” Review and Herald, November 12, 1895.

“Jesus was the Commander of heaven, one equal with God, and yet he condescended to lay aside his kingly crown, his royal robe, and clothed his divinity with humanity. The incarnation of Christ in human flesh is a mystery. He could have come to earth as one with a remarkable appearance, unlike the sons of men. His countenance could have shone with glory, and his form could have been of remarkable grace. He could have presented such an appearance as to charm the beholder; but this was not according to the plan devised in the courts of God. He was to bear the characteristics of the human family, and the Jewish race. In all respects the Son of God was to wear the same features as did other human beings. He was not to have such beauty of person as would make him singular among men. He was to manifest no wonderful charms by which to attract attention to himself. He came as a representative of the human family before heaven and earth. He was to stand as man’s substitute and surety. He was to live the life of humanity in such a way as to contradict the assertion that Satan had made that humanity was his everlasting possession, and that God himself could not take man out of his adversary’s hands.” Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896.

1 How is the eternal existence of Christ revealed in the Bible? Micah 5:2; John 8:58; 17:5; Psalm 145:13.

note: “In speaking of His pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God.” Signs of the Times, August 29, 1900.

“Heavenly angels had seen the glory which the Son of God shared with the Father before the world was, and they had looked forward with intense interest to His appearing on earth as an event fraught with the greatest joy to all people.” The Great Controversy, 313.

2 What other important work, besides the creation, did Christ accomplish? Isaiah 43:1; John 1:29.

note: “Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed for us. Every drop of blood shed by the Jewish sacrifices pointed to the Lamb of God. All the typical offerings were fulfilled in him. Type met antitype when he died on the cross. He came to make it possible, by the sacrifice of himself, to put away sin. He paid the ransom for our redemption. We are bought with a price; and Christ calls upon us to let him take our sins, and impute to us his righteousness.” Review and Herald, July 19, 1898.

3 What understanding should we have about the divinity of Christ, even after His incarnation? Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:22, 23; Philippians 2:5–11.

note: “Although Christ’s divine glory was for a time veiled and eclipsed by His assuming humanity, yet He did not cease to be God when He became man. The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of godliness. The two expressions human and divine were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one, and yet they had a distinct individuality. Though Christ humbled Himself to become man, the Godhead was still His own.” Signs of the Times, May 10, 1899.

4 It is important for us to remember what fact about Christ’s humanity? 1 Peter 2:22; John 14:30, 31.

note: “Amid impurity, Christ maintained His purity. Satan could not stain or corrupt it. His character revealed a perfect hatred for sin. It was His holiness that stirred against Him all the passion of a profligate world; for by His perfect life He threw upon the world a perpetual reproach, and made manifest the contrast between transgression and the pure, spotless righteousness of One that knew no sin. This heavenly purity annoyed the apostate foe as nothing else could do, and he followed Christ day by day, using in his work the people that claimed to have a superior purity and knowledge of God, putting into their hearts a spirit of hatred against Christ, and tempting His disciples to betray and forsake Him.” Signs of the Times, May 10, 1899.

5 For what purpose was divinity united with humanity? John 1:14; 14:7–10.

note: “The Saviour was deeply anxious for His disciples to understand for what purpose His divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in Him that He might be manifested in them. Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.” The Desire of Ages, 664.

“In contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind can not comprehend. The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant in Bethlehem’s manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, he in whom was the fulness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity and humanity were mysteriously combined, and man and God became one. It is in this union that we find the hope of our fallen race. Looking upon Christ in humanity, we look upon God, and see in him the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person.” Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896.

6 By accepting Christ as our Redeemer, into what new relationship do we enter? John 1:12, 13.

note: “The old nature, born of blood and the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up; for grace is not inherited. The new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies. Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices, they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ.” Review and Herald, April 12, 1892.

“God makes no compromise with sin. A genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. The religion of God is a firm fabric, composed of innumerable threads, and woven together with tact and skill. Only the wisdom which comes from God can make this fabric complete.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1101.

7 What words of Christ should be echoed in our experience? John 8:29.

note: “Human nature is ever struggling for expression, ready for contest; but he who learns of Christ is emptied of self, of pride, of love of supremacy, and there is silence in the soul. Self is yielded to the disposal of the Holy Spirit. Then we are not anxious to have the highest place. We have no ambition to crowd and elbow ourselves into notice; but we feel that our highest place is at the feet of our Saviour. We look to Jesus, waiting for His hand to lead, listening for His voice to guide. . . .

“When we receive Christ as an abiding guest in the soul, the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The Saviour’s life on earth, though lived in the midst of conflict, was a life of peace.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 15.

8 How is God manifested in us when we establish the new relationship? John 14:15–18, 21, 23; 1 John 4:12.

note: “We are not to serve God as if we were not human, but we are to serve him as those who have been redeemed by the Son of God and through the righteousness of Christ we shall stand before God pardoned, and as though we had never sinned. We shall never gain strength in considering what we might do if we were angels; but as obedient children we are to turn in faith to Jesus Christ, and show our love to God through obedience to his commands.” Signs of the Times, April 10, 1893.

“As Jesus was in human nature, so God means His followers to be. In His strength we are to live the life of purity and nobility which the Saviour lived.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 289.

9 What promise is ours as we accept Christ? Philippians 4:13; Hebrews 2:16–18; 5:2.

note: “Christ in the weakness of humanity was to meet the temptations of one possessing the powers of the higher nature that God had bestowed on the angelic family. But Christ’s humanity was united with divinity, and in this strength he would bear all the temptations that Satan could bring against him, and yet keep his soul untainted by sin. And this power to overcome he would give to every son and daughter of Adam who would accept by faith the righteous attributes of his character.” Review and Herald, January 28, 1909.

“Christ came to give to the world an example of what perfect humanity might be when united with divinity.” Selected Messages, wBook 1, 260.

10 What action is necessary on our part for us to know Christ better? John 5:39.

note: “No man, woman, or youth can attain to Christian perfection and neglect the study of the word of God. By carefully and closely searching His word we shall obey the injunction of Christ, [ John 5:39 quoted]. This search enables the student to observe closely the divine Model, for they testify of Christ. The Pattern must be inspected often and closely in order to imitate it. As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself defects of character; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees he cannot be a follower without a very great change in his life. Still he studies, with a desire to be like his great Exemplar; he catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master; by beholding he becomes changed.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 17.

“In the Word the Saviour is revealed in all His beauty and loveliness. Every soul will find comfort and consolation in the Bible, which is full of promises concerning what God will do for the one who comes into right relation to Him. Especially will the sick be comforted by hearing the Word; for in giving the Scriptures God has given to mankind a leaf from the tree of life, which is for the healing of the nations. How can anyone who reads the Scriptures or who has heard them read, lose his interest in heavenly things, and find pleasure in amusements and enchantments of the world (MS 105, 1901)?” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1134, 1135.

11 As a result of our communion with Christ, what transformation should we experience? Romans 12:2.

note: “Man, fallen man, may be transformed by the renewing of the mind. . . . “A real work is wrought by the Holy Spirit upon the human character, and its fruits are seen; just as a good tree will bear good fruit, so will the tree that is actually planted in the Lord’s garden produce good fruit unto eternal life. Besetting sins are overcome;  evil thoughts are not allowed in the mind; evil habits are purged from the soul temple. The tendencies, which have been biased in a wrong direction, are turned in a right direction. Wrong dispositions and feelings are rooted out. Holy tempers and sanctified emotions are now the fruit borne upon the Christian tree. An entire transformation has taken place. This is the work to be wrought.—Elder E. P. Daniels and the Fresno Church, pp. 8, 9.” Ye Shall Receive Power, 50.

12 If we really want Christ to be our Redeemer, what must we do? Revelation 3:20.

note: “The Lord knocks at the door of your heart, desiring to enter, that he may impart spiritual riches to your soul. He would anoint the blind eyes, that they may discover the holy character of God in his law, and understand the love of Christ, which is indeed gold tried in the fire.” Review and Herald, February 25, 1890.

“Jesus stands knocking,—knocking at the door of your hearts,—and yet, for all this, some say continually, ‘I cannot find him.’ Why not? He says, ‘I stand here knocking. Why do you not open the door, and say, Come in, dear Lord?’ . . . Open the door now, and empty the soul-temple of the buyers and sellers, and invite the Lord to come in. Say to him, ‘I will love thee with all my soul. I will work the works of righteousness. I will obey the law of God.’ Then you will feel the peaceful presence of Jesus.” Review and Herald, August 28, 1888.

The Sure Word of Prophecy

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6

Although the birth of Jesus was not an obvious fulfillment of prophecy to the Jews (and still isn’t), those walking in the Light that streamed so brilliantly from heaven indeed recognized it as fulfillment of prophecy. Strangely, though, even His faithful disciples did not realize that His crucifixion was also prophecy fulfilled. After the resurrection, however, there was no doubt in the minds of Christ’s followers that His birth, crucifixion, and resurrection had been clearly foretold by the Old Testament prophets.

When the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, did the Jewish leaders recognize what was happening? Clearly not, for we are told, “The priests and rulers were greatly enraged at this wonderful manifestation.” The Acts of the Apostles, 40.

So clearly, they did not recognize the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a fulfillment of prophecy.

“In answer to the accusation of the priests Peter showed that this demonstration was in direct fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, wherein he foretold that such power would come upon men to fit them for a special work.” Ibid., 41.

Are there prophecies being fulfilled in our day, this very day, that are not being acknowledged as fulfillment of prophecy? Certainly there are—most not recognized by the world and some not recognized even by Adventists.

“There are in the world today many who close their eyes to the evidences that Christ has given to warn men of His coming. They seek to quiet all apprehension, while at the same time the signs of the end are rapidly fulfilling, and the world is hastening to the time when the Son of man shall be revealed in the clouds of heaven. Paul teaches that it is sinful to be indifferent to the signs which are to precede the second coming of Christ. Those guilty of this neglect he calls children of the night and of darkness. He encourages the vigilant and watchful with these words: ‘But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.’ ” Ibid., 260. [Emphasis supplied.]

Let’s look briefly at some of the events that are occurring around the world right now that perhaps only the children of light recognize as fulfillment of prophecy.

Wars and rumors of war…

What is sometimes termed “saber rattling” is occurring with greater and greater frequency. Think of the situations in Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the tension between India and Pakistan, between Turkey and Syria, or between the US and China or between the US and Iran. The list goes on.


The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 815 million people of the 7.6 billion people in the world, or more than 10%, are suffering from chronic undernourishment.

The FAO estimates that as many as 25,000 people lose their lives every day as a result of hunger. That adds up to roughly 9.1 million people who die of starvation each year.


The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered in 1976. The outbreak started in Guinea and then moved across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia. The current 2018-2019 outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is highly complex, with insecurity adversely affecting public health response activities.

AIDS, MRSA, Legionnaire’s disease, and other pestilences are so common today that we no longer grow alarmed when we hear of occurrences.

Fifty years ago, entire city school systems had at most one medical professional on staff, since chronic illness was relatively unknown among school-age children. Today, it is not uncommon to have a registered health-care professional at every elementary educational facility because of the general degeneration in the health of humankind and the pervasiveness of chronic illnesses among the youth.

Earthquakes in various places

“Scientists analyzed the historical record of earthquakes greater than 8.0 in magnitude and concluded that the global frequency of large earthquakes is no higher today than it has been in the past. Results of the study were published on January 17, 2012, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

Further reading reveals that the frequency has increased from 1.0 to 1.2 per year, which is noted in the cited article as not statistically significant. It should be noted, however, that a 20% increase is indeed significant. Just ask the folks in Alpine, Texas, Hutchinson, Kansas, or Perry, Oklahoma, where earthquakes have recently occurred, with no precedents.

“Magnitude 2 and smaller earthquakes occur several hundred times a day worldwide.

Major earthquakes, greater than magnitude 7, happen more than once per month.

‘Great earthquakes,’ magnitude 8 and higher, occur about once a year.” Ibid.

What are some other prophetic signs of the times that Scripture mentions, some that even those who might claim to be children of light fail to recognize as fulfillment of prophecy?

“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not be abolished” (Isaiah 51:6).

Psalm 102:25, 26 states, “Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.”

These texts provide a rather reassuring declaration of the current state of things: “They will perish … they will grow old like a garment”; and a declaration also of the hope we maintain in an earth made new: “You will change them, and they will be changed.”

Paul quotes this passage from Psalm 102 in Hebrews 1:10–12—approximately seven centuries after Isaiah wrote them. So clearly, he understood the prophetic implications of this passage.

Most people who are in their sixth or seventh decade of life and who might be feeling what Inspiration terms “the infirmities of age” can attest to the fact that “growing old” does not happen overnight. The evidences of aging creep up little by little until one finds that aches, pains, and stiffness are not just infrequent visitors but have become permanent residents. But as to the earth’s growing old like a garment, we query: Is there evidence of that terrestrial aging now? Most would assert that there definitely is.

Before we look at some of these, however, let’s make sure that we understand the difference between a theory and a fact.

According to the dictionary, a theory is “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation.” One example given is “Darwin’s theory of evolution.” Unfortunately, this theory has been accepted as fact by much of the scientific community. Synonyms for “theory” include hypothesis, conjecture, supposition, speculation.

A fact, on the other hand, is “a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true.” Examples: Fire is hot; water is wet; ice is cold.

Let’s look at some actual, empirical facts that indicate that the earth is indeed growing old. These are not theories that cannot be proven, such as evolution. These are empirically determined facts. Unfortunately, many of these facts are clouded by the theory that the earth is billions of years old. We need to be careful not to let that erroneous and unprovable theory cause us to disregard provable scientific findings.

  1. Increase in carbon dioxide in atmosphere

Ancient air bubbles trapped in ice enable us to step back in time and see what Earth’s atmosphere and climate were like in the distant past. They tell us that levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere today are higher than they have been at any time in the past. [The author’s give the time estimate at 400,000 years, based on the unproven theory of uniformitarianism.] During ice ages, CO2 levels were around 200 parts per million (ppm), and during the warmer interglacial periods, they hovered around 280 ppm. In 2013, CO2 levels surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history. This recent relentless rise in CO2 shows a remarkably constant relationship with fossil-fuel burning, and can be well accounted for based on the simple premise that about 60 percent of fossil-fuel emissions stay in the air. (See Different studies quote vastly different time periods, a fact which clouds the empirical findings of these studies.

  1. The effects that changes in the nature of the ocean have on aquatic life

Warming oceans are losing oxygen. Oxygen levels in some tropical regions have dropped by a startling 40 percent in the last 50 years, some recent studies reveal. Levels have dropped more subtly elsewhere, with an average loss of 2 percent globally.

  1. Sea level rise

Since at least the start of the 20th century, the average global sea level has been rising. Between 1900 and 2016, the sea level rose by more than 6 inches. More precise data gathered from satellite radar measurements reveal an accelerating rise of 3.0 inches from 1993 to 2017, which is a trend of roughly 12 inches per century. This acceleration is due mostly to global warming, which is driving thermal expansion of seawater and the melting of land-based ice sheets and glaciers.

  1. Ecosystems are changing drastically due to invasive plant and animal species

An invasive species is a species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy, or human health.

Notable examples of invasive plant species include the kudzu vine, Andean pampas grass, and yellow starthistle. Animal examples include the New Zealand mud snail, feral pigs, European rabbits, grey squirrels, domestic cats, carp, zebra mussels, Japanese beetles, boa constrictors in Florida, iguanas throughout the southeast and into Arizona, and ferrets.

Invasion of long-established ecosystems by organisms from distant bio-regions has accelerated massively in recent decades, hastened by international trade. (See

The beautifully balanced ecosystems that Divine wisdom established when the earth was created have been royally imbalanced as a result of the sinful nature of man, inherited from our fallen forebears.

When we see these signs of the time, there is no need to be despondent and discouraged that earth’s ecosystems are getting out of kilter and signs of an aging planet are becoming more and more prevalent. After all, that’s what the Bible predicts. Instead, let us rejoice and recognize that the return of our Lord and Saviour is drawing ever closer.

May it be said of us, as it was said of Paul, “The foundation of his faith was the sure word of prophecy.” May God enlighten us so that we can recognize prophecy being fulfilled on a daily basis.

John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at:

Editorial – Living By Every Word, Part I

According to Matthew 4:4, when Jesus was tempted by the devil, He quoted from Deuteronomy saying, “‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”  This clear statement makes it evident that every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God is important and should be the standard by which we live.   The problem is, how can you live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God if you do not know what words proceeded from the mouth of God?

This was the situation in the Dark Ages.   There was an attempt to keep people in the dark, even after the printing press was invented.  If you are saved in the kingdom of heaven, you will meet printers (men and women) who were burned at the stake,  because they printed the Bible for people to read.  Eventually, however, it became impossible for either kings or priests to stop the printing press.   Bibles began to be printed in ever larger quantities.

Before this time, the common people only had access to those portions of the Bible that were read in church.   In many churches a portion of the Bible was read every week from a lectionary.   This has been a custom from ancient times and seems to go all the way back to the Jewish church before the time of Christ.  (See, for example, Luke 4:14-20.)  We still use lectionaries.   In the back of the hymnal, published by the Review and Herald in 1985, there is a rather informal lectionary containing over 200 scripture readings which can be read in church.  (Some lectionaries contain a year of readings, which are read in sequence through the year.)

When the common people gained access to the Bible, as a result of the invention of printing, they found some very interesting things.   One of the most interesting things they found was that the sacred book contained no instruction or teaching about the worship of saints, or Mary the mother of Jesus, or prayers for the dead, or indulgences, or Peter and his successors being the head of the church, or many other things that were part of their worship.  This resulted in the development of Protestantism.  One of the primary foundation points on which Protestantism was built, was the idea that “the precepts of Scripture, conveyed through the understanding, are to rule the conscience; in other words, that God speaking in the Bible, and not the church speaking through the priesthood, is the one Infallible Guide.’—Wylie, b. 3, ch.  2.”   The Great Controversy, 102.

“As Protestants, the Bible, and the Bible alone, is the foundation of our faith; but by many ‘the Fathers’ are quoted as authority.  They do not come as humble learners in the school of Christ, saying, ‘Lord, what I know not, teach me.   “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”’”  Signs of the Times, August 5, 1886.

From this extremely brief, historical review, it is possible to draw  broad, but accurate, conclusions.   First of all, since “the Bible and the Bible alone is the foundation of our faith” as Protestants, any device, philosophy, or teaching that will weaken a person’s faith in the Bible will have the effect to eventually destroy Protestantism.   Many devices and philosophies and teachings have been introduced to the world in the last 400 years, which have had this result.  Examples would include the theory of evolution, the theories of higher criticism, the theories of atheistic socialism (related of course to the theory of evolution), the various skeptical theories about the existence of God, the teachings of the spirit world, and the errors of popular theology which contradict the Bible.  “There is nothing that he [the devil] desires more than to destroy confidence in God and in His Word.” The Great Controversy, 526.

It is not our purpose here to present the evidences for the divine character of the Word of God.   There is sufficient internal evidence for this within the Bible itself, even if you had no access to a history book; but, “While God has given ample evidence for faith, He will never remove all excuse for unbelief.  All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon, will find them.  And those who refuse to accept and obey God’s Word until every objection has been removed, and there is no longer an opportunity for doubt, will never come to the light.”  Ibid., 527.

A second conclusion is that destruction of faith in the Bible not only will not destroy Catholicism but can actually foster its growth and success, since Catholicism is not built on the foundation of the Bible alone.