Bible Prophecy

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Jesus Christ, now Mediator, soon to be King

The Bible refers to Jesus Christ as the Son of God – a true offspring, like a prince, dearly beloved by God, His Father.  God sent Him into the world, that through Him, we might be saved – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16); “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Although God’s only begotten Son died, in fulfilling His mission, it was “God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (Gal. 1:1).

Jesus’s mission to save humanity has three distinct phases: 1. Prophet; 2. Priest; 3. King.  When He came to earth as Prophet, He came to a sinful territory dominated by the enemy and was therefore like a “lamb to the slaughter” (Isa. 53:7).  He was not a Priest at that time.  Now, He is Priest (High Priest).  He is not yet King but soon to be.  He will be given a kingdom – this earth, where He will reign as King.  These points will now be established from the scriptures.

Prophet

When God spoke from Mount Sinai, in the days of ancient Israel, the people were afraid and begged Moses to ask God to speak to them through a mediator.  God agreed, but Moses could not be that mediator, notwithstanding the fact that God spoke through Moses to them.  Moses was an imperfect mouthpiece.  God said, He would raise up a Prophet like unto Moses, and would put His words into His mouth – “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deut. 18:18). 

That Prophet was His only begotten Son, the only one who is just like Him – “the express image of his person” (Heb. 1:3).  When His Son came into the world, God spoke from heaven again, this time to Jesus’s disciples, in the presence of Moses and Elijah, telling them to listen to Jesus – “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matt. 17:5).

While Jesus was on earth, as Prophet, He was not a priest – “For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.” (Heb. 7:13, 14); “For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law” (Heb. 8:4).

Priest

After completing the phase of His work as Prophet, Jesus took up the next phase of His mission as High Priest.  In order to do this, He died, and His Father raised Him from the dead – “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death” (Acts 2:23, 24).

He then ascended to heaven to the right hand of God, His Father, where He serves as our Advocate who intercedes for us before God and the angels of heaven – “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:32, 33); “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1); “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Rev. 3:5).

This work of representing our case before God so that we may obtain forgiveness for our sins and to obtain from God the spiritual gifts to enable us to live above sin and be empowered to minister to others is entailed in Jesus’s role as High Priest.  This is what Jesus ascended to heaven to do – “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Heb. 9:11-15).

We can come boldly before the throne of God because we have an Advocate in the courts of heaven, provided for us by God Himself because of His great love for us – “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:14-16).

King

In the latter days of earth’s history, Jesus, still in His capacity as High Priest, will appear before the Father to receive a kingdom – “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (Dan. 7:9, 10); “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:13, 14).

Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour and have accepted the testimony of His life concerning His Father, that God is love, and will be fully reconciled to God, will be the citizens of Christ’s kingdom – “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (Dan. 7:21, 22); “the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” (Dan. 7:26, 27).

When the list of subjects of Christ’s kingdom (in the Book of Life) is made up and the names that do not belong are blotted out and He receives the authority to take the kingdom, Jesus Christ will return to claim it – “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15); “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.” (Rev. 19:11-16).

Time to repent

It is now time to repent of and put away our sins, while Christ still intercedes on our behalf.  The time will come when He will lay aside His priestly garments and put on His kingly robes.  At that time, it will be declared: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Rev. 22:11, 12).  At that time, human probation would have closed and the time to repent would have passed.

The Bible predicted that Christ’s ministration would be taken away (from the minds of people) and an abomination would be set up in its place – “Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down.” (Dan. 8:11); “they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” (Dan. 11:31).  This activity was future to Jesus’s day, since Jesus said: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” (Matt. 24:15).  An earthly priesthood would be set up to divert people’s attention from the priesthood of Christ and other mediators would be set up in place of Christ, so that people would look to men rather than look directly to Christ as the only true Mediator – “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

As a part of this taking away of the daily ministration of Christ, Jesus Christ is represented as being other than our High Priest at this time.  The focus is either on the role that He has already fulfilled or on the role that He is yet to fulfil in the future.

Regarding the role that He has already fulfilled, people are made to believe that the death of Christ is all there is to salvation; that no other work is necessary, thereby removing the need for Him to be seen in His present capacity as High Priest.  But we are told that, if Christ is not risen, not only is our faith vain, but our sins would remain – “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” (1 Cor. 15:17, 18).  If all our sins have been cancelled only by the death of Christ, then we would be saved regardless of whether He rose from the dead.  But that is not the case.  He had to be raised from the dead to function as High Priest; and it is only by the ministration of a Priest that our sins are removed from us.  This was typified in the ancient sanctuary ministration. In every case, where a sacrifice was offered for sin, it was said: “and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.” (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31).  Without the ministration of the Priest, the sacrifice is meaningless and achieves nothing.

Regarding His future role, various titles are given to Christ, many of which seem to be giving homage to Him but distracting our minds from His real role at this time.  An extremely popular one is to laud Jesus as King.  Sounds good.  But there is only one King of the Universe – God, the Father.  Jesus never pointed to himself as the King of the Universe or as the Most High; rather, as the Son of the Most High, giving supreme honour to His Father, who sent Him into the world to save us.

During the judgement, which takes place before the second coming of Christ to earth, Christ receives the kingdom of this earth from God, His Father.  It is after He receives the kingdom that He is crowned King of kings and Lord of lords over His earthly subjects.  God, His Father, remains Sovereign of the Universe.  The message is therefore, to beware a false representation of Christ as the one true God.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, pointed to His Father as “the only true God” (John 17:3), whose will He came to fulfil – not to point to Himself as that only true God.  We worship Jesus Christ on the instructions of the Father (John 5:22, 23; Heb. 1:6).  In heaven, as it will be in the new earth, God and Christ alone are worshipped – “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:22).

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

 

 

Private interpretations of Scripture

The Bible warns against private interpretations of Scripture in the following words:

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Pet. 1:20).

This warning is of particular importance today as the word of God has become Satan’s prime target in no less a way than in the days of our first parents, Adam and Eve, when the Serpent asked, “Yea, hath God said…..?” (Gen. 3:1).

Many people might not recognize it, but the Protestant Reformation was not primarily over any specific doctrine as much as it was about the word of God itself, which affects all doctrines.  Forty-three years after his death, John Wycliffe, known as the Morning Star of the Reformation, had his bones dug up from where they were buried and were burnt and the ashes scattered into a nearby river, from whence it was borne out into the ocean.  For what reason?  Rome was so upset that Wycliffe had set in motion a tide that they had long sought to stifle – the word of God being made available to every man in his own language.  Even though the translation was from the edited manuscripts that originated in Alexandria, Egypt, the precursor to the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate, there was enough exposure to the truth, available from it, that would give the opposers of truth a serious problem.

Tyndale and the KJV

William Tyndale was burnt alive at the stake, for translating the Bible into English,  from the purer text that was handed down from generation to generation, through the church in the wilderness, from Antioch where “the disciples were called Christians first” (Acts 11:26).  Tyndale’s dying words were: “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes”.  God answered Tyndale’s prayer shortly after, by putting it in the heart of the king to lift the ban on the scriptures being made available in the native language of the common people – the same ban that Tyndale had violated that cost him his life.  Tyndale’s version is the precursor to the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible that we have today.

Tyndale had previously expressed his desire to have people understand the scriptures for themselves, in a discussion with a priest, who had expressed the view that the common people were incapable of understanding the scriptures and had to be dependent on the interpretations given to them by the priests.  In response, Tyndale made his famous statement: “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy who drives a plough to know more of the scriptures than you do.”

Tyndale’s vision was accomplished through the technology of the printing press, which made the Bible available to the world like an unstoppable tide.  Even today the KJV remains a best seller.

However, in more recent years a carefully laid plan to subvert the influence of the scriptures has been gaining ground.  The plan was to gradually replace the purer text that forms the basis for the KJV with the edited texts that Rome uses.  This plan was expressed in the Preface of a Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims translation published in 1816 as follows:

“It is almost three hundred years since James Archbishop of Genoa, is said to have translated the Bible into Italian. More than two hundred years ago, in the days of Charles V the French king, was it put forth faithfully in French, the sooner to shake out of the deceived people’s hands, the false heretical translations of a sect called Waldenses.”  – Preface, Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible, 1816.

The Waldenses were among the persecuted people of God who preserved God’s word, which we now have as the KJV.  While, many Protestants today, treat the KJV as just another version only less modern than the others, Rome is not of that view.  They know the difference and consider it important.

The plan would accomplish three things, among others, in one blow: 1. There would be conflicting translations of the text, that would lead people to question the veracity of all the texts; 2. People would be less inclined to memorize the text because of the many renderings of the same verse; 3. People would make there own private interpretations, being facilitated by the different translations, thus, leading people back to a reliance on the interpretations of priests and theologians, in their search for certainty.

Private interpretations

Private interpretations of scripture come in various guises.  Today, it has become fashionable to hear preachers say, “I like how this translation puts it….”  So, they can choose what they want to hear the scriptures say, just by using the translation of their choice.  There is no set way anymore.

Another popular strategy is to take the historical accounts of scripture as allegories – you choose what message you want the story to tell, rather than take the account primarily as fact.  So, for example, when the Apostle Paul was in a ship that seemed about to run aground during a storm, and Paul said: “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” (Acts 27:31), the ship supposedly means the church; hence, regardless of what happens, the message is “stay in the church”.  That message may be fine, and it may be possible to use other means to establish that in some way, but the truth is that the story had nothing to do with the church but rather, it was an account of an experience that Paul had.  Of course, the ship ended up being wrecked and everyone had to abandon it, but usually, the analogy is not taken that far.  It is more accurate to say, based on numerous scriptures, that we should abide in the truth.  It is only the truth that will stand the test of time.  And it is the truth that will keep the church faithful to its mission.

Don’t be deceived

In the last days, it will be critical that we commit the scriptures to memory and remain with the purer text that was preserved by those who were willing to give their lives to preserve it.  Jesus warned, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matt. 24:4).  He went on to say: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24).  Jesus overcame the Devil’s temptations in the wilderness by repeatedly appealing to the word of God, saying each time, “It is written…”  But if there is uncertainty as to what is written, or we do not have it etched in our memory, how will we be able to use the scriptures as a sword to cut through errors and temptation when we most need it?  Don’t forget, Satan was quoting scriptures too.  But he was misrepresenting God’s word, primarily by quoting only a snippet of it and leaving out the rest of what was said or changing the context in which it was said.

It is interesting that even in the greatest uncertainty, God always makes an easy way.  Amid the flood of various translations and uncertainty as to text renderings, the KJV is not easily mistaken for another version.  The very things that people claim make it archaic, the Thee, thou, thine and ye, are the very things that make it hard to miss it.  So, we need not be confused to mix up the translations that came from edited manuscripts with those that were faithfully preserved by God’s persecuted people.  As the famous preacher, Charles Spurgeon said: “Discernment is not a matter of telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.”.

At this time, as we approach the final test, when the shaking will take place and only those who cannot be shaken will be left standing, it is imperative that we hold on to the word of God so that we might be sealed, as we are told:

“Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads – it is not a seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved – just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come.” (Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 1161).

 “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Satan Targets the Bible

From before sin even entered this world, Satan has sought to target God’s word. Quoting scripture as a means of deceiving people is not a new strategy of Satan.  He did it with Jesus Christ, while tempting Him in the wilderness, and even before that, sought to quote God’s word in order to tempt Eve – “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1).  Satan’s strategy is not to present God’s word for instruction or guidance, but rather to change the meaning of it or cast doubt as to its authenticity. Our only safety is in embracing the unadulterated word of God, as Jesus did.  In response to the Devil’s temptations, Jesus’s response was always to refer to God’s word: “It is written . . .” (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10).  This article exposes a plot to neutralize the Bible and explains why Satan’s target is particularly, the King James Version of the Bible.

Manly Palmer Hall, a Canadian-born author, lecturer, astrologer and mystic, best known for his 1928 work The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy (1928), wrote:

“To make things right we will have to undo much that is cherished error. The problem of revising the Bible shows how difficult it is to do this. For the last hundred years we have been trying to get out an edition of the Bible that is reasonably correct; but nobody wants it. What’s wanted is the good old King James version, every jot and tittle of it” Manly P. Hall, “Asia in the balance of the scales”, Horizon. The magazine of useful and intelligent living. Articles by Manly Palmer Hall Philosopher. Vol. 4,  No. 1, (Spring 1944).

The “last hundred years” from the date of publication of Hall’s article would have been 1844. It is interesting that around that time there were reported activities by the Jesuits, a Roman Catholic order that was created to fight the Protestant Reformation, to pursue an objective to take control of the Bible. The Jesuits were reported as saying:

“Then the Bible, that serpent which, with head erect and eyes flashing fire, threatens us with its venom whilst it trails along the ground, shall be changed again into a rod as soon as we are able to seize it; and what wounds will we not inflict with it upon these hardened Pharaohs and their cunning magicians! what miracles will we not work by its means! Oh , then, mysterious rod! we will not again suffer thee to escape from our hands, and fall to the earth! For you know but too well that, for three centuries past, this cruel asp has left us no repose; you well know with what folds it entwines us, and with what fangs it gnaws us!”The Jesuit conspiracy. The secret plan of the order. Detected and revealed by The Abbate Leone. With a preface by M. Victor Considerant, member of the National Assembly of France, and of the Municipal Council of the Seine, Page 98 (1848).

The book speaks of a Jesuit meeting held in 1825 in Chieri, Italy.

18 years after the meeting, Constantine von Tischendorf went for a prolonged meeting with the Pope. One year later, (1844) he claimed to have found a Bible manuscript called the Codex Sinaiticus in St. Catherine’s Monastery. He presented it to Pope Pius IX who praised it. This manuscript along with the Codex Vaticanus found in the Vatican Library forms the basis of most modern translations of the Bible.

 

Two streams of manuscripts

Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus and other manuscripts of similar reading, which account for less than 50 out of over 5000 know Bible manuscripts, can be traced back to a stream of manuscripts emanating from Alexandria, Egypt, where critics edited Bible manuscripts.

In contrast, the Textus Receptus (Received Text), which accounts for more than 5000 known manuscripts, can be traced back to a stream of manuscripts emanating from Antioch, Syria, where the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:26), and where the Apostle Paul was based.  These have come down through the persecuted church in the wilderness to the Protestant Reformers and through the Reformers to us, in English, as the King James Version (KJV). It was not translated by King James personally, but was done under his authority by a team of 47 (initially, 54) of the best scholars of the day, many of whom were fluent in the original Biblical languages, drawn from Oxford, Cambridge and other institutions of eminent scholarship, thus acquiring the designation also, as the Authorized Version.

Footnotes in the New King James Version (NKJV), which is not the same as the KJV, provide a list of numerous verses that are missing from most modern translations and verses that have been altered, compared to the King James Version.

The NKJV was described by the publishers as a transition Bible for those who are seeking to move from the KJV to a more modern version. Copyright for the NKJV is owned by Thomas Nelson which has now been acquired by HarperCollins Publishers who are also the publishers of The Satanic Bible. Copyright owners have rights to revise the text at any time and have so far published several revisions of the NKJV.

The changes are not inconsequential. Consider, for example, Matt. 5:22. Three words are missing from the NIV compared to the KJV, which makes Jesus “subject to judgment”, based on the NIV. The KJV says “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment”. The NIV omits “without a cause”, saying “anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment“. Jesus got angry and chased the money changers out of the temple for a cause and was therefore justified. But the NIV would make Him “subject to judgment” for doing that. The NIV makes no mention of Lucifer but refers to the one who fell from heaven as the “morning star” (Isa. 14:12), a title that is used elsewhere in the same version to refer to Jesus (Rev. 22:16), making Jesus the one who fell from heaven.

The King James Version of the Bible (KJV) is the crowning achievement of the Protestant Reformation, reflecting the collective effort of many reformers such as William Tyndale who was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English.

The KJV has no copyright owner as it is in the public domain and is not subject to revision. Many persons who have memorized scripture over many years are now being forced to unlearn that which was etched in their memory, by the constant use of modern versions in their churches.

The Bible prophesies that the time will come when the word of God will become scarce – “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11, 12).

Now is the time to memorize the scriptures rather than shift to versions of the Bible that are constantly changing and subject to corporate ownership.  God’s warning is clear, that we should not add to God’s word nor take away from it – “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Prov. 30:6); “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city” (Rev. 22:19).

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

 

Rebuilding the Temple – Prophets, Priests and Rulers

The rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem by those who returned from exile in Babylon was accomplished through the cooperation of prophets, priests and rulers.  The temple was started and finished under the leadership of Zerubbabel, who led the first group of exiles who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem based on the decree of Cyrus, supported by Joshua the High Priest, under the instructions of God through the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah.  After the temple was finished, other servants of God such as Ezra and Nehemiah built the city and erected its walls.

Haggai the Prophet

The word of the Lord through Haggai the prophet:

“In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built. Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways…Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord…Then spake Haggai the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord. And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.” (Haggai 1:1-15)

Zechariah the Prophet

The word of the Lord through Zechariah the prophet:

“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.  And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” (Zech. 3:1-7).

“This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.” (Zech. 4:6-9).

The Spiritual Temple of the Last Days

In our day, there is a temple to be re-built and there is a New Jerusalem that we will live in that will have walls of Jasper – “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.” (Acts 15:16, 17); “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5); “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2); “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” (Rev. 21:18).

Jesus Christ has gone back to heaven and is preparing the city.  But the temple, we must play our part in building – “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3); “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth…And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” (Rev. 11:1-7).

Sealed for the Final Conflict

When the temple is finished, there will be a hundred forty and four thousand sealed – “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Rev. 7:1-4).

Those who are sealed will have to contend with the Beast and his Image but they will overcome and be delivered – “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is…And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:8-14).

Prophetic Message to Priests, Rulers and People

Prophets, Priests and Rulers all have a part to play.  But we must get it in order – Prophets first, then Priests and Rulers.  The Prophet is the one who receives messages from God and passes it on to the Priests and Rulers who govern the people.  Unfortunately, the Prophet is not always popular with the Priests and Rulers and people often regard the word of the Priests and Rulers more than they do the Prophets.  But God’s word is: “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (2 Chron. 20:20).

God promised to raise up a Prophet like Moses, but when He came, the Priests and officers stirred up the people and together they pressured the Rulers to kill Him – “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deut. 18:18); “Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.” (John 19:4-6).

The witnesses of the last days will likewise be killed and, like their Master before them, will rise again after three days – “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” (Rev. 11:7-14).

Interesting times are ahead – “Solemn events before us are yet to transpire.  Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded, vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth.  Scenes of stupendous interest are right upon us.” (Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 982.)

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Unity upon a false premise

In unity, there is strength.  However, the only unity that will last is that which is built on the truth.  From the moment Lucifer rebelled against God in heaven, there has been a constant conflict between truth and error.  The conflict was spread to this earth when Lucifer who, by then, had become Satan – the Devil – led Eve to doubt God’s word and through Eve led Adam to disobey God’s explicit instruction.  The conflict continues today and will ultimately give rise to a grand unity of Satan, “the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies”, who will be gathered together to make war against Christ and His people (Rev. 19:19; see also Rev. 16:13, 14).  The entire world will turn against the true followers of Christ, as Christ said to His disciples, “ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matt. 24:9).  But Christ will return and destroy the world confederation and deliver His people (Rev. 19:11-21).  Our only safeguard is to know the truth and follow it.

 

The Basis of the WCC

The following is taken from the official website of the World council of Churches:

“The WCC’s 1948 inaugural assembly declared: “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour”. Soon this formulation gave rise to questions, and requests for a clearer definition of the Christ-centredness of the churches’ common calling, a more explicit expression of the Trinitarian faith and a specific reference to the holy scriptures. The result was the re-formulation, adopted by the Third Assembly (New Delhi 1961), which still stands:

“a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.””

(https://www.oikoumene.org/en/about-us/self-understanding-vision/basis” retrieved July 21, 2019 – the official website of the World Council of Churches).

 

The Episcopal Church

The following is taken from the official website of the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers:

“The Episcopal Church is one of the 147 founding churches of the World Council of Churches (1948).  The WCC has roots that reach back to the beginning of the modern ecumenical movement and to the conviction, which took hold at several places during the late nineteenth century, that something must be done to heal the divisions which have hampered witness to the Christian faith.

Today there are 349 member churches.  They live in very different political, economic, and social conditions.  Many of them – Anglican, Orthodox, Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Old Catholic, etc. – have a long history.  But member churches also include “younger” Pentecostal bodies, independent churches in Africa, and united churches.  The Roman Catholic Church is not a member but it cooperates with the WCC through a Joint Working Group, several programs, and membership in the Commission on Faith and Order, and has delegated observers at major meetings.

Membership is open to any church which is able to accept the WCC “Basis”, provided its signs of ecclesial character meet standards acceptable to two-thirds of the churches already in membership.  The “Basis” declares:  “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.”

(https://www.edeio.org/world-council-of-churches-wcc.html, retrieved July 21, 2019 – the official website of the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers (EDEIO) website).

 

Seventh-day Adventist Church

The following is taken from the official website of the world Council of Churches:

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a denomination of conservative evangelical Christians. The church arose out of the eschatological expectations of the middle nineteenth century (epitomized by the Millerite Movement), but was only formally organized in 1863. The Millerites had set October 22, 1844, for the return of Christ. With the failure of this date, the movement fell into disarray. One of the small Adventist groups adopted the Seventh-day Sabbath, reinterpreted the events of 1844, and became, in due course, the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The roots of Adventism, however, go back much further – to the Reformation and the church of the New Testament.

Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as the inspired word of God. In essence, the Bible is their only creed, though they do have a statement of 28 Fundamental Beliefs, which is subject to revision at any General Conference World Session, as new light is received or better language is found, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These beliefs include the Trinity, believers’ baptism, spiritual gifts, death as an unconscious state until the resurrection, and the New Earth as the home of the redeemed after the millennium. SDAs are creationists and believe that man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of the Biblical creation week. With the entry of sin, God’s plan of salvation was put into effect. In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, his suffering, death and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept the gift of salvation may have eternal life. Since the very beginning, Seventh-day Adventists have been consistent advocates of religious freedom for all, and have taken a lead in its international promotion, including at the UN.

Global mission and evangelism are essential elements of the SDA ethos. The church is intent on sharing the good news of justification, righteousness by faith, salvation through Jesus Christ, and his imminent return. As a result, the SDA Church is probably the most widespread Protestant denomination, with work in over 200 countries. Though cradled in North America, less than 8 percent of her membership today resides there, and there is considerable growth in various parts of the world. Adventists wish to live lives of service to God and humankind. To help achieve this goal the church owns and operates many institutions: over 6,000 schools (from kindergarten to university), 720 hospitals and health-care facilities, publishing houses, and health food factories. Media centres (worldwide satellite TV and radio) have been established in recent decades. Adventists believe in a healthy lifestyle, which includes a good diet (many Adventists are vegetarians) and abstention from harmful drugs, including alcohol and tobacco products. Adventists also promote public health. The church operates the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), which is well-known internationally for its work on behalf of disaster victims and third world development projects.

The SDA church sees herself not as a federation of local or national churches, but as one world church. There is an effective form of representative government. The church’s polity provides for four key organizational levels: 1) the local church, a united body of individual believers, 2) the Conference, a united body of local churches, 3) the Union Conference, the united body of several conferences (a larger territory, often a nation), 4) the General Conference, the worldwide body whose constituent units are the approximately 100 Unions. The General Conference operates through its 13 Divisions (branch offices).

Seventh-day Adventists “recognize those agencies that lift up Christ before men as a part of the divine plan for the evangelization of the world” (General Conference Working Policy, 075). They enter into fellowship with other Christians and practice open communion. They believe that in a certain sense they are a prophetic movement with a time of the end message centering on the “eternal gospel” to give to the world. While they welcome opportunities to dialogue and reach better understanding, they have not formally joined the organized ecumenical movement by becoming members of councils of churches. They do, however, in many cases have observer, consultant, or advisor status. Adventists wish to preserve and protect their unique identity and give life to their God-given evangelistic and service mission.

The office of the general conference is located in Silver Spring, USA. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is comprised of 14 million baptized believers, representing with children a fellowship of some 25 million Adventists.

 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not a member of the World Council of Churches.

Websites

(https://www.oikoumene.org/en/church-families/seventh-day-adventist-church, retrieved July 21, 2019 – the official website of the World Council of Churches).

 

The Catholic church

The following is taken from the official website of the World Council of Churches:

“Catholics believe that the church was founded by Jesus Christ as part of the Father’s plan for the salvation of the world. Christ’s proclamation and inauguration of the kingdom of God led to the gathering of disciples. His death, resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit definitively established the church, with which he promised to remain until the end of time (cf. Matt. 28:20). Jesus entrusted to this community the mission of preaching the gospel and of “making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

Because the church is, in God’s hands, a means of bringing about the communion of all those who, with the help of God’s grace, would accept the proclamation of the good news, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) taught that “the Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race”. (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium, paragraph 1). This constitution goes on to affirm that the whole community has an active role to play in proclaiming and handing on God’s word, in worshipping and celebrating the sacraments and in serving the mission Jesus entrusted to it……

According to the Vatican’s Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae of 2005, the Catholic Church numbered 1,085,557,000 persons, or 17.2 percent of the world’s population. Of these, 13.2 percent of Catholics live in Africa, 49.8 percent in North and South America; 10.5 percent in Asia, 25.7 percent in Europe and 0.8 percent in Oceania.

 

The Catholic Church has never been a member of the World Council of Churches, but is actively participating in the ecumenical movement in different ways. Learn more

Websites

(https://www.oikoumene.org/en/church-families/the-catholic-church, retrieved July21, 2019 – the official website of the World Council of Churches).

 

The Edict of Thessalonica which defines who is a Catholic Christian

The following is taken from Wikipedia:

“The Edict of Thessalonica (also known as Cunctos populos), issued on 27 February AD 380 by three reigning Roman Emperors…

Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II on 27 February 380.[1] The edict came after Theodosius had been baptized by the bishop Ascholius of Thessalonica upon suffering a severe illness in Thessalonica.[3]

EMPERORS GRATIAN, VALENTINIAN AND THEODOSIUS AUGUSTI. EDICT TO THE PEOPLE OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our Clemency and Moderation, should continue to profess that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title of Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since, in our judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give to their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of the divine condemnation and in the second the punishment of our authority which in accordance with the will of Heaven we shall decide to inflict.
GIVEN IN THESSALONICA ON THE THIRD DAY FROM THE CALENDS OF MARCH, DURING THE FIFTH CONSULATE OF GRATIAN AUGUSTUS AND FIRST OF THEODOSIUS AUGUSTUS[4]

— Codex Theodosianus, xvi.1.2

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Thessalonica, retrieved July 21, 2019).

 

The Edict of Thessalonica marked the official definition of who the Catholic Church considered a heretic – namely, one who did not believe in the Trinity.  This was the basis on which persecution was launched on a widespread basis.  It will be observed that as soon as the World Council of Churches adopted as its Basis in 1961, a concept that was in harmony with the definition of Catholic Christian, as defined in the Edict of Thessalonica, within a year, in 1962, the Second Vatican Council was convened, and out of it, the other churches of Christendom were declared to be no longer designated as heretics but rather as separated brethren.

 

Foundation of Seventh-day Adventist Faith

In 1904, Ellen White writes, “For the past 50 years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us… Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayer, study, and testified to by the miracle-working power of the Lord.” (Special Testimonies, Series B #2, p. 59)

Notice that in 1904, the foundation of faith had been firmly established. “Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder Hiram Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure… When they came to the point in their study where they said, ‘We can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.” (1SM 206.4)

 

At that time the Seventh-day Adventist Church officially had a non-Trinitarian statement of Fundamental Principles as was repeatedly published in the Annual Yearbook of the church.  The first Fundamental Principle as was published in the 1889 Yearbook was: “That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal; infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His representative, the Holy Spirit.  Ps. 139:7”. They did not elaborate further on the identity of the Holy spirit.  The second Fundamental Principle identified Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  This was clearly a non-Trinitarian perspective.

 

The Bible gives further clarification regarding the Holy Spirit, called the Comforter.  The Comforter that is sent is a messenger or representative who ministers under Christ’s instructions – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7); “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13).

 

Like the angels of God, the Comforter appeared as a flame of fire and enabled miracles to be done – “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2, 3).; “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Heb. 1:7); “The angels of God are ever passing from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth. The miracles of Christ for the afflicted and suffering were wrought by the power of God through the ministration of the angels. And it is through Christ, by the ministration of His heavenly messengers, that every blessing comes from God to us.” (White, Ellen G., The Desire of Ages, p. 143).

 

We need to know the difference between the spirit of God that fills us (God’s mind, character and power) and the Comforter who is an agent sent to minister to us.  This will serve as an antidote against the alpha of deadly heresies, which promotes the idea that God is personally inside of people and inside other entities – as opposed to being personally in heaven.  It will also preserve us against the omega of deadly heresies that destroys the identity of God by making God a unity of three rather than a sovereign being who presides over the universe and sent His only begotten Son into the world to save us.

 

The angel of Revelation 18 who brings the latter rain outpouring of God’s power does the same type of work that the Comforter came and did in the outpouring of the early rain of God’s power at Pentecost.  We are told by revelation to Ellen G. White that “Angels were sent to aid the mighty angel from heaven” in the outpouring of the latter rain (White, Ellen G., The Story of Redemption, p. 399). We may similarly understand that other angels worked in support of the mission that was carried out by the Comforter in the early rain outpouring.  We are not expected to worship the angel of Revelation 18; neither are we expected to worship the Comforter.  There is no basis in scripture for anyone to place the Comforter or the angel of Revelation 18 as co-equals with the Most High, who sent His only begotten Son into the world.  The Bible says there is: “One God and Father of all, who is above all” (Eph. 4:6).  This is the person that the Bible refers to as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:3).  Further, we worship Jesus, the Son of God because God, the Father, commands us to worship His Son (John 5:23; Heb. 1:6) – and no one else.

 

The issue is not whether or not there is a third person and eventually even a fourth, (the angel of Revelation 18).  The issue is the status of the third being, and also the fourth.  There is one Supreme Being, the Father, who is above all, who has given His Only begotten Son the authority to exercise all His power and has commanded us to honour His Son as we honour Him (John 5:23; 1 Cor. 15:24-28). This authority, He has given to none other.”

 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church was not fully accepted by the other churches while it stuck to the Biblical definition of God, as was held by its pioneers.  Up until 1980, the baptismal vow spoke of God as follows: “I believe in God the Father, in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit”.  This was changed to say: “Do you believe there is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons?” Was something wrong with the first formulation? Certainly not, from a Biblical standpoint.  It was generic and did not even deny the Catholic formulation, even though it did not specifically declare it.  But the second formulation goes beyond what the Bible says and includes some element of speculation as there is nowhere in the Bible that defines God as three in one.  But most specifically, it accords with the Catholic definition as declared in the Edict of Thessalonica and as embraced by the World Council of Churches.

 

Will we hold to the truth without wavering or will we do otherwise in order to be accepted by the world confederation that will ultimately turn against God’s faithful people?  The choice is ours.  But all is not lost.  In 2005, the Seventh-day Adventist Church adopted an alternative form of the Baptismal vow that has only three statements.  This allows the pastor preparing the candidate for baptism to avoid binding the candidate to an unscriptural vow.  We must hold fast to the truth especially at this time, as this will be the measure of our loyalty to God.  This wholehearted commitment to God, above institutional commitment, is the essence of the new covenant experience (see article “Religious Liberty and the New Covenant” at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/2018/03/18/religious-liberty-new-covenant/.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Opening of the Seven Seals

Following on our earlier presentation, “Seals opened in context of the judgement”, in which we showed that the Seven Seals are opened after the judgement is convened, and we considered the opening of the first seal, we now consider the opening of the remaining seals.  The first seal, when opened, brought to view a white horse which represented the raising up of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement after the passing of time, at the end of 2300 prophetic days, in 1844.  This started the restoration of truth that had been trampled under foot during the Dark Ages.  The rider, “went forth conquering, and to conquer.” (Rev. 6:2).

 

The opening of the second seal sees a red horse and and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another” (Rev. 6:4).  After the initial period of the raising up of the Advent Movement, the world went into a period when peace was taken from the earth.  This is the period of World Wars I and II.  There is hardly another period in the history of the world when it would have been true to say that peace was taken from the earth and power was given to people to kill one another.  For the first time, in 1914, there was a war that was so extensive as to be described as a World War.  Then followed the second World War, beginning on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland.  This is considered the deadliest conflict in human history, that involved over 30 countries and saw an estimate of 50 to 85 million people being killed.

 

The opening of the third seal sees a black horse, and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Rev. 6:5, 6).  The imagery of trading is inescapable.  After the world war era, the world saw an era that was dominated by trade.  We are still in that era at the beginning of 2019.  That is where we are in the prophetic unfolding of events.  There has never been an era before when there were global trade agreements, economic sanctions and a market-driven determination of global affairs as the period after the Second World War, continuing up to today.  But things are about to change.

 

The fourth seal opens with a pale horse being seen, “and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” (Rev. 6:8).  At any time now, the world will be plunged into a period of extensive loss of life, to the extent of one-fourth or a quarter of the world’s population.  Are you ready for it?  Whether or not we like it, it is coming.  Jesus also predicted it in Matthew chapter 24.

 

In Matthew 24, Jesus gives a sequence of events that would lead up to the second coming of Christ.  He tells us that there would be wars and rumours of wars, but we should not be troubled when we see those things, because “the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6).  He went on to say that nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, that there would be famines, pestilences and earthquakes and that such would be the “beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:7, 8).  Note what comes next: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matt. 24:9). That is the sequence of events.  The last part has not yet taken place.  It is the same sequence as depicted in the opening of the seals.  There would be wars, as in World wars I and II, but it would not be the end just yet.  Afterward they are going to deliver up God’s people to be killed.  But others are going to be killed as well.

 

We have seen increasing pestilences and earthquakes, so do we think that the part to follow, wherein we will be hated by all nations and will be persecuted and killed will not happen, or that it is far away?  Think again!  It is within that context, that Jesus continues by saying that the gospel will be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come (Matt. 24:14).  That is the Loud Cry of the angel of Rev. 18 being described there.  You’ll get the sequence quite easily if you read in order, verses 4 to 14 of Matthew 24.

 

The fifth seal opens and “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Rev. 6:9-11).  This depicts a time when many would have been killed and, as it were, their souls are crying out to God for Him to intervene.  It is further confirmed that this takes place during the pre-advent judgement because white robes were given to them at that point, even though they were told to wait a little longer.  Others of their brethren would be killed, and the judgement would pass from the dead to the living.

 

The opening of the sixth seal sees massive natural upheavals, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:12-17).

 

The events, as described here, are in quick succession.  Obviously, these have not happened yet, since every mountain and island have not yet been moved out of their places and the heavens have not yet departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.  Even though there have been historical events that reflect partial fulfilment of this prophecy, the full unfolding of the prophecy will take place in its entirety, with all the elements occurring in quick succession.  This is a description of the end, and the question is asked, “who shall be able to stand?”

 

The scene then shifts, in the next verses continuing in Revelation chapter 7, to show those who will be able to stand.  “The living saints, 144,000 in number” (Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 14), will be able to stand.  They would have gone through the great tribulation and would have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14).  The context shows that these are faithful end-time survivors who will be alive to see Christ’s second coming.

 

The seventh seal opens, and “there was silence in heaven” (Rev. 8:1).  Christ and His retinue of angels would have left heaven to come to earth to receive His faithful children – those who would have overcome the tribulation of the last days, and those who would have died in faith, whom He would raise from the dead.

 

The opening of the seven seals marks the events that would transpire from the start of the judgement through to the second coming of Christ.  When all the seals are opened, there is nothing left to be seen.  It is not at that time that the book is now ready to be opened, as though all the seals must be opened before the book can be read.  One scroll at a time is opened and read as its seal is opened and its contents brought to view. We are now in the third seal, the black horse period.  Are we ready for what is coming next?

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Seals opened in context of the judgement

There is an inescapable parallel between the setting of Revelation chapters 4 and 5, in which the seals are opened, and the judgement scene of Daniel chapter 7.  We’ll consider some of the parallel elements and the implications for the present time, but before we do so, the following word of admonition is most instructive: “Study Revelation in connection with Daniel, for history will be repeated”White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 116.  Here are some of the parallels:

 

  1. Thrones were set – Daniel says, I beheld till the thrones were cast down [set](Dan. 7:9; Revelation says, “a throne was set in heaven” (Rev. 4:2) and “round about the throne were four and twenty seats” (Rev. 4:4). Note that the persons who were seated on the twenty-four seats “had on their heads crowns of gold” (Rev. 4:4), so these twenty-four seats are really thrones, but obviously not as impressive as the one on which God sat. That explains why Daniel says “thrones”, while Revelation says, “a throne” and “four and twenty seats”.

 

  1. God sat on a throne – Daniel says, the Ancient of days did sit” (Dan. 7:9); Revelation says, “one sat on the throne” (Rev. 4:2).

 

  1. Millions of angels gathered around God’s throne – Daniel says, thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him” (Dan. 7:10); Revelation says, “many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Rev. 5:11).

 

  1. Christ comes to the Father – Daniel says, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days” (Dan. 7:13); Revelation says, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6).

 

  1. Christ receives glory, honour and power – Daniel says, And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom” (Dan. 7:14); Revelation says, “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

 

  1. Books were opened – Daniel says, the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Dan. 7:10); Revelation says, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof” (Rev. 5:2) and “he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Rev. 5:7), also, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals” (Rev. 6:1). Daniel says “books” (Dan. 7:10), while Revelation says, “a book” (Rev. 5:1).  A comment from Uriah Smith, an early Seventh-day Adventist pioneer, explains the seeming discrepancy.  In the comment, he quoted John Wesley as follows: “The usual books of the ancients were not like ours, but were volumes, or long pieces of parchment, rolled upon a long stick, as we frequently roll silks. Such was this represented, which was sealed with seven seals. Not as if the apostle saw all the seals at once; for there were seven volumes wrapped up one within another, each of which was sealed; so that upon opening and unrolling the first, the second appeared to be sealed up till that was opened, and so on to the seventh.”Smith, Uriah, Daniel and the Revelation, p. 420 (1909).

Daniel declares that the setting is the judgement.  This judgement takes place before the second coming of Christ.  The result of the judgement is that Christ receives a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:14).  It was further explained to Daniel that “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” (Dan. 7:27).  Thus, Christ receives the title deed to this earth along with the list of all those who will be His faithful subjects.  He then returns to earth to claim the dominion.  At that time, it will be declared, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15).

 

The opening of the seals within the context of the judgement means that although there may be a historic interpretation of the seals, there is undoubtedly, an end-time fulfillment that began in 1844, when the judgement commenced.  The opening of the first seal sees events unfolding that are depicted as a white horse, whose rider went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2).  This coincides with what is described as the Church of Philadelphia, to which was presented “an open door” that no man could shut (Rev. 3:8).  This is a church for which there was no rebuke but only commendation.  This opening of the first seal also coincides with the appearance of the Third Angel of Rev. 14 – indeed, a period of the gospel going forth with renewed power and direction from God.  This is the period of the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers.

 

Back in the day, it was popular for Seventh-day Adventists to sing, “Have you heard of the Advent Church, how she is moving according to prophecy?”  Today, many Seventh-day Adventists, while being convinced of the Sabbath, are not so sure that the Advent Movement has any special significance, more than any other church.  But God sees otherwise.  This Movement was raised up for a purpose, to preach the final message to the world.  While we win the hearts of people with our health message, we should not stop there.  People must be taught the mission for which the Movement was raised up, so that we can fulfill our God-ordained purpose.

 

By God’s grace, we will look, in another presentation, at the events associated with the opening of the remaining seals and consider where we are now in the unfolding fulfillment of prophecy.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Unity upon the Three Angels’ Messages – Pt 4

Characteristics of Babylon

It should now be clearly established that there are distinct differences between the little flock which continued with Christ into the most holy place, after the passing of time in 1844, and the other churches which rejected the judgement hour message and in consequence, were aptly categorized as Babylon.

The fallen churches of Babylon are characterized by two distinct errors which, above all else constitutes the wine with which she drunks the nations. These are :(1) Sunday sacredness – the spurious sabbath of human invention and (2) the immortality of the soul, which forms the basis for spiritualism.

“The wine of Babylon is the exalting of the false and spurious sabbath above the Sabbath which the Lord Jehovah hath blessed and sanctified for the use of man, also [it is] the immortality of the soul. These kindred heresies, and the rejection of the truth, convert the church into Babylon.”

White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68.

Additional identification of Babylon is given as follows:

“The whole chapter shows that Babylon that has fallen is the churches who will not receive the messages of warning the Lord has given in the first, second, and third angel’s messages. . . . . .  The message in the eighteenth chapter of Revelation is plain and clearly defined.”

White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68.

 

Characteristics of “The Little Flock”

That which characterizes God’s little flock is the acceptance of the truth, generally, but particularly, those which constitute the Three Angels’ Messages. Among these are the following: (1) the sanctuary truth which points to Christ’s final work of atonement in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary and brings to view the blotting out of sins or investigative judgement which began in 1844; (2) the Sabbath truth which was the light which shone from the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary when Christ commenced the last phase of his mediatorial work which is centred there,

“I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps – the first, second, and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, “Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.” I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step, until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform.”

White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 258, 259.

 

Identification of “The Little Flock”

The mark of identification of this little flock is the seventh day Sabbath.

“As I was considering this matter in the night season, it seemed as if One stood up in the midst of us and pointed us back to the Israelites as an illustration of a distinct people, denominated of God. That which made them denominational was the observance of God’s commandments. In the twelfth to the eighteenth verses of the thirty-first chapter of Exodus their distinguishing sign is mentioned. ‘Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep’, the Lord declared, ‘for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you…. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever’”.

White, Ellen G., Manuscript Releases, Vol. 19, p. 38.

“We are Seventh-day Adventists. this is a fitting name, for we keep the seventh-day Sabbath, and look for the second advent of our lord in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. Even with respect to the name indicating some of the peculiar points of faith distinguishing us from other Christians, we are denominational. In keeping the Sabbath that God declares should be kept holy as a sign between Himself and His people, we show to the world that we are His peculiar, chosen people – a people whom He has denominated.”

White, Ellen G., Manuscript Releases, Vol. 19, p. 40.

“Do not these words point us out as God’s denominated people? and do they not declare to us that so long as time shall last, we are to cherish the sacred, denominational distinction placed on us? The children of Israel were to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations ‘for a perpetual covenant.’ The Sabbath has lost none of its meaning. It is still the sign between God and his people, and it will be so forever.”

White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, 8/4/1904

Wherever the above-mentioned truths are accepted and adhered to, there we have members of the little flock. As to which ones will have their names retained in the book of life and which ones will have their names blotted out is not ours to determine, but such are of that “house of God” at which “judgement must begin” (1 Pet. 4:17).

In accordance with the distinctive truths that characterize the little flock, it was revealed through the Spirit of Prophecy that their name should be Seventh-day Adventists.

“We are Seventh-day Adventists. Are we ashamed of our name? We answer, “No, no! We are not. It is the name the Lord has given us. It points out the truth that is to be the test of the churches.” – Letter 110,1902. “We are Seventh-day Adventists, and of this name we are never to be ashamed.”

White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 384.

 

Criteria for Denominational Identity

It is important to note that the parameters which define the boundaries of the denominational identity are not organizational criteria; rather, it is the Three Angels’ Messages and, in particular, the Sabbath. It is upon these very points which distinguish the little flock from the churches which constitute Babylon that the final conflict between good and evil will be centred.

It is primarily on account of the Sabbath that Seventh-day Adventists have been hated and despised by a large proportion of a world that has exalted the spurious sabbath above the true. This hatred will yet again blaze forth in open persecution in the final conflict that lies just ahead of us.

“The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other, choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.”

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 605.

“As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, and religions and secular authorities have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument eighteen hundred years ago was brought against Christ by the “rulers of the people,” “It is expedient for us,” said the wily Caiaphas, “that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” John 11:50. This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death.

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 615, 616.

It is in the interest of God’s people to recognize what makes us unique, what binds us together and where our strength lies.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

The Three Angels’ Messages and the Seven Churches

While it is true that the Three Angels’ Messages contain truth of a general nature – for example, “worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” – it is also important to note that the vision of three angels flying one after the other, represents a sequence of prophesied events.  These events were fulfilled at specific times, in a similar way as the four Beasts of Daniel 7 arose sequentially and represented four successive kingdoms.  Likewise, the Seven Churches are sequential in their prophetic fulfilment and represent God’s Church at specific times, some of which overlap with the periods represented by the three angels.

 

The first angel represents the initial stages of the Advent Movement, before the disappointment of 1844, as they preached a message of the second coming of Christ and the hour of God’s judgement approaching.  The second angel represents a later stage of the same Movement, starting in the summer of 1844, when the focus of the message was a call for people to leave Babylon, the churches that had rejected the message of the soon return of Jesus Christ.  The third angel represents the Seventh-day Adventist Movement that has been preaching the Sabbath and warning people against the Mark of the Beast, from shortly after the disappointment in 1844.

 

There is an overlap between the time period covered by the three angels and the time period covered under the last three of the seven churches, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.  It was said to Sardis that “thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”; to Philadelphia, “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it”; and to Laodicea, “because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:1-17).  Unlike Sardis and Laodicea, there was no rebuke for Philadelphia.

 

Many persons view Philadelphia as the period covering what is known as the Great Awakening or the Evangelical Revival, extending up to the disappointment in 1844; and Laodicea, they see as the period from 1844 onward.    In this, they give God’s commendations of Philadelphia to a brand of Christianity that was considered by men to be alive, but which God’s message declared was dead.  The testimony concerning the churches that rejected the Advent Message before the disappointment was as follows:

 

“But the churches generally did not accept the warning . . . . . .  The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church revealed all to surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ. The ties which bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heavenward. They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom and turned away from the heart-searching message of truth.

“In refusing the warning of the first angel, they rejected the means which Heaven had provided for their restoration. They spurned the gracious messenger that would have corrected the evils which separated them from God, and with greater eagerness they turned to seek the friendship of the world. Here was the cause of that fearful condition of worldliness, backsliding, and spiritual death which existed in the churches in 1844.”

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 379, 380.

 

The churches were dead, even though they were thought to be alive.  This was the period leading up to the disappointment in 1844.

 

Where then would Philadelphia fall?  Philadelphia comes immediately after the dead Sardis.  Consider what was said of Philadelphia: “I have set before thee an open door and no man can shut it” and “thou hast a little strength”, “hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” and “hast kept the word of my patience” (Rev. 3:8-10).  This is an apt description of the early Pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement just after the disappointment of 1844.  The testimony concerning the Pioneers was as follows:

 

“I was pointed back, and saw the condition of God’s people in 1844. Then God was pleased with them, and his love rested upon them.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, p. 279.

 

“I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, and would give no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps—one, two and three—the first, second and third angels’ messages. Said the angel, Woe to him who shall move a block, or stir a pin in these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received. I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. Step by step had God brought them along, until he had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, p. 168, 169.

 

How long did this period of Divine approval last?  It did not last more than a few years.  The transition to Laodicea took place by 1857.  In that year, the situation was described as follows:

 

“In the spring of 1857, I accompanied my husband on a tour East. His principal business was to purchase the Power Press. We held conferences on our way to Boston, and on our return. This was a discouraging tour. The testimony to the Laodicean church was generally received; but some in the East were making bad use of it. Instead of applying it to their own hearts, so as to be benefited by it themselves, they were using the testimony to oppress others . . . . . .”

 

“I saw that the testimony to the Laodiceans applied to God’s people at the present time, and the reason it has not accomplished a greater work, is because of the hardness of their hearts.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, p. 222, 223.

 

It is significant, what a main cause for this condition was.  We are told:

 

“And I saw what God marked above everything else was their contented state. They have the truth. None can successfully oppose, and they enjoy it, as if the Saviour had no work for them to do in the salvation of souls.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, p. 279.

 

This point in time was not immediately after the disappointment when they were struggling to hammer out the truth by tireless study of the scriptures. They were now at a point when they had the truth and were contented that nobody could oppose them.  This was even before the organization was established.  By 1857, much of the severe hardship had already passed.  The account was:

 

“Could some be placed back ten or twelve years, and labor through the discouragements that then existed, they would find a great change in the labor now, compared with what it was then. Then the friends of the cause were few, their means limited, and it was a constant battle against error and fanaticism. Privation and want were then endured by God’s servants without murmuring.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, p. 286.

 

The Church of Philadelphia was the Post-Disappointment, Pre-Organization Movement that had a short span from the end of the 2300 days in 1844, as was prophesied by Daniel, when the “open door” became applicable, to around 1856 when the Church of the Laodiceans started.  Daniel prophesied that at the end of the 2300 days God would start a work of restoring the truth that had been trampled underfoot.  Sure enough, on the very next day, after the disappointment at the end of the 2300 days on October 22, 1844, God started to reveal new light to those who had just “a little strength”, who had “kept” His word, and had “not denied” His “name”.  Starting with Hiram Edson’s vision, of Christ moving through the “open door” from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary in heaven, to the first vision of Ellen White (nee Harmon) later that same year, God restored the major truths that would keep His people grounded until the second coming of Christ.  By 1858 God had already revealed that “Step by step had God brought them along, until he had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform” and that “God looked upon them with approbation”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, p. 168, 169.

 

Establishing clearly the period that God in His wisdom described as Philadelphia, as distinct from the Sardis and Laodicean periods might seem like a small point, but it is very important.  It saves us from looking for inspiration from the wrong period.  Many Seventh-day Adventists today glorify the period of the so-called Great Awakening among Evangelicals, while speaking with derision of the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers, not reckoning that, in God’s eyes, the first group was dead, while it was to the latter group that God looked with approbation.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Unity upon the Three Angels’ Messages – Pt 3

The First Angel

When the fullness of time came, God ordained that a message should be proclaimed which would prepare His people for the last phase of Christ’s heavenly ministry on our behalf – the blotting out of sins, also known as the investigative judgement and the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.

Accordingly, in different lands simultaneously, leading up to the end of the 2300 prophetic days (or 2300 literal years) which culminated on October 22, 1844, the message of Daniel 8:14 was heralded – “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Dan. 8.14.

These prophetic days (one literal year for each prophetic day – Num. 14:34) extended from the autumn of the year 457 BC, when the command of Artaxerxes to “restore and to build Jerusalem” (Dan. 9:25) went into effect.

Fulfilling the symbolic prophecy of the first of three angels flying “in the midst of heaven” (Rev.14:6, 7), the Advent movement (as the messengers were collectively called) proclaimed that the “hour” of God’s judgement had come.  True to the connotation of the prophetic symbol, the message was carried far and wide.

“Like a tidal wave the movement swept over the land. Prom city to city, from village to village, and into remote country places it went, until the waiting people of God were fully aroused. Fanaticism disappeared before this proclamation like early frost before the rising sun. Believers saw their doubt and perplexity removed, and hope and courage animated their hearts.” – White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 400.

Notwithstanding the glory that characterized the Advent movement during the days leading up to the commencement of the investigative judgement in 1844, the early stages of this very important work of Christ found only a little company focusing their faith in the direction of this final work of atonement.

“The first angel’s message of Revelation 14, announcing the hour of God’s judgement and calling upon men to fear and worship Him, was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world and arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. In this message, God had sent to the church a warning, which, had it been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting them away from Him . . . . . .  


“But the churches generally did not accept the warning . . . . . .  The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church revealed all to surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ. The ties which bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heavenward. They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom and turned away from the heart-searching message of truth.

“In refusing the warning of the first angel, they rejected the means which Heaven had provided for their restoration. They spurned the gracious messenger that would have corrected the evils which separated them from God, and with greater eagerness they turned to seek the friendship of the world. Here was the cause of that fearful condition of worldliness, backsliding, and spiritual death which existed in the churches in 1844.”

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 379, 380.

 

The Second Angel

As a result of the churches rejecting the special message that was sent from heaven to prepare them for the investigative judgement, the second angel’s message (Rev. 14:8) became applicable to them.

“The second angel’s message of Revelation 14 was first preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the judgement had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however can it be said that “Babylon is fallen . . . . . .  because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” She has not yet made all nations do this. The spirit of world conforming and indifference to the testing truths for our time exists and has been gaining ground in churches of the Protestant faith in all the countries of Christendom; and these churches are included in the solemn and terrible denunciation of the second angel. But the work of apostasy has not yet reached its culmination.

“The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness;” and they that “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” will be left to receive “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11. Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the church with the world shall be fully accomplished throughout Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete. The change is a progressive one, and the perfect fulfillment of Revelation 14:8 is yet future.”

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 389, 390.

 

The Third Angel

While the churches that existed in 1844 rejected the judgement hour message and experienced a moral fall, the few persons who accepted the message received further light. They were shown the fact that the phase of Christ’s heavenly ministry which began in 1844 was the reality to which the ancient Jewish Day of Atonement pointed; that it was the judgement during which the sins of God’s professed people would be forever blotted out or otherwise, their names blotted from God’s book of life.

The little company was further blessed with the Spirit of Prophecy which was given to one of their number, Ellen Gould White (nee Harmon). They were further awakened to the breach that was created in God’s holy law by unsanctified human hands which foisted on the world a spurious sabbath in place of God’s holy Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, which is the eternal sign that He is the creator and the One who sanctifies His people (Ex. 20:8-11 ; Eze. 20:12,20). This awakening brought to them the realization that they were specially called by God and peculiarly denominated by Him as messengers who had a special responsibility to prepare for Him a people who could stand in the judgement. In order to accomplish this task, it would be a significant part of their mission to point men and women to the perfect law of God in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary (Rev. 11:19; 2 Chron. 5:10) which is the standard by which all persons would be judged (James 2:10-12).

A transcript of God’s law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai and right in the bosom of that law was the fourth commandment which enjoined the observance of the seventh day Sabbath as holy unto the Lord. This commandment above all the others was being disregarded by a world which had almost entirely been deceived into accepting the spurious sabbath of human invention.

Hence, it would be the responsibility of each one to stand as a “repairer of the breach” (Isa. 58:12) by drawing attention, particularly, to the sabbath of the Lord as enjoined by the fourth commandment. This work was represented prophetically as that of the third angel (Rev. 14:9-12).

“As foretold in the Scriptures, the ministration of Christ in the most holy place began at the termination of the prophetic days in 1844. To this time apply the words of the Revelator, “The temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” The ark of God’s testament is in the second apartment of the sanctuary. As Christ entered there, to minister in the sinner’s behalf, the inner temple was opened, and the ark of God was brought to view. To those who by faith beheld the Saviour in his work of intercession, God’s majesty and power were revealed. As the train of his glory filled the temple, light from the holy of holies was shed upon his waiting people on the earth.


“They had by faith followed their High Priest from the holy to the most holy, and they saw him pleading his blood before the ark of God. Within that sacred ark is the Father’s law, the same that was spoken by God himself amid the thunders of Sinai, and written with his own finger on tables of stone. Not one command has been annulled; not a jot or tittle has been changed. While God gave to Moses a copy of his law, he preserved the great original in the sanctuary above. Tracing down its holy precepts, the seekers for truth found, in the very bosom of the decalogue, the fourth commandment, as it was first proclaimed: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor, thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

“The spirit of God impressed the hearts of these students of his word. The conviction was urged upon them, that they had ignorantly transgressed the fourth commandment by disregarding the Creator’s rest-day. They began to examine the reasons for observing the first day of the week instead of the day which God had sanctified. They could find no evidence in the Scriptures that the fourth commandment had been abolished, or that the Sabbath had been changed; the blessing which first hallowed the seventh day had never been removed. They had been honestly seeking to know and do God’s will, and now, as they saw themselves transgressors of his law, sorrow filled their hearts. They at once evinced their loyalty to God by keeping his Sabbath holy.

“Many and earnest were the efforts made to overthrow their faith. None could fail to see that if the earthly sanctuary was a figure or pattern of the heavenly, the law deposited in the ark on earth was an exact transcript of the law in the ark in Heaven, and that an acceptance of the truth concerning the heavenly sanctuary involved an acknowledgement of the claims of God’s law, and the obligation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Here was the secret of the bitter and determined opposition to the harmonious exposition of the Scriptures that brought to view the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary . . . . . . Christ had opened the door, or ministration, of the most holy place, light was shining from that open door of the sanctuary in heaven, and the fourth commandment was shown to be included in the law within the ark; what God had established, no man could overthrow.

“Those who had accepted the light concerning the mediation of Christ and the perpetuity of the law of God, found that these were the truths brought to view in the third message.”

White, Ellen G., The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 273-275.

“As the ministration of Jesus closed in the Holy place, and he passed into the Holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, he sent another mighty angel to earth with the third message. He placed a parchment in the angel’s hand, and as he descended to earth in majesty and power, he proclaimed a fearful warning, the most terrible threatening ever borne to man. This message was designed to put the children of God upon their guard, and show them the hour of temptation and anguish that was before them. Said the angel, They will be brought into close combat with the beast and his image. Their only hope of eternal life is to remain steadfast. Although their lives are at stake, yet they must hold fast the truth. The third angel closes his message with these words, Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, p. 162.

 “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Revelation confirms that God is one, not three

Jesus said: “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord”.[1]  He said this to a scribe who queried, “Which is the first commandment of all?”.[2]  The scribe responded, “Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he”.[3]  To this, the Divine record says, “And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.”.[4]  Jesus considered the scribe’s answer a discreet one.  Revelation confirms that God is one person, not three.

 

The book of Revelation begins with a declaration of a chain of command: God gave to Christ, Christ gave to His angel, and the angel gave to John – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Rev. 1:1).  There is no confusion here, and most people seem to understand this.

 

The Revelation continues with greetings being brought to the seven churches from God, Christ and the seven spirits before God’s throne – “Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead” (Rev. 1:4, 5).  This is where some people get confused – they say that it is not really seven spirits but one spirit – the ‘seven-fold’ spirit.  But the Revelation is clear that the seven spirits are seven discrete entities, not one entity – “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” (Rev. 4:5).

 

What are these seven lamps of fire before God’s throne, who can send greetings?  They must be living beings!  Is there any category of living beings who are described as lamps of fire?  Let the scriptures answer – “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Heb. 1:7); and further, “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14).

 

There ought to be no confusion as to who these seven spirits are, who send greetings.  But lest some say that they are still unclear, let the scriptures describe in further detail those who stand before God’s throne – “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God” (Rev. 8:1, 2).   Recall that it is the same scene in which the throne of God is described with seven lamps of fire before it, and the lamb came to Him that sat on the throne, took the book from His hand and started to open the seals of the book.  The word of God is clear, for those who will receive it.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

[1] Mark 12:29

[2] Mark 12:28

[3] Mark 12:32

[4] Mark 12:34

Unity upon the Three Angels’ Messages – Pt 1

Unity upon the right premises

This series was born out of a sincere desire to see unity among believers in the Three Angels’ Messages.

After the passing of time in 1844, God raised up a people to do a special work which would prepare His followers to receive the Latter Rain and to hail Christ as their Saviour at His glorious return. It is today, as it has always been, Christ’s desire to see his followers united in heart and spirit upon the solid, immovable platform of truth.

Unity is good, only if the premises on which unity is established is good.  Uniting upon a false premise or uniting to do something that is bad is worse than not uniting at all.  The scriptures record an occasion when Israel was so united that when they shouted, the earth rang again” (1 Sam. 4:5) and “the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.” (1 Sam. 4:7, 8).  But unfortunately, it ended with the Ark being taken away by the Philistines, the shock of the news causing Eli, the High Priest, to fall over and break his neck and a woman in labour, dying in child-birth and crying “Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel” (1 Sam. 4:21).  What was the reason for such a tragedy?  Simply put, God was not with them on that mission!  Yes, they were still God’s people, but He was not with them!  On any mission, we must first ensure that God is with us.

Efforts are being made to unite the Advent people today, and that is good.  The 28 Fundamental Beliefs are being promoted as a doctrinal foundation for unity.  But is this the foundation on which God would have us unite?  Would the pioneers and all faithful Seventh-day Adventists be able to unite on such a foundation?  Or is it a foundation that would exclude some of God’s faithful children?  A faithful believer who got baptized in 1978, pointed out that the Baptismal Vow that he took, had, as the first belief, the following: “I believe in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit”.  That vow came straight from the scriptures – Matt. 28:19, 20.  But now, for his faithful children to be accepted into fellowship, they are required to make the following vow: I believe there is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons.”This new version includes elements that are not explicitly stated in scripture, and thus excludes those who have chosen to go no further than what the scriptures explicitly say.  Was the previous statement not clear enough and scriptural?  Why then change it to exclude some of the faithful?

 

Present state

It is very unfortunate that the present state among those who embrace the special truths for this time is a far cry from the state of unity that is envisioned in Christ’s earnest prayer of John the seventeenth chapter. Numerous groups and factions of varying sizes, all of which claim to be Seventh-day Adventist endeavour to establish legitimacy (and in some cases, exclusive right) for their operations, while at the same time manifesting towards each other, in some cases, a cold indifference, suspicion and virtual hostility, even denouncing each other openly at times.

It is a fact that the coming of the Lord is near, and before He comes, the venom of the Beast and his Image will be unleashed against, not one only, or another of these groups, but against all Sabbath-keeping Adventists. The inspired messenger has repeatedly urged “the little company” to “press together”.

We cannot afford to deny our history at this time, because we have nothing to fear for the future except as we forget how God has led us in the past. Therefore, there is need for a re-focus on the distinctive truths which have brought the Advent people into existence. Otherwise, we run the risk of failing to acknowledge the Divinely established criteria that identifies Seventh-day Adventists as God’s denominated people. We are likely to establish our own criteria for the identification of God’s denominated people and hence continue either to exclusively acknowledge the faction with which we identify ourselves, or wrongfully denounce those who we think have no right to consider themselves as being numbered among God’s denominated people.

 

History and denominational identity

This series outlines some of the more notable aspects of the history of the Advent people. It extracts from Inspiration the parameters which delineate the boundaries of the denominational identity of Seventh-day Adventists. It further notes the primary role that Seventh-day Adventists have been called to fulfill as the controversy between good and evil approaches its culmination, and in view of all the above, makes an earnest appeal for unity.

To the reader, an earnest appeal is made, that we consider the subject that is discussed here prayerfully and with a genuine spirit to establish the truth. We are reminded that:

“There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed and that all our expositions of Scripture are without error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.”White, Ellen G., Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 35.

“There are those who oppose everything that is not in accordance with their own ideas, and by so doing, they endanger their eternal interest as verily as did the Jewish nation in their rejection of Christ.”White, Ellen G., Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 35, 36.

“We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and Heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion will be disappointed.”White, Ellen G., Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 37.

Indeed, one might hold opinions on the subjects that are discussed here and feel satisfied with one’s already established perspective. This should not, however, inhibit an open and fair consideration of that which is presented here. One’s experience could be, as was the Apostle Paul’s, of which he testified as follows:

“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” – Rom. 7:9.

He was satisfied as he was. He felt settled (in whatever it was that he was doing). But when the law came, he saw himself differently.

 

Fuller understanding

The point being made is not that the thoughts presented here are presented as ‘the law’, but simply that, a feeling of being settled does not mean that one’s perspective might not still need some measure of adjustment in order to place it in fuller consistency with the truth. And such an adjustment (if needed) may not necessarily be apparent to the individual prior to his/her considering the perspective being given for him/her to consider. In fact, adjustments might not even bring the individual to the exact perspective that he/she is presented with; it might well be just a stepping stone or even that which triggers a thought that leads to further enlightenment.

If this presentation can help in whatever way to lead to a fuller understanding or more complete acceptance of that which is the truth, then, may God be praised, for there is hardly a greater hope in the heart of this writer in presenting this series. This is particularly so because the truth is the instrument by which the Holy Spirit accomplishes the work of sanctification in the human heart and brings us into closer fellowship with God, according as the Holy Scripture declares: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).

Unfortunately, sometimes, in our state of feeling settled, we close the door to all possibility of seeing anything otherwise. This situation has resulted in a rejection of truth in numerous instances, the consequences of which have been extremely detrimental to both individual and church alike.

The writer’s hope and prayer are that the reader will be uplifted and enlightened through a fair consideration of the subject that is here presented, and that individuals and the church will be guided by the Holy Spirit in arriving at and settling into the truth.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

“Try the spirits whether they are of God”

The Bible says we should not believe every spirit, but we should “try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1).  We have been warned that spiritualism will be woven into every form of deception in the last days – “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” and “his ministers also” “transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:14, 15); “spirits of devils, working miracles” will be gathering the “kings of the earth and of the whole world” (Rev. 16:14). The final message to the world will be a call out of the false systems of worship because Babylon would have become “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit” (Rev. 18:2).  It is therefore, worthwhile to consider what light can be obtained from the Bible regarding the working of the spirit of God.

 

Some people are saying that the Holy Spirit is a third God-being who may/should be worshipped.  Others are saying that the Holy Spirit is God and Christ personally living inside of us.  Still others are saying that it is really the disembodied spirit of God that operates separately from God Himself.  What is the truth regarding the Holy Spirit?  Judge for yourself.

 

The Spirit of God

 

God’s spirit gives you life; it does not make God live in you – “And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live” (Eze. 37:14).  God does not need us to live.  God lives independently of us.  God has been and will be, regardless of us.

 

Further, you are not alive without God’s spirit being in your body – “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7); “It is the spirit that quickeneth [makes alive](John 6:63).

 

The spirit of God also gives power – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

 

This Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit that gives power is the same spirit that gives life – “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:11).

 

Jesus gave a measure of the Holy Spirit to His disciples when He was with them – “he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).  When Jesus breathed on His disciples, He remained where He was – He did not go inside of them.  But He gave them more power.

 

 

 

Spirit Belongs to God

 

The spirit of life does not belong to us.  It belongs to God.  He gives it to whomsoever He wills.  At death, it goes back to Him.  It does not wander around – “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7); “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4); “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” (Luke 23:46).

 

God blows the breath of life into whoever or whatever He chooses, and life enters them – even into dry bones – “Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” (Eze. 37:5, 6).

 

This is the Creator who says, I am God, “and there is none else”For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. Isa. 45:18. (See also Isa. 46:5, 9).

 

This is the God, whose breath moved over the face of the earth and breathed life into every living creature – “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:2, 3).

 

This is the God, in whose image and likeness human beings were made, who said to His Son, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26; John 1:1-3).

 

Jesus Filled with the Spirit of God

 

Jesus Christ was filled with the spirit of God – “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John 3:34); “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2); “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan” (Luke 4:1).

 

While Jesus has the spirit of God without measure, everyone has a measure of God’s spirit – the “spirit of wisdom”, “understanding” (Isa. 11:2) and “the spirit of life” itself (Rev. 11:11).  But, to be saved, we must have other elements of God’s spirit that include “the spirit of meekness” (1 Cor. 4:21), and “the spirit of knowledge and of the fear [reverence] of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2); “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear [to be afraid]; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7).  God gives His spirit to those who ask and obey Him – “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him” (Luke 11:13); “the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:32).

 

The most evident manifestation of someone being filled with the Spirit of God or of God being in someone is the case of Jesus Christ himself.   Jesus prayed to His Father in heaven and taught His disciples to do the same.  He had a mind and will of His own – He prayed in Gethsemane, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39).  Christ’s knowledge is separate from the Father’s – But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32).  In several instances, the Father even spoke to Him audibly, not from inside of Him, but from heaven (Matt. 3:17; John 12:28; Matt. 17:1-5).

 

“God was in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:19) but the Father was not in Christ as another mind or intelligence that took up residence inside of Him.  Christ was controlled by His own will but consciously chose, moment by moment to align His will with His Father’s will.  This is what God expects of us as free moral agents, not for us to be taken over by another intelligence as in the case of demon possession.  When Jesus needed to be comforted as he faced the most trying phase of His earthly sojourn, in the garden of Gethsemane, God did not leave heaven and come personally to Him but there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43).

 

Jesus Christ is the prototype, for us, of what it means to be filled with the Holy Ghost and how the spirit of God might dwell in us.

 

The Comforter

 

When Jesus was soon to return to heaven, He promised that He would not leave His disciples comfortless; He would send them the Comforter, whom He also refers to as the Spirit of truth and the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7); “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26).

 

The Comforter was sent on a mission to dispense spiritual gifts and to comfort the disciples.  He would not speak of himself but would speak only what he hears – “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13).

 

Whereas the Comforter brought the Early Rain of God’s spirit (spiritual gifts) at Pentecost, a mighty angel will bring the Latter Rain of God’s spirit in the last days even more extensively “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” (Rev. 18:1; see also Acts 2:17, 18; Joel 2:23, 28-31).  This mighty angel carries out a similar mission to that which the Comforter carried out at Pentecost.  The Comforter is a person but not a God-being like the Father and the Son – there is no precedent in scripture for anyone praying to or worshipping the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

 

The True God, Christ and the Holy Spirit

 

The Spirit of God that dwells in us in measure are the spiritual gifts (including the gift of life) by which we live and are empowered to be God’s witnesses.  The term Holy Spirit may refer to the spiritual gifts that we receive and that remain in us or it may refer to Christ’s representative, the Comforter, who dispenses the gifts to us. We should not confuse the two; neither should we confuse these, with references to God Himself as a spirit being.

 

May the Lord help us to recognize the true God, who created us and gave us the spirit of life.  In the strength of the power that He gives, we “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  Eternal life is something that we do not have naturally, but through His Son, Jesus Christ, God freely offers it to all who believe – “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16); “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3); “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev.2:10).

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

If Jesus, why not 1844 and Adventism?

On this day that marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenburg, Germany, that sparked what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation, I wish to point to Seventh-day Adventism as the Reformation Movement of the last days.  In pointing to Seventh-day Adventism, I ask the question: If one accepts Jesus as the Messiah, on what basis does anyone reject 1844 and Adventism?  In referring to anyone, this includes the over one billion Catholics and the millions of Protestants in the world today.

 

To understand the question, one needs to know that there is a link between Jesus, 1844 and Adventism.  That link is Daniel.  Did you know that Jesus referred to Daniel as a prophet?  Yes, He did – in Mark 13:14!  And did you know that the same prophecy of Daniel that Jesus referred to in Mark 13:14 identifies 1844 as the time that God would start a special activity called the cleansing of the sanctuary and only Adventism recognizes the fulfilment of that prophecy and the carrying out of that activity?  You’ll discover that Jesus, 1844 and Adventism are inextricably linked and that there can be no basis for accepting the one without accepting the others.

 

In posing the question, I will make two (2) points:

 

First point

 

Daniel was a prophet and he pointed to the cleansing of the sanctuary in 1844.

 

In Mark 13:14 Jesus reinforced Daniel’s prophecy regarding what both Daniel and Jesus called the “abomination of desolation”.  Jesus said: But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.” – Mark 13:14.  This was a reference to the Roman power that would destroy Jerusalem in the year AD 70.  The same warning is given in Matt. 24:15 and Luke 21:20.  In Luke, the warning is given even more explicitly.  It says: “when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” (Luke 21:20).

 

Some people confuse themselves with Daniel’s prophecy regarding the “abomination of desolation” by saying that it referred to some obscure Syrian king called Antiochus Epiphanes who lived way back, many centuries before the time of Christ.  But it is obvious that the “abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet” was not something of the past as Jesus said that it had not happened yet.  It was something in the future to Jesus’s time and people in His time would live to see it.  So, there is no need for any confusion. Now, you’ll see that this same prophecy that foretold the destruction of Jerusalem also identified the exact time that Messiah would have come and it also identifies 1844.

 

So, how does it identify the time that Messiah would come and 1844?   It does it in answer to a question that was asked in Dan. 8:13.  The question was: “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily [sacrifice], and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?”  The answer is given in verse 14 as follows: “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”

 

Daniel did not fully understand the answer that was given and he fainted (Dan. 8:27).  But some time after, the same angel Gabriel that had appeared to Daniel and was explaining the vision to him, but was unable to finish because Daniel fainted, came back to him.  The account in Daniel 9:21-23 says: “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.  And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.  At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore, understand the matter, and consider the vision.” (Dan. 9:21-23).

 

The angel Gabriel picked up from where he left off and started to explain the time period by telling Daniel when it would start.  He said: “Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks” (verse 25).  That is, seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks, which is sixty-nine (69) weeks.  The command to restore and build Jerusalem was issued in 457 BC by the king Artaxerxes.  This is recorded in Ezra 7:7 as the seventh year of the king, in the fifth month (verse 8).

 

From that date, counting 69 weeks, taking a day for a year, we have 483 years from the decree of Artaxerxes unto Messiah the Prince – that is, 69 weeks times 7 days per week, which equals 483 days, where one day in the prophecy equals one literal year (a principle mentioned in Numbers 13:34).  Did Messiah come at the time predicted by the angel?  Yes, He did!

 

Exactly 483 years from the time that King Artaxerxes issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (that is, from the year 457 BC), Jesus Christ was anointed Messiah at His baptism, in the year AD 27.  This prophecy of Daniel is the only prophecy in the Bible that tells the exact time when Messiah would appear, and it was fulfilled just as predicted.

 

The Bible tells us that Jesus was anointed at His baptism (Acts 10:38).  The word Messiah means anointed.  So Jesus appeared as Messiah at His baptism in AD 27.  Accordingly, He began to preach, saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mark 1:15).  The time being fulfilled was obviously the time spoken of by Daniel the prophet as there is no other time prophecy that identifies the time when Messiah would come.

 

But the time of Messiah’s appearance was only a part of Daniel’s prophecy.  The prophecy pointed to Messiah appearing after 69 weeks (obviously, based on a day in the prophecy being equal to a literal year – otherwise, it would not have pointed to Jesus as the Messiah, but by that reckoning, it fits exactly).  So, 69 weeks takes us to Messiah, but Daniel said that something else would happen at the end of 2300 days.  69 weeks is 483 days.  The remaining days to the end of 2300 days would be 2300 minus 483, which gives 1817 days.

 

So, if 483 days (a day being taken as one year) takes us to AD 27, then an additional 1817 days (a day for a year) will be 27 plus 1817, which takes us to 1844.

 

There is no escaping it.  Daniel’s 2300 days ends in 1844.  This is based on the same prophecy that identified AD 27 as the time when Messiah would arrive.  Jesus Christ, the Messiah arrived just as Daniel prophesied and Jesus confirmed that Daniel was a prophet.

 

So, back to my question: If you accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, on what basis do you reject 1844 as the date for the fulfilment of the remainder of the same prophecy?

 

It is clear!  If you accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, you must accept Daniel as a prophet and 1844 as the fulfilment of the time specified in Daniel’s prophecy.  That’s my first point.

 

Second point

 

The cleansing of the sanctuary included the raising up of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement.

 

Now, how does the Advent Movement come into the picture?  The Advent Movement was the only voice in the world that recognized the fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy in 1844.  Some people will say that the Millerites were wrong; but we are not talking about the Millerites.  We are talking about those who followed after 1844 with a message that the cleansing of the sanctuary had started.   Prior to October 22, 1844, for the most part, people thought that the event that Daniel’s prophecy pointed to was the second coming of Christ.  But Daniel did not say that.  Daniel said that after 2300 days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.  He did not say which sanctuary and he did not say how long the cleansing would take.

 

Those who remained faithful to the truth that 1844 marked the time pointed to by Daniel, studied the matter from the Bible and saw that the sanctuary that would be cleansed was the sanctuary in heaven where Christ ministers.  The Bible is clear that Christ is in heaven as “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” (Heb. 8:2).

 

So, one might ask: What is the cleansing of the sanctuary?  It is what the Bible calls the blotting out of sins.

 

Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost and said to the people: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19).  So, at a specific time that was yet future to Peter’s time, that Peter called the times of refreshing, the sins of people who have repented of their sins would be blotted out.  Blotted out from where?  Obviously, the sins would be blotted out from the record in heaven and also from the lives of the people.

 

This is what the cleansing of the sanctuary on earth was all about.  On the Day of Atonement, the record of sins was removed from the sanctuary and there would remain no basis for anyone who had repented of those sins to be accused.  This is fully described in Leviticus 16.  A present-day parallel might be the efforts that are being made to clear Jamaica’s National Heroes, such as Marcus Garvey, of all criminal records.

 

As it was, in the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary, when you repent and confess your sins to Christ and Christ, as your Advocate and Intercessor, takes up your case, He has to convince the angels in heaven in the presence of God, the Father, that you are sincere.  Jesus says: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Rev. 3:5).  From this it is clear that a part of the work of cleansing the sanctuary is also purging its records of the names of insincere or fake believers.

 

If you keep repeating the same sinful behaviour and do not accept the help Christ offers to you to do better, then your sins will not be blotted out and your name, instead, will be blotted out.  That is clear from Peter’s message: repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.  That is what the cleansing of the sanctuary is all about – cleansing it of the record of confessed sins and also cleansing it of the names of insincere or fake Christians.

 

The only set of people who understood this and brought it to the attention of the world at the time when this special work of blotting out of sins or cleansing of the sanctuary began in 1844 was the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers.  It was seen that the characteristics of God’s people in the last days would be that they keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.  The Bible says: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).  Obviously, our sins will not be blotted out if we are breaking the commandments of God.  So the final message pointed to a need for repentance so that our sins might be blotted out.

 

It was this understanding that led them to the seventh-day Sabbath.  In calling people to repentance, it became obvious that almost the entire world was breaking one of the commandments of God – the fourth of the Ten Commandments that require us to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.  Since then, starting with the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers, the Third Angel’s message of Revelation 14:9-12 has been going out to the world pointing people to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus and calling people to repentance, especially in relation to the fourth commandment.

 

God confirmed His raising up of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement by giving the gift of prophecy to a member of the group, Ellen G. White.  Through Ellen G. White, many visions were given by God to confirm the beliefs that were hammered out through Bible study.  Ellen G. White did not introduce any new doctrine, but when her husband, James White, and the other pioneers studied the scriptures and arrived at an understanding of the truth, God gave confirmation through visions given to Ellen G. White.

 

So, back to my original question: If you accept Jesus, what is your basis for rejecting 1844 and the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers?  I am not even speaking about Seventh-day Adventism as it is now, per se – and neither am I saying that they are not legitimate.  But I am speaking specifically about the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement.  It is clear that God raised them up at a specific point in time, in 1844, in fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy, and they pointed the world to the special work of the blotting out of sins or cleansing of the sanctuary that Christ would be doing and called the world to repentance, especially in relation to the fourth commandment that most people were breaking, perhaps ignorantly.

 

In this regard, the Seventh-day Adventist Movement, fulfilling the work of the Third Angel of Revelation 14:9-12 is a part of God’s work to remove sins from people’s lives by calling them to repentance so that their sins might be blotted out.  Thus, the raising up of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement is a part of God’s work of cleansing the sanctuary.  That is my second point.

 

Reformation Movement of the last days

 

The message on which the Seventh-day Adventist Movement was established was the cleansing of the sanctuary or the blotting out of sins, which is a message of repentance.  The work of reformation is a work of calling people to repent.  This was Jesus’s message – “repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).  It was John the Baptist’s message – Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2).  It was Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost – “Repent ye therefore, and be converted” (Acts 3:19).

 

Reinforcement of this work of reformation that started in 1844 is very timely, at this time, marking the 500th anniversary of what is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther.  Luther’s ninety-five theses protested the idea of salvation without repentance.  Today, the popular gospel is one that seems to ignore repentance.  It says believe only and you are saved.  Jesus said: Repent and believe (Mark 1:15).  The message of the cleansing of the sanctuary is the message for this time that calls upon all to repent so that our sins might be blotted out.  It is a message of reformation that, like Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses rejects the idea of salvation without repentance.

 

Conclusion

 

So, my question remains: If Jesus, why not 1844 and Seventh-day Adventism – since Jesus points to Daniel and Daniel points to 1844 and Adventism?  And by Adventism, I am referring specifically to the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers that God raised up in 1844.  The same prophecy that identified AD 27 as the time when Messiah would arrive also speaks of 2300 prophetic days ending in 1844.  Jesus Christ, the Messiah arrived just as Daniel prophesied and Jesus confirmed that Daniel was a prophet.  The Advent Movement was the only voice in the world that recognized the fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy in 1844.

 

The question raised is a matter of Bible truth and is intended for the entire world – to the over one billion Catholics, the millions of Protestants and even the many professed Seventh-day Adventists who think that the pioneers were misled.

 

The call is to repent and join in the proclamation of this final message for this time.  Will you repent and believe the message for this time so that your sins can be blotted out or will you refuse to repent and have your name blotted out from the Book of Life?  Whether or not we repent, the sanctuary will be cleansed.  It is a question of where we will be.  In the last days, a command is given to “measure the temple of God, and the altar and them that worship therein.  But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Rev. 11:1, 2).  Will you be one of the worshippers in God’s temple or will you remain in the outer court with the Gentiles?  The choice is yours.  Repent and be saved.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

  • Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)

 

Other presentations can be found at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Preparing for the final crisis

The Bible speaks of a time of trouble before us that is worse than anything that has ever been seen in the history of the world.  This will be the final crisis that God’s people will face just before deliverance at the second coming of Christ.  We are told:

“and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Dan. 12:1).

 For many people, life is fairly normal but it will not necessarily remain that way for very long.  Trouble is brewing in the world and it is all pointing in the direction that has been prophesied.  We do not know when the crisis will break, but the systems are slowly but surely being put in place.  The final crisis is described as one in which no one will be able to buy or sell unless they have the Mark of the Beast.  Eventually, those who do not conform to that system will be put to death.  The Bible speaks of a super power in the world that will enforce the system of the Mark of the Beast as follows:

“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev. 13:15-17).

 Now more than ever

There was never a time in the history of the world when the available technology made it as possible for persons to be tracked and for people’s ability to buy and sell to be controlled.  There has never been as much worldwide fear of terrorism and a willingness of persons to fall in line with the systems of this world in order to secure their own safety.  The Mark of the Beast involves a system of conformity worldwide in breach of at least one of God’s Commandments.  The main characteristics of those who will overcome the Mark of the Beast are that they “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

There is only one commandment that is universally breached in a manner that fits the description.  It is the fourth of the Ten Commandments that involves keeping the seventh-day Sabbath.  We are told:

“The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted.  When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not.  While the observance of the false Sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator.  While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other, choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.” (Ellen G. White, Great Controversy pg. 605)

It has been customary among Sabbath-keepers to identify the Mark of the Beast by a two-step process.  First, they would use the characteristics given in Revelation 13 to identify the Beast and then they would look among the distinguishing features of that system to see what its mark is.  This approach may become less and less palatable as time goes by as the world is moving in a direction that frowns upon anything that appears to speak against other religions.  They see it as intolerance and hate speech.  But the message must be presented.  We must find creative ways of presenting the same message.  Another approach has been used in a small 20-page booklet by Colin A. Gyles entitled “The Love Which Overcomes the Mark of the Beast”. It identifies the Mark of the Beast based on the commandment involved, without getting into the matter of who the Beast is.  This approach may become more and more useful as time progresses.

God’s people in the last days

God’s people in the last days were given the name Seventh-day Adventists because it identifies the two distinctive features of faith in the last days –

 “We are Seventh-day Adventists.  This is a fitting name, for we keep the Seventh-day Sabbath, and look for the second advent of our Lord in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.  Even with respect to the name indicating some of the peculiar points of faith distinguishing us from other Christians, we are denominational.  In keeping the Sabbath that God declares should be kept holy as a sign between Himself and His people, we show to the world that we are His peculiar people, chosen people – a people whom He has denominated.” (Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases Vol. 19 pg 40)

 “Do not these words point us out as God’s denominated people?  And do they not declare to us that so long as time shall last, we are to cherish the sacred, denominational distinction placed on us?  The children of Israel were to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations ‘for a perpetual covenant.’  The Sabbath has lost none of its meaning.  It is still the sign between God and His people, and it will be so forever.” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 8/4/1904)

  Quite distinct from God’s denominated people, the wine of Babylon, which identifies the other side of the controversy, is specifically the doctrines of Sunday sacredness and the immortality of the soul.  We are told:

 “The wine of Babylon is the exalting of the false and spurious sabbath above the Sabbath which the Lord Jehovah hath blessed and sanctified for the use of man, also [it is] the immortality of the soul.  These kindred heresies, and the rejection of the truth, convert the church into Babylon.” (Ellen G. White, Selected Messages Vol. 2 pg. 68).

Press together and respect religious liberty

Based on these clear distinctions, the Seventh-day Adventist Movement is clearly not Babylon.  We must recognise this and unite around the things that are important in these last days.  The Bible says that “there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.” – 1 Cor. 12:15.  There are those who would insist that all evangelistic work must be done under one administrative structure but this posture is not supported in Scripture.  In fact, Jesus, in responding to a situation that was brought to His attention clearly says otherwise – “And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.” (Luke 9:49, 50).

As believers in the Third Angel’s Message, we need to recognize that when the crisis breaks, which we are told by the prophet Ellen G. White will come as “an overwhelming surprise”, it will be against all Sabbath-keeping Adventists.  No distinction will be made.  Efforts at quenching the zeal of those who would advance the message are contrary to the principles of religious liberty and can only divide us and make us more vulnerable to be overcome by the powers of the world.  We are admonished:

“The great work from which the mind should not be diverted, is the consideration of our safety in the sight of God. The storm is coming, relentless in its fury.  Are we prepared to meet it?  Are our feet on the Rock of Ages? Are we one with Christ, as he is one with the Father?” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, Dec. 27, 1898; Mar. 108)

 The watchmen must sound the alarm. If men are at ease in Zion somebody must be awake to give the trumpet a certain sound. Let the blaze of the beacon light be seen everywhere. Let the ease-loving awake, the tranquil be disturbed, and let them labor for religious liberty. And after we have done all we can, then leave our Lord to do His work. (Ellen G. White, Manuscript releases Vol. 16 pg. 239.)

 May the Lord help us to play our part in advancing His cause.

 “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

  • Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)

Previous presentations can be found at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/