Bible Prophecy

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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

 

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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

 

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[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/

Adventist Pioneers’ 28 Beliefs in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook 1889

Adventist Pioneers’ 28 Beliefs in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook 1889

 “The Fundamental Principles of Seventh Day Adventists”, as upheld by the SDA Pioneers, was presented in the 1889 Year Book (http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1889.pdf) and is reproduced here.  This reflects the defining Statement of Beliefs of the Seventh Day Adventist Church from 1888 to 1930.  These beliefs reflect what Ellen White, James White and the Seventh Day Adventist Church as an organization advocated and believed up until 1930, 15 years after the death of Ellen White.  The “Fundamental Principles” were first published by James White in the Signs of the Times in 1874, originally as 25 Principles, but three additions (listed below as Principles 14, 15 and 16) were included in the 1889 Yearbook and thereafter, until a new version was published in 1931. 

In the 1889 Yearbook, Mrs. E. G. White is even listed as one of the Ministers along with a number of other notable pioneers.  Some of them, such as James White, Joseph Bates and J. N. Andrews had already passed off the scene.

There have since been SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES to the “Beliefs” of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  What the SDA Church advocates today IS NOT ENTIRELY what Ellen White and James White and their contemporaries believed.

You are invited to CRITICALLY EXAMINE what the beliefs of the SDA Church were up until 1930 and compare them to the beliefs of today advocated in 28 Fundamental Beliefs (2015) (included below for ease of reference).  Of particular note, for comparison, are 1889 Fundamental Principles 1, 2 and 19 to be compared with Fundamental Beliefs (2015) 2, 3, 4 and 5.  The view of God has changed.  Another matter for comparison is the view of the atonement.  Compare 1889 Fundamental Principles 2 (along with the note in the original, included here), 10 and 21 to be compared with Fundamental Beliefs (2015) 9, 10, 11 and 24.

What follows, are direct extracts from the Seventh Day Adventist Year Book, 1889.  The link to the original document from the official Seventh-day Adventist Archives is given above for reference and possible cross-checking.  The original document has 208 pages. The [28] FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS [1889], as they were then held, is given below, followed by an extract showing a list of some of the leading ministers (including Mrs. E. G. White).  After that, you will find the current [28] FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS [2015].

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to speak on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


S e v e n t h -D a y  A d v e n t i s t

YEAR B00K

O F

STATISTICS FOR 1889,

REVIEW & HERALD PUBLISHING CO., Battle Creek Mich., 1889

 

 

[28] FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS [1889].

“As elsewhere stated, Seventh-day Adventists have no creed but the Bible; but they hold to certain well-defined points of faith, for which they feel prepared to give a reason “to every man that asketh” them.  The following propositions may be taken as a summary of the principal features of their religious faith, upon which there is, so far as we know, entire unanimity throughout the body.  They believe, –

  1. 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
  2. That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the One by whom He created all things, and by whom they do consist; that He took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; that He dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived our example, died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where through the merits of His shed blood, He secures the pardon and forgiveness of the sins of all those who penitently come to Him; and as the closing portion of His work as priest, before He takes His throne as king, He will make the great atonement for the sins of all such, and their sins will then be blotted out (Acts 3:19) and borne away from the sanctuary, as shown in the service of the Levitical priesthood, which foreshadowed and  prefigured the ministry of our Lord in heaven.  See Lev 16; Heb. 8:4, 5; 9:6, 7; etc.*(see note in original).

 

*Note.— Some thoughtless persons accuse us of rejecting the atonement of Christ entirely, because we dissent from the view that the atonement was made upon the cross, as is generally held. But we do nothing of the kind; we only take issue as to the time when the atonement is to be made. We object to the view that the atonement was made upon the cross, because it is utterly contrary to the type, which placed the atonement at the end of the yearly sanctuary service, not at the beginning (see scriptures last referred to), and because it inevitably leads to one of two great errors. Thus, Christ on the cross bore the sins of all the world. John said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away [margin, beareth] the sin of the world 1” John 1:29. Peter tells us when he thus bore the sins of the world: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” 1 Peter 2:24. Paul says that “he died for all” 2 Cor. 5:14, 15. That which Christ did upon the cross, therefore, was done indiscriminately and unconditionally for all the world; and if this was the atonement, then the sins of all the world have been atoned for, and all will be saved. This is Universalism in full blossom. But all men will not be saved; hence the sins of all were not atoned for upon the cross; and if Christ’s work there was the atonement, then His work was partial, not universal, as the scriptures above quoted assert, and he atoned for only a favored few who were elected to be saved, and passed by all others who were predestined to damnation. This would establish the doctrine of election and predestination in its most ultra form, — an error equally unscriptural and objectionable with the former. We avoid both these errors, and find ourselves in harmony with the Mosaic type, and with all the declarations of the Scriptures, when we take the position that what Christ did upon the cross was to provide a divine sacrifice for the world, sufficient to save all, and offered it to everyone who will accept of it; that he then, through the merits of his offering, acts as mediator with the Father till time shall end, securing the forgiveness of sins for all who seek him for it; and that, as the last service of his priesthood, he will blot out the sins of all who have repented and been converted (Acts 3:19), the atonement not being completed till this work of blotting out sin is done. Thus Christ atones, not for the sins of the whole world, to save all, not for a favored few only, elected from all eternity to be saved, but for those who, as free moral agents, have voluntarily sought from him the forgiveness of sin, and everlasting life. And all for whom the atonement is made, will be forever saved in his kingdom. This view in no way detracts from the merit of Christ’s offering, nor from the value and glory of his atoning work for men. While on this line, we are not driven into Universalism on the one hand, nor into election and reprobation on the other.

  1. That the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, contain a full revelation of His will to man, and are the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
  2. That baptism is an ordinance of the Christian church, to follow faith and repentance, – an ordinance by which we commemorate the resurrection of Christ, as by this act we show our faith in his burial and resurrection, and through that, in the resurrection of all the saints at the last day; and that no other mode more fitly represents these facts than that which the Scriptures prescribe, namely, immersion.  Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12.
  3. That the new birth comprises the entire change necessary to fit us for the kingdom of God, and consists of two parts; first, a moral change wrought by conversion and a Christian life (John 3:3, 5); second, a physical change at the second coming of Christ, whereby if dead, we are raised incorruptible, and if living, are changed to immortality in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.  Luke 20:36; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52.
  4. That prophecy is a part of God’s revelation to man; that it is included in that Scripture which is profitable for instruction (2 Tim. 3:16); that it is designed for us and our children (Deut. 29:29); that so far from being enshrouded in impenetrable mystery, it is that which especially constitutes the word of God a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105; 2 Peter 1:19); that a blessing is pronounced upon those who study it (Rev. 1:1-3); and that, consequently, it is to be understood by the people of God sufficiently to show them their position in the world’s history and the special duties required at their hands.
  5. That the world’s history from specified dates in the past, the rise and fall of empires, and the chronological succession of events down to the setting up of God’s everlasting kingdom, are outlined in numerous great chains of prophecy; and that these prophecies are now all fulfilled except the closing scenes.
  6. That the doctrine of the world’s conversion and a temporal millennium is a fable of these last days, calculated to lull men into a state of carnal security, and cause them to be overtaken by the great day of the Lord as by a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:3); that the second coming of Christ is to precede, not follow, the millennium; for until the Lord appears, the papal power, with all its abominations is to continue (2 Thess. 2:8), the wheat and tares grow together (Matt. 13:29, 30, 39), and evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, as the word of God declares.  2 Tim. 3:1, 13.
  7. That the mistake of Adventists in 1844 pertained to the nature of the event then to transpire, not to the time; that no prophetic period is given to reach to the second advent, but that the longest one, the two thousand and three hundred days of Dan. 8:14. Terminated in 1844, and brought us to an event called the cleansing of the sanctuary.*(See note in original).

 

*The Adventists of 1844 expected that the end of the world would come in that year, because they held that certain prophecies would then transpire, which they believed reached to the coming of the Lord. Chief among these was the prophecy of Dan. 8, 13, 14, which says that at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days (years) the sanctuary should be cleansed. They believed that the earth was the sanctuary then to be cleansed, and that its cleansing was to be accomplished with fire, which would accompany the manifestation of the Lord from heaven. From these premises, the conclusion seemed inevitable that when the 2300 years ended, in 1844, the Lord would come. But the day passed by, and no Saviour appeared. Suspended between hope and fear, and waiting until every plausible allowance for possible inaccuracies of reckoning and variations of time, was exhausted, it became at length apparent that a great mistake had been made, and that the mistake must be on one or both of the following points: either, first, the period of the 2300 days did not end at that time, and they had made a mistake in supposing that they would terminate in that year; or, secondly, the cleansing of the sanctuary was not to be the burning of the earth at the second coming of Christ, and hence they had made a mistake in expecting such an event at that time. While there was a possibility that they had made a mistake on both these points, it was certain that they had made a mistake on one of them; and either one would be sufficient to account for the fact that the Lord did not then appear.

  1. That the sanctuary of the new covenant is the tabernacle of God in heaven, of which Paul speaks in Hebrews 8 and onward, and of which our Lord, as great high priest, is minister; that this sanctuary is the antitype of the Mosaic tabernacle, and that the priestly work of our Lord, connected therewith, is the antitype of the work of the Jewish priests of the former dispensation (Heb. 8:1-5, etc.); that this and not the earth, is the sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the two thousand three hundred days, what is termed its cleansing being in this case, as in the type, simply the entrance of the high priest into the most holy place, to finish the round of service connected therewith, by making the atonement and removing from the sanctuary the sins which had been transferred to it by means of the ministration in the first apartment (Lev. 16; Heb. 9:22,23); and that this work in the antitype, beginning in 1844, consists in actually blotting out the sins of believers (Acts 3:19), and occupies a brief but indefinite space of time, at the conclusion of which the work of mercy for the world will be finished, and the second advent of Christ will take place.
  2. That God’s moral requirements are the same upon all men in all dispensations; that these are summarily contained in the commandments spoken by Jehovah from Sinai, engraven on the tables of stone, and deposited in the ark, which was in consequence called the “ark of the covenant,” or testament (Num. 10:33; Heb. 9:4, etc.); that this law is immutable and perpetual, being a transcript of the tables deposited in the ark of God’s testament; for under the sounding of the seventh trumpet we are told that “the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.”  (Rev. 11:19).
  3. That the fourth commandment of this law requires that we devote the seventh day of each week, commonly called Saturday, to abstinence from our own labor, and to the performance of sacred and religious duties; that this is the only weekly Sabbath known to the Bible, being the day that was set apart before Paradise was lost (Gen 2:2,3) and which will be observed in Paradise restored (Isa. 66:22,23); that the facts upon which the Sabbath institution is based confine it to the seventh day, as they are not true of any other day; and that the terms Jewish Sabbath, as applied to the seventh day, and Christian Sabbath, as applied to the first day of the week, are names of human invention, unscriptural in fact, and false in meaning. 
  4. That as the man of sin, the papacy has thought to change times and laws (the law of God, Dan. 7:25), and has misled almost all Christendom in regard to the fourth commandment, we find a prophecy of a reform in this respect to be wrought among believers just before the coming of Christ.  Isa. 56:1, 2; 1 Peter 1:5; Rev. 14:12, etc.
  5. That the followers of Christ should be a peculiar people, not following the maxims, nor conforming to the ways, of the world; not loving its pleasures nor countenancing its follies; inasmuch as the apostle says that “whosoever therefore will be” in this sense, “a friend of the world, is the enemy of God” (James 4:4); and Christ says that we cannot have two masters, or, at the same time, serve God and mammon.  Matt. 6:24.
  6. That the Scriptures insist upon plainness and modesty of attire as a prominent mark of discipleship in those who profess to be followers of him who was “meek and lowly in heart,” that the wearing of gold, pearls, and costly array, or anything designed merely to adorn the person and foster the pride of the natural heart, is to be discarded, according to such scriptures as 1 Tim. 2:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:3, 4.
  7. That means for the support of evangelical work among men should be contributed from love to God and love of souls, not raised by church lotteries, or occasions designed to contribute to the fun-loving, appetite-indulging propensities of the sinner, such as fairs, festivals, oyster suppers, tea,, broom, donkey, and crazy socials, etc., which are a disgrace to the professed church of Christ; that the proportion of one’s income required in former dispensations can be no less under the gospel; that it is the same as Abraham (whose children we are, if we are Christ’s, Gal. 3:29) paid to Melchisedec (type of Christ) when he gave him a tenth of all (Heb. 7:1-4); the tithe is the Lord’s (Lev. 27:30); and this tenth of one’s income is also to be supplemented by offerings from those who are able, for the support of the gospel.  2 Cor 9:6; Mal. 3:8, 10.
  8. That as the natural or carnal heart is at enmity with God and his law, this enmity can be subdued only by a radical transformation of the affections, the exchange of unholy for holy principles; that this transformation follows repentance and faith, is the special work of the Holy Spirit, and constitutes regeneration, or conversion.
  9. That as all have violated the law of God, and cannot of themselves render obedience to his just requirements, we are dependent on Christ, first, for justification from our past offenses, and secondly, for grace whereby to render acceptable obedience to his holy law in time to come.
  10. That the Spirit of God was promised to manifest itself in the church through certain gifts, enumerated especially in 1 Cor. 12 and Eph. 4; that these gifts are not designed to supersede, or take the place of, the Bible, which is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, any more than the Bible can take the place of the Holy Spirit; that, in specifying the various channels of its operation, that Spirit has simply made provision for its own existence and presence with the people of God to the end of time, to lead to an understanding of that word which it had inspired, to convince of sin, and to work a transformation in the heart and life; and that those who deny to the Spirit its place and operation, do plainly deny that part of the Bible which assigns to it this work and position.
  11. That God, in accordance with his uniform dealings with the race, sends forth a proclamation of the approach of the second advent of Christ; and that this work is symbolized by the three messages of Revelation 14, the last one bringing to view the work of reform on the law of God, that his people may acquire a complete readiness for that event.
  12. That the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary (see proposition 10.), synchronizing with the  time of the proclamation of the third message (Rev. 14:9,10), is a time of investigative judgment, first with reference to the dead, and secondly, at the close of probation, with reference to the living, to determine who of the myriads now sleeping in the dust of the earth are worthy of a part in the first resurrection, and who of its living multitudes are worthy of translation, – points which must be determined before the Lord appears. 
  13. That the grave, whither we all tend, expressed by the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word hades, is a place, or condition, in which there is no work, device, wisdom, nor knowledge.  Eccl 9:10.
  14. That the state to which we are reduced by death is one of silence, inactivity, and entire unconsciousness.  Ps. 146:4; Eccl. 9:5, 6; Dan. 12:2.
  15. That out of this prison-house of the grave, mankind are to be brought by a bodily resurrection; the righteous having part in the first resurrection, which takes place at the second coming of Christ; the wicked, in the second resurrection, which takes place a thousand years thereafter.  Rev. 20:4-6.
  16. That at the last trump, the living righteous are to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and with the risen righteous are to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, so forever to be with the Lord.  1 Thess. 4:16, 17; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52.
  17. That these immortalized ones are then taken to heaven, to the New Jerusalem, the Father’s house, in which there are many mansions (John 14:1-3), where they reign with Christ a thousand years (Rev. 20:4; 1 Cor. 6:2,3); that during this time the earth lies in a desolate and chaotic condition (Jer. 4:23-27), described, as in the beginning by the Greek term abussos (αβυσσυς) “bottomless pit” (Septuagint of Gen. 1:2); and that here Satan is confined during the thousand years (Rev. 20:1,2), and here finally destroyed (Rev. 20:10; Mal. 4:1); the theatre of the ruin he has wrought in the universe being appropriately made, for a time, his gloomy prison-house, and then the place of his final execution.
  18. That at the end of the thousand years the Lord descends with his people and the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2), the wicked dead are raised, and come up on the surface of the yet unrenewed earth, and gather about the city, the camp of the saints (Rev. 20:9), and fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them.  They are then consumed, root and branch (Mal. 4:1), becoming as though they had not been.  Obad. 15, 16.  In this everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord (2 Thess. 1:9), the wicked meet the “everlasting punishment” threatened against them (Matt 25:46), which is everlasting death.  Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:14, 15.  This is the perdition for ungodly men, the fire which consumes them being the fire for which “the heavens and the earth, which are now,… are kept in store,” which shall melt even the elements with its intensity, and purge the earth from the deepest stains of the curse of sin.  2 Peter 3:7-12.
  19. That new heavens and a new earth shall spring by the power of God from the ashes of the old, and this renewed earth, with the New Jerusalem for its metropolis and capital, shall be the eternal inheritance of the saints, the place where the righteous shall evermore dwell.  2 Peter 3:13; Ps. 37:11, 29; Matt. 5:5.”  Seventh Day Adventist Year Book, 1889 pp143-147.

 

 

“GENERAL CONFERENCE.

[.See pages 45, 132.]

E x e c u t i v e Committee — O. A. Olsen, S. N. Haskell, W. C. White, R. A. Underwood, R. M. Kilgore, E. W. Farnsworth, Dan. T. Jones.

O f f i c e r s  — Pres., 0. A. Olsen; Rec. Sec., Dan. T. Jones; Cor. Sec., W. H. Edwards; Home Mission Sec., Geo. B. Starr; Foreign Mission Sec., W. C. White; Educational Sec., W. W. Prescott; Treas., Hannon Lindsay.

B o o k Committee. — Pres., W. C. White; Sec., F. E. Belden; U. Smith; R. M. Kilgore; W. W. Prescott; A. T. Jones; E. J. Waggoner; C. Eldridge; J. H. Kellogg; E. W. Farnsworth; J. G. Matteson; A. T. Robinson; C. H. Jones.

L a b o r Bureau — A. R. Henry, C. Eldridge, H. W. Kellogg.

S p e c i a l  C o u n s e lo r s — Southern Field, R. M. Kilgore; Eastern Field, R. A. Underwood; Western and Northwestern Field, E. W. Farnsworth; Pacific Coast, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, W. C. White.

M i n i s t e r s. —• America, Geo. I. Butler, S. N. Haskell, U. Smith, 0. A. Olsen, W. C. White, R. M. Kilgore, R. A. Underwood, E. W. Farnsworth, Dan. T. Jones, Mrs. E. G. White, A. T. Jones, Geo. B. Starr, J. G. Matteson, H. Shultz, D. T. Bourdeau, W. H. Saxby, J. E. Robinson, D. E. Lindsey, N. Orcutt, J. W. Bagby, M. G. Huffman, I. E. Kimball, L. II. Crislcr, Oscar Hill, B. F. Purdham, S. H. Kime; Great Britain, D. A. Robinson, A. A. John, E. W. Whitney; Scandinavia, Lewis Johnson, J. F. Hansen, E. G. Olsen, J. M. Erickson; Central Europe, L. R. Conradi, H. P. Holser, J. S. Shroek, J. C. Laubhan; South Africa, C. L. Boyd. Ira J. Hankins; Australia, Geo. C. Tenney, M. C. Israel, Will D. Curtis; New Zealand, A. G. Daniells, Robert Hare; Pacific Islands, A. J. Cudney.

L i c e n t i a t e s — America, W. W. Prescott, C. Eldridge, Wm. M. Baird, N. B. England, Mrs. Ruie Hill, Arthur Hunt, D. C. Babcock; Great Britain, Geo. R. Drew, A. Smith; China and Japan, A. La Rue; Pacific Islands, J. I. Tay.” Seventh Day Adventist Year Book, 1889, p 25.

[28] FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS [2015]*

The Holy Scriptures 1

The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration. The inspired authors spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to humanity the knowledge nec­essary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the supreme, authoritative, and the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the definitive revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history. (Ps. 119:105; Prov. 30:5, 6; Isa. 8:20; John 17:17; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20, 21.)

The Trinity 2

There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-know­ing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. God, who is love, is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Gen. 1:26; Deut. 6:4; Isa. 6:8; Matt. 28:19; John 3:16 2 Cor. 1:21, 22; 13:14; Eph. 4:4‑6; 1 Peter 1:2.)

The Father 3

God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also those of the Father. (Gen. 1:1; Deut. 4:35; Ps. 110:1, 4; John 3:16; 14:9; 1 Cor. 15:28; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 John 4:8; Rev. 4:11.)

The Son 4

God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly hu­man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced tempta­tion as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God’s power and was attested as God’s promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to heaven to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. (Isa. 53:4-6; Dan. 9:25-27; Luke 1:35; John 1:1‑3, 14; 5:22; 10:30; 14:1‑3, 9, 13; Rom. 6:23; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; 2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17-19; Phil. 2:5‑11; Col. 1:15-19; Heb. 2:9- 18; 8:1, 2.)

The Holy Spirit 5

God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He is as much a person as are the Father and the Son. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ’s life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen. 1:1, 2; 2 Sam. 23:2; Ps. 51:11; Isa. 61:1; Luke 1:35; 4:18; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 5:3; 10:38; Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; 2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Peter 1:21.)

Creation 6

God has revealed in Scripture the authentic and historical account of His creative activity. He created the universe, and in a recent six-day creation the Lord made “the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” and rested on the seventh day. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of the work He performed and completed during six literal days that together with the Sabbath constituted the same unit of time that we call a week today. The first man and wom­an were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1-2; 5; 11; Exod. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1‑6; 33:6, 9; 104; Isa. 45:12, 18; Acts 17:24; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; 11:3; Rev. 10:6; 14:7.)

The Nature of Humanity 7

Man and woman were made in the image of God with individuality, the power and freedom to think and to do. Though created free beings, each is an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit, dependent upon God for life and breath and all else. When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position. The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its con­sequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil. But God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker. Created for the glory of God, they are called to love Him and one another, and to care for their environment. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:7, 15; 3; Ps. 8:4-8; 51:5, 10; 58:3; Jer. 17:9; Acts 17:24-28; Rom. 5:12-17; 2 Cor. 5:19, 20; Eph. 2:3; 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 John 3:4; 4:7, 8, 11, 20.)5

The Great Controversy 8

All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God’s adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the global flood, as pre­sented in the historical account of Genesis 1-11. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the univer­sal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect, and sustain them in the way of salvation. (Gen. 3; 6-8; Job 1:6-12; Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:12‑18; Rom. 1:19-32; 3:4; 5:12-21; 8:19-22; 1 Cor. 4:9; Heb. 1:14; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 3:6; Rev. 12:4‑9.)

The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ 9

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 this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The bodily resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow. (Gen. 3:15; Ps. 22:1; Isa. 53; John 3:16; 14:30; Rom. 1:4; 3:25; 4:25; 8:3, 4; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4, 20-22; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15, 19-21; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 2:15; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.)

The Experience of Salvation 10

In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righ­teousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, Substitute and Example. This saving faith comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 45:22; 53; Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 33:11; 36:25-27; Hab. 2:4; Mark 9:23, 24; John 3:3-8, 16; 16:8; Rom. 3:21-26; 8:1-4, 14-17; 5:6-10; 10:17; 12:2; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Gal. 1:4; 3:13, 14, 26; 4:4-7; Eph. 2:4-10; Col. 1:13, 14; Titus 3:3-7; Heb. 8:7‑12; 1 Peter 1:23; 2:21, 22; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rev. 13:8.)6

Growing in Christ 11

By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus’ victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. We are also called to follow Christ’s example by compassionately ministering to the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of humanity. As we give ourselves in loving service to those around us and in witnessing to His salvation, His constant presence with us through the Spirit transforms every moment and every task into a spiritual experience. (1 Chron. 29:11; Ps. 1:1, 2; 23:4; 77:11, 12; Matt. 20:25‑28; 25:31-46; Luke 10:17-20; John 20:21; Rom. 8:38, 39; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18; Gal. 5:22‑25; Eph. 5:19, 20; 6:12-18; Phil. 3:7-14; Col. 1:13, 14; 2:6, 14, 15; 1 Thess. 5:16‑18, 23; Heb. 10:25; James 1:27; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:18; 1 John 4:4.)

The Church 12

The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, for service to humanity, and for the worldwide procla­mation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word revealed in the Scriptures. The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. (Gen. 12:1-3; Exod. 19:3-7; Matt. 16:13-20; 18:18; 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38-42; 7:38; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:22, 23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11; 5:23-27; Col. 1:17, 18; 1 Peter 2:9.)

The Remnant and Its Mission 13

The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Dan. 7:9-14; Isa. 1:9; 11:11; Jer. 23:3; Mic. 2:12; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 4:17; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Jude 3, 14; Rev. 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4.)7

Unity in the Body of Christ 14

The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Ps. 133:1; Matt. 28:19, 20; John 17:20-23; Acts 17:26, 27; Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 5:16, 17; Gal. 3:27‑29; Eph. 2:13-16; 4:3‑6, 11-16; Col. 3:10-15.)

Baptism 15

By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our pur­pose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38; 16:30-33; 22:16; Rom. 6:1-6; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12, 13.)

The Lord’s Supper 16

The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot-washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians. (Matt. 26:17-30; John 6:48-63; 13:1‑17; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:23-30; Rev. 3:20.)8

Spiritual Gifts and Ministries 17

God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts that each member is to employ in loving minis­try for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained func­tions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, ad­ministration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelis­tic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual matu­rity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love. (Acts 6:1-7; Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11, 27, 28; Eph. 4:8, 11‑16; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Peter 4:10, 11.)

The Gift of Prophecy 18

The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and we believe it was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Num. 12:6; 2 Chron. 20:20; Amos 3:7; Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10; 22:8, 9.)

The Law of God 19

The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, and its fruit is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well‑being. It is evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow human beings. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness. (Exod. 20:1-17; Deut. 28:1- 14; Ps. 19:7-14; 40:7, 8; Matt. 5:17-20; 22:36-40; John 14:15; 15:7-10; Rom. 8:3, 4; Eph. 2:8-10; Heb. 8:8-10; 1 John 2:3; 5:3; Rev. 12:17; 14:12.)9

The Sabbath 20

The gracious Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sab­bath. The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God’s kingdom. The Sabbath is God’s perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God’s creative and redemptive acts. (Gen. 2:1-3; Exod. 20:8-11; 31:13-17; Lev. 23:32; Deut. 5:12-15; Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Ezek. 20:12, 20; Matt. 12:1-12; Mark 1:32; Luke 4:16; Heb. 4:1-11.)

Stewardship 21

We are God’s stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use. We acknowledge God’s ownership by faithful ser­vice to Him and our fellow human beings, and by returning tithe and giving offerings for the proclamation of His gospel and the support and growth of His church. Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victo­ry over selfishness and covetousness. Stewards rejoice in the blessings that come to others as a result of their faithfulness. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15; 1 Chron. 29:14; Haggai 1:3‑11; Mal. 3:8-12; Matt. 23:23; Rom. 15:26, 27; 1 Cor. 9:9-14; 2 Cor. 8:1-15; 9:7.)

Christian Behavior 22

We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things that will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligent­ly. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness. (Gen. 7:2; Exod. 20:15; Lev. 11:1-47; Ps. 106:3; Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 10:31; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 10:5; Eph. 5:1-21; Phil. 2:4; 4:8; 1 Tim. 2:9, 10; Titus 2:11, 12; 1 Peter 3:1‑4; 1 John 2:6; 3 John 2.)10

Marriage and the Family 23

Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between a man and a woman who share a common faith. Mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, a man and a woman who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ through marriage may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church. God blesses the family and intends that its members shall assist each other toward complete maturity. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message. Parents are to bring up their chil­dren to love and obey the Lord. By their example and their words they are to teach them that Christ is a loving, tender, and caring guide who wants them to become members of His body, the family of God which embraces both single and married persons. (Gen. 2:18-25; Exod. 20:12; Deut. 6:5-9; Prov. 22:6; Mal. 4:5, 6; Matt. 5:31, 32; 19:3-9, 12; Mark 10:11, 12; John 2:1-11; 1 Cor. 7:7, 10, 11; 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4.)

Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary 24

There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle that the Lord set up and not humans. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. At His ascension, He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and, began His intercessory ministry, which was typified by the work of the high priest in the holy place of the earthly sanctuary. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry, which was typified by the work of the high priest in the most holy place of the earthly sanctuary. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judg­ment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the com­mandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent. (Lev. 16; Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6; Dan. 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Heb. 1:3; 2:16, 17; 4:14-16; 8:1‑5; 9:11-28; 10:19- 22; Rev. 8:3-5; 11:19; 14:6, 7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:11, 12.)11

The Second Coming of Christ 25

The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is near. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-6; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; Rev. 1:7; 14:14-20; 19:11-21.)

Death and Resurrection 26

The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later. ( Job 19:25-27; Ps. 146:3, 4; Eccl. 9:5, 6, 10; Dan. 12:2, 13; Isa. 25:8; John 5:28, 29; 11:11-14; Rom. 6:23; 16; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 20:1-10.)

The Millennium and the End of Sin 27

The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections. During this time the wicked dead will be judged; the earth will be utterly desolate, without living human inhabitants, but occupied by Satan and his angels. At its close Christ with His saints and the Holy City will descend from heaven to earth. The unrighteous dead will then be resurrected, and with Satan and his angels will surround the city; but fire from God will consume them and cleanse the earth. The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever. ( Jer. 4:23‑26; Ezek. 28:18, 19; Mal. 4:1; 1 Cor. 6:2, 3; Rev. 20; 21:1-5.)

The New Earth 28

On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect envi­ronment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence. For here God Himself will dwell with His people, and suffering and death will have passed away. The great controversy will be ended, and sin will be no more. All things, animate and inanimate, will declare that God is love; and He shall reign forever. Amen. (Isa. 35; 65:17‑25; Matt. 5:5; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 11:15; 21:1‑7; 22:1-5.)

*Copyright © 2015, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

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The Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus

The Third Angel’s Message of Revelation 14 sounds a warning to the world against receiving the Mark of the Beast and describes the mission and character of God’s people in the last days, saying: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Rev. 14:12.  Emphasis has been given, quite rightly, on the keeping of the commandments of God as a safeguard against being deceived into receiving the Mark of the Beast.  But what of the “faith of Jesus”?  This is the aspect of that final warning to the world that links the message of the third angel to the message of righteousness by faith in Jesus.

The Commandments of God

There is no question as to what are the “commandments of God”.  There is only one set of commandments that God himself gave, the Ten Commandments.  He spoke them audibly from Mount Sinai in the hearing of a multitude.  He wrote them with His own fingers on two tables of stone.  Some people try to get away from keeping the Ten Commandments because they find the fourth commandment, which requires us to keep the seventh day Sabbath, inconvenient.  The fourth commandment says: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”, and it indicates clearly that “the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God” (Ex.20:8-11).

Some will claim that in the New Testament dispensation it is the commandments of Jesus that matter and that Jesus did not specifically say that we should keep the seventh day Sabbath.  This is clearly spurious as Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) and even anticipated that His followers should be keeping the Sabbath long after His resurrection and ascension, by warning them:  “pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” (Matt. 24:20), in prophesying of the destruction of Jerusalem, which would take place in the year 70 AD.  Others say that the doing away of the glorious ministration of ancient Israel that was centred on the two tables of stone means that the commandments themselves are done away with.  This is also false as the new covenant involves writing the commandments of God in our hearts whereas the old covenant had them written on tables of stone (Heb. 8:7-10).

The final conflict will be between the keeping of the commandments of men on the one side and the keeping of the commandments of God on the other side.  Jesus warned: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9).

The world has come to a place where any form of worship is considered legitimate, once it is called worship.  But Jesus specifically indicated that it is the “true worshippers” who “worship the Father in spirit and in truth” that the Father seeks to worship Him (John 4:23).  Even in Christian worship today, it is as if the Father does not exist.  It is as if Jesus is the only one to be worshipped, as though Jesus is not the mediator to create a bridge to the Father.  Make no mistake, Jesus is the Son of God and is to be worshipped.  The Father commands us and angels to worship Him (John 5:22, 23; Heb. 1:6).  But the Father is Jesus’ God who anointed Him, as the Father said of Jesus: “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee” (Heb. 1:9).  The example set in heaven, as described throughout the Book of Revelation, is that the angels worship the Father who sits on the throne and Jesus Christ the Lamb: “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:13).

The Third Angel warns: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:9, 10)The commandments of men are not very different from the commandments of God as it relates to not killing, stealing or doing other such vices.  The one distinct sign, however, that distinguishes the commandments of God from the commandments of men is the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath.  This is God’s sign and will identify those who are worshipping God, the Creator, as opposed to those who are worshipping someone else.  God says: “And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” (Eze. 20:20).

Many people are worshipping ignorantly, but the mission of God’s people in the last days is to call them to the worship of the true and living God who created heaven and earth.  It was as a reminder that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, as stated in the fourth commandment, that the seventh day Sabbath was given by God (Ex. 20:8-11).

And just in case someone should think that one reference is not enough to establish the keeping of God’s commandments as a mark of God’s people in the last days, the same thought as given in the Third Angel’s Message is given in the description of the remnant in the following words: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17).  Jesus said that, “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matt. 18:16).

The Faith of Jesus

Along with the keeping of the commandments of God, God’s people in the last days are characterized by their keeping “the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12), which is also referred to as their having the “testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17).  But have we, unwittingly put ourselves in a position where we are unable to fully contemplate the faith of Jesus – the faith that Jesus had?  If we consider Christ, in His position on earth as being “all-knowing”, then He could not exercise faith.  As we are told: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1.   So faith is predicated on hope and holding on to things that we cannot see.  Further, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” Rom. 8:24.

 The Bible is clear that Jesus did not know everything when He was on earth.  Jesus Himself declared, speaking of His second coming, that “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).  Those who say that the Father and the Son are co-equal need to think again.  Further, we are told that, as a child, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52).  Jesus had to exercise faith – faith in His Father.

The one thing that is required of us in order for us to be saved is faith: “For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8).  Further, we are told, “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Rom. 4:3 (also Gal. 3:6).  If Jesus knew everything when He was here, He could not exercise faith and therefore could not be our example in the one thing, above all else, that is required of us, namely exercising faith in God.  But Jesus did exercise faith.  He did it most particularly in yielding up His life on Calvary.  He believed in God – His Father.  He trusted the love of God.  He believed that His Father would raise Him from the dead and his Father did.  We are told that it was “God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (Gal. 1:1).

Jesus came to earth to reveal the truth about His Father – that God is love.   He said: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” John 18:37.  He sealed His testimony with His blood.  He died not knowing what was beyond the grave.  That is the faith that we are called upon to have.  And Jesus is the greatest exemplar of that faith.  Of the saints it is said that, they will be severely tested, tried and persecuted by Satan but “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Rev. 12:11.

Our faith, today, is best reflected in our hope of the second coming of Christ.  The blessed hope of the soon return of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, sums up our faith that, in keeping the commandments of God, even to the point of death, we will not be disappointed.  The promise is that, if we are faithful, we will either be resurrected to eternal life or we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye and be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:14-17; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52), when Jesus Christ returns.  Jesus trusted His Father to raise Him from the dead.  We must trust that Jesus will do the same for us.  God’s counsel to us is confirmed by two immutable things: His promise and His oath, as we are told:

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus” (Heb. 6:17-20).

The Loud Cry – Outpouring of the Spirit

A mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God is prophesied (Revelation 18:1 and Joel 2:23, 28-32) to take place in the last days to accompany the final warning to the world.  This outpouring is not intended to minimize the message of the Third Angel’s Movement.  Rather, it is intended to support and enhance the Third Angel’s Message and give focus to the mission of God’s remnant people in the last days.  It is the Third Angel’s Message that swells to a loud cry when the Angel of Revelation 18 lightens the earth with his glory.  We are told:

The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angels message as it swells to a loud cry. (E. G. White, The Story of Redemption, p. 399).

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Rev. 14:12.

 

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

The Paris Agreement and the Mark of the Beast

Warning to the World!

The time is upon us! The final events for which we have long waited are unfolding before us! We cannot afford to fall asleep now!

The Paris agreement calls for countries to cut carbon emissions; in other words, reduce industrial activity that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon emissions, it is generally held, causes global warming. Global warming is believed to be the reason for natural disasters and other events that destroy the environment. Pope Francis’s recent encylical,  Laudato si´, links Sunday rest with protection of the environment. So the question is this: When countries commit to cut carbon emissions, are they expected to achieve the implied reduction in industrial activity by mandating Sunday rest?

For more than 170 years, there have been efforts to call the world’s attention to the Third Angel’s Message of Revelation 14 which is understood as a warning to the world that an alliance between the Papacy and the United States of America would bring about worldwide enforcement of Sunday observance and that such enforcement would constitute the Mark of the Beast.

One of the things that has not been prominently highlighted, however, is the fact that the prophet, Ellen G. White, predicted that such enforcement would be propelled by an appeal to environmental concerns. Here it is:

Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows . . . . . In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. . . . And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors.  It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favour and temporal prosperity.” (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, 589, 590.)

The Third Angel’s Message of Revelation 14 sounds a warning to the world against receiving the Mark of the Beast and describes the mission and character of God’s people in the last days, saying: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

The Commandments of God

There is no question as to what are the “commandments of God”.  There is only one set of commandments that God himself gave, the Ten Commandments.  He spoke them audibly from Mount Sinai in the hearing of a multitude.  He wrote them with His own fingers on two tables of stone.  Some people try to get away from keeping the Ten Commandments because they find the fourth commandment, which requires us to keep the seventh day Sabbath, inconvenient.  The fourth commandment says: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”, and it indicates clearly that “the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God” (Ex.20:8-11).

Some will claim that in the New Testament dispensation it is the commandments of Jesus that matter and that Jesus did not specifically say that we should keep the seventh day Sabbath.  This is clearly spurious as Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) and even anticipated that His followers should be keeping the Sabbath long after His resurrection and ascension, by warning them:  “pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” (Matt. 24:20), in prophesying of the destruction of Jerusalem, which would take place in the year 70 AD.  Others say that the doing away of the glorious ministration of ancient Israel that was centred on the two tables of stone means that the commandments themselves are done away with.  This is also false as the new covenant involves writing the commandments of God in our hearts whereas the old covenant had them written on tables of stone (Heb. 8:7-10).

The final conflict will be between the keeping of the commandments of men on the one side and the keeping of the commandments of God on the other side.  Jesus warned: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9).

The Third Angel warns: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:9, 10)The commandments of men are not very different from the commandments of God as it relates to not killing, stealing or doing other such vices.  The one distinct sign, however, that distinguishes the commandments of God from the commandments of men is the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath.  This is God’s sign and will identify those who are worshipping God, the Creator, as opposed to those who are worshipping someone else.  God says: “And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” (Eze. 20:20).

Many people are worshipping ignorantly, but the mission of God’s people in the last days is to call them to the worship of the true and living God who created heaven and earth.  It was as a reminder that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, as stated in the fourth commandment, that the seventh day Sabbath was given by God (Ex. 20:8-11).

The Faith of Jesus

Along with the keeping of the commandments of God, God’s people in the last days are characterized by their keeping “the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).  But have we, unwittingly put ourselves in a position where we are unable to fully contemplate the faith of Jesus – the faith that Jesus had?  If we consider Christ, in His position on earth as being “all-knowing”, then He could not exercise faith.  As we are told: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1.   So faith is predicated on hope and holding on to things that we cannot see.  Further, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (Rom. 8:24).

 The Bible is clear that Jesus did not know everything when He was on earth.  Jesus Himself declared, speaking of His second coming, that “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).  Those who say that the Father and the Son are co-equal need to think again.  Further, we are told that, as a child, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52).  Jesus had to exercise faith – faith in His Father.

The one thing that is required of us in order for us to be saved is faith: “For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8).  Further, we are told, “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Rom. 4:3 (also Gal. 3:6).  If Jesus knew everything when He was here, He could not exercise faith and therefore could not be our example in the one thing, above all else, that is required of us, namely exercising faith in God.  But Jesus did exercise faith.  He did it most particularly in yielding up His life on Calvary.  He believed in God – His Father.  He trusted the love of God.  He believed that His Father would raise Him from the dead and his Father did.  We are told that it was “God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (Gal. 1:1).

Jesus came to earth to reveal the truth about His Father – that God is love.   He said: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18:37).  He sealed His testimony with His blood.  He died not knowing what was beyond the grave.  That is the faith that we are called upon to have.  And Jesus is the greatest exemplar of that faith.  Of the saints it is said that, they will be severely tested, tried and persecuted by Satan but “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev. 12:11).

Our faith, today, is best reflected in our hope of the Second Coming of Christ.  The blessed hope of the soon return of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, sums up our faith that, in keeping the commandments of God, even to the point of death, we will not be disappointed.  The promise is that, if we are faithful, we will either be resurrected to eternal life or we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye and be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:14-17; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52), when Jesus Christ returns.  Jesus trusted His Father to raise Him from the dead.  We must trust that Jesus will do the same for us.  God’s counsel to us is confirmed by two immutable things: His promise and His oath, as we are told:

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus” (Heb. 6:17-20).

Laudato si´ and Sunday Rest

On June 18, 2015, the Vatican officially released an encyclical letter from Pope Francis, addressing climate change, titled Laudato si´.  In a book version of the encyclical, published by Our Sunday Visitor, the publishers noted that, “In his second encyclical, Laudato si´: On Care For Our Common Home, Pope Francis draws all Christians into a dialogue with every person on the planet about our common home”.  They further stated that: “We as human beings are united by the concern for our planet and every living thing that dwells on it, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Pope Francis’ letter joins the body of the Church’s social and moral teaching and draws on the best scientific research, providing the foundation for “the ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows.” ”. (Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, IN 46750).  On the face of it, this sounds very good.

But who would have thought that the pope would have been sending out an encyclical letter (Laudato si´) to the entire world linking Sunday rest with protection of the environment at a time when almost the entire world has climate change, caused by destruction of the environment, as a major concern? And who would have thought that the President of the United States, Barack Obama would have used the opportunity of the pope’s encyclical to express “hope that all world leaders — and all God’s children — will reflect on Pope Francis’s call to come together to care for our common home”, referring to the pope as “His Holiness”, and speaking of the “full moral authority of his position”?

Things are happening! Watch for the ‘fine print’! The Devil’s end-time tool is deception (which, by nature, is not obvious to many) and we have been warned that the final events will “break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 28; Last Day Events, p. 41).

“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thess. 5:4).

On July 21, 2015, a little over a month after the release of Pope Francis’s encyclical letter Laudato si´, the pope invited the mayors of more than sixty (60) of the world’s major cities to meet with him, and he told them that he had “a lot of hope” major climate talks later that year in Paris, France, would result in a bold deal to reduce global warming. On the face of it, this does not seem unreasonable or alarming.  But notice the wording of the common declaration that the pope signed with the mayors.  Specific mention is made of the encyclical letter Laudato si´, and the significance of that, is that tucked away within the broader discussion of climate change issues, Laudato si´ advocates for Sunday observance and enforcement.  Part of the declaration reads:

“On the basis of the encyclical Laudato si´, we have considered the overwhelming scientific evidence regarding human induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the vulnerability of the poor to economic, social and environmental disasters. In the face of the emergencies attributable to human induced climate change, social exclusion, and extreme poverty, we join together to declare the following: Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.  In this core moral space, cities play a very vital role.  All of our cultural traditions uphold the inherent dignity and social responsibility of every individual and the related common good of all humanity.”

“The world should take note that the climate summit in Paris later this year (COP21) may be the last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that will keep human-induced warming below 2oC, and aim to stay well below 2oC for safety, yet the current trajectory may well reach a devastating 4oC or higher.  Political leaders of all UN member states have a special responsibility to agree at COP21 to a bold climate agreement that confines global warming to a limit safe for humanity, while protecting the poor and the vulnerable from ongoing climate change that gravely endanger lives.”

“We want our cities and urban settlements to become ever more socially inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (cf. UN Sustainable Development Goals, n. 11).  All sectors and stakeholders must do their part, a pledge that we fully commit ourselves to in our capacities as mayors and individuals.” (Joint Declaration signed at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, July 21, 2015).

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP21 or CMP11 was held in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015.  It was the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.  According to the Organizing Committee, the objective was to achieve for the first time in over 20 years of UN Negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.

Laudato si´ was clearly intended to influence the Conference.  The overarching goal was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to limit global temperature increase to 2oC above pre-industrial levels – BUT watch the ‘fine print’ – Sunday was a part of the ‘fine print’ of Laudato si´.  Among the challenges issued in Laudato si´ were the following:

  •  “206. A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power. This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products.”
  • 237. … Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation…” (Pope Francis, Laudato si´: On Care For Our Common Home)

God’s Warning

 Revelation 16 speaks of unclean spirits like frogs that will be gathering the whole world to the final battle (Rev. 16:13, 14).  This final battle will see the world on one side and Christ and His people on the other side (Rev. 19:19, 20).

The final message to the world, as presented in Rev. 18, is a call out of Babylon – that confederation of the Beast, the Dragon and the False Prophet, particularly on account of their being taken over by spiritualism.  Rev. 18 tells us that Babylon is fallen and has become “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev. 18:2).  The message is to “come out of her” (Rev. 18:4).

After the first three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, each of which represented a movement at a specific time in the history of our world, this Fourth Angel comes on the scene representing another movement.  This Fourth Angel’s Movement is not opposed to the Third Angel’s movement but rather, unites its voice with the voice of the Third Angel as the Third Angel’s message swells to a loud cry.  The Third Angel’s movement has for over 170 years, since 1844, been warning people against receiving the Mark of the Beast.  The prophet, Ellen G. White says of this Fourth Angel:

“The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry.” (The Story of Redemption, 399).

The wine with which Babylon drunks and deceives the nations 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, 2 Selected Messages p. 68).

These doctrines are strongly repudiated by the Third Angel’s movement.  So, the Third Angel’s movement is not Babylon.

We are told that:

“The sins of the world will have reached unto heaven when the law of God is made void; when the Sabbath of the Lord is trampled in the dust, and men are compelled to accept in its stead an institution of the papacy through the strong hand of the law of the land.  In exalting an institution of man above the institution ordained of God, they show contempt for the great Lawgiver, and refuse His sign or seal” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1889).

 It is at that time while the Angel of Rev. 18 gives the final message that the call is made: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Rev. 18:4, 5).

At this time in particular, as the Third Angel’s message is about to swell to a loud cry, God’s people must be aware of the subtle inroads of spiritualism so that they can effectively call people away from its alluring influence.  The reality is that, if one is taken over by spirits of devils, acceptance of the Mark of the Beast will inevitably follow.

How many of us took note of the words of invocation to Lucifer that was said in the papal mass to induct Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII into sainthood on April 27, 2014 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in Rome? In case you missed it, here it is:

“Flammas eius Lucifer matutinus inveniat: ille, inquam, Lucifer, qui nescit occasum”, which is translated “Flaming Lucifer finds mankind, I say: Oh Lucifer who will never be defeated”.

No interpretation will be placed on it, lest one be accused of misrepresenting the intended meaning. But we should at least know of it and consider it especially in light of the warning of Revelation 18 telling God’s children to come out of Babylon because she has become the “habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit”.

Beloved, it is high time that we awake out of sleep and sound the alarm before it is too late!

Jesus’s Sequencing of Last-day Events

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 taken place yet.

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 Paris Agreement and Sunday Enforcement

If you think that the world is not in the process of gathering around a common cause, with Sunday enforcement woven into it, you need to spend some time reflecting on the most recent drive to protect the planet, being led by the United Nations and inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato si´.  Copies of this book are being sent to persons of influence, far and wide.  In the last chapter, specific reference is made to Sunday rest as being meant to heal relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world (paragraph 237); taking the Eucharist and worshipping the Trinity are also mentioned specifically as being necessary (paragraphs 236 and 238-240); and that healthy pressure can be brought to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power by boycotting certain products (paragraph 206).  The Bible says that we will not be able to buy or sell and later on will be killed for not supporting a cause that honours the beast power and promotes false worship, around which the world will be gathered (Rev. 13: 8, 15-17).

 The Paris Agreement calls for countries to cut carbon emissions – which is associated with industrial activity.  The more industrialized a country is, the more carbon they release into the atmosphere.  Countries are not committing themselves to reduce industrial activity, necessarily, because it is industrial activity that give their people modern amenities and many comforts of life.  It is industrial activity that set industrialized countries as being wealthier than poorer countries.  And poorer countries strive to become more industrialized.  Yet over 191 countries have already signed the Paris Agreement, committing themselves to cut carbon emissions.  How do they plan to do it?  Is there something that we are not being told?  Or, have we been told but we are not paying attention?

The pope says, in Laudato si´, that Sunday rest helps to heal the environment.  Is this a signal that countries should mandate Sunday rest?  Is this the unspoken method that countries will adopt to cut their carbon emissions without curtailing their industrial development?  The Creator, from the creation week, had set aside the seventh day Sabbath as a weekly rest (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11).  So, is it that humanity has finally caught up with a manifestation of Divine wisdom, except that they want to take the credit for themselves and deny the Creator, by establishing their own rest day?

The requirements for the Paris Agreement to take effect are that at least 55 countries must ratify the Agreement and that at least 55% of global emissions must be covered by the countries ratifying the Agreement.  As at October 5, 2016, the double threshold was met.  That means the Paris Agreement will, unless something unforeseen happens, come into effect on November 4, 2016.  This Agreement, according to the Organizing Committee of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, is intended to be a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.  Let us see how it will all pan out.  But, be warned!  Things are happening! We must be awake!  We cannot afford to fall asleep now!

May we be counted among the “saints”, when Jesus Christ returns, that “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Photo by ULTRAbstract

Good God! Bad World! Why?

Where was God when the twin towers were struck, killing so many innocent people? Where was He when that tsunami killed so many and left so many to suffer? Where is He now when so many are having to flee their homes because of warfare, poverty and other distresses to find refuge in foreign countries where they are often not welcomed? Where is He when I am in distress and seem unable to find help? These are some of the questions that people frequently ask! These are all a part of the bigger question of how could there be a God who is considered to be Good and yet tolerate the existence of evil in the world when He has the power to stop it, being Almighty. It is the purpose of this presentation to present a Biblical framework that answers this age-old question.

The first thing to note is that the Almighty God, who is altogether good, is not the One who is presently running this territory called earth! Amazing? Perhaps, indeed, but this is what the Bible teaches! The Bible speaks of someone else who is called the “god of this world” in the following words:

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:4).

There is someone else running the affairs of this world who is blinding people so that they might not know the gospel or good news of Christ who is the image of God. It is important to note that Christ is the image of God. He looks like God. So, if you want to know what the Almighty God is like, you only need to look at Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ himself said that he came into the world for the specific purpose of revealing to the people of this world the truth. He said:

“I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world” (John 16:28).

Again, He said:

“To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18:37).

To confirm that someone else who is operating contrary to God’s style of rulership claims to be in charge here, one needs only to consider the following circumstances surrounding Jesus Christ’s coming into this world:

  1. An attempt was made to kill Him the moment He entered this space.

The Bible says:

“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” (Matt. 2:13).

The events going on behind the scenes are described as follows:

“and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” (Rev. 12:4).

Note that the dragon, who sought to destroy Jesus Christ at His birth was previously in heaven.

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev. 12:7-9)

It is clear that the one who tried to kill Jesus Christ at His birth, who is here deceiving the world, is none other than the angel called Satan who, prior to coming to earth, was in heaven and had to be cast out because of his rebellion against God. He came to earth with his deception and realising that God was sending His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, to dis-abuse people’s minds from the lies that he was using to keep people in bondage, Satan tried to kill Jesus Christ the moment he came to this earth.

  1. Satan offered Jesus Christ all the kingdoms of this world in exchange for Jesus Christ worshipping him.

“the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matt. 4:8, 9)

The Bible explains how Satan came to be in control. God made the world and gave the first man, Adam, control over it. But Adam allowed Satan to take over because Adam voluntarily submitted his control to Satan.

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Heb. 2:6-8)

“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” (Gen. 3:12, 13)

“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Tim. 2:14)

Remember, as we read earlier, it is Satan the fallen angel who is called the serpent. He tricked Eve and used Eve to get Adam to join him in disobeying God. Remember also, that Adam, being a man, was made lower than the angels. So, once Adam joined Satan in disobedience to God, Adam and his dominion fell under the control of Satan’s superior intelligence.

That is how, Satan became the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), and was now able to offer the kingdoms of this world to Jesus Christ to try and bribe Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to join him in rebellion against God (the Father), as he got Adam and his decendants to do. First he tried to kill Jesus Christ, in infancy, and failing to do that he then tried to bribe Jesus Christ to join him in rebellion against God. But Jesus Christ was true to His mission. His Father had sent Him into the world to reveal the truth in order to win back the hearts and minds of human beings. That was the promise that God made as the means by which He would rescue humanity from Satan, the serpent. God said:

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15)

Salvation is all about belief. It is whether we will believe Christ and what He says about God or whether we will believe the lies that have been perpetrated by Satan. Belief in the truth will put us at enmity with Satan and bring about reconciliation with God, through Christ, the Mediator between us and God. Christ explained it in the parable of the sower, as follows:

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:11, 12)

Again, we are told:

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5)

So, Satan is running the show down here. That’s the reason injustice prevails, suffering and death is a part of the norm and even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, suffered and died at the hands of wicked people who were being deceived by Satan. We are told that God gave up His Son and through His foreknowledge, He knew what the rulers of this world would do to Him. They would kill Him. But this was all a part of God’s way of showing up Satan and his system of running things so that we can reject them totally. It is all a part of what it takes, the sacrifice that God and Christ had to make in order that we might see the truth and be converted from Satan and his system of managing the affairs of this world and be reconciled to God and His way. The Bible explains:

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).

“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15).

Now we can understand why the death of Christ is identified in scripture as the basis of Satan’s demise. Having killed the innocent Son of God, Satan has exposed himself to the universe in a way that makes it impossible for him to redeem himself to be able to win anyone in the universe to his side who understands the truth and is willing to accept it. The Bible says:

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14).

For those who think that Satan does not exist, it is impossible for them to reconcile the existence of evil in the world with the idea that there is an Almighty God who is good. Those who believe that God required the death of His Son in order that He might forgive us, have also unwittingly missed the point of Christ’s death. As we have seen, it was Satan and wicked people who killed Christ, thereby providing the basis for us to turn away from Satan or in other words be cleansed from sin, which is, rebellion against God. How will it end? The Bible tells us:

“But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27 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).

Christ will return for His faithful. God is love, as Jesus Christ has shown. He will put an end to sin, suffering and death forever. We should love Him.

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

The Great Controversy An Information War

The Contenders

Most people are aware that there is a controversy between good and evil in the world. But who are the contending parties? What are the issues? And how will it end?

It is generally accepted that God is good and that the enemy who is behind evil is Satan. The Bible describes a part of the conflict in the following words:

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev. 12:7-9)

At the outset, it must be established that there is no issue of Satan matching power with God. God is the Creator. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” (Ps. 33:6).  He who created the angels and brought the heavens and the earth into existence can just as easily remove them and take them out of existence. Devils tremble at the very thought of God because they are aware of His awesome power –“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19).

So, there is no contest between God and Satan on terms having to do with the exercise of power. People speak broadly about a conflict between good and evil. But what is good and what is evil? How are these defined? To those, like Satan, who feel that they have a cause to pursue, they may well think that it is their side that is good and the other side evil. In fact, the serpent’s accusation against God, to Adam and Eve, would represent God as being the evil one and he, Satan (the serpent), as being the one that is good and sought good for Adam and Eve.

The Issues of the Conflict

The real issue of the controversy is about the character of God. And the controversy is not between God and Satan per se; it is between Christ and Satan over the character of God. “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels” (Rev. 12:7). Further, the weapons of our warfare are not physical weapons. As we are told:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-6). The knowledge of the truth about God will lead us to love Him and submit to Him. Lucifer, who was an exalted angel in heaven, by taking his eyes off God and focussing on himself, developed an overblown concept of himself and a diminished or warped perception of God. The result was that he rebelled against God and became Satan and was cast out of heaven. The prophet Isaiah described the fall of Lucifer as follows: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Isa. 14:12-15). His wisdom was corrupted because of his focus on and concept of himself.

“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28).

If we have a wrong concept of God and end up, like Lucifer, rebelling against God, it is us who are the losers, not God. Through Christ, God seeks to save us by extending His grace to us in the form of a revelation of Himself to us, through Christ, who looks like Him and behaves like Him. It is an information war. It is all about what we choose to believe about God. The conflict between Christ and Satan is a battle for the hearts and minds of intelligent beings. Those who believe Christ, believe the truth and will be saved, while those who believe otherwise, as promulgated by Satan, believe a lie and will end up as losers. Satan cannot give life. So there is no future in buying into his deceptions and false representations of God.

Satan is described as the “god of this world” and his purpose to deceive is described as follows: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:4). Sifting

Truth from Error

Establishing the truth is like fitting up a jig-saw puzzle where many extraneous pieces are mixed up on the table with the genuine pieces. These pieces that do not belong, are deliberately placed there to throw us off so as to prevent us from being able to fit the puzzle together. Such is the nature of the many erroneous ideas that Satan places before us. We have to sift out the truth from the error, diligently. That is what will determine the outcome for us – whether belief in the truth that aligns us with God so that we can receive eternal life from Him or belief in a lie that places us with Satan, with the result that we will die like him and with him. The choice is ours. The appeal is to choose life by seeking and believing the truth and joining the fight as an ambassador for the truth, preaching the gospel of truth whereby souls can be saved.

How do we sift out the puzzle pieces that do not belong to the picture and retain those pieces that belong? By having an idea of what the overall picture looks like. If, for example, you are fitting up a puzzle that forms a picture of green trees and the blue sky in the background, then you can remove from the table the red and purple pieces that clearly do not belong. Of course, the closer the erroneous pieces look like the correct pieces, the more effort and diligence has to be applied to differentiate. Jesus said that deception will be so strong in the last days that “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24).

The Overall Picture

The overall picture is provided by information about the fall of Lucifer from heaven; his enticing Adam and Eve to sin against God; God’s Son coming to earth to win back the hearts and minds of human beings by revealing the truth about God to us; Satan being exposed by his stirring up the multitude to kill the innocent Son of God; Christ being raised from the dead and representing before God and the angels, by virtue of our repentance, the fact that some of us were only deceived and not genuinely rebellious; and Christ returning to earth to reclaim this territory from Satan and resurrecting those who died in a state of acceptance of the truth, while translating those who are alive and faithful. This is the framework that allows us to sift out the erroneous ideas that Satan throws in our way to deceive us.

As with Adam and Eve who got one simple instruction from God that, if followed, would have protected them from Satan, we today have one simple instruction: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Ex. 20:8). This is God’s sign that, if we embrace it, will signal to the universe that we have aligned ourselves on God’s side- “And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” (Eze. 20:20). Further, the Sabbath provides us with special time with God that He uses to sanctify us and make us holy –“Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” (Eze. 20:12).

The final conflict is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. The commandments of men represent Satan’s formula for governing people’s behaviour. The commandments of men are an imitation of the commandments of God, except in two points. Whereas the commandments of God forbid making images to represent God and commands that we rest from our labours on the seventh day Sabbath as a sign that we believe in and give allegiance to the Creator, the commandments, as represented by men, does not forbid the making of images and they regard Sunday in place of the seventh day Sabbath.

These two points of difference will identify those who Christ will claim as His, as opposed to those who Satan will claim as his. Jesus said: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21). Further, He says: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9). And again: “If ye love me keep my commandments.” (Matt. 14:15).

Today, many professed Christians are saying that all we need to do is just accept Jesus. You don’t have to consider anything else. To them, keeping the commandments of God is legalism. But that is contrary to what Jesus said. Its all a part of Satan’s efforts to create confusion. Remember, its an information war. May the Lord help us to align ourselves under His banner so that when Christ returns, we will be among those who would have accepted Christ and His revelation of the truth about God, and be faithfully keeping His commandments.

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