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Startling Change in Doctrine (Audio)

 

Back in 1996, it came as a shock to one Seventh-day Adventist to discover, based on official declarations in the Church’s Ministry Magazine (Journal for ministers) and the Adventist Review (Periodical for the general church membership), that there was a major change in doctrine from the position that was held by early Adventist pioneers.

So significant was the change that the author of the Ministry article opined that “Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination’s Fundamental Beliefs.” Ministry, October 1993, p. 10

In recounting his experience, the shocked church member expressed his concern in an audio message that same year.  Although recorded almost a quarter century ago, the issues remain relevant.  Were the Adventist pioneers wrong?  What did the well-known Adventist messenger Ellen G. White think of the fundamental principles that were held by the church at that time?

These questions and more are addressed in this candid presentation made over two decades ago by a sincere Adventist when the matter came to his attention.

When God Withholds Forgiveness (Audio)

 

One of the most foundational bases for Christian faith is the fact that God forgives.  If there was no forgiveness, all hope would be lost because we are all sinners – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

We have been given the assurance that God will forgive the vilest sinner and will cast his sins to the bottom of the sea and will remember them no more – “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19).

But strangely enough, the Bible also speaks of instances where persons will be turned away by God.  This presentation examines a few such cases and should help us to determine what might be the reasons and put us in a better position to avoid being turned away.

The real Jesus and how He conquered

To ask the question, “Who is Jesus and what has He done?” might evoke an answer such as, “Jesus is Lord and He saved us from our sins”.  But what do these things really mean?  When asked by Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).  To this response, Jesus said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.(Matt. 16:17).  Jesus spoke of the great achievement that He would make, and indicated how his Father would respond, in the following words: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” (John 10:17)It is not that the Father did not love His Son before His Son laid down His life, but the Father loves Him even more, on account of this great achievement.  The result was that the Father not only “raised Him from the dead” (Gal. 1:1) but has “highly exalted Him” (Phil. 2:9) – so, Jesus is indeed Lord.  We will elaborate a little more on the great achievement of Christ and His present position.

Everyone likes to identify with winners.  So, it is easy to identify with Christ when we are told that Jesus is Lord.  But have we stopped and thought of the real conquering achievement of Christ?  Apart from the fact that He is the Son of God and before He came to earth He had, “by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they”, the angels, (Heb. 1:4), have we thought of the main reason why He is now exalted in heaven? Let us hear the inhabitants of heaven speak.

How Jesus conquered

John was weeping when he saw that no man “in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth” was worthy to take a book from the hand of “him that sat on the throne(Rev. 5:1-4) and open it. But then, John was told: “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book” (Rev. 5:5).  When John looked, this conquering “Lion” was really “a Lamb as it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6).  The Lamb came to “him that sat on the throne” and took the book. Immediately, the inhabitants of heaven burst out in rejoicing, saying:

Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of 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; 12 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. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:9-13).

The conquering Lion had prevailed and was therefore, worthy.  But what was the great achievement that qualified Him?  The answer was that He died – He yielded His life to the powers of earth and the powers of darkness, allowing himself to be killed, when He could have delivered himself (Matt. 26:53).  By doing so, Jesus provided the one irrefutable argument that discredits Satan’s rule on this earth, since there was absolutely no justifiable reason for the Son of God to have been killed.  It all happened under Satan’s watch, as the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4).  Satan must answer to God the Father, who “sits on the throne” as the Creator and King of the universe.

Role in creation

It should be noted that “one sat on the throne” (Rev. 4:2) who is the Creator – in reality, and not by mere designation or as an assumed role.  This is evident as the angels in heaven worshiped Him saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 4:11).  The Creator is described as the One “who liveth for ever and ever” (Rev. 4:9), distinct from Christ, the Lamb, who came and took the book out of His hand, and is described, in another context, as the one who was dead, and is alive” (Rev. 2:8). 

It is important to know who the Creator is, as the final message to the world includes a call to Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.(Rev. 14:7)This is a reference to God the Father, the “Ancient of Days”, who presides over the Judgement (Dan. 7:9, 10).  When God spoke to Job, God demanded of him, Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding…..When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7) From this, it is evident that the sons of God and the morning stars were present at the creation.

Christ was also present but unlike the other beings who were present, Christ was actively involved in carrying out His Father’s will in the work of creation – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1, 2); “The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:2, 3)Christ was therefore the agent by whom the Creator carried out His work of creation.

Many persons have cited the Hebrew word “Elohim”, translated “God”, in the Genesis creation account to suggest that God is not one person, but more than one person.  In support of that view, reference is further made to God’s statement, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness(Gen. 1:26). But the Bible clearly states that God, who “made the worlds” (Heb. 1:2), did so by His Son who is “the express image of his person” (Heb. 1:3).  Therefore, God – the One who has a Son in His “express image”, said to His Son, “Let us make man in our image”.  How does the idea that God is not an individual Being enter the picture?  It is clearly one person speaking to another person – God speaking to His Son.

Thus, it should be clear that when the Bible says that there is one God (Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord – Deut. 6:4), it is a statement indicating that there is one Supreme Being – one individual being – not a number of beings in unison that make up God.  The Jews who coined the word “Elohim” and used it to refer to God, did not hold a concept of God as more than one person or as a composite of several persons.  So, how do those who have embraced the word come to interpret it to mean more than one person? Is ancient idolatry and polytheism alive and well in Christianity, under different branding? Care should be taken to avoid changing the meaning of words and using them to distort the intended meaning.

Behind the scenes

Remember, when “the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:6, 7).  Satan presented himself before the Lord as the one who represented this territory called earth, when the sons of God presented themselves before God, as though he (Satan) was in charge on earth, of course, subject to God’s authority.  In the wilderness of temptation also, Satan took Jesus up into an exceeding high mountain and “sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” – (Matt. 4:8, 9)Satan had usurped the dominion that God had originally given to Adam and was exercising that dominion contrary to God’s will.

By Jesus allowing himself to be killed by Satan and his evil host, Satan has been discredited.  Hence, in the judgement, the dominion over this earth will be taken away from Satan (Dan. 7:26).  Christ appears before the Father – the “Ancient of Days” – and, as the Son of Man, Christ receives the kingdom or entitlement to rule on this earth (Dan. 7:13, 14).  Although Satan had usurped the authority that God originally gave to Adam, Christ came as the second Adam, the new head of the human race, to claim back the dominion and be our King (Heb. 2:6-9).  So, we will be kings and priests, and Jesus will be our King – King of kings and Lord of lords – subject to His Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28).

Conclusion

In conclusion, let us know the real Jesus and how He conquered.  He came from heaven where He was the Son of the Sovereign God who is King of the universe.  He came to earth as a human being, where He conquered through a life of humility and ultimate death as a Lamb to the slaughter.  He was raised from the dead by His Father (Gal. 1:1) and has now been “highly exalted” at the right hand of His Father where He intercedes for us.  He will soon be given the kingdoms of this world and He will return to claim it.

At the second coming of Christ, the dead in Christ will be raised and with the living saints, who will be changed from mortal to immortality, be taken to heaven to spend a thousand years.  After the thousand years, we will come back to earth with Him.  Satan and all evil will then be destroyed, and the earth will be restored to perfection (1 Cor. 15:22, 23; Rev. 20:1-21:5; Rev. 15:2, 3; Rev. 4:2-6).  We will live with God and Christ forever, in the newly restored earth – “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:22).

Christ himself will also be subject to His Father – “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:24-28).

May the Lord help us to know the real Jesus and how He has conquered; and further, grant that we might overcome with Him and share in the glories of the earth made new – “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21).

“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

Jesus Christ, now Mediator, soon to be King

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

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

Prophet

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

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

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

Priest

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

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

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

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

King

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

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

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

Time to repent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

 

 

Love of religious establishment above truth

One of the saddest and most awful occurrences in human history occurred nearly two thousand years ago when the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was brutally and mercilessly killed by those who professed to be the chosen people of God. Every well-thinking person would do well to seek an explanation for such an awful paradox, lest ignorance and lack of understanding should break down possible safeguards against the repetition of similar anomalies in their own experience.

An explanation of such an awful paradox can be found in the phenomenon of misplaced affection; and specifically, love of religious establishment above love of truth. On the one hand was Jesus Christ who was the embodiment of truth, righteousness, justice, love and mercy. On the other hand, was Caiaphas, the designated spiritual leader of God’s professed people – the chief representative of the religious establishment. In between were the people, many of whom had seen the righteousness, innocence and blameless life of Christ but were also fully persuaded of the legitimacy of the religious institution to which they were committed.

Sometimes we must choose

What an awful choice for one to be called upon to make. Indeed, it would have been preferable if both were on the same side. But unfortunately, as it was then, so it has been on so many other occasions, not excluding the present, that institutionalized religion is not always aligned with truth. Thus, individuals, at times, are faced with a choice. The decision which prevailed on that fateful day, which culminated in the ignominious death of Christ on Calvary’s cross reveals the little appreciated truth that the majority is not always right.

Some persons, to avoid the unpleasant task of making such choices, make an unspoken rule for themselves that the church is always right. Unfortunately for them, their silence or indifference does constitute a choice which, though proven to be right in some instances, is also proven to be wrong in others. In which case, the individual stands either vindicated or condemned before God.

 The lessons

The lessons of Calvary are many. Calvary should impel religious leaders to be humble, recognizing that truth is not always the preserve of the religious elite. Jesus Christ was rejected largely because of his humble earthly beginnings and continuance. He was not educated in the schools of the rabbis. He did not court the favour of the religious establishment or patronize its leaders. The religious leaders felt that their authority was being bypassed and therefore, sought and succeeded, to some measure, in ridding the world of Him whom they considered to be a threat.

The lesson for the people at large who profess a religious faith is that a religious order, culture or establishment stands justified only when it is aligned with truth. Truth stands pre-eminent and is not always enunciated or embraced within the religious establishment to which one is committed. The choice with which one is faced is sometimes unpleasant, but nevertheless, weighted with eternal consequences.

When religious organizations that represent God find themselves embracing error, they should make the necessary adjustments so that they can stand with greater credibility in advancing their mission and avoid leading their members down the slippery slope of rejection of truth, because no one knows how far it will take them or where it will end.

Popular error

One very popular error that is based on assumptions, rather than on any clear biblical foundation is the idea that the “one God” of the Bible is a unity of three persons rather than one Person who is supreme. This concept, called the Trinity is not merely that there is Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  The Bible clearly teaches that.  Rather, the Trinity doctrine asserts that the one God of scripture is made up of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Some people prefer to use the term Godhead, which is mentioned only three times in the Bible and is never used to mean three-in-one.  But they hold to the same concept as is held by those who use the term Trinity.

Standard definitions of Trinity are as follows:

Trinity n Christianity the union of three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in one God” – Collins Student’s Dictionary.

“(the Trinity) (in Christian belief) the three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) that make up God.” – Little Oxford Dictionary.

Trinity noun in Christianity, the union of Father, Son and Holy Ghost in one God.” – Chambers English Dictionary.

Based on these definitions, the “one God” of the Bible is not a Person but a unity of three.  According to that view, when the Bible says that there is one God, the one God is really Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Is this biblical?  And is it important?  Most churches think it is important and hold it as a required belief.  Those who do not hold to that view also consider the matter important because, in their view, the Bible says otherwise.

The Bible says: “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things” (1 Cor. 8:6). And Jesus said the same, in His prayer to the Father: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)God the Father commanded all to worship Jesus Christ, His only begotten son, in the same way that we worship Him, the Father, but He never told anyone to worship the Holy Spirit.  And worshipping the Holy Spirit is not taught anywhere in the Bible. Are persons, by worshipping and praying to the Holy Spirit, unwittingly breaking the first of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex. 20:3)?

As we reflect on Calvary and on the fact that the chosen people of God were so misled as to crucify the Son of God, preferring rather that the criminal Barabbas be released instead, we should ask ourselves, do we love truth more than we love our religious traditions and establishments?  Most importantly, we should not be dismissive of questions that are raised regarding the legitimacy of any position that we have taken.  The questions that are raised might just be a wake-up call from God for us to get in line with 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

 

Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Do They Make a Trinity?

What is at Stake

It is popularly assumed that Father, Son and Holy Ghost make a Trinity; further, that the Trinity concept is difficult to explain but should be accepted by faith. But, does the supposed difficulty in explaining it really expose us to embracing questionable ideas that could be detrimental to accept? First of all, what is the Trinity and why is the question important? Consider this. On the assumption of a Trinity, people worship the Holy Ghost alongside the Father and the Son. Is this a valid position? Could we, unwittingly, be offering worship where it does not belong – making us guilty of idolatry?

This is a critical matter because the very first commandment of the Ten Commandments says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex. 20:3). Repeatedly, God has warned against idolatry and has punished individuals and nations for practicing idolatry. God has made it clear that He is the only true God; “there is none else” (Isa. 45:5).

Jesus said the same, as He prayed, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3).

Notwithstanding that, Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, “the express image of His person” (Heb. 1:3) and God, the Father, commands both us and angels to worship His Son (John 5:23; Heb. 1:6).

But there is nowhere in the Bible that says we should worship the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit), neither is it said that we are allowed to do that. People do it on an assumption that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equally God.

What the Trinity Concept is

The Trinity concept is not merely that there is Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  The Bible clearly teaches that.  Rather, the Trinity doctrine asserts that the one God of scripture is made up of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Some people prefer to use the term Godhead, which is mentioned only three times in the Bible and is never used to mean three-in-one.  But in essence, they hold to the same concept as is held by those who use the term Trinity. Standard definitions of Trinity are as follows:

Trinity n Christianity the union of three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in one God” – Collins Student’s Dictionary.

“(the Trinity) (in Christian belief) the three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) that make up God.” – Little Oxford Dictionary.

Trinity noun in Christianity, the union of Father, Son and Holy Ghost in one God.” – Chambers English Dictionary.

Based on these definitions, the idea is that when the Bible says that there is one God, the one God is really Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So, since we are allowed to worship the Father and the Son, the assumption is that we should then be able to worship the Holy Spirit as well. But is it true that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are co-equal? Does the Bible teach that? And does the Bible teach that the one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Let us see for ourselves what the Bible actually says.

What the Bible Teaches About God

The truth is that the Bible does not teach that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are co-equal. A few clear references will show this. Jesus said: “my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28).

He said again, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” (John 12:49). One might say: Oh, that was in reference to the Son only in His human state. But that is not true. Before the Son came to earth, it is said of Him, that His Father “anointed” Him (Heb. 1:9) and the Father “appointed” Him (Heb. 1:2). Further, the Bible tells us: “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” (Heb. 7:7).

It is very obvious. The Father is greater than the Son.

Further, after sin and death are done away with, the Son himself will be subject to the Father – “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28).

Therefore, the Father is greater than the Son at all phases: before the Son came to earth, while He was on earth, and after He left the earth, continuing into eternity.

Prophets of the Bible have referred to the Father as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Cor. 11:31). And God the Father is reported as saying to the Son that “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee” (Heb. 1:9). Jesus, Himself, referred to the Father as “my God” (Rev. 3:12; John 20:17; Matt. 27:46). So, this concept of co-equality is totally unscriptural.

This is not to say that the Son is not to be worshipped. The Father says that we are to worship His Son.  And the Son exercises the authority of His Father.  The relationship is similar to a king and a prince.  God, the Father, is the King of the Universe and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son is the Prince of the universe.  In another sense, Jesus Christ, as the second Adam, will be King of this particular territory in the universe called earth.  He will be King of kings and Lord of lords over His earthly subjects who will reign with Him as kings and priests (Rev. 5:10).

But as for the Holy Spirit, it is a different matter. While we need the Holy Spirit, nowhere is it ever said that we should worship the Holy Spirit.

Further, Christ the Son, is greater than the Comforter who is the Holy Spirit. Christ said that He would send the Comforter and when the Comforter comes, he would not speak of himself. He will only speak what he hears –“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). And “he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:” (John 16:13).

So, Christ is obviously greater than the Comforter.

Even in the sending of the Comforter, the order of authority is clearly seen. Christ prays to the Father and asks Him to give the Comforter. Then Christ sends the Comforter –“I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter” (John 14:16).

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).

The concept of Father, Son and Holy Spirit being co-equal is totally false.

Further, the Bible tells us who the one God is. We are told:

“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things” (1 Cor. 8:6). The idea that the one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit is totally unscriptural.

Before concluding, we should consider two passages of scripture that people misconstrue and read into them things that they do not actually say, in order to promote a Trinity concept.  The first is: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:19). They say, there you go, an appeal is made to the authority of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, so they must be co-equal.  If that is the case, then what do we say of this one: I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things(1 Tim. 5:21)?  An appeal is made to God, Christ and angels.  So, does that mean angels are co-equal with God and Christ?  Absolutely not!  So, in a similar way, the baptismal commission of Matt. 28:19 does not show that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are co-equal.

The other passage is: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.(1 John 5:7). Did it say, “these three are one God”? No, it did not!  The verse immediately following it tells what the oneness is that is being referred to.  It is oneness in terms of agreement – And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.(1 John 5:8).  So, neither of these passages support or justify a Trinity concept.

Conclusion

What the facts show is that Father, Son and Holy Spirit do not make a Trinity.

The Bible is clear that there is only one Supreme Being, and that is the Father – “One God and Father of all, who is above all” (Eph. 4:6). When the Bible says that there is one God, it is a reference to the Father and the Father only.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is of the same nature as God and is worshipped just as God the Father is worshipped. But He is, has been and will always be subject to and submissive to His Father. The Holy Spirit, however, is not to be worshipped as God. And one should not try to confuse the issue by saying, Oh, the Bible says that “God is a spirit”, so it’s really God we are worshipping when we worship the Holy Spirit.  “God is a spirit” means that God is a spirit-being.  That’s His nature.  We do not worship God’s nature; we worship God, Himself, as a Person.

This will remain true even into the new earth of which we are told: “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:22). May the Lord help us to worship God in spirit and in truth and not to be drawn unwittingly into idolatry, giving worship where it does not belong.

Finally, if an organization that represents God finds itself teaching error, it should make the necessary adjustments in its teachings so that it can stand with greater credibility in carrying out its mission.

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

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

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

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

Private interpretations of Scripture

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

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

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

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

Tyndale and the KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Private interpretations

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

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

Don’t be deceived

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

What is so Important About a Day?

It is sometimes queried of Sabbath-keepers: “Is the day you worship so important? Isn’t it a clean and holy life that really matters? Don’t you believe that it is those who have clean hands and a pure heart who will see God, whether they worship on Sunday or Saturday?” These are questions which many people ask, and which deserve answers. Accordingly, this presentation seeks to address these questions. It is hoped that sincere persons will look carefully into the answers that are now given and will find them beneficial in their quest for truth.

Keeping A Day Holy

The first thing, it is not an issue of the day you worship. Christians ought to worship God every day, whether by themselves or in company. It is a question of which day you keep holy. Man cannot make a day holy, only God can make a day holy; and a day cannot be kept holy if that day is not already made holy by God. God commands us, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…. the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God” (Exodus 20:8-11). Thus, God tells us to keep one day holy and tells us which day He wants us to keep holy.

Keeping the day holy involves not only worshipping God but abstaining from doing our own work (Exodus 20:8-11) and finding our own pleasure (Isa. 58:13) on that day. It involves devoting the day to communing with God. It does not mean that the Sabbath is a day of fasting or that one should not respond to emergencies, especially where life is threatened, on that day.  Jesus kept the Sabbath and yet He asked the Pharisees, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?” (Luke 14:5).  But one should neither plan nor carry out normal business on the Sabbath that could be arranged for another day.

In order to minimize distractions which might interrupt our communion with God during this special time that God has set apart for this purpose, God has designated the sixth day (the day before the Sabbath) as the preparation day (Ex. 16:22-30; Luke 23:54; Mark 15:42).  The Sabbath is observed from sunset on the sixth day to sunset on the seventh day“from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” (Lev. 23:32).

For All time

Spending this special time with God was not just an Old Testament thing or a Jewish thing, it was intended for all time. This is clearly indicated by the command that Jesus gave to His followers concerning the destruction of Jerusalem that He was prophesying would take place. He told them that when they saw a certain sign, they were to flee into the mountains in order to escape the destruction (Matt. 24:15-18). However, he went on to say: “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day” (Matt. 24:20). The destruction took place in AD 70, almost 40 years after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ, and yet the followers of Christ were to pray that they would not need to flee on the Sabbath.

Clearly, Jesus could not have given such instructions if the Sabbath was not supposed to be still important at that time.

It is evident also, that Jesus’s warning was intended for all His followers and not only for the Jews, as there were Christians in Jerusalem and not only Jews.

While the LORD expects us to worship Him every day, He does not expect us to keep every day holy. He has given us six days for legitimate toil and labour and has requested one day only to be set apart for holy use (Ex. 20:9,10). It is not any day that we choose that God will accept. This is clearly seen in the experience of the children of Israel when God fed them with manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:22-30).

God provided manna from heaven for them six days every week for forty years. On the sixth day a double portion was provided, some of which was to be kept over until the following day which was the Sabbath, since none was provided on the seventh day Sabbath. Hence, on the seventh day Sabbath, a specific day every week, a day that God Himself had determined independent of their thoughts or wishes, no manna fell from heaven. Some persons decided to do their own thing, ignoring the specific day that God had chosen and went out looking for manna on that day. God was very displeased with them and asked, “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” (Ex. 16:27, 28).

A Clean and Holy Life

The question is asked; “Isn’t it a clean and holy life that really matters?” The answer is yes. But what is a clean and holy life? Is refusing to keep God’s commandments and His laws a manifestation of a holy life? The Word of God says no. Jesus tells us what righteousness is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang (hinge) all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40). Also, Jesus tells us how we may know whether we truly love God: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15), and “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21).

Let us not, like some of the children of Israel in the wilderness, seek to do our own thing. If we set aside the specific day that God has set apart to be kept holy and, in its place, set up our own, God will be just as displeased with us as He was with them. We can be sure which day God has set apart to be kept holy because God has preserved the Jewish people with the tradition of Sabbath-keeping from the days in the wilderness, when God Himself showed them which day was the Sabbath, until the present day, so that nobody should be in doubt as to the matter of which day.

Reason for the Sabbath

Perhaps we might have a better appreciation for the Sabbath if we understand the reason for it and how it came about. Exodus 31:17 gives us an idea. It says: “for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” You may ask, how can God rest and be refreshed when He neither slumbers nor sleeps? To understand this, one has to go back in thought to the creation week. Man was created on the sixth day. The seventh day was the very first day after man was brought into existence and Jesus tells us that “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). On this very first day of man’s life God ended His work and spent the day in fellowship with Adam and Eve, this lovely pair, just created, beautiful and pleasant to interact with. This was the refreshing experience that God had on that very first Sabbath.

God had a wonderful experience and He blessed the day and sanctified it (Gen. 2:3). To sanctify means to set apart and make holy. This shows that God wants to repeat this experience with His children every week. Notice that this day is special because of the special experience that God had on that first Sabbath day, on account of which He highly esteems that day. But the setting apart of the day becomes meaningful for us, only if we make ourselves available for that special interaction with God. It is a great disappointment to God and a great loss to ourselves when God makes Himself available for special interaction with us and we are too busy tending to all manner of other interests at that particular time.

It is perhaps similar to a case where a man (God) is greatly in love with a woman (us) and makes a special date with her to spend pleasant and quality time with her only to find, when he arrives, that she did not consider it important, did not get herself ready but instead made herself busy with other things and just tells him that she has no time for him now. Perhaps he would not be wrong to conclude that she doesn’t really love him. One might say that God is not like that, He is available all the time. Yes, He is available all the time, but He makes Himself available in a special way on the Sabbath, which is not the case on other days. An example of God turning his attention to His children in a special way at a particular time is seen in the experience of Adam and Eve.

Special Interaction

After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the biblical account says: “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Gen. 3:8,9). From this it is seen that although God is every-where in Spirit and knows everything without having to ask, yet He came in a special way to meet with Adam and Eve. Why should we think that God does not come to meet with us in a special way also, even although He tells us to use the sixth day specifically for the purpose of preparation?

One might ask whether it is not clean hands and a pure heart that is required of us rather than giving attention to a special day. The real question is this: How are we going to develop clean hands and a pure heart without close fellowship and communion with God? And how do we expect to have close fellowship and communion with God if we do not avail ourselves of the opportunity at the particular time that God sets apart for special fellowship and communion with Him? This is not to say that we cannot interact with God at other times, but He has sanctified the Sabbath, which means that this time is set apart for special interaction with Him, just like He had it with our first parents on that first Sabbath day.

This is the reason the Bible says: “Hallow (reverence; keep holy) my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God” (Ezekiel 20:20). It says as well, “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.” (Ezekiel 20:12). To sanctify means to make holy. Hence, keeping the Sabbath holy has an integral function in the process by which holiness is accomplished in one’s life.

Dear reader, I hope you will consider prayerfully all that has been said here and will be drawn into a meaningful fellowship with God in spirit and in truth. As with your tithe, in which you give a tenth of your increase, to signal that you have acknowledged God as having first call on your material resources, so with the Sabbath, you signal that God has first call on your time.  May God richly bless you to this end.

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Latter-rain angel sheds light on Holy Spirit mystery

The latter-rain angel lightens the entire earth with his glory – “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).  When one recognizes that this is a description of an event like what happened on the Day of Pentecost to Jesus’s disciples, except more extensive, it sheds light on the mystery concerning who or what the Holy Spirit is.  Let us see what we know about the latter rain and then see if it can help us clear away some of the confusion that exists concerning what happened at Pentecost.  But first, let us establish that Pentecost, the early or former rain, was only a moderate version of what is to come in the latter rain.

Jesus told His disciples that He was about to return to heaven, but He would come back – “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3).  He further told them that while He was away, He would not leave them comfortless.  He would ask His Father to send them another Comforter.

 

The Comforter and the former rain

Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18).  But His disciples did not understand what He meant and one of them asked: “Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” (John 14:22).  He then explained: “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).  It became clear to them that He was going to send someone else to minister to them on His behalf until He returns.

Jesus told His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until the promise He made concerning that which He would send them from the Father was fulfilled – “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49).  The promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, with Peter declaring to the multitude that the outpouring of God’s spirit on that occasion was also a fulfilment of a prophecy that was made by Joel – “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:16, 17).

Using the imagery of the early rains that germinated the seeds and gave the wheat crop a good start and the latter rains that came towards the end of the season to ripen the grains, Joel had made it clear that there would have been an early or former rain of the Holy Spirit outpouring that would be only moderate, and there would also be a latter rain that would cause the harvest floors to be full – “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.” (Joel 2:23, 24); “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” (Joel 2:28, 29).

The time-line given by Joel for this outpouring of God’s spirit and some of the signs in the heavens that would be associated with it, points clearly to an end-time occurrence – “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” (Joel 2:30, 31).

The outpouring of God’s spirit at Pentecost was therefore only a partial fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy since there was no record of the sun turning into darkness nor the moon turning into blood, neither was it the great and terrible day of the Lord.  It was the “former rain” that was given only “moderately”, as Joel said.  Indeed, the initial outpouring was only on those who were gathered in the upper room, about a hundred and twenty persons (Acts 1:15), with a few others receiving it by the laying of hands on them by the disciples.  This moderate outpouring was brought about by the Comforter whom Christ sent from His Father.

 

Another angel and the latter rain

The latter rain is a massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days – “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).  The event happens at a time when it is said that Babylon had “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit” (Rev. 18:2).  At that time the sins of Babylon, a system of false worship, would “have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Rev. 18:5).  It is in this context that “another angel” that has “great power” comes from heaven and lightens “the earth with his glory”.

To get a sense of the glory that can attend angels, we can consider that it is mentioned alongside the glory of God Himself and Christ at the second coming of Christ – “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26).  Three powers of heaven are here brought to view, God, Christ and the holy angels.

The final outpouring will be more comprehensive and will take place in the last days, accompanied by signs in the sun, the moon, the heavens and the earth.  According to Revelation 18, the earth will be “lightened with his glory” (Rev. 18:1).  This is the glory of “another angel” who comes to earth with “great power” (Rev. 18:1).

The fact that the latter rain will be brought to earth by an angel and will be more extensive than the outpouring of the former rain at Pentecost, sheds some light on the mystery of who the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost, might be.

Only an agent or messenger can be sent.  The word in scripture for a Divine agent or messenger is “angel”, translated from the Hebrew “malak” in the Old Testament and the Greek “aggelos” in the New Testament.  The term “angel” does not even tell the status or nature of the agent or messenger, since even Christ is referred to as “angel” – the “angel of the Lord” (Ex. 3:2) and “archangel” – chief of angels (1 Thess. 4:16).  No other Agent or Messenger of God is identified in scripture as being divine or having a “God-nature” except Jesus Christ.

The agent or messenger that brought the outpouring of God’s spirit at Pentecost, called the Comforter or Spirit of Truth, and the Holy Ghost was not Christ Himself, but someone sent by Christ.  Similarly, the angel of Revelation 18 who will bring an even more extensive outpouring of God’s spirit in the last days is not Christ Himself or another God-being, but someone from heaven who will be sent to earth to empower the followers of Christ before Jesus Christ comes the second time.

It is important to know that the Comforter, like the Angel of Revelation 18, is an agent from heaven who is sent to empower Jesus’s disciples and not another God-being, as many people today are worshipping the Holy Spirit, whereas we have been warned against “worshipping of angels” (Col. 2:18).  The last-days message to the world is a call to worship the true God who made heaven and earth (Rev. 14:6, 7).  At such a time there is a call to come out of Babylon or false worship that is described as “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit” (Rev. 18:2) – a clear reference to false worship that has a strong spirit emphasis.  We would do well to heed the words of the angel who admonished John the Revelator when John was about to worship the angel.  The angel said: “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant . . . . . . worship God” (Rev. 22:9).

 

Deception and worship of other gods

Jesus warned that deception will be almost overpowering in the last days – “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24).  We should be aware that the underlying objective behind Satan’s deceptions is to cause people to worship him.  Lucifer was a glorious angel who rebelled against God and became Satan because he wanted to be like the Most High – “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).

Being angels, though fallen, Satan and the other angels with him have not lost their power to work miracles.  These will be the tools for carrying out their deceptions in the last days.  But God had warned, from the days of ancient Israel that we should not follow those who would lead us to worship other gods even though they might do signs and wonders successfully – “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 13:1-3).

 

Call to worship the true God

The first and great commandment is to love God with all our hearts (Matt. 22:37, 38).  The sign that we love God is our willingness to obey Him – “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15).  Today, many people are earnestly seeking for power to work miracles and are calling on the Holy Spirit, praying to and worshipping the Spirit.  But Jesus and the holy angels tell us to worship God.  Apart from God Himself, we are commanded to worship Christ, the Son of God, and no one else –

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” (John 5:22, 23); – honouring the Son as we honour the Father would include worship.

“And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” (Heb. 1:6) – angels are commanded to worship Christ and so should we.

“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:22) – a temple is a place of worship; God and Christ are the temple – no one else.

We should ask ourselves: “If we worship and call upon someone else apart from God and Christ, and we get miraculous responses, who is it that is responding?  Is it God, Christ and the angels of God on the one hand or is it someone else such as Satan and fallen angels on the other hand?”  Jesus told us how to pray.  He told us to say: “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).  He further told His disciples to pray to the Father in His name – “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23, 24).

Let us beware of the modern allurement of calling upon the Spirit.  This will be a feature of Babylon, false worship, in the last days.  We are called upon to worship God and Christ; no one else.  This is what the angels do in heaven and that is what we should do – “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, 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).

 

Baptismal Vow

Someone queries, “Jesus told us to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; doesn’t that clearly indicate that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are co-equal and that all three should be worshipped as God?”  The answer is no.  We should do as Jesus said and not go beyond His instructions.  Jesus commanded: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt. 28:19, 20).  We should therefore baptize people in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  This does not make Father, Son and Holy Spirit co-equals or make them jointly the one God of Scripture.

This command is very similar to Paul’s charge to Timothy.  He said: “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things” (1 Tim. 5:21).  As with Jesus’s statement that He will come in His own glory, the Father’s glory and the glory of the angels, Paul has identified the three powers of heaven: God, Christ and the angels.  This gives no warrant to worship the angels or to see them as co-equals with God.  Let us, by God’s grace, do what God says and not add to nor diminish from His word.

 “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 6

Appeal and Conclusion

A conviction is felt that this series should be concluded with a personal appeal for unity under the banner of the Three Angels’ Messages. The appeal is for all the different groups that subscribe to the Three Angels’ Messages (be they of the main organization, from among the “independent (or self-supporting) ministries” or the “reformed groups”) to place greater focus on the mission of saving souls for the kingdom of God.  We should place no greater focus on denouncing each other than we place on denouncing the other religious bodies of Christendom.  While we respectfully disagree with the other churches of Christendom in their views on such important matters as the Sabbath, the state of the dead, the final punishment of the wicked and other teachings, we seek to teach and enlighten in order to win, rather than to denounce them.  That is the right thing to do, but oftentimes we take a less charitable attitude towards each other.  Is such an attitude of God?  I think not.

It is obvious that varying levels of conviction exist with respect to some of the finer points of doctrine and management. As a result, a general amalgamation of these various entities, organizationally, is not likely to occur.  Under the gospel, it is acknowledged that there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (1 Cor. 12:5, 6).

At least, all indifference, suspicion, exclusiveness and negative publicity should cease. This is not suggesting that actions which are deemed to be sinful or unbecoming should not be pointed out in love. But offenders should be approached personally, and such matters considered in the appropriate fora.

It should ever be remembered that the “beam” should be taken out of our own eyes before we attempt to take the “mote” out of the eye of another (Matt. 7:5). There should be less eagerness to denounce. Let us concentrate our efforts on building up the faith of believers and calling sinners out of the kingdom of darkness. The field is wide. Millions of people are hungering for the gospel of salvation and many are ignorantly trampling upon the law of God. The coming of the Lord is soon and there is much work to be done.

Whether or not we wish to acknowledge it, the fact is that the venom of the beast and his image will not be unleashed against one of these groups only, but against all Sabbath-keeping Adventists. Therefore, we all would do well to heed the Divine injunction to “press together” (2 SM 274)[1]. We need to “arouse to comprehend the situation and view the contest before us in its true bearings” (5T 716)[2].

The devil has surely stolen a march on us in thus scattering the little flock and creating a spirit of indifference towards each other. How could the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist church organization, for example, justify a greater spirit of openness to establish common ground with the progressively falling churches of Christendom while stoutly denouncing and dissociating themselves from those who are clearly of a similar faith? This has got to be the work of the enemy. How can we not see this?

The devil has stolen a march on us! May the Good Lord forgive us! The longer we take to recognize our responsibility in contributing (whether actively or passively) to the disunity among our brethren and make a decided effort to press for unity at whatever level we are capable of exerting an influence, the longer it will be that we remain in a self-righteous Laodicean condition and hold the Lord’s work to ransom, at the peril of losing our own soul salvation.

Let us all be reminded that the church was purchased dearly by the blood of Christ and it is His burden that “they be one” as He and the Father are one (John 17:21-23). The grand object of the gospel is “that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Eph. 1:10). Therefore, any failure on our part to cooperate with this process can only prepare us to be misfits in a universe where “one pulse of harmony” will beat “throughout the realms of illimitable space” (GC 678)[3]. In short, we would be preparing ourselves not to be there.

It is my sincere conviction that we should give preeminence, in our ministry, to the truths which have made Seventh-day Adventists a distinct people and by which, we have been specially denominated by God. As we do this and as we grow daily, both individually and collectively, approaching the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13), our differences will gradually pale into insignificance until they cease to exist.

Until then, we may give God thanks and take courage from His promises, among which we may consider the following which was said to ancient Israel:

“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.” Jer. 3:18.

“The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.” Isa. 11:13.

 

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

 

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

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

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

[1] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 374

[2] White, Ellen G., Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 716

[3] White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 678

Religious Liberty and the New Covenant

The most fundamental principle of the New Covenant is religious liberty or freedom of conscience.  Under the Old Covenant, God’s Moral Law as contained in the Ten Commandments, along with the Statutes and Judgements that amplified and clarified the finer principles contained in the Law, were administered externally by the Mosaic System.  Under the New Covenant, the Law is written, not on tables of stone to be externally administered, but on the tables of people’s hearts, to be self-administered.  This is the essence of religious liberty.  Regarding the New Covenant, the Bible says:

 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” – Heb. 8:10, 11.

 

God intended that ancient Israel should have been a “kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6) but, while there was external conformity to the commandments in many instances, there was no genuineness of heart.  As a result, Jesus repeatedly told the Pharisees that they were hypocrites and pointed them to the spirit of the law by which God would judge their sincerity.  Accordingly, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews pointed out that finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Heb. 8:8).  Under the New Covenant, both Jews and Gentiles are reconciled in one body, the Church (Eph. 3:6; 1:22, 23), and within this body, God’s original intention would be fulfilled, so that the Church would be a “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9).

 

Dark Ages

 

God’s intention for the Church, however, has been perverted in many instances as church leaders have repeatedly sought to make of the Church another theocracy like ancient Israel in which the priesthood of believers is supplanted and liberty of conscience is suppressed.  Starting with the Roman Catholic Church, true believers were persecuted simply because they sought to serve God according to the dictates of their own conscience.  They were called heretics, they were tortured, burnt to the stake, had millstones put around their necks and drowned, cast out of society and had other atrocities committed against them.

 

Many churches today claim to believe in religious liberty but to them, this liberty only extends to those who embrace their faith and subscribe to their creeds.  Differences of views are tolerated only within the bounds of their established creeds or Statements of Beliefs.  Dissent is frowned upon and while many do not label those who have different views as “Heretics”, possibly because of the historical baggage of persecution that the label carries, they have modern equivalents such as “Offshoot” that is used for the same purpose of social exclusion.  What is the result?  – The same as in the Dark Ages – ignorance and suppression of truth.  Free thought in religious matters is discouraged and uniformity is promoted.  This situation, as in the days of ancient Israel, makes hypocrites of those who profess things that they often do not understand or lead many to join in ostracizing persons that God has raised up to help in advancing His work.  This is the reason that the prophets and messengers of God have been seldom embraced during their lifetimes.  The New Covenant was intended to change that.

 

Popular error embraced

 

God accepts only genuine belief, not mere profession; and He is not fooled.  Only the New Covenant principle of liberty of conscience allows truth to thrive.  In an atmosphere of intolerance error finds fertile ground.  People will embrace popular error and avoid listening to anything that would show them otherwise.  Such is the case, even now, where popular Christianity has embraced a concept of God that is not taught in the Bible – that God is three-in-one.

 

There is nowhere in the Bible that says God is three-in-one or triune.  This concept is at best an assumption, yet it is stated in most church creeds as a required belief, even while many of the churches claim sola scriptura – the Bible, and the Bible alone.  Where did that belief come from?  – From Paganism, and brought into Christianity by Rome through a series of deliberations starting at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.  The Jews had no such concept of God but the pagans around them did.  The early Apostles had no such concept, but the pagans around them did.  The early Adventist pioneers had no such concept but the churches around them did.  Two notable Adventist pioneers expressed the view that was generally taken by early Adventists as follows:

 

“The greatest fault we find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming.  Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors.” (James White, Review & Herald, Feb. 7, 1856).

 

“The doctrine of the Trinity was established in the church by the Council of Nicea, A.D. 325.  This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (J. N. Andrews, Review & Herald, March 6, 1855).

Most fundamental truth

 

The most fundamental truth is the truth about God.  The Biblical teaching regarding God is that there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5); “One God and Father of all, who is above all” (Eph. 4:6); “But to us there is but one God, the Father” (1 Cor. 8:6); “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 1:3).  Jesus is the Son of God – fully Divine and of the same nature as God, His Father (Heb. 1); He is the Mediator between us and God and is the only way to the Father (John 14:6); He was sent into the world by God, his Father and went back to the Father (John 16:28; 17:8), of whom He said: “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28).  Before Jesus returned, He said “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter” (John 14:6).  Regarding the Comforter, Christ said: “when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father” (John 15:26), “he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak” (John 16:13).

 

The Scriptures speak in clear and unambiguous language that there is one God who is above all, who sent His Son into the world and His Son left and sent the Comforter to represent Him until He returns at His second coming.  God is one and not three-in-one.  Any confusion and mystery as to the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit are brought about because people are speculating and stretching the scriptures to accommodate a pagan concept of three-in one that was brought from paganism into Christianity by Roman Catholicism, in a similar way that some persons try to stretch the references in the New Testament regarding the first day of the week, of which there are only eight places that it is mentioned, to teach Sunday-sacredness, which the Bible clearly does not teach.

 

New Covenant rejected

 

How have these unscriptural pagan teachings come to be so widespread among professed Christians who claim to be guided by sola scriptura?  The answer is simple – they have rejected the New Covenant principle of liberty of conscience, even while claiming to embrace the New Covenant.  Almost without exception, the churches have sought to re-create an Old Covenant theocracy where belief is externally controlled and enforced.  Hence, the Deceiver only needs to have the false doctrines infiltrated among the leaders and eventually it would filter down through every congregation and the entire body would be led astray.

 

Among the few churches that have been able to maintain diversity of beliefs are the Baptists.  They were persecuted in their early beginnings in seventeenth century England and came to the United States of America.  Roger Williams, who was forced out of the Massachusetts colony because he maintained that individuals should be free to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, fled from Boston and founded the Rhode Island colony on the principles of civil and religious liberty.  He established the first Baptist Church in America and Rhode Island became a haven for believers of all faiths, including Sabbath-keepers, the Seventh-day Baptists, who passed on the Sabbath truth to Adventist pioneers who became Seventh-day Adventists.  The principle of religious liberty was eventually embraced by the framers of the United States Constitution and is represented as the First Amendment to the Constitution.  But while religious liberty is promoted to protect the Church from imposition by the State, there seems to be no protection of the believer from imposition by the Church.  Hence, the truth is not advancing.

 

Religious liberty fundamental

 

Religious liberty is the most fundamental principle of the New Covenant, yet most churches do not even have it as one of their stated Fundamental Beliefs.  The New Covenant provides the basis for religious liberty and is the single greatest provision that facilitates the spread of the truth.  The truth needs only to be given a fair opportunity to be heard for it to prevail.  The Devil knows this and so his greatest weapon against truth is suppression.  Those who suppress the expression of other views may think that they are protecting others from error, but they are doing the cause of truth a disservice and they are acting contrary to the principles of the New Covenant.  May the Lord help us to recognize the truth and allow it to flourish on its own and under God’s direction.

 

 

“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/

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/

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

www.adventist.org

The Loud Cry, Outpouring of the Spirit

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

Photo by Wootang01

Understanding the Gospel

What exactly is the Gospel?  The word ‘gospel’ means good news.  The Gospel is the good news about salvation, and salvation comes to us through Jesus Christ.

But what is salvation?  In a general sense, salvation is deliverance from danger or difficulty.  It comes from the word ‘save’.  It may also be seen as preservation from destruction or failure (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

So, then, what are we being saved from?  If, for example, someone is caught in a fire and that person is to be rescued from the fire, there is a certain urgency that is associated with the act or process of saving the person.  In the case of the good news of salvation, what are we being saved from?  If we don’t understand what we are being saved from, we won’t be able to appreciate the good news that is in it, neither will we share it with any conviction.

In order to understand what we are talking about here, without the obfuscation that is often associated with some of the popular terms that people use, that lend themselves to multiple interpretations, we’ll simply ask some questions and see what the simple answers are from the Bible, giving the appropriate references.

Consider John the Baptist, Christ and the Apostles:

1. Who was John the Baptist? John the Baptist was the greatest prophet (Luke 7:28).

2. What did he do? He preached repentance and pointed to Jesus as the saviour (Luke 3:3,4; John 1:29-34).

3. Did John do miracles? No (John 10:41).  Did he speak truth about Jesus? Yes (John 10:41).

4. Did John have the Holy Spirit? Yes (Luke 1:15).

5. What are we being saved from? Sin (Matt. 1:21).

6. What is sin? Sin is disobedience to God (1 John 3:4).

7. How many types of sin exist? There are two types of sin: rebellious (presumptuous) and naive (ignorant)1 John 5:16; Num. 15:24-31; Heb. 10:26; 1 John 2:1).
8. What type of sin was Satan’s? Satan’s sin was rebellious (Rev. 12:7-9).

9. What type of sin was Eve’s? Eve’s sin was naive – she was deceived (1 Tim. 2:14).

10. Concerning whom was the promise of redemption when it was first given? Eve and her offspring (Gen. 3:15).

11. What is required of us and why? Believe the testimony of Jesus and repent (Acts 16:31; 2:38, 39; Rom. 4:3). 

12. What was Jesus’s testimony about? The testimony of Jesus was about God, His Father (John 1:18; 17:3-8; 18:37).

13. Did Jesus reveal anything else? Yes, the truth about principalities and powers – Satan and his host (Col. 2:15).

14. What did Christ reveal about Satan and His host? That they are liars and murderers (John 8:44; Acts 2:23).

15. What does that revelation result in? Christ triumphing over Satan and his host by exposing them (Col. 2:15).

16. Through what does Christ destroy the Devil? Through His death (Heb. 2:14).

17. What else does Christ’s death accomplish? Our release from bondage and our redemption (Heb. 2:15; Rev. 5:9).

18. What kept us in bondage? Fear of death (Heb. 2:15).

19. Who had the power of death? Satan (Heb. 2:14).

20. What casts out fear? Love (1 John 4:18).

21. Who is love? God (1 John 4:8).

22. Why do we love God? Because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

23. How do we know that God loves us? Because He sent His only begotten Son into the world (1 John 4:9; Rom. 8:32).

24. So how are we saved? By knowing God and believing the truth about Him as Jesus manifested (John 17:3-8).

25. How are we going to know the truth about God and Christ? Someone has to tell us (Rom. 10:13, 14).

25. Were there eyewitnesses who gave firsthand testimony about Christ? Yes, His disciples and the prophets (2 Pet. 1:16-21).

27. So what did Christ call upon His disciples to do? Go and teach all nations to observe whatsoever He has commanded and to be witnesses concerning Him (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 1:18).

28. What will we do if we love Him? Keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 John 5:2, 3; 2 John 1:6).

29. How are we changed? By beholding Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

30. How did sin start on earth? Eve was deceived and got her husband, Adam, to join her in disobedience to God (1 Tim. 2:14).

31. What was the first step? She took her focus away from God – going to where the serpent was and talking to the serpent (Gen. 3:1-5).

32. What was the second step? She believed the serpent’s lie – about God (Gen. 3:6).

33. What was the third step? Disobedience to God – which is sin (Gen. 3:6; 2:16, 17).

34. What is the reverse that is involved in the redemption process?  Transformation by renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:2).

35. How are we drawn back to God? By beholding Christ and believing in Him (2. Cor. 3:18; John 3:14, 15; 12:32).

36. What about Him do we need to believe?  That He is the Son of God, that God sent Him, that He is manifesting the Father’s character and that His testimony or witness is true – about God (John 11:42; 12:44-50; 16:27; 17:8; 18:37).

37. To what end does Christ seek to have us believe on Him?  That we might be reconciled to God in our hearts and will obey God – keep His commandments (John 1:12; 12:50; Matt. 19:17; Matt. 5:19; Matt. 15:3, 6-9; Rev. 22:14).

38. How are we able to keep God’s commandments? He gives us the power to keep them (Phil. 2:13; Titus 2:11, 12; John 1:12) – it is He that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

39. What does God have in store for those who obey Him? Everlasting life and paradise restored (Rom. 6:22; Rev. 22:14).

40. And what else is in store, most critically? A restored relationship and fellowship with God and Christ, the heavenly beings and the host of the redeemed (Rev. 21:22-27).

Look away from self and look to God through Christ – the mediator.  You will be drawn to love God and others; by repentance you demonstrate that you are not rebellious but only previously duped by Satan; Christ will advocate for you and give you what you need.

Christ came to reveal the Father and expose the Devil in order to win us back to the Father and break the Devil’s hold over us that has existed because of our belief in the Devil’s lies about God.

The truth to believe is that God is good, means us well, knows what is good for us and we should believe, accept and follow everything He says.  The Devil is a liar and a murderer and should be rejected.

Christ, the only begotten Son of God, who is exactly like God, His Father, in character, is the perfect manifestation and proof, in His life on earth, of God’s character.

By yielding himself to be killed by wicked hands, Christ has exposed Satan and his followers as liars and murderers whose words should be completely rejected and whose company should be shunned, thereby releasing us from Satan’s captivity in which we were held through our belief in Satan’s lies about God.

Even now Satan still holds many people captive under his deception by causing them to believe a distorted version of the gospel that still maligns God.  They believe that Christ died in order to pay a price that God demanded before He would forgive us.

The truth is that the death of His Son was the price that God had to pay in order to save us.  That is what it costed God to provide the basis whereby Satan’s hold on us might be broken.

Having revealed the true character of God, His Father, through the life that He lived on earth, and having discredited Satan by exposing him as a liar and a murderer, Christ now invites us to believe the truth and be saved (Acts 16:31; Rom 4:3; John 17:3).  Otherwise, we’ll believe the Devil’s lies and be damned (2 Thess. 2:10-12).

It is all about relationship.  That is why the Bible likens the relationship between husband and wife to that between Christ and His church.  It is all about love.  Righteousness is love to God first and foremost, which also leads us to love others as we love ourselves.

Sin is love of self first, which leads to lack of appreciation of others and ultimately to enmity against God and to the practice of every form of wickedness.

Nobody can love for us.  We must love for ourselves.  People talk about receiving the righteousness of Christ as though a righteous life is something that Christ does for us and simply gives us.  Christ’s love cannot stand in place of the love that we ourselves must have and exercise.

What Christ does for us is to accept us and extend His love to us.  It is entirely up to us to respond to His love by loving Him in return.

The capacity to love is something that God made all of His creatures with.  It is only a question of who or what we choose to love supremely – whether God or self.

This is determined by whether we look at God as manifested in Christ, so that, in beholding we become changed or we look constantly at self so that everything for us revolves around self.

The root of the matter is all about relationship – love to God supremely and love for others as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40).  This is what righteousness is.

If we believe the Devil’s lies about God we cannot love Him.

Even with the clearest evidences of God’s love for us and God’s true character, Satan still tries to distort the truth about God.  Some of the distortions are:
(i) The idea of an eternally burning hell
(ii) the idea that God required a blood sacrifice, the death of His Son, before He would forgive (that’s not what the death of Christ was all about – it was the sacrifice that God made, not what He required).

In the final analysis: believe the truth and be saved or believe a lie and be damned (2 Thess. 2:10-12; Luke 8:11, 12).

What then must be our mission? Accept and preach the gospel as John the Baptist did, as Christ did, as the apostles did and as Jesus has commanded us.  The gospel is a message to repent and believe God (Mark 1:2-4, 14, 15; Acts 2:38; Matt. 28:19, 20; Rom. 4:3).

What will happen when our mission is fulfilled? The end will come (Matt. 24:14).

May the Lord help us.

“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Mal. 4:4-6)

“And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

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

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