Knowing God

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When God withholds forgiveness

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).  The parable of the prodigal son aptly illustrates God’s eagerness to forgive us even after we have messed up – “But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20).  Jesus’s treatment of the woman caught in adultery challenged the accusers.  He told them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7), while He tells the woman, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11).

Turned away

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

1. Jesus speaks of some who would have ardently professed to be His followers who will be turned away at the last day.  Why?  Because, they failed to do His Father’s will – “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:21-23).  So, if we want to be accepted by Christ, we can’t be doing our own thing.  We must seek to do the will of God.

2. There are others who seek forgiveness from God, but they do not forgive their fellowmen.  They too will not be forgiven – For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:14, 15).  This is further illustrated in the parable of the unforgiving servant who refused to forgive his fellow servant after his master had forgiven him.  His master withdrew his forgiveness and demanded that he pay all his debts.  Jesus said that this is how it will be for those who refuse to forgive others – “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matt. 18:35).  So, if we want God to forgive us, we must forgive others.

3. Then there are the selfish ones who live only for themselves and fail to help others in distress.  They will be numbered among the goats who will be told to depart from Christ when He separates the sheep from the goats – “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matt. 25:41-45). So, if we want to remain in favour with God, we must be kind to others.

Presumptuous sin

4. Those who sin presumptuously will not be forgiven either – “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” (Num. 15:30, 31).  But wait a minute.  Isn’t that only an Old Testament concept?  Not quite.  It is a New Testament concept too – “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” (1 John 5:16)

What is the sin unto death that you should not pray for?  Notice, first, that it is not the sinner who is praying here.  This is speaking about praying on behalf of someone else.  Let us be clear, God always hears and answers the prayer of the repentant sinner.  But the presumptuous person does not even see the need to repent.  No amount of prayer on his behalf can save him if he does not repent “because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment”.  At the root of presumptuous sin is despising the word of the Lord.  So, if we want to be forgiven, we must repent and not despise the word of the Lord.

God’s word and rebellion

Presumption comes in various forms.  Like Cain, one may decide that, although God asks for a lamb, fruits should be just as good, and may decide to offer fruits instead of a lamb; the result being that we are rejected, as was Cain – “And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” (Gen. 4:4, 5).  God may ask for the seventh and one decides that the first is just as good or even better.  God may say two and we decide that it should be three.  Let us beware, lest we find ourselves in rebellion against God!

Christ will be our advocate if we are willing to accept God’s word and keep His commandments – “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: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1 John 2:1-3); Jesus said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15).

Sin is ultimately a condition of the heart – rebellion against God.  That is how it started in heaven with Lucifer who became Satan (Isa. 14:12-15).  There is no cure for genuine rebellion.  That is Satan’s condition.  We might be deceived or, like Jesus’s disciples, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41).  If that is the case for us, there is a remedy.  When we are made aware of our mistakes, if we are sorry, we have a mediator who will present our case and God will forgive us, because we are not genuinely seeking to rebel against Him or seeking to do our own thing.  Our repentance and willingness to obey Him serve as proof that we are not with Satan.

Salvation and the Son of God

The plan of salvation was made in the heavenly council between God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, the Son of God; – “the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zech. 6:13).  God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9).  He is our mediator and the only one through whom we have access to God – “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).  The Son of God came to earth to reveal to us how much God loves us and to represent us before God.  He receives from God, His Father, and gives to us.  He told us to ask the Father for whatever help we need.  We should ask in His name, and the Father will give it to us – “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.” (John 16:23).  The Father will give us the Holy Spirit if we ask Him – not that we should ask the Holy Spirit to come to us or fill us, but rather that we ask the Father to give us the Holy Spirit – “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13). We should not run the risk of despising the word of God by deciding that our requests should be directed to the Holy Spirit rather than to God himself through Jesus Christ.

Let us, by God’s grace, accept God’s word and not add to it nor subtract from it, lest we are found to be liars – “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Prov. 30:6).  Being found a liar, we run the risk of hearing from His lips, the fateful words, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:23).  If we seek peace and forgiveness, we should cooperate with Him and avoid following human devising.

Forgiveness

So, we have seen that God forgives.  But God’s forgiveness is not given without consideration of our attitude and behaviour.  Certain attitudes and behaviours on our part can result in us not being forgiven and ultimately result in us being turned away by God.  But hold a moment.  Is it not the case that the death of Christ has provided unconditional forgiveness for all humanity and all we need to do is simply accept that we are already forgiven?  Not quite.  Christ came in place of Adam and bore the penalty for the sin of Adam; whose sin had condemned all humanity – “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22).  Having borne the penalty for Adam’s sin, forgiveness has been unconditionally provided for all humanity for that sin – “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Rom. 5:8-10).

We are “now justified” by the blood of Christ that has been shed for us, even “while we were yet sinners”.  When “we were enemies, we were reconciled to God” from the condemnation caused by Adam’s sin. But we are not yet saved because, apart from Adam’s sin, we have sins of our own. Even though we are not condemned for Adam’s sin, we could not be saved if we choose to remain enemies, committing sins of our own. We “shall be saved from wrath through him”.  How? By repenting of our own sins and accepting God’s power to stop committing them – “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19).

No one will ever be called upon to bear any penalty for Adam’s sin; we only suffer consequences of the degradation around us and in us caused by it.  But in order to be forgiven for our own sins, we must repent of them.  Nobody can do that for us. And we cannot get forgiveness in advance, before committing a sin. If we sin and are sorry, we repent, and we are granted forgiveness.  Let us, by God’s grace, repent of our sins and ask God, through His Son Jesus Christ, for the Holy Spirit, so that we may both will and do His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).

“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

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

 

What does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit?

One of the most troubling issues that has perplexed professing Christians is the question of whether one could blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and not know it. The reason for this concern is the fact that Jesus warned against it, stating emphatically that there is no forgiveness for that egregious act.  Jesus said:

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” –  Matt. 12:31, 32.

Inevitably, one wonders who this mighty Holy Ghost might be, that you can speak against Christ himself, the “Son of man”, and be forgiven, but if you blaspheme against the Holy Ghost you cannot get forgiveness.  Is this Holy Ghost greater than Jesus Christ himself?  Or is it that we do not understand what blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is, in that sense?  It appears that the latter might be the case.  Let us examine what blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is.

First, let us consider two similar situations in which people were warned that if they should fall in breach, no excuse would be accepted.  This might shed some light as to whether greatness of the person offended is the issue.

Angel in the Wilderness

In the first case, God is speaking to Moses and tells him that He would send His Angel to lead them through the wilderness.  Here is the instruction:

“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.  Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.  But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.” – Ex. 23:20-23.

So, God is sending His Angel to guide them.  The Angel will be speaking to them on God’s behalf.  God says, “if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak”.  The question is: when they hear this Angel’s voice, who is speaking?  It is God that is speaking.  But, is God speaking in person.  No!  He is speaking through this Angel that He has sent.  When you disobey the Angel, who are you disobeying? God!  But, is the Angel God himself? No!  The Angel is someone that God has sent.  Now, if you refuse to be guided by the one that God has sent to guide you, then how will you be guided?  You’ll be left without a guide.  And you’ll fall into the ditch.  So, the issue is not about the greatness or status of that person who is sent to guide you.  It is about the role that the person is appointed to serve for you, on God’s behalf.

An Angel

Before looking at the second case, a word should be said about the reference to “an Angel”.  The word translated “Angel” is the Hebrew word “malak”, which means messenger or agent.  The term Angel does not tell you the status of the messenger or agent.  Indeed, there are different categories of agents and messengers.  In fact, one such agent, identified himself as God, when speaking to Moses from the burning bush.  Here it is:

“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.” – Ex. 3:2-4.

Notice, it was “the angel of the Lord” that appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of the bush, but it was God who “called unto him out of the midst of the bush”.  This “angel of the Lord” further said, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex. 3:6).  It is believed that this “angel of the Lord” who could identify Himself as “God” could be none other than Jesus Christ himself.  So, the term “angel” by itself does not tell you the status of the person, except to indicate that this person is an agent or messenger.  This is further demonstrated by the fact that an “angel” who appeared to John the Revelator, told John not to worship him, whereas, Jesus Christ, as the “angel of the Lord” is worshipped as God.  The report of John’s encounter is as follows:

“And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” – Rev. 22:8, 9.

This “angel” was obviously not Jesus Christ.  So, the point is that the term “angel” simply means agent or messenger and does not tell you the status of the person.  This is an important point to note, as we speak about the “Holy Ghost”, the “Comforter” that Jesus promised that He would send after He would have returned to heaven.  People just assume that this “Comforter” or “Holy Ghost” must be a being of worshipful status, even though the Bible does not say so.  They further assume this, because Jesus said that if you were to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost you will not be forgiven.  Therefore, to their minds, this must mean that the Holy Ghost must be God, not realizing that by viewing it in that way, they are making this Holy Ghost to be greater than Jesus and somehow suggesting that it is okay to speak against Jesus but not against this greater being – a position which is clearly untenable.

The Priest and the Judge

So, to the second case, that was mentioned earlier.  Moses was instructed that anyone who refused to hear the Priest or the Judge should be killed.  No excuses!  Here it is:

“And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.  And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.” – Deut. 17:12, 13.

Was it that the Priest or the Judge was so great, in and of themselves, that one could not be forgiven for disobeying them, while later, you could be forgiven if you spoke against Jesus Christ, the Son of man?  Not really!  It had to do with the role that they were appointed to fulfil.  It was a way of managing the nation of Israel to ensure that the authority of the Priests and Judges was not flagrantly disregarded.

To Blaspheme against the Holy Ghost

So, back to our main question: what does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit?  It becomes evident if we look at the role that the Holy Ghost was appointed to fulfil.  Jesus said:

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” – John 16:13-15.

Jesus was going back to heaven.  He would have access to all that the Father has.  He would not be here in person, but He would send the Comforter as His representative.  The Comforter would receive from Him and give to us so that we would be guided and comforted until He should return at His second coming.  Now, if we were to reject the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, how would we be guided?  It goes without saying, that we are destined to destruction if we should do that.  So, the choice is ours.  We can choose to stop our ears and refuse to be guided by the truth and be damned or we can genuinely seek guidance from God through His word and through His appointed agents and we will be guided into all truth.  In short, to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, is to persistently and finally reject the truth.

I pray that none of us will fall into the category of being a wilful rejector of truth, because this is the one thing that can truly exclude us from the kingdom of God.  Jesus said: “The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” – Luke 8:11, 12. We are told: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” – Acts 16:31.  The Children of Israel entered not into the promised land because of unbelief; and we have been warned not to make their mistake: “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” – Heb. 4:11. Belief in the Lord is not a one-off experience that happens at one moment and you are saved forever.  Belief in the Lord means that you take Him at His word and follow Him consistently.  May the Lord help us to this end!

“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

 

 

Who killed Jesus Christ and what does it mean to be saved by His blood?

Someone gave an experience that went like this: “I have a friend who is a dedicated, principled Christian. The person is generally thorough and logical. I asked the individual the question: “When Christians and the Bible say that Jesus Christ died for us to save us from sin, explain exactly how that works?” The individual humbly confessed that she did not know but asked me for my explanation. She was actually asking me to explain a scripture text because she was to do a presentation at her group worship that night.” This is not a unique situation and it illustrates the fact that even though people are saying certain things, many of the issues involved are not really understood.

It is well established among Christians that Jesus Christ died to save us and that it is by the grace of God we are saved. But what do these things mean? How does His death serve to save us? And is anything required of us?  To answer these questions, I’ll make the following points:

The truth

  1. To be saved, the primary requirement is that we believe the truth about God.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16).

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

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3).

  1. The basis for us obtaining salvation has been provided to all humanity.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11, 12).

  1. People are lost because they fail to believe the truth. Why do people not believe the truth? Because they take pleasure in unrighteousness.

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2:9-12).

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Heb. 3:12-14).

 

 The sin problem

  1. The sin problem is an attitude of rebellion against God, started by a bright angel whose wisdom got corrupted from admiring himself rather than God, and his rebellion is transmitted to others by his deceiving them concerning God.

Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Eze. 28:12-17).

  1. Jesus is the best revelation of God that has ever been given to humanity.

“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; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).

No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18).

  1. Salvation, which is to be saved from the deceptions concerning God, and hence from the destruction that will come upon those who remain in rebellion against God, is based on the knowledge of the truth concerning God.

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

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17).

 

The death of Christ

  1. The death of Christ was brought about by the fallen angel, Lucifer, now called Satan, stirring up of a multitude against Christ, the only begotten Son of God; an event that provides the ultimate evidence of the truth that God is love, whereas, Satan is a liar and a murderer. This understanding should lead us to love God and forsake all forms of rebellion against God.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14, 15)

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Col. 1:20).

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

“Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His type of government was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted.”The Desire of Ages, p. 761 by Ellen G. White.

  1. The death of Christ provides the basis whereby our minds might be purged (cleansed) of all rebellion (sin) against God, which was planted in our minds through Satan’s deception.

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” (John 12:31-33).

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2).

“But even as a sinner, man was in a different position from that of Satan. Lucifer in heaven had sinned in the light of God’s glory. To him as to no other created being was given a revelation of God’s love. Understanding the character of God, knowing His goodness, Satan chose to follow his own selfish, independent will. The choice was final. There was no more that God could do to save him. But man was deceived; his mind was darkened by Satan’s sophistry. The height and depth of the love of God he did not know. For him there was hope in a knowledge of God’s love. By beholding His character, he might be drawn back to God.”The Desire of Ages p. 761, 762 by Ellen G. White.

“Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.”Education p. 263 by Ellen G. White.

 

The blood of Jesus

Many people speak about the “blood of Jesus” without understanding that it is a reference to the fact that Christ died, the fact of who killed Him and what it therefore says about the issues concerning God and Satan. It is these beliefs that determine whether we will be aligned with God or Satan; that is, whether we will still have sin (rebellion against God) in our hearts or not. The cleansing from sin is a purging of our thoughts. Of course, there is an aspect of it that is beyond us, namely, forgiveness for past transgressions and empowerment to act in accordance with the truth that we would now believe. If we believe the truth concerning God, as revealed in Jesus, which is what accepting Jesus Christ means, and we are sorry for our past misdeeds and wrong attitudes, God’s promise is that He will forgive us and give us the power to live righteously.

God did not require the death of His Son as a precondition to His forgiving us, as in pagan religions, where the god would not forgive except a sacrifice is offered.  He forgives freely without holding a grudge or demanding payment, as He asked us to do.  By allowing His Son to be placed in a vulnerable human form, He provided an opportunity for Satan to show his true colours before the entire universe, while showing the extent of His love for us, so that our minds might be aligned with the truth.  This is God’s cure for rebellion (sin).  For those who still harbour rebellion in their hearts, there is nothing else that would change them, and they will perish with their sin, as will Satan.

Some people will outrightly reject the truth, while others will choose not to avail themselves of it. Jesus warned us to take heed that no man deceives us. To be deceived especially in the last days is to forfeit salvation. If we believe that Christ must work a special miracle in order to save us, beyond what is already done for all humanity in making the truth available to us, and that we have no part to play in our own salvation, we deceive ourselves and open ourselves for other deceptions of the evil one. We are admonished to search for the truth as for hidden treasures, because it is by belief in the truth that our minds are transformed and our mistrust for God and our lack of submission to His will (our sinfulness) is eradicated.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12).

“The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.” The Desire of Ages p. 456-466 by Ellen G. White.

 

Our part

It is what we need to do that we need to focus on.  Many people go to lengths to emphasize that salvation is a gift from God to the exclusion of our part in it, as though its all up to Jesus to do everything. So, if it is not done for us, what then? Is it that Jesus did not do His part? They will say, oh, you need to accept that he has already done it for you. And what does that mean, when everybody claims to accept the gift? Will they all be saved, then? Is it that deception is of no consequence, even though we have been warned?

We need to understand and help others to understand that we have a part to play in our own salvation. Nobody can know the truth for us. We must know it for ourselves. So, let’s stop focusing on that which is outside of our control, which is already taken care of, and do what we need to do, or we’ll be sorely disappointed.

People must understand that the controversy is an information war. It started with a corrupting of knowledge (the truth); that is, it started with deception, and it can be resolved only by a reversal of that process. Even Satan himself, iniquity was found in him because his wisdom was corrupted by reason of his brightness – looking at himself and then developing a warped view of God (Ezekiel 28:22-27).

We have a task on our hands. Christianity has embraced a view of salvation that leads people to focus on things that Christ supposedly does, which are out of our hands, while neglecting the one thing that is required of us, which is to know the truth and believe it, so that our minds might be brought back in harmony with God. People seem to think that it is Christ’s job to work a miracle.  They wait and think that they will be saved in ignorance. Many will be sadly disappointed when they hear, “Depart from me” and find out that they were really serving the Devil in willing ignorance.

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matt. 27:21-24).

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

 

“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

Opening of the Seven Seals

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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“Thou shalt have no other gods before me”

Christians, Muslims and Jews believe in common that there is one true God.  While they all differ in general beliefs, they are all agreed that this one true God is presented in the Old Testament Torah of the Bible.  The New Testament continues the same concept of the one true God and speaks even more specifically about who this one true God is.  The New Testament equally testifies to the divinity of Christ.  How then should we understand the biblical teaching that there is one true God?  Is the one true God three persons, two persons or one person?  And does it matter?  It matters in that a concept of God that is inconsistent with the scriptures is a creation of man – an idol.  Would this not be a violation of the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3)?  Let us see what the Bible says about the one true God.   Judge for yourself.

About the one true God, the Bible says the following, starting with the words of Jesus himself:

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – John 17:1-3.

Jesus identified His Father as “the only true God” and himself as the “Son” of that only true God.  The question has been answered.  If Jesus cannot settle it, then who else can?  Is that the only place in scripture that this is said? No!  The same thought is expressed elsewhere.  In another instance, almost as if anticipating a question as to whether there is someone else to whom the title ‘only true God’ could also apply, the Apostle Paul says:

“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.  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, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge” – 1 Cor. 8:4-6.

The Apostle Paul says that “there is none other God but one”, that “there is but one God, the Father” but “there is not in every man that knowledge”.  One would hope that Christians are not among those that the Apostle Paul says do not have that knowledge.  The Bible is clear when it says that there is “One God and Father of all, who is above all” (Eph. 4:6).  He is clearly the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” – 2 Cor. 11:31.  There is only one Person who is above Christ and that is His Father.  The Father of Christ “appointed” Him “heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2), “anointed” Him (Heb.1:9), “sent” Him “into the world” (John 10:36), “raised him from the dead” (Gal. 1:1) and has “highly exalted him” (Phil. 2:9).

No true revelation will contradict what either Jesus or Paul said.

 

Who is Jesus?

 

Jesus himself declares that He is the “only begotten Son” of God (John 3:16).  God Himself also spoke from heaven more than once and said that Jesus Christ is His Son (Matt. 3:17; Mark 9:7). The Bible says that Jesus “hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name” than the angels (Heb. 1:4).  Jesus is so much better than the angels that God commanded angels to worship Jesus, His Son (Heb. 1:4-6).  The Father addresses Jesus as God while indicating at the same time that He is the God of Jesus and the One who “anointed” Him – But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (Heb. 1:8, 9).  This confirms Jesus’ full divinity while showing that even as God (being divine but not the one true God), Jesus is subject to His Father.

Jesus Christ is the Mediator between us and God and there is no other way to God but through Jesus Christ.  The Bible says: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” – 1 Tim. 2:5.  And Jesus said: “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” – John 14:6.  There ought to be no confusion as to who the one true God is and who Jesus is.

 

Eternity has no break

 

Of God, the Bible further says that He is:

“the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto” – 1 Tim. 6:15, 16.

According to that scripture, the Father is the only one who “hath immortality”.  All who have or will receive eternal life, would have received it from Him.  This means that even the life of Jesus was obtained from His Father.  Jesus himself said this as follows:

“For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” – John 5:26.

Jesus died and was raised from the dead by His Father (Gal.1:1).  The fact that Jesus died means that He has not always existed and is therefore not eternal since eternity has no break.

 

God has no equal

 

God declares of Himself: “I am God, and there is none like me” – Isa. 46:9.  The Bible reveals God as a majestic being who has no equal in heaven or in earth.  Jesus came to earth to reveal Him to us so that we can be reconciled to Him.  Various prophets have gotten a glimpse of Him (His form, not His face – Ex. 33:20-23) and described the majesty of His being.  Among those are Ezekiel (Eze. 1 and Eze. 10); Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy elders of Israel (Ex. 24:9, 10); Daniel (Dan. 7:9-14); and John (Rev. 4 and Rev. 5).  This is the God who says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” – Ex. 20:3. Therefore we ought not to have a concept of God that places anyone else on equal footing with Him.  That would be idolatry. He is the Creator of whom the Bible says there is none else:

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

 

The Creator sits on the throne

 

In heaven, God sits on the throne and is worshipped as the Creator of all things –

“a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Rev. 4:2);

“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, 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. 4:10, 11).

Jesus is identified separately as the Lamb who died:

“And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, 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” (Rev. 5:7-9).

 

True God or false Christ?

 

It is interesting that Jesus told us who the “only true God” is (John 17:1-3), yet people are saying something else, that God is a Trinity or that God is “Jesus only”.  Paul told us that even “though there be that are called gods” whether in heaven or in earth, but to us there is but one God (1 Cor. 8:5, 6) and he tells us who He is, yet people prefer to go by their own speculation, saying that God is three-in-one or that the Most High is Jesus Christ himself rather than the Father of Jesus Christ.  The Bible tells us that Jesus died, yet people insist that Jesus is co-eternal with the Father as if Jesus never ceased to live at one point.

Are people worshipping a false Christ that they consider to be “like the Most High” as Lucifer sought to be (Isa. 14:14) as opposed to worshipping the Christ who is the Son of God?  Will the true Christ accept from them a designation that belongs only to God, His Father, or will He tell them in that final day that He never knew them, as the Bible says that He will tell many who would have been saying “Lord, Lord” (Matt. 7:22, 23)?

 

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

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

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

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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/

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 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 doctrine asserts that there is one God who is made up of three persons. Some people prefer to use the term Godhead, but in essence 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.

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). 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.

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. As we are told, “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3). But the Holy Spirit is not to be worshipped as God.

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. Blessings!

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.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).

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

The Paris Agreement and the Mark of the Beast

Warning to the World!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Commandments of God

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

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

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

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

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

The Faith of Jesus

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

 The Bible is clear that Jesus did not know everything when He was on earth.  Jesus Himself declared, speaking of His second coming, that “of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32).  Those who say that the Father and the Son are co-equal need to think again.  Further, we are told that, as a child, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52).  Jesus had to exercise faith – faith in His Father.

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

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

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

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

Laudato si´ and Sunday Rest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s Warning

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

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

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

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

The wine with which Babylon drunks and deceives the nations is specifically the doctrines of Sunday sacredness and the immortality of the soul.  We are told:

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

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

We are told that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus’s Sequencing of Last-day Events

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

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

The Paris Agreement and Sunday Enforcement

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

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

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

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

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

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Photo by ULTRAbstract

Science and Religion an Interesting Mix

It is often queried how Christians who are practicing scientists balance the seeming conflict between faith and science.  The apparent conflict seems to centre primarily on the question of origins.  The Christian view, as articulated in the Bible, is that God created the earth and placed human beings in it after furnishing it with plants and a variety of animal species.  The view that is attributed to modern science, through Charles Darwin is that all species have evolved from common ancestors through a random process of natural selection based on survival of the fittest.

What is often overlooked, however, is that the view of origins that is being represented as the scientific position does not reflect or accord with the views of some of the most notable scientists of all time and pioneers of modern science, including Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, both physicists.  Newton, Einstein and others saw such order in the universe that they could not attribute to random chance.

According to Newton, who wrote more on religion than he did on natural science, the world was created by God along rational and universal principles and these principles were available for all people to discover (Principia, Book III; cited in Newton’s Philosophy of Nature: Selections from his writings, p. 42, ed. H. S. Thayer, Hafner Library of Classics, N. Y. 1953).  It is reported that an atheist colleague of Newton saw a model solar system on Newton’s desk and asked who made it.  Newton said nobody did.  After smiling at what he thought was a joke, the colleague repeated his question, obviously unable to accept that nobody made the model.  Newton simply pointed out the absurdity of his being unable to accept that the model was made by nobody while accepting that the real thing of which the model was only a crude representation came about by chance.

albert einstein photoAlbert Einstein in his book “The Evolution of Physics: from early concepts to relativity and quanta” written jointly with his collaborator, Leopold Infeld dismisses the idea that events in nature are purely attributable to chance.  In the foreword, written by Walter Isaacson, Einstein is quoted as saying “Some physicists, among them myself, cannot believe that we must accept the view that events in nature are analogous to a game of chance”.  Einstein continues, “Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way.”  In his words, “There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists”.

The matter of basic origins cannot be determined at the level of biology except by extrapolating backwards into the realm of physics and mathematics.  Biology is built on chemistry as the understanding of the complex molecular building blocks of life such as carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and DNA is based on the fundamental understanding of atoms and molecules in general which is the realm of chemistry.  Chemistry is built on physics as the understanding of atoms and molecules is based on the fundamental understanding of the nature and characteristics of the forces and sub-atomic wave/particles elucidated by quantum mechanics which is the realm of physics.  Physics is built on mathematics as the understanding of the physical world is based on the use of physical quantities which give to the forces, matter, wave/particles and energy that make up the physical world numeric descriptions, which is the realm of mathematics.

At such levels that are closer to the root of the tree of origins, the most authoritative pioneers of modern scientific thought saw a level of order that they could not rationally attribute to chance.  Einstein considered that a reality exists that is independent of our ability to observe it.  As Einstein said “physics is an attempt conceptually to grasp reality as it is, thought independently of its being observed”.

While there is evidence that some new species have developed through an evolutionary process, it seems contrary to reason, contrary to foundational physical laws and mathematically improbable that such evolutionary processes could be extrapolated indefinitely backwards in time to account for all living species.  For some Christians who are practicing scientists, there is no conflict between faith and science as faith tells them why God works while science helps them to understand how God works.  In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion.  God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done”.

Good God! Bad World! Why?

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

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

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

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

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

Again, He said:

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

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

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

The Bible says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, we are told:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” (Dan. 7:26, 27).

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

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