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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

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 Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus

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

The Commandments of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Faith of Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Loud Cry – Outpouring of the Spirit

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

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

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

 

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

The Paris Agreement and the Mark of the Beast

Warning to the World!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Commandments of God

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

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

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

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

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

The Faith of Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laudato si´ and Sunday Rest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s Warning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are told that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus’s Sequencing of Last-day Events

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

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

The Paris Agreement and Sunday Enforcement

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

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

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

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

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

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

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Good God! Bad World! Why?

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

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

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

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

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

Again, He said:

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

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

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

The Bible says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, we are told:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

The Three Powers of Heaven

The Truth our Safeguard Against Spiritualism

Rev. 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 main agency of deception will be evil spirits. This domain of religious deception is called spiritualism, which capitalizes on two things : 1. The false notion that people can communicate with the dead -who are, in reality, evil spirits and; 2. Confusion in people’s minds as to who or what is the Holy Spirit and the nature of God’s presence. The Bible gives the final warning against this deception as follows:

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” – Rev. 18:1, 2

 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, 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.

Our only safeguard is to know the truth from the scriptures about this very important matter. Regarding the first deception, the Seventh-day Adventists have, for years, been teaching the truth from the scriptures that the dead are asleep and are unable to communicate with the living. Since there is an abundance of literature from that source on that particular point, it will not be the focus of this presentation. However, literature on the second deception is woefully lacking and so, the focus of this tract is to establish the truth about God – who God is, who is Jesus Christ and who or what is the Holy Spirit.

A simple text summarizes quite eloquently the consistent perspective that is given throughout the scriptures, as follows:

“And of the angels he saith, who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter 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. 1:7-9.

The perspective is simply that the Supreme God (the Father) anoints His Son (Jesus Christ) who is God by nature and above the angels (spirits). Thus is presented the three powers of heaven – God, Christ and angels.

There is a difference between the ministering spirits of God and the spirit of Godboth are referred to as “Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost”. This presentation will establish the difference.

A simple question can help in showing the difference: With what was Jesus anointed? We are told:

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” – Acts 10:38.

“Holy Ghost” here is that with which Jesus was anointed.

This is clearly different from the following reference where the Apostle John is conveying grace and peace from God, Christ and the Spirits. He says:

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begot-ten of the dead.”– Rev. 1: 4, 5.

The Three Powers of Heaven are identified – God, Christ and the Spirits. “Spirits” here are ministering spirits. Some people represent the “seven Spirits” here as the “seven-fold Spirit”, giving the impression that it is not seven but really one. This is easily clarified by comparing this verse with another verse that is very similar, in which there are four Spirits mentioned and each goes to a different place. Here it is.

 “And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.” – Zech. 6:5

These spirits are of course ministering spirits or angels. Some go into the north country and others go into the south country (Zech. 6:6).

Bible Testimony

The next few verses again speak of the three powers of heaven:

1.“I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things.”- 1. Tim. 5:21. There we see the three powers – God, Christ and angels.

2.“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”-Matt. 28:19.

[The word Pneuma translated Ghost, is also properly translated Spirit or Spirits. It is the same word translated “spirits” in reference to the ministering spirits – Heb. 1:7, 14]. So, the reference is to the three powers again – God, Christ and angels. Note also that the whole family in heaven and earth is named after the Father (Eph. 3:14, 15).

3.“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.” – St. Luke 9: 26. There we have the three powers again – God, Christ and angels.

4.“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” – Mark 13: 32. It is evident here that the three powers are not co-equal.

The Bible is clear that we should not worship angels. It says:

“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels.” Col. 2: 18.

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. 19:10.

5.“For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son? And again, when He bringeth the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, and let all the an-gels of God worship Him”- Heb. 1: 5, 6. Here again the three powers are identified showing the order of precedence: God first, Christ next and then the angels.

6.“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” Rev. 1:1. Once again the three powers are indicated showing the order of precedence – God gave to Christ and Christ gave to the angel to dispense to John.

Some persons say that the Holy Spirit is a third divine being to be worshipped. If that were the case, these verses that have been highlighted would have presented the equivalent of a big elephant in a room being missed.

Ellen G. White Testimony

The pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement fully understood the truth as presented here from the scriptures. A sample of the perspective that was commonly understood among them is reflected in the following unambiguous statements from Ellen G. white:

“Read and study the fourth chapter of Zechariah… The golden oil rep-resents the Holy Spirit.” (Ellen G. white, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 188).

 “From the two olive trees the golden oil was emptied through the golden pipes into the bowl of the candlestick, and thence into the golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. So from the holy ones that stand in God’s presence His Spirit is imparted to the human instrumentalities who are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to communicate to God’s people that heavenly grace which alone can make His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6. (Ellen G. white, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 408).

The same thought is expressed at another place, the only difference being that the golden oil that was said to be God’s Spirit, is now said to be divine light, love and power. It says:

“In this vision the two olive trees which stand before God are represented as emptying the golden oil out of themselves through golden tubes into the bowl of the candlestick. From this the lamps of the sanctuary are fed, that they may give a bright, continuous light. So from the anointed ones that stand in God’s presence the fullness of divine light and love and power is imparted to His people, that they may impart to others light and joy and refreshing. Those who are thus enriched are to enrich others with the treasure of God’s love. (Ellen G. white, Prophets and Kings, p. 594).

“And when these angels empty from themselves the golden oil of truth into the heart of him who is teaching the word, then the application of the truth will be a solemn, serious matter.” (Ellen G. white, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 337).

“The anointed ones standing by the Lord of the whole earth have the position once given to Satan as covering cherub. By the holy beings surrounding His throne, the Lord keeps up a constant communication with the inhabitants o`f the earth.” (Ellen G. white, The Truth about Angels, p. 150; The Review and Herald, July 20, 1897).

Conclusion

In summary, the ministering spirits (angels) of God bring to us God’s spirit, the golden anointing oil (Divine light, love and power). The Holy Spirit is not someone to be worshipped. Neither is the Holy Spirit someone who takes up residence inside of us.

Let us therefore hold fast to the truth and not be drawn into spiritualism or into modern Babylon.

Our worship should be given to God and Christ, as it will be in the new earth, as the scriptures say: “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Rev. 21:22.

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

The Great Controversy An Information War

The Contenders

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

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

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

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

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

The Issues of the Conflict

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

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

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

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

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

Truth from Error

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

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

The Overall Picture

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

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

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

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

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

For further information:

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Two Types of Sin and How Salvation Relates

“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. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” (1 John 5:16, 17).

 It is generally known that the gospel is about salvation from sin.  A critical element to understanding exactly what this means is the largely ignored fact that all sin is not of the same nature and that broadly speaking there are two categories of sin, both of which are treated differently in the plan of salvation. In speaking about the gospel, salvation and sin, some of these expressions have become so generalized and clichéd that people do not understand exactly what is involved.  The result is that their thoughts on these matters are unclear and superficial and do not lend themselves to any kind of conviction that they would be willing to lay down their lives for.  In this presentation, the objective is to seek to bring clarity so as to strengthen conviction.

The last-days prophet Ellen G. White explains that the two types of sin are exemplified by the sins of Lucifer and Adam respectively.  She says:

“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.”  (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 761, 762.)

She explains also:

“There was nothing poisonous in the fruit itself, and the sin was not merely in yielding to appetite.  It was distrust of God’s goodness, disbelief of His word, and rejection of His authority, that made our first parents transgressors and brought into the world a knowledge of evil . . . . By the mingling of evil with good, his mind had become confused, his mental and spiritual powers benumbed.  No longer could he appreciate the good that God had so freely bestowed.” (Ellen G. White, Education, p. 25.)

So, there you have it.  There is the sin of rebellion which is final and there is the sin of ignorance or naiveté for which redemption rests in the knowledge that will straighten the mind out of its confusion.

Jesus came to reveal the truth

 Jesus Christ, the Son of God came to earth for the very purpose of bringing light into this dark world of confusion so that our minds may be transformed.  The Bible says:

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:4, 5).

Again, it says:

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John3:19).

At another place, it says:

“My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee”. (Hosea 4:6).

 It is by the renewing of our minds that we are transformed.  We are told:

“be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”. (Rom. 12:2.

Some people dismiss the importance of knowledge lightly, saying: “Knowlege? What’s that? That can’t save you. That’s only words or information.”  But the Bible says otherwise.  It says:

“the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63).

 Further:

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

Jesus came to the world for the specific purpose of bearing witness of the truth.  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).

The truth that He came to bear witness of is the truth about the character of God – His Father; further, to reveal the true character of Satan and the real reason for Satan’s rebellion. As was pointed out earlier:

 “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.”  (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 762.)

Truth revealed in life and in death

Jesus came as the “express image” of God’s person (Heb. 1:3) and it is by “beholding” Him we see the true character of God and “are changed” (2 Cor. 3:18) from our attitude of suspicion towards God and alienation from Him.  We are told that in our unconverted state, we were like the Gentiles who were described as:

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18).

Don’t forget, it was man who went and hid from God after he sinned in the Garden of Eden.  Satan speaking through the serpent told Eve that nothing was wrong with the fruit (which was correct) but led Adam and Eve to be afraid of what they were made to believe that God would do to them.  The fear of death that was sowed in man’s mind then has since kept humanity in bondage to the Devil.  We are told that Jesus came to “deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:15).  But Jesus came to show us that there is no need to be afraid of God because “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and nothing such as the Devil portrayed Him.  He showed that God’s instructions are for our protection and not requirements of God for His sake.  Jesus showed that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18).  So much does the Son have the character of the Father that Jesus told Philip: “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

So, in His life on earth Jesus revealed by living demonstration the truth about God’s character.  And then, by allowing Himself to fall into the hands of Satan, He allowed the entire universe to see the truth about Satan’s true motives and character as a murderer, a liar and the real cause of death, suffering and misery.

As is explained in another presentation on this site, Who Killed Jesus and what is the Significance of His Death?”, it was Satan and his evil host that murdered the innocent Son of God and by so doing, exposed the true character of Satan so that the last link of sympathy for Satan among the loyal angels of heaven was forever broken.  It is supposed to have the same effect on the human mind, if we understand what really happened and what it was all about.

The death of Christ was specifically the basis on which the Devil’s destruction is assured, as we are told:

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8).

And

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself 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).   

 It is all about the truth

 It is by believing the truth that we are saved!  We are told:

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

Hence, the real objective of the Devil is to deceive people or cause them to stop their ears – anything that might lead them to not receive the truth, which, in believing it they would be saved from joining him in rebellion.  In the parable of the sower, we are told:

“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).

 Further, the Devil will work

“with 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.” (2 Thess. 2:10).

Those who make miracles their benchmark for determining authenticity will be sent

“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. 2:11, 12).

 It is by our repentance when the truth comes to us that we provide the basis whereby Christ can plead our case, before the heavenly tribunal and the entire universe presided over by the Father.  We are told that we should not sin, but if we miss the mark, we have an advocate with the Father:

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

People wonder what Christ’s advocacy on our behalf could be all about, in relation to us having sinned and being in need of forgiveness.  But a clear illustration of it is given when Jesus was on the cross.  He prayed to His Father, saying:

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

 Mercy because we are ignorant and naive

 Throughout the Bible, the fact that we are ignorant and naive has always been referred to as the basis on which we are not classified with Satan.  Here are a few cases:

Speaking of the death of Christ, Peter said:

 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” (Acts 3:17.   

  1. We mentioned already the Gentiles, being alienated because of ignorance, but it is worth noting again:

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18).

  1. The former lusts in which people walked were due to ignorance:

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance(1 Pet. 1:14).

  1. The people of Nineveh, to whom Jonah was sent, were described as not knowing their right hand from their left hand. That’s ignorance.

“And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:11).

  1. The priests that ministered in the earthly sanctuary were chosen such that they could have compassion on the ignorant, in order to be able to minister for them.

“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” (Heb. 5:1, 2).

  1. Jesus told the Pharisees that their sins remained if indeed they were not blind but saw clearly.

“Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” (John 9:41).

  1. Again, He told them that they might have had an excuse if He had not come and spoken to them.

“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.” (John 15:22).

The Apostle Paul said that all his previous actions in persecuting God’s people were due to ignorance, and for that reason God had mercy on him; and further, that the ignorance was due to his unbelief at the time.

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” (1 Tim. 1:12, 13).

  1. People in the last days who are willingly ignorant in denying the creation and the flood are warned that destruction is coming upon the earth and they need to repent before it is too late.

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:3-9).

Truth in the sanctuary and the final conflict

 The fact that Christ pleads for us on the basis of our ignorance and naiveté is clearly taught in the sanctuary services that were given to ancient Israel.  It was only sins of ignorance that were ministered for in the sanctuary on earth (Lev. 4:2, 3, 13, 22, 27; Num.15:25-29) and all those confessed sins are eventually laid on Satan, represented by the scapegoat – Azazel, on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:9, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22), as the one who is truly responsible for them through the darkness and confusion that he has unleashed on the whole earth, that has caused us, the ignorant and naive descendants of Adam, to repeatedly stumble and miss the mark.  Sins that were considered presumptuous were not atoned for (Num. 15:30, 31).

The fact that we are ignorant and naive and not rebellious, as Satan is, and we have not genuinely rejected God, provides the basis for our redemption.  But if we reject the truth that is to straighten us out and lighten our dark understanding, we have no basis on which our sins might be laid on Satan as the real culprit.  We must bear the responsibility for them ourselves and perish with them.

Those who remain in ignorance will be destroyed for lack of knowledge.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee(Hosea 4:6).

Because the truth is the only basis on which we can be straightened out of our confusion and be redeemed to God in an unswerving relationship, the truth is the focus of the Christian warfare.  Satan seeks to distort the truth, whereas the followers of Christ are called upon to cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Cor. 10:3-6).

It is for this reason that the finishing up of God’s mission on this earth is tied to the gospel being preached in the entire world, because people cannot believe if they do not know.

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14).

Further,

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:13, 14).

It is the truth that sanctifies us.  It is not some strange miracle that causes us to be seen as righteous when we are not in reality, as propounded by the new theology that I wrote about in a previous presentation.  Accordingly, Jesus prayed:

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

The final conflict will be fought by persons who are sealed – people who will not turn away from the truth or their allegiance to God, even when faced with weariness, hunger, delay and the prospect of losing not only their reputation but their very lives.  The last-days prophet, Ellen G. White tells what the sealing is.  We are told:

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

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

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Who Killed Jesus and What is the Significance of His Death?

Jesus Christ, the Son of God came to earth and died a cruel death, being crucified on a cross, a most torturous method of execution reserved for the vilest of criminals.  At the heart of the Christian faith is the belief that through His death, salvation is brought to humanity.  Unless we understand, however, the issues behind His death and who did it, we may end up seeing God as being no better than the pagans who sacrifice their most loved children in order to achieve what is perceived to be some good.

A songwriter captured some of the questions that may naturally arise, in the following words:

Who killed Jesus? I would like to know.
Who is guilty of a crime so low?
Why did He have to die?
What is the reason why?

Who killed Jesus? I would like to know.
Was it Roman Soldiers, with their tools of war?
Pounding nails through hands that did no wrong.
Mocking and abusing, crowning Him with thorns,

All the evidence is very clear.
Was it Pontius Pilate, he was Governor,
Trying to decide the case that day?
Finding that the Savior had no fault His own,
Was he guilty when he turned away?

Was it Hebrew children, proud of who they were?
Shouting “Crucify Him” to their King.
Rejecting their Messiah for a common thief
Turning down the Kingdom He could bring.

The songwriter eventually concluded that he was the guilty one, in the following words: “It’s for me the Sacrifice was made. . . . . I am guilty, now it’s plain to see, that it was really me!”

The conclusion, takes us from the literal realm into a spiritualized realm because in a literal sense, it could not have been the songwriter who did it, since he was not yet born.  True, he, like all repentant sinners, benefitted.  But that is a different matter.  We are talking about who did it!  Was it God?  Did God motivate or collude with wicked people to do this, in order to satisfy His own requirement?  It is not a rude question.  To many, it might appear so, because they have unwittingly bought into the Devil’s misrepresentation that has clouded the issues in order to keep us in darkness and deceive us.

Let there be no mistake, Jesus was killed by wicked people.  The Bible says: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death” (Acts 2:23, 24).

Condemnation is on those who crucified Him, not blessing and reward!  We are told: “The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matt. 26:24).

In order to understand the plan of salvation we have to go back to the beginning and work our way forward.

The issues behind the plan of salvation

First, let us be reminded of that most pivotal revelation of the Great Controversy that was given to Ellen G. White that she published in 1858.  She said:

“The Lord has shown me that Satan was an honored angel in heaven, next to JESUS CHRIST.  His countenance was mild, expressive of happiness like the other angels. His forehead was high and broad, and showed great intelligence.  His form was perfect.  He had a noble, majestic bearing.  And I saw that when God said to his SON, Let us make man in our image, Satan was jealous of JESUS.  He wished to be consulted concerning the formation of man.  He was filled with envy, jealousy and hatred.  He wished to be the highest in heaven, next to GOD, and receive the highest honors.” (E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, pp. 17).

 Because of his rebellion, Satan was cast out of heaven.  What many people do not know, is that Satan sought reinstatement, which was denied because he had not changed.  Here is the account of it:

Satan stood in amazement at his new condition.  His happiness was gone.  He looked upon the angels who, with him, were once so happy, but who had been expelled from heaven with him.  Before their fall not a shade of discontent had marred their perfect bliss.  Now all seemed changed.  Countenances which had reflected the image of their Maker were gloomy and despairing.  Strife, discord, and bitter recrimination were among them.  Previous to their rebellion these things had been unknown in heaven.  Satan now beheld the terrible results of his rebellion.  He shuddered, and feared to face the future and to contemplate the end of these things.” (E. G. White, The Story of Redemption, pp. 24, 25).

“Satan trembled as he viewed his work.  He was alone in meditation upon the past, the present, and his future plans.  His mighty frame shook as with a tempest.  An angel from heaven was passing.  He called him and entreated an interview with Christ.  This was granted him.  He then related to the Son of God that he repented of his rebellion and wished again the favour of God.  He was willing to take the place God had previously assigned him, and be under His wise command.  Christ wept at Satan’s woe but told him, as the mind of God, that he could never be received into heaven.  Heaven must not be placed in jeopardy.  All heaven would be marred should he be received back, for sin and rebellion originated with him.  The seeds of rebellion were still in him. . . .  He repented not of his rebellion because he saw the goodness of God which he had abused. . . . To be commander out of heaven was vastly different from being thus honoured in heaven.  The loss he had sustained of all the privileges of heaven seemed too much to be borne.  He wished to regain these.” (E. G. White, The Story of Redemption, pp. 26, 27).

It was this failure to gain reinstatement that led Satan to try another plan that involved getting Adam and Eve to sin.  Here is the plan:

“His followers were seeking him, and he aroused himself and, assuming a look of defiance, informed them of his plans to wrest from God the noble Adam and his companion Eve.  If he could in any way beguile them to disobedience, God would make some provision whereby they might be pardoned, and then himself and all the fallen angels would be in a fair way to share with them of God’s mercy.  If this should fail, they could unite with Adam and Eve, for when once they should transgress the law of God they would be subjects of God’s wrath, like themselves.  Their transgression would place them, also, in a state of rebellion, and they could unite with Adam and Eve, take possession of Eden, and hold it as their home.  And if they could gain access to the tree of life in the midst of the garden, their strength would, they thought, be equal to that of the holy angels, and even God Himself could not expel them.” (E. G. White, The Story of Redemption, pp. 27, 28).

 Salvation through the truth that puts enmity between us and Satan

When the first sin was committed by our fore-parents, Adam and Eve, God predicted exactly how salvation would come in Gen. 3:15 as follows:
“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.
Satan had hoped to have humanity fully on his side but God said He would break up the alliance by causing humanity to hate Satan and his ways.  He would achieve this by sending His Son as the woman’s seed to bruise Satan’s head but in the process Satan would bruise the heel of His Son.

This was fulfilled at Calvary where, through death, Christ bruised Satan’s head by exposing him to the universe as a murderer while Christ’s heel was bruised by Satan, in that Satan took Christ’s life.  But for Christ it was only a bruising of His heel since His Father would raise Him back from the dead (Gal. 1:1).

This is substantiated by many scriptures that show:

  1. That man was Satan’s captive – example, Heb. 2:14, 15.
  2. That Christ delivered man by converting man or changing man’s mind – that is, causing man to believe in Him rather than believing Satan.  It is by believing God that we are saved – example, Luke 8:12; John 3:15; Acts 16:31; Rom. 4:3; Rom. 12:2.
  3. That Satan’s destruction is assured by the death of Christ – example, 1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14, 15; Col. 2:14, 15.
  4. That those who believe in Christ will be given power to become sons of God (John1:12) – that is, power to overcome the devil (first and foremost) – Titus  2:11, 12 – and in some cases to work miracles (only in some cases) – Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:29:  “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?”  He says again in 1 Corinthians 12:10:  “To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues”.

Generally, spiritual gifts are given for the purpose of advancing the cause of truth and preparing people for God’s kingdom.  We are told:

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” Eph. 4:11-15.

  1. That eternal life will be given to those who believe in Christ, at the second coming of Christ (not before, except in special cases) – example, Mark 10:30; Rom. 2:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:22, 23 – even though God can speak of things that are not as though they were because of the certainty of such things (Rom. 4:17).Finally, it should be understood that through His foreknowledge, God knows and declares what will happen but it does not mean that He manipulates people’s minds to make them do evil things.   He will even act, based upon His foreknowledge, in order to achieve a desired end, knowing what people will do, but He is not necessarily the one responsible for it being done or the one doing it.  Such is the situation with the death of Christ. He yielded His Son. But it was the Devil and evil men who killed Him, thus playing right into God’s purpose of revealing the true nature of sin, which is enmity against God (Rom. 8:7) and a manifestation of a disposition to crucify the Son of God afresh each time it is committed (Heb. 6:6).

The popular ‘gospel’ makes death, which the Bible calls an enemy, a requirement of God before He can forgive.  Unlike the popular ‘gospel’ that says that the death of Christ has satisfied once and for all, everything that the Father required, the truth is that the death of Christ, far from being required by God, was brought about by Satan and provides the basis whereby Satan will be condemned and ultimately be held responsible for all the sins that he would have caused the penitent to commit. The Bible says that through death, Christ destroys “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 further, that by His death, Christ, “having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:14, 15).

So, death remains an enemy, wholly a consequence of sin (1 Cor. 15:26; Rom. 6:23).  God is life and is not constrained to give life.  He quickeneth whomsoever He wills, whenever He wills, without needing death to take place as a precondition (John 5:21).

Satan, the murderer, unmasked

In closing, I’ll leave with you the following description of the death of Christ from the pen of Ellen G. White for your thoughtful meditation:

But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour’s agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched.” (E. G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 693).

 “Not until the death of Christ was the character of Satan clearly revealed to the angels or to the unfallen worlds. The archapostate had so clothed himself with deception that even holy beings had not understood his principles. They had not clearly seen the nature of his rebellion”. (E. G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 758).

 “Heaven viewed with grief and amazement Christ hanging upon the cross, blood flowing from His wounded temples, and sweat tinged with blood standing upon His brow. From His hands and feet the blood fell, drop by drop, upon the rock drilled for the foot of the cross. The wounds made by the nails gaped as the weight of His body dragged upon His hands. His labored breath grew quick and deep, as His soul panted under the burden of the sins of the world. All heaven was filled with wonder when the prayer of Christ was offered in the midst of His terrible suffering,–“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. Yet there stood men, formed in the image of God, joining to crush out the life of His only-begotten Son. What a sight for the heavenly universe! 

The principalities and powers of darkness were assembled around the cross, casting the hellish shadow of unbelief into the hearts of men. When the Lord created these beings to stand before His throne, they were beautiful and glorious. Their loveliness and holiness were in accordance with their exalted station. They were enriched with the wisdom of God, and girded with the panoply of heaven. They were Jehovah’s ministers. But who could recognize in the fallen angels the glorious seraphim that once ministered in the heavenly courts?

Satanic agencies confederated with evil men in leading the people to believe Christ the chief of sinners, and to make Him the object of detestation. Those who mocked Christ as He hung upon the cross were imbued with the spirit of the first great rebel. He filled them with vile and loathsome speeches. He inspired their taunts. But by all this he gained nothing.

Could one sin have been found in Christ, had He in one particular yielded to Satan to escape the terrible torture, the enemy of God and man would have triumphed. Christ bowed His head and died, but He held fast His faith and His submission to God. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Rev. 12:10.      

Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration 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. Whatever attitude he might assume, he could no longer await the angels as they came from the heavenly courts, and before them accuse Christ’s brethren of being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin. The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken”.  (E. G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 759 -761).

Let us not spiritualize away the reality

In conclusion, it was Satan and his host of both evil men and evil angels who killed Christ.  In doing so, Satan’s true character was revealed, in contrast to the character of God and Christ.  It is this belief in the truth that transforms our minds and makes us single-hearted towards God.  Spiritualism seeks to spiritualize away the reality of who God is, who Christ is, who Satan is and who the angels are so as to cause people to be blinded to the issues of the controversy and the issues of salvation.

May the Lord help that we will be settled into the truth both intellectually and spiritually so that we cannot be moved, because the time is coming and is not far from now when all will be shaken and only those who cannot be shaken will remain.

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

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Why does God allow people to die?

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Why does God allow people to die, especially under certain distressing circumstances? Sometimes we wonder where God was when certain things were happening. In seeking to answer these questions we first need to try and view things from God’s perspective. We view things from the stand point of our brief probationary span, which, to us, is the real life. But God views life from the stand point of: firstly, His being the life-giver and secondly, the stand point of eternity.

Even a hundred years is infinitesimally small compared to a billion years, which is still not eternity. So, when our brief probationary lifespan expires, to us it’s a big thing, but to God it is nothing, because He can give life to us for eternity. Therefore our probationary lifespan is not so much about how long that probationary span is but rather it’s about what we have used our choice to do. You see, the probationary span has been given to us for the purpose of making a choice, whether to receive eternal life or not to receive eternal life. That is what is all-important.

It is not how long the probationary span is. If we consider someone such as the apostle Paul, when faced with death, he said, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8). He could have griped and said, “Imagine, after a life of service, this is how I am losing my life”. If he saw this life as the only thing of value, then, perhaps, he would have whined and grumbled and complained in that way. But he was not sorrowful. Instead, he was hopeful because he saw the bigger picture. This is why he said, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Cor. 4:17).  He was looking at the bigger picture which is really what is important.

Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36, 37).

So, in answering these questions as to where God was when certain things were happening or why did God allow certain things to happen, we need to get out of the framework of the here and now and get into the bigger framework of eternity. Then, we will get things into their proper perspective; as Paul said: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).

Also he said, regarding us losing our loved ones:

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

(1 Thess. 4:13-18).

We should look at the loss in light of eternity.  And we should seek more than ever to encourage our loved ones to enlist under the banner of Christ so that they can be candidates for eternal life, which Christ promises to give at His second coming.

For further information:

E-mail: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com