“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Papacy, Protestant America, and secret societies

“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it.” (Dan. 7:7).

When America was rising into a new Protestant republic due to the American Revolution, and the Holy Roman Papacy was meeting its demise through the French Revolution, Satan moved the Papacy into high gear to, at the least, minimize the damage to his prize institution for the exaltation of human merit, and for Christianizing spiritualism, the deepest art of exalting human merit.

The wise general that he is, bending all his foresight to accomplish the final captivity of the whole world under his spell before Christ would return, Satan made use of a practice he had begun centuries before Protestantism was born in the Reformation.

Secret societies were his inspiration from antiquity. They have ever been his strong hold in this world. The earliest recorded secret group was the Babylonian Chaldeans, through whom the “curious arts” were kept hidden from all the uninitiated and only for the select few who were willing to devote themselves to the devils, and sell their soul to the spirits.

Their labor in that which God had forbidden them, “understanding dark sentences,” left them without peace, and turned them into destructive men and women “of fierce countenance,” “a bitter and hasty nation” “whose look was more stout than [their] fellows.” (Dan. 8:23;Hab. 1:6;Dan. 7:20). Appearing to serve God they, in reality, were destroying God’s influence on the uneducated nations. Under their shepherding, they would “destroy wonderfully [mysteriously], and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft [deceit, treachery] to prosper in his hand.” (Dan. 8:24,25).

When Christ destroyed the works of the devil on Calvary, the place of the skull, He crushed the head of the serpent. Not to be undone, Satan gathered his forces and immediately began to alter the new apostolic movement. Gnosticism, a secretive sect of Christianity, Judaism, and Greek philosophy mixed, sprung up and proliferated “secret knowledge”. Soon the religion of Christ was riddled with Gnostic falsehoods which came under the guise of Christianity. With the use of Christian language Satan created his delusion through many and varied invented epistles perpetrating the lost writings of the original apostles. Persian Mithraism was brought in, as well as Egyptian asceticism. Christianity became a mixing bowl of all major pagan religions, and successfully united Constantine’s failing Roman Empire.

Christians had not remained vigilant, as Christ and his leaders had admonished, and they didn’t recognize the counterfeiting of the truth. Duped, the blind Christian community followed the leading of its presbytery, which was being seduced by pagan error. Now the Catholic Church was born out of all the world religions spawned from the original Chaldean secretive cult. Not finished with “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,” Satan continued to birth more secret societies from her loins, until now the church was his new host, and could, hold the title, “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Rev. 17:5).

Throughout the centuries since the council of Nicaea and the establishment of Catholicism, many secret societies have arisen to strengthen the Church’s foundation, i.e. to firm up Satan’s end goal of complete control over the minds and hearts of humanity.

One website lists the following societies:

The Order Of Merlin
The Rosicrucians
The Priory Of Zion
Celtic Druids Ii
Knights Of Columbus
Knights Of Malta
Opus Dei
Skull And Bones

And in addition (possibly some duplicates):

• A.'.A.'.
• ®th Priesthood
• Achbar Grotto
• American College of Heraldry
• American Federation of Human Rights, American CoMasonry
• AMORC Links
• Ancient Rosae Crucis, ARC
• Antiquae ordo Mystiquae Prieure de Sion
• Ariadne's Web (Esoteric Magazine)
• Assassins and the Templars
• Bella Grotto
• Bibliography of the Knights of St. John of the Hospital
• B'nai B'rith
• Builders of the Adytum
• Communist
• DeMolay International
• DeMolay Links
• Eastern Star Links
• Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
• Franciscan Order of Celi De
• Fraternal Order of Police
• Fraternitas Rosae Crucis
• Freemasonry for Women
• Freemasonry Network
• General Grand Chapter & Council York Rite Freemasonry
• Grand Lodge of Israel
• Grand Lodge of Japan
• Grand Lodge of New York F&AM
• Grand Lodge of Scotland
• Grayfriars
• Heraldry Links
• Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
• High Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests
• Iluminati
• Imperial Council, Shrine of North America
• International Order of Job's Daughters
• International Order of the Rainbow for Girls
• Knights Around the Internet
• Knights Templar
• The Knights Templar of England and Wales
• Ku Klux Klan (KKK)
• Martinist Order of the Knights of Christ
• Martinist Order of the Temple
• Masons
• Mevlevi Order of America
• Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem
• Military Orders
• Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem
• Order of the Antichristian Illuminati
• Orders of Chivalry
• Order of the Holy Sepulcher
• Order of the Mystic Christ
• Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller
• Ordo Templi Orientis U.S. Grand Lodge
• Philalethes Society
• Phylaxis Society - Prince Hall
• Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon
• Prince Hall
• Red Cross of Constantine
• Religious and Military Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
• Rosicrucian Order, AMORC
• Rosicrucian Order AMORC Worldwide
• Rosy Cross
• Royal Order of Scotland
• Sisters of Brigid and Clare
• St. John - Other Orders
• Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Federal Association, USA
• Sovereign Order Of The Orthodox Knights Hospitaller Of Saint John Of Jerusalem
• Supreme Assembly International Order of the Rainbow for Girls
• Supreme Bethel International Order of Job's Daughters
• Supreme Council 33 Degree Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Freemasonry Northern Jurisdiction
• Supreme Council 33 Degree Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Freemasonry Northern Jurisdiction (Back Door)
• Supreme Council 33 Degree Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Freemasonry Sourthern Jurisdiction
• Temple of Isis - Mighty Mother
• Temple of the Holy Grail
• Teutonic Knights
• Teutonic Order of Holy Mary in Jerusalem
• Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn
• Thule Netz
• White Knights of North Georgia KKK

Other conspiracy theorists call out organizations that are embedded in the United States and world governments: IMF, FEMA, CFR, etc.; and financial groups: Bechtel, Bilderburgs, Carlyle Group, etc.

I believe that every presidency of the United States of America has been worked on by the Church, behind the scenes, to restore the Roman Papacy, even unwittingly. George Washington, whose honest soul was perhaps disenchanted with the pharisaical condition of the Protestantism of his day, followed an apparently benign Christian-looking Freemasonry as his method for religious worship, and so did the other non-denominational presidents. The mainline Protestant presidents were approached with other methods outside of religion.

Yet, one hook remained with them all. Sunday sacredness, that spurious day of worship, was the creation of the Church of Rome. Easter and Christmas, also were her darlings. These ancient pagan holy days would always present a snare to our country.

Nevertheless, Protestantism and Republicanism were our nation’s leaders barrier of safety from the sly movements of the Papacy to quietly recapture America and its only hedge of protection—Bible study, and the self-government it promoted.

But when those presidents would not go so far with the intentions of the secret Catholic societies as to sabotage their own Protestant republic which they loved, those presidents were either assassinated, or the attempt was made on their life, by covert members of the Papacy posing as servants and protectors of our presidents.

Such has been the case increasingly so following the American Civil War. Although some people are beginning to believe that our latest presidents, since 1929, have been prepared by the Vatican and have been doing its will to bring down the one nation blessed by the God of the Bible.

1Cor. 1:18-31 Updated and amplified

The teaching of self-sacrificing love is laughed at by everyone who is lost;

But it is written by God, I will upturn the delusions of the so-called wise people, and will grind into powder all the misconceptions which the proud are broadcasting.

Where is the scientist? Where is the evolutionist? Where is the argumentative atheist of this world? Hasn’t God made foolishness the humanism of this generation?

Because after through the intelligence which God gave the world they convinced themselves that He did not exist, it pleased Him through the teaching of self-sacrificing love to rescue from hopelessness all who would trust in Him.

Because the religionists expect powerful supernatural manifestations, and the scientific community search endlessly for more data:

But we teach the self-sacrificing love of Jesus and its obligation for us to follow His example of self-forgetful love; which, to the spiritualistic religionist is an unexpected requirement of God, and to the secular atheist utter nonsense.

But to those who have been called out of the deluding confusion of the religionists and atheists, Christ and self-sacrificing love is the omnipotence of God and the omniscience of God.

Because the apparent foolishness of our Creator is smarter than the emboldened scientific community; and the laying down of His self to save us from our self is bigger and stronger than the proud self-made humanist and New Age fundamentalist.

For, dear brothers and sisters, you see how the Spirit calls everyone, how that not many geniuses, not many strong-willed, not many celebrities, has He called,

But, God has chosen the uneducated to overthrow the titled aristocracy, and He has chosen the easily intimidated and untalented to overcome those with great inherited natural ability;

And the filthy and hopeless homeless, and the detested alcoholics and addicts has God chosen, yes, even those whom the world considers worthless and less than invisible has He picked to bring down everyone who is exalted and praised.

So that no human should ever think to rival God.

But, from the abundance of His goodness, you are reconnected to Christ, whom, as a gift, God has given the human race to teach us true wisdom, to be the provision for our reconciliation with God and to clean up our lives, and, ultimately, to come and bring us to His home, that where They are we may be also.

That, as it is written, anyone who praises, let him praise our Creator and Redeemer.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In His presence the fullness of joy

An analysis of the story of Balaam shows the effect that the Holy Spirit will have on anyone who draws near to God and places himself under the redeeming influence of God’s presence.

Balaam had been a faithful servant of the Lord. He had had a long career as a representative for Christ and as His willing tool. And time spent with God was telling on his character. His outward life and confident words, as recorded in Numbers 22:13 and 18, still retained the refinement of Jesus’ own graces. Even when Balaam departed from God, and, due to unique circumstances he found himself again being recalled by God to work for Him and being drawn back into His life-giving presence, Balaam’s prophecies reveal the blessedness that attends possession by the Lord God of love.

“And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said:
He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:
I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel….” (Num. 24:15-17).

Balaam could have resisted God. Anyone has the freedom of choice with God. But here we see a man thrilling with the glory of God and freely expressing faith and love. There is no greater liberty than when filled with all the fullness of God and insights into His holy character. Thus Balaam experienced, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” (Num. 23:10). Nothing, not even mortal life itself compared to the divine vigor pumping through Balaam’s being.

Yet, despite being, as it were, transfigured in prophetic utterance, Balaam returns to his people and leaves behind him heaven’s enthralling presence. The old life of self-indulgence, which he had been drawn into, beckoned him again, and he walked away from the office of worker for God the last and final time. The next time we see Balaam Satan has him totally under a devilish power; he is fully captivated at Satan’s will.

What does this say? Is it true or not that God is able to keep us from falling? See Jude 24. Can the gospel of God’s grace work in us as “the power of God unto salvation” or not?

We see the same thing with Saul of Gibeah. Blessed with that same singular gift of God’s salvation, he is given “another heart” and becomes a new man in Christ. See 1 Sam. 10:6,9. He experiences, through prophecy, what it means to be in the presence of the God of mercy and truth. Suddenly, Saul is revived and reformed with a confidence in God never before seen in him. A nominal Christian becomes a great leader in spiritual things. So great was the distinction between the old and new Saul that it turned peoples’ heads and invigorated their hope and faith in God.

But we see Saul’s genuine experience with God dwindle and the flame finally go out. And afterward, like Balaam, we find the spiritual and psychological condition of King Saul worse than before his conversion and inspiration by the Holy Spirit. But how could this happen? How can God allow such catastrophes? Can’t the powerful Spirit of God inspire us enough to keep us from turning away from Him? Can’t He keep us sufficiently interested?

Everything depends on the action of the will. The freedom to choose must be held infinitely sacred. And God holds it so sacred that He forces that issue, even when we would prefer him to be slack on it. No, God forces us to decide for Him or against Him by putting our resolve to the test. Constantly, we must exercise our choice of hanging on to faith in Him or abandoning it for the lures of Satan. For this reason He kept Satan in existence after his rebellion in heaven, to be a catalyst in our decision making. By God infinitely suffering initially with sin and the ruin of His children, He ensures that His post-controversy kingdom will have only those who really, truly wanted Him in this world of temptation and sorrow. No half-hearted elect can enter the kingdom made new; affliction must not arise the second time.

The path to God and eternal life is littered with many, many greats who knew a one-time faith and grace. Their carcasses lay as a warning to all those who will fear God and tremble at His word. All the Judas Iscariots, the Ananias's and Sapphiras who “tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:5); all those like D.M. Canright, who was greatly used by God as an SDA evangelist in the 1860’s and ‘70’s, but fell from that gracious gift, all have sounded their fearful messages to God’s people in every dispensation of time.

That dread-filled message being that only those who strive and continue to strive to keep knowing God better and better, to abide in Him and have His words abide in them; that only those who will fight the fight of faith, will overcome the natural human slide away from God into Satan’s snares and, will in the end, be worthy to hold the title to heaven. Yearning for God’s presence until faith lays hold of Him; battling with self as convicted by the word of God until Christ is formed within; stretching all the powers in the warfare to hold fast what God has given us so that Satan may not take our crown.

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14). Never can we accept Satan’s applause as Solomon did, or run madly after this world’s rewards of recognition as Balaam and Elder Canright, and all the rest. We must always be able to admit to being the chief of sinners. Only by losing our self will we save ourselves in the end, and every step of the way. We must accept the discipline and correction that heaven sends us to keep us humble. If we’ve known the blessedness of faith and experience with God, let us strive to receive it again, and again. If we’ve been used by God to speak or write or do for Him, let us glory in that as a gift and seek to become worthy to serve in future opportunities. Let us yearn for the fullness of God, and then fear to do “despite unto the Spirit of grace” through glaring nonchalance at the infinite condescension of His Majesty. (Heb. 10:29).

Satan walks about to steal us away from our One who died to have us forever; so let us walk soberly and circumspectly. Through the drawing influence of the Lord’s gentleness and goodness, we gain heaven by our own effort and force, and then by thrilling in every precious experience we have with the Spirit of grace.

Heaven is waiting with bated breath to receive us into a kingdom made new. It is ours to claim. Through our continued interest and focus and service heaven will come within our grasp. We are well able to go up and take it.

The Unknown word of God

Now that you’ve read the Bible for many years, what can you do anymore with it? The Scriptures has only 66 books within its covers; the New Testament has been searched through, forward and backward, for 2,000 years and the Old for 3,500. Isn’t it time to move on to something else?

This seems to be the common attitude toward the Bible today. Few pore over it anymore. Few find any relevance in it to 21st century life. The Word of God doesn’t appear worthy of further thought for multitudes throughout Protestantism. Sure it is dusted off and carried to church periodically. Some enjoy the Psalms or the old Gospels. And every Christian claims the Bible. But, the Psalms and Gospels are largely read like a prayer book; among those who read the Bible, essentially it is ignored almost in its entirety. “We already know all that stuff,” is the popular theme.

Because of that, other attempts are made to interest the multitudes in the Holy Word. Fictional works that include biblical persons, places, and things are conjured up; B-rated movies try to portray sacred history; Hollywood animates Bible stories that aren’t even close to 100% true, but are action-packed and noisy to grab the attention of the younger ages that feed on television.

All of these make the attempt to resuscitate the Bible from its grave. The ancient Holy Writ is considered to be obsolete, a needed thing only of the past. Now that civilization has moved into the nuclear and computer age, stories of sticks and stones and people dressed in mantles and semi-burkas and ephods cannot give us any guidance, even if they do come from something considered a holy book. Thus the word of God is set aside by the Christian world.

Protestantism, at one time, lived by and died for that Book. In America especially, the words of the Bible were heard so often in the ears of the populace, that we have, passed down to us, many idioms of our culture that use King James Version phrases built right into our every day speech. Few atheists realize they are quoting Scripture so often.

“Skin of my teeth” (Job 19:20), “count the cost” (Lk. 14:28), “the stroke” (Ez. 24:16), “the writing on the wall” (Dan. 5:5), “safe and sound” (Lk. 15:27), etc. just to name a few; not to mention expletives and some crude sayings. So far, I’ve counted 53 KJV secularized idioms. I found another one just the other day, “fell flat on his face.” It comes from Numbers 22:31. When Balaam, running after his reward for curses on Israel, saw the angel with a sword about to destroy him, “he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.”

So, what do we do with all this seemingly useless information that has been rehashed many thousands of times over? Can we squeeze more information out of the Bible? Or must we relegate our minds to gather dust and become antiquated and stiff from lack of use, because we have simply gone over the same old stories and verses again and again?

No, certainly not! The Bible is fresh and new every morning!

Let us meditate on what we’ve studied and let the Holy Spirit connect the dots for us. In our common every day lives, we learn interesting information all the time. We’re never bored, even though we see the same people, places, and things our whole life long. Why not? How is this? Because there are endless combinations of the data we have gathered which provides fuel for conversations that are ever new. The same idea works for the sacred Scriptures.

If a person knows 5 facts from the Bible, he can work them into 25 different thoughts and lessons for life. This is especially notable when realizing that the Bible characters were real people with real life situations just like ours today. Their lives were so much like ours! Nothing really ever changes. Human nature and the human plight have not changed; God has not changed, and neither has Satan.

So if you know 100 different principles and individuals and circumstances from your reading and study of the Bible over the years, then you have access to 10,000 (100 X 100) combinations, each one representing one biblical tidbit connected to another one. And you have 1 million (100 X 100 X 100) combinations if you start putting 3 scriptural datum together. The Bible admonition is to use 2 or 3 witnesses to establish every truth, anyway. And most people, even children, know at least 10 things in the Bible.

So let’s begin to harness the infinite potential at our disposal. The Holy Spirit will help us in the new exciting adventure. Let the information we’ve learned gel in our brains while we meditate on the word of God and allow His Spirit to make it become powerfully alive and practical, filling our minds full of wonderful big-picture concepts. Let us eschew the very dangerous practice called, Spiritual Formation, which teaches just the opposite of what the Bible says to do, leading its adherents to blank out the mind of everything except a few peaceful images, and then allows the devils to be channeled. This is becoming a new popular exercise in the Christian churches and religious institutions.

Instead, let’s let the Holy Spirit fill our thoughts with holy Scriptures of an infinite variety, connected and related in some fashion to create a deeper, fuller knowledge of God’s character, “for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” (Rom. 1:17).

In the field of revelation are hid the unsearchable riches of Christ. As yet we have only come in possession of the most accessible treasures, and yet many have settled down, feeling that they are rich and increased in goods, and in need of nothing. Every part of the field of revelation is to be diligently explored, and searched with persevering effort, in order that precious jewels of truth may reward the diligent seeker, and may be restored to their proper framework in the plan of redemption. Let the shaft sink deep into the mines of truth. If you come to the searching of the Scriptures with contrition of soul, with a humble, teachable spirit, rich and precious treasures will reward your search. Signs of the Times, August 14, 1893.

Through His written word, loved and dwelt upon, you can “know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 3:19).

The true New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad rap over the years. As most of us know, they don’t stick like we plan for them to. Yet, we keep trying. Others have totally given up on such a gimmick for personal change, and have descended into some kind of murky moral morass. Their life only worsens.

So we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If we resolve to better ourselves, we fail and remain unchanged in our vices. If we give up resolving at all and just let things go, our vices take greater control of us. What can we do in this moral quick sand that surely will submerge us? A favorite motivational book says this:

Everything depends on the right action of the will.

What’s important is not so much what evil to give up, as it is our method to make it go away. We must first understand how the human will works and doesn’t work. Then we can make proper choices and resolutions.

In the context of the same favorite book above we have this statement:

You are weak in moral power…Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity.

Sound familiar? Doesn’t this match the common human experience? It resembles another person’s outrageous dismay, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” In light of destructive vices, does life seem like death, as the previous person honestly described his life as “this death”?

Another question dealing with New Year resolutions is: Why is it so much easier to resolve to do bad than to do good? Why are we so quick to choose food and practices that destroy us and those we love and need, and find it so difficult to choose those things that are good for us and our loved ones?

The wretched man we quoted who called out for deliverance had said the same things two millenniums ago. “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” “For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” So nothing has changed about the human nature over the past 2,000 years. Does that mean we are a hopeless case?

Not at all. This “wretched” person was the amazing apostle Paul, wrestling with himself. So how did he fare? Was he a winner or a loser in his own personal battles? The suspense is killing me!

Well, we know the end of the story—he turned out to be a top-notch powerhouse of a man! So how did he do that? I’ve got to know! What was his secret formula? What was his powerful, secret weapon against his wicked, weak human nature?

His secret weapon was a lesson in the inherent weakness of the human will. What he realized in the end was that he didn’t have the power at all to do good. And he accepted that. But, rather than just give up on the whole idea of changing, and allowing sin to have free reign in him, he continued wrestling until some divine guidance came through for him. And what he discovered was that if he allies himself with Christ, a living example of perfect good, then and only then could Paul overcome his clamorings of self.

It was only by having a Mentor, a person, a warm body with warm feelings toward Paul, someone who would be patient and merciful, that he would be enabled to conform his life to his perfect Exemplifier in the heavens. What Paul needed was someone of perfection with whom he could identify, someone who had walked more than every mile in Paul’s moccasins, who had endured the very same trials and temptations as Paul had.

The law alone couldn’t do that, or rather, we couldn’t conceive of it. We couldn’t reconcile ourselves to the demands of the law alone, because the human race had lost its concept of a warm God behind His majestic Law. But Christ came and supplied what we had thrown away. The Godhead went way out of the way to help us in our self-made destitution. They gave us a second ability to obey and find the escape from the desolation sin is causing us. And certainly, sin is wreaking great havoc on the world today.

What is the right action of the will? It is to choose the remedy God has given; that is, to saddle up to Jesus and let His righteousness take the place of the Law’s righteousness. He showed a mercy toward people that we can recognize, whereas the Law’s mercy we couldn’t detect. It was just requirements, just precepts; it was just words.

“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid.” (Rom. 7:12,13). Let us neither condemn God’s Law for its overpowering effect on us, nor let us think we can ever measure up to it. Rather, let us go to Jesus, the Law-giver and Law-exemplifier, and find in a person the way to keep the Law. Let this be our one and only New Year’s resolution. Then His merciful admonitions will break our hearts and reconcile us to His Father’s Law. And then we will be just and the beneficiaries of great health in body and mind, and of His prosperity.

Instead of using our will the wrong way, “This will I do: I will…” (Lk. 12:18), let our New Year’s resolution be, “I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto Him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee. And am no more worthy to be called Thy son: make me as one of Thy hired servants.” (Lk. 15:18,19).

Many are inquiring, “How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?” You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him. Steps to Christ, p. 47.

Here is the victory over self: our love and faith in Jesus which gives us the love and faith of Jesus. And this is the power of God unto salvation.

Monday, December 28, 2009

How to understand the Bible

There are several ways that have been popularized.

1) You can go to a Bible college and graduate as a Bible scholar; or even earn a post-graduate degree and be a theologian.

2) You can memorize every verse in the Bible. Be an amateur debater.

3) Get a pastor’s license and be an evangelist.

All of these, and more, are reputable titles and methods of learning about the Bible.

Yet, there is a better way, and the only way—that is, the Bible’s method. I.e., walk through a restictive gate and narrow path that leads to life, which few ever find.

Hunt for life, seek it out, cry out for it, knock on every door. If that is your lifelong preoccupation, then, according to Jesus, you will find it. Life, spiritual life, the freedom from sin, and a child’s joy and love. What shall it profit to gain the world’s titles and badges of honor, and lose out on real life? What can be exchanged for childlike love and faith?

Where do we find this life? In the wisdom of the Bible. “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” (Prov. 8:35,36).

“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.” (vs. 8). “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (11:30).

The best and only way to understand sacred Scripture is to love its righteous principles of love. Only by loving it will we learn from it. “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” (Prov. 8:17). Without the sincere desire for truth we have an aversion toward what the Bible speaks of. Truth and its righteous principles can’t get into our hearts and minds.

The vitamins in food are the key masters for feeding the cells. As the vitamin touches the cell wall, the membrane opens like a castle wall’s moat bridge, so the glucose can enter. But when food is stripped of its original condition and highly refined, the missing vitamins are not present when the glucose arrives at the cells for digestion. Thus without the necessary vitamins, the cells cannot open efficiently, and they starve and die.

Likewise, without the love of truth and righteousness, the beauty of the Bible cannot enter our souls. And then, even for a Bible scholar, it can be said that “Wisdom crieth without.” “Truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” (Prov. 1:20;Is. 59:14). Such a person the scripture says is “dead while [he] liveth.” (1Tim. 5:6). The warning from heaven is “that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” (Rev. 3:1).

But how do we get that love for the truth if we don’t have it? The love of truth comes with loving God. Here are the simple measures to obtain that love for God.

Call out to Him for it; and please be patient with Him! He hears the heart’s yearnings for His love, but our innate resistance to God conflicts with our conscious desire to love Him.

Study His word especially for the one purpose of getting to know Him. This will lead to a knowledge of His goodness toward the revolting sinners that we all are. Eventually your eyes will be opened wider and wider to your own horrid condition, and simultaneously the Holy Spirit will reveal the continual flow of God’s grace to us all, even when we didn’t know it. Time spent together with Jesus through His word will deepen the trust in Him. A fuller knowledge of His grace will humble the soul and finally break the heart hardened by pride. Repentance will be forthcoming and its resultant justification with heaven will open the willing soul to the entrance of the word of God.

Now the soul has graduated from the school of Christ, and is humbled and teachable in holy things. The heart loves God and the mind can appreciate all the principles of His character. The converted soul can see Christ’s righteousness and love and becomes transformed into the same beautiful and loving image.

The essence of the Bible message

Do you want to understand the thrust of the whole Bible from Genesis 0:0 to Revelation 22:22? It can be condensed into one short lesson from Jesus.

“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman.
Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.” (Jn. 15:1-8).

That’s the long and short of the whole Bible message. Christ’s parable really does sum up the whole biblical historical experience, God’s message to a fallen and hurting world. Even His bad news is good news.

If the sinner, whether an Israelite of old or the Christian today, stays attached to Christ and His words flow into and through him, he will know the happiness that the Bible promises. “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”—the lost fountain of youth—can only be found by joining in a union with God through Christ, our Redeemer, in His word.

Channeling the only true God (Did I say that?)

Since Adam left the holy garden, the human race has been feeling the anxiety of separation from God. We were created to hold sweet communion with our Lord. But our permanent propensity to disobedience has broken that union and created a barrier through which we try in vain to reach our Maker.

Throughout the millennia humans have labored to bridge the impasse to God. They have sought out many inventions in this effort. Channeling is a New Age term describing the ancient practice of blocking out all mundane thoughts by imagining beautiful, ethereal scenes of gardens and waterfalls and colorful light, meditating deeply and falling into a trance until another presence can be felt in the thoughts. Another “person” enters and speaks to the mind, communicating its name and its views of life on earth and in “the heavenlies.”

This personality poses as a friend and benefactor, and offers peace and counsel for a better life in this world. As it draws its votive into a deeper trust and acquaintance, a web of lies leaves the new human acquisition to the world of spirits unable to resist the call to return later, again and again. And the demon “friend” now possesses a host in the most unbreakable slavery to its satanic will.

This is a scary circumstance, and is not at all what I mean by channeling God. I hesitate to even use the word “channel” in relation to the biblical God because of what Satan does with it. But many in the New Age Christianity honestly believe they are seeking God through this method, and it is making its way into conservative Christianity under a new, unobtrusive name called, “Spiritual Formation.” It develops the formation of a different spirituality than does conversion through repentance and renunciation of sin, and it makes contact with a different spirit other than the Holy Spirit.

For this reason, I speak of channeling God, in order to distinguish the true method from the unbiblical. Even as Christ went deep into enemy territory to save us who knew only falsehood, as it is written, “by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison,” (1Pet. 3:19) (the “souls” being sinners lost to Satan,) so I use the term “channeling” to describe the true path to Jesus for those trapped in Spiritual Formation or any other exercise that seeks to pry God out from heaven using any other method than simply needing His forgiveness and power to keep His Ten Commandments.

How do we truly reach God? What are the steps to Christ, the real method, the true nuts and bolts to arriving at the real God and not His adversarial impersonator?

In brief, we find God through the Bible; He will speak personally to us through His written word. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul.” (Ps. 19:7). In the Holy Scriptures we may obtain the true character of God abundantly delineated. There, in His written word to our souls, He clearly reveals, by precept and example, His own love for righteousness and natural filial love. “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Gal. 5:22,23). A childlike love, a lamblike innocence, a young calf’s lowliness, a fawn’s deference; these examples in scripture call out to the faculty within us to embrace the God who created and who loves all those simple, earth-bound aspects of character.

Meditating on His character in His word, as delineated by precept and as illustrated by His servants and then personally by Himself, we must inevitably find Him. Communing with that word will ultimately lead us to conversion, humbly exchanging our pride for the humble beauty we see in God. If you fear landing in Satan’s trap in your effort to find God, you can rest assured that seeking repentance in the context of studying the Bible is the true path to Jesus and to the only true God.

It was because Zaccheus began to yearn for forgiveness and restoration to God that he eventually climbed a tree to see Jesus, “who He was.” (Lk. 19:3). It’s true that without the Bible we may come to know Jesus. See Jer. 2:19 and Rom. 2:14, 15. But how much more efficiently and non-violently will the study of the Holy Scriptures lead us to God when seeking a change of heart?

One thing is certain; Satan fears any soul’s repentance from sin and humble contrition. Brokenness of heart and conversion to the Savior from sin strike at the very foundation of the devil’s government. They spell the total destruction of his dominion of that soul. Therefore seeking the Godhead through the vehicle of the Bible will be our best and only sure hope to be freed from a deeper thralldom to Satan.

1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.
3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psalm 1

Burying our face in fear

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” (Heb. 6:4-6).

When we hear these threatenings of the unpardonable sin, or of other kinds of judgment, what do they do to us? Do we tremble at God’s word? Should we fear? But then what? Should we tremble forever? Should we live in fear? Then where would be the joy of the Christian life? As Nehemiah declares, “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10).

When Peter misspoke himself on the Mount of Transfiguration, the Voice from the glittering cloud spoke in such authority that it staunched Peter’s usual loquacious spirit and left him and the others with heads buried, eyes shut tightly, and bodies quivering like they were in sub-zero weather. Then Jesus, their merciful comforter, “came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” (Matt. 17:7,8).

Without the Father’s genuine fear, and in their unconsecrated state, the disciples could not have known the genuine comfort of Jesus. They felt the peace of Christ only because they first had responded to God in fear. We can safely say that they would not have heard the gracious words of Jesus if they had continued their lackadaisical and daring balderdash.

So when we first heard words like Hebrew 6:4-6, did we fear? Did we truly fear and tremble? And then after God’s elect cried out in fear what seemed to them like all day and night, did He finally redeem them from that fear and let them know that He was holding them close to Himself? Yes.

Must we be afraid forever? No, but we must lean what fear is. Then we will receive the legitimate sorrow for sin and the full peace our God desires us to possess. Only then is our justification by real faith, and only then is it valid before God. “The Lord knoweth them that are His.” (2Tim. 2:19).

“Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2Cor. 7:6-10).

“For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?” (2Cor. 2:2).

Once humility and true, God-inspired repentance is achieved, the Lord’s purpose for fear in us is accomplished and there is no more need of it, unless we lose our humility and repentant attitude. Then its time for the Lord,again, to teach us to fear Him.

But living in fear is not God’s plan. He doesn’t enjoy seeing His children suffering and afraid of Him. Ultimately, He desires to never have to resort to it at all.

The deliverer cannot be delivered

“He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” (Matt. 27:42). “He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the chosen of God.” (Lk. 23;35).

Moses interceded to save the people but who was able to intercede for him after he struck the rock twice and lashed out at the people? No one.

Jephthah laid down his life for Israel, but when he made a rash vow to bargain for God’s already promised victory, who could free him from his painful oath?

In his last effort to deliver Israel, Samson must lose his life.

Abraham had overcome and in himself had delivered his whole future family from idolatry, but when he must offer up Isaac as a sacrifice to God, who greater than he could offer another son in Abraham’s place? Not even Sarah must be awakened or she would have fought to deliver Isaac—and thus Abraham, from this horrible task. But, deliverance must not be for Abraham which brought him almost to the breaking point.

Whoever will save the world must lose himself. Gehazi sought to receive his reward in this life, and the Lord sent him a plague of leprosy instead. The unnamed prophet rewarded himself with food and, through providence, became food for a lion. The Lord takes the business of salvation seriously. Will we take up His cross?

“Said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it….
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matt. 16:24,25,27). There is no glory now in our work for the Lord. Our glory is all future. “Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” (Lk. 14:14).

We do have a present reward, but it doesn’t come in the form of our recognition or any aggrandizement. Our reward comes to us today in the precious knowledge of God in Christ. Abraham and all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and saints discovered that obedience to Christ provided the grace to see Him. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (Jn. 8:56).

Baptized by fire, Abraham understood the suffering of Christ in His baptism of the same. And after it was all over for Abraham, he rejoiced because knowing God had become his firmest endeavor and highest joy.

Is an intimate knowledge of God our greatest need? If it is, then we will glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation works in us an experience of God’s character. Knowing God will be everything to us; we will need no earthly reward. After all we have done for Jesus we will humbly and thankfully say, “We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Lk. 17:10). Jesus will be our “exceeding great reward.” (Gen. 15:1). Any other earthly prosperity will pale into insignificance.

If we know God we will never complain that after we have been spent for others, no one has been there for us. We will never murmur because we will know that such was the experience of Christ. His life will be in all our thoughts, His sacrifice of self will become our utmost excellent aspiration. His character will be beautiful to us.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead….
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:8-11,14).

The 144,000 will know this sacrifice of self, for of them it says that they “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth,” “and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev. 14:4;12:11).

Let us get ready for the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit, and the great time of trouble “such as never was” that follows on its heels. They will teach us both the mercy and justice of God. Both are essential to ready us to finally, personally, physically see Jesus and His Father coming on Judgment Day.

Unto us a child is born

The mother’s microscopic egg comes floating down the fallopian tube. Suddenly, without her or anyone knowing it, it awakens from the stillness of death into life. All she knew was love and trust; the new change that happened inside her was too small for her to detect.

She is quite unaware of the fact that that vapid egg has transformed into a dynamic zygote, with all its machinery grinding away in high gear. Soon a miracle happens. That one celled zygote begins to pull apart, as if by a master magician’s manipulations. The mystery of it all is that all the components pull apart as well, without damaging any one of them! Nothing is lost in this splitting and dividing event. A single power from within each member of the nucleus commands this united performance.

The most cutting edge technology cannot produce this effect. When every cellular component has pulled apart, both halves close up their open sides which expose the vulnerable members, as the membranes of the cell walls move together encompassing each one. Now we have two identical cells that comprise the zygote. All the DNA has duplicated, as has the mitochondria and all that the nucleus contained for its administration and maintenance.

Then, in the same amount of time, each cell divides again, and now we have 4 cells that make up the zygote. As the multiplication carries on to 16 cells in the next division, and then 256 cells in the following division, the zygote grows exponentially. Yet despite its accelerating growth, no one knows this amazing construction is occurring because it is so microscopically small.

But before long this new member of the mother’s body triggers great changes in her that do catch her attention. Her periodic blood stops flowing and she becomes nauseous of her regular food. If she is inexperienced and doesn’t understand the change deep within her, someone else will notice and explain it to her.

Over the next few months, her hatred of normal food is the only reminder of the miracle happening inside, until a small protrusion of her belly becomes noticeable. She is going to have a baby!

Yet, several more months must elapse before the new life arrives. Yet, the baby finally does come, full of vim and vigor, spicy and spitting. What a hand-full! Yet, what a heart-full! The new burden takes nothing from the energy required for the previous burdens of life. It only adds energy and hope to the life of both mother and child.

God, in His infinite wisdom, has wondrously fashioned the physical life to mirror the spiritual life. This for our benefit, as well as the rest of His intelligent heavenly agencies. “Which things the angels desire to look into,” “for we are made a spectacle… to angels.” (1Pet. 1:12;1Cor. 4:9).

While the body and mind are brought forth in every healthy baby who comes into this world, lamentably, the faculty of faith in the divine suffers disease and still birth. But, at some point in the lifetime of human experience, the Spirit of God may find a way into our still-born conscience.

An interest in purity, a yearning for infinite love, a vision of undying trust draw the mind away from anything this world can offer. Then it is that the heart of man meets God. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” (Lk. 1:35). The seed of the Spirit penetrates the willing, softened barriers of the conscience, and grants the needy, surrendering one the reward of peace. The receiver of this gift probably knew nothing of the new microscopically small mustard-seed of faith beginning to grow deep within the conscience. Nothing of God or religion was apparent—only simple faith and love. But in the environment of simplicity God works to bring something out of nothing—spiritual fiat. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Vs. 37).

As time progresses, that tiny spark of life multiplies within the conscience. A new spirituality is growing within the conscience, unbeknown to its possessor. But changes are happening on the outside that come as a mystery. The hemorrhaging of a wasted lifestyle is staunched, as a new distaste for the old life begins. New health and prosperity result. The previous self-exaltation, self-indulgence, self-pity, self-serving, self-love become objectives to be loathed.

Friends and family begin to notice a new person developing within the old, to the rejoicing of a few, to the suspicion of most, but to the open disdain and mockery of many. Regardless, to the recipient of the new life, it is only restful and happiness. Health and life spring forth. But what is going on? If the owner doesn’t realize what is happening, inevitably someone will come along who will reveal the mystery. The beneficiary of this new experience is giving birth to the Christian life! How wonderful!

Unselfishness, trust, humility, health, happiness will be gifts dispensed from heaven each day. “The fruit of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” (Gal. 5:22,23) will be living realities!

A full parting of ways occurs from the practices and habits and methods of the world. As heart-rending as it is, the new lifestyle makes many enemies who liked their friend in his or her old self. The Christian’s final deliverance from Satan’s hold on the soul is a painful one. Grief and labor attend the separation from subjection to the devil’s kingdom. The Christian hasn’t rejected the old friends, but Satan’s subjects become angry because they misinterpret the sudden rejection of their ways.

The rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Great Controversy, p. 612.

“Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Rom. 5:1-5).

“Thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away.” (Is. 49:25). The old life is past, heaven achieved another resurrection from the dead, and a new life has begun.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Unto us a son is given

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6).

What a gift! Of all the Father’s gifts, His Son! “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn .3:16).

What a childlike spirit Jesus came with from the Father! No guile in His mouth, just like His Father. Pure honesty. Pure love. Self-forgetful, self-abnegating, self-sacrificing love; all perfectly like His Father. Always ready to uplift others, to bear their burdens, to bow down if only to raise up all those around Him. He was the foundation of hope and strength.

“I am the true Vine.” (Jn. 15:1). He was their strength, not as a mighty oak, but as a spindly, helpless grape vine. Never showing off His own power, He reveals His true helpless frame of mind in the vine. He could bear up the whole government only because of His infinite need and connection with His Father. Their unity was infinitely inseparable. He was nailed to His Father, stuck permanently as if the fibers of His soul were woven with the fibers of His Father’s.

“I and My Father are one.” (Jn. 10:30). From eternity, the Father and Son have been one homogenous whole, as it were. “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.
And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one:
I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” (Jn. 17:21-23).

Unity, peace, perfect submission and obedience, perfect surrender and rest. Nothing can be better. As a vessel of the Holy Spirit without measure, His only desire was to share that blessed experience. The psalm of His soul to His Father was:

Other refuge have I none, hangs My helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave Me not alone, still support and comfort Me.
All My trust on Thee is stayed, all My help from Thee I bring;
Cover My defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

What is the vine powerlessly held up by? A wall, a hard, enduring, stone wall. The Father? Yes, the Ancient of Days, strong as granite, hard as flint! “The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.” (Ps. 24:8).

The Son, so unspeakably yielded and bound in His love for His Abba. His ardent heart sewn into His Father’s open bosom, His arms impaled to the outstretched arms of His Father, Both were calling to a world lost in self-love, Come unto Me. “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Is. 45:22).

Unto us a Child is born.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Joy to the world!

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

These words remind us of some Bible verses, such as:

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Lk. 2:7).

“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice
Before the LORD: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.” (Ps. 96:11-13).

“Praise the LORD from the earth, … mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars.” (Ps. 148:7,9).

“So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Is. 55:11-13).

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

And these words remind us of these verses:

“And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3:17-19).

“And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.” (Gen. 5:29).

“And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant: and He looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” (Is. 5:6,7).

“Therefore the LORD shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.”(Is. 9:17-19).

“In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.
I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
Fury is not in Me: who would set the briers and thorns against Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.
He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” (Is. 27:2-6).

“For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest My fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” (Jer. 4:3,4).

“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:22).

“For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Heb. 6:7,8).

“If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Jn. 15:6).

Here we see that the thorns and thistles, the curse on the human race, is synonymous not only with sweat and toil, but with wickedness and oppression and the cries of the oppressed, hypocrisy and evildoing and speaking foolishly, hard-heartedness and no one sparing each other any mercy, caring only for this life and forgetful of eternal realities, being deceived by greed and taken over by money-getting; we see that the curse is about not abiding in Christ and His word abiding in us.

This was the condition of Israel of old, and it is what brought on all the catastrophes from heaven and earth, as the Lord promised to burn up all those thorns and thistles. And, of course, we are no different from them.

But, the rest of the promise is that because God sent His Son to be born one of us, to redeem the fallen human race through His life and death, no more, never again would the thorns and thistles curse the Earth with sinfulness.

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”(Dan. 9:24).

If we abide in the Vine, and His words abide in us, we will receive His strength to keep from sin and to grow in grace.

“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1Jn. 3:8,9). Everlasting righteousness as long as we abide in Christ.

Because Jesus, the Son of the Most High, we are reconciled to His Father by His death. Spiked to the old, hard cross, He was permanently nailed forever to His God of infinite perfection with whom there can never be any varying not shadow of turning. His Son pierced through and mounted onto, as it were, an immutable law of stone, God made His Son’s dead body our veil, our mercy seat of protection from the Law of God and from His wrath, and our access to Him and to His Law. Because of Jesus our sinful nature is shocked and cremated, and God’s mercy is extended to the whole repentant world, forever.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Investigative Judgment

One of the arguments against a heavenly investigative judgment is that God is omniscient and already knows everything; hence, there is no need for a final investigation before Jesus comes to give every man his reward according to his deeds. But consider the following scenarios where someone might think that God did not know everything.

“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Gen. 3:9).

“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” (Gen. 11:5,6).

“And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know.” (Gen. 18:20,21).

The Lord, the Omniscient One, came down to Sodom to apparently see whether or not it was true what He knew to be true. Did the Lord not know the condition of Sodom and Gomorrah? Yes, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” (2Chron. 16:9). So why did He even come down then, if He already knew what they were doing?

Did He know of the apostasy in the plain of Shinar under Ham, Cush, and Nimrod? Did He know that Adam had fallen into the ranks of Lucifer’s rebellion, or of his whereabouts in his garden home? Yes, to all the above questions. Why did He talk as if He didn’t know?

To satisfy every claim made by the adversary, He must come in person to witness for Himself; in the sight of the on-looking angelic hosts and the sinners of Earth who would afterward read of this, they must all know, as they witness and record, that it is appropriate and timely for the Lord to destroy sin, the work of Satan. It was for the benefit of the angelic hosts whose work it is to record the deeds of sinful mankind, and also for man’s sake who needs to be convicted of his sin. The question to Adam evoked a sudden shock throughout his being. Thus, he was ready to repent and be spared total destruction. We see the Lord God’s fairness in that He witnesses rebellion in person before He makes use of divine discipline. It is in mercy to us, who learn of His divine wrath and naturally have an ear to Satan’s suggestions, that the Lord establishes an investigation before He executes justice on others.

The Lord is omniscient. He “knoweth them that are His.” “Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in Thy hand.” (2Tim. 2:19;Deut. 33:3).

However, “there are certain men crept in unawares,” “false brethren unawares brought in.” (Jude 4;Gal. 2:4). As with the world, so in the church—all that glitters is not gold.

Once saved, not necessarily always saved. “But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation….
Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee….
For their rock is not as our Rock.” (Deut. 32:15,18,31).

Jesus said,
“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.” (Matt. 13:25,26).

As we all know, the followers of Satan are within the camp of Christ’s followers. All four plots of ground received the seed of God’s word. But three out of the four did not remain faithful. Thus, the need to separate the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats. “Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.” (Ez. 34:20). And for the sake of the angelic jury, God opens the books for all to see why some in the Book of Life are destroyed, while some are spared.

As we see in the vision of Ezekiel 9, an investigative judgment was done before any execution of those whom God already knew were ripe for judgment. An investigation preceded all other execution of divine wrath. Why should it not precede the final conflagration of the ages?

“Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:
And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (Is. 13:7-11).

As He gave the antediluvian world 120 years of Noah’s warning of destruction by flood, so today during this final investigative judgment, God has given the world the message of warning, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” (Rev. 14:7).

All who will fear Him and let His Spirit convert and cleanse them, will find His pity that will protect them on the day He judges the Earth. (Ps. 103:13). When He has completed His final investigation and atonement, and His character is perfectly reproduced in His children, then He will come and claim them as His own.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Looking unto Jesus who made His soul an offering for sin

“Some wonder why God desired so many sacrifices and appointed the offering of so many bleeding victims in the Jewish economy.

“Every dying victim was a type of Christ, which lesson was impressed on mind and heart in the most solemn, sacred ceremony, and explained definitely by the priests. Sacrifices were explicitly planned by God Himself to teach this great and momentous truth, that through the blood of Christ alone there is forgiveness of sins.”—Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 107.

Sin is so blinding. It prevents us from seeing the devastation we produce toward those all around us, and also to God. Only when we see the dying of an innocent being, such as a baby animal, is the realization of sin struck in our conscience. God is not happy to have animals die, nor humans. But for our sake, because of our utter blindness to our corrupt natures and arrogant self-sufficiency, He has allowed the travesty of animal sacrifices.

He says, “Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” (Ps. 50:5). Only through the breaking of the evil human heart through the witnessing of the death of a baby animal can our pride be put to death. So dense and impregnable is pride that an extreme measure must be taken, witnessed again and again and again.

Without the Old Testament dying sacrifice their worship was worthless to God, even repugnant. This is because only through the dying of the happy lambs and jumping kids and lowing calves and tiny sparrows could those ancient people approach God in humility and in true repentance. Self is at the center of the worship of God, unless we have the vision of a sacrifice to burn up the self-sufficiency. Any other kind of non-bloody sacrifice would be Cain’s sacrifice. Any “nicer” approach to God would be sacrilegious and blasphemous to Him.

Let us go to the Bible and the cross again and again, as a continual sacrifice day after day, and catch the vision of the expiring Son of God, who was typified in so many thousands upon thousands of sacrifices through the millennia, and in so many forms and occasions, the whole world over. Let that sacrifice do for us what our Redeemer God intended it do—i.e. the desolation of our pride, and the restoration of our conscience and love. Anything short of this is wholly abhorrent to God, and makes His stomach very upset. (Rev. 3:16).

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (Jn. 8:56).

“And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Jn. 6:40).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Garden and God's throne

The beasts of the garden represented all the races of intelligent life throughout the vast realm, the animal fur simulating the glory shining from those inhabitants. The birds of the air symbolized the cherubim and seraphim which traverse the universe, and the bird feathers, the power which moves the angels.

The chimpanzee represented Adam, made in God’s image. Adam himself represented the Creator; and Eve typified the Comforter, His Spirit of truth. All the trees from which Adam and his wife could freely eat represented the Trees of life on all the varied planets inhabited by the other intelligent life. The juice from the trees of Adam’s garden reflected the joys of the Rivers of life flowing on those planets.

From the Tree of life in the midst of Earth’s garden sprang the River of life, which flowed out of the garden in four cardinal directions, bringing life to the whole globe. This tree represented God, the source of all life to His infinite universe. The fruit was both comforting and empowering. There was intimacy and wholesomeness in its flavor, which drew them back day after day, and an electrifying, sour bitterness in the stomach that cleansed their body, mind, and soul.

The two lights in the heavens, both similar in size and of a differing brilliance, represented the Father and the Son. The sun that ruled the day was perfect in its clearness, overpowering, and unchanging in nature. The moon, marred and variable in its turning shadow, represented the Son who condescended from His divine essence to don the form of a created angel; the Son—royal Co-regent and roving ruler in His Father’s kingdom. He made the stars also to speak to Adam of the Creator’s accompanying ministers, the angelic hosts.

The consumption of the fruit of life at the Tree satisfied the sexuality of the first couple so that no urge from their bodies ever arose. So innocent were they that a blanket of light covered their nakedness, as the fur covered the bodies of the animals around them. So satisfied were the holy pair from the Tree of life that often they had no appetite for any other food.

And as they lifted up their harmonious voices, and their praises rang through the garden, all the beast of the field and birds of the air sang with them in a raucous, joyous symphony. They were perfectly happy in their garden home and God was glorified before His angelic hosts , who discerned the lessons built into the multitudinous object lessons pervading this new world and rushed to teach all the inhabited worlds of creation. The more they studied Earth, the more they learned from the living parables. They saw a model of heaven, a model that only their Creator Godhead could design and implement.

And they echo the grand choruses they heard from Earth, as they “fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 4:10,11).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Waves of God’s inexpressible love

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:12-14).

No appeal that the divine-human heart of Christ could make had been spared. The waves of mercy, beaten back by stubborn pride, returned in a stronger tide of subduing love. DA 655.

This love, untrammeled and coursing through Christ’s veins could not be bottled up inside Him. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. SC 12.

Though rewarded with evil for good, and hatred for His love (Psalm 109:5), He had steadfastly pursued His mission of mercy. Never were those repelled that sought His grace. A homeless wanderer, reproach and penury His daily lot, He lived to minister to the needs and lighten the woes of men, to plead with them to accept the gift of life. The waves of mercy, beaten back by those stubborn hearts, returned in a stronger tide of pitying, inexpressible love. GC 20.

His disciples received it subconsciously and it drew them into full commitment to Him. “Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the Bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?” “As long as they have the Bridegroom with them, they cannot.” (Matt. 9:15;Mk. 2:19). “They joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (Is. 9:3).

But no one saw the love of Jesus like Mary Magdalene did. She had tasted all the mud the world offers and happily abandoned all hope in Satan’s kingdom. Gladly she accepted the love Christ offered her. She could only do this if she confidently had something else to firmly grab on to. But in the unstoppable flow of love flooding from Jesus’ heart she found her alternative to trust in. The alabaster box of very precious perfume, which only was affordable to someone involved in vice, she gave completely to Jesus’ service. She gave it all, with tears, so thankful she was for His never-ending forgiveness for her past, His abounding acceptance of her in light of her wretchedness. His promise she found to be wonderfully faithful, that “all [her] transgressions that [s]he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto [her]: in [her] righteousness that [s]he hath done [s]he shall live.” (Ez. 18:22).

That love drove her demons from her and imprisoned her faith and love in Him and His never-failing friendship. Mary saw what the disciples could not see until after Jesus was gone. And that vision impelled her and them into perfect obedience to the law of Christ, which is the Law of God.

This was the same enlightenment that the leper received. He was drawn to the Savior by the testimony of others who had been healed of various maladies. The angels encouraged him to be healed, too. But it was when he actually saw Jesus touching the sick, that now nothing could stop him. All the cries of the people fearing the spread of his loathsome disease were lost to him; he heard no one. He couldn’t see the forest for that one beautiful Tree. It was the severest case of tunnel vision. All he saw was Jesus—Jesus healing him. He could only see Him who would never turning away even a leper. Desperate faith drove him to his Deliverer.

Daniel, too, desired the release of his people, captives in a corrupt land. Yet it was not until he saw the promise from God to deliver them after 70 years that faith gripped him and launched him into a fast and prayer that brought Gabriel down to touch his shoulder and encourage him.

It was the vision that drove the faith which laid hold of God’s power. In all ages, where there is no vision, the people perish; but in very generation, “every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him” “hath everlasting life.” (Jn. 6:40;3:36).
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day.” (Jn. 8:56).

“Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.” (Is. 33:17).

Like Moses we, who seek Jesus and His love, will endure “as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Heb. 11:27).

“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Is. 42:16).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The fear of the Lord

Last night we had a nice discussion on the fear of the Lord. We compared 1Jn. 4:17,18)Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.) with Rev. 14:7 (Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.)

Ay______ said the two fears were for two different audiences, 1John for believers, and Revelation for an unbelieving world approaching judgment. Al_____ said that there is a healthy and an unhealthy fear that these texts, and so many other Bible verses speak of. D______ agreed with Ay______ with a minor difference (which I am sorry I forget what it was! Forgive me D______!) I thought it could be similar to Ay______, but in the context of growth in relationship and discipline; that over time, that fear lessens as we are more and more surrendered to God’s will as Gal. 4:1,2 and 3:24,25 allude to.

We brought up Ps. 103:13, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.” We didn’t spend a lot of time on it, but I think it says a lot. S____ (his son) fears D______. I’ve seen it when he gets corrected. But, S____ doesn’t live in fear of his daddy. All the time I hear him start his statements or questions to D______ with “Nana,” which means “Beloved.”

Even though he fears his father, he loves him dearly. And while he always loves his father, all along the way, as correction is needed, S____ fears his dad. He sees his father’s displeasure and doesn’t like it. He wants to know that his beloved father is happy with him.

God has programmed that into children, and it is a necessary and beautiful trait encoded into every living thing. Its in the animals also.

Its similar to the relationship between husband and wife. Paul counseled, “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Eph. 5:33). There is love in the woman toward her husband, along with the fear. The fear is there because women are the weaker vessels—not in brain power or will power. But their weakness is in the fact that they feel the need for acceptance and togetherness stronger than men. God put that in us. The mother needs to be extra protective. But there is a place for the father’s objectiveness and strength when it comes to disciplining and law.

We know from Patriarchs and Prophets, that when Abraham needed to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God, he knew that if he had awaken Sarah, she would not have let it happen. Her motherly she-bear love would have torn Isaac from Abraham’s arms and maybe even hurt Abraham. She definitely would have prevented the lesson to the world that this sacrifice was to show. Christ would not have been able to say, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (Jn. 8:56).

Women are the weaker vessel in this aspect. And children even more so. Likewise, we should fear when we feel our Father is distant and His acceptance is not felt because the Holy Spirit is muffled because all the ways we’ve indulged in sin. We should fear that. The slide into oblivion is so subtle. We should fear that. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10:12).

As we read last night, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, … they shall [not] enter into My rest.” (Heb. 4:1-3).

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

From Exodus to Advent

Elder Morris Venden wrote a book by the above title—a must read.

There are many interesting parallels between the Exodus and the Advent movements. Could the Holy Spirit be so wise as to write up the Exodus experience in such a way as to prophesy of the last great movement of God at the climax of Earth’s history? The answer is a resounding, Yes! Paul has already made this connection.

“They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10:4-12).

Israel left the enslavement of an Egyptian empire that had apostatized far from Noah’s preaching of righteousness, yet they retained a self-righteous exclusiveness (Gen. 43:32). The Seventh Day Adventists left a network of professed Protestant churches that had fallen far from the principles which had guided the Reformation. The Bible was no longer treasured and studied which had come down to them at the cost of so many Protestant lives. The Protestants were not protesting anymore. They were dead while they lived. The 3 angels’ messages freed and separated the Adventists from mainline Protestantism.

Because of unbelief, Israel wandered while waiting to enter the Promised Land. Likewise, because of unbelief, Adventism has also wandered in this world of sin and sorrow more than four extra generations since it could have gone into the heavenly Canaan shortly after 1844.

During the delay and wandering time many statutes and laws were handed down to each movement from the Son of God through His chosen human vessels, Moses and Ellen White. Both exalted the Law of God. Both of these vessels were more than prophets, their role each being to establish tightly bound organizations that would eventually endure until the full conquest of the Promised Land and battle the wiles of Satan until the coming of the Son of God in power.

Both dealt long with the rebellion of unconverted hearts. Both spent long years instructing and rebuking and giving a parent’s counsel. Both loved their Israel. Both interceded constantly for the people which they dearly loved. Both leaders had learned their lesson of walking with God in a warm relationship and a continuous communion, and both had to patiently deal with the thousands of others in the camp who hadn’t learned that lesson, and made life miserable for the leader.

But something will disturb us if we carry the parallel all the way to its conclusion. At the very end of the wandering period, after already successfully vanquishing the first three enemy nations, right on the banks opposite the Promised Land, occurs a great apostasy.

First it’s an invitation to the Israelite people and leaders to join in feasting. Soon, sexual seduction leads to the total overthrow of divine prohibitions. Finally, false worship crowns the whole event.

Then falls the wrath of God upon the camp of Israel. First, a plague runs its course, then all-out warfare between Israelite and Israelite, brother against brother. 23,000 die who joined in the apostasy.

How does this apply to our day? Everything in the comparison up to the end fits rather nicely. The grand finale must fit also. Are we seeing an apostasy among Adventists relating to the falling of standards and to false worship? Yes, we are.

Balaam, under Satan’s control, sought to stop Israel from entering the Promised Land. He tried to overtly curse them, which only led to their blessing by heaven.

If Israel represented the last group on earth preparing to go up and take the heavenly Canaan, then what organization would Balaam represent?

Balaam really was the alter-ego/ competitor of Moses, and the Moabites and Midianites were the competitors of Israel. If Israel under Moses represents the Adventists under Ellen White, then who does this say is trying to stop us from going in to possess the new heaven and new earth?

The 2nd beast of Revelation 13 is a miracle-working beast. “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast.” (Rev. 13:13,14). “In the sight of the beast” means “for his benefit; under his direction.” The fire that the second beast brings down from heaven mimics that of God’s anointed ones of Rev. 11:5,6.

This innocent-looking 2nd beast simulates the powerful work of the Protestant Reformation. That beast is also called “the false prophet.” (Rev. 19:20). So we see a strong link between the 2nd beast of Revelation 13 and an apostatized Protestantism, which outwardly shows two horns like a lamb, but inwardly comes to think like Satan, and ultimately speaks like him.

Balak needed to stop Israel, who under God was stronger than Moab. So he enlisted the aid of Balaam, a backslidden prophet, a false prophet. While Balak indirectly sought to prevent Israel’s forward progress through Balaam, Balaam personally accomplished the work of destroying Israel.

What is Adventism’s number one earthly enemy? Catholicism. Who is the Vatican’s primary nemesis, but the Seventh-day Adventist church and its doctrines? Because the Vatican still lacks the political power until it grows stronger than the rest of the modern nations, it must enlist the help of another organization to prevent the world-wide preaching of the 3 angel’s messages.

Who would she call on for assistance? Mainline Protestantism, the fallen denominations who, in 1844, rejected the thought of Jesus coming literally, physically, in power to destroy all their worldly possessions. The circumstances surrounding Adventism’s birth resulting from the preaching of Baptist William Miller, simultaneously brought about the death of mainline Protestantism. The iniquity of the Amorites was almost full. The door of probation closed to those organizations. Now, anyone connected with them could only be saved by leaving them and joining in the Advent movement.

The cursing of Adventism by the popular Protestant denominations, which went on through the 19th and 20th centuries, only caused people to take better notice of the Adventist doctrines and find them filled with truth. Thus, all the anathematizing of Adventism by popular Protestantism only strengthened our cause and increased its membership.

But what do we see happening today in the Seventh-day Adventist church after having won so many battles due to the Lord’s blessing? How did Balaam finally succeed in bringing the disfavor of God upon Israel? Through false worship. Do we see false worship in the Advent movement today? Yes; the New Age Christianity which moved into the mainline denominations in the 40 years ago has made its way into Adventism.

Instead of preaching “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come,” we see praise music and Celebration churches. We have rock music in the worship services. We see Sabbath-keeping filled with excursions that lead away from God, instead of uniting with Him closer than possible all week. We see the falling of standards that will never return. The Bible is not studied; prayer is not wont to be made.

We see basketball to be more important to the youth than missionary work, time spent by all ages in entertainment—TV- and movie-watching, novel-reading and video-gaming instead of intensive studying of the plain word of God and earnestly imploring our Lord to save us and our loved ones from the temptations that abound everywhere.

Our prayers to God are not motivated by His word because we haven’t studied His word, but are simply an exercise in emotion, empty of any solid promises from God. These prayers differ little from Cain’s offering. Spiritualism is moving into the Advent movement. “Spiritual Formation,” a meditation method of emptying the mind in order to hear “God’s” voice, which comes straight from the occult, is being taught and practiced in Adventist colleges and universities.

The cross is not uplifted or carried. Jesus is not preached. Our preachers don’t seem to know how to declare the love of God in Christ. Their interests are in this world; they are dumb dogs that cannot bark. Thus, sanctification has been abandoned by a large sector of the denomination.

Has not the same process been repeated in nearly every church calling itself Protestant? As the founders, those who possessed the true spirit of reform, pass away, their descendants come forward and "new-model the cause." While blindly clinging to the creed of their fathers and refusing to accept any truth in advance of what they saw, the children of the reformers depart widely from their example of humility, self-denial, and renunciation of the world. Thus "the first simplicity disappears." A worldly flood, flowing into the church, carries "with it its customs, practices, and idols."
Alas, to what a fearful extent is that friendship of the world which is "enmity with God," now cherished among the professed followers of Christ!
GC p. 385.

Whole groups within the church now study how to “re-invent” the standards of the Spirit of Prophecy, to undo, and then glory in, the destruction of everything Ellen White handed down to us from heaven. The movement is unraveling, but all we seem to hear from the leadership is that the church is where the Lord wants her to be.

The Lord has not closed Heaven against his people, but their own course of continual backsliding has separated them from him. Pride, and love of the world, live in the heart. Few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. The general opinion is that the church is flourishing, and that peace and prosperity are in all her borders. Signs of the Times, January 11, 1883 par. 15.

A great shaking took place at Baal-peor, when the last of the rebels fell in the wilderness, as the Lord promised. Another shaking is on the way, huge in its magnitude, and it hasteth greatly. We are primed for multitudes to abandon the heaven-ward march and to hope only in this world. Woe be the day, when those who had once heard of the shaking and read of many with blood on their clothes, realize that they are who they read about or heard about so many times in the so long ago. Oh, the despairing fear that will grip them!

They will know by experience verses with which they had been well familiar.

“And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 24:51).

“But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Matt. 8:12;Mk. 9:44).

The natural covetousness and fear of persecution will prevent them from throwing all their mind and heart into the despised Adventist movement which began moving again after they left it. “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” (Lk. 16:26).

Unable to find the remotest repentance in their heart, trying to forget what they know is coming, while hoping that the Bible was mistaken, will drive them to the point of insanity.

“And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek” relief from their abused conscience, “and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:12).

The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power—all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven. GC p. 607.

In the end of the final conflagration and shaking, we see the 144,000, like the final numbering of ancient Israel at the end of their wandering, ready to fight for glorification and an eternal walk with Jesus. “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 14:4). And they go forth to give the 3 angels’ messages in the power of the 4th angel of Revelation 18.

The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. Ev. p. 707.