“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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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sealing, settling in of truth, and shaking

The leaders in the sanitarium have mingled with unbelievers, admitting them to their councils, more or less; but it is like going to work with their eyes shut. They lack the discernment to see what is going to break upon us at any time. There is a spirit of desperation, of war and bloodshed, and that spirit will increase until the very close of time. Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads, —it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved, —just as soon as God's people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land, to give us warning, that we may know what is coming. Ms 173, 1902, pp. 3-6. (“Medical Missionary Work in Southern California,” November 20, 1911.) Manuscript Releases, Vol. 1, p. 249.

“There is a spirit of desperation, of war and bloodshed, and that spirit will increase until the very close of time… Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land.” The judgments have been on the land since 1849, and increasingly so as we near Christ’s coming. The death-like pall on the heart and mind of man force global contentions and the drive to unite the world under Satan for his promised peace of mind. That peace of mind will ultimately consist of ridding the world of his despised enemies—those who have made it to God, received the peace of His justification and Holy Spirit, and now love to be like Jesus.

He won’t get any rest until they are all gone from the Earth, thus the unrest spreading around the world.

“The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit,” the “smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace” and the “locusts upon the earth” with “power, as the scorpions of the earth have power” (Rev. 9:2,3) have been doing their work to aggravate strife between individuals, cultures, and nations.

This is Satan working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness through the second beast of Revelation 13 who works for the first beast of that vision. This beast, also called, “the false prophet”, is responding to Satan’s darkening of God’s light and grace and cooperating with the prince of evil. That false prophet “wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image.” (Rev. 19:20). These miracles are the false revivals taking place with the spread of Evangelical Protestantism.

This evangelical gospel work evinces the demonstration of the Holy Spirit, but it is only human sparks backed by the hosts of darkness. “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” (Is. 50:11). Millions today grope in misery and mental pain, seeking relief. Evangelical worship centers offer temporary relief through singing, praying, and hearing promises. But its all just propitiation. It simply attempts to appease God and wake Him up to their needs, like the 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.

Jesus alone can be our propitiation to God. He alone can please God. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17). Our appeasing of God only insults Him more.
All that man can possibly do toward his own salvation is to accept the invitation, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17). 1SM, P. 343.
We have nothing with which to approach God. So Satan inspires sinners to try hard, when only a heart warmed by Jesus’ grace toward alone allows Him, through His Spirit, to bring us into God’s presence.

The loud, wild beseeching of heaven is Pentecostalism, the wispy beast of darkness moving into Protestantism after the reformers died, as it did to Catholicism after the apostles passed away. It’s empty of truth and grace and defeats the knowledge of God they might have.

But, the race between satanic forces and the Lord’s forces will produce a large harvest of saints. “Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads, —it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved,—just as soon as God's people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come.”

The omega of apostasy

“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” (Rev. 11:7,8).

Omega to One of the Most Subtle Delusions―We are now to be on guard, and not drawn away from the all-important message given of God for this time. Satan is not ignorant of the result of trying to define God and Jesus Christ in a spiritualistic [USED HERE IN REFERENCE TO A SYSTEM OF INTERPRETATION, NOT SPIRITISM POPULARLY CALLED SPIRITUALISM.] way that sets God and Christ as a nonentity. The moments occupied in this kind of science are, in the place of preparing the way of the Lord, making a way for Satan to come in and confuse the minds with mysticisms of his own devising. Although they are dressed up in angel robes they have made our God and our Christ a nonentity. Why?—because Satan sees the minds are all fitted for his working. Men have lost track of Christ and the Lord God, and have been obtaining an experience that is Omega to one of the most subtle delusions that will ever captivate the minds of men. We are forbidden to ... set the imagination in a train of conjecture.―Diary, #48, pp. 153, 163, Aug. 25 and Aug. 28, 1904.

Ellen White Impressed to Delay Sending to J. H. Kellogg Messages Received in Europe―At times I have felt that I must print all the warnings given me for Dr. [J. H.] Kellogg, especially some that were given me while in Europe. But I have not yet done this, because I have been impressed to wait. If I should make a strong move in this direction, the battle would be on. Those who are opposing the light God has given would feel that they had been attacked, and would claim that they were compelled to make moves that otherwise they would not have made. And it would take much of our time to meet the issue.
Let us hold on patiently for a little while, and let the elements break forth that are struggling into life. Let not too many articles be published in the Review and Herald that are of a character to stir up strife....
Satan’s Deceptive Science Will Overcome Us Unless We Are Conformed to Christ’s Will―Unless the heart, mind, soul, and strength are completely conformed to the will of Christ, the science studied will not give entrance into the narrow way and the strait gate that lead to eternal life. Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Because broad is the way, and wide is the gate that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat. Those who regard it as a valuable science to be sharp, to take advantage of and cheat their neighbors, are cheating their own soul, and unless they change, they can never enter the holy city. No crooked dealing, no deceptive science, will find a place in the heavenly courts....
As I am shown these special things of Satan’s science, and how he deceived the holy angels, I am afraid of the men who have entered into the study of the science that Satan carried into the warfare in heaven. Oh, how I have longed to be where I should not be compelled to see the same science practiced on this earth by medical practitioners. How my heart has been agonized as I have seen souls accepting the inducements held out to them to unite with those who were warring against God. When they once accept the bait it seems impossible to break the spell that Satan casts over them, because the enemy works out the science of deception as he worked it out in the heavenly courts. He uses human agencies to carry on his work with other human beings. He has worked so diligently with men in our day that he has won the game again and again.
Manuscript Release, vol. 11, p. 212.

At this crisis all are called upon to take their position. We must stand apart from those who are determined to make shipwreck of the faith. We must not sell our Lord at any price. We are to refuse to listen to the sophistries that have been brought in to make of no effect the truth for this time. Not a stone is to be moved in the foundation of this truth―not a pillar moved.... The time has come when even in the church and in our institutions, some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. But God will keep that which is committed to Him.... Through those who depart from the faith the power of the enemy will be exercised, to lead others astray.— Letter 237, 1904, pp. 5, 6. (To Brother Butler, July 14, 1904.) Manuscript Release, vol. 7, p. 188.

Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature. ―Letter 263, 1904, p. 4. (To Our Leading Physicians, July 24, 1904.) 7MR 188.

What was, by far, the lion’s share of warning and reproof and instruction from Ellen White’s pen, which Christ inspired her to write? What was the nature of apostasy she worked so carefully to clarify and so many years to oppose? Did it not concern disobedience to God’s law and unbelief toward Christ?

Her definition of apostasy had a broad scope; it was not singled out to one doctrine or falsehood. The Lord’s message was the same when He was here in person. It even encompassed the building of character in little children and in encouraging their mothers. It encompassed the unselfishness of giving money to God’s work. It was about reforms, reforms of all shapes and sizes.

One of Christ’s reforms was Godhead reform. But that was one of many others—Sabbath reform, marriage reform, parental honor reform, tradition reform, ministry reform, faith reform, love reform, and more. His reformation was so broad and deep that no angel from heaven could have fully developed the redemption of this world or carried its burden to the cross.

Not one issue, not even the greatest single issue, but rather many issues comprised Christ’s work of revealing God to our world darkened by Satan’s delusions, so that faith could lay hold of Him and salvation could take place. He came to save men; He came to deliver them from sin and the tempter.

Jesus ever kept men grounded to this world and earthly matters, while pointing them to heaven. He planted their toes into the moist soil of earth and taught them to love it as God’s gift to man.

He placed the things of this life in their true relation, as subordinate to those of eternal interest; but He did not ignore their importance. He taught that heaven and earth are linked together, and that a knowledge of divine truth prepares men better to perform the duties of everyday life. He spoke as one familiar with heaven, conscious of His relationship to God, yet recognizing His unity with every member of the human family. Desire of Ages, p. 254.

Obedience to the law of God kept His disciples safely stuck on earth, while spiritualism has ever sought to take men from this mundane world and whisk them away into the astral planes of devil-manipulated imaginations. Science, pure mathematics and logic, philosophy, intellectual hors d'oeuvres, all tend to spiritualism, which itself is founded on “wisdom”, that is, the wisdom of the devils. Was not this Satan’s first inducement to Eve? “Your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5).

Victory over sin and Satan is where Christ’s battle was always fought. All apostasy has resulted from failure in this victory and in the subjugation by sinful habits. Here is the focus of the Bible: Obedience to God through the faith of Jesus.

In 1888, when the message of obedience through faith and the emphasis on Jesus was brought to the attention of the Advent movement Satan immediately made war against it. The message of Christ Our Righteousness was “the third angel’s message in verity.” ―Review and Herald, April 1, 1890. Evangelism, p. 190.

The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure. Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91.

Yet that most precious message got argued and crowded out of existence. By what method was it crowded out? By other lesser issues that acted as diversions. What were those other issues? They were 1) the correct delineation of the ten tribes that broke up pagan Rome, 2) the subject of the Godhead.

Linked with the message of Christ Our Righteousness was the authority of Christ to forgive, His ability to intercede before a God of justice, His nature and God-ship. This led to the resurrection of a subject—long held and deeply rooted by pillars of Adventism—that Christ had a beginning, thereby being less than God.

But this issue Ellen White did not espouse when she accepted the message of Christ Our Righteousness given by E.J. Waggoner an A.T. Jones. On the contrary, she sought every opportunity to exalt Christ’s divinity and His eternal pre-existence. But more than that, she continued to emphasize obedience to God’s law and the faith of Christ as the only means to obtain obedience and salvation. She would not separate new light from the old light of our obligation to God. Christ fixed her to the principle He used and taught, “Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matt. 13:52).

It was as though our work of righteousness acts as an anchor when dealing with theology. Our focus on earthy matters is our protection from Satan’s insinuating of evil into good; our earthy, human ties, which act as the stabilizing rudder in the semi-solid stuff of this life, protect us from being blown about by every wind of doctrine.

Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned and the New Testament was full of spiritual things, especially in Paul’s letters. “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Thus Peter’s admonition to safely stay grounded in the work of blessing others and growth in Christlikeness. “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” (2Pet. 3:16,17).

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off….
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” (2Pet. 1:5-10).

This is why Paul always added instruction in earthly righteousness to his epistles of heavenly mysteries. It was the general consensus to heed to good works and ministering to others’ needs. “When James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.” (Gal. 2:9-10).

This is why the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy are so chock full of instruction in righteousness. We have much light in the way of prophecy, the heavenly sanctuary and investigative judgment, and future end-time events. But, anyone who focuses on these subjects and biblical doctrines, to the neglect of this world’s responsibilities, becomes intellectual toward the third angel’s message, treating it as a theory, and spiritual pride sweeps that person away into darkness. They end up in Satan’s camp, filled with the chill of his presence, and often lost. This is because they would obey some of God’s commandments that are easiest to them, but not all of them, i.e., not only “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”, but also, “Thou shalt be a blessing.” (2Tim. 2:15;Gen. 12:2).

To get involved in the many issues afflicting the Advent movement today without a firm hold on victory over sin—in practice—and loving ministry to others, is the perfect formula to end up outside the New Jerusalem fighting against its establishment on earth after the millennium of the second investigative judgment.

To study theology at the expense of sacrificing self for the uplifting of fellow men is to wind up stuck in the trap of the rabbis and priests of Christ’s day. “Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 2:11,12).

The theologians became the Jews’ sorcerers. “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 3:5).

The rabbis did not discern Satan’s cunning entrance into their religion as they detested the humbling work of reaching out to their own poor and by seeking the restoration of the Gentile people around them. So, all of their intellectual study allowed the ancient knowledge of spiritualism to work its way into their cabbalistic construction of God’s mysteries.

Later the same happened to the church. “When the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes.” (Dan. 8:23-25).

Let us not permit Satan to remain victor any longer over the Advent moment. Let us return to the Lord and to His commandments and to serving our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and friends.

“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 29:29).

“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecc. 12:12-14).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The omega of apostasy

E. G. White wrote: “The Omega will be of a most startling nature.” (Series B, no. 2, page 16) “The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.” “I knew that the omega would follow in a little while; and I trembled for our people.” (Series B, no. 2, pp. 50, 53).

H. P. Blavatsky wrote in 1877, “When Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, had openly embraced the cause of Isis, the Egyptian Goddess, and had anthropomorphized her into Mary, the mother of God; and the trinitarian controversy had taken place; from that moment the Egyptian doctrine of the emanation of the creative God out of Emepht began to be tortured in a thousand ways, until the Councils had agreed upon the adoption of it as it now stands — the disfigured Ternary of the kabalistic Solomon and Philo!” Isis unveiled, p. 41.

So the church fathers’ Father, Son, and Holy Spirit became the pagan Osiris/Baal/Jupiter, Isis/Ashtoreth/Venus, and Horus/Tammuz/Mars. Later, through slow, insidious, persistent manipulation of tradition, Christ became Father, Mary took the office of mediator, and “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” (Eph. 2:2) became the “Holy Spirit.”

It was apostasy of the first degree. It was the age-old paganism that had haunted Israel before, during and after the Egyptian bondage. They loved paganism’s attractions of mental exercise, the appeal to the animal lower passions, and paganism’s ability to empower the wealthy and those naturally endowed with strength of mind or body, talent or beauty, to the injustice and enslavement of everyone else with lesser endowments. Therefore, the Lord gave them up to Babylon to feel for themselves the enslavement they were forcing on their fellow Jews.

In Babylon, they did not take the divinely executed discipline to heart. But they sank only deeper into paganistic philosophy and the satanic spirit of hate and anger and murder, as we see in the books of the Maccabees and the other fairy-tale post-exilic apocryphal books. Then the spirit that accorded with the world infected the early church along with pervasive Egyptian and Persian influences, until, as the Revelation of John showed the church as a black horse with its rider holding a pair of balances measuring the spiritual worth of the church, the Lord found His mainline church to have no light of truth in it.

Thus, in accordance with paganism’s constant revitalization by Satan, Mary was exalted to take Christ’s place as intercessor to God. She became sinless, immaculate whereas the gospels show her to be a regular sinner, faulty and often influenced by her unconverted and unbelieving sons. Emptiness resulted from the church’s neglect to obey Christ’s admonition to the Ephesians, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:4,5). Their light which went out because they lost their peace with God, their surrender to His will, and the rejoicing in His power to overcome sin and Satan.

That wretchedness, that hopeless, mind-wrenching separation from God Christ experienced in Gethsemane. It forced blood to seep from His skin, the terrible load was so intense. He took all our chastisement of peace so that we wouldn’t have to suffer under its death-like yoke. But, the Spirit of Christ had departed from the church as it had left Saul, first king of Israel; and, as with King Saul, an evil spirit now replaced the peace and joy of trusting God, and this tormented the Christians. The church now relived the very condition of soul that poisoned Israel each time they ran to Baal worship throughout the Old Testament.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections:” (Rom 1:18-26).

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:” (Rom 1:28-31).

The church could not see its dangerous position. Its light to discern spiritual things and wisdom to see the devices of Satan was extinguished, and the scriptures no longer provided the wonderful counsel of Jesus, His admonition and guidance to bring them back to pure faith and childlike trust in Christ. The only thing they could use to pacify their nagging minds was the self-indulgent appeal of pagan philosophy and practices. That led to the church’s description by the fourth horse of Revelation, pale with a skeleton riding it. All life gone, all truth, all grace disappeared from the church. Everything scriptural was replaced by paganism, point by point, thought by thought, doctrine by doctrine, and tradition by tradition.

To them, the Son of God was no longer the youthful, loving, tenacious exemplar of God’s law and will. He was no longer the object of joy by the believers who looked upon Him as a lamb, the offspring of God of the universe, beautiful in character, abundant in life and love, having His Father’s full authority to forgive and reconcile sinners back to God.

With the church’s loss of that first love for Jesus, they denied His arrival to this sin-filled world in the flesh. Thus, the antichrist moved in. (1Jn. 4:2,3). Without witnessing His human life and death among us, beholding the Lamb of God, and declaring His life to others, they only spoke of Him in heaven, far away; they spoke of Him only spiritually, mystically. Their focus turned from the natural, human Jesus and His simple love, dwelling on His love and abiding in that love, to arguing over doctrine, allegorizing away the easily understood earth-bound, tangible experiences of Christ that so much characterize the whole Bible. They finally turned to intellectualizing the apostolic doctrines. Acts of love, the uplifting all whom Satan was harassing, and expressing between themselves the affection of David and Jonathan, had all lost their allurement, and now the church would analyze God, and figure Him out.

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” (Job 11:7). Disregarding this biblical denial and inferred injunction to cease inspection of God, the Godhead came up for their review. The Trinity concept was the outcome. It looked like the truth, but was empty of redeeming value. It also laid the path to easily adopting pagan ideas into Christianity. There is one God and Father of all; there is one Lord Jesus Christ His Son; and the only evidence of citizenship in His kingdom was the power of the Holy Spirit to strike conviction in the heart, to give faith and repentance and renunciation of sin, and to restore the image of God in the soul, reproducing the character of Christ in the character of the new child of God.

All of this had been lost to the apostolic church. Egyptian and Greek philosophy moved into the church to stay, and the spirit of love left forever. Now must be repeated all that Paul had forewarned the Romans.

The apostolic church lost the grace of God and His truth. Is the spirit of God’s grace lost in His church today? Do we see the agape love among us? Or is it all formal, distant, cold? Is the love of God among us in the remnant church?

Does this explain the resurgence of the trinity issue and other issues? Have we lost our first love and are now slipping down a slippery slope into Adventist apostasy, just like happened to Israel so many times and then to Christianity and later to Protestantism? Have we been negligent to repent of losing the spirit of 1844?

Might it be that what Ellen White spoke of as the omega of apostasy was the general idea of anyone delving into the mysteries of the divine, rather than whether someone has it figured out wrong? Might we already be in the very omega of apostasy, all of us, having left the love of Jesus as our constant thought and word?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The everlasting gospel

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
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.” (Rev. 14:6-7).

The everlasting gospel is to fear God and praise Him for the time of His judgment is come. Does this say anything about the Savior, His apostles, and the conversion of the Gentiles, as we normally understand the gospel? The answer, from the context of Revelation, is: No, not primarily. There is another issue raging until the judgment of God comes. This is not another gospel; it’s the rest of the gospel story most people have never heard.

The introduction to the first angel’s message of chapter 14 comes from a scene in chapter 10. Here, Christ’s announcement in verses 6 and 7 literally reads, “Delay no shall be longer; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [the] trumpet, also should be completed the mystery of God, as He did announce the glad tidings to His bondmen the prophets.” (Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, by George Ricker Berry.)” (Rev. 10:6,7).

This pronouncement to John’s ears comes at the tail end of a story line he saw that begins in chapter 5. There, a situation has completely destroyed the joy and order of God’s throne which had reigned during the period of perfect peace and happiness represented by the preceding chapter 4. Even though God remains on His throne, He is in trouble and all of the constant praise to Him has ceased. Instead, now a pervasive mourning has spread throughout heaven, as seen in the revelator’s response, “I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” (Rev. 5:4).

But, suddenly, unexpectedly, a cry goes out to the heartbroken kingdom, “We’ve found a ransom for our King!” “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Rev. 5:5).

The Father is saved! Who could fight the allegations brought against Him? No one else but the Prince. “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.” (Rev. 5:6).

This scene, at the start of Revelation, explains the outcome of the rest of the Revelation, a revelation of the Father, which He gave to Christ to give to John. The character of God bound up is pictured as a book in His hand sealed with seven seals, impossible to open, even by God Himself. Therefore, His Son must be the only one to set God free.

After the 7th seal is opened, and that last opening with its seven trumpets is almost fulfilled, the scene in chapter ten pre-empts the final developments of the judgment in favor of the King. The chapter 10 vision pre-empts the last trumpet heralding the acquittal of God in its victory cry from the Potentate and Vicegerent, divine Father and Son.

“If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.” (Deut. 25:1). Revelation, chapter ten opens after almost completed are the long trial of many millennia between God and the temporary reign of His adversarial prosecutor. At the cross and during 1800 years that follow, with Satan’s fighting it at every step and persecuting its disciples, the Father is proven just, and His enemy unjust. This is the “the mystery of God, as He did announce the glad tidings to His bondmen the prophets,” “that there should be time no longer: but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.” (Rev. 10:6,7 KJV).

It was by seeing this acquittal of their Creator and King in innocence, 6,000 years in advance, that set off heaven’s praises once again.

“And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne.
And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:7-14).

This great controversy, the conflict of the ages, is the basis of the everlasting gospel of Revelation. It encompasses the atonement of Christ and His cross, but goes beyond its provision for fallen man. It also provided the argument for the Father’s release from condemnation by a demonic prosecution, and condemned sin and Satan. Christ demonstrated the true character of God, not only to satisfy the great King, but to prove Him true to all heaven, for all eternity. When His Father was satisfied with His sacrifice for unworthy humanity and in the utter and everlasting expulsion of sin, then He raised His Son from the grave. It was the resurrection of Christ that told of the Father’s approval that his Son’s death accomplished a full destruction of Lucifer’s deeply convoluted and sinister prosecution against God and His Constitution, His holy and impeccable Law.

It was Christ’s determined cooperation in God’s plan to redeem men to the nth degree of sin, so that there could never be a sinner, however stained with sin and accusation by Satan, no matter how filthy the life’s record, who could not be covered by Christ’s mercy. It was all of this that permitted God to raise His Son from death and call His propitiation a success. And in His victory in our behalf, the Son also gave the victory to His Father, also.

So the message went out to the world, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21).

That atonement for man now would be applied to each individual sinner who was shamed and humbled and sorrowful to God and to his fellow man. The atonement would reconcile God to man in his heart through justification, and in his character through the sanctification of his life. This work would continue to slowly clean up the human race until the finale of atonement, which was prefigured in Israel’s Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16.

All through the year sacrifices were man and sins confessed, and atoned for. “[The priest] shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.” (Lev. 1:4). But at the end of the year the daily atonements needed to be cleansed as well; those sins defiled the sanctuary and the sanctuary needed to be atoned for.

“And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.
And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.
And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.
And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar …
For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.…
And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.
And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year.” (Lev. 16:16-20,30,33-34).

This final day of the priestly year, the day of judgment for Israel, explains the judgment of Daniel 7:9-14 and all that appears in Revelation. Everything leading up to the 7th trumpet of chapter 11, the judgment scene of chapter 14, the seven last plagues of chapter 16 when no one can enter the temple (Rev. 15:8; cf Lev. 16:17) , and the scenes of chapters 17 through 19.

The everlasting gospel is about the Father, His exoneration by His Son’s advocacy, and by the Son’s work of putting His Father’s character into His redeemed human race, of whom it is written, “in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God;” “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: 5,4).

Christ, the true and only vicar, “must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.” (1Cor. 15:25). The final vindication of God in His people is soon to come, for the hour of His judgment began in 1844.

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Father had to vomit

“And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.” (Lev. 18:25).

Our Creator has built into the human frame a wonderful resource for object lessons. Jesus made use of this resource in all of His teachings. He put into the human body His image, which is His Father’s image. This makes us special, not by way of anything we’ve done, but simply by inheritance.

One of our built-in revelations of the Father is in the vomit reflex. Probably thousands of times each day around planet Earth, people eat something that upsets their stomach. They try to cope with the agony and hope to wait it out. They don’t want to vomit because vomiting tastes so horrible, so they wait in the hope that their body can resolve the upsetness by its own metabolism.

But, at length, the stomach having received no relief, the undesirable measure must be invoked. So, the sufferer gets a large bowl, and puts his mouth over it; yet often nothing happens. As badly as he wants to expel the poison in his tummy, his stomach cannot relieve itself. It has no will of its own; the brain must give it the command to regurgitate, but the brain remembers the revolting taste of vomit. The stomach needs an advocate for the brain.

So the man tries to encourage the stomach in its regurgitation reflex by coughing or dry heaving. This may or may not overcome the mind’s regret of the soon-coming bad taste in the mouth and move the stomach to heave up its putrid contents.

But if that doesn’t work, then the owner must put a wooden depressor or his finger down his throat to create a gagging reflex which is part of the whole vomit sequence, and then the signal goes to the stomach to throw up and rid itself of the substance that was wreaking havoc to the whole body.

Sin is selfishness. It uses others; it is wholly opportunistic. It feeds on others without reciprocating. Everything and everyone around it is nothing more than a host to live off of. Furthermore, it’s a disease that saps the vitality and leaves nothing in return; it’s a tapeworm that lives to starve its host. Without the constant supply from the donor, sin dies; but until its death it draws incessantly from all around, killing them and then moving on to more victims, leaving a wide swath of desolation. “Destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known.” (Rom. 3:16,17). They are takers and not givers, not even thank-you givers. Sin makes men “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, … unthankful, unholy,” “without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” (2Tim. 3:2;Rom. 1:31).

God hates sin. It has no place in His thoughts or His character or His will; and it has no place in His kingdom of saints. Its entrance has created the most intense turmoil to Him who is infinitely pure and self-forgetful. His soul has raged quietly since iniquity sprung up in the heart of its very first victim, Lucifer. God has shifted His government into high gear in response to its presence in His kingdom. His living room, the throne of the universe, has turned into a command and control room for battle, a war room, a damage control central, a triage unit for emergency surgery and decontamination, a sanctuary to quarantine infinite holiness and keep the pristine sinlessness and perfection of heaven untouched and uninfected by the spiritual virus of selfishness, to stanch the spread of rebellion.

Earth is situated in His front yard, just down the way in the galaxy we share. The presence of sin on Earth, right on front row of His auditorium, is an inescapable grief that loads Him down with a perpetual wracking pain. Human thought can never comprehend the infinite abhorrence and loathing that self-centered existence thrusts before Him. Sin is revoltingly unnatural to His creation, yet He must live in sin’s din, its stench, its horror.

But as much as God hates sin, He cannot stop wanting to be with His human carriers of the filthy disease. He loves them. So God has been bound in self-made torment by keeping our poisonous race alive. Between His loathing of sin and His desire to keep His faulty human race, this conflict, this infinite tension only the Son of God could understand. God’s human race is so precious to Him that He designed a way to reclaim them. Those who would choose can be reclaimed and reinstated after He had thrust them from His sight. But, far from an easy venture, He has devised the means “that His banished be not expelled from Him.” (2Sam. 14:14).

The plan for man’s salvation required God’s beloved Son to take the form of man which God could not look upon without convulsing in infinite nausea, lamentations, mourning, and woe. Were it not for the great desire to have us back in His bosom, He would not have let His Son forever lose “the body of heaven in his clearness” (Ex. 24:10). In man’s form the Son would intervene in resolving the King’s overwhelming pain. The Father could not self-medicate or doctor Himself to reconciliation with sin. But by His Son, the only human His Father could trust and rest in, Christ brought His Father to where He could safely void His kingdom of the children He loved but who preferred the lust for sin over the love for holiness and purity—a difficult judgment that required an advocate. The Son took upon Himself the work of restoring His character in all the sinners who chose to be humbled and to repent. He took the Father’s infinite nausea toward these repentant humbled ones, the Father then vomited out His Son who dwelt in human nature, expelling His most treasured Child, His own flesh, His own soul, and expelling execrable sin with Him.

Yet, He could expel His Son from Himself but only so far, though it was far enough to destroy the sin that His detested human form represented, when He destroyed His Son’s life. By the death, the perfect, sinless death of His Son, going down into unconsciousness full of forgiving love, the Father finished His grievous nausea of the human race. He was satisfied by His Son’s character while clothed in abhorrent humanity, and the King was finally relieved of the toxic existence of sin.

Christ’s perfection and love answered every horrific ramification brought to life by the birth of sin in the human race. The wrath of God on His Son was His retching of all His sorrow for sin’s damage to His kingdom, especially to His most precious fallen humanity. His casting off of His beloved Son finished, and peace restored to His mind, He saw fit to raise His Son up to existence again; and then, once back in His arms, to pour out grace upon His new humanity from His relieved and restored heart.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gethsemane, The oil press

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1Jn. 3:1-4).

Last night, the church watched part of a series on Christ’s life called, “Tracing the footsteps of Jesus.” Last night’s episode was entitled, “The oil press.” This series carries its audience through the life of Christ as portrayed in the gospels and as revealed in archeology and the actual scenery of today’s Israel. Last night’s part of the series covered Gethsemane, which means “oil press” in the Aramaic language.

The director/narrator of the series, Pastor Tony Moore, spoke mostly of Christ’s burden for His disciples’ unpreparedness to lead the church and their unreadiness to survive the great shaking of their Master’s arrest and His submission to brutal execution. These were tremendous burdens on the Son of God; but the greatest burden which He began to back away from for fear of its eternal separation from His Father, was the accepting of infinite wrath from His Father for the sin of humanity, for whom He had become surety. “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.” (Matt. 26:37,38).

This exceeding sorrow was the lion’s share of the distress that pressed upon the Messiah that night. He must stand before an assaulted, insulted King of glory and feel the full extent of His Father’s indignation toward sinners. He who had known the infinite load by the presence of sin that bound the Father down like a captured animal; He who had ever empathized but had never fully comprehended His Father’s grief; He who grew up in His Father’s presence as a tender plant, who had never for an instant offended God, must now be the receiver of all His Father’s fury against sin, so that humanity could escape the Sodom and Gomorrah eternal destruction.

The Prince of peace, who had known only joy throughout all the days of eternity and on earth, must for the first time know what it is to have all joy taken away. The chastisement of our peace, the grinding anxiety that comes from the loneliness and separation from the Lifegiver, the darkness and depression that sinners live with as the result of serving sin and Satan—Jesus drank it all. That bitter gall and wormwood that comes from imbibing the traditions of men which exalt the human and hide the divine character, and from worshiping Satan through our idols and gods of this world; all of that bitter gall and wormwood Christ accepted. “He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39).

The spiritual torment goaded the sinless Savior, strangling His soul, pressing the hope and strength out of Him. The stress was so great that His brain began to physically break down, as the blood vessels burst, blood seeping out of His pores, and a stroke felt soon-coming. Without hope and without God, the crushing load of total deprivation upon Him was overwhelming.

He could have abandoned this punishment of hell. One word to His Father would have spared Him, “I can’t do this, Father…I can’t live without You! Please take Me out of this desolation and restore to Me Thy free Spirit. Let Me have Your favor again. Take Me home to the joy and perfection of Your throne.” Instead, He forfeited His right to eternity with His Father and, “went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” (Matt. 26:42). And finally, without any support from His closest friends, feeling totally alone in the universe, without hope that anyone would appreciate what He was going through for them, “He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” (Matt. 26:44). His soul lived the scripture, “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me.” (Isa. 63:3).

But, as much as He craved His Father’s comforting fellowship, He also loved the human race that had been captivated by His Father’s adversary. We were lost and disposed to God’s forth-coming wrath, unless He would right then take our place in hellfire. It was now or never to have another opportunity. The Son of God was in a strait between to necessities. He was forced into one or the other difficulty. “I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart [from this fire], and to be with [My Father]; which is far better:
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh [in the fire] is more needful for you.” (Phil. 1:23,24). He took the harder one, and it made all the difference—for Him, for His Father, for the angelic hosts and unfallen worlds, and for us who come to Him for His forgivenness and acceptance.

Having assumed His Father’s full wrath, He matched it with infinite mercy. Now, there is nothing the accuser can say against His word of pardon to anyone needing it; He has earned full authority to forgive the deepest sin, the most degraded sinner.

Another even greater issue also riding upon His sacrifice: He would reveal His Father’s true character that Satan had assassinated, accusing Him of self-gratification, self-exaltation, and tyrannical despotism as possessor of absolute power and authority. Sweeping away forever Satan’s claims, the Prince of the covenant would unveil to the universe the actual nature of the King of peace—self-sacrificing love and grace. And the guilt of libel and perjury would be firmly placed upon Satan. Soon we will join in the glad strains, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,...“Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:12,13).

“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (Jn. 1:12).

“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” (Ps. 103:11-13).

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” (1Jn. 3:1).

All who behold the willing substitution of the Savior are called the sons and daughters of God. He calls them His children because the efforts of His Son’s sacrifice transformed their soul. They were humbled; pride was struck from them. Their nature was changed from self-serving to self-sacrificing, from self-exalting to self-deprecating, from self-indulging to self-denying, from half-hearted self-sufficiency to blameless and harmless sons of God. Therefore the world knows us not because it is estranged to godliness and selflessness.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” (1Jn. 3:2,3).

All whom the Spirit of God has transformed are never fully sure of their submission to their Master’s example, but they do crave His acceptance and receive the Spirit’s confirmation. So, the work of the new disciple is to purify himself in preparation for the day his Lord returns. They want to be acceptable and perfect in the beauty of holiness.

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1Jn. 3:4).

They never forget the Law of God. While God’s salvation through His Son’s cross greatly emphasizes the joy of His grace because of their new humility, their humility can never lose their obligation to honor the Law of their Deliverer. They are not under the law; but those who lose their obligation have denied the obvious duty of obedience to their Deliverer, a duty that comes with Christ’s power in their behalf to free them from sin and Satan. If this happens, they have fallen from grace and are serving Satan. They have lost their freedom in Christ to live under grace and they return to the scourging discipline of living under the law. Whether it is the law of moral behavior or the law of sin, it’s all the law of sin and they live under a galling yoke, owning a nature that cannot be subject to the Law of God because Satan is reinstated to the throne of their soul with unfettered jurisdiction over them.

But he who purifies himself in the hope of his Master’s returning, will continue in the first confidence in Christ, even though the work of sanctification is for a lifetime. He will rest in Christ’s full atonement in Gethsemane and on the cross. No man will be able to take him out of God’s hands, and he will be able to say on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord, and we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation!”

“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.”— D’Aubigne, London ed., b. 12, ch. 2.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Unthankful, unholy

“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” (Lk. 17:26,27).

God delivered Israel from hard bondage. The idolatry of Egypt which the early, small group of Jacob’s children had eyed from his camp in Canaan now swallowed up their children’s children; and the careless life, “the good life,” free of the restrictions of the law of Abraham’s God, now turned on them and gave them the taste of its real character. But, after generations of oppression they decided they needed the God of their fathers, and eighty years later they truly worshipped God and their deliverance happened.

The Lord wanted to bring them into His goodly land but they were corrupted by the wickedness they had adopted from Egypt, so He proved to them their unpreparedness and brought them to the wilderness to hear His lessons and be sanctified.

Leviticus 18 expresses one of the lessons to prepare them. “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God.
After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.
Ye shall do My judgments, and keep Mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God.
Ye shall therefore keep My statutes, and My judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.” (Lev. 18:1-5).

Depravities which the world commonly practiced was then prohibited, as listed in verses 6-23: that is, family in-breeding; infant human sacrifices to Molech; homosexuality/lesbianism; bestiality. They almost read like today’s newspaper from any modern American city. Then came the Lord’s final warning to the tribes of Israel,

“Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
Ye shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)
That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.
For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
Therefore shall ye keep Mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God.” “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Lev. 18:24-30;19:2).

Holiness was what the Lord wanted for them; otherwise, they would be vomited out of his land for poisoning the special gift to them from the depths of His big heart that filled heaven.

We have a description of the Canaanites which He spewed out before the children of Israel. Here is a first-hand account with the Israelite Danites. “In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there…. Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.” (Jdg. 18:1,2,7). Their immorality and child-sacrifices not even considered wickedness, the current inhabitants went about life polluting it oblivious to the insult they gave the holy Creator who owned the land He was leasing them and who was forced to watch their shameful lifestyle. Sudden destruction came upon them as God had commanded Israel to execute.

Aside from the animal lust and rampant illicit sexuality of Sodom, Gomorrah and their neighboring towns which finally brought down upon them a cosmic cataclysm, the carelessness and presumption toward Heaven’s longsuffering by these luxury cities of the lush plain is described by the prophet in Babylon. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before Me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” (Eze. 16:49,50).

After Nebuchadnezzar’s overturning of the nations with strict law enforcement, the nations quickly returned to their former life of idolatrous ease and spiritualism, of the resulting forgetfulness of righteousness and evil toward others, especially toward the Jews, the nation which had been afflicted more than any other during the Chaldean strafing. “I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.” (Zech. 1:15).

The fallen human nature gravitates to the easy life, the good life, the sinful life. Even when we see their innervating effects, as society dissolves from its firm former health of law and brotherly love into a societal mush of pervasive self-indulgence, if not under the control of the power of God, society persists in chasing after the life of selfish ease. The voices cease against the deluded pursuit after self-centered happiness. Even though good, hard labor teaches us that “working with [our] hands the thing which is good, [so] [we] may have to give to him that needeth,” (Eph. 4:28) will self-evidently end in blessing and a glory that resounds with every chord in our hearts made after the image of God, yet we can still be attracted away from health and wholesomeness toward excitement and wickedness. The mystery of iniquity! The ease-filled life caused terrible wreckage to Kings David and Nebuchadnezzar, both finally enjoying some intoxicating semi-retirement at the top of their careers; but, in their flush of pride, they were incapable to refrain from relaxing their consciences.

“And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.” (2Sam. 11:2).
“At the end of twelve months he [Nebuchadnezzar] walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Dan. 4:29,30).

All that they had accomplished for building up an empire of law and prosperity were immediately swept away and their kingdoms lost their fear of God.

Israel never fulfilled its great purpose that God had planned for them, and, although they believed with all their hearts that Israel was protected by Jehovah and could never end, divine retribution finally came in terrible majesty.

“In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger:
For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.…
And they rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.…
And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight.” (2Ki. 17:612,15,20).

He did to them as He had forewarned Moses in Leviticus 18 and 26 and repeated in Deuteronomy 28 and 29, which He had faithfully inscribed into their sacred library to be perpetually read. But, they came into the land of promise so very different in character than they ended up. Then, they knew God and His law; then, they knew their connection with their holy forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. But, by the time they were swept away they had completely lost their identity to their holy forebears and their sacred experience with Jehovah.

Sacred history is repeating. Protestantism was freed from Roman ecclesiastical oppression. Darkness had densely overspread Christianity. The gospel was hidden away, corruption ran rampantly among the nations, and persecution upon the Reformers. Finally, Providence graciously opened the door to sea discovery and an escape for the Protestants. “The serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” (Rev. 12:15,16). The shores of the new continent would provide refuge for the battle-scarred and weary children of the Reformation. Later, their descendents won the freedom of sovereignty and of worship and full separation from Rome; but the glorious prospects of endless tracts of land and natural resources stole away their attraction to whole-hearted service to the God who gave them this abundant refuge flowing with milk and honey, privacy and unprecedented freedom.

Many phrases of the Bible became idioms built right into their conversational language. Certain it is that they originally obeyed their God’s injunction, “These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which He sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His name.
Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;
(For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.” (Deut. 6:6-15).

They were warned. From every pulpit the Bible was preached. They all knew its warning messages were to be taken seriously. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Tim. 3:16,17). In those early days even the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments were their inheritance bequeathed from their forefathers from the great Reformation. The whole Bible had been their treasure and watchword in oppressive Europe, but now its voice was increasingly fading. Jesus, their Lord had warned the enemies of the gospel, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36,37). These words had pointed them in the direction of true life. But, their conversations more and more characterized worldly affairs, and less and less hunger and thirst for righteousness and love of Christ.

They all knew the Scriptures, and God blessed them with innocence and a wonderful moral strength. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Prov. 3:5-10). But now, stealing upon Protestantism could be laid the eulogy that had been given to the apostatizing fourth century Christianity, “Lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” (Rev. 6:5,6).

After 200 years of colonial rugged life, the warnings concerning the spewing out Israel for apostasy, which the Protestants increasingly were refusing to read, came to them as a judgment that was forced upon their ears. “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.” (Rev. 3:17,16).

Then the new light of Jesus’ soon-coming second advent was proclaimed, after earthly interests for many generations had left them without any inclination to heed it. So long had it been since the denominations of America had heard the voices of warning, appeals to the heart, and calls for reformation that they were completely dead in sins and God’s grace was unknown to them. Few who heard the Millerites’ message of Christ’s coming had ever trembled before God’s word. Judgment day on them had arrived.

“Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 3:1-5).

As idolatry had slipped in under Solomon’s radar, likewise had it done so without the recognition of the children of the Reformation.

Now Protestant America is overrun by the same wickedness that caused ancient Israel to be swept way. Do not the following scriptures accurately describe the United States, the land which God had at one time given for a refuge to Protestants? “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom. 1:28-32).

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Tim. 3:1-7).

“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
[still] neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” (Rev. 9:20,21).

God rules in the philosophy of history—if a nation will obey His laws then He will bless and uplift them. “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.
For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, saying,
Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
Then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers.” (Jer. 33:15-21).

“Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name:
If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.
Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.
And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.
And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.” (Jer. 31:35-40).

But, let us never presume that those promises of God aren’t conditional. Its true that the Lord’s promises are not half-hearted and wishy-washy, but “all the promises of God in [Christ] are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2Cor. 1:20). Nevertheless, if those to whom He offers the precious gift of God turn on Him and “kick” Him (Deut. 32:15), then His promise to sadly remove His gift from them is also yea and Amen.

“At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
If it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” (Jer. 18:7-10).

“Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” (Rom. 11:20-22).

They didn’t fear God and give Him glory for all His blessings to them, and now America and Protestants are just about to step over the threshold into perdition—socially, religiously, militarily, economically, and governmentally. They are only a few steps away from giving this country to Rome and repudiating their Constitution and Protestantism, when God will cut them off. His message for us today in the 21st century, “I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me? For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord God.” (Jer. 2:21,22).

“[Lord of hosts] hast brought forth Thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror;
And hast given them this land, which Thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;
And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not Thy voice, neither walked in Thy law;they have done nothing of all that Thou commandedst them to do: therefore Thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them.” (Jer. 32:21-23).

“Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jer. 25:9-11).

“O [Protestant Americans], to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.” (Dan. 4:31,32). “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” (Isa. 60:2).

The great river Euphrates flowing into ancient Babylon symbolized to their proud and self-serving minds the whole world’s wealth flowing into their empire. But, as endless as that supply of luxuriant living appeared to them, overnight it dried up and their boasted Babylon was overthrown and destroyed.

Coming to disobedient Protestant America is the total loss of all that they have enjoyed so carelessly, unthankful to God who gave it all to their Reformation, Bible-loving fathers and mothers. A massive global redistribution of wealth has already begun which will leave Americans wretched in all respects. The Mark of the Beast will reign and only those who will fully deny all allegiance to the Christ of the Bible and abandon obedience to God’s holy Law will be able to rejoin society’s new structure and again partake somewhat of the old good life.

At risk of loss will be all the conveniences of our current standard of living. There will be no more hot water and heat for cold weather or refrigeration and air conditioning for the summer; no more paper products, even toiletries; no more soap and toothpaste. There will be no more gasoline for cars, or the money to keep them in repair. Grocery stores will be limited to special costumers, as will rest stops on interstate highways.

The global socialist program will create a global immigration/emmig-ration movement without sovereign borders to control it. Property/ homeowners of the first world will be forced to share their properties with strangers who qualify as the poor class. Yet, only the owners will be responsible for the mortgages and real estate taxes and utilities. Theft, rape, murder, and abuses of all types will be commonplace.

Only the Protestants who have fortified their minds with the words of scripture and have reproduced the character of Christ in theirs through His grace, will stand through the last great crisis. Everyone else will be filled with uncontrollable rage; “their faces shall be as flames.” (Is. 13:8). Satan will have full control of them then; they will have the stamp of the beast on their characters. “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:10,11).

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.” (Jer. 51:58). All who will resist the laws of the new world-wide regime will be punished. All who will dissent, picket, or riot will be imprisoned. All who will preach against it in the 4th angel power of Revelation 18 will be persecuted to the ends of the earth.

“Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the Lord, and because of the words of His holiness.
For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right.
For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in My house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord.
Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord.
And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused My people Israel to err.
I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto Me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.” (Jer. 23:9-15).

“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! saith the Lord.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; Ye have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.
And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jer. 23:1-6).

“Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard My words,
Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jer. 25:8-11).

The “time of trouble, such as never was,” is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God. “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job” were in the land, “as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14:20. Great Controversy, p. 622.

It will be justice upon the arrogant Protestants for living so carelessly in God’s holy refuge, enjoying it oblivious of Him and defiling it with their lusts and self-indulgence. And the tribulation will be just what His people will need to purify them and make them ready for His return in power and glory.

“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. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” (Isa. 13:11,12).

Monday, March 05, 2012

The outside activity

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

“The offence of the cross.” (Gal. 5:11).

“As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Rom. 9:33).

When I was in the Navy we had high expectations to meet. We had hundreds of standard operating procedures to follow, lots of equipment maintenance to keep up; we had leadership skills to know in order to keep the crew processional and motivated and focused on the mission. We had to operate our equipment effectively. There was much to accomplish, and many opportunities for failure.

Two basic motivations drove us to do our job right—the praise from success and the punishment for failure; “liberty” or the time off away from the ship as a reward for a job done well, or the removal or restricting of “liberty,” longer hours onboard, as discipline for a job done poorly. And we would periodically have inspections by the Squadron office or higher commands to ensure our honesty in compliance to the Navy standards in all areas of expertise, listed above.

Normally, throughout the Navy, the commanding officers and their junior officers and chiefs keep enough pressure on the crews of the ships that good order and discipline remain healthy, and the rewards and threats of punishment keep the men on task, and the various commands safely operate and accomplish their missions. Normally, if there is a weak link in the chain of command from the officers down to the seamen, and signs of a failure in some area of performance begins to show, that person will be disciplined, along with his subordinates who were learning to fail because of him.

This may sound unfair to the subordinates, but that’s the Navy way and it’s probably that way in all the military services. The reason the discipline is so severe is because problems need to be fully corrected, whether the discipline is given through a captain’s mast or a non-judicial punishment, or a letter of instruction, all of which remain in the person’s service record and affect future promotion and pay raises. Each problem must be fixed in-house. If the problems are not fixed onboard the alternative is much graver.

That alternative is for the Squadron to order an outside military activity to go onboard the problem ship, to investigate where the failure happened, and to give recommendations for discipline and for doing the job or jobs correctly. This is a very serious matter. It says to the captain that he has failed at the Navy’s trust in him to command a ship and crew, as well as did whatever department or division of the crew that were the primary cause of the ship’s failure in its mission. In fact, the whole crew suffers even though only a part of the ship causes the outside activity to get involved.

The involvement of the outside activity means that the ship couldn’t do its job at keeping itself straight, so someone else must do it for them. It means that good order and discipline collapsed, that the command climate failed, that in-house discipline ceased. The “help” from the outside activity means punishment, shame, condemnation to the ship and all leaders personally involved: and the shame is mostly concentrated at the top of the chain of command. That is, the captain will never move up in the Navy, but remain at his rank until he retires.

Nobody likes to see this happen. The squadron commander personally knows each commanding officer in his fleet and hates to punish any one of them. Discipline is a terrible ordeal; nevertheless, it must take place.

So help doesn’t always feel good. It can be very painful. It leaves scars for life. But, even though an individual member feels the shame and his failure is never forgotten by himself, by his peers, or by the higher organization, at least everyone under his care remains safe and the larger organization, i.e. the U.S. Navy, can accomplish its work. Any company or corporation, any branch of government or religious denomination must abide by the same rules as the military services. Without the effort and energy it takes to correct failures, sooner or later catastrophic failure happens, and the whole organization collapses, never to return to its former strength.

God has His government. Its rules of operation are austere. He cannot allow for any rebellion or His kingdom cannot stand. But His favorite creation fell into disobedience and threatened the eventual collapse of His entire kingdom if He did not destroy the human race before it spread its evil influence around the universe. If He just overlooked the disobedience because He had pity, then before long all good order and discipline would have been dissolved and disorder would have run rampant everywhere; and Satan would have triumphed.

So God immediately stepped in with His plan of salvation for Earth. He and His Son would assume responsibility for Adam’s failure if Adam and his family would respond to this sign of God’s goodness toward them. But forever afterward, God would require the right to be intimately involved in their affairs, to give them the counsel and guidance that would be needed to restore them to their former glory. His help might be viewed a punishment, as permanent shame and humbling, but our Mediator, Christ our surety, must be our outside activity to help us out of situation that of ourselves we were helpless to get out of.

The propitiation of Christ forever brands humility into all who accept it because it proclaims to the world and to the universe that those who take part of it are not strong enough, smart enough, moral enough, good enough. They are failures at everything. This message to sinners is the offence of the cross. It is only for the few who will submit to its demolition of the sky-high human pride. Having a Mediator is a glorious provision, but the ramifications in our humbling are broad and deep. If we accept His mercy and are spared destruction, then we must also accept the humiliation that goes with the package of salvation. And happily accepting humiliation will mark the redeemed throughout endless ages. Thus, they will be like Jesus who humbled Himself and became a man of no reputation. Their humiliation will never be looked upon as a grievous chore, but a badge of honor. Thus, “His name shall be in their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:4).

God should not suffer alone because of us. And He won’t. In His omniscience, He made provision for us to be united with Him in His suffering our sinfulness, for us to be yoked up forever with our Redeemer, together in shame and humility.

Once redeemed, His kingdom is forever safe and we are forever humbled. And that’s the way it should be. The offence of the cross will remain forever in a race who glory in their humiliation and in God’s grace. And sin will never rise up the second time. Amen!

Source and Aim of True Education

Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.
The source of such an education is brought to view in these words of Holy Writ, pointing to the Infinite One: In Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom.” Colossians 2:3. “He hath counsel and understanding.” Job 12:13.
The world has had its great teachers, men of giant intellect and extensive research, men whose utterances have stimulated thought and opened to view vast fields of knowledge; and these men have been honored as guides and benefactors of their race; but there is One who stands higher than they. We can trace the line of the world’s teachers as far back as human records extend; but the Light was before them. As the moon and the stars of our solar system shine by the reflected light of the sun, so, as far as their teaching is true, do the world’s great thinkers reflect the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Every gleam of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the world.
In these days much is said concerning the nature and importance of “higher education.” The true “higher education” is that imparted by Him with whom “is wisdom and strength” (Job 12:13), out of whose mouth “cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6.
In a knowledge of God all true knowledge and real development have their source. Wherever we turn, in the physical, the mental, or the spiritual realm; in whatever we behold, apart from the blight of sin, this knowledge is revealed. Whatever line of investigation we pursue, with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all. The mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate.
In this communion is found the highest education. It is God’s own method of development. “Acquaint now thyself with Him” (Job 22:21), is His message to mankind. The method outlined in these words was the method followed in the education of the father of our race. When in the glory of sinless manhood Adam stood in holy Eden, it was thus that God instructed him.
In order to understand what is comprehended in the work of education, we need to consider both the nature of man and the purpose of God in creating him. We need to consider also the change in man’s condition through the coming in of a knowledge of evil, and God’s plan for still fulfilling His glorious purpose in the education of the human race.
When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. “God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27), and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image—the more fully reflect the glory of the Creator. All his faculties were capable of development; their capacity and vigor were continually to increase. Vast was the scope offered for their exercise, glorious the field opened to their research. The mysteries of the visible universe—the “wondrous works of Him which is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16)—invited man’s study. Face-to-face, heart-to-heart communion with his Maker was his high privilege. Had he remained loyal to God, all this would have been his forever. Throughout eternal ages he would have continued to gain new treasures of knowledge, to discover fresh springs of happiness, and to obtain clearer and yet clearer conceptions of the wisdom, the power, and the love of God. More and more fully would he have fulfilled the object of his creation, more and more fully have reflected the Creator’s glory.
But by disobedience this was forfeited. Through sin the divine likeness was marred, and well-nigh obliterated. Man’s physical powers were weakened, his mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed. He had become subject to death. Yet the race was not left without hope. By infinite love and mercy the plan of salvation had been devised, and a life of probation was granted. To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life.
Love, the basis of creation and of redemption, is the basis of true education. This is made plain in the law that God has given as the guide of life. The first and great commandment is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” Luke 10:27. To love Him, the infinite, the omniscient One, with the whole strength, and mind, and heart, means the highest development of every power. It means that in the whole being--the body, the mind, as well as the soul—the image of God is to be restored.
Like the first is the second commandment—”Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Matthew 22:39. The law of love calls for the devotion of body, mind, and soul to the service of God and our fellow men. And this service, while making us a blessing to others, brings the greatest blessing to ourselves. Unselfishness underlies all true development. Through unselfish service we receive the highest culture of every faculty. More and more fully do we become partakers of the divine nature. We are fitted for heaven, for we receive heaven into our hearts.
Since God is the source of all true knowledge, it is, as we have seen, the first object of education to direct our minds to His own revelation of Himself. Adam and Eve received knowledge through direct communion with God; and they learned of Him through His works. All created things, in their original perfection, were an expression of the thought of God. To Adam and Eve nature was teeming with divine wisdom. But by transgression man was cut off from learning of God through direct communion and, to a great degree, through His works. The earth, marred and defiled by sin, reflects but dimly the Creator’s glory. It is true that His object lessons are not obliterated. Upon every page of the great volume of His created works may still be traced His handwriting. Nature still speaks of her Creator. Yet these revelations are partial and imperfect. And in our fallen state, with weakened powers and restricted vision, we are incapable of interpreting aright. We need the fuller revelation of Himself that God has given in His written word.
The Holy Scriptures are the perfect standard of truth, and as such should be given the highest place in education. To obtain an education worthy of the name, we must receive a knowledge of God, the Creator, and of Christ, the Redeemer, as they are revealed in the sacred word.
Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator— individuality, power to think and to do. The men in whom this power is developed are the men who bear responsibilities, who are leaders in enterprise, and who influence character. It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men’s thought. Instead of confining their study to that which men have said or written, let students be directed to the sources of truth, to the vast fields opened for research in nature and revelation. Let them contemplate the great facts of duty and destiny, and the mind will expand and strengthen.
Instead of educated weaklings, institutions of learning may send forth men strong to think and to act, men who are masters and not slaves of circumstances, men who possess breadth of mind, clearness of thought, and the courage of their convictions.
Such an education provides more than mental discipline; it provides more than physical training. It strengthens the character, so that truth and uprightness are not sacrificed to selfish desire or worldly ambition. It fortifies the mind against evil. Instead of some master passion becoming a power to destroy, every motive and desire are brought into conformity to the great principles of right. As the perfection of His character is dwelt upon, the mind is renewed, and the soul is re-created in the image of God.
What education can be higher than this? What can equal it in value?
“It cannot be gotten for gold,
Neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir,
With the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it
And the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls:
For the price of wisdom is above rubies.” Job 28:15-18.
Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children. Godliness—godlikeness—is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress. He has an object to achieve, a standard to attain, that includes everything good, and pure, and noble. He will advance as fast and as far as possible in every branch of true knowledge. But his efforts will be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth.
He who co-operates with the divine purpose in imparting to the youth a knowledge of God, and molding the character into harmony with His, does a high and noble work. As he awakens a desire to reach God’s ideal, he presents an education that is as high as heaven and as broad as the universe; an education that cannot be completed in this life, but that will be continued in the life to come; an education that secures to the successful student his passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher grade, the school above.
E.G. White, Education, p. 13-19.