Tag Archives: Ten Commandments

Life in the Spirit.

13 Jan
By Joe Crews
Introduction
The greatest need of the church today is for a genuine spiritual revival and reformation. This is what true Christians have been praying for through the years – in the family circle, alone in the closet, and with the church body on Sabbath. There is a deep sense of inadequacy when we sit in a home giving a Bible study or stand before an audience where hundreds need to make a decision for Christ. We know that there is no human way to win a soul or convict of Truth. Only the Holy Spirit can really soften hearts for acceptance and stir the soul with conviction. So we pray as we reach out with weak faltering words that the power of God will break forth in that moment of sharing.
Sometimes, of course, we see the answer to those prayers. People are converted, the sick are raised up, and decisions are made for baptism. But why don’t we see it more often? Is this on-again, off-again witness of the Holy Spirit everything we can expect from God? Why doesn’t it happen every time we pray and claim the promises?
There are special seasons when our hearts burn within us, and we leave a prayer meeting rejoicing over the refreshing ministry of the Spirit. But how did God feel about that meeting? Was He able to accomplish His perfect will in that service? When the fullness of God’s power is revealed no one will go out to talk about it in tame, lifeless tones. Like a fire from heaven the Spirit will flash and illuminate from heart to heart until the earth itself will be lighted with the glory of it.
But why are we still waiting for the fulfillment of the promised Spirit in all its Pentecostal power? Probably not one knowledgeable Christian will contend that the fullness of that promise has been realized today. This is not to say that there have not been exciting glimpses and momentary revelations of that blessing which will bring all other blessing in its train. But hungry, longing Christians everywhere concede that we have only scratched the surface of God’s promises.
In fact, there is a general consensus that the church is standing on the threshold of its most unique, predestined mission. The “latter rain” of the Spirit is to provide an explosive entry into the final harvesting phase of the everlasting gospel. And if the exact time of that visitation is not known, there are scores of texts depicting the spiritual consequences of such a breakthrough.  Many believe that the “times of refreshing” have arrived already and that our own lack of faith and preparation has held back the baptism of the Holy Spirit in its final manifestation. When we read the scriptural promises of God’s willingness to work through His committed people there seems to be no doubt that the fault lies with us and not with Him.
The inspired description of our assigned role under the Holy Spirit leaves us almost breathless. Words and phrases are used which seem utterly fanatical and super-exaggerated. Our minds are boggled by the incredible scope of the promises which apply to the people of God right now. We blink our eyes and think there must be a mistake, or else there has to be some secret meaning or hidden reservation in the words. Again and again the Bible uses superlative expressions in defining the victorious experience of believers. God does not say that we can be conquerors; He says we can be “more than conquerors.” He doesn’t merely say we can be saved, but rather “saved to the uttermost.” He will not just cause us to triumph, but “always to triumph.” Do those words truly mean what they say?
I submit to you that God does not multiply euphonic phrases in order to make an impression. There is built-in, self-fulfilling power in every single promise of the Bible. No matter how extreme the text may sound to our ears, whatever is promised shall be precisely fulfilled as soon as we believe. No matter how impossible it may seem to be, we can believe because God says it.
Consider the extravagant nature of the promise in 2 Peter 1:3, 4. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” Please notice, first of all, that “divine power” is referring to the Holy Spirit. He has already been sent to continue the work Jesus did while here on the earth. The text does not say that the power “will give,” but “hath given” already. We do not need to look for some possible future supply of power. It is ours now for the asking and claiming. We simply need to possess our possessions!
But what has that divine power of the Holy Spirit already made available to us? The text says, “All things that pertain unto life and godliness.” Doesn’t that stagger your mind? It is like a blank check on the bank of heaven, isn’t it? It is not for material things like houses, cars, and lands, but it absolutely includes anything and everything you might need to live a godly life.
Have you longed for victory over sin, for sanctification, holiness, Christlikeness, purity, and perfection of character? It is included in the “all things” of this verse. And don’t try to reason away the words and make them say something besides what they say.
Faith Brings the Power
I repeat that this is a signed check from God drawn on the mighty, inexhaustible resources of the bank of heaven. God tells us to fill it in as to the amount. It is already signed and certified by Him. What a promise! But you might ask, “How is this check to be processed?” The next verse explains the cashing procedures. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Verse 4.
There it is! The power is in the promise itself. As soon as we believe it our lives may immediately begin to share in His divine nature. Can there be any higher privilege than to actually participate in the very life of our Lord Jesus? His omnipotence is joined to our finite weakness, and we are empowered to live out the victory He gained when “tempted in all points like as we are tempted.” We do not have to yield to corruptions and lusts of the world; we can “escape” them by claiming the “divine power” of that “divine nature.”
Many professed Christians cannot muster the faith to believe promises like this. They prefer to believe that our fallen natures are just too depraved to ever be totally victorious over sin, even through the power of the gospel. What a tragedy! They have to trust the words of Scripture to mean something besides what they actually say. In essence, they are magnifying the power of Satan over the power of God, and making it impossible to ever fully stop sinning.
Incredible Promises
Now consider with me one of the most extraordinary promises found anywhere in the counsels of God. “That he would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19.
It is that last phrase that we need to examine carefully. How could such a statement be true? I don’t begin to grasp the magnitude of those words. In fact, I seem to be standing on the shore of a vast restless ocean, watching the waves receding into infinity. To be filled with all the fullness of God is one of those unsearchable gems of Truth that we can only accept by faith. We will never be able to understand it, but we can believe it anyway.
What is all the fullness of God? Surely it includes His righteousness, His victory, and His divine nature. We can only begin to comprehend the scope of this promise. Apparently, He wants us to receive and share all that He has. As sons and daughters of God we belong to a royal family, and are fully entitled to participate in all its divine prerogatives.
But now let’s read the grand climax of this pyramid of promises in Ephesians 3. Paul writes, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Verse 20. And what is that power? The Holy Spirit, of course. When we analyze this verse our amazement increases.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful enough if God just promised to give us all that we asked for? Surely such an open-ended offer could be limited only by our reluctance to ask. But our wonderful, beneficent Father assures us in this text that He is willing to give “above” all that we ask. He must realize that we are too easily satisfied, and would not be bold enough in our petitions. In fact, He not only will exceed “all” our requests for spiritual blessings, but will bestow “abundantly” above all we could ask. But that is not all! In the fervency of His love for us, God promises to do “exceeding abundantly above all” we could ask. What a dramatic parade of powerful adjectives to describe the spiritual riches so easily available to all of us. And you could add twenty or a hundred more colorful words and it would not make the promise any more certain than it now stands.
If you feel that nothing could make this text more fantastic than what we have already observed, take another look. Two more little words in the verse make it the most astonishing in all the Bible – “or think.” Not only will He supply “exceeding abundantly above all” we can ask, but even above all we could imagine in our wildest dreams. Unbelievable! Sometimes we have deep spiritual longings which are too intense to express. We fear it would be presumptuous to even utter the words. Yet, our loving God desires to surpass the most profound reaching out of the soul for spiritual help. We stand awed and ashamed in the light of His extravagant provision for our needs. What a Saviour!
A Taste of Heaven Now
At this point it would seem wise to read the Bible definition of the Spirit’s sealing work upon the soul. One of the shortest and most succinct descriptions is found in Ephesians 1:13, 14. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance. ” There it is in four simple words! The sealing or filling of the Holy Spirit is the “earnest of our inheritance.” What does that mean? What is our inheritance? And, what is an earnest?
Simply speaking, heaven is our inheritance. That includes eternal life and fellowship with Jesus. This is our reward or inheritance which shall be fully realized when Jesus returns. But, in the meantime we may receive an “earnest” of that inheritance through the filling of the Spirit. An earnest is a down payment which constitutes a guarantee that the full amount will be paid when the job is done.
So, putting it all together, we have an astounding statement that heaven can begin right here on the earth while we wait for Jesus to come. Through the Spirit-filled life we may experience an actual foretaste of the immortal joys and thrills of being in the presence of our Saviour.
Someone may object that such heavenly bliss is reserved only for the redeemed, and that the Bible itself declares that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. But such fail to take into account the next verse which continues, “But God hath revealed them into us by His Spirit.” Verse 10.
In other words, through the divine anointing of the Holy Spirit we may now begin to experience a measure of that quality of life which is designated in the Bible as “eternal life.” What an exciting concept! Please keep in mind that we are still only talking about an advance deposit on the real thing, and heaven itself will be far in excess of anything we can experience here.
Purpose of the Latter Rain
But what is the purpose of this baptism of the Spirit’s power? We often hear it spoken of as the “times of refreshing,” the anointing, the latter rain, or the promise of the Spirit. The Scripture often uses the Middle Eastern terminology for the seed-sowing and harvesting. Soon after planting, a seasonal rain provided moisture for germination and initial growth. This was called the “early rain.” Later, near the time for harvest, another copious watering was referred to as the “latter rain.” Biblical writers adopted these ex- ressions to describe the visitation of the Holy Spirit upon the church in a dispensational sense. The “early rain” came at Pentecost to give impetus and vigor to the inaugural witness of the gospel. Another such prodigious outpouring is scheduled near the reaping of earth’s final soul harvest, just prior to Christ’s return.
Some may assume that the purpose of such an end-time bestowal of spiritual blessing is to provide victory over sin, preparatory to translation. But this is not the case. The truth is that no one will receive the “latter rain” who does not already have the victory over sin through the “early rain” deployment of power.
On an individual basis each Christian experiences his own Pentecost at the time of conversion. Under the strength of that spiritual baptism, power is available for complete sanctification. As we consider the purpose of the “latter rain” it becomes even more clear why separation from sin is required under the early rain (conversion) ministration.
Jesus enunciated clearly why the Spirit is needed in its fullness. “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8.
How interesting that the promised blessing has nothing to do with sensation or personal achievement. It is to qualify believers as witnesses. It is to provide power for them to tell something. A witness, of course, is someone who can personally verify an act or event. No judge would accept the testimony of a witness who had only second or third hand information to share.
What do we have to share from our personal experience which merits the mighty witness of the Spirit of God? I’m afraid that too many of God’s people need something to tell more than they need the power to tell it. They already have all the power they need to tell about their defeat and discouragement.
The Blessing of Abraham
One of the clearest texts in the New Testament gives an exact description of what we are required to know and experience before we can qualify as a Spirit-filled witness. The amazing mandate laid down in this verse identifies the only group who will receive the latter rain. “That the blessing of Abraham may come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:14.
A careful analysis of this verse reveals that only those who possess the “blessing of Abraham” will receive the “promise of the Spirit.” One thing is given (the blessing of Abraham) in order that we might receive another thing (the promise of the Spirit).
Since this is such a crucial verse we need to study it most carefully. What is the “promise of the Spirit”? We have already determined that it is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its fullness to empower us for witnessing. But, according to this text, one must first receive the “blessing of Abraham” in order to be baptized with the Spirit. Whatever that “blessing” includes it surely must be the most urgent need of every life. Here is an absolute requirement for every soul who aspires to being filled with the “latter rain” experience.
To understand the blessing of Abraham we must carefully read Romans 4:19-22. “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”
From these words we understand that the blessing of Abraham was righteousness by faith. Can we reduce that phrase to a more simple equation? Consider the promise God made to this aged patriarch and his 90-year-old wife. How could Sarah conceive and bear a son when the Scripture clearly states that her womb was dead? Both of them knew, beyond any question, that they were too old to have any children. It was a physical, biological impossibility for Sarah to become a mother. Yet, God had said she would bear a son!
What did Sarah finally do as doubts continued to assail her concerning the promise? She proposed to Abraham that he take Hagar, her handmaid, and try to have a son by her! If it worked, at least a part of God’s promise would be fulfilled. It seems that Sarah was trying to bail God out of a very embarrassing situation in which He had gotten Himself. Even if she couldn’t produce the child, it just might be that Abraham could be a father, and thus partially salvage the integrity of God.
As we all now recognize, Abraham did have a son by Hagar whose name was Ishmael, but did God ever acknowledge that son as the child of promise? Never. He came back to the old couple and reaffirmed His promise that they would have a baby. And this time they began to believe that if God said it, the miracle would have to take place. In simple, raw faith they stepped out on the promise as though it had already happened. And, by a creative act of God Sarah brought forth the son from whose descendants the Saviour of the world would be born.
Because of his absolute confidence in the Word of God – trusting it to be fulfilled against all odds – Abraham became the “father of the faithful.” God imputed to him credit for right-doing because he counted things that were not, as though they already existed.
This explains the “blessing of Abraham” as far as the patriarch was concerned, but what is it as far as we are concerned? We have learned from Galatians that none of us can receive the baptism of the Spirit unless we first experience the “blessing of Abraham,” or righteousness by faith, also.
How do we meet this precondition for the Holy Spirit baptism? Have we also had some incredible promises made to us? Indeed we have, and some are so extravagant that we struggle, like Sarah, to believe that they mean what they say.
One such promise is found in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What an unrestricted assurance! But how do we know that forgiveness has taken place? Only through faith in the promise. Like Abraham we must accept the Word of God as already accomplished, just because God said so. We refer to that faith transaction by the theological name “justification by faith.” It simply means that through repentance and confession we have been forgiven for all past sins, and have entered the new born-again relationship.
Justification and Sanctification Together
Now the question: Is this experience of justification by faith the same as righteousness by faith? The answer must be no. It is only a part of righteousness by faith, and so the two things are not exactly equivalent. The truth is that we all need more than just forgiveness for the past; we need power for the future also. There are more promises in the Bible, and they apply to victory over sin. For example: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy.” Jude 24.
What happens when we kneel in faith and claim the power to stop yielding to sin? God places a reservoir of strength in our life, and in that moment we can claim deliverance from any habit of sin. A long theological title has been attached to this experience by the scholars – sanctification. It simply means that God has now entered the life to impart power over the inherited and cultivated tendencies of the fallen nature. Like justification it is also received by faith in the promises.
Now we are ready to put these two faith processes together and get the true definition of righteousness by faith. When justification and sanctification unite to function in an ongoing love relationship with Christ, you see the “blessing of Abraham” in the full sense. Now you really have something to tell! And according to Paul you also qualify to receive the power to tell it.
If you meet someone who has not accepted Christ as Savior you can mightily bear witness to your own personal joy and assurance in Him. You can also give first-person witness to the simple steps which lead from death to life!
On the other hand, if you meet someone who is struggling with a personal weakness or habit, you can powerfully share the secret of claiming victory through the self-fulfilling promises. By experiential involvement in these two prerequisite relationships you are now ready to apply for the final step of Holy Spirit baptism. Please take note that this infilling also is received as “the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:14. This gives us a clear conception of how and when it is bestowed. It must come by promise, and it has to be by faith.
Immediately we can see that many modern churches have a distorted understanding of this subject. Those groups who demand some physical “evidence” of the baptism are not biblical. Faith and feeling are opposed to each other in this setting. The purpose of this anointing is not for sensation, but for service. To require some sensory or emotional feeling is to negate the explicit designation, “by faith.”
Is this failure to claim the gift of righteousness by faith responsible for the lack of power in the church today? To a very large extent it certainly is true. The Scriptures repeatedly assert that the Holy Spirit cannot dwell with those who are disobedient. “And we are his witnesses of these things and so also is the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” Acts 5:32.
The Spirit may convict sinners and draw them to repent, but there can be no ministry of witnessing power until the witness is thoroughly furnished with something to tell. And the Bible defines that something as justification and sanctification. Are there some who have received both of these qualifying experiences who still may not be filled with the promised power? Indeed, it is possible that some have not received simply because they have not asked. We are talking about a very special, specific gift which requires total surrender as well as total faith in asking. Let’s review the steps again which head up to this outpouring of power.
The first level of preparation for this divine anointing is to claim the gift of justification. At that time a measure of the Holy Spirit is supplied to the believer which makes it possible to overcome every inherited or acquired weakness. In the strength of that conversion experience (early rain) the second level of preparation is made possible – sanctification. This consists of appropriating the “early rain” power for Christian character perfection, and reflecting the righteousness of Christ fully. Both justification and sanctification are faith transactions.
Level number three involves an exercise of the same kind of faith for sharing with others the beautiful experiences of levels one and two. It consists of actually claiming the promised power to make our words convicting and fruitful. Nothing is more sterile than a testimony devoid of the Spirit of God, and nothing is more humbling than to see what God can do with the halting speech of a sincere, spirit-filled saint.
Recently a young minister friend told me a story that illustrates what God can and will do for us if we are willing to be used of the Spirit. Tony had been converted from Catholicism on the streets of New York, and almost immediately he came under an inescapable conviction to be a minister. With two small children and little money there seemed to be no possibility for Tony to attend college or seminary. Yet the call was so strong upon the tender heart of this newborn youth that he decided to step out in faith.
Before enrolling at a Christian college Tony promised the Lord that he would accept every opportunity to speak in front of an audience. He realized how much he needed the experience of thinking on his feet, and articulating his thoughts to a listening congregation.
Soon after moving his family into the college community, Tony learned that there were many small churches surrounding the campus, and that fledgling ministerial students tried their wings in those country chapels. It wasn’t very long before Tony was approached on a Friday afternoon with an invitation to preach in one of those churches. Although he had only the evening hours to prepare for the Sabbath appointment, Tony remembered his promise to seize every opportunity for speaking. So he accepted the appointment. He did his best to put a sermon outline together as he prayed and studied late into the night. But, alas, he was only able to produce notes for a ten minute message at the most. Hoping against hope that he might be able to pull some more thoughts into his sermon notes during the Sabbath School class study, Tony left early the next morning for the frightening rendezvous. As a very immature young Christian he had almost no previous experience in pulpit speaking and was almost paralyzed with fear that his ten minute sermon would be more humiliating than enlightening.
Arriving at the church, Tony slipped into one of the classrooms, hoping for a chance to blend with the group and study his meager notes during the lesson. But it was not to be. In the class that day was an obstreperous man who was creating turmoil. He constantly disputed points with the hard-pressed lady teacher and seemed to do everything possible to embarrass her. Tony spent much of the class time helping her fend off the man’s distracting and irrelevant attacks against the issues under discussion.
Afterward as he waited to walk onto the platform Tony’s mind was still whirling from the emotional confrontation, and even his brief sermon outline was not very clear in his thinking. With earnest prayer he committed himself to God and stepped up to the podium.
Somehow Tony struggled through the ten minutes of sermon notes, and just as he stood desperately groping for further words a loud anguished cry came from the audience. Looking down the center isle Tony saw that a man had fallen out of his seat at the end of the pew and was crawling on hands and knees toward the front of the church. He was weeping at the top of his voice, and his wife was trying in vain to pull him back toward his seat.
One quick glance identified the man as the relentless debater in the Sabbath School class. By then, between broken sobs, he was pleading that the church pray for him. “Your sermon has spoken to my heart and the Holy Spirit has convicted me of my sins. I’ve been breaking God’s law and now I want to make things right. Please pray for me.”
In a moment the congregation melted into tears also, and the meeting closed on a glorious note of victory as the audience joined hearts and hands to pray for the penitent seeker.
What an encouragement for a young preacher! Tony told me that he could not even remember a word he spoke that day. But God simply added the Holy Spirit to the stammering efforts of a surrendered heart, and a miracle resulted. When Tony returned to that church a year later he found that man serving as the head elder of the congregation.
Do you see now what a difference it makes to be filled with the Spirit? This is God’s will for every one of us and He has made it possible through the beautiful promise of Galatians 3:14. Reach out right now and fasten your faith on the blessing of Abraham. In the strength of that righteousness, imputed and imparted by faith, you may be empowered to speak words that will change lives.
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A Love That Transforms

1 Dec
Being in love changes everything.  For instance, a young lady was reading a large book for her university’s English literature course.  She found the whole thing very boring and could barely stay focused when reading it.  But then she met a striking young professor on campus, and they quickly fell in love.  Soon after, she realized her beloved was the author of the book she had struggled with.  That night she stayed up and devoured the entire book exclaiming, “This is the best book I have ever read!” What changed her perspective? Love did. Likewise, many today find Scripture boring, oppressive, and unappealing.  But that all changes when you fall in love with the author.  See how in this heart-warming Study Guide!
Jesus is the author of Scripture.

Jesus is the author of Scripture.

1. Who is the author of Scripture?

“The prophets have enquired and searched diligently, … Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:10, 11.

Answer:   The God of the Bible (even the Old Testament) is virtually always Jesus Christ.  Jesus created the world (John 1:1-3, 14 Colossians 1:13-17), wrote the Ten Commandments (Nehemiah 9:6, 13), was the God of the Israelites (1 Corinthians 10:1-4), and guided the writings of the prophets (1 Peter 1:10, 11).
So, Jesus Christ is the author of Scripture.

Jesus loves the people of earth with an everlasting love.

Jesus loves the people of earth with an everlasting love.

2. What is Jesus’ attitude toward the people of earth?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Answer:   Jesus loves us all with an indescribable, unfailing love that passes understanding.

Jesus died for us all, even though none of us deserved it.

Jesus died for us all, even though none of us deserved it.

3. Why should we love Jesus?

“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19.  “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

Answer:   We should love Him because He loved us enough to die for us–while we were yet His enemies.

4. In what respects are a successful marriage and the Christian life similar?

“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:22.

Answer:   In a good marriage certain things are imperative, such as faithfulness to one’s spouse.  Other things may not seem major, but if they please a spouse they are necessary.  If they displease, they should be discontinued.  So it is with the Christian life.  The commands of Jesus are imperative.  But in Scripture Jesus has also outlined for us principles of conduct that please Him.  As in a good marriage, a Christian finds it sheer joy to do the things that make Jesus, the One he loves, happy.  He also avoids things that displease Him.

Doing the things that please Jesus brings a person great joy and abundant living.

Doing the things that please Jesus brings a person great joy and abundant living.

5. What does Jesus say are the results of doing the things that please Him?

“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; … These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:10, 11.

Answer:   The devil claims that to follow Christian principles is drab, dull, demeaning, and legalistic.  But Jesus says it brings fullness of joy (John 15:10, 11) and a more abundant life (John 10:10).  Believing the devil’s lies brings heartache and deprives people of life that is “really living.”

Jesus' Bible principles for Christian living protect us from Satan's danger zones.

Jesus’ Bible principles for Christian living protect us from Satan’s danger zones.

6. Why does Jesus give us specific principles for Christian living?

Answer:   Because they:
A. Are for our own good always (Deuteronomy 6:24).  As good parents teach good principles to their children, so Jesus teaches good principles to His children.
B. Set for us a safeguard from sin (Psalms 119:11).  Jesus’ principles protect us from entering the danger zones of Satan and sin.
C. Show us how to follow in Christ’s footsteps (1 Peter 2:21).
D. Bring us true happiness (John 13:17).
E. Give us an opportunity to express our love for Him (John 15:10).
F. Help us be the right example to others (1 Corinthians 10:31-33; Matthew 5:16).

When I love the things of the world, I become God's enemy.

When I love the things of the world, I become God’s enemy.

7. According to Jesus, how should Christians relate to the evil of the world and to worldliness?

Answer:   His commands and counsel are clear and specific:
A. Don’t love the world or the things of the world.  The things of the world that are not of God are: (1) the lust of the flesh, (2) the lust of the eyes, and (3) the pride of life (1 John 2:16).  All sin falls into one or more of these three categories.  Satan uses these three avenues to lure us into love of the world.  When I begin to love the world, I become an enemy of God (1 John 2:15, 16 James 4:4).
B. I must keep myself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).

A Christian must firmly resist the things of the world, or he will be led astray by Satan.

A Christian must firmly resist the things of the world, or he will be led astray by Satan.

8. What urgent warning does God give us regarding the world?

Answer:   Jesus warns Christians, “Be not conformed to this world.” Romans 12:2.  Phillips translation puts it:  “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould.”*  The devil is not neutral.  He presses every Christian constantly.  Through Jesus (Philippians 4:13), I must firmly resist the devil’s suggestions, and he will flee from me (James 4:7).  The minute I permit the “squeezing” of any other factor to influence my conduct, I imperceptibly begin slipping into apostasy.  Christian behavior is not to be decided by the feelings and conduct of the majority, but by Jesus’ words from Scripture.
*Reprinted with the permission of Macmillan Publishing Company from The New Testament in Modern English, Revised Edition by J. B. Phillips, (C) 1958, 1959, 1960, 1972 by J. B. Phillips.  The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips.  Reprinted by permission of Harper-Collins Publishers Limited.

We must carefully guard our thoughts, because thoughts become actions.

We must carefully guard our thoughts, because thoughts become actions.

9. Why do we need to guard our thoughts?

“As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7.

Answer:   We must guard our thoughts, because thoughts dictate behavior.  God wants to help us bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5.  But Satan desperately wants to bring “the world” into our thoughts.  He can do this only through our five senses–especially sight and hearing.  He presses his sights and sounds upon us all and, unless we consistently refuse to look at or listen to what he offers, he will direct us into the broad way that leads to destruction.  The Bible is clear.  We do become like the things we repeatedly see and hear (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Christians must avoid any music that erodes the desire for godly living.

Christians must avoid any music that erodes the desire for godly living.

10. What are some principles for Christian living?

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8.

Answer:   Christians must separate themselves from all things that are not true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.  They will avoid:
A. Dishonesty of every kind – cheating, lying, stealing, being unfair, intent to deceive, slander, and betrayal.
B. Impurity of every kind.  This includes fornication, adultery, incest, homosexuality, perversion of all types, pornography, profanity, filthy conversation, off-color jokes, social dancing, degenerate songs or music, and most of what is shown on television and in movie theaters.
C. Places where we would never invite Jesus to accompany us, such as nightclubs, taverns, gambling casinos, racetracks, etc.
Let’s take a few minutes to enlarge upon the dangers of popular music, dancing, television, videos, and the theater.
Music and Song Many types of secular music (rap, country, pop, rock, heavy metal, adult contemporary, and dance music) have been largely captured by Satan. The lyrics often glorify vice and destroy a desire for spiritual matters.  Researchers have discovered some interesting things regarding the power of music:
(1) It enters the brain through the emotions, thus bypassing reasoning powers.
(2) It affects every function of the body.
(3) It can alter pulse, breath rates, and reflexes without the person realizing it.
(4) Syncopated dance rhythms alter moods and create a mild hypnosis in the listener.
Even without lyrics, the music itself has power to debase a person’s feelings, desires, and thoughts.  Secular rock musicians openly admit this.  Rolling Stones leader Mick Jagger said: “You can feel the adrenalin going through your body. It’s sort of sexual.”1 John Oates of Hall and Oates stated that “Rock ‘n’ Roll is 99% sex.”2 Would such music please Jesus?  Converted pagans from overseas tell us that our modern secular band music is the same kind they used in witchcraft and devil worship!
Ask yourself:  “If Jesus came to visit me, what music would I feel comfortable asking Him to listen to with me?”  Any music you are not sure of should be abandoned.  (For an in-depth analysis of decadent, secular music, we recommend Notes on Music by Carol and Louis Torres, which can be purchased from Amazing Facts.)  When we fall in love with Jesus, He changes our musical desires.  “He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Psalms 40:3.  God has provided for His people plenty of good music that inspires, refreshes, elevates, and strengthens the Christian experience.  Those who accept the devil’s degrading music as a substitute are missing one of life’s choicest blessings.
Dancing Dancing inevitably leads away from Jesus and spirituality.  When the Israelites danced around the golden calf, they forgot God (Exodus 32:17-25).  When the daughter of wicked Herodias danced before King Herod, John the Baptist was beheaded (Matthew 14:2-12).  Notice these shocking statistics:  A Catholic priest in New York said that three-fourths of the girls who have confessed adultery to him put the blame on dancing.  Other priests have said that three-fourths is too low they estimate nine-tenths. Remember, if Christ can participate in an activity with you, you are safe.  If not, stay away from it.
TV, Videos, and the Theater Do the things you watch on television and videos or in the theater appeal to your lower or to your higher nature?  Do they lead you into a greater love for Jesus, or for the world?  Do they glorify Jesus, or satanic vices?  In our day even secularists and non-Christians are speaking out against many of the TV and film productions.  Satan has captured the eyes and ears of billions and, as a result, is rapidly turning the world into a cesspool of immorality, crime, terror, and hopelessness.  One study said that without TV “there would be 10,000 fewer murders per year in the United States, 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewer assaults.”3  Jesus, who loves you, asks you to take your eyes off Satan’s thought-controllers and put them on Him.  He says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” Isaiah 45:22.
1 Newsweek, “Mick Jagger and the Future of Rock”, Jan. 4, 1971, p. 47.
2Circus magazine, Jan. 31, 1976, p. 39.
3Newsweek, “Violence, Reel to Reel”, Dec. 11, 1995, p. 47.

A safe guideline for TV viewing is to ask,

A safe guideline for TV viewing is to ask, “Would I feel comfortable inviting Jesus to watch the program with me?”

11. What clear-cut list does Jesus give us that we could use as a guide for watching television?

“Anyone can see the kind of behaviour that belongs to the lower nature: fornication, impurity, and indecency idolatry and sorcery quarrels, a contentious temper, envy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, party intrigues, and jealousies drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who behave in such ways will never inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21, NEB.*

Answer:   Scripture is too clear to misunderstand.  If a family should ban all TV programs that exhibit or condone any of the above sins, there would be very little to watch.  If Jesus came to visit you, what TV shows would you feel comfortable asking Him to view with you?  All other shows are probably unfit for Christian viewing.
*(C) The Delegates of the Oxford University Press and the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, 1961, 1970.  Used by permission.

My choice of TV programs and, in fact, all of my conduct must be guided by the words of Scripture, and not by my own feelings.

My choice of TV programs and, in fact, all of my conduct must be guided by the words of Scripture, and not by my own feelings.

12. In this day of determined, independent thinking, many feel totally capable of making spiritual decisions without input from anyone, including Jesus.  What does Jesus say about such people?

Answer:   Listen to Jesus’ unequivocal statements:  “Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.” Deuteronomy 12:8. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25.  “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Proverbs 12:15. “He that trusteth in his own heart [mind] is a fool.” Proverbs 28:26.

13. What solemn warnings does Jesus give us about the example and influence of our lives?

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6.  Let “no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” Romans 14:13.  “None of us liveth to himself.” Romans 14:7.

Answer:   We all expect leaders, people of influence, famed athletes, and other widely known figures to set a good example and use their influence wisely–to pay a so-called “debt to society”.  But in today’s world, we are often disillusioned at the repugnant and irresponsible actions of prominent individuals.  Jesus clearly states in Romans 1:14 that Christians, who represent Him and His kingdom, do indeed owe something to others.  And He solemnly warns that Christians who disregard their influence and example, and thereby lead people astray, will not enter His kingdom.

God asks His people to put ornaments and jewelry aside.

God asks His people to put ornaments and jewelry aside.

14. What are Jesus’ principles of conduct regarding clothing and jewelry?

Answer:   A.  Dress modestly.  See 1 Timothy 2:9.  Remember that the world is brought into our lives through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).  Immodest dress involves all three and is off-limits for a Christian.
B.  Lay ornaments and jewelry aside.  “Pride of life” is the big problem here.  Jesus’ followers should look different.  Their appearance witnesses and sends light to others (Matthew 5:16). Jewelry draws attention to and exalts self.  In the Bible, it is a symbol of backsliding and apostasy.  When Jacob and his family rededicated their lives to the Lord, they buried their jewelry in the earth (Genesis 35:1, 2, 4).  When the Israelites were about to enter the promised land, the Lord commanded them to remove their ornaments (Exodus 33:5, 6).  In Isaiah chapter 3, God clearly says that in wearing jewelry (bracelets, rings, earrings, etc. as listed in verses 19-23), His people were sinning (verse 9).
In Hosea 2:13, the Lord says that when Israel forsook Him, they began to wear jewelry.  In 1 Timothy 2:9 and 1 Peter 3:3, Paul and Peter both inform us that God’s people will not adorn themselves with gold, pearls, and costly array.  Please notice that Peter and Paul did speak of the ornaments God wants His people to wear:  “A meek and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4) and “good works” (1 Timothy 2:10).  Jesus sums it up by symbolizing His true church in Revelation 12:1 as a pure woman clothed with the sun (Jesus’ brightness and righteousness) and the apostate church as a harlot bedecked with gold, precious stones, and pearls (Revelation 17:3, 4).  God asks His people to separate from Babylon (Revelation 18:2-4) and all it stands for – including the jewels that draw attention to self – and instead clothe themselves with the righteousness of Jesus.  When we fall in love with Jesus, it is a sheer joy and pleasure to live His lifestyle.

Anything that lessens my love for spiritual things becomes an idol.

Anything that lessens my love for spiritual things becomes an idol.

15. How do conduct and obedience relate to salvation?

Answer:   Obedience and Christian conduct are the proof, or evidence, that I have been saved by Jesus Christ (James 2:20-26).  The fact of the matter is that unless one’s lifestyle changes after conversion, the conversion most likely was not genuine.  A converted person will find his greatest joy in discovering Jesus’ will in everything and in joyously following where He leads.
Beware of Idolatry The first epistle of John talks of Christian conduct.  At its close (1 John 5:21), Jesus warns us through His servant John to keep ourselves from idols.  The Master is referring to anything that interferes with or lessens my love for Him, such as music, fashion, possessions, adornment, evil forms of entertainment, etc.  The natural fruit, or result, of a true conversion is to follow Jesus happily and adopt His lifestyle.

People who have not fully given themselves to Jesus will never understand a Christian's lifestyle, and we should not expect them to.

People who have not fully given themselves to Jesus will never understand a Christian’s lifestyle, and we should not expect them to.

16. Should we expect everyone to look with favor upon the Christian lifestyle?

Answer:   No.  Jesus said that the things of God are foolishness to the natural man because they are not spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).  When Jesus refers to conduct, He is laying down principles for those who are seeking to be led by His Spirit.  His people will be grateful and will joyously follow His counsel.  Others may not understand or approve.

A person who rejects Jesus' lifestyle would be miserable in heaven.

A person who rejects Jesus’ lifestyle would be miserable in heaven.

17. How would a person who rejects Jesus’ standards for Christian conduct view heaven?

Answer:   Such a person would be miserable in heaven.  He would complain that there were no nightclubs, no liquor, no pornographic material, no prostitutes, no sensual music, no lewd books, no profanity, and no gambling.  Heaven would be “hell” for those who have not formed a true love relationship with Jesus.  This is why Christian standards make no sense to them (2 Corinthians 6:14-17).

18. How can I adopt and follow these Bible guidelines without appearing pharisaical, judgmental, or legalistic?

Answer:   Everything we do should be with one thought in mind:  to express love and esteem for Jesus (1 John 3:22).  When Jesus is lifted up and shown to people (John 12:32), they will be drawn to Him.  Our one question should always be, “Will this honor Jesus?  Would I listen to this, sing this, do this, watch this, drink this, buy this, read this, say this, or go there if Jesus were here, in person, with me?”
Jesus is with you and me (Matthew 28:20), and He sees everything we do.  I must sense Jesus’ presence in every facet and activity of life.  When I consciously spend time with Him, I become like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).  Then when people are with me, they will respond as they did to the disciples of old: “They marvelled and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13.  Christians who live like that will never become pharisaical, judgmental, or legalistic.
In Old Testament days, God’s people were in almost constant apostasy because they chose to live as their heathen neighbors rather than follow the distinctive lifestyle God outlined for them (Deuteronomy 31:16 Judges 2:17 1 Chronicles 5:25 Ezekiel 23:30).  It is true yet today.  No one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).  Those who cling to the world and its lifestyle will be slowly molded by Satan to adopt his feelings and desires and, thus, be programmed to be lost.  Those who follow Jesus’ principles for Christian conduct will be changed into His image and prepared for heaven.  There is no middle ground.

19. I want to love Christ so much that to follow His principles for Christian living will be a joy and delight.

Earth’s Final Warning part 1

21 Nov

Compiled from the Mark Woodman DVD series “God’s final call”

 

Part 1

Today we find that Christianity has the testimony of and faith in Jesus

Christ, but they

don’t keep the 10 Commandments. This idea of

righteousness by grace without any works

has been over emphasised that

the law has been removed

but the law clearly, has not been removed.

God calls us to worship Him as the Creator. Remove yourselves from the

idea that you are evolving to‟ God

hood‟. The immortality of the soul is a lie

opening up the doors to evolution, re-incarnation and various other things

that lead us away from God.

Rev 18:1-3 (speaks of a cry from heaven warning us against the deception

on earth). God is rebuking the false system that we find ourselves in. „

And

after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great

power and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with

a strong voice saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the

habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every

unclean and hateful bird. For

all nations have drunk of the wine of the

wrath of her fornication and the

kings of the earth have committed

fornication with her and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through

the abundance of her delicacies.

.‟

God‟s church is represented in the Bible as His bride.

Ellen White

, p277 writes: “The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the

second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the

corruptions

which have been entering the churches since

1844. The work of this angel

comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel‟s

message as it swells to a loud cry

. And the people of God are thus prepared to

stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet. I saw a great

light resting upon them and they united to fearlessly proclaim the third angel‟s

message.

Rev 18:4, 5 „

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her,

my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her

plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered

her iniquities

.‟

Compiled from Mark Woodman’s DVD series ‘

God’s final Call’ (072 500 3934 or info@homebase.org.za)

Compiled by: Nicolene Filmalter (nfilmalter@iburst.co.za)

A 120 years it will be as it was in the days of Noah when this message of

Righteousness by Faith will be preached..and then one will be taken and one

will be left behind..

The world needs to hear the

Sanctuary message the Old Testament

tabernacle is pointing towards the heavenly sanctuary. Heb 8:1-

2 „We have

such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in

the heavens; A minister of the Sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the

Lord pitched and not man

.‟ In other words, we have such a high priest, in

heaven; a minister of the sanctuary, the true tabernacle, which the Lord

pitched and not man.

In the

Jewish calendar, a year was seen as an entire cycle. A full cycle of

the Jewish calendar would represent the full cycle of an

entire Christian

era

(type and antitype).

Type

(One Jewish year) Antitype (entire Christian era)

Passover (Nisan 14) Crucifixion

Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15) Christ in the grave

First Fruits (Nisan 16) Resurrection

Feast of weeks (Sivan 6) Pentecost, harvest of souls

The four feasts in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the New Testament

(discussed earlier). Three of the Old Testament feasts were a shadow of

things to come and was fulfilled by Jesus in the NT.

Three other important feasts was the

Trumpets (Tishri 1)

Atonement (Tishri 10)

Tabernacle (Tishri 15)

We need to ask

how do they get fulfilled? Going back to lecture number 2

Who is God?

70 week prophecy of Daniel 8:13-14 How long shall be the

vision concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation, to

give both the Sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said

unto me, Unto

two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the

Sanctuary be cleansed

. (17) „he said unto me, Understand, O son of man:

For at the time of the end shall be the vision

.‟

2300 Days has got something to do with the end of time and out of these

2300 days, 70 weeks is put aside for something: Daniel 9:24 „

Seventy

weeks

are determined upon thy people upon thy holy city, to finish the

transgression and to make an end of sins and to make reconciliation for

Compiled from Mark Woodman’s DVD series ‘

God’s final Call’ (072 500 3934 or info@homebase.org.za)

Compiled by: Nicolene Filmalter (nfilmalter@iburst.co.za)

iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness and to seal up the vision

and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy

.‟ (verse 25) „Know therefore and

understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to

restore and to

build

Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the prince shall be seven weeks and

threescore and two weeks

…(verse 26) „and after threescore and two

weeks

shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself

..(verse 27) „Then he shall

confirm a covenant with many for

one week; But in the middle of the week He

shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering

.‟

Remember the key to unlock:

one day for a year.

Starting trigger of 2300 days

is the commandment to restore and to build

Jerusalem. This was pinpointed at

457 BC with the Decree of Artaxerses I,

to re-establish the city government of Jerusalem.

457 BC (Decree) + 69 weeks = 483 years

27 AD (Jesus baptised) + 3.5 years

31 AD (Jesus crucified) + 3.5 years

34 AD (Stephen stoned) unto 2300 days 9 years, then shall the sanctuary be

cleansed (Dan 8:14) = JUDGEMENT DAY

What does this mean? This date comes

457 BC + 2300 years (days) =

1844 (remember there is no zero year). Not

realising that there was

no zero year, people came up with a date of 1843. A

cry/warning went out into the world to recognise and acknowledge the

Creator

called the Miller write movement there was for the first time in

history an acknowledgement of this 2300 days/year prophecy. We don‟t

know the hour or the year. In their error, they went back to the Bible, and

realising their error

in that there is no „zero‟ year, – stated that 1844 would

be the end of the world! Disillusioned, many people left the movement,

bitter and disappointed.

William Miller got the date right, but they got the

event wrong

.

They did not yet recognise that the

earthly sanctuary was pointing towards

the

heavenly sanctuary. The sanctuary cleansing process was a critical

event in the cycle of the tabernacle that took place every year, because all

the sins of the people would be „pent up‟ in this sanctuary and once a year

the high priest would go in and this sanctuary would be cleansed. In the

bigger picture what this is pointing to is once, in the entire cycle of earth‟s

history, the sanctuary which is in heaven would be cleansed. Heb 9:1-12

Then verily, the first covenant had also ordinance of divine service and a

worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was

 the candlestick and the table and the showbread; which is called the

sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the

Holiest of all; Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went

always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the

second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which

he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The

 Holy Ghost this

signifying, that the

 way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest,

while as the first tabernacle was yet standing

: here we have confirmation

that the Holy Ghost has not yet opened the way into the tabernacle in the

Old Testament

) „But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come,

by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say,

not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own

blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal

redemption for us

.‟ Once this 1843/4 didn‟t happen, these scholars went

back and studied the Word and realised their mistake.

Through the blood of Jesus Christ, He enters once into the heavenly

sanctuary

the Day of Atonement was exactly that. From the first day that

sin came into the world, man separated himself from God. Once a year, in

the sanctuary on earth, there was a point where man had the chance to

unify with God again. That was the Day of Atonement (At- One- ment). As

the high priest entered the most holy, he was order by God to wear

pomegranates and

bells the people outside would then listen to the sound

of the bells, if they could not hear him moving anymore, they would know

they he had died because he was not without sin before God. He was there

on their behalf

, and they had to trust what was being done by him for

them. In the same way, we have to have faith in Jesus where He is in the

sanctuary after 1844 on our behalf. Two goats were chosen and tied just

outside the curtain of the sanctuary waiting through all this for their part in

this last final symbol of union between God and man and the end of sin.

They cast lots over the 2 goats

one was God’s goat and the other was the

scapegoat

the one chosen to represent the devil known as Azazel.

(sondebok – baphomed)

Here is the first indication why people represent

the devil as a goat.

The high priest would use God‟s goat as a peace offering for himself and

then take the second goat (Azazel)

he would confess that the sins had now

been removed from their minds, memories and lives and now were

transferred to the mind, memory and life of the devil. He does not kill him,

but a man would then lead Azazel into the wilderness where he would be

left. In other words, the sins would be taken out of the sanctuary,

transferred onto the goat and the sanctuary would be cleansed. This

happened once every year on the Day of Atonement.

Compiled from Mark Woodman’s DVD series ‘

  From the time of Jesus

crucifixion, we received the right to ask God directly

to forgive our sins, these sins were then transferred to the Heavenly

Sanctuary

and this sanctuary had to be cleansed! And the date given by

the Lord was

1844. Not only does this prophecy depict Christ in the

Heavenly Sanctuary

, it also points to the destruction of all sin on earth but

also to Baphomed, Azazel being led out into the wilderness.

The Trumpets (Tishri 1) is fulfilled in the Second Advent movement

Atonement (Tishri 10) is fulfilled in the pre-advent judgment

Tabernacle (Tishri 15) is fulfilled in the homecoming second advent.

Trumpets (message went into the world

be careful, the end of the world is

coming (Trumpets). 1844

the moment when Jesus enters the Holiest of

holy on our behalf to request that the tabernacle be cleansed of all sin

(Atonement)

. And then the homecoming is what we‟re waiting for now

(Tabernacle). This is a beautiful depiction of what Jesus if doing on our

behalf.

Satan knows and studies prophecies. The

Jesuit order was set up in 1734

(110 years prior to 1844).

America was acknowledged by France in 1798.

What happened around the same time?

1776

was the American Revolution,

1789

, the French revolution. In 1789, the Original Human Rights

declaration

of the French revolution is shown laid out as the 10

commandments, on two tablets, in the middle, the symbol of fasciasism,

above the hat of Jacobin, serpent eating its own tail, Masonic triangle with

all seeing eye (46 years before the date)

– satan‟s starting to get his forces

together under various unifying organisations.

1823

Spanish Revolution

1831

Polish Revolution

1844

Karl Marx joined the league of communists in 1844 and Darwin

starts pinning together his work on Origin of the species. In 1844, the

Sinaitic manuscript

(Codex Sinaiticus) was discovered at Mt. Sinai in the

monastery of St. Catherine. The manuscript agrees with the Codex

Vatica

nus “discovered” 1481 in the Vatican library. More or less the same

time, 1848, there‟s this recognition of the birthplace of

Modern

Spiritualism

– “Upon this site stood the Hydesville cottage, the home of the

The Fox sisters

, through whose mediumship communication with the spirit

world was established March 31, 1848

” (and with capitol letters on the

tombstone)

there is no death, there are no dead.

1848

Italian and German Revolution

 1863

Around the same time, the Bahai faith was founded by Baha‟l-Baha

(linking the faith with the Bahi faith founded by the Bab, (meaning gate). He

announced that he was the coming One in 1863. His son Adu‟l

-Baha was

his successor. [In other words

– another „gate‟ to God.] In their own

documents they refer to the wronged „one‟ –

this is all about Unit under the

wronged „one‟.

1871

Albert Pike wrote in about the 3 World Wars necessary to unify the

world under one government (barely 30 years after 1844).

And today the

United Nations uses the sun symbol and the baal hadad as

their symbol. There‟s this image of Jesus knocking on the building of the UN

building

– trying to warn them that they don‟t know what they‟re doing.

Muller, R in

Most of all they taught me happiness, Garden City, NY: Image

book 1984 pp126-

127 wrote about this image: „There is a famous poster

which shows Christ knocking at the tall UN building, wanting to enter it. I

often visualize in my mind another even more accurate painting: that of a UN

which would be the body of Christ.

” He continues in New Genesis: Shaping a

Global Spirituality Anacortes

, WA: World Happiness and cooperation, 1982

pp 13. “

My great personal dream is to get a tremendous alliance between all

the major religions and the UN.

From his article in 1987 Defend Life

Magazine

entitled One-world Church expected in ’97 as quoted in Kah,

G.H. 1998.

The New World Religion Noblesville: Hope International pp 221.

“Peace will be impossible without the taming of fundamentalism through a

United Religion that professes faithfulness only to the global spirituality and

to the health of this planet”

 

Written in Stone!

20 Nov
Centuries ago, God wrote His law in stone, and you’re still supposed to keep it today!  It’s absolutely true that violating any part of God’s law always brings negative consequences.  As crime overruns our cities, doesn’t it make sense that for peace and safety we need to obey the laws of the land? Well, this same principle applies with God’s law – the Ten Commandments – in our own lives too!  They aren’t called the ten suggestions, ten recommendations, or the ten greatest ideas.  Since so much is at stake, you should take a few minutes to seriously consider your responsibility.

“And the tables were the work of God.”

1. Did God Himself really write the Ten Commandments?

“And he gave unto Moses … two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” “And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” Exodus 31:18; 32:16.

Answer:   Yes, the great God of heaven wrote the Ten Commandments on tables of stone with His own finger.

God says that sin is breaking His law.

God says that sin is breaking His law.

2. What is God’s definition of sin?

“Sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.

Answer:   Sin is breaking God’s Ten Commandment law. And since the law of God is perfect (Psalms 19:7), it covers every conceivable sin. It is impossible to commit a sin that is not condemned by at least one of God’s Ten Commandments. The commandments cover “the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13. Nothing is left out.

Happiness follows those who keep His commandments.

Happiness follows those who keep His commandments.

3. Why did God give us the Ten Commandments?

“He that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18. “Keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Proverbs 3:1, 2.

Answer:   A. As a guide for happy, abundant living.
God created us to enjoy happiness, peace, long life, contentment, accomplishment, and all the other great blessings for which our hearts long. God’s law is the road map that points out the right paths to follow in order to find this true, supreme happiness.
“By the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20. “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Romans 7:7.
B. To show me the difference between right and wrong.
God’s law is like a mirror (James 1:23-25). It points out wrongdoing in my life as a mirror points out dirt on my face. The only possible way for a person to know if he is sinning is for him to carefully check his life by the mirror of God’s law. Hope for this mixed-up, sinking generation is found in God’s Ten Commandment law. It tells where to draw the line!
“And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes [commandments] … for our good always.” Deuteronomy 6:24. “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes.” Psalms 119:117, 118.
C. To protect me from danger and tragedy.
God’s law is like a strong cage at the zoo, which protects us from fierce, destructive animals. It protects us from impurity, falsehood, murder, idolatry, theft, and many other evils that destroy life, peace, and happiness. All good laws protect, and God’s law is no exception.
Special Note: The eternal principles of God’s law are written deep in every person’s nature by the God who created us. The writing may be dim and smudged, but it is still there. This means, of course, that you cannot find true peace unless you are willing to live in harmony with your inner nature, upon which God has written these principles. We were created to live in harmony with them. When we choose to ignore them, the result is always tension, unrest, and tragedy, just as ignoring the rules for safe driving leads to serious trouble.

The law protects us from the devil as a cage protects us from the lion at the zoo.

The law protects us from the devil as a cage protects us from the lion at the zoo.

4. Why is God’s law exceedingly important to me personally?

“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James 2:12.

Answer:   Because the Ten Commandment law is the standard by which God examines people in the heavenly judgment. How are you measuring up? It is a life-or-death matter!

The cross is positive proof that the law is unchangeable.

The cross is positive proof that the law is unchangeable.

5. Can God’s law (the Ten Commandments) ever be changed or abolished?

“It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17. “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” Psalms 89:34. “All his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever.” Psalms 111:7, 8.

Answer:   Absolutely not! The Bible is very clear on this point. If the law could have been changed, God would have immediately made that change when Adam and Eve sinned instead of sending His Son to die in the sinner’s behalf to pay the penalty of the broken law. But this was impossible, because the commandments are not laws in the sense of rules or regulations that have been enacted. They are revealed principles of God’s holy character that will always be true as long as God exists.
Notice on the chart below that God and His law have the same characteristics. Do you see what this means? The Ten Commandment law is God’s character in written form written so we can comprehend it. It is no more  possible to change God’s law than to pull God out of heaven and change Him. Jesus came to show us what the law (which is the pattern for holy living) looked like when made up in human form. God’s character can never change. Neither can His law, for it is His character in human language.

GOD IS THE LAW IS
Good Luke 18:19 1 Timothy 1:8
Holy Isaiah 5:16 Romans 7:12
Perfect Matthew 5:48 Psalms 19:7
Pure 1 John 3:2,3 Psalms 19:8
Just Deuteronomy 32:4 Romans 7:12
True John 3:33 Psalms 19:9
Spiritual 1 Corinthians 10:4 Romans 7:14
Righteousness Jeremiah 23:6 Psalms 119:172
Faithful 1 Corinthians 1:9 Psalms 119:86
Love 1 John 4:8 Romans 13:10
Unchangeable James 1:17 Matthew 5:18
Eternal Genesis 21:33 Psalms 111:7,8
Jesus is the law in human form.  When He is in the heart, keeping the law becomes a pleasure.

Jesus is the law in human form.  When He is in the heart, keeping the law becomes a pleasure.

6. Did Jesus abolish God’s law while He was here on earth?

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law. … I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. … Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17, 18.

Answer:   No, indeed! Jesus specifically asserted that He did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill (or keep) it. Instead of doing away with the law, Jesus magnified it (Isaiah 42:21) as the perfect guide for right living. For example, Jesus pointed out that “thou shalt not kill” condemns anger “without a cause” (Matthew 5:21, 22) and hatred (1 John 3:15), and that lust is adultery (Matthew 5:27, 28). He says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15.

The law is like a length of chain.  If only one link is broken, its entire purpose is undone.

The law is like a length of chain.  If only one link is broken, its entire purpose is undone.

7. Will people who knowingly continue to break even one of God’s commandments be saved?

“The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. “He shall destroy the sinners.” Isaiah 13:9. “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10.

Answer:   No! They will be lost. The Ten Commandment law is the guide we must use in finding our way to God and holy living. If I ignore even one of the commandments, I am neglecting part of the divine pattern, or blueprint. If only one link of a chain is broken, its entire purpose is undone. The Bible says that when we knowingly break any command of God, we are sinning (James 4:17), because we have refused His will for us. Only those who do His will can enter the kingdom of heaven. Sinners will be lost.

Salvation from Jesus is just as real as a gift received on a special holiday or birthday.  It's free, specially prepared for us from Jesus!

Salvation from Jesus is just as real as a gift received on a special holiday or birthday.  It’s free, specially prepared for us from Jesus!

8. Can anyone be saved by keeping the law?

“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” Romans 3:20. “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9.

Answer:   No! The answer is too plain to miss. No one can be saved by keeping the law. Salvation comes only through grace, as a free gift from Jesus Christ, and we receive this gift by faith, not by works. The law serves only as a mirror to point out sin in our lives. Cleansing and forgiveness from that sin come only through Christ.

Our own standards are never safe. I cannot know whether I am a sinner unless I look carefully into the perfect standard, God's law-mirror.

Our own standards are never safe. I cannot know whether I am a sinner unless I look carefully into the perfect standard, God’s law-mirror.

9. Why, then, is the law an absolute essential for perfecting Christian character?

“Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiates 12:13. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20.

Answer:   Because the full pattern, or “whole duty,” for Christian living is contained in God’s law. Like a 6-year-old boy who made his own ruler, measured himself, and told his mother that he was 12 feet tall, our own standards are never safe. I cannot know whether I am a sinner unless I look carefully into the perfect standard, God’s law-mirror. Millions who have cast out devils, prophesied, and done many wonderful works in Jesus’ name will be lost (Matthew 7:21-23) because they did not bother to check their lives with His great law-pattern. Hence, they think they are righteous and saved when, instead, they are sinful and lost. “Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3.

With Jesus living in the heart, the dark, ugly past is replaced by His triumphant indwelling.

With Jesus living in the heart, the dark, ugly past is replaced by His triumphant indwelling.

10. What enables a truly converted Christian to follow the pattern of God’s law?

“I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.” Hebrews 8:10. “I can do all things through Christ.” Philippians 4:13. “God sending his own Son … That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” Romans 8:3, 4.

Answer:   Christ not only pardons repentant sinners, but He restores in them the image of God. He brings them into harmony with His law through the power of His indwelling presence. “Thou shalt not” then becomes a promise that the Christian will not steal, lie, murder, etc., because Jesus lives inside and is in control. God could not change His law, but He made a blessed provision through Jesus to change the sinner so he can measure up to that law.
<!The law serves as a mirror to point out sin in our lives. As repentant sinners come to Jesus, He restores in them the image of God, bringing them into harmony with His law through the power of His indwelling presence.>

A governor's pardon forgives a prisoner, but does not give him freedom to break one single law.

A governor’s pardon forgives a prisoner, but does not give him freedom to break one single law.

11. But isn’t a Christian who has faith and is living under grace freed from keeping the law?

“For sin  shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin [break the law], because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Romans 6:14, 15. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31.

Answer:   No! The Scriptures teach the very opposite. Grace is like the governor’s pardon to a prisoner. It forgives him, but it does not give him freedom to break one single law on the statute books. The forgiven person, living under grace, is under double obligation to keep the law. A person who refuses to keep God’s law, saying that he is living under grace, is mistaken. He is living under disgrace.

12. Are the Ten Commandments of God reaffirmed in the New Testament?

Answer:   Yes, and very clearly so. Look the following over very carefully.

THE LAW OF GOD IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THE LAW OF GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
1. “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10. 1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3.
2. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21. “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” Acts 17:29. 2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6.
3. “That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” 1 Timothy 6:1. 3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7.
4. “For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.” “There remaineth therefore a rest [“keeping of a sabbath,” margin] to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:4, 9, 10. 4. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.
5. “Honour thy father and thy mother.” Matthew 19:19. 5. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12.
6. “Thou shalt not kill.” Romans 13:9. 6. “Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20:13.
7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Matthew 19:18. 7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14.
8. “Thou shalt not steal.” Romans 13:9. 8. “Thou shalt not steal.” Exodus 20:15.
9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Romans 13:9. 9. “Thou shalt not bear false winess against thy neighbour.” Exodus 20:16.
10. “Thou shalt not covet.” Romans 7:7. 10. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” Exodus 20:17.
Ceremonial sacrifices and rituals pointed forward to Jesus' sacrifice.

Ceremonial sacrifices and rituals pointed forward to Jesus’ sacrifice.

13. Are God’s law and Moses’ law the same?

Answer:   No, they are not the same. Study the following notes and comparison carefully.
Note: Moses’ law was the temporary, ceremonial law of the Old Testament. It regulated the priesthood, sacrifices, rituals, meat and drink offerings, etc., all of which foreshadowed the cross. This law was added “till the seed should come,” and that seed was Christ (Galatians 3:16, 19). The ritual and ceremony of Moses’ law pointed forward to Christ’s sacrifice. When He died, this law came to an end, but the Ten Commandments (God’s law) “stand fast for ever and ever.” Psalms 111:8. That there are two laws is made crystal clear in Daniel 9:10, 11.
Special Note: Please note that God’s law has existed at least as long as sin has existed. The Bible says, “Where no law is, there is no transgression [or sin].” Romans 4:15. So God’s Ten Commandment law existed from the beginning. Men broke that law (sinned, 1 John 3:4). Because of sin (or breaking God’s law), Moses’ law was given (or “added”Galatians 3:16, 19) till Christ should come and die. Two separate laws are involved: God’s law and Moses’ law.

MOSES’ LAW GOD’S LAW
Called “the law of Moses” (Luke 2:22). Called “the law of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:24).
Called “law … contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15). Called “the royal law” (James 2:8).
Written by Moses in a book (2 Chronicles 35:12). Written by God on stone (Exodus 31:18 32:16).
Placed in the side of the ark (Deuteronomy 31:26). Placed inside the ark (Exodus 40:20).
Ended at the cross (Ephesians 2:15). Will stand forever (Luke 16:17).
Added because of sin (Galatians 3:19). Points out sin (Romans 7:7 3:20).
Contrary to us, against us (Colossians 2:14). Not grievous (1 John 5:3).
Judges no one (Colossians 2:14-16). Judges all people (James 2:10-12).
Carnal (Hebrews 7:16). Spiritual (Romans 7:14).
Made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19). Perfect (Psalms 19:7).

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman [true church].”

14. How does the devil feel about the people who pattern their lives after God’s Ten Commandments?

“And the dragon [the devil] was wroth with the woman [true church], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God.” Revelation 12:17. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God.” Revelation 14:12.

Answer:   The devil hates the people who uphold God’s law because the law is the pattern of right living. And if you decide to follow the pattern outlined in God’s law, you will feel the devil’s wrath upon you at once and with all fury. It is not surprising that the devil hates and bitterly opposes all who uphold God’s law. But it is shocking and astounding to hear religious leaders denying the binding claims of the Ten Commandments while at the same time upholding the traditions of men. No wonder Jesus said, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:3, 9. And David said, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.” Psalms 119:126. Christians must wake up and restore God’s law to its rightful, exalted position. It is folly for this undisciplined generation to presume that it can break the laws of the living God with impunity.

15. I believe a Christian must obey God’s Ten Commandments, and I am asking Jesus to help me bring my life into harmony with them.

 

God Drew The Plans

19 Nov
We all know that 4,000 years ago, on the grand summit of Mt. Sinai, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.  But most people don’t know that at the same time, the Lord gave Moses the blueprints for one of the most mysterious structures ever built – the sanctuary. It must have been important, because the Israelites could not enter the Promised Land until it was completed. This unique portable temple represented God’s dwelling place among His people, and its services showed the nation of freed slaves a three-dimensional panorama of the plan of salvation.  A careful look into the secrets of the sanctuary will crystallize your understanding of how Jesus saves the lost and leads the church. The sanctuary is also a key to understand several prophecies. This awesome Study Guide lets you explore the sanctuary and discover its hidden meanings. An exciting adventure awaits you!
God Himself gave Moses the plans for the sanctuary.

God Himself gave Moses the plans for the sanctuary.

1. What did God ask Moses to build?

“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.”  Exodus 25:8.

Answer:   The Lord asked Moses to erect a sanctuary, a special building that would serve as a dwelling place for the great God of heaven.
A Brief Description of the Sanctuary The sanctuary was an elegant, tent-type structure (15′ x 45′ based on an 18-inch cubit) where the supernatural presence of God dwelt and special services were conducted.
The walls were made of upright acacia (wooden) boards, set in silver sockets and overlaid with gold (Exodus 26:15-19, 29).  The roof was made of four layers of coverings: linen, goat’s hair, ram’s skin, and badger skin (Exodus 26:1, 6-14).  It had two rooms:  the holy place and the most holy place.  A thick, heavy veil or curtain separated the rooms.  The courtyard, the area around the sanctuary, was 75′ x 150′ (Exodus 27:18).  It was fenced with fine linen cloth supported by 60 pillars of brass (Exodus 27:9-16).

2. What did God expect His people to learn from the sanctuary?

“Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?”  Psalms 77:13.

Answer:   God’s way, or plan of salvation, is revealed in the earthly sanctuary.  The Bible teaches that everything in the sanctuary or connected with its service was a symbol of something Jesus would do in saving us.  This means we cannot fully comprehend the plan of salvation until we understand the symbolism connected with the sanctuary.  Thus, the importance of this Study Guide can hardly be overstated.

The sanctuary and its services were to demonstrate the plan of salvation.

The sanctuary and its services were to demonstrate the plan of salvation.

3. From what source did Moses obtain the blueprints for the sanctuary?  Of what was the building a copy?

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”  “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”  Hebrews 8:1, 2, 5.

Answer:   The sanctuary blueprints and full specifications for its construction were given to Moses by God.  They were a copy of the original sanctuary in heaven, which was the pattern for Moses’ sanctuary.

4. What furniture was in the courtyard?

4. What furniture was in the courtyard?

Answer:   A. The altar of burnt offerings where animals were sacrificed was located in the courtyard, just inside its entrance (Exodus 27:1-8).  This altar represented the cross of Christ.  The animal represented Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice (John 1:29).
B. The laver, located between the altar and the entrance of the sanctuary, was a large washbasin made of brass.  Here priests washed their hands and feet before offering a sacrifice or entering the sanctuary (Exodus 30:17-21 38:8).
The water represented cleansing from sin, or the new birth (Titus 3:5).

5. What furniture was in the holy place?

5. What furniture was in the holy place?

Answer:   A.  The table of shewbread (Exodus 25:23-30) represented Jesus, the living bread (John 6:51).
B.  The seven-branch candlestick (Exodus 25:31-40) represented Jesus, the light of the world (John 9:5 1:9).  The oil represented the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:1-6 Revelation 4:5).
C.  The altar of incense (Exodus 30:7, 8) represented the prayers of God’s people (Revelation 5:8).

The mercy seat represents God's throne in heaven, which is also located between two angels.

The mercy seat represents God’s throne in heaven, which is also located between two angels.

6. What furniture was in the most holy place?

Answer:   The ark of the covenant, the only piece of furniture in the most holy place (Exodus 25:10-22), was a box or chest of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Standing atop the chest were two angels made of solid gold.  Between these angels was the mercy seat (Exodus 25:17-22), where the supernatural presence of God dwelt.  This symbolized God’s throne in heaven, which is likewise located between two angels
(Psalms 80:1).

The Ten Commandments were inside the ark. They represent God's character, which He implants within His people.

The Ten Commandments were inside the ark. They represent God’s character, which He implants within His people.

7. What was inside the ark?

Answer:   The Ten Commandments, which God wrote on tables of stone with His own finger, and which His people will always obey (Revelation 14:12), were inside the ark (Deuteronomy 10:4, 5).  But the mercy seat was above them, which signified that as long as God’s people confessed and forsook sin (Proverbs 28:13), mercy would be extended to them through the blood which was sprinkled on the mercy seat by the priest (Leviticus 16:15, 16).  The blood of the animal represents Jesus’ blood that was shed for us to bring us forgiveness of sin (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22).

The animals sacrificed represented Jesus, who sacrificed His life for all people.

The animals sacrificed represented Jesus, who sacrificed His life for all people.

8. Why did animals need to be sacrificed in the Old Testament sanctuary services?

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”  Hebrews 9:22.  “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28.

Answer:   The sacrificing of animals was necessary to help people understand that without the shedding of Jesus’ blood, their sins could never be forgiven.  The ugly, shocking truth is that the punishment for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23).  Since all of us have sinned, all of us should die.  When Adam and Eve sinned, they would have died at once except for Jesus, who stepped forward and offered to give His perfect life as a sacrifice to pay the death penalty for all people (Revelation 13:8).  After sin, God required the sinner to bring an animal sacrifice (Genesis 4:3-7).  The sinner was to kill the animal with his own hand (Leviticus 1:4, 5).  It was bloody and shocking.  And it indelibly impressed the sinner with the solemn reality of sin’s awful consequences (eternal death) and the desperate need of a Saviour and a substitute.  Without a Saviour, no one had any hope for salvation.
The sacrificial system taught, through the symbol of the slain animal, that God would give His Son to die for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). Jesus would become not only their Saviour, but also their substitute (Hebrews 9:28).  When John the Baptist met Jesus, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29.  In the Old Testament, people looked forward to the cross for salvation.  We look backward to Calvary for salvation.  There is no other source of salvation (Acts 4:12).

Animal sacrifices taught the shocking truth that sin would cost the death of Jesus.

Animal sacrifices taught the shocking truth that sin would cost the death of Jesus.

9. How were animals sacrificed in the sanctuary service, and with  what meaning?

“And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.” “And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward.”  Leviticus 1:4, 11.

Answer:   When a sinner brought a sacrificial animal to the door of the courtyard, a priest handed him a knife and a basin.  The sinner laid his hands on the animal’s head and confessed his sins.  This symbolized the transfer of sin from the sinner to the animal.  At that point, the sinner was considered innocent and the animal guilty.  Since the animal was now symbolically guilty, it had to pay sin’s wage–death.  By slaying the animal with his own hand, the sinner was thus graphically taught that sin caused the innocent animal’s death and that his sin would cause the death of innocent Jesus.

10. When a sacrificial animal was offered for the entire congregation, what did the priest do with the blood? What does this symbolize?

“And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock’s blood to the tabernacle of the congregation: And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, even before the vail.”  Leviticus 4:16, 17.

Answer:   When a sacrifice was offered for the sins of the entire congregation, the blood was taken by the priest, who represented Jesus (Hebrews 3:1), into the sanctuary and sprinkled before the veil which separated the two rooms.  The presence of God dwelt on the other side of the veil.  Thus, the sins of the people were removed and symbolically transferred to the sanctuary.  This ministry of the blood by the priest foreshadowed Jesus’ present blood-ministry for us in heaven.  After Jesus died on the cross as our sacrifice for sin, He arose and went to heaven as our Priest to minister His blood in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:11, 12).  The blood ministered by the earthly priest represents Jesus applying His blood to our record of sins in the sanctuary above, showing that they are forgiven when we confess them in His name (1 John 1:9).

As our sacrifice, Jesus brings us a completely transformed life with all sins forgiven.

As our sacrifice, Jesus brings us a completely transformed life with all sins forgiven.

11. Based on the sanctuary services, in what two major capacities does Jesus serve His people?  What fantastic benefits do we receive from His loving ministry?

“Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.”  1 Corinthians 5:7.  “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:14-16.

Answer:   Jesus serves as the sacrifice for our sins and as our heavenly Priest.  Jesus’ death as our sacrificial lamb and substitute, and His continual powerful ministry as our heavenly Priest, accomplish two incredible miracles for us:
A. A complete life change called the new birth, with all the sins of the past forgiven (John 3:3-6 Romans 3:25).
B. Power to live right in the present and future (Titus 2:14 Philippians 2:13).
These two miracles make a person righteous – which means a right relationship exists between the person and God.  There is no possible way for a person to become righteous by works (his own efforts), because righteousness requires miracles which only Jesus can accomplish (Acts 4:12).  A person becomes righteous by trusting Jesus to do for him what he cannot do for himself.
This is what is meant by the biblical term “righteousness by faith.”  I ask Jesus to become the ruler of my life and trust Him to work the needed miracles as I cooperate fully with Him.  This righteousness, which is miraculously accomplished for me and in me by Jesus, is the only true righteousness that exists.  Every other kind is a counterfeit.

Jesus, by His miracles, will cause us happily to do only the things that please God.

Jesus, by His miracles, will cause us happily to do only the things that please God.

12. What six sublime promises does the Bible give us about the righteousness offered to us through Jesus?

Answer:   A. He will cover our past sins and count us as guiltless (Isaiah 44:22 John 1:9).
B. We were created in God’s image in the beginning (Genesis 1:26, 27).  Jesus promises to restore us to God’s image (Romans 8:29).
C. Jesus gives us the desire to live right and then grants us His power to actually accomplish it (Philippians 2:13).
D. Jesus, by His miracles, will cause us to happily do only the things that please God (Hebrews 13:20- 21, John 15:11).
E. He removes the death sentence from us by crediting us for His sinless life and atoning death (2 Corinthians 5:21).
F. Jesus assumes responsibility for keeping us faithful until He returns to take us to heaven (Philippians 1:6 Jude 1:24).
Jesus is ready to fulfill all these glorious promises in your life. Are you ready?  Kneel down now and ask Him to take control of your life.  He will not fail you.

Our role in salvation is to lovingly and willingly follow where Jesus leads.

Our role in salvation is to lovingly and willingly follow where Jesus leads.

13. Does a person have any role at all to play in becoming righteous by faith?

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 7:21.

Answer:   Yes, Jesus says we must do His Father’s will.  In Old Testament days, a person who truly had been converted kept bringing lambs to sacrifice, indicating his sorrow for sin and his whole-hearted desire to let the Lord totally lead in his life.
Today, though we cannot work the miracles needed to become righteous, we must daily recommit to Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:31), inviting Him to control our lives so those miracles can take place.  We must be willing to be obedient and to follow where Jesus leads (John 12:26 Isaiah 1:18-20).
Sin causes us to want to have our own way (Isaiah 53:6) and, thus, rebel against the Lord as Satan did in the beginning (Isaiah 14:12-14).  Permitting Jesus to rule our lives is sometimes as wrenchingly difficult as having an eye plucked out or an arm torn off (Matthew 5:29, 30), because sin is addictive and can be overcome only by God’s miraculous power (Mark 10:27).
Many believe that Jesus will take all who profess salvation to heaven, regardless of their conduct.  But this is not so.  It is a fabrication of Satan.  A Christian must follow Jesus’ lifestyle (1 Peter 2:21).  The powerful blood of Jesus can accomplish this for us all (Hebrews 13:12), but only if we give Jesus full control of our lives and happily follow where He leads, even though the path may sometimes be stony and rough (Matthew 7:13, 14, 21).

The Lord's goat represented Jesus, who would die for our sins.

The Lord’s goat represented Jesus, who would die for our sins.

14. Can you help me understand the day of atonement?

Answer:   A.  Once each year, on the day of atonement, a solemn day of judgment took place in Israel (Leviticus 23:27).  All were to confess every sin.  Those who refused were that very day cut off forever from the camp of Israel (Leviticus 23:29).
B.  Two goats were selected: One, the Lord’s goat the other, the scapegoat, representing Satan (Leviticus 16:8).  The Lord’s goat was slain and offered for the sins of the people (Leviticus 16:9).  But on this day the blood was taken into the most holy place and sprinkled upon and before the mercy seat (Leviticus 16:14).  Only on this special judgment day did the high priest enter the most holy place to meet God at the mercy seat.
The sprinkled blood (representing Jesus’ sacrifice) was accepted by God, and the confessed sins of the people were transferred from the sanctuary to the high priest.  He then transferred these confessed sins to the scapegoat, which was led into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:16, 20-22).  In this manner, the sanctuary was cleansed of the sins of the people, which had been transferred there by the blood sprinkled before the veil and had been accumulating for a year.

Israel's day of atonement was a symbol of the final judgment, which will forever settle the sin question throughout the universe.

Israel’s day of atonement was a symbol of the final judgment, which will forever settle the sin question throughout the universe.

15. Does the day of atonement symbolize or foreshadow a part of God’s great plan of salvation, as did the other facets of the earthly sanctuary and its services?

“It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”  Hebrews 9:23.

Answer:   Yes.  That day’s services pointed to the blotting out of sin by the real High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary.  Through His shed blood applied to those written in the book of life, Christ would confirm the decisions of His people to serve Him eternally.  This special judgment day, like that of Israel’s Yom Kippur, foreshadowed the final atonement to be made for planet Earth.  From the yearly type of the ancient day of atonement, all of humanity is assured that our faithful High Priest, Jesus, still mediates in heaven for His people and stands ready to blot out the sins of all who will exercise faith in His shed blood.  The final atonement leads to the final judgment, which settles the sin question in the life of every individual, culminating in either life or death.

 

Thieves in the Church

4 Nov
By Joe Crews
Introduction
     Do you know about the sin nobody admits? It’s a sin we’re afraid to mention. We must be afraid to mention it, because nobody ever mentions it about himself, anyway. Now people have confessed to me that they’ve committed some terrible, dark sins. I can recall people who have admitted being drunkards, who confessed to stealing, breaking up another’s home, murder, taking the Lord’s name in vain, trifling on the marriage partner, Sabbath breaking – all the rest – but as far as I can remember in all my time in the ministry, nobody has ever admitted to me that he was guilty of the sin we’re going to talk about now. And I suppose the reason for it is that it’s the root sin; the basic sin; the very foundation sin.
The Lord Jesus Himself solemnly warned us of this sin in Luke 12:15: “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a men’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” You see, the sin that nobody admits is covetousness.
People just simply don’t say “Well, I’m a covetous person. I want to get hold of that extra dollar. I want to reach out and grab and pull in everything I can get hold of.” And people never come to you and say, “I want to admit something. Greediness is my problem. I’m just a covetous person.” It has always amazed me just a little bit. People don’t mind at all admitting some of those grosser, blacker sins; but when it comes right down to those refined sins like covetousness, I guess it is just too humiliating. Of course, it is a sin that’s not condemned very much by our materialistic age, either. It is not even condemned very much by the church, it seems. You break any of the other commandments and immediately you get into trouble, but coveting — well, nobody knows whether you’re coveting or not. But there it is — it is a commandment of the Lord, and it is one that most people seem to overlook; yet in God’s sight it’s one of the blackest of all sins because it’s the root of every other sin. Remember what the apostle Paul said in Romans 7:7. He said, “I had not known sin … except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” The point he was trying to get across was this: Every single sin has its roots in the sin of covetousness, and that’s why God thought it was important enough to include in the Ten Commandments. It’s the sin that comes before and leads to every other sin that you could possible commit.
God Called a Man a “Fool”
      Now I may as well warn you ahead of time that there’s no possible way of getting rid of coveting except through the Lord Jesus Christ – absolutely no way at all. It takes special power from heaven to overcome this sin. But now let’s go back to Luke 12 for a moment. After Jesus said “Take heed, and beware of covetousness,” He told a story to illustrate the point a little bit further. Let me read it to you, beginning with verse 16: “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Now, notice something. God calls this man a fool. Now I may call a man a fool and be entirely mistaken, but when God calls a man a fool, he’s a fool. Now this man was a fool. Why? Well, because he was concerned only about himself – “I,” “I,” “I,” – and he forgot all about the solemn fact that one of these days we all have to stand before the Lord in judgment. So God said, “You’re a fool. Tonight your soul will be required of you. Then whose will all these things be?”
This is a very solemn story. Every single Christian should give it very earnest attention and heed its message. The Lord is just saying here, “You go ahead. If that’s the way you want it, get anything you want. Keep the things that are not yours. Make provisions for more and more sins. You have the right to choose, but when the day of reckoning comes and your soul will be required of you, then whose will these things be?”
You know, a lot of people think they are getting by with secret sins – things that are on the inside; things that don’t show up – like coveting, for example. A person can go along and be quite a respectable Christian as far as other people are concerned, and yet be guilty of coveting. It just doesn’t show up like many of the grosser, outward sins. But mark you this: On the great judgment day when the light from the judgment throne of God shines into every life, all of those things are going to be revealed and people are going to see them in all their rotten, disgusting fullness. And one of the worst sins to be shown upon the judgment day will be the sin of coveting.
Coveting Another’s Praise, Honor, or Position
     I’m afraid we don’t realize just how far this thing reaches. Take for example, professional jealousy. Have you ever heard that expression? I want to tell you, it’s not limited to just the professions, either. It’s a term that we ought to use loosely, because it can apply to everybody, everywhere. Wives are jealous of other wives; husbands of other husbands; workmen of other workmen; and it’s covetousness – this professional jealousy – coveting another person’s praise, or his honor, or his position. It’s so widespread that there is hardly a place anywhere that it’s not named. It even exists among preachers, and here’s where the thing comes home.
A person could build a very beautiful home and I could go look at it one day and say, “You know, this is a lovely home. It’s a masterpiece. You’ve done a very beautiful job.” And that wouldn’t take anything out of me – it would be easy for me to say that, because I’m not a builder. A person could paint a beautiful masterpiece – delightful, exquisite – and I could say, “Listen, that’s beautiful; it’s superb; never have I seen anything like it.” I could just lavish praise on that man and it could be nothing to me because I’m not a painter. But when somebody stands up and preaches a better sermon than I can preach – then for me to say honestly and truly from the heart, “It’s a masterpiece; the Lord was with you” – then that is something else.
Do you see what I mean? Now that is what we’re talking about today. This matter of coveting somebody else’s praise, somebody else’s success, somebody else’s prestige, is one of the greatest sins mentioned in the Book of God. It is my prayer that as we go further into this study, every person will determine in his heart to begin right now laying hold of God for victory. It’s a very terrible thing for a Christian to be guilty of coveting. It is bad enough for a worldling, but it’s an awful thing for a person who names the name of Christ to be guilty of coveting something. We need to learn to give God the praise for everything; then we will stop worrying about credit-who deserves credit for that. We will give it all to God, where it belongs in the first place.
Another place where many of God’s people seem to be crippled by the sin of coveting is the area of giving. Far too many of God’s professed people are guilty of embezzling God’s money.
Every Day We Handle Someone Else’s Money
     We often read in newspapers about individuals who misappropriated millions of dollars. These embezzlers often skip the country, taking the money, and leaving financial ruin for scores of people who lost all they had. We secretly hope the law will catch up with them, and throw the book at them. But now, wait a minute. Let’s not move too fast here. All of us handle money.
Furthermore, regardless of who you are-you handle money that is not yours. You handle money that belongs to God. Could it be that someone reading this is guilty of embezzling heavenly funds? Did you know the greatest holder of lands and good in the world has been chiseled and robbed repeatedly without going out of business? God is that great Owner of whom I speak. I’m referring specifically to tithes and offerings. In Leviticus 27:30 the Scripture says that the tithe is the Lord’s. There is just no possible way to miss it.
Perhaps I should read that verse. This is what it says: “All the tithe of the land … is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.” All the tithe is the Lord’s; that is specific.
Then in Malachi 3 we find something added. Verse 8 says: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” Now notice: A person who does not tithe is a robber, but in addition, a person who does not give offerings is guilty before God of robbing Him; so, your tithes and your offerings belong to God. Oh , may it be engraved upon every heart with a pen of fire: These things do not belong to us; they are God’s. We are handling sacred funds, and the question is – how are we handling them? Could it be that some of us are guilty of misusing God’s money?
What is a tithe anyway? Read Leviticus 27:32: “And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.” This means that one-tenth of all our increase belongs to God. We may not have thought of it before, but ten percent of our income is holy for the Lord. We can’t keep it for ourselves without actually breaking that eighth commandment again and stealing what is not ours. If a man earns $1,000 a month, $100 is not really his own. Of course only the profit, or increase, is subject to the tithe. In other words, a businessman might realize an increase of $5,000 a month but $4,000 would be needed to pay the salaries of his helpers and other overhead expense. In such a case, he would only have to pay $100 tithe on the $1,000 profit for that month.
Somebody is bound to object that tithing belongs to the Mosaic Law, the Old Testament, and doesn’t apply to us in the New Testament. But the fact is that this plan of tithing antedates the time of Moses by hundreds of years. Abraham paid tithe at the Lord’s own direction long before the days of Moses. Jacob also tithed on all that he had. It was an obligation before either the Jewish race or the ceremonial law had even come into existence.
But now let’s read what Jesus had to say about tithing. After all, He’s the great guide and example for all of us in spiritual things. In Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” That word “ought” denotes obligation and immediately creates a moral basis for the doctrine. It is moral because it involved stealing from God, as we have already read.
Tithe Is to Be Used for Only One Purpose
     Let’s ask this question before we go further. What is the tithe money to be used for in the Lord’s work? Please turn to 1 Corinthians 9:13: “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?” Here Paul is referring to the priesthood of the Old Testament and how they received a livelihood for their work of ministry at the ancient altar. But now read the very next verse: “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” Verse 14. This text clearly teaches that the gospel minister is to be supported exactly the same way as the priests of the Old Testament.
We now turn to the Scriptures to find out what God’s plan was for the support of the ministry, both in the Old Testament and in the New. In Numbers 18:21 we read, “And behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” The tribe of Levi was not given any inheritance as the other Israelites were. They had no herds, or business ventures. All the other tribes paid tithe and that one-tenth was used to pay the priests, the Levites.
All right, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel,” so Paul said. The tithe is not to be used for an education fund, a church expense fund, or even a poor fund. It is ordained of God only to pay the ministry. This is the biblical way for preachers to be supported.
I heard of one preacher who closed all the doors of the church and refused to preach until the offering goal of a certain sum was reached. Other churches have resorted to religious fairs, lotteries, bingo, etc. to meet their pastoral financial obligations. Is this the plan of God? Is this the way He had ordained for churches to meet the deficit in their budgets? This is not according to God’s plan. Something is desperately wrong with a church which has to bring the world into its operating plan. If Christ should walk into some of these temples and cathedrals of our day, He would be just as indignant as He was in days of old. He would say once more, “Take these things hence. You have made my house of prayer a den of thieves.” What a tragedy it is that many young people have learned to be expert in gambling inside the walls of their own church. What a sad commentary on the state of modern religious leaders who encourage such demonstrations. Is this what God expects from the people who are called by His name?
Some Preachers Fear to Preach Truth Because of Money
     God never intended for preachers to dabble in real estate, car sales, or some side business. A man called of God should give his whole time to the Word of God. His livelihood, in other words, should be supplied by the divine plan of the tithing system. This system eliminates one of the greatest temptations facing the modern minister of the gospel. Some preachers are actually afraid to preach the plain truth for fear of cutting off their own salary.
When a pastor is paid directly by the local congregation and has to depend solely upon the liberality of one church group, he is in an anxious dilemma. If he rebukes sin as it should be rebuked, he may offend the very ones who may stop giving offerings, and thus his own salary will be jeopardized.
Now I know that no true pastor would preach smooth things just for worldly gain; nevertheless, many are actually afraid to preach plainly under the conditions I’ve just described. God’s plan eliminates that temptation to soften the truth. A local congregation shouldn’t be directly paying the man who preaches to them, and this would eliminate that great danger. His method of tithing eliminates the temptation for a pastor to soften the truth.
Some people complain that they can’t pay the tithe because there’s nothing left after all the bills are paid. But, are we doing the right thing by waiting until every- thing else is paid before we give God the tithe? In Proverbs 3:9 we read: “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” In other words, pay the tithe first. Even the ministers – who themselves are paid from the tithe fund – pay one-tenth of their salary in tithe. After all, everything belongs to God, doesn’t it? All the silver and gold and the cattle on a thousand hills – we are simply stewards of these things. He has let us use them. We pay the rent on a house in order to acknowledge that the house is not really ours. We just use it. In the same way, we give the tenth back to God to acknowledge that all our possessions are just given to us to use. They really belong to God, the great Creator, and Owner of all things.
Now, a great many people say, “I go to church and I pay my tithe,” when what they really mean is that they go to church and give offerings; because nobody is a tithe payer who does not give one-tenth of his income. Tithe means one-tenth. And that is what the Bible is speaking of, one-tenth of a person’s increase.
Some people say, “Isn’t that a great deal to give, one-tenth?” Suppose somebody came to you and said, “I would like to set you up in business. I would like to furnish the capital, the buildings, the equipment-everything. I want you to run it. Then at the close of the month I want you to figure up the profit. When you have found the profit, I want you to keep nine-tenths and give me one-tenth.” Would you say, “Whew, you mean you want a whole tenth?” No, you would look at the man and say, “You’ve made a mistake, haven’t you? You mean you want nine-tenths and give me one-tenth.”
Why, you have never heard of an offer like that. People don’t make offers like that today – not at all – but that is the offer God has made. There is no question about it. This world and everything in it belongs to God. He made the whole thing and everything here is His. The Bible is so clear on it. I read from Psalms 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalms 50:10-12: “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.” Haggai 2:8 says, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.” We forget that sometimes, but he says, “It is mine.” Now notice Deuteronomy 8:18: “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.”
When we add that all up and put it together, the Bible is simply saying this: Everything is God’s. If you have anything at all, it is because God gave you the power, the strength, and the intelligence to obtain it. And then He says to you, “Now, ten percent of what you receive is mine. I want you to give it to me.” Is that a fair offer? I submit to you today, you have never heard a more fair, generous offer anywhere. Remember the text, Leviticus 27:30, that says the tithe is the Lord’s. Oh, may God impress us with that point. It isn’t a question of our deciding whether we ought to turn it over to Him, whether it should become His, or will become His; it already is the Lord’s. That has been settled. The tithe is the Lord’s, and so one-tenth of every man’s income belongs to God. He may be a complete heathen and knows nothing of our God, but still one-tenth belongs to the Lord God of heaven.
Finally, we come to that very important text in Malachi 3:8-11: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground.”
There it is, people robbing God! In one year the FBI records revealed that there were 111,750 cases of robbery in the United States and more than a million cases of burglary. But this is only a fraction of the true picture. How many million church members have been guilty of the worst type of stealing – and from God, at that? Probably there are more thieves in the church, on this basis, than outside the church. In fact, there’s no question about it; God says if we take the tithe, we are stealing from Him.
Incidentally, have you noticed the amazing parallel between the tithing tenth and the tenth commandment of the Decalogue? The command against coveting is the tenth one, and the command to give a tenth is God’s remedy for covetousness. The root reason for breaking either one of these basic biblical laws is selfishness. The opposite of self is love, and all obedience should be based on loving God more than ourselves.
Love means giving, as we learn from John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave.” We could never match the love-gift of God in surrendering His Son, but we should love him enough that the surrender of 10 or 50 percent of all we possess should not be counted a sacrifice. God’s challenge to “prove me” has always produced the same results in those who took Him at His word. The promise is literal that “there shall not be room enough to receive” the blessing as it returns to us “pressed down, shaken together, and running over.”
Never underestimate the blessings and benefits of turning away from the robbing business. When we rob God we are, in reality, robbing ourselves. We lose the blessings which are a part of the package called obedience. Unbelievable promises of protection and prosperity are made to those who go into partnership with God through faithful giving. The fruits of unselfish stewardship, based upon love, are fantastic to contemplate. “Prove me,” says the Owner of everything. Will you dare to do it right now by making a covenant with God to be an honest steward in both tithes and offerings?
What Is Time Worth?
     A few days ago I wasted thirty minutes of valuable time waiting for a shoe repairman to finish a job that had been promised earlier. Mentally I did some rough computations and concluded that my thirty minutes of time was worth much more than the cost of the shoe repair. I can assure you that the results of my arithmetic did not relieve my frustration in the least degree, but it did start me thinking more about the worth of minutes and hours.
Unfortunately, we equate the value of time with a certain number of dollars and cents. People are paid so much an hour, or so many dollars a month. On the basis that one is paid $10 an hour for his work, let’s try to evaluate the true worth of that 60 minutes. The equation would go something like this: one hour of time equals $10 in cash money.
Having translated the hour into money, and assuming that the money is fully equivalent to the 60 minutes of time, we can determine the true value of the hour of time as we trace the value of the $10. How valuable is that $10 to the person who exchanged his time for it? How much good will it perform for him, and how much will it contribute to his quality of life? If the $10 adds more happiness, longer life, and greater security, then we must conclude that the man’s time was easily worth the amount and perhaps even more.
But suppose the $10 is spent for liquor, which leads to alcoholism or disease? Instead of having any real worth, the money would have a negative value, and the hour’s time would also really be worth less than nothing. In other words, our time is worth only as much as we are able to squeeze out of the money we are paid for our time. If the things we spend the money for result in better living and longer, happier life, our time may be worth infinitely more than any amount of money. On the other hand, if we spend the money for things which create disease, cheapen the moral worth, and prevent our receiving eternal life, then our time has a negative worth.
If this principle is true, the world’s standard of evaluating time is totally wrong. Some men who are paid over a million dollars a year are using their wealth to defile body and mind, and destroy spiritual perceptions. Society can say what it will, but those men are wasting their time, because they waste the money which their time purchased.
Other men are paid little in dollars, but they invest that little in things which contribute to peace of mind, building a strong moral character, and preparing for eternal life. They are the people whose time is really valuable; in fact, more valuable than the highest paid executive in the corporate structure who is misusing his wealth.
Do you get the picture clearly in mind, that your money represents your time? What you do with your money, then, is the same as what you do with your time. The benefits drawn from your money represent the true value of your time.      Think about it for a moment. How are you using those dollars? Are they invested in ways that will lead to your eternal happiness and security? Are you making it possible for others to reap the blessing of God’s saving grace? As a result of your use of money, will souls be able to rejoice with you in Heaven?
The imprudent, wasteful manner of treating money will lead millions to lose eternal life. Not only are their years of earthly time lost, but the endless time of afuture eternity is also forfeited. All the money purchased by a lifetime of labor is worthless unless it contributes to building up the true quality of life. Sorrowfully we observe how billions of dollars are spent for selfish indulgence, drug addiction, and destructive purposes. How many wasted lives are represented in those wasted dollars!
Much has been written about Howard Hughes, the eccentric millionaire, whose limitless wealth became the ultimate cause of his horrible and dehumanized death. Suspicious of everyone, he isolated himself from friends and society for fear of being exploited for his money. After his death additional animosities and selfishness were stirred among those who fought like animals to acquire a portion for themselves.
Was Howard Hughes’ time really that important and valuable? His time produced money that produced misery which finally brought death. Make no mistake about it, it is better for a man never to be born than to live for self and to lose eternal life in the end. It is better for a man to be a pauper than to earn millions which cause himself or others to be lost.
At the risk of sounding redundant I come back to the question, How are you spending your money? The years of your life are tied up in that money. Disposing of it is disposing of years of your time. When your life is over, all your years of remunerated time will be reflected in your estate. It may be small, but it is important, because it represents the value of all the time you exchanged for it.
How do you value that time? How do you appraise those years that made up so much of your life? The answer to those questions will be revealed by the way you relate to your possessions. If that money now ministers to your deepest priority needs, then the time it took to acquire the money was well spent. And if the money becomes a vehicle for reaching souls for God’s Kingdom, the value of the time in earning it is far beyond the computation. Why so? Let me illustrate.
If your money can be used to turn just one soul to Christ, how much would the time investment be worth? Try to understand it in these terms: one soul saved for eternity will live longer than all the combined years of all the people who ever lived and died on this earth. Can you grasp that fact? Eventually that one person’s life in eternity will outstrip the total number of years that all the millionaires, corporation presidents and world thought leaders lived out in their lifetimes. And if those millionaires and famous personalities are not saved, then the time of that one redeemed soul will have been more valuable than the time of all those leaders combined.
What I’m really saying is this: money, success, and all that goes with it are less than worthless unless those things are used to prepare for eternity, and to help others prepare. Our time is valuable, but it is only valuable in proportion to the eternal benefits we derive from the money we receive in exchange for our time. If our money is wasted, our time has gone down the drain in earning the money. How true the saying of Jesus, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26.
Even Christ spoke of a trade-off. There is an investing of one thing to get another. We exchange our time for money. Then we trade off the money – for what? For things that unfit us for heaven? If so, our time as well as our money is misspent and worthless. I repeat, it would be better never to be born than to live and die without Christ. It would be a thousandfold better to live as a pauper than to be a billionaire oilman who fell one step short of heaven.
Analyze that statement carefully. The Christian pauper had to live with physical want and deprivation, but he had peace of mind and joy in his heart. The rich man lived with all the creature comforts, but his mind was distressed and unhappy. Even if there were no eternal life beyond the grave, the Christian pauper had a better life in this world than the unsaved billionaire.
But think about those two men in terms of eternity. For a sextillion times longer than the rich man had life, that redeemed pauper will live in a mansion more magnificent than the oilman could have imagined. When his years finally exceed the life span of earth’s total population, the saved poor man will still be in the bloom of radiant health and immortal youth.
And what of the man who had everything? (Well, almost everything! He really lacked only one thing – a simple, saving faith in Jesus.) What will happen to him? Just before being cast into the lake of fire he will have opportunity to look through the transparent walls of the New Jerusalem. In the total recall of that moment the miserable Midas will recognize the utter emptiness of a life lived without God. The time which had been worth a million dollars a year will be seen in retrospect as vainly squandered. The agonizing remorse of that instant in eternity will overpower the mind and constitute the most sensitive and supreme punishment that anyone will ever have to suffer.
Now, aren’t you thankful that we are still living in the realm of time where things can be changed? Eternity is at the door, but we have a fragment of time left in which every one of us will be exchanging minutes for money. But then what? The money will be exchanged for something else. That something else will either help fit us for heaven or condition us to be lost. Which will it be for you?
One more important truth about money: since it really is the equivalent of the time you invested in earning it, as long as your accrued money remains, your influence can still be felt in time. Even after your death your money will be representing hours, months, and years that you spent in gathering it. Many are abdicating all responsibility for the influence of that time after they die. The accumulative result of an entire lifetime is casually left in the hands of disinterested relatives or even unscrupulous lawyers. It is used often to tear down and disannul the very cause for which the deceased gave his life. His invested time, in the form of money, now turns against the investor, and is employed to blot out the results of carefully planned years.
All men and women should have a will which can protect the interest of their time investment. Just as they did not want their time wasted in life, they do not want their money, representing their time, squandered after life is over. By designating in a will exactly how the estate should be divided, an individual can guarantee that his influence will still be extended in time. The value of those invested years can still be revealed through the spiritual benefits of his bequeathed wealth, whether small or great.
Even those who have been fearful of making expenditures while living need have no fear of boldly assigning, in a will to be executed after death, the fruits of their lifetime investment.
Many have a legitimate fear of depleting their saving and becoming dependent on others. But after death they have nothing to fear. They can accomplish for Christ what circumstances never permitted while they were alive. Souls can still be won for the Kingdom. Their means can prepare people for heaven. Many a Christian who never had the personal joy of winning a soul for Christ, will meet souls in the kingdom who will thank them for their post-humous provisions, which made it possible for them to hear the truth and be saved.
Perhaps you are now in this category. You dare not give largely to God’s cause for fear future disease and hospital costs will require all your savings. You long for Jesus to come, and the gospel to be proclaimed everywhere, but you dare not invest the nest-egg which might be your only buffer against dire need. You do well to make provision and retain that nest-egg for future eventualities. I think God wants us to be wise in planning for economic independence and security. But if, through His blessing and protection, those funds are not needed, they can be directed into the winning of souls; but only by the one who makes the careful, deliberate decision beforehand.
Many souls have been won to Christ just because people cared enough, and designated their funds to keep working after their death. What a thrill it will be for those committed Christians, in the resurrection of the righteous, to learn the wonderful results of their dedicated means which continued speaking for them long after their departure.

“The Time Of Trouble.”

30 Oct

“At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which
standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time
of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to
that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered,
every one that shall be found written in the book.”1053
When the third angel’s message closes, mercy no longer pleads
for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished
their work. They have received “the latter rain,” “the
refreshing from the presence of the Lord,” and they are prepared
for the trying hour before them. Angels are hastening to and fro
in heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces that his
work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world,
and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts
have received “the seal of the living God.” Then Jesus ceases His
intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands, and with
a loud voice says, “It is done;” and all the angelic host lay off
their crowns as He makes the solemn announcement: “He that is
unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be
filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and
he that is holy, let him be holy still.”1054 Every case has been
decided for life or death. Christ has made the atonement for His
people, and blotted out their sins. The number of His subjects [614]
is made up; “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of
the kingdom under the whole heaven,” is about to be given to
the heirs of salvation, and Jesus is to reign as King of kings, and
Lord of lords.
When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants
of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight
of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has
been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control
of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The
world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled
upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their
probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last
withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection
from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the
earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to
hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements
of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in
ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.
A single angel destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians,
and filled the land with mourning. When David offended against
God by numbering the people, one angel caused that terrible
destruction by which his sin was punished. The same destructive
power exercised by holy angels when God commands, will be
exercised by evil angels when He permits. There are forces
now ready, and only waiting the divine permission, to spread
desolation everywhere.
Those who honor the law of God have been accused of bringing judgments upon the world, and they will be regarded as
the cause of the fearful convulsions of nature and the strife and
bloodshed among men that are filling the earth with woe. The
power attending the last warning has enraged the wicked; their
[615] anger is kindled against all who have received the message, and
Satan will excite to still greater intensity the spirit of hatred and
persecution.
When God’s presence was finally withdrawn from the Jewish
nation, priests and people knew it not. Though under the control
of Satan, and swayed by the most horrible and malignant
passions, they still regarded themselves as the chosen of God.
The ministration in the temple continued; sacrifices were offered
upon its polluted altars, and daily the divine blessing was invoked
upon a people guilty of the blood of God’s dear Son, and seeking
to slay His ministers and apostles. So when the irrevocable
decision of the sanctuary has been pronounced, and the destiny
of the world has been forever fixed, the inhabitants of the earth
will know it not. The forms of religion will be continued by a
people from whom the Spirit of God has been finally withdrawn;
and the satanic zeal with which the prince of evil will inspire
them for the accomplishment of his malignant designs, will bear
the semblance of zeal for God.
As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy
throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities
have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the
persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular
demand, will make them objects of universal execration. It will
be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of
the church and a law of the state, ought not to be tolerated; that
it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown
into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument eighteen
hundred years ago was brought against Christ by the “rulers of
the people.” “It is expedient for us,” said the wily Caiaphas, “that
one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation
ish not.”1055 This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree
will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of
the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the
severest punishment, and giving the people liberty, after a certain
time, to put them to death. Romanism in the Old World, and [616]
apostate Protestantism in the New, will pursue a similar course
toward those who honor all the divine precepts.
The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of
affliction and distress described by the prophet as the time of
Jacob’s trouble. “Thus saith the Lord: We have heard a voice of
trembling, of fear, and not of peace…. All faces are turned into
paleness. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it
is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of
it.”1056
Jacob’s night of anguish, when he wrestled in prayer for deliverance
from the hand of Esau,1057 represents the experience
of God’s people in the time of trouble. Because of the deception
practised to secure his father’s blessing, intended for Esau, Jacob
had fled for his life, alarmed by his brother’s deadly threats.
After remaining for many years an exile, he had set out, at God’s
command, to return with his wives and children, his flocks and
herds, to his native country. On reaching the borders of the
land, he was filled with terror by the tidings of Esau’s approach
at the head of a band of warriors, doubtless bent upon revenge.
Jacob’s company, unarmed and defenseless, seemed about to fall
helpless victims of violence and slaughter. And to the burden of
anxiety and fear was added the crushing weight of self-reproach;
for it was his own sin that had brought this danger. His only hope
was in the mercy of God; his only defense must be prayer. Yet
he leaves nothing undone on his own part to atone for the wrong
to his brother, and to avert the threatened danger. So should
the followers of Christ, as they approach the time of trouble,
make every exertion to place themselves in a proper light before
the people, to disarm prejudice, and to avert the danger which
threatens liberty of conscience.
Having sent his family away, that they may not witness his
distress, Jacob remains alone to intercede with God. He confesses
[617] his sin, and gratefully acknowledges the mercy of God toward
him, while with deep humiliation he pleads the covenant made
with his fathers, and the promises to himself in the night vision
at Bethel and in the land of his exile. The crisis in his life has
come; everything is at stake. In the darkness and solitude he
continues praying and humbling himself before God. Suddenly
a hand is laid upon his shoulder. He thinks that an enemy is
seeking his life, and with all the energy of despair he wrestles
with his assailant. As the day begins to break, the stranger puts
forth his superhuman power: at his touch the strong man seems
paralyzed, and he falls, a helpless, weeping suppliant, upon the
neck of his mysterious antagonist. Jacob knows now that it is
the Angel of the Covenant with whom he has been in conflict.
Though disabled, and suffering the keenest pain, he does not
relinquish his purpose. Long has he endured perplexity, remorse,
and trouble for his sin; now he must have the assurance that
it is pardoned. The divine visitant seems about to depart; but
Jacob clings to Him, pleading for a blessing. The Angel urges,
“Let Me go; for the day breaketh;” but the patriarch exclaims, “I
will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” What confidence,
what firmness and perseverance, are here displayed! Had this
been a boastful, presumptuous claim, Jacob would have been
instantly destroyed; but his was the assurance of one who confesses
his weakness and unworthiness, yet trusts the mercy of a
covenant-keeping God.
“He had power over the Angel, and prevailed.”1058 Through
humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring
mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He had fastened
his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the heart
of Infinite Love could not turn away the sinner’s plea. As an
evidence of his triumph, and an encouragement to others to
imitate his example, his name was changed from one which was
a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. And
the fact that Jacob had prevailed with God was an assurance that
he would prevail with men. He no longer feared to encounter [618]
his brother’s anger; for the Lord was his defense.
Satan had accused Jacob before the angels of God, claiming
the right to destroy him because of his sin; he had moved upon
Esau to march against him; and during the patriarch’s long night
of wrestling, Satan endeavored to force upon him a sense of his
guilt, in order to discourage him, and break his hold upon God.
Jacob was driven almost to despair; but he knew that without
help from heaven he must perish. He had sincerely repented of
his great sin, and he appealed to the mercy of God. He would not
be turned from his purpose, but held fast the Angel, and urged
his petition with earnest, agonizing cries, until he prevailed.
As Satan influenced Esau to march against Jacob, so he will
stir up the wicked to destroy God’s people in the time of trouble.
And as he accused Jacob, he will urge his accusations against
the people of God. He numbers the world as his subjects; but the
little company who keep the commandments of God are resisting
his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph
would be complete. He sees that holy angels are guarding them,
and he infers that their sins have been pardoned; but he does not
know that their cases have been decided in the sanctuary above.
He has an accurate knowledge of the sins which he has tempted
them to commit, and he presents these before God in the most
exaggerated light, representing this people to be just as deserving
as himself of exclusion from the favor of God. He declares that
the Lord cannot in justice forgive their sins, and yet destroy him
and his angels. He claims them as his prey, and demands that
they be given into his hands to destroy.
As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins,
the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. Their confidence
in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested.
[619] As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole
lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their
weakness and unworthiness. Satan endeavors to terrify them with
the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their
defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy
their faith that they will yield to his temptations, and turn from
their allegiance to God.
Though God’s people will be surrounded by enemies who are
bent upon their destruction, yet the anguish which they suffer
is not a dread of persecution for the truth’s sake; they fear that
every sin has not been repented of, and that through some fault in
themselves they will fail to realize the fulfilment of the Saviour’s
promise, “I will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which
shall come upon all the world.”1059 If they could have the assurance
of pardon, they would not shrink from torture or death;
but should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of
their own defects of character, then God’s holy name would be
reproached.
On every hand they hear the plottings of treason, and see the
active working of rebellion; and there is aroused within them
an intense desire, an earnest yearning of soul, that this great
apostasy may be terminated, and the wickedness of the wicked
may come to an end. But while they plead with God to stay
the work of rebellion, it is with a keen sense of self-reproach
that they themselves have no more power to resist and urge
back the mighty tide of evil. They feel that had they always
employed all their ability in the service of Christ, going forward
from strength to strength, Satan’s forces would have less power
to prevail against them.
They afflict their souls before God, pointing to their past repentance
of their many sins, and pleading the Saviour’s promise,
“Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with
Me; and he shall make peace with Me.”1060 Their faith does not
fail because their prayers are not immediately answered. Though [620]
suffering the keenest anxiety, terror, and distress, they do not
cease their intercessions. They lay hold of the strength of God as
Jacob laid hold of the Angel; and the language of their souls is,
“I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.”
Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the
birthright by fraud, God would not have heard his prayer and
mercifully preserved his life. So, in the time of trouble, if the
people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while
tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair
would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence
to plead with God for deliverance. But while they have a deep
sense of their unworthiness, they have no concealed wrongs to
reveal. Their sins have gone beforehand to judgment, and have
been blotted out; and they cannot bring them to remembrance.
Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their unfaithfulness
in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord shows in His
dealings with Jacob that He will in no wise sanction or tolerate
evil. All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and
permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed
and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. The more exalted
their profession, and the more honorable the position which they
hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God, and
the more sure the triumph of their great adversary. Those who
delay a preparation for the day of God cannot obtain it in the
time of trouble, or at any subsequent time. The case of all such
is hopeless.
Those professed Christians who come up to that last fearful
conflict unprepared, will, in their despair, confess their sins in
words of burning anguish, while the wicked exult over their
distress. These confessions are of the same character as was that
of Esau or of Judas. Those who make them, lament the result of
transgression, but not its guilt. They feel no true contrition, no
[621] abhorrence of evil. They acknowledge their sin, through fear of
punishment; but, like Pharaoh of old, they would return to their
defiance of Heaven, should the judgments be removed.
Jacob’s history is also an assurance that God will not cast off
those who have been deceived, and tempted, and betrayed into
sin, but who have returned unto Him with true repentance. While
Satan seeks to destroy this class, God will send His angels to
comfort and protect them in the time of peril. The assaults of
Satan are fierce and determined, his delusions are terrible; but
the Lord’s eye is upon His people, and His ear listens to their
cries. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem
about to consume them; but the Refiner will bring them forth
as gold tried in the fire. God’s love for His children during the
period of their severest trial, is as strong and tender as in the
days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be
placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed,
that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.
The season of distress and anguish before us will require a
faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger,—a faith that
will not faint, though severely tried. The period of probation is
granted to all to prepare for that time. Jacob prevailed because
he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence
of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of
God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as
he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling
to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly
for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how
few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn
out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the
stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express
sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to
the promises of God. [622]
Those who exercise but little faith now, are in the greatest
danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the
decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the
test, they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the
time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust
in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected, they will
be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.
We should now acquaint ourselves with God by proving His
promises. Angels record every prayer that is earnest and sincere.
We should rather dispense with selfish gratifications than neglect
communion with God. The deepest poverty, the greatest self-denial,
with His approval, is better than riches, honors, ease, and
friendship without it. We must take time to pray. If we allow our
minds to be absorbed by worldly interests, the Lord may give
us time by removing from us our idols of gold, of houses, or of
fertile lands.
The young would not be seduced into sin if they would refuse
to enter any path save that upon which they could ask God’s
blessing. If the messengers who bear the last solemn warning
to the world would pray for the blessing of God, not in a cold,
listless, lazy manner, but fervently and in faith, as did Jacob,
they would find many places where they could say, “I have seen
God face to face, and my life is preserved.”1061 They would be
accounted of heaven as princes, having power to prevail with
God and with men.
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 that 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,
[623] they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver
their own souls by their righteousness.”1062
Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for
us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a
thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of
temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he
can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means
of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared
of Himself, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing
in Me.”1063 Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that
would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s
commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could
use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must
be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.
It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith
in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour invites us to
join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness to His strength, our
ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits. God’s
providence is the school in which we are to learn the meekness
and lowliness of Jesus. The Lord is ever setting before us, not
the way we would choose, which seems easier and pleasanter to
us, but the true aims of life. It rests with us to co-operate with the
agencies which Heaven employs in the work of conforming our
characters to the divine model. None can neglect or defer this
work but at the most fearful peril to their souls
The apostle John in vision heard a loud voice in heaven exclaiming,
“Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for
the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he
knoweth that he hath but a short time.”1064 Fearful are the scenes
which call forth this exclamation from the heavenly voice. The
wrath of Satan increases as his time grows short, and his work
of deceit and destruction will reach its culmination in the time of
trouble. [624]
Fearful sights of a supernatural character will soon be revealed
in the heavens, in token of the power of miracle-working demons.
The spirits of devils will go forth to the kings of the earth and
to the whole world, to fasten them in deception, and urge them
on to unite with Satan in his last struggle against the government
of heaven. By these agencies, rulers and subjects will be alike
deceived. Persons will arise pretending to be Christ Himself,
and claiming the title and worship which belong to the world’s
Redeemer. They will perform wonderful miracles of healing,
and will profess to have revelations from heaven contradicting
the testimony of the Scriptures.
As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan
himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to
look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes.
Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come.
In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among
men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the
description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation.1065
The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that
mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out
upon the air, “Christ has come! Christ has come!” The people
prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his
hands, and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed
His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and
subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he
presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the
Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in
his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the
Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which
he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping
holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to
listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the
strong, almost overmastering delusion. Like the Samaritans who
[625] were deceived by Simon Magus, the multitudes, from the least
to the greatest, give heed to these sorceries, saying, This is “the
great power of God.”1066
But the people of God will not be misled. The teachings of
this false christ are not in accordance with the Scriptures. His
blessing is pronounced upon the worshipers of the beast and his
image, the very class upon whom the Bible declares that God’s
unmingled wrath shall be poured out.
And, furthermore, Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the
manner of Christ’s advent. The Saviour has warned His people
against deception upon this point, and has clearly foretold the
manner of His second coming. “There shall arise false christs,
and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders;
insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very
elect…. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the
desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe
it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth
even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man
be.”1067 This coming, there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It
will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world.
Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures,
and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded
from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the
Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To
all, the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation, the
genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now
so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield
to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis,
cling to the Bible, and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible,
prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day.
He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them
with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome
burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of [626]
this life, and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief.
As the decree issued by the various rulers of Christendom
against commandment-keepers shall withdraw the protection of
government, and abandon them to those who desire their destruction,
the people of God will flee from the cities and villages and
associate together in companies, dwelling in the most desolate
and solitary places. Many will find refuge in the strongholds
of the mountains. Like the Christians of the Piedmont valleys,
they will make the high places of the earth their sanctuaries, and
will thank God for the “munitions of rocks.”1068 But many of all
nations, and of all classes, high and low, rich and poor, black
and white, will be cast into the most unjust and cruel bondage.
The beloved of God pass weary days, bound in chains, shut in
by prison bars, sentenced to be slain, some apparently left to die
of starvation in dark and loathsome dungeons. No human ear is
open to hear their moans; no human hand is ready to lend them
help.
Will the Lord forget His people in this trying hour? Did
He forget faithful Noah when judgments were visited upon the
antediluvian world? Did He forget Lot when the fire came down
from heaven to consume the cities of the plain? Did He forget
Joseph surrounded by idolaters in Egypt? Did He forget Elijah
when the oath of Jezebel threatened him with the fate of the
prophets of Baal? Did He forget Jeremiah in the dark and dismal
pit of his prison-house? Did He forget the three worthies in the
fiery furnace? or Daniel in the den of lions?
“Zion said, Jehovah hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath
forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she
should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they
may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee
upon the palms of My hands.”1069 The Lord of hosts has said,
[627] “He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye.”1070
Though enemies may thrust them into prison, yet dungeon
walls cannot cut off the communication between their souls and
Christ. One who sees their every weakness, who is acquainted
with every trial, is above all earthly powers; and angels will come
to them in lonely cells, bringing light and peace from heaven.
The prison will be as a palace; for the rich in faith dwell there,
and the gloomy walls will be lighted up with heavenly light, as
when Paul and Silas prayed and sung praises at midnight in the
Philippian dungeon.
God’s judgments will be visited upon those who are seeking
to oppress and destroy His people. His long forbearance with the
wicked emboldens men in transgression, but their punishment is
none the less certain and terrible because it is long delayed. “The
Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in
the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work;
and bring to pass His act, His strange act.”1071 To our merciful
God the act of punishment is a strange act. “As I live, saith the
Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.”1072
The Lord is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant
in goodness and truth, … forgiving iniquity and transgression
and sin.” Yet He will “by no means clear the guilty.” “The Lord
is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit
the wicked.”1073 By terrible things in righteousness He will vindicate
the authority of His downtrodden law. The severity of
the retribution awaiting the transgressor may be judged by the
Lord’s reluctance to execute justice. The nation with which He
bears long, and which He will not smite until it has filled up the
measure of its iniquity in God’s account, will finally drink the
cup of wrath unmixed with mercy.
When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the
unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast
and his image and receive his mark,1074 will be poured out.
The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel,
were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive [628]
judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final
deliverance of God’s people. Says the revelator, in describing
those terrific scourges: “There fell a noisome and grievous sore
upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them
which worshiped his image.” The sea “became as the blood of
a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” And “the
rivers and fountains of waters … became blood.” Terrible as
these inflictions are, God’s justice stands fully vindicated. The
angel of God declares: “Thou are righteous, O Lord, … because
Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and
prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are
worthy.”1075 By condemning the people of God to death, they
have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood as if it had been
shed by their hands. In like manner Christ declared the Jews of
His time guilty of all the blood of holy men which had been shed
since the days of Abel; for they possessed the same spirit, and
were seeking to do the same work, with these murderers of the
prophets.
In the plague that follows, power is given to the sun “to scorch
men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat.”1076 The
prophets thus describe the condition of the earth at this fearful
time: “The land mourneth; … because the harvest of the field
is perished.” “All the trees of the field are withered: because
joy is withered away from the sons of men.” “The seed is rotten
under their clods, the garners are laid desolate.” “How do the
beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they
have no pasture…. The rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire
hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” “The songs of the
temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord God: there
shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them
forth with silence.”1077
These plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth
[629] would bewholly cut off. Yet theywill be the most awful scourges
that have ever been known to mortals. All the judgments upon
men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with
mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from
receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment,
wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy.
In that day, multitudes will desire the shelter of God’s mercy
which they have so long despised. “Behold, the days come, saith
the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine
of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the
Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north
even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the
Lord, and shall not find it.”1078
The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while
persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation, and suffer
for want of food, they will not be left to perish. That God
who cared for Elijah, will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing
children. He who numbers the hairs of their head, will care for
them; and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the
wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield
the righteous, and supply their wants. To him that “walketh righteously”
is the promise, “Bread shall be given him; his waters
shall be sure.” “When the poor and needy seek water, and there
is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear
them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”1079
“Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit
be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields
shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and
there shall be no herd in the stalls:” yet shall they that fear Him
“rejoice in the Lord,” and joy in the God of their salvation.1080
“The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right
hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve [630]
thy soul.” “He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,
and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His
feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be
thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by
night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence
that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at
noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at
thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine
eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because
thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most
High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall
any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”1081
Yet to human sight it will appear that the people of God must
soon seal their testimony with their blood, as did the martyrs
before them. They themselves begin to fear that the Lord has left
them to fall by the hand of their enemies. It is a time of fearful
agony. Day and night they cry unto God for deliverance. The
wicked exult, and the jeering cry is heard, “Where now is your
faith? Why does not God deliver you out of our hands if you are
indeed His people?” But the waiting ones remember Jesus dying
upon Calvary’s cross, and the chief priests and rulers shouting in
mockery, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be
the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and
we will believe Him.”1082 Like Jacob, all are wrestling with God.
Their countenances express their internal struggle. Paleness sits
upon every face. Yet they cease not their earnest intercession.
Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies
of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who
have kept the word of Christ’s patience. With sympathizing
tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress, and have heard
their prayers. They are waiting the word of their Commander
to snatch them from their peril. But they must wait yet a little
[631] longer. The people of God must drink of the cup, and be
baptized with the baptism. The very delay, so painful to them,
is the best answer to their petitions. As they endeavor to wait
trustingly for the Lord to work, they are led to exercise faith,
hope, and patience, which have been too little exercised during
their religious experience. Yet for the elect’s sake, the time of
trouble will be shortened. “Shall not God avenge His own elect,
which cry day and night unto Him?… I tell you that He will
avenge them speedily.”1083 The end will come more quickly than
men expect. The wheat will be gathered and bound in sheaves
for the garner of God; the tares will be bound as fagots for the
fires of destruction.
The heavenly sentinels, faithful to their trust, continue their
watch. Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment-keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in
some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified,
will endeavor to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty
guardians stationed about every faithful soul. Some are assailed
in their flight from the cities and villages; but the swords raised
against them break and fall as powerless as a straw. Others are
defended by angels in the form of men of war.
In all ages, God has wrought through holy angels for the
succor and deliverance of His people. Celestial beings have
taken an active part in the affairs of men. They have appeared
clothed in garments that shone as the lightning; they have come
as men, in the garb of wayfarers. Angels have appeared in human
form to men of God. They have rested, as if weary, under the
oaks at noon. They have accepted the hospitalities of human
homes. They have acted as guides to benighted travelers. They
have, with their own hands, kindled the fires of the altar. They
have opened prison doors, and set free the servants of the Lord.
Clothed with the panoply of heaven, they came to roll away the
stone from the Saviour’s tomb.
In the form of men, angels are often in the assemblies of the
righteous, and they visit the assemblies of the wicked, as they [632]
went to Sodom, to make a record of their deeds, to determine
whether they have passed the boundary of God’s forbearance.
The Lord delights in mercy; and for the sake of a few who really
serve Him, He restrains calamities, and prolongs the tranquillity
of multitudes. Little do sinners against God realize that they are
indebted for their own lives to the faithful few whom they delight
to ridicule and oppress.
Though the rulers of this world know it not, yet often in their
councils angels have been spokesmen. Human eyes have looked
upon them; human ears have listened to their appeals; human
lips have opposed their suggestions and ridiculed their counsels;
human hands have met them with insult and abuse. In the council
hall and the court of justice, these heavenly messengers have
shown an intimate acquaintance with human history; they have
proved themselves better able to plead the cause of the oppressed
than were their ablest and most eloquent defenders. They have
defeated purposes and arrested evils that would have greatly
retarded the work of God, and would have caused great suffering
to His people. In the hour of peril and distress, “the angel of the
Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth
them.”1084
With earnest longing, God’s people await the tokens of their
coming King. As the watchmen are accosted, “What of the
night?” the answer is given unfalteringly, “ ‘The morning cometh,
and also the night.’1085 Light is gleaming upon the clouds above
the mountain tops. Soon there will be a revealing of His glory.
The Sun of Righteousness is about to shine forth. The morning
and the night are both at hand,—the opening of endless day to
the righteous, the settling down of eternal night to the wicked.”
As the wrestling ones urge their petitions before God, the
veil separating them from the unseen seems almost withdrawn.
The heavens glow with the dawning of eternal day, and like the
[633] melody of angel songs, the words fall upon the ear, “Stand fast
to your allegiance. Help is coming.” Christ, the almighty victor,
holds out to His weary soldiers a crown of immortal glory; and
His voice comes from the gates ajar: “Lo, I am with you. Be
not afraid. I am acquainted with all your sorrows; I have borne
your griefs. You are not warring against untried enemies. I have
fought the battle in your behalf, and in My name you are more
than conquerors.”
The precious Saviour will send help just when we need it. The
way to heaven is consecrated by His footprints. Every thorn that
wounds our feet has wounded His. Every cross that we are called
to bear, He has borne before us. The Lord permits conflicts, to
prepare the soul for peace. The time of trouble is a fearful ordeal
for God’s people; but it is the time for every true believer to look
up, and by faith he may see the bow of promise encircling him.
“The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing
unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they
shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall
flee away. I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who art thou,
that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son
of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy
Maker; … and hast feared continually every day because of the
fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where
is the fury of the oppressor? The captive exile hasteneth that he
may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his
bread should fail. But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the
sea, whose waves roared: the Lord of hosts is His name. And I
have put My words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the
shadow of Mine hand.”1086
“Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but
not with wine: Thus saith thy Lord Jehovah, and thy God that
pleadeth the cause of His people, Behold, I have taken out of
thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of My
fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: but I will put it into the [634]
hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow
down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the
ground, and as the street, to them that went over.”1087
The eye of God, looking down the ages, was fixed upon the
crisis which His people are to meet, when earthly powers shall
be arrayed against them. Like the captive exile, they will be in
fear of death by starvation or by violence. But the Holy One
who divided the Red Sea before Israel, will manifest His mighty
power and turn their captivity. “They shall be Mine, saith the
Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and
I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth
him.”1088 If the blood of Christ’s faithful witnesses were shed at
this time, it would not, like the blood of the martyrs, be as seed
sown to yield a harvest for God. Their fidelity would not be a
testimony to convince others of the truth; for the obdurate heart
has beaten back the waves of mercy until they return no more.
If the righteous were now left to fall a prey to their enemies, it
would be a triumph for the prince of darkness. Says the psalmist,
“In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the
secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.”1089 Christ has spoken:
“Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy
doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment,
until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh
out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their
iniquity.”1090 Glorious will be the deliverance of those who have
patiently waited for His coming, and whose names are written in
the book of life.

Taken from THE GREAT CONTROVERSY BY ELLEN G WHITE

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