Monday, May 5, 2014

Christ-centered Church History

There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly, repeated more frequently, or established more firmly in the minds of all than the impossibility of fallen man meriting anything by his own best good works. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Faith and Works, p. 18

One interest will prevail, one subject will swallow up every other,—Christ our righteousness.
Review and Herald, December 23, 1890

Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, “It is the third angel’s message in verity.” Review and Herald, April 1, 1890

The uplifted Saviour is to appear in His efficacious work as the Lamb slain, sitting upon the throne, to dispense the priceless covenant blessings, the benefits He died to purchase for every soul who should believe on Him. John could not express that love in words; it was too deep, too broad; he calls upon the human family to behold it. Christ is pleading for the church in the heavenly courts above, pleading for those for whom He paid the redemption price of His own lifeblood. Centuries, ages, can never diminish the efficacy of this atoning sacrifice. The message of the gospel of His grace was to be given to the church in clear and distinct lines, that the world should no longer say that Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, the law, but do not teach or believe Christ.
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 92

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bible Promises for the Time of Trouble

The following study was prepared by Glenn Coon back in 1966, with a few minor edits. It can be found in the final section of Glenn's book "The ABC's of Bible Prayer".
Jeremiah 30:7 speaks about the time of trouble that is coming, it refers to it as "the time of Jacob's trouble;" and it says of God's people, "(they) shall be saved out of it." Isn't that wonderful? God makes this promise to each of us. Let us keep that in mind as we share some of these promises now. This will be discussed again under point eleven, but I mention it at the outset to help us realize that provision has been made for each of us to come through this time, safely.
How was Jacob saved out of his time of trouble? Jacob represents God's people, and so it is important to know how he was saved out of his time of trouble. His time of trouble represents a similar experience to that which Gods people will go through; this makes it doubly important for us to understand Jacob's experience. This brings us to point one:
I. Jacob claimed a promise of God.
Jacob was on his way back home, with his family and all that he had acquired. He had heard that Esau was on his way to meet him accompanied by 400 soldiers. Imagine the fear that Jacob had. Here were all his little ones, his cattle and servants; not a single soldier in his group. Coming toward him was his brother, whom he had wronged and cheated, with an army of trained soldiers. In his agony and fear, he begins to talk to God about it.
Notice his words in Genesis 32:9, "And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:"
Jacob [essentially] says to God [we're paraphrasing],
"Lord, You promised me that You would look after me. You told me to go home and promised that You would deal well with me. I'm not worthy of the least of Your blessings, I know that. But my brother is coming with four hundred soldiers, and I'm terribly afraid. I'm scared, Lord.... but You told me I'd make it home...."
Can't you see him agonize with God and place before his God the promise that was made to him by a God that does not lie, nor go back on a promise? This is just what Jacob did, and he had a wonderful promise to claim.
We, too, are on the home-stretch. Our heavenly home is almost in sight. God says that those who do what Jacob did, will make it home! I want to make it home, don't you? God gave Jacob a promise, and this same promise is ours: "I'll be with you and you will make it home safely," is the promise that we, too, can claim. I don't know of anything I want more than to walk through those pearly gates into that city and see my heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, my Elder Brother, my guardian angel and all my friends, and know I'm home at last! Provision has been made; the promise has been given to make this dream a reality. The Bible tells us that if we are Christ's then we are of the seed of Abraham. Jacob claimed the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac; we have the right to do the same. We, too, can say, "Lord, You have promised to see me home safely...." and know He will do it, because He did it for Jacob.
Notice with me this same promise phrased just a little differently. And in this promise we can know that God is speaking directly to you and to me. I John 2:25 says: "And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life."
I remember, as though it were yesterday, the first time I opened my Bible and put my finger on that promise. I put my name where it says, "us", and it read, "And this is the promise he hath promised [Glenn Coon], even eternal life." [You can insert your name in there too as well].
God has given us this promise and He wants us to take Him at His Word, doesn't He? He most surely does. Abraham, we're told, believed God, and it (the fact that he believed) was counted unto him for righteousness. It is not about how sinful we are, but rather how good God is. It is this God, the One who loves each of us, that says, “I’ll see you home.”
We have all been impressed, at one time or another, with the fact that during the time of trouble we will not be able to buy or sell. Revelation 13 describes that time. It says plainly in verse 17, "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark or the name of the beast" This will be a terrible time! But the Bible has a promise for us that will take care of things for that time. It is found in Isaiah 33:16, "He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure."
Then Isaiah says that we will see the King in His beauty! This is a double promise. It assures us again that we will make it home, and also that we will be given bread and water. Although the rivers and water ways will be turned to blood - God wants us to think of Him and remember that our bread and water will be sure.
That doesn't fill me with fear, does it you? Why no, we can look forward to that time without any trace of fear. I will be out there in the rocks, perhaps, but the Rock that will go with me will be Jesus. With Him by my side, I need never fear. He has promised to take care of me and supply me with the essentials of life - and all of this at a time when the world of ungodly men and women will be thirsty and hungry! No, this picture is not one of fear as far as I'm concerned. The only thing I've got to fear is sin, for this separates me from my Protector and Savior.
II. When the seven last plagues come, the saints will have a place to hide.
Psalms 91:1-4, 10 "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely 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 ...Because thou has 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.”
III. Hiding in Jesus we will be delivered.
Let's do what the wise man suggests in Proverbs 22:3, "A prudent (wise) man forseeth the evil and hideth himself...." He does something about it. He doesn't emphasize the fear, but rather seeks refuge in a safe place. We have been provided with this place and the place is Jesus. We can hide in Him.
Notice: Daniel 12:1 "....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."
IV. We can have the assurance that our names are written in the book of heaven.
Notice with me several verses of scripture. John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." I 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."
By taking advantage of the provisions offered, we have our name written in the book of life. This is recorded in Revelation 3:5, "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels." There it is! Our names are in the book of life, and we can claim the promise of Daniel 12:1. God says He will not blot out our name out of this book if we are overcomers.
V. Beholding Jesus and what He's doing, we become overcomers. Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “And thou shaIt remember all the way which the Lord thy God Ied thee.... "
God is bigger than the devil. I know He is, because God put the devil out of heaven. I know that Christ is bigger than the devil because in Matthew 4 the devil came to Jesus with his strongest temptations, and Jesus said, "Get thee hence, Satan....". When one reads the gospels, we find that every time Christ met the devil there was a conflict and each time Jesus won.
Let us follow the counsel of II Corinthians 3:18 and behold the face of our lovely Jesus and become changed into His Image, what do you say? As we dwell on the attributes of Christ, we'll become like Him and in Him we can conquer the devil and meet his temptations victoriously.
Oh, that we might remember that, "By beholding we become changed." Paul admonishes us, "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 think on these things." Philippians 4:8.
Here are the things that we are to think on. These are the positive traits of character that we want growing in our lives, isn't that right? Why, yes.
My favorite author has a priceless gem suggested for us in the book Education, page 297:
"When once the gaze is fixed upon Him, life finds its center."
Here Christ is plainly shown to be the center of a life that is in balance. When the gaze is removed from Christ, we become unbalanced Christians (thus we backslide). Now how can we avoid falling into this trap of the devil? How can we grow to be like Jesus (rather than become like a trouble maker)?
Here's the promise. It's found in I John 3: 1-3.
"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
Isn't this what we ought to be feeding on? Isn't this the promise that should be the inspiration of our souls? Isn't Jesus the One who should be the center of our thoughts?
When someone says, "Say, by the way, did you hear what the devil did this week?" you can say, "No, but have you heard what the Lord did this week?"
We need to talk more about what the Lord is doing. This is what those, whose names are in the Lord's book, will be doing (testifying of what the Lord is doing).
Notice Malachi 3:16, 17.
"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before the Lord for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And 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."
What a promise for the time of trouble! Isn't this marvelous? God says, if you will talk of me and think of me, I'll spare you in the time of trouble. I will look after you, is the promise of God. When we're thinking of Christ and talking about Him, it is virtually impossible to be talking about the erring members of the church. It is impossible to be finding fault with a brother or sister in the family or in the faith. We can be centered on only one side at one time; it's either Christ-centered, or Satan-centered.
VI. The Bible indicates clearly that as we near the end, the Lord is going to slowly, but surely withdraw His Spirit from the world. Genesis 6:3 says, "My spirit shall not always strive with man..." But in the face of this, we need not fear. The Lord has given us sufficient evidence of His power for that time, too. In Luke 11:13, the Lord has said that if we ask, believe and claim the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, we shall receive it - as a gift from our heavenly Father. Many people are afraid of the Holy Spirit. They don't understand what it means to have Him in the heart. What does it mean to have the Holy Spirit in the heart?
Notice Galatians 5:22, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,". Don't you want joy and peace during the time of trouble? Isn't that the most priceless gift for a time when people will be devoid of these qualities, their souls dry and barren and full of pain and anguish.
When Jesus is not in the heart, it's hard to get along with our loved ones, and these eternal things seem insipid. Jesus makes the difference. At a time when the Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the earth, we can be assured that He will give us a great measure of it, if we truly seek Him, and if we really want Him. It will be revealed, whether or not we have the Spirit by whether or not there is love in the home.
VII. Jesus says, in Matthew 24 that just before He comes, it will be like the days of Noah. [“Every intent of the thoughts of [man's] heart was only evil continually” Genesis 6:5]. Do you know of those who enjoy talking about and dwelling on the sins of the present day? People who enjoy talking about the sex perverts and the sins of the flesh and those things that are shameful - this is a special breed of people. Their saliva flows in double strength at a time when these things are discussed. The world is terrible, alright. We live in a very wicked age. But are we justified in talking about it and making this the center of our thoughts? What would this thinking do for us? "As he thinketh in his heart," says the wise man, "so is he." Proverbs 23:7.
How much better it would be to center our thoughts on this promise:
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers (parents) to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers (parents), lest I come (if I didn't do it) and smite the earth with a curse." Malachi 4:5, 6.
The Lord says He will do this for us (reconcile our families). Things will be so bad that if He didn't do this for us, He just couldn't stand it any longer and He would have to destroy the earth before it was time to do it; before the world had run its course. A mighty revolution is promised. Revolutions that will make the home, "Home, Sweet Home". Homes that are looking forward to Jesus' Coming, will major in sweet homes. Tell your husband that you love him. Tell your wife that you love her. Tell your children that you love them! Make home a happy place.
When we keep the words of the Lord in our hearts and teach them to our children, we are promised days, "as the days of heaven upon the earth." [Deuteronomy 11:18-21]. What a promise to take with us as we approach the time of trouble.
VIII. What about these children of ours that are out of the ark of safety? How many there are that have a real burden for the children who have left the church. Here is a promise that you can claim: "And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart." Jeremiah 24:7
God doesn't want us to whine about our children who are out of the fold. No, we can ask God for help, believe that He is giving it to us and saving our children, and return thanks that He has done it.
Notice the words of Jeremiah 31:16, 17.
"Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border."
You can put a dance in the eyes and a song in the heart and claim this promise, believing that the Lord is working our His purpose for our loved ones. He has promised to do it. Let us claim and believe Him.
IX. Do you want to be guided into this kind of an experience? You don't have to sit and wish for it. Here is a promise by which you can have it and have it now. We don't have to wait for a time in the distant future; it is ours to have now.
Notice: Isaiah 42:16 "And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do for them, and not forsake them."
Isn't this a wonderful promise for guidance and light as we enter the dark days that lie ahead? How wonderful God is to us!
X. And now let's look back again at the promise we have for the time of trouble
Jeremiah 30:7 "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."
Here it is! God's word that we will be saved out of the terrible time of trouble that lies just ahead. Surely, it will come. It will be terrible! It will be the worst kind of existence this world has ever known. We had better believe it - because God says it will be just that kind of a time. But we can live in the assurance, that, if our hearts are right with God now, and we continue to have fellowship with Him each day, when that time comes, we will be saved out of it. Let us anchor our hopes and vision in God's promise.
XI. Now we turn to Hebrews chapter six. In this chapter, the writer of Hebrews says under inspiration, that God made a promise to Abraham and backed it up with an oath. This arrangement constitutes an immutable structure of truth. It is impossible for God to lie. This, according to Paul's letter, gives us hope and an anchor.
There are some rough waters ahead over which we must sail. But come what may; let the waters get rough - we have a promise and an anchor! What more can we ask for? God Himself has promised us safety and victory.
Notice the promise found in Isaiah 43:2 "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee: and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:..."
Isn't that plain? Isn't that satisfying? There are a total of 3,573 promises, or clusters of promises in which we can find hope and confidence as we approach the time of trouble so that we need not fear and lose heart. These form an anchor that will hold us secure in the most tempestuous storms. Our destination is the sea of glass. This is the final wharf the Lord has planned. He has promised to be the Captain of our ship, if we will allow Him the privilege. There we will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. What a chorus that will be. And the wonderful thing about it is that each of us can be a part of that large throng.

"We're sailing home, we're sailing home;
Oh, won't you come on board; our Pilot is the Lord.
We're sailing home, we're sailing home
To the new Jerusalem."
It is my prayer that I shall be there and have the privilege of meeting you there too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Overcoming the Church's Greatest Weakness

“None are to be hindered from bearing the message of present truth to the world. Let the workers receive their directions from God. When the Holy Spirit impresses a believer to do a certain work for God, leave the matter to him and the Lord.” SpM 435

Depending upon men has been the great weakness of the church. Men have dishonored God by failing to appreciate His sufficiency, by coveting the influence of men. Thus Israel became weak. The people wanted to be like the other nations of the world, and they asked for a king. They desired to be guided by human power which they could see, rather than by the divine, invisible power that till then had led and guided them, and had given them victory in battle. They made their own choice, and the result was seen in the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the nation.
Kress Collection 57

Some of our conferences are weak in Christian experience because their leading men—and the people have followed their example—have sought for the approval of man with far greater anxiety than for the approval of God. They have looked to man for help and counsel more than to God. They have made men their burden-bearers, and have accepted human wisdom just when and where they should have depended upon God. And too often those of whom they sought counsel needed help themselves; for their souls were not right with God.
Gospel Workers 1915, p. 414 [Gospel Workers 1892, p. 234]

“[Satan] works to restrict religious liberty and to bring into the religious world a species of slavery. Organizations, institutions,unless kept by the power of God,will work under Satan’s dictation to bring men under the control of men;” Testimonies for the Church vol. 7, p. 180

“Some of our leading men are inclined to indulge the spirit manifested by the apostle John when he said: “Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us.” Organization and discipline are essential, but there is now very great danger of a departure from the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. What we need is less dependence upon mere form and ceremony, and far more of the power of true godliness. If their life and character are exemplary, let all work who will, in any capacity. Although they may not conform exactly to your methods, not a word should be spoken to condemn or discourage them. When the Pharisees desired Jesus to silence the children who sang His praise, the Saviour said: “If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Prophecy must be fulfilled. So in these days, the work must be done. There are many departments of labor; let everyone act a part as best he can. The man with one talent is not to bury that in the earth. God has given to every man his work according to his ability. Those to whom larger trusts and capabilities have been committed should not endeavor to silence others who are less able or experienced. Men with one talent may reach a class that those with two or five talents cannot approach. Great and small alike are chosen vessels to bear the water of life to thirsting souls. Let not those who preach the word lay their hands upon the humblest worker and say: “You must labor in this channel or not work at all.” Hands off, brethren. Let everyone work in his own sphere, with his own armor on, doing whatever he can do in his humble way. Strengthen his hands in the work. This is no time for pharisaism to control. Let God work through whom He will. The message must go. ” Testimonies for the Church vol. 5, p. 461

None should consent to be mere machines, run by another man’s mind. God has given us ability, to think and to act, and it is by acting with carefulness, looking to Him for wisdom that you will become capable of bearing burdens. Stand in your God-given personality. Be no other person’s shadow. Expect that the Lord will work in and by and through you. The Ministry of Healing, p. 498

There is greater encouragement for us in the least blessing we ourselves receive from God than in all the accounts we can read of the faith and experience of others. The soul that responds to the grace of God shall be like a watered garden. His health shall spring forth speedily; his light shall rise in obscurity, and the glory of the Lord shall be seen upon him.” The Ministry of Healing, p. 100

We are prone to look to our fellow men for sympathy and uplifting, instead of looking to Jesus. In His mercy and faithfulness God often permits those in whom we place confidence to fail us, in order that we may learn the folly of trusting in man and making flesh our arm. 

Let us trust fully, humbly, unselfishly in God. He knows the sorrows that we feel to the depths of our being, but which we cannot express. When all things seem dark and unexplainable, remember the words of Christ, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” John 13:7.
 The Ministry of Healing, p. 486

Instead of constantly requiring sympathy, seek to impart it. Let the burden of your own weakness and sorrow and pain be cast upon the compassionate Saviour. Open your heart to His love, and let it flow out to others. Remember that all have trials hard to bear, temptations hard to resist, and you may do something to lighten these burdens. Express gratitude for the blessings you have; show appreciation of the attentions you receive. Keep the heart full of the precious promises of God, that you may bring forth from this treasure, words that will be a comfort and strength to others. This will surround you with an atmosphere that will be helpful and uplifting. Let it be your aim to bless those around you, and you will find ways of being helpful, both to the members of your own family and to others.

If those who are suffering from ill-health would forget self in their interest for others; if they would fulfill the Lord's command to minister to those more needy than themselves, they would realize the truthfulness of the prophetic promise, "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily." Isaiah 58:8
Ministry of Healing, 256-258

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Beware of End-time Distractions

Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect prayer and the searching of the Scriptures, will be overcome by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible device to engross the mind. There has ever been a class professing godliness, who, instead of following on to know the truth, make it their religion to seek some fault of character or error of faith in those with whom they do not agree. Such are Satan’s right-hand helpers.... They will put a false coloring upon the words and acts of those who love and obey the truth. They will represent the most earnest, zealous, self-denying servants of Christ as deceived or deceivers. It is their work to misrepresent the motives of every true and noble deed, to circulate insinuations, and arouse suspicion in the minds of the inexperienced. In every conceivable manner they will seek to cause that which is pure and righteous to be regarded as foul and deceptive. But none need be deceived concerning them. It may be readily seen whose children they are, whose example they follow, and whose work they do. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16. Their course resembles that of Satan, the envenomed slanderer, “the accuser of our brethren.” Revelation 12:10. The Great Controversy, 519-520

The errors of popular theology have driven many a soul to skepticism who might otherwise have been a believer in the Scriptures... Some at first criticize and reason on the wrong side, from a mere love of controversy. They do not realize that they are thus entangling themselves in the snare of the fowler. But having openly expressed unbelief, they feel that they must maintain their position. Thus they unite with the ungodly and close to themselves the gates of Paradise. The Great Controversy, 525-526

The doctrine of man's consciousness in death, especially the belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modern spiritualism... The pretended visitants from the world of spirits sometimes utter cautions and warnings which prove to be correct. Then, as confidence is gained, they present doctrines that directly undermine faith in the Scriptures.
The Great Controversy, 551-552

It is true that spiritualism is now changing its form and, veiling some of its more objectionable features, is assuming a Christian guise...  While it formerly denounced Christ and the Bible, it now professes to accept both. But the Bible is interpreted in a manner that is pleasing to the unrenewed heart, while its solemn and vital truths are made of no effect. Love is dwelt upon as the chief attribute of God, but it is degraded to a weak sentimentalism, making little distinction between good and evil. God's justice, His denunciations of sin, the requirements of His holy law, are all kept out of sight. The people are taught to regard the Decalogue as a dead letter. Pleasing, bewitching fables captivate the senses and lead men to reject the Bible as the foundation of their faith. Christ is as verily denied as before; but Satan has so blinded the eyes of the people that the deception is not discerned.

There are few who have any just conception of the deceptive power of spiritualism and the danger of coming under its influence. Many tamper with it merely to gratify their curiosity. They have no real faith in it and would be filled with horror at the thought of yielding themselves to the spirits' control. But they venture upon the forbidden ground, and the mighty destroyer exercises his power upon them against their will. Let them once be induced to submit their minds to his direction, and he holds them captive. It is impossible, in their own strength, to break away from the bewitching, alluring spell. Nothing but the power of God, granted in answer to the earnest prayer of faith, can deliver these ensnared souls.

All who indulge sinful traits of character, or willfully cherish a known sin, are inviting the temptations of Satan. They separate themselves from God and from the watchcare of His angels; as the evil one presents his deceptions, they are without defense and fall an easy prey. Those who thus place themselves in his power little realize where their course will end. Having achieved their overthrow, the tempter will employ them as his agents to lure others to ruin. The Great Controversy, 558-560

God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan’s constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience, and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this, he works through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the enforcement of human laws in defiance of the law of God.  The Great Controversy, p. 591

As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position, and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbath-keepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them... As the opposition rises to a fiercer height, the servants of God are again perplexed; for it seems to them that they have brought the crisis. But conscience and the Word of God assure them that their course is right; and although the trials continue, they are strengthened to bear them.
The Great Controversy, p. 608-609

These are very sobering thoughts. Take this as a warning not to become like "the Accuser of our brethren".

As we live in the anti-typical day of atonement, 
let's remember these verses from Isaiah..

Isaiah 58:6-10
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Safety not found in miracles

The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel's message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory... The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are "the times of refreshing" to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus." Acts 3:19, 20

Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works, with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.
The Great Controversy 1888, p. 612

God’s people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan will counterfeit the miracles that will be wrought.
Last Day Events, p. 169

As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought,the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.... The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable.   The Great Controversy, p. 588

If those through whom cures are performed are disposed, on account of these manifestations, to excuse their neglect of the law of God and continue in disobedience, though they have power to any and every extent, it does not follow that they have the great power of God. On the contrary, it is the miracle-working power of the great deceiver.—Selected Messages 2:50, 51 (1885).

The Bible will never be superseded by miraculous manifestations. The truth must be studied, it must be searched for as hidden treasure. Wonderful illuminations will not be given aside from the Word or to take the place of it. Cling to the Word, receive the engrafted Word which will make men wise unto salvation.
Selected Messages 2:48 (1894).

The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.
The Great Controversy, 593 (1911).

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bishop Palmer Presses Forward

Apparently Tony Palmer, bishop and international ecumenical officer for the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches was deadly serious about his mission to unite the Protestant world with Catholicism. He has issued another video message wherein he underscores his desire to see visible unity amongst Christians. In his carefully written rally call, he says that Protestant Christians have spiritual racism. He proclaims that in the Post-Protestant era we live in anything that causes division must go.
He clearly describes who Joseph is and who the lost brothers are in Pope Francis' iPhone message to Evangelicals. In unambiguous terms, Palmer says we (the Evangelical world) are hungry and we will find what we are looking for in the arms of the Pope. Is this famine for bread a famine caused by the watering down of the message for so many years? Does the Pope have the bread the Protestant world is looking for? Interestingly enough, the analogy of Joseph used by the Pope of himself, is of Joseph in Egypt. [For those who have not yet seen the iPhone message from the Pope and Copeland Conference, click here] In the Bible, Egypt represents sin. If the Pope styles himself as Joseph - then we find him certainly in a fitting place - Egypt. As the woman that rides the beast in Revelation and the beast itself in Bible prophecy, the Papacy certainly fits all that Egypt represents and more.
In his message, Palmer claims that the bread is secondary to brotherhood. It is a profound statement - for as bread signifies the Word of God - Jesus, the bread of life, then Palmer is stating exactly what the agenda has been all along - the world does believe that Jesus Christ is secondary to brotherhood. There has been a total onslaught on Jesus Christ to downgrade Him to a level that will be suitable for everyone. And most definitely the Word of God is being set aside in order to gain the brotherhood that they are looking for. The Word of God would reveal the disunity of their doctrines, and so it must be set aside.
Palmer goes on to say that "The first step to deal with spiritual racism is to abolish the law which empowers it." What law would that be?
But apparently, truth is out the window. Only brotherhood matters. According to Palmer, "This is what we have been waiting for. We must seize this moment. This is a new day for Christianity."
And those who do not "seize this moment" are "out of sync with reality".
According to Palmer it is this enforced unity, led by the babble of the gift of tongues through their "Spirit" that will get atheists to believe. When Protestants and Catholics are united, all the world will believe, he claims.
But the most interesting statement of all is Palmer's assurance that "no one is coming home". Doing away with all of the Protestant worries that they have to "submit" to the Pope and come "home" to the Mother church, Palmer assures all viewers that they need not humble themselves so far that they come all the way "home". No, no. "We are journeying towards each other and we will meet in the middle," he says. How assuring. Which point will the Papacy compromise on or is it as always nothing more than a game of words with them? Pope Francis makes it easy for anyone to lay down their weapons and come to the "middle" - only perhaps this middle is slightly off-centre.
Watch the video to the end for the full message from Tony Palmer, the Pope's right-hand man: HERE

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Luther's Protest" is over?

Kenneth Copeland (KCM Ministries) is a Pentecostal, evangelical preacher who trained under Oral Roberts. Copeland, a tele-evangelist has been united with the Catholic Church in Sunday keeping. But it goes much beyond that. He has become a strong advocate of the ecumenical movement to unite Evangelical and Pentecostal churches with the Catholic Church.

At a recent Pentecostal ministers conference in Fort Worth, TX he invited Tony Palmer to the pulpit. Tony is an Anglican priest of the Celtic Anglican Tradition and is the communion’s international ecumenical officer. He is also an official member of the Roman Catholic Ecumenical Delegation for Christian Unity and Reconciliation.

Palmer, a protégé of Kenneth Copeland, took the charismatic work of KCM to South Africa. He was ordained a priest and later a bishop in the Anglican Communion, but sees himself as a Roman Catholic. Later he was invited by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal to join their work among Roman Catholics.

Tony lived and worked in Argentina for a few years. While there he became close personal friends with Jorge Mario Bergoglio who is now Pope Francis.

Tony told the Pentecostal ministers conference that he visited Rome as part of the official ecumenical delegation a few years ago. Pope Benedict XVI was still pope and said to the audience, “You Charismatics are the hope of the [Catholic] church.”

Palmer says he came to the Copeland organization “in the spirit of Elijah… to turn the hearts of the fathers to the sons, and the hearts of the sons to the fathers…” In the context of ecumenical unity, which is his message, the Protestants are the ‘sons’, and the Roman Catholic leadership would be the ‘fathers.’

Then Palmer talks about the agreement signed in 1999 by the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Lutheran Church, and five years later by the Methodist church, and he concludes, “This [agreement] brought an end to the protest of Luther. Brothers and sisters, Luther’s protest is over. Is yours?” he said. Then he added, “so, the protest has been over for 15 years… If there is no more protest, how can there be a Protestant church?  Maybe now we’re all Catholics again!”

Palmer treats the Protestant Charismatics as the bridge between Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Palmer goes on to say that Catholics and Protestants are now preaching the same gospel. While it appears to many that the Catholic Church has adopted righteousness by faith alone, the Catholic Church still teaches all of its other doctrines as well. Its real purpose is to merge the two together.

Recently, Palmer visited Pope Francis in Rome. While there he and the pope prepared a special iPhone video message for these Pentecostal ministers. As you would expect, the pope speaks of the need for unity and brotherhood.

Pope Francis comes across as a warm, concerned father figure in the video. You would almost forget that he’s a member of “the most cruel, unscrupulous, and powerful of all the champions of popery.”  (See Great Controversy page 234). In fact, it is easy to see how difficult it will be to oppose global ecumenical unity with the truth of the three Angels’ messages of Revelation 14, once the ecumenical movement has reached its peak and all the world wonders after the beast.

The pope asks for the prayers of these Pentecostal ministers and for their blessing. Kenneth Copeland then responds by return video in front of the audience and leads the minister’s conference in shouting a blessing to the pope in return. “Heaven is thrilled over this,” he adds.

Pentecostals Wonder After… [yes, you know who]

Is the protest really over? Nope.
The following video commentary by Doug Batchelor will explain

What the catholic church teaches clearly contradicts the bible
Here's a list of some examples of contradictions:

The Bible teaches that we are not to bow down to statues (Exodus 20:4, 5).
The Roman Catholic Church says that we should bow down to statues, not ancient tradition, but medieval tradition.

The Bible teaches that all have sinned except Jesus (Romans 3:10-12, Hebrews 4:15).
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Mary was sinless.

The Bible says that Jesus is the only mediator between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5).
The Roman Catholic Church says Mary is co-mediator with Christ.

The Bible teaches that Christ offered His sacrifice on the cross once and for all (Hebrews 7:27,28 10:10).
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the priest sacrifices Christ on the altar at every mass.

The Bible teaches that all Christians are saints and priests (Ephesians 1:1 and 1 Peter 2:9).
The Roman Catholic Church says that saints and priests are special casts within the Christian community.

The Bible teaches that all Christians should know that they have eternal life (1 John 5:13).
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that all Christians cannot and should not know that they have eternal life.

The Bible teaches that we should call no religious leader “father” (Matthew 23:9).
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that we may call the priests and pope “father.”

The Bible teaches to not pray in vain repetition (Matthew 6:7).
The Roman Catholic Church says to pray the Lord’s prayer or Hail Mary’s in vain repetition.

The Bible teaches to confess your sins to God, for only God can forgive sin (Isaiah 43:25, Luke 5:24).
The Roman Catholic Church says you must confess your sins to the priest for forgiveness.

Moreover, the teachings of purgatory, limbo, and prayers for the dead are nowhere in Scripture, but clearly relics of paganism.

The words of Jesus to the Pharisees apply today; we must not nullify the Word of God with manmade traditions (Matthew 15:6).

Sunday, March 2, 2014

An outline of final events

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near.
Testimonies for the Church Volume 5, p. 451

The following is an outline of the last eight chapters of The Great Controversy
Liberty of Conscience Threatened
- the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence
-  there is an increasing indifference concerning doctrines
- the papacy is using every means to "regain control of the world"
- the papacy is a dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty
The Impending Conflict
- Satan uses false doctrines to destroy faith in the bible
- The Two Great Errors: Inherent soul immortality and Sunday sacredness
- The Threefold Union: Papacy, Apostate Protestantism, and Spiritualism
- Through spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor
- But at the same time Satan works as a destroyer
[Notice: today Satan gets credit for so called "acts of God"]
- Sunday desacrators will be blamed for the world's problems
The Scriptures a Safeguard
- Study your bibles people!
The Final Warning
- The message of that other angel of Revelation 18 to be preached
- Sabbath-keeping will become a test of loyalty to God
- The sins of Babylon will be laid open
- People go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so?
- Like the Pharisees of old, religious authorities will become angry
- Sabbath keepers threatened with fines and inducements
- Sabbath keepers will also experience betrayal within their own ranks
- God still has agents in government defending religious liberty
- The winds of strife are being held until God's people are sealed with the latter rain
The Time of Trouble
-  Christ ceases intercession, the winds of human passion set lose
- Evil angels cause destruction and God's people are blamed
- Religious formalism will be led with a satanic zeal
- A Decree to be issued against Sabbath-keepers
- The Time of Jacob's Trouble
- The importance of exercising faith now
- Satan will impersonate as Christ
- God's people will not be misled
- God will send plagues on those who oppress God's people
- God's people won't be left to perish
God's People Delivered
- Christ returns, resurrects the dead saved
- God's people will be taken home!
Desolation to the Earth
- Satan bound for 1000 years
The Controversy Ended
- Jesus makes all things new
- Affliction will not rise up a second time

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pope wants Catholics and Protestants to unite!

source "Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendancy, and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed!" The Great Controversy, Chapter 35

Monday, January 27, 2014

Wealth Redistribution at the Highest Prophetic Level

If the United States and the Vatican see anything nearly eye to eye these days it would be the need to handle the gap between rich and poor. Both the White House and the Vatican believe that wealth must be taken from the rich and given to the poor. And now the two entities are going to reach their hands across the gulf to talk about it.

U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Pope Francis on March 27 at the Vatican to emphasize the need for global wealth redistribution. This shared interest is perhaps the one thing that is drawing the Vatican and the United States together at the moment.

The pope has also made a strong emphasis during his short pontificate on “fighting poverty,” an impossible, but popular idea. “Fighting poverty” is often the excuse used for creating a welfare state. While President Obama emphasizes this for the United States, the pope on the other hand, is aiming for globalization of welfare.

The meeting between the president and the pope will give Obama the opportunity to align himself with the Holy See. The Bible calls it spiritual “fornication.” See Revelation 17:2 and 18:3. And since Roman Catholics are an important political constituency, especially for the Democratic Party, the president will try to find common ground with Catholics through the papal visit.

The president has showered the pope with compliments because of his remarks about helping the poor and criticizing church leaders for obsessing about abortion, contraception and homosexuality, saying that he was “hugely impressed.” He has also said that Pope Francis is “an extraordinarily thoughtful, and soulful, messenger of peace and justice.”

The pope’s comment on hot-button social issues has met with strong approval among American Catholics too, so it is strategically important for President Obama to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with Francis. Perhaps the pope’s remarks were targeted to attract approval from the American public and the president and set the stage for a meeting that will provide an opportunity for the Papacy to regain its footing in American politics. The church has been estranged from the U.S. president because of church teaching on those social issues and other issues.

In any case, the meeting will certainly strengthen ties between the U.S. and the Vatican. “The president looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality,” said the White House. As usual with political dignitaries, the president will visit the Vatican as part of a trip that includes other stops in Europe, particularly in Belgium, where he will officially visit the European Council and the European Commission for the first time. He will also attend the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands and meet with Italian leaders in Rome.

“The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” The Great Controversy, page 588



Sunday, November 10, 2013

"The U.S. Must Embrace the Holy See"

The United States must embrace the Vatican, wrote Francis Rooney, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See in a USA Today op ed. The “cordial but cooling relations” between the U.S. and the Vatican, he suggested, have not taken into account the Holy See’s diplomatic role in the world. He argued that the Catholic Church could be much more helpful to U.S. global diplomatic interests and challenges if the relationships would be warmer.

“No institution on earth has both the international stature and the global reach of the Holy See — the ‘soft power’ of moral influence and authority to promote religious freedom, human liberties, and related values that Americans and our allies uphold worldwide.”
Claiming that it is a lost opportunity, Rooney pointed out that U.S. President Barack Obama has only visited the Vatican but once in his nearly six years in office.

In 1984 President Ronald Reagan established full diplomatic relations, Rooney said, because “he realized that he could have no better partner than Pope John Paul II in the fight against communism.” That fight, through the collaboration of the U.S. and the Vatican, led to the downfall of European communism. George W. Bush expanded the U.S.-Vatican relationship.

“The United States and the Holy See remain two of the most significant institutions in world history, one a beacon of democracy and progress, the other a sanctum of faith and allegiance to timeless principles,” Rooney said. “They are natural partners.” He added that “America’s foreign policy is much more likely to succeed with the support of the Holy See. “No two sovereigns are more naturally aligned than the United States and the Holy See…”

“While the Obama administration has been in conflict with the Catholic Church on a range of issues from abortion to contraception,” he said, “it is clearly in America’s national interests to strengthen diplomatic ties with the Holy See to advance our interests around the world.”

Rooney also pointed out that the Church has powerful ways of persuading nations, including bilateral relationships that help find diplomatic solutions to “international predicaments…” The Vatican represents more than a billion people on the global stage, said Rooney. Its power and influence is often underestimated. It has no military and a negligible economy (though it owns vast resources), but it is the “soft power” of its moral influence, which gives it a greater reach and influence than almost any other nation on earth. And the nations acknowledge this power.

Rooney is promoting a closer alliance between the U.S. and the Holy See, a relationship described in scripture as fornication with a prostitute or whore. See Revelation 17:1, 2, 18:3, etc.

“Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” Great Controversy, page 588

The Vatican maintains diplomatic ties in a number of ways with the current Obama administration. They are generally not very public as they were with George W. Bush, and they are sometimes strained. But political winds change. The Vatican may have to bide its time until a more favorable political wind arises in the United States. A change will certainly come. In the mean time, it is hard to ignore the vast influence of the Catholic Church in global politics.


Other related news: Sunday Assembly founds an atheist church

Be faithful in the little things

Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

The following text is from 
The Great Controversy, pages 621-624

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.

The importance of confession and genuine repentance
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 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 Importance of Exercising Faithfulness
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.

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." Genesis 32:30. 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 than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God. "Though Noah, Daniel, and Job" were in the land, "as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness." Ezekiel 14:20.

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." John 14:30. 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." Revelation 12:12. 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.

Click here for more excerpts from The Great Controversy

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pope Francis Has a Few Words in Support of Leisure

On Tuesday, “Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words,” a book of conversations with the man who was then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, will be published in English (Putnam; $24.95). These interviews from 2010 with two journalists in Argentina yield cute facts about the new boss of the church — a favorite movie? “Babette’s Feast” — but not much interesting theology.
But one passage in the book, at first glance rather slight, ends up insinuating a radical note into the proceedings. On a close read, it seems that Pope Francis believes that we must — indeed, that God is calling us to — relax.
Responding to the question, “Do we need to rediscover the meaning of leisure?” Pope Francis replies: “Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport. But this is being destroyed, in large part, by the elimination of the Sabbath rest day. More and more people work on Sundays as a consequence of the competitiveness imposed by a consumer society.” In such cases, he concludes, “work ends up dehumanizing people.”
Some pages later, he derides people who think of themselves as Catholic but don’t make time for their children. This is an example, according to Pope Francis, of living “with fraud.”
Catholic social teaching is known for promoting the idea that workers deserve dignity, which includes rest. But Pope Francis seems to be saying something more: that an authentically Christian life includes a proper dose of leisure and family time. That may sound unusual coming from a man whose tradition valorizes solitude and monasticism, and whose clergy members are not permitted to take spouses or beget children.
The idea of a Catholic exalting the Sabbath sounds particularly peculiar in the American context. In the United States, Catholics were never the great proponents of Sabbatarianism, observing Sunday as a special day, for worship or rest. That was a Protestant thing.
From the moment the Puritans arrived, they began enforcing laws to reserve Sunday for churchgoing. Over time, what came to be called “blue laws” covered different activities, and varied by state. Some laws forbade hunting on Sunday, others the sale of liquor, others any commercial activity. In religious towns, cultural norms made some recreation, like sports, taboo as well. As a child being raised in a Pentecostal family, John Ashcroft, the former attorney general, wasn’t allowed to ride a bicycle on Sundays.
Over time, the official justification for the laws had changed, but it was still Protestants who pushed for them. “In the 1820s, they would say this is a time to pause to reflect on our religious obligations to God,” said David Sehat, a historian at Georgia State University. But by the 1870s, “they started using Pope Francis’ justification: a time to spend time with family, for ‘the preservation of health and the promotion of good morals,’ ” to use one jurist’s language.
And the temperance movement, which of course supported laws against Sunday liquor sales, was Protestant in character. Activists often depicted Catholic immigrants as drunkards.
Today, the laws are disappearing, relics of a time when Protestant culture was more dominant. Connecticut, for example, finally decided to permit Sunday liquor sales last year. And in the United States, Sunday has lost its sacred character. Most Christians see little conflict in going to church in the morning, then watching a football game — maybe with the family, or maybe at a sports bar — in the afternoon.
The Sabbatarian tradition is upheld, in a serious way, by some small groups of religious Protestants and, of course, by observant Jews. And, it so happens, by those who think of themselves as both Christian and Jewish. “Messianic Jews,” who believe in the divinity of Jesus but pay special attention to the Jewish roots of Christianity, are often very attached to Sabbath observance.
Sarah Posner, a staff writer for the Web site, recalled a conference of messianic Jews she attended last year in Ellicott City, Md. “They weren’t selling their books, CDs and DVDs on Saturday, because they didn’t want to exchange money,” Ms. Posner said. “But they were using electricity” — which traditionally observant Jews would not.
Our religiously diverse country includes those who call their weekly day off from smartphones a “secular Sabbath.” Some groups may not even have a concept of Sabbatarianism. In Islam, for example, “there’s a deep theological objection to the idea that God rested on the seventh day,” according to Marion Holmes Katz, a scholar of Islam at New York University. “The idea of God resting seems to imply God being tired. So the whole idea that you refrain from work as some sort of ritualized recapitulation or symbolic nod to the process of creation — it’s not one that has any traction in Islam.”
But in Catholicism, as Pope Francis suggests, the Sabbath actually is supposed to matter — the whole day, not just Mass. For as the catechism teaches, in Paragraph 2185, “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body.”
The Catholic Church has been recovering this teaching at least since 1998, when Pope John Paul II published his apostolic letter “Dies Domini.” There, he writes that “even in those countries which give legal sanction to the festive character of Sunday, changes in socioeconomic conditions have often led to profound modifications of social behavior and hence of the character of Sunday.”
Last October, about 250 bishops met in Rome for a conference on the movement called the New Evangelization, which focuses on reawakening faith in those already baptized. One of their conclusions was, “Even though there is a tension between the Christian Sunday and the secular Sunday, Sunday needs to be recovered” — in keeping, they wrote, with John Paul’s “Dies Domini.”
Of course, those who preach a relaxing Sabbath, with friends and family, are often working hardest on the day they exalt. For clergy members, the Sabbath is the busiest workday of the week. One charm of the book “Pope Francis” is how much we learn about the new pope’s pastimes, like reading the German Romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin and listening to Verdi’s operas. One imagines that now, more than ever, Sunday is not his day for leisure reading, nor a good time to catch a showing of “Babette’s Feast.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

European Sunday Alliance Insists on Work-Free Sunday

On Sunday March 3, 2013, the European Sunday Alliance held its annual European day for a “Work-Free Sunday.” Using the theme “Stop Sunday Work Now!” the alliance called on members to take action by handing out flyers, holding meetings and calling on citizens to demand that the European Union establish a work-free Sunday throughout all of Europe.

“ Synchronization of working time which includes the work-free Sunday is crucial. Only if this happens can health, safety and dignity of all citizens be promoted. Only in this way will all citizens be able to reconcile their personal, family and professional life. Only by this is social cohesion guaranteed as it enables people to gather, employers and employees alike,” says the Alliance.

The European Sunday Alliance includes churches, unions, civic societies and employers as well as workers. It was founded in 2011 and is continuing to increase in membership.

The Alliance is seeking to elevate Sunday recognition from level one – Sunday closing laws – to level two – Sunday rest laws – and demand that all European citizens have free time on Sunday for the common good. These laws are foundational to eventually requiring a global worship described in Revelation 13.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Historic Ecumenical Move

After seven years of talks, leaders of U.S. Roman Catholic and four Protestant churches have signed a historic agreement in which they will formally recognize each other’s liturgical rites of baptism. The five denominations include the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed Church in America and the United Church of Christ.

 The signing was part of the opening day activities of the national meeting of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A.

 Prior to the agreement, the Catholic Church didn’t always accept the baptisms of the Reformed churches, while the Reformed churches normally accepted Catholic baptisms.

 The agreement says, “For our baptisms to be mutually recognized, water and the scriptural Trinitarian formula “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19-20) must be used in the baptismal rite.”

 The churches wanted to assure one another that they had the same liturgical practices and a common theology in order to recognize each other’s baptism.

 “It’s a historical moment.” said Ruben Armendariz, associate presbyter of the San Antonio-based presbytery of the Presbyterian Church.

 “This ecumenical effort, this mutual recognition of baptism, is part of our response to Jesus’ prayer that ‘we may all be one,’ said Bishop Joe Vásquez of the Catholic Diocese of Austin.”

 As the ecumenical movement marches forward, reformed churches continue to yield their faith and harmonize it with Roman Catholicism; they are paving the way to eventually enforce the image of the beast.

 “When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” Great Controversy, page 445


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

NDAA Removes Guarantee of Trial by Jury

On January 2, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This renewed his unconstitutional power to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without trial and deprive them of their right of due process. Attempts were made by some lawmakers to amend the unconstitutional provisions of the bill, but these were stripped out of the bill during the reconciliation process between the House of Representatives version and the Senate version. Senator Rand Paul opposed the final bill, and complained in a statement that “The decision by the NDAA conference committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional… Removing those protections now takes us back to square one and does as much violence to the Constitution as last year’s NDAA. When the government can arrest suspects without a warrant, hold them without trial, deny them access to counsel or admission of bail, we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity. “Our Bill of Rights is not something that can be cherry-picked at legislators’ convenience,” said Mr. Paul. “When I entered the United States Senate, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. It is for this reason that I will strongly oppose passage of the McCain conference report that strips the guarantee to a trial by jury.”

 One hundred years ago it was predicted that every principle of the U.S. Constitution will eventually be repudiated. See Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, and page 451.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

EU Lenders Demand Saturday Work in Greece

The Eurozone is demanding that Greece change its work rules to include a six-day workweek as part of the strong austerity measures required for the next round of financial relief. The requirement means that Greek citizens would have to work on God’s Sabbath day by law to help relieve the economic crisis. Whether concessions for Jews and other Sabbath keepers will be made, which would likely be very unpopular, is unclear.

The “troika” of creditors involving the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund sent a letter to Greece’s finance and labour ministries ordering a bevy of radical labour market reforms, which include the nationwide six-day workweek.

The letter said the Greek government was to “increase the number of maximum workdays to six days per week for all sectors…”

Other intrusive measures have to do with work schedule flexibility, minimum wage, minimum daily rest, leave rules, overtime, etc. The leaked letter also calls for the labour inspectorate to be put under European supervision.

Though Antonis Samaras’ government is “pleading for more time – four years rather than two – to fulfill debt reduction targets and spending cuts,” which would require more assistance from Greek lenders, there is little appetite for more financial rescues.

Greece is an Orthodox and Roman Catholic country, and its law already forbids working on Sunday. “Employees are entitled to a minimum continuous period of rest of at least 24 hours per week, including Sunday as a rule, depending on the labor law provisions in force for each category of employees.” Because of this law, which isn’t likely to be changed, the extra day of work would be on Saturday. Workers who refuse to work on Saturday would be in violation of the law if concessions are not made for personal beliefs.

While the Greek government may seek to negotiate a way around the Saturday work requirement, or it may exit the eurozone, it is clear that the underlying thinking of the eurozone is to impose Saturday work.

The Catholic Church, along with some protestant churches, trade unions and other civic organizations have been trying to get EU-level laws passed that would require Sunday rest. This would also put pressure on employers and employees to work on Saturday.

It is not difficult to see that the EU views a six-day workweek as part of the solution to the economic crisis. We can now see that laws are likely to be made requiring Saturday work and Sunday rest, making it difficult for Sabbath keepers to make a living, earn a wage or a salary, or conduct business.

Sunday rest laws are the foundation of Sunday worship laws. The Bible clearly portrays the idea that Sunday worship will become the mark of the beast and that a Sunday worship law will eventually be imposed on the whole world.

While the EU “troika” did not insist on Sunday worship laws in its letter to the Greek government, it is essentially insisting that Saturday work should be part of the measures required for the next Greek bailout.

It may be that anti-Sabbath laws, such as laws requiring Saturday work could precede Sunday worship laws if the economic crisis gets bad enough.

Speaking of the coming Sunday worship laws the Apostle John says: “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:15-17

The foundation for the Sunday law crisis may well be in the making.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Pope says Sundays must be a day of rest dedicated to God and family

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The demands of work can't bully people out of needed time off, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Sunday must be a day of rest for everyone, so people can be free to be with their families and with God, the pope said.

"By defending Sunday, one defends human freedom," he said during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square June 6.

In his catechesis, the pope told an estimated 15,000 pilgrims and visitors about his trip June 1-3 to Milan for the seventh World Meeting of Families.

He thanked everyone who made the "unforgettable and wonderful event" possible and praised the willingness he witnessed of people striving to live a "Gospel of the family."

"Humanity has no future without the family," he said. Young people need to be born and raised in "that community of life and love that God himself wanted," that is, a family based on marriage between a man and woman, he said.

He reminded young people that they, too, have a responsibility to contribute to the well-being of the family, such as by saying "yes" to God's will, working hard in their studies, being generous to others, being active in the community and using their talents to better the world.

The pope said when he met government representatives in Milan, he reminded them of the importance of policies and laws that protect the family. The most essential is the right to life, "whose its deliberate suppression can never be allowed." The identity of the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, needs recognition, too, the pope said.

During an evening vigil of testimonies, the pope answered the questions of five families from different countries because "I wanted to show the open dialogue that exists between families and the church, between the world and the church," he said.

He said he was quite taken by people's testimonies, which dealt with "hot-button issues" such as the difficulties families experience because of separation, divorce, the economic crisis and long hours on the job.

The pope said he wanted to come to the defense of free time, which is "threatened by a kind 'bullying' by the demands of work."

"Sunday is the day of the Lord and of man, a day which everyone must be able to be free -- free for the family and free for God."

Family, work, rest and celebration are gifts from God and important aspects of human life that must find a "harmonious balance" in order to build a more humane world, he said.

He said the World Meeting of Families was a way to send a message to the whole world that "it is possible and joyful, even if it takes work, to live love faithfully forever and be open to life" and that it's also possible for the whole family to take part in the mission of the church and help create a better world.