Archive for February, 2013

Let He Who Is Without Sin

February 23, 2013

One of the most telling experiences of our Lord’s life here on earth was the adulteress woman story(John 8:1-11). The scribes and Pharisees caught a woman in adultery, in fact in the very act itself. So according to Jewish law she was as guilty as one could get. Then they brought her to Jesus and it was to be another test upon our Lord by the Pharisees. A test that would turn out to be a great learning example for us sinners.

We pick up the story  ” They said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do you say?’ This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear..

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the youngest. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her , “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”(John 8:4-11)

There are quite a few lessons we can draw from this story.Let’s look at a few. First we see that the leaders, teachers, so-called religious  scribes and Pharisees were the accusers. They no doubt had the air of self-righteousness. But perhaps the most sinister and dark trait they had been–they were scheming. Their purpose wasn’t even to administer justice as much as it was  to trip up a righteous Man.

But our Lord saw all through that and made them think. Thus they were made to awake to their real situation and not their deceiving one. They knew all to well that they too were sinners.

So how does this lesson fit in today? The first and most obvious one is we must be very careful of accusing a brother or sister of sin.

What are the things we need to look at in our own lives before we accuse someone of sinning?

We  must look in the mirror first. Are we doing what we are accusing someone else of doing? Again our Lord has the right instructions for us  “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye.” (Matt.7:5)

This requires us to be self-aware and humble in our dealings with the sin of others. Unlike the scribes and Pharisees we cannot rashly accuse someone until we have searched ourselves very carefully in the area where we attempt to charge someone with a sin.

It is true that our prophets said that we must sound the alarm and show the peoples their sins, as an example, “Cry aloud, spare not:Lift up your voice like a trumpet:Tell My people their transgression, and the house of  Jacob their sins.” ( Isaiah 58:1)

 But this can only happen once we ourselves are walking upright with the Lord. Watching carefully that we are “doing right” in our daily walk. If we carry repetetive sins around, and not wanting seriously to clean up our own walk, can we fool God and throw that stone at someone and be guiltless?

Our Lord said, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use,  it will be measured to you” (Matt.7:2) . This is quite far-reaching. We read in the Old Testament  that our Lord gives  His judgments known as  “recompense”.

Here is just one of the 24 verses where the word recompense is used. Most of them are found in Ezekiel. And as we know this book has the soon to come church judgment prophecy and God’s end time plans through out it. No doubt the Lord will give the great recompense in the great and dreadful day.

Ezekiel 7:3
“Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations.”
 
 This Scripture also plainly explains what we do we will sow, “For the day of the Lord upon all nations is near;As you have done, it shall be done to you;Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.” (Obadiah 1:15)
 
So we see that on one hand we should be our ‘brother’s keeper” and help to keep him or her stay on the straight and narrow but we must be careful not to be found a hypocrite. In (Job 27:4) we read,  “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?”
 
 In our prior studies we have learned that we must sigh and cry of all the abominations done in our lives and the church. So once we have converted, and called upon the Lord to help clean up our walk, we can then be in a better position to help/warn our brethren.
 
So in closing,  we can and should certainly warn our brethren when the time and circumstance  is appropriate, but before we do, we should know for sure that we are not doing the very same thing ourselves or else , God forbid,  we be found a hypocrite in the day of His great recompense.
 
 
 
 
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What about the Feast Days?

February 16, 2013

As many Bible students know, the Old Testament feast days were a very important part of the righteous walk with our Lord prior to our Lord’s sacrifice. The special days all pointed to Christ and His redemption plan. But today, we must not, as a requirement, keep the feast days as will be more  clearly  shown.

Within  the feast days and ceremonial observances, the animal sacrifices were an integral part of the services. These sacrifices, as we all know, signified our Lord’s sacrifice. As He died on the cross,  the vail in the temple, was ripped in two. This was to give a clear sign that the sacrifices, along with the ceremonial feast days were to end. The Anti-Type had met type.

A while back we did a post called “Original Davidians are not Branch Davidians”. The Branch DSDA are a break away group that was founded after the death of brother Houteff. One of the points we addressed is that, unlike Original Davidians, the Branch Davidians believe that the Lord’s followers still have to keep the feast days. This is one of the most striking differences between the two groups. Unfortunately, they are often both lumped together, with people assuming that ALL Davidians believe this way. Ignorance is indeed a mis-adventure for many.

Let’s look at some clear Ellen White quotes concerning our issue . In our first quote she says, ” There are many who try to blend these two systems (the ceremonial law and the Moral Law), using the texts that speak of the ceremonial law to prove that the Moral Law has been abolished; but this is a perversion of the Scriptures. The distinction between the two systems is broad and clear. The ceremonial system was made up of symbols pointing to Christ, to His sacrifice and His priesthood. This ritual law, with it’s sacrifices and ordinances, was to be performed by the Hebrews until type met anti-type in the death of Christ, the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.Then all the sacrificial offerings were to cease.”(Patriarchs and Prophets, p.365)

“The rending of the vail of the temple showed that the Jewish sacrifices and ordinances would no longer be received.” (Spiritual Gifts, vol.1, p.170)

Lastly she says, “Since the whole ritual economy was symbolical of Christ, it had not value apart from Him. When the Jews sealed their rejection of Christ by delivering Him to death, they rejected all that gave significance to the temple and it’s services. it’s sacredness had departed. it was doomed to destruction. From that day sacrificial offerings and the service connected with them were meaningless (Desire of Ages, p.165).

Remember last week in our post how we pointed out that the clear plain words of Scripture and Inspiration cannot be added to or subtracted from, lest we wrestle away our Lord’s clear intended will for us. Can it get any more plain than the above?Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems in Christendom is the ignoring of the straight words and meanings. It’s the old human nature to use our imagination and agenda reasoning to take the straight words and turn them into crooked words!

Ok we’ll add one more EGW quote to quash the issue. “He has swept away every ceremony of the ancient type. He has given no liberty to restore these rites, or to substitute anything that will recall the old literal sacrifices.” (Review and Herald, feb. 25, 1896).

One of my good friends has recently told me that she has been shown by a friend that the feast days are still a part of our walk.Surprisingly this belief is more prevalent than we think. Not only Branch Davidians teach it, but some other divergent groups within the SDA as well. So our purpose in this post is to help clear up this issue. Feel free as always to copy this report and use it as a study to counteract their false beliefs.

 The basic main feast days are a list of  seven.(perfect harmony with God’s completeness number-7)

1) Passover feast

2) Feast of the unleavened bread

3) Wave sheaf ceremony

4) Pentecost ceremony

5) Feast of trumpets

6) Day of Atonement

7) Feast of tabernacles

Something is very interesting about one of  the above feasts. We read in (Zech. 14:16) the following, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles”.

Apparently it appears that once the future premillennial kingdom is established in the holy land, the Feast of Tabernacles will be performed and kept. I am searching the last prophet’s writings concerning this, and will add them as soon as I locate them.

So with the above clear words of Inspiration, how can some still get into the trap of thinking we need to keep the feast days? Here’s a quote that is often used to support their ideas, “If the children of Israel needed the benefit of these holy convocations(feast days) in their time, how much more do we need them in these last days of peril and conflict! And if the people of the world needed the light which God had committed to His church, how much more do they need it now!” (Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 6, pages 39, 40, chapter title,“The Camp Meeting.”)

But if you read that real closely, she is talking about a “camp meeting” experience and as such, it would be a great LEARNING experience to observe them. In fact, the holy convocations really are a great experience and I personally would see the occasional observance as one of great enlightenment. I think in this light she was explaining them. If she was indicating that we must keep them, then God forbid, she would have said clear error and contradictions with her writings above.

Lastly, in finishing our study, we would be remiss to not post what the “restorer of all things” said about this issue. Remember that the Elijah prophet MUST be our go to source in these last days, right before the great and dreadful day. He is the last prophet from the Lord, consequently the most current “present truth” we can and must know. I can tell you one thing, my heart and soul soars knowing that I have all the writings of our Lord’s final message to refer to. It can give you great joy as well. The Lord knows what we need and He delivers it through His prophets!

“Broadly speaking, the law of Moses consists of three parts.  The first is the Ceremonial law, the law of the temple — the sacrificial law.  This law, of course, we today must not observe, except in antitype, for it foreshadowed things to come, particularly Christ’s first advent.  Thus it is that if we had lived in Old Testament times and had failed to comply with the sacrificial law and system of that day, we would thereby have demonstrated unbelief in Christ, Who was to come.  But since we are living in the Christian era, if we should now observe the typical sacrificial law and system, we should thereby demonstrate unbelief in Christ, Who has come.

   And so, as this law was nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14), we need not, and must not, observe it now. ( Brother Houteff, Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No.37, para.14)

We see that brother Houteff minces no words on this issue “we need not, and must not, observe it now”. And as he clearly says, we demonstrate “unbelief in Christ” if we take the stance that we are required to keep them.

Hopefully this has cleared up the issue a little more. So next time someone who’s trying to “work” their way into heaven comes up and says, “What about the feast days?”  We can say we’ve looked into the plain straight forward words of the prophets and the answer is–NO, we don’t have to keep them today. May the Lord guide you into all truth (John 16:13)

Biblical Submission

February 9, 2013

One of the biggest traps we as Christians can get into, is to ignore or sidestep clear unambiguous words and meanings of Scripture. Ellen White explains “The language of the Bible should be explained according to it’s obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed” (Great Controversy, p.598).  Additionally brother Houteff says the same thing, “Hold not to what fabricated ideas seem to make Scripture say, but grip tenaciously to what the word, in simplicity, plainly says” (Tract 10, p.13).

We needed to lay that foundation first because this topic is somewhat controversial and therefore we must hold “tenaciously” to the obvious meaning and not use any of the often used sidestep explanations to throw out the plain obvious meanings.

It is obvious that today we live in totally different customs than was in place back in  the early Christian days. Today we have seen an ever evolving change among the relationship between man and wife. With the main stream media, via TV, internet, radio, and written literature, we can see a tidal wave of “liberal” ideas put forth for the family unit.

While I am not a anti-womens liber, I do refer always to the hand book of life–the Bible. And as I have mentioned many times during our “posting career”, the Lord strictly guides me and certain subjects appear in my walk that leads me to discuss it. Recently the issue of the man-woman relationship has risen before me and therefore I would like to point out some clear Biblical understandings in these matters.

In Ephesians 5:22 we read, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord.”  Obviously we know that to many women today, especially the women libers, these are inflammatory words. Yet of course to those, the Lord’s word generally doesn’t ring true on many aspects of their lives that –they don’t like.

The dictionary defines the word submit as follows -“To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.” As we are well aware we must always read the Bible verses in context.  After reading the above quote, our brother apostle Paul explains the order in which man and woman are to be established in a relationship. “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their husbands in everything.” (Eph.5:23-24)

So we see that this “order” is to be firmly established in the man being the leader of the relationship. And who said this order? Our all-knowing Lord. The one who understands how everything works. Today the divorce rate is truly astronomical. In the well researched book, “Marriage, Families, and intimate relationships” the statement is made —

“Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago… between 40% and 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce. The probability within… the first five years is 20%, and the probability of its ending within the first 10 years is 33%… Perhaps 25% of children ages 16 and under live with a stepparent.”
—Brian K. Williams, Stacy C. Sawyer, Carl M. Wahlstrom, Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships, 2005 

Wow! 40 to 60 % new marriages will end in divorce! After reading this, let’s see what our Lord thinks about it. “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,says the LORD of hosts.” (Mal.2:16)

Could the fact that our divorce rate is so high be that we haven’t listened and obeyed the word of the Lord? Absolutely. Now I am not saying that the reason for such a high divorce rate is all the woman’s fault, because we learn in Paul’s writings that the man has a big responsiblity as well. He’s to love and respect His wife. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Eph 5:25)

So we see that as “head” of the relationship, the man has to establish a household of “love”. In fact this love is to be truly strong as we read, “..love His own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Eph5:33) Also we notice, again, the wife’s responsiblity to “respect” her husband.

So clearly, any breakdown of these responsibilities, can hurt the relationship. But as we have learned, there is a rightful process to all this and it’s to follow our Lord’s counsel–The man is to lead and have the authority. Does that mean women have no say or can’t have their desires and wishes met? Of course not, but if the man deems something important that should be done, and the wife disagrees, the man’s will should take precedent. This, I’m afraid,  is why the divorce rate is so high–the chain of authority is broken!

Again, we read in (1 Cor.11:3) that the Lord has established delegation of authority. “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” In this liberal world it’s very easy to fall trap to the devil’s ploy. They have to a large degree tricked the women into thinking ,”You have just as much authority in your marriage as the man!” And even more sadly, more than a few men, drop down from this authority and willfully submit to the woman!

Think of this relationship as a circle. The man starts it by requesting something and the wife obeys. Then the  man is very happy and respects his wife, and wants to “love” her even more. And she feels this strong love and gives it back to the husband. A perfect chain of love and unity before the Lord. True Biblical submission leads to true love!

Our customs, as we mentioned, are quite different today as they were back in the early Christian days, but has  men and women’s relationship to God changed? No. Likewise the relationship of man and wife hasn’t changed either, from the Lord’s point of view(His word).

Has our Lord usurped God the Father’s authority? Have we men quit acknowledging that Christ is our authority? Then the final layer of that authority chain must be kept as well–woman looking  to man for his leadership and authority.

Recently I’ve had to call it quits in a personal relationship, to a woman who was my fiance. It was tough to do but I came to the realization that I could not be the authority of the household. The arguments, the interruptions, the ignoring of my requests, all got too much to handle. I could see unfortunately, that should I go ahead and marry, the Lord’s chain of order and authority would not be there and struggles would frequently occur.

Let us always refer back to our Lord’s word for advice. His words are so plain in regards to the man-woman relationship. If we obey them we will be blessed, if we ignore them, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Let’s close with a brother Houteff quote, ” There could be nothing more pleasing to God than for one of His children to ask in sincerity the way of the truth; therefore, such a one shall not be left in darkness, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7) (Shepherd’s Rod, vol 2, p.90)

May the Lord give us all true wisdom and understanding and understand that true Biblical submission leads to true and eternal love!

Stepping up to the Plate

February 2, 2013

“Indeed, all who live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

What do we notice with this word of God? We see a –promise. Notice it doesn’t say “may suffer” it says, “shall  suffer”. I remember when I first became a SDA member I read that verse then I began to ponder. I thought  “Um? That really doesn’t apply to my life. I mean I really don’t have anyone or anything “persecuting” me. My walk is rather pleasant. I am trying to live a good Godly life, yet how come I don’t see any of that in my life, what am I missing?”

I seriously contemplated this. Little did I know I would indeed find out later with full understanding,  just what this truth is and how it works. Let us look into this important aspect of our walk with Christ.

As I pondered this aspect of my walk, I thought, “Well the only thing close to me being persecuted is maybe my online debates with Sunday keepers, as they would deride me and say that I wasn’t right with Christ, etc.” But this was a big stretch.

Our Lord gave some direct words about what He thinks about this subject, and they are very clear. “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Luke 7:23) We’ll explain how this verse ties in with suffering persecution later in this post. Next we see one of the most direct and plain Scriptures on our subject.

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)

So after reading so far, we can ask, “Ok this is all plain but how does this really fit in today? How can we who are professing Christ, really suffer much, in our religious free society? Aren’t those days past? And if we aren’t suffering persecution  for Christ in some aspect, are we living Godly, despite what His word says?” There is only one true answer– no we are not. His words must stand as they read, and the truth said must apply.We  must dig deep to ask –What can we do to live Godly?

How does one’s  life  today, within our Seventh Day Adventism  cause our people to want to exclude  us, mock us,  to demote or cast us out from their company? It can only be when we decide to boldly proclaim the Lord’s message of the hour, the straight testimony. Ellen White explains ” Now as in former ages, the presentation of a truth that reproves sins and errors of the times will excite opposition.” ( Great Controversy, p 458).  “We have more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world.” (Review and Herald, March 22,1887).

The different forms of persecution can be mocking, derailment, slander , false accusations, and of course physical abuse. And as we look at the history of our church, the ones who suffered persecution were the ones who “stepped up to the plate”. Each of the prophets suffered as they spoke the straight unpopular truth.

So this brings me back to how I learned what it meant to be persecuted. When I came into our SDA church I learned that our church was indeed the “remnant church of God”. We are the ones professing the Commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus (SOP). But as I was not content to sit on this knowledge, I searched Scripture and EGW writing regularly and prayerfully. Then on one fateful Sabbath around the end of May, 2011, I found an online audio sermon called “The 144,000, who are they?”  This was no accident, for the Spirit of Truth was indeed guiding.

I listened spellbound to the truths said (from Scripture and EGW) and I thought “Wow! Why haven’t I been taught this in our church?” So I undertook a serious study into the new truths I learned and it caused a complete 180% change in my understanding of our Lord’s plans. As I mentioned before,  the Lord’s last prophet expounded on the Old Testament writings and Revelation, so that clear light began to flood my mind and soul.

I had become a semi-regular pre-Sabbath school speaker and went up for maybe 20-25 minutes each time. Each time, I talked on the “straight truth” despite the church custom of the normal “peace and safety” message. Surprisingly I received mostly a heart warm response from several in our church.

Do you remember what our prophetess said above? “..the presentation of a truth that reproves sins and errors of the times will excite opposition.”  That is exactly what happened. Some could not bear the testimony and soon a couple complaints went to the higher-ups. “Many visions have been given to the effect that we must..occupy a position to stir up the people of God, for they are asleep in their sins (Test. for the Church, Vol. 1, p.247).

So let’s fast forward to the last few months.  I was called into the pastors office a few months ago and asked if I was a “Davidian”. I answered affirmatively.  “Blessed is he who is not offended of Me”(Luke 7:23). Then after the 3 against 1 meeting was over, I got demoted from  the deacon position I had. Then a couple of months later the church council held a church meeting to discuss “Davidian” topics. I was there.

As the meeting later progressed the “head elder” came up front and began his monologue on “his take” on Davidians and their beliefs. I silently listened and held my peace as he uttered falsehood after falsehood. Among other things he said “I want you to know that the teachings of the Davidians have been studied by our church, and found to be in  error.” Although another falsehood, I remained silent until he said ‘This brother came into our church and got baptised and didn’t tell us he was a Davidian”. At that point I had to speak up against the lies. I let him and the rest know that this was not true, for I accepted the message about one year after I was baptised.

Anyway to make the story short, I received at least 4 or 5 un-solicited statements from church members  that night,  backing up my character and basically supporting my church contributions. So I went home that night shaking my head in amazement, I thought “I now know what it’s like to be slandered and  derailed.” Church persecution had riled its ugly head and I now look back and understand the words said in (2 Tim. 3:12).

So that brings us to the most important question. In our SDA church today, what message will most likely get you “persecuted” ? Only one really stands out, it’s the Elijah message of the Shepherd’s Rod. If you can take the time, you will find in many of brother Houteff’s writings, the history of many believers in the message being persecuted, and sadly it still happens today. Why is this? The Elijah message is one of revival and reformation, and how to get sealed before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Where’s the evil? Where’s the basis for all the incidents of abuse upon our courageous members who have spoken the truth?

It can only be traced to the king of evil-Satan. He knows beyond doubt that, as brother Houteff said, “..For Satan well knows that if he loses now, he loses forever.”(General Conference Special, p.6).

One thing is so very clear, now is not the time to sit back and say “Oh yes,  the Elijah message is true, but I’ll let others proclaim it, I don’t want to be unpopular or get in trouble with anyone.” Let me ask you, when the approx. 1 million people came out of Egypt, how many made it to the promised land over the age of 20?  TWO.  How many were there that were lukewarm toward the two courageous men, Joshua and Caleb? Don’t you think that there were hundreds if not thousands that QUIETLY supported and respected the courageous actions of those two? I would most definitely say there was indeed-many! Did the Lord spare them for “thinking” about supporting them? No, he did not.

He saved only those two who –stepped up to the plate! Our Lord gave them vocal cords and they used them! And what is the cost of us stepping up to the plate? We shall be persecuted.  But you will find yourself on the most powerful One of the universe’s side. And those who persecute you? ” Those who rise up against warning and reproof..to make no effect the plain words of reproof prompted by the Spirit of God, will find, in the great day of final reckoning, an account against them which they will not wish to meet (Signs of the Times, Oct. 4th, 1883).

In closing my dear brethren, let us not shrink back from our duty today. God is calling each one to do something. Start small and just where you’re at. Then as the Holy Spirit guides you, you’ll find a clear path to guiding and warning your particular sphere of influence. Let’s not fear opposition, for as we have learned, a Godly life will always meet opposition.Do we care enough for our brothers and sisters to warn them of the upcoming church disaster?(Mal.3:1-3)

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot (Rev.3:14-16)…Laodiceans..are neither cold nor hot; they occupy a neutral postition..The True Witness hates lukewarmness. He loathes the indifference of this class of persons (Test.for the Church, Vol. 4, p.87).

  Our Lord is near the door, and it’s the church door He’s about to enter, let’s be prepared and go to work!


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