Archive for September, 2013

A Sabbath Study

September 28, 2013

This week we’d like to review some important aspects of Sabbath keeping. We are all aware as Seventh Day Adventists that we are the people of God today who profess to strictly honor Him on His day. But unfortunately we have steadily retreated towards Egypt in this regard. We have become, in many cases a poor example of proper Sabbath observance. Let us look at some areas we have gone off track and how we can get back on the straight and narrow in regards to Sabbath keeping.

In (Amos 8:5) we read“..When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?…”—

What do we find in the above?  We see a few truths worth noting. Aside from the fact that it deals with dishonest tradesmen, we notice a subtle underlying  truth in regards to the Sabbath.  The Lord is upset and will spare no longer. He’s had enough. He tells us, “The end has come upon My people Israel…”(Amos 8:1) Then He describes who He’s addressing, “Hear this, you who swallow up the needy and make the poor of the land fail, saying…”(Amos 8:4).

Then we see the above highlighted verses. They are describing those who are of the worldly mindset and are going through the motions of Sabbath keeping. Notice they are thinking of how soon the Sabbath will be over. So that they can get back to being deceitful and dishonest “sell the bad wheat”. Although they surely aren’t aware that what they do is bad. Their thinking is obviously “we have fulfilled our duty, hurry up let’s be done with it.” They are the going through the motions–Sabbath keepers.

So God’s word through Amos show us that He is watching our motives for Sabbath keeping. Are we enjoying the day, keeping it holy? Or are we going through the motions, secretly looking forward to it ending so that we can go on with our lifestyle? What we can learn here is that Sabbath is a time for the Lord and the Lord only. All other things, including our motives, must be devoted to Him, lest He search us out and find us naked in this regard. “”I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners to punish those who sit complacent in their sins. They think the LORD will do nothing to them, either good or bad.” (Zeph. 1:12)

What are some of the ways we can check ourselves to see if our motives are wrong?

1) Checking the clock frequently during Sabbath

2) Devoting time to non-Sabbath activities such as internet searching for worldly things (also with handhelds). If we are to use electronic devices on the Sabbath, let it be for God’s glory, not our own desires. Reading the Scriptures, studying a report of God’s prophecies and such are what we can use these devices for on Sabbath.

3) Engaging in worldly conversation throughout the Sabbath (politics, business, social issues, etc.)

4) Doing any “work” even “religious work” that we should not be doing on the Sabbath , that can and should be done on the regular “work days”.

Concerning number 4, brother Houteff explains, ”

 “As a people we have forgotten the true meaning of Sabbath keeping.  We have come to suppose that anything which pertains more or less to religion is permissible on God’s holy day.  It is said, It is the Lord’s work.  But God has never said anywhere in the Scriptures that His people are at liberty to do all manners of work (that pertain to religion) on the Sabbath day. 

Work which can be done on a day other than the Sabbath is not a work for the Sabbath.  “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: In it thou shalt not do any work.”

   Note the way the commandment reads: “Any work.”  God does not mean that we can do our work in the six days, and His on the Sabbath.  He says it is a day of rest: Not physical, but spiritual rest.  For instance, it would be wrong for one to sell good religious books on the Sabbath, even if he turned all the proceeds to the church.

  It would be wrong for a surgeon to perform surgical operations on patients on the Sabbath  day if it can be done at another time.  It would be wrong for a nurse to give treatments to patients on the Sabbath day if it was not absolutely necessary.  Read Volume 7, page 106.

It would be wrong for a church council to meet on the Sabbath and discuss church business, or make plans of any kind.  It would be wrong for a Sabbath keeper to load himself with evangelical announcements for a series of meetings, and distribute them from house to house on the Sabbath day.  All this manner of work could be done on a day other than the Sabbath.

   When we do this kind of work on the Sabbath, we do it to save ourselves an hour or so of time for the next day, thus we rob God of His time and add it to our secular pleasure.  If it is wrong for one to go and sell good religious books on the Sabbath, though he turns all the proceeds to the Church, it would be doubly wrong to sell that same book in the house of God on the Sabbath day, regardless of what is done with the income. 

If all of this is true, then it would be wrong to go out with Harvest In gathering papers and receive contributions for missions on the Sabbath.  It is time for God to call our attention to these things.” (Shepherd’s Rod, vol. 1, p.148-149)

Next we find another prevalent concern today–buying and selling on the Sabbath.This is  really a big problem within our church. I remember when I first came into the church, the old timers (members of experience) asked me if I would like to join them for lunch at the local restaurant after Sabbath services. Being new to Sabbath keeping I said “sure, why not.”

As I progressed in the walk, I found out that buying and selling was strictly forbid. Nehemiah’s admonish is the word of God that the Lord guided me to.

“In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.  People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah.

I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day?  Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”

When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day.  Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem.

But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.”(Nehemiah 13:15-22)

Wow! Now if we don’t get the point from the above verses we shall never understand much of anything pertaining to the Sabbath ways of the Lord! Again, it is clearly shown by God’s inspired Scriptures that buying and selling is a no-no on the Sabbath. And yes that would include things like buying gas to get to church! There is a reason they call Friday–preparation day. We foresee and prepare for Sabbath in advance.

Then we have the solemn case of the man who wanted to pick up sticks on the Sabbath. Sounds harmless and innocent right? Let’s see how this is the example of how serious our Lord takes the Sabbath and it’s observance.

(Number 15:32-37) -” While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.  Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.  Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.”  So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.”

Solemn is an understatement. This shows us that the Sabbath is not to be carelessly observed. In other words, if the Lord did this to this man, can we expect Him to clear us of things much worse? “For I am the Lord, I do not change..” (Malachi 3:6). If we are tempted to stop at the market, or by gas, or watch worldly TV on Sabbath, can we expect the Lord to say “Looks like  I made a mistake in ordering the stoning of that man because I forgive you for this.”? Of course not.

Yes, the Lord will forgive us if we mess up once in a while but once we know the light on His truth we are expected to obey Him in this regard. But if we do, we repent and turn from it. In explaining how the Lord deals with sin, including Sabbath sins, Ellen White explains–

“In all His dealings with His creatures God has maintained the principles of righteousness by revealing sin in its true character—by demonstrating that its sure result is misery and death. The unconditional pardon of sin never has been, and never will be. Such pardon would show the abandonment of the principles of righteousness, which are the very foundation of the government of God. It would fill the unfallen universe with consternation. God has faithfully pointed out the results of sin, and if these warnings were not true, how could we be sure that His promises would be fulfilled?” (God’s Amazing Grace, p. 73).

So we should learn from the above that should we carelessly observe His Sabbath, and then compound it by not asking for forgiveness and also  not turning away from it, we are in effect asking the Lord to give us an “unconditional pardon”! Woe unto us this thought!

I have often pointed out this simple and straight testimony. When God created us , He gave us 7 days in each week. Is it unreasonable to give back just one of those days strictly devoted to Him?  Unfortunately the vast mankind of the earth thinks it is! They want to claim it all.

God’s history with His people has many times centered around this one area –poor Sabbath keeping. We can read clear admonishments in this regard in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

“Thus says the LORD: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.”  (Jer. 17:21-22)

“You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths.” (Ezek.22:8)

In closing let us look at the beautiful Sabbath promise of our Lord.

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken.(Isaiah 58:13-14)

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Tough Love

September 21, 2013

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Many of us remember the famous documentary called ” Scared Straight”. Wikipedia describes it as follows, “Scared Straight! is a 1978 documentary directed by Arnold Shapiro. Narrated by Peter Falk, the subject of the documentary is a group of juvenile delinquents and their three-hour session with actual convicts. Filmed at Rahway State Prison, a group of inmates known as the “lifers” berate, scream at, and terrify the young offenders in an attempt to “scare them straight” (hence the film’s title) so that those teenagers will avoid prison life.”

There can be no doubt that the above is an extreme example of–tough love. The object is to reach out yet because of the circumstances, the approach is somewhat harsh and  firm. The situation calls for more than “nice words” to reach the parties. Let us look at a similar plan that God’s inspired word teaches us. A path that although “tough” is the right one to reach the wayward or lost.

Some of us also remember when we were kids, our mothers would make us take that awful tasting medicine. We’d yell and scream-“no, no!” Then in a little while we’d be much better and realize that the tough medicine really was good for us.Those with child like faith and humbleness would also see that tough love medicine is good for them, if they would repent from their unrighteousness.

In (Gal.6:10) we read,”So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Here we see that we are “especially” to do good to our brothers and sisters in the faith. There should be a special interest here. But when we desire to do good, could it be that being tough and firm, is the right approach, the real way to “do good” under a specific situation? We care so much for them that we give them tough medicine because under the circumstance, this is the best hope for a “cure”. A way to make them awake and hopefully to help them see that they are heading down the wrong path, potentially a deadly path.

Another example of tough love is from the Lord Himself, “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten…” (Rev.3:19). Our Lord loves us enough to straighten us out by correction in rebuke and chastising.

Some of us brethren have witnessed  brothers or sisters “in the faith” who take it upon themselves to kind of be the lone ranger, the gunslinger (spiritually) if you will. They closely watch others with a keen eye. Ready to criticize or rebuke at any thing they might witness that was not to their liking. They scour Facebook. Soon they leave a trail of discord. The brothers and sisters are all witnesses to the dissension they put forth, which they claim as God inspired.

Their approach is not Biblical because they fail to consult a couple of “neutral” brethren on the thing which they accuse the brethren publicly. Neutral parties could help collaborate it or not. All of this is the God inspired practice of settling the issue.

But over time it appears that nothing good comes from their attempt to straighten out what they claim as error. Worse yet some publicly lambasted the brethren. In (Roman 16:17) we read, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

So what are we to do with such a brethren? We are to give him tough love. That means avoid them. We shouldn’t appease them and mislead them by supporting them in any way. If we take the attitude of a sister who suggested that we “continue to love them and support them”, we are  in fact  dismissing our duty. Her idea of love is not real love, its false love and security, and goes against clear Scripture. Kind of like “forget your medicine brother, we’ll let you die but we love you.”

Remember sowing discord is one of the things the Lord hates. “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:…A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”(Proverbs 6:16-19)

Paul gives us clear tough love advice, “”If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matt. 18:15-17).

Again Paul counsels, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”(Titus 3:10-11)

So here we see that we reach out first. If that fails we separate ourselves from them. The objective is to send a clear desperate signal that what they are doing is not right, even if they think it is. It is important , though, to let them know before you dis-associate from them why you are doing so and with the appropriate inspired words of God. This will at least let them know your reasons and they’ll hopefully ponder them. If you are somewhat close to them or friendly, this most surely will send a strong signal to awake IF their conscience  is not seared.

One thing you should not do is leave then with out telling them why. This would be most selfish and leave nothing but confusion with the person you are suppose to be helping.

What about a brother or sister who teaches a doctrine not firmly supported by the Scriptures, SOP, or Elijah message?  John has our tough love answer. ” He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”(2 John verses 9-11).

That’s very strong tough love, ” do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” How many of us today do this? But it’s the firm word of God is it not? Are we to ignore it has too harsh? No, it’s God tough love medicine to make them think strongly of their wrong course.

Today we hear from our pastors and leaders, “love everybody, fellowship with Sunday keepers, just accept them for who they are.” In fact it’s even worse than that. See the post “Backs to the Temple” of how we have not  turned them away from our house but welcomed them with arms wide open!  https://godsloveandlaw.com/2013/08/17/backs-toward-the-temple/

Let us review what we have learned. We should want to help those who we know to be in error. But we should be prepared that, should they dismiss our reaching out to them, we must dis-fellowship from them in order to send a serious signal that we see their path as a dangerous one.

So what are the main things we should consider in dis-fellowshipping with the brethren? To summarize —

1) Sowing discord — Constant criticizing, judging, arguing and so forth surely causes discord. As such we cannot support such behavior.

2) Spreading false doctrine — As we are obedient in the Lord, we’ll be helped to know what is from God and what is not. You can rest assured that those who are spreading false doctrine are not obeying the Lord, somewhere , somehow they are dis-obeying Him. The Spirit of Truth is promised us (John 16:13) and once we have received this gift we shall know Truth. Thus we cannot associate with those wanting to subvert His truth.

Some of the false doctrine may include :

a) Teaching that there is to come more than one prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

b) Teaching that no church purification happens prior to the Loud Cry.

c) Teaching that tells us we have to keep all the feasts and ceremonies. Jesus’ blood did not cover that.

d) Teaching of extreme grace. Our sins can remain in our life and practicing them is of no consequence to our salvation. The Lord forgives us regardless.

3) Hypocrisy — If we know a brother or sister who actively professes the faith yet we witness their continual sinning openly, we cannot support such behavior. This is quite serious and can only lead to their destruction and therefore we must send as strong a signal as possible to hopefully awake them.

How long must we reach out before we dismiss? There’s no set answer to that. The Holy Spirit must guide each case. In my own walk, I have been told to quickly dismiss certain individuals, with others I have been told to strive longer with them. I would suppose it depends on the unrighteousness (lack of right doing) they are doing.

As far as the ones who are planting seeds of false doctrine, we are more clear. “If anyone desires to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God or whether I speak of Myself.(John 7:17)

If we are obedient to the Lord we shall have that “sixth sense” of what is true doctrine and what is false. Consequently those who we know to be spreading false teachings and doctrines, we must avoid, even to the point of not accepting them into our homes. computers, or wherever.

The willingness to obey the Lord and live a converted life, no longer cherishing sins, really does give us 20/20 vision in knowing truth from error.

In closing, should they ever come to us in repentance, we should be like the proverbial father in the parable who sees him afar and can’t wait to accept him again (Luke 15:11-32). Unity is what gives us  brethren in Christ a strong foothold against the evil ones. If we obey the word of God in regards to tough love when we know by the Holy Spirit it’s to only course to take,  we will do as He says and leave the results with God.

A Study of Three Christian Walks, Part 2 of 2

September 14, 2013

Before we continue let us review what has transpired.

David was seeking to find some answers on the 144,000 issue. As the church hadn’t spoken much about it, he was left to search on his own. Finding an online sermon, he thrilled to know that much of the subject had been made clear. In his joy and desire to spread these wonderful truths, he began to go to others within the church.

Deborah searched the subject out as well, studying with David. Both felt the importance of  Ellen White’s strict instruction to “strive with all power God has given to be among the 144,000.  “Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all that we can to help others to gain heaven.”Review and Herald, March 9, 1905.They obviously deducted that one can only strive with “all power” if they thoroughly study the subject.

David and Deborah never thought to inquire from whom the teachings were from before listening to the study. They listened without prejudice in order to give it a fair chance.  Both had one goal in mind–to know more about the 144,000. Their focus keen, their thoughts pure, their mind open.

Let us continue with the story.

The next day Deborah was still very troubled, so later that day she decided to call David. “Hi David, this is Deborah” she started. “Oh hi Deborah, how you doing?” David responded. “Not well” she solemnly said. “What happened?” he responded. “I got a call from Johnny and he said what we’re studying is from an offshoot group from the 30’s, he said it’s error.” she said flatly. “What?” David responded incredulously.

“Yes, you heard right I’m afraid” she lamented. “Oh sister, something is terribly wrong, we must get together. I have been doing nothing but further studies on this teaching and I have some insight into what is happening here.” David advised.  So later that week they got together and David explained the history. It was nothing like Johnny had said or implied. He showed Deborah the specific historical writings of what exactly took place on the one and only supposed “investigation” of the teachings of the “Shepherd’s Rod” by Victor T. Houteff. (read here for history of the one historical meeting between VTH and the SDA leaders http://www.shepherds-rod.org/Tracts/trac007.html )

In other words, Johnny’s claim of a thorough investigation was not accurate. After the study Deborah was comforted but still was perplexed. David was as well. They couldn’t figure out why the teachings were wrong and why Johnny counselled against something which he had obviously not investigated himself. The total lessons were all based on Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy. They both knew a serious discussion with Johnny would have to take place.

So David and Deborah went before the Lord in prayer in order to be prepared to sit down and have a serious discussion with Johnny. “Study to show your selves approved..”(2 Tim. 2:15)  and ” If you will search the Scriptures on your knees, then you will know them and you will be able to give to every man who asketh you a reason of the hope that is within you” {1888 Materials P.152). These were guiding words of God that they depended on.

A few days after the aforementioned study, Johnny called David. Here is the conversation.

David: Hello

Johnny: Hi David, this is Johnny from the church.

David: Hi Johnny

Johnny;  I’m sure you’ve probably heard from Deborah the reason for my call

David: Yes I have

Johnny: We’ve had some good fellowship together David and as an elder, I’m sure you know it’s my responsibility to warn our members of any false teaching coming into the church

David: With all due respect Johnny, can you give me one example of false teaching as presented in the Shepherd’s Rod teachings?

Johnny: Not off-hand but I know the church leaders looked into this thoroughly way back in the 30’s and found it in error.

David: Oh yeah. Well give me the documentation on the “thorough study” so I can review it.

Johnny: Listen David, do yourself a favor and don’t get involved in that teaching, trust me.

David: Sorry Johnny but we are counselled to trust no man. Please read Jeremiah 17:5. For your information I have studied this subject well and have found it is not as you say it is.

The conversation ended shortly after with both holding on to their positions. A few weeks went by and then Deborah called Johnny to ask for a study together. Herself, David, Johnny and someone Johnny would like to bring  could all get together and discuss the issue. Johnny never returned her call or went to her in church to discuss the matter.

Fast forward to 3 years later.

David has continued to study the Bible, Spirit of prophecy and the Shepherd’s Rod (Elijah message). He’s spread the message to many all over, including around the world. He has sent literature, dvd’s and cd’s. He has kept busy in the Lord’s vineyard. David was no longer asked to speak before the church. He experienced murmuring against him as word spread that he was involved in “false teaching” yet no one from the church ever inquired to meet with him to see why he was  zealous about this  new light message of  Elijah.

Deborah has also continued to study, being convinced in the Lord’s Elijah message as one of truth. She also spread the message. She also has been murmured against. But has stood firm in the faith. Both her and David have stopped serving in the capacity of “tithe helpers”. This required them to participate in a custom that they found to be an abomination to the Lord in His sanctuary on the Sabbath. They both learned that Sunday (the first day of week) was scriptural  correct day for tithe collection. (for more info on this see —https://godsloveandlaw.com/2013/06/22/the-sdas-original-systematic-benevolence/

Johnny has never looked into the teachings he claims are in error. He has trusted in the former and present church leaders to tell him what is truth and what is error. His position is set and is unmovable. Although he is not aware of it, he is fulfilling prophecy – ‘I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” (Rev. 3:17)

Summary-

This two-part story is an example of what has been played out time and again through out the years and even decades in the SDA church. Even today a similar situation is frequently occurring worldwide in our church. Once we decide to search out the truth we must look to the Lord first and foremost. Notice that David came upon that sermon that showed him the light of truth he sought (the real 144,000 answers). This did not come by happen stance. The Spirit of Truth  had guided him (John  16:13).

We also saw that Deborah was just like David, was an active “searcher” of the truth. In this she was rewarded as the promise said “..seek and you shall find”(Matt. 7:7). They continued to “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good”(1 Thess. 5:21) in spite of the opposition and murmuring. Johnny attempted to block their path in finding truth “…You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”(Luke 11:52).

Below are some Scriptural and SOP  and Elijah references that you can read and see if they apply to the 3 characters in our story. We MUST take into our own hands the awesome responsibility to seek the Lord and His Truth before He comes suddenly and surprisingly (Mal. 3:1-3). Seek Him in study and prayer. If this is done sincerely we are promised to be guided into “all truth” (John 16:13).

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“How shall we search the Scriptures in order to understand what they teach? We should come to the investigation of God’s word with a contrite heart, a teachable and prayerful spirit. We are not to think, as did the Jews, that our own ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church. We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said.” (Test. to Min., p.105)

“Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true—in harmony with God’s word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices.

The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits—because it is truth.” (Test. to Min. p.105-106).

“To hold yourselves aloof from an investigation of truth is not the way to carry out the Saviour’s injunction to ‘search the Scriptures.’ Is it digging for hidden treasures to call the results of someone’s labor a mass of rubbish, and make no critical examination to see whether or not there are precious jewels of truth in the collection of thought which you condemn?

Will those who have almost everything to learn keep themselves away from every meeting where there is an opportunity to investigate the messages that come to the people, simply because they imagine the views held by the teachers of the truth may be out of harmony with what they have conceived as truth? Thus it was that the Jews did in the days of Christ, and we are warned not to do as they did, and be led to choose darkness rather than light, because there was in them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. No one of those who imagine that they know it all is too old or too intelligent to learn from the humblest of the messengers of the living God.

“When asked to hear the reasons of a doctrine that you do not understand, do not condemn the message until you have given it a thorough investigation, and know from the word of God that it is not tenable.

“When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness.”–CSW 28-32.

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5)

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Prov. 18:13.

“Truth is eternal, and conflict with error will only make manifest it’s strength. We should never refuse to examine the Scriptures with those who. we have reason to believe, desire to know the truth. Suppose a brother held a view that differed from yours, and he should come to you, proposing that you sit down with him and make an investigation of that point in the Scriptures; should you rise up, filled with prejudice , and condemn his ideas, while refusing to give him a candid hearing?

The only right way would be to sit down as Christians and investigate the position presented in the light of God’s word, which will reveal truth and unmask error.” (Test. to Ministers , p105-106)

“The best way to expose the fallacy of error is to present the evidences of truth. This is the greatest rebuke that can be given to error.”–E. G. White, Pacific Union Recorder, Oct. 23, 1902.

“What a fearful responsibility rests upon those who carelessly handle the Word of God, who pose as soul guardians over the people!  Both they and their abominations will fall in the ditch.  Indeed, if any reform is needed in Christendom, this one is.

Having now learned better, let us no longer make idols of men; let us no longer give place within us to unclean spirits.  Let us rather give the Spirit of God a chance to lead us into His ever-advancing Truth with personal understanding.” (Timely Greetings, vol.1, no.18, p.17)

“When a point of doctrine that you do not understand comes to your attention, go to God on your knees, that you may understand what is truth, and not be found as were the Jews, fighting against God. While warning men to beware of accepting anything unless it is truth, we should also warn them not to imperil their souls by rejecting messages of light, but to press out of the darkness by earnest study of the word of God.”–TM 109, 110.

“Even as it is a blessed thing to accept the truth, so it is a fearful thing to reject it. And rejection need not include all truth. To reject a part may be just as fatal as to reject the whole. So all should beware.” (Shepherd’s Rod, vol. 1, p.160)

Note: although the SDA leaders as a body had the one meeting with Victor Houteff, there has been many SDA individuals down through the years that have challenged the Lord’s Elijah message and tried to expose it as error. Here is an example of a “Pastor’s study” against the message and the counter points from an Elijah messenger (Jemmy E. Bingham). http://www.shepherds-rod.org/dsdaboard/study/reply.htm

A study of Three Christian Walks, Part 1 of 2

September 7, 2013

Johnny is a middle-aged man, a devout religious man, and elder in the SDA church.He’s been a SDA his whole life, being brought up by his parents to be strictly a God-fearing man.

Deborah is a young woman in her late 20’s, single, and a SDA member for 8 years. She’s active in her church but hasn’t felt the inspiration to join in any official capacity of the church. She loves the church and gives her time when she can help out in a church cause.

David is a middle-aged man, single, had somewhat of a rough life. He was a biker and in a not so nice group for a few years. His life was completely opposite of a Christian life, drinking, smoking, carousing , you name it he took part in it. Then about 5 years ago, he decided to read the Bible from beginning to end. It changed his life, the power of God’s word took this low and unholy man and transformed him.

This story is about these three people and the different paths they take on their Christian walk. Let us now she how and why they made the decisions they did. How their course will decide their future destiny.

Let us begin with Johnny and David.

As we noted, Johnny devoutly holds on to his membership and serves as an elder. He is sometimes asked to give the Sabbath school lesson and often helps with various church functions (lunches, meetings, social functions, Sabbath functions such as door greeter, tithe helper, etc.)

He feels his life is going very well and that his walk is just where it should be. His family is growing and also they are members of the church as well. His personality is such that he makes friends easy and is a good listener.

One day he arrives early, about 9 a.m. Sabbath morning. As he walks up to the steps he meets an unusual looking man. He has longer hair than is normal but well-kept. His dress is also well-kept, though simple.  The stranger reaches out to shake his hand. “Hello sir, my name is David, I’m new to this church” he says. Johnny responds, “Oh, good. Can I help you in any way?”  David responds, “Not really, I just wanted to introduce myself.” Johnny pauses for a moment then says, “Ok, nice to meet you, come on in if you’d like”.  “Ok” David responds.

They go in together and Johnny goes off to take care of a few tasks. David goes into the sanctuary. David sits down towards the front and looks over the  church bulletin. As it is early, he’s the only one in the sanctuary. Shortly after reading this, David gets on his knees and begins prayer in God’s house. He well knows the Scripture, “.It is written, My house is to be called a house of prayer…”(Matt. 21:13)

Later the services begin and the house is more filled and the Sabbath service goes on to completion.

As time goes by David and Johnny becomes church friends. They enjoy each other and have had more than one church lunch together. David is more reserved and hasn’t requested to join the church officially or to be in an official position (deacon, elder, etc.). Johnny noticed that David was quite particular in his ways. He showed an eye for details and seemed to be more zealous than normal in wanting to honor the Lord.

For instance, the last church lunch, at the beginning of the lunch service, David had noticed that the long sliding curtain  door that separated the sanctuary from the lunch room was left wide open. The laughter, the loud conversation, all the noise was going right into the sanctuary. So David got up and walked over to the curtains and closed them himself. He preferred to keep  the sanctuary separated from the commotion in the lunch room.  Johnny saw this and mentioned that it was good to do that (although Johnny went through many lunches without that thought ever occurring to him).

Johnny also noticed that during the lunches , David’s conversation would mostly be about the things of the Lord. For David remembered .”If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath…nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth..” (Isaiah 58:13-14)  So over time David showed to Johnny and to other’s that he was quite dedicated to the Lord. His actions backed up his words.  David became a full-fledged member by being baptized into the SDA church. Later David was invited to be an occasional speaker for the pre-Sabbath school lessons.

Now let’s look at our other party, Deborah. She as mentioned had joined the church 8 years ago and she , too, was committed to obeying the Lord as best she knew. Although no one else in her family were SDA (they were Catholics) she came to believe in the Sabbath by her daily study of Scripture. After being convicted of God’s holy day, she decided to start worshiping on the true Biblical Sabbath. She made time to devote to study and the things of the Lord. As time went on she also had become friends with both Johnny and David. Although somewhat reserved like David, she still was friendly and willing to engage in fellowship with other members.

But of the three, David was by far the more zealous student. God’s word and the Spirit of Prophecy became his passion. He seldom watched TV, didn’t have time to listen to much music or other things of the world,  and put into practice all that he learned from God.

Then one day David was on the internet after getting home from Sabbath services. He had been involved in a deep study on the topic of the 144,000. In his study of the Spirit of prophecy, he found were Ellen White had said to “strive with all power God has given us to be among the 144,000.” (Review and Herald, March 9, 1905).  As he surfed the net, he noticed a sermon call “The 144,000, who are they?” He decided to listen to. About 30 minutes into it, he suddenly fell to his knees! He had found his answer! The light had shown in all it’s glory.http://www.shepherds-rod-message.org/audio/rev_7.mp3 (audio  sermon)

As he had struggled with this subject for many months, he had been so confused. For the church taught that the 144,000 were like “super apostles” yet he knew SOP very well and the picture of them from this source showed something different in many regards. But now, as he listened to SOP and Scripture, both had come completely together in revealing the mystery of who, what and where are the 144,000. Quotes and references were used and not just “I said so”.

So after the sermon was heard David was stunned. Why hadn’t all these quotes and references been discussed in the church?  Why the silence? Being sold out to Christ (meaning the Lord came first in all areas of his life) David pondered this deeply. But on the other hand he was elated that his God had gifted him with these powerful and majestic truths.

So as he pondered how to communicate the new light shown to him,he began to study further the teachings of the person who had done the sermon. He found out that he was from an organization based out of New York. He ordered some free CD’s and DVD’s from them. David carefully listened to them all. His joy was increasing as all these new teachings were completely backed up by SOP and the Bible. He felt he was standing on solid ground.

Then one day as he arrived early to church, he met Deborah and asked her if she would like to do a study with him on the 144,000. She responded, “Yes! I have always wanted to know more about that subject.” So they agreed to get together later that week to study.

The study went well and Deborah was quite impressed as she had many questions that were soundly cleared up in her correspondence with David. David handed her some CD’s and DVD’s and literature to further study.

The following week she called David, “Hi David, I want to let you know that those Cd’s you gave me are awesome!” I never heard anything like it! Why doesn’t our church talk about these future things?”  David responded, ” I have been thinking the same thing.”

So they both decided that they would make copies of them and pass them to selected members of the church. their joy was great in these truths and they wanted others to have joy as well. So on Sabbath they both arrive early with their new material. Deborah sees Johnny in the foyer. “Elder Johnny, how are you?” she says. “I’m fine Deborah and you?” he responds. “Oh Johnny, I have got some great Cd’s and DVd’s you MUST hear, it explains the truth of the 144,000 and also about Revelation”.

Johnny takes them then asks,”who is it  from?”  Deborah doesn’t really know as she hadn’t asked this question. All she knew is that it was solidly based on Scripture and Ellen White. Her thinking was that even if a monkey had put it together–it was great! Johnny said he would review it and get back to her. David has also passed a few to others before services.

The following week, Deborah gets a call from Johnny. He says. “Hello Deborah, this is Johnny from church. “Oh hi Johnny” she says. “Listen I must tell you that what you are listening to is what is known as the ‘Shepherd’s Rod’, an offshoot group that the church investigated back in the early 30’s and found in error.” She was speechless for a moment. “what do you mean?” she haltingly said.

“Deborah, this teaching is full of error and you shouldn’t get involved with it. The church has studied it, and like I said found it is in error. Please sister don’t get involved in this” he said firmly. “Oh wow. Well I’ll talk to David about this and get his feed back.” she responded. “David?” Johnny asked. “Yes David was the one who gave them to me.” She replied. “Oh I see, well I’ll need to call him as well, we can’t have this teaching going around our church. The Lord wouldn’t want that.” Johnny interjected.

After the call Deborah sank to the ground. Her mind was so confused. She remembered all the solid words of truth she had heard, yet could it somehow be lies and falsehood as well? She spent the night in turmoil. Her prayers were many that night.

Stay tuned for next week’s 2nd part and conclusion.


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