Archive for December, 2015

Watch your Pearls

December 26, 2015

swine picture

Our King said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matt. 7:6)

Quite some powerful and direct words for sure. Let us look at this great admonition and how we can observe it.

If you are active in the Lord’s vineyard, hopefully proclaiming present truth message of Elijah, you should be acutely aware of this instruction. By obedience to this rule we can save ourselves much precious time and even heartache as the Lord warned.

You see, the Lord’s truth is as priceless gems to us. They are our meat, our  golden nuggets and yes–our pearls. Understanding why we should not cast them to the swine is very important lesson for us.

Our confidence in the Lord and His word should be guarded.

“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!” (Hebrews: 10:35)

And we can throw it away if we continue to cast our pearls of Truth before those who will trample it afoot.

Recently I have been in an email study with a brother we’ll call bro. J. He is active in studies but unfortunately he has been led into one of the adversary’s rabbit trails– Feast day keeping. As we have posted many times before, the last message of the Lord, the Elijah message, shows us beyond doubt that the Old Testament Feast days observance has been replaced by Christ and His work in the heavenly sanctuary. The sermon address that dealt with this is here — http://shepherds-rod.org/TGvol2/2tg37.htm

But as we continued the study the Spirit started to remind me of what I was doing. The hard work and plentiful study I have done to know this message, was being dangled about to someone who either a) wasn’t reading the truth I was showing him  b) was reading it yet it was like water off a duck’s back–or put another way–trampled under his feet.

Either way I sensed I was barking up the wrong tree. So the Lord reminded me to stay focused and not venture into a situation where your pearls are being chewed up and spit out. Here is where some thoughts came.

What I sense is that if we get involved in a discussion and very soon it becomes obvious that the truth (plain obvious statements) does not get agreement or acknowledgment, then we can come into perilous ground. Why?

Because we can start to lose our own confidence! Yes, we can think, “maybe I need to show him more truth because this is not clear enough” yet it is very clear, it is just our desire to come down to his non-truth loving level that starts to blur our vision, make us doubt our own message.

The message deals with this subject–

IS IT SAFE TO CHALLENGE?

Question No. 132:

   If we are to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” and be ready always to give an answer to  every man that asks us a reason of the hope that is in us, then ought we not challenge those who are enemies of “The Shepherd’s Rod” to prove it in error?

Answer:

   Even those who have settled it once and for all that The Shepherd’s Rod contains a heaven-sent message, not to mention those who are incapable of defending it in all its aspects, are in no wise  justified in exposing their precious jewel of Truth to the Enemy, whose only aim is to take it away from them. Especially so when he is not coming with a promise to give them something that will replace that which they already have.

They cannot afford to invite his challenge to prove whether or not he can cheat them of their  treasure. When it is gone, the “proof” will be sad  consolation! Placing themselves thus on Satan’s vantage ground will make them guilty not only of the folly of presumptousness but waste of time and of energy as well. It will be but inviting the Devil to rob them of eternal life.

   All of us must guard our heavenly treasure with the utmost care, and preserve our faith by studying to give an answer to every man that asks us a reason of the hope that is in us, but not by challenging him to ply us with deceitful questions, and then debating with him.

   If, though, for any compelling reason you assume the risk of meeting the Enemy in this great spiritual warfare, then you must at least hold him to answer to the whole Truth; do not let him switch you to some certain moot point which no one, perhaps, at the moment could clear. Do not permit yourself to be backed into a defensive position, but rather keep yourself on the  offensive, yet never debate.

   Do not forget that the Enemy who seeks to take your crown is mightier than you, and that therefore if you are not absolutely settled on the message,  then by all means rather than to study with its enemies, go study with its friends. Not until you have thus done all to let the messengers prove it right, and are still convinced that it is not Present Truth, can you rightly study with its opposers. Do all to make sure that someone does not cheat you of a message from the Lord. Let “no man take thy crown.” Rev. 3:11.

   Remember that if there is someone ready to undermine one truth, there is another one ready to undermine another truth, and so on and on. In fact, the Enemy is ready to dynamite every truth in existence, even the Bible Itself, if you but give him the chance. Certain it is, though, that Satan does not begin to have as much room for an argument against the Rod’s truths as Sunday keepers have against the Sabbath truth.

   Ever bear in mind that “the efforts made to retard the progress of truth will serve to extend it” (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 454), and that you will be promoted with it if you faithfully keep in the middle of the road, not running ahead with a zeal that is not according to knowledge.

   “Our convictions need daily to be re-enforced by humble, sincere prayer and reading of the word. While we each have an individuality, while we each should hold our convictions firmly, we must hold them as God’s truth and in the strength which God imparts. If we do not, they will be wrung from our grasp.”–Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 401.

   Hence, for one who is settled in the Truth and who is searching for more, to challenge the Enemy,  is like putting one’s sword in his hand and daring him to cut off one’s head.

   Never challenge, therefore, but ever be ready to give the right answer intelligently and convincingly to every man; never debate, but always teach the Truth; never go to an enemy or to a non-believer of a message to prove it right or to prove it wrong; rather, do all your proving with its friends, with its authors–those who know all about it. (Answerer Book, vol. 5, Q-132)

Back to brother J. In regards to not keeping the feast days, I showed him this unequivocal statement–

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. (TG, vol. 2, no.37, p.14-15)

Ok clear enough right? Not according to the types like brother J. You see we must be very cautious when we show Scriptural plain statements, for a fictional example– “The lady had on a blue dress.”   And they come back, “Well it’s not really blue because, blue has other colors in it to make it blue. So it’s a mixture of different colors scientifically.”  Huh? We say or think to their secret mysterious meaning!

The message tells us that the wise will understand (Be guided into all truth) and the wicked will not.

“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”(Dan. 12:10)

SOP also gives us great counsel–

“The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers.” (GC, P.598)

Now to be clear, we are not advocating avoiding good back and forth discussions, but once it becomes clear that straight clear Scripture, SOP or Elijah message does not have them agreeing or even acknowledging, that should be our Que that we may be “casting our pearls…”.

“I have beheld angels grieved as the most precious jewels of truth have been brought before men utterly incapable of appreciating the evidences in favor of the truth.”( Testimonies, vol. 3, p.425)

In closing my brethren, let’s hold onto our pearls bought at a great price( hard study and deep devotion). If we give them away let it be to our friends and the Bureans.  If we obey the Lord in His admonition we shall not get snared in time-wasting.

“No one is lost for believing a false interpretation of a prophecy before the truth of it is revealed, provided the false interpretation does not draw him away from some other truth.  Such individuals, however, are in great danger because, as history reveals, very few who become thus involved in error are willing to humble themselves by renouncing their errors and accepting the truth when it is made known. 

They are consequently in constant peril of sinning against the Holy Ghost.  And being acutely aware of this, Satan misinterprets the prophecies before they are divinely revealed.  He realizes full well that many, unwilling to be corrected and to exchange their errors for revealed truth, will thereby be led to eternal ruin.  All-important, therefore, is the need that the student of the truth fortify himself with all honesty and humility..” (Tract 5, p.7)

 

 

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The Parable of the Ten Virgins

December 19, 2015

Ten Virgins

One of  the parables most often studied and quoted around the  world is that of Matthew 25–the parable of the Ten Virgins.

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us.  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matt. 25:1-13)

In order to know the true interpretive meaning of this parable (or any other parable or prophecy) we are counseled to not trust in our own “private interpretation” but rather a “Thus sayeth the Lord” by His prophets. And we who are living in these very last days, should yell to the mountain tops in joy that the Lord gave us His promised –restorer of all things, Elijah. We are just very blessed because as you’ll see the end time prophetic meaning of this parable is directly applicable to us today. Let us heed the lesson!

Who are the Virgins?

The virgins are a figure of the church.  Number “ten,” has the symbolic meaning of universal (the church as a body).  Note that they are all “virgins.”  The 144,000 are designated by the same word. (See Rev. 14:4.)  The word “virgins,” signify that the class represented by them (ten), are not those who are called out from Babylon (fallen churches) at the time the “cry” is made. 

For, if they were to come out of Babylon by the call “Come out of her, my people” (Rev. 18:4), they would have been defiled with “women” (fallen churches), and therefore, could not be called “virgins.”  Thus, the message of the “Midnight Cry” must find them in the house of God — virgins. (SRod, vol. 2, p.181)

What is the “cry” that is made?

The “Midnight Cry” was first proclaimed prior to 1844, and the coming of the “Bridegroom” was Christ’s coming to the Most Holy place in the heavenly sanctuary for the investigative judgment of the saints.  The investigation being in two sections; first, the judgment for the dead, and the second for the living, the “cry” must be repeated, otherwise we would have no present truth for the time of the judgment of the living. 

The “cry” for the living being of a greater importance to the world than the one for the dead, and as the “virgins” are a figure of the living church, the parable must have a direct application to the church at this present time, — the coming of the bridegroom for the judgment of the living.  But indirectly it points back to the commencement of the “Midnight Cry” (the first angel’s message — the judgment for the dead). 

The messages being of the same event, judgment, both (for the living and for the dead) are called the “midnight cry.”  The same is proven by the parable itself. (p.181)

What does the oil represent?

The “oil” is a symbol of the Spirit of God in the form of a message (truth); for, it is the substance that gives the light (the prophetic Word of God).  The lamp must be a symbol of the heart into which the Word (oil) is being retained.  The trimming of their lamps, is the “trimming” of their hearts; that is, their conscience being aroused they began to show interest. 

But only five of them had an extra supply of oil in their vessels.  As they started out to meet the bridegroom, the lamps of the foolish ones went out; and as they found themselves in darkness, it made their progress impossible.  Now, the question arises: What made their lamps go out, and why could they go backward, but not forward? 

As the message of the judgment for the dead was the present truth since 1844, at the beginning of the judgment for the living (when the cry was made), it became present truth no longer.  Consequently their lamps went out.  They could not move forward because they were foolish; that is, they did not accept the light — the judgment for the living.  Was the “oil” beyond their reach?  The words in the parable prove that they all heard the “cry, “arose, and trimmed their lamps.” 

Five of them failed to get the supply of oil because they were “foolish,” — they did not study for themselves.  Allowed others to think for them; they chose the easy, popular side, and accepted the decisions of the leaders, copies the mistakes of others and were thus left without a supply of oil, — robbed of the truth, cheated of glory, and left in darkness!

   “And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.”  At last the foolish virgins saw themselves in darkness.  Then they went to the wise and asked for oil as a gift; “But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” 

The oil is sold and there must be something given in exchange to obtain the supply.  The price they had to pay was to “sigh and cry for the abominations done in the midst thereof,” give up sinning and obey the truth.  Their receipt for the value of exchange would have been the seal of the living God in their foreheads.(P.182-183)

What is the significance of the door being shut?

As the foolish virgins at last came to the door, it is evident that they obtained the oil (learned of the message) but there had been a delay — the door was shut, and they were left out.  Now, why were they unconcerned at first, and very zealous at last?  The experience in this instance is about the same as that of the deluge. 

While Noah preached the coming of the flood, the world paid little attention to this message; but those who believed, went into the ark at a given time and the door was closed.  But not long afterwards, signs of Noah’s prediction appeared; and as drops of rain began to fall the wicked multitude became alarmed and rushed for the ark, but the door was closed and they were left out. 

The door that “was shut,” is a symbol showing that probation for the church had closed just shortly after the foolish virgins became alarmed.  At last they were willing to pay the price and buy the oil; but it was not a change of heart, only the fear of losing out.  Their course of action had left them without the seal — “the man with the writer’s inkhorn” had passed them by.  What a terrible mistake! What a disappointment! Almost saved, but entirely lost.(P.183-184)

Why 10 virgins?

The number, “ten”, being a symbol of universal, it represents the church as a body prior to the commencement of the judgment of the living — in the sealing period of the 144,000, and before the “Loud Cry” of the Third Angel’s Message; being the period of the first fruits of the harvest. (P.185)

What is the lesson of the five foolish and five wise virgins?

The five wise virgins were they who trusted in God and His word only; having no confidence in man, and were hungry for truth, searching for light, and gladly accepting it when it came.  Thus they received the seal of God’s approval, their sins were blotted out, and their lives made sure — they passed from condemnation and death into glory and life eternal.  They are God’s servants, kings and priests — 144,000 in number.

   The five foolish virgins are they who had confidence in men; they were willing that others should think and study for them.  Their love for this world and the things of it, exceeded their love for Christ and the world to come.  They had no true sense of the awful result of sin.  Their zeal for self, drowned their zeal for the house of God and His honor. 

They were satisfied with their lamps trimmed and but little oil in them.  They saw no necessity for more light — prophets, truth or message.  They said in their hearts, we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing.  They were prejudiced against light upon the word of God, and accepted not the truth because the channel through which it came was not of their choice.

   The knowledge of present truth, which the five foolish virgins possessed since 1844 is the judgment of the dead, and was the only oil in their lamps.  When the judgment of the living commenced, and the “cry was made,” they were found without this extra oil in their vessels; they had neglected their Lord’s command: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” 

Thus when the wise ones started out to meet the bridegroom the lamps of the foolish went out, for, the judgment of the dead had passed.  Therefore, it was present truth no more, and thus they were left in darkness. 

At the beginning of the judgments of God they saw their mistake and rushed for the ark of safety, but it was beyond their reach for they knew nothing of the message, and by the time they acquired it (filled their lamps with oil), there had been a delay, the angel had passed “through the city, through Jerusalem,” the church — the sealing was finished, and probation for the church had closed — the door was shut.  Thus they were left out. 

Then they came with these words: “Lord, Lord, open unto us, But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”  “Appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  What a disappointment that will be!

   It will be noticed that the close of probation for the church and the one for the world are two different events.  The former is a miniature representation of the latter.  The Scripture for the preceding one is found in Matthew 25:11, 12; but of the final one we read: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.  And, behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Rev. 22:11, 12.) 

At this time those who were like the five foolish virgins, will say, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jer. 8:20.)  “And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:12.) ( SRod, P.185-186)

 

 

 

History of the Heels

December 12, 2015

modern high heel

This week I observed something that burdened my heart. A young gal, maybe 18 or 19, whom I thought had taken good counsel before, showed that as the ol saying goes “went in one ear and out the other.” Sister L, we’ll call her, is a kind of leader in our church, especially to her peers. But before we get more into that let’s look at current worldly fashions in our church and specifically –the ladies high heel shoes.

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but — which becometh women professing godly piety — through good works.”(1 Tim. 2:9-10)

We are going to really get down and study this issue because the Lord has placed it on my heart to awake many of our sisters who for one reason or  another just cannot fathom  how “converted” Christians should come before the Lord.

We are told to be converted and to have a new spirit and mind. In other words things of the world, including fashion– must go. For a personal example, music was my worldly love prior to being converted. Just as many women love fashion as their worldly love. But one day the Lord convicted me of my idol and I grabbed the large outside trash can and went into the house and threw everything that was worldly music (CD’s, Albums, Tapes) into the trash. I never looked back.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

Once we declare to our heavenly Father we are His, by Christ’s brutal death for us–we change. Our old ways go away–at least that is the plan of God. But unfortunately many want both worlds! Again Scripture warns us–

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

It’s the perfect deadly storm, with some saying secretly in their soul, “I want Christ but the world’s attractions I cannot ignore, Oh Lord help me to do both.”

Peer pressure is very powerful. We all remember our youthful days when we wanted to be liked and accepted. But we also remember our caring teachers, even those who were more stern than we liked, but looking back we admired them for their uprightness and firmness to showing us the right way the best path. The same applies to our youth in the church. They need help , they need guidance from our leaders.

Yet the Lord knows that today, our SDA church is filled with misguided shepherds. They “look the other way” at worldly snares that come into the Lord’s church. Jeremiah relayed the case in our church today–

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. (Jer. 23:1)

Today one of the most common and observable worldly fashions prevalent in the Lord’s sanctuary is the high heel shoes.  When you couple that with the miniskirt ( above the knees), voila– you have a strikingly similar dressed gal, to a night club gal! That’s right.

Back in the day  before being renewed in mind and spirit, I was often found in the clubs on a Friday or Saturday night, I remember quite clearly what we considered in style there. Yes high heels and short dresses. And that didn’t mean way above the knees, just above them.

Scriptures clearly tells us we are not to be viewed (seen) as a worldling. We are to be different.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9)

Of all the shoes in the women’s world, I can think of no other that resembles the worldly fashion. We see executive women with them, we see professional women with them, we see teachers with them, we see night club gals with them. They are THE WORLD FASHION, the “in” thing to wear.

Let’s look at the history of them.

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Men were the first sex to don the shoe. They were adopted by the European aristocracy of the 1600s as a signal of status.  The logic was: only someone who didn’t have to work could possibly go around in such impractical footwear.  (Interestingly, this was the same logic that encouraged footbinding in China.)

Women started wearing heels as a way of trying to appropriate masculine power.  In the BBC article on the topic, Elizabeth Semmelhack, who curates a shoe museum, explains:

In the 1630s you had women cutting their hair, adding epaulettes to their outfits…

They would smoke pipes, they would wear hats that were very masculine. And this is why women adopted the heel — it was in an effort to masculinise their outfits.

The lower classes also began to wear high heels, as fashions typically filter down from elite.

How did the elite respond to imitation from “lesser” people: women and workers?  First, the heels worn by the elite became increasingly high in order to maintain upper class distinction.  And, second, heels were differentiated into two types: fat and skinny. Fat heels were for men, skinny for women.

This is a beautiful illustration of Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of class distinction.  Bourdieu argued that aesthetic choices function as markers of class difference.  Accordingly, the elite will take action to present themselves differently than non-elites, choosing different clothing, food, decor, etc.  Expensive prices help keep certain things the province of elites, allowing them to signify their power; but imitation is inevitable.  Once something no longer effectively differentiates the rich from the rest, the rich will drop it.  This, I argue elsewhere, is why some people care about counterfeit purses (because it’s not about the quality, it’s about the distinction).

Eventually men quit wearing heels because their association with women tainted their power as a status symbol for men.  (This, by the way, is exactly what happened withcheerleading, originally exclusively for men).  With the Enlightenment, which emphasized rationality (i.e., practical footwear), everyone quit wearing high heels.

What brought heels back for women? Pornography.  Mid-nineteenth century pornographers began posing female nudes in high heels, and the rest is history. (Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions.)

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The above article is typical of the reports on these shoes. Now, I ask you, do you see Christ in this? Do you see modesty in this? Or do you see prestige, self glory and worldly style? Disturbingly these shoes have a solid history associated with prostitution! What is a converted Christ loving woman doing wearing such things? Just like my trash can experience, all gals reading this should seriously consider pulling that trash can out as well. Believe me you’ll be very much blessed.

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ” (Matt. 6:20)

Ok back to our sister L. I had observed her as a young lady striving to walk the walk. She gave a really good sermon about 3 months ago and I figured she would be the one to get some CD’s and DVD’s of the Lord last message to us–the Elijah message. So about 6 weeks ago during lunch I handed her some present truth along with a blog post on dressing for God in His sanctuary.

She seemed pleased to receive them. The reason I chose her was because she seemed as one of the young leaders of the church. Some other young gals were really dressing badly with the club outfits on. So I gently told her that she could review these reports and maybe discus with her friends. She happily agreed.

Over the course of the next few weeks she seemed to have a influence on some of them. Not a great big difference but I did see some improvement. Then this last week,   a typical night club goer would have definitely kept their eyes on sister L that’s for sure! So here we stand. I have prayed to the Lord and supped with Him on this and this is the reason for this post, to warn of this immodest behavior in God’s house.

Some may ask–“What about a moderate heel”? Again the word modesty comes into play. Take a look at this look and see if we can see modesty? From a personal view I see modesty and presentable dress before the Lord.

low heeled shoes

Another factor that comes into serious concern is that of a woman’s health. There are many many health reports showing some short term and long term physical damage done by wearing high heels. SOP gives us God’s word as well-

“I beg of our people to walk carefully and circumspectly before God. Follow the customs in dress so far as they conform to health principles.” (Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p.242)

For a good report on the physical ramification of wearing high heels click here- https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/09/do-high-heels-damage-your-feet/

To sum up,  our sisters should ask this one question– “Does my dress appear modest or worldly before the Lord?”  One thing is certain the high heels have a long and sure history of not only being “worldly” but a standard footwear for the prostitutes. And believe me Christ knows this and we should as well!

My beloved, all we can do is warn, we cannot by compulsion make them do what they do not want to do. Jesus warned the wrong doers but He never haggled them or pressured them. We simply do our job and let the results be what may.

“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” Ezek. 3:18.

As we posted recently, we as Seventh-day Adventists are to “strive with all power God has given us to be among the 144,000” and to be among the Lord’s remnant people prepared to give the very soon to come Loud Cry. To be sure, all that are found unconverted will not stand in the church judgment. 

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” (Romans 12:1)

“In all things we are to be representatives of Him. Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity.” (Testimonies, Vol. 6, p.96)

Lastly, the Chinese have an old saying, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Why don’t you young ladies who are reading this report take that same trash can idea that I did and get a truly God felt blessing that really lasts?  You may very well find that the all-seeing Lord gives you much more than you give up!

 

 

Study to Show Yourself Approved

December 5, 2015

Bible-marked-up

In 2 Timothy 2:15 we read, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Last Sabbath I had a Bible study with a man we’ll call brother S. After Sabbath we had a Bible study that lasted a good 3 hours. After we prayed, which is a prerequisite before any Bible study, he opened his large bag and pulled out his Bible. As he opened it I was amazed to see nearly every page marked as the picture shows. Color  coded even with lines going from one part of page to another, showing that he saw them connected in some way.

This is not the first time I have seen such markings. A while back I had another study with a brother (we’ll call him brother F) who also had these same markings.

So what does this show to us and the Angels? It shows that people are taking seriously their study of the Scriptures. They have more than a surface interest in the Word. Like the Word says they are studying to be approved by God. This really should be a basic fundamental trait that all of us who call ourselves “Christian” should have.

Obviously these brothers are striving to know God’s Word better. But studying the Word and knowing the truth is not always mutually the same. We know that He has made us a great promise–

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 1613)

This promise is one of the greatest promises we have. It says we are to know all truth. But let’s look at the two mentioned brothers and look at clues to who is being “guided” into truth.

To start, brother F and I had a study about a month ago concerning the prophecy of Daniel 2. We watched a DVD of Daniel 2 and while playing we’d stop it and discuss. Keep in mind most Adventists have been taught or have heard that the stone that comes from the mountain is Christ.

So as it played brother F began making comments like “I don’t believe that”. When I asked where is the presentation wrong, where is the error? He hemmed and hawed and basically summed it up by saying that the Scriptures showed that Christ is a “stone” and therefore that is the correct interpretation. He was no doubt parroting what we as Adventists have heard about Daniel 2.

But in an effort to look deeper into this prophecy,  I asked about where the stone came from? And what does the mountain symbolize? He wasn’t so clear. Bottom line, although he basically did not want to accept the study, he couldn’t refute the teachings.

As the study of Daniel 2 progressed and started to go into how the church abominations are leavening it, ripe for its purification, brother F began to “pass the buck” as it were. He explained that it is “Christ’s righteousness” that saves us and our works are as filthy rags. I agreed with this but pointed out that we cannot sweep the unholy acts of the church under the rug. I stressed that only sighers and criers of the sins in the church will be sealed and be saved in the SDA church (Testimonies, vol.3 , p.267). To this he kind of just shrugged his shoulders. As if the eternal point really did not awake him nor did he need to address it!

So this brings up the question–why and how can someone so devoted to studying and highlighting the Scriptures  ignore clear truth from the very Scriptures they study? How can they not see many truths within its sacred pages?  The answer is a long one but we can give some general guidelines.

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Rev.3:17)

You see many are satisfied in their knowledge. If a new understanding of Scripture comes their way , they rise up a mental block wall to shut it away. They are content in what they think is truth because they do not embrace a new understanding mainly because they feel they might be deceived or off base if they accept it.

There is also the “herd mentality”. If the church believes it–so will I. The Jews of old had this same problem! The masses obeyed and believed what their Pharisee leaders taught, their version of truth. Jesus came along and taught truth that was not truth to those who refused to give up their many lessons they had been taught. Nothing has changed much. Truth is still seen by the few as opposed to the masses. No wonder the Scriptures say only 144,000 sealed from “all” the tribes of Israel.

SOP tells us we have been taught traditional ideas and lessons that we must “unlearn”.

“We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.” (Testimonies to Ministers, p.30)

Again SOP gives us counsel–

“It is a fact that we have the truth, and we must hold with tenacity to the positions that cannot be shaken; but we must not look with suspicion upon any new light which God may send, and say, Really, we cannot see that we need any more light than the old truth which we have hitherto received, and in which we are settled. While we hold to this position, the testimony of the True Witness applies to our cases its rebuke, “And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

Those who feel rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, are in a condition of blindness as to their true condition before God, and they know it not. We must not think, “Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge.” The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light. (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p.33)

Let us compare with brother S approach to study. First,  the reason the study took 3 hours was because he was asking some really good and pondering questions. Unlike brother F, he was searching instead of telling. Our study was about the church purification, backed up by 24 references shown by the Spirit of Prophecy.

As we progressed I started to see that his view of purification was in need of realignment. In other words, just like many within our SDA church he saw this purifying process of us as members drawing closer to God and doing more reform in the future. I countered that God has given the SDA church about 171 years to “get it together”. He cannot continue on and on, for it would probably be eons of years if and when we ever have meaningful reforms in our church. The word says that He will take the reins into His own hands (Testimonies to Ministers, p.300).

Our study was very satisfying as he made me think and I made him think. But I was heartened because by his questions I could see that his goal was knowing the truth not protecting lessons or ideas he could not rethink.

You see brethren our King who knows all, knew that we would , for the most part, reject His final message of Elijah. Therefore He warned us to get rid of our stuck in the mud know it all attitude and accept His new truths He would send via His messengers.

If someone comes to me and says, “hey Rob, I found this great new truth from Scripture.” I want to see it and apply the Lord’s remedy to see if it’s really true.

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20) 

I check first if the person who is telling me this 1) believes and keeps our Lord’s holy 10 Commandments (checking his fruits) 2) The “truth” they have discovered is not counter to what the prophets teach (and that includes His last Elijah prophet–who “restores all things”.) If these two important tests are passed then I praise the Lord for truth revealed to my brother or sister. But this concerns Bible nuggets of truth not Bible prophecy. Prophecy is not given to any “man” only to His prophets.

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20)

How important that we be ready for “fresh truth”?

“Ever have your ears open to any claimant of Inspiration if you are not to repeat the history of the Jews. God will not let you be deceived if you really hunger and thirst after righteousness, if you really want to know the Truth, for He is anxious that you keep up with His progressively revealed Truth. There is therefore no danger for one to be deceived by coming in contact with error, but there is a great danger for staying in darkness by not coming in contact with fresh Truth.” (TG, vol. 1, no.12, p.18

In closing, let us get away from our “rich and increased with goods” mentality and heed the message of the hour —

 “A new day is dawning on us, Brother, Sister.  And now, rather than imagining that we are rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing, we see ourselves in need of everything.  Shall we not accept these riches (Truth) that are tried in the fire, and these garments of righteousness by which to cover our nakedness? 

Shall we not anoint our eyes with this fresh golden oil of Truth that we may see and know the way, that we may reach “the door” on time?  There is no reason for staying wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.  The Lord is waiting at the door of our hearts.  He is anxious to pour out a blessing, to fill the cup to overflowing.” (TG, vol. 1, no. 25, p.12-13)

 


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