Faithful Guide

Faithful Guide

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” What made you weep that much?” asked my friend with concern written over his face.

“The word of the LORD cut me asunder even into the dividing of the marrow, I felt helpless and weak; overwhelmed by the task ahead of me. I want to choose Jesus daily, but every time the decision is made with so much difficulty. I am encompassed by sights that dazzle; tempting sounds keep buzzing over my ears. I need the assurance that the LORD is pleased with me as He was pleased with Jesus Christ.” I responded, trying to hide the tears that had welled up in my already red eyes.

“Why do you find it difficult to choose Jesus daily? Are you not serving Him already?” he inquired with surprise written on his face.

“It is true that I have accepted Christ in my life,even so, I consciously wake up daily, pick up…

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MY BIRTHDAY CHRONICLES: 23 WITH PSALM 23.

I had been looking forward to my 23rd birthday  with so much joy. Apart from the fact that I was growing older,smarter, experienced and wiser, I had a hunch that it would be an experience most precious(precious is relative!). To begin with, it had coincided with the Sabbath! God’s sanctified day of rest. Secondly, the little-known world toilet day was to be commemorated on the very day.

In addition, brethren in Lower Kabete campus SDA had organized a leavers Sabbath in the campus’s famous theatre,just behind the dean’s office; I had already began imagining myself at the theatre’s most strategic point! Strategic enough to capture everything. Details of that holy convocation had been communicated. My namesake and mentor preacher Chief Andrew Okal was the human instrumentality that had been scheduled to divide the word of truth and I honestly dint want to miss hearing him pour his heart out as he always does. The theme of the day had been communicated earlier too: HOW FAR FROM HOME! My passion and enthusiasm for last day events cannot be gainsaid. So my presence for that message was more than assured.

Though I had really desired to join my fellow SDA comrades for that once-in-a- while kind of experience, the Almighty God had desired that I spend the last day of my 22nd year with the faithful at  SDA Ngong road. Did I say that’s my local church? A sermon by elder Kotung’ in his usual high tone(that’s misconstrued for noise making and rapping) and swallowing of several words, blest me immensely. His message that God’s people should embrace true sabbath reform and keep the sabbath holy and wholly was a present truth well presented.

The experience at the hall was one of a kind and its deeply etched in my heart, mind and memory and will always tell it through the ceaseless ages of eternity. I cannot fail to chronicle it too that as Kotung made the altar call, he spiced it up with a powerful legendary song that reminded me of those years when I was barely 10 years old in the face of this earth. In addition to accompanying to the altar those who responded to the call, Kotung’s singing served yet another crucial purpose: Waking up my friend , who had literally slept through the sermon. “Isn’t funny how someone can sleep through the sermon but get up as soon as the sermon ends?” The devil is very tricky folks! NOTE: The former sentence is quoted.
As elder sang,  I was cautious enough to concentrate on the message NOT the voice. I even sang along.
“Umesumbuka Sana, umekata tamaa. Wahitaji  kupumzika, Leo uje kwa Yesu.

Je hata Nyumba yako, haina amani. Nong’oneza kwa yesu Tu, atakupa msaada.

Je mizigo ya dhambi, imekulemea. Wahitaji kupumzishwa, Leo uje kwa Yesu.

Leo uje kwa Yesu, anaweza yote. Unapo omba, amini kwamba atakupa msaada”

Much as I didn’t respond to the  call by physically marching to the altar, the song really touched me. It spoke to my situation. It reminded me of how turbulent the 22nd year of my life had been. It reminded me of how the year had been marred with tragedies. It reminded me of the fights I had had within. It reminded me of the fears that had riddled my year. It reminded me of the darkness that had shrouded that year . It reminded me how stormy that year had been. It reminded me of the thirsts that I needed to be quenched. It reminded me of the un-accomplished goals that the 22nd year plate was passing onto the 23rd plate.   It reminded me of the most notable and un-notable betrayals that can only describe my past year. Above all, it reminded me of the  only constant of my life: MY JESUS. He surely leads his dear children along, and my life through the 22nd year is the best case study for that.

At this Point I have to weave in the lyrics of a hymn that best served me during that turbulent year. The hymn “God leads us along” by George A. Young. Consult google for the story behind it.
“In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,God leads His dear children along;Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,God leads His dear children along.

Refrain:
Some through the waters, some through the flood,Some through the fire, but all through the blood;Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,In the night season and all the day long.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,God leads His dear children along; Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,God leads His dear children along.

Though sorrows befall us and Satan oppose,God leads His dear children along;Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,God leads His dear children along.

Away from the mire, and away from the clay,God leads His dear children along;Away up in glory, eternity ‘s day,God leads His dear children along.”

All through the year I had been reciting the Shepherd’s Psalm in my mind, and its among  my best bible passages.  In this life where people are hardly sure of anything, I am sure of this:
” That “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The narrative would be incomplete if I fail to tell how God used my friends to brighten my 23rd birthday. While I was engaged in the king’s business on that Sabbath day, many messages   trickled in. Friends prayed for me, wished me well and  took time to just encourage me through very nice messages(wish I could sample some of them). I thank  you  all for standing by me, with me and for me. God bless you all for that which you  did and will always do to me. Cant thank you enough friends for the hbd wishes. For a moment, I thought the wishes exceeded Donald Trump’s congratulatory messages after clinching the #POTUS seat.

I cannot fail to mention those  recorded  “happy birthday” voice clips that I received from my friends in diaspora, who were not available to present them live.. I was elated, surprised, excited, joyous… I surely lack the expression to use in describing my joy.

When I knew it not, my friendly friend Paravian  pulled out a surprise birthday lunch for me, in the company of the  ever-reserved Joseph Tunje, the ever-young (notice his name) Newborn, the frank and transformative SK and my partner in crime, the argumentative Ouko.  We took our positions in that kibandanski  and partook of that  sumptuous meal as we exchanged spiritual pleasantries.

And when he realized that the conversation had taken the dangerous direction that could perhaps have him washed, the witty birthday boy excused himself Na hivyo ndio alijitoa kwa ngori!

To culminate the eating spree, we  converged at Gjo’s home for a routine visit,    where we joined our wonderful extended family. We basked in the  wisdom of mr Jephtah, as we carefully consulted the plates, those real kisii plates! What a beautiful way it was, to end a birthday!

As I saw the night deepen and the clock speedily ticking to hand us over into the next day, I most sincerely thanked the Lord for the friends who had made my 23rd birthday most memorable. Fanny Crosby’s hymn, “all the way my saviour leads me” surfaced in memory.  My subdued heart had no more to say than confess that  Surely, ” I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

AN EXAMINATION OF SEVEN WIDELY GIVEN REASONS FOR SUNDAY-KEEPING: WHAT DOES THE BLESSED BIBLE SAY??

INTRODUCTION

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

IN this text we are assured that every word of the sacred Scriptures was given by the Holy Spirit; that every doctrine which men should believe is therein revealed; that every fault is therein reproved; that every error is corrected by its words of truth; and that perfect instruction in all righteousness is therein given.

The design of its Author in providing such a book was, that the man of God might thereby be made perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. This is the treasure which God has given to his church. Nor is this all that he has done. To those who are willing to obey the teachings of his word he has promised the Spirit to guide them into all truth.

To men thus situated, Jehovah thus speaks: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21. That is, bring every part of your faith and practice to the test of God’s sure word; ask the Holy Spirit’s aid, that your mind may be delivered from prejudice, and your understanding enlightened in the word of truth. Then, what you find revealed in that word, hold fast; it is of priceless value; but relinquish at once every precept or doctrine not therein recorded, lest you make the doctrines of men of equal weight with the commandments of God. “What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.”

As the first day of the week is now almost universally observed in the place of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, we design in this tract to examine the grounds on which this observance rests. Those who are willing to submit their opinion to the test of Scripture and of reason are invited to unite with us in the examination of this subject. For what reason do men prefer the first day of the week to the ancient Sabbath of the Lord? On what authority do men continually violate the day which God sanctified, and commanded mankind to keep holy? Come, now, and let us reason together. Here is the commandment which it is said has been changed:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 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, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.

That this commandment requires men to remember and to keep holy the rest-day of the Creator, which he hallowed at the close of the first week of time, none can deny. We now ask for the authority for the change of this commandment.

Papists believe that their church had power to change the fourth commandment; and, on that authority alone, they are perfectly satisfied in observing the first day of the week.

Protestants deny the authority of the church or Rome, and attempt to vindicate the change of the Sabbath by an appeal to the Bible. This is what we wish them to do. We ask them, therefore, to present a single text in which it is said that God has changed his Sabbath to the first day of the week. The advocates of the change have none to offer. If they cannot present such a text, will they give us one which testifies that God ever blessed and sanctified the first day of the week? Its observers admit that they have none to present. But will they not give us one text in which men are required to keep the first day holy, as a Sabbath unto the Lord? They acknowledge that they have none. How, then, do they dare to exalt the first day of the week above the Sabbath of the Lord, which the commandment requires us to remember, and keep holy?

The Bible thoroughly furnishes the man of God unto all good works. Can Sunday-keeping be a very good work when the Bible has never said anything in its favor? Or, if it is a good work, can men be very thoroughly furnished in its defense when God has said nothing in its favor? Instead of being a good work, must it not be a fearful sin against God to thus pervert the fourth commandment, when once the mind has been enlightened on the subject?

But there are several reasons urged for the observance of the first day of the week, which we will here notice.

FIRST REASON. Redemption is greater than creation; therefore we ought to keep the day of Christ’s resurrection, instead of the ancient Sabbath of the Lord.

Where has God said this? Sunday-keepers are compelled to admit that he never did say it. What right, then, has any man to make such an assertion, and then to base the change of the Sabbath upon it? But suppose that redemption is greater than creation who knows that we ought to keep the first day of the week on that account? God never required men to keep any day as a memorial of redemption. But if it were a duty to observe one day of the week for this reason, most certainly the crucifixion day presents the strongest claims. It is not said that we have redemption through Christ’s resurrection; but it is said that we have redemption through the shedding of his blood. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” Revelation 5:9. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:12, 15.

Then redemption is through the death of the Lord Jesus; consequently the day on which he shed his precious blood to redeem us, and said, “It is finished,” John 19:30, is the day that should be kept as a memorial of redemption, if any should be observed for that purpose.

Nor can it be urged that the resurrection day is the most remarkable day in the history of redemption. It needs but a word to prove that, in this respect, it is far exceeded by the day of the crucifixion. Which is the more remarkable event, the act of Jehovah in giving his beloved and only Son to die for a race of rebels, or the act of the Father in raising that beloved Son from the dead? There is only one answer that can be given: It was not remarkable that God should raise his Son from the dead; but the act of the Father in giving his Son to die for sinners was a spectacle of redeeming love on which the universe might gaze, and adore the wondrous love of God to all eternity. Who can wonder that the sun was vailed in darkness, and that all nature trembled at the sight! The crucifixion day, therefore, has far greater claims than the day of the resurrection. God has not enjoined the observance of either; and is it not a fearful act to make void the commandments of God by that wisdom which is folly in his sight1 1 Corinthians 1:19, 20.

But if we would commemorate redemption, there is no necessity of robbing the Lord’s rest-day of its holiness in order to do it. When truth takes from us our errors, it always has something better to take their place. So the false memorial of redemption being taken out of the way, the word presents in its stead those which are true. God has provided us with memorials, bearing his own signature; and these we may observe with the blessing of Heaven. Would you commemorate the death of our Lord? You need not keep the day of his crucifixion. The Bible tells you how to do it.

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

Would you commemorate the burial and resurrection of the Saviour? You need not keep the first day of the week. The Lord ordained a very different and far more appropriate memorial. “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Romans 6:3-5. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12.

It is true that the professed church have changed this ordinance to sprinkling, so that this divine memorial of the Lord’s resurrection is destroyed. And that they may add sin to sin, they lay hold of the Lord’s Sabbath and change it to the first day of the week, thus destroying the sacred memorial of the Creator’s rest, that they may have a memorial of Christ’s resurrection! “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” When will the professed church cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? Not until the “inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” Isaiah 24:5, 6.

SECOND REASON. The disciples met on the day of our Lord’s resurrection to commemorate that event, and the Saviour sanctioned this meeting by uniting with them. John 20:19.

If every word of this were truth, it would not prove that the Sabbath of the Lord has been changed. But to show the utter absurdity of this inference, listen to a few facts. The disciples did not then believe that their Lord had been raised from the dead, but were assembled for the purpose of eating a common meal, and to seclude themselves from the Jews. The words of Mark and of John make this clear: “He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue; neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” Mark 16:12-14. John says: “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” John 20:19.

It is a fact, therefore, that the disciples were not commemorating the resurrection of the Saviour; it is equally evident that they had not the slightest idea of a change of the Sabbath. At the burial of the Saviour, the women who had followed him to the tomb returned and prepared spices and ointments to embalm him; the Sabbath drew on; they rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment; and when the Sabbath was past, they came to the sepulcher upon the first day of the week to embalm their Lord. Luke 23:55, 56; 24:1. They kept the Sabbath, according to the commandment, and resumed their labor on the first day of the week.

THIRD REASON. After eight days, Jesus met with his disciples again. John 20:26. This must have been the first day of the week, which is thereby proved to be the Christian Sabbath.

Were it certain that this occurred on the first day of the week, it would not furnish a single particle of proof that that day had become the Sabbath of the Lord. But who can be certain that “after eight days” means just a week? It would be nearer a literal construction of the language to conclude that this was upon the ninth day. As an illustration, read Matthew 17:1: “And after six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John,” etc. Now turn to Luke 9:28: “And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter, and John, and James,” etc. Then, “after six days” is about eight days in this instance. But if “after eight days” means just a week, how does this prove that Sunday has taken the place of the Lord’s Sabbath? Rather, how does it prove that Sunday has become the Christian Sabbath, when there is not a particle of evidence that either Christ or his apostles ever rested on that day? There is no such term as Christian Sabbath found in the Bible. The only weekly Sabbath named in the Bible is called the Sabbath of the Lord.

Was the act of Christ in appearing to his disciples sufficient to constitute the day on which it occurred the Sabbath? If so, why did he next select a fishing day as the time to manifest himself to them John 21. If it is not sufficient, then the Sunday on which he was first seen of them, the fishing day on which they next saw him, and the Thursday on which he was last seen of them, may not be Sabbaths. It was not very remarkable that Christ should find his disciples together, inasmuch as they had one common abode. Acts 1:13.

FOURTH REASON. The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost, which was the first day of the week. Therefore, the first day of the week should be observed instead of the Sabbath of the Lord. Acts 2:1, 2.

Admitting that the day of Pentecost occurred upon the first day of the week, it remains to be proved that that day thereby became the Sabbath. But that it was the feast of Pentecost, and not the first day of the week, that God designed to honor, the following facts demonstrate:-

1. While the day of Pentecost is distinctly named, the day of the week on which it occurred is passed in silence.

2. The disciples had been engaged in earnest prayer for the space of ten days; for the day of Pentecost was fifty days from the resurrection of Christ, and forty of those days he spent with his disciples. Acts 1. Forty days from his resurrection would expire on Thursday, the day of his ascension. A period of ten days after his ascension on Thursday would include two first-days, the last of which would be the day of Pentecost. If the design of God had been to honor the first day of the week, why did not the Holy Ghost descend on the first of those first-days? Why must the day of Pentecost come before the Holy Ghost could descend? This answer is obvious: It was not the design of Heaven to honor the first day of the week, but to mark the antitype of the feast of Pentecost. Hence the first day of the week is passed in silence.

The slaying of the paschal lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month had met its antitype in the death of the Lamb of God on that day. Exodus 12; John 19; 1 Corinthians 5:7. The offering of the first-fruits on the sixteenth day of the first month had met its antitype in the resurrection of our Lord on that day, the first-fruits of them that slept. Leviticus 23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23. It remained that the day of Pentecost, fifty days later, should also meet its antitype. Leviticus 23:15-21. The fulfillment of that type is what the pen of inspiration has recorded in Acts 2:1, 2. God has spoken nothing in this place respecting a change of his Sabbath. Yet grave men, calling themselves Doctors of Divinity, consider this text one of their strongest testimonies for their so-called Christian Sabbath. They might be profited by this advice of the wise man: “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:6.

FIFTH REASON. Paul once broke bread upon the first day of the week at Troas. Hence this day was observed as the Christian Sabbath. Acts 20:7.

We answer that at one period the apostolic church at Jerusalem broke bread every day. Acts 2:42-46. If a single instance of breaking bread at Troas upon the first day of the week was quite sufficient to constitute it the Sabbath, would not the continued practice of the apostolic church at Jerusalem in breaking bread every day be amply sufficient to make every day a Sabbath? Moreover, as the act of the great Head of the church in breaking bread must be quite as important as that of his servant Paul, must not the day of the crucifixion be pre-eminently the Christian Sabbath, as Christ instituted and performed this ordinance on the evening with which that day commenced1 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

But on what day of the week did this act of Paul’s occur? For, if it is of sufficient importance to make the day of its occurrence the future Sabbath of the church, the day is worth determining. The act of breaking bread was after midnight; for Paul preached to the disciples until midnight, then healed Eutychus, and after this attended to breaking bread. Acts 20:7-11. If, as time is reckoned at the present day, the first day of the week terminated at midnight, then Paul’s act of breaking bread was performed upon the second day of the week, or Monday, which should henceforth be regarded as the Christian Sabbath, if breaking bread on a day makes it a Sabbath.

But, if the Bible method of commencing the day, viz., from sunset, was followed, it would appear that the disciples came together at the close of the Sabbath for an evening meeting, as the apostle was to depart in the morning. If it was not an evening meeting, why did they have many lights there? Paul preached unto them until midnight, and then broke bread with the disciples early in the morning of the first day of the week. Did this act constitute that day the Sabbath? If so, then why did Paul, as soon as it was light, start on his long journey to Jerusalem? If Paul believed that Sunday was the Christian Sabbath, why did he thus openly violate it? If he did not believe it had become the Sabbath, why should you? And why do you grasp, as evidence that the Sabbath has been changed, a single instance in which an evening meeting was held on Sunday, while you overlook the fact that it was the custom of this same apostle to preach every Sabbath, not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles? Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4.

Paul broke bread on the first day of the week, and then immediately started on his long journey to Jerusalem. So that this, the strongest argument for the first day of the week, furnishes direct proof that Sunday is not the Sabbath.

SIXTH REASON. Paul commanded the church at Corinth to take up a public collection on the first day of the week; therefore it follows that this must have been a day of public worship, and consequently is the Christian Sabbath. 1 Corinthians 16:2.

We answer, It is a remarkable fact that Paul enjoins exactly the reverse of a public collection. He does not say, Place your alms in the public treasury on the first day of the week; but he says, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store.”

J. W. Morton, in his “Vindication of the True Sabbath,” pp.51,52, says:-

“The apostle simply orders that each one of the Corinthian brethren should lay up at home some portion of his weekly gains on the first day of the week. The whole question turns upon the meaning of the expression, ‘by him;’ and I marvel greatly how you can imagine that it means ‘in the collection-box of the congregation.’ Greenfield, in his Lexicon, translates the Greek term, ‘by one’s self, i.e., at home.’ Two Latin versions, the Vulgate and that of Castellio, render it, ‘apud se,’ with one’s self, at home. Three French translations, those of Martin, Osterwald, and De Sacy, ‘chez soi,’ at his own house, at home. The German of Luther, ‘bei sich selbst,’ by himself, at home. The Dutch, ‘by hemselven,’ same as the German. The Italian of Diodati, ‘appresso di se,’ in his own presence, at home. The Spanish of Felipe Scio, ‘en su casa,’ in his own house. The Portuguese of Ferreira, ‘para isso,’ with himself. The Swedish, ‘noer sig self,’ near himself. I know not how much this list of authorities might be swelled; for I have not examined one translation that differs from those quoted above.”

The text, therefore, does not prove that the Corinthian church was assembled for public worship on that day; but, on the contrary, it does prove that each must be at his own home where he could examine his worldly affairs, and lay by himself in store as God had prospered him. If each one should thus, from week to week, collect his earnings, when the apostle should come their bounty would be ready, and each would be able to present to him what he had gathered. So that, if the first-day Sabbath has no better foundation than the inference drawn from this text, it truly rests upon sliding sand.

SEVENTH REASON. John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, which was the first day of the week. Revelation 1:10.

This is the kind of reasoning which the advocates of Sunday are invariably obliged to adopt. But we ask, What right have they to assume the very point which they ought to prove? This text, it is true, furnishes direct proof that there is a day in the gospel dispensation which the Lord claims as his; but is there one text in the Bible which testifies that the first day of the week is the Lord’s day? There is not one. Has God ever claimed that day as his? Never. Has God ever claimed any day as his, and reserved it to himself? He has. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:3. “To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.” Exodus 16:23. “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Exodus 20:10. “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day,” etc. Isaiah 58:13. “Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:28.

Then the seventh day is the day which God reserved to himself when he gave to man the other six; and this day he calls his holy day. This is the day which the New Testament declares the Son of man to be Lord of.

Is there one testimony in the Scriptures that the Lord of the Sabbath has put away his holy day and chosen another? Not one. Then that day which the Bible designates as the Lord’s day is none other than the Sabbath of the fourth commandment .

 

 

I WANT MY CHURCH BACK!

 

 

By the late C. D. Brooks,
speaker Emeritus, Breath of Life
A veteran preacher calls on us to preach— and live— the Adventist message.

[Editor’s Note: The following is transcribed and edited from a talk given to Seventh-day Adventist ministers.]

“In the writings of Ellen G. White, that inside information which God sent just to us, the Lord’s servant draws a line over here against this extreme, and then she draws a line over there against that extreme. I’ve been doing this for years. But notice, she leaves a broad swath down the middle. I can walk here and you can walk there, and we’re still within the safety zone. We don’t have to think alike. We don’t have to wear a uniform. You can be you and I can be me, but let’s stay in the safety zone; we’re better off near the middle of the road, avoiding the perilous ditches on both sides of the Christian pathway.

We are now facing an unusual time in which those on the inside of our church are questioning our distinctive teachings and doctrines more than those who despise us. Many of us are walking away from the mandate that God gave to us.

A brilliant professional friend of mine called me long distance. In an almost desperate tone, he said, “Charles, I want my church back!” Then with anguish in his voice, he said, “I don’t know if I can ever get it back!”

PREACH OUR MESSAGE!

My dear fellow workers, I want to tell you today, that one of the powerful keys to success and power in our churches and our pulpits and in our evangelism is resolute faithfulness to the word of God, and to the message God has given to us to preach!

We must preach our message. All of it! There are forces that seem to be dismantling what was so laboriously put together under the indispensable aid of the Holy Ghost. There is a picture of erudition which we carelessly call scholarship, but which is more scholasticism. Ellen White says it’s as certain that we have the truth as that God lives. She spoke of a platform of truth. She knew that we’d always be gathering sources and resources, but she said, “Don’t get off the platform.” The Holy Spirit is not one to foster confusion, and He does not divide the saints. He may bring separation from the mixed multitude, but not from the saints.

Awesome Prophecy. Amongst us there are those who appear to be tired of our message, bored with it. There is a swelling cry for something different, unique. Some are saying, “We want a modern message designed for young people.” That doesn’t go along with the awesome prophecy of Malachi 4, for when the Elijah message comes, just before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, the Bible says the hearts of the fathers and the children will be turned together. We are not to be divided by age and generation.

The media use the term simulcast, meaning that they are broadcasting in English and Spanish and other languages at the same time. But to us the gospel is coming down from glory simulcast. I’ve preached to little children and they’ve come up and said, “I enjoyed your sermon.” And I thought it was too heavy for them.

My beloved fellow workers, loose liberalism does not accomplish what we think it will accomplish. George Whital, writing in Washingtonian Magazine, says, “The churches that make the greatest doctrinal and moral demands on their members” (he mentions the evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants) “are growing. Their churches are booming. In contrast,” he says, “the churches that have a hard time telling you why you ought to be a Christian, the churches of the old main line, like the Episcopalians, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, and the United Church of Christ, have been hemorrhaging congregants since the mid-’60s. It is vanilla Protestantism that is dying.” And then he says, “Theological friendliness, avant-garde worship, and political correctness are a prescription for ecclesiastical catastrophe. Millions are leaving because they have no good reason to stay.”

NO DISCIPLINE, NO CARE

A blond girl came into my office at one of our colleges where I was preaching and burst into tears, sobbing uncontrollably. When I asked her problem, she said, “Pastor, my parents don’t love me.”

I said, “How can you say that? They are sacrificing to keep you here and you are dressed very well. They’ve taken good care of you. Why do you say that?”

She said, “Because they don’t care what I do.”

Young and old need the discipline of the Word of God. When people feel like they can do what they please, then the church loses its premium value. They figure we don’t care. But “feel-goodism” is pervading our congregations, creeping in, and our churches and our schools are floundering. Our church income is being depleted. We had our biggest budget crisis this year.

The devil is playing every device he can. I’m going to do a little tongue in cheek, don’t get angry with me. The devil is pleading, “Culture! And pluralism! And scholarship!” He impresses many of us to try to modernize God by humanizing Him. God already answered that one. He said, “I am the Lord, I change not! I am the same yesterday, and today, and forever!” (Mal 3:6, Heb 13:8).

Relevant. I hear a lot about, “Oh, we need someone now to make Scripture relevant!” Fellow workers, I wouldn’t talk like this to just anybody. I am glad I can speak to my fellow workers. If God said it, it’s relevant! It’s our extraneous ideas about what He says that are irrelevant!

Paul said, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit” (Col 2:8). The preaching of the Word, even with love and tact and diplomacy, will inevitably cause confrontation with our sinful, carnal natures. We are not called to make the Word popular, but to preach it with power! I’m one of those transition preachers, a connecting link between the old and the new. Those old war-horses, they preached it straight.

George Peters, Frank Peterson, W.W. Fordham, J. H. Wagner, J. H. Lawrence, P. M. Rowe—they stood up for the right. They placed the burden on the Holy Ghost. The message poured out of them. These men made and built Black Seventh-day Adventism.

In 1946 a skinny preacher came to my hometown. I had never heard anyone like him. There was one thing I knew when I looked at that preacher, he believed everything he preached! And he made me believe it.

These are the men to emulate.

You know that our laymen today are too caught up and preoccupied to study, and they get little substance from the pulpit. Wait, wait, wait, and let me say something else. I’ve got two libraries, one at my home and one at the General Conference. They are rather extensive, and I like to read the hardbacks and the softbacks. But when I sit at my desk in my study, the bookshelves immediately behind my chair have the Spirit of Prophecy, several versions of the Bible, and the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. When I get ready to read the other books, I’ve got to get up out of my chair and walk over to get them. But after I get through the books from Review and Herald and all the good stuff from our publishing house out in Idaho, then all this other becomes simply a skeleton on which I can hang the meat of Seventh-day Adventism. Verily my people can be fed. We’ve got to confront our people for their sake. If you pamper them, you’re not helping them. We’ve got to dare to guide them.

Guide. Some of what they’re doing is because they don’t know any better. We’ve got to guide them concerning where they ought to go, what they ought to do, what they ought to wear, what they ought to think. And we ought to do it with the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy.

When we talk to our people it’s not a purely human-to-human encounter. There is a Person called the Holy Ghost. It’s our privilege to have Him standing by us and moving out there in the congregation. He will take a difficult truth and apply it to the heart. You think I didn’t have to give up things I liked? I’d rather save one person with the truth and with the Holy Ghost than comfort ten thousand in their self-deception. We fail our people when we water down and compromise and undermine and repudiate the message that God has given us to bear—and to live!

EMBOLDENED TO DEFY

only that, we embolden them to defy our standards. We embolden them to follow their own whims and offend fellow church members and even their parents. Many of them have chips on their shoulders. They are so self-confident they dare you to say anything.

A young woman who had always been friendly came to church loaded down with jewelry. When I approached her, ready to speak, she wouldn’t even look at me. She avoided me. She couldn’t be friendly as usual. No wonder our churches are turning cold! It’s because our members remain guilt-ridden and insecure and not sure of what they really stand for. They hear about easy divorce, about moral falls even in the ministry, Sabbaths on the golf course, or on the bicycle trail, or at the beach, theater-going, attacks on Ellen G. White. What’s happening amongst us?

Responsibility. Ellen White says, “Of all the sins that God will punish, none are more grievous in His sight than those that encourage others to do evil” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 323). And of all the groups of people on the topside of the earth, none has such an awesome responsibility resting upon it, as well as privilege, as the Seventh-day Adventist ministry.

When I was a boy we saw our pastor once every five weeks. Today nearly every Sabbath there is a preacher and still our members wonder, “What’s happening to us? Is the Holy Ghost still with us?” Many who feel a lack of the Spirit are trying to compensate with a shaking, rocking, rollicking religion. They want to feel good. But that good feeling will replace their faith and it will be wiped out in a crisis.

Temporary Fix. The Bible says, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isa 57:21). Many of our people who love the truth but don’t know what to love are getting caught up in the subjective, ecstatic experience, and the 11 o’clock service is like cocaine, a temporary fix. Before the sun sets they are right back to where they were, unhappy, critical, not doing so well. “And what do I want now?” says the devil. “A loud, thumping, bumping religion,” I hear him say. “It will cause me great delight to make the old saints uncomfortable.” And so we are being divided.

We’re not supposed to set our churches on fire—that’s the work of the Holy Ghost. What are we supposed to do? We are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in (Isa 58:12). Culture? That deals with the natural man and it’s not wrong. I’m not trying to make everything wrong. But if that is the natural part of us, the Bible says the natural man cannot receive the things of God, “for they are foolishness unto him” (1 Cor 2:14).

Delusions. Some among us are questioning things that have been worked out by the Holy Ghost in human history and in my life’s history and yours. There will always be some excess baggage. But don’t throw everything away. The Apostle said, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess 5:21). Instead, many are trying to satisfy themselves rather than pray and study. They want to reason things out with unsanctified minds. They’re starting from the wrong position and will never arrive at spiritual fulfillment, but rather at compounded delusions. For spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The Bible says, “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor 4:3).

I said to a congregation one Sabbath, “The gospel is good news, but it’s not just the cross. Thank God for the cross! But the gospel is more than that. The gospel is health reform, that’s good news! The gospel is social reform, that’s good news!”

I was invited to preach for the 65th anniversary of the high school I graduated from some 40 years ago. I walked in there and what a crowd! The head table was longer than this auditorium. I had given word that I couldn’t arrive there until after sunset. They had said, “We understand that. We’ll take care of the preliminaries, and you just come right in.” And I did. I sat right in the middle. Those tables were surrounded, many of them, with former classmates. I looked out and they kept waving and winking and carrying on. Finally it would dawn on me . . . Oh, I recognize them—and they looked awful!

Good News. You think I look old! You should have seen them! Our message is good news! I tried to figure it out; I looked back, and I said to myself, I’ve been keeping the Sabbath for 54 years. That’s seven years of Sabbath-keeping, which means I got seven years of rest they never got!

It hurts me today—Some of you heard a rumor that I’m getting ready to retire. It hurts me today to see that amongst us many, rather than kneeling in humility, are standing up like the Pharisee in the narrative of Christ with jaw set and shoulders squared to debate with God, and the pulpit is losing. It’s enough!

Idols. I’m not suggesting that you brow-beat anybody. I don’t do that! Ellen White says rationalism is an idol (see The Great Controversy, p. 193), for it exalts human reason above the Word of God. Many of our beloved people are making dangerous decisions based on how they feel rather than on explicit revelations from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Error is always impinged to this. How sad I feel. They love to talk about theater now and evolution; and even the mark of the beast is getting a dressing down in our own journals. What are we doing?

There is such a thing as “possessionism.” I was the first that I know of to start using that word, but I read two psychiatrists who wrote a book about it. In this present, mixed company I cannot tell you what they said concerning the manipulation and the stroking of the physical by the spirits of demons who possess them. You want a thrill? It will come. If that’s where your faith is, it will come. But the Bible says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17).

Harold Lee was addressing this condition not long ago when he said, “Neo-Pentecostalism will be the death of Black Adventism.” I wrote that down. We Black people are especially vulnerable, because we are such an emotional people. We’ve been here too long. Divided and separated by racism, by advantage, education, money and privilege, we’ve been forced into being reactive, but we’ve come too close to heaven. Don’t let us be cheated now and miss heaven after all we’ve gone through.

CULTURE NOT ALL BAD

Culture? When I moved to Washington more than 30 years ago I was courted assiduously to join the White church. Now, these are good churches, good people, good pastors. But I was culturally more satisfied in the warmer atmosphere of the Black church. I see nothing wrong with that. But there is something that transcends culture. That something melds us into the family of God, distinguishable, distinctive, even peculiar.

My problem is that culture is becoming our religious experience. This is the reaction of the insecure that are not sure about anything. I want you to know, beloved, today, that I am not and never have been defined by corn rows and kente cloth.

I was having a discussion with a well-known Black Adventist minister about African-Americans escaping from the plantation syndrome. He said to me, “These people say they are Americans, but they ain’t. They say they are Africans, but they ain’t. They are kind of lost people.”

Adopted. Well, let me tell you. A long time ago I was adopted. There is a Seventh-day Adventist culture, and I was born into this Adventist culture by adoption, which is a legal compact. By contrast, my daddy and mother adopted a boy before I was born; I never saw him. As he grew older he got into trouble with the law and spent time in jail. Finally he said, “I want to leave this family.” Remember, he was adopted. No person born of Brooks blood in my large family has ever spent a night in jail. What’s the difference? He was adopted. He came in from another nature. The rest of us were born with Brooks blood. So I have been adopted but I have been born again! Adoption makes me His, new blood makes me like Him. There is a commonality of the blood.

Our Culture. I’m proud of our culture. I’m proud to be a Black man. I want you all to know that I mean that. I am glad I am a Black man. I always have been. The African said that kente cloth was made in Ghanaian villages. It was worn by the Ashanti royalty, the kings and princes of that country. It was very expensive, too expensive to be available to ordinary people. There are plenty of cultural things to be proud of from that part of the world. The first president of that country was named Kwame Nkrumah. Kwame means born on the Sabbath, Saturday. And if you get C. E. Bradford’s book [Sabbath Roots: the African Connection, a Biblical Perspective (Silver Spring, Md.: General Conference Ministerial Association, 1999)], you’ll understand that Sabbath-keeping is intrinsic in our culture. But remember that the Bible tells us what’s important in dress. It tells us in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. I want to make this clear, because we have a bunch of smart alecks now saying, “You don’t have a Bible base!”

Oh yes, I do! Where have you been?

Ornaments. And even if I didn’t find it explicitly I got it indirectly from the Spirit of Prophecy, which is biblical. If it’s not, we ought to throw it away! In time of danger and crisis and judgment God required His people to take their jewelry off. When Jacob was trying to get home, they had to stop and bury something (see Gen 35:2-4). When they worshiped the golden calf, God was about to move with vengeance and wrath. Moses stood between Him and the people. God didn’t say, “What they’re doing is all right.” No, indeed. He told the people to take off their jewelry. “Take it off,” He said, “that I may know what to do unto you.” Then, the Bible says, they “stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb” (see Ex 33:5, 6). Since 1844 we’re in the judgment, and the Bible says those that don’t afflict themselves will be cut off.

I loved it when you could look at a young lady and know she was an Adventist. I got invited to a camp meeting. I went into a town and didn’t know where to go. My wife said, “Honey, stop and phone.” Then it dawned on me that no one answers the phone at a campground on the Sabbath, at least they used to not answer it. I was desperate. I looked at a car easing by and I saw some women, their faces clean. They looked like something. I pulled my car into that lane and followed them. My wife said, “Honey, what are you doing?”

I said, “I’m following those people!”

“You know who they are?”

“No! I just know how they look!”

And I ended up at my destination.

I’m saying with my friend, “I want my church back.”

Praising the Devil?

Every year at Hampton Institute there is a convention of great preachers from all over this country, and many of our ministers go. I am told that this year, when one of those men got up to preach, he said to that congregation (not Adventist), “In our music, we’ve got to be careful that we are not praising the devil instead of God.”

Ellen White says that Satan dialogues with his imps. They discuss their plans together. His craftiness, he knows, will not fly unless he can first discount the Spirit of Prophecy. So he raised up a West Coast preacher, who called the Lord’s servant a plagiarist and a liar. Then he raised up a teacher and his kind to buy it. Black preachers threw away their red books in green trash cans at a time when they needed them most. But I believe in the Spirit of Prophecy. Now I’m going to read to you what Ellen White says:

Selected Messages, book 2, p. 36: “The Lord—”

Who?

[Audience:] “The Lord.”

“The Lord has shown me.” Now the criticism has been that everything is not inspired when she says, “The Lord showed me.” All right, I’m reading it again:

“The Lord has shown me what would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.”

In the very next line she says, “The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise.”

Gospel Music. Wait a minute! I like gospel music! I probably like it more than many sitting out here. And I can prove it. For 35 of the last 37 years I have gone every November to Germantown, Ohio, a Mecca of gospel music. Twenty-eight of those trips were over the Thanksgiving weekend, giving up my family holiday to be inspired by those people. Our precious Eleanor Wright, the late Eleanor Wright, wrote much of it. They were message songs. They rebuked sin! They encouraged the discouraged. That’s one reason she did not die a millionaire, because she stayed faithful to this message!

A little more from Selected Messages: “A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing” (ibid.). Gospel music should be a blessing.

But you all know it is out of hand.

I don’t believe the drum is a bigger sinner than the trumpet or the psaltery or the harp. It’s what we do with it! So Satan had a huddle, and he said to his imps, “Let’s develop ‘crossover.’”

Why would a saint want to crossover?

“Let’s develop crossover!” said the devil. “Let’s blend some of ours with some of theirs. Let’s start off with a balance, and then let’s gradually move off center. Then let’s talk about Christian jazz and religious gospel rock. They are contradictions of terms, you see. Let’s get them moving and grooving like our crowd in our places when they are getting down. Then, let’s pull out all the stops.” That’s what the devil says.

You all believe I tell the truth? I love gospel music. You know what? “Power in the Blood” is a gospel song. So are “Standing on the Promises,” “Love Lifted Me,” and “I’m on the Battlefield for My Lord.” Eleanor Wright wrote “Naaman” the weekend after I preached it in Cincinnati, Ohio. And when my father-in-law died she wrote one for our family called “I Don’t Plan to Stay Here.” There’s a stanza in there that says:

If you miss me, don’t dismay,

I might have to rest in a mound of clay,

But when I hear that trumpet sound

I’m coming up out of that cold, cold ground!

’Cause I don’t plan to stay here, children.

Pray. Today the intonations are pulsing with sensuality and sexuality. When they talk about loving Jesus they say it in a most sensual and sexual way.

But ladies and gentlemen, do we expect Satan to be candid, or subtle? Do we expect him to be honest, or a master deceiver? The other day I was listening to the Morgan State Choir when a young lady took a solo on a spiritual: “Old Satan wears a clubfoot shoe. / If you don’t mind, he’ll slip it on you.”

Bypassing Our Judgment

One scholar from Australia said that music is one force that does not have to pass through the judgment hall of the brain before it affects us. There’s an organ at the base of the brain to which music appeals directly. He said that you don’t even have to think to start moving. That’s how Muzak became so successful. It was background music. Folk didn’t even know they were listening to it. It just soothed them. Now they’re doing it with light rock. And music is gone. We ought to know Satan would take advantage of a thing like this to captivate and enchant us.

Great Music. We were once known as masters and purveyors of good music of various kinds. I grew up in a small church where we didn’t hear the great anthems. When I came to Oakwood I had never heard the Messiah. One day, going to the dairy where I worked at 3 a.m., I heard music over in the chapel. The lights were on. Then when I came back I heard thump, thump, thump. Dr. Dyes was beating out the time with a staff. I said to somebody, “What’s going on over there?”

They said, “They’re getting ready for the Messiah.”

I admit I didn’t know what it was, but I said, “Oh, yes!”

On the night it was presented, I felt like the top of my head would blow off. When they got to the Hallelujah Chorus I didn’t need a royal example to get me to my feet as the choir sang, “He shall reign forever and ever and ever and ever and ever! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

We were known for that music, classical and dignified, warm and moving and simple. But Ellen White said, “The line of demarcation is [becoming] indistinct” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 316). Satan starts out small. No one comes to sudden ruin. It takes time to corrupt the soul. Gradually the devil perverts. One departure from principle begins the journey.

I want my church back!

Movies and Smokes

Who do we think we’re dealing with? He’s called the wily foe. He’s no friend of ours. These coffin nails called cigarettes he names “Salem” (“Peace”!), “Cool,” “True,” “Joy.”

Who do we think we’re dealing with when he names the poison of alcohol “Southern Comfort”? God says a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. (I’ve got to hasten and please forgive me!)

Movies—if you say anything about them, you’re old fashioned! I don’t mind that opprobrium. Call me old if you want, God is older than I am. And when God tells us something, He gets it right the first time! He doesn’t have to edit or adjust.

“Oh, preacher, you can’t stop it.” I know that. I’m not saying you can, but we shouldn’t promote it!

My Experience. I used to sneak off to the movies. Finally one of my buddies and I didn’t know what else to do, and he took me to hear that skinny preacher, Earl Cleveland. Within two weeks something happened, thank the Lord God.

One Sabbath I walked out of that man’s meeting. The sun was going down, and my buddy and I headed to the Carolina Theater. But nobody made me feel comfortable about it. My own conscience wouldn’t let me feel comfortable about it. We walked about seven blocks discussing what we heard in that man’s tent. The theater was across the street. The red light stopped us and I started thinking. All of a sudden the light turned green and he started off and I stayed. He turned around and said, “What’s wrong with you?”

I said, “I’m not going.”

He said, “What do you mean, you’re not going?”

I said, “You know. The things you’re learning. I can’t go, for I know them already.”

He said, “If you don’t go, I don’t go.”

That was 47 years ago. Today that man is a deacon in the Adventist church. His wife and daughters are officers in the church. Suppose I hadn’t stopped?

Our Truth Is Still the Truth

We serve a timeless God, and time, as we know it, is about to experience a cataclysmic collision with eternity. We are about to enter His realm of time and space. When we do, the truth will still be the truth. Sabbath will still be Sabbath, because truth never dies.

Though ages come and go,

Though mountains wear away and seas retire,

Destruction lays earth’s mighty golden cities low,

And empire states and dynasties expire.

But caught and handed onward to the wise,

Truth never dies.

No Change. Fifty-four years ago I joined this church. I’ve been somewhat educated, illuminated, experienced. I’m getting ready to retire. But I want to tell you, nothing’s changed. We’ve matured, and we’ve been enlightened. People are meaner, more immoral. But nothing’s changed. God’s law is still a transcript of His character. It’s too high for us, so He gave us a ladder called grace that we might climb up.

The sanctuary is still in heaven. It isn’t going anywhere just because some say it doesn’t really exist. Judgment is still going on. God still hates pride. Men are still born in sin. Men must be born again. Dead folk are still dead. Christ is still our only Savior. None but the righteous shall see God. We’ve got to be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. We’ve got to be covered with His righteousness alone. He still sends the Holy Ghost. And He is still seeking the lost. He is still saving sinners. And it is possible to delight ourselves in the Lord and the truth. Our message is still valid. And if we stand around waiting for our truth to change, we’re exactly like the Protestants who want the Sabbath to change. Jack Sequeira said, “If you believe in the Redeemer, you’ve got to start looking more redeemed.”

“Morehouse Man.” Through the agency of my friend, Walt Pearson, I was privileged to join others to be honored at Morehouse College. I arrived there, and I saw what I don’t see on the average worldly campus. We walked outside and up to the president’s dining room, and I saw it again, a certain dignity. I said to some of those who belonged there, “What is this thing I notice, and why? This, this thing that is almost imperceptible and yet is here?” We were told that when a man applies to Morehouse and is being accepted, he starts getting their propaganda.

“You are now a Morehouse man. You can’t just dress any kind of way.”

“You’re a Morehouse man. You can’t carry on and get loud and ugly.”

“You’re a Morehouse man. You’ve got to stay under control.”

“You’re a Morehouse man.”

And I thought, “Oh my, Oh my! I’m an Oakwood man.”

Let me conclude with the Spirit of Prophecy: The Great Controversy, page 461, if you want to read it. I have these little dots in there because I can’t read all of it. The “terror of appearing, in their guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. . . . ‘Who shall deliver me?’ . . . [T]hey saw that nothing but the merits of Christ could suffice to atone.” They “brought forth fruit,” “not to fashion themselves after their former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God to follow in His steps, to reflect His character, and to purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they once hated they now loved, and the things they once loved they hated. . . . The vain and supercilious became serious and unobtrusive. The profane became reverent. . . . The vain fashions of the world were laid aside.”

Revival Coming

Today there are many accessions to the truth. Oh, please, get what I’m saying. I do evangelism. Brethren and sisters, we are not in competition with one another. When you run a church meeting and baptize sixty, you’ve done what some eight-week campaigns under a tent do when they baptize two hundred. We’re not in competition. Let us glory when the Lord does it.

But listen—today “there are large accessions to the churches; nevertheless” the new members show no “corresponding increase of real spiritual life” (ibid., p. 463). Many who join are not more willing to deny self and take up their cross than before their baptism. Our religion becomes a sport of infidels and skeptics. Oh, I’m gonna say it! If I ever hear a man bragging about how many he baptizes, I worry about him.

But I tell you something, and I mean it with all my heart. If you don’t like what I say, at least give me credit for being honest and sincere. When I work as hard as I do to run an effort, I want somebody to stay at least until after the snow falls. Don’t let me hear that you baptized 250 and nobody can find them. When Earl Cleveland and Bill Scales and George Rainey and Eric Ward and all those, along with many pastors who have not made it their specialty—when they do it, the church is enlarged and the folk know what they believe.

Primitive Godliness. The Great Controversy, pages 463, 464: “Picnics, church theatricals, . . . personal display, have banished thoughts of God. . . . Notwithstanding—” You see, there is a second statement here. (I’m glad there’s a second one; the first one took us negative, and this one takes us positive.) “Notwithstanding . . . there will be . . . a revival of primitive godliness”! Did you get it? Not neo-Pentecostalism, but such “primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times”!

Now page 464 again: “Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world . . . [with] an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false. . . . Yet none need be deceived” if they rely on God’s word.

Let’s go to page 474: “Every sinful gratification tends to benumb the faculties and deaden the mental and spiritual perceptions, and the word or the Spirit of God can make but a feeble impression upon the heart.”

Suppose you had a baby boy, and as he began to grow up he only wanted to eat cake every day three times a day for the rest of his life. Would you comply?

You and I, my fellow workers, are God’s called facilitators to a purer, more powerful Christian life and to a finished work. The only reason why God needs us in the church at all is that we might become witnesses to those on the outside. The truth makes a difference, and we will not arrest their attention until we are peculiar. The power that we walk and talk about is in the Word.

In the Word! Whose side are you on?

I want my church back!

In the Safety Zone. You don’t have to be just like me. But let’s walk in here, in the safety zone.

Over in Chicago there was an old man, an elegant old man. He wore sport coats like a young guy, drove a yellow Cadillac, brought his beautiful wife (they were both old but she was beautiful) to my meetings every night. He never said a word, just listened and went home. Finally we got down to the decision time and he walked up by himself and said, “I need to talk to you.”

I said, “Well, let’s go aside.”

We did.

He said to me, “Now I want to know from you what I should do about a problem I have.”

I said, “Well, what is your problem, sir?”

He said, “In my bar in my basement I have a lot of good liquor. I want to know what to do with it. Shall I sell it? Shall I give it away? What shall I do?” He turned and stared at me.

I said, “My dear brother, you have a misapprehension. There is no such thing as good liquor. What you probably mean is it’s expensive. Now, suppose you gave it away or sold it, and the person that received it went out driving drunk and killed a bunch of people or shot his wife. Do you know you’d bear the responsibility? The book of Habakkuk says, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink” (Hab 2:15).

He said, “Then what shall I do?”

I said, “I have a suggestion. Make your bathroom a temple and the toilet stool an altar. Bring that expensive liquor up from your basement and set it on the back of the toilet. Then kneel down and in an act of commitment give yourself anew to the Lord and pour that liquor out of the bottle with prayer.”

He looked at me sternly and said, “If you had told me anything else, I was going to walk out of here.” Today, 21 years later, his wife sleeps in Jesus and he is still in the Truth.

Truth Wins. Brethren, this truth will win souls. You don’t need to play games and fool people. This truth, with its dignity and power, this truth attended by the Holy Ghost will win souls of the best kind.

I want my chur

THE IRONY OF LIFE: YOU NEVER KNOW THE VALUE OF A PERSON UNTIL THEY’RE GONE!

 

 

It takes sadness to value happiness! It takes noise to value silence! It takes absence value   presence! We never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. We never know the value of a person until we see the  gap  they leave behind when they are no longer a part of our lives!

But Why? Why do we often take for granted the very things that deserve our gratitude the most? We do this with both people and possessions. The problem is many people do not realize this until the situation has come and passed. We take things for granted on a daily basis, always with the assumption that whenever we need something, it will be there.

 
You fail to attach to people the value they deserve when in your life. But when those people are no more in your life..it’s like their true value is served to you on a golden platter(just in memory). You think back, and realize how truly amazing a time was, or how much their presence made your life worth while.

 

Before      that time comes when you have to   spend the rest of your life without them in the picture , Enjoy the warmth, company, presence and appreciate the value those people add to your life! Your parents, siblings, relatives, neighbours and most importantly, the people you love or that love you.  Because someday you will realize they really mattered.
“People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.”

This is a common thing once a relationship reaches its conclusion. When you become complacent with your partner, it is easy to fall into this trap. Happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting what you don’t have, rather it’s recognizing and appreciating what you do have. If someone once made you happy, there is a great chance they still will. Think about it — maybe you are bored with your familiar routine, but that doesn’t mean you should get rid of it. Don’t lose something you have for something you think you want.

When people break up, it’s common to regret it. You end the relationship because you can think you can do better, but once you’re out there in the dating world, you realize you had something amazing. Sometimes it is too little too late and you must learn from your unfortunate decision. What screws a person up is trying to live up to image they create in their minds. There is no such thing as perfect, only perfect for you.
“Appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had.”

What you have now was once everything you strove to attain. Just because something becomes repetitive does not mean it needs to be replaced. Think of how lucky you are to have someone you can be completely comfortable around, that is a true gift and one that should be cherished at all times.

Appreciate all the things you have in life because you never know when that time will end. Clear the clutter inside your mind and realize what you have right now. Don’t wait until you’ve lost it to finally see how much you took it for granted. Don’t wait until you realize that without it, your foundation to make it through each day begins to crumble.
“Someone else is happier with less than what you have.”

Too many times people don’t realize what they have because they are out there looking for something better. The problem is that when they do realize it, they will come crawling back. Everyone falls into the trap that the grass is always greener on the other side. People make mistakes, it’s part of human nature. If you really love this person it may be in both people’s best interest to give him or her another chance. Sometimes space makes people appreciate things they once had. You need to make it clear that you forgive one time, and one time only, and if this is what you truly want.

However on the flip side, you can only want something when you haven’t got it. If you had it back, you would only get fed up with all the bad bits again and start wondering why you wanted it back in the first place. When you lose someone, you tend to remember the good parts, when you are with them, you tend to notice the bad parts; this is of course until you find the one you were truly meant to be with, and then the bad bits just seem endearing.
“Don’t take things for granted because they might not be there tomorrow.”

The thing is, very few people can see the impact of what they do now and how it relates to their futures. Which would you rather regret: the present, where you have no idea what is happening as it’s in real time and you haven’t the slightest conception of long-term consequences; or the past where you can take your time to see things as they were? People make mistakes and leave the things they love most. They fail to appreciate the good thing they once had and as a result will continuously regret their decision.

People constantly want something more, something new, but sometimes the most valuable things are what have been with us at all times. Just because something isn’t happening for you right now does not mean that it never will. Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have. Just like you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, you don’t know what you’ve been missing until it arrives.

Choices have consequences! Irrational and un-thought choices have more severe consequences!

 

Before you go out lamenting, ask yourself these pertinent questions; Did you give them the attention they deserved before your moments with them retreated to memory? Did you do your honest part to fulfill your part of the bargain? Did you take their loyalty for granted? Did you push them to the point where they no longer care?

 

 

This calls for wisdom! You’ve got to know when to hold em! Know when to fold em! Know when to walk away from em! Know when to run away from em! And most importantly, know when to tolerate them!

 

 

you s

REVELATION 13 COMMENTARY: THE SEA AND LAND BEASTS.

THE LEOPARD-LIKE BEAST
13:1 This beast is similar to the dragon from Revelation 12. They both have “seven heads and ten horns.” Revelation 17:10 shows us that the seven heads are seven  world powers- earthly governments Satan uses to persecute God’s faithful church. The dragon is Satan working through pagan religions, the occult and spiritualism, while the beast symbolizes Satan working in disguise, using the corrupted Christian church to do his work. In verse 5 we see that the beast continues “forty and two months” (the 1,260 year period of Papal dominance). In verse 7 it makes “war with the saints,” persecuting Christ’s true followers who struggled to maintain the truth of God’s Word. This beast is none other than the Papal church system. It arose as predicted among the populated nations of Europe, symbolized by “the sea” and the “ten horns.” Revelation 17:15.

2.And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
13:2 This beast has the characteristics of a leopard, a bear and a lion, the same beast powers mentioned in Daniel 7—the leopard of Greece, the bear for Medo-Persia and the lion for Babylon. This beast represents the Papacy, the same religious-political power portrayed by the little horn of Daniel 7.

The dragon gives this beast “his power, and his seats, and great authority.” Pagan Rome gave all these things to Papal Rome, and apostates Christianity replaced paganism as the means through which Satan persecuted God’s faithful people for hundreds of years.

3.And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

4.And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
13:3-4 In 1798 the French General Berthier under the commands of Napoleon took the Pope prisoner and attempted to completely eliminate the Papacy as an institution. It seems to the world that the Papacy was “wounded to death.” However, the prophecy says that the wound “was healed.” In 1929 the Papacy regained its civil power with the creation of the Vatican State, and the wound began to heal. At some point in the near future the Roman Catholic Church system will completely cover her former glory and will have more power and prominence than ever before. “And the entire world wondered after the beast.” See also vs. 8.

5.And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

6.And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

7.And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
13:5-7 The characteristics of this beast parallel very closely the ones in Daniel 7:20-21, 25 and 8:10-12.

8.And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

9.And any man have an ear, let him hear.
13:8-9 In the last days, nearly the whole world, those “whose names are not written in the book of life,” will “worship” this beast. The day is coming soon when the majority of humankind will obey a few supporting the authority of the Papacy above the commands of God, and will thus worship the beast. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s “Book of Life” will stay true to God. This book records the names of all the saved from every generation of Earth’s history. Revelation 20:12, 15.

10. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
13:10 This prediction was fulfilled when the Pope was taken into captivity and this persecuting power received its deadly wound.
LAMB-LIKE BEAST(USA)
11.And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

12.And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

13.And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

14.And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

15. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
13:11-15 The next beast in the vision comes up “out of the earth: and is described as having “two horns like a lamb. This beast represents the United States of America. Here are five clues which help us to accurately determine its identity:

1. It comes to power around 1798 as the Papacy is going into captivity and receiving its deadly wound. At that time the United States was just “coming up” as a youthful nation. The United States declared its independence on July 4, 1776, and by 1790 all thirteen colonies had ratified the constitution. This nation was quickly drawn into world politics and today is a world superpower.

2. The “sea” represents “multitudes and nations.” Revelation 17:15. The beasts that arise from the sea usually do so amid the strife of war. By contrast, this one comes “out of the earth,” representing a relatively peaceful emergence in a comparatively unpopulated area. This is exactly the manner in which The United States came to power.

3. This beast with “two horns like a lamb” represents a nation of youth, innocence and gentleness, which is based on the two great principles of civil and religious liberty (“for where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” 2 Corinthians 3:17). At its inception, the United States had the strength of its form of government, and of its people’s religion. Republicanism and Protestantism were the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. It is strong because the government and the church are separate, without one controlling the other.

4. It is noteworthy that this beast lacks any crowns. The United States of America is a grand experiment in government that serves its people rather than enslaving them, and in religion that allows freedom of conscience and expression. It is a country that has government without a king and religion without a pope.

5. It becomes a world power, strong enough to force the world, on pain of death, to worship the image of the beast, vss. 12-17.

This beast will speak “as a dragon” and exercise “all the power of the first beast before him.” The “first beast,” as an agent of the dragon, used its “power” in state affairs to enforce religious laws, resulting in the persecution of the “heretics” who would not submit. For America to do this and “give life unto the image of the beast” it would have to abandon the principles of religious freedom, repudiate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and discard the fundamental beliefs that have made this great nation what it is. When America uses its power to enforce religious laws and persuades other governments to do the same, it creates an “image of the beast” and it gives life, reflecting the intolerance and persecutions of the medieval Papal Church.

In the near future the United States will speak like a dragon and impose a religious law enforcing the worship of the first beast. Protestants in America will reject God’s law, and His power will be withdrawn from the churches and His protection from the nation. Society will become increasingly evil and violent, and at the same time the judgements of God will descend on the United States and on the world. Instead of embracing repentance and inward heart change, Protestant America will demand that the government enforce religious laws to “bring this nation back to God.” First of all a law will be enacted making Sunday a day of rest as all its citizens. This will be a further rejection of God’s law and of His seventh-day Sabbath in the fourth commandment. As world conditions continue to deteriorate, economic sanctions will be legislated against those who refuse to comply with this new Sunday law, and they will be unable to buy or sell. Finally a death decree will be issued against them, and the United States will “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Christ’s return to save His faithful interrupts the death decree.

The United States will deceive the world into making “an image of the first beast” through the use of “great wonders” and “miracles.” In Revelation 19:20 this beast is called “the false prophet,” and in Revelation 16:13, 14 he is said to work these miracles through “the spirits of devils.” Matthew 14:23-27 indicates that false Christ will add such strength to those deceptions as to make them very nearly overpowering; 2 Corinthians 11:14 adds that Satan himself is capable of masquerading as “an angel of light.”

16.And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
13:16-18 The beast causes his followers to receive a “mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell” without the “mark,” or the “name,” or the “number of the name of the first beast.

The mark of the beast will be the observance of a religious law, enforced by the United States and other governments around the world, endorsing the authority of the Papacy. Those who receive the mark in their foreheads believe that this “Sunday law” is necessary to regain God’s favor, while those marked in the hand obey only out of fear of death. This mark is Satan’s counterfeit of the seal God places in the forehead of His followers. Revelation 7:3. God’s seal is His name, character and law written in His people’s hearts and minds and is seen in His seventh-day Sabbath commandment, which identifies Him as our Creator. See note on  Revelation 7:2-3. In Revelation 14:12 those who resist the mark of the beast are those who “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

What is the significance of the number 666? We know that the beast, whose number this is, symbolizes the Roman Papacy, and that it’s “the number of a man.” One of the pope’s titles is said to be Vicarius Filii Dei, “Vicar of the Son of God.” In Latin, the language of Catholicism, some of the letters double as numbers, and the numerical value of Vicarius Filii Dei adds up to 666, and a great many Bible scholars believe that this is how 666 is to be interpreted

USA IN BIBLE PROPHECY: THE LAMB-LIKE BEAST, WHICH LATER ON SPEAKS LIKE A DRAGON

The vote was deadlocked on July 2, 1776. Should the band of British colonies declare their independence from England? The Continental Congress debated all that day. The Delaware delegation had three votes. Of the two delegates present, one voted for independence. The other opposed it. The third delegate was at home on his farm, marooned there because of a heavy rainstorm. But he received word that the congress had reached an impasse. And his vote might decide the future. And so on horseback he rode all night through the mud and rain to the Continental Congress to cast the deciding vote.

Legend has it that a little boy watched the delegates through the crack in the door. His grandfather had assigned him the task, because the grandfather was the local bell-ringer. And the old man waited at the bell tower, ready to ring the bell if the assembly signed the declaration. As the lad looked through the door, he saw quill pens signing the document and heard the shuffling of feet. The grandfather kept walking back and forth, muttering that they would never approve it.

But then the delegate from Delaware arrived to cast the deciding vote. The little boy ran over and shouted, Ring, Grandpa, ring for liberty.

The United States has always pictured itself as the place that cherishes liberty. It has become a stronghold of democracy in the modern world. In fact, the nation has become the dominant world power. The issues of liberty and human conscience loom large in the end-time drama that the Biblical book of Revelation highlights. Will the United States still be ringing the liberty bell in the last days?

Perhaps it does. Look at Revelation 13:11. John has just pictured the rise of the medieval church, the papal power, and predicted its role in the end-times. Now he introduces a second prophetic symbol: Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb. What clues do we have to identify this lamblike beast?

CLUE 1: Where this beast arises. The second beast, separate and distinct from the first, arises from the earth.

Letting the Bible act as its own interpreter, Daniel 7:17 reveals that prophetic beasts represent kingdoms or nations. So this second beast in Revelation 13 is a nation. And it develops out of the earth. Now where did the first beast of Revelation 13 come from? It had its origin in the sea. All the other beasts (that is, nations) had a similar origin.

Revelation 17:15 indicates that the sea symbol represents peoples, nations, and tongues, multitudes and masses of people. As an apocalyptic symbol, the sea had a negative connotation, and the nations that arose from it opposed God and His chosen people. (Interestingly, Revelation 21:1 tells us that the world to come will have no sea.) But this second beast (nation) of Revelation 13:11 arises from the earth is unique in apocalyptic predictions. In the book of Revelation the earth, the opposite of the sea, has a positive connotation. In fact, in Revelation 12:16, the earth helps the persecuted woman (symbol of Gods people) by swallowing the deluge that the satanic dragon spewed out in an attempt to drown it. The beast (nation) from the earth, unlike the beasts (nations) from the sea is on Gods side!

CLUE 2: The time period of the origin for the second beast.

Revelation 13:10 describes the first beast as going into captivity. Then the very next verse speaks of the rise of the second beast. The second beast (nation) thus came into being about the same time as the first beast went into captivity, the time it received that wound in its head (verse 3).

The first beast, the papacy, received a serious wound in 1798. That’s when the French took the pope prisoner, breaking the political supremacy of the papacy. The second prophetic beast began to gain prominence after this time. Does that fit the history of the United States? Yes it does. In 1798 the new country was gaining a reputation as a nation to be reckoned with. Thus when we scan history we discover that only one world power was arising in 1798 is the United States of America.

CLUE 3: How this second beast rose up. Revelation 13:11 tells us that it had two horns like a lamb. What significance do they have? Scripture uses horns as a symbol of authority or power, religious or political. The lamb is young with only a little apparent power. Furthermore, the book of Revelation uses the lamb to symbolize Jesus Christ 28 times. Here is another indication that this beast (nation) is not an enemy of God and His people.

CLUE 4: Previous beasts had crowns on their horns. Crowns indicate kingly power in prophecy. But here we see no sign of kingly authority, in contrast to the first beast in Revelation 13. I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns (Revelation 13:1). This suggests a different form of government.

CLUE 5: This lamblike beast has worldwide influence. It causes those who dwell on the earth to worship the first beast power (verse 12).

The United States didn’t fit that picture a century or more ago. Like a lamb with its little horns, it seemed to have little power or authority. But now its global influence affects people everywhere financially, politically, and culturally.

So lets review the five clues about the second beast, the lamblike nation of Revelation 13. We know that it would arise around 1798. It would be a new nation that would not be opposed to God, and would have no crowned head or kinglike authority. And it would rise to a position of worldwide influence.

John the Revelator has pinpointed the rise of the United States of America precisely.

The nation that rose to champion religious and civil liberty will be a major player in the final end-time drama. But what exactly will that role be? Lets look at the evidence in Revelation 13:11: Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. Im afraid that the picture becomes grim rather quickly. The beast that had two horns like a lamb begins to speak like a dragon.

What Happened to the Nation?

Obviously something happens to this nation. It started out lamblike, but eventually it will have a dragon like roar. How do nations speak? They speak through their legislative bodies. The officials of nations speak for that nation as they enact laws. Revelation 13 describes the change from a lamblike beast to that of one sounding like a dragon, suggesting that it will begin to use its growing power in a coercive manner. The picture gets darker as we read verse 12: He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

Note carefully what this is saying. The second beast (nation) actually causes the inhabitants of Earth to worship the first beast. That is, it will persuade people to adopt the fundamental principle of the medieval church, the fusion of church and state. Once again, aspects of society that have been kept apart will unite to enforce religious practices. The strong arm of the state will again coerce in a way similar to religious practices through the centuries. ONCE PROTESTANT AMERICA WILL JOIN HANDS WITH RELIGIOUS OPPRESSION IN A DANGEROUS ALLIANCE OF CHURCH AND STATE.

You may wonder, How could something like that ever happen? It seems impossible.

But wait, theres more. Look at Revelation 13:13, 14. Speaking of the second lamblike beast, John says: He performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to Earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth.

How can a country such as the United States give its allegiance to the beast of Revelation 13? Because of the miracles and wonders that soon will take place.

Many people assume that any miracle is Gods doing, that it confirms someone’s claims to truth. And God indeed performs signs and wonders as He thinks best. Sometimes miracles accompany the work of God, as in the case of Elijah on Mount Carmel. The fire that comes down from heaven is an allusion to the story in 1 Kings 18. But Satan, too, can work miracles. He can perform counterfeit signs and wonders. He can even bring miraculous-seeming fire.

As we saw before. Jesus warned His followers about what would happen during the last days. For false christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect if that were possible (Matthew 24:24).

Spectacular signs and wonders are not necessarily a sign of divine favor. They can be an effort of our archenemy to deceive. And people who would rather have a sensational sign than the simple, straightforward truth of Gods Word are setting themselves up for a fall. They will find themselves deceived by the spectacular works of a sinister power.

John reminds us: They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Revelation 16:14).

Even the greatest individuals, including politicians and national leaders, will unwittingly accept the wonder-working power of the great deceiver. That power enables the lamblike beast to cause all to worship the first beast. That’s what will enable the United States to enforce religious intolerance.

A False Religious Revival

Does it sound hard to believe? Think about what would happen if a religious revival swept across a country, one featuring great miracles or other wonders. Consider how easy it would be to rally around what appears to be the work of God, perhaps the last chance to save the nation from moral ruin especially if a national crisis occurs at the same time.

As miracles happen a spirit of unity prevails. People want to push the revival as far as it can go. They look for something that can unite everyone, some symbol of common worship. Why not emphasize the worship day itself? After all, its something that most Christians share. At first glance, the proposal seems so logical. Each Sunday the nation would all unite and worship in a spirit of brotherhood. Wouldn’t that bring a troubled country together and make it truly one nation under God?

Does this sound far-fetched? Some religious leaders already have boldly suggested that a common day of worship may be a partial solution to Americas recurring energy crisis. By forbidding all driving on Sunday, except to church, the United States could save up to 15 percent of its gasoline supply.

Back in the 1970s Harold Lindsell proposed that for the purpose of conserving energy that all businesses, including gasoline stations and restaurants, should close every Sunday (Christianity Today, May 7, 1976). Lindsell expressed his conviction that such a move would satisfy both natural laws and the will of God for all men. Sensing that it was highly unlikely that Sunday would voluntarily become a day of rest, he further suggested that one way to accomplish this would be by force of legislative fiat through the duly elected officials of the people.

Some time ago, the U.S. Supreme Court (McGowan et al. v. Maryland) ruled that in some instances Sunday laws may be enforced, not on the basis of religious considerations, but in the interests of safeguarding the health and welfare of the American people. The late Justice William O. Douglas disagreed and stated the following in his dissenting opinion to the majority decision of the Court: It seems to me plain that by these laws, the states compel one, under sanction of law, to refrain from work or recreation on Sunday because of the majority’s religious views on that day. The state by law makes Sunday a symbol of respect or adherence.

Are you aware that in the United States of America, right now, many are seeking to redefine religious liberty? U.S. Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote in 1985 (Wallace v. Jaffree) that the wall of separation between church and state is a metaphor based on bad history. . . . It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned. A vocal element of American society is re-evaluating the entire issue of the wall of separation between church and state. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 29, 1991, made an interesting observation: As the second century of the Bill of Rights draws to a close, the Supreme Court is redefining what religious liberty will mean in the third century. Broadly, the Courts new approach helps conventional religions while hurting unconventional ones.

The editorial proposes that the Court is moving in the direction of stating what an acceptable religion is. And if you happen to fall into that conventional religion you can have the stamp of approval.

And in the run up to the recently concluded USA election, president elect Donald trump promised to bridge the gap between church and state!

Events are moving us toward that day when the lamblike beast will roar like a dragon. Lets look at one more characteristic of this second beast: HE DECEIVED THE INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH. HE ORDERED THEM TO SET UP AN IMAGE IN HONOR OF THE BEAST WHO WAS WOUNDED BY THE SWORD AND YET LIVED. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed (Revelation 13: 14, 15).

What does the phrase set up an image in honor of the beast mean?

An image of anything is something that looks like or resembles in some way something else.

Remember, we’re dealing with symbols in Revelation. Thus the image of this beast wont be some literal object, that is, a statue or an idol. Rather it will be a repeat performance of what the beast did before the religious intolerance and oppressions  that happened during the Dark Ages.

Religious With Civil Power

At the height of its power, the medieval church both West and Eastclothed itself with civil power. It had the authority to appoint civil officials, punish dissenters, confiscate goods, imprison people, and even execute them. It was a powerful union of church and state.

Think about this scenario. Consider a nation ripped apart by crime and riddled with lawlessness. People anguish because moral principles seem to have gone out the window. Kids are mowing down other kids in the schools. Violence and obscenity and abuse intensify. Society seems unable to win the war on drugs, terrorism, or the many other problems that disturb it.

People even now are demanding solutions. And the most instinctive reaction is: There ought to be a law. Well-meaning citizens will band together to pass laws to save the country. They will think that they can rescue the nation by enforcing morality. Weve got to make our nation Christian (or Orthodox or Islamic or Hindu or whatever) again, they will say. Although its a good motive, its a bad procedure. The temptation is to pass laws forcing people to do by civil power what religion has failed to do by persuasive teaching and preaching.

Think of how powerful this new approach will become when legislative initiatives are endorsed by a religious revival backed by signs and wonders.

In the United States Robert Grant, head of the Christian Voice organization, has said: If Christians unite, we can do anything. We can pass any law or any amendment. And that’s exactly what we intend to do. Another leader, Pat Robertson, wrote: The next obligation that a citizen of Gods world order owes is to himself. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy is a command for the personal benefit of each citizen. . . . Higher civilizations rise when people can rest, think, and draw inspiration from God. Laws in America that mandated a day of rest [Sunday laws] . . . have been nullified as a violation of the separation of church and state. . . . As an outright insult to God and His plan, only those policies that can be shown to have a clearly secular purpose are recognized (The New World Order, p. 236).

Do you see his reasoning? He is saying we have outlawed the Sunday laws. But if we’re going to bring this whole nation back to God, we have to worship God together. Therefore, it is logical in a time when moral values are waning in a time of crisis to unite on a point held in common, which is Sunday observance among most of the Christian churches. And it will require great conviction to hold on to the Biblical Sabbath.

TTHE UNITED STATES WILL PASS A SUNDAY LAW

Looking at the prophetic map, is the next big thing and its not far off folks. The below quotes from the pen of inspiration are reinforcements information already shared above.
When our nation shall so abjure the principles of its government as to enact a Sunday law, Protestantism will in this act join hands with popery.–5T 712 (1889).

Protestants will throw their whole influence and strength on the side of the papacy. By a national act enforcing the false sabbath they will give life and vigour to the corrupt faith of Rome, reviving her tyranny and oppression of conscience.–Mar 179 (1893).

Sooner or later Sunday laws will be passed.–RH Feb. 16, 1905.

Soon the Sunday laws will be enforced, and men in positions of trust will be embittered against the little handful of God’s commandment-keeping people.–4MR 278 (1909).

The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns shall cause “the earth and them which dwell therein” to worship the papacy–there symbolised by the beast “like unto a leopard.” . . . This prophecy will be fulfilled when the United States shall enforce Sunday observance, which Rome claims as the special acknowledgement of her supremacy. . . .

Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth, and even in free America rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favour, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance.–GC 578, 579, 592 (1911).

You get it. A popular demand for a Sunday law  is soon to be made to state actors by protestant church leaders of America. That time is not far off. It might be during our life time(and this is not time-setting). Each believer will be called upon to demonstrate unwavering faith and stand true to Jehovah’s precepts, in defence of the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Even unto death.

Will you be able to demonstrate such a faith?