Sunday, December 14, 2014

All Truth

What did Jesus promise that the Holy Spirit would do?

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." John 16:13.

How much truth?

"All truth."

When would that happen?

"When he, the Spirit of truth, is come."

The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts chapter 2. Jesus' promise was that when the Holy Spirit came, He would guide the church into all truth. The knowledge of truth would not be withheld for hundreds of years after Pentecost, but would come "when he, the Spirit of truth, is come." This means that we should be able to see all truth present in the early apostolic church.

And that is exactly what the book of Acts records. Here is a list of doctrinal truths that were understood in the days of the apostles.

The role of the Scriptures -- Acts 17:11
God -- Acts 24:14
Jesus -- Acts 9:20
Salvation -- Acts 26:18
The second coming of Jesus -- Acts 1:11
The non-immortality of the soul -- Acts 2:29, 34
The resurrection of the dead -- Acts 24:15
An appointed date for the judgment -- Acts 17:31
The cleansing of the sanctuary -- Acts 3:19
The law of God -- Acts 22:12
The seventh-day Sabbath -- Acts 16:13
The church -- Acts 2:47
Spiritual gifts -- Acts 21:8-10
Healthful living -- Acts 24:25
Baptism -- Acts 8:12

What topics did Paul confidently emphasize in his preaching and teaching?

"Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him." Acts 28:31.

Did he leave out any important matters?

"And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house." Acts 20:20.

"For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." Acts 20:27.

What were the results of Paul's thorough teaching?

"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily." Acts 16:5.

Of what did Paul warn the elders of the church?

"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." Acts 20:29-31.

Similar warnings about the introduction of false doctrine were given in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; 2 Peter 2:1-3; and Jude 3, 4. The church would have to go through a period of terrible apostasy.

But "the times of refreshing" to come would also be "the times of restitution of all things." Acts 3:19, 21. All truth would be fully restored at last.

See also Daniel 8:9-14.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Rural Economy

Who would imagine that the Old Testament lifestyle would be relevant today? But, the fact is that our society's economic problems are a direct result of our abandonment of the way of life God originally gave His people. If you'd like to know more, visit my Rural Economy blog at www.thelostlaw.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Safe Church

I was headed for the door, when my eye caught four words on the front of a TIME magazine for kids: “Are Gray Wolves Safe?”

Well, I thought, that must be a kind of wolf that isn’t as dangerous as others. Maybe they’re safe to be around.

Then I noticed the smaller print: “U.S. officials say gray wolves are no longer in danger of extinction.”

Oh! They’re not talking about our safety around them, but their safety around us.

Maybe you’ve heard the expression “safe church.” What is a safe church?

Is that what you call a church in a rural area where everyone you worship with believes the way you do?
You don’t have to worry about celebration music because they only sing from the hymnal.
You don’t have to worry when you go through the potluck line because they plan vegan fellowship meals.
Is that a safe church?

You can safely take your children to Sabbath School without worrying at all about what might happen there.
You’re safe from the emerging church and spiritual formation and female elders.
You’re safe from the creeping compromise of liberalism.

Is a safe church a place where I am safe from the evils of the world? Or is it a place where others are safe who are not like me?

Is it safe for an attending teenager to park his lifted, spattered mudcrawler in front of the building?
Is it safe for the walk-in who doesn’t know the rule about no hats in the sanctuary?
Is it safe for a newcomer to observe the discussion in the Sabbath School class?
Is it safe for the timid, sensitive guest who just wants a place where she can be accepted, without worrying if she’s doing everything just right?

Is my church safe for them?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Daniel's Prophecies Compared

When we lay out the prophecies of Daniel in parallel, it helps us identify the important players and the thematic emphasis. All the prophecies climax with Jesus receiving His kingdom.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Method of Labor

"To reach the people, wherever they are, and whatever their position or condition, and to help them in every way possible – this is true ministry." The Ministry of Healing, p. 156

"Your work upon earth is to go forth and live over again in meekness and lowliness of heart the life of Christ." Advance, March 1, 1899

"What Christ was on this earth, the Christian worker should strive to be." Gospel Workers, p. 121

"True missionary work is that in which the Saviour's work is best represented, His methods most closely copied, His glory best promoted." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 230

"God's purpose in committing to men and women the mission that He committed to Christ is to disentangle His followers from all worldly policy and to give them a work identical with the work that Christ did." Medical Ministry, pp. 24, 25

"Remember that you are not to choose your own work, or to follow your own ways, but to look to Jesus as your guide and pattern." Sons and Daughters of God, p. 89

"The followers of Christ are to labor as He did." The Desire of Ages, p. 350

"Live as He lived, and work as He worked." The Desire of Ages, pp. 679, 799

"Christ's servants are to follow His example." Christ's Object Lessons, p. 233

"I saw the wisdom and goodness of Jesus in giving power to the disciples to carry on the same work for which He had been hated and slain by the Jews." Early Writings, p. 197

"It is the divine plan that we shall work as the disciples worked. Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. In the work of the gospel, teaching and healing are never to be separated." The Ministry of Healing, p. 141

"Everywhere there is a tendency to substitute the work of organizations for individual effort. Human wisdom tends to consolidation, to centralization, to the building up of great churches and institutions. . . . Christ commits to His followers an individual work – a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the gospel." The Ministry of Healing, p. 147

"The monotony of our service for God needs to be broken up. Every church member should be engaged in some line of service for the Master. . . . Every church should be a training school for Christian workers. Its members should be taught how to give Bible readings, how to conduct and teach Sabbath-school classes, how best to help the poor and to care for the sick, how to work for the unconverted. There should be schools of health, cooking schools, and classes in various lines of Christian help work. There should not only be teaching, but actual work under experienced instructors." The Ministry of Healing, p. 149

"Many professed Christians, in seeking church relationship, think only of themselves. They wish to enjoy church fellowship and pastoral care. They become members of large and prosperous churches, and are content to do little for others. . . . They need to go where their energies will be called out in Christian work and they can learn to bear responsibilities." The Ministry of Healing, p. 151

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Judah's Pedigree

Did you realize that Abraham's brother Nahor contributed just as much to the Jewish gene pool as Abraham did? In fact, each of the four known children of Terah were a significant part of Israel's ancestry. I've inserted Judah's name here to represent each of Leah's children. I could have used Rachel and her sons, and it would have been the same. The percentages would be a little different for the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah because we'd have to take Laban out of the picture.

To calculate the percentage of an ancestor's contribution to Judah's genealogy, add up all the units in the left column that apply to that person's name entry. For example, Abraham contributed 12.5% whereas Bethuel surprisingly contributed 25%.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Origin of Nations

These charts, derived primarily from Genesis 10, show how from the three sons of Noah descended the various nations of antiquity. Other sources discuss a number of theories regarding some of these names. But here I identify only nations about which there is general agreement.

Here are the descendants of Japheth, as listed in the Bible:



Next, we have the descendants of Ham:



And finally, the descendants of Shem:



Sunday, June 1, 2014

Psalms of Praise

Enjoy a rich worship experience with this collection of psalms from The Ministry of Healing, pp. 101, 102.

What shall I render unto the LORD
For all his benefits toward me?
I will take the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows unto the LORD
Now in the presence of all his people.
I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live:
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
My meditation of him shall be sweet:
I will be glad in the LORD.
Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?
Who can shew forth all his praise?
Call upon his name:
Make known his deeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him:
Talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name:
Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise thee.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness;
And my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
When I remember thee upon my bed,
And meditate on thee in the night watches.
Because thou hast been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
In God have I put my trust:
I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
Thy vows are upon me, O God:
I will render praises unto thee.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death:
Wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God in the light of the living?
O thou Holy One of Israel.
My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee;
And my soul, which thou hast redeemed.
My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long.
Thou art my trust from my youth.
My praise shall be continually of thee.
I will make thy name to be remembered.
Therefore shall the people praise thee.

Psalms 116:12-14; 104:33, 34; 106:2; 105:1-3; 63:3-7; 56:11-13; 71:22-24, 5, 6; 45:17

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Division of Labor in the Church

"The organization of the church at Jerusalem was to serve as a model for the organization of churches in every other place where messengers of truth should win converts to the gospel." Acts of the Apostles, p. 91

"The divine order of the New Testament is sufficient to organize the church of Christ. If more were needed, it would have been given by inspiration." –James White, "Gospel Order," The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, December 6, 1853

Below are a couple of charts comparing the categories of workers in the New Testament with those in the early Seventh-day Adventist Church. Other than the terminology, they are the same. Here is the New Testament plan:


And here is the early Adventist plan:


For more details, see my August 30, 2012 post.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Foolish Questions

"But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain." Titus 3:9

"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes." 2 Timothy 2:23

"We shall meet those who allow their minds to wander into idle speculations about things of which nothing is said in the Word of God. . . . Study the truths that have been revealed." RH Feb. 5, 1901

"I think we must tell them to read and speak of the things that are plainly revealed. We have encouragement in the Word that if we walk humbly with God, we shall receive instruction. But prying curiosity is not to be encouraged. . . . We may answer foolish questions by saying, Wait, and we shall all know what is essential for us to know. Our salvation does not depend on side issues." Letter 58, 1900

"Strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers." 2 Timothy 2:14

"Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do." 1 Timothy 1:4

"Preach the word." 2 Timothy 4:2

"But we are warned against undue curiosity. 'Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness,' leading into paths of supposition and imagination, with which we have nothing to do. These are vain, unessential theories of human creation, which keep the mind dwelling upon nothingness. They have in them nothing sure or substantial." RH Feb. 5, 1901

"And although we may try to reason in regard to our Creator, how long He has had existence, where evil first entered into our world, and all these things, we may reason about them until we fall down faint and exhausted with the research when there is yet an infinity beyond." Sermons and Talks, Vol. 1, p. 65

"Christ shows them that, although they might reckon His life to be less than fifty years, yet His divine life could not be reckoned by human computation. The existence of Christ before His incarnation is not measured by figures." Ev 616

Monday, April 21, 2014

Thinking to be Wiser Than God

Selections from The Great Controversy, pp. 521-524

"The whole Bible should be given to the people just as it reads."

"The Bible was designed to be a guide to all who wish to become acquainted with the will of their Maker. God gave to men the sure word of prophecy; angels and even Christ Himself came to make known to Daniel and John the things that must shortly come to pass. Those important matters that concern our salvation were not left involved in mystery. They were not revealed in such a way as to perplex and mislead the honest seeker after truth. Said the Lord by the prophet Habakkuk: 'Write the vision, and make it plain, . . . that he may run that readeth it.' Habakkuk 2:2. The word of God is plain to all who study it with a prayerful heart. Every truly honest soul will come to the light of truth."

"Men have endeavored to be wiser than their Creator; human philosophy has attempted to search out and explain mysteries which will never be revealed through the eternal ages. If men would but search and understand what God has made known of Himself and His purposes, they would obtain such a view of the glory, majesty, and power of Jehovah that they would realize their own littleness and would be content with that which has been revealed for themselves and their children."

"It is a masterpiece of Satan's deceptions to keep the minds of men searching and conjecturing in regard to that which God has not made known and which He does not intend that we shall understand. It was thus that Lucifer lost his place in heaven. He became dissatisfied because all the secrets of God's purposes were not confided to him, and he entirely disregarded that which was revealed concerning his own work in the lofty position assigned him. By arousing the same discontent in the angels under his command, he caused their fall. Now he seeks to imbue the minds of men with the same spirit and to lead them also to disregard the direct commands of God."

"Another dangerous error is the doctrine that denies the deity of Christ, claiming that He had no existence before His advent to this world. This theory is received with favor by a large class who profess to believe the Bible; yet it directly contradicts the plainest statements of our Saviour concerning His relationship with the Father, His divine character, and His pre-existence. It cannot be entertained without the most unwarranted wresting of the Scriptures. It not only lowers man's conceptions of the work of redemption, but undermines faith in the Bible as a revelation from God. . . . If men reject the testimony of the inspired Scriptures concerning the deity of Christ, it is in vain to argue the point with them."

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Closing Work

The Bible explains the closing work of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary through a number of different expressions. This closing work is a significant focal point of Bible prophecy and of Christ's own teachings. Each one of the activities listed below describes the same process. It is a work that began at the end of prophetic history on October 22, 1844, and will conclude at the close of human probation when Jesus leaves the most holy place. Some Bible verses depict it as a singular event, perhaps even at a point in time after the fact, rather than expounding on the details of the process. That's because certain explanations only describe what is ultimately accomplished by the process, or its resulting product.

The Bible can correctly summarize the whole operation as a singe event because, as evidence indicates, the business was never intended to take much time. The measurement of prophetic time stopped in 1844. No set length of time was allotted for the closing work. It is a task to be accomplished, and as soon as it is done, Jesus will leave the sanctuary, probation will close, and the unrepentant will have no shelter.

Below are seven ways the Bible explains this closing work.

The Separation
Matthew 13:47-50  The Parable of the Net
Matthew 25:31-46  The Sheep and the Goats

The Harvest
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43  The Wheat and the Tares
Revelation 14:14-20  The Two Harvests
Mark 4:26-29  The Harvest

The Sealing
Ezekiel 9:4  A Mark in the Forehead
Revelation 7:1-3  The Seal of the Living God
Revelation 14:1  The Father's name in the forehead
Revelation 22:11  Everyone's Condition is Fixed

The Wedding
Revelation 19:7-9  The Marriage of the Lamb
Luke 12:35, 36  The Wedding
Matthew 25:1-12  Meeting the Bridegroom
Matthew 22:1-14  The Wedding Garment
Revelation 3:4, 5, 18; 7:9, 13-15  White Raiment

The Kingdom Established
Revelation 11:15-17  The Seventh Trumpet
Daniel 2:34, 35, 44, 45  The Stone Mountain
Daniel 7:13, 14  The Son of Man Receives a Kingdom
Daniel 12:1  Michael Stands Up
Luke 19:12, 15  The Noble Who Receives a Kingdom

The Lawsuit
Romans 14:10-12  All Are Summoned
Daniel 7:9, 10  The Court Convenes
Revelation 14:6, 7  The International Press Release
Zechariah 3:1-5  The Plaintiff Brings Accusation
Revelation 4 & 5  The Jury and the Opening of the Depositions
Matthew 12:36, 37  The Evidence
Ecclesiastes 12:14  The Evidence
Romans 8:34  The Counsel for the Defense
Revelation 12:10, 11  The Verdict

The Cleansing of the Sanctuary
Hebrews 9  The Earthly and Heavenly Sanctuaries
Daniel 8:14  The Cleansing of the Sanctuary
Leviticus 16  The Day of Atonement
Revelation 11:1  Measuring the Temple, Altar, and Worshippers
Malachi 3:1-5, 16-18  The Lord Comes to His Temple

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Kings of the North and South

Daniel 11 is not so much about kingdoms as it is the story of individual rulers and their exploits. No other chapter gives so much detail on such a large span of history. And it was all foretold long before it ever happened!

Here I have posted the part of Daniel 11 that presents the kings of the north and south. I have supplied the names of the individuals most likely referred to, either replacing the pronouns with a name, or inserting a name in brackets. To establish the setting, I begin with verse 1, although the kings of the north and south don't appear until verse 5.
1     Also I [Gabriel] in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.
 2    And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings [Cambyses II, Smerdis, Darius I] in Persia; and the fourth [Xerxes] shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
 3    And a mighty king [Alexander the Great] shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
 4    And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
 5    And the king of the south [Ptolemy I Soter] shall be strong, and one of Alexander’s princes [Seleucus I Nicator]; and Seleucus I Nicator shall be strong above Ptolemy I Soter, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
 6    And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's [Ptolemy II Philadelphus] daughter [Berenice] of the south shall come to the king of the north [Antiochus II Theos] to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.
 7    But out of a branch of her roots shall one [Ptolemy III Euergetes] stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north [Seleucus II Callinicus], and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:
 8    And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and Ptolemy III Euergetes shall continue more years than the king of the north [Seleucus II Callinicus].
 9    Also the king of the north [Seleucus II Callinicus] shall come to the kingdom of the king of the south [Ptolemy III Euergetes], but shall return to his own land.
 10  But Seleucus II Callinicus’ sons [Seleucus III Ceraunus and Antiochus III Magnus] shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one [Antiochus III Magnus] shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.
 11  And the king of the south [Ptolemy IV Philopator] shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with Antiochus III Magnus, even with the king of the north: and Antiochus III Magnus shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into Ptolemy IV Philopator’s hand.
 12  And when Ptolemy IV Philopator hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.
 13  For the king of the north [Antiochus III Magnus] shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.
14   And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south [Ptolemy V Epiphanes]: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
15   So the king of the north [Antiochus III Magnus] shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
[At this point, the focus of Gabriel’s narration shifts to the West. Except for a brief appearance of the king of the South in verse 25, the kings of the North and South are not seen again until “the time of the end.”  We now pick up the continuation of their story in verse 40. For the West in Daniel 11:16-39, see my November 7, 2013 post.]
40   And at the time of the end shall the king of the south [Murad Bey] push at Napoleon Bonaparte: and the king of the north [Sultan Selim III] shall come against Bonaparte like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
41   He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
42   He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
43   But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
44   But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble Sultan Abdulmecid I: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
45   And a yet to be determined king of the north shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

[I used the New King James Version in verse 9. Everything else is from the King James Version.]

Sunday, March 2, 2014

How to Know God

1. Fill your mind daily with God's word.
2. Totally give Him your heart.
3. Learn to pray as Jesus prayed.
4. Live to bring others to Him.

"It is in doing Christ's work that the church has the promise of His presence. Go teach all nations, He said; 'and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.' To take His yoke is one of the first conditions of receiving His power. The very life of the church depends upon her faithfulness in fulfilling the Lord's commission. To neglect this work is surely to invite spiritual feebleness and decay. Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim." DA 825

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

God's Word

Here's a poem I wrote on April 24, 1978. It's one of those papers I've been lugging around for over thirty years, thinking that someday I would do something with it. Well, I finally got around to it. I reworked it a bit today and believe it's ready to be published. It worked out so that each of the five verses has exactly sixteen syllables. See if you can figure out what I'm talking about in each verse. To how much of the Bible's story does the poem allude?


God's Word

God’s Word,
In the beginning,
Called forth light,
And life,
And existence.

God’s Word,
Fingered in stone,
Timeless code,
Spells out love,
And bares the soul.

God’s Word,
Becoming flesh,
Walking with men,
Living love,
Paid the price.

God’s Word,
Leather-bound,
Lamp and sword,
Nourishing the soul,
Arms the fight.

God’s Word,
In my heart,
Holy flame,
Kindles love,
And radiates life.