I would like to pass out one of our memory gems for this meeting, one that we had about a month ago. Some of you may have memorized some of these. Jesus said in John 6 that not one true sheep will be taken out of His hands; not one, out of His Father's hands. Not one true grain of wheat will be lost out of His hands. Not one sheep will be lost. Jesus has promised and has given us all the help and abilities so that not one single soul needs to be lost.
Since the beginning of time, not a single soul has ever had to be lost. God has made ample provision and yet the sad thing is, while God has made ample provision that all may be saved, the sad thing is that so few people are actually saved. In the days of Noah there were only eight. Today, in the last day and age, there will be just a remnant.
Now the reason that there are so few who are saved and who will be saved, although all can be saved, is because most of us have learned, like Eve there in the Garden of Eden, to trust our own wisdom, our own wisdom of what is right and wrong. You remember, that Satan came down and said to Eve, "Has God said that you should not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?" And she said, "He has." Satan said, "God knows that in the day you eat of it you will be like. . ." What? "You will be like God knowing good and evil. You won't need Him to tell you what to do any more." But Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." Can there be something that absolutely seems right and yet be absolutely wrong?
Now I suppose that we know that very well when it comes to Sunday observance. Millions of people are keeping Sunday believing that they are keeping God's holy day when they are keeping the wrong day. And many people will be lost, not because they were deceived, but because they did not believe the truth when God presented it to them. When God presented to them the truth of the Sabbath, they held on to their false ideas and by holding on to what was false, they rejected what was true. And so, millions and millions of people are going to be lost while they are serving God and think they are doing what is right.
Now while Satan is interested in the Sunday-keeper, his greatest concern is with the Sabbath-keepers. Isn't that right? The Bible says that he will come down with great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, who? Even the elect. Especially the elect. And Satan's greatest deceptions will be with the elect. Now a true deception is one that we do not perceive. It is one that we perceive to be true. If someone comes and deceives you with a counterfeit five-dollar bill, if it is a good enough counterfeit, it is one that you believe is a true five-dollar bill, isn't that right? And so you take the money and you believe that it is a true piece of money even though it is a counterfeit piece of money. And so it is, that a true deception is one that we do not perceive as a deception. If we perceive it, it is no longer a true deception. Now, for how many of us here is Sunday a deception? Probably not any, isn't that right? Sunday is not a deception to us.
Well, Satan has not just one deception, he has a thousand, ten thousand deceptions; one for every individual. We could not begin to unravel all the deceptions of Satan, but I would like to go over some principles. And in the areas that Satan is trying to deceive people there are two great categories of deception and generally, we look at one category, but I would like to look at the other today. One category of deception is in the area of presumption. And that is coming to the place where we believe that God is so good that He will overlook sin, that He will overlook whether I do not follow Him all the way or not. He is merciful, He is kind and He is loving.
The area of presumption is one great area of deception in which millions and millions, the majority of the people, are deceived. They presume that God will overlook a requirement or He will accept them in this area or that area. But not everyone is deceived in the area of presumption. Now I rather think that this is the great sin that we are falling into as a church. We are presuming that in the area of medical missionary work that God will accept our shortcomings. True enough, we do not follow everything the Lord says, but the Lord understands.
We presume that the Lord will overlook areas of shortcomings in education and home management, in belief and teachings and the keeping of the Ten Commandments. We presume and we call that the New Theology. That is the theology of presumption, where we presume that God is not particular. And that is sweeping hundreds of thousands of Adventists off their feet.
But there is another area, a great block of deception that is fully as dangerous and maybe even, well I will just say it is fully as dangerous as that of presumption. And that is over in the other area, not presumption, but legalism. That is where we decide that we can do enough things to please God. We are not presuming that God is going to overlook anything. In fact, we are going to try to do so much that God will accept our good works. And this area leads to, and is often, in the area of fanaticism. The Lord tells us that in the last days we need to be especially careful of fanaticism.
While the devil is trying to keep the majority occupied in areas of worldliness, there are some Satan is trying to deceive in areas of fanaticism that he knows he will never be able to deceive with television or with these other enticements that he has. So I would like to take this time to look at the area of fanaticism.
Ellen White says that, "As the end draws near, the enemy will work with all his power to bring in fanaticism among us." Gospel Workers, 316. In the next sentence, She is talking about among Seventh-day Adventists. Now, I am simple enough that when the Lord tells me something I believe that it is true and it is something I need to be careful of. And so if the Lord says that the devil will work with all his power to bring fanaticism in among us, then I believe that that is true and that has happened. In fact, that that is happening.
In Selected Messages, vol. 2, 14, "Every phase of fanaticism and erroneous theories, claiming to be the truth, will be brought in among the remnant people of God. These will fill minds with erroneous sentiments which have no part in the truth for this time."
You know, I believe this is an area that as reformers we need to be especially careful of. In the early Advent movement, when God called people out of the liberal churches, many, many of the people went on into fanaticism. The devil tried to keep them from accepting the Millerite message and then the Adventist message. But if he could not keep them from accepting the early-Advent message, then he says, "Okay, let's let them be religious and we'll just take them right on over into the area of works and fanaticism." And so it was that our early pioneers, like James and Ellen White and Joseph Bates and others, had to fight worldliness on the one hand from the nominal Christians and on the other hand they had to fight fanaticism.
We find that was Luther's life work, calling people out of worldliness and then guarding them from going into fanaticism. In The Great Controversy, Ellen White talks about Martin Luther and she says that in every day and age, God's prophets from Paul to Wesley, Luther and others have had to fight against fanaticism.
She says, "At this very time, we are suffering from the reproach which was brought on the cause in the first message by unwise, ill-balanced minds who thought they were obtaining a wonderful experience which should receive the credence of all men. In our early experience, we had to encounter their ever-strange humility and false notions. The first labor given me to do was to reprove their man-made tests. The testimony which I bore against fanaticism gained me the envy, jealousy, evil-surmising and criticism of those who participated in these movements." Paulson Collection, 129. She goes on to share how the worldly people thought that she was too straight and the fanaticals thought she was too worldly and she had no friends on either side and thus it was with Luther.
The devil really does not care which camp he gets us into as long as he can keep us from following Jesus all the way. If he can get us to fall short of the Lord's word, or if he can get us to go beyond God's word, either one will suit his purpose. And while I may be one who will go beyond God's word, I fall short all the way, I do not read, I do not study, I do not believe, somebody else comes along and says, "I don't want to be like Marshall. He's a worldly preacher. He doesn't spend any time with the Bible or the Testimonies. I'm going to go beyond that. I'm going to be a reformer." And so they take the Testimonies and the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and they try to find things in which they can be righteous. They start studying and they start even improving on what God has given to us. Now, I do not believe that following the Lord is in any way fanatical. We are to follow everything God says. But some people, have a tendency and a temptation to go even beyond what God says and to read into His word things that are not there, thinking that thereby they are earning their way, somehow, to heaven.
Now the Lord tells us that this would be a problem among us. In our class, we spent three days on that in the Institute of Ministry and we just got started really. We needed to spend a lot more time on it. We looked over 22 different areas of fanaticism coming into the church today. I would like to look over just three or four quickly and then open the floor up for discussion. I would like to look at these only as types or samples because we could never exhaust all the areas that Satan will try to bring in among us to confuse the issues.
Let me start out with one that I think we need to look at. I have decided this year that it is coming in so heavily among us that we need to really be looking at it, not as our only message or as our main message, but as a part of our message. That is a warning against over zealous and unbalanced minds, as Ellen White says, and against the area of fanaticism.
For years in the pastoral ministry, I have seen on various occasions, people who have lost their faith in the Spirit of Prophecy because of her statements on Christmas. I went through the Spirit of Prophecy and found all the statements that Ellen White makes, from the CD-ROM, and I have 22 pages of statements on Christmas. I read every one of them; every time she ever mentions the word. Now some of these are duplicates, well, I had 80 pages, but I got it down to where there are no duplicates left. Twenty-two pages, no duplicates left in these. Some of these statements are very interesting. In fact, for almost 11 years, Ellen White wrote about Christmas every year in the Review, every year. She makes such astounding statements as this, "God would be well pleased if on Christmas, each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings. . ." Review & Herald, December 11, 1879
Now some people have gone into the history of Christmas and have decided that Christmas is of pagan origin, which it is, and therefore, Christmas trees are something that must be pagan and are an abomination and it is just like keeping Sunday. And therefore, if any church has anything to do with Christmas, it has apostatized and it is wrong. Some people have a real message on this. And yet, they come upon a statement like this from Ellen White in which she says that God would not just tolerate, but actually He would be well-pleased if on Christmas, every church had a tree, a Christmas tree. She goes on to say such statements as these. She gives a balance. She mentions how at Christmastime we can make it a very selfish day and we can train people to think of themselves. And she counsels against that.
She says, "Christmas and New Year celebrations can and should be held in behalf of those who are helpless." Adventist Home, 482. These are statements, the Lord says, are things which should be done for the welfare of people. She talks about how we should not spend money on trivial things, but on things which are worthwhile like Christian books and those kinds of things. She says, "I entreat you, brethren and sisters, to make Christmas a blessing to yourselves and to others." Reflecting Christ, 373
Well, we could look at other statements that she makes. She talks about the matchless love of Christ in coming to a fallen world and then she says, "May the Lord forbid that any one should be so narrow minded as to overlook the event because there is an uncertainty in regard to the exact time." This Day With God, 360. Now she says that is being narrow minded. Those are not my words, they are the Lord's words. And she says that God forbid anyone in our church should be that narrow minded; to overlook the event of Jesus coming at Christmastime simply because we do not know exactly when He was born.
Now, I can tell you, that if Ellen White had not made these statements, that I would be one of those who would believe that Christmas was idolatry. I want to share right now that I am not even concerned about Christmas. It is a long time until Christmas. I am looking at a principle and that is all I want to look at. I do not care about Christmas. In our family we have never made much of Christmas. I was raised where Christmas was not a major thing. We have never bought a Christmas tree that I can remember. Our kids have gone out and cut one down a couple of times. They leave needles all over the floor and are a fire hazard. I have never really cared that much about Christmas. I think, in a person's home, if they want to have Christmas or not that is up to them. Except she says that if you have children be careful that they do not go out in the world and that you try to attract them to the home. She has counsel there. She talks about our churches. We must remember that there are visitors in our churches, hopefully, every Sabbath. And some of these people come in, their minds are tuned to the Lord, and we need to concentrate on Jesus and His sacrifice at this time of the year in order to win souls.
But as I said, my concern is not Christmas, but it is this. I remember one Christmas that I gave a Christmas sermon. I thought the Lord blessed, but some people told me afterwards that if I was ever preaching at Christmastime again they would never come to hear because I had mentioned Christmas. You cannot say that Christmas is a pagan name, it is a catholic name. Christ-mass, it is from the Catholics. It is not bad, it is just a catholic name and it is a pagan holiday. And to even recognize it, they feel, is the same as keeping Sunday. Well, I said, "What do you do with the statements of Ellen White?" "Well," they said, "Ellen White was wrong in these areas." Now, you see, this is where my concern is, not Christmas.
My concern is, who is right? My wisdom or the Lord's wisdom? Who can see what is a sign of a rebellion from the Lord and loyalty to God versus loyalty to God and rebellion? Where is the line drawn? Now, let me give you some examples. Even the most conscientious person who disagrees with Christmas is keeping all kinds of pagan holidays every week he is recognizing the pagan influence in society. Every time he uses the word Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, he is using pagan names. Every time he looks at his watch and tells the times, he is using a pagan method of marking the days. The very 24-hour time span of the day in two twelve-hour periods is straight from paganism. More than that, the keeping of the day from midnight to midnight is from paganism. When does the Bible say the day starts? Sundown to sundown.
Now what we as Christians have always done, in fact what the Bible writers did, when dealing with something that God had told us to do, we do it. But there are some things that God has not forbidden which we can fit into society that is not rebellious in nature. To keep Sunday is breaking the fourth Commandment and so that is going to be part of the mark of the beast. To keep a 24-hour clock is not necessarily pagan unless the Lord tells us that it is, you see. And so, usually, in dealing with civil matters, we use a civil clock, which is pagan.
When it comes to keeping the Sabbath what time clock do we use? Do we use the pagan's clock or God's clock? We use God's clock because we are dealing with holy time and God has to decide how His day is going to be kept. The months of the year, January, February, March and so on are all pagan. Every one of them are pagan names and even pagan days.
The reason we have 28 days in February is because Augustus Caesar took a day out of February and put it in August, which was named after him, who was a pagan God. And the Christians back in Augustus' day, they were not Christians yet then, but the true followers of the Lord, they lost their lives because they would not reverence the name of Augustus Caesar. And yet today, every time the month of August comes around we say his name, which people gave their lives for in years past. But you see, it had a certain significance back then which it does not have today. Isn't that right? And it is not something that is transgressing one of the laws of God.
So we come to Christmas and we have to say, you know, who decides whether this is an area that is transgression against the Lord or whether it is something that we can do with our family and receive a blessing from it? Well, I cannot decide. I could decide that on Sunday, but God says no, that Sunday is the mark of the beast. Keeping Sabbath is true allegiance to God. So God decides, you see. You see, we need balance and who is it that has to give us balance?
The Lord has to give us balance. None of us are very balanced to start with. And so we have to lay aside our ideas and accept the word of the Lord, but I want to tell you, once someone goes beyond what God says, it is harder for them to humble themselves and come back to simple allegiance than it is to convert a person right out of the world. Fanaticism is one of the hardest things in the world to cure because there is a sense of holiness, a sense of righteousness that puts them head and shoulders above the common, lukewarm, Laodicean Christian; and it is not easy to humble themselves and to let go of the fanatical idea. In fact, it is one of the hardest things in the world to do.
Now the problem is not Christmas. I do not care if anyone ever keeps Christmas or not. Except I do care whether they believe the Spirit of Prophecy or not. The problem is that one thing leads to another, to another, and to another. You do not think that the devil is going to stop on first base, do you? He is going to second base, third base, and then he is going to go all the way home. I have noticed that many people who get off on Christmas, very shortly, decide to get off on other areas. One of the ones that is surprising to me and is becoming popular is in the area of keeping the feast days. We do not have time to look at this in detail, but just in brief since there might be some here who might have questions on this, let's look over to Galatians because this is going around. You know there are a lot of people who are conservative and when somebody comes along who is also conservative and they begin to teach things, they just drink it in. I am surprised at how gullible liberal Adventists are and I am surprised at how gullible conservative Adventists are.
You know, many of us are conservative by nature rather than by Bible study. And if somebody comes along and he is calling for revival and reformation or whatever else they say, we believe it and accept it. And so somebody comes along teaching some new things on prophecy, some new feast days, some new teachings, and some new areas of how to be holy and be among the 144,000; we drink it right in because this comes from a conservative camp. I want to tell you, no one is getting to heaven because they are conservative anymore than because they are liberal. We are going to get to heaven because we have learned to trust the Lord, isn't that right? Not because we are disciples of this person or that person. God can keep us from being disciples of anybody, isn't that right? And let us start studying the Word until we understand what the Word says.
Now look with me at Galatians. In Galatians, Paul talks about Peter who came and the servants of James and they led them into areas of keeping feast days and circumcision. He talks in Galatians 3 about the Spirit versus the law and then he comes down to verse 19 and he says, "What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions. . ."
Now we should ask right here, was the Sabbath added because of transgression? When was the Sabbath given? The Sabbath was given before anyone had ever transgressed. Isn't that right? Way back in the Garden of Eden, before anyone had committed a single sin, the Sabbath was given. The Sabbath was not added. In fact, the Ten Commandments themselves make it crystal clear that the Sabbath was not added. What is the first word of the fourth commandment? Remember. It does not say, "I am giving you a new commandment." It says, remember. It is the only commandment that makes it crystal clear that this is not an addition, God is not adding.
What were some things that were added because of transgression? What about the animal sacrifices? Did Adam and Eve sacrifice any animals before they had sinned? What about circumcision? What about the whole earthly sanctuary ritual? It was all a part of the law of Moses that was given from Sinai. Now we still have the everlasting sanctuary and priesthood of Jesus and His sacrifice which was made once and for all. That is all part of the new covenant. But here we have the law that was given at Sinai as we can find in the next chapter and it says, "What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions. . ." And it was added until when? The Bible is specific, "till the Seed should come. . ."
Now some people have tried to interpret and write their own Bibles. And they have decided that all these ceremonies were added until the ceremonies were fulfilled. And so the Feast of Tabernacles, it is not fulfilled until the future, you see. Or the scapegoat being taken out into the wilderness, that is the millennium, so we have to carry on these feast days till they are fulfilled. But that is not what the Bible says, you see, that is their own Bible, but not what God's Bible says. This Bible says that all these things were added until they were fulfilled? No, till when? "Till the Seed should come. . ." Isn't that what your Bible says?
So there were certain things that were not yet fulfilled when Jesus died because the old covenant was the whole plan of salvation in miniature and not everything was fulfilled at the cross. Some things were fulfilled in 1844, some things are going to be fulfilled when we go to heaven during the millennium, some things are going to be fulfilled at the end of the millennium. Various things are fulfilled at different periods of time, but the ceremonies were only given until the Seed should come.
Now, "And it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator." Now, what are some of the things that were added? Look with me at chapter 4:9-11, "But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe," and notice what he is talking about, "days [the various daily ceremonies] and months and seasons [we have seasonal and monthly ceremonies] and years [the years, by the way, is the Jubilee]." We have the Jubilee, we have the Passover, we have the Day of Atonement, we have these various things that were added at Sinai or after the fall. He says, "I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain."
Now Paul is not saying, "Well, it's fine. Some of you keep the feast days, you that are really holy, the rest of you, it's not really necessary." He says, "I'm afraid of you who are keeping these feast days, lest I've labored for you in vain." Now he goes on in chapter 4:22 and onward. He talks about those who are holding on to the ceremonies given at Sinai and He compares them to Hagar and Ishmael; he says in verse 30, "Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman." And so Paul says we are not to allow those who continue to keep the feast days to be a part and parcel of God's holy church. By the way, that is cause for disfellowshipping according to Paul in Galatians. He says "Do not allow them to remain. Cast them out." What does it mean to cast out? This is a very serious thing in Paul's mind. It is total apostasy in the area of fanaticism.
Look what he says in the next chapter. He brings in circumcision now. Verse 1, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law."
Now what is the whole law? The whole law means animal sacrifices, an earthly priesthood. He said if you are going to keep the Day of Atonement, you have got to offer an animal sacrifice. That is the rest of the law. If you are going to keep the Passover, you have got to offer an animal sacrifice. If you are going to keep circumcision, you have got to offer an animal sacrifice. You have to keep the whole ceremonial law. You cannot pick and choose. And so he says you have got to keep the whole law. Now he says in verse 4, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace."
Now dear friends, do not think that this thing of going back and keeping the feast days is some new area of sanctification or some new light that has come into the church. It is total apostasy.
Now the devil, as we read, is going to bring in every form of fanaticism he can into the church. Another form of fanaticism that seems to be very closely related, in people's minds, to the feast days, it seems that those who go into the feast days often also go into this, and that is re-interpreting the prophecies. You see, if Ellen White had not yet advanced into her experience of sanctification or the area of the feast days, well then she did not advance very far in her understanding of prophecy either. And so, let us go beyond our pioneers in our ceremonies and let us go beyond them in our understanding of the closing events of earth's history.
Let me read you a couple of statements. Here is one I jotted down this morning found in Evangelism, 199, "The Lord wants all to understand His providential dealings now, just now, in the time in which we live. There must be no long discussions, presenting new theories in regard to the prophecies which God has already made plain." Say, would you like me to read that sentence again? "There must be no long discussions, presenting new theories in regard to the prophecies which God has already made plain. Now the great work from which the mind should not be diverted is the consideration of our personal safety in the sight of God. Are our feet on the rock of ages? Are we hiding ourselves in our only refuge? The storm is coming, relentless in its fury. Are we prepared to meet it?"
I want to tell you, according to the prophecies, one of the areas in which Satan is going to try to divert people from being ready for Jesus to come is in getting them into long discussions of new interpretations of prophecies which God has already explained.
I thought it was interesting that probably, the leading advocate of new interpretation from Alabama was recently joined in the campmeeting in Arkansas where they were keeping the feast days. Somehow the eyesight becomes blinded when we go beyond God's Word. You know, the Lord has made these things very, very plain.
My brother wrote out an article for our Steps to Life News Notes for March, 1990 in which he presents statement after statement from the Spirit of Prophecy on the dangers of re-interpreting prophecies, especially the 1260 days, the 1290 days, the 1335 days, the 2300 days, and beginning to apply these prophecies to the future. We get into areas of speculation and we begin to put our faith into the interpretation of these prophecies that are given by fallible men who are not being led by the Holy Spirit, but who claim to be leading the church into a higher path. But I want to tell you, it is not a higher path if we are going directly against the warnings of God.
I do not mean to step on any toes whatsoever, but I do mean to see some people saved. I never became a minister to become popular. We may have enemies on the right hand and on the left, but I want to, hopefully, help some people to be aware of the plain warnings that God has given to us. It is amazing to me how people can totally overlook the warnings of God and say, "Oh, this man is such a wonderful Christian," and I do not doubt that. I do not know people's personal experience. They may be closer to the kingdom of God than I am. I am not going to start trying to judge people.
I want to tell you, I am not going to put my soul's salvation and stake it on the fact that somebody is a Christian, therefore, I am not going to believe what they are saying. And people will come and say, "Oh, this man, he is doing this wonderful work and this wonderful work. And he helped me to see that the end is coming and he's helped me moved out of the city and this thing and that thing or another thing. Therefore, what he is saying about the prophecies must be true." What narrow reasoning! The Lord gives us warnings, those warnings are given in order to protect us from deceptions.
Well, let me read just one here. From Manuscript Release, 816. "It is not in the providence of God that any finite man shall, by any device or of symbols or of types," Now what is a device, symbol or type? That is a Jubilee, that is a sanctuary, that is these various things. "Shall by any device or of symbols or of types or with any definiteness, in regard to the very period of the Lord's coming."
Now what do these words mean? It is plain English, dear friends. With any definiteness in regard to the Lord's Second Coming. God means that if I come along and say, "I have some new wisdom and sometime around 1994 or 1992 or 1996 or 1989 or 1964 He is coming." Do not believe it!
Here in Review & Herald, October 9, 1894, "There is no command for anyone to search the Scriptures in order to ascertain, if possible, when probation will close. God has no such message for any mortal lips. He would have no mortal tongue declare that which He has hidden in His secret councils."
Well, there are many other statements. She says here, "Again and again. . . " that means over and over. Over and over again God kept telling her this because He saw there would be a need. The reason God gives warnings is because He sees there will be a need. "I have been warned in regard to time setting. There will never again be a message for the people of God that will be based on time." Selected Messages, book 1, 188
Never again will there be a message from God that is based on time. It amazes me how people can walk through these plain statements and come out as though they did not exist; to make them say something else.
"We are not to know the definite time, either for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or for the coming of Christ. The Lord showed me that the message must go and that it must not be hung on time, for time will never again be a test. We are not to live on time excitement. You will not be able to say," and listen to this, "you will not be able to say that He will come in one, two or five years." Ibid.
Now dear friend, 1994 is within five years of 1991, is it not? Now listen, either it is true or it is not true. The thing that I am concerned about is every area of fanaticism undermines the Spirit of Prophecy; that is my greatest concern. Now once you pull the pin out, you are like a ship without a rudder. All you have is your own human wisdom and your own human speculation to guide you. And that is where many people are today.
"You will not be able to say that He will come in one, two or five years. Neither are you to put off His coming by saying that it may not be for ten or twenty years."
I want to tell you, dear friends, we can see the signs that He is near, even at the door, but we cannot start using dates. We can see by all the signs that His coming is near, but we do not know the day or the hour of His coming.
Well, look at this *memory gem that I handed out. My time is up and I have not covered the most important thing that I wanted to cover yet. Maybe I will take ten minutes to look at one other thing. Look at the very first one from Great Controversy on the Spirit of Prophecy side. On our memory gems, as you know, we have Spirit of Prophecy on one side and Bible on the other.
"So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. . . ."None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict." The Great Controversy, 593, 594
I want to tell you, it is time that we are fortifying our minds. We are told that the deceptions are going to be so great that not a one of us is going to make it through unless we are fortifying our minds with God's word every day. There is a deception for me and there is one for you.
Look at the next one here. "As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error. We need to make every effort to keep the way of the Lord. We must in no case turn from His guidance to put our trust in man." Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 907
Listen to what it says. We must not put our trust in man! I do not care who it is. I could have won a thousand people to the Lord, or ten thousand or a hundred thousand. I can have been impressed by the Holy Spirit a hundred thousand people to be better dedicated to the Lord, but if I come along and start preaching a message of time, I am preaching a wrong message. It does not matter what I have done or what I stand for or how many good works I may claim to have accomplished or how much I may have been led by the Holy Spirit in the past. It does not matter. We must not put our trust in man.
"Those who are guided by the Word of the Lord will discern with certainty between falsehood and truth, between sin and righteousness." Ibid.
If the Lord has one message for us today, it is that we will begin to put more faith in Him and less in man. What do you say? I would like to look at one other thing. It is not one that can be done quickly, it should be done in an hour, but I would like to at least attempt to look at it in a few minutes because I will not have time to get back to this subject in this campmeeting and I do not know if anyone else will either.
One of the areas of fanaticism that plagued the early church back in Ellen White's day which she had to fight against especially in the early part of the church, but even on up into the 1890's and beyond was the area of false prophets. She warns about this fanaticism coming back into the church. Now take your Bibles out and let's practice using our Bibles and see how quickly we can turn to a few verses.
Turn with me to Joel 2:28-9. This is the verse that is used by most false prophets. In Joel we have a prophecy for the last days. It is a beautiful prophecy. And I am going to use this prophecy in a message that I am going to give on the sin of Meroz from a different context. But here it says, "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those day."
So you see, we are told, it is not just Ellen White, she is only one of many. There are going to be menservants and maidservants, young men and young women, that means there has got to be more than one. And so Ellen White was one, yes, but now we have many more.
Oh, I tell you, that is a clever deception, a really clever deception. Part of that deception comes from our lack of understanding and knowledge of the Bible. That is where most deceptions come from because somebody has not studied the Bible and there is an area in our church, that I am sad to say, that we have undermined, that we have not realized or appreciated, and that is the gift of prophecy within this church. We have just scratched the surface. We do not understand the gift of prophecy in this church by and large. We do not have time to look up all the verses so I am going to try to refer to some verses and hopefully we can remember them in our minds.
Let's turn our minds to 1 Corinthians 12:28 that, "God has appointed these in the church. . ."
One of the gifts that God has placed in the church is the gift of prophecy. Now let me ask you, what order or what place of importance did the gift of prophecy have in the church when Paul gave the various gifts that God was giving in His church? Number 2, isn't that interesting? It is not the greatest gift, it is not the highest gift. He said there is something else that was higher and what was that? The gift of apostleship.
Now the word apostle may not have been the best term. Actually, most of the places in the Bible, the Bible does not give a term to this gift that is greater than that of a prophet. But throughout the Bible there has always been a gift that is greater than that of being a prophet; always, from beginning to end, in the Bible. Now the word apostleship can refer, in a loose sense, to people who are doing apostolic work just like all of us who have an Elijah message, although we are not Elijah prophets. But using it in the sense that Paul uses it there, in Acts 12, there were many prophets, but only a few apostles. Phillip had four daughters in Acts 21; Aggabus and many others were prophets and in the church of Antioch and Syria there were about five or six prophets that the Bible talks about, but there were only a few apostles. A few apostles although there were many prophets.
Now what was the difference? By the way, let's look in the Bible. Do you know anyone besides Paul and the disciples, who had a gift that was beyond that of being a prophet? Anyone in the New Testament? John the Baptist. Jesus said in Matthew 11:7, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? . . A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. . . .Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist."
What did He call John the Baptist later in Matthew 17? He was what? He was who that was to come? The Elijah that was to come. An Elijah prophet is one who is a prophet, but more than a prophet. It is one who has a gift that goes far beyond that of simply being a prophet.
Now in the Old Testament we have several people who were more than prophets. Turn with me to one in Numbers 12. This is a very interesting account. We will need to look at this. It is so interesting that we will need to read it for ourselves. Because here we have both prophets and those who were more than a prophet. It says, "Then Miriam. . . " What was Miriam? She was a prophetess. We know that from Exodus 15. Miriam was, according to the Bible, not a false prophet--and there were plenty of those--she was indeed, a true prophet. Miriam and Aaron became jealous of Moses. Now they found some nit-picky stuff to complain about like his wife, but they were really jealous of Moses.
Look with me in verse 2, "And they said, 'Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses?" That is what people are saying about Ellen White. "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Ellen White? Why He has spoken through me, too. I am a prophet, too, and the Bible says there are going to be lots of prophets before Jesus comes. Listen to me. Listen to my tapes. Don't just listen to Ellen White. I sound just like her. In fact, I'm lifting her up."
Miriam came along and said, "Listen, has the Lord only spoken through Moses? I'm a prophet. I receive visions and dreams. Has He spoken through me, too? Has He not also spoken through us?" You see the Lord had spoken through both Aaron and Miriam. And the Lord heard it and what did He say in verses 6-8, "Then He said, 'Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision, and I speak to him in a dream."
It amazes me how many people today are coming along claiming to be prophets and we do not require any tests of visions. Why not? Even a simple prophet should have visions and dreams that come to pass and that are true. But notice this, that is a prophet. "Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face. . ."
Now that is not a sign of apostleship. Not every apostle spoke to God face to face like Moses. John the Baptist never went up to Mount Sinai and yet was Moses greater than John the Baptist? What did Jesus say? We know, because Jesus said. What did Jesus say when He compared John the Baptist to Moses and others? Jesus said, "There has not risen one greater than John the Baptist." That included Moses, Elijah, Noah, and all the rest. So he was no greater than John the Baptist, but they were the same.
Now Jesus did not say that John the Baptist was the greatest. He said none were greater because John the Baptist had the highest gift that God has given to the church and you cannot get beyond number one. You can get beyond number two.
He says that Moses is not simply a prophet, he is greater than a prophet. And it says in verses 9 and 10, "So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper."
Now God's attitude toward a true prophet who compared herself to someone who was more than a prophet was to strike her with leprosy and she became, "leprous, as white as snow." Now if that is true with a true prophet, what about with a false prophet? But here was a true, bonafide prophet, according to the Bible that God had spoken to in dreams and visions and yet, when she compared herself to Moses, God said she had gone too far. She became leprous.
Now while we have that the Bible says there will be people who will have dreams and visions before Jesus comes, I would like to look at another text of what Jesus says about those who are more than prophets. Look with me in Malachi 4:5 at a prophecy of the last days. And this says, "Behold, I will send you Elijah. . ." Now does it say Elijahs or Elijah? Elijah. There is nothing here about a plurality Elijah. "Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord."
This is the Second Coming. The great and dreadful day of the Lord is the Second Coming of Jesus. And the Bible says that God will send us Elijah the prophet. Now do you know what Ellen White says about her ministry? Let me read a couple of statements here in brief. She says in Selected Messages, vol.1, 32-4, ". . .I did not claim to be a prophet. . .
"I have had no claims to make, only that I am instructed that I am the Lord's messenger; that He called me in my youth to be His messenger, to receive His word, and to give a clear and decided message in the name of the Lord Jesus.
"Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?--Because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word 'prophet' signifies." Not just more, but much more. Now you have to either accept it or reject it. But if you accept Ellen White, you are accepting her as not simply a prophet, but as someone who is much more than a prophet.
Listen, dear friends, in the New Testament, the apostles had a world-wide message and they led out in a world-wide movement, but God sent prophets.
Now did you know that in our early church we had many, many people who had dreams and visions from the Lord? In the New Testament they would be prophets. They did not claim to be prophets because they did not want to detract from Ellen White's ministry. And because the word prophet, as Ellen White said, had fallen into reproach because people had falsely used it. And so they made no claims. Joseph Bates had dreams from the Lord. We know they were from the Lord. William Miller had dreams from the Lord. Ellen White says he did. In the New Testament sense they would be prophets.
James White, on various occasions, had dreams from the Lord. Many, many other pioneers had dreams from the Lord. If we had time, we could look at the stories of these various dreams for local situations and local times. But they did not write out their messages for the world-wide church. That was the work of the apostles. The Lord saved them from losing money at times. The Lord directed them to a place where people were waiting to be saved. And these people had the same experience as in the New Testament, as the people up in the church of Antioch had.
I believe that before Jesus comes the second time and the church is once again pure, that there will be times when God gives people dreams and visions saying, "There is someone over here that wants to receive the truth and you need to go see him." Don't you think so? Or, "Your money is going to be lost that has been devoted to the Lord's work. Get it out and put it over here or here." I believe that the Lord will protect His people. I do not, dear friends, find any indication in the Bible that God is going to raise up another Elijah to compare with Ellen White, that is going to come on with another world-wide message? Do you find that in the Bible?
Now you know, this prophetess, one of many, many, the one who is probably making the most headway today is the one in France. Not only do her messages not line up with Ellen White--although for some reason people think they do--but people tell me, "But she is only leading me to the true prophet and she sounds the same." But when I ask them, while they are listening to her ten or twelve tapes, what they could have been doing, they could be listening to the tapes of the Desire of Ages or Sanctified Life or reading the Testimonies to the Church. You know what is happening when they are listening to those tapes? When they are listening to that material they are not reading this material, isn't that right? And it is a diversion. Now if it were true, that would be one thing. But a diversion that is not true that is exactly what Satan wants to do.
God has warned us in the last days that there would be a great time of lukewarmness in the church. A great time of apostasy on the one hand, but on the other hand there would be all kinds of fanaticism that would come into the church to confuse us. In fact, what was that quote again from Selected Messages, vol. 2, 14, "Every phase of fanaticism and erroneous theories. . .will be brought in among the remnant people of God."
I believe that we need to pay attention to these warnings that God has given us, don't you? I would encourage you to take this memory gem card and memorize these Spirit of Prophecy quotations and these Bible verses. This is the memory gem that really needs to be memorized, one of the most important we have put out.
*Below is STL Memory Gem #21B:
"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." Colossians 2:8-10
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings." 2 Timothy 2:15
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. . . . that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting." Ephesians 4:11
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." Hosea 4:6
"So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. . . . None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict." The Great Controversy, 593,594
"As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error. We need to make every effort to keep the way of the Lord. We must in no case turn from His guidance to put our trust in man. . . . Those who are guided by the Word of the Lord will discern with certainty between falsehood and truth, between sin and righteousness." Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 907
"These testimonies which you have professed to believe were from God, you have not regarded to live them out. To disregard light is to reject it." Testimonies to the Church, vol. 2, 93
Dear friends, it is time we become so rooted that we are not swept off our feet with every tantalizing teaching that comes along. What do you say? May the Lord help us to pay attention to His Word when He says that, "None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict." The Great Controversy, 593,594