STUNNED

STUNNED

by A Mother in Israel | 24 Jun 2015

As I awakened to the reality that my beloved congregation of believers had suddenly changed the “ground rules” of Biblical interpretation in order to accommodate an otherwise non-biblical position, I was stunned. After the initial shock leveled off, I remembered an invitation made by my God in Isaiah. Though this has to do with being cleansed from sin, the principle is the same: “Come let us reason together.” So, Lets take up the request of a true Gentleman

Much of His message to His children is represented by one of these promises:

  • For God so loved the World that He Gave…..John 3:16 & 17
  • Not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Pet. 3:9
  • I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. Heb. 13:8
  • I cannot lie, I tell you the truth. Titus 1:2 Jn. 8:45, Jn. 16:7
  • I tell you before it comes to pass so that when it happens you may believe Jn. 14:29
  • I do nothing except I reveal it to my prophets Amos 3:7
  • God’s First Coming Prepared for by John the Baptist who wrote nothing in the Bible yet accepting or not accepting his message was a mater of life & death. Lk. 7:30 “Counsel of God”
  • God’s Second Coming, God again gives a prophet to prepare a people to meet their God. Writings not part of Scripture but just like before, if we have access and opportunity, we must accept to have salvation. [AAA Trip Tic][1] 12:17, 19:10

The Extraordinary Way God Gave Us His Word

The Gospel is quite well summed up in the Books of Daniel and Revelation. If so, why all the rest of the books? The “Torah”[2] which contains the first 5 books of the Bible written by Moses, gives us the heartwarming story of a God who loves and cares. It tells us how He takes us, His people, out of bondage to sin, sets us free, and the struggle He, as our Heavenly Father has, keeping us on the straight and narrow—the way of Salvation. It starts with one of the most important Eternal Truths that He is God and there is no other,[3] [ Is. 46:9]and we are His beloved children, created by His own hand, and placed into a world He Created just for our enjoyment. It gives us the Beautiful Sand Box Illustration[4] of How Our God meets the greatest dilemma ever to raise its ugly head—sin. Because He has great enmity (hate) against sin; but so loves the sinner that He Gave His Only Begotten Son to redeem us, He must remove sin from us so he can save the sinner but destroy the sin and the originator of it—the serpent, devil, the father of lies; previously known as Lucifer, son of the morning, the covering cherub. This Sanctuary Message of Grace is a very important component of the truths that make up the Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs.[5]

This is not all. God in His infinite wisdom prepared for us a Bible that was to be “Tamper Safe” [6] The uniqueness of its origins as a complete work of God is quite astounding. But the way God set it up so that all truths necessary for our salvation are contained in the Scriptures, and Scriptures alone makes it a work that is complete in itself. This has been the trademark of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We accept that All Scripture is given us by Inspiration[7] and that it reveals all truths within itself. Marvelous! This means that no one but God Himself is the Definer of Truth[8] through His Word—the Bible! Yes, I was stunned, very stunned. As I pondered these things, an honest question begged to be asked: Is it possible that many people have risen up, banded together under the banner of Academic Privilege, to claim superior wisdom to God? Is that possible?

A Personal Life Experience

I was twelve years old when a Catholic friend slyly commented that the only reason I was Seventh-day Adventist was because I was raised one. Rather than engage in what I thought would be a pointless discussion, I quite tersely retorted “And you? I suppose you really studied the Bible and decided that you wanted to be Catholic?!”

That verbal discussion between us was quickly forgotten, but the exchange in my head had a very real impact. Though born into a home where Adventist leadership was always present, I had many times wondered if the friend’s statement might be applicable. Was I an Adventist because it was conveniently the way I was raised? And if so, was that good enough? For five years I struggled with that question though never voicing to anyone my concerns. I just listened to every sermon, every Bible class, every evangelistic meeting with a different focus than before. Sadly, by the time I was 17 I had decided that if there was a God, the only theory or belief system that made sense was the SDA Advent Message.[9] But, I also concluded that there were few, too few who were truly happy with this way of life. The range of their experiences spanned from pure to many shades of grey—even quite dark and seemingly quite perverted.

Fortunately, I had heard the wonderful plan of Salvation repeated many times. Even as a child of six, that story had made my heart warm and happy. With the more academic approach, it only became clearer and clearer to me that there was only one way to live life that could result in a “forever life” that would be or could be ultimately happy, peaceful, and fulfilling. That life was governed by two great principles: Complete love for God and unselfish love for my neighbor and myself—including strangers and enemies. No matter how I made my way down the various paths of the great belief systems[10] the world over, I always came back to this Eternal Fact. If there was any truth to any of it, there had to be only one way.

Later I knew that ‘One’ way as the only way out! He who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life was that Way. That has been settled in my heart and mind for many years now. But very recently I wondered, “How would my conclusions have faired had I applied this new PBHC* hermeneutic theory of arriving at truth?” Let’s see. (*Principle-Based Historical-Cultural method) I will give just one example.

During my investigational period, I had set up one very hard fast rule for my own behavior. It went something like this. I was a loving, kind, thoughtful individual. Therefore it would be unthinkable for me to ever do anything that could potentially hurt another human being. This meant that if someone was not already doing something that might be deemed questionable, I would not tempt or in any way try to influence that person to do it. Sounded good enough to me. But as the years wore on, I realized that I was myself doing things that I would never have believed myself capable of doing say nothing of what I was exposing others around me to.

One day a friend offered to give me a ride home, which I readily accepted. The wheels had not rolled very far when I realized this was not just a friendly lift. It was a ‘lift with a definite purpose’ and that purpose was to give me a good scolding for really hurting a mutual friend. First of all, I was unaware that I had hurt them; secondly, the ‘friend’ speaking was quite a ‘character’ themselves; so why the blistering rebuke? Then it hit me. They expected better of me. I had failed them. I had hurt them—something I had vowed never to do. I also had failed myself. I was changing imperceptibly. I realized that without an absolute concrete measure, I had no measure. I was aware of God’s wish for my life, those beautiful standards he wanted me to live by. Though very successful academically and musically, there were things missing in my life that I thought I could fulfill better in ways contrary to ways of integrity and loyalty to God. In fact, up this point, I was so desirous of ‘other things’ that I was not even thinking that He might have a better plan. I was unawares that I was confused and even drunk with desire and covetousness. To be sure, there were moments I knew I was a bit ‘foggy’ but seemed helpless to rectify my situation. Might this be what is happening in our church—my church?

Diversional Messages Past

There have been many individuals who have chipped away at the Scriptures and Truths they contain and their names do not warrant being in print for the sad plight of those who have been caught in their web. I do not doubt that they started out sincerely enough. Sincerity does not seem sufficient to guard against wayward thinking and diversional theology. Unwilling to submit themselves to the Biblical teachings and the process outlined in the Scriptures for dealing with “new light”, they made shipwreck.

There are still chisels and chiselers at work. Interestingly, some of the last attempts at reorganizing God’s message and Church have gone by nearly without alarm or incident. They still teach at our Universities their spurious theories. Their books are still available through our Adventist Book Centers—I suppose under the guise of freedom of speech. Where are the men of courage or are we taking the position that the “Wheat” and the “Tares” must grow together until the “Harvest”. We know that God allows apostasy to try the hearts of His people, but I wonder; do we as a people need to allow it to be taught to our young people at our College campuses? Have the Watchmen on the walls of Zion fallen asleep or perhaps they themselves have been anesthetized with the “wine of new theology”; or yet maybe God’s spirit is quieting the watchmen because this is the ‘perpetrators’ tree of knowledge of good and evil.

I do not question the intentions of any of those that differ from the belief system I hold dear, for many I call my brother, my sister in loyal friendship. That does not mean I am going to be disloyal to my deepest and most ardent friend Jesus, the Christ. I try to see things through the eyes of my friends and then I ask the Lord to show me things through His eyes. When I view things through these two visions, I have questions on the first view, but the second view I am always reminded that we have been here before. Yes, God has made His will known more than once before. Am I expecting His counsel to change? Having said that, I wonder how it is that so many, on the very banks of Canaan are bringing up again, just as Israel of old, the very same issues of who is chosen to represent God in the holy work of Pastoral Ministry?

When I heard there was going to be a study group formed to study this from Scripture. I was very happy. I honestly wanted to know how these folks who seem obsessed with making sure that women are put on the same level as men in Pastoral Ministry, get their authority from Scripture. I wanted to know if I had missed something that they believed to be so obvious. But as those perhaps not so eloquent and wise spoke on the issue, they repeatedly misused the Word of God. In fact it was odiously apparent they were unlearned in the Scriptures. One of the things we try to instill in students is that much of the New Testament writers quoted from the Old Testament and they should study both the Old and New Testament passages quoted to really understand what the New Testament writer is trying to convey. This is really quite basic hermeneutics. How shocking it has been to watch this parade of what appears to be scripturally ignorant speakers, writers, and leaders. And to now find a whole group of leaders—very learned in the art of hermeneutics—now present not a Biblically based argument, but an argument which takes some very dear and wonderful truths and distort them in a miasma of culturally sensitive gobbledegook. Now, we are to believe that our compass somehow is governed or at least influenced by Culture. How in the world did we get from “the Bible and the Bible only” to this? Where have we been mentally, emotionally, spiritually, that we cannot discern that Culture has no compass. It grows out of a society that daily does what feels good: Not what is scripturally based, Christ like living. Have we gotten so “drunk on our own ideas” that we cannot comprehend this fact?

One of the things that makes otherwise logical, wise men and/or women drunk, is wanting something so badly that we will practically do anything to get it. We often start this type of “drunkenness” very early in life when it comes to choosing a very special friend. Scripture gives us other insights into how this happened in Israel of Old. We are told that these things were written for our admonition. Perhaps we consider ourselves too advanced to listen to the counsel and history past. Yet I hear ringing in my ears: ”We have nothing to fear for the future except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us and His teaching in our past history.” TM 31 “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana Let us look at some of the Biblical examples.

[Before we go there, I want to express my deepest belief that God is love, gracious, and so long suffering. But He is also All Wise. He knows what really matters in the scheme of time and with that knowledge tries to make things very clear where we should stand on these issues. So, when it is all over and time shall be no more, we may all be there on the sea of glass. Then we can ask the questions that still matter to us and He will tenderly and patiently answer why it needed to be a certain way. To you and me, from a surface reading, it would seem that many of the responses of God to our fore fathers, may at best, be overstated. But He knows best!! He is God! I believe that means He knows better than I do how to get the results of giving us back a world free from the possibility of sin erupting again. I can test him in my own life, but I can never put Him in a test tube. Not in this life do we have the capacity to understand the mysteries of Godliness. Though it is fun to try—we must keep this truth in perspective. He is God (Infinite) and I am His beloved, yet clearly created, child (finite).

A Few Biblical and Current Examples

Merriam: Who do you think you are Moses? Don’t forget I changed your diapers. You are not the only one holy around here.—She was struck with Leprosy

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram: We want to be included in the ministry of the tabernacle. You are not more special than we. Give up a little. Play fare.—The ground opened up and swallowed them, their families, and all that pertained to them.

Samson: So loved his woman, Delilah that he did that which was wrong to please her. Many of our leaders are encouraged by, and want to encourage spouses, by giving them the same advantages as men in this area. At one point they might have been clear on the issue but as they encourage their wives in their “ministries” they have become confused how to rightly divide the word of truth. All worker spouses should have their own ministry. I truly believe that and train to this end and act on that belief. But representing in a formalized way the Great Shepherd in Pastoral Ministry seems clearly a work for the male gender on many levels.

And Us? We have been so anxious to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ appealing to others, that we imperceptively lower one standard after another. We alter the tenants of our Faith to meet them where they are. Only Jesus knows how to truly meet them where they are and not lose His own identity as God. Ours is to love them where they are so that they cannot resist the Christ that made us what we are.

It certainly appears that it was this desire to make religion palatable that motivated the Christians of the 3rd, 4th, & 5th Centuries to accommodate many pagan practices. But these accommodations paved the way for one of the most apostate religions to be formalized. Are we doing the same thing?

A Biblical Lesson in Human Nature

There are a number of stories that could be told that show in a very marked manner, how human nature can bring an otherwise good man to the depths of despair. But in my mind, the story most poignant is the fall of Balaam. Considering the warnings in Scripture[11] regarding Balaam, it would seem God is even more concerned than I. We find the story in Numbers chapters 22-25.

Balaam had been a true prophet of God. His fame had gone out throughout the regions around Moab. It is obvious that God had talked to Balaam before. There had been a relationship there that was recognized by the pagan king of Moab, Balak. The king declares: “He whom thou blesses is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.”

It is no wonder when Israel came and camped on the borders of Moab, that Balak became very nervous. He had heard of the victories of the Israelites and their God in overthrowing the armies of Egypt, as well as the more recent conquests. This was not a situation to be ignored. As Balak remembers Balaam, the prophet of the Most High God, hope is kindled. Not knowing much about the ways of God but very steeped in witchcraft, magic, as well as bewitching licentiousness, he believed that the prophet could cause his tormentors to be overthrown.

Balak sends for Balaam. His message is strong and urgent: “Behold there is a people come out from Egypt: behold they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land…. [Num. 22:6]

“So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.” [vs 7]

The Prophet of God showed kindness towards these messengers and invited them to spend the night with him. He knew enough about Israel that he immediately perceived he should have nothing to do with this plot. But his pride had been massaged by the words of the king and he thought this might be an offer that would place him in a better position. It would seem that Balaam was pondering too long what to do so God initiated the discussion.

“. . . Balaam, What men are these with thee?” [Num. 22:9] This was a very kind rebuke; If you know it is wrong, then why are you entertaining them?

Balaam ‘explains’ to God the urgency of this matter [verses 10 & 11]

God’s response? “Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they [are] blessed.” [verse 12

“Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you.” [verse 13]

This sounds very much like a child telling his buddies, “I want to, but my Daddy won’t let me.” I do not know if the delegation also felt this but when they returned to Balak, he became even more insistent and magnified the odds. With the increased offer, the Princes returned to Balaam and said: “thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.” [vrs. 16,17]

Balaam takes note of these new ground rules and actually presumes to name his price.

[verse 18,19] “And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God to do less or more. Now therefore, I pray you tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more.”

How very sad. God had already stated emphatically “Thou shalt not go with them.” But many times we hear that first voice very clearly but we do not like the message so we reveal what is in the heart by asking again. Balaam asked again. Notice God’s answer.

“. . . God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” [vs. 20]

With a quick read, it would seem that God was giving him license to follow his inclinations. But on closer observation and further reading, we find that God again had given implicit instruction: If the men come to call for thee, then you can go with them. Apparently the delegation felt that the prophet was putting them off, so decided not to call back for him. Balaam wakes up and finds the men gone. So anxious to take advantage of the perceived window of opportunity God had given him, he quickly saddled his ass, took his two servants, and went after them. We know that because when the ass sees the Angel, Balaam had not yet caught up with the group from Midian.

“God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. 23And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. 24But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. 25And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again. 26And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.”

28 “And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? 29And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 30And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.”

Picture this. A grown man so angry: Why? Because he is in a hurry to catch up to the Princes of Moab so he does not lose his opportunity to get the rewards. But this is no ordinary anger. He is so angry he is talking to his ass. This is not just muttering under his breath—this is a full-blown conversation—with his ass. I would call that seriously drunk with anger and greed!

“Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. 32And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: 33And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.”

Here is an angel with a flaming sword. Considering the circumstances, to any reasonable person, this cannot look good. The message is even stronger: “Your ways are Perverse” [1. inexplicably irrational 2. stubbornly unreasonable ] Another way to say this might be: You are out of your mind!! Drunk—nearly dead drunk. But the story has just begun.

34 “And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.

Really Balaam? You can really ask if the Angel of the Lord is “displeased”?

  • Do not go with them
  • If they call you
  • If the Ass had not responded to my presence and turned away, I would have killed you and saved her alive
  • Your way is perverse
  • And you can ask if I am displeased?

There is no question that Balaam wants, more than life itself, to be honored, bestowed upon with wealth of reputation, favor, position. Such is the wine of greed. Regardless of the clarity of God’s message, it is still in the heart to go after his own way. His wish is granted. Not because it is best, but compliance cannot be forced: Otherwise, it is not compliance at all.

35And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

Now this part of the story is evidence enough what human nature will do to achieve a coveted goal. But there is much more to learn.

Balaam arrives in Moab to a hero’s welcome. Just the thought of the victory his magic will do makes him already a hero. But the job is not yet done. Balaam must keep his spiritual façade so reminds all that he can only say what God tells him to, just in case he cannot twist God’s arm a little more. But he ads insult to injury: He instructs the King to build 7 altars ( God’s number of perfection) to sacrifice 7 oxen and 7 rams, presumably to the same God as the Israelite’s. What lengths the human heart will go to prove oneself righteous and in line for the blessing requested.

Almost without fail, the demise of a spiritual person starts out first with little white lies. Maybe not even spoken but just implied. One has to lie, at least to themselves, in order to countenance their own waywardness. They also often become more religious/spiritual, getting more involved in church or in speaking more often of God. His praises are often on their lips to hide the real intentions both to themselves and others. Under this sense of spiritual superiority, they travel headlong more deeply into sin. There is more praying and more visible indicators of deeper commitment. One becomes more zealous. Obviously, not all who become more religious are hiding something. That is the point. For every truth, there is a counterfeit. How do you question ones religiosity? To even intimate that there might be a problem usually solicits a quite strong reaction of denial. Reaction to such questioning is often surprise and shock—how could you think something like that of me? Sadly, Balaam played well this counterfeit

The “prophet” makes his sacrifices and then with a show of piety, goes a ways off to talk to God to see what He will say. He comes back, opens his mouth, and proclaims a blessing. His excuse? I told you I could only say what God permits. If he had honestly believed that, he would not have placed himself in this very awkward position. God had already made it plain—there was not going to be any cursing Israel!

The King is getting uneasy and a bit impatient. He thinks that perhaps Balaam was overwhelmed by the beauty of the scene before him with the camp of Israel so very well organized. So the King suggests another site that might be more conducive to the results they both wanted but only the King could voice. The show must go on. Seven more altars, seven more sacrifices, with the same results. But this time God states why He will not curse His people.

By this time the King is getting worried that Balaam may not come through for him.. It is obvious that he is getting more agitated and nervous. So a last ditch effort is made. Seven altars are built, and seven sacrifices are made. The resulting added blessings sends the King over the edge.

Get you home, he exclaimed. I planned to make you someone important but your God has stood in your way. Get on home. Please get out of my face!

The humiliation proves too much for Balaam and as he is stewing over his defeat, he remembers something that God had said. As long as Israel was living right, God could and would protect them. His avaricious mind concocts a plan and he hurries back to Balak.

The suggestion: Send Midianitish women into the camp to show themselves friendly. A grand cultural festival, honoring their gods is quickly prepared and Balaam, himself—posing as a prophet of God—induces the elders of Israel to attend. His rationale: Reach out to your neighbors—after all, they are related to you. Don’t you think God would want you to show them kindness?

Remember, Balaam is now fiendishly plotting the overturn of God’s people, so with what craftiness he employs his arts of deception. A little wine, a little music, beautiful women dancing, others explaining their culture, until the senses become clouded, passions grow, inhibitions diminish, lines are crossed and it seems so natural to return the favors. Elders of Israel bring the ladies back to their tents in broad daylight—nothing to hide! And God says: Enough already! Weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Thousands lost their lives. The remnants of those still living, who were present during the first attempt to enter Canaan 40 years earlier perished, except Caleb and Joshua—the loyal spies. This would indicate strongly that even the mercy of God allowing them 40 years to overcome the defects of character that placed them on the side of disbelief, was not sufficient in the power of God to give them victory. Something was still missing—the choice had to be made. Only one hundred percent on the side of the only true God, regardless of what was around them, could be sufficient to save them.

Are There Lessons to be Learned?

These things were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the earth are come. Is that us? If so, what might we learn?

“There are thousands at the present day who are pursuing a similar course. They would have no difficulty in understanding their duty if it were in harmony with their inclinations. It is plainly set before them in the Bible or is clearly indicated by circumstances and reason. But because these evidences are contrary to their desires and inclinations they frequently set them aside and presume to go to God to learn their duty. With great apparent conscientiousness they pray long and earnestly for light. But God will not be trifled with. He often permits such persons to follow their own desires and to suffer the consequences. “My people would not hearken to My voice. . . . So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Psalms 81:11,12”

As I have been following the efforts of the North American Division, Australia, and a number of countries in Europe to pave the way for women ordination to Pastoral Ministries, I am saddened at the lack of integrity. Even if the proponents really believed that there was Biblical rationale for such a move, they certainly can see that the way they have defied the voice of the people of God in full session twice, and the General Conference Leader even to his face, gives evidence that the spirit is something other than the Spirit of God. Because we believe we are right does not give us the right to a wrong spirit. The fruit of this movement is enough to disqualify it from our boardrooms and certainly from our churches. Say nothing of the fact that to go the way of the ‘new’ hermeneutics is so contrary to ‘Sola scriptura’ and the ‘writings of the modern prophet’, that one has to dismiss the authority of both in order to promote this new light. One cannot have it both ways. It is either one or the other. No man, or group of men, are sufficient in intellect to ‘figure out’ what is inspired or not. That is precisely why God prepared a Bible that needs no “outside” (the Holy Spirit is God as well) illumination.

So what now? Balaam appealed to God once. He was told “No”. These church divisions appealed to the “voice of God” once. The “voice” said no. Balaam went to God with great religious exercise again. God said No. The few divisions again appealed to the ‘Voice’ of God and again the answer was no. Balaam thought surely the third time would be a charm. Again the Lord said No. The brethren, rather than get another ‘no’ answer thought it wiser to present it to the 13 divisions and see how they would vote: The answer came back four ‘yes’, nine ‘no’ so it was not presented to the floor at the 2010 General Conference.

So what did the prophet do? Allied himself with the King of Moab to come up with a plan to entrap Israel and cause them to fall out of favor with God. So is that where the similarities end? The answer to that question definitely lies with the understanding each side has. I have personally been bruised by the attitudes on both sides but more by the lack of honesty. The four divisions are already claiming victory and putting the word out there that the study has been done and the count is being taken. That just is not completely true! It is misleading. It is a false media blitz. Give the people the facts. God’s true believers will find a voice. The rest will find their excuse, and if the past is any indication, will go the way of their heart’s lust. The thought hurts to the depth of my soul. Could we lose thousands, maybe even millions?

Yes, study has been done—but not of the word of God alone. The wonderful passages of scripture that call God’s people to ministry are being laced with the cyanide of Babylon—friendship with mammon, culture, traditions, academic privilege, and now the laws of the land. That is an impressive “plan”. The odds have been stacked up against God’s people before. The Infinite God knows the right way to respond. Again, He will do what is best!

My only fear is that this decision will come after all cases have been eternally decided.

Where do we go from here?

  1. Be like the noble Bereans who studied the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
  2. Pray for a love of the truth 2 Thes. 2:10 (…perished, because they received not the love of the truth
  3. Speak only the truth Eph. 4:13
  4. Be counted on the Lord’s side Can’t serve two masters 6:24; Josh. 24:15
  5. Be like Christ—Behold Him and Claim His promises 2 Pet. 1:4

Only One Pattern

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Jesus was a perfect pattern of what we should be. He was the strictest observer of His Father’s law, yet He moved in perfect freedom. He had all the fervor of the enthusiast, yet He was calm, sober, and self-possessed. He was elevated above the common affairs of the world, yet He did not exclude Himself from society. He dined with publicans and sinners, played with little children, and took them in His arms and blessed them. He graced the wedding feast with His presence. He shed tears at the grave of Lazarus. He was a lover of the beautiful in nature and used the lilies to illustrate the value of natural simplicity in the sight of God, above artificial display. He used the occupation of the husbandman to illustrate the most sublime truths. . . .

His zeal never degenerated into passion nor His consistency into selfish obstinacy. His benevolence never savored of weakness nor His sympathy of sentimentalism. He combined the innocence and simplicity of the child with manly strength, all-absorbing devotion to God with tender love for man. He possessed commanding dignity combined with winning grace of humility. He manifested unyielding firmness with gentleness. May we live daily in close connection with this perfect, faultless character.

We have not six patterns to follow, nor five; we have only one, and that is Christ Jesus.

Heavenly Places p.54

References

[1]AAA Trip Tic.—a service of the AAA Auto Insurance company that gives detailed , page by page, information regarding a trip by road. It takes anywhere from 20 miles to 200 miles on a map and shows where the rest stops are, service stations, construction, and used to warn of extreme police vigilance/ or out of town traps. It simply enlarges what is already on the map, so it is easy to follow the instructions and arrive safely. This is a good illustration what the writings of Ellen G. White are to the Bible: Inspired but subject to the acid test of the Bible to prove the authenticity as a prophet. All her writings must fit within the framework of the Bible. Just as the trip tic is a magnification of a small portion of a larger map, so EGW is a magnification of portions of the Bible so we can see it better and understand it more thoroughly.

[2] Torah—the first 5 books of the Bible commonly thought of as the Jewish Holy Book. They include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, all written by Moses. Moses was born of Jewish parents, raised in the Palace of an Egyptian King by the Kings daughter, and when he was 40, he tried to intervene for his people and ended up running for his life to the wilderness where he met a man who was a Priest of the true God, married his daughter and when he was 80 years old was called of God to free His people from Egyptian bondage. He was used by God to arrange for the release of the Jews and led them to Canaan. The Torah also contains the 10 Commandments written on 2 tablets of stone by God’s own finger.

[3] He is God and there is no other. These statements by God help us to understand that as the Creator God, He claims his creation as His own possession, to love, guide, protect, and foster their happiness. Since nothing exists outside of His creation, it would seem very reasonable that He would have a very vested interest in us.

[4] Sand Box Illustration—God had Moses make Him a sanctuary after the “pattern shown” him of the Heavenly Tabernacle made without hands. His purpose for making this sanctuary: “that I may dwell among you”. Since the separation that sin brought between our Maker and, us God’s interest has always been to be as close to us as sin will allow. So he sought ways to do this from the very beginning.

[5] SDA Fundamental Beliefs: 28 Fundamental Beliefs. Link: www.adventist.org/fileadmin/adventist.org/files/articles/official-statements/28Beliefs-English.pdf

[6] Tamper Safe– It was God’s design to give to His Children a manual on how to live, learn, relate, to Him and to the world around us. That manual was a complete work after the last writer, John the Beloved, finished the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. The total volume includes 66 books (39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament) written over a period of 1500 years starting with Moses about 1400 years before Christ and John writing the last book about AD90. The Old Testament was the Bible that Jesus had and quoted from extensively. He also used this to explain to His disciples the prophecies beginning with Moses regarding His own life, going through the Prophets including Daniel and Psalms establishing the veracity of His life, death, and resurrection, as the promised Messiah. He also bids His followers to “study the Scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they that testify of me”.

[7] 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 Tim. 3:16, 17

[8] God Himself is the Definer of Truth. He intended that the Bible and the Bible alone would be the sum of what was needed to reunite us with Him for eternity. By studying the subjects from Genesis to Revelation, He purposed that we could fully comprehend all that we needed to bridge that gap between us and be ready to be received by Jesus as he promised: “ I go and prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.

[9] SDA Advent Message—I understood that to mean all that the Seventh-day Adventists believe and practice in life to be ready for that glorious day when God will keep the promise quoted in # 8

[10] Belief Systems of the World Religions—I tried to understand the basic beliefs of many of the world religions. Though I tried to approach this with a very open mind, in retrospect I believe that my exposure to the Bible gave me a very quick reference point to see the inconsistencies of those other belief systems including what I would

eventually choose as the “only one that made sense”. Those I looked into included Mohammadism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Protestantism, Bahia, JW, and a little Confucius. There were many other “street” theories that I also examined. The one I never examined due to personal experiences with it was Spiritualism. Those experiences let me know very early on that I did not want to have anything to do with it. On the continuum of purest to darkest: Spiritualism was the darkest. All others had light of differing quantities and qualities. I chose the only religion that was 100% Jewish as well as 100% Christian as that is what the Bible truly is. It is the perfect blending of all that is pure in God the Son—the Messiah

[11] Warnings in Scripture re. Balaam’s character and influence: Num. 31:15-16; Deut. 23:4-5; Josh. 13:21-22; Neh. 13:2-4; Micah 6:4-5; 2 Pet. 2:13-19; Jude 11-13; Rev. 2:14.

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