Restore >> Library >> The Word Made Simple ...
1. Jesus our Saviour
2. Jesus the Creator
3. The whole Bible
5. Jesus coming
6. The 1000 years
7. New Jerusalem
8. Salvation in O.T.
9. Fourth Commandment
10. First-day texts
11. Dan. 2 and 7
12. Mark of beast
13. Ten Commandments
14. Keeping Sabbath
15. New birth
16. Popular religion
18. Where is Hell
20. Sexual intimacy
21. Christian lifestyle
22. Giving money
23. Body temple
25. Healing the sick
26. Faith and trust
27. Deity of Christ
28. The Holy Spirit
31. Walking in the light
32. The Judgment
33. Investigative judgment
35. Workers for God
36. Foot Washing
37. Spirit of Prophecy
38. God's remnant
1. Always saved?
5. Second Coming
8. God's Law
Redeemed from curse
Ended at cross?
Love fulfills law?
Law done away?
2 Cor. 3:7
9. The Seventh-day Sabbath
Sabbath done away?
Day doesn't matter?
Paul rebukes observance?
17. State of Man in Death
Thief on cross in paradise?
Rich man and Lazarus
Absent from the body
2 Cor. 5:8
Depart to Christ?
1 Sam. 28:11-19
Gospel preached to dead?
1 Peter 4:6
Christ preached in hell?
1 Peter 3:18-20
God will bring the asleep?
1 Thes. 4:14
Souls under altar?
Rev. 6:9, 10
22. The Body Temple
Every creature good?
1 Tim. 4:1-5
Intake not defiling?
Peter's vision of unclean animals
Don't judge eating?
Rom. 14:3 ff,
Christ drank alcohol?
Luke 7:33, 34
27. The Holy Spirit
What about tongues?
32. The Investigative Judgment
Atonement completed at cross?
Not come into judgment?
Jesus into Most Holy?
37. The Church
Is Peter the rock?
Note: Project Restore previously provided printed complimentary printed copies of this book. That offer has now (2/8/05) expired due to the book being almost out of print.
This booklet contains over 35 evangelistic crusade outlines, Bible studies, and groups of texts. We send it forth with the prayer that it may aid many in becoming better acquainted with the Book of all booksthe Biblethus encouraging them to become soul winners for their Lord and Master.
This book can guide you in marking your Bible. Anyone can give Bible studies by using this easy chain reference method.
To begin, find a clear page in your Bible. There is generally one in the beginning of the Bible, another between the Old and New Testaments, and still another at the end of the Bible. Pick one that is easy to find.
On this clear page, list the subjects and the first text used. Alternatively you might photocopy the list of subjects and starting verses from the end of this book, and attach or carry it with your Bible. For example, the very first group of Bible texts listed for study number one are about Jesus our Saviour.
List the subject... then the first text
Find Romans 6:23 in your Bible. At the end of the verse, write in the next text for that study. In this case, it would be Acts 4:12. Your Bible would then read: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Acts 4:12
You would then turn to Acts 4:12. At the end of that verse, list the next text which would be Isaiah 53:6. Do this until you have completed the subject. It is helpful to underline the key words you want to emphasize in your study, as we have done in the sample above.
People are very much impressed because you use only the Bible. When giving a study, take turns with the other individual or individuals involved by each reading a text aloud.
1. Jesus our Saviour to top
It is God's law which informs us of our sinful condition, and lets us know we need someone to save us from that condition. To receive Christ is to experience the new birth, to become new creatures through His power, and thus to begin the experience of eternal life here and now. Confession and the forsaking of sin are essential in order to receive God's forgiveness.
Religious activity apart from conversion will save no one, which is what the Bible means when it says the works of the law cannot justify. But religious activity produced by conversion, by faith, is the means whereby we work out our own salvation. This obedience, empowered by the blood of Christ, cleanses the soul from sin and enables us to walk even as Jesus walked. Jesus declared this Spirit-empowered obedience to be the condition for receiving eternal life.
2. Jesus Christ the Creator to top
Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things. He alone could redeem mankind.
3. The whole Bible is binding today to top
The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is the standard to which all human ideas and actions must be compared. God speaks to us through His Word, and it is through that Word that He makes us holy. The Bible, inspired as it is by the Holy Spirit, is to be understood by comparison with itself.
4. Prayer to top
We can talk with God as to a friend through prayer. Prayer is the link that connects us with Christ; or as it is sometimes stated, "Prayer is the key that opens heaven."
5. Jesus is coming soon to top
The signs of the times show that Jesus is coming soon. There are eight points you need to know about His coming: 1. More angels that you can count are coming with the Lord. 2. He is coming in the clouds, and every eye shall see Him. 3. The dead in Christ rise first. 4. The righteous living are caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air. 5. The wicked living are destroyed. 6. The wicked dead stay in the grave 1,000 years. 7. The righteous reign with Christ in heaven 1,000 years. 8. Christ will not touch the earth till after the 1,000 years, when sin and sinners have been destroyed and the earth is purified.
6. During the 1,000 years to top
The 1000 years in heaven will be spent in vindicating God. The saints will look through the books and judge the wicked dead, who have already sealed their destiny. Satan will be as if he is bound on this earth with no one to tempt during the millennium.
7. The New Jerusalem to top
After 1000 years, God's people descend from heaven with the New Jerusalem. The wicked are raised and, during their attack on the Holy City, are destroyed in a rain of fire and brimstone. God then creates a beautiful new earth for the redeemed saints.
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things." This is our heavenly Father's unfailing promise, to dwell in gloryland where the shadows of sin, sorrow, and death can never fall this is the Christian's hope so soon to be realized.
8. Salvation in the Old Testament to top
Old Testament people were saved by grace just like people today. The Ten Commandments are binding today, and all who love God will obey them.
9. The Fourth Commandment to top
The fourth commandment is about the Sabbath, which is Saturday. Saturday is the seventh day of the week. All people under grace will keep the Sabbath. The Sabbath becomes a joy when we know Jesus.
10. The nine first-day-of-the-week verses to top
There are only nine verses in the Bible which refer to the first day of the week, and none of them make Sunday a holy day.
WHICH DAY IS THE TRUE SEVENTH-DAY SABBATH?
The observance of the seventh day of the week (Saturday) is required by the fourth commandment. Those who are saved by grace will delight in keeping the Sabbath along with the other commandments.
"And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Jesus, ... very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. ... And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man ... And he said unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen;" Mark 16:1-6.
Everybody knows that Sunday was the resurrection day. The Sabbath was past when it dawned. Thus it is evident that the Sabbath "according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56) is Saturday, the day before Sunday.
Questions Commonly Asked:
But hasn't time been lost and the days of the week changed since the time of Christ?
ANSWER: No. Reliable encyclopedias and reference books make it clear that our seventh day is the same one that Jesus kept holy. It is a simple matter of checking.
But isn't the Sabbath for the Jews only?
ANSWER: No. Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man," (Mark 2:27). No such statement was ever made by Christ or any other Bible figure concerning any of the other Old Testament holy days (Lev. 23:4-37; Col.. 2:14-17) with which the seventh-day Sabbath has been mistakenly associated by so many. The Sabbath was made not for the Jews only, but for manall men and women everywhere. The Jews did not even exist until 2,500 years after the Sabbath was made (Gen. 2:2, 3).
Isn't Acts 20:7-12 proof that the disciples kept Sunday as a holy day?
ANSWER: According to the Bible, each day begins at sundown and ends at the next sundown (see Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 and Mark 1:32) and the dark part of the day comes first. So Sabbath begins at Friday night sundown and ends Saturday night at sundown (Lev. 23:32). This meeting in Acts 20 was held on the dark part of Sunday, or on what we call Saturday night. (The New English Bible gives the translation: "On the Saturday night in our assembly.")
It was a Saturday night meeting, and lasted till midnight. Paul was on a farewell tour and knew that he would not see these people again before his death (verse 25). No wonder he preached so long! The "breaking of bread," which this passage tells us the believers were doing on this day, has no "holy day" significance, since the same book tells us they were breaking bread daily (Acts 2:46). There is not the slightest indication in this Scripture that the first day is holy, nor that the early Christians considered it so.
Doesn't 1 Cor. 16:1-2 speak of Sunday school offerings?
ANSWER: No, there is no reference here to a public meeting. The money was to be laid aside privately at home. There was a famine in Judea (Rom. 15:26; Acts 11:26-30), and Paul was writing to ask the churches in Greece and Asia Minor to give help.
These Christians all kept Sabbath holy, so Paul suggested that on Sunday morning (which was the time they paid bills and settled accounts), after the Sabbath was over, they put aside something for their needy brethren so that it would be on hand when he came. It was to be done privately, as the Spanish translation says, "at home." Notice here that there is no reference here to Sunday as a holy day. In fact, the Bible never commands or even suggests Sunday-keeping.
But isn't John 20:19 the record of the disciples instituting Sunday observance in honor of the resurrection?
ANSWER: On the contrary, these disciples did not even believe that the resurrection had taken place (Mark 16:14). They had met there "for fear of the Jews," and had the doors bolted fast. There is no inference that they counted Sunday as a holy day. As we have seen, there are only eight texts in the New Testament (nine in Scripture altogether) that mention the first day of the week. None of them even suggest that it is holy.
Well, if Sunday-keeping isn't in the Bible, whose idea is it anyway?
ANSWER: "And he shall think to change the times and the law" (Dan. 7:25, ASV). "Thus have ye made the commandments of God of none effect by your tradition." "In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:6, 9). "Saying Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord had not spoken" (Eze. 22:28).
God predicted that it would happen, and it did. Misguided men of long ago tampered with God's law and announced that God's holy day was changed from Saturday to Sunday. The following statements make it clear that human beings, not God, were responsible for the change:
"'Q. Which is the Sabbath day?' A. Saturday is the Sabbath day?
'Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?' A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday." Peter Geiermann, The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (Rockford, IL: Tan Books & Publishers, 1977), p. 50.
"The Sunday that we hold sacred was not commanded by Jesus. However, the disciples felt that the resurrection should be appropriately celebrated, and so they transferred their interest in the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, the first day of the week, the day on which Jesus was raised from the dead. Sunday became an official holiday in A.D. 321 when Constantine issued a decree saying that it was to be observed as an official day of rest." Donald C. McHenry, "Delight in the Lord's Day," Sunday, Spring 1985, p. 11.
Notice that while the claim is offered that the disciples replaced the "Jewish" Sabbath with the "Christian" Sunday, no passage of Scripture is offered in support of this. Indeed, while it is acknowledged that Jesus did not command Sunday observance, the Roman Emperor Constantine is admitted to be the one who did. Thus do contemporary Christians acknowledge themselves to be guilty of the Saviour's indictment"teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:9).
This false day of worship has been passed down to each succeeding, unsuspecting generation as gospel fact. But Sunday-keeping is a tradition of uninspired men, and breaks God's law, which commands Sabbath-keeping. Only God can make a day holy. God blessed the Sabbath, and when God blesses, no man can "reverse it" (Num. 23:20).
11. The Prophecies of Daniel 2 and 7 to top
Daniel chapter 2 takes us from Babylon (605 B.C.), represented by the head of gold, to Medo-Persia (539 B.C.), represented by the chest of silver, to Greece (330 B.C.), represented by the thighs of brass, to Rome (168 B.C.), represented by the legs of iron, to Rome divided (476 A.D.), represented by the feet, partly of iron and partly of clay, down to the second coming of Christ (date unknown), represented by the Rock cut out of the mountain.
The prophecy of Daniel 2 spans the centuries from Daniel's day to the return of Jesus Christ. It is considered to be the most remarkable prophecy in the Bible because it is the most comprehensive and was the first to give a consecutive history of the world from Daniel's time to the end.
In Daniel chapter 7, God gave Daniel a vision which revealed events to take place all the way to our day. God portrays under appropriate symbols the rise and fall of nations from Daniel's day to the rise of the Antichrist. Anyone seeking Bible truth should be concerned about the work of the mysterious power with the deadly number 666. Every human being, sooner or later, must choose for or against this little horn power.
Daniel in vision saw four great beasts coming up out of the sea which were diverse from one another. The fourth beast had ten horns. Afterward a little horn came up among the ten and subdued three. These four beasts are the same four kingdoms described in Daniel chapter 2. We know this to be true because Daniel 7:23 says, "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom."
Dan. 7:4 The lion (Babylon) had eagle's wings denoting the rapidity with which Babylon extended its conquests under Nebuchadnezzar.
Dan. 7:5 The bear (Medo-Persia) had three ribs in its mouth, which signify Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, which were conquered by this power. See J.M. Cook, The Persian Empire (New York: Schocken Books, 1983), pp. 28-31, 46-47.
Dan. 7:6 The leopard (Greece) had double wings, denoting the tremendous speed of her conquests, like those of Babylon. It also had four heads, which represented the division of Alexander's kingdom among his four generals Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy.
"This outcome of the battle (of Ipsus in 301 B.C.), by eliminating the only potential reuinifier, meant the irrevocable dismemberment of the empire of Alexander, which was now divided into four separate kingdoms: those of Seleucus I, Lysimachus, Ptolemy I and Cassander." Michael Grant, From Alexander to Cleopatra: The Hellenistic World (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982), p. 7.
The terrible nondescript beast (Rome) had ten horns, as did the ten toes of the image of Daniel 2, representing the ten kingdoms of Western Europe. See Will Durant, The Age of Faith (New York: MJF Books, 1950), pp. 80-102; Stephen Williams, Diocletian and the Roman Recovery (New York: Methuen, Inc., 1985), p. 216.
THE LITTLE HORN POWER
Daniel next saw something happen that startled him. There came up a little horn power which had eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. Three horns were uprooted by this power. According to history, the Heruli in A.D. 493, the Vandals in 534, and the Ostrogoths in 538 were destroyed by the armies of Rome. Robert Browning, in Justinian and Theodora (New York: Thames & Hudson, 1987), describes the conquest of the Heruli and their king Odoacer by the Byzantine Emperor Zeno (pp. 24-25). Browning also describes the emperor Justinian's final battle with the Vandals in 534:
"After a swift reconnaissance, Belisarius attacked the Vandal camp. Gelimer did not attempt to defend it, but fled westward into Numidia. The rest of his army followed their king's example, abandoning their families and all their possessions. The Vandal force no longer existed. Indeed the Vandals as a people vanished from the face of the earth" (Ibid., p. 98).
In its article on the Byzantine general Belisarius, the most recent edition of the Encyclopedia Americana also confirms the significance of 538:
"In 535 Belisarius recovered Sicily, and in 536 all Italy south of Rome fell to him. He entered Rome in December 536, withstanding the enemy's siege until it was raised in March 538" ("Belisarius," Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 3 (Danbury, Conn.: Grollier, Inc., 1997), p. 502).
Stephen Williams describes the re-taking of Rome from the Ostrogoths in 538 (op.cit., p. 111), and states that shortly thereafter, "the Ostrogothic kingdom had ceased to exist" (op. cit., p. 114). Another author writes:
"As for the Ostrogoths, with the defeat and dethronement of their leader and the destruction of their army, they passed out of Italian history; in fact, out of history altogether." Katharine Scherman, The Birth of France: Warriors, Bishops, and Long-Haired Kings (New York: Random House, 1987), p. 165.
As we study Daniel 7 we find some identifying marks which give clues to the little horn power, or the Antichrist 666. Here are the nine identifying marks. Can you tell who this power is?
1. Comes up among the ten horns (v. 8). It must be in Western Europe.
2. Comes up after 476 A.D. since that was when the Roman Empire was divided (v. 8).
3. Uproots threedestroys three of the ten kingdoms (v. 8).
4. Eyes like eyes of a man (v. 8). This means a man is at the head.
5. Diverse, which means different. It would be a political and religious power.
6. Speaks blasphemies, which means this power has someone who claims the place of God and claims power to forgive sins (v. 25).
7. Persecutor, for it makes war with God's people (v. 21).
8. Attempts to change God's law (v. 25).
9. Rules for 1,260 years (v. 25).
THE LITTLE HORN NAMED
Who is the Antichrist power 666?
The president of the United States? Some well known evangelist? The machine they call the beast? Social Security card? World Council of Churches? CIA or FBI? Perhaps the BATF? Labor Unions? The United Nations?
None of these fit the description.
Many of you have already named the power just by putting the Bible clues together. We referred to it a moment ago when we discussed the change of the Sabbath. Only one power in all of history can fit all identifying marks. Who is it? And can it be proved?
The Papacy alone, the Roman Catholic Church, is the Antichrist power, with the deadly number 666. Let no one misunderstand this. Those who belong to the Roman Catholic Church are not the Antichrist. Millions of sincere Christians who love their Lord profess and practice the Roman Catholic faith. Rather, it is the Roman Catholic SYSTEM, with its doctrines and claims, to which the evidence of Scripture and history direct us in our search for this power.
1. The Papacy came up among the ten kingdoms of Western Europein Rome.
2. The Pope was appointed a political ruler by Emperor Justinian in 538 A.D. (after 476).
3. It was at the Papacy's behest that the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths were destroyed by the Byzantines, since they opposed the teachings and claims of the papal hierarchy. Katharine Scherman speaks of what happened in Europe once these tribes were destroyed:
"The Church, with the shadow of the ancient authority behind it, was the only symbol left of imperial Rome, and its bishop, the Pope, was the city's only recourse for leadership and protection. . . . The Roman empire in Europe would be replaced by the spiritual empirewhich came to be temporal as wellwhose reigning seigneur was the bishop of Rome" (The Birth of France, p.164).
4. Eyes like eyes of a man means a man would stand at its head, and the Pope fits perfectly. The Catholic book Instructions for Non-Catholics on p. 181 says, "The Pope is the supreme visible head of the whole Church, and what he teaches infallibly that we must believe and do to be saved."
Emperors, kings, and princes were crowned by the Pope. They kissed his feet and held his saddle stirrup. Even today the Pope is carried around on his portable throne by his faithful servants.
5. The Papacy is diverse, which means different because it is both political and religious. The concept of the separation of church and state collides directly with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Pope Pius IX condemned this model of government as one of the "principal errors of our time" (Quoted by Stephen Mumford, American Democracy and the Vatican: Population Growth and National Security (Amherst, NY: The Humanist Press, 1984), p. 109).
6. This power speaks blasphemies by having someone at its head who claims the place of God and claims power to forgive sins. Scripture declares, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Only God has the right to forgive sins, and nowhere in Scripture can any record be found of a human being receiving absolution for sin from another human being. The Pope and his priests, however, claim this right.
Pope Innocent III declared: "The successor of Peter is the Vicar of Christ; he has been established as a mediator between God and man, below God but beyond man, less than God but more than man, who shall judge all and be judged by no one." T. Walter Wallbank & Alastair M. Taylor, Civilization: Past and Present, vol. 1 (Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1954), p. 404.
Though the Bible claims there is but one Mediator between God and man, the Pope declares himself to be such. Though Scripture maintains that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ" (2 Cor. 5:10), the Pope has declared himself exempt from this universal divine summons.
Eight hundred years later, the Pope's position on the right to forgive sins remains unchanged. On December 12, 1984, the Los Angeles Times ran the headline, "No Forgiveness 'Directly From God,' Pope Says." The article stated:
"Rebutting a belief widely shared by Protestants and a growing number of Roman Catholics, Pope John Paul II dismissed the 'widespread idea that one can obtain forgiveness directly from God,' and exhorted Catholics to confess more often to their priests."
In his recent proclamation of the "Great Jubilee of 2000," Pope John Paul revived the medieval practice of offering indulgences to church members who perform certain charitable deeds, such as abstaining from alcohol or tobacco for a day, visiting the sick, or giving to the poor (The San Diego Union-Tribune, Nov. 28, 1998, pp. A1, A12). The evidence is clear that the Papacy continues to maintain its supposed right to forgive sin and to create its own conditions for sinners to receive pardon.
Scripture declares concerning this power, "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thess. 2:4). Pope Leo XIII declared that Catholics owe "complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself" (Quoted by Mumford, American Democracy and the Vatican, p. 82).
Other Catholic statements convey the same thought:
"The Pope is as it were God on earth, sole sovereign of the faithful of Christ, chief of kings, having plentitude of power, to whom has been entrusted by the omnipotent God direction not only of the earthly but also of the heavenly kingdom." Translated from Lucius Ferraris, "Papa II," Prompta Bibliotheca, vol. VI, pp. 25-29.
"The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ Himself hidden under the veil of the flesh" (The Catholic National, July 1895).
In a very recent statement, the current pope presumes to disagree with Christ Himself, whom he claims to represent:
"Have no fear when people call me the 'Vicar of Christ,' when they say to me 'Holy Father' or 'Your Holiness,' or use titles similar to these, which seem even inimical to the Gospel. Christ Himself declared, 'Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called Master; you have but one Master, the Messiah' (Matt. 23:9, 10). These expressions, nevertheless, have evolved out of a long tradition, becoming part of common usage. One must not be afraid of these words either." Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), p. 6.
Again we recall the Saviour's words, "Thus have ye made the commandments of God of none effect by your tradition. . . But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:6, 9).
Papal blasphemies reached a new high in the Pope's recent comments on the role of the Virgin Mary in man's salvation. The August 25, 1997 cover article in Newsweek magazine featured a large picture of John Paul II, with the following wordsspoken in April 1997printed beside his face:
"Having created man 'male and female,' the Lord also wants to place the New Eve beside the New Adam in the redemption. . . . Mary, the New Eve, thus becomes the perfect icon of the Church. . . . We can therefore turn to the Blessed Virgin, trustfully imploring her aid in the awareness of the singular role entrusted to her by God, the role of co-operator in the Redemption" (quoted by Kenneth L. Woodward, "Hail, Mary," Newsweek, Aug. 25, 1997, p. 51).
For centuries the Papacy has presumed to change the law of God. Now it seems about to presume the ability to change the Godhead itself!
The Catholic hierarchy's view of church-state separation remains equally negative in our present context. A clear example of this is New York Cardinal John O'Connor's insistence that Catholic politicians enforce through civil law the Church's opposition to abortion, and the threat of excommunication which he subsequently leveled at then Governor Mario Cuomo (see Richard Ostling, "To Hell With Choice," Time, June 25, 1990, p. 52).
7. Daniel 7 states that this power will make war with God's people (v. 21). Unnumbered millions died at the hands of the papal Inquisition, crusades, and state-sponsored persecutions of the medieval and early modern period. The blood of the Albigenses, Waldenses, Huguenots, and countless others stains the record of history and cries out to God for vengeance (Rev. 6:9, 10). Will Durant writes:
"Compared with the persecution of heresy in Europe from 1227 to 1492, the persecution of Christians by Romans in the first three centuries after Christ was a mild and humane procedure. Making every allowance required of an historian and permitted to a Christian, we must rank the Inquisition, along with the wars and persecutions of our time, as among the darkest blots on the record of mankind, revealing a ferocity unknown in any beast" (The Age of Faith, p. 784).
8. For examples of the Papacy's attempt to change God's law, the Ten Commandments, look at the apostasy of the early Christian centuries. During this time many doctrines contrary to God's Word were introduced. We have seen how the Papacy freely admits her responsibility for making Sunday a day of worship.
In every Catholic Catechism the second commandment is blotted out or seriously abbreviated, the tenth divided into two parts, and the fourth is changed. By blotting out the second commandment in the Decalogue, it made provision for the adoration of images. The current Catechism reveals this pattern as clearly as earlier ones (see Catechism of the Catholic Church (Libreria Eiditrice Vaticana, Citta del Vaticano, 1994), pp. 498-612).
Other official Catholic statements make this point as well:
"Thus the Church makes many laws that are not found in the Bible. For example, it enforces the law of Sunday worship with the penalty of serious sin" (Instructions for Non-Catholics, p. 61).
"The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday" (Catholic Mirror, September 1893).
9. The Papacy ruled for 1,260 years. How do we know the time was 1,260 years? According to Jewish reckoning, a time is one year, times is two years, and the dividing of a time is half a year.
The rule given in the Bible is that when a day is used as a symbol, it stands for a year (Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6). The ordinary Jewish year which must be used contained 360 days. So, three years and a half contained 1,260 days, which would be 1,260 years for the continuing of the supremacy of the little horn.
The papal supremacy began in 538 A.D. whenas we have seenthe Ostrogoths, the last of the three opposing powers, were rooted up. Adding 1,260 years to 538, we come to 1798. And it was in that year that a French army under General Berthier entered Rome and forced the Pope to go into exile (see "Pius VI," Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 22 (Danbury, Conn.: Grolier, Inc., 1987), p. 160).
Revelation 13, describing the same power as Daniel 7, declares that the beast would receive a deadly wound (Rev. 13:3), and it happened in 1798. The same verse says that "his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast."
This prophecy began to be fulfilled in earnest in 1929, when Mussolini and the Pope signed the Lateran Treaty, making the Pope once again a secular ruler, reigning over Vatican City. The popular media, perhaps unknowingly, used the very language of Revelation 13 in reporting this event. The headlines in the San Francisco Chronicle read, "Mussolini, Gasparri Sign Roman Pact: Heal Wound of Many Years" (Feb. 12, 1929).
Today the Pope has more influence in world affairs than ever before. Popular news journals feature him often on their covers, and Time recently made him its "Man of the Year." While most of the world may not obey his voice, nearly all seem to listen to it.
THE GREAT REFORMERS
Many may find all this hard to accept. As we said before, this prophecy does not deny the sincerity of millions who adhere to the Roman Catholic faith. But the Bible speaks out against any power which teaches contrary to the Word of God. Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church, never felt strong and free to war against the papal apostasy until he recognized the Pope as Antichrist.
John Knox's first sermon, the sermon which launched him on his mission as a reformer, was on the prophecies concerning the papacy. John Rogers preached against the Pope, and it resulted in his becoming the first Protestant martyr under the reign of Mary Tudor of England, otherwise known as Bloody Mary. Rogers died at the stake at Smithfield, in London.
John Huss decried the moral laxity of the clergy, denied Peter as the Church's foundation, and declared the Word of God to be the only rule of faith. The Council of Constance convicted him, and he died at the stake.
All the Reformers were unanimous on this point. They foundin God's Wordthe Papacy to be the great Antichrist with the number 666.
What has happened to the Protestant churches? The word Protestant (Pro-test-ant) means one who protests against the Roman Church. Instead of protesting, they are joining hands with the Antichrist power, not only worshipping together but working together in a common quest for political dominance in the United States of America.
The recent document, "Evangelicals and Catholics Together," signed by prominent luminaries in both Catholic and Protestant folds, perhaps best illustrates this newfound harmony. Thus in the spring of 1994 headlines appeared across the country, "Catholics, Evangelicals Join Hands" (San Bernardino Sun, March 30, 1994, p. A2).
This unity is another sign of the end, and God says in Revelation 18, "Come out of her, My people." To unite all Christians in one church is one of the principal efforts of the Catholic Church today. This movement has often been called the ecumenical movement. Secular observer Stephen Mumford, whom we have quoted already, comments on who has, and has not benefited from this movement:
"The ecumenical movement was critical to setting the stage for advancement of the Vatican's agenda. For the Vatican, this movement has been a great success and, for everyone else, a colossal failure. Not only did the Vatican step up its abuse of American freedom with the coming of the ecumenical movement, Protestants were standing by to apologize for the Vatican in the name of religion" (American Democracy and the Vatican, p. 222).
A most fundamental point of agreement between Protestants and Catholics is Sunday sacredness. Notice what the Catholic Church says about the Sabbath:
"Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters" (C.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons).
"The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay in spite of themselves to the authority of the Catholic Church" (Plain Talk for Protestants, p. 213).
"Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles. From beginning to end of the Scriptures there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first" (Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, Aug. 25, 1900).
"We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday" (The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, p. 50).
Four facts now stand out in bold relief:
1. The change from Sabbath to Sunday is not found in the Bible.
2. God predicted that the Papacy would "think to change" His times and laws.
3. The Papacy openly declares that it has changed God's law.
4. The Papacy thus exalts itself above God, as forecast by the apostle Paul in 2 Thess. 2:3, 4. God says, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. . . .the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God" (Ex. 20:8, 9).
"And hallow My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God." (Eze. 20:20).
The Bible says all the world will wonder after her, the Antichrist power with the number 666 (Rev. 13:3, 18).
HOLY SPIRIT POWER
God's men during the Reformation preached with the power of the Holy Spirit, and men and women trembled. They exposed the errors of the Antichrist at the peril of their lives. Today the churches are weak and feeble, devoid of power, because God's truth has been trampled underfoot. Roman Catholicism claims to have changed God's law.
Protestantism not only supports the change of the Sabbath, but teaches that the Ten Commandments are impossible to keep. Many teach the horrendous doctrine of once-saved-always-saved, which teaches that no misconduct or sin of any kind can take a Christian out of a saving relationship with Christ.
This helps us understand how even in America, where the vast majority claim to be Christians, the morals of society have declined so dramatically. While so many conservative Christians today blame various secular forces in our country for this decline, the evidence would suggest it is their own fault and that of their theology.
Any doctrine which tampers with the law of God destroys the basis of conversion. Unless the law is kept intact, it cannot reveal a knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20), it cannot be our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24), nor can it be written on our hearts in the new covenant experience (Jer. 31:31-33; Heb. 8:8-10).
Thus the words of Jesus will be fulfilled, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Salvation comes by surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ, as each day He gives us the power to overcome every sin (Phil. 4:13; 1 John 1:9; Rev. 3:21).
12. The mark of the beast to top
The mark of the beast is keeping a man-made law that is contrary to God's Ten Commandments. One day soon man will have to make a final decision for or against God's Ten Commandments.
The little horn's past persecutions will be repeated at the end of time. The same power which made war with the saints in past ages will make war with the saints again.
The death decree accompanying the image to the beast at the end of time will be similar to the one enacted by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in honor of his golden image described in the book of Daniel.
God issues a fearful warning against those who choose to receive the mark of the beast. God's wrath will be poured out upon them, without any mixture of mercy.
Those who gain the victory over the beast and his image, and over all other sin in their lives, will stand with their Lord on the sea of glass in heaven, with harps of rejoicing and voices of praise. This final test will prove their eternal fitness to live in God's presence.
THE MARK ENFORCED
The world is rapidly approaching the time when God's Sabbath will become a great test of obedience. Its claims will be placed before all the earth's inhabitants. At that time, when the issues stand clearly revealed, individuals will accept the seal of God or the mark of the beast. The book of Revelation describes a final edict of this earth's governments which will actually seek to enforce this mark upon all the world. "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads" (Rev. 13:16).
We need to understand that no one has this mark until it is pressed upon all through this legislative act of human government. At that time the true Sabbath and the counterfeit Sunday will be so revealed that no one can escape a decisiona decision to keep the true Sabbath with mind and hand, or to submit to the counterfeit sabbath of the Papacy.
WHICH MARK WILL YOU RECEIVE?
"And hallow My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God" (Eze. 20:20).
"Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. And the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters." C.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons, Catholic Mirror, Sept. 23, 1895 (emphasis supplied). See also Dies Domini, a Papal Apostolic letter issued May, 31, 1998, that promotes Sunday observance.
Once on the Pope's crown in Rome were written the words, "Vicarius Filii Dei" (Vicar of the Son of God). As we noted before, the Pope still claims this title, even if his crown no longer bears it. The Bible says, "Count [calculate] the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man" (Rev. 13:18). If the number of the name Vicarius Filii Dei comes out to 666, we have our man.
In Greek, the title Lateinos (Latin Man or Church) also amounts to 666. In Hebrew, the title Romilth (Roman Kingdom) amounts to the same thing. The world is challenged to find another in these languagesGreek, Hebrew, and Latinwhich equals 666. It cannot be found.
13. God's people will keep the Ten Commandments to top
This includes the seventh-day Sabbath.
In God's plan for the church there is to be but one Lord, one faith, one baptismcomplete unity around a completely pure set of doctrines and practices. But because of the great apostasy of the Christian Era, this unity has not occurred. At the end of time, however, God will have a final community of faithful believers who keep His commandments, and possess the unity such obedience brings.
God expects us to walk continuously in the light He reveals to us. Obedience to the truth indicates our allegiance to God, and is the means whereby He makes us holy
When the law is written on the hearts of God's people, it enables them to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and error.
Not only does obedience accomplished by faith become the means of our purification, but it makes us a peculiar people, set above all others, not in boastful arrogance, but through a demonstration of holiness which the world is thus encouraged to copy.
God's peculiar people will keep His commandments by means of the same faith that Jesus hadcomplete dependence on God for power and strength. This obedience will be especially manifested in adherence to the seventh-day Sabbath, which acknowledges God as Creator.
14. Keeping the Sabbath to top
The Sabbath is to be kept from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. It is a holy day. The true born-again Christian will find joy in obeying the Lord.
The Sabbath is to be kept in all the dwellings of God's people, from evening to evening.
The pursuit of both labor and common pleasure is to be suspended during the hours of the Sabbath. God promises blessings to those who faithfully observe the Sabbath, together with punishments for those who violate it. Necessary acts of mercy, by contrast, are permitted on the Sabbath, as made evident through the example of Jesus.
15. The new birth to top
A person must be born again. This means a change from his old ways, and living a clean life. This experience comes only by the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart.
We must know our sinful condition before we can know our need of the new birth.
16. Popular religion to top
Apostate people preach against the Ten Commandments, and will not keep the true Sabbath of God.
The Bible predicts that in the last days people will prefer a religion which makes them feel at ease in their sins, claiming a form of godliness without the power for victorious living. Many of these will claim to be filled with the love of Jesus, but the Saviour is clear that unless they are obedient, this love is not genuine.
God's professed people, all too often, prefer to hear an easy religion, and too often their leaders reflect and encourage this desire. God pronounces a fearful woe on false shepherds such as these.
The same power which through history has opposed the law of God will do so again at the end of time, persecuting those who obey it as it has in ages past. But God will nevertheless have a people who remain loyal to His commandments.
17. When a person dies to top
When a person dies, he rests in the grave until Jesus comes.
Both body and breath are necessary to make a soul. When a person dies, the spirit (breath) returns to God who gave it. Neither breath nor body has a conscious existence apart from one another.
When people die they lose all consciousness, all awareness of their surroundings. They do not praise the Lordwhich we suspect anyone who goes to heaven would do. The apostle Peter made it clear that David, who had been dead for nine hundred years, had not ascended into the heavens. Only when the heavens pass away at the end of time will the dead be raised from their sleep.
Both righteous and wicked will be raised to life at the end of time, to receive their respective rewards. They do not receive these rewards at death, but remain in their graves until the final day of reckoning.
The Bible is clear that God alone has immortality, but Satan has tried to make it appear that everyone does, whether good or bad. This is his great deception, which most of the worldincluding most professed Christianshas embraced.
18. Where is Hell? to top
Hell will be on this earth 1,000 years after the second coming of Christ. Man will be punished according to his sins, and the fire of God will turn him to ashes.
Human beings, both righteous and wicked, will be rewarded according to their deeds. Greater and lesser degrees of wickedness, based on the person's knowledge of God's will, will receive greater and lesser degrees of punishment.
Both Old and New Testament agree that only at the final judgment will the righteous and wicked be separated to receive their separate rewards at separate resurrections. No one is suffering in the fires of hell today.
Those who persist in sinning against God will be eternally destroyed, which the Bible calls the second death. Once they are destroyed, they do not continue to exist and suffer.
Eternal punishment means eternal destruction, not eternal pain. Sodom and Gomorrah were punished with eternal fire, but they were turned to ashes. Unquenchable fire remains unquenchable until it has done its job, as is obvious from the statement in Jeremiah about Jerusalem's gates, which are not still burning today.
19. Marriage to top
Marriage is to be a beautiful, happy relationship between man and woman, and God hates divorce.
God created men and women to be intimately united in the relationship of matrimony. This ideal was demonstrated in the Garden of Eden through the creation and marital union of Adam and Eve.
A good woman is of priceless value, making it less likely that her husband will seek elsewhere for companionship and intimacy.
Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, which means that when wives submit to their husbands as the leader of the home, he will treat his wife as Christ treats His church.
Unless God is the Foundation of the family, it cannot prosper. Only He can provide the power to surmount difficulties and disagreements. The Bible gives some very practical help in the above verses regarding how such problems should be handled.
Marriage is for life, and God makes it possible for husbands and wives to reconcile their differences through His grace. Only in the case of sexual infidelity is divorce permitted, and even here it is only permitted, not commanded.
20. Sexual intimacy to top
God has ordained that sexual intimacy be reserved for the marriage relationship.
21. The Christian lifestyle to top
A true Christian will be in the world but not of the world. A Christian's inner experience will be reflected by his dress, words, and actions.
God asks His people to separate from the world in their lifestyle, tastes, and pursuits. Those who unite with God cannot be united to the world at the same time.
Christians who hold responsible positions in the church, business, or other enterprises will not lose their integrity or compromise it for personal advantage. They will not accept bribes, mistreat the disadvantaged, or trample on the rights of others for financial or personal gain.
The clothing of men and women should be such that we can always tell that a woman is a woman, and that a man is a man. The confusion of these roles, even in one's outward appearance, has become a tragic fact of modern life.
Whenever God's people came near to Him in a spirit of revival and reformation, they removed their ornaments. God asks that His people not wear such articles, but instead be content with the adornment of a meek and quiet spirit.
God asks that we abstain from any activity that may appear to be evil and cause another to stumble. Even if such practices may not be wrong in themselves, if we have serious cause to believe that someone is needlessly offended by them, we had best put them away.
22. Giving money to top
God asks that we give back to Him ten percent of our income together with offerings if and when we are able. When we fail to do this, we become guilty of robbing Him.
Everything in or on this earth is the Lord's, but He has made us stewards of His goods. When we give God our tithes and offerings, we are only returning to Him what was His in the first place.
Abraham and Jacob are the first biblical examples of persons who gave to God a tithe of their possessions. Abraham made this payment to the priest-king Melchizedek, while Jacob made a commitment to do this at Bethel after God promised that He would bless and prosper Jacob in the future.
God has reserved a tithe of all we possess unto Himself, and asks that we bring this into His storehouse. It does us well to remember that no lender but God requires that only a tenth of what we borrow be paid back!
God has ordained that those who minister to His people in sacred office be paid from tithe funds. The Levites in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New were to be sustained from this source.
We brought nothing into this world, and we can carry nothing out. Those who are born again through God's grace will cheerfully render to Him His own. If our hearts are with the world, its material goods will be our utmost concern. If God controls our hearts, His cause and His will become paramount.
23. The body a Holy Spirit temple to top
The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We should care for it in what we eat, drink, or whatever we do.
Our bodies and our health matter to God because He not only wishes us to be happy, but He knows that our spiritual lives are closely connected to our physical health.
Man's original diet included fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables only. But after the Flood, with vegetation all but destroyed, God gave human beings permission to eat those animals designated as clean. The Bible makes a clear distinction between the clean and the unclean animals, and the characteristics of the two are spelled out in the above verses.
God also forbade His people to use either the fat or the blood of the animals they consumed. This restriction was stated in the New Testament as well.
Overeating is not pleasing to the Lord either. Nothing to which undue attention is directed is compatible with the Christian life.
24. Education to top
God is the Source of all wisdom and knowledge, and all study in any subject must begin with this awareness. Since God designed the human mind, His Word is to be treated as its owner's manual.
25. Healing the sick to top
The Lord is able to heal all our sicknesses, and in the life and ministry of Jesus and His apostles we see the most dramatic evidence of this.
Many, though by no means all, who are sick are afflicted because of their sins. Thus Jesus warned the man He had healed at he pool of Bethesda, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee."
The story of Job is one clear example of a person who was afflicted by Satan, who was permitted by God to test Job's faith. At times this may happen to us as well, and we must know when it does that God has not forsaken us.
26. Faith and trust to top
Faith is the abandonment of our will and plans to God, and without it we cannot please Him. Through faith we have forgiveness and peace with God, power for obedience, and power for witnessing.
27. The deity of Christ to top
Jesus Christ was one with God before the world was, and from the earliest days of eternity. The fullness of the Godhead was His; yet when He came to our world, He emptied Himself of these powers, and took upon Himself our humanity.
28. The Holy Spirit to top
The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is God; Peter made this clear in his rebuke to Ananias. The Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the world, as well as with the lives of believers in the Old Testament.
But Jesus promised His church a much greater outpouring of the Spirit than had ever been seen. He promised that the Holy Spirit would not only give them power for service, but would guide them into all truth.
On the Day of Pentecost the words of Christ were dramatically fulfilled. The Spirit was poured out, the gospel was communicated in foreign tongues to the many foreigners present, and thousands were converted in a day.
God has given to the church a number of gifts, for the purpose of sustaining and expanding His work. But these gifts are given only to the obedient.
29. The ministry of angels to top
The angels of God are involved in the plan of salvation from start to finish. They bring us hope and comfort, protection from adversity, as well as power for Christian living and service. The Bible warns us not to forget to entertain strangers, for some have unknowingly entertained angels. Finally, at the end of time, the angels will be God's instruments to gather together both righteous and wicked for their respective rewards.
Christians who live in the light of God's commandments are always accompanied by unseen angels, and these holy beings leave behind them a blessing in our homes. These angels will preserve God's people while they walk in the path of duty, but there is no assurance of such protection for those who deliberately venture on Satan's ground.
30. Spiritualism to top
Because Scripture teaches that the dead are unconscious in their graves, any attempt to communicate with them is a fraud perpetrated by Satan. All efforts to seek and discover future events which the Word of God does not condone can properly be described as spiritualism, or sorcery. God declares that such persons will have no part in His kingdom. He also warns us to be on guard against signs and wonders which will deceive those not grounded in His Word.
31. Walking in the light to top
The converted person chooses to come out of darkness into the light of God's truth, and realizes that herein lies true happiness. The wicked, by contrast, prefer darkness to light, because their deeds are evil.
God's Word is the light in which we walk, but Scripture tells us that Jesus is the embodiment of this Word. This is why He called Himself the Light of the world.
32. The Judgment to top
Everything we say, do, or think will be held against us in the judgment. The only way of escape is by confessing our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
The Bible is clear that God has set a day of judgment for every human being. In that day every thought, word, and action will be brought into review.
Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead, presides in the judgment.
Not only is Jesus our Judge, He is also our Defense Attorney, provided we forsake our sins, and accept Him as our Saviour.
33. The Investigative Judgment to top
While everyone must appear before God in judgment, not everyone will be judged at the same time. On the Day of Atonement in ancient Israel, God's professed people were judged apart from their avowed enemies. So at the end of time all who have professed the name of the Lord will be judged prior to the judgment of the wicked. This judgment of the righteous, which occurs before the second coming of Christ, is called the investigative judgment.
We have already seen how in Bible prophecy, a day represents a year. The 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14 stands for 2300 years, the first part of which consists of the seventy-week (490 year) prophecy of Daniel 9, which extends from the final decree to restore Jerusalem to the time of Jesus' ministry on earth.
The prophecies of Daniel 7 and 8 are parallel; the little horn described in each is the same power. We have seen how the 1,260 years of papal supremacy ended in 1798, after which Daniel 7 immediately describes a judgment scene (verses 9, 10, 26). After the following chapter's description of the little horn's supremacy, we read of the cleansing of a sanctuary (Dan. 8:14).
The parallel of these chapters indicates that this sanctuary cleansing, and the earlier judgment scene refer to the same event, one which clearly occurs after 1798. Counting 2300 years from 457 B.C., when the final decree to restore Jerusalem was issued, we come to A.D. 1844. The judgment of God's professed people, including the little horn (a professedly Christian power), began in that year.
The above passages are clear that the judgment here described takes place before the return of Christ, and concerns the righteous dead. Since we have established already that the dead are not conscious, the passage in Revelation 6 refers to a symbolic granting of white robes (vindication in judgment), just as the cry for vengeance is symbolic, as was that of Abel's blood. This clearly refers to a judgment of the righteous dead while they are still in their graves.
Those who pass this judgment are those found "written in the book" which refers to the book of life (Rev. 20:12). Those hristians who sin against God and refuse to change will be blotted out of this book, while those who confess and overcome their sins will be retained. In the final passage above, Peter is clear that the blotting out of sin was not taking place then, but would do so "when the times of refreshing SHALL COME" [emphasis added], something which clearly had not happened yet.
34. Baptism to top
Baptism is a sign that our sins have been washed away, and that we have allowed Jesus to dwell in us. Baptism confirms our choice to be part of God's church.
Baptism first enters the New Testament through the ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. Here, as throughout the New Testament, it represented cleansing from sin.
Jesus and the apostles commanded that those who accept Christ and repent of their sins be baptized by water, in the name of he Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
The book of Acts gives numerous examples of people who obeyed this divine command. These verses are also clear regarding the biblical method of baptismby immersion in water.
35. Workers for God to top
Every born-again Christian who has been baptized will be a worker for God, leading others to the baptismal pool.
The strengthening of fellow brethren and the winning of souls to Christ is the supreme joy of the Christian walk. Too often the laborers in God's fields are few, since too many seek the rewards of the gospel without its sacrifices. But the Saviour promises that those who do His will shall do even greater works than those performed by the apostles and Himself (John 14:12).
God's people must be willing to give up everything for Him, even the members of our own family. If we are prepared to suffer persecution for His sake, He will strengthen us for the trial, and in the end honor us before His Father in heaven.
But despite all we have done, we must count ourselves unprofitable servants, for the only way any of our accomplishments as Christians could have been done is through the strength of Christ. Without Him, we can do nothing.
36. Foot washing to top
Washing one another's feet is a mark of following Jesus in the spirit of humility.
It is clear from this passage that what Jesus did for the disciples on this occasion was more than just a polite favor, for when Peter protested what Christ was doing, Christ made it clear that if He didn't wash Peter's feet and those of the others, they could have no part with Him (verse 8).
After the washing was over He said, "Ye are clean, but not all. For He knew who should betray Him" (verses 10, 11). Clearly this was not a physical cleanliness He was talking about, but a spiritual one, hence the command, "Ye also ought to wash one another's feet" (verse 14).
37. The Spirit of Prophecy to top
The Spirit of Prophecy is one of the marks of God's last-day church.
Throughout sacred history, God has used the gift of prophecy as a means of communicating His will to His people.
The Bible records the ministry of many prophets who did not write books which became part of the Bible. The books of Nathan nd Gad, for instance, did not become part of the Bible, yet their testimonies still possessed divine authority.
In both the Old and New Testament, the gift of prophecy was divinely used. The church is urged to pay close attention to the testimonies given by these messengers.
Here the Bible states plainly that possessing the testimony of Jesus Christ, in addition to the keeping of God's commandments, will be one of the identifying marks of God's end-time church. Revelation 19:10 and 22:9 make it clear that this testimony is identical to the gift of prophecy.
1 Corinthians 1 speaks of how the witness (testimony) of Christ will mean that the church will "come behind in no gift" (verse 7) as it waits for the return of Christ.
We believe this prophetic gift was manifested in the life and ministry of Ellen G. White (1827-1915). Her writings are often referred to as the "Spirit of Prophecy."
They are not to take the place of the Bibleany more than the testimonies of Nathan and Gad, who wrote no books in the Bible, took the place of the writings of Isaiah and Jeremiah, which were included in the Bible. Rather, the writings of Ellen White amplify and clarify what is already in the Bible, pointing constantly to that Word as the basis of all her teachings.
38. God's Remnant to top
God's end-time church, the remnant of His people through the long and tragic struggle with sin, will be perfectly obedient to God's commandments. The Bible says they will do no iniquity, nor will deceit and guile be found in them.
Responding to Difficult Questions to top
1. The Conditions of Salvation. to top
Q. Some Christians believe that once a person is saved, he can never be lost. What does the Bible say about this?
A. The doctrine of "once saved, always saved" is not taught in the Scriptures. Both the Old and New Testaments are in agreement that salvation is lost through disobedience, as the following passages indicate:
"When the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die" (Eze. 18:24). "When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby" (Eze. 33:18).
Jesus declared, "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Matt. 24:13). Paul said, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Cor. 9:27).
Elsewhere we read: "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to open shame" (Heb. 6:4-6). "And being made perfect He [Christ] became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him;" (Heb. 5:9).
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Rev. 3:11).
5. Signs of the Second Coming. to top
Q. Was Christ speaking of the secret rapture when He said, "... one shall be taken, and the other left"? (Luke 17:36).
No. There is not the slightest evidence that the event is secret. Jesus was describing Noah's flood and the destruction of Sodom (see Luke 17:26-37). He told how God spared Noah and Lot and destroyed the wicked. He says clearly that the fire and flood "destroyed them all" (verses 27, 29).
Plainly, in each case, a few were taken to safety and the rest were destroyed. Then He added, "Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed" (verse 30).
To illustrate, Jesus continued, "Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left" (verse 36). There is nothing secret about it. Every eye will see Him (Rev. 1:7).
At His second coming Christ publicly and openly takes the righteous up into the clouds (1 Thess. 4:16, 17), and slays the wicked (2 Thess. 2:8). That may be partly why Luke 17:37 speaks of a "body" around which eagles (or vultures) gathered (see also Rev. 19:17). The wicked who are left behind at Christ's coming are left dead.
Q. Luke 21:36 says, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Doesn't this mean, as many Christians believe, that God's people will be taken to heaven before the great tribulation, not after?
A. No. Jesus is simply saying that those faithful to His word will escape the punishment that will befall the wicked. In Matthew 24, speaking of the great tribulation, Christ declared, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (verse 22). This clearly indicates that the "elect" (the saved) will be on earth during this time.
8. The Binding Claims of God's Law. to top
Q. Doesn't the Bible say the law was (or is) faulty?
A. No. The Bible says the PEOPLE were faulty. God found "fault with THEM" (Heb. 8:8) (emphasis added). And in Romans 8:3 the Bible says the law was "weak through the FLESH"(emphasis added). It is always the same story. The law is perfect, but the PEOPLE are faulty or weak. So God gave His Son to live within His people "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us" (Rom. 8:4), through the indwelling Christ.
Q. Galatians 3:13 says we are redeemed from the curse of the law. Explain this.
A. The curse of the law is death (Rom. 6:23). Because all have sinned (Rom. 3:23), without Jesus all would have to suffer eternal death. But Jesus on the cross tasted "death for every man" (Heb. 2:9), making it possible for all who accept and obey Him to receive eternal life and escape eternal death.
Q. Romans 6:14 says that "ye are not under the law, but under grace." Explain this.
A. Let us read the next verse: "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid" (Rom. 6:15). According to the Bible, "sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). To be under grace but not under law means to be free from the law's condemnation, not its demands.
By giving His life for us, Christ offers us the chance to be free from this condemnation. But such freedom can be ours only if we accept the Holy Spirit's converting power upon our lives. The Bible declares, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16), and tells us what the fruits of the Spirit are (verses 22, 23), declaring, "against such there is no law" (verse 23).
No wonder the same chapter states: "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law" (verse 18). In other words, we are under the law when we disobey it. But if we accept God's forgiveness and His power to fulfill the law (Rom. 8:4), we are under grace instead.
To illustrate, if a police officer gives me a traffic ticket, I am placed under the law. But if I go before the judge and he lets me off, I am under grace. This does not, however, mean I am free to break the speed limit again.
Q. Romans 10:4 says Christ is the "end of the law." So it has ended, hasn't it?
A. "End" in this verse means "purpose" or "object" as it does in James 5:11. The meaning is clear. To lead men to Christ where they find righteousness is the object, purpose, or end of the law. The same author declares emphatically, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law" (Rom. 3:31).
Q. Do not Colossians 2:14-17 and Ephesians 2:15 teach that God's law ended at the cross?
A. No, both these passages refer to the law containing "ordinances," or Moses' law, which was a ceremonial law governing the sacrificial system and the priesthood. All of this ceremony and ritual foreshadowed the cross and ended at Christ's death as God had intended. Moses' law was added till the "seed should come" and that "seed . . . is Christ" (Gal. 3:19, 16).
It is clear that the distinction between the moral and ceremonial laws was understood by the apostle Paul, who wrote, "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God" (1 Cor. 7:19; see also Gal. 5:6; 6:15).
Q. The Bible says, "Love is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13:10). The Bible also, in Matthew 22:38-40, commands us to love God and to love our neighbor, and ends with the words, "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Do not these commands replace the Ten Commandments?
A. No, the Ten Commandments hang from these two commands like our ten fingers hang from our two arms. They are inseparable. Love to God makes keeping the first four commandments (which concern God) a pleasure, and love toward our neighbor makes keeping the last six (which concern our neighbor) a joy.
Love fulfills the law by taking away the drudgery and by making law-keeping a delight (Psalm 40:8). When we truly love a person, honoring his or her requests becomes a joy. Jesus said, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15).
It is impossible to love the Lord and not keep His commandments, because the Bible says, "This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3). "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4).
Q. Doesn't 2 Corinthians 3:7 teach that the law written and engraved in stone was "to be done away"?
A. The passage says that the "glory" of Moses' ministration of the law was to be done away, but not the law. Read the whole passage again (2 Cor. 3:3-9), and read it carefully. The subject is not the DOING AWAY WITH THE LAW or its ESTABLISHMENT (Rom. 3:31), but rather, the change of the location of the law from the "tables of stone" to the "tables of the heart."
An unconverted person can know what the law says when written on stone, and the law under such circumstances is able to convict of sin. This conviction can lead to the sentence of death (Rom. 7:9-11), which is why 2 Corinthians 3:6 declares that "the letter [of the law] killeth," meaning that it sentences the sinner to death.
But the verse doesn't stop there. It continues by saying that "the Spirit giveth life." This is what conversion is all about. When this happens the law is not done away with, but is engraved on the fleshy tables of the heart (Deut. 30:14; Psalm 119:11; Jer. 31:31-33; Rom. 10:8; Heb. 8:8-10).
A rule posted on a school bulletin board becomes effective only when it enters a student's heart. This is what the power of Christ does for the Christian concerning the law of God. Thus keeping the law becomes a delight and a joyful way of living, because the Christian now has true love for God and his fellow man.
9. The Seventh-day Sabbath. to top
Q. Doesn't Colossians 2:14-17 do away with the seventh-day Sabbath?
A. Not at all. It refers only to the sabbaths which were "a shadow of things to come" (verse 17), and not to the seventh-day Sabbath. There were seven yearly holy days in ancient Israel which were also called sabbaths. These were in addition to or "beside the sabbaths of the Lord" (Lev. 23:38), or seventh-day Sabbath.
Please note also the following texts showing that the law that was a shadow was not the Ten Commandment law, but the law of "ordinances."
"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect" (Heb. 10:1).
"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:" (Eph. 2:11-16).
These all foreshadowed the cross and ended at the cross, but God's seventh-day Sabbath was made before sin entered, and therefore could foreshadow nothing about deliverance from sin. That's why Colossians 2 differentiates and specifically mentions the sabbaths "which are a shadow." These seven yearly sabbaths which were abolished are listed in Leviticus 23.
The context of this passage in Colossians 2 makes it clear that the Jewish ceremonial law, not the moral law of Ten Commandments, is being referred to. In verses 11-13 he states that the circumcision God requires of Christians is not the physical circumcision of the Jewish faith, but a "circumcision made without hands" (verse 11)that is, the new birth experience. Then he speaks of the "handwriting of ordinances" which was nailed to the cross (verse 14).
Moreover, the sabbaths described in Colossians 2 are associated with meat and drink. The weekly Sabbath had no special requirements concerning meat and drink, but the annual sabbaths did.
Indeed these requirements were also a shadow of things to come, pointing forward to the broken body and spilt blood of our Saviour (John 6:50-56). Leviticus 23 clearly indicates the connection between the annual sabbaths and offerings of meat and drink (Lev. 23:13, 17, 18, 37).
Q. According to Romans 14:5, the day we keep is a matter of personal opinion, isn't it?
A. The language here is very similar to that in Colossians 2, with the references to holy days and meat and drink. The seventh-day Sabbath is not involved in this discussion. The issue here is the seven yearly holy days, foods proper or improper to eat on those days, and the effectiveness of such rules after the cross. Again, we are looking at the Jewish ceremonial law, not the law of Ten Commandments.
Q. In Galatians 4:10, Paul rebuked professed Christians for observing days, and months, and times and years. Explain.
A. The two previous verses make it clear that neither Jewish nor Christian days of worship are the issue in this passage. Paul writes, "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years" (Gal. 4:8-10).
Obviously Paul is writing to former pagans who had accepted Christianity and were now reverting back to paganism. The days, months, times, and years in this passage refer to events connected with heathen worship, not to either the ceremonial sabbaths or the weekly Sabbath.
17. The State of Man in Death to top
Q. Didn't Jesus promise the thief on the cross that he would be with Him that day in Paradise?
A. No. In fact, on Sunday morning He said to Mary, "I am not yet ascended to My Father" (John 20:17). The punctuation of the Bible is not inspired, but was added by men. The comma in Luke 23:43 should be placed after the word "today" rather than before, so the passage should read, "Verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with Me in Paradise." Or, "I'm telling you today, you will be with Me in Paradise."
Q. Doesn't the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) teach that people go straight to heaven or hell when they die?
A. No, indeed! It is simply a parable used to emphasize a point. The point of the story is verse 31 (read it). Parables cannot be taken literally. If so, we must believe that trees talk (see the parable in Judges 9:8-15).
Many facts make it clear that this is a parable: (A) Abraham's bosom is not heavenHeb. 11:10, 16; (B) People in hell can't talk to those in heavenIsa. 65:17; (C) The dead are in their gravesJob 17:13; Dan. 12:2; John 5:28, 29).
The rich man in Jesus' parable was in bodily form, with eyes, tongue, etc. Yet all believe that the body doesn't go to heaven or hell at death. The Bible is clear, as we have seen, that the body remains in the grave.
Q. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. Doesn't this prove that the righteous go directly to heaven when they die?
A. Let us examine the context of this verse: "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
"For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
"Now He that hath wrought us for that selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:1-8).
Several points stand out in this passage:
1. Paul is saying that when our "earthly house," or mortal body, is destroyed, we will have a new body provided by God. Many of the Corinthian believers had been influenced by the early Christian heresy of Gnosticism, which taught that the body was evil and that death would provide an escape from itironically, a belief very similar to that held by many Christians today. Paul is making it very clear that when we escape from this mortal body at death, we will have a new body.
2. Paul states that we do not desire escape from our present bodies so we can be "unclothed"that is, without a body. At no point does Paul give the slightest indication that we will ever be in a disembodied state.
3. Paul says that we "groan, being burdened," so that we can be "clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life" (verse 4). This language calls to mind other words by the same author in the previous epistle.
"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Cor. 15:51-54).
In other words, we are "clothed upon" (receiving our new bodies) when mortality is swallowed up by life, which the above passage clearly tells us takes place at the resurrection of the righteous when Jesus comes. So when, in verse 8, Paul says we long to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, he is talking about the resurrection of the faithful at the coming of Jesus, not about what happens at death.
Q. Didn't Paul say that when he died he would "depart and to be with Christ"? (Phil. 1:23).
A. The passage reads thus: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Phil. 1:21-23).
If this were the only text in the Bible which dealt with the final reward of the righteous, it would be easy to accept that Paul believed that at death he would immediately go to heaven. But too many other passages make it clear that the Bible does not teach this.
Paul makes it clear in another passage just when the righteous will go to "be with Christ": "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:16-18).
This compares with another passage we saw earlier, in which Paul says the "dead shall be raised incorruptible" (1 Cor. 15:52). As he confronted his own approaching death, Paul declared, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing" (II Tim. 4:8).
Elsewhere Paul speaks of the "appearing" of Christ as His second coming (2 Tim. 4:l; Titus 2:13). The apostle Peter says the same thing (1 Peter 1:7). In other words, Paul expected to receive his reward at the coming of Christ, not when he died.
Moreover, Jesus didn't tell His disciples that when they died He would receive them unto Himself. He said, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).
Returning to Phil. 1:23, it is not uncommon for a Bible writer to couple together events that are separated by a long period of time. For example, Isaiah 61:1-2 contains a prophecy of the work Christ would do at His first advent.
Luke 4:17-19 gives an account of Christ reading this prophecy in the synagogue at Nazareth, and then declaring, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (verse 21). But if one goes back to the passage from Isaiah, it is obvious that Christ didn't read all of it, though at first glance it is one connected statement. He ended with the phrase, "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." But the very next phrase of the sentence is, "And the day of vengeance of our God;" He did not read this, because it was yet to be fulfilled. Though the passage in Isaiah does not indicate that these two events will be separated by many centuries, other passages do.
Another example is the prophecy in 2 Peter 3:3-13 regarding the second coming of Christ. If no other Bible passage was compared with this one, we could easily conclude that the second coming of Christ and the destruction of this earth by fire occur at the same time. Yet when we compare 2 Peter 3 with Revelation 20, we find that these events are separated by a thousand years.
Q. Doesn't the Bible say that the dead prophet Samuel appeared to King Saul in the Old Testament? (1 Sam. 28:11-19).
A. Certainly not. This supposed encounter took place by the means of witchcraft, a practice plainly condemned by God (Deut. 18:10-12). The Lord had already refused to communicate with Saul through His appointed means of communication (1 Sam. 28:6, 15), on account of Saul's disobedience.
In no case would God bypass His own means of contact in favor of those He had condemned. If, as some claim, Samuel was in heaven, only God could have sent him to the witch's cave; the power of Satan could never have done this. And another Bible passage is clear that when Saul inquired of the witch of Endor, he did not inquire of God.
"So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; And inquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse" (1 Chron. 10:13, 14).
If indeed Saul did not inquire of God, only one other power could have impersonated Samuel, and delivered the message which Saul received. The apostle Paul describes this power in a New Testament passage.
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor. 11:14, 15).
Q. Doesn't 1 Peter 4:6 say the gospel was preached to dead people?
Q. Doesn't the Bible say somewhere else that Christ went and preached to lost souls in hell between His crucifixion and resurrection?
A. No, the passage in question is 1 Peter 3:18-20. The preaching was done "by the Spirit." The preaching was done in Noah's dayand to people who were living (verses 19, 20). The "spirits in prison" refer to people whose lives were in bondage to Satan (see Psalm 142:7; Isa. 42:6, 7; 61:1; Luke 4:18).
Q. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 says that when Jesus comes, "God [will] bring with him" those who are asleep. Doesn't this prove that these are disembodied souls returning from heaven with Christ at His coming?
A. Let us read the verse: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
The passage is simply saying that just as Jesus died and rose again, those who die believing in Jesus will also rise again. Two verses later we read that "the dead in Christ shall rise." It doesn't say the dead in Christ descend. God will bring the righteous dead "with him" to heaven when they are resurrected.
What possible sense would it make for the righteous dead to come back to earth to get bodies they aren't even going to use? Why couldn't He give the righteous dead new bodies as soon as they die, and go to heaven?
How much more sensible simply to believe what the Bible clearly teaches, that "the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28, 29). In other words, the dead are in their graves, awaiting the call of the Life-giver.
Q. What about the "souls crying out from under the altar" in Revelation 6:9, 10? Doesn't this refer to disembodied souls in heaven?
A. The book of Revelation is a largely symbolic book, and like parables, symbols cannot be taken literally. The cry of these souls for vengeance is figurative, like that of Abel's blood (see Gen. 4:10).
22. The Body Temple to top
Q. Explain 1 Timothy 4:1-5 ("Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, ...").
This Scripture passage refers to meats (or foods) which God has created to be "received with thanksgiving" by His people (verse 3). These obviously cannot include those meats which God's Word pronounces unclean in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. Please note that the foods described in this passage are "sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (verse 5).
Nothing condemned in the Word of God could possibly be sanctioned here. Elsewhere the Bible is clear that at the coming of the Lord, God will consume those who seek to sanctify themselves while eating unclean foods (Isa. 66:17).
Q. Explain "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out ..." (Matt. 15:11).
A. The subject in this chapter is EATING WITHOUT FIRST WASHING THE HANDS. The subject is not EATING but WASHING. The scribes and Pharisees taught that any food eaten without a special ceremonial washing defiled a man. Jesus said that these ceremonial washings were meaningless.
He listed certain evilsmurders, adulteries, thefts, etc. Then He added, "These are the things which defile a man: BUT TO EAT WITH UNWASHEN HANDS DEFILETH NOT A MAN" (Matt. 15:19, 20) [emphasis supplied].
Q. But didn't Jesus cleanse all the animals in Peter's vision as recorded in Acts chapter 10?
A. Absolutely not. In fact, the subject in this chapter is not animals, but people. God gave Peter this vision to show him that the Gentiles were not unclean, as the Jews believed.
Cornelius, a Gentile, had sent men to visit Peter, and Peter would have refused to see them had this vision not been given him before the men arrived. But the vision was over when the men did arrive, so Peter welcomed them, explaining that ordinarily he would not have done so, but he added that "GOD HATH SHOWED ME THAT I SHOULD NOT CALL ANY MAN COMMON OR UNCLEAN" (verse 28) [emphasis supplied].
In the next chapter (Acts 11), the church members confronted Peter, and criticized him for speaking with these Gentiles. So Peter told them the whole story of his vision and its meaning. And verse 18 says, "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."
Q. Explain Romans 14:3, 6, 14, 20: "Let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth:" "There is nothing unclean of itself:" "All things indeed are pure:"
A. These verses cover two major issues which existed in the New Testament church: (1) the eating of food considered unclean because it had been offered to idols, and (2) the eating of food considered unclean because of restrictions and requirements connected with the Jewish ceremonial feasts.
These verses have nothing to do with the role of food and drink as it relates to health. It is clear that the statements that "there is nothing unclean of itself," and "all things indeed are pure" do not mean all food and drink is acceptable to the Christian, since Acts 15 states clearly that the early church was commanded to abstain from "blood, and from things strangled" (verse 29).
The issue in Acts 15 at least partially concerned health; the issue in Romans 14 concerned ceremonial uncleanness.
While we join Paul in declaring that "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink" (Rom. 14:17), we must remind ourselves of another statement by the same author, that "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).
If, as Paul says, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 6:19), and we must glorify God in them (verse 20), the way we care for the physical health of our bodies most assuredly matters to God.
Q. Doesn't the Bible indicate that Christ drank alcoholic beverages in such passages as Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:33, 34? Didn't He work a miracle to provide wine for the marriage feast at Cana? And didn't He use wine as a symbol of His own blood at the Lord's Supper?
A. The verses in Matthew and Luke simply contrast Jesus with John the Baptist, who as a Nazarite was forbidden to eat anything that came from the vine, fermented or otherwise (Num. 6:3). This in no way proves that Jesus drank fermented wine.
In the Greek used to write the New Testament there are two words for wineone which clearly refers to fermented drink, the other which can refer to unfermented grape juice. Interestingly enough, neither word for wine is used in the four New Testament references to the Lord's Supper (Matt. 26:27-29; Mark 14:23-25; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25-27).
In each of these passages the drink used by Christ to symbolize His blood is referred to as "the cup" or the "fruit of the vine," neither of which in any way implies fermentation.
It is inconceivable that Christ, who declared that man shall live "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4), would have provided fermented drink for consumption at any social gathering, a practice plainly condemned in the Old Testament Scriptures (Prov. 20:1; 23:31, 32).
27. The Holy Spirit to top
Q. Is the gift of tongues practiced by the modern Pentecostal movement supported by the New Testament, and does the New Testament specify this gift as essential for salvation?
A. The only gift of tongues specifically described in the New Testament is the one manifested on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:4-11). This was, purely and simply, the communication of the gospel in foreign languages.
The same thing happened to the Gentiles who heard Peter preach in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:44-46). Peter later recounted this event as follows: "The Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning" (Acts 11:15). In other words, the gift of tongues spoken in the house of Cornelius was the same as that received on the Day of Pentecost.
Never is there the slightest hint in the New Testament that the Holy Spirit's gift of tongues has anything to do with ecstatic gibberish, such as many Christians practice today. Nor is there any hint that receiving the gift of tongues is essential to salvation.
In fact, Paul makes it clear that not all Christians receive this gift (1 Cor. 12:30), just as all do not receive any of the other gifts of the Spirit (verses 29, 30). Never does Scripture teach that if one receives the Holy Spirit he must of necessity speak in tongues.
32. The Investigative Judgment to top
Q. Many Christians believe that the atonement was completed when Jesus died on the cross. Is this true?
A. No. In the Old Testament the process of atonement had three phases: (1) confession of sin over the head of the sacrificial animal; (2) the slaying of the animal; and (3) the sprinkling of the animal's blood in the sanctuary (see Lev. 4). The same process exists in the New Testament (Heb. 7:25; I John 1:7, 9; 2:1).
Confession of sin and mediation in the sanctuary are still necessary in order for atonement to be made. The only difference is that in the Old Testament there were many sacrifices, many priests, and an earthly sanctuary, whereas in the New Testament there is one Sacrifice (Heb. 9:26), one Priest (Heb. 7:23-25), and the sanctuary is in heaven (Heb. 8:2; 9:11).
The word atonement is another word for reconciliation, or at-one-ment. The death of Christ is the means whereby we are reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:20), but this only happens for those who meet God's conditions and forsake their sins (Col. 1:21). No wonder the apostle invites his readers elsewhere, "be ye reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20).
Q. Jesus said in John 5:24 that those who believe in Him will not come into judgment. How then can Adventists claim that Christians must endure the scrutiny of their lives in an investigative judgment?
A. The verse in question reads as follows: "He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not coime into condemnation, but has passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). It is true that most modern translations render the word "condemnation" in this verse as "judgment."
When the Bible is allowed to be its own interpreter, it is clear that the King James Version, as well as the New International Version, are correct in using the word "condemnation" in John 5:24. The word judgment in the New Testament can refer either to condemnation or examination. Context and the Biblical consensus tell the difference. We have already seen, in both Old and New Testaments, that all must appear before God's judgment seat to have their actions evaluated, whether they be good or evil (Eccl. 12:14; 2 Cor. 5:10). So when John 5:24 speaks of believers not coming "into judgment," it is condemnation that is referred to, not examination.
We have already seen Christ's statements about having to give account for "every idle word" in the judgment (Matt. 12:36-37), and that divinely-empowered commandment-keeping is the condition for receiving eternal life (Matt. 19:17; Luke 10:25-28; John 15:5). Jesus certainly didn't contradict Himself, nor did He contradict the apostle Paul, who declares that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ" (2 Cor. 5:10).
We must also recognize that when belief is stated in the New Testament to be the condition of salvation (John 3:16, 36; 5:24; Acts 16:31), this belief is never defined in contrast with the obedience belief produces. Biblical belief is not mere intellectual acknowledgment; it is the surrender of the heart and life to God's transforming power, which is what the new birth and true obedience are all about (John 3). Those who have this belief, which includes obedience (see John 3:36, RSV), will escape condemnation (John 5:24).
Q. Doesn't Hebrews 9:12 state that Christ went directly to the Most Holy Place at His ascension? How then can Adventists teach that Jesus didn't do this till 1844 a.d?
A. This objection is based on the distortion of this verse by several modern translations, such as the New International Version. The Greek word translated "holy place" in verse 12 in the King James Version is probably best translated in the New English Bible, which uses the word "sanctuary."
This is the closest to the original language because the word in Greek means "holy places," referring to both apartments of the heavenly sanctuary. The Most Holy Place is referred to only once in Hebrews 9in verse 3, which speaks specifically of the "Holy of Holies." This term is found nowhere else in the New Testament.
The point in Hebrews 9 is simply to contrast the inauguration of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary services in the wilderness with the inauguration of Jesus' ministry as our High Priest in heaven. While Moses and Aaron used the blood of goats and calves to dedicate the wilderness tabernacle (verses 18-21), Jesus used His own blood to dedicate the sanctuary in heaven (verse 12).
33. Baptism to top
Q. Should infants be baptized?
A. No! No one should be baptized unless he (1) knows the truth of God, (2) believes it, and (3) has repented of his sins. No baby could possibly qualify here. No one has a right to baptize a baby.
This concept entered the Christian church long ago on the basis of teachings found nowhere in the Word of Godnamely, that unless a baby is baptized and cleansed from "original" sin, it will be lost eternally. The Bible teaches no such doctrine. Such teachings turn God into an unjust tyrant who would destroy innocent children simply because of the negligence of parents.
37. The Church to top
Q. Is Peter the rock on which the church is built?
A. Not at all. Repeatedly in the Bible the Lord is referred to as the Rock (Deut. 32:4, 18, 30, 31; 2 Sam. 22:2; Psalm 18:2; 92:15; 1 Cor. 10:4). Jesus declared His truth to be a rock on which our houses can stand amid the storm (Matt. 7:24, 25).
When Jesus said, "thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church" (Matt. 16:18), He used two different words. The name Peter means a stone (John 1:42), but refers to a very small pebble (the word in Greek is petros). The word rock as used in this verse by Jesus is petra, which means a large boulder. In other words, Jesus is saying to Peter, "You are a little pebble, but upon this boulder [Christ and His truth] I will build My church."
Peter was certainly under no illusion that he was this rock, for when he later addressed the Jewish council he stated,
"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
"This is the stone which was set at nought by you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:10-12).
Starting Texts Note to top
The "starting texts" on the following page are the first texts in the study of each topic. When it is desired to make a chain-reference system in a Bible, these starting texts can be copied onto a blank page in the Bible, or the following page may be photocopied or cut out and put in the Bible in a convenient location.
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Created: 01/06/2000 Updated: 01/30/2004