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Posts Tagged ‘ellen white’

Read a great post this morning by David Wilkerson.  He was quoting a Puritan preacher from the 1600s warning London of perilous times ahead.  He called for repentance, for people to lead their families to a place of safety –  not a compound, a bunker, or a cave in the wilderness, but eternal shelter in Jesus.  No matter what befalls us here in this world, He has promised in Him we are more than overcomers.   At times He is the protector in the fire, and in other times He gives us visions of heaven as the rocks fly and our spirits return to Him.  In both cases, we have Him and He is glorified.

Our greatest tragedy should be the prospect that we could deny Him, not to suffer at the hands of men or from circumstances.  I do not fear that He would not forgive this failure, but the terrible grief of having done so.  I can’t imagine the broken heart of Peter with one look from Jesus after he had cursed and denied he knew Him – to keep his own skin safe.  But he had to be broken from trusting his own strength, his own promise of “I will never fall away.”  We cannot promise things to God.  We can only trust His.

Yet Peter’s position in the Ark was not affected by this failure.  When the door of the ark is sealed.. you are in or out.  Your safety depends on the strength of the ark, not your ability to keep it afloat.  Theoretically, Noah could have exerted a great effort to somehow climb out and jump, but is this a discussion we need to have?  People seem to spend more time arguing about how to stay in the Ark than calling drowning people into it, but that’s because we’ve invited so many in with one foot only and told them it was fine.

Growing up as an Adventist, our lives were overshadowed constantly with the belief of the coming “Time of Trouble”, as we called it, when God would test the whole world and divide those who served Him from those who served the enemy.   The dividing line would be the Seventh-day Sabbath – and all who did not remain loyal to this holy day would receive the Mark of the Beast – causing all to worship on the false Sabbath – on Sunday.  We were taught that we would be hunted and many killed for not complying with “Sunday Laws”.  Every disaster or political crisis created a buzz of conversation about how soon the Sunday Laws were coming.  My ark of safety in God was a day, and I wasn’t sure I would be strong enough to make it through.  The right Jesus was the Sabbath Jesus.  The only way to know if we had Him or not, was the day.  To abandon the day was to reject Him.  And to fail was to be lost forever.

For much of the world, this tribulation is already here, and growing drastically each day.  The line in the sand is already drawn and many are being hunted and killed for being on the side of Christ.  He is the Sabbath test Himself.  Will we trust His love and finished work or not?  Will we trust someone or something else?  Will we trust ourselves?  I’m sure the temptation is large for those already suffering in the cauldron of man’s hatred.

My expectation of persecution coming to America someday (maybe soon) has not changed all that much – only that now I have total assurance in Jesus alone and not in my allegiance to a shadow observance, or my own ability to be strong.  The world system does want your adoration and trust.  It’s screaming for it, sometimes forcefully, sometimes seductively.  But if your ark is a day or a law, or anything other than Christ, you may have already been taken in while looking to a false sign of reassurance.   We have to go much deeper than external appearances – past the shadows – to the heart of who we love and trust the most.

Wilkerson’s article can be read HERE

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This week we finally sat down to watch a DVD someone loaned us weeks ago called “Furious Love”. A man took a movie camera to document the love of God penetrating the world of Wiccans, drug addicts, and the Asian sex industry.  He  also gave a voice to the Persecuted Church in Orissa, India where the secular media has turned a blind eye.    The whole movie showed the power of the Love of God when people are willing to be used by Him in this fractured world.  This film also intensely demonstrates the reality of spiritual warfare.  Not for young children or the faint of heart.

I would strongly encourage anyone who believes they have been called to bring a special message to the world  (i.e. Torah Observance, Sabbath-keeping, speaking of Sacred Names, or some unique end-time prediction, etc… etc..) to watch this film and ask yourself if those who are being set free need to be added to by these most pressing teachings you have focused your heart and mind on.  Not only that, but has your message ever reached anyone in this way?  Does your “truth” compel you at any point to go out into the streets to seek and save the lost sheep?  And I would not ask this just of those who are labeled as “cult” or “heterodoxy” but also those within the mainstream church who have chosen some special point of truth that defines their purpose… if that point is an accessory to Jesus  Christ.  I find the witness of the persecuted church, and the deliverance of souls from the deepest darkness, to be a testimony to the power of Christ alone.  These are the stories that God used to help me to put down my spiritual idols and showed me how powerless they really were.

Most of the ministries featured here echoed the same sentiments.  In short:  “Wake up Western Church!”  Of the many people interviewed for this film, the words of one Dutch man summarized what I have said here too in different ways.  I was about to watch it again just so I could write it down, but found the clip to share instead, which is so much better.  In fact, I found two!  Many more are posted on Youtube.  I encourage you to watch them.

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I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this in my many years as a Sabbatarian, or how many times I may have said it.  Now I’m saying it again, because I still agree it’s true.  I may not put it on a bumper sticker like I’ve seen some do, but the next time I see one, I might honk and give them a thumbs up.  Just wish I’d have time to explain why I agree.  They won’t understand.

Most SDA Sabbatarians resolve to observe the correct Sabbath Day but hold the largely false presumption that all of Christianity has replaced Sunday with the 7th day Sabbath as the Biblical day of rest.  It’s true that some do, but this does not represent most Christians.  Most evangelicals don’t “keep” Sunday, they celebrate it.  Does anyone tell you to “keep” your birthday, or mother’s day?  Where is the law that demands you honor the people or events these days commemorate?  There isn’t one, but yet you love to anyway.

The fact is, most Christians have never even stopped to think about the correlation between the 4th commandment and their custom of worship on Sunday, which is why so many of them are easy prey for SDA Sabbath teaching, or other Sabbatarian groups.  And some others have been erroneously taught to see Sunday as a “sabbath” and for them as well as Sabbatarians I resound… “Sunday is NOT the Sabbath.”

Jesus is.

Just as the temple sacrifices pointed to the work of Christ’s atoning blood, the Sabbath was also a foreshadow of Christ’s work… HIS work and our rest in that work.  Jesus didn’t rest on the Sabbath during His ministry, and He infuriated the Jews because of it.

The Sabbath also represents our death with Christ on the cross.  The only way we cease from our own works is to die… reckon ourselves dead, as Paul says.  His flesh, our flesh, lay silent in the tomb on the Sabbath.  Every weekly and festival Sabbath pointed to this event.

Hebrews is a book showing the parallels between the Old Covenant pictures, and the New Covenant reality.  It invites us to walk in the reality, not the shadow.  Chapter 4 speaks to the shadow of the Sabbath showing specifically there is a rest for us in Christ… a rest that is every day… all day.  It’s our daily privilege, to rest (die) daily to our own works.

So what is Sunday if it’s not the Sabbath?  Why did the early Christians begin honoring this day as noted in the earliest Christian writings?  Because the most amazing thing to happen so far in human history occurred on that day!!  Their sorrow and total despair (because they had not believed His Word when He said he would rise again) was turned to unspeakable joy at the discovery that He had risen… just as He said!  Jesus honored this day with His presence among them on numerous occasions after His resurrection.  To stop at the Sabbath and not see the glory of Sunday would be like leaving the movie theater in the saddest part of the film and miss the happy ending!  We praise and thank Him for our rest, but we can’t walk in death.  We walk in newness of life… resurrection life!

“Therefore, if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will surely be united with Him in a resurrection like His….. So you must also reckon yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. – from Romans 6

We find no written command anywhere in the New Testament to the church concerning any specific days or observances outside of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  To worship God on Sunday is to voluntarily rejoice and honor a risen Lord,  a freewill offering of love and corporate fellowship.  And through the Spirit, we can have this joy on any day as the church in Acts met in some form, daily.  It says, “With great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus…”  Acts 4:33

If you delve into the message of the apostles, you will find a big emphasis on the resurrection.  Sabbatarians in my experience as a whole, spend very little time on this event in their worship and discussion.  Most refuse to even gather to worship at the yearly celebration of this event… Resurrection Sunday during the Passover season.   We never saw the magnitude of a completed covenant, and the joy of the New one.. in a risen Christ.

Sunday is not the Sabbath, this is true.  The Sabbath pointed to a future rest the adherents of the Old Covenant could not truly enjoy, just as the sacrifices pointed to a future complete atonement the blood of animals cold not procure.  The first (or eighth) day points to something even greater we are looking to now; our own glorification and final union with our Lord in the coming resurrection, our Blessed Hope. Until then we have the seal and promise of His Spirit as we walk by faith, trusting He will do as He said.

He Lives

I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today.  I know that He is living no matter what men say.  I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer.  And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.

Rejoice Rejoice O Christian, lift up your voice and sing Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!  The Help of all who seek Him the Hope of all who find.  None other is so loving, so good and kind.

He Lives, He Lives, Christ Jesus Lives today!  He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.  He lives, He lives, salvation to impart.  You ask me how I know He lives?  He lives within my heart.

Hymn by A.H. Ackley

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A parable showing how to reconcile the conflict between your identity and your message.

Deceitful Duck Logic

duck or chicken?

There once was a duck who thought ill of chickens.  She gathered all the ducks together and convinced them chickens were indeed very evil – so evil in fact, they may be in danger of being wiped out of existence by the Farmer.  They decided to warn the chickens, and teach them how to be more like ducks.  Many chickens were persuaded to try out of fear.  The ducks convinced them the Farmer really loved ducks more and the only way to avoid being eaten was to become a duck.  Sadly, the truth was much different.  The farmer kept the chickens because they produced eggs, and did not kill and eat them.  There was plenty of evidence to support this, yet the ducks told the chickens their eggs were not important, but the most urgent thing they needed to learn was how to walk like a duck.

Not all the chickens were so easily swayed however, and some tried at times to tell the ducks they were very strange for saying such things.  In fact, most of the chickens did not accept the duck’s ideas and would not invite them to the farm socials.  While the ducks were the first ones to cause the rift in this relationship by accusing chickens of being a lower life form, they simultaneously wanted to be accepted by the chickens in some activities.  Since they knew the chickens had been turned off by their duckness, they began to fluff their feathers more and learned how to cluck like chickens.  Eventually the efforts paid off, and the chickens began to accept them and include them in their chicken parties.  If any chicken pointed to them and cried..”Don’t be tricked!! That is not a chicken, but in fact.. a duck!”  The other chickens would turn on them and peck them until they decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

The disguise worked so well, the ducks decided to use it when inviting the chickens to their own meetings.  After all, if chickens knew they were actually ducks, no one would come to hear what they had to say.  The meetings, designed to illustrate why chickens were evil were ironically presented as meetings by chickens and for chickens.  After being mesmerized by the initial illusion, and believing the accusations against their own kind, many chickens were not at all alarmed when the feathers settled down into an oily matte and the clucking turned back into quacking.  In fact, some never even noticed the transfer from chicken back to duck and came to see themselves as a restored chicken – going back to the way chickens were always meant to be… a duck.

So.. if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.. it must be in reality, the essence of true chicken.

Short Video Question for SDA’s

Interesting set of videos for more information:

John Ankerberg show interviews Walter Martin

(must scroll down page for the series of videos)

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“The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it,

but to lay a straight stick along side it.” -D. L. Moody

Intro to the teaching which led to the existence of the SDA denomination:

In 1844, a man named William Miller predicted the second coming of Christ, for the second time.  He had a large following of believers who had given up all their possessions in anticipation of the end.  After Christ did not return, some followers of William Miller claimed God instructed through visions that they were not wrong about the time, but rather about the event itself.  Their prophet claimed God himself had placed His hand over the truth in order to hide it from them, and test them.  After they proved themselves faithful, He revealed his true plan.  They began teaching that Jesus had finally in 1844 entered the Most Holy place in heaven’s sanctuary to begin the process of atonement for the sins of His people.  They believed the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament feast cycle foreshadowed this new phase of the ministry of Christ as our high priest.

But before this atonement can take place for any one person, an investigation has to be conducted.  Everyone who professes to believe in Christ became “pardoned” (a temporary stay until their case was fully decided) but their sins cannot be blotted out until it can be determined if they are in fact worth of eternity as judged by the Law.  This process is said to have begun in 1844 with the names of those who had already died (soul sleep being an important doctrine here).  After the dead were judged then the work could move to those who were still living.  When these are all finally complete, Jesus will return.  No one can ever know which phase the judgment process is in, or if your name has yet been cleared or not.  As an SDA, I was taught Jesus cannot return until the living actually stop sinning so His mediation of atonement in the sanctuary is no longer necessary.  We were instructed to never ever claim to “be saved.”  We had no possible way to know how our case would be judged because it didn’t depend just on faith, but our performance as well.

Their writings say the blood of Christ transferred sins to the sanctuary above,  and atonement finally ends with the sins “blotted out” but  later placed on Satan who is banished.  The blood of Christ does not cancel out sin so much as provide a catalyst to put them back on Lucifer who is seen as the scapegoat foretold by the Atonement day ceremonies of Israel.  Instead of Jesus being the “Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world” , Satan has the final work of taking away sin.

To contrast the difference between what evangelicals believe and what Adventism teaches happened in 1844, I want to start with the clear truth in God’s  Word in order to demonstrate the overall, and frequent teaching about salvation and faith.  This is a foundational truth in Christianity, and anything that dismantles or confuses this is a different gospel as warned about in the book of Galatians.  Many of these verses are paired with instructions about holiness and good works, of which I am a huge supporter.  But a changed life must be understood as the fruit of true saving faith and the New Birth, not a prerequisite for atonement.

After the Scripture are a few quotations, of many, demonstrating the “Investigative Judgment”  teachings from the writings of Ellen White.  This doctrine in question is still firmly holding its place in the official Fundamental Beliefs of the SDA organization, and the books these quotations are derived from still highly promoted and defended.

The Good News

John 5:24  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.   He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Hebrews 1:3  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (past tense)

Hebrews  6:19  We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 9:11-12  But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. (past tense)

Hebrews 9:24-26 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (put away.. Greek word there means “cancelled” according to Strong’s)

Hebrews 10:12-14 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.  For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (past tense… see a pattern here??)

Hebrews 10:17-23  then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.  Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Romans 3:20-29  For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.  It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.  For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.  Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,  ( see the law implied as belonging only to the Jews?)

Romans 5:1,2  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 10:9-11  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Galatians 2:16  yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Galatians 2:21  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Galatians 3:11  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Galaitans 3:24  So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 5:4  You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. (This is SERIOUS error!)

Ephesians 1:7-9 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ

1Peter 1:13  Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Titus 3:4-7  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Ephesians 2:5-9  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Rom 11:6  But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

CONTRAST TO THE FOLLOWING:

“This work of examination of the character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing work of the sanctuary above.  When the work of investigation shall be ended, when the cases of those who in all ages have professed  to be followers of Christ have been examined and decided, then , and not till them, probation will close, and the door of mercy will be shut…..  So when Christ entered the Holy of Holies to perform the closing work of the atonement, He ceased His ministration in the first apartment….  So Christ had only completed one part of His work as our intercessor, to enter upon another portion of the work, and He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners. ” Great Controversy p. 428, 429

“Every man’s work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness.  Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling.  Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel.

The Law of God is the standard by which the characters and lives of men will be tested in the judgment…

Those who in the judgment “accounted worthy” will have a part in the resurrection of the just.” GC p. 482

“All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their name in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life.” GC  p. 483

And what if we do not accept this claim to new truth?

“It is those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of the atonement who receive the benefits of His mediation in their behalf, while those who reject the light which brings to view this work of ministration (i.e. investigative judgment) are not benefited thereby… (sins not blotted out)  …. The condition of the unbelieving Jews illustrates the condition of the careless and unbelieving among professed  Christians, who are willingly ignorant of the work of our merciful High Priest.” GC p. 430    (my comments in parentheses)

Blood of Sacrifice… Cleanse or Defile?

“As the sins of the people were anciently transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary by the blood of the sin-offering, so our sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. This necessitates an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of his atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigative Judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem his people; for when he comes, his reward is with him to give to every man according to his works. [REV. 22:12.]”            (The Spirit of Prophecy, Volume Four, page 266, paragraph 1.)

The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement.

“In the great day of final award, the dead are to be ‘judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’ Revelation 20:12. Then by virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven. Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or cleansed, from the record of sin. In the type, this great work of atonement, or blotting out of sins, was represented by the services of the Day of Atonement–the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary, which was accomplished by the removal, by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, of the sins by which it had been polluted.

“As in the final atonement the sins of the truly penitent are to be blotted from the records of heaven, no more to be remembered or come into mind, so in the type they were borne away into the wilderness, forever separated from the congregation.

Since Satan is the originator of sin, the direct instigator of all the sins that caused the death of the Son of God, justice demands that Satan shall suffer the final punishment. Christ’s work for the redemption of men and the purification of the universe from sin will be closed by the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary and the placing of these sins upon Satan, who will bear the final penalty. So in the typical service, the yearly round of ministration closed with the purification of the sanctuary, and the confessing of the sins on the head of the scapegoat.”   (Patriarchs and Prophets, page 357 paragraph 5-page 358 paragraph 2.)

Summary

Atonement has a completely different meaning in Adventism than evangelical theology – not completed at the cross, in process right now as we speak, doesn’t cancel sin, only transfers from earth to heaven and then to satan, and isn’t given unless the professed believer is first found worthy.  The final sin bearer is satan and not Christ.  Is this the gospel found in scripture?

If you have believed this I pray that as you read this your eyes are opened to see the beautiful simple truth of scripture.  It does not require complicated time lines and arguing over definitions of words.  It’s simple and it will set you free.  It is no small thing to change the Word of God and teach a lie.  We must repent and ask God to forgive us for not trusting His Word and precious promises to us through the Son.   It is not my wish that anyone I know be deceived and led to trust something other than Jesus Christ for their eternity.  Praise God, His work is complete, His forgiveness is total, and His promises are not revoked.   The Word teaches clearly that since the sacrifice of Jesus, all believers have the privilege to enter the Holy of Holies before the presence of God – boldly, in full assurance of faith.  If Jesus Himself could not enter until 1844, then we have not had access either and the Word of God is not true.

Above all, I challenge you to read the New Testament from beginning to end without any outside commentary or input, in deep prayer for God to reveal His truth to you.  If you truly want the truth, you will find it.

Note:  If you read an earlier version of this post I apologize for the overall tone and I have taken out some of the more personalizing statements.   I do not wish to come across as having this anger toward people, because I do love all the people involved.  I do however share Paul’s opinion of a “different gospel” .  Please forgive my failure to express that.

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I cannot let this Easter slip by without a discussion on what this day means to me now.  The name of my blog comes from this, so of course I have to talk about it!  Every Sunday is a mini Easter, a time to remember the LIFE we have in Christ.  I do prefer to call it Resurrection Sunday (just because it explains the meaning), but I don’t get up tight about names of things anymore!:0)  It’s the reality of a thing or person that matters, not what it’s called.  I want to begin with the truth as the Word of God proclaims it.  Paul testified from one Roman official to another that this was the key point for which he was being hunted down by his Jewish brothers.

1Co 15:14  And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.

1Co 15:17  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

Eph 1:19  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
Eph 1:20  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

Rom 6:4  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Col 2:12  having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Rom 10:9  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

I don’t think I ever saw this element until just now.  This last verse says believing in the resurrection is part of saving faith, just as we are instructed to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  This is not something I often hear, but shows how vital the resurrection is in the gospel message.

To understand where I am now, here is some background.  Growing up as an Adventist, the actual day of Easter was never recognized.  The Sabbath before Easter would sometimes have a sermon with some reference to the resurrection (depending on the church or pastor – some ignored it completely).  Most often the emphasis was on the fact that since Christ rested in the tomb on Sabbath, we were encouraged in our own observance of this day.  We never quite got past the quiet tomb to the empty tomb.

On Easter we went about our business as if nothing significant had ever occurred on this day in the history of the world.  To corporately gather and honor the resurrection of Christ would have been to participate in “Sunday worship” – an evil and pagan practice.

I recently was given a sermon by an SDA pastor entitled “Who is Jesus”.  He began his presentation with a video of people on the street being asked who Jesus is, and getting every answer but the Biblical one.  He went on to explain who Jesus is, (as if he was answering these people with no knowledge of Him.)  I kept waiting for him to cover the resurrection and what that means for all who believe in Him.  He left this part of the gospel out completely, an oversight difficult to understand in light of the above verses.

The entire subject has many problems in Adventist belief.  Here is how Ellen White describes the resurrection of Christ, via an ANGEL!

“…The face they look upon is not the face of mortal warrior; it is the face of the mightiest of the Lord’s host. This messenger is he who fills the position from which Satan fell. It is he who on the hills of Bethlehem proclaimed Christ’s birth. The earth trembles at his approach, the hosts of darkness flee, and as he rolls away the stone, heaven seems to come down to the earth. The soldiers see him removing the stone as he would a pebble, and hear him cry, Son of God, come forth; Thy Father calls Thee. They see Jesus come forth from the grave, and hear Him proclaim over the rent sepulcher, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” As He comes forth in majesty and glory, the angel host bow low in adoration before the Redeemer, and welcome Him with songs of praise. {DA 779, 780}

Jesus proclaimed, “I AM the resurrection and the life.”  If He is the embodiment of these things, why was an angel involved?   In John 2:19 Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” – speaking there of His own body.  The scripture speaks in many places of God the Father who raised the Son, but in the understanding of the Eternal Godhead, we know Jesus to be in the Father and the Father in Him.  In another verse it speaks of the Spirit – so all three aspects of the Godhead were present and working together as They are in all things.  (Thank you to some of my friends who helped expand my perspective on this recently!)

But there is yet another even more damaging doctrine of the SDA religion in connection with Easter, that of  “soul sleep”.  The death which Christ died, they call the “second death”, is the final annihilation they believe the wicked will experience at the final judgment.  Not believing in hell or any spirit that lives on after the death of the body, this death means a person completely ceases to exist.  They distinguish this from the state of unconscious  “sleep” they see as the current state death of all men until the final resurrection.  While it is not clear what this distinction is, the resulting problem is in the death of Christ,  you are left with only a dead physical body of God in the tomb.  Part of the Trinity ceases to be.  This destroys the Christian understanding of the Triune God and the absolute Deity of Christ.

But in order to maintain an Investigative Judgment, you must have the doctrine of ” soul sleep”.  How can we have our reward in Christ if the judgment of our souls did not begin until 1844?  In having the absence of a “spirit”, we are left with a God that passes in and out of existence.  The dominoes topple a very long way from the original falsehood.  But when you understand the first Adventists believed that Jesus was a created being, just as Satan was, then all of this nonsense becomes easier to fit together.  They have left the initial Arian belief behind, but are laden with many remnants of this horrible heresy, including the teaching that Jesus is represented in scripture also as Michael the Archangel.  (Without believing in a human spirit, it is also impossible to understand what it means to be “born again.” – which is more the essence of what I will cover toward the end.)

As a Hebrew Roots follower, we also dismissed the resurrection, even though it had a place within the Israelite holy days!!  Three days after Passover we had the Feast of Firstfruits, with the obvious symbolism.  But did we acknowledge it?  Not as a group, and not in any of the various groups we attended.  I knew some individuals who had a quiet recognition of it at home (reading some rabbinic blessings) but the huge production of the season centered around Passover.   Not until we were delivered and saw the New Covenant did we realize this Firstfruits nearly always falls on the “Christian” Easter, unless it was a leap year on the Jewish calendar.  We could have honored it all along, but we didn’t.  Just as SDA’s hated Sunday and saw it as a symbol of false worship, likewise the HRM saw every Christian holiday as a thing to be avoided, even if it meant denying an Israelite festival we were claiming to observe!  (Our entire story is here on this blog starting with the page “There and Back Again.”)

Seeing the HUGE significance of the resurrection it becomes obvious why the enemy’s deceptions target this day for the  maximum minimization possible, not just through false beliefs, but more widely through secular, commercial distraction.  All these lessen the Person and work of Jesus Christ,  the aim of nearly every deception.  His resurrection is the proof for everything He claimed and performed in the past, and the hope for everything we have in Him for the future.

Very early in our new perspective of the covenants, I realized the significance of Sunday.  I saw that it was not the 1st day of the week, but the 8th day!  Woven throughout many of the Torah festivals and requirements you can see an 8th day motif.  It symbolized new birth, renewal, new life.  For Christ to rise from the dead on this day was the mark of the new order of things and the guarantee to every promise we have in our relationship to Him.

2 Corinthians 5:14-17  For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;  and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.  From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

The old order proved you cannot change the heart from external mandates.  The old life must die and the new life must be put on, the very Life of Christ.  “Let this mind be IN you, which was in Christ Jesus…  ”  Unless we understand that from the moment of our new birth we are fundamentally different and made alive in Christ, we have no idea who we are or what is available to us.   Many who have experienced this as a spiritual reality are still trying to come to God under the old system of the outward methods to achieve holiness in their present walk.  In Christ, true transformation comes with laying down the dead self and putting on the risen Christ.   It’s a cycle of submission and renewal, not striving and failure.  In the areas where we are compelled to strive, we will be guaranteed to fail.  We all fall into this trap without even realizing it.  It’s our old man thinking it can help and do something in its own strength.  Even if our willpower musters up enough strength in some cases, the victory is still not in Christ, and we will take the credit.

Rom 7:6  But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

So often I hear people quote Paul’s discussion immediately following the above verse.  He goes on to describe the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit; how we don’t do what we want to and do what we don’t want to.  But so many people stop there!  Paul answers his struggle with a solution!  Chapter 8 is a continuation of this thought.  Read this whole discussion together and see the awesome truth we have through our resurrection with Christ.

Romans 7:24-8:11   Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.   If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Not only do we have a future hope, but a present deliverance!  Of course we fall, and of course we will not manifest this perfectly here in this life, but we are no longer slaves!!  We have a path to victory and a way out of addiction, shame, and the injury we often inflict on others through the service of our “self”.  We cannot use the old man as our excuse as so many do.  The flesh is a reason, but not an excuse.

We have our future hope, our present total justification and forgiveness, and thank God we now have the privilege of showing Jesus to others through our own lives, to the extent that we behold Him and become changed.

2 Corinthians 3:18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

This Easter let the reality of the resurrection move beyond an apologetic for the Christian faith and sink deep into our hearts and minds as a Living Faith for the here and now, as well as for the glorified life we will have with Him in the future.  Let us remember He is Risen Indeed, and He dwells with us and in us.  We do not have just the truth, we have the Person, and we are all in Him.

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