Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lesson 1: "Emotions"

Sabbath School TodayWith the 1888 Message Dynamic
Jesus Wept: The Bible and Human EmotionsLesson 1: "Emotions"

Those who believe the dynamic of the 1888 message is the beginning of the latter rain which focuses our attention upon the ministry of Christ as our Divine Physician in the heavenly sanctuary, will immediately recognize the importance of this quarter's lessons on "The Bible and Human Emotions." There is no more practical application of the truth of Christ's High Priestly ministry than the healing power of the gospel in such a modern setting. The world is filled with Christians as well as heathen who are hurting. It's good to know that Christ is not on some holiday, but is working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to heal those who are emotionally damaged.

Most people do not associate their feelings as subjects of restoration in the plan of salvation. It is a simple matter of dismissing emotions such as anger, frustration, impatience, and sensitivity as exempt from change. But one's temperament is no insignificant aspect of the total person to be so lightly set aside as unaffected by "the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16). "The God of peace" proposes to "sanctify you wholly; ... your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:23). Hence, Christ has, as His specific objective in our cosmic Day of Atonement, to get at the root cause of our damaged emotions and set about His gracious processes of healing.

The excuse that is given for negative emotions is that it's in our DNA, some defective inherited gene; or, it's a disease. "It's not my fault I have a bad temperament. I've got a disease." It's similar to the defense that alcoholism is a disease; or, destructive behavior or criminal activity is a disease. It is really a cop out for bad choices which result in weakness of character. Evil choices do trigger biological changes in the body so that what began as sinful unbelief and rebellion becomes a full-blown mental or emotional disease for which drugs become necessary for control. All this supports Proverbs 5:22: "His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden [held tight] with the cords of his sins." Or as Jesus says, "Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin" (John 8:34).

We have usually supposed that those statements have reference to people who are not church members, those who are "outside" who do not know the Lord as we know Him. I wonder if they could have meaning for us who are "inside" the church, even us who are workers? We may not know if there is any conscious sin or anxiety that troubles us; but could we suffer from some deep-seated anxiety or discontent that "breaks down the life forces" unconsciously? "Sickness of the mind prevails everywhere. Nine tenths of the diseases from which men suffer have their foundation here" (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 444). Jesus, "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses" (Matt. 8:17). In some unexplainable way, Christ bore our mental weaknesses as well as our bodily illnesses.

The human mind captures a perfect record of every life's experience. The person may not be able to perfectly recall every minute event, but it is nevertheless all there awaiting the circumstance for its recall. We can explain this by an illustration from nature. If you visit the western United States, you will see the beautiful giant sequoia and redwood trees. In most of the parks the naturalists can show you a cross section of a great tree they have cut, and they will point out that the rings of the tree reveal the developmental history, year by year. Here's a ring that represents a year when there was a terrible drought. Here are a couple of rings from years when there was too much rain. Here's where the tree was struck by lightning. Here are some normal years of growth. This ring shows a forest fire that almost destroyed the tree. Here's another of savage blight and disease. All of this lies embedded in the heart of the tree, representing the autobiography of its growth.

That's the way it is with us. Just a few thin layers beneath the protective bark--the concealing, protective mask--are the recorded rings of our lives. There are scars of ancient, painful hurts. Here is the discoloration of a tragic stain that muddied all of life. And here we see the pressure of a painful, repressed memory.

It begins with the mind, and the bad things that happen over the course of time in our relationships get stuffed down deeper and deeper just in order to survive. It's like a volcano with its subterranean fires of molten lava burning and emitting toxic gases with nowhere to go except upward through small vents to the surface of the earth's crust. Frequently, given the right set of circumstances, the weakest fracture line becomes the point of explosion. So what we don't know and understand about ourselves can inevitably hurt us and others.

The good news of the 1888 message is the emphasis it lays upon the complete identification of Christ with our humanity. We have a Saviour who exhibits the full range of emotions common to the human race. If the perfect repentance of Christ on behalf of humanity means anything, it means that in His mind is recorded every little detail of all the individual lives which have entered into the world. He knows intimately the emotions of every soul that has ever lived.

Isaiah imposed on the monitor screens of the human race the horror of Christ's suffering which He endured for humanity, yet it was not mere senseless physical brutality that Isaiah described, not a pathetic, mindless flogging of a human body almost to pulp, but Isaiah portrays the infinite mental and emotional suffering of One who is a God-man. Isaiah's version has created the noblest music and poetry of the human race: "Behold, My Servant ... shall be extolled, and be very high. ... His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men: .. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him: ... He is ... a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: ... Surely He hath borne our griefs, ... He hath poured out His soul unto death [the Bible knows only the second]: ... and He bare the sin of many" (52:13-53:12).

Jesus had emotions. Jesus is human, and all human beings have feelings. Without emotions, we are stunted and shrunken. Some think of emotions expressed in tears and smiles and embraces as signs of weakness or as contradictions to intelligence. If that were so, then we would have to think of Jesus as weak and ignorant. On the contrary, because He was a fully human being, He showed how to feel and express emotions in a fully human way.

Jesus did not count it loss to take on human flesh, even to the sharing of our emotional experiences. He Himself did not seek to eradicate them but, in fact, bore them and used them in glorious perfection. He did so in the temperament, of humility and in perfect balance. In His example, a believer is not only persuaded of Jesus' humanity, and thus His ability to identify with human infirmities, but His life is the encouragement for a believer that the whole personality is to be redeemed and restored.
--Paul E. Penno

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Baruch: Building a Legacy in a Crumbling World"

"Baruch: Building a Legacy in a Crumbling World"

It was a time of trouble, the outcome of which hinged upon the repentance of God's people. The consequence for not believing the Spirit of Prophecy would be the destruction of their cities and captivity in Babylon.

"The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. ... Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin" (The Desire of Ages, pp. 35, 36).

Anathoth means the city where "prayers are answered"; and Jeremiah's name means "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS establishes." (YHWH = THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. See marginal rendering on Jer. 23:5, 6 and 36:15, 16, NKJV.)

Hope is given to all who are under the siege. Jeremiah is told to buy a field while he is in prison and while Nebuchadnezzar holds Jerusalem hostage (cf. Jer. 32:8-15). He purchases a field in Anathoth, and then charges "Baruch before them, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days" (Jer. 32:14, 15).
This act is a metaphor of the 1888 message. It demonstrates the cross; the righteousness of Christ; the power of God to recreate in us His own image; with the cross laying our pride in the dust so that only Christ may be seen. God has given His people a "most precious message" which has, for the most part, gone unrecognized. It is the hope of Christ's final victory in the great controversy and the bride of Christ cooperating with her Divine Lover. Must this message be safely "stored away" for some future people to see and appreciate?

The Apostle Paul continues this demonstration and "fleshes it out" for us: "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us" (2 Cor. 4:6, 7).

What is this treasure? The treasure is Christ in you, the hope of glory. "The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To Them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:26, 27). Christ is in us through the Spirit of God and the faith of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 states that He has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. Ephesians 1:13-15 follows by saying, "... you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."

Baruch, the notary public, did the legal work of placing the sealed deeds of purchase into the earthen vessel. This deed of purchase was evidence of the prophet's hope for the restoration of Judah to the Promised Land. Our hope for the future is the cross. Only Christ's voluntary death in our place can reconcile our hard hearts. This is the plan of redemption; the third angel's message; the Laodicean message; the Elijah message; the righteousness of Christ, and the everlasting covenant. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory--it is the Gospel. It is the 1888 message in verity and the outpouring of the Latter Rain.

What the placing of the open and sealed deeds of purchase into the earthen vessel is not, is the mainstream belief that man must contribute something to make good his salvation; it isn't faith and works, for this is "at the foundation of every heathen religion"; "but faith working through love" (Gal. 5:6). "I have been crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:20), therefore we are dead to our old life and it is the life of Christ that now lives within us. It is His faith working in us, because a dead man has no faith.

Paraphrasing E. J. Waggoner, "A vessel can't do anything; it can however receive what is put into it and it is this that it can dispense; however the work is done by the One using the vessel."
Is there any further evidence regarding this earthen vessel and what it contained? Yes! Christ said, "... a body [an earthen vessel] You have prepared for me ...Then I said, "Behold I have come- in the volume of the book it is written of Me- To do Your will, O God." ... [When He says] Behold I have come to do Your will, O God, He takes away the first [sacrifice and offering] that He may establish the second. Christ, in our fleshly humanity, became our sacrifice and offering by subjecting His will, humanity's will, to the will of the Father. By Christ submitting His will to the Father's will, we have been sanctified" (Heb. 10:5-10).

The vessel must be emptied of self--this is done by Christ, the only One that has ever held His will, the will of our flesh, in perfect subjection to the will of the Father.

Jesus came into this world and took upon Himself our sinful fallen human nature, took upon Himself this fragile earthen vessel. In it He overcame sin in its strong hold, the flesh of man, and made us partakers of His Divine nature through His great and precious promises.

Jeremiah has also shown us how the righteousness of Christ would prepare His people for the marriage of the Lamb and that it will happen and it will be a success! Please compare carefully the words of the Bible: Jeremiah 23:5, 6 and 33:15, 16. In the first it is said, "Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" and in the second, "And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

His people, His church, finally have the same name as His. The earthen vessels are now emptied completely of a "self" that positions itself against God's will, and are now filled with Christ. Now the angel of Revelation 18:1 can "illuminate the earth with His glory"--Just as Gideon illuminated the darkness by breaking the earthen vessels to reveal the blazing torches (glory) concealed within!

So, in a time of national disaster, even Baruch was given a special message that is for each of us today, "This is what you shall say to Baruch: These are the words of the LORD: What I have built, I demolish; what I have planted, I uproot. So it will be with the whole earth. You seek great things for yourself; leave off seeking them. I am about to bring disaster on all mankind, says the LORD, but wherever you go I shall let you escape with your life" (Jer. 45:4, 5, REB). When Baruch finally did need to escape with just the clothes on his back, we hope he was thankful! Jesus, The Faithful Witness, gave us this same counsel in Matthew 6:25-34!

Seeking great things for yourself is not a heavenly principle. Believing that man's efforts are needed in conjunction with the cross to be saved, is heathen to its core and any that take up and teach this satanic principle have no light in them. Our memory verse attests to this: "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20).

There is another time of trouble just on our horizon--a time of trouble such has never been seen since the world began. The outcome hinges upon the repentance of the angel of the church of the Laodiceans. The consequence for continued unbelief and stubbornness in regard to the message sent in "His great mercy," will be to be spewed out of the mouth of Christ.

This lesson concludes the fourth quarter of 2010. During this quarter we have looked at the "Background Characters of the Old Testament." We have seen men and women that have been placed in the Scripture by the Holy Spirit for our examples. From Caleb, Hannah, and Jonathan, to Abigail, Uriah, Abiathar, and Joab. From Rizpah, a widow of Zarephath, Gehazi, and now Baruch. All different people; all different times; all earthen vessels.

The Good News for us today is that the cross of Christ, planted within our heart, is our open evidence of purchase, and the gift of the Holy Spirit is the sealed evidence of purchase, to take of Christ's and minister it unto us.
--Daniel H. Peters

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gehazi: Missing the Mark

Sabbath School TodayWith the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Background Characters in the Old TestamentLesson 12: "Gehazi: Missing the Mark"

How like Gehazi we all are. Unable to discern the important from the peripheral. We are so enthralled with ourselves and the things of this world that we are blinded to the "better things" that Jesus commended Mary for seeking (Luke 10:38-42). The Faithful Witness has given us a most solemn warning regarding our condition in Revelation 3:17-19.

Throughout his years of employment as Elisha's servant and assumed prophet-in-training, Gehazi didn't seem able to develop the necessary spiritual discernment that would have prepared him for the mission to which God was calling him. Having before him the gold of faith, and the white robe of Christ's righteousness, Gehazi choose instead the silver of an earthly king and "Babylonish garments." We are reminded of the sin of Achan that brought disaster at Ai (Joshua 7:1-26).

"Be sure, your sin will find you out" (Num. 32:23). The One who "is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12) sought to give the blessing of repentance to Gehazi, but he refused it. He was blind to the depth of sin that resided in his own heart. Reading ahead slightly from the lesson, we find another man in the same condition. Hazael, whose name means "God has seen," a royal officer of Ben-hadad II, was sent to Elisha to inquire whether the king of Damascus would survive his illness (2 Kings 8:7-10).

When informed of the depth of unknown sin that resided in his heart, Hazael "could not bring himself to believe that he was capable of doing the unspeakable things the prophet Elisha had discerned he was capable of" (vss. 12, 13). "Hazael was sincerely unconscious of what lay buried in his own heart. In the same way, we are sincerely unconscious of our true motivations, apart from the Holy Spirit's conviction." (Robert J. Wieland, The Knocking At the Door, p. 30). Had Achan been faced with the reality that through his sin he would hinder the progress of gaining the Promised Land, he would have denied it vehemently (see Testimonies vol. 4, pp. 89, 90, and 492, 493).

"God's law reaches the feelings and motives, as well as the outward acts. It reveals the secrets of the heart, flashing light upon things before buried in darkness. God knows every thought, every purpose, every plan, every motive. The books of heaven record the sins that would have been committed had there been opportunity. God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing." (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, July 31, 1901). Personally believing that God desires to produce such a deep cleansing of our feelings and motives, and allowing Him to accomplish it, prepares us for the necessary corporate repentance which will remove the choke hindering the latter rain.

Corporate repentance does not mean repenting for the sins committed by another person, whether those sins are in the past or yet future. Neither does corporate repentance involve a legislative vote to repent "in behalf of" some other person's rebellion against God. Corporate repentance is the blessing of seeing the true condition of our own heart; that we all have within us the same concealed root of sin that openly has manifested itself in others. When we realize that awfulness of sin in ourselves, it will mean death to "self" (see 2 Cor. 5:14, 15; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:4-7). Once we comprehend the depth of sin that resides in our own heart, then we can truly repent corporately for the continued resistance of the "most precious message" that has delayed the Lord's return for more than 120 years. Then we will be ready to receive the seal of the Living God in our hearts, and Rev. 14:12 can be fulfilled (see Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 214, 217).

"We have been content to have the blood of the Lamb provide a legal cancellation of the record in the books of heaven without the law being written in the heart. … For years we have been praying for the latter rain but the latter rain can never come until we understand what the former rain did …The latter rain will enable us to hear and see and to know that which we now resist. The Holy Spirit will bring a message and confirm the message which exposes every deception and unveils every apostasy and makes the glory of God manifest." (Donald K. Short, "Then Shall the Sanctuary Be Cleansed," p. 89).

We are no different from Gehazi. He was offered repentance when Elisha confronted him upon his return from meeting Naaman, but he refused to see his sin. It is time for us to realize our destitute condition and our great need of repentance. Only when we are humbled in the dust at the foot of the cross can we complete the work God called us to accomplish. Under the promised Latter Rain power, we then will declare to the oppressed, lonely inhabitants of the world that there is a Comforter and the dearest of companions, Jesus Christ our Redeemer and Lord. He alone can fulfill all our heart's desires and give us everlasting happiness.
Ann Walper
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"The Widow of Zarephath: The Leap of Faith"

 "The Widow of Zarephath: The Leap of Faith"

There is a long forgotten person in I Kings 17, whom we shall discover in this widow of Zarephath. First, let's locate the city on the Mediterranean coast, 14 miles north of Tyre and 8 miles south of Sidon, in the center of the Phoenician heartland, now modern day Lebanon. The Phoenicians were descendants of the people of Canaan, where Baal worship was uplifted during the time of Elijah.

Let's observe the handiwork of God in His messenger, Elijah, and in the faith of the humble widow. God provided this widow with a lesson on faith, and drew out her faith into a "catering service."

In 1 Kings 17:7-16 Elijah's luxury that God provided of being fed by the ravens and watered by the brook ran out. There was famine in the entire region and God directed Elijah to journey on to Zarephath where there would be a widow to supply food. It's amazing how God chose this particular widow of Zarephath, who was a single parent of a son and barely had any flour and oil to make bread. Let's examine Luke 4:24-27, where Jesus speaks about the existence of many widows in Israel during Elijah's time of famine, yet God chose the region in Zarephath, and a particular widow to provide food for Elijah. God reached out to the Gentiles who were more accepting of the gospel, whereas Israel rejected Jesus and the gospel.

Through Elijah God was drawing this widow to a walk of faith, by sacrificing and giving whatever she stored up in her kitchen. When Elijah ordered bread and water, and that he be fed first, before she and her son, one wonders how such a small food source could stretch to feed her and her starving son. The widow did as she was told, and the bin of flour and jar of oil did not run out! The widow took her first step of faith, and there was enough food for her family.

Ellen G. White writes, "No greater test of faith than this could have been required. The widow had hitherto treated all strangers with kindness and liberality. Now, giving no thought to the suffering that might result to herself and child, but trusting in the God of Israel to supply her needs, she met this supreme test of hospitality by doing 'according to the saying of Elijah'" (Review and Herald, Aug. 28, 1913).

Next, in 1 Kings 17:17-24, we learn that the widow vents her anger about how God can allow her son to become sick and die, thinking it's related to the sins of her past. She assumes that her son has died because God is punishing her for her sins, "Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?" (vs. 18). Even today this is common thinking as a cause and effect of sin. If I do right, good will come, and if I do wrong, bad will come. Or we say, "Have I blown it somewhere?" or, "Is God punishing me?" As we read on we will see that God is merciful.

Elijah brings her son to the upper room, where he vents his feelings to God. When Elijah prays to God, pleading for the boy's life, he presumes that God has caused the death of the boy. "O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?" (vs. 20), praying three times in perseverance "to let this child's soul come into him again."

Elijah's prayer for the son uses the Hebrew word nephesh, indicating the breath of life.
Life was restored to the child, demonstrating to this foreign mother of Phoenician practices of Baal and superstitious magic that Elijah was truly a man of God and that he ministered God's word. You can almost hear Elijah saying to the widow, "Your son is well and alive!," and see her reaction, rejoicing and praising God to every soul in her neighborhood for the miracle.

We cannot limit God in a confined space. God leads us in many ways. Elijah was led one step at a time when God said that a widow would help him, not that he is to help the widow. God commanded the widow to sustain Elijah, and it was God who sent Elijah to her (vs. 9), seeking her.

It is the same as the Lord seeking constantly for you. He will hold on to you in His hand and will not let go. Let us respond just as this widow who gave her mite in humble faith. No matter who you are at the bottom of the rank, you can be used as God's instrument.
--Mary Chun

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"The Man of God: Obedience Is Not Optional"

 "The Man of God: Obedience Is Not Optional"

There's no better way to caption the lesson than the words of inspiration. "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper" (2 Chron. 20:20). Three men (Jeroboam, the king; Ahijah, a man of God; and a false prophet) all learned this truth.

At the close of Solomon's decadent reign and extravagant building projects at the expense of heavy taxation on his subjects, the nation was slipping into idolatry (1 Kings 11:33). His son Rehoboam announced the same heavy-handed oppressive policies at his accession to the throne.

God gave Jeroboam a divine mandate to the throne which was delivered by the prophet Ahijah, who rent a new garment into twelve pieces and gave ten pieces to Jeroboam saying, "I ... will give ten tribes to thee" (1 Kings 11:29-31; cf. 12:15). Thus motivated by the Spirit of prophecy through Ahijah, Jeroboam proceeded to set up his capital city at Shechem (1 Kings 12:25).

In a stunning about-face from the worship of Jehovah, Jeroboam set up two golden bulls for places of worship: one in the north at Dan and the other in the south at Bethel. The ostensible reason for this was to make worship more conveniently located to his subjects so that they would not have to make pilgrimages all the way south to Jerusalem. The assimilation of pagan fertility symbols as representations of Jehovah was a rejection of the second commandment.

Jeroboam began with a motivation of zeal for the Lord, but he "flipped" because of his fear. "Jeroboam's greatest fear was that at some future time the hearts of his subjects might be won over by the ruler occupying the throne of David" (Prophets and Kings, p. 99). He rejected the divine mandate of the Spirit of prophecy through Ahijah.

Jeroboam assembled the people for worship at Bethel, himself officiating at the altar on a self-appointed festival, appointing priests from among the common people (1 Kings 12:31, 32). Again, the Lord sent Jeroboam an inspired "man of God" to directly confront him by cursing the altar (1 Kings 13:1).

The prophet foresees a son of David named Josiah who will desecrate this very altar with the bones of the priests of the high places who now make offerings here (see 2 Kings 23:15-18). "The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out" (1 Kings 13:3).

In defiance of the Spirit of prophecy through the man of God, the king stretches out his hand to have the prophet seized. His hand shrivels, and he is not able to pull it back. Then, the altar is split apart, and its ashes pour out according to the sign from the man of God by the word of Jehovah. Jeroboam petitions the prophet to intercede, that his hand be restored, which the man of God does. Demonstrating the power of the prophet, the king's hand is restored and becomes as it was before.

In response, the king invites the man of God to his home for a meal and offers him a gift. The prophet from Judah declines, even for "half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place." He has "charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest." The Lord sent the man of God with a message to turn the erring king from his evil ways and not to abide with him in confirmation of his wicked idolatry.

An old prophet living in Bethel has sons who attend the dedication and are witnesses to what the man of God from Judah did and what he had said to the king. The prophet asks, "Which way did he go?" They show him the road that he took, and he rides after him finding him sitting under a tree.

The old lying false prophet (PK 106) told the man of God that the word of the Lord was now to return with him and eat bread and drink. So the true prophet from Judah suddenly abandons faith in the original commandment given him by God, and foolishly follows a deceiver home for his hospitality. Whereupon at table the false prophet, on the spur of the moment, delivers a curse, which is soon fulfilled by his falling prey to a lion. He is then picked up by the posing prophet for burial in his family plot.

Thus by his life the true prophet rejected the Spirit of prophecy which was given through him; and by his death fulfilled the Spirit of prophecy which finally spoke through the imposter. It gave grounds for Jeroboam to reason that the curse originally delivered at the altar was bogus, and confirmed him in his evil course of leading Israel into idolatry and ultimately spiritualism.
We may flatter ourselves today that we would never be so foolish as to slide into idolatrous worship. However, the counterfeit today is extremely subtle. The religion of self is disguised as the worship of Christ. All self-motivated faith has its origins in the worship of a false Christ--ego. What Paul calls being "under the law" is self-centered faith that is motivated by hope of reward (greed) and fear (anxiety) of hell.

That which accompanies the religion of self is a rejection of the Spirit of prophecy, for the true prophet always points to the cross for conviction of sin and the source of true righteousness, accompanied by the discernment of the Holy Spirit. In 1888 God sent two messengers, A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, supported by E. G. White (the Spirit of prophecy), with a message of Christ their divine-human Lover. God's purpose was to draw them away from devotion to self in exchange for His cross, which revealed the fullness of God's love for His people.  The profound truth seems to be that this kind of devotion to Christ, this closer intimacy with Him, was unwelcome. "... If there is anything in our world that should inspire enthusiasm, it is the cross of Calvary" (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 80, 81; 1895). Thus we are brought to the foot of Christ's cross.

Ellen White did not consider Jones or Waggoner's presentations to be either extreme or radical, but tried to reason with the brethren who thought they were. "The comment ... passed upon me and the work that God had given me to do was anything but flattering. Willie White's name was handled freely and he was ridiculed and denounced, also the names of Elders Jones and Waggoner" (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 310, 1889).

She says that the Lord wanted the inspired trio to stay together in America and to fight the battle through to victory. Her own writings indicate that the leading brethren wanted both herself and Waggoner out of the way. "The Lord was not in our leaving America. ... The Lord would have had W. C. White, his mother, and her workers remain in America." "There we should have stood shoulder to shoulder, creating a healthful atmosphere to be felt in all our conferences. It was not the Lord who devised this matter. I could not get one ray of light to leave America" (Ibid., pp. 1622, 1623, Letter to O. A. Olsen, 1896).

E. J. Waggoner suffered a similar exile in being sent to England in the spring of 1892. There is evidence that similar attempts were made in 1890 to send A. T. Jones to Europe for an extended stay.

Unbelief in the Spirit of prophecy has been subtle and yet sustained over the course of our history on many subjects that she addressed, but none more so than the over 1800 pages having to do with the Minneapolis Conference of 1888. Our "reproach among the heathen" (Joel 2:19) will not be healed until we "believe His prophets."
--Paul E. Penno

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