Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lesson 1: The Missionary Nature of God

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

Biblical Missionaries

Lesson 1: The Missionary Nature of God

The important question we have to settle is not "Is there a God?" but "What is He like? What is His character?"

Many traditional religions of the world, and yes, so-called "Christian" religions, do not have a clear idea about God except what is dimly seen in the face of nature.

Some look toward the heavens during a thunderstorm, for they thought that the thunder is the voice of God and they might just see Him by accident. Others consider that God is manifest in dangerous places in nature or in animals such as lions or buffaloes. The idea was that God will harm you if you are not careful. Then others see God's presence in the sexual act between husband and wife, bringing conception. It comes close to equating God with sex, and this is not surprising, for sex is indeed a mystery. And because nature sometimes wears a smiling face, many recognize that God is kind, merciful and generous.

Many believe that even at His very best, God is a problem, and you can never really be sure of how He feels towards you. You must keep Him happy somehow by pleasing Him or placating Him. He is unpredictable, and His moods change easily. If He is the Giver of life, He is also the One who can get angry and take it away from you. Some believed that God told the first men to come to Him for everything they needed, but when they did so, He got tired of them and quietly sneaked away while they slept. Many believed that God has withdrawn Himself from fallen man. Apart from the Bible, mankind nowhere has any clear idea about God.

In contrast to these many uncertainties, the Bible teaches that God has revealed Himself openly to man. In fact, He has nothing to hide. He is trying to unveil Himself, pleading with man to look and see. "I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not, ... Seek ye Me in vain." "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isa. 45:19, 22).

The Bible teaches that the original man was created perfect in the Garden, but he sinned and lost his innocence and eternal life. Many traditions echo this same story, but the great difference between them and the Bible teaching is that in all of these, "God withdrew Himself from the first men."

But the Bible says that the "missionary" God immediately came searching for the lost man who had withdrawn himself.

Here we see two amazing opposites beginning to shape up: Sin makes man feel guilty and ashamed so that he mistrusts and dislikes God; sin makes God's love shine all the more brightly. We can see this clearly in the Bible story. When the first man and woman sinned, "Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" (Gen. 3:8, 9). No sooner had man fallen than the Lord God came looking for him!

Ever since then, God has been seeking us. This is one of the good news ideas of the 1888 message. He is the "Good Shepherd" who suffers infinite pain and weariness in searching for man, His "lost sheep" (Luke 15:4-7). He is also like a Bridegroom seeking the runaway woman whom He loves (the church) and who is indifferent toward Him (Rev. 19:7, 8).

No people on any continent of the earth have ever been able to "see" a God like this in the dim revelation of nature. This tremendous idea of God's seeking love could come only as a revelation from heaven. In fact, no other religion in the history of the world has approached anywhere near to this idea of God as found in the Bible.

Another 1888 Idea Is the Revelation of God's Character

While the Bible teaches us that God has revealed Himself to mankind, it is not in the form of a mountain, or tree, or rock, or desert, that this revelation is to be seen. We do not need to take a journey to Mecca or to Rome to find Him. He has revealed Himself in a Person. Nature may dimly reveal His power and His majesty; but only Jesus Christ can reveal God's missionary character of sacrificing, seeking love. "A virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matt. 1:23). Jesus said, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. ... Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me" (John 14:9-11).

You may say, "Why haven't I seen this person? Why hasn't He come to my town and knocked on my door and shown Himself to me personally?" The answer is that He has come to your home and knocked on your door through the Holy Spirit. God was in Christ, and Christ in the Holy Spirit. The Three are one. When Jesus ascended to heaven, He said, "and I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth ... I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." "The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things" (John 14:16-18, 26).

You see, if Jesus had remained on this earth personally, He would have retained all the limitations of our humanity. Imagine millions of people trying to crowd into His office to have a visit with Him. If you wanted to talk to Him you would have to make an appointment with His "secretary" and perhaps wait for years just to get five minutes in His presence, but through the Holy Spirit, He comes to everyone on earth who is willing to welcome Him. You don't have to wait even one minute.

But you may say, "If this is so, why doesn't everybody know about this? What has kept this revelation of God from being given to the whole world?" The answer is that God has graciously shared with us the thrill of giving the "Good News."

The Nation That Was Called to Tell Everybody

God's willingness to let us share in spreading the good news is seen in the choice of Israel. After sin had caused man to run away from God, He called a man who was willing to listen to His voice, Abraham: "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" (Gen. 12:1, 2). God's everlasting covenant is a mission-focused idea of the 1888 message. The whole purpose of this special call was to make Abraham and his "nation" to be a blessing to the whole world: "And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (vs. 3).

This was the beginning of Israel, the nation that was to have been the original Missionary to the whole world, taking the good news everywhere. But in their pride they failed to do what God called them to do. That is why the traditional religions of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, have all lacked so much truth. Just a very little light has shown through, a faint reflection, in some instances, of the truths committed to Israel. The full light, however, has been shown in Christ, "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9).

Now His church is to do the work that Israel failed to do. "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6). Before God's work is done, "the earth [shall be] lightened with His glory" (Rev. 18:1).

--Paul E. Penno

Note: "Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at: 1888mpm.org. Due to travel, there is no video this week of Pastor Paul Penno's Sabbath School class.

Raul Diaz

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lesson 13: Crucified and Risen

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Book of Luke
Lesson 13: Crucified and Risen
As we come to the conclusion of these excellent studies on the Gospel of Luke, let us spend a thoughtful moment contemplating the final scenes of Christ's life on earth. Christ's final confrontation with the religious and political authorities of His day, have much to tell us regarding the 1888 message.
At that awful midnight hour when Judas, having received a band of men and a captain and officers, with swords, came upon Jesus in Gethsemane, it was the band and the captain, and the officers, who at the direction of the chief priests and Pharisees, took Him and bound Him.
They led Him to old Annas first. Annas sent Him to Caiaphas, and Caiaphas sent Him to Pilate the Roman governor. Pilate sent Him to Herod, who with his men of war mocked Him and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him again to Pilate. And when Pilate would have let Him go, the Sanhedrin rung their final political loyalty to Ceasar and Rome, even above the loyalty of Pilate and the Roman himself, "We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King" (Luke 23:2).
Pilate made his last appeal, "Shall I crucify your King?" (John 19:15) only to be answered with the words expressive of their final abandonment of God and their complete unity with Rome, "But they cried, saying, 'Crucify Him, crucify Him'" (Luke 23:21). The voices of the Jews and of the chief priests prevailed.
The mightiest crime and the loudest crying sin in all the history of the universe was committed by the union of church and state.
Never since the rejection by Israel of her King of glory has the heavenly universe witnessed a more inexcusable and shameful failure on the part of the chosen people of God, led by their leaders than in 1888. Frequently the Lord's messenger compared the anti-1888 spirit to the Jews' rejection of Christ. For example:
"Light has been shining upon the church of God, but many have said by their indifferent attitude, 'We want not thy way, O God, but our own way.' ... Many say, 'If I had only lived in the days of Christ, I would not have wrested His words, or falsely interpreted His instruction. I would not have rejected and crucified Him, as did the Jews;' but that will be proved by the way in which you deal with His message and His messengers today. ...
"Those who live in this day are not accountable for the deeds of those who crucified the Son of God; but if with all the light that shone upon His ancient people, delineated before us, we travel over the same ground, cherish the same spirit, refuse to receive reproof and warning, then our guilt will be greatly augmented." [1]
It was not mere human sadism that drove the scribes and Pharisees to demand of Pilate, "Crucify Him!" They were obsessed with a mysterious hatred of God Himself, the roots of which linger in the dark shadows of every human heart. It was not only deicide; it was the dark desire to blot God and His righteousness out of the universe. The murderers of Jesus were Satan-possessed; and they held up a mirror for us all to look and see ourselves--what we would be and what we would do if we had been in their place, but for the grace of God.
But God resurrected Him! And He judged His murderers; and the world has judged them likewise. It's the story of the Murder of all murders because it follows the plot through to its end--which no ordinary human murder ever can do. That old, old story, properly told, is the only hope this dark world has.
The leaders of the nation and church were planning to kill Jesus. Caiaphas, the high priest, hated Him. Pilate the Roman governor would deliver Him, knowing He was innocent, to death. And King Herod would agree to His death. The greatest judicial travesty in all history!
Jesus had just reminded them of the well-known story of building Solomon's temple. One large stone had baffled the workmen--they couldn't figure out where to put it and they abandoned it in the weeds, to the heat of summer and the frost of winter and the storms. Finally they discovered that it was the "head stone of the corner," where it proved to be an exact fit. So, said Jesus, He is the "head stone which the builders rejected" (Luke 20:17).
So far, it is clear. But why the idea of anyone falling on the Stone and being broken? (Luke 20:18). Well, Peter was an example of such a person. Arrogant and proud, he was sure he would never give in to pressure and deny his Lord, but before the rooster crowed in the morning he had denied Jesus three times. Peter wept bitterly when he realized the sinfulness of his own heart. His repentance was deep. He "fell upon the Stone and was broken." The love of self was broken up; his heart was broken. It was reported in early times that ever afterward there was a tear glistening in his eyes.
On the other hand, look at Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod. All they have is the final judgment. Christ will not grind them to powder. What will do it is their own history. He will not say a word to condemn them in that final judgment. They will do it themselves. They will salvage nothing for eternity.
It's an either/or judgment we all face. Self must be humbled eventually. Either we by our own voluntary choice are to take up the cross on which self is crucified; or we go on making self the center of our heart's devotion. The former calls for tears of melted-heart repentance now. If we choose self it is ground to powder and blown away like dust in a windstorm,--an eternal record of nothingness. Herod, Caiaphas, and Pilate have given us an expensive object lesson.
Let us humble our hearts and join the class again where our instructor, the repentant thief on the cross, is teaching us. He is qualified, because we know for sure that he was truly converted and will be with Christ in His kingdom. Not all preachers are so qualified. The thief will have a place of high honor with Christ!
--Paul E. Penno
[1] Ellen G. White, "Address to the Church," The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 11, 1893.
Note: "Sabbath School Today" and Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson are on the Internet at: 1888mpm.org
Raul Diaz

“Crucified and Risen”

Insight #13 June 27, 2015
Second Quarter 2015 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
"Crucified and Risen"
For the week of June 27, 2015

Have We Been Persuaded?

This week's study is on the resurrection, so let's look together at a story which will hopefully help us to deeply consider how it relates to the resurrection as well as how it applies to us today. 

Remember the story of Peter Rabbit? You know, the one where Mother Rabbit encourages Peter and his siblings to go outside and play, but cautions against two things: losing or destroying their clothes and entering into Mr. McGregor's garden. Mother Rabbit had her reasons for warning against entering Mr. McGregor's garden, as Mr. McGregor had killed Father Rabbit in that very garden. (Father Rabbit had also gone there to eat some of Mr. McGregor's vegetables). So, off Peter Rabbit and siblings went, with Mother's warning ringing in their ears. Peter's siblings were determined to follow Mother's admonition, but Peter wasn't. He decided to go into the garden anyway. And at first, all was well as he feasted on all sorts of fresh produce such as carrots, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, and the like. Munching happily away, Peter sniffed the cucumbers and boy did they smell good. Allured, he hopped over to the cucumber patch, when all of a sudden, he and Mr. McGregor came face to face. Surprised and irritated, Mr. McGregor immediately picked up his rake and pursued Peter round and round through the cucumbers, the tomatoes, radishes, lettuce and the carrots. What mayhem they caused in the process. But try as he might, Peter could not find the entrance into the garden, nor a place to hide from Mr. McGregor. Frantic now, Peter kept looking, until at last, up ahead he saw a light. At last he'd found the garden entrance. Hopping as fast as he could, Peter squeezed through the small opening and was free. Momentarily relieved, Peter sat down to catch his breath and that's when he noticed that he had lost his clothes hopping madly through the garden. "Now, I'm in big trouble," he thought, "mother is going to be so mad at me." "Why didn't I listen?" he asked himself.

Did Peter really not listen? Did he not hear his mother's words? Of course he heard, after all he could repeat what was said. So what went wrong? Apparently there is a difference between hearing and listening. In our story, it is evident that Peter did hear his mother, but since he desired to do other than his mother admonished, he did not actively listen to her, lest he be persuaded to change his mind. That Peter resisted being persuaded is evident by his cavalier attitude.
It is obvious that this story was written about obedience. In the English language (and in many others), the word obey is typically translated "to do what you're told" (despite dictionary references stating the contrary). According to the common definition, Peter Rabbit was disobedient the moment he did not do what his mother told him to do. But is this really getting at the heart of obedience? The word rendered obey originates from a compound word meaning to actively listen. You cannot do as you are told unless you have listened carefully as to what to do. And furthermore, you cannot do so cheerfully and joyfully unless you trust the person you are listening to, implicitly. You see, Peter trusted himself more, he trusted his knowledge of his abilities, while underestimating that of Mr. McGregor's. This distrust of His mother led to his unwillingness to listen to her.

At its core, obedience is about hearing from the one who has your heart; it will not matter if the One communicating with you speaks to you with an inward, silent persistent thought, or an audible external voice. What matters is, will you, through trusting and confiding love, choose to heed what you have actively listened to? A wise man has said, "First there is the mental creation, (the mind involves the emotions) then the action is taken." So obedience involves not only our outward actions, but our motives and attitudes prior to the doing. Interestingly, a literal translation of the word "obey" in the Hebrew and Greek, is to listen willingly, eagerly, attentively, leaning in to the speaker, straining to catch the slightest nuance. Its opposite meaning would be, hearing while preoccupied, resisting the one who is speaking, reluctantly paying attention, and finally, listening to find the disagreeable. The latter are all things Peter Rabbit engaged in.

The Apostle Paul says, "Faith comes through the hearing and hearing through the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).  The Greek term used for 'faith' means to be persuaded. Referring to our story, Peter Rabbit heard his mother's words; but he did not actively listen. Furthermore, he refused to be persuaded by them. In contrast, his siblings chose to be persuaded by those very same words. Their respective actions revealed their respective choices. Paul knew exactly what this meant. He, too, lived for a long time refusing to be persuaded by the Word of God. And, his actions revealed his choice of resisting persuasion. Ellen White speaks of Paul's experience.  She says:

The Saviour had spoken to Saul through Stephen, whose clear reasoning could not be controverted. The learned Jew had seen the face of the martyr reflecting the light of Christ's glory--appearing as if "it had been the face of an angel." Acts 6:15. He had witnessed Stephen's forbearance toward his enemies and his forgiveness of them. He had also witnessed the fortitude and cheerful resignation of many whom he had caused to be tormented and afflicted. He had seen some yield up even their lives with rejoicing for the sake of their faith. All these things had appealed loudly to Saul and at times had thrust upon his mind an almost overwhelming conviction that Jesus was the promised Messiah. At such times he had struggled for entire nights against this conviction, and always he had ended the matter by avowing his belief that Jesus was not the Messiah and that His followers were deluded fanatics (Acts of the Apostles, p. 116).

It was not that Saul did not hear the Word. It was that he did not make space in his heart for it, and therefore refused to be persuaded. After, Saul's conversion his actions revealed his persuasion. The same could be said of the disciples. Christ told them many times of His impending death and resurrection, but they refused to be persuaded. Ellen White elaborates thus:

"After the death of Christ the disciples were well-nigh overcome by discouragement ...Jesus had several times attempted to open the future to His disciples, but they had not cared to think about what He said. ... When Christ was crucified, they did not believe that He would rise. He had stated plainly that He was to rise on the third day, but they were perplexed to know what He meant. This lack of comprehension left them at the time of His death in utter hopelessness. ...If they had believed the Saviour's words, how much sorrow they might have been spared!" (Acts of the Apostles, p. 26)

Three times in Luke 24 the disciples and others were reminded, "remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again" (Luke 24: 6 -7). The disciples had all the evidence they needed to believe, but, preoccupied with who would be the greatest among them in the kingdom, they reluctantly paid attention to Christ's words, resisted considering them, and thus refused to be persuaded. Yet, Mary Magdalene, with less evidence, believed, and, her later action of anointing Christ, revealed her belief.

In our day, those who profess Christianity believe in Christ's resurrection. But, do they believe in His soon and imminent return? In Luke 12, Christ tells the Parable of the Unwise Servant. This servant believed his master would take a long time to return. So, this servant said, "… in his heart, my lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken" (Luke 12:45). This parable references those who, in our time, having heard the Words of Jesus regarding His return, refuse to be persuaded that His coming is imminent. How do we know they believe that Jesus is not coming soon? Their actions reveal what they believe. They are preoccupied with eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage; they buy and sell, plant and build (as if there is no eternity to reckon with -- Matthew 24:37 – 39; Luke 17:28 – 30). With hardened hearts, they think highly of themselves, and look down on others, and consequently abuse and mistreat each other. These have heard the Words of God, but they resist their import and refuse to be persuaded by them. Friends, let us not be resistive to God's Words, but joyfully receive them, letting them persuade us while there is still time. Let the world see by our agape-ing others that His Word has found its home in our hearts. As the scripture says, "those with ears, let them hear" (Revelation 3:13, 22).

--Raul Diaz

Advent Audio
Glad Tidings
Jack Sequeira Ministries
Adventist Pioneer Library
1888 MN Gen. Conf. by Wikipedia
Pacific Union College Library
The Gospel Herald

Glad Tidings
Live Stream

1888 MSC 2015
Summer Conference
Venue: Southern Adventist University
Collegedale, TN 37363
Date: July 15 - 18, 2015
Ellen G. White
Alonzo T. Jones
Ellet J. Waggoner
W. W. Prescott
James White
A. G. Daniells

1888 Message Study Committee
8784 Valley View Dr.
Berrien Springs, MI 49103
Phone: 866 954 4523
Email: info@1888msc.org


Raul Diaz

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lesson 12: Jesus in Jerusalem

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Luke
Lesson 12: Jesus in Jerusalem

The Gospel of Luke portrays Jesus presenting Himself to Jerusalem as their King and His desire to cleanse the Temple. Our Sabbath school lesson asks us to dwell on what this means for us today: "Christ spoke to them, but they didn't listen. Or maybe they listened, but what He said went so much against what they expected that they blocked it out. How can we make sure we aren't doing the same thing when it comes to biblical truth?" [1] There is important truth opened to our understanding by the prominent themes of the 1888 message. This present truth is practical day-to-day heart work which brings alive what Jesus did two millennia ago. The 1888 message relates Jesus' royal coming to Jerusalem, and His cleansing of the Temple, as parallel to His coming to us--the Laodicean church. This dynamic goes unrecognized and unappreciated in our quarterly.


Up to this point in Jesus' ministry He had stayed away from Jerusalem to avoid a head-on confrontation with the religious authorities, and end His work prematurely. But as the time drew near for His sacrifice, He must make a public demonstration of the true nature of His Messiahship in order that all could make up their minds about where they stood.

So he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, indicating His royal mission, and received the accolades from the people. His entourage consisted of the people He had healed and saved from Satan's bondage. He went straight to the Temple and found it in the same condition as His earlier visit when He first cleansed it of the moneychangers, only worse. The commercial atmosphere was such a distraction from the true meaning of worship and truth. That which should have portrayed the sacrifice of the Lamb of God to reach repentant hearts and reconcile the people to God, was instead turned into a lucrative economic gain for the priests and authorities. The truth had been lost upon those who should have been sharing it with others.


Our Lesson author asks a very important question: "What important lesson about false expectations can we take from this account?" [2] Here's what our history teaches us which is unrecognized. Christ came to the leadership of His church in 1888 to a duly elected session of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference. Christ sent "delegated messengers." Ellen White said, "If you reject Christ's delegated messengers, you reject Christ." [3]

Through these "messengers" Christ came into the midst of His Laodicean Church as their King. He came to us as a gentleman, knocking at our heart's door, as a bridegroom would come to his bride to propose marriage. He came with a message of righteousness by faith which would bring revival and reformation to the people. It was "the straight testimony of the Laodicean message." As such it is a unique understanding of justification by faith, which is parallel to and consistent with the idea of the cleansing of the sanctuary truth. In other words, the gospel in harmony with the Ten Commandments. It is the gospel which makes the believer righteous.

There's a fascinating story in Psalm 118 of "the stone which the builders refused" when they were building Solomon's temple. It was the most important of all the stones, yet the "builders" despised it and left it lying out in the bushes in the heat of summer and freeze of winter (vss. 22, 23). Jesus applied this story to Himself. "And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them" (Luke 20:19), but the principle applies to the "most precious message" of Christ's righteousness which "the builders" in the Advent Movement "refused," which is yet to become the "headstone of the corner." That is, "the message of Christ's righteousness," which alone can lighten the earth with glory (Rev. 18:1-4). This message alone is a "perfect fit" to meet the needs of the world church today, and it will be "marvelous" when all at last realize, "This is the Lord's doing."

Christ applied David's psalm as a prophecy to Himself (Matt. 21:42). As a principle it applies to God's work in these last days. No "stone" can become the "headstone" of the "temple" unless it is first "rejected by the builders"! In other words, a repentance on the part of "the builders," the leaders of "the church of the Laodiceans," must precede the finishing of the great gospel commission (Rev. 3:14, 19; 18:1-4). The Good News is that it is certain; and it will be "marvelous in our eyes." Thank God for eyes that can see it--for a life redeemed from the accident wreckage! And you? If you but knew it, you too are "alive from the dead."

The 1888 message was intended by its Divine Author to be the beginning of that light which is to lighten the earth with its glory--the beginning or initial outpouring of the latter rain. It complemented that which was first understood thirty-two years before to be the Laodicean message. Accepted, it would have grown in beauty and power until it finished the work of God in the earth, and prepared our brethren themselves for translation.


The Minneapolis message was an invitation from the Bridegroom to the one whom He loved to prepare herself to be His sympathetic and understanding Bride. But she had put off her coat; how could she put it on? She had washed her feet; how should she defile them? In His divine and tender persistence, the disappointed Lover put in His hand by the hole of the door. But the Bride was not ready, still unwilling, still undecided. When at length, belatedly, she ventured to open to Him the door, He had withdrawn Himself; the invitation of the ages must now be deferred until in the fullness of time her heart is sick of love. Thoughtful and reverent students of the Holy Scriptures have discerned for centuries what we have not yet seen the clear reference to the Laodicean message in the Song of Songs (5:2-6).

Prominent in the 1888 message is this idea of ceasing to resist our Lord. Not until after the 1888 Conference did Ellen White state it so clearly: "The sinner may resist this love, may refuse to be drawn to Christ; but if he does not resist he will be drawn to Jesus ... in repentance for his sins." [4] To stop resisting Jesus--that's the essence of this cleansing of the sanctuary idea. Apparently Ellen White picked up the idea from Jones and Waggoner.

It's Good News better than most Adventists have ever thought it is. In early 1890 Ellen White was moved to write a series of articles for the Review that linked together this idea with the work of Christ in the Most Holy Apartment. And she directly linked it all to the 1888 message (Jan. 21 through April 8), for example: "Christ is cleansing the temple in heaven from the sins of the people, and we must work in harmony with Him upon the earth, cleansing the soul temple from its moral defilement" (Feb. 11). "When we meet unbelief in those who should be leaders of the people, ... our souls are wounded" (March 4). "They oppose they know not what" (Feb. 25). It is clear that the "leaders" did not believe in righteousness by faith which delivers from sin "cleansing the soul temple." For them the investigative judgment was heavenly bookwork and not the High Priest's cleansing "heart work" wrought in the cooperative soul.

It seems that no one in Battle Creek grasped what she was saying. Guess what her reward was for these articles in the Review? "Exile" to Australia the next year (Waggoner shortly thereafter was sent to England).


The difference between Christ's ministry in the First Apartment and in the Second is what He does in His believers. Up until 1844, it was preparing believers to die so they could be "accounted worthy" to come up in the first resurrection. And that is a great work for our High Priest to do. If any of us are called to die, may we be prepared! But when looked at in context, His ministry in the Second Apartment is intended especially to prepare a people to be translated without tasting death. While they are still in the flesh, they must see Jesus, must meet Him face to face, which only "the pure in heart" can endure. These must be "alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord. ... and shall be caught up together with [the resurrected saints of all ages] to meet the Lord in the air." [5]

The Seventh-day Adventist Sanctuary message makes special sense in the light of Christ's Matthew 24 sermon. It was Heaven's purpose that the second coming be within the "generation" of those who saw the last of the celestial "signs" of His near return--the falling of the stars. That's how the pioneers understood it, and that's what the words of Jesus actually say. The otherwise inexplicable delay is the result of "resisting our Lord in His office work." The gospel commission in the light of Revelation 18:1-4 could have been accomplished within a few years of 1888. [6] The delay in finishing the work of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary is not due to computer backlogs in the heavenly offices, or to any angelic inefficiency. The problem lies with "us."


When Jesus "took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:19-20). He was making reference to His death.

The 1888 message view is that Christ accomplished for "all men" a legal justification, which is the "judicial verdict of acquittal for all men" that the New English Bible renders Romans 5:15-18 as teaching (and which all responsible translations also say). This is why God can treat "all men" as though they have never sinned, why He can send His rain on the just and on the unjust. "All men" have enjoyed the benefits of Christ's sacrifice whether or not they believe, because our very physical life is the purchase of the cross. Seen in this light, every meal becomes "a sacrament"--the Lord's supper, in reality. "Every man" is already totally in debt to Christ for all he has; and heart-conversion is a response to God's much more abounding grace, not a grasping for eternal life. It's saying "Thank You" for that eternal gift already given "in Christ."

Can you think of any greater tragedy in the end of history than for a disappointed Christ to stand before "the door" knocking in vain and ultimately turning away in the humiliation of defeat? That is what the devil wants! Why should we give in to him by default? The picture we see in Scripture indicates complete success. By virtue of the infinite sacrifice on Calvary we must choose to believe that the Laodicean message will fully accomplish its objective.

The Laodicean church is the new covenant church. Not for her own intrinsic goodness will the Lord remain loyal to her, but because He has to be a covenant-keeping God. "Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but ... [that] the Lord your God ... may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Deut. 9:5). That covenant aspect of Christ's character is the assurance that the message to Laodicea will not fail.

--Paul E. Penno

[1] Sunday, June 14, p. 97 (p. 151, Teacher's Edition).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 97.
[4] Steps to Christ, p. 27 (1892).
[5] 1 Thess. 4:15-18.
[6] General Conference Bulletin, 1893, p. 419; The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1130.

Note: "Sabbath School Today" and Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson are on the Internet at: http://1888mpm.org

Raul Diaz

Friday, June 12, 2015

“The Kingdom of God”


Lesson 11: The Kingdom of God

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Luke

Lesson 11: The Kingdom of God

"The kingdom of God begins in the heart" (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 506.) This simple statement embodies the fullness of the 1888 message, which is the message given to us by God to change hard hearts from focusing on self into hearts filled with appreciation for what Christ has done on His cross and is doing for us. It's a message to prepare us for translation into His kingdom, not death.

A higher motivation becomes realized in the close of time than has prevailed in the church in past ages--a concern for Christ that He receive His reward and find His "rest" in the final eradication of sin. All egocentric motivation based merely on fear of hell or hope of reward is no longer effective. The higher motivation is symbolized in the climax of Scripture--the Bride of Christ making herself "ready."

Ellet J. Waggoner, one of the 1888 "messengers," wrote: "There has been, from the very first, a throne of grace and a kingdom of grace, of which fallen man becomes subject by conversion. Of this kingdom the Saviour spoke when He said, 'The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; ... For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you' (Luke 17:20-21). This kingdom has been gathering in its subjects during all the ages in which earthly governments have existed; but this work is not to go on for ever." [1]

Someday we will be in God's eternal kingdom of glory, thanks to our Saviour. We'll look back on our earthly pilgrimage, wondering why it took us so long to overcome our worldliness, our selfishness, our sinful addictions, yes, our Laodicean lukewarmness. We will see that pure "river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev. 22:1).

What has made us distinctly "Adventist" has been a firm belief in the soon return of Jesus, a life-changing belief in the Most Holy Apartment ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary on this Day of Atonement, and confidence in the prophetic gift of Ellen G. White. God is the true Head of the church, and nothing can stop what He purposes to do. His objective will be accomplished through a special message: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14).

This message to be preached is a special gift to prepare God's people for translation at the coming of Jesus. It "ripens the grain for the harvest," that is, it woos His people away from their love of the world so they want the kingdom of God to come. It awakens a zeal like those had who waited for Christ in the autumn of 1844. [2] It's not something foggy as emotionalism; it's biblical truth that had never been so clearly understood. Now it is defined as clear truth. It's a shift in Christian experience from Old Covenant to New Covenant thinking. It was the principal issue that impacted the reception of "1888." It demonstrated that there is "light" in the gospel that is greater than the popular churches are able to see.

Ellen White has written, "Amid the confusing cries, 'Lo, here is Christ! Lo, there is Christ!' will be borne a special testimony, a special message of truth appropriate for this time, which message is to be received, believed, and acted upon." [3] As surely as day follows night, such a message will come. Repentance for the 1888-era rejection of such a message [4] will bring a wholehearted acceptance of its renewal.

We have learned to think of the latter rain as "a message of Christ's righteousness," a clearer grasp of practical godliness--all by faith. When the latter rain is welcomed, no longer resisted, God's people have taken the step that concludes the message from the true Witness--they have "overcome even as [He] overcame" (Rev. 3:21). Their faith has matured under the refreshing "showers of the latter rain" received, not rejected. According to Ellen White's testimony, all this should have come well over a century ago, yes, within the lifetime of people living in 1856. When the latter rain is received, it prepares for a grand "harvest" of human souls who will respond to a final "lifting up" of Christ and Him crucified. It will be a revelation of the cross that the world has never seen so clearly. The "most precious message" will penetrate to every honest heart on earth.

Jesus says, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom!" (Luke 12:32). Paul says that He "wants all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3, 4). Why will anyone, then, be lost if it is not His will that they should be? The Bible makes clear that by unbelief man or woman can "frustrate the grace of God."

Esau has become the grand prototype of all the lost who will stand before the Great White Throne. The elder brother of Jacob, the birthright was his; it could not be taken from him. But when Esau was hungry he smelled the stew that Jacob was cooking and made the solemn, oath-bound choice to "despise" his birthright for it. He "sold" it in a moment of self-gratification, and never got it back, "though he sought it carefully with tears" (see Heb. 12:16, 17).

What do we need to do? Recover what we lost is the simple answer. The Lord loves us too much to want to humiliate us; repentance will never do that. We will humble ourselves, yes; but our Savior has never put His arms around us so warmly. To resolve our quandary is easy; just give to the world church the message which "we" "in a great degree" rejected, according to the Lord's messenger. The problem is simple: the world needs that special Good News that God wanted to give them. How can we dare withhold it, century after century? Give it to them!

As suggested by our Saviour, we may pray something like this: "May the hindrances to the coming of Your kingdom be overcome; in other words, let nothing further delay the second coming of Jesus! Teach me how I (unworthy as I am) can 'hasten,' not delay, that day" (2 Peter 3:12).

--From the writings of Robert J. Wieland, et al.

[1] Ellet J. Waggoner, "The Coming Kingdom," The Present Truth, Oct. 18, 1894.
[2] Please read this account in The Great Controversy, pp. 372-374.
[3] Review and Herald, Oct. 13, 1904.
[4] See last week's "Sabbath School Today."

Raul Diaz

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Unofficial Android App for Return of the Latter Rain Audio Version

Attached is a link to download and install an unofficial app to stream the audio version of Return of  the Latter Rain.  Remember this for your Android phone or tablet.  Click here to download it.  This is a stream, which means that it will use your data.  If your data is limited consider downloading the audio here, to play it from your storage.  Also, you will not be able to pause the audio.  If you stop and start again it will start over.  If you would like an ebook, click here.  To visit the page where the file resides, click here.  To visit "Return of the latter rain's" website, click here.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lesson 10: Following Jesus in Everyday Life


Lesson 10: Following Jesus in Everyday Life

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Luke

Lesson 10: Following Jesus in Everyday Life

Over one hundred times Ellen White describes the reception which "we" gave to His special message in 1888 as being "just like the Jews." She says the message has been largely rejected.

She even went so far as to say that if Jesus had been present personally and physically at our 1888 General Conference and in meetings thereafter, "we" would have treated Him as "the Jews treated Christ." [1] Speaking of the opposition, she said: "Thus it was in the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus--all this had passed before me point by point. The Satanic spirit took control and moved with power upon the human hearts that had been opened to doubts and to bitterness, wrath and hatred. All this was prevailing in that meeting. I decided to ... leave Minneapolis." [2]

Christ was largely rejected by the Jewish leaders. She called "our reception" of the 1888 message "the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord's message. ... By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. ... The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world." [3]

Christ was not totally rejected by those in attendance at the headquarters, only largely so. And the "most precious message" the Lord sent us was not totally "opposed" or "kept away" from our people and from the world--only "in a great measure" and "in a great degree." Christ came unto His own, and His own received Him not, but there were some who did receive Him--as many as received Him.

And thank God, there were a few who opened their hearts to the message that was the "beginning" of the Loud Cry of Revelation 18 and of the Latter Rain. But the largely accomplished rejection has long delayed the coronation of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Christ failed to make a positive impact on the heart of the religious system. Likewise, in parallel, the "special messengers" whom "the Lord in His great mercy sent" us failed to make a positive impact at the heart of our religious system.

A very few examples of Ellen White's frequent "just like the Jews" statements are as follows: you "reject Christ in the person of His messengers," "similar to that of the Jews when they rejected the Lord of life and glory;" "Christ knocked for entrance but no room was made for Him;" "in the very same way that the Jews treated the light Christ brought them;" "had Christ been before them [our brethren] they would have treated Him in a manner similar to that in which the Jews treated Christ." [4]

By 1899, A. T. Jones made an appeal. "It is not individual confession that is wanted so much as a General Conference confession. It is a General Conference clearing of ourselves that is needed." [5]


"From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation" (Luke 11:51). This Zacharias was murdered about 856 B.C. [6]

Jesus said that the Jewish leaders of His day were actually guilty of the murder of a man whom their forefathers had killed nearly 800 years before they were born. If the Jews of His day were guilty of a crime committed eight centuries before they were born, is it impossible that we today also share the guilt of our spiritual forefathers of a mere 125 years ago?

Jesus' hearers in His day took exactly the same attitude toward their church history that we do toward ours. They denied their corporate involvement with their ancestors in murdering the prophets. "Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. ... The blood of all the prophets ... may be required of this generation" (Luke 11:47-50). Jesus made clear to them that their fathers' guilt was their guilt

Jesus recognized that the "children" were partakers of the same spirit and of the same sins as the "fathers." This they soon demonstrated in murdering Christ and His apostles. This was corporate guilt. They actually became guilty of Cain's sin of four thousand years earlier.

Jesus said, "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered" (Luke 11:52). The saddest annal in Seventh-day Adventist history is that a greater sin was added to the unbelief of 1888 at Minneapolis: The incontrovertible evidences of the Holy Spirit's approval of the message, demonstrated in the wonderful revivals, only confirmed the stubborn opposition of the leading brethren. "When they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more!" [7] "The light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light." [8]

Wonder, O heavens! And be astonished, O earth! Never since the rejection by Israel of her King of glory has the heavenly universe witnessed a more inexcusable and shameful failure on the part of the chosen people of God, led by their leaders. Mrs. White did not hesitate to apply to the leading brethren the famous "woes upon the Pharisees." [9]

Not one of us is intrinsically better than another. Of every sinner we can say, "There but for the grace of God am I." We have no righteousness intrinsically our own--all is of Christ.

We are each individually responsible for the murder of Christ unless "we individually repent toward God" for that sin. [10] In other words, if we are sinners at all, it is that sin of which we are potentially guilty.

True guilt is complete guilt, not merely conscious guilt. The Jews whom Christ charged with the murder of Zacharias were unconscious of their guilt. But they were nonetheless guilty.

Is it possible that unconscious guilt on our part has hindered the gift of the Latter Rain? Aside from clear and specific repentance, we are potentially guilty of every sin that we could commit, if we had the opportunity.

--Paul E. Penno

[1] The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1478.
[2] Ibid., p. 309.
[3] Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 234, 235.
[4] The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 398, 512, 734, 911, 1479.
[5] A. T. Jones, "General Conference Proceedings," The Daily Bulletin of the General Conference (Worcester, Mass), Feb. 24, 1899, p. 3.
[6] 2 Chronicles 24:20.
[7] The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1325, 1326.
[8] Ellen G. White "The Time of Test," Review and Herald, May 27, 1890.
[9] Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 76.
[10] Ibid., p. 38.

Raul Diaz

Lesson 7: Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Prayer

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Luke

Lesson 7: Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Prayer

The dynamic 1888 principle this week is the most basic of all--it is taking the word of God as it reads and letting it mean what is says; we believe that God says what He means and means what He says. This is the first principle of the 1888 message that I learned and it has never failed me in reading and understanding the Scriptures.

The Lord's Prayer is the only prayer that was ever written by a divine being for man. There are no circumstances or conditions in life that are not covered by this petition.

Ellet J. Waggoner demonstrates this principle by giving us a study on what is in the Lord's Prayer according to the Scriptures. The entire study is too lengthy to print here, so I have given a short sample of each line in the prayer, and website links at the end where you will find the complete articles, which you can download.

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name" [1]
What tenderness is expressed in those words! What infinite condescension it reveals on the part of God to allow poor, frail mortals to address Him thus. His greatness is unsearchable and His ways past finding out. Before Him, all the nations "are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless" (Isa. 40:15–17). He walks "on the wings of the wind" (Psalm 104:3); He "has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet" (Nahum 1:3). And yet this awful God has the tenderness of a parent, and His ear is open to the supplications of those who whisper, even in faintest accents, "Our Father"; for we are told that "as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him" (Psalm 103:13). He has assured us that He dwells with him "who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isa. 57:15). Thus the first words of the Lord's Prayer bring us into the most intimate relation with the great Creator.

We also find that the expression in the Lord's Prayer, "in heaven," stands for recognition of the power, the majesty, the omnipotence, and the omniscience of God. All these things should be borne in mind when we approach the throne of grace. This thought will tend to produce reverence and awe. Multiplication of words and "vain repetitions," for which Christ condemned the heathen, arise from the fact that the petitioner thinks more of himself than he does of the One whom he is addressing. But the God whom we worship sits upon the circle of the heavens, and he who has a just sense of His greatness will come with reverence into His presence, and will confine his words to just the things which he needs.

"Your kingdom come" [2]
In this brief petition is contained one of the most comprehensive requests ever made by mortal man.

Thus we learn that to pray, "Your kingdom come," is to pray for the coming of the Lord to destroy the wicked, and to cleanse the earth of everything that defiles, and to give immortality to His people. God is no respecter of persons. Whosoever shall not be found written in the book of life shall be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). It will avail nothing that men have said, "Lord, Lord,"--that they have prayed earnestly, even praying for the kingdom of God to come, if in that day any defilement is found in them, they will be cast into the lake of fire. How carefully and blameless we must live if we are able to unite, in saying, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20).

"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" [3]
It is probable that this part of the Lord's Prayer is the least understood of any. The sentence, "Your will be done," is thought by most people to be applicable only in cases of sickness or other trial, to indicate that the sufferer is willing to endure patiently. But this is but a very limited view of the expression.

The Ten Commandments are the will of God.

"Give us day by day our daily bread" [4]
Nothing less than divine wisdom could have framed this petition, so simple and so reasonable is it.

Solomon understood the principle here when he asks only to have what is needed for just today: "Give me neither poverty nor riches--feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God" (Prov. 30:7–9).

This petition teaches contentment. The sacrifice of Christ is the pledge of God's care for us. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32).

"And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us" [5]
This may be called the crowning petition in this wonderful prayer.

To be able always to pray understandingly and from the heart, "And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us," is something that can be done by, but comparatively few who profess to be, Christians. The one who can do it is in possession of the greatest of all Christian graces--love.

It has been truly said that to forgive is divine. Certainly it is not human. Human nature knows nothing of forgiveness.

It is not natural for us to do this [forgive]; we can do it only when we are partakers of the divine nature. It may be said that God does not actually forgive men until they repent. This is true; but He desires that they shall receive His pardon, and therefore, so far as He is concerned, He has pardoned them. All that is lacking is for them to accept the pardon which He gives them; if they will not, He is clear, and the responsibility of their ruin rests upon themselves.

This brings us to another feature of forgiveness. It is very common for people to say that they can forgive but they cannot forget. That is not true forgiveness. We must forget that he ever injured us. We must treat him and regard him as though he had done us nothing but good instead of nothing but evil.

"And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" [6]
This petition cannot well be considered apart from that which immediately follows it: "but deliver us from the evil one." Both together form a fitting climax to this wonderful prayer, for they indicate, if used understandingly, the soul's desire for purity of heart.

There can be but one conclusion, and that is that this prayer implies a renunciation and hatred of sin, and a desire to have the heart cleansed from it, and to be strengthened again not allowing it [the sin] to pass the shield of faith, and gain access to the heart. This is the only way that temptations can be instantly repelled, since, as we have read, evil thoughts are natural to the human heart.

It was to effect this that Christ came into the earth. It is not enough that we be freed from the guilt of sin,--from past transgressions,--but we must be freed from the love of sin.

The petition "do not lead us into temptation" must be understood as meaning, "'Do not, O Lord, suffer us to be overcome when assailed by temptation.' Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation. There is a difference between being tempted, and entering into temptation." [7]

I pray that this brief introduction to the Lord's Prayer has given you an appetite for the entire study and the "hands on" experience of seeing the simple, yet profound dynamic of the 1888 message as it takes from the Word of God what was intended by the Word of God. We speak about God's hearing us, when the question really is whether or not we hear God.

Some additional interesting quotations from Waggoner's study on prayer:

"Our asking is not to make Him willing to give, but to show our willingness to receive."

"True prayer is simply the thankful acceptance of God's free gifts."

"God does not weary us by keeping us waiting--this is why we can always pray and not faint."

--Daniel Peters


The Lord' Prayer

Or you can enter this web address directly: http://1888mpm.org/node/1851


[1] Ellet J. Waggoner, The Signs of the Times, Feb. 24, 1887, and March 3, 1887.
[2] Ibid., March 10, 1887.
[3] Ibid., March 24, 1887.
[4] Ibid., March 31, 1887.
[5] Ibid., May 5, 1887.
[6] Ibid., May 19, 1887.
[7] Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 308.

Raul Diaz