Great Apostasies of the Bible

The Final Great Apostasy

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Pr. Stephen Bohr


Series Code: GAB

Program Code: GAB000012

01:11 Shall we bow our heads for prayer?
01:14 Father in heaven, we thank You
01:15 for the awesome privilege of being in Your house.
01:18 We thank you for your holy Sabbath
01:21 where we can just take a break for 24 whole hours
01:24 from our own endeavors, from our own words,
01:27 from our own activities.
01:29 We ask, Father, that as we open Your word
01:31 and study about the final apostasy
01:33 that Your Holy Spirit will be with us to guide our thoughts.
01:37 And we thank You Father, for hearing our prayer
01:39 for we ask it in the precious name of Jesus, amen.
01:44 I'd like to begin our study this morning
01:46 by referring to a text which I probably quote
01:50 more than any text from Scripture.
01:52 Genesis 3:15.
01:57 Basically this is after Adam and Eve had sinned.
02:01 God has come down to the garden
02:03 and He is addressing the serpent.
02:06 And what He is saying is that He is going to send
02:10 a seed born of a woman to this world
02:15 and that seed is going to do battle with Satan,
02:20 with the serpent, with the devil.
02:22 In the process of the battle the seed of the woman
02:28 is going to be wounded on His heel,
02:32 but the head of the serpent is going to be crushed
02:37 by the woman seed.
02:39 In other words, God is serving Satan notice.
02:43 He is saying you led man into sin,
02:46 you're gonna cause misery on planet earth,
02:49 but I'm warning you that I'm sending a seed to the world
02:52 who is going to do battle with you.
02:54 In that battle you're gonna hurt him,
02:57 but he is going to crush your head.
03:01 From that point on the devil decided
03:03 he was not going to allow that seed to come.
03:06 And so basically Satan used two different methods
03:12 to try and keep the seed from coming
03:15 during the Old Testament period.
03:18 Two methods,
03:20 the first method we find in the story of Cain and Abel.
03:25 You see when-- when Abel lived in harmony
03:30 with God's principles the devil soon discovered
03:32 that Abel probably wasn't the seed,
03:35 but he was going to bring
03:37 through a lineage the seed into the world.
03:40 And so was not convenient
03:41 for the devil to have Abel living.
03:45 And so we're told in Genesis 4:8
03:48 if you go with me there Genesis 4:8
03:53 "Now Cain talked with Abel his brother,
03:57 and it came to pass, when they were in the field,
04:00 that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him."
04:07 So the first method that the devil uses
04:09 is to try and destroy the seed by persecution.
04:14 He tries to kill the seed and in this case
04:17 he was successful with Abel.
04:20 Of course he was not ultimately successful
04:22 because we're told in Genesis 4:25
04:27 that God gave Eve another seed
04:30 and the name of that seed was Seth.
04:33 So the devil was not successful by killing the seed
04:37 through whom the seed would eventually come into the world.
04:43 So the devil soon discovers that by killing the seed
04:46 he is not going to accomplish his purposes.
04:49 So he begins to think there must be a better method
04:53 of keeping the seed from coming then killing the seed.
04:57 Because I kill the seed and God brings another one.
05:00 How can I do it?
05:02 And so, now we move to the moment before the flood,
05:05 actually several years before the flood.
05:08 Notice Genesis 6:1
05:12 it says "Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply
05:15 on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them,
05:19 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men,
05:22 that they were beautiful, and they took wives
05:25 for themselves of all whom they chose."
05:28 I'm gonna stop there for a moment.
05:30 The sons of God here are the righteous,
05:34 the daughters of men are the wicked women
05:37 that are mentioned in the genealogy of Cain.
05:40 And what the devil is doing here
05:42 he's not trying to destroy the sons of God by persecution,
05:46 he's not trying to annihilate the sons of God,
05:49 what he's doing is he's blending or mixing the two seeds
05:54 the sons of God that is the righteous
05:57 with the daughters of men who are the lineage
06:00 of the wicked or of the unrighteous.
06:03 In other word Satan is saying
06:04 perhaps the method of contaminating the seed
06:08 or blending the two seeds will be more successful
06:12 then trying to kill the seed.
06:14 And by the way this method was diabolically successful,
06:19 because when you read the story in Genesis
06:21 in spite of the fact that 1,656 years had gone
06:25 by between creation and the flood
06:28 we're told in Genesis
06:29 that out of all the millions of people that individually
06:32 were on planet earth and at that time
06:35 because men live to be almost a 1,000 years old,
06:38 there was no sterility problems, there was no scarcity of food.
06:42 In other words, the world was almost
06:44 in its pristine glory and beauty.
06:48 There must have been millions of people on planet earth,
06:50 it says the whole earth had become corrupted.
06:53 We find that out of all those millions of people
06:56 that probably were on planet earth
06:58 only eight were still faithful to God.
07:03 If time had passed,
07:05 if God had not brought about the flood
07:07 the holy line would have disappeared.
07:09 I continue reading in verse 3
07:11 "And the Lord said, 'My Spirit shall not strive
07:14 with man forever, for he is indeed flesh,
07:16 yet his day shall be one hundred and twenty years.'
07:19 There were giants on the earth in those days,
07:22 and also afterward,
07:24 when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men
07:27 and they bore children to them.
07:29 Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown."
07:33 Or men with the name.
07:35 They were the same builders of the Tower of Babel.
07:37 The identical expression is used
07:39 of those who build the Tower of Babel.
07:41 In other words,
07:42 a very wicked powerful race was the result of this mixture
07:48 of the sons of God with the daughters of men.
07:51 In fact, we're told in Genesis
07:53 that as the result of the devil blending these two seeds
07:56 the world was almost totally corrupted.
07:59 Notice Genesis 6:5 it says here
08:03 "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man
08:07 was great in the earth, and that every intent
08:11 of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
08:15 And noticed the end result in society verses 11 and 12,
08:20 it says "The earth also was corrupt before God,
08:24 and the earth was filled with violence.
08:27 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt
08:30 for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth."
08:35 So in the early chapters of Genesis we noticed
08:37 that the devil uses two methods to try
08:40 and keep the seed the promised seed
08:42 of Genesis 3:15 from coming.
08:45 Number one, attempt took kill the holy seed.
08:50 Number two, try to infiltrate
08:53 and corrupt the seed by mixing or blending them
08:57 with wordlings, blending them with the unrighteous.
09:02 And of course the method which worked the best
09:04 was blending the righteous with the unrighteous.
09:09 Every thought of the intense of the heart of man
09:11 was only evil continually.
09:13 The earth was filled with violence as a result
09:16 of this second method of Satan.
09:20 Now Satan has used these methods
09:22 all throughout the course of human history.
09:25 These are his primary two methods
09:27 to try and get people to forsake their allegiance to God
09:32 either kill them or corrupt them.
09:36 There are many other smaller methods
09:39 if you please that the devil uses
09:41 but these are the two major methods
09:44 that the devil uses in the course of human history
09:47 either kill the seed or corrupt the seed,
09:52 either destroy the righteous through persecution
09:56 or else contaminate them through false ideas
10:00 and through worldly practices.
10:03 Now there's another example of this
10:05 that we've studied previously in this series
10:07 and that is in the story of Balaam.
10:12 And this morning I'm gonna review some of the things
10:15 that we've studied before because this is really
10:16 the concluding lecture in the series
10:19 on great apostasies in the Bible.
10:23 Notice Numbers 22:6, Numbers 22:6.
10:30 Israel at this point
10:31 was in a proper relationship with God,
10:34 in fact they had a strong covenant relationship
10:37 with the Lord when they came
10:38 to the borders of the Promise Land,
10:40 they'd learned their lesson,
10:41 they been in the wilderness for 40 years.
10:44 That whole generation had passed away
10:46 except for those who are 18 years and younger.
10:49 And Caleb and Joshua and so now
10:51 they were in a strong relationship with God
10:55 and the devil knew it.
10:56 And so now the devil is going to attempt to destroy them.
11:00 And the way that he attempts to do it is by getting Balaam
11:02 to curse Israel so that then Balak can come against them
11:06 and destroyed them in battle.
11:08 Notice Numbers 22:6.
11:11 This is Balak the king of the Moabites
11:17 asking Balaam to come and curse the people.
11:20 "Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me,
11:24 for they are too mighty for me.
11:27 Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them
11:29 and drive them out of the land,
11:31 for I know that he whom you bless is blessed,
11:34 and he whom you curse is cursed."
11:36 In other words, come and curse this people
11:38 so that I can come against them in battle
11:40 and I can defeat them in battle and destroy them.
11:44 It's interesting to notice the response of Balaam
11:48 to the request of Balak.
11:50 Notice Numbers 23:20-23.
11:55 "Behold, I have received a command to bless.
12:01 He has blessed." That is God has blessed.
12:04 "And I cannot reverse it. 'He has not.'"
12:07 Now notice what reason.
12:09 "He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
12:13 nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.
12:18 The Lord his God is with him,
12:20 and the shout of a King is among them.
12:24 God brings them out of Egypt. He has strength like a wild ox.
12:29 'For there is no sorcery against Jacob,
12:31 nor any divination against Israel.
12:34 It now must be said of Jacob And of Israel,'
12:37 Oh, what God has done!"
12:41 No way in which the devil could destroy Israel
12:44 from the outside through persecution,
12:47 because Israel was in a proper relationship with God,
12:50 strong covenant relationship with God.
12:53 As it says here "He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
12:57 nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.
13:02 So the devil begins to think he says,
13:04 I'm not able to influence Balaam by money to curse Israel.
13:11 God is protecting Israel
13:12 they are in a proper relationship with Him.
13:14 I cannot destroy them through persecution.
13:18 What method could I use?
13:19 And so suddenly he brings all of his filing cabinet
13:23 the method that he had used before the flood.
13:26 If you can't fight them join them
13:30 and then if they become defiled with the inhabitants of the land
13:33 God will withdraw His protection
13:36 and they will be easy to destroy.
13:39 Notice Numbers 31:16
13:43 it was Balaam who made the suggestion
13:45 that the children of Israel be enticed to commit idolatry
13:50 and fornication to become defiled with those Moabites.
13:54 It says here in Numbers 31:16
13:59 "Look, these women caused the children of Israel,
14:03 through the council of Balaam,
14:05 to trespass against the Lord in the incidents of Peor,
14:11 and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord."
14:16 In other words, God is saying
14:19 as long as you are in a proper relationship with me
14:22 there is nothing that the devil can do to destroy you
14:25 from outside through persecution.
14:27 So the devil says, if you can't fight them join them.
14:30 And so he brings believers and unbelievers together.
14:34 The unbelievers corrupt the believers
14:36 and as a result God withdraws His protection.
14:40 And the Bible says that 24,000 of the cream
14:44 of the crop of Israel died, because of their apostasy.
14:50 Notice Numbers 25:1-4 on this second method
14:55 speaking about when Israel arrived
14:57 at the borders of the Promised Land
14:59 they should have been willing to advance immediately
15:01 into the Promised Land,
15:03 but there's a very important little word here
15:05 in Numbers 25:1 it says
15:07 "Then Israel" notice "remained in Acacia Grove."
15:14 They remained in Acacia Grove.
15:16 "And the people began to commit adultery with the women of Moab.
15:21 They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods,
15:24 and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.
15:26 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor,
15:30 and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel."
15:34 So what the devil was not able to do through persecution
15:38 the devil was able to do through infiltration.
15:41 Those are the two methods that the devil uses
15:44 all throughout human history to try and conquer
15:48 and overcome God's people
15:51 by trying to destroy them physically,
15:54 by trying to kill them, by persecution
15:56 and the second method is by infiltrating them,
16:00 in other words corrupting their principles
16:03 and leading them to a wrong belief system.
16:07 We have another example of this in Scripture.
16:11 We have the case of Daniel and his three friends.
16:16 Let's read from Daniel Chapter 1
16:19 and we'll being at verse 3, Daniel 1:3.
16:24 And I want you to notice three things
16:26 that Nebuchadnezzar does with Daniel and his three friends.
16:32 It says there,
16:34 "Then the king instructed Ashpenaz,
16:38 the master of his eunuchs,
16:40 to bring some of the children of Israel
16:42 and some of the Kings descendants
16:44 and some of the nobles,
16:46 young men in whom there was no blemish,
16:49 but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom,
16:52 possessing knowledge and quick to understand,
16:55 who had ability to serve in the king's palace,
16:58 and whom they might teach."
17:00 Now notice this.
17:01 "They might teach the language
17:04 and the literature of the Chaldeans."
17:09 What was the idea of teaching these young men
17:12 the literature and language of the Chaldeans?
17:16 Through the educational system it was to reprogram
17:19 their way of thinking from Hebrew thinking
17:22 into Babylonian thinking.
17:24 But there was more.
17:26 Notice what we find in verse 5.
17:30 It says "And the king appointed for them a daily provision
17:34 of the king's delicacies
17:36 and of the wine which they drank."
17:40 Interesting, why would the devil want
17:44 Daniel and his three friends to eat the food of Babylon
17:48 and to drink the wine of Babylon?
17:50 Simply, because our physical habits
17:53 have much to do with our moral ability
17:56 to distinguish between right and wrong
17:59 and to chose the right and reject the wrong.
18:03 So not only is the devil trying to reprogram their thinking
18:06 through the educational system of Babylon,
18:09 he is also trying to lower their physical barriers
18:12 and their mental barriers to sin by getting them
18:15 to eat the food and drink the wine of Babylon.
18:21 But there is more.
18:23 Verse 5 again "And the king appointed
18:25 for them a daily provisional of the king's delicacies
18:27 and of the wine which he drank,
18:29 and three years of training for them,
18:32 so that at the end of that time
18:34 they might serve before the king.
18:37 Now from among those of the sons of Judah
18:40 were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah."
18:45 And now notice this.
18:47 "To them the chief of the eunuchs gave" what?
18:51 "Names."
18:54 Why would Babylon want to change their names?
18:57 What does a name indicate in Scripture?
19:00 A name indicates the character of the person.
19:05 To them the chief eunuchs gave names,
19:08 he gave Daniel the name of Belteshazzar,
19:11 to Hananiah, Shadrach, to Mishael, Meshach
19:14 and to Azariah, Abednego.
19:16 In fact, these names were names it
19:18 honor of the Babylonian gods.
19:20 He hoped that as they listened to their names
19:22 their character would changed as they listen
19:25 to the names of gods of the Pantheon of Babylon.
19:30 You know what's interesting?
19:33 The Bible says that even though Daniel and his friends
19:35 attended the educational system of Babylon
19:37 they did not allow their minds to be defiled.
19:41 Not only that when the food and when the wine was brought
19:45 before them they refused to eat.
19:48 They chose a vegan diet, water and vegetables.
19:54 And you know something else never in the Book of Daniel
19:57 do we find Daniel calling himself Belteshazzar.
20:04 He's always called that by the Babylonians,
20:06 but whenever Daniel speaks of himself he says I Daniel.
20:12 He did not allow the change of names to influence him.
20:16 What was Babylon trying to do at this point?
20:19 They were trying to convert the Hebrews into Babylonians.
20:24 They were trying to corrupt them
20:27 and the devil was not able to do it.
20:29 See the devil work in both ways.
20:31 He'll either kill you and if he can't kill you
20:33 he'll infiltrate you, or he'll try to infiltrate you
20:36 and if he can't he'll kill you.
20:39 Are you following what I'm saying?
20:40 The two methods of the devil he'll work both ways.
20:44 And so the devil sees that these three young men
20:46 and Daniel stand firm, they're not gonna allow
20:48 themselves to be defiled by the food, by the learning,
20:51 by having names in honor of Babylonian gods.
20:56 And so the devil says, I'm gonna have to kill them.
21:03 And so now you entered Daniel Chapter 3.
21:06 By the way, do you know that Daniel Chapter 3
21:08 is a prophetic chapter?
21:10 Its history, yes it took place in history,
21:12 but it also is a prophecy.
21:15 Did Nebuchadnezzar live for a period
21:17 as a beast yes or no?
21:20 Sure he did for seven years. He thought he was a beast.
21:23 Did he raise up an image? He more certainly did.
21:27 Did he command everyone to worship the image?
21:30 Yes, he did.
21:32 Did he threaten that whoever did not worship the image
21:34 that he had raised up would be killed?
21:37 Absolutely, and who were
21:39 the only ones who stood and refused to worship?
21:41 Those three young men.
21:42 Daniel wasn't there for some reason.
21:44 We'll have to ask in the kingdom where Daniel was.
21:47 You know, there's all kinds of speculation,
21:49 but we know that Daniel if he had been there
21:51 he wouldn't have bowed either,
21:53 because later on he was willing to face the lions.
21:57 At the end of his life we know what his character was like.
22:00 Maybe he was ill, maybe that's king sent him on a trip,
22:03 maybe the king kept him someplace
22:05 because he knew he wasn't gonna worship we don't know,
22:08 but the three young men stood before the king
22:11 and I want to read the verses Daniel Chapter 3
22:14 and beginning with verse 16.
22:16 Daniel 3:16
22:18 it says here "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego
22:24 answered and said to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar,
22:29 we have no need to answer you in this matter.
22:32 If that is the case, our God whom we serve
22:36 is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace,
22:40 and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
22:44 But if not, let it be known to you, O king,
22:48 that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship
22:52 the gold image which you have set up."
22:57 You know, when you look at the historical context
22:59 of this passage
23:00 they were standing before the monarch
23:02 of the universe so to speak at that time,
23:04 of the world, Nebuchadnezzar.
23:07 All of the luminaries and dignitaries were gathered there
23:11 and this was embarrassing to Nebuchadnezzar
23:13 because you have these three young men
23:15 that refused to bow down to worship.
23:17 Let me ask you, have they been contaminated
23:19 with the teaching of Babylon?
23:21 No.
23:22 Were they living up to the meaning of their names,
23:24 The Babylonian names? No.
23:27 Was it worthwhile having clear minds
23:30 and strong physical constitution
23:32 to be able to stand for the truth?
23:34 Absolutely, yes.
23:37 So they remain firm to God and devil says okay,
23:40 if I can't infiltrate you I will kill you.
23:44 But the interesting thing is we all know the conclusion
23:46 of the story the Bible says
23:49 that when they were thrown into the fiery furnace
23:53 clothing and all bound suddenly Nebuchadnezzar looks
23:57 and he sees in the furnace not three but four
24:02 and that the fourth one looks like the Son of God.
24:04 Some people saying how did Nebuchadnezzar know
24:07 what the Son of God looked like?
24:08 Well, the fact is that the Prophets and Kings tells us
24:11 that Daniel had described to Nebuchadnezzar
24:16 what the Son of God was like according to Scripture
24:19 because he had a physical description of Him.
24:21 And so Nebuchadnezzar knew what the Son of God look like.
24:24 And, you know, when they were brought out of the fiery furnace
24:29 I mean, when God delivers He really delivers fully
24:31 and completely doesn't He?
24:33 I mean, the only thing they had burnt
24:35 was the ropes that had them tie.
24:39 It says not a hair of their heads with burnt
24:42 and they didn't even smell like smoke.
24:45 That's what the text says, because God intervene
24:48 and He delivered His faithful followers.
24:51 What I want us to notice in these examples
24:53 that we studied so far is that the devil uses two methods.
24:57 Number one, he will try to undermine your principles.
25:00 He will try to contaminate you with the world.
25:02 He will try to get you to follow false doctrines
25:05 and false teachings which are manifested
25:07 then ultimately in behavior.
25:09 If he can't do that he'll say
25:11 the final solution I'll kill you.
25:14 But sometimes he works in the opposite way.
25:16 He tries to destroy and to kill
25:19 and if he's not successful in doing that
25:22 he will try and infiltrate them.
25:25 You know, during prayer meetings in the last oh,
25:29 I would say about four or five months
25:31 we've been studying the seven churches
25:34 of the Book of Revelation.
25:36 It's been a fascinating study.
25:38 We have a small group of people
25:40 probably about 20 to 25 that come out to prayer meeting.
25:43 And I wish the group was larger
25:45 because we really have a good time.
25:47 You know, I want you to know
25:48 that I don't save the good stuff for Sabbath.
25:52 You know, they say oh, prayer meeting,
25:53 you know, they saved up the "B" stuff.
25:56 You know, no, we're studying real, real good stuff.
25:59 We're studying the church of Philadelphia right now.
26:02 And I would encourage you to attend
26:05 if it all possible prayer meeting
26:06 and to dwell into the word with us.
26:09 But anyway we've been studying the seven churches.
26:11 I'd like to say something about the first three churches.
26:15 The first church is Ephesus that is the Apostolic Church
26:19 the church of the apostles.
26:21 That's the church that went out and set the world on fire.
26:25 That's the church that baptized thousands in one day.
26:29 That's the church that soon not only baptized thousands,
26:32 but started establishing churches
26:35 all over the Roman Empire.
26:37 They grew like grassfire.
26:40 Then you have the second church.
26:42 The second church is a church of Smyrna.
26:44 If you read carefully
26:45 the description in Revelation Chapter 2
26:47 you'll find that Smyrna is the persecuted church.
26:51 There is a lot of death language
26:53 relating to the Church of Smyrna.
26:55 You know, God says be faithful unto death
26:57 I will give you the crown of life.
26:59 You know, Jesus introduces Himself as
27:01 He who was dead and yet He is alive.
27:05 Then the name Smyrna means bittersweet mere
27:10 and mere was used to inbound the dead.
27:12 In other words, there's all sorts of death language
27:14 connected to church of Smyrna.
27:16 Why?
27:18 Because we find in history that when the Apostolic Church
27:22 lift pious lives and they proliferated
27:26 the gospel message throughout the whole Roman Empire,
27:28 Satan started losing his followers by droops.
27:33 Christianity was growing
27:34 and the pagan temples were empty.
27:38 And so the devil says this is not convenient for me
27:41 and so we goes to the plan of persecution.
27:44 The church Ephesus is the conferring church
27:47 the church that wins thousands in a day.
27:50 The devil says under the Church of Smyrna
27:52 I'm gonna destroy them, I'm gonna persecute them.
27:54 But, you know, the interesting thing is
27:56 that the more the devil persecuted
27:58 the more the church grew.
28:03 So he says it doesn't do any good
28:05 to try and destroy them through persecution,
28:08 because the more I tried to destroy them
28:10 the more they are.
28:13 And so now you enter the church in Pergamum
28:16 and the church by Thyatira.
28:18 This is the Church of Pergamum is the church
28:21 of the period of Constantine the Great.
28:25 When suddenly Christianity joins the world,
28:28 when Christianity is favored by the Roman Emperor
28:31 and all sorts of false teachings enter the church in preparation
28:35 for what we know is the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages
28:38 the period of the people apostasy,
28:40 which lasted 1,260 years,
28:43 In other words the devil said
28:45 I'm not able to destroy them by persecution.
28:47 What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna infiltrate them,
28:49 lead them to fall in love with the world,
28:52 following a practices of the world,
28:53 adopt the teachings of the world
28:55 and then if I corrupt them God is not gonna favor them,
29:00 they'll be overcome.
29:02 Allow me to read you a statement,
29:04 I'm gonna read you several statements now
29:07 on these first three churches on the Book of Revelation.
29:10 I'm gonna read from the Spirit of Prophecy,
29:12 Great Controversy specifically page 46.
29:16 Here Ellen White describes
29:18 the faith of the early Christians,
29:20 of the church of Ephesus.
29:22 She says this
29:24 "The early Christians were indeed a peculiar people."
29:29 Today people don't want to be peculiar.
29:32 Now we want to be one of the crowd, right?
29:37 We don't want to be different.
29:39 We don't want to be called a cult.
29:42 I don't like being called a cult.
29:45 But, you know, many times we even call our churches
29:48 we don't call them Seventh-day Adventist
29:49 just we call them Adventist community,
29:52 the fellowship or Adventist Community Church.
29:59 Is it perhaps because we're embarrassed?
30:02 She says "The early Christians were indeed a peculiar people.
30:06 Their blameless department and unswerving faith
30:11 were a continual reproof that disturbed the sinner's peace.
30:16 Though few in numbers, without wealth, position,
30:22 or honorary titles, they were a terror to evildoers
30:27 wherever their character and doctrines were known.
30:32 Therefore they were hated by the wicked,
30:35 even as Abel was hated by the ungodly Cain.
30:39 For the same reason that Cain slew Abel,
30:42 did those who sought to throw off the restraint
30:45 of the Holy Spirit, put to death God's people."
30:50 You see they have this peculiar church
30:53 whose lives are different than the world
30:56 and they cause the world
30:58 of course to react by persecution.
31:04 And so I want you to notice that the devil attempts
31:07 to destroy the early church, because of their character.
31:12 We find in the same page of Great Controversy
31:14 inveigh where Satan efforts to destroy the Church
31:17 of Christ by violence.
31:19 He wasn't able to destroy the church by violence.
31:21 Do you know that the church that is in a proper relationship
31:24 with Christ is indestructible?
31:27 There is an indestructible to the people of God.
31:31 Jesus says upon this rock I will build my church
31:34 and the gates of hell which means Hades
31:37 or the grave shall not prevail against it.
31:41 You can take it to the bank.
31:43 She says the Great Controversy in which the disciples of Jesus
31:47 healed up their lives did not cease
31:50 when these faithful standard bearers fell at their post.
31:54 By defeat they conquered.
31:58 Wait a minute, by defeat they conquered?
32:02 What they have been defeated if they had given
32:04 in to save their lives?
32:06 Yes, but the fact that they're willing to die
32:09 to be faithful to God show
32:11 that the devil could not overcome them.
32:14 She continued saying "God's workmen were slain,
32:17 but His work went steadily forward.
32:20 The gospel continued to spread
32:22 and the number of its adherents to increase.
32:26 It penetrated into regions that were inaccessible
32:30 even to the eagles of Rome.
32:35 Said a Christian, expostulating with the heathen rulers
32:39 who were urging forward the persecution:
32:42 You may 'kill us, torture us, condemn us.
32:47 Your injustice is the proof that we are innocent.
32:51 Nor does your cruelty avail you.'
32:55 It was but a stronger invitation
32:57 to bring others to their persuasion.
33:00 'The oftener we are mown down by you,
33:03 the more in number we grow,
33:05 the blood of Christians is seed.'"
33:11 The devil should have learned a lesson
33:12 that the best method of getting rid
33:14 of true Christianity is not by persecution.
33:18 It takes a while even for the devil to learn.
33:21 You know, by killing Abel
33:24 through Cain God brings another seed.
33:28 That devil had learned that infiltrating the seed
33:30 before the flood work much better only eight left.
33:35 But evidently he didn't learn well enough
33:37 to apply it here in the Christian Church.
33:40 He raises persecution first, the more the church grows.
33:45 Is it perhaps true that there might be a good idea
33:47 to have a little persecution today?
33:51 You know, we praise that what when we say
33:52 oh thank you, Lord, for the times of peace.
33:55 And we sit in from the television set
33:56 for hours and hours.
33:57 Thanks for the times of peace.
34:00 There I speak boldly perhaps the only thing folks,
34:04 that is gonna lift us up from are pews
34:08 and lead us to come to prayer meeting
34:11 where we not only study, but we also pray
34:13 and we have a testimony service
34:15 and when Pastor Jensen, leads they sing.
34:21 What is it gonna take?
34:25 Now notice Satan's plan "B" when a church grew phenomenally.
34:31 "Satan therefore laid plans to war more successfully
34:34 against the government of God
34:37 by planting his banner in the Christian church."
34:41 Is that what he did in the days of Balaam?
34:43 Absolutely.
34:44 "If the followers of Christ could be deceived
34:47 and led to displease God,
34:50 then their strength, fortitude, and firmness would fail,
34:55 and they would fall an easy prey."
34:58 It's like she's describing what happened in days of Balaam.
35:02 She continues saying "The great adversary
35:04 now endeavored to gain by artifice
35:08 what he had failed to secure by force.
35:11 Persecution ceased, and in its stead
35:15 were substituted the dangerous allurements
35:19 of temporal prosperity and worldly honor.
35:23 Idolaters were led to receive a part of the Christian faith,
35:29 while they rejected other essential truths."
35:32 Is it just possible that we're filling the church
35:34 with the mix multitude people who are not fully
35:38 and completely committed to all of our message?
35:42 She continues saying
35:43 "They professed to accept Jesus as the Son of God
35:47 and to believe in His death and resurrection,
35:50 but they had no conviction of sin
35:53 and felt no need of repentance or of a change of heart.
35:58 With some concessions on their part
36:01 they proposed that Christians should make concessions,
36:04 that all might unite
36:06 on the platform of belief in Christ."
36:11 Unite on the platform of what?
36:14 We all believe in Jesus.
36:20 That's ecumenism, as it's been spoken of the day.
36:23 Let's join on the points that we have in common.
36:26 We all believe in the same Lord,
36:28 we're all going to the same place.
36:31 She continues saying
36:32 this is page 42 and 43 of Great Controversy.
36:35 She says "Now the church was in fearful peril.
36:39 Prison, torture, fire, and sword were blessings
36:43 in comparison with this.
36:46 Some of the Christians stood firm,
36:49 declaring that they could make no compromise.
36:52 Others were in favor of yielding
36:54 or modifying some features of their faith
36:58 and uniting with those who had accepted a part of Christianity,
37:02 urging that this might be
37:04 the means of their full conversion."
37:08 Did you catch that?
37:11 You know, if we just concede a little bit
37:13 we'll reach all of those on Church out there.
37:16 If we just worship that the way
37:17 that they are comfortable worshiping.
37:20 You know, if we allow in church
37:22 the behavior that they are partake of.
37:25 If we use, you know, instead of preaching a sermon
37:27 we show movie now and then.
37:30 They'll feel more comfortable in our midst.
37:33 It's happening now in the Adventist church, folks.
37:38 It's quite in here.
37:42 She continues saying "That was a time of deep anguish
37:45 to the faithful followers of Christ.
37:48 Under a cloak of pretended Christianity,
37:51 Satan was insinuating himself into the church,
37:57 to corrupt their faith and turn their minds
38:00 from the Word of God."
38:04 See how the devil works.
38:07 Persecution and infiltration
38:12 and he does them in both orders.
38:15 Persecution and infiltration or infiltration and persecution
38:19 it doesn't make any difference to him.
38:21 If we can't get you one way he will get you another way.
38:26 Now I would like to dedicate my concluding remarks
38:33 to a passage from the Spirit of Prophecy
38:36 where Ellen White is discussing a meeting
38:42 that she saw in vision of Satan
38:44 and his angels to plan the strategy
38:48 for God's remnant church in the last days.
38:52 Now I must say that
38:54 though I'm gonna read this passage
38:55 from the writings of Ellen White
38:58 what she says is contained already in Scripture
39:01 primarily Matthew 24 and 25, Luke 21
39:06 where Jesus speaks about being prepared for His second coming.
39:10 Jesus said pray, watch,
39:14 don't be caught up by the cares of this world.
39:18 Less that they catch you unawares.
39:20 Now I'm not gonna read the whole passage,
39:23 it's in Testimonies to Ministers, pages 473 to 475.
39:30 I'm just gonna mention a few of Ellen White's comments
39:33 in the first half of this chapter
39:35 and then I'm gonna dedicate my remarks especially
39:38 to the second half of this chapter,
39:41 it's called the Snares of Satan.
39:44 In the first half of this chapter
39:46 Ellen White speaks about Satan
39:49 influencing the religious world
39:52 to move for the establishment of laws which restrict
39:57 and remove liberty of conscience.
40:00 She speaks about the religious
40:02 and political powers of the world joining forces
40:05 to actually implement a Sunday law
40:09 which will force God's people
40:11 to observe Sunday as the day of worship.
40:14 I just like to read the concluding section
40:18 of this first part of the chapter
40:20 the Snares of Satan.
40:22 This is the combination of the devils first method
40:24 which is to restrict religious liberty
40:26 and ultimately to persecute
40:28 and tried to destroy God's people by destroying them
40:31 from the face of earth through persecution.
40:34 She says this,
40:36 Satan here is speaking, she is hearing him speak.
40:39 "We led the Romish church
40:41 to inflict imprisonment, torture, and death
40:46 upon those who refused to yield to her decrees
40:50 and now that we are bringing the Protestant churches
40:54 and the world into harmony
40:57 with this right arm of our strength."
40:59 Notice the three fold union.
41:02 "We will finally have a law to exterminate
41:07 all who will not submit to our authority.
41:11 When death shall be made the penalty
41:14 of violating our Sabbath,
41:17 then many who are now ranked with commandment keepers
41:21 will come over to our side."
41:25 But do you know that this method of the devil is the last resort.
41:30 This method of the Sunday law and the death decree
41:33 against God's people who observe His only Sabbath.
41:36 This is only the last resort that He is gonna use for those
41:41 that He is not able to conquer first through another method.
41:45 Allow me to continue reading the statement she says.
41:49 The devil once again is saying these words.
41:51 "But before proceeding to these extreme measures"
41:57 Did you catch that? Before what?
42:01 Proceeding to these extreme measures.
42:03 What extreme measures?
42:05 Sunday law, a death decree
42:08 to exterminate God's faithful people.
42:11 She says that before this something is gonna happen.
42:13 She says "Before proceeding to these extreme measures,
42:18 we must exert all our wisdom and subtlety to deceive
42:24 and ensnare those who honor the true Sabbath."
42:31 So who is the target before the world before the Papacy
42:36 and Protestantism joining with the powers of the world,
42:40 give this Sunday law and this death decree?
42:43 Who is the target of the devil's work?
42:46 Sabbath keepers.
42:49 "But before proceeding these extreme measures,
42:52 we must exert all our wisdom and subtlety to deceive
42:54 and ensnare those who honor the true Sabbath."
42:58 Now notice this.
42:59 "We can separate many from Christ
43:03 by worldliness,
43:06 lust, and pride."
43:11 Wow. Worldliness, lust, and pride.
43:17 "They may think themselves safe because they believe the truth,
43:24 but indulgence of appetite or the lower passions,
43:31 which will confuse judgment and destroy discrimination,
43:36 will cause their fall."
43:38 You know, what she is listing here?
43:41 She says once again
43:45 "Worldliness, lust,
43:50 pride, appetite
43:56 or feeding the lower passions confuses judgment.
44:00 She goes on, but devil speaking to his angels.
44:04 "Go, make the possessors of lands
44:08 and money drunk with the cares of this life."
44:16 What place this money occupy in your list of priorities?
44:22 She continues saying
44:23 "Present the world before them in its most attractive light
44:29 that they may lay up their treasure here,
44:33 and fix their affections upon earthly things."
44:39 Only we can answer if we're doing that.
44:42 Do we have far more than what we need
44:46 while the work of God is languishing
44:50 and the churches in need?
44:53 You say oh, it's easy for you to say
44:54 that 'cause our budget is behind.
44:57 Yes our budget is behind, but I don't say it,
44:59 because of our budget, I say it because of us.
45:03 It's not about the church having the money
45:05 it's about us having the heart to return the money
45:07 that belongs to God.
45:11 She continues saying "We must do our utmost
45:13 to prevent those who labor in God's cause
45:16 from obtaining means to use against us."
45:21 Means, means money.
45:23 She continues saying "Keep the money in our own ranks.
45:28 The more means they obtain, the more they will injure
45:31 our kingdom by taking from us our subjects.
45:35 Make them care more for money than
45:37 for the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom
45:40 and the spread of the truths we hate,
45:42 and we need not fear their influence
45:45 for we know that every selfish,
45:47 covetous person will fall under our power,
45:50 and will finally be separated from God's people."
45:56 Now listen, through those who have a form of godliness
46:03 and some of that means the form a godliness
46:06 because through all the routine and all the forms
46:09 and all the ceremonies, becoming go from church.
46:13 "Through those that have a form of godliness
46:15 but know not the power,"
46:18 the devil says "we can gain many
46:19 who would otherwise do us harm.
46:23 Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God
46:26 will be our most effective helpers.
46:29 Those of this class who are apt and intelligent
46:32 will serve as decoys to draw others into our snares.
46:38 Many will not fear their influence,
46:42 because they profess the same faith.
46:45 We will thus lead them to conclude
46:47 that the requirements of Christ
46:49 are less strict than they once believed."
46:53 See lowering the standard,
46:55 lower according to this the requirements of Jesus.
47:00 "And that by conformity to the world
47:03 they would exert a greater influence with worldlings.
47:07 Thus they will separate from Christ,
47:10 then they will have no strength to resist our power,
47:14 and erelong they will be ready
47:16 to ridicule their former zeal and devotion.
47:22 Until the great decisive blow shall be struck,
47:26 our efforts against commandment keepers must be untiring.
47:31 We must be present at all their gatherings."
47:35 He is here today
47:39 whispering in people's ears
47:44 trying to get you to go to sleep.
47:49 She continues saying "In their large meetings
47:53 especially our cause will suffer much,
47:57 and we must exercise great vigilance,
47:59 and employ all our seductive arts to prevent souls
48:03 from hearing the truth and becoming impressed by it.
48:08 I will have upon the ground, as my agents,
48:12 men holding false doctrines mingled
48:15 with just enough truth to deceive souls."
48:19 See here you have heresy, not only lifestyle issues,
48:24 not only money, not only pride, not only worldliness,
48:29 but also false doctrines mingled with the truth.
48:34 Folks, we need in our Bibles.
48:38 What would happen if you only ate once a week?
48:42 Physically speaking.
48:45 Tell me, what would happen if we ate once a week?
48:49 We would be alive very long, right.
48:52 And yet many Adventist their only meal
48:55 is the sermon on Sabbath morning.
48:58 Spiritually speaking.
49:01 And that's why as the church of Sardis
49:02 we have a name that we're alive,
49:04 but we're what? We're dead.
49:08 "I will have upon the ground, as my agents,
49:10 men holding false doctrines mingled
49:12 with just enough truth to deceive souls.
49:14 I will also have unbelieving ones present
49:17 who will express doubts
49:19 in regard to the Lord's messages of warning to His church.
49:22 Should the people read and believe these admonitions."
49:25 She is speaking about her writings by the way.
49:27 "We could have little hope of overcoming them.
49:30 But, if we can divert their attention from these warnings,
49:34 they will remain ignorant of our power and cunning,
49:36 and we shall secure them in our ranks at last."
49:41 Like the Ellen White speaks of a group
49:42 in the time of trouble that cried out to God
49:44 and they said, why didn't you tell us
49:45 that this time was gonna be so terrible,
49:47 so that we could be prepare.
49:50 And God is gonna say I did warn you,
49:52 I gave you a testimonies of the spirit
49:54 and you chose to ignore them and to reject them.
49:58 Now more than ever we should be reading the Spirit of Prophecy
50:00 and implementing the principles into our lives,
50:03 because they are Biblical principles,
50:04 they amplify, they explain the principles
50:08 that we contain in Scripture.
50:11 She continues saying speaking about the devil,
50:15 speaking "God will not permit His words
50:17 to be slighted with impunity.
50:19 If we can keep souls deceived for a time,
50:23 God's mercy will be withdrawn,
50:25 and He will give them up to our full control."
50:28 And now notice this.
50:29 "We must cause distraction and division.
50:36 We must destroy their anxiety for their own souls,
50:40 and lead them to criticize, to judge,
50:43 and to accuse and condemn one another,
50:46 and to cherish selfishness and enmity."
50:51 So if they are strive in the church
50:52 we know where it comes from.
50:56 "For these sins, God banished us from His presence
51:00 and all who follow our example will meet a similar fate."
51:07 That Satan's plan for the remnant church.
51:11 Not to destroy them first that's the last resort
51:13 just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
51:15 if, you know, I can't corrupt them
51:17 they remain firm I'm gonna kill them.
51:20 It's a same thing that the devil
51:21 is gonna do at the end of time.
51:23 He's gonna try to corrupt God's people
51:25 by worldliness, by pride, by the love of money,
51:28 by criticism, by all of these things
51:31 that we've described in this passage
51:32 which is also found in Matthew 24 and 25,
51:35 but there is still gonna be a group
51:37 that will not bow to the power of the devil.
51:41 And so the devil is gonna say if I cannot corrupt them
51:45 I'm going to destroy them from the face of the earth
51:47 and then only those who really know Jesus
51:51 as their personal Savior will be willing to die
51:54 in order to be faithful to Him.
51:58 I'd like to conclude by reading one statement
52:02 that we find in Great Controversy page 48.
52:05 We rejoice that we live in a country
52:07 where there is no persecution,
52:08 where there is freedom to worship God
52:10 according to the dictates of our conscience.
52:12 And I say praise the Lord,
52:13 it's nice to live in a country like this.
52:16 God has been good to the United States.
52:19 It's based on wonderful principles,
52:21 separation of church and state,
52:23 full religious liberty to worship God
52:26 according to the dictates of our conscience.
52:28 It's marvelous.
52:30 But I believe that the time is coming
52:31 when God is gonna have to take measures into His own hands
52:34 and He is going to have to allow some persecution
52:36 to come in to sift the church.
52:43 Notice this statement, closing statement.
52:47 "There is another and more important question
52:49 that should engage the attention of the churches of today.
52:53 The apostle Paul declares that "all that will live godly
52:57 in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
53:01 All who will live godly in Christ
53:03 Jesus shall suffer persecution.
53:07 And then she asks this question.
53:08 "Why is it, then, that persecution seems
53:13 in a great degree to slumber?"
53:17 Why not persecution?
53:19 If those who live piously in Christ Jesus will suffer,
53:22 will suffer doesn't say might it says will suffer persecution.
53:25 Why is there no persecution?
53:27 Here's her answer.
53:28 "The only reason"
53:30 How many reasons? One.
53:32 "The only reason is that the church has conformed
53:36 to the world's standard
53:38 and therefore awakens no opposition.
53:44 The religion which is current in our day
53:47 is not of the pure and holy character
53:49 that marked the Christian faith
53:51 in the days of Christ and His apostles.
53:54 It is only because of the spirit of compromise with sin,
53:59 because the great truths of the word of God
54:01 are so indifferently regarded,
54:04 because there is so little vital godliness in the church,
54:10 that Christianity is apparently so popular with the world."
54:14 And then she gives this warning.
54:17 "Let there be a revival of the faith
54:22 and power of the early church,
54:27 and the spirit of persecution will be revived,
54:30 and the fires of persecution will be rekindled."
54:36 So what is God waiting for?
54:38 I guess God is waiting for more signs
54:40 in the sun, moon and stars.
54:45 He is waiting for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.
54:48 No.
54:51 What He is doing is He is waiting for people,
54:54 a people who will get serious about the Lord,
54:57 a people who will make
54:59 that kingdom number one on the list.
55:02 The kingdom of God and its righteousness,
55:05 not the added things.
55:07 Folks, the day has coming when everything
55:09 that we possess is gonna burn.
55:12 And the more we have the more is gonna burn.
55:17 Do we really need everything that we have
55:19 or should we place it on the altar of sacrifice
55:23 to be used in the finishing of God's work on earth
55:26 so we can go home.
55:30 Kind of reminds me of a chapter in Early Writings
55:32 where Ellen White says that during the time of trouble
55:34 there will be many people,
55:36 this is the short time of trouble
55:37 before the close of probation
55:39 where God's people will not be able
55:40 to get rid of their properties.
55:44 Can't buy or sell.
55:47 And she heard that cry not and lamenting before God
55:50 how we could have taken the funds that we had,
55:53 the excess that we didn't need
55:55 and we could have invested it in the cause of God
55:57 and shows that have been save
56:00 and now we can't get rid of our property for any price.
56:05 In fact the Bible says that the time is coming
56:08 when people will take their silver and their gold.
56:11 Ezekiel 7:19 says
56:13 "People will take their silver and their gold
56:15 and they will throw it in the streets,
56:16 they say what good is this silver and this gold."
56:20 We're lost, eternally lost.
56:25 And it's no good to us anymore.
56:29 I pray to God folks, this morning
56:31 that we will get serious about the order of things in our lives
56:38 that we will fulfill what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 6:33
56:44 "Seek ye first the kingdom of God
56:49 and its righteousness."
56:51 And all of these things will be added out to you,
56:54 don't put the added things first
56:56 and then think that the kingdom of God will come as a result.
56:59 We must place the kingdom of God and its righteousness first
57:04 and then the added things will come in their train.
57:07 Folks, we're living on the brink of eternity.
57:10 I believe that what we're seen in the world
57:12 shows that we're living in the last moments of time.
57:15 What will our priorities being?
57:18 The answer to that question is in our hearts and our minds.


Revised 2014-12-17