"The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God..." VOL. 5, TESTIMONIES P 211.
HOW TO OBTAIN THE SEAL
In Revelation 7:1-8, we find that the 144,000 are sealed from the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. The Spirit of Prophecy in commenting on this says: "This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel in vision. " Testimonies to Ministers p. 445.
Continuing on, the Spirit of Prophecy asks the question: "What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption (Letter 126, 1898).
"The angel with the writer's inkhorn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel follows this angel (Letter 12, 1886)." 4 Bible Commentary 1161, E.G. White.
The Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy has made it very clear that we must have the mark or seal in order to escape the slaying that takes place among those who do not have the seal.
"Our own course of action will determine whether we shall receive the seal of the living God or be cut down by the destroying weapons. " Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 212.
WHAT MUST WE DO IN ORDER TO OBTAIN THE SEAL?
Since the Spirit of Prophecy has told us that the vision John saw concerning the sealing of the 144,000 is the same that Ezekiel witnessed (Test. to Min. 445) then let us turn to Ezekiel for more information on this all important subject.
"And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." Ezekiel 9:4-6.
"At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world." Testimonies, Vol. 5 pp. 209,210.
It now becomes crystal clear that the only way we can get the mark or seal is to sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst of Jerusalem our church. See: Ezekiel 9:4.
HOW DO WE SIGH AND CRY?
"The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 211.
Our neglect to sigh and cry for the abominations in the church WOULD MEAN OUR ETERNAL LOSS. We dare not allow anything to divert our attention from this great and glorious work for the saints, and the most dreadful and inglorious end for those who receive not the mark. This work must "engross the whole mind, the whole attention." Early Writings p. 118. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with your eternal welfare. No, not for a moment, for the day is far spent.
Therefore as the sealing makes its way through the church, ONLY THOSE WHO AWAKE AND REFORM (sigh) and ENDEAVOR TO SHARE WITH OTHERS (cry) THE LIGHT that is shining upon them, receive the SEAL Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it." Testimonies to Ministers p. 507.
The LATTER RAIN comes in TWO PHASES. The first phase comes in doctrine or truth which prepares the heart or the life for the reception of the second phase which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in power (Pentecostal power). When it is falling on hearts all around us and yet some fail to discern or receive it, that is when it is in it's first phase (truth or doctrine). Jesus taught the disciples for three and one half years (former rain) before they had it in the second phase, the Pentecostal power. See Joel 2: 23, 28.
"My doctrine shall drop as the RAIN, . .." Deut. 32:2
"Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those "that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done" in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel. Testimonies, Vol. 3 p. 267.
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." Hosea 4:6 .
The only way we are going to know what is exceedingly sinful in God's sight, so as to intelligently know what the abominations are that we are to SIGH AND CRY against, is to study the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. And yet we are told that: "Doubt, and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 217.
"It is not alone those who openly reject the Testimonies, or who cherish doubt concerning them, that are on dangerous ground. To disregard light is to reject it.
"Many are going directly contrary to the light which God has given to His people, because they do not read the books which contain the light and knowledge in cautions, reproofs, and warnings. The cares of the world, the love of fashion, and the lack of religion have turned the attention from the light God has so graciously given, while books and periodicals containing error are traveling all over the country." Testimonies, Vol . 5 pp. 680, 681.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ABOMINATIONS IN OUR CHURCH THAT WE SHOULD BE CRYING OUT AGAINST?
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE AREAS IN WHICH WE NEED TO REFORM?
"Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe
the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It
is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days
the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was
refreshed." Ex. 31:16,17.
A REFORM NEEDED
"Far more sacredness is attached to the Sabbath than is given it by many professed Sabbathkeepers. The Lord has been greatly dishonored by those who have not kept the Sabbath according to the commandment, either in the letter or in the spirit. He calls for a reform in the observance of the Sabbath." Testimonies, Vol. 6 p. 353.
SABBATH TO BE FULLY DEDICATED TO THE LORD.
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord;..." Isa. 58: 13,14.
OUR CONVERSATION ON THE SABBATH.
Regarding our conversation on the Sabbath the Spirit of Prophecy cautions us: ". . .But we should not talk about matters of business or engage in any common, worldly conversation. At all times and in all places God requires us to prove our loyalty to Him by honoring the Sabbath." Testimonies, Vol. 6 p. 360.
"When the Sabbath commences, we should place a guard upon ourselves, upon our acts and our words, lest we rob God by appropriating to our own use that time which is strictly the Lord's. We should not do ourselves, nor suffer our children to do, any manner of our own work for a livelihood, or anything which could have been done on the six working days.. . .God requires not only that we refrain from physical labor upon the Sabbath, but that the mind be disciplined to dwell upon sacred themes. The fourth commandment is virtually transgressed by conversing upon worldly things or by engaging in light and trifling conversation. Talking upon anything or everything which may come into the mind is speaking our own words. Every deviation from right brings us into bondage and condemnation.
"Those who are not fully converted to the truth frequently let their minds run freely upon worldly business, and, although they may rest from physical toil upon the Sabbath, their tongues speak out what is in their minds; hence these words concerning cattle, crops, losses, and gains. All this is Sabbath breaking. If the mind is running upon worldly matters, the tongue will reveal it, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
"Ministers of Jesus should stand as reprovers to those who fail to remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. They should kindly and solemnly reprove those who engage in worldly conversation upon the Sabbath and at the same time claim to be Sabbathkeepers. They should encourage devotion to God upon His holy day." Testimonies, Vol. 2 pp. 702-704.
Here is another area in which we need to reform. "On Friday let the preparation for the Sabbath be completed. See that all the clothing is in readiness and that all the cooking is done. Let the boots be blacked and the baths be taken. It is possible to do this. If you make it a rule you can do it. The Sabbath is not to be given to the repairing of garments, to the cooking of food, to pleasure seeking, or to any other worldly employment. Before the setting of the sun let all secular work be laid aside and all secular papers be put out of sight." Testimonies, Vol . 6 p. 355.
ALL DIFFERENCES TO BE PUT ASIDE BEFORE SABBATH
"There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. In a humble spirit, "confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." James 5:16." Testimonies, Vol. 6 p. 356.
"Before the setting of the sun let the members of the family assemble to read God's word, to sing and pray. There is need of reform here, for many have been remiss. We need to confess to God and to one another. We should begin anew to make special arrangements that every member of the family may be prepared to honor the day which God has blessed and sanctified." Testimonies, Vol . 6 pp. 356, 357.
"As the sun goes down, let the voice of prayer and the hymn of praise mark the close of the sacred hours and invite God's presence through the cares of the week of labor." Testimonies, Vol. 6 p. 359.
FOOD ON THE SABBATH
"We should not provide for the Sabbath a more liberal supply or a greater variety of food than for other days. Instead of this the food should be more simple, and less should be eaten, in order that the mind may be clear and vigorous to comprehend spiritual things. Overeating befogs the brain. The most precious words may be heard and not appreciated, because the mind is confused by an improper diet. By overeating on the Sabbath, many have done more than they think to dishonor God.
"While cooking upon the Sabbath should be avoided, it is not necessary to eat cold food. In cold weather let the food prepared the day before be heated. And let the meals, though simple, be palatable and attractive. Provide something that will be regarded as a treat, something the family do not have every day." Testimonies, Vol. 6 p. 357
CHILDREN LEFT TO PLAY ON THE SABBATH.
"In many families the younger children are left to themselves to find entertainment as best they can. Left alone, the children soon be come restless and begin to play or engage in some kind of mischief. Thus the Sabbath has to them no sacred significance.
"In pleasant weather let parents walk with their children in the fields and groves. Amid the beautiful things of nature tell them the reason for the institution of the Sabbath. Describe to them God's great work of creation. Tell them that when the earth came from His hand, it was holy and beautiful. . . .Show that it was sin which marred God's perfect work; that thorns and thistles, sorrow and pain and death, are all the result of disobedience to God. Bid them see how the earth, though marred with the curse of sin, still reveals God's goodness" Testimonies, Vol. 6 p. 358.
TRAVELING ON THE SABBATH.
"If we desire the blessing promised to the obedient, we must observe the Sabbath more strictly. I fear that we often travel on this day when it might be avoided. . . .In order to reach the churches that need our help, and to give them the message that God desires them to hear, it may be necessary for us to travel on the Sabbath; but so far as possible we should secure our tickets and make all necessary arrangements on some other day. When starting on a journey we should make every possible effort to plan so as to avoid reaching our destination on the Sabbath.
"When compelled to travel on the Sabbath we should try to avoid the company of those who would draw our attention to worldly things. We should keep our minds stayed upon God and commune with Him. . . .But we should not talk about matters of business or engage in any common, worldly conversation. At all times and in all places God requires us to prove our loyalty to Him by honoring the Sabbath." Testimonies, Vol . 6 pp. 359, 360.
MERCHANDISING IN THE HOUSE OF GOD.
"A great mistake has been made by some who profess present truth, by introducing merchandise in the course of a series of meetings and by their traffic diverting minds from the object of the meetings. If Christ were now upon earth, He would drive out these peddlers and traffickers, whether they be ministers or people, with a scourge of small cords, as when He entered the temple anciently. . .
"Ministers have stood in the desk and preached a most solemn discourse,
and then by introducing merchandise, and acting the part of a salesman,
even in the house of God, they have diverted the minds of their hearers
from the impressions received, and destroyed the fruit of their labor."
Testimonies, Vol. 1 pp. 472.
"HAPPENED UNTO THEM FOR OUR ENSAMPLES".
The Spirit of Prophecy in speaking of ancient Israel's failure in keeping the Sabbath declared: "'My Sabbaths they greatly polluted.' Ezek. 20:13-24. And this is enumerated among the reasons for the exclusion of the first generation from promised land." Patriarchs and Prophets p. 410. Should this not be a warning to us today as modern Israel?
"It means eternal salvation to keep the Sabbath Holy unto the Lord. God says: 'Them that honor Me I will honor.' 1 Samuel 2:30." Testimonies, Vol . 6 p. 356.
REVERENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD.
"There has been a great change, not for the better, but for the worse, in the habits and customs of the people in reference to religious worship. The precious, the sacred, things which connect us with God are fast losing their hold upon our minds and hearts, and are being brought down to the level of common things. The reverence which the people had anciently for the sanctuary where they met with God in sacred service has largely passed away.
"When the worshipers enter the place of meeting, they should do so with decorum, passing quietly to their seats. . . .Common talking, whispering, and laughing should not be permitted in the house of worship, either before or after the service. Ardent, active piety should characterize the worshipers.
"Our present habits and customs, which dishonor God and bring the sacred and heavenly down to the level of the common, are against us. We have a sacred, testing, sanctifying truth; and if our habits and practices are not in accordance with the truth, we are sinners against great light, and are proportionately guilty. It will be far more tolerable for the heathen in the day of God's retributive justice than for us." Testimonies, Vol. 5 pp. 491,492,495.
ONLY GOD TO BE REVEREND.
"According to the teaching of the Scriptures, it dishonors God to address ministers as 'Reverend.' No mortal has any right to attach this to his own name or to the name of any other human being. It belongs only to God, to distinguish Him from every other being. Those who lay claim to this title take to themselves God's holy honor. They have no right to the stolen word, whatever their position may be. 'Holy and reverend is His name.' We dishonor God when we use this word where it does not belong.--Youth's Instructor, July 7, 1898." Evangelism p. 133.
LEANING ON THE ARM OF FLESH.
"But beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people (SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST) has been that of depending upon men and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them." Testimonies to Ministers pp. 106,107.
"Care should be given to teach every man his dependence upon God; for He is the source of all wisdom and power and efficiency. I have been shown that it is a mistake to suppose that the men in positions of special responsibility at Battle Creek have wisdom which is far superior to that of ordinary men. Those who think that they have, supposing them to have divine enlightenment, rely upon the human judgment of these men, taking their counsel as the voice of God. But this is not safe. . ."
"The Lord has a controversy with His people over this matter." Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 374,376.
"...Many who profess to know Him have turned from the One in whom our hope of eternal life is centered, and have educated themselves to depend upon their erring and fallible fellowmen. They are crippled spiritually when they do this; for no man is infallible, and his influence may be misleading. He who trusts in man not only leans upon a broken reed, and gives Satan an opportunity to introduce himself, but he hurts the one in whom the trust is placed; he becomes lifted up in his estimation of himself, and loses the sense of his dependence upon God." Testimonies to Ministers p. 376.
"It is not enough to have good intentions; it is not enough to do what a man thinks is right or what the minister tells him is right. His soul's salvation is at stake, and he should search the Scriptures for himself. However strong may be his convictions, however confident he may be that the minister knows what is truth, this is not his foundation. He has a chart pointing out every waymark on the heavenward journey, and he ought not to guess at anything.
"It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light and encourage others to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought and comparing scripture with scripture. With divine help we are to form our opinions for ourselves as we are to answer for ourselves before God." Great Controversy p. 598.
"Depending on men has been the great weakness of the church." Testimonies, Vol. 6 p. 249.
"Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive." Great Controversy p . 625
"The failure to follow sound principles has marred the history of God's people. There has been a continual backsliding in health reform, and as a result God is dishonored by a great lack of spirituality. Barriers have been erected which would never have been seen had God's people walked in the light." Counsels on Health p. 578.
"Ignorance is no excuse now for the transgression of law. The light shines clearly, and none need be ignorant, for the great God Himself is man's instructor. All are bound by the most sacred obligations to God to heed the sound philosophy and genuine experience which He is now giving them in reference to health reform. He designs that the great subject of health reform shall be agitated, and the public mind deeply stirred to investigate; for it is impossible for men and women, with all their sinful, health-destroying, brain-enervating habits, to discern sacred truth, through which they are to be sanctified, refined, elevated, and made fit for the society of heavenly angels in the kingdom of glory. . ." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 70.
"It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the ten commandments. To do either is to break God's laws. Those who transgress the law of God in their physical organism, will be inclined to violate the law of God spoken from Sinai." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 17.
"The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. And as we near the close of time, Satan's temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome." Counsels on Health p. 574.
"Priceless gems are to be found in the word of God . Those who search this word should keep the mind clear. Never should they indulge perverted appetite in eating or drinking. If they do this, the brain will be confused; they will be unable to bear the strain of digging deep to find out the meaning of those things which relate to the closing scenes of this earth's history." Testimonies to Ministers p. 114.
"Vegetables, fruits, and grains should compose our diet. Not an ounce of flesh meat should enter our stomachs. The eating of flesh is unnatural. We are to return to God's original purpose in the creation of man." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 380.
"Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it. I cannot think that in the practice of flesh eating we are in harmony with the light which God has been pleased to give us." Counsels on Diet and Foods pp. 380,381.
"...There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating, who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God's people to walk no more with them." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 382.
"...Cancers, tumors, and pulmonary diseases are largely caused by meat eating...." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 383.
"I frequently sit down to the tables of the brethren and sisters, and see that they use a great amount of milk and sugar. These clog the system, irritate the digestive organs, and affect the brain. Anything that hinders the active motion of the living machinery, affects the brain very directly. And from the light given me, sugar, when largely used, is more injurious than meat." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 328.
EATING BETWEEN MEALS.
"I am astonished to learn that, after all the light that has been given in this place, many of you eat between meals! You should never let a morsel pass your lips between your regular meals. Eat what you ought, but eat it at one meal, and then wait until the next." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 180.
"After the stomach has done its work for one meal, do not crowd more work upon it before it has had a chance to rest and before a sufficient supply of gastric juice is provided by nature to care for more food. Five hours at least should elapse between each meal, and always bear in mind that if you would give it a trial, you would find that two meals are better than three." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 173.
"Tea is poisonous to the system. Christians should let it alone. The influence of coffee is in a degree the same as tea, but the effect upon the system is still worse. Its influence is exciting, and just in the degree that it elevates above par, it will exhaust and bring prostration below par. Tea and coffee drinkers carry the marks upon their faces. The skin becomes sallow, and assumes a lifeless appearance. The glow of health is not seen upon the countenance." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 421.
"The effect of tea and coffee, as heretofore shown, tends in the same direction as that of wine and cider, liquor and tobacco. . . ." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 421.
"In relation to tea, coffee, tobacco, and alcoholic drinks, the only safe course is to touch not, taste not, handle not. The tendency of tea, coffee, and similar drinks is in the same direction as that of alcoholic liquor and tobacco, and in some cases the habit is as difficult to break as it is for the drunkard to give up intoxicants. Those who attempt to leave off these stimulants will for a time feel a loss, and will suffer without them. But by persistence they will overcome the craving, and cease to feel the lack. Nature may require a little time to recover from the abuse she has suffered; but give her a chance, and she will again rally, and perform her work nobly and well." Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 430.
DRESS REFORM-VERSUS MINI-SKIRTS!
"Satan is constantly devising some new style of dress that shall prove an injury to physical and moral health; and he exults when he sees professed Christians eagerly accepting the fashions that he has invented. The amount of physical suffering created by unnatural and unhealthful dress cannot be estimated. Many have become lifelong invalids through their compliance with the demands of fashion...." Counsels on Health p. 599.
"Reformatory action is always attended with sacrifice. It demands that love of ease, selfish interest, and the lust of ambition be held in subjection to the principles of right. Whoever has the courage to reform must encounter obstacles. He will be opposed by the conservatism of those whose business or pleasure brings them in contact with the votaries of fashion, and who will lose caste by the change." Testimonies, Vol. 4 p. 636.
"Pride, ignorance, and folly are constant companions. The Lord is displeased with the pride manifested among His professed people. He is dishonored by their conformity to the unhealthful, immodest, and expensive fashions of this degenerate age...." Counsels on Health p. 598.
"God will have a people separate and distinct from the world. And as soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His children. They are the children of the world and of darkness. They lust for the leeks and onions of Egypt, that is, desire to be as much like the world as possible; by so doing, those that profess to have put on Christ virtually put Him off, and show that they are strangers to grace and strangers to the meek and lowly Jesus. If they had acquainted themselves with Him, they would walk worthy of Him." Testimonies Vol.1 p. 137.
"Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people. Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God." Testimonies, Vol. 4 pp. 647,648.
". . .If the presence of one Achan was sufficient to weaken the whole camp of Israel, can we be surprised at the little success which attends our efforts when every church and almost every family has its Achan?..." Testimonies Vol. 5 p. 157.
"...No man lives to himself. Shame, defeat, and death were brought upon Israel by one man's sin...." Testimonies, Vol.4 p. 493.
"There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized." Testimonies, Vol. 4 p. 648.
"Christ is ashamed of His professed followers. Wherein do we bear any resemblance to Him? Wherein does our dress conform to the Bible requirements? I do not want the sins of the people upon me, and I will give the trumpet a certain sound. For years I have borne a plain and decided testimony upon this subject, in print and upon the speaker's stand. I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. I must be clear of the blood of all. The fact that worldliness and pride bear almost universal sway is no excuse for one Christian to do as others do. God has said: 'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.'
"Do not, my sisters, trifle longer with your own souls and with God. I have been shown that the main cause of your backsliding is your love of dress. This leads to the neglect of grave responsibilities, and you find yourselves with scarcely a spark of the love of God in your hearts. Without delay, renounce the cause of your backsliding, because it is sin against your own soul and against God. Be not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people. Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God." Testimonies, Vol. 4 p, 647.
"Many dress like the world, to have an influence. But here they make a sad and fatal mistake. If they would have a true and saving influence, let them live out their profession, show their faith by their righteous works, and make the distinction great between the Christian and the world. I saw that the words, the dress, and actions should tell for God."Testimonies, Vol.1 p. 132.
"As I saw the dreadful fact that God's people were conformed to the world, with no distinction, except in name, between many of the professed disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus and unbelievers, my soul felt deep anguish. I saw that Jesus was wounded and put to an open shame. Said the angel, as with sorrow he saw the professed people of God loving the world, partaking of its spirit, and following its fashions: "Cut loose! Cut loose! lest He appoint you your portion with hypocrites and unbelievers outside the city. Your profession will only cause you greater anguish, and your punishment will be greater because ye knew His will, but did it not." Testimonies Vol. 1 p. 133.
"We must not yield one inch to the customs and fashions of this degenerate age, but stand in moral independence, making no compromise...." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 78.
"If God's professed people had not greatly departed from Him, there would now be a marked difference between their dress and that of the world. . . . The line of distinction between them and the Israel of God must be more plain, or the curse which falls upon worldlings will fall on God's professed people." Testimonies, Vol. 1 p. 189.
"Especially should the wives of our ministers be careful not to depart from the plain teachings of the Bible on the point of dress." Testimonies, Vol 4 p. 630.
"Will not those who profess to be followers of the meek and lowly Jesus clothe themselves in modest apparel, adorning themselves with good works, as becometh women professing godliness?. . . Great neglect has been shown in the matter of bringing our church-members up to the standard of the Bible in this matter. After admonition, after time for Bible study and reflection, those who are walking contrary to the Scriptures, and will not reform, should be suspended from the church. The church is weakened, her power is enfeebled, her influence is limited, because church-members fail to live in accordance with the directions of the Bible. The example of those who follow the fashions of the world has a disastrous effect upon other members of the church." R&H June 2, 1891. E.G. White.
". . .They should let their dress be modest, different from the world around them. . . ." Testimonies, Vol . 1 p . 135.
". . .I saw that the outside appearance is an index to the heart. When the exterior is hung with ribbons, collars, and needless things, it plainly shows that the love for all this is in the heart; unless such persons are cleansed from their corruption, they can never see God, for only the pure in heart will see Him." Testimonies, Vol. 1 p. 136.
WHAT IS THE LENGTH OF DRESS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY ADVOCATES?
At the time Ellen G. White penned the following lines, some of the women were wearing their dresses either to the floor or about to the knees. She felt both of these dress lengths were extreme as she said: "My views were calculated to correct the present fashion, the extreme long dress, trailing upon the ground, and also to correct the extreme short dress, reaching about to the knees, which is worn by a certain class. I was shown that we should shun both extremes. By wearing the dress reaching about to the top of a woman's gaiter boot we shall escape the evils of the extreme long dress, and shall also shun the evils and notoriety of the extreme short dress." Testimonies, Vol. 1 p. 464.
"...we have adopted the uniform length of about nine inches from the floor." Testimonies, Vol. 1 p. 521.
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Mal. 3:7-10.
"Let all who fear God come up to the help of the Lord, and show themselves faithful stewards. The truth must go to all parts of the world. I have been shown that many in our churches are robbing God in tithes and offerings. God will execute upon them just that which He has declared. To the obedient, He will give rich blessings; to the transgressor, a curse. Every man who bears the message of truth to our churches must do his duty by warning, educating, rebuking. Any neglect of duty which is a robbery toward God means a curse upon the delinquent.
"This is not a request of man; it is one of God's ordinances, whereby His work may be sustained and carried on in the world. God help us to repent.... No one can excuse himself from paying his tithes and offerings to the Lord.
"God has said, "Prove Me now herewith, . . . if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." What a wonderful presentation in promised blessings is He giving us! Who can venture to rob God in tithes and offerings with such a promise as this!" Testimonies to Ministers pp. 307,308.
CRITICIZING AND FAULTFINDING.
"Refrain from saying anything that might detract from the influence of another; for by indulging in these words of criticism, you blaspheme God's holy name as verily as you would were you to swear. . . .E. G . White, 5 Bible Commentary 1093.
"All were created in His image, and even the most degraded are to be treated with respect and tenderness. God will hold us accountable for even a word spoken in contempt of one soul for whom Christ laid down His life." Mount of Blessing p. 57
"If we have in any manner defrauded or injured our brother, we should make restitution. If we have unwittingly borne false witness, if we have misstated his words, if we have injured his influence in any way, we should go to the ones with whom we have conversed about him, and take back all our injurious misstatements." Mount of Blessing p. 59.
"The truly converted man has no inclination to think or talk of the faults of others. His lips are sanctified, and as God's witness he testifies that the grace of Christ has transformed his heart. . . . Those only will enter heaven who have overcome the temptation to think and speak evil." Sons and Daughters of God p. 348.
ARE WE GUARDING THE AVENUES OF THE SOUL?
"The apostle sought to teach the believers how important it is to keep the mind from wandering to forbidden themes or from spending its energies on trifling subjects. Those who would not fall a prey to Satan's devices, must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing" (What about TV?) "that which will suggest impure thoughts. The mind must not be left to dwell at random upon every subject that the enemy of souls may suggest. The heart must be faithfully sentineled, or evils without will awaken evils within, and the soul will wander in darkness." Acts of the Apostles p. 518.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isa. 26:3.
"Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Ps. 119:11.
Far too many of God's professed people who would never think of going to the theater, allow the theater to be brought into the home through the medium of the television set.
David said: "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes:" Ps. 101:3.
Would not the following counsel include the movies shown on TV?
"Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater. Instead of being a school for morality and virtue, as is so often claimed, it is the very hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened and confirmed by these entertainment's. Low songs, lewd gestures, expressions, and attitudes deprave the imagination and debase the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement." Adventist Home p. 516.
WHOM DOES GOD HOLD RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE ABOMINATIONS IN OUR MIDST?
". . .The church is in a great degree responsible for the sins of her members. She gives countenance to evil if she fails to lift her voice against it." Prophets and Kings p. 651.
". . .If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty." Testimonies, Vol. 3 pp. 265, 266.
"Where are God's watchmen who will see the peril and give the warning?" Testimonies to Ministers p. 296.
"God's displeasure is upon His people, and He will not manifest His power in the midst of them while sins exist among them and are fostered by those in responsible positions." Testimonies, Vol. 3 p. 270.
"Today there is need of the voice of stern rebuke; for grievous sins have separated the people from God. Infidelity is fast becoming fashionable. . . . There are many professed Christians who, if they should express their real feelings, would say, What need is there of speaking so plainly?. . .
"So men who should be standing as faithful guardians of God's law have argued, till policy has taken the place of faithfulness, and sin is allowed to go unreproved. When will the voice of faithful rebuke be heard once more in the church?" Prophets and Kings pp. 140, 141.
"For evils that we might have checked, we are just as responsible as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves." Desire of Ages p. 441.
"The Lord's messengers should not complain that their efforts are without fruit until they repent of their own love of approbation and their desire to please men, which leads them to suppress truth.
"Those ministers who are men pleasers, who cry, Peace, peace, when God has not spoken peace, might well humble their hearts before God, asking pardon for their insincerity and their lack of moral courage. It is not from love for their neighbor that they smooth down the message entrusted to them, but because they are self-indulgent and ease-loving. True love seeks first the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Those who have this love will not evade the truth to save themselves from the unpleasant results of plain speaking. When souls are in peril, God's ministers will not consider self, but will speak the word given them to speak, refusing to excuse or palliate evil." Prophets and Kings pp. 141,142
"Warnings and reproofs are not given to the erring among Seventh-day Adventists because their lives are more blame worthy than are the lives of professed Christians of the nominal churches, nor because their example of their acts are worse than those of the Adventists who will not yield obedience to the claims of God's law, but because they have great light, and have by their profession taken their position as God's special, chosen people, having the law of God written in their hearts. . . .They are God's representatives upon the earth. Any sin in them separates them from God and, in a special manner, dishonors His name by giving the enemies of His holy law occasion to reproach His cause and His people, whom He has called 'a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people,' that they should show forth the praises of Him that hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. . . ." Testimonies, Vol . 5 pp . 661, 662 .
HOW WILL THIS REFORMATION BEGIN?
"If we desire to reform others we must ourselves practice the principles which we would enforce upon them. Words, however good, will be powerless if contradicted by the daily life. Ministers of Christ, I admonish you: "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine." Do not excuse sins in yourselves which you reprove in others. If you preach on meekness and love, let these graces be exemplified in your own life. If you urge others to be kind, courteous, and attentive at home, let your own example give force to your admonitions. As you have received greater light than others, so is your responsibility increased. You will be beaten with many stripes if you neglect to do your Master's will." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 160.
". . .Be sure that you do not make the word of the Lord offensive.
"We long to see reforms; and because we do not see that which we desire, an evil spirit is too often allowed to cast drops of gall into our cup, and thus others are embittered. By our ill-advised words their spirit is chafed, and they are stirred to rebellion.
"The truth is to be spoken in love. Then the Lord Jesus by His Spirit will supply the force and the power. That is His work." Gospel Workers pp . 374, 375 .
". . .But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us His blessing. A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer. . . .
". . . are we waiting for some compelling power to come upon the church before we shall arouse? Are we hoping to see the whole church revived? That time will never come....
". . .We must enter upon the work individually. . . .
"We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world....
"If we would labor to repress sinful thoughts and feelings, giving them no expression in words or actions, Satan would be defeated." 1Selected Messages pp. 121-123.
". . .Let the purpose be sincere and unwavering to discern the truth and to obey it at whatever cost, and you will receive divine enlightenment. Real piety begins when all compromise with sin is at an end." Mount of Blessing p. 91.
"While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, . . . there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God's people upon earth." Great Controversy p . 425.
Evidently a particular specific time will come when conditions will be such, that the honest in heart among us will see the need and the urgency for putting away all sin from their lives that they might receive the seal of God in their fore' heads.
"The time has come for a thorough reformation to take place. When this reformation begins, the spirit of prayer will actuate every believer and will banish from the church the spirit of discord and strife. Those who have not been living in Christian fellowship will draw close to one another. One member working in right lines will lead other members to unite with him in making intercession for the revelation of the Holy Spirit. There will be no confusion, because all will be in harmony with the mind of the Spirit. The barriers separating believer from believer will be broken down, and God's servants will speak the same things. The Lord will co-operate with His servants." Testimonies, Vol . 8 p. 251.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THOSE WHO REFUSE TO REFORM?
"All who leave the common track of custom, and advocate reform, will be opposed, accounted mad, insane, radical, let them pursue ever so consistent a course." Testimonies, Vol. 2 p. 377.
"No man can be true to principle without exciting opposition." Desire of Ages p. 356.
"Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God's people." Testimonies, Vol. 1, 181.
". . .from what was shown me, but a small number of those now professing to believe the truth would eventually be saved--not because they could not be saved, but because they would not be saved in God's own appointed way." Testimonies, Vol . 2 p. 445.
"Soon God's people will be tested by fiery trials, and the great proportion of those who now appear to be genuine and true will prove to be base metal....
"To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few--this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 136.
WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT OF THIS
REVIVAL AND REFORMATION?
"In visions of the night, representations passed before me of a great reformatory movement among God's people. Many were praising God. The sick were healed, and other miracles were wrought. A spirit of intercession was seen, even as was manifested before the great Day of Pentecost. Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families and opening before them the word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth." Testimonies, Vol. 9 p. 126.
"God rebukes His people for their sins, that He may humble them, and lead them to seek His face. As they reform, and His love reviews in their hearts, His loving answers will come to their requests. He will strengthen them in reformatory action, lifting up for them a standard against the enemy. His rich blessing will rest upon them, and in bright rays they will reflect the light of heaven. Then a multitude not of their faith, seeing that God is with His people, will unite with them in serving the Redeemer." Review and Herald Feb. 25, 1902.
"When the earth is lighted with the glory of the angel of Revelation eighteen, the religious elements, good and evil, will awake from slumber, and the armies of the living God will take the field (MS 175, 1899)." E.G.White, 7 Bible Commentary p. 983.
"Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. "Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer. Prophets and Kings p. 725.
SATAN'S GREATEST FEAR
"There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation. If Satan had his way, there would never be another awakening, great or small, to the end of time. . . . When the way is prepared for the Spirit of God, the blessing will come. Satan can no more hinder a shower of blessing from descending upon God's people than he can close the windows of heaven that rain cannot come upon the earth. I Selected Messages p. 124.
"Let us confess and forsake every sin, that the way of the Lord may be prepared, that He may come into our assemblies and impart His rich grace. The world, the flesh, and the devil must be overcome." 1 Selected Messages p. 123.
We do not mean to imply that these are all the abominations (sins) in our midst. We have endeavored to enumerate the most obvious ones. Neither are we implying that we have fully attained, but we must through Christ's strength be overcoming daily. There can, and must be, progress in the daily life. We like Paul must be able to say: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.
We are counseled to: "strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand (Review and Herald Mar. 9, 1905)." E.G.White, 7 Bible Commentary p. 970. In order to do this we must be overcomers.
"Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost." Testimonies, Vol . 5 p. 214.
"No one need say that his case is hopeless, that he cannot live the life of a Christian. Ample provision is made by the death of Christ for every soul. Jesus is our ever-present help in time of need. Only call upon Him in faith, and He has promised to hear and answer your petitions." Testimonies, Vol . 5 p. 215.
May each of us be among that "little company who are standing in the light" (144,000) and are sighing and crying for the abominations that be done in the church, while those who do not get the seal (or mark) "try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness prevalent. Those who have a zeal for God's honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any." Testimonies Vol. 5 pp. 209, 210.
These profound quotations, leaping as tongues of fire from the Sacred page, come down to us from the One who is Himself the source and author of truth--the Great I Am. It is our prayer that through this feeble endeavor we may study and give time for reflection to the all important subject of sighing and crying, raising the standard in our own lives and warning others at the same time by precept and example.
Can we do less for Jesus, when He has given His ALL for us?
"Higher than the HIGHEST HUMAN THOUGHT can reach is GOD'S IDEAL for His children." Education p. 18.
I'm pressing on the upward way,
New heights I'm gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan's darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
Lord lift me up, and I shall stand
By faith, on heaven's tableland;
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
Dear Brother and Sister, we cannot afford to lose out at this late hour, let us make our calling and election sure that we may be among those righteous who will witness the last closing scenes of this earth's history when the living saints witness the dead of all ages rising from their dusty beds, it will bring joy indescribable. Then to behold friends and loved ones as they meet each other, clothed in glorious incorruptible bodies, marching through space via sinless planets, and finally into the Heaven of heavens! What a glorious train of immortal beings---saints and angels, and the King of kings, the Lord of hosts, "the everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace," in the midst of them! Swiftly flying from the sin-cursed earth to the Center of centers in but "seven" days, while it would take "light" millions of years to make a trip of such incomprehensible distance! Can you perceive of an object moving with such tremendous velocity! God forbid that we should rob ourselves of glory like this. An hour's time lived in heaven, without sin, pain or tears, fear or death, is worth more than a thousand years in tents of wickedness.
My brethren, to obey the Word of God, and be true to principle for your own good, is not asking to much of you. Will you let self and sin rob you of a crown of life? Your human wisdom and worldly knowledge will prove to be as black as darkness itself, if you should allow the wily foe to rob you of the celestial bliss that should be yours throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.