Photo Credit Flickr/ernestkoe

Photo Credit Flickr/ernestkoe

FRIDAY MORNING MANNA 

Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XXXIV “Three Mediums of Communication: Visions, Urim & the Prophets: Lessons for the Nations and the Church(es) Today – Part B”

  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and Idolatry.” 1 Samuel 15: 11, 23, NKJV.

What is the right faith we must now possess while Christ is closing up His work of atonement in the most holy in heaven simultaneous with the work on earth in preparation for the close of probation, followed immediately by Christ’s glorious second coming?“It is the very essence of all right faith to do the right thing at the right time.”  “A crisis is right upon us. We must now, by the Holy Spirit’s power, proclaim the great truths for these last days. It will not be long before every one will have heard the warning and made his decision. Then the end shall come.” (E. G. White, WGD 30).

The right thing to do at the right time is to declare with “zeal based on knowledge” the great truths for these last days which includes this warning in its antitypical application, “To obey is better than sacrifice . . . for rebellion (disobedience) is as the sin of witchcraft (spiritualism) and stubbornness is as the sin of idolatry.” The final forms of modern witchcraft is about to take whole world captive and it behooves all to familiarize themselves with the sad example of king Saul, Israel’s first king. By ignoring and disobeying God’s word and appointed mediums of communicating His will for the nation, Saul grieved away the Holy Spirit and closed his own probation while still alive. In utter desperation he turned to spiritualism and ended up committing suicide.  As Paul says, “Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10: 11, 12, KJV. Presumption, self-confidence, self-justification, self-indulgence, and self-worship are at the heart of all  modern forms of spiritualism. This was how Satan deceived angels and man in the beginning and certainly how he will deceive mankind in the end!

It is not the love of God and Christ when one diminishes in any way the demonstration of love and duty to Godby “magnifying the law and making it honorable,” (Isa. 42: 21), which Jesus demonstrated in His life and teachings as our Savior and Example. David, whose name means ”well beloved” and called “the man after God’s own heart”  wrote extensively extolling the law of God. He said they were “more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold and sweeter than the honey and the honey comb.” The longest chapter of the whole Bible is Psalms 119. Its 176 verses (AV, NKJV, NIV, etc.) extol the law of God and no diligent Bible student will dare accuse him of legalism! The chapter begins with “Blessed are the undefiled who walk in the law of the Lord!” and ends with, For I do not forget Your commandments.”

     “As we see the results which have followed a disregard of God’s law,–dishonesty, theft, licentiousness, drunkenness, and murder,– we are prepared to say with the psalmist, ‘I love Thy commandments above gold: yea, above fine gold’; ‘in keeping of them, there is great reward.’  When the divine law is set aside, the greatest misery will result, both to families and to society. Our only hope for better things is to be found in a faithful adherence to the precepts of Jehovah. Infidel France once tried the experiment of rejecting the authority of God. What scenes of horror followed! Men cast aside the divine law as a yoke of bondage, and in their boasted liberty they placed themselves under the rule of the veriest tyrant. Anarchy and bloodshed ruled that terrible day. It was then demonstrated to the world that the surest way to undermine the foundation of order and government, is to set at naught the law of God . . . . Instead of feeling that we are now in the slightest degree excusable in further transgression [as modern spiritualism teaches], we shall realize as never before the justice of God’s claims upon us, and the sacred character of His law, since Christ must die to maintain its authority. Ere long the obedient will see the blessed results that follow the keeping of all God’s commandments.”- E. G. White, Sons & Daughters, p. 54.

Stubborness is as iniquity and Idolatry. – “Anything which tends to abate our love for God, or to interfere with the service due Him, becomes thereby an idol. With some their lands, their houses, their merchandise, are the idols. Business enterprises are prosecuted with zeal and energy, while the service of God is made a secondary consideration. Family worship is neglected, secret prayer forgotten. Many claim to deal justly with their fellow-men, and seem to feel that in so doing they discharge their whole duty. But it is not enough to keep the last six commandments of the Decalogue. We are to love the Lord our God with all the heart. Nothing short of obedience to every precept . . .can satisfy the claims of the divine law.

      “There are many whose hearts have been hardened by prosperity that they forget God, and forget the wants of their fellow-men. Professed Christians adorn themselves with jewelry, laces, costly apparel, while the Lord’s poor suffer for the necessities of life. Men and women who claim redemption through the Savior’s blood will squander the means entrusted to them for the saving of other souls, and then grudgingly dole out their offerings for religion, giving liberally only when it will bring honor to themselves [like the Pharisees, Matt 23: 1-39]]. They are idolaters.

     “Anything that diverts the mind from God assumes the form of an idol, and that is why there is so little power in the church today. (MS 2, 1892)

       “God is a searcher of the heart. He distinguishes between true heart-service and idolatry.’ – Ibid, MS 126, 1901/ Sons & Daughters, p. 57.

The Bible records that when men, whether venerated “men of the cloth,” powerful civil and military “kings of the earth,“ the rich and famous as well as the luminaries called “the great men of the earth” persistently ignore and reject God’s chosen humble mediums of communicating His will for the nation, the churches, and individuals and in fatal self-confidence, pride, and stubbornness repeatedly refuse to humbly accept heaven’s invitation to repent from their sins and apostasies,” concocting all kinds of self-justifying excuses—even religious ones—or “for the sake of reconciliation and unity”—including the infamous copout, “he made me do it” against the conviction of the conscience, they finally grieve away the Holy Spirit.

Persistently rejecting the person, office, and work of the Holy Spirit eventually results in permanently searing the conscience (1 Tim. 4: 2). This is the very last thing any mortal  seeking immortality (Rom. 2: 7; 1 Cor. 15: 53, 54; Tim.6: 16) should dare commit for he closes his own probation even while still alive. Such was the terrible example of Saul, the chosen people’s popular choice as their first king, not God’s.

The truth as it is in Jesus is the whole truth. Half truths are half lies and the greatest counterfeits and deceptions of Satan the father of lies, palmed off though his lying agents (like master like follower) are truths mingled with error, making it even harder to distinguish the genuine from the counterfeit unless led by the Holy Spirit and passes the truth litmus test of “unto the law and testimony.” Isa. 8: 20. Read verse 19. The context more specifically deals with the abomination of spiritualism!

I personally listened to a pastor animatedly giving the homily during a funeral service with the deceased in the coffin right in front of him. The husband and their 7 children, relatives, and friends were responding with loud “amens,”“hallelujahs” and even clapping their hands when he said, “Let us rejoice because even before she died all heaven was very busy preparing for her (the young wife and mother died of metastatic breast cancer) and angel Gabriel came down and took her to heaven and she is right now with the Lord and is looking down on us.” He further assured them, “we are all already saved because God did not send His Son to condemn the world.”

But is this all the Bible actually said in this oft-quoted passage of Scripture? Let’s see:

     “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him mightbe saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned (that’s the first part. The second says] “but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth come to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3: 17-21, NKJV.

    “The vague and fanciful interpretations of Scripture and the many conflicting theories concerning religious faith, that are found in the Christian world, are the work of our great adversary to so confuse minds that they shall not discern the truth. . . .And the discord and division which exists among the churches of Christendom is in a great measure due to the prevailing custom of wresting the Scriptures to support a favorite theory.  . . .In order to sustain erroneous doctrines or unchristian practices, they seize upon passages of Scriptureseparated from the context, perhaps quoting half of a single verse as proving their point, when the remaining portion would show the meaning to be quite the opposite. With the cunning of the serpent, they entrench themselves behind disconnected utterances construed to suit their carnal desires.”-  Ibid, 4 SOP 343-4.

“Name” in the Bible assumes a broader meaning than that by which a person is known or designated, either a literal meaning, sometimes symbolic of the character and personality of the one so designated. It also indicates title, position, work, office, and authority. There is infinite power in the name Jesus Christ to those who, in simple, child-like faith believe that He is the Son of God, God incarnate. They obey Him believing that “All His biddings are enablings.” Satan and the devils tremble at His name. They can only be cast out from those they possess when Jesus’ name is invoked by righteous men praying for deliverance.  “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?”James. 2: 19, 20.  “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5: 16.

One of the prominent features of modern day Spiritualism is the denial that Jesus is the Son of God. (We will discuss more of what Spiritualism is in the following issues).

“Believe on His name.”– If we truly believe on His name, we will act on that belief by entrusting our salvation to Him and Him alone, not on our good works, or to canonized dead saints, or to any one including Mary, the human mother of God. Jesus declared to His disciples after His glorious resurrection:

     “All power (authority, NKJV) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I Am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. Matt. 28: 18-20, NKJV.  “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10: 17, 18.  “God . . . has in these last days [compared to the OT times] spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His Power, when He had by Himself purged our sins [at Calvary], sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Heb. 1: 1, 2.

     “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, through whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are called of Jesus Christ;” Rom. 1: 1-6.

                                                                                                                                 (To be continued next week)