How Spiritualism Leads to idol Worship

Shortly after my mother died, I went to a restaurant alone, to write in my journal about my thoughts about my recent loss. My mother’s name was “Sara,” so I thought it interesting when the waitress came to my table and told me her name was “Sara.” I ordered my usual favorite beverage, but the waitress brought my mother’s favorite beverage instead, by mistake. Even in my grief I could not help but see the humor. I told a friend who I used to go to church with, about the irony of the waitress having my mother’s name and bringing me my mother’s  soda.  I was surprised when my friend assured me it was my mother who caused all those ironies, to let me know she was still with me. I had to remind my friend what we learned in the Bible about what happens when a person dies. 

For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 NKJV

By things my Adventist friends are telling me, and things they share on their Facebook pages, like wishing their dead loved ones a “happy heavenly birthday” and so on, is showing me that even many Adventists are falling for the deception of spiritualism. It gives them a false sense of comfort to think that their dead loved one is still watching over them. Does God not do a good job of watching over us? Can we not trust God so we trust our dead loved ones to care for us instead? They want to believe in signs letting them know their dead loved one still loves them.  This would not be a temptation if they realized how much God loves them. When my mother died there were so many miracles letting me know that God cared. A friend sent me a substantial amount of money, totally unsolicited, which was greatly needed. When I pleaded with God He woke my mother up from unconsciousness one last time so I could tell her I loved her before she fell asleep in Jesus. Shortly after my mother died I was suddenly hit with an overwhelming sense of loneliness and cried out to God that I was all alone in the world. At that same moment when I cried out to God, I received a text message from a friend from out of state, with whom I had not spoken in ages. He texted me to remind me that God loves me, and so do my friends. These were not miracles from my mother letting me know she cared. These were greater and more wonderful miracles from God showing me God cares. 

When people are more comforted by a supposed miracle from a dead loved one than from God Himself, it shows that they love their dead loved one more than God. That is making an idol of their dead loved one. Why should it mean more to get a “heavenly message” from a dead loved one than from God Himself? God is constantly showering us with love and miracles. When we credit those miracles to our dead loved ones we are now putting our dead loved ones in the place of God. A gentle breeze brushing my face means a lot more to me, coming from God, than it would even if it could come from a dead loved one. Why should a dead loved one, or even a living being, mean more to me than God? 

I knew an elderly Adventist woman who lived in a small Adventist community. Her husband died and was buried in a cemetery just a block or so from her house. About every day, she would visit his grave and “talk” to him. One day she looked out her front window and perceived him walking up the sidewalk. He stopped at the window and stared at her through the glass. Being an Adventist and knowing the state of the dead, she knew it was not her husband, but a demon. This scared her into realizing she had been putting herself on the devil’s playground by her excessive visits, talking to her dead husband at his grave. After this experience she never returned to his grave. After all, she did not need to talk to her dead husband. She needed to be talking to Jesus, who could hear what she was saying, just like Saul did not need to be talking to dead Samuel. He should have been talking to God. I don’t know if a demon really personified itself as this woman’s husband, or if it was just her imagination. She claimed it was real and not just her imagination. Either way, it was a direct result of her acting like she was talking to the dead – which spiritualism teaches to be a real possibility, but the Bible teaches is an impossibility

Years ago, a friend came back from vacation with a terrible story. While he was visiting his in-laws, his wife’s sister’s toddler drowned in the pool. On the way to the hospital, the wife’s sister was pleading with the virgin Mary to save her son. Mary is dead. There was nothing Mary could do anyway. The elderly Adventist woman, and my friend’s sister-in-law should not have been talking to dead people. That is a waste of time. They know nothing. We need to be talking to Jesus who can hear us, and does love us and constantly provides miracles, showering us with love. 

I attended a wedding where the groom had lost his father a couple of years before the wedding. All through the wedding and reception it was repeated over and over that the groom’s father was dead and could not be at the wedding. So much emphasis was placed on the father not being there that it was almost like all the living people there did not matter. I am not one to tell people how to grieve, and forgive me, I am not trying to sound cold, but this seems like another form of idol worship. What was to be a joyous and sacred service turned out to be all about the groom’s dead loved one. What about his new bride? What about all the family and friends who were there? Did they mean nothing? Did our heavenly Father’s presence mean nothing? When we spend all our time grieving those who are gone, we fail to appreciate our loved ones who are still with us. We fail to appreciate God’s love. 

Of course we all grieve, and that is healthy and natural. But excessive grief, which does not allow us to be in the moment and appreciate God and those still living, could be a form of idolatry. Feeling the need to credit dead loved ones for miracles and answered prayers is idolatry. Even thinking that we need a dead family member’s love more than we need God’s love is idolatry. As much as my family loves me, God loves me more. As much as I need my family, I need God more. As much as I love my family, I love God more. I can’t allow any loved one, living or dead, to take God’s place in my life. Spiritualism teaches us to put dead loved ones in the place of God. By giving dead loved ones excessive attention and adoration it becomes worship and idolatry. Only God Himself deserves that much attention and adoration. By wishing to pray or communicate with dead loved ones supposedly in heaven is to put them in God’s place. God is in heaven and I can pray and communicate with Him. We don’t need to talk to our dead loved ones when we can talk to God Himself. We don’t need spiritualism or idolatry which puts dead loved ones in God’s place in heaven. We have a God in heaven who loves and cares for us more than any loved one can. We have a God in heaven who can take care of us better than any family member. Let’s give our sleeping loved ones the rest they deserve and worship God who is Worthy of our trust and worship. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

Living Like Daniel in the Middle of Babylon

Photo by Ann H on

As Adventists, we believe that in the last days there will be a showdown between spiritual Babylon and those who have the seal of God, who reflect the character of Jesus. While Daniel had his haters, it amazes me how he seemed to thrive and even find favor among the leaders of Babylon and Persia. Daniel was not one to compromise his standards. The life of Daniel shows us that it is possible to live a life of uncompromising integrity and still get along with those of different beliefs and lifestyles. Years later, Paul wrote,

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, Titus 2:11-12 NLT

We can’t wait for heaven to live a righteous life. God’s grace empowers us to reflect Christ’s character in this evil world. Daniel is an example of how we can be like Jesus in the midst of corruption. Let’s take a look.

Then Daniel went in to see Arioch, whom the king had ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, “Don’t kill the wise men. Take me to the king, and I will tell him the meaning of his dream.” Daniel 2:24 NLT

When Daniel received the vision the king had dreamed, his first thought was to save the lives of the wicked wise men. Jesus always put the salvation of others first, and  did Daniel too. The wise men in Daniel’s day were preserved by the integrity of Daniel. In Genesis 12:3, God said all the families of the earth (not just believers) would be blessed by the Messiah. Likewise, even the unbelievers of Daniel’s day were blessed by Daniel’s integrity. In the last days, I believe men and women of God will be a blessing to the evil world around them.

I marvel at Daniel’s humility. In Daniel 1:20, Daniel and his friends were found to be ten times wiser than the other wise men, but look at what Daniel says when he tells the king his dream.

And it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart. Daniel 2:30 NLT

Daniel did not claim to have any special wisdom, and neither did Jesus. Jesus always pointed people to the Scriptures, instead of spouting off like a know-it-all. Daniel did not claim to have any special abilities, and neither did Jesus. Look at what Jesus says about Himself,

“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. John 5:19 NLT

Look at what Jesus says about others who believe.

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. John 14:12 NLT

Daniel lived a life of uncompromising integrity in the midst of Babylon and Persia. Amidst his haters, he more than survived; he thrived and found favor, even among wicked rulers. Some blame corruption in the workplace for why they were passed over for promotions, but God promoted Daniel right in the heart of all the corruption. God can promote you too, anytime, anywhere.

Jesus lived a life of uncompromising integrity, in the heart of the Roman Empire and a corrupt religious system. He too had His haters, but He too found favor “with both God and man” and was able to tell His Father,

I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4

Daniel lived a life of uncompromising integrity, and thrived among all the corruption of Babylon. Jesus lived a life of uncompromising integrity, and thrived amid pagan Rome and a religious system that left a lot to be desired. So today, in the midst of spiritual Babylon, by God’s grace, we can live a life of uncompromising integrity, and make friends along the way, if we will depend fully on our Father God, just as Daniel and Jesus did.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

Why we Still Need the Weekly 7th-day Sabbath

A while back, I had a conversation with a former Sabbath keeping friend who had first turned away from the Sabbath, and then gradually started turning away from other Bible teachings as well. Sadly, this confirmed for me that the same logic some Christians use to do away with the Spirit of Prophecy and  the Sabbath, is the same logic atheists use to do away with the entire Bible. 

My friend told me that the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday in the Bible, without giving me any Scripture to back up his claim. In another breath, he told me the Sabbath was done away with altogether. I asked him why Constantine changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday in the third century, if it had already been done away with or changed, centuries earlier? He gave me no reply.

He told me the Sabbath was only given to the Jews, yet here is what I found in my Bible.

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Genesis 2:1-3 NLT 

My friend told me that God kept the Sabbath at creation but Adam and Eve didn’t. He told me the Sabbath was never kept by man until Exodus 20:8-11. I answered with the question:  Did God Tell Adam and Eve to Keep the Sabbath, by pointing out that the Sabbath was made, when it was made at creation for all mankind, according to Jesus in Mark 2:27? Also, the Sabbath was already an institution in Exodus 16, before the law was given. As a matter of fact, while some argue that the law was done away with, which it was not, you still have the Sabbath at creation, before there was ever a Jew or the law was given to Moses. So, even if you could argue that the ten commandments were done away with, you still have the Sabbath long before the ten commandments were given. 

The argument came up, that the Sabbath was only given to the Jews, because it was a sign to them that they were God’s people, to which I replied, “I want to be a part of God’s people too!” Does that mean that I also need to keep the Sabbath? Was the Sabbath given to Jews only? 

“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant.” Isaiah 56:6 NLT

Clearly, the Sabbath was not only given to the Jews, but is for everyone who wants in on the everlasting covenant. The Sabbath was not given as a sign that anyone was a Jew. It was a sign given to anyone who was a part of God’s people.

The claim was presented that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday as a memorial to the resurrection. While such a claim is found nowhere in Scripture, the book of Romans gives us a memorial to the resurrection. Baptism is the memorial to the resurrection, and not Sunday  observance.

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. Romans 6:3-7 NLT

It was then said, that Jesus is our rest. If Jesus is our Rest, do we Still Need a Weekly Sabbath? The fact is that Jesus has always been our rest. We have never been saved by works or by the law. Just like we do not throw our country’s flag away because we have the country it represents, likewise we do not do away with the weekly Sabbath, which is a weekly reminder that Jesus is our rest. 

Exodus 20:8-11 tells us the Sabbath is a weekly reminder of our Creator.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11 NLT

Deuteronomy 5:12-15 tells us the Sabbath is a weekly reminder of our deliverance from bondage. 

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. Deuteronomy 5:12-15 NLT

God has given us the weekly Sabbath as a constant reminder that we are twice His. First, at creation he made us, and then, at the cross He bought us. While atheism is gaining ground in much of the world, we need the weekly Sabbath now more than ever as a constant reminder of our Creator. As we battle legalism in the world, and even in the church, we need the weekly Sabbath now more than ever as a constant reminder that only God’s grace can save us from the bondage of sin. We need that weekly reminder that Jesus is our Sabbath rest. 

We also need the Sabbath for physical as well as spiritual rest. People talk about how much longer health-conscious Seventh-day Adventists live because of our diet, but I believe our longevity is also due to the fact that we have a weekly Sabbath rest. We need a break from worldly cares and stress, as we rest on the Sabbath and devote time to God and His family. It is interesting to me that many people who want to say that we are not  “bound” to keeping the Sabbath, say so as if that is good news. I am wondering why it would be good news to someone who loves Jesus to say that we don’t “have” to spend an entire day with Him? If we can’t be happy dedicating an entire day to God, how could we possibly be happy spending all eternity with Him? Why would someone who loves God consider the Sabbath a burden? Do people tell their spouse that going on a date with them is a burden? 

The Sabbath is not a burden. It is a gift.

They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you… Exodus 16:29 NLT

God has given the Sabbath as a sign that we are His people. The Sabbath was never a sign given to the Jews that they were Jews. It was a sign given to the Jews and everyone else choosing to be in on the everlasting covenant that we are all His people. Satan would love to have us forget the Sabbath, so that we will forget God. If Satan can make us forget God, then he can set up his own counterfeit Sabbath. We need the weekly Sabbath today, more than ever, as a weekly constant reminder that we have a Creator who loves us. We need the weekly Sabbath now, more than ever, to remind us that we are not saved by our works or by legalism. The Sabbath is a constant reminder of salvation by grace and the rest we have in Jesus. We need the weekly Sabbath now, more than ever, to give us a weekly rest from all the stress and cares of this life. 

Why Worshiping God has to be a Choice and not an Addiction


Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. Jonah 2:8 NLT

Over the last 30 years of studying the Bible with people I have had a few conversations that have have gone like this.

Friend: I am so bored right now I wish there was something to do, anything! I am just tired of being bored.

Me: Hey would this be a good time for a Bible study?

Friend: Maybe when things settle down a little bit. My life is a whirlwind right now. 

Granted the last time this happened was during the COVID quarantine but it has happened other times also. It is sad people will do everything they can to avoid worshipping God, while He is the only One who can bring true purpose and satisfaction. In John 4:1-42, Jesus tells the woman at the well that He is the Living Water which will never make her thirsty again. After 5 failed relationships she needed to know that a relationship with Jesus is the only relationship that brings true satisfaction. So today, many worship immoral sex, and other addictive vices such as drugs that never quench their thirst and never satisfy. You have heard the definition for insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. I believe the reason many of us have addictive vices is not because the addictions satisfy but rather because the addictive behavior does not satisfy, but we keep expecting it to satisfy each time we repeat the behavior even though it never does. So we keep repeating the addiction over and over expecting it to bring us satisfaction that we can only obtain by worshiping God. This is insanity. I had a pastor back home in Oklahoma who would often say, “sin is insanity.” I believe he is right. When I get thirsty my body needs water, but sometimes I may try to tell myself what I really need is a cold glass of iced sweet tea or a soda. Reality is those other drinks dehydrate me and leave me even more thirsty. Thinking that tea and colas will quench my thirst is insanity. Only water will quench my thirst. My taste and cravings may make me think I need a cola but my tastes and cravings are a lie. They are insanity. Logic tells me what my body needs is water. 

Many worship immoral sex and drugs and such thinking that it will bring satisfaction but it never does, and thus the repeated addictive behavior, expecting drugs and sex to do for us what it has never done before.  By the way, later in the story in John 4:1-42 Jesus tells His disciples that His food is to do the will of His Father. I think what Jesus meant was that His satisfaction does not come from food, or drugs or immoral sex for that matter. His satisfaction comes from worshiping the Father and doing His will. Sure Jesus repeats this behavior of worship, but not as an addiction but rather because it is truly satisfying and exactly what He needs. After all God always gives us free will and free choice when it comes to worship. Worshiping God is a choice we make every day, and not an addiction. This is why Jesus tells us in Luke 9:23 to take up the cross every day, because every day we have to make that choice. It will never become an addiction. Only Satan uses addictions. Jesus died to free us from all addictions and only accepts worship done every day by free choice, as we choose every day to take up our cross and follow and worship Him. 

God knows worshiping Him really does bring true satisfaction and purpose so there is no reason for Him to make it addictive. God knows if we taste and see that the Lord is good we will freely choose to worship Him every day. He does not have to trick us by making it addictive. Satan on the other hand knows sin does not satisfy or give us purpose. Murder, lying, stealing, lust,  coveting and so forth have never been a logical solution for any problem. Thus Satan has to make these behaviors addictive in order to make us repeat them, because the fact is they do not bring satisfaction or purpose. Sin and sinful addictions are insanity like my pastor said. If that sounds too harsh, then lets just say sinful addictions are not a logical solution for any craving. Only Jesus satisfies. 

We worship because we are created to worship by nature. The only question is what or who do we worship? Like in my illustration at the beginning of this article, many people will do all they can to avoid worshiping God-even when they are bored and feel a void. I’ve had people tell me they don’t have time to study their Bible or worship God because they are too busy making money, or practicing other hobbies or just too busy watching sports and TV. Fact is they have plenty of time to worship. Its just that they are so busy worshiping everything else that they don’t have time to worship God. By the way do you know how I know that worshiping God truly satisfies? Sometimes I will plan on watching a ball game and will tell myself that I can do my Bible study before the game, but I often fall so in love with what and Who I am studying that by the time the game comes on I don’t desire to watch the game anymore. I want to keep studying, because I choose to because worshiping God is truly quenching my thirst, and giving me satisfaction so that I feel no need to watch the ball game. I am not addicted to the Bible. I keep studying because I want to and not because I am addicted. Again God does not want us to worship Him because we are addicted. We can stop worshiping Him anytime we want. He is not an addiction. He only accepts worship that comes by choice and not by addiction. But when I find how satisfying God is and how unsatisfying my addictions are, I then choose to worship God instead of my addictions, and God gives me the freedom to choose Him instead of my addictions when it is my sincere choice. 

In closing, I believe in my heart the reason many make themselves drunk with the cares of this life or with literal drugs and alcohol is so they can ignore the sobriety of life. They use drugs and alcohol which leads to death as a way to escape this world. Oh how I pray they find out soon there is a better way to escape the pains of this world and life. Jesus, offers us a way out of this world of misery, but His way out is not drinking yourself to death. His way out is the opposite of death, it is eternal life. A more fulfilling and satisfying life that will remove us from this world of misery and sin and give us eternal life in paradise with Him. Satan wants us to get so drunk with our addictions that we no longer think about life. He wants us to be numb to the realities of life and just drift away to a peaceful death. Let’s all wake up! instead of being drunk and numb to the realities of life and drifting off into a peaceful death, let’s be sober and worship God and accept the everlasting Gospel which will help us drift into a peaceful eternal life. 

PS Earlier I mentioned that our sinful addictive cravings are a lie. I want to help make this idea practical. Many times I have walked into a convenience store thinking I needed a cola, but walked out with a bottled water instead, after praying and telling myself that my desire for soda was a lie. When I think I need a soda, I have found myself drinking water instead by praying and then telling myself I was lying to myself when I told myself I needed a cola. I tell myself the truth is I want water. It also helps to stop and ask myself, did drinking cola really satisfy anything last time I drank it? No. Did water satisfy my thirst last time I drank it? Yes! Now I am free to make a sane and logical choice. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

The Cleansing of the Sanctuary in Scripture

When people ask me why Adventists do not keep the feast days, I tell them we do – literally! At the cross we had the literal Passover. Ever since 1844 we have been living in the literal Day of Atonement. When Jesus returns it will literally be the Feast of Trumpets. As Colossians 2:14-17 points out, we do not need to keep the feast sabbaths which were a shadow of things to come, because now we had the literal Passover when Jesus died on the cross. Now we are living in the literal Day of Atonement.

I have heard people say there is no such thing as a literal Day of Atonement, but that makes no sense to me, because how can there be a shadow to something that doesn’t even exist? Also the sanctuary building itself shows me there has to be a literal Day of Atonement and cleansing of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is an illustration of the gospel. Many try to tell me the gospel ended at the cross. If that is so then the sanctuary would have ended in the courtyard where the sacrifice was slain. The fact that the sanctuary continues to a holy and most holy place, tells me the gospel goes beyond a literal cross into a literal holy and most holy place. Besides, if the Passover had a literal cross and the Feast of Trumpets has a literal second coming then reason tells me the Day of Atonement must have a literal Day of Atonement as well.

A friend pointed out to me that there was no reason for a literal Day of Atonement beginning in 1844 because sins were forgiven and cleansed right away. There was no need for a cleansing of the sanctuary. Yet Peter refers to a future day of refreshing or cleansing of sin still to come.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19 KJV

Still I have heard people say there is no reason for a Day of Atonement or investigative judgment because God already knows everything and does not need to investigate. However in Genesis 3 God comes into the Garden of Eden to investigate after Adam and Eve disobeyed. Again in Genesis 18:21 God investigates Sodom and Gomorrah. So we cannot say there is no investigation because God already knows. Besides, all arguments aside, Daniel 8:14 says after 2300 days (a day for a year Ezekiel 4:6) the sanctuary shall be cleansed. The prophecy of Daniel 8 and 9 mesh together. If you try to make the cleansing of the sanctuary in 2300 literal days then you have to make the coming of the Messiah in 483 literal days which would make it impossible for Jesus to be our Messiah and Savior. But as Daniel 8 and 9 clearly teach, in A.D. 27 at the beginning of the 70th week, Jesus came as our Messiah and in 1844 He entered the Most Holy Place in heaven to complete the Gospel with the Day of Atonement and Cleansing of the Sanctuary.

Since the Old Testament Day of Atonement was a shadow or illustration of what would occur during the literal Day of Atonement when Jesus entered the Most Holy Place for us, let’s review what happened in that service:

What was to happen at the end of the 2300 days?

The other replied, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the Temple will be made right again.” Daniel 8:14 NLT And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Daniel 8:14 KJV

Note: The Bible refers to two sanctuaries, one on earth and the other in heaven.

After what, was Moses to build the sanctuary?

“Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you. Exodus 25:8- 9 NLT

Where is the location of the original?

Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle,the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. Hebrews 8:1-2 NLT

They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” Hebrews 8:5 NLT

How many apartments did it have?

Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.Exodus 26:33 NLT

When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. Hebrews 9:6 NLT

How frequent was it in the second apartment?

But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. Hebrews 9:7 NLT

When did the high priest do this?

“On the tenth day of the appointed month in early autumn, you must deny yourselves. Neither native-born Israelites nor foreigners living among you may do any kind of work. This is a permanent law for you. Leviticus 16:29 NLT

What was he doing?

On that day offerings of purification will be made for you, and you will be purified in the Lord’s presence from all your sins. Leviticus 16:30 NLT

How did he do it?

Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. Leviticus 16:7-9 NLT

What did he do with the blood?

“Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood. Through this process, he will purify the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites. Leviticus 16:15-16 NLT

What did he do with the sins?

“When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land. Leviticus 16:20-22 NLT

Note: For more on the scapegoat click here.

What were the people to be doing?

“Be careful to celebrate the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of that same month—nine days after the Festival of Trumpets. You must observe it as an official day for holy assembly, a day to deny yourselves and present special gifts to the Lord. Do no work during that entire day because it is the Day of Atonement, when offerings of purification are made for you, making you right with[the Lord your God. All who do not deny themselves that day will be cut off from God’s people. Leviticus 23:27-29 NLT

What happened to those living willfully in open sin?

All who do not deny themselves that day will be cut off from God’s people. And I will destroy anyone among you who does any work on that day. Leviticus 23:29-30 NLT

Note: Jesus has begun the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary or the blotting out of the record of confessed sins there, as well as from our lives here.

What pronouncement will Jesus soon make?

Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.” “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. Revelation 22:11- 12 NLT

What happens to those still sinning willfully?

And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 NLT

What happens to the righteous?

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NLT

Which group will you be found in?

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:21-27 NLT

What should we be doing in this time of judgment?

“Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.” Revelation 14:7 NLT

What assurance do we have?

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT

Related reading: Was the atonement made to appease an angry God or an angry race?

You may study this week’s Sabbath School Lesson here.

Jesus is the Sinner’s Advocate

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 1:1-2 NKJV

An advocate speaks up for others and looks out for them. A teacher friend of mine told me about a student who was getting bullied. Another student saw this and it made her mad, so she took her bullied classmate to the teacher to find some justice in the situation. The other student had nothing to gain personally by stepping in as an advocate, but she could not just watch this happen and do nothing to help. 

Another teacher friend of mine told me about a student who is always leaving his assignments on his desk, forgetting to turn them in. Another student will often see the other student forgetting to turn in his work and will pick it up and turn it in for him. The thoughtful student has nothing to gain by his kindness. He is simply looking out for his forgetful classmate. The thoughtful student is an advocate for his forgetful friend. You may think the forgetful student just needs to remember to turn in his work, and you are right, but hasn’t Jesus acted as an advocate for you, even when you were undeserving?

How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan’s fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour…. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succor [assist or aid] those who are tempted. Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of the Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The Lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks up to Him, grasps Him as the One who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all-sufficient offering is accepted of the Father. If you make failures and are betrayed into sin, do not feel then you cannot pray … but seek the Lord more earnestly. The blood of Jesus is pleading with power and efficacy for those who are backslidden, for those who are rebellious, for those who sin against great light and love. Satan stands at our right hand to accuse us, and our Advocate stands at God’s right hand to plead for us. He has never lost a case that has been committed to Him. We may trust in our Advocate; for He pleads His own merits in our behalf…. He is making intercession for the most lowly, the most oppressed and suffering, for the most tried and tempted ones. With upraised hands He pleads, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16. I would I might sound the glad note to earth’s remotest bounds. “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Oh, precious redemption! How broad this great truth is—that God for Christ’s dear sake, forgives us the moment we ask Him in living faith, believing that He is fully able! –Ellen White, Our High Calling, Page 49

Jesus is not just our advocate when we are righteous; He is our advocate when we are sinning against great light! Jesus is truly a friend of sinners. In Psalm 32:1-6, David writes about confessing his sin to Jesus and finding forgiveness. Then he says,

You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

David does not call God his hiding place when he is doing everything right, but in the context of when he is doing everything wrong. The sanctuary is a safe place. The sanctuary is a safe place for sinners. In the sanctuary service, sinners find forgiveness and healing from sin. Satan offers the sinner no safety, no forgiveness and no healing. Satan’s plan is to destroy sinners. Jesus is the sinner’s only friend, as Jesus offers a safe place in His sanctuary. Jesus offers forgiveness and healing from sin. When you sin against great light, Satan is not your friend! Jesus is the sinner’s only friend. 

The Bible is chock full of promises like 1 Corinthians 10:13, promising us we do not have to give in to sin. The Bible is clear there is no excuse for sin. John writes in 1 John 2:1 that we are not to sin. John goes on to tell us, though, that if we do sin — Go to Jesus! Jesus is your advocate. Jesus is the one pleading your case when you fall victim to the bully Satan. Jesus is the one looking out for you when you forget your homework or forget to claim a Bible promise keeping us from sin. Jesus is the sinner’s friend and advocate. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

How to Fear God Without Being Afraid of Him


“Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14:7 NKJV

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 1 John 4:17-18 NKJV

The first angel John writes about tells us to fear God because of the judgment. Later, though, the same John writes that perfect love removes fear during the judgment. So, are we supposed to fear, or not to fear? I believe a healthy understanding of Exodus 20:18-21 helps us reconcile these two passages, and helps us learn how to fear God without being afraid of Him.

“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’”

“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” Exodus 20:18-21 NKJV 

In this passage Moses tells the people not to fear and then turns around and tells them to fear. What is up with that? Verse 18 tells us they are afraid or in terror of the presence of God. Moses did not want them to be afraid of God. He did not want us to be terrorized by God’s presence. God does not want us to be afraid of Him. He wants us to find love and security in His presence. 

And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:26-27 NKJV 

Here the disciples are afraid of the presence of Jesus because they didn’t know that to think or what to expect. They did not know what was going on and it frightened them. Quickly Jesus let them know that He was there to comfort and cheer them, not to terrorize them.

In Exodus 20:18 the people were terrorized by the presence of God because they did not know what to think or expect or how to react. Moses told them not to fear, meaning don’t be afraid. But then, in Exodus 20:20, he tells them to fear God. However this time Moses is talking about a different kind of fear which actually means respect. A police officer does not make me afraid, but I do have respect for his position and what he is capable of. His power and capabilities are actually what make me feel secure instead of afraid. If I am on the right side of the law, I respect what the officer is capable of, and that makes me feel secure. If I am on the wrong side of the law, I am now afraid because of what I know the police officer can do. If I know him well, and am on good terms with the officer, I have great respect for his power and resources, and my respect and appreciation is what makes me feel safe and secure instead of afraid. When Moses told the people, in Exodus 20:20, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin,” He was telling them that their being in awe of His power, and respecting that power, would keep them from sin. Perhaps the Easy-to-Read Version will help us understand better what Moses was saying.

Then Moses said to them, “Don’t be afraid! God has come to test you. He wants you to respect him so that you will not sin.” Exodus 20:20 ERV

When Moses told the people not to fear, he was telling them not to be afraid. When he was telling the people to fear, he was telling them to be respectful. Likewise, when Jesus was telling the disciples not to fear, He was telling them not to be afraid. When the angel in Revelation 14:7 tells us to fear, it means to be respectful. 

If we fear God by being in awe of Him, and respect His love and saving power, then we do not have to fear God by being afraid of Him. Perfect love, being in total awe of God’s love and power, keeps us from being afraid of the judgment. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

5 Quick and Easy Tips Anyone can use to Give Successful Bible Studies

I always did what was best for you. I told you the Good News about Jesus in public before the people and also taught in your homes. Acts 20:20 ERV

We are all encouraged, like Paul, to share Jesus in the homes of our friends and loved ones. This is something we all can do. 

Among the members of our churches there should be more house-to-house labor in giving Bible readings and distributing literature…. As we sow beside all waters we shall realize that “he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” –Ellen White, Maranatha Page 104 

As we study the three angels’ message, we must remember we are the angels who give this last message to the world. In the book of Revelation, angels are messengers, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church members are the messengers giving the message in Revelation 14:6-12. Of course there are many ways this message can be shared, but both the Bible and the writings of Ellen White talk about the importance of giving Bible studies in small group studies, as well as personal Bible studies. Some think they are not skilled enough to give simple Bible studies or readings in people’s homes, but it really is not that hard. Without any formal training, I have given Bible studies leading to well over 400 baptisms over a 30-year period. If God can use me, He can use anyone! After all, in Numbers 22 God spoke through a donkey. If God can speak through a donkey, he can speak through me too. He can speak through anyone, and that includes you.

If you feel the Holy Spirit impressing you to give a Bible study, but you need some encouragement, here are 5 quick and easy tips I have found for giving effective Bible studies over the years. 

  1. Don’t pretend to know it all. Many people tell me they are afraid to give Bible studies because they don’t know enough. That’s okay, No one wants to learn from a know-it-all anyway. The fact that you don’t know it all will make others more comfortable studying with you. I actually began my Bible worker career by telling my friends and co-workers that I needed to practice giving Bible studies, and asked if I could practice giving Bible studies to them. Many agreed, some attended church with me, and one still does attend church with me whenever I return to visit his area. If you’re not a know-it-all, you will be great at giving Bible studies. 
  2. Stick with the study guides or chain referencing format. Don’t adlib or try to philosophize. Many tell me they are afraid to try and give Bible studies because they don’t know what to say. That’s perfect. The study guides ask questions, and then share Bible verses that give the answer. The answers are provided in the Bible passages provided by the study guide or chain referencing format you are following. When I train people to give Bible studies, one of the common mistakes many make is feeling like they have to adlib and add to what is already in the guide or Bible text. When they adlib, they get distracted and wander from the thought process already provided in the format. Each question and Bible answer, in the Bible study guide, builds upon the next in a logical sequence. Simply point out the answer in the text. Don’t adlib. That only distracts from the logical sequence. See? You can do this! 
  3. Don’t quote authors outside the Bible. This is a Bible study. A while back, I took a lay member with me to a Bible study I had just started. The man I had just begun studying with knew nothing about the Bible or the church, much less Ellen White. He asked if there was life on other planets. I told him we could study about that in the future, when the lay member with me blurted out. “Oh! Ellen White talks about visiting people on other planets!” The man we were studying with knew nothing about Ellen White, and wondered why the lay member even said that. I quickly changed the subject back to our topic for the Bible study. Of course I believe in Ellen White, but I also believe a Bible study should be a Bible study. 
  4.  Get a decision. After every Bible study, ask for a decision on the topic. When I was a literature evangelist, after telling my customer all about the books, I never made a sale until I asked them to buy them. It is not enough to just share information. Ask your Bible student to make a decision based on what you studied. If studying about salvation, ask them to accept Jesus as their Savior. If studying about clean and unclean foods, ask them to follow the Bible counsel you both just read. 
  5. After the decision, have a prayer regarding their decision, and then leave! Do all your small talk before the Bible study. Get that pie recipe or discuss that ball game before the Bible study, not afterwards. At the end of the Bible study, you want to pray and then politely and quickly leave, so that you leave them with that prayer marinating in their mind and heart. Don’t distract them with small talk after the prayer. After the prayer, politely excuse yourself. 

Of course you will want to be praying before, during and after your Bible studies. With God’s help, you can do this! You will make mistakes, just like the rest of us. If you don’t make a mistake, you will be the first person ever to give a perfect Bible study. Then you will become a know-it-all, and no one will want to study with you. Be humble. Be human, so people will feel comfortable studying with you. God will use you with all of your mistakes and shortcomings. Remember, I have studied with over 400 people who became baptized, and I made some big mistakes while studying with over 400 of them. I have never given a perfect Bible study — ever! But I don’t let that discourage me. I seriously doubt that the talking donkey in Numbers 22 was perfect, but God surely used it to get Balaam back on the right track. You and I are not perfect either, but God will use us to take the Gospel into all the world.

Now, in the Words of Jesus,

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.” Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson on the three angels message here.

Beware of Preachers Presenting Themselves as the Last Person Preaching Bible Truth

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And he [Elijah] said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”…… Yet I [God] have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:14,18 NKJV

Yes, Elijah was living during a time of severe apostasy from truth, but he was not the only one left who was true to God. Elijah thought he had to run from Israel because of the apostasy, while God assured him He had 7,000 faithful people who had not run away from Israel.

For several years now, I have heard people in the church complain that they are the only ones still preaching the three angels’ message, while on the other hand, I have heard many preachers preaching the three angels’ message. There are also many authors in the church still writing about our special message. As with Elijah, it is tempting, while many are apostatizing from the truth, to think we are the only faithful ones left. However, just as John predicted in Revelation 14:6-12, the three angels’ message is being proclaimed to every creature on earth. God does have a people who are faithful to Him and keep His commandments.  So, why are so many tempted to think they are the only true worshipers left? Why do some preachers and teachers even suggest they are the last ones still teaching this special truth? 

1. Like Elijah, they may be very discouraged by the apostasy, and feeling isolated, but they need to be encouraged as Elijah was, that God still has thousands in the church, who remain faithful and are not running away.

2. Or they could be on an ego trip and wanting to put themselves in an elite group or class of the “remnant of the remnant,” thus elevating themselves above everyone else. Years ago, I was at a men’s ministry retreat where the speaker kept reiterating, over several discourses, how men everywhere were falling into sin and immorality, and in each illustration he was the only man in the story doing the right thing. After several of his presentations, a group of us men were on a walk, when it started being discussed that this speaker was presenting himself as “the last good man left on earth.” None of us were buying it, and sadly, a couple of years later, this man was caught having an affair. He was clearly not the last good man left!

3. Satan will create conflicts, trying to work things to where God’s faithful people will have personality issues with each other, and isolate from each other. Is it possible Elijah was aware of the other 7,000, but just did not get along with them? Nothing in Scripture indicates that this was or was not the case. It is something for us to consider in our own personal cases, when we feel isolated for the sake of truth.

Remember, it was Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12-14 who wanted to isolate himself into a class all his own. It is God who tells us there are 7,000 more for every one of us who thinks he is alone. It is God who told John the Revelator,  in Revelation 7, that there is a faithful multitude which cannot even be numbered .

During times of widespread apostasy, Satan wants to discourage God’s people by making them feel alone, or send them on an ego trip by making them feel they are in a special class by themselves. Yes, in the last days, we are facing widespread apostasy, but let’s not neutralize the power of the everlasting gospel given by the first angel, by trying to make it look like we are the last ones preaching truth, and are in a special class all by ourselves. During apostasy, we need unity more than ever. Let’s not put ourselves in a special class above the 7,000 faithful who do not run away from the church. Let’s not isolate ourselves from the multitude of faithful who are way beyond number. Let’s all keep faithfully and humbly preaching Bible Truth, and pray for and encourage God’s faithful people in our church and around the world.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

Which Commandments are God’s Remnant Church Still Keeping?

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17 KJV

Years ago, I was having Bible studies with a Protestant family who believed the Ten Commandments were abolished in the New Testament. One evening, their Protestant pastor came to our Bible study. I showed them that God’s people will still be keeping the commandments in the last days. The pastor told me that the commandments in Revelation 12:17 are not the Ten Commandments. I asked him what commandments they were then. He told me, “I don’t know, but they are not the Ten Commandments. Those were done away with.” I believe the Bible will not leave us to guess what the law and commandments are in the New Testament. I believe the New Testament will tell us what commandments the New Testament is talking about. Let’s take a look at the New Testament and let the Bible explain itself. 

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 19:16-19 KJV

When asked point-blank which commandments He was talking about, Jesus referred to the Ten Commandments. Yes, Jesus says this before the cross, but does He give any indication they will be done away with? As a matter of fact, earlier Jesus said,

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-18 KJV

Of course I am sure that, like me, you have heard people try to say that once Jesus fulfilled the commandments, He then abolished them. But if that were the case, then it would make no sense to say “not to destroy, but to fulfill.” Does fulfill mean to eventually destroy or abolish? Let’s see how Jesus uses the world fulfill.  When Jesus went to be baptized, John the Baptist was hesitant at first, until Jesus told him,

Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Matthew 3:15 KJV

After Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism, did He then abolish baptism? Of course not. He told the disciples right before his accension to go and baptize. Fulfill does not mean to abolish. Fulfill means to continue. Now, I have also heard people tell me that the law was only valid till everything was fulfilled. Again we just talked about the word “fulfill,” but let’s also see how the word “till” is used in the Bible. Paul tells Timothy, 

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13 KJV

Now Paul only said, “Till I come.” Does that mean that Paul wanted Timothy to stop attending to doctrine after he came? Of course not! When you tell some one, “I’m on my way to help! Hang on till I get there!” You don’t mean for them to give up when you arrive. In the same way, Paul did not mean for Timothy to stop attending to doctrine when he arrived. Likewise, Jesus did not mean for everyone to stop keeping the law of Ten Commandments once everything was fulfilled. Again, fulfill does not mean to abolish. It means to continue to carry out.

Let’s keep looking at the commandments in the New Testament.

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:7 KJV

Paul is speaking about his life after the cross when he says he knows sin by the law, and then quotes the tenth commandment. Did Paul ever say the law was was abolished or made void?

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Romans 3:31 KJV

Does Paul talk about the Ten Commandments elsewhere in the New Testament?

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:9-10 KJV

Again, Paul is referring to the Ten Commandments in the New Testament. Some say that the commandment to love each other replaces the Ten Commandments, but Paul tells us that loving our neighbor fulfills, or continues to carry out, the Ten Commandments. This will also help us to understand in a moment what James means by saying that when we break one commandment we have broken them all. The principle of every commandment is consideration for others. Whenever we put self first, it does not matter which commandment we broke. If we break one commandment, we break the principle of the entire law. Before we go to James, let’s take a look at the how Paul refers to the Ten Commandments in Ephesians. 

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3 KJV

Paul is telling us in the New Testament that there is a promise for us by keeping the 5th commandment. If the promise is still valid, the commandments must still be valid. Paul writes as though the Ten Commandments are very much still in effect. Sure, in Galatians 2:16 Paul tells us we can’t be justified by the law, but the same was true in the Old Testament. No one in the Old or New Testament was ever saved by the law. In both Old and New Testaments we are saved by grace, and in both Old and New Testaments we have the Ten Commandments. Now let’s go to James.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:10-12 KJV

Here in the New Testament, James is clearly referring to the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20 as the commandments. He also refers to them in the present tense, meaning that, if we break one today, we are breaking all of them today. He also explains we will be judged by them! So we see when Jesus, Paul and James refer to the commandments in the New Testament, they are referring to the Ten Commandments. So we understand that the commandments God’s remnant people will be keeping, in the last days, are the Ten Commandments. 

God’s remnant people will be keeping His Ten Commandments, not in order to be saved. In both Old and New Testaments we are saved by grace. God’s people will be keeping the Ten Commandments because they love Jesus. And they will not be keeping them in their own power. The Holy Spirit will be helping us keep the commandments out of love. We can’t keep the law to be saved, but we can keep the law with the Holy Spirit’s help because we love Jesus.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17 NKJV 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here,