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Keeping A Day Holy
The first thing, it is not an issue of the day you worship. Rather, it is which day is holy. Christians ought to worship God every day, whether by themselves or in company. It is a question of which day you keep holy. Man cannot make a day holy, only God can make a day holy; and a day cannot be kept holy if that day is not already made holy by God. God commands us, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…. the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God” (Exodus 20:8-11). Thus, God tells us to keep one day holy and tells us which day He wants us to keep holy.
Keeping the day holy involves not only worshiping God, but abstaining from doing our own work (Exodus 20:8-11) and finding our own pleasure (Isa. 58:13) on that day. It involves devoting the day to communing with God. In order to minimize distractions which might interrupt our communion with God during this special time that God has set apart for this purpose, God has designated the sixth day (the day before the Sabbath) as the preparation day (Ex. 16:22-30; Luke 23:54; Mark 15:42).
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Warning to the World!
The time is upon us! The final events for which we have long waited are unfolding before us! We cannot afford to fall asleep now!
The Paris agreement calls for countries to cut carbon emissions; in other words, reduce industrial activity that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon emissions, it is generally held, causes global warming. Global warming is believed to be the reason for natural disasters and other events that destroy the environment. Pope Francis’s recent encylical, Laudato si´, links Sunday rest with protection of the environment. So the question is this: When countries commit to cut carbon emissions, are they expected to achieve the implied reduction in industrial activity by mandating Sunday rest?
For more than 170 years, there have been efforts to call the world’s attention to the Third Angel’s Message of Revelation 14 which is understood as a warning to the world that an alliance between the Papacy and the United States of America would bring about worldwide enforcement of Sunday observance and that such enforcement would constitute the Mark of the Beast.
One of the things that has not been prominently highlighted, however, is the fact that the prophet, Ellen G. White, predicted that such enforcement would be propelled by an appeal to environmental concerns. Here it is:
“Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows . . . . . In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. . . . And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favour and temporal prosperity.” (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, 589, 590.)
The Third Angel’s Message of Revelation 14 sounds a warning to the world against receiving the Mark of the Beast and describes the mission and character of God’s people in the last days, saying: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).
The Commandments of God
There is no question as to what are the “commandments of God”. There is only one set of commandments that God himself gave, the Ten Commandments. He spoke them audibly from Mount Sinai in the hearing of a multitude. He wrote them with His own fingers on two tables of stone. Some people try to get away from keeping the Ten Commandments because they find the fourth commandment, which requires us to keep the seventh day Sabbath, inconvenient. The fourth commandment says: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”, and it indicates clearly that “the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God” (Ex.20:8-11).
Some will claim that in the New Testament dispensation it is the commandments of Jesus that matter and that Jesus did not specifically say that we should keep the seventh day Sabbath. This is clearly spurious as Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) and even anticipated that His followers should be keeping the Sabbath long after His resurrection and ascension, by warning them: “pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” (Matt. 24:20), in prophesying of the destruction of Jerusalem, which would take place in the year 70 AD. Others say that the doing away of the glorious ministration of ancient Israel that was centred on the two tables of stone means that the commandments themselves are done away with. This is also false as the new covenant involves writing the commandments of God in our hearts whereas the old covenant had them written on tables of stone (Heb. 8:7-10).
The final conflict will be between the keeping of the commandments of men on the one side and the keeping of the commandments of God on the other side. Jesus warned: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9).
The Third Angel warns: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:9, 10). The commandments of men are not very different from the commandments of God as it relates to not killing, stealing or doing other such vices. The one distinct sign, however, that distinguishes the commandments of God from the commandments of men is the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath. This is God’s sign and will identify those who are worshipping God, the Creator, as opposed to those who are worshipping someone else. God says: “And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” (Eze. 20:20).
Many people are worshipping ignorantly, but the mission of God’s people in the last days is to call them to the worship of the true and living God who created heaven and earth. It was as a reminder that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, as stated in the fourth commandment, that the seventh day Sabbath was given by God (Ex. 20:8-11).
The Faith of Jesus
Along with the keeping of the commandments of God, God’s people in the last days are characterized by their keeping “the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). But have we, unwittingly put ourselves in a position where we are unable to fully contemplate the faith of Jesus – the faith that Jesus had? If we consider Christ, in His position on earth as being “all-knowing”, then He could not exercise faith. As we are told: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1. So faith is predicated on hope and holding on to things that we cannot see. Further, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (Rom. 8:24).
The Bible is clear that Jesus did not know everything when He was on earth. Jesus Himself declared, speaking of His second coming, that “of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32). Those who say that the Father and the Son are co-equal need to think again. Further, we are told that, as a child, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52). Jesus had to exercise faith – faith in His Father.
The one thing that is required of us in order for us to be saved is faith: “For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8). Further, we are told, “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Rom. 4:3 (also Gal. 3:6). If Jesus knew everything when He was here, He could not exercise faith and therefore could not be our example in the one thing, above all else, that is required of us, namely exercising faith in God. But Jesus did exercise faith. He did it most particularly in yielding up His life on Calvary. He believed in God – His Father. He trusted the love of God. He believed that His Father would raise Him from the dead and his Father did. We are told that it was “God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (Gal. 1:1).
Jesus came to earth to reveal the truth about His Father – that God is love. He said: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18:37). He sealed His testimony with His blood. He died not knowing what was beyond the grave. That is the faith that we are called upon to have. And Jesus is the greatest exemplar of that faith. Of the saints it is said that, they will be severely tested, tried and persecuted by Satan but “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev. 12:11).
Our faith, today, is best reflected in our hope of the Second Coming of Christ. The blessed hope of the soon return of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, sums up our faith that, in keeping the commandments of God, even to the point of death, we will not be disappointed. The promise is that, if we are faithful, we will either be resurrected to eternal life or we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye and be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:14-17; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52), when Jesus Christ returns. Jesus trusted His Father to raise Him from the dead. We must trust that Jesus will do the same for us. God’s counsel to us is confirmed by two immutable things: His promise and His oath, as we are told:
“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus” (Heb. 6:17-20).
Laudato si´ and Sunday Rest
On June 18, 2015, the Vatican officially released an encyclical letter from Pope Francis, addressing climate change, titled Laudato si´. In a book version of the encyclical, published by Our Sunday Visitor, the publishers noted that, “In his second encyclical, Laudato si´: On Care For Our Common Home, Pope Francis draws all Christians into a dialogue with every person on the planet about our common home”. They further stated that: “We as human beings are united by the concern for our planet and every living thing that dwells on it, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Pope Francis’ letter joins the body of the Church’s social and moral teaching and draws on the best scientific research, providing the foundation for “the ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows.” ”. (Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, IN 46750). On the face of it, this sounds very good.
But who would have thought that the pope would have been sending out an encyclical letter (Laudato si´) to the entire world linking Sunday rest with protection of the environment at a time when almost the entire world has climate change, caused by destruction of the environment, as a major concern? And who would have thought that the President of the United States, Barack Obama would have used the opportunity of the pope’s encyclical to express “hope that all world leaders — and all God’s children — will reflect on Pope Francis’s call to come together to care for our common home”, referring to the pope as “His Holiness”, and speaking of the “full moral authority of his position”?
Things are happening! Watch for the ‘fine print’! The Devil’s end-time tool is deception (which, by nature, is not obvious to many) and we have been warned that the final events will “break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 28; Last Day Events, p. 41).
“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thess. 5:4).
On July 21, 2015, a little over a month after the release of Pope Francis’s encyclical letter Laudato si´, the pope invited the mayors of more than sixty (60) of the world’s major cities to meet with him, and he told them that he had “a lot of hope” major climate talks later that year in Paris, France, would result in a bold deal to reduce global warming. On the face of it, this does not seem unreasonable or alarming. But notice the wording of the common declaration that the pope signed with the mayors. Specific mention is made of the encyclical letter Laudato si´, and the significance of that, is that tucked away within the broader discussion of climate change issues, Laudato si´ advocates for Sunday observance and enforcement. Part of the declaration reads:
“On the basis of the encyclical Laudato si´, we have considered the overwhelming scientific evidence regarding human induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the vulnerability of the poor to economic, social and environmental disasters. In the face of the emergencies attributable to human induced climate change, social exclusion, and extreme poverty, we join together to declare the following: Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity. In this core moral space, cities play a very vital role. All of our cultural traditions uphold the inherent dignity and social responsibility of every individual and the related common good of all humanity.”
“The world should take note that the climate summit in Paris later this year (COP21) may be the last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that will keep human-induced warming below 2oC, and aim to stay well below 2oC for safety, yet the current trajectory may well reach a devastating 4oC or higher. Political leaders of all UN member states have a special responsibility to agree at COP21 to a bold climate agreement that confines global warming to a limit safe for humanity, while protecting the poor and the vulnerable from ongoing climate change that gravely endanger lives.”
“We want our cities and urban settlements to become ever more socially inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (cf. UN Sustainable Development Goals, n. 11). All sectors and stakeholders must do their part, a pledge that we fully commit ourselves to in our capacities as mayors and individuals.” (Joint Declaration signed at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, July 21, 2015).
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP21 or CMP11 was held in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015. It was the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. According to the Organizing Committee, the objective was to achieve for the first time in over 20 years of UN Negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.
Laudato si´ was clearly intended to influence the Conference. The overarching goal was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to limit global temperature increase to 2oC above pre-industrial levels – BUT watch the ‘fine print’ – Sunday was a part of the ‘fine print’ of Laudato si´. Among the challenges issued in Laudato si´ were the following:
- “206. A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power. This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products.”
- 237. … Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation…” (Pope Francis, Laudato si´: On Care For Our Common Home)
Revelation 16 speaks of unclean spirits like frogs that will be gathering the whole world to the final battle (Rev. 16:13, 14). This final battle will see the world on one side and Christ and His people on the other side (Rev. 19:19, 20).
The final message to the world, as presented in Rev. 18, is a call out of Babylon – that confederation of the Beast, the Dragon and the False Prophet, particularly on account of their being taken over by spiritualism. Rev. 18 tells us that Babylon is fallen and has become “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev. 18:2). The message is to “come out of her” (Rev. 18:4).
After the first three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, each of which represented a movement at a specific time in the history of our world, this Fourth Angel comes on the scene representing another movement. This Fourth Angel’s Movement is not opposed to the Third Angel’s movement but rather, unites its voice with the voice of the Third Angel as the Third Angel’s message swells to a loud cry. The Third Angel’s movement has for over 170 years, since 1844, been warning people against receiving the Mark of the Beast. The prophet, Ellen G. White says of this Fourth Angel:
“The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry.” (The Story of Redemption, 399).
The wine with which Babylon drunks and deceives the nations is specifically the doctrines of Sunday sacredness and the immortality of the soul. We are told:
“The wine of Babylon is the exalting of the false and spurious sabbath above the Sabbath which the Lord Jehovah hath blessed and sanctified for the use of man, also [it is] the immortality of the soul. These kindred heresies, and the rejection of the truth, convert the church into Babylon.” (Ellen G. White, 2 Selected Messages p. 68).
These doctrines are strongly repudiated by the Third Angel’s movement. So, the Third Angel’s movement is not Babylon.
We are told that:
“The sins of the world will have reached unto heaven when the law of God is made void; when the Sabbath of the Lord is trampled in the dust, and men are compelled to accept in its stead an institution of the papacy through the strong hand of the law of the land. In exalting an institution of man above the institution ordained of God, they show contempt for the great Lawgiver, and refuse His sign or seal” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1889).
It is at that time while the Angel of Rev. 18 gives the final message that the call is made: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Rev. 18:4, 5).
At this time in particular, as the Third Angel’s message is about to swell to a loud cry, God’s people must be aware of the subtle inroads of spiritualism so that they can effectively call people away from its alluring influence. The reality is that, if one is taken over by spirits of devils, acceptance of the Mark of the Beast will inevitably follow.
How many of us took note of the words of invocation to Lucifer that was said in the papal mass to induct Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII into sainthood on April 27, 2014 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in Rome? In case you missed it, here it is:
“Flammas eius Lucifer matutinus inveniat: ille, inquam, Lucifer, qui nescit occasum”, which is translated “Flaming Lucifer finds mankind, I say: Oh Lucifer who will never be defeated”.
No interpretation will be placed on it, lest one be accused of misrepresenting the intended meaning. But we should at least know of it and consider it especially in light of the warning of Revelation 18 telling God’s children to come out of Babylon because she has become the “habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit”.
Beloved, it is high time that we awake out of sleep and sound the alarm before it is too late!
Jesus’s Sequencing of Last-day Events
In Matthew 24, Jesus gives a sequence of events that would lead up to the second coming of Christ. He tells us that there would be wars and rumours of wars, but we should not be troubled when we see those things, because the end is not yet (Matt. 24:6). He went on to say that nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, that there would be famines, pestilences and earthquakes and that such would be the “beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:7, 8). Note what comes next: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matt. 24:9). That is the sequence of events. The last part has not taken place yet.
We have seen increasing pestilences and earthquakes, so do we think that the part to follow, wherein we will be hated by all nations and will be persecuted and killed will not happen, or that it is far away? Think again! It is within that context, that Jesus continues by saying that the gospel will be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come (Matt. 24:14). That is the Loud Cry of the angel of Rev. 18 being described there. You’ll get the sequence quite easily if you read in order, verses 4 to 14 of Matthew 24.
The Paris Agreement and Sunday Enforcement
If you think that the world is not in the process of gathering around a common cause, with Sunday enforcement woven into it, you need to spend some time reflecting on the most recent drive to protect the planet, being led by the United Nations and inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato si´. Copies of this book are being sent to persons of influence, far and wide. In the last chapter, specific reference is made to Sunday rest as being meant to heal relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world (paragraph 237); taking the Eucharist and worshipping the Trinity are also mentioned specifically as being necessary (paragraphs 236 and 238-240); and that healthy pressure can be brought to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power by boycotting certain products (paragraph 206). The Bible says that we will not be able to buy or sell and later on will be killed for not supporting a cause that honours the beast power and promotes false worship, around which the world will be gathered (Rev. 13: 8, 15-17).
The Paris Agreement calls for countries to cut carbon emissions – which is associated with industrial activity. The more industrialized a country is, the more carbon they release into the atmosphere. Countries are not committing themselves to reduce industrial activity, necessarily, because it is industrial activity that give their people modern amenities and many comforts of life. It is industrial activity that set industrialized countries as being wealthier than poorer countries. And poorer countries strive to become more industrialized. Yet over 191 countries have already signed the Paris Agreement, committing themselves to cut carbon emissions. How do they plan to do it? Is there something that we are not being told? Or, have we been told but we are not paying attention?
The pope says, in Laudato si´, that Sunday rest helps to heal the environment. Is this a signal that countries should mandate Sunday rest? Is this the unspoken method that countries will adopt to cut their carbon emissions without curtailing their industrial development? The Creator, from the creation week, had set aside the seventh day Sabbath as a weekly rest (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11). So, is it that humanity has finally caught up with a manifestation of Divine wisdom, except that they want to take the credit for themselves and deny the Creator, by establishing their own rest day?
The requirements for the Paris Agreement to take effect are that at least 55 countries must ratify the Agreement and that at least 55% of global emissions must be covered by the countries ratifying the Agreement. As at October 5, 2016, the double threshold was met. That means the Paris Agreement will, unless something unforeseen happens, come into effect on November 4, 2016. This Agreement, according to the Organizing Committee of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, is intended to be a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Let us see how it will all pan out. But, be warned! Things are happening! We must be awake! We cannot afford to fall asleep now!
May we be counted among the “saints”, when Jesus Christ returns, that “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).
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It is often queried how Christians who are practicing scientists balance the seeming conflict between faith and science. The apparent conflict seems to centre primarily on the question of origins. The Christian view, as articulated in the Bible, is that God created the earth and placed human beings in it after furnishing it with plants and a variety of animal species. The view that is attributed to modern science, through Charles Darwin is that all species have evolved from common ancestors through a random process of natural selection based on survival of the fittest.
What is often overlooked, however, is that the view of origins that is being represented as the scientific position does not reflect or accord with the views of some of the most notable scientists of all time and pioneers of modern science, including Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, both physicists. Newton, Einstein and others saw such order in the universe that they could not attribute to random chance.
According to Newton, who wrote more on religion than he did on natural science, the world was created by God along rational and universal principles and these principles were available for all people to discover (Principia, Book III; cited in Newton’s Philosophy of Nature: Selections from his writings, p. 42, ed. H. S. Thayer, Hafner Library of Classics, N. Y. 1953). It is reported that an atheist colleague of Newton saw a model solar system on Newton’s desk and asked who made it. Newton said nobody did. After smiling at what he thought was a joke, the colleague repeated his question, obviously unable to accept that nobody made the model. Newton simply pointed out the absurdity of his being unable to accept that the model was made by nobody while accepting that the real thing of which the model was only a crude representation came about by chance.
Albert Einstein in his book “The Evolution of Physics: from early concepts to relativity and quanta” written jointly with his collaborator, Leopold Infeld dismisses the idea that events in nature are purely attributable to chance. In the foreword, written by Walter Isaacson, Einstein is quoted as saying “Some physicists, among them myself, cannot believe that we must accept the view that events in nature are analogous to a game of chance”. Einstein continues, “Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way.” In his words, “There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists”.
The matter of basic origins cannot be determined at the level of biology except by extrapolating backwards into the realm of physics and mathematics. Biology is built on chemistry as the understanding of the complex molecular building blocks of life such as carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and DNA is based on the fundamental understanding of atoms and molecules in general which is the realm of chemistry. Chemistry is built on physics as the understanding of atoms and molecules is based on the fundamental understanding of the nature and characteristics of the forces and sub-atomic wave/particles elucidated by quantum mechanics which is the realm of physics. Physics is built on mathematics as the understanding of the physical world is based on the use of physical quantities which give to the forces, matter, wave/particles and energy that make up the physical world numeric descriptions, which is the realm of mathematics.
At such levels that are closer to the root of the tree of origins, the most authoritative pioneers of modern scientific thought saw a level of order that they could not rationally attribute to chance. Einstein considered that a reality exists that is independent of our ability to observe it. As Einstein said “physics is an attempt conceptually to grasp reality as it is, thought independently of its being observed”.
While there is evidence that some new species have developed through an evolutionary process, it seems contrary to reason, contrary to foundational physical laws and mathematically improbable that such evolutionary processes could be extrapolated indefinitely backwards in time to account for all living species. For some Christians who are practicing scientists, there is no conflict between faith and science as faith tells them why God works while science helps them to understand how God works. In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done”.