Ever since God created the world, He has had His special people. In the first centuries until the great flood, there were those who were faithful to the word of God, and who worshiped God in the way He had prescribed. This changed a few hundred years after the great flood when God chose Abram, whom He later named Abraham, as the ancestor of His special people. Abraham was called to leave his family and friends so that he and his descendants would be separated and different from the people of the world at all times, and to preach the good news, the salvation, which would come through the Son of Promise – Jesus Christ. But Abraham’s carnal descendants eventually rejected their birth right when they denied Jesus when He came, and they lost the privileges they had as God’s special people. Now, after the cross, this privilege was given to the Christians. The cross then became a marked distinction in history in two different ways.
The most important change the cross brought to humanity was the vicarious death of Jesus. Without it, humans would be lost forever. But the consequences of what happened in connection with the cross brought with it another significant change. This second change that the cross brought with it concerns who can be considered God’s special people. Before the cross, it was sufficient to be born into one of the 12 tribes of Israel, or become a proselyte, (a proselyte was a Gentile, that is, a person from a people other than Israel, who had converted to Judaism). After the cross, there is a completely different condition that is the basis for being included among God’s special people. It is faith, the faith in Jesus Christ. One is no longer dependent on ethnicity. Everyone, regardless of ethnicity, can be counted among God’s special people through faith in the Saviour Jesus Christ. There are some conditions, but we will return to them eventually.
There may be some confusion about the term God’s people, and many people identify with this, despite the fact that they do not meet the conditions that our God sets for being called God’s people. Towards the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes a startling statement: Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness, Matthew 7,21-23 (NASB).
The Sermon on the Mount is considered Jesus’ first great speech, and it was given shortly after He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, and what Jesus says here is that it is not enough to have some kind of faith in Jesus, one must also do what He wants us to do. The key words in the quote from the Sermon on the Mount are you who practice lawlessness. We are all familiar with the terms lawless and lawlessness. But what does it really mean to practice lawlessness? It obviously has something to do with the law, the law of ten commandments – God’s ten commandments. In James 2,10 we read this: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all. Here we see that Jacob says breaking one commandment is the same as breaking all, the result will be the same. So if someone breaks one commandment, intentionally, it means that the person has put himself outside the law and is then by definition lawless.
It is perhaps best seen in Isaiah 58,13-14 what Jesus means by what He says in the quote from the Sermon on the Mount: If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, (a clear and distinct reference to God’s ten commandments) [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]. Here the key words are [from] doing thy pleasure. Instead of doing our pleasure, we should do what pleases God, and although many claim to have cast out demons – which should really be a good deed – Jesus looks behind the facade and sees that it is primarily by self-interest that some do this, while others do not keep all of God’s commandments and laws.
The Acts of the Apostles chapter 8 gives us an example of such people who are driven by self-love, and the longing for money and fame. Here we find the sorcerer Simon who comes to faith. This was a person who had practiced sorcery and created wonder, and everyone paid attention to what he did, and they believed that it was done by the power of God, (see verse 8 and beyond in the chapter). When Philip came and preached the gospel, Simon was also baptized, and Simon who stayed with Philip after the baptism was amazed at the power that Philip had when he saw what miracles that were done. Simon wanted to buy this power the Holy Ghost gives for free to those who are fit to receive it. Notice what Peter says to Simon when he asks to buy the power of the Holy Spirit: Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God, Acts 8,21. Simon wanted fame by performing miracles and in other words was lawless.
To the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness, Matthew 23,27. It was the scribes and Pharisees who were to lead God’s people, but they were only concerned with themselves. They took care to do ‘good deeds’ in the presence of the people so that they could boast of how pious they were, and therefore they are characterized as whited sepulchres on the outside, but are full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness inside, because in their hearts they were far from live up to God’s standard and norm. I encourage everyone to read Matthew chapter 23 in its entirety. Notice how Jesus describes the scribes and Pharisees. The way He describes them is unflattering.
This has been the case throughout the ages, many of those who were to lead God’s people have been anything but fit to do so in God’s eyes. In our time it is worse than ever. Church leaders around the world are making every effort to liberalize the word of God as much as possible, almost like a kind of championship of liberalization. We have preachers who sell healings as a commodity, and the more money you ‘donate‘, the safer you are to be healed. Others perform what they call ‘healings’ during their meetings. Healing by telephone is also a lucrative business, and in Norway we have a ‘telephone pastor‘ who charges more than 125 USD an hour just to play a pre-recorded prayer. In many of the healings that take place, it may seem as if a healing has really taken place, but if we look at what these pastors are doing, it is not compatible with God’s word, because God’s gift cannot be bought for money. Just look at what Jesus says in Matthew 10,8: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Yet there seems to be healing, and it certainly does, for Satan can work miracles through those who let themself be used by him. But most miracles are not miracles at all, but sheer scams. It has been proven that the same person has been healed both for the same ailment and for new ailments in different places, something done solely to seduce people.
Enough about that. I cannot judge anyone I have neither the right nor the authority to do so – fortunately. Thank God that He is just and will judge everyone according to the same criteria, and not least, He sees our hearts and the intentions we have and the reasons we have to serve the Lord. Jesus himself says that many who call themselves Christians and who claim to have performed miracles in Jesus’ name are not who they claim to be. These will be rejected in the judgment. This is what I want to put my finger on, nothing else. Let us consider some of the characteristics given to God’s people, and not least who they are.
Gods people keep His commandment.
God has his church on earth in the end times that upholds his law, the law that has been trodden under foot by the ‘gentiles’, and they show the world the way to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, (John 1,29).
There is only one church in the world that in our time is trying to restore all that has been torn down by the fallen church, and about them Isaiah says the following: And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in, (Isaiah 58,12).
These people are mentioned in the Bible in several places, and it is therefore important to study the Scriptures to see what it says about God’s people in the end times. John describes this people as in Revelation 12,17: 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. Here are a few expressions that need to be explained. The dragon is a picture of Satan and the woman is a picture of God’s people as a whole. When it says that the dragon went to make war with the remnant of her (the woman’s) seed, this means that the church is divided. The church was not divided in the beginning. When the apostles founded the church, it was pure and undivided. It is only after the decay began after the last of Jesus’ apostles, John, died early in the 2nd century that the church was divided. Eventually, this developed so that some still clung to the pure gospel handed down by Jesus’ apostles, while some gave in to the influence of the world. Satan had now won a great victory. He had managed to divide the church through persecution, murder and later with paganism and human traditions that infiltrated the church. Now in the end times, Satan has control over the part of the church that came under the influence of the world. This part of the church has Satan full control over, and these he does not have to go to war with, while the part of the church that does not want to submit to the laws and doctrines of the little horn is the part that is exposed to Satan’s rage, and these are the ones he goes to war with. These are the remnant of her seed.
This verse also shows what separates the two parts of the church: The remnant of her seed keep the commandments of God. This means all of God’s ten commandments. But why does John use the phrase ‘God’s commandments’ here in Revelation? Is it not obvious that it is God’s commandment we are talking about? In King James Version the phrase ‘My commandments‘ is used in 31 different verses, and why does John not use ‘My commandments‘ in Revelation 12,17 and 14,12 when he uses ‘My commandments´ three times? in his gospel? (See John 14,15; 14,21; 15,10.) We understand ‘My commandments’ as ‘God’s commandments’ in the other places we encounter this expression in the Bible, so why is ‘My commandments’ not used in Revelation?
I think the answer is that it is not obvious that it is about God’s commandments if the term ‘My commandments´ is used when we get as far into the end times as we have come today. It is clear from the context that these two verses tell us about something that will happen in the very last days, just before Jesus’ return. In Daniel 7,25 it says about the little horn that: And he (the little horn – another little horn – in verse 8) shall speak [great] words against the most High and shall wear out the saints of the most High and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. Someone will therefore try (= think) to change times and law, and there is only one place where law and time are linked and that is in God’s fourth commandment. When we have come as far into the end times as we have done now, we actually have two editions of the Ten Commandments. We have the original that John calls the commandments of God, and we have what I call the popes ten commandments.
As for God’s people, Revelation refers to ‘two groups of God’s people’. One part are those who are also called the remnant of her seed and are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14,12), and which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, (Revelation 12,17). The others who are God’s people are those who are still in Babylon, or the fallen church, but who are honest and sincere seekers of the truth. Their problem is that they have been seduced by their priests or pastors. This group is mentioned in Revelation 18,2-4 where it says: … … And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her (the great Babylon = the confusion of the fallen church), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
I will make two warnings at the end of this section. First, those who do not belong to ’the remnant of her seed´ should be careful about what they say and do to this group. Not because these people are special, but for their own sake, because the Lord God himself has said of this people: Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine, (Isaiah 43,1). Those who go against this people are in fact going against God.
Secondly, there is a great responsibility on this people who belong to the remnant of her seed. These must take care so that they do not make it more difficult than it is for those of God’s people (My people in Revelation 18) who still are in Babylon to get out of the confusion and find their way to the church of God in the end times. Many people will find it easy to stigmatize and put other people in stalls, but we must remember where we ourselves came from once, and rather help people who search for the truth to find it where it is to be found. Even if they dress differently, maybe dye their hair in different colours, have tattoos, talk a little differently and eat other things than what we do, it does not mean that we have the right to reject them. We will help those who hear God’s call ‘come out of her‘ to find comfort in us, in God’s end-time church. It is not the case that our church can save people, no church can, not even the mother church can, even though it is claimed from Rome that there is no salvation outside her walls. Our task is to call them out of the confusion and lead them to the fellowship of God’s end-time church because fellowship in the church of God is important to us in the end-time as the trials will fall upon God’s faithful remnant. But thank God, He will provide for His people.
The purpose of God’s ten commandments / God’s law.
John writes in Revelation 11 that when the seventh trumpet sounds, the temple of God in heaven will be opened, and the ark of the covenant of God can be seen in the heavenly temple (see Revelation 11,15-19). Why does John make a point out of the fact that the ark of the covenant could be seen in heaven? The answer lies in what the ark of the covenant contains. In it lie the two tablets of stone on which God himself wrote the Ten Commandments, and because God will judge the living and the dead according to their deeds. If a judgment is to be made, one must be judged according to a certain standard, and God’s standard is the ten commandments of God.
Now, however, there are many, very many, who claim that Christ repealed the law and nailed God’s ten commandments to the cross when He died there, claiming that we do not need God’s ten commandments because we live by grace. But that is not right. How can God judge someone if the law is repealed? I think it is appropriate to look at God’s ten commandments and how we should understand their meaning.
God’s ten commandments are the law of the kingdom of God, and all kingdoms must have a set of laws, because without laws there will be anarchy, and everyone can and will do what they find good to do. It is inconceivable that a society should not have a set of laws. Even companies, teams and associations have laws and statutes, because without what we do being regulated, it will all just be floating, nothing will be forbidden, and the most horrible actions will be allowed – if it is not all regulated by legislation.
Now God’s ten commandments, or God’s law, also have another purpose that I will try to make visible here. However, this is a three-part concept, which consists of the law, the grace and the salvation. When it comes to the relationship between law, grace and salvation, there are probably so many who have a totally wrong perception of this, a perception that is directly destructive to salvation. Let us look at these separately and how they relate to each other.
Paul says in Romans 7,12: Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it says that they sinned. Sin is transgression, in other words, they transgressed the law of God. Paul explains this in Romans 5,12 where he says that … … by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world … … The law, God’s ten commandments, reflects the character of God and is as unchangeable and eternal as God himself. The law has existed since eternity, and in addition to being as unchangeable and eternal as God, the law is holy, just, and good. The law thus expresses God’s good will and love and is a guideline that tells us … 1) … how to live our lives in relation to God, which is the vertical line and constitutes the first four commandments as they are recorded in the Bible – not as the various catechisms draw up the commandments*, and … 2)… how to live our lives in relation to our fellow human beings, which is the horizontal line and constitutes the last six commandments in God’s ten commandments. We can then say that the law, God’s ten commandments, draws a cross where the vertical line tells us how God wants our relationship with Him to be, and where the horizontal line tells us how God wants our relationship with our neighbour to be. * In the various catechisms, three major changes have been made. a) The second commandment is deleted and replaced with the third, the third with the fourth, etc. b) The original fourth commandment, God’s fourth commandment, is completely destroyed and consists of 38 words, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work (see Catechism of the Catholic Church – IntraText (vatican.va)) of a total of 94 words (see Exodus 20,8-11 KJV). c) The original 10th commandment are divided into two, the ninth and the tenth, so that the total is still ten commandments.
But the law cannot save me, nor can I save myself even if I keep the whole law of God, to the letter, all my life. In addition to reflecting the character of God, the law is for me a guide, or as a road map, a GPS, which shows me which path I must choose to reach the final goal. Salvation.
In Ephesians 2,8 we find the following: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God.
The understanding of the word grace, as used in the Bible, has its origins in the Oriental monarchy. When a king, such as King David, showed mercy to one of his subjects, it always meant that he personally intervened in this person’s life and did something for him, which this person was not able to do himself, such as forgiving him all debts. In other words, the king took all his guilt.
When we talk about the grace of God, or the grace of Jesus, it means to me that God or Jesus gives me something that I am never able to achieve by my own deeds, something that I can never deserve. Grace is one of God’s gifts. God gives me something – salvation – and God take all my sins. I can do nothing but receive this gift.
In 2 Timothy 1,9 we read: Who hath saved us, and called [us] with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
When God created man, God said it was exceedingly good, in other words, all that God created was perfect. God and man walked together in the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve saw God face to face because they were without sin. But this idyll did not last long. Man sinned, and this separated them from God. When man fell into sin, the plan of salvation, which was laid before man was created, was implemented. This plan aims to bring man back to God, and to restore the whole earth to the state it was in before sin entered the world. The plan of salvation was first visualized through animal sacrifices and temple service in Old Testament times, and the plan of salvation was completed through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross.
I cannot save myself with works, no matter how good or how many they are. The only way to salvation is through the Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The connection between the law and grace:
In John 8,1-11 we find the story of the woman who was taken in adultery, and which the Pharisees and scribes presented to Jesus, because they wanted to find something that they could arrest him for. The law clearly states that a woman who is caught in adultery should be stoned to death. Jesus knew what the Pharisees and the scribes were looking for, so he did not directly answer the question of whether a woman should be stoned or not but said that he who was without sin – with reference to the law – should cast the first stone. None of those who accused the woman threw stones at her, but they all left.
In verses 10 and 11 we find what it is all about. Verse 10 … … Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? Verse 11 She said, No man, Lord. From the Bible, I understand that God does not forgive anyone who does not repent of his sin. We can therefore assume that Jesus could see that the woman had repented of all her sins, and Jesus answered the woman, saying: … Neither do I condemn thee … … and in this way He places the woman safely under God’s forgiving grace … … Aha, this is just what I said, many will think when they read this, Jesus repealed the law because He did not stone the woman but placed her under His grace. But this is so wrong, so wrong, because they forget the rest of verse 11 where Jesus continues to say: … … go, and sin no more! with which Jesus places her safely under the law.
Another picture of how the law and grace relate to each other is this. You are out driving on the highway. Because you are in a hurry when you have to make an important meeting, you are driving too fast. The police will arrest you and impose a large fine, which is your well-deserved punishment for breaking the law. You admit your guilt and explain why you drove too fast. The policeman looks at you and says: ‘I will let mercy go to justice this time’, tears up the fine and lets you drive on.
When you were stopped by the policeman, he placed you under the law, and according to the law, you were to be punished. When the policeman says you do not have to pay the fine and can continue driving, something you certainly did not deserve, he places you under grace. But what are you doing now? Do you continue to drive too fast to arrive in time for this meeting because the policeman has placed you under grace, or do you drive according to what the law says you can do? Even if the police showed you mercy by not giving you this fine, it does not mean that the speed limits on the road you are driving have been lifted. The law exists and still applies.
But God’s law still requires the offender to take his punishment, and this is precisely the core of the problem. Because the law requires the offender to take his punishment, which according to Paul is death, and because I am not able to pay the punishment required by the law, Jesus comes to me when I turn to Him and repent of my sins. Then the Saviour will place me safely under His grace when He says, ‘I forgive you your sins’ … … and follows up by telling me to ‘go, and sin no more!‘ Grace does not repeal the law but is one of God’s gifts to us precisely because we are unable to help ourselves to save ourselves from the sin we have committed. It is solely because we are sinners according to the law that we need the grace of God.
To me, these two stories are two good pictures of how we should perceive the law and grace, and how we must see the connection between these. What comes first is a sincere repentance for the sins we have committed, this triggers God’s grace that covers the iniquities we have committed.
The connection between the law and salvation:
There are many who believe that one must keep the law to be saved. Jesus placed the woman who was caught in adultery under the law, but He also placed her under grace. In many ways, I was once in the same situation as the woman in John 8. I was an atheist, living a life that was not in harmony with God’s law, and I did not care at all that I violated God’s law. I was a great sinner who constantly broke God’s law, until I had a meeting with Jesus, who took hold of me, and slowly but surely he shaped me, the way the potter shapes the clay. The moment I rose from the baptismal font on the day I was baptized, I was fully assured that God had forgiven me all my many sins, and that I had done nothing but accepted Jesus as my Saviour and repented all mine sins. It was not because I had kept God’s commandments that Jesus saved me, on the contrary.
Paul says in Romans 6,23 that the wages of sin is death. This expression that the wages of sin is death, we must understand correctly. Those who transgress God’s law are sinners, and by definition they are dead – in a spiritual sense. By the time I was an atheist, I was dead … … spiritually dead. In Galatians 3,13, Paul says that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. But what is the curse of the law? The curse of the law is the same as the wages of sin; death. Even if we manage to keep the law to the letter, it will still not be able to save us. There is only salvation in the name of Jesus, solely because Jesus Christ overcame death when he rose from the dead on the third day.
Christ redeemed us from death, and from the curse of the law, when he died in our place on the cross. It cost Jesus Christ absolutely everything to buy us free. His death was the payment for me not to be affected by the curse of the law. God offers us a gift, and it is completely free. We cannot do anything to deserve it, we can only choose whether we want to receive the gift or not. The salvation in the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for us at Calvary, is this gift that God offers, and it is the greatest gift I can wish for. This gift also contains a hope for the future, and a promise of an inheritance: eternal life. Even if we die before Jesus returns, we will still live forever with the Lord. This is what the law is not able to do for us. It cannot save us or give us eternal life. Only Jesus can do that, (Acts 4,10-12).
But how does the law work when it cannot save us?
The law can be compared to a mirror. The mirror gives a mirror image of the reality, but the mirror can do nothing to change this image. If I am dirty in the face, I cannot see it without looking in a mirror. When I look in the mirror I see that I am dirty. I can try to clean myself with the mirror, but it does not work. The only thing I achieve with this is that I will probably get dirty in several places. I need something else, and this is what the mirror shows me. I am dirty and have to do something with my appearance, in other words I have to find something or someone who can clean me. To remove the dirt I need clean water so I can wash myself clean.
This means; I have sinned, which is the same as being dirty in the face, but I do not see it without seeing what the law, which is the mirror, says. The law cannot cleanse me but shows me that I need water to wash away the dirt, which is the same as a saviour who can cleanse me from my sins.
As I said, many people believe that one must keep the law in order to be saved, but that is impossible. I myself will say that I want with all my heart to keep the law of God, not because the law can save me, but because despite the requirements of the law I am saved only by grace in the name of Jesus. That I want to keep the law is a fruit of my salvation, at the same time as it tells everyone that I recognize God as my creator and king.
The connection between grace and salvation:
God’s grace is one of the expressions that show us God’s infinite and boundless love. John says in 1 John 4,9-10: In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
The Bible is, as mentioned earlier, aware that the punishment that the law imposes on sinners is death. God does not want anyone to perish, He wants everyone to call on His name and be saved. Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezequiel 33,11 …//… For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end, Jeremiah 29,11.
When I prayed for forgiveness of my sins, Christ in His great love chose to take my punishment upon Himself so that I might be saved and imputed to His righteousness. I have probably disappointed God countless times, but always He shows me mercy. As a father of four, I have several times been in situations where I have been both disappointed and not least angry because my children have done something they knew was wrong.
More than 20 years ago, my oldest son bought a car before he got his driver’s license. We agreed that I would take care of the car keys so that he would not be tempted to ‘borrow’ it. But one day while I was at work, the temptation became too great, and he took the keys and went for a ride with his friend. This went wrong … … horribly wrong. They drove off the road and ended up between two trees next to a river. The car was completely wrecked, but the two boys luckily escaped with the horror, and without injuries. When I came home from work I knew nothing about this, but saw that the car was gone, and when I discovered it I was both disappointed, angry and scared, and thought about what reactions I should take towards the sinner, and what punishment I should give him.
When my son came home I was still angry, but the first thing he said was: Dad, I have done something I should not have done, I hope you can forgive me. Then he told me the whole story, and even though he had done something illegal, I was left with a feeling that I should be happy and not angry. Both boys could have lost their lives or been in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives. The joy I felt when my son was just as whole after this accident overshadowed my anger over his disobedience, and I realized that he had been punished enough for his disobedience. Because I love him, I could not punish him after he asked for forgiveness.
I believe this is how Jesus also sees it when we come to him and ask forgiveness for our sins. We know we should not have committed these sins, yet we sin, and as such we deserve all the punishment required by law. But because Jesus loves us, he took the punishment we should have, he died for us, and has made up our debt, and the salvation he gives us is only by grace … … … … and by grace alone. When I was sentenced to death, He took my place. This is grace above all grace.
The Bible tells us through the law that we are sinners, but the law cannot help us. The law is only a mirror that tells us we need help and sends us to Jesus – who is the only one who can help us. Jesus is the source of grace. When we repent, repent of our sins, Jesus will forgive us and save us from the curse of the law … undeserved … by grace alone.
But should it be so that the law is abrogated, well then we do not need grace because then there is no sin to save us from, and then Jesus died in vain on the cross. It is one of the biggest misconceptions within large parts of the Christian church to believe that the law has been repealed.
God’s remnant will be given to the many gifts of the Spirit.
Those whom God counts as His end-time people, He will equip with the gifts of the Spirit so that they can heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and speak other languages, as the Spirit will. Paul lists these gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 where he writes this in verses 8 to 10: For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.
Jesus himself is quoted by both Mark and Matthew, and in Mark 16,17 He says the following: And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues … … // … … while He in Matthew 10,8 says this: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Unfortunately, many people think that speaking new (other) tongues is the same as blabbering gibberish, jibber-jabber or gobbledygook. This form of ‘speaking in tongues‘ is something we find both in the ancient occult mystery religions, and in all pagan tribal religions around the world. This form of ‘tongue-speaking‘ gained ground in charismatic congregations in the United States more than 120 years ago. Does anyone really believe that the disciples whom Jesus sent to bring the gospel to the Gentiles babbled in an incomprehensible ‘language‘? In order for the gospel to be understood, they had to speak the local language, which is also something we see in Acts chapter 2 about the apostles who were given the Holy Spirit, and about Peter’s speech on Pentecost. It says in verse 4 that all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (NIV 1984), while in verse 6 it says that each one heard them speaking in his own language (NIV 1984). It is quite clear that the disciples were equipped with the ability to miraculously speak other known languages, see verses 7 to 11. Thomas, for example, went all the way to India where he preached the gospel, the Indians certainly did not understand Hebrew, and Thomas certainly had not studied Indian at the university, but he preached the gospel so that it bore fruit. Thomas miraculously spoke the languages needed to make himself understood. He had received the gift of the Spirit to speak other tongues.
Just as with the disciples on the day of Pentecost, God will, when the time comes, equip His end-time people with the gifts of the Spirit mentioned above, but according to the spirit of prophecy, God’s faithful remnant will not perform such miracles until the absolute end-time. However, there are some criteria that must be met by God’s faithful remnant before this becomes a reality. God’s people must come to the place where the disciples were on the day of Pentecost. Not in the same place physically, but in the same place spiritually. After Jesus was taken up to heaven, we read in Acts 1,12-14: Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas [the brother] of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. Then they chose a new 12th apostle so that they would be full in number. Jesus appointed 12 apostles, and we all know the story of Judas who betrayed Jesus, so they had to have a new 12th apostle. Ten days later they were still gathered in the same place, and we read in the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2 verse 1 the following: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
The criteria that must be met for God to pour out His Spirit over the end-time church is that everyone must be present (= full in numbers) and all gathered in the same place with one accord, which means that they must all be in the same place spiritually, and they must continue with one accord in prayer and supplication, which means that the congregation must have the same desire, goal and meaning with its prayers. This means that all nominal Adventists, yes they are unfortunately found in large numbers, must be shaken out by the great shaking that will soon come upon God’s end-time church, for this harmony that the Acts of the Apostles show us was present at Pentecost in the year 31 to be really in our time. As the Acts of the Apostles tell us, it was not until they were all with one accord in one place that the Holy Spirit was shed. When that happens, the latter rain fall on God’s faithful remnant, and just as fearless as the apostles on the day of Pentecost, God’s people will go out with God’s very last warning message to a world in need.
The remnant of God has the testimony of Jesus.
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.
Here we have a new characteristic of God’s people or ‘the remnant of her seed‘. They have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Well, many will say questioning, and follow up … … but what is the testimony of Jesus Christ? As usual, we find the answer to our questions in the Bible. In Revelation 1,1-2 we find what it is about: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. The testimony of Jesus Christ refers to Revelation as a message given either by Jesus or about Jesus. In Greek, the term testimony of Jesus Christ will be understood both as the testimony Christians carry concerning Christ, or as the testimony that has its origin in Christ and is revealed to His church through God’s prophets throughout all ages.
If we compare with Revelation 19,10, we see that the testimony of Jesus Christ is explained as the ‘spirit of prophecy‘. This means two things: 1) that Jesus gives testimony to His people through the prophets, and 2) when we compare with both Revelation 19,10 and 22,9 we see that God’s people is given the spirit of prophecy. Many may wonder that I use is given instead of has been given. Has been given is something that happened once in the past, for example: it has been given to God’s people – but they no longer have it. When is given is used, this is an ongoing action, and the grammatical form is called the present participle active. God gives the spirit of prophecy to His people through the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12,10; Ephesians 4,11) as a constant and lasting gift as long as they need it, and as God’s end-time people, we need this gift every single day.
Revelation 19,10: And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy …//… Revelation 22,9: Then saith he unto me, See [thou do it] not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. In 19,10 the angel tells John that he (the angel) is a fellow servant with John and his brothers, who all have the testimony of Jesus, and follows up in 22,9 by saying that he (the angel), John and his brothers are the prophets which keep the sayings of this book.
An important criterion for being considered a prophet is that the person’s speech is completely according to Scripture, and as Isaiah 8,20 says: To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them. There are many today who pretend to be prophets of the Lord, but if we follow them in the seams, we quickly find that they do not speak according to the law and the testimony but adapt to themselves and their teachings the daily currents that change from day to day. Then we return to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7,21-23 and what Jesus said about false prophets (see Introduction).
When we went from prophetic time to end time in 1844, God raised up a prophet to lead His end-time people on the right path. This is exactly in line with what the Bible says: Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets, Amos 3,7. Instead of choosing a highly educated person, the Lord chose a young woman who had to finish school after three and a half years, due to a serious injury she received from a stone that struck her in the face. Everyone thought she would die before she grew up, but at the age of 17, God raised her up as a prophet for God’s end-time people. This woman bore all the signs of being a prophet of God. When she got her visions, she could tell about the vision while it was going on, without taking a breath for many, many minutes. (See Daniel 10,17 where Daniel says that neither is there breath in me, the fact that he did not have breath in him is understood by the fact that he did not breathe while he had the vision.) Other times she was like in a coma, she did not sense anything. (See Daniel 10, 9 where the Prophet says he fell into a deep sleep.) Other times she could take a Bible in one hand, lift it over her head and approach one of the people present, scroll through the Bible with her other hand, point to a verse and quote it verbatim without being able to see it, move on to the next and repeat this until everyone had received their verses with accompanying encouragement and comfort from God, and in some cases justified references and correction.
There were many who would not believe this and who would prove that it was a bluff. They came to several of the meetings she attended to reveal her ‘deception’. But they could not in any way prove that she was breathing when she had her visions, whether she was silent or talking. They researched the Bible she used to see if there were any ‘secret’ signs she could identify and thus find the right verses, but even here they had to admit that it was real. But they would not give up. When this little lady held a 10-pound Bible raised above her head in one hand sometimes for over an hour, large heavy men hung on to her arm to pull it down, but they could not move it an inch. This lady was named Ellen G. White, she was the prophet God raised up for her end-time church, and she has left a rich legacy that we find here: Ellen G. White Writings in Multiple Languages (egwwritings.org). She herself was very careful on distinguishing between the Bible and her own writings, and called the Bible ‘The Great Light’, while she called her writings ‘the smaller light’, and repeated several times that everything she has written and said must be tested against the great light – The Bible. If it cannot be confirmed in the Bible, then there is no truth in it. Many have tried to tear Ellen G. White down from the position God put her in, but no one has ever been able to do so. This is the spirit of prophecy, and it is this gift that God has given to his end-time church, the Seventh-day Adventists.
In the time we are now, just before Jesus’ return, when the final warning to a world in darkness is preached, it is becoming more and more important for those who accept the truth of our day to have a clear understanding of the testimonies that God in his providence has connected with the preaching of the message of the third angel. For we know that the devil walks around and engages in his intrigue and his goal is to turn everyone away from true faith in God. There are many ways to believe, something I have highlighted earlier, and therefore Satan will use his agents in the war against ‘the remnant of her seed’ to try to destroy the church Satan hates most of all on this earth, because God’s faithful remnant in the end times exposes Satan and all his lies and deceptions and asks those who hear with his heart to leave the fallen church – Babylon – before it is too late. With the help of the Bible and Ellen G. White’s visions, we have every opportunity to stand until the day Jesus returns, despite all the deceptions the devil will come up with.
Now it is not only Ellen G. White who has received visions from God, and many will receive visions from God in the end times, the Bible tells us so. And everyone should be careful about dismissing others’ claims as deception. In Joel 3,1 we read: And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. There are many who claim to have had visions from God, and as I said, we should be careful not to dismiss them. However it is one thing we can be sure of, if the visions are from God we will be able to understand that they come from God, because then these views will be confirmed by what the Bible teaches. If there is no correspondence between vision and the Bible, it is not from God, then it is a deception, and everyone can be a victim of deceptions – unless one is fully and firmly rooted in the truth of God’s Word. Those who are rooted in the truth are God’s people and have the testimony of Jesus.
The doctrines of Gods people are biblical.
The rise of the Advent movement, which arose as a result of William Miller’s proclamation of Jesus imminent return, was followed by a disappointment when Jesus did not come at the time set for His second coming October 22, 1844. This disappointment caused those who were not wholehearted to leave the movement. Of the more than 50,000 who called themselves Adventists on the evening of October 21, only a fraction felt it was necessary to find out where they had gone wrong and what they had misinterpreted, because they were sure that the calculation they had made was correct, which it also was. This disappointment was also a shaking of the congregation. This shaking led to those who were lukewarm or had joined the Advent movement for fear of what was to come, being shaken out of the church so that only those who were wholehearted in their faith and conviction could carry on the work.
They did not allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the disappointment but sought God’s help with prayer and invocation of God’s name. It was not long before God showed them what they had misinterpreted, and when they were first shown what the error was, they did not settle for this, but the Advent pioneers continued to study the Bible eagerly and they discovered the ancient truths. In a short time, they returned to the truth about the Sanctuary, the Second Coming of Jesus, the Sabbath, the State of the Dead, and the Spirit of Prophecy. In other words they got the answer to what they had been wrong about, they had been wrong about what was to be cleansed, (see The end times begins and The investigative judgment and the temple service).
Ellen G. White says about this: In the time around 1844, great things happened. Wondering, we saw the end of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, and that this had a clear connection with God’s people on earth. We also saw the message of the first and second angels, and the third angel raising a banner with the inscription ‘God’s commandments and the faith of Jesus’. One of the pillars at that time was the temple of God in heaven, seen by his truth-loving people, and the ark containing God’s law. The light from the Sabbath of the fourth commandment shone with the brightest light on the way to those who had transgressed the law of God.
Today we have a set of beliefs. These are not ‘carved in stone’, they are not static and unchangeable as the beliefs of many other denominations are. Our beliefs are dynamic and will be subject to change if there is a new light that dictates it. Our 28 beliefs are about this: Holy Scriptures, Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Creation, Nature of humanity, The Great Controversy, The Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ, The Experience of Salvation, Growing in Christ, The Church, The Remnant and its Mission, Unity in the Body of Christ, Baptism, The Lord’s supper, Spiritual Gifts and Ministries, The Gift of Prophecy, The Law of God, The Sabbath, Stewardship, Christian Behaviour, Marriage and the Family, Christ’s ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary, The Second Coming of Christ, Death and Resurrection, The Millennium and the End of Sin, The New Earth. All of these 28 beliefs are based on Scripture and Scripture alone, and they can be read in full here.
The Seventh-day Adventist special mission.
When God called Abraham to leave his family, it was to raise up a people who would have a special mission. They were to tell about the coming Messiah and about the salvation in Him. But these people ultimately failed, rejecting Him who was to be their Saviour and the Saviour of the world. At the same time as Jesus died on the cross for our sins, Abraham’s inheritance passed to those who were Jesus’ followers while he was alive, the disciples. For the first decades, they spread the gospel throughout the known world, and Thomas was as far east as India. Then a new decay followed, and the church that the apostles founded fell from the original faith. Then God raised up several reformers, and most famous was Martin Luther. He began to lead the church back on the right path, but already while he was alive there was a division and fragmentation of the Reformed church.
When the time came to go from prophetic time to end time, God raised up several people from several different denominations who joined together in what became the Advent movement, and eventually to the denomination Seventh-day Adventists. These denominations were Christian Brethren, Seventh-day Baptists, Anabaptists, Baptists, Methodists, Christian Connection, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Dutch Reformers, Quakers, Congregationalists. As we see, the beginning was in fact an inter-church movement. When we arrived in 1844 and after the great disappointment, God raised up a prophet, Ellen G. White. Her task was not to shape the beliefs and teachings of the Advent movement. Simply explained, it can be said like this. It was the leaders of the movement who found the old truths that had been forgotten or changed by the fallen church as they studied the Bible. It was only after they had come to a position about something that Ellen could get a confirmation through a vision from God that what they had found was correct.
This was a group that was to separate from the world, just as Abraham was separate from ‘his world’, and they were given a mandate that no one else had before them. When Jesus began his work, the first thing he read in the synagogue was taken from Isaiah 61,1-6. This was especially true for Jesus and the deed he was to do, but it also applies equally to everyone who follows in Jesus’ footsteps: The spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; Isaiah 6,1-2. The mandate given to this people through the prophet Isaiah is found in verse 4: And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations … … and what they shall be called the prophet says in verse 6: But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: [men] shall call you the Ministers of our God … … …
The Adventists is given (an ongoing action) a greater light on the word of God than any other denomination has been given, and with this great light comes an enormous responsibility. God has chosen the Advent movement or the Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) as His special people and asked them to separate them self from the world. To them He has entrusted the greatest task given to ordinary mortals, they will complete the Reformation – (see Isaiah 61,4) and they will prepare the way for Jesus’ second coming.
The Seventh-day Adventists are the third Elijah.
The first Elijah was the prophet Elijah who took up the fight against King Ahab and his queen, the Phoenician princess Jezebel who had fully established the worship of Baal in Israel, and 450 of the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Elijah thought he was alone in worshiping the Lord God, the God of Abraham, yet he dealt with paganism and triumphed. Fearless, Elijah stood up against the high authorities and spoke against the king and his pagan clergy because he was a man of God who believed in God, not in people. The second Elijah was John the Baptist. He prepared the way for Jesus’ work on earth. He was also fearless, telling high and low what sins they had committed and called them to repentance and to be baptized. Because of his courage and fearless preaching, John was killed by King Herod. The third Elijah will take up the gauntlet after both the first Elijah who dealt with paganism and the second Elijah who prepared the way for the work of Jesus in such a way that they will rebuke the paganism that flourishes in our time, calling people out of Babylon and prepare the way for Jesus’ second coming. In Acts 14,22, Luke says that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God, as both the first Elijah and the second Elijah experienced. But just as God strengthened, protected, and helped both, He will strengthen, protect, and help the end-time Elijah in the same way. We have God’s own word for it, as here in Isaiah 41,10: Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness … // … and here in Jeremiah 15,20: And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I [am] with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD. you, but they will not overcome you. I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the Lord.
God has entrusted the Seventh-day Adventists with the eternal truth that we will pass on to the whole world, and we will warn, rebuke, and encourage. As representatives of God, we are in a special way put into this world as guardians and light bearers. We will guard over God’s commandments, and we will light the way so that those who desire it can find the way to the Saviour, Jesus Christ. We are to proclaim God’s last warning message that we find in the three angels’ message in Revelation 14,6-12 and in the loud cry in Revelation 18,1-4 to a world in total darkness.
Fearless, God’s faithful remnant will rise up against the paganism that dominates the world and the fallen church and show them to God and God’s ten commandments.
Fearless, God’s faithful remnant will proclaim Jesus’ imminent return and judgment and help those who hear God’s call to escape the confusion that Babylon represents.
Fearless, God’s faithful remnant will tell the world that there are only two possibilities, there are only two choices, it is either or. As always, the choice will be between God and Satan, there are no other alternatives. Either you are with God or you are against God. Either one chooses life, or one chooses death. I urge you to read Deuteronomy chapter 30. This was indeed said to Israel by Moses just before they were to enter the land of Canaan, the promised land of Israel, but it applies just as much to us today, because today we stand on the shore of Jordan to enter our promised land – heaven. See especially what verse 15 says: See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil … … in other words an either or … …
Soon the whole world will be put on the last great choice, and the choice we make will follow us into eternity, either to life – eternal life with the God of love, or to death – eternal death, which is the absence of life. It is my choice, and it is your choice, and God will respect the choices we make. The choice really has to do with God’s ten commandments. Soon there will be one or more Sunday laws that will apply all over the world, and now there is a lot of talk about «Family Day» which of course is Sunday. Daniel 7,25 says that he, the little horn which is an image of the papacy, will think to change times and law. Since the turn of the millennium, much has been done to draft a Sunday law that can have universal validity, and the current Pope Franz travels around and promotes the Family Day, which of course is Sunday, on the grounds that everyone needs a full day off from their work to spend more time, a whole day, with the family, and the papacy unabashedly takes the credit for giving this day off to humanity. Already during creation, God gave people a day off, the seventh day of the week – the Sabbath – our Saturday, so what the pope is doing is overriding God’s decision by changing the day of rest.
It is all about whether we choose to keep God’s Sabbath as God blessed and sanctified when He created the earth — the seventh day of the week, our Saturday, or whether we choose to keep the pope’s Sabbath — the first day of the week, our Sunday. Sunday is by the way derived from dies solis, which is best seen in English Sunday, and German Sonnentag. No one can say that this choice is not important as it determines where you are going to spend eternity. No one can be indifferent to this, either we choose God, or we choose Satan. There are no other options.