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Where should we worship

Query for the Month

of

May 2015

Next up-date: June 1st 2015 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

In the meantime, try this site.   

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


The query:

"Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name: bring an offering, and come before Him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness". 1 Chronicles 16:29.

                                         I was asked recently "Where should I worship?  Because there are so many faulty churches".  

The questioner is a Sabbath observer so the answer is directed at existing Sabbath-keepers, although the principles are relevant to those who worship other gods.

šššš

My response:

 Where should you worship?

I am not sure where to start, but you mentioned that you had been in the Reform SDA church and after that tried the main church, so that gives me some direction.  I was good friends with a Reform pastor once, but he would not allow me to attend the LORD’s table [it was NOT his], despite reading him the following passage in the Spirit of Prophecy, so that showed me the state of his church and his mind.

{DA 656.1}   [The emphasis is mine.]

Christ's example forbids exclusiveness at the Lord's Supper. It is true that open sin excludes the guilty. This the Holy Spirit plainly teaches. 1 Corinthians 5:11. But beyond this none are to pass judgment. God has not left it with men to say who shall present themselves on these occasions. For who can read the heart? Who can distinguish the tares from the wheat? "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." For "whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." 1 Corinthians 11:28, 27, 29. 

However, let me say that we are NOT church members when we become converted, but are partners with (and waiting to be married to) the Son of God.  He is our spiritual “Husband” and “Friend”.  It matters not whether we are male or female, we are the dependent one in this union. We are “engaged” to be “married” at conversion, but it is not to be “consummated” until after the Second Advent.  

Joseph did not “know” Mary before their ceremony. 

***************(Begin Quote)

Matthew 1:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused [engaged] to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [righteous] man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily [divorce her privately]

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take to you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS [Saviour]: for He shall save His people from their sins.

***************(End Quote)

Paul wrote:

2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you [contracted you] to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste [modest] virgin to Christ. 

Physical marriage (a state that exists only in this world, Matthew 22:29-30), was instituted, as was the separation of sexes, to illustrate the working of the gospel.

How can this be?  (See note 1.)

My deep understanding is that after we become connected with Him we grow to be like Him.  That makes us Christ-ians, or Christ-like, just as a engaged/married couple grow to be like each other through their shared experiences.  And just like a engaged/married couple, we are meant to stay committed to each other for the rest of our lives.  The Spirit says:

Malachi 2:

15 And did not He make one [Adam-1]?  Yet had he [Adam-1] the residue [an infilling] of the Spirit.  And wherefore [only] one [body]?  [So He could divide Adam-1, and form Eve from him – Adam-1 and Adam-2] that He might seek a godly seed [righteous children]. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth [in the physical world]. 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, says that He hates putting away [that is, divorce or separation after the contract is signed]: for one covers violence with his garment [they are emotionally demoralising], says the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that you deal not treacherously [with Him]

We call the spiritual wedding ceremony “justification”, and the marriage process which follows, “sanctification”, in which we are Sabbath-keeping and looking forward to His return – Seventh-day Adventists – resting in His power and listening to His advice.  Whether Reform, Mainstream, or Independent makes little difference.  All that matters is that we be not sun-worshippers (or have any other idol) if we are walking with Him.

A church is like a tennis club, with its own uniform of dress and rules, and if we join one then we are expected to conform to those unless they clash with God’s laws, and they have a right to be upset if we do not. (It is different when we live in the crossover period of two dispensations.)

Of course, once we have it clear in our minds and hearts (that we are “engaged/married” to Christ) then we have to decide where we shall live and work and worship. 

Genesis 2:

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: s he shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother [and she likewise], and shall cleave to his wife [as does she to him]: and they shall be one flesh [a engaged/married unit]

In a good engagement/marriage where both are equal partners we could discuss where we are to live and maybe come to an agreement (or maybe not! for we both have free minds).  However, God’s advice is that the “wife” should follow the “Husband” in all things godly if there is a problem, so if we are in love we will want to be with Him wherever He is.  That’s why it is written;

Revelation 14:

4 These are they which were not defiled with women [churches]; for they are [still] virgins [waiting for Him]. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits [most important] to God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile [deception]: for they are without fault [single-minded] before the throne of God. 

That text answers your question! 

You go wherever He leads you.  You go in partnership with Him, and if He takes you an uncomfortable place, then you merely ask Him, “What are WE doing here?”  For He will have a purpose.  We may not discern it (or be told) immediately, but we can know it will be to help someone (or more) for that is what He does as a job, and we are His help-meet. We should look for the wheat amongst the tares as our “spiritual children”.  It may be a poor harvest, but He thinks it is worthwhile. There are sure to be erring and confused people in it, for He does not come to call the righteous, but the sick and needy.  (Matthew 9:12.)

A note here:

We may have been in other denominations at times before we met Him, but we have never been OF them otherwise we would have stayed with one of them. (Some people “marry” a church!!)  Thus it is written:

1 John 2:

18 Little children, it is the last time [near the end of our time]: and as you have heard that antichrist [he who takes the place of Christ] shall come, even now are there many antichrists [setting up their own groups]; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us [of their own accord], but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 

But while we have been in those places we have not given ourselves to them which is why we are called “virgins”. That is for Him alone.  Also, we “left” (separated) from them by our choice, as they do to us, but that is OK while we are “single”.  But as we have read, we cannot “leave” Him once we are engaged/married to Him, for there is nowhere else to go, and we have made a promise (a vow) as Peter voiced.  

John 6:

66 From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. 67 Then said Jesus to the twelve, “Will you also go away?” 68 Then Simon Peter answered Him, “LORD, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that You are that Christ, the Son of the living God”.

70 Jesus answered them, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray Him, being one of the twelve. 

So where to go?  We need to be with Him wherever He leads us.  And no other person can tell you where YOUR Husband wants you to be but He! 

If we always remember that He is a Seventh-day Adventist, it will be easier, for we must always think of ourselves as such wherever we may be led.

Here’s a thought I read recently.  I include it here not as an authority, but because it tells us so much of what is going on today.

***************(Begin Quote)

https://col127.mail.live.com/?tid=cmydtcop_D5BGRCxBgS7LiYA2&fid=flinbox

Most of my best friends from boarding school in Singapore left the Adventist Church. As have most of my friends from primary school in Australia, my friends in Michigan and a bunch of my friends from college in England. And it isn’t just my friends. My generation–Generation X–left the Church in droves. We were, it turns out, a little foretaste of what was to come. 

Today, Christian literature is littered with articles about Millennials abandoning church, with various hobbyhorses being flogged to explain the exodus. So let’s look at a few of them. 

There’s the old chestnut—“someone said something wrong”. Now let’s get real here. No-one could hold down a job, stay in school or have a relationship if they were so sensitive they left as soon as they bumped into a grump. Yes, of course people at church should be kind, pure and true. And, in my experience, Adventists generally are–though not always and not everyone. But, outside of extreme circumstances, people don’t walk out on things they value simply because they come in contact with real human beings—warts and all. They walk out because they don’t value the underlying substance. [My emphasis] . . .

Which leaves the superficially profound answer: organised church is antithetical [directly opposed] to the authentic Christ. The problem? It was Jesus who set up the church, and He began it with 12 very imperfect people. So if the real Jesus set up a church full of real people, how could disassociating from a real church be consistent with loving the real Christ?

***************(End Quote)

Maybe we should leave because our understanding of doctrine is different ?

Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, who was in a different branch of the church, regarding that.

***************(Begin Quote)

John 4:

19 The woman says to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and You say, that in Jerusalem [Main, Reform, or Independent] is the place where men ought to worship”.

21 Jesus says to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father [for you will be on your own]. 22 You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for [the knowledge of] salvation is of the Jews.

[It may be hidden from the majority,

it may not be known by the teachers in Israel (such as Nicodemus),

but it is there in the writings.  Romans 3:1-4.]

23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth [wherever He leads them]: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. 24 God is a Spirit [a spiritual Being]: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth [seeking to share with others]”.

25The woman says to Him, “I know that Messiah comes [she was a Sabbath-keeping Adventist], which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things”.

26 Jesus says to her, “I that speak to you am He”.

***************(End Quote)

He could be so direct to her because she was one with Him.

He may lead you to where you do not want to go.

John 21:

17 He says to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, love you Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Love you Me?” And he said to Him, “LORD, You know all things; You know that I love You”. Jesus says to him, “Feed My sheep”.

18 “Verily, verily, I say to you, When you were young, you girded [dressed] yourself, and walked whither you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you whither you would not”.

19 This spoke He, signifying by what death he should glorify God [crucifixion]. And when He had spoken this, He says to him, “Follow Me” [wherever I take you].

A faulty church would be easy compared to that!  Or He may want you to start your own “family” here on earth.  If that happens, then we should not forget the “larger family” we belong to, and wish to visit them (but not join) occasionally.

May I give some advice here?

If you do start your own “family” be slow to appoint someone to lead you as a paid worker, for that soon leads to organisation which is NOT family, but is as a “hired” worker.

John 10:

12 But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. 13 The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and cares not for the sheep. 

Of course, not all are like that, but it happens often enough for it to be normal today, and it will happen a lot in the future (see GC602.1 and GC 608.2), for many desire position because of the prestige and power and money.  And it leads inevitably to an unnatural organisation.  Family members do what they do because of the relationship – not for cash.

So what to do with the tithe if you do start a “family”?

My suggestion is to do what Jesus did – have a common purse [maybe a bank account]

John 12:

4 Then says one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him, 5 “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence [a year’s wages], and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein [he was the treasurer]. 7 Then said Jesus, “Let her alone: against the day of My burying has she kept this. 8 For the poor always you have with you; but Me you have not always”.

From this you could pay legitimate expenses (not wages) for those who are among you, and give both physical and spiritual nourishment to the needy around you, which is called “spreading the gospel”. (There two whole chapters in Patriarchs and Prophets on this subject, pages 525-536.) There should be a couple of separate witnesses to each pay out, and two permanent ones to keep the books.

If, on the other hand, your Husband leads you into an existing organisation, you should support them as a good member, while at the same time, doing and saying what your Husband advises you to. 

Here is the principle:

Matthew 17:

24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, “Does not your Master pay tribute?” 

25 He says, “Yes”.  And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented [stopped] him, saying, “What think you, Simon?  Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute?  Of their own children, or of strangers [their subjects]?”

26 Peter says to Him, “Of strangers”. Jesus says to him, “Then are the children free. 27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them [and lose them because of that], go you to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first comes up; and when you have opened his mouth, you shall find a piece of money: that take, and give to them for Me and you [half a shekel each, Exodus 30:13-15]”. 

 

This excerpt may help you understand:

***************(Begin Quote)

http://ancient-sda.com/crozier/sanct4.html#top

 

(See under the heading “Transition” paragraphs 8-9.)

 [I have added the words in the square brackets, the emphasis,

and expanded the paragraphs for easier reading.]

The teaching and practice even of our Saviour and the apostles appeared to them [the Jews] contradictory - at times they seemed to recognize the authority of the law, and then again totally to disregard it, and insist upon the new order of things.  [This is a reference to the changeover from the Dispensation of the Law to the Dispensation of the Gospel – the 70th week of Daniel 9.]


He resolved their ten commandments into two
[Matthew 22:36-40], dismissed the woman without being stoned according to the law [John 8:10-11], forgave sins without the legal sacrifices [Matthew 9:2-7], healed without requiring to offer according to the law, and that even on the Sabbath day [John 5:8-9] and yet declared that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it! [Matthew 5:17.]

Again, when he had healed a leper, he charged him to go and show himself to the Priest and offer for his cleansing those things which Moses commanded [Luke 17:14; Leviticus 14]. He also ate the Passover according to law. Both he and his apostles, on some occasions excluded, and on others admitted the Gentiles to privileges, which according to the law could be enjoyed only by the Jews.

Thus they recognized the presence and claims of both dispensations at the same time; one entering and displacing the other, not instantly, but gradually, by a succession of events [over the 70th week], each distinct in itself, but all connected in harmony, transpiring in fulfilment of prophesy, and forming the circumstances of the Advent, which was one distinct event, and the nucleus of all the rest.

A little before his crucifixion Jesus came as King to Jerusalem, the Metropolis and Capitol of that Dispensation [riding on the mule, Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:5]; the City was under his absolute authority for a time; he had declared its house desolate and now entered and cleansed the temple [the second time.  Luke 19:45].

***************(End Quote)

Maybe just a little history from me before I close this lengthy letter.

I joined the LORD back in 1959 and He took me into the SDA church.  We lasted there about two years, but when we were told that we could not witness on our own even in our own home and we objected to that ruling, we were publicly disfellowshipped before a congregation of about 100 people. We were not allowed a public defence, because the pastor told the assembly it had all been discussed with him and settled and they accepted his word.  We were not the only ones sent out at that time from our city, for it was general behaviour in the SDA church throughout the world. 

That was our first rejection – we did not leave, we were expelled.

We then joined an independent ministry led by a man operating from another country which gave us much freedom to preach the truth as I knew it at the time, as a paid worker.  Sometimes I was right and sometimes I was wrong but the LORD and I stuck together during thick and thin.  After a long time (about 20 years) I was told that my views were not those of the group and I should give up the paid position.  So I did, but then came the time when the group split and the LORD and I were outside the door again.  There was no real public discussion, just the fact that we were no longer welcome to attend their meetings.

This was our second rejection – and again we did not leave but were pushed out.

However, some of the group stayed with us for another twenty years and we apparently progressed as a NonConformist SDA assembly until I did something personal that upset the others and they too have now rejected us (this time my physical wife as well as my spiritual Husband).  And that is where I am now as an old man who would change some things of the past if I could, but not others.  In other words, a normal Christian walking with my LORD.

So we have been disfellowshipped three times from physical organisations but that is of no importance (except for the effect it has had on those who forced us out of their churches, an outcome I am sorry for), and that is why I share on the Net with those things that He has shown me.

I do hope and pray that this answer will help you and those with you in some way.  Yours in Christian love, I remain your brother in Christ,  Ron.

 Conclusion:

A church is like a tennis club, with its own uniform of dress and rules, and if we join one then we are expected to conform to those unless they clash with God’s laws, and they have a right to be upset if we do not. (It is different when we live in the crossover period of two dispensations.)

P. S.

I recommend the article “Short History” (of the church) at

http://ancient-sda.com/short_history/short_1.html   if you have not already read it

AND  http://ancient-sda.com/ancient/white_country.html  a parable on Christianity.

 

oooOooo

 

Note 1:

A definition of marriage

The first mention of marriage in the Bible is during the transformation of the earth into a home for mankind when God brought a woman to His creature and introduced them to each other. 

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 2:

19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name [character and purpose] thereof [for he had a built-in knowledge].

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field [in their pairs]; but for Adam there was not found a help meet [fit] for him [the absence was noted by the angels.]

21 And [then] the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs [from over his heart], and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her to the man. [So now there was Adam-1 and Adam-2.] 

23 And Adam[-1] said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be [using his in-built knowledge] called ‘Woman [Hebrew = ‘Ishi’, Adam-2]’, because she was taken out of ‘Man [Hebrew = ‘Ish’, Adam-1]’.

24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh [again]”.

***************(End Quote)

There was no lengthy ceremony, simply a Father handing over His daughter into the care of His son.  But Adam-1 and Adam-2 now had separate existences and names (characters and purposes) and began to get to know each other in their new roles as Mr. & Mrs. Adam. 

***************(Begin Quote)

{PP 46.2 - 46.3} 

God Himself gave Adam a companion.  He provided “an help meet for him”-- a helper corresponding to him -- one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy.  Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him.  A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.  “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it”. Ephesians 5:29.  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one”. 

God celebrated [led out in] the first marriage.  Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe.  “Marriage is honorable” (Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise [it is the other side of the Sabbath, like Adam-1 and Adam-2]

When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man's social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.

***************(End Quote)

Another mention of marriage is made in Genesis 24:67. “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death”. 

But here’s an important point:

***************(Begin Quote)

{In Heavenly Places 203.2}

I have often read these words: “Marriage is a lottery”. Some act as if they believed the statement, and their married life testifies that it is such to them.  But true marriage is not a lottery.  Marriage was instituted in Eden.  After the creation of Adam, the Lord said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help “meet – suitable -- for him”. When the Lord presented Eve to Adam, angels of God were witnesses to the ceremony. 

But there are few couples who are completely united when the marriage ceremony is performed.  The form of words spoken over the two who take the marriage vow [aka justification] does not make them a unit.  In their future life is to be the blending of the two in wedlock [aka sanctification].  

It may be made a really happy union, if each will give to the other true heart affection.

***************(End Quote)

Why was this ordinance given?

It was a special ritual with a special reason – to illustrate Gods’ way.

 ***************(Begin Quote)

{PP 44.3}

“So God created man in His own image;  . . .  male and female created He them [both in one body]”. [Genesis 1:27.] Here is clearly set forth the origin of the human race; and the divine record is so plainly stated that there is no occasion for erroneous conclusions.  God created man in His own image [male and female in one body].  Here is no mystery.

{1BC 1081.2} 

Infinite love--how great it is! God made the world to enlarge heaven.  He desires a larger family of created intelligences [to replace the defecting ones] (MS 78, 1901). 

{1BC 1081.3} 

All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of the world and of man.  Human beings were a new and distinct order.  They were made “in the image of God,” and it was the Creator's design that they should populate the earth [through marriage] (RH Feb. 11, 1902).

***************(End Quote)

But as time went on and mankind developed into tribes (extended families) they required legal documents to make sure of inheritances and successions, so the marriage ceremony lengthened.  Later still, the newly formed states wanted to know who belonged to them so they instituted a civil service, but originally it was simply a religious (family) occasion.

In the Hebrew economy, the wedding became a seven-day festival in which the legal portions were dealt with first before the bride was required to attend.  It was the groom and the two fathers who handled it all. 

And that is what happens in Christianity.

The Father and the Son and other important members of the heavenly family have been together since Oct 22, 1844 to handle all that legal stuff – also known as “the judgement”.  Because this is a godly “marriage” to the Heir of the world, a “stand-in” bride (a proxy) has been arranged (Revelation 21:2) to focus the spectators’ vision. 

This is the tabernacle/city, which has been a “help-meet” to the LORD since the foundation of the world, for it is a physical picture of the characters of it’s future inhabitants, as the temple in heaven is a physical picture of God’s mind.

 

 ***************(Begin Quote)    [I have added the emphasis.]

{1893 E J W[aggoner], GOSC [The Gospel in Creation] 9.1-17.1}

The first thing that Moses wrote [in the Torah], through the inspiration of the Spirit of God, was the story of creation.  That, therefore, is one of the things through which we are to receive hope and comfort.  Why is it that we can receive hope and comfort through the story of the creation? Because that story contains the Gospel.  A few words will serve to establish this fact before we proceed to study the lesson in detail. 

The declaration of the apostle, that the Gospel “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” [Romans 1:16] is familiar to all who have ever heard the Gospel preached.  The Gospel is the manifestation of God's power put forth to save men.  The same thing is stated in substance by the Apostle Peter when he speaks of the inheritance reserved in heaven for those “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation”.  1 Peter 1:5.]

But what is the measure of the power of God? Wherein is it seen in a tangible form? Read Rom.i.20 [Romans 1:20], where we are told that ever since the creation of the world the invisible things of God, even His eternal power and godhead, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.  It is in creation, therefore, that the power of God is to be seen by everybody.  But the power of God in the line of salvation is the Gospel.  Therefore the works of creation teach the Gospel.  This is declared in Psalm xix [19:1-4], where we read, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.  There is no speech nor language; [yet] without these their voice is heard.  Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world”.

I have given the rendering of the margin, as conforming more closely to the original.  The idea is, that no matter what language a people speak, all can understand the language of the heavens.  Their message can be read much more easily than if they uttered an audible sound; for all people on earth cannot understand the same articulate [spoken] speech, but all who have reason can read the simple language of the works of God . . . 

{1893 EJW, GOSC 11.4}

The Gospel is the power of God, and the power of God is manifest in the things that He has made; therefore the Psalmist is speaking of the Gospel, which the heavens teach.

{1893 EJW, GOSC 16.2}

There has been a great deal of idle speculation as to which is the greater, redemption or creation.  Many have thought that redemption is a greater work than creation.  Such speculation is idle, because only infinite power could perform either work, and infinite power cannot be measured by human minds.  But while we cannot measure the power, we can easily settle the question of which is the greater, because the Scriptures give us the information.  Neither is greater than the other, for both are the same.  Redemption is creation.  Redemption is the same power that was put forth in the beginning to create the world and all that is in it, now put forth to save men and the earth from the curse of sin. 

The Scriptures are very clear on this point.  The Psalmist prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me”. [Psalm 51:10.] The apostle says, that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” or a new creation. [2 Corinthians 5:17.] And again we read, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them”. [Ephesians 2:8-10.]

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Therefore the Sabbath and marriage are physical reminders of this, which should be observed by Christians as a witness to the ungodly around them.  Whatever form the ceremony takes, it signifies the beginning of “two” into “one”, and the separating of that “one” from all the others in that society.   RETURN

 

oooOooo

 

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,

but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

 

Next query. To be discussed from June 1st 2015.

 

Next query:

Why is the second beast of Revelation 13 (the dragon-speaking one who makes the “image”) described as having “two horns like [pretending to be] a lamb” (they are ineffective horns, but they are there!), and why is it often called “the lamb-like beast” when it is clearly a dragon and not a lamb?

 

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