1. The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Bible is God’s word. God Himself is the Author. In the Old and New Testaments He reveals His will to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 – For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. Psalm 119:105 – Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Jeremiah 15:16 – Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. They are directly inspired by God, for the Holy Spirit enlightened the understanding of the writers. 2 Peter 1:19-21 – We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 – And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. They report the origin of our world and the human race, the entrance of sin, and the divine plan of redemption. Only through Jesus can a happy, eternal life be obtained in the new earth. They contain statements that reveal past, present, and future events to us. The prophecies which have already been fulfilled are proof of their divine origin. Isaiah 46:9, 10 – Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. The Bible reveals to us the necessary knowledge of and way to our soul’s salvation. The Holy Scriptures, as the true, complete revelation of God, are the only infallible standard for our faith and life.
2. God the Father
We believe in an eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. He is the Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of the entire universe. Genesis 17:1 – And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. Psalm 90:1, 2 – Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psalm 91:1, 2 – He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Psalm 139:1-12 – O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. Isaiah 44:6 – Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Isaiah 45:5, 6, 18 – I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else… For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. 1 Timothy 6:16 – Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. We believe “God is a Spirit” and a personal Being. John 4:24. In creating man in “His own image,” He revealed Himself as a personal God. Genesis 1:26, 27 – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Daniel 7:9, 10 – I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. Only through faith in Christ can we come to God. Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
3. Jesus Christ
We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the express image of His Father. Hebrews 1:1-3, 8 – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high… But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Colossians 1:15 – Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. Colossians 2:9 – For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 1 Timothy 3:16 – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (a) We believe Jesus Christ existed in heaven in His divine nature before coming to earth. John 1:1, 2 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. Philippians 2:5, 6 – And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. Colossians 2:9 – For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. John 1:14 – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Micah 5:2 – But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (b) He was born on this earth of the virgin Mary, “conceived in her . of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:18-23 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (c) God created everything through Him. John 1:1-3 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Colossians 1:16, 17 – For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (d) “As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father’s glory, ‘and the express image of His person’, was on earth found in fashion as a man.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 265. Hebrews 1:3 – Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. (e) Through His incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, Jesus manifested Himself as the Redeemer. He is the only Mediator between God and fallen mankind. His life is a unique example for all humanity and especially for all His followers. Acts 4:12 – Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Philippians 2:5-8 – Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 1 Timothy 2:5, 6 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Hebrews 2:17 – Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 1 Peter 2:21 – For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. Deuteronomy 18:15 – The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. John 18:37 – Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (f) Today He is our High Priest in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary and is performing the final work of atonement. Hebrews 8:1, 2 – Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Hebrews 7:24, 25 – But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Hebrews 4:15, 16 – For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 9:24-26 – For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
4. The Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit has been at work from the beginning and is constantly active in redemption. Genesis 1:2 – And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Psalm 51:11 – Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Isaiah 63:10, 11 – But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him? In its very first pages, the Bible informs us of His work in the hearts of men. Genesis 6:3 – And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. We believe the Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative on earth. He convinces of sin and leads to repentance and conversion. He renews and transforms man. He also guides into truth and the knowledge of the divine will and gives strength for obedience and victory over sin. John 3:5, 6 – Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 14:16, 17 – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 16:13 – Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. Interpreting Bible truth according to God’s will is possible only through the Holy Spirit. John 14:26; Acts 1:8. However, the nature of the Holy Spirit remains a mystery. – The Acts of the Apostles, p. 52. In accordance with Jesus’ commission, baptism is to be performed in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
5. Origin of the Human Race
We believe that on the sixth day of creation God created man in His own image, perfect, and with a free will. Genesis 1:26-28 – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. “His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy..” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45. The origin of the human race can be understood. The divine plan of creation is so clearly described that there is no reason for erroneous conclusions. “There is no ground for the supposition that man was evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. Such teaching lowers the great work of the Creator to the level of man’s narrow, earthly conceptions.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45.
6. The Plan of Redemption
We believe that, through his disobedience to the divine law, man brought sin into the world. Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:6. Thus man’s nature became evil. The result of sin is death. Romans 5:12 – Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Psalm 14:3 – They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Job 14:4 – Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. “God is love.” This unfathomable love had provided a way of salvation for lost humanity. The only possibility was for Jesus to accept the guilt and punishment for sin. 1 John 4:16 – And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Isaiah 53:4-6 – Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 1 Peter 2:24 – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. Forgiveness of sin and justification are possible only through the representative death of Jesus and His righteous life.Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who carries the sin of the world, provided by God before the foundation of the world. Romans 4:25 – Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Romans 5:1 – Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 3:24 – Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. John 1:29 – The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 1 Peter 1:18-20 – Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Through faith in Jesus as his personal Saviour, shown in faithful obedience, the sinner receives eternal life. Obedience is the genuine fruit of salvation. Romans 8:1-4 – There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. John 14:15, 21 – If ye love me, keep my commandments… He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Motivated by love and thankfulness for God’s immeasurable gift, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the believer is obedient to all of God’s requirements. Ephesians 2:8, 9 – 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. John 15:10 – If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 1 John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
7. The God’s Law
We believe that the Ten Commandments are perfect and that they are valid guidelines for the life and conduct of all men. Ecclesiastes 12:13 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Matthew 5:17, 18 – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Romans 3:28, 31 – Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law… Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Romans 7:12 – Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 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. Revelation 14:12 – Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. The Bible teaches that God Himself spoke the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai and wrote them on the two tables of stone with His own finger. When we acknowledge and keep God’s holy Ten Commandments, we show that we love God the Father and His Son. God’s law is a revelation of His will and character. It is a picture of the divine perfection and reflects the true character of God. The law especially displays the principles of love, righteousness, and divine order. Deuteronomy 4:12, 13 – And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. Exodus 31:18 – And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Exodus 32:15, 16 – And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. Romans 13:10 – Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 1 John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. Since it is spiritual, it can be kept only through the power of God and faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, amid trial and persecution, the only answer should be, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29 – Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The Ten Commandments, given by God (Exodus 20:2-17), read as follows: I. “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” II. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.” III. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.” IV. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” V. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” VI. “Thou shalt not kill.” VII. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” VIII. “Thou shalt not steal.” IX. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” X. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
8. The Sabbath
We believe that the fourth commandment, along with the others, is unchangeable and valid for all people. The Sabbath day was instituted by God after six days of creation, blessed and hallowed, and distinguished in that God rested on it. It was given as a memorial of creation and a day of rest for mankind. Therefore, it is also designated as the Lord’s day. God enjoins us to keep this day holy by resting from work, worshiping Him, and performing religious service. The Sabbath is also a symbol of redemption, a sign of sanctification, a testimony of obedience, and a foretaste of eternal life in God’s kingdom. The divine rest day is the special sign of His obedient children in the end times. Genesis 2:1-3 – Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Exodus 20:8-11; 31:15 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it… Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 23:3 – Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. Mark 2:27, 28 – And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. Luke 16:17 – And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. On Friday (preparation day) all preparation for the seventh day should be finished. This includes food preparation for the Sabbath day, house cleaning, preparing one’s clothing, and bathing, so we can begin the Sabbath day in peace and quiet. Exodus 16:23 – And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. “There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. In a humble spirit, ‘confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ James 5:16.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 356. Concerning travel we read: “In order to reach the churches that need our help, and to give them the message that God desires them to hear, it may be necessary for us to travel on the Sabbath; but so far as possible we should secure our tickets and make all necessary arrangements on some other day. When starting on a journey we should make every possible effort to plan so as to avoid reaching our destination on the Sabbath.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 360. On the Sabbath, we are to abstain from all secular and business travel, conversation, and activities. Our conversation should be of a spiritual character and be for God’s praise and our spiritual edification. Isaiah 58:13, 14 – If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, 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. “God has directed that the sick and suffering be cared for; the labor required to make them comfortable is a work of mercy, and no violation of the Sabbath; but all unnecessary work should be avoided.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 296. We also request that our children be exempted from attending secular school on the Sabbath. In harmony with the order of creation, a day begins and ends at sunset. Therefore, the Sabbath begins on Friday evening at sunset and ends on Sabbath evening at sunset. Genesis 1:5 – And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Leviticus 23:32 – It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. Luke 4:31, 40 – And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days…Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
We believe that God instituted marriage in paradise and that it is blessed and sanctified by Him. “Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe.. It is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 46. Marriage was instituted: (a) so that man and woman would help complement each other in love (Genesis 2:18); (b) for the reproduction of the human race (Genesis 1:27, 28). 1 Corinthians 7:1-9 – Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. Marriage is a covenant which should be based on the lifelong love and faithfulness of a man and a woman. Matthew 19:4; Malachi 2:14, last part. God established marriage on the principles of unselfishness, love, honor, respect, self-forgetfulness, and responsibility. Man was created first; he is the natural leader and support of the family. The woman needs to respect the man’s leadership; and the man, love his wife as Christ loved the church, for whom He died. Ephesians 5:23, 25 – For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body… Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; True marriage is a spiritual, mental, and physical union-harmony of faith, heart, and body. Woman and man form one flesh. Genesis 2:24 – Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Matthew 19:5, 6 – And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. We believe Christians are to observe the principle of moderation, so that their physical and mental strength is not sacrificed on the altar of passion and lower fleshly lusts. The counsel given in God’s word in this regard is a guide to purity and a life that is pleasing to God. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 – For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God. We believe church members should not marry those of other faiths, or unbelievers. The Holy Scriptures consider such marriages sin. Deuteronomy 7:3, 4, 6 – Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15 – Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? We believe that divorce is not God’s will. Matthew 19:3-9 – The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. Mark 10:9-12 – What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. Romans 7:1-3 – Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11 – And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. “Among the Jews a man was permitted to put away his wife for the most trivial offenses, and the woman was then at liberty to marry again. This practice led to great wretchedness and sin. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus declared plainly that there could be no dissolution of the marriage tie, except for unfaithfulness to the marriage vow. ‘Everyone,’ He said, ‘that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery.’ [Matthew 19:9] R.V.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 63. Furthermore, should marriage partners separate or divorce, they are to remain unmarried until a reconciliation takes place. 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11, 39 – And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife… The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. “This vow links the destinies of the two individuals with bonds which nought but the hand of death should sever.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 507. We further believe that marriage is to be contracted before both civil authorities and the church. All who contemplate marriage should, after careful consideration and earnest prayer, seek the counsel of believing parents and spiritual advisors.
10. The Change in God’s Law
We believe that the prophecy of Daniel 7:25 -“think to change times and laws“-has been fulfilled. The second commandment, which forbids honoring and worshiping images, was removed from the Ten Commandments. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment was changed through the unauthorized introduction of the first day of the week, Sunday, as the civil and ecclesiastical rest day. The tenth commandment was divided into two to restore the number to ten.
11. The Mosaic Ceremonial Law
We believe that God, through Moses, gave the people of Israel various statutes concerning the sacrificial system and ceremonies of the temple service. They illustrated the redemptive work of Christ and were a shadow and symbol of things to come. The validity of the ceremonial law ceased when on the cross Jesus cried, “It is finished.” Hebrews 10:1 – For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. Colossians 2:17 – Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. “As Jesus died on Calvary, He cried, ‘It is finished,’ and the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom. “The rending of the veil of the temple showed that the Jewish sacrifices and ordinances would no longer be received. The great Sacrifice had been offered and had been accepted,.” – Early Writings, pp. 253, 259, 260. The Ceremonial or Shadow Sabbaths We believe that the ceremonial sabbaths, of which Paul wrote in Colossians 2:16, 17 and Galatians 4:10, were only a shadow of the sacrifice of Christ and redemption. Thus, they must not be confused with the weekly Sabbath, which was given to mankind as a rest day. It is the Lord’s day, which was instituted at creation. Genesis 2:1-3 – Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Exodus 20:8-11 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Leviticus 23:3 – Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. Isaiah 58:13 – If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, 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. Mark 2:27, 28 – And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. The ceremonial law included the following shadow sabbaths: Feast of Unleavened Bread: The passover preceded the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The fifteenth and twenty-first days of the first month of the Jewish year were celebrated as sabbaths with all servile work set aside. Leviticus 23:5-8 – In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Pentecost or Feast of Weeks: The fiftieth day, counted from the sixteenth day of the first month, was celebrated as a sabbath. Leviticus 23:15, 16, 21 – And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD…And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. Exodus 34:22 – And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end. Feast of Trumpets: The first day of the seventh month, the day of the blowing of trumpets, was held in preparation for the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 23:24, 25 – Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. Day of Atonement: The tenth day of the seventh month, known as the Day of Atonement, was designated as a most sacred sabbath. It was the climax in the series of ceremonial sabbaths. Leviticus 23:27, 28, 31, 32 – Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God… Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. Feast of Tabernacles: The fifteenth and twenty-second days of the seventh month were joyfully celebrated as sabbaths of the feast of tabernacles. Leviticus 23:34-36, 39, 40 – Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein… Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. If Jesus had abolished the weekly Sabbath and instituted Sunday by His death, then a specific command to that effect would have to be found in the Bible. Neither Jesus nor the apostles reported such a change. Just the opposite is proven by the following texts: Matthew 5:17, 18 – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 24:20 – But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day. Acts 13:13, 14 – Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. Acts 13:42-44 – And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. Acts 16:13 – And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. Acts 17:2 – And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures. Acts 18:2-4, 11 – And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks… And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
12. Man’s Condition
We believe that after the fall man lost his exalted position before God. Since then, all mankind has been under sin with its results. Man is born with weakness and a tendency to evil and is subject to the power of death. “His nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him, in his own strength, to resist the power of evil. “In the apostasy, man alienated himself from God; earth was cut off from heaven. Across the gulf that lay between, there could be no communion.” – Steps to Christ, pp. 17, 20. “When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil,.” – The Great Controversy, p. 505. “Man had become so degraded by sin that it was impossible for him, in himself, to come into harmony with Him whose nature is purity and goodness.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 64. This is how mankind’s situation became hopeless. Romans 5:12 – Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 3:10-12 – As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Psalm 51:5 – Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Matthew 15:18-20 – But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. Galatians 5:19-21 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Romans 7:18-20 – For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
13. God’s Offer of Grace
We believe God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to this world to save mankind. Even though corruption and rebellion prevailed everywhere, a way for man’s redemption had already been provided. Ephesians 1:4; 2:8 – According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love…For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. 1 Peter 1:19, 20 – But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. Jesus Christ was born as man and was obedient to His Father in all things. Through His life and death as our Substitute, the foundation for reconciliation and salvation was laid. He was resurrected for our justification and ascended to heaven to reconcile and justify the repentant sinner to God in the heavenly sanctuary through His spilled blood and His righteousness. God’s righteousness and goodness were revealed in this saving act of redemption. Our sin was condemned in Christ, and simultaneously a way of forgiveness was revealed. Romans 3:24 – Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. “God’s appointments and grants in our behalf are without limit. The throne of grace is itself the highest attraction because occupied by One who permits us to call Him Father. “No sooner does the child of God approach the mercy seat than he becomes the client of the great Advocate. At his first utterance of penitence and appeal for pardon Christ espouses his case and makes it His own, presenting the supplication before the Father as His own request. “As Christ intercedes in our behalf, the Father lays open all the treasures of His grace for our appropriation, to be enjoyed and to be communicated to others.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 363, 364. We believe that we become God’s children through His grace. It brings about our redemption, rebirth, and acceptance as co-heirs with Christ. Titus 2:11 – For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. John 1:16 – And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 1 Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Grace is unmerited favor. It encompasses God’s gift of His Son to die in our place. Through His shed blood and His righteousness, the repentant sinner can stand before God. 1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
14. Christ Our Righteousness
We believe that without the righteousness of Jesus Christ no mortal can stand before the holy God. The prophet Isaiah expressed this in the following way: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;.” Isaiah 64:6 – But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. To clearly present this important subject for our lives of faith, the following testimonies are quoted. “Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness.” – Steps to Christ, p. 62. Romans 5:1 – Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:16, 17 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 3:23, 24 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. “‘What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.’ – Review and Herald, September 16, 1902.” – Christ Our Righteousness, by A.G. Daniells, p. 104. “Thus they have remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character, a goodly fabric of spiritual strength and beauty. Thus the very righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the believer in Christ.” – The Desire of Ages, p. 762. “By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.” – Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 312. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:1, 34 – There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit… Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Jeremiah 33:15, 16 – In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. “‘The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed. The righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven; the second is our fitness for heaven.’ – Review and Herald, June 4, 1895.” – Christ Our Righteousness, by A.G. Daniells, p. 98.
We believe that under the influence of the word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit man comes to a realization of his lost condition. Psalms 32:1-5 – Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Psalms 51:3, 4 – For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. John 16:7, 8 – Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. “Repentance includes sorrow for sin and a turning away from it.” “But when the heart yields to the influence of the Spirit of God, the conscience will be quickened, and the sinner will discern something of the depth and sacredness of God’s holy law, the foundation of His government in heaven and on earth.” “We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the life.” – Steps to Christ, pp. 23, 24. See 2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
16. Confession of Sin
We believe that all who confess their sin receive forgiveness and justification, for Jesus pleads His blood for everyone who repents. 1 John 1:9; 2:1 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness… My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 – He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. “The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy.” “True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.” – Steps to Christ, pp. 37, 38.
17. The New Birth
We believe that a person who gives his life to Jesus Christ and accepts Him as his personal Saviour will experience the new birth. John 1:12, 13 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. “When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven.. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God.” – The Desire of Ages, p. 173. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. “The contrast will be clear and decided between what they have been and what they are.” “In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the principle of action.” – Steps to Christ, pp. 57, 59. “In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun.” – The Great Controversy, p. 468. “Regeneration is the only path by which we can enter the city of God.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 23. John 3:3-8 – Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 1:12, 13 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 1 Peter 1:23 – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. James 1:18 – Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 2 Peter 1:3, 4 – According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
18. Biblical Baptism
We believe that baptism is the covenant of a good conscience with God. Jesus’ commission to His church reads as follows: “.Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost..” Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Christ instituted baptism as the sign of entrance into His spiritual kingdom. This rite represents the burial and resurrection of Jesus and likewise the burial of the old man and resurrection to a new life in Christ. Acts 2:37, 38 – Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 8:36-39 – And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Romans 6:2-5 – God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Colossians 2:12 – Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Baptism is the public acknowledgment that one is following Jesus. It is performed by immersion in water. Thorough instruction in Bible truths and a baptismal examination precede the baptism of faith. For this reason, infant baptism can only be regarded as a human institution, because it lacks any Biblical basis. Persons who cannot distinguish between good and evil are not permitted to be baptized. Before being accepted by baptism or vote, every soul should have left his former church body or denomination. Baptism is performed a second time only if it was not done in harmony with the Biblical rule the first time or the person was in a condition of ignorance. Acts 19:2-6 – He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
19. The Church of the Lord
We believe that the head of the church is Jesus Christ. The church is a body of believers who have accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord and live according to His teachings and commandments. Ephesians 5:23 – For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Ephesians 4:15 – But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. Colossians 1:18 – And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. The members of the church are prepared for eternity through common teaching, experience, counsel, and admonition in the school of Christ. 1 Timothy 3:15 – But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. The unchangeable standard for the life and conduct of the church is the holy Bible. It contains the great divine charter of righteousness and love, God’s Ten Commandments, which were practically demonstrated in Jesus’ life. Through the Ten Commandments, it has been possible in all ages to recognize the remnant church, as well as apostasy. 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. Revelation 14:12 – Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. “The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world.” – The Acts of the Apostles, p. 9. So they may be a light to the world, in His great mediatorial prayer Jesus prayed for the unity of His followers. John 17:21 – That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. Ephesians 4:16 – From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
20. Feet Washing
We believe the feet washing should precede the Lord’s Supper. It prepares the heart to serve one another in humility and love, and thus leads to a close communion. John 13:1-17 – Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. “These words mean more than bodily cleanliness. Christ is still speaking of the higher cleansing as illustrated by the lower.. When Jesus girded Himself with a towel to wash the dust from their feet, He desired by that very act to wash the alienation, jealousy, and pride from their hearts. This was of far more consequence than the washing of their dusty feet. With the spirit they then had, not one of them was prepared for communion with Christ. Until brought into a state of humility and love, they were not prepared to partake of the paschal supper, or to share in the memorial service which Christ was about to institute.” – The Desire of Ages, p. 646.
21. The Lord’s Supper
We believe the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of Jesus’ suffering and death. The bread is a symbol of Jesus’ body; and the unfermented wine, a symbol of His spilled blood. Matthew 26:26-28 – And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 – The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. “As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice.” “The unleavened cakes used at the Passover season are before Him. The Passover wine, untouched by fermentation, is on the table. These emblems Christ employs to represent His own unblemished sacrifice. Nothing corrupted by fermentation, the symbol of sin and death, could represent the ‘Lamb without blemish and without spot.’ 1 Peter 1:19.” – The Desire of Ages, pp. 652, 653. Forgiveness of sin does not occur by partaking of the bread and wine. Being a memorial of Jesus’ suffering and death, it is to serve for the strengthening of the church. Preparation includes self-examination, acknowledgment, confession of sin, and genuine sorrow for sin. “The ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are two monumental pillars, one without and one within the church. Upon these ordinances Christ has inscribed the name of the true God.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 91. Only one who has made a covenant with God in baptism and has become a member of the church may participate in the Lord’s Supper. “And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof.” Exodus 12:43 – And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof.
22. The Spirit of Prophecy
We believe that Christ spoke to His church in the Old and New Testaments through His prophets. 2 Chronicles 20:20 – And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. 2 Peter 1:19-21 – We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Hebrews 1:1-3 – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. The instruction given through the gift of prophecy originates in heaven and is the voice of God to His people. The Lord gave this gift to His church, to be observed and followed, and it comes to us under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. According to Revelation 12:17 and 19:10, the Lord promised this gift of prophecy to the last church, which keeps the commandments of God. In fulfillment of this prophecy, the Lord raised up the gift of prophecy among His people. From 1844 on, God used Ellen G. White as His messenger, to declare His will to the church and the perishing world. Through her work, in the spoken and written word, countless people have found the way to peace with God. All the characteristics which identify a prophet as called by God (faithfulness to God’s word, faith in Jesus as the Redeemer, acceptance of the Ten Commandments, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit) were found in the life and work of this messenger of God. She explained her position concerning the Bible in the following words: “In His word, God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience. ‘Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.’ 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, R.V.” – The Great Controversy, p. vii. In the church of God there have been times when not only men but also faithful women were called to convey to God’s people messages and warnings of importance for life and salvation. For example: Miriam (Exodus 15:20), Deborah (Judges 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14-16), Anna (Luke 2:36), and the daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9). Thus, the true church will highly value this gift and gratefully accept and follow the instruction the Lord has given. Whenever a church disregards or despises this gift, it despises the way that God desires to safely lead and bless it. Proverbs 29:18 – Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. 2 Chronicles 20:20 – And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
23. Health Reform
Health and Nutrition We believe God created man perfect. Body, soul, and spirit belong to the Lord. It is His will that mankind should rejoice in spiritual, mental, and physical health. Therefore, it is our duty to observe the divine health principles, not only for our own health, but also to be better able to serve mankind. Luke 9:2 – And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24 – And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. “The health reform is one branch of the great work which is to fit a people for the coming of the Lord. It is as closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is with the body.” – Counsels on Health, pp. 20, 21. When the Creator prescribed man’s diet in paradise, He showed what is the best foundation for human nourishment-plant foods. Grains, fruits, and nuts were the diet chosen by our Creator. Vegetables were added later. Genesis 3:18. Therefore, we abstain from every type of flesh (fowl, fish, or any other). Furthermore, we avoid alcoholic and caffeine-containing beverages (such as cola drinks), strong spices, sharp cheese, coffee, black tea, tobacco, and every kind of narcotics. We advise against the combination of milk and sugar. Genesis 1:29 – And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. As Advent believers, we have also received much light through the testimonies of the Spirit of Prophecy concerning the preservation of our health. First of all, we should keep our bodies healthy through healthful foods, which were prescribed for the first human pair, and use of natural remedies. However, if because of external, unhealthful influences, prior improper life habits, stress or other factors of modern living, we become ill and in need of medical help, we should, as much as possible, seek a believing physician. Especially in such situations, we can trust in the promise that the Lord God is our Physician and really can help and heal. Medications s! hould be used only when absolutely necessary and with caution. Exodus 15:26. “Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power-these are the true remedies. Every person should have a knowledge of nature’s remedial agencies and how to apply them.” – The Ministry of Healing, p. 127. Dress As Advent believers, we are also reformers in dress. We should not wear extravagant or unhealthful clothing, extreme fashions which violate standards of modesty and contribute directly to the spread of immoral conditions, or unhealthful footwear. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9, 10 – In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 1 Peter 3:3-5 – Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands. Isaiah 3:16-24 – Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet. Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Outward adornment, which draws attention to the wearer, does not honor God. Concerning hair, the Bible says the following: “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” 1 Corinthians 11:14, 15 – Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. When Jesus’ love is in his heart, every believer will be an example in these things.
24. The Government
We believe that government is ordained of God and that, as God’s minister, it is responsible for protecting good and punishing evil. Romans 13:3, 4 – For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. For this reason, we feel obliged to fulfill our duty to it, as long as we are not forced to transgress God’s commandments. Acts 4:19 – But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. Acts 5:29 – Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” Matthew 22:21. Accordingly, we pay our taxes and dues. We believe it is necessary to pray for the government, so that peace and order may prevail among the people, each one may live his faith, and the proclamation of the gospel of Christ may not be hindered. 1 Timothy 2:1, 2 – I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. According to the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), and the teachings of Jesus, we, as His followers, cannot participate in politics, revolt, bloodshed, or war.
25. Oath Taking
We believe, according to the word of God, that the false and unnecessary use of an oath is an abomination before God. Matthew 5:34-37 – But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. James 5:12 – But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. Ordinarily the language of the true believer is, “Yes, yes; no, no.” Nevertheless, the required oath in agreement with the gospel, calling upon God as a witness that the spoken word is the truth, is sanctioned by God. Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 66, 67. Romans 1:9 – For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Deuteronomy 6:13 – Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
26. The Sanctuary
We believe that the center of divine service in Old Testament times was the sanctuary, first in the form of a portable tent, and later built as a temple. The earthly sanctuary consisted of the courtyard, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place. The sacrifices were offered in the courtyard. Hebrews 9:1-7. By means of the blood, sin was transferred to the sanctuary, and it thereby became defiled. The sacrifices brought because of sin pointed to Jesus, the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. The priests were chosen as mediators between God and man. Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the sanctuary was cleansed. The high priest went into the Most Holy Place and sprinkled the blood from the sin offering on and before the ark of the covenant. The requirements of the law were thus fulfilled. Then, as mediator, he took the sins upon himself and carried them out of the sanctuary. They were transferred to a living goat, which was then led away into the desert. Through these ceremonial acts, the people were reconciled; and the sanctuary, cleansed. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Leviticus 16:15, 16, 20-22 – Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. This sanctuary on earth had its original pattern in heaven, where Jesus is the High Priest today. Only through His mediatorial work can the believer obtain forgiveness, justification, and sanctification. 1 Timothy 2:5, 6 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Hebrews 8:1-5 – Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. Hebrews 9:11, 12, 15 – But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us… And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Revelation 11:19 – And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. “The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin.” “The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, ‘whither the forerunner is for us entered.’ Hebrews 6:20.” – The Great Controversy, pp. 488, 489.
27. The 2,300 Days
We believe that the 2,300 evenings and mornings of Daniel 8:14 represent a definite time period, which reaches to the end time. According to the day-year principle-in prophetic interpretation a day means a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6)-the 2,300 days are really years. Based on Daniel 9:24-27, this time began with the third decree to rebuild Jerusalem, given by King Artaxerxes in B.C. 457. From this-the longest prophetic timespan in the Bible-70 weeks (equaling 490 years) are cut off. This time was determined upon the Jewish people and ended in A.D. 34. The remaining 1,810 years take us to 1844 “at the time of the end.” Daniel 8:17. In this year, Jesus ended His service in the Holy Place and began His work as High Priest in the Most Holy Place. Daniel 9:24-27 – Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Numbers 14:34 – After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. Ezekiel 4:6 – And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. Daniel 8:17 – So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. “As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2,300 days ended. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of His solemn work-to cleanse the sanctuary.” “In the typical service only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the Day of Atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God.” “Attended by heavenly angels, our great High Priest enters the holy of holies and there appears in the presence of God to engage in the last acts of His ministration in behalf of man-to perform the work of investigative judgment and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.” – The Great Controversy, pp. 421, 480. At this time, Jesus began the closing work in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary, as symbolized by the service in the earthly sanctuary. It is at the same time the investigative judgment. Daniel 7:9, 10, 13. Thus it is decided who of the many resting in the earth are worthy of the resurrection of life and who of the living are worthy to be changed and enter into eternal glory. The close of this atonement service is also the end of probationary time. Daniel 7:9, 10, 13 – I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened… I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
28. The Preaching of the Gospel
We believe in the great gospel commission of Jesus: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.“ “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. We consider it a privilege and a duty to cooperate in spreading the gospel to the whole world through the spoken and written word. Matthew 11:29, 30 – Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Mark 16:15, 16 – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Revelation 14:6-12 – And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
29. Means for Proclaiming the Gospel
We believe that God is the owner of the world. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1. He has appointed us as His stewards. Every believer has the privilege and duty to give the tithe of all the property and income with which God has blessed him. The tithe serves to support the messengers who serve in the work of God and to spread the gospel. Since the tithe is God’s property, the Lord regards the withholding of it as fraud. Genesis 28:22 – And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. Nehemiah 13:10-12 – And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries. Malachi 3:6-12 – For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts. Matthew 23:23 – Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Hebrews 7:4-9 – Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 1 Corinthians 9:13, 14 – Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. “God’s plan in the tithing system is beautiful in its simplicity and equality. All may take hold of it in faith and courage, for it is divine in its origin. In it are combined simplicity and utility, and it does not require depth of learning to understand and execute it. All may feel that they can act a part in carrying forward the precious work of salvation. Every man, woman, and youth may become a treasurer for the Lord, and may be an agent to meet the demands upon the treasury..” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 388, 389. “Besides the tithe the Lord demands the first fruits of all our increase.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 384. Other offerings, such as missionary offerings, thank offerings, Sabbath school offerings, offerings for special purposes, and offerings for the poor, serve in the proclamation and support of the gospel work. With these gifts we express our deep thankfulness for God’s blessings and favor. Faithfulness and conscientiousness in paying our tithes and offerings make it possible for us to grow in love, help us overcome selfishness and greed, and will be rewarded with Heaven’s blessing. 2 Corinthians 9:6, 7 – But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. Acts 20:35 – I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
30. The Three Angels’ Messages
We believe the messages of Revelation 14:6-12 are valid for the end time. In their connection as a threefold message, they constitute the last message of warning and salvation to a perishing world and are to be proclaimed to every nation, kindred, and people. The message of the first angel points to the everlasting gospel and announces that the hour of judgment has come. It urges all mankind to fear the God of creation, give Him the glory, and worship Him. Revelation 14:6, 7 – And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. The second angel’s message announces the fall of Babylon. In the course of the centuries, religious systems that were false and contrary to Scripture developed, leading to enormous confusion (Babylon). This was shown in a special sense in the middle of the 19th century, when the churches rejected the Biblical message of Christ’s soon return. The message of the third angel points to the results of accepting false religious systems. It contains the most fearful threat ever addressed by God to mankind. According to Revelation 14:9-12, the mark (Sunday) stands in contrast to the fourth commandment (Sabbath) of the Bible. Mankind’s attention is directed to God’s law, especially the Sabbath commandment (the seal of God). Exodus 20:8-11 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. The purpose of this last message of mercy is to point men to the binding force of all ten of God’s commandments and to prepare a people for the second coming of Jesus Christ. It is also pointed out that the hour of judgment has begun and only through Jesus Christ is acquittal from the guilt of sin possible. These three messages, symbolized by the three angels, bring about a reformation, leading to repentance and conversion. The characteristics are unmistakable: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12 – Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. All who reject this merciful call will suffer the predicted judgments of God, poured out in the seven last plagues. Revelation 16. The preaching of the three angels’ messages began with the rise of the Advent Movement and will close with the loud cry of the third angel.
31. The Loud Cry and the Angel of Revelation 18
We believe that the loud cry of the third angel began in 1888 at the conference in Minneapolis with the message of “Christ Our Righteousness.” That was the beginning of the “light” of the angel of Revelation 18:1-4. Revelation 18:1-4 – “The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.” -(The Review and Herald, November 22, 1892) Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 363. “Christ our Righteousness” “is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.” – Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 92. While the proclamation of the third angel’s message swells to a loud cry, another angel comes to join this work. “The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of worldwide extent and unwonted power is here foretold.” “The work will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the ‘former rain’ was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the ‘latter rain’ will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest.” – The Great Controversy, p. 611. >Many did not accept the message of “Christ Our Righteousness,” and this had grave consequences. When the First World War (1914-1918) broke out, there arose a severe crisis. The fourth and sixth commandments were openly violated; but some members remained faithful to the Ten Commandments and, being guided by the Spirit of the Lord, carried forward a work of reformation simultaneously in various countries. In fact, it is the faithful, or the prophesied remnant of Revelation 12:17; 14:12 and 3:14-22, whom God will use at the close of His work to give the last warning message to the world. 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. Revelation 14:12 – Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 3:14-22 – And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. “Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6-12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work.” “But God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of His judgments these faithful ones must be called out, that they partake not of her sins and ‘receive not of her plagues.’ Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard: ‘Come out of her, My people.’ These announcements, uniting with the third angel’s message, constitute the final warning to be given to the inhabitants of the earth.” – The Great Controversy, pp. 390, 604.
32. The Sealing of the 144,000
We believe the Bible describes two classes of redeemed; namely, the great multitude, which began with Adam and goes through the close of probation, and a group of 144,000 in number. The sealing work of the 144,000 began with the proclamation of the third angel’s message. Through their obedience to the Ten Commandments, they demonstrate their faithfulness. They distinguish themselves by their observance of the Sabbath, which represents the seal of God. We believe the sealing work will continue until the close of probation. Spiritual Israel will be gathered from all nations, kindreds, and tongues. Revelation 7:2-8 – And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. Revelation 14:1-5 – And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. The seal of God is a sign of redemption. All who choose Jesus Christ as their Saviour and place themselves under His guidance will experience a change in their characters. They receive His righteousness; and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, they become more and more like Christ and bring forth fruits of obedience. One of these fruits is the observance of the holy Sabbath, which is referred to as the seal or sign of the affiliation between God and the believers. Ezekiel 20:12, 20 – Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them… And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God. The sleeping sealed ones, through a special resurrection shortly before the return of Christ, will be united with the living sealed believers. Together they will hear the voice of God proclaim the covenant of peace with His people. As “first fruits” of redemption, they will witness Christ’s second coming, see the great multitude resurrected, and ascend with it to be received by Christ. Daniel 12:1, 2 – And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Revelation 1:7 – Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. “The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation.” “The mark of the beast is the opposite of this – the observance of the first day of the week.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 117. “The fourth commandment alone of all the ten contains the seal of the great Lawgiver, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 350.
33. Jesus’ Second Coming
We believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ will be visible and audible to all mankind. Revelation 1:7 – Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. Matthew 24:30 – And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Mark 13:26, 27 – And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Acts 1:9-11 – And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 – For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. The children of God throughout all ages have with great longing waited for this glorious event. Enoch, “the seventh from Adam,” preached about it. Abraham “looked for a city . whose builder and maker is God.” The prophets prophesied of it, and Jesus gave the conclusive assurance that He will come again to take His bride, the church, to be with Him. Matthew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Jude 14, 15 – And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. Hebrews 11:8-10 – By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. John 14:1 – Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. Those who have waited for Jesus’ return will shout for joy at the sight of His appearing, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9 – And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. The return of Jesus Christ is the climax of the plan of redemption. The resurrected and living believers will then be caught up in the clouds with the Lord Jesus to be with Him forever. The signs of the times, of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13, show us that Christ’s return is very near. 2 Peter 3:9-12 – The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 1 Thessalonians 5:2-7 – For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. Revelation 19:7, 8 – Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. The day and hour of His coming are hidden from us. Therefore, we should be prepared at all times. Matthew 24:36 – But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Matthew 24:42-44 – Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
34. The State of the Dead
We believe the wages of sin is death. In death man knows nothing. Jesus compared death to a sleep. John 11:11-14 – These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. All mankind, whether good or evil, are in an unconscious state at death. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6 – For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Job 14:12 – So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Only God, who alone has immortality, will give eternal life to the redeemed at the resurrection. 1 Timothy 6:15, 16 – Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 – But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 – Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
35. The Resurrection
We believe that, at the return of Jesus Christ, the righteous dead will be resurrected in an immortal state and, together with the living saints, will be translated by the Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. Romans 6:5 – For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 – Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Revelation 20:6 – Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. The wicked will be resurrected a thousand years later to receive their final judgment. Revelation 20:5, first part – But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished…
36. The Thousand Years
We believe that the thousand years span the time between the first and second resurrections. “At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth-consumed with the spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory.” – The Great Controversy, p. 657. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 – Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 – And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Isaiah 24:12, 22 – In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction… And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. During this time no more human life will exist on this earth. As a result of mighty natural catastrophes, the earth will be in a condition of complete desolation. Jeremiah 4:23, 24; 25:32, 33. During the thousand years, the saints live and reign with Christ in heaven and judge the fallen angels and the wicked. The earth will be desolate. Only Satan and his angels will live here. – The Great Controversy, p. 659; Revelation 20:1-3 – And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. At the end of the thousand years, Christ will descend to our earth with all the saints. Then the wicked will be resurrected from the dead. After that, the Holy City will come down; and Satan and his angels, with the resurrected wicked, will encircle the Holy City. God will send fire from heaven, and sin and sinners will be forever destroyed, through which the earth will be cleansed. Revelation 20:4, 5, first part – And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished… Revelation 20: 7-10 – And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Malachi 4:1, 3 – For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
37. The Home of the Redeemed
We believe the Lord will make new heavens and a new earth after the thousand years. This new earth will be the home of the redeemed. The New Jerusalem will be the capital city of this eternal kingdom. The King of kings will have His throne there. Isaiah 45:18 – For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Isaiah 65:17 – For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Revelation 21:1-3 – And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. Through the wisely laid plan of redemption, which is based on God’s eternal love, all the redeemed, freed from the threat of sickness, suffering, and death, will rejoice in the eternal presence of God. Isaiah 65:25 – The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. 2 Peter 3:13 – Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: For these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:3-5