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Thursday: Vindication — 17 Comments

  1. One of the recurrent themes this week has been the idea of persecution. For Seventh-day Adventists, the idea or persecution is perversely reassuring because it is an indicator that we are on the right track. Forty years ago, I was running a youth Sabbath-school class. That was back in the days when youth actually studied the Sabbath School lesson. I asked the question, what did they think was the most important sign of Jesus’ Second Coming? Their response was immediate and confident, “Sunday Laws!”

    We have a pretty ego-centric view of end-time persecution. We like to think of it as a them-and-us situation and that persecution will vindicate our world view that we have taught for the last 150 years. I reckon that if I was the devil, I would withhold persecution from Seventh-day Adventists while persecuting others. That would really mess with our minds.

    Here are a couple of things to think about:

    Christians are being persecuted today in places like India, Indonesia, and Iraq on a scale that is disturbing. Whole villages are being burned, and people killed. Are we going to say that their persecution does not count because they are not Sabbath-keeping Christians?

    It is perhaps a little too easy to dismiss such persecution as more ethnic than religious. So, we should probably think a little bit about the persecution that we read about in the dark ages. We have all read about the persecution of the Dark Ages. from a "God's people" perspective and we sometimes need a little prompting to remind ourselves that the papacy was pretty indiscriminate about who they persecuted. They persecuted the Waldenses for sure, but they also persecuted Jews (The Spanish inquisition), Muslims (the crusades) and often one another. About 1000 years ago there was a devastating war in Northern Europe that wiped out a third of the population, and the issue that started it off was a dispute over Christian doctrine. The big sin of the Papacy through the Dark Ages was not that they persecuted "God's People", but they persecuted everyone.

    I mention this because we have an almost brittle denominationally-centric view of the end-time persecution that is potentially dangerous. We desperately want persecution to happen in a particular way because it would vindicate our world view. I am not saying that it won't happen that way, but we should not be surprised if it is different. There is another danger too. Because we have a picture of end-time persecution preceding the Second Coming, the fact that we personally are not being persecuted allows us a sense of complacency that we have a little more time yet.

    The picture that the Bible gives us of the time of the end often contains elements of surprise and unexpectedness, even for the elect.

    “God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep.

    “In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’

    “The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’

    “They answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’

    “They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked.

    “Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’

    “He answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’

    “So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.
    Mat 25:1-13 MSG

    • I personally will keep the Seventh Day Adventist faith. Nearly the whole world is being deceived and many are deceiving. Lucifer is extremely cunning and without the Holy Spirit we are nothing against him. And these comments are not guided by the Holy Spirit and can destroy our faith. Lucifer started his main plan right after the ascension of Jesus. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.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:
      https://bit.ly/kjvbibleapp And he has made innumerable plans. Have you all seen the Roger Morneau testimony? The Word and the Word made flesh clearly show the truth and we see prophecies fulfilling. I keep my faith and pray for my personal relationship with Jesus and personal guidance. Jesus is coming soon. I am nearly 50 but may still be alive when He comes.

      • Make no mistake Paul, I am not trying to get anyone to give up their faith. I sometimes challenge traditional Adventist thinking because we simply accept what we have been taught rather than do any personal study. We need to claim back the pioneer spirit of studying these things for ourselves rather than simply accepting that "they got it right"! The pioneers studied and changed the thinking of their day. That was the strength of their faith experience. Hopefully re-examining and questioning what we believe will ultimately strengthen our faith too.

      • Paul, I do not think Maurice is suggesting the SDA church has it all wrong or we should look for an alternative. My inference from what he said is that we need to have our eyes wide open because our historical description of end times events might not play out exactly as we have always been taught. The world is a complicated place. Satan is not IN CONTROL, God is, but he does take great advantage of trends.

        May I suggest that it might not even be a traditional religious movement that becomes the adversary and the persecutor. The world wide environmental/green movement, with its “Mother Earth” god if you will, should be viewed with skepticism. This movement has the potential to grab the power that can control every aspect of life as we know it in the industrialized world; all based on the notion that if we do not do anything, WE will kill our planet and all that is in it. God gave us this place and the responsibility to care for it but ultimately he is in control. Mother Earth is the god of humanism.

        On a related matter I have a question for the group. What do you all think of the “CLEAR” system being promoted for easy travel and commerce? The system uses a scan of one’s retina and the imprint of one’s finger prints as the activator of clearance to travel and as the means of recognition to buy/sell. That would be a mark in the hand and the forehead!

    • It is true that we should not have an us and them attitude. But we cannot loose our faith and stop believing we have the truth and share it with those who are suffering from deception. I was deceived in various ways and I praise God and the Holy Spirit that He made me walk through and personally experience those deceptions while finally leading me to the SDA truths. We should not overly distrust others as that is also the will of Lucifer. Lucifer and his fallen angels are primarily to blame for the evil and suffering and unhappiness in this world.

      • So. We should share our truth but not our oil. What about sacrifice our life for others. We need to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. Would Jesus have shared his oil ? Would he have lightened the path with His lamp? He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. They were all going to the same event.

        • I think the "oil" in the parable of the 10 virgins is not something that could have been shared but rather trust & belief that had developed over time and not something that could be borrowed from someone else.

    • Thank God that at the end, Justice will finally be done. Everything that could possibly have gone wrong in this planet will be made right. Our actions will be judged, and those who be hidden in Jesus/goodness/faith in God (let's point out that only God has the premise for decisions here) will be saved, for the Scriptures refers to "the commandments and the faith of Jesus"! Let us praise God for the bright future that is available to anyone! Let us praise God because good has defetead evil already - the problem we have is a matter of TIME. Jesus defeated the world and suffered even for those who had not (or will not) choose Him as a personal Savior. May we be worry about living this LOVE, because that's the greatest talent God can give us!

  2. 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.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:2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

  3. God had not given us a spirit of fear but of a sound mind.
    Two words keep playing over and over in my mind; fear/ not to be afraid and not to be deceived. With every truth there is a counterfeit.
    The word fear/not to be afraid is written almost 360 times in the Bible. Deceived/not to be deceived is written more than 60 times starting from Genesis 3:4 when Eve was deceived by the devil, to Rev 13:3 when all the world will wonder after the beast whose name is not written in the Lamb book of life. There is a reason for reputation of those words.
    Daniel 6:25-27. To me this sounds like forced worship. God doesn’t demand forced love, worship or obedience. He offers people two ways and ask them to choose. If every time anyone hears the name of Jesus and he tremble and fear then after a while he will turn away when no one is watching.

  4. What motivates your desire for 'vindication'?

    This is an important and revealing question to answer for yourself. How you answer this question will indicate the kind of 'vindication' you are seeking. It will also indicate the kind of 'justice' you believe in and are seeking.

    What kind of vindication and 'justice' do we see Jesus seeking when he was so brutally abused and unfairly treated in the course of his sham trial and subsequent crucifixion (see Luke 23:34)?

    You may recall that Jesus said he had fully revealed God's character on earth (see John 17:6). There is no sense that Jesus revealed the 'nice' side of God while He was on earth and that at another time He would reveal another side of God. Therefore, the type of vindication and justice that God is about was manifest by/revealed through Jesus in Luke 23:34.

    There are two types of vindication and justice - one type is motivated by ego-centrism, the other by other-centrism.
    Maurice has done well to hilight the subtle expressions of ego-centrism that can arise and manifest in denominational-centrism. (How many denominations will there be in heaven? Which ones will they be?)

    • There will be no earthly denominations in heaven, simply because to be there all we have to do is to accept Jesus sacrifice for us (Grace) and to be accepted by Him. God will unite His true church from all over the world!
      As for now, we belong to the denomination that we believe is more aligned to the Scriptures! But that does not guarantee salvation either. Salvation may come from a personal experience with God!

  5. Bro. Maurice I agree with your thoughts. We have become laid back and complacent and haven't been studying as the Pioneers of old. I personally believe that God gave them truth,which helped them and us thus far. However, as things are unfolding now, somethings should be clearer. I believe truth is progressive and any new teaching should align with God's words. Unless we are connected to the Godhead, we will not be able to discern truth or correct interpretation of things unfolding around us.
    We have received foundational teachings but that does not mean that there's nothing left to know. The world has changed and is changing from the time of the pioneers.
    God revealed to Daniel and centuries later to John and even after to the Pioneer, including E.G.White. likewise in our time, things will be revealed to faithful servants of God but we must prove all things. I say this because a few years ago, if I never knew God for myself and read the word under the leading of the HolySpirit, I could have been led astray. Amongst reputable and at the time, what appears as leading, prayerful Christian men of God, the teaching about the HolySpirit not been God was strongly propounded to us. These men included a pastor. Supporting scriptures and writings from the Spirit of Prophecy was used to support this claim. This resulted in a split in the church. With tears and prayers, I searched the scriptures and SOP diligently and God revealed to me, more than I set out to know. So your correct in saying we have some preconceived notions...truth isn't given to one person. The word of God is there for everyone and He'll reveal to us if we seek Him with all our hearts.
    I'm sorry for been so lengthy! I thank God for you all!

  6. The only vindication to desire is the vindication of Jesus. David before the Philistines was horrified that none were willing to stand up in the name of God against the heathen deity.

    The battlefield today may not to us resemble that field at all, but there are still only 2 sides and between them is a deep valley and they stand on their hillside and we on ours, and they deride our God and beliefs with taunts, jokes and laughter, calling us fools believing in and obeying the King eternal, immortal, invisible.

    To be jealous for our God, to vindicate Him and His truths should be our aim, or as has been better said :-

    “The greatest want of the world is the want of men - men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”

    They send no warriors across to taunt and intimidate, but now test our lines with clever fables, subtle ploys and controversies, disguised as equal opportunity, enlightenment, real science and many more.

    Can we stand resolute and firm and alone against the tide? Only when our desire is to vindicate Him, not ourselves.

    Many of their arguments have or contain valid portions, valid mostly because we ill reflect the image of our master. When we love our enemies deeply and honestly, desire their good, have a deep concern for their wellbeing, then we reflect His image more closely. Then we are properly arrayed and fitted to battle for His name and His vindication.

    The battle against self and self interest is a hard battle, but once fought, all others are minor in comparison.

  7. With regard to the facts that Daniel's enemies along with their families were fed to the hungry lions, I am surprised that the lesson authors critiqued this practice without referring to the cases of Achan (Joshua 7:24-26) and Korah (Numbers 16:31-33).
    In both of these cases the entire families also suffered the same fate as the fathers. So should the Persians be criticized for this practice and not God?

    • When it comes to some of these issues I have to admit that I do not know the answers. I think that sometimes we spend a lot of time trying to justify these events often using our twentieth century culture and ethics, rather than accepting that in ancient times their perception of life, death, and punishment was different to our own. As one historian said to me - Sometimes we only have the facts and not the rationale.

  8. Thursdsy

    Here is what I find very disturbing but it a reality and will be a reality in these end time.

    Daniel 6:24

    24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

    It is grossly unfair and wicked to destroy the innocent with the guilty especially the children

    As a woman, mother and grandmother I cringe each time I read how this story ends. But as I said before, in this cosmic conflict the story has a somewhat similar end.

    May We be vindicated by our God.


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