Jesus surveyed the crowd before Him, noting how eager the people were to hear Him speak. Possibly, candidates for His kingdom, He thought. But there were other faces, Pharisees and Saducees, the leaders of the Hebrew nation, that were not drawn out to seek His wisdom. Rather, they listened intently to hear Jesus speak words they could twist to condemn Him. Later, when He was alone with His disciples, Jesus said. "[B]ware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Saducees" (Matt. 16:6).
The disciples' reaction to Jesus' statement illustrates an important element of the way they listened to Jesus. They thought He meant to chide them for not bring enough bread with them. Instead of bewaring of the influence of the leaders, they thought He meant literal bread, because He said the word "leaven." Leaven meant bread to their minds; therefore, Jesus followed up with a reminder of the four thousand and the five thousand they had fed at one time with the simple exercise of faith. He didn't mean bread. They had enough bread, since Jesus could create it out of a few small loaves and fishes. He meant beware of the leaven, the influence, of the leaders. They misunderstood. They thought He spoke of literal bread. They misunderstood much of what Jesus tried to teach them, because they were steeped in the ancient traditions of their fathers. They could only see Jesus sitting on a Roman throne. Throughout His teachings, they listened with tradition running in the background.
A short while later He asked them, "Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?" This conversation allowed Him to speak openly about what the future held for Him--and for them. He said, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver him unto the Gentiles: and they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again" (Mark 10:13, 14). "And they [the disciples] kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean (Mark 9:10). Again, they misunderstood. They tried to attach a symbolic meaning to something that we know was clearly literal.
I find it interesting that what they thought was literal was symbolic, and what they thought symbolic was literal.
We do that today. We misunderstand what the word of God is trying to tell us. In His day Jesus spoke of putting old wine into new bottles. How important to understand that new truth belongs in new bottles, new settings, while that which is old settles down to become the carpeting, the background for our lives. Use the new settings for the new wine, forgetting the traditions of the fathers.
Here is a parable that the disciples didn't understand and that we misunderstand, even today. It was the Thursday evening before Passover Sabbath. They had just eaten the Passover meal and could see that Jesus' bearing was burdened, not what they were used to seeing in Him. Just before stepping in to the Garden of Gethsemane He said something totally out of character for Him and the diametric opposite of anything they expected Him to say. He said, "When I sent you without purse, and script, and shoes, lacked ye anything? . . . But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword., let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end" (Luke 22:36, 37).
The disciples realized that these words signified a change in Christ's behavior and in His relationship with the world. Perhaps now He would appear in His true character and make their lives less painful.
My Definition: A sanctificationist is one who believes that righteousness can be achieved through hosting the presence of the Holy Spirit, representing Christ, within the self. How much sin did Jesus commit when He walked this earth? None. Since Christ overcame sin in our own human flesh, sanctificationists believe He brings that victory with Him when He comes in through the Spirit to abide in them. He imputes righteousness at the same moment when He imparts it. Thus He--not the human host— is expressed in their every word and action, revealing the Christ within.
There is more than one way to look at obedience. The minds of many automatically default to legalism when the subject of obedience to the law is raised, making talking about this subject problematic beyond words. The preconceived ideas of many regarding how to have victory in the life--or, indeed, if obedience is even wanted or needed in the life of a Christian--further confuse the issue.
Like many of you, I have hesitated to raise the subject, knowing things can go "off the rails" in a heartbeat. To further complicate the issue, Paul says, "[T]he law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching" (1 Tim. 1:9, 10). The law is not intended for those who obey. Who would want to take up this subject, knowing how the enemy of souls hates it, will do everything he can to obscure it, and that raising the issue brings you head to head with the kingdom of darkness?
Please excuse me if I talk about myself for a moment but this story makes a needed point. I came into the SDA church about the time people started talking about obedience. Could you obey, or couldn't you. Was it even needed? Too much focus on obedience was a red flag to God that our faith was weak to nonexistent (they told me); therefore, in order to demonstrate our faith we should just forget thoughts about obedience. And I did. For awhile.
I finally had to know. I could not go on another moment without knowing the truth of the puzzle before me. I saw that it impacted my whole life. I prayed earnestly about it and became impressed that the answer was somewhere within the fragile pages of the word of God. How I resisted! I did not want to read the Bible completely through as the Holy Spirit directed. It was such a thick book with all those "thee's" and "thou's" in it. We finally compromised with a more readable modern translation, and I began my first daily journey through Scripture. What did I find when I was through? I found the beautiful message of God's character of love.
Looking back, I marvel at God's providence. He arranged for me to learn--at the same time--the righteousness by faith message. These two messages that are still inexcusably misunderstood and rejected by many within Adventism (including the historic kind), while not realizing that these two messages together are the most potent tools in the arsenal of the saints to teach the need to obey God (the message of God's character of love) and also how to do it (the righteousness by faith message). And this is the point I want to make. I wonder, How many of the "saints" are in the boat I was in? How many of them are wondering the same thing I wondered for so long?
So how does use of the made-up word "sanctificationist" fit into this scenario? It offers, as a foil for the word "legalist," another better word, "sanctificationist." It shows that there are two mind sets regarding the subject of obedience. With only the word legalist to define us, we enter the battle zone greatly disadvantaged. Everything got dumped under that one definition.
"Sanctificationist," however, means the child of God understands the only path to true victory over sin. It means that he/she hears Jesus knocking at the heart's door and hastens to open it and let the Holy Spirit in to guide each day. It takes the subject of obedience from something cold, hard, and difficult and turns it into something alive with the sweet spirit of Jesus. Therefore, in the future if you have the misfortune to be called a legalist, correct the speaker by saying, No, I am a sanctificationist.
"Our ancestors, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wonderful works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea" (Psalm 106:7, New Revised Standard Version, emphasis supplied).
I was wrong! Psalm 106:7 does not provide conclusive evidence that when Israel rebelled at the Red Sea, the subject of the rebellion was Israel's decision to use weapons to defend themselves rather than leaning fully on God to protect them. Again, this psalm does not prove it.
Let's review what coercive evidence we do have.
1. God did not use human weaponry in releasing Israel from Egyptian bondage. In the nine plagues culminating in the tenth, wherein the firstborn of man and animal died, no human weapons were used. This we know for sure. We also do not have record of any Israelites dying during or after the plagues. They seem to have come through the crisis intact.
2. They left Egypt unarmed. We know this from Scripture (See Light on the Dark Side of God) and from Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 282. "They [Israel leaving Egypt] were unarmed and unaccustomed to war. . ." (emphasis supplied).
3. They walked by faith through the Red Sea as if it were dry land (Hebrews 11:29), with armed Egyptians approaching swiftly from the rear.
4. Psalms 106:7 proves there was a rebellion at the Red Sea, but it does not say what the issue was that caused the rebellion; for that reason this text cannot be considered 100 percent proof positive that the rebellion was about the weaponry.
5. Soon they experienced war with Amalek at Rephidim. SOP is clear, that event would not have taken place except for their "murmuring." "Because of their murmuring against Him, the Lord suffered [allowed] them to be attacked" (Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 298), showing that this was not His ideal will for Israel. This was His "permissive" will--what He "willed" when He could not have His perfect will. (an issue that pertains to the great controversy and is a subject for another day.) But could their "murmuring" have included rebellion at the Red Sea?
What was the source of their weaponry? Where did they find it, make it, beg, borrow or steal it? From where did Israel's weapons come? My subjective assessment is that they picked up the dead Egyptians weapons that lay around them on the shore of the Red Sea. Then why is there no mention of it during the rest of the entire Biblical narrative? Particularly when that event played such a major part in our understanding of God through future years?
This question, which throughout history seemed inconsequential, is monumental as the character of God becomes the issue of the last days. At this time in history, Psalm 106:7 takes on enormous importance. But it is not coercive evidence such as you might find in a court of law, nailing the door shut on the case. It is highly persuasive evidence which should figure prominently in discussions in the days ahead.
Psalm 106:7 reads: "Our ancestors, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wonderful words; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea." (emphasis supplied throughout)
We learn several facts from this quotation.
The psalmist had the Exodus in mind when he penned these words. ". . .our ancestors, when they were in Egypt . . . "
He further tells when this event took place. It occurred "at the Red Sea." Do you see the connection? Egypt, Red Sea, Exodus . . .?
The Israelites "rebelled" at the Red Sea. Do you remember Scripture mentioning any rebellion at any time or place around the Red Sea? About what were they rebelling?
According to Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew word morah is translated "rebelled" in this passage in most modern translations. It is also translated as disobedient, disobey, or provoke, the last of which is found in the King James Version. There is no question that something happened around the Red Sea that triggered God's anger (as we now know it).
Did this rebellion occur when Israel arrived at the Red Sea? when they walked through the Red Sea? When they arrived on the far shore of the Red Sea? We have a hint of the answer in Hebrews 11:29. "By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land." They had faith when they walked through the Sea. Rebellion was not on their minds at that time.
When we connect these dots with information in Light On the Dark Side of God, there is a high degree of probability that the reason for the rebellion was when they saw the Egyptians' weapons lying on the ground and picked them up with the intent of protecting themselves with them. Remember, in Egypt the Lord was their only defense; they did not have to fight their way out of Egypt. From that moment God's ability to protect them in His own way was sharply curtailed. The free-will decision of the people themselves greatly handicapped God. From then on they would depend upon themselves for security and protection. This event greatly skewed humankind's impression of God, as He attempted caring for them while they were intent on caring for themselves.
Psalm 106:7 is the only verse I have found in the sacred text that openly suggests a rebellion at the Red Sea. Absent this verse the evidence is mostly circumstantial. In my opinion, this text nails it down.
Greetings, Brothers & Sisters,
This email comes to announce the retooling of Light On the Dark Side of God. Yes, we have changed the name and size back to the original by popular demand. After much thought and discussion, the issue of the name has finally been settled (I hope).
My gratitude goes out to Floyd Phillips, the editor and supervisor of the present project, for his invaluable contribution. I couldn't have done it without him. We have cut out large sections of the book, replaced it with better thoughts and words, made it flow better and generally improved its overall presentation. Floyd was "handicapped" to a degree because he wanted the book to reflect my vision, since I was the original author, so he walked a thin line between what perhaps he would prefer to express and my ideas and concepts. But please know, in spite of Floyd's generous contribution to improving the quality of the book, if you see things in it that still "make your eyes roll," I take full responsibility for it. Floyd is not to blame.
I also want to thank Christopher Leach for the animation he has drawn for the project. I didn't want just anyone to do this drawing; I wanted someone who was knowledgeable and sensitive to what we were trying to accomplish, and Christopher is that someone. This is not to marginalize the efforts of the many brothers and sisters who are making a herculean effort to get this wonderful message out to the world. We are all needed. But the project I know best is this one; therefore, I put my whole energies into it. I hope you will want to get involved either with my efforts or the efforts of others who are teaching this truth.
Let me describe the new book to you. It has about 200 pages. We have also prepared a main condensed version that has 115 pages. We uploaded the condensed book to my two websites where interested visitors can read it freely. Then, if they like it and wish to share it, they have two options: 1) They can invite friends and family to the website to also read it free, or 2) they can purchase either the full book (200 pages @ $18.50) or the condensed book (115 pages @ $10.50) and distribute it to others. As you can see, the object is to get full saturation in order that our good and merciful heavenly Father can no longer be slandered by well-meaning churches or by anyone.
Funds will come into the project more as an "afterthought" than as a principle object, but I anticipate that a certain amount of funds will come in from product sales and contributions. Because so many have helped with this book and contributed to it, I cannot in good conscience claim any of the proceeds that come in. Therefore, I am contributing all income from both of my sites to a ministry that also teaches the wonderful truth about our Father's character and is faithful to Adventist teachings in other areas. More information is available on my websites about this ministry.
The next obvious step is perhaps the most important--advertising and promotions. All the efforts of Floyd, Christopher, me, and a host of interested friends will be in vain unless the people are informed about it. Therefore, we now need champions who can take this book and its contents out to the world. Nothing we have done is of any value without that.
My role will now change in the project. Rather than thinking of me as the author, please think of me as the Administrator of this plan and my two websites. With the money not coming to me, the baton is now passed to you. You are now in control. You are now in charge. I am now working for you. Remember, we can do more faster by all of us promoting than by only one (me) promoting.
"Adopt a Platform"
How can you help? I would like for you to "Adopt" one of the websites below on which to promote the book and/or Christopher's animation. You will find a copy of the animation on the bottom of this email. Here is a list of websites which I believe may be open to such advertising/promotion. Please email me with your choice. If possible, include a second and third choice. If you know of a site not included here but on which you can place the animation and/or otherwise promote the book(s), please select it and let me know. Someone else may want to work with you. The site will be your responsibility, including both promotions and financing same. All this will be kept track of from our Administrative office. [When emailing us, please put "PLATFORM" in CAPS in the subject line. This may be followed by a subject of your choice. If you wish to send a general email to this address, please put "GENERAL" in CAPS followed by a subject of your choice.]
NOTICE: I am allowing two weeks until April 2nd to get your "ducks in a row." Talk it over. Make your decisions. We will plan to go public on April 2nd.
I will try to get email addresses from visitors to my websites, as well as their location. (Some of you have already visited and left your email addresses. Thank you for doing that.)
I can't stress enough the need for us to pray continually and especially during the next two weeks, for God to bless this project. Someone once said, I would not give a straw for all that the most talented person can do without the blessing of God. We want to invite our ever-courteous God to be center stage of everything we do.
Sharing On Personal Websites
If anyone wants to share the condensed book on your own website, here are the rules:
a. You may show the condensed book free of charge.
b. You may set this up in either of these two ways:
1) You may either set this up on your website exactly as I have set it up on mine, where visitors can read the condensed book free of charge and, if they like, download it onto their own computer hard drive. Then make provision so that visitors have access to purchase either the condensed book or the full book. If your website wants to do this, please let me know. I am keeping track of these locations in order to a) communicate relevant information, as needed, and b) assure that somehow their visitors who read the condensed book free leave their email address and their location.
2) Or you may link to my site where your visitors may read the condensed book, download it, and/or purchase either the condensed book or the full book (or both).
But the thing I would emphasize to you is to let me know. Send me a quick email. I want this information in case of future needs I wish to convey to you and to keep track of which websites are showing the book. I will exchange links with you. [Please put "SHARING" in CAPS in the subject line. This may be followed by a subject of your choice.]
And I hope everyone who reads Light On the Dark Side of God will leave a comment or review on Amazon. Remember, the comments often determine other's desire to read the book.
The ministry which is to receive proceeds from our efforts is Truth In Jesus, which has branches in Washington State/Northern Idaho, Florida, Barbados and various other locations around the world. Most of these individuals have been schooled in Adventism, love the Lord, and are busily working to facilitate His return. I believe they will make good use of all the help we can give them. Please notice especially, donations to this ministry are fully tax deductible.
I hope every Adventist will go to my Adventist site (www.4Adventists.com) and take in the prophecy videos there. Those who have done this already have been amazed. And I'm amazed. I took SOP quotations, strung them together and am stunned at what I found. You will surely tell me if I am off base with my prophetic analysis, won't you? Good! I felt sure you would!
If you wish to translate either the condensed or full book, please contact me. I will need your contact information plus the language you wish to translate into. Notice that I have reserved all rights, meaning especially for translators, I do not want the meaning of the words changed. I will not be unreasonable about this, just would like to have your translation read to make sure that the meaning is kept as close as possible to what I intended. And once done I would like a copy for my website. [Please put "TRANSLATIONS" in CAPS in the subject line. This may be followed by a subject of your choice.]
If you have already translated and have a completed version or if you wish to translate or have any interest in translating, send me an email. I will keep a file on who is translating into what language. Then as new individuals express an interest in this aspect of the work I will know who is already translating into the language of interest and can put them in touch with that person. There are many reasons to keep me informed of your interest in this area.
There will be storefronts and individuals who will want to purchase in bulk. Therefore, I regret to say that I have contacted the publisher to see what arrangements could be worked out for these individuals to have a discount. They informed me that they have no mechanism set up to give discounts. If/when that changes, I will inform you immediately.
I will try to keep in touch through my blog, which is on both websites: www.4Adventists.com and www.The-Character-Of-God.com. This email will be permanently affixed in the beginning of the blog site.
I'm not sure whether you can find the menu on one or the other (or both) of my websites. Therefore, I will just say that the menu is in the upper left and is composed of three small horizontal bars. Let me know if you still can't find it.
If you have any ideas or suggestions that we could implement that would increase our reach, please send them to me. And if you would like to offer your help to make the websites more attractive and appealing, do not hesitate to offer. We will consider every comment or suggestion. We are all in this together!
Blessings . . .