Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why I Left Adventism

This is the letter I sent to my family, friends, former students and everyone I knew when I left Adventism officially on September 17, 2002. I'm posting it now (I should've thought of it earlier!) for a friend and for anyone who's interested. The first part is an introduction in simple English for former students in Japan. Blessings in Jesus! -RR (8/20/2006)
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Hi,

This is Ramone Romero. I was a missionary at SDA for one year. But I have left SDA now.

I wrote a long email below that explains why, but maybe the English will be a little too difficult.

I love Jesus very much. I have learned many things while I was back in California. And I am getting to know Jesus more and more. I am TOO excited! I can't stop smiling! He gives me so much joy!

I learned many of the basic ideas of Adventism (SDA) and I don't agree with these ideas anymore. SDA teaches about Jesus, but they also teach other things. They add things to Jesus like the "law" and a lot of rules. But Jesus says that He is FREEDOM and JOY. He is REST. :)

So now I am not Adventist (SDA) anymore. I am happy to be a regular Christian now. I belong to Jesus! I belong ONLY to Jesus! And I am soooo happy! I want you to know Him! I want you to know His joy, His love, His rest!

Bless you!
In Jesus' love,
Ramone Romero

***my chotto muzukashii email, gomen-ne**
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"Why I Left Adventism"

Hi,

I imagine that if you read the subject line, the title of this email, then perhaps you are a little confused, worried, or concerned.

I've been Adventist all of my life. But I am leaving now.

If you know me, then you probably know that I love Jesus very much. I'm a Jesus-freak. I can't get enough of Him. So why am I leaving "the church?"

Over my years growing up in Adventism, I was taught many things. I learned that SDA was the "true church" and that we had an important message to tell to the world and to the rest of Christianity. I learned that we had a special day of rest, and that keeping that day of rest would become very important at the end of the earth's history.

I was taught about Jesus, and I was told that we are saved by Him, by faith. But there was very little joy from this. Most of our joy came from being the "true church," from being right. The "truth" was the special things that our church taught. And really, knowing Jesus wasn’t quite enough--you had to know the "truth," too. Because the "truth" was going to be a special test for all people at the end of time, and if you didn't know the truth, then you would be deceived.

These teachings vary in Adventism depending on where you are. There are many "liberal" and "conservative" areas. Some places teach Ellen G. White, some places don't. Some places teach the traditional things that the church was founded on, some places are more interested in Jesus' grace. Most places have a mix of all these things. But in all of the places, we can agree that we have a special, unique "truth."

I didn't receive the gospel (the good news of Jesus' grace) really until after I finished 12 years of Adventist education and entered college. Then I began hearing some of the gospel. It wasn't very loud and clear, but it seemed like it was supposed to be the center of our faith. Yet in my previous 12 years of Adventist education, I only remember the Law, the Remnant, the Health Message, the Mark of the Beast, the Sabbath, and that we had to stay away from "worldly" things. I grew up believing that everything SDA taught was from the Bible, that these were the important teachings God wanted us to know.

While I was a missionary here in Osaka, Japan, I began learning the foundation of Adventism. I studied the "proof-texts" in the Bible and began to learn how we developed our unique doctrines. When I returned to LaSierra University, I began my own research into Ellen White and parts of Adventist history. While I was studying, I discovered 1888.

This will probably not be familiar to many Adventists, especially in liberal areas. In 1888, two ministers began saying that the Jesus' righteousness was the most important thing. Most of the leaders at that time rejected that message because it seemed to threaten the special, unique truths that Adventism was based on.

When I found this, I was excited. Here was something in our history that we had missed, a place that we had messed up when God was trying to speak to us. All we had to do was go back and find what we missed, and repent for resisting God. I wondered why the institution had made so much effort to ignore this mistake in our history?

While I was researching, a friend of mine found a prophecy on the internet written by a lady named Hazel Holland in 1997. But just before I read her dream, I had a shaking.

One night at the LaSierra computer lab, I read an investigative website on Ellen White. In the 90's, I began hearing things once in awhile about plagiarism--about Ellen White copying someone else's work and printing it as her own. Like most good Adventists, I kept my faith in what we taught and I decided that people who said those things were usually bitter or angry at SDA for some other reason. But when I finally looked at one particular website, the information was just too much to ignore. I couldn't rationalize it away any more. There was much more than plagiarism. And the most disturbing part was that over the years, the institution tried to keep it hidden. When people in the institution tried to expose it, they were usually told that they had to leave their jobs.

The evidence was too much for me. I left the computer lab and fell down on some stairs outside. I wanted to run away and disappear in the woods. You see, I had just finished my year as a missionary in Japan. I had taught the Bible, SDA truths, and Ellen White. I taught honest people that these things were the truth, that this was what God wanted them to know. And now, it all looked like it was a lie. The worst part was that for that moment, "Jesus" fell with Adventism. Like most Adventists, I believed that everything we taught was from God, and that Ellen White was God's prophet, writing God's words. If she was false, and everything she wrote was Biblical, then the Bible must be false. I can't describe the sickening fear that I experienced at that time.

So I prayed. I wasn't sure if God was real, but I prayed anyway and tried to forget about what I'd read. Then I began to read Hazel's prophecy. At first, I was cautious about what I was reading. But then my heart began to pound. I began seeing my whole experience in Adventism from a new perspective--God's perspective! He knew that things had been hidden. He knew that when I was growing up, I saw many things inside the church that didn't seem right, but that I wasn't able to talk about it because I was told that nobody was perfect and that it was wrong to criticize God's church. But as I was reading, I began to know that God's heart cries for His children! He loves us, and He knows all the things we go through! He sees all the hidden pains that we often are not able to recognize and cry about. He hears all of His children's cries.

I was so excited, I printed out Hazel's dreams and their interpretation and I stayed awake all night reading it. Then I emailed the director of that website for her email. Then she emailed me back and told me she lived five minutes away from LSU! So I went to go visit. I was more than a little cautious and nervous. I was taught to fear deception. I was told that the very elect would be deceived (in other words, making them "non-elect"). So I did what any Adventist trained in the doctrines would do: I asked her about the Sabbath. After all, it was going to be the test of our loyalty to God in the end, right? She said something I never heard before. She answered with the Gospel. "If Sabbath is the test at the time of the end, then we are saved by works, not faith. Keeping Saturday is a good work, but we're not saved by works, we're saved by faith in Jesus alone." And Jesus' salvation is the same today, yesterday, and forever. He doesn't change. We're not saved by our works. We can trust Jesus to save us, to protect us, to take care of us, and to shield us from deception. Well, this gave me something to think about!

I began studying on my own. I began to learn that I could trust Jesus. I could take Him at His Word.

"No one can snatch My sheep out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand." (John 10:28-29)

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? ...neither angles nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers... nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39)

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1st John 4:4)

"There is no fear in [His] love. Perfect love [agape-God's love] drives out fear..." (1st John 4:18)

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1st John 5:13)

And then I read Psalm 91! The whole psalm talks about the time of the end and how we will be safe resting in Jesus! But didn't I need a special truth? Didn't I need a special teaching? No! Salvation even in the end is still by faith in Him! I can trust in the power of His hand to protect me!

So I continued reading the Bible and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me all over again. And He really began to show me some things I had never read before!

There were things about the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath in the Bible that I was never shown in the Adventist way of reading the Bible. Adventism taught me that the Ten Commandments were the character of God, eternal moral principles (including the Sabbath) that would be forever, even in heaven.

To defend these ideas, the favorite text was Matthew 5:17--

[Jesus said] "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

Well, first I began to see that the "Law and the Prophets" didn’t just mean the Ten Commandments, but it meant the whole Old Testament! (Sometimes it was called "Moses and the Prophets"--see Matthew 11:13, Luke 24:44, etc.)

Second, I learned that heaven and earth will pass away!

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away!" (Revelation 21:1)

Third, Jesus said that He came to "fulfill" the Law and the Prophets. Usually in English we think of this like He is saying that He came to "keep" the Law. However, that's not what 'fulfill' means in this text! It's the same Greek word that the New Testament uses when Jesus 'fulfilled' a prophecy. For example:

"This happened so that the Scripture might be fulfilled which said: 'They divided My garments among them and cast lots for My clothing.'" (John 19:24)

The Law was not only something that Jesus 'kept,' but it was something He fulfilled! Fulfilled? What could that mean?

I ran across a most peculiar text in Exodus 34:28.

"Moses was with the Lord forty days and forty nights... and He wrote on the tablets the words of the Covenant--the Ten Commandments."

The Bible actually calls the Law--the Ten Commandments--the "Covenant" that God had made with Israel when He brought them out of Egypt. (See also Exodus 19:1-6, Deuteronomy 4:13, 5:3, 9:9, 9:11, 9:15, etc.)

I remembered reading in the New Testament and in Jeremiah about God giving us a "a New Covenant... NOT like the one He made with Israel when He brought them out of Egypt." (Jeremiah 31:31, Hebrews 8, 9 & 10, 2 Corinthians 3:6-18)

What did this mean? Adventism taught me that the Old Covenant was only the sacrifices, not the Ten Commandments. But the Bible says clearly that the Ten Commandments are the very foundation of the Old Covenant itself!

I couldn't rationalize away these Biblical passages that clashed with Adventist doctrine. So I let the Bible speak for itself, and passage after passage began opening up. Where I used to read cautiously in Paul's writings about the Law, the confusion now disappeared in the face of Jesus. I didn't have to rationalize and carefully explain away large portions of the New Testament anymore. I could take the Word at its word. The Ten Commandments simply aren't forever, just like heaven and earth--which will pass away and be remade. The purpose of the Law, as Paul wrote in Romans 3:20, was to reveal the knowledge of sin, not the character of God or the way of life in the time of the end. The Law of sin and death is not forever. But Jesus Christ is forever!

My whole life has changed since the Holy Spirit entered my life and began to bring me closer to Jesus Himself. I have looked at Jesus and I have compared the Adventist distinctive doctrines with the Bible, and I have seen the differences. And I want Jesus.

When I used to have a "revival" time in my life as an Adventist, often I would try to start reading an Ellen White book. Or I would try to read the whole Bible. Basically, I would study very hard. I would try wake up early and read every morning. That was how I unconsciously thought I could get closer to God and be more like Him.

Now, things are much different. I am full of more joy than I have ever known in my life. Jesus is wonderful. He never stopped sending His Spirit to talk with His children, just like He spoke to them in the book of Acts. The gifts don't come to perfect people. Instead, they come to people who trust in the grace of Jesus alone! They come to those who are daring enough to ask Jesus for them and wait like He directed! (Galatians 3:2, Acts 1:4)

I had spent so much time as an Adventist studying and studying, as if trying to gain favor with God. Now, I rest in Jesus. The Father is well-pleased with Jesus. And Jesus has given me His favor! I can ask Him and I know He will answer. He's promised.

He has been revealing His love for me and the Father's love for me. He has been healing places in my life that I never thought He was able to heal. He calls me His bride, beloved of the Father. He says "You have stolen My heart" (Song of Songs 4:9).

He says that I am the temple of God. "Church" isn't a building or a membership in an organization. It is an identity. If you believe in Jesus, *you are* the "Church." This is not something that people can always see. We live by faith, not by sight. What people think isn't what's important. If a group of people say they are the "remnant" and try to prove it, who are they trying to prove it to? Whose opinion is the one that counts? God's!

"God's foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: 'The Lord knows who are His.'" (2 Timothy 2:19)

God's opinion is the one that matters. The whole "sealing" is not something that *we* see, because we live by faith. We can trust Jesus that He has sealed us by His blood and given us the Spirit of son-ship (Ephesians 1:13, Romans 8:15-16, etc.).

Many Adventists continue keeping the Sabbath as if it is an insurance policy for the time of the end, just in case Jesus' name isn't enough to save you. I realized that's how it was for me. Adventist theology taught it to me that way. That's how our church started, and that's where it built its foundation. Not on Jesus, but on the Sabbath (and the sanctuary, and the shut door, and the health message, and the state of the dead, etc. ... all of these things being the saving characteristics of the "true remnant church").

Most liberal Adventists don't know these things very well. Or if they do know them, then they often ignore them. They'll keep the Sabbath and maybe the vegetarianism, but leave the other things behind. However, these teachings are never very far away, because without these special "truths," the foundation of Adventist identity can't survive. Perhaps that is why the institution has carefully guarded its doctrines from scholars over the years? Maybe that's why so many of our own pastors and professors have been fired or have chosen to leave after the institution refused to let its foundation change after Biblical tests showed it to be faulty?

Yes, Adventism is changing, and often for the better. The Gospel is getting preached more and more, especially in the liberal areas. But following Jesus means leaving things behind, particularly "self." We're still trying to take the Adventist unique foundation with us. We want to bring our uniqueness with us, our special truth. Yes, we're teaching the Gospel more, but we aren't willing to let go of our foundation. And we don't realize that our foundation actually hinders and opposes the Gospel. It always has. The tension continues constantly, even today.

Over the years Adventism has taught that its special truths were Biblical. I have looked and learned, and I've found the "truths" not to be so true after all. I have looked at Adventist history, and I have seen how the institution has continued to cover-up these things in order to preserve its identity. For years we've been studying and studying, trying to attain the peace that really just comes from resting in the grace of Jesus. We've been working very hard. But if we give up our pride and rest in Jesus' own "right-ness," we will find that He Himself is our uniqueness. He is our special-ness. He is everything that we need! The Son is the character of God, not the Law! He is the fullness of the Godhead, and you have fullness in Him! (Hebrews 1:1-3, Colossians 2:9-10)

Sadly, it appears that way back at the beginning of Adventism, our forefathers were unable to make the sacrifice of their right-ness and trust in Jesus alone. So over the years, generation after generation has been raised believing that they needed more than the grace of Jesus, that the gospel itself was insufficient to save them, because that's what the "other churches" preached. We've been tired and burdened by the guilt of never being able to measure up to our own standards. That is because we've returned to the Old Covenant and fallen under the curses of the Law all over again. In returning to the Old Covenant weekly "rest," we've missed the true Sabbath-rest that comes in Jesus' salvation.

Many "keep the Sabbath" in our modern way, thinking that it pleases God. Many think that they will make Jesus unhappy if they don't keep the Sabbath.

But the Bible says that God doesn't judge us by the Law (the Old Covenant) because we are under a New Covenant. A covenant made between the Father and the Son. He loves us so much that He took our sin and has given us credit for His perfect life. The Father looks at us and sees Jesus! He has given us a New Covenant of grace. We aren't under the Old Covenant (the Law) anymore. Instead, we rest in Jesus. The Sabbath was a ceremony that He introduced to Israel to let them know about the rest from their works that they were going to have in the coming Messiah. He gives us rest from trying to please the Father, because the Father is pleased with the Son.

Jesus is rest!

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

So yes, I have left Adventism. I am having joy learning more about the covenants and the love of the Father in the Son. I don't want to hide anymore. I have tried talking about this in a subtle and sensitive way, but life is too short for me to be shy. And I don't want to hide my joy! I want you to know His joy, I want you to be filled with His Spirit, I want you to know the smile that comes from resting in Jesus!

Bless you as you rest in Jesus, the Father's love.

Joyfully in Jesus' rest,
Ramone


P.S. If you have ANY questions, if you couldn't read the whole letter, if you want to talk, anything, PLEASE email me. I will answer any question and I will be happy to pray with you. I just want to say that I still love everybody in Adventism and I will never stop praying for them. If you've related to or understood any of what I've talked about in this letter, or even if you disagree, please email me and let me know. If you've been shy of "going public" like I have, or if you've suffered under the many stresses of Adventist doctrine over the years, please email me. I may not have all the answers, but I promise to pray with you and cry with you. Our God is love, and He knows us and our hearts. There is no condemnation in my Jesus. :)
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7 Comments:

  • At March 24, 2010 10:51 AM, Anonymous John said…

    Good on you for being honest. Many people disagree with the SDA church and stay in it!
    Jesus said there are many false Christs in the world. I guess there is one each for everyone's imagination, so I guess you will find out if the Jesus you now belong to is the true Christ of the Bible when we all find out - at the end of time. Being a "regular christian" is not my idea of being a saved christian. Have you actually read EGW's Steps To Christ; The Desire of Ages or Christ's Object Lessons? How can anyone read her honestly and open mindedly without coming closer to Christ?
    The SDA church isn't hiding things! All her writings are open access and free to read and copy on the internet! There's hundreds of thousands of pages there, so if she is a false prophet it won't be hard to establish! whiteestate.org - nice and easy

     
  • At March 25, 2010 12:08 AM, Anonymous Ramone said…

    Hi John.

    Yes, I've read Steps to Christ and probably all of Desire of Ages (I didn't read it in order), and parts of Christ's Object Lessons. I made use of the latter book for vespers while I was an Adventist missionary.

    Desire of Ages is probably the book that has had some of the most plagiarism, according to Adventist studies. Most of its material is by other authors.

    Christ's Object Lessons is one of the two sources where she claimed that no Christian should ever say "I'm saved" -- which simply contradicts Scripture inexcusably. I can understand her logic, but the Gospel does not work according to human logic. Paul repeatedly wrote that Christ has saved us (past tense). Jesus said that whoever believes in Him will not come into judgment (John 5:24). And 1st John 5:13 says that we may know we have eternal life if we believe in Christ. Ellen White simply couldn't accept the logic of the gospel and imposed human logic on top of it, inadvertantly reversing what Scripture declared. But she did so with a 'divine stamp', so to speak, speaking as if what she was saying was God's voice and command...

     
  • At March 25, 2010 12:10 AM, Anonymous Ramone said…

    (Continued...)

    Hmm. On a final note for now, I should note the obvious: that there is a lot more to her writings than these three books you've mentioned. Things like the "Selected Messages" or "Testimonies to the Church" series often show a condemning, legalistic and incredibly judgmental side of her. I once read a report comparing the extreme ups and downs people exhibited after experiencing head trauma like Ellen did when she was a child. It would be very reasonable to suggest that based on her incredibly harsh, legalistic condemnations to people ("you still have butter and salt on your table... how high do your prayers go?" etc.), she was probably at least bi-polar, if not worse.

    Essentially, people like Ellen White & Joseph Smith were exactly what Paul was talking about when he said:

    "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head... Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence...

    Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."

     
  • At March 25, 2010 12:10 AM, Anonymous Ramone said…

    (Continued...)

    Growing up in Adventism, I remember the respect and constant peddling of the book Steps to Christ. I remember the free copy I got when I went on a school tour of the General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring (where I grew up, btw).

    Later at LaSierra, I did some research into the book and I made a trip up to the Loma Linda University "Heritage Center" to see a copy of the very first published edition of the book. The reason? Because the first edition of the book was not published by the SDA publishing system. It was published by the non-SDA company Fleming Revell instead. It was also missing the first chapter. I was curious because there was basically no explanation for this. There was a typed note pasted into the book, but it doesn't answer the question of why she went outside the SDA system to publish the book.

    The likely explanation is that it did not contain enough SDA "distinctive" doctrines, but instead attempted to be more Christ-centered, as a result of the influence of Jones & Waggoner's preaching in 1888 through 1892ish. As she traveled she distributed copies of the book along with Waggoner's book, Christ and His Righteousness.

    Whatever drama went on behind the scenes that made her go outside the system to publish her book is likely long covered-up and smoothed-over (it would seem she played a part in that, too).

    As intriguing as all that was, though, it doesn't quite hit the root of the problem. Not by a long shot.

    It was interesting... while at LSU there was a friend I would study with from time to time from another country. My friend was reading through Steps to Christ and simply noticed that things were off. That it was still looking to Law as the measure of growth and love for Christ instead of His grace, instead of resting assured in what He has accomplished for us.

    Two years later after I had formally left Adventism, I realized something that I had simply never realized before. The whole problem of the book can be seen in the sheer title to the book: "Steps to Christ". The imagery is still that of her first vision (which was not from God), showing people climbing a stairway up to heaven, some falling off, etc. Ellen's vision of the gospel is based on how we ascend "to Christ"... on how we access Him, on the things we do in order to get closer to Him.

    The gospel, on the other hand, is based on the opposite: it is based on what He has done to get access to us! The gospel of God's grace proclaims that while we were still dead in our sins, God sent His Son and saved (past tense) us by His grace. The gospel tells the true story of a God who came to us because we could not come to Him.

    There's a lot more to these things, but I just thought I would mention these alone for now...

     
  • At January 12, 2011 8:23 AM, Anonymous Mark said…

    Only the devil would have us beleive that there is a "special" truth.

    While Jesus confirmed that all truth is special. ;)

    Curious to know how you now see the Little Horn, and other specific biblical prophetic time periods? Not intending to suggest that your re-newed walk with the Lord is secondary but that He lead us to understand those questions at some point.

    Thank you.

     
  • At January 17, 2011 12:07 AM, Anonymous Ramone said…

    (Continued...)

    Actually, the theme of "force" is all over Revelation and the rest of the apocalyptic writings. It is dramatically apparent in the four horsemen of the seven seals, when the first horse rides forth looking like Christ (He also rides forth on a white horse in Revelation 19), however the first rider rides out "to conquer" -- to spread His kingdom by force. The result is that death, famine, destruction and war follow in his wake. This is when the church has taken up methods against the love of God in the name of spreading His kingdom. In contrast, when Christ rides forth in the end, He judges and makes war with justice. The righteous armies of heaven follow after Him, and the earth is renewed and the nations are healed. It's quite a contrast.

    The dual emphasis of Revelation is visible in the re-stating of the two great commandments, to love God and love one's neighbor. These are magnified in the writings of John, most explicitly in 1st John 3:23 (which explicitly defines what "commands" mean in John's writings) -- to believe in the name of one sent by Father, Jesus Christ, and to love one another (as He loved us).

    These two commands reverberate throughout the New Testament and throughout the apocalyptic writings. Because indeed it is all about Jesus, and it is all about His love for us.

    These things may sound disappointing to anyone looking for some kind of "secret knowledge" that will seem more "advanced", which they then hope would give them an extra bit of insurance (so to speak) in getting through "the last days". (Nevermind that Acts 2 & Hebrews 1 say that "the last days" began in the time of the apostles!) The fact that all of the prophetic writings lay out something so simple and elementary is insulting to those who have been unconsciously striving and laboring to earn God's salvation in the end through their careful observation, knowledge, and actions.

    We're used to expecting things to be difficult; we're used to expecting that we have to "work" in some way in order to be saved in the end. But the loud message of the gospel is that no, we can't and never could be saved that way. So He has done it for us. If we're still searching for some secret key or knowledge to be "safe" in the end, then we haven't really seen Christ and what He has accomplished for us.

    Real rest in Christ is content to say, "You know, I don't need to understand every little thing in the prophets or even in non-apocalyptic writings. I know Jesus, and I trust Him." While we're willing to hear from Him and learn when He wants to reveal things to us, at the same time we must be as content as the prophet Daniel (in chapter 12) to realize that sometimes God is simply not going to give us all the answers that we want Him to give us. Instead He has already given us THE answer: Jesus Christ Himself. He is our salvation, not a lot of knowledge of what's coming. A map won't save you, but rather a Savior already has.

    Bless you in His rest!
    Ramone

     
  • At January 17, 2011 12:07 AM, Anonymous Ramone said…

    (Continued...)

    For example, in Revelation there is the Mark of the Beast. The prophetic imagery speaks of a physical mark on hand or head, and yet we know that salvation is not by flesh but is by faith. If someone pins you down and puts the Mark on you against your will, what happens to your salvation? Obviously nothing, for Christ has not circumcised us in the flesh but in the heart. In the same way, it should be obvious that looking for a literal "mark" is missing the point and is a waste of time. Revelation is talking about a spiritual mark, a mark in the heart, not in the flesh.

    Looking at the motivation of the people who would administer the "mark" makes these spiritual things even clearer: They would not allow anyone without the mark to buy or sell (likely because they blamed such uncooperative people for the asteroids & resulting disasters on the earth). God's way is not to remove peoples' choice. If anyone tells you that you cannot eat or make a living because you are not worshiping in such and such way, you know they are of a different spirit, not of the Holy Spirit.

    God said that His people would worship Him in Spirit and in truth, and that means anywhere, everywhere, and anytime. Psalm 110 says that His army will be willing. He desires the hearts of His people more than He desires their perfect obedience. He is surrounded by perfect praise and obedience. It isn't because of what you can do for Him that He wants to be with you forever; no, He wants you!

    So if anyone or government demands worship of any god (even Christ) in a certain way or time, although the name of the deity might be correct, the love of God is absent and thus it is not a command of God. Refusing people food and livelihood because they don't worship in a certain way (whether it is worshiping on a certain day, in a certain name, etc.) is not acting in the love of God but in the ways of hell. This is obvious and ought to be a no-brainer.

    The bottom line is: You can't force people into heaven. Otherwise the law would have had the power to save, but the law only had the power to condemn and administer death.

    (Continued...)

     

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