By Pastor Hal Mayer
I want to take this opportunity to share with you how much I appreciate your prayers and support for Keep The Faith Ministry. Your letters and gifts have also meant much to me as we face the challenges of these last days. Many of you have written and shared how much these monthly sermons have blessed you. Please continue to remember Keep The Faith Ministry in your prayers. We have many powerful sermons in the works and I am praying that we will know just which sermons to prepare each month.
I have a few of announcements.
If you are looking for a college for young people that will train them to be missionaries and provide them with a Bible and Spirit of Prophecy based education, you should contact Hartland College. This wonderful school is perhaps the finest education center in the world, teaching Present Truth in a power packed course for these last days. If you think that there isn’t time to get this kind of training, think again. Hartland College is perhaps the best chance young people have of getting character preparedness for clearness of thought, courage of their convictions and development of their individuality; just what they will need for the coming crisis. This program is unique. It is a school that is not willing to compromise on the standards, and teaches the true principles of self-supporting work. Hartland College graduates have no difficulty fulfilling their mission. Many of them start their own soul-winning projects. For information, call Hartland College at 540-672-3100, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My heart is touched by the letters I have received from 10 year old children after our first episode of Keep The Faith for Kids. Adults have also told me that they listen over and over again to the story and songs. Keep The Faith Ministry is dedicated to helping families prepare for the coming of Jesus. Our most precious heritage, our children need character encouragement too, especially to stand for Jesus in the coming crisis. Keep The Faith for Kids is being offered as a separate CD only subscription for those that want it. We realize that our regular listeners don’t want to miss the updates on prophecy and religious liberty after the sermons on CD. So we decided to publish Keep The Faith for Kids separately. If your family wants to receive a separate CD with Keep The Faith for Kids as they are released, please email us at email@example.com, or write us and we will be glad to add you to the list. Like all of our subscriptions, Keep The Faith for Kids is free, but is supported by the free will offerings of God’s people. Sign up today. And go to our website and read the testimonies of some of the children that have written to us.
Also please check our website at www.ktfministry.org for the most up to date speaking appointments, as well as sermon texts, audios that can be downloaded to your computer or your MP3 player, articles of interest and other useful resources. We even have a place for you to email us your prayer requests and testimonies of how Keep The Faith Ministry has changed your life. We have just made major updates. Please make use of our website. And tell us what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
For those of you receiving the cassette version of this message, you need to know that there is more information on the CDs. After the sermon each month, we add about 15 to 20 minutes of updates on fulfilling prophecy and religious liberty. But it is only on CD. We don’t have the room on cassette to add this material. If you would like to keep up with some of the signs of the times, all you have to do is write us or email us to switch to CD. You don’t want to miss anything, so if you can, switch as soon as possible.
Here’s another little tip. After last month’s sermon, and in relation to the Ten Commandments Commission, I want to recommend two books to you. One is called “The Pope’s letters and Sunday Laws.” John Paul II laid the ground work of support for Sunday Laws around the world, particularly in countries where Catholicism is strong. This book will help you see what has been happening both publicly and behind the scenes to prepare for them. The other book is called “The Lord’s Day” and addresses the issues concerning Sunday as the false Sabbath, how it developed, arguments used against the true Sabbath, and other important issues that you will need answers for in the coming months. Both books are written by Colin and Russell Standish and are available from Hartland Publications. You can call them at 800-774-3566, or you can write them at P. O. Box 1, Rapidan, VA 22733.
Lastly you can order any quantity of a special edition of the Last Generation magazine which has been specially prepared for Ten Commandments Day. Last Generation Magazine is an outreach magazine that has won many souls to the truth. The special issue for Ten Commandments Day explains the Sabbath more fully, and addresses some of the key issues related to the Ten Commandments Day. You should have these to pass out in your community on Ten Commandments Day. You can get these by calling Last Generation at 540-672-3100 and ask for the Last Generation. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The title of the sermon this month is What is Behind the Ten Commandments Day Movement?”
My friends, we are coming to the most solemn period of earth’s history. Great issues are at stake for you and your eternal destiny. God has given us a clear picture of what is going to take place. It is hard to understand how that we who have so much light can have such difficulty in seeing the connectedness of current events. Wars, floods, earthquakes, famines, and other disasters are a wakeup call. But legal changes in many western governments which undermine or remove the liberties of their citizens, a U.S. Supreme Court that is now a majority catholic for the first time in history, and a U.S. administration that is using fear to take more power to the President; all these things are happening at the same time, giving us the sense that something amazing it about to happen. Then the Ten Commandments Commission, a group of mainly evangelical and Jewish religious leaders begins its work of raising public interest in the United States about the Ten Commandments.
These are very important moves in the Great Controversy and we need to understand them. This month we are going to study a little deeper into the movement to elevate the Ten Commandments to prominence. But before we do let us pray.
Our Father in Heaven, Your grace is sufficient to meet all of our needs, but we have big challenges ahead. I ask you to develop in me and in all our listeners the character that they will need to resist the pressure to compromise our faith. Thank you for your love and watch care over your people. Now as we study today, I pray that you will help us understand the forces underneath and behind the movement to promote the Ten Commandments. Thank you in Jesus’ name, amen.
Let us open our bibles today my friends to the book of the Psalms 94:20-21. Here is a text that refers to unjust religious laws. Here we also see that there is a gathering together, a coalition, to enact oppressive legislation. “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.”
Notice that these verses are speaking of a throne or kingdom or government. Also they speak of framing laws that create spiritual mischief against the righteous and that there is a coalition that is developing to enact such laws. Our topic today will study the movement that, in the name of God, and in the name of morality, will ultimately seek to frame mischievous laws against those that are truly loyal to God.
As we look a little closer at the developing movement to promote the Ten Commandments, it is good for us to understand the underlying principles that have motivated it. As you know from last month’s sermon, the very same evangelicals that told us as late as 20 years ago that the Ten Commandments had been nailed to the cross are now coming back around and telling us that they are the basis of moral reform in society. What has led to this change?
It is important to think through the causes of the Ten Commandments emphasis because we must have intelligent, responsible answers for why we cannot join this movement.
Many Christian leaders have denounced the keeping of the Ten Commandments as legalism, claiming that they don’t need to be kept. Relegating the Ten Commandments as merely the law of Moses which was done away with at the cross has encouraged sin and transgression in society. It has also created a moral vacuum that has left the nations of this world with moral uncertainty and the gradual disintegration of society. Immorality is rife. Trouble is on every side. Christians have been forced to rethink their understanding of the law of God. The moral vacuum that has developed in society has opened the way for zealous and even godly people, who would be horrified if they knew where this was leading, to join the movement and give it support.
Here is the statement from the Spirit of Prophecy that tells us what has historically been the principle argument against God’s Sabbath day. It is found in Great Controversy, page 587 and 588.
“As the claims of the fourth commandment are urged upon the people, it is found that the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath is enjoined; and as the only way to free themselves from a duty which they are unwilling to perform, many popular teachers declare that the law of God is no longer binding.”
Now this is what we have been told for many, many years. Most evangelical preachers reacted to the Seventh-day Adventist teaching that the seventh day Sabbath is still binding by saying that the law was nailed to the cross. Incidentally the Catholic Church has never said this. Rome historically, and correctly, claims that she changed the Sabbath. It WAS Rome that replaced the Sabbath with Sunday way back in the 3rd and 4th centuries. But Protestants didn’t want to admit that they were following Rome in Sunday observance, particularly when they were so against Rome. That would in essence be an admission that Rome was their spiritual mother, and 50 years ago, that would have been impossible. Of course, there was a change in character of Protestantism after Vatican II, and gradually, their differences have lost significance.
I’ll read on from Great Controversy. “Thus they cast away the law and the Sabbath together. As the work of Sabbath reform extends, this rejection of the divine law to avoid the claims of the fourth commandment will become well-nigh universal.” So, in nailing the law and the Sabbath to the cross, Protestant leaders essentially told their flocks that they didn’t need to keep the law. And this became a nearly universal teaching.
Now listen to what Ellen White says, “The teachings of religious leaders have opened the door to infidelity, to spiritualism, and to contempt for God’s holy law; and upon these leaders rests a fearful responsibility for the iniquity that exists in the Christian world.” You see, in the minds of their church members, if the law is no longer binding, then it isn’t necessary to KEEP it, any of it. So with the barrier against sin removed in their minds, most Christians could drink, smoke, watch pornography, commit adultery, murder their unborn babies, etc., and have no fear of losing eternal life. They think that once they were saved, they will always be saved, which also lends itself to the idea that you can sin and it won’t affect your salvation. Society began a long steady moral decline which greatly increased the problems of society. The family especially came under stress. Millions of children grew up in single-parent households. Dysfunctional families led to unprecedented rates of divorce. Emotional abuse (along with physical abuse) set many “children’s teeth on edge,” as the scripture says in Jeremiah 31:29. This resulted in the rise of the gay movement, which eventually led to an assault on traditional and biblical marriage. This scenario was repeated and repeated in many societies and nations, and in many different ways. As so-called Christian nations became more and more secular, Christian people became more frustrated with the assaults on their beliefs and the general decline of morals in society.
They will begin to think that religious legislation will solve these problems. Even though Jesus never advocated political reforms, and always focused on the moral reform of the heart as the solution to society’s problems, modern Christians think that laws dealing with the Ten Commandments will change the heart of the nation and bring its people back to God. Keep in mind that we should be in favor of laws that deal with the social issues of our world such as the last six commandments. But today there is the desire to make laws concerning the first four commandments as well, and in particular the fourth which concern the relation between man and his God.
One of the frustrating things to Christians, particularly in the United States is the fact that the Bill of Rights was used as a means of defending immoral behavior. For example, freedom of speech and freedom of the press has been used to support the publication and sale of pornography. Freedom of choice over one’s body is the pretense by which pro-abortion laws thrive. These things have paved the way for a Christian over-reaction. While laws restricting pornography and abortion are needed and good, and would promote the good of society, there will be those that promote the idea that we also need to regulate worship. Most will think that this is a good idea because it is also presented as a moral reform.
I’ll continue reading Great Controversy. Speaking of those that advocated that the law was done away with at the cross God’s prophet says, “Yet this very class put forth the claim that the fast-spreading corruption is largely attributable to the desecration of the so-called “Christian sabbath,” and that the enforcement of Sunday observance would greatly improve the morals of society. This claim is especially urged in America, where the doctrine of the true Sabbath has been most widely preached.” This actually happened around the end of the 19th century. There was a strong temperance movement called “prohibition” and a strong abolition movement (that’s the movement to free the slaves). These two elements combined together with a movement to establish a nation-wide Sunday law, led A. T. Jones and others to very effectively defended freedom of religion before the U.S. congress. They fought the famous Blair amendment with very clear and strong arguments that a Sunday law would be, in effect, an establishment of religion.
There were strong worship laws in the time of Moses, but that was when God’s people were in a theocracy. We do not have that kind of government today. God does not deal with the nations that way. If laws are permitted that regulate worship, whose definition of the day of worship will become the law of the land?
Ellen White continues, “Here the temperance work, one of the most prominent and important of moral reforms, is often combined with the Sunday movement, and the advocates of the latter represent themselves as laboring to promote the highest interest of society; and those who refuse to unite with them are denounced as the enemies of temperance and reform.” So by combining the Sunday law movement to the work of temperance, a difficult dilemma is created for those that oppose Sunday laws, but who are in favor of temperance. How can Sabbath keepers join the temperance movement in which they believe, when it means that they would also end up supporting a movement that also includes a Sunday law? Incidentally, Seventh-day Adventists aren’t the only Sabbath keepers. There are quite a few churches and groups that keep the Seventh-day Sabbath.
Ellen White continues, “But the fact that a movement to establish error is connected with a work which is in itself good, is not an argument in favor of the error. We may disguise poison by mingling it with wholesome food, but we do not change its nature. On the contrary, it is rendered more dangerous, as it is more likely to be taken unawares. It is one of Satan’s devices to combine with falsehood just enough truth to give it plausibility. The leaders of the Sunday movement may advocate reforms which the people need, principles which are in harmony with the Bible; yet while there is with these a requirement which is contrary to God’s law, His servants cannot unite with them. Nothing can justify them in setting aside the commandments of God for the precepts of men.”
So here we are again. Now what Christians would be against a marriage amendment in support of traditional, even biblical marriage? What real Christians would be against laws restricting abortions? What Christians would be against laws that advocate other important reforms? By coupling an emphasis on the Ten Commandments with moral reform in society, the same dilemma is created in our day. Moral reforms are greatly needed. But along with the Ten Commandments comes the fourth commandment – the Sabbath commandment. If Sabbath keepers go along with the moral reforms in other areas, they will also be lending their support to a movement to establish Sunday observance. The Ten Commandments Commission, though inclusive of Jews, and even started by a Jew, is not going to be supporting a return to seventh day Sabbath keeping. That is impossible. They will not get support for that among most Christian leaders and organizations.
I should also point out that Roman Catholicism has long been involved in the issues of moral reform, even longer than protestants. Rome has for a long time spoken out against liberal abortion laws, gay marriage laws, and other secular and moral thinking that has led to the decline of morals in society. Protestants have united with Rome, or have followed in her track in support of these same issues, especially now that they have no reason to oppose Rome in principle, after Vatican II successfully established the ecumenical movement between Protestants and Catholics.
But Rome has put Protestants in the same dilemma that THEY are now going to put Sabbath keepers. Rome has always spoken strongly about observance of Sunday as a day of rest. In the last 25 years especially, the Pope has frequently urged Sunday as a day that is needed by all nations and by all people as a rest from labor, a day of family togetherness and a day of worship. Because Protestants for the most part, already keep Sunday and doctrinally defend it in one way or another, they cannot see that Sunday observance is contrary to scripture. This makes them very vulnerable to supporting Rome.
Rome has traditionally claimed to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday on her own authority, not on scripture. Protestants on the other hand claim that Christ or his apostles changed the Sabbath to Sunday, again without solid biblical support. In recent times, however, Rome has also adopted the Protestant position that Christ and the apostles along with the church fathers has changed the Sabbath. Let me read it to you from the
Apostolic Letter written by John Paul II called “Dies Domini.” In the opening sentence, John Paul writes: “The Lord’s Day — as Sunday was called from Apostolic times…” The Lord’s day has never been Sunday. It was always the 7th day Sabbath. He also writes that Sunday observance “is a tradition going back to the Apostles, taking its origin from the actual day of Christ’s Resurrection…” John Paul even uses a famous Protestant mis-application of scripture to support Rome’s authority in changing the Sabbath by saying: “‘The first day after the Sabbath’ was also the day upon which the faithful of Troas were gathered ‘for the breaking of bread’, when Paul bade them farewell and miraculously restored the young Eutychus to life (that’s in Acts 20).” But this was Saturday night when this meeting was held because the Jews reckoned the day to begin at sunset, not at midnight. Paul had so much respect for the Sabbath that he actually waited until after the Sabbath to travel. In fact, the scriptures says he traveled on Sunday. It says in verse 11, that Paul “talked a long while, even till break of day [Sunday morning], so he departed.”
Yet, after giving all sorts of non-evidence for the change of the Sabbath, John Paul admits that it is the “Church’s precept” and that the church has made Sunday “a defining and indelible expression of our relationship with God.” “Significantly,” he continues, “the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that ‘the Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life’.
The authority of the Catholic Church for changing Sabbath to Sunday was reaffirmed all the way back at the council of Trent. The Archbishop of Reggio made a famous speech in which he said, “that the [Roman] Church had as much authority as the word of God; that the [Roman] Church hath changed the Sabbath, ordained by God, into Sunday.” That’s taken from Pietro Soave Polano’s book called History of the Council of Trent, b. 6, p. 439.
Jesus himself claimed the Sabbath as his own by saying “Therefore the son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:28.
So while Rome claims to have the authority to change the law of God from Sabbath to Sunday, she also now uses the unbiblical claims that Protestants have used as well in support of her authority. Protestants are deceived into thinking that they have common cause with Rome regarding Sunday observance, now that there is all this ecumenical thinking these days.
Protestants think that Sunday observance is biblical, and like Rome, have no problem combining it with other important moral reforms. They have set themselves up to be easily deceived into supporting an unbiblical principle in the name of upholding moral reforms.
Now, what moral issues are the Ten Commandments Commission concerned about? There are many actually. Some of them are ten commandment level issues, others are more constitutional related. Here are some of them; violence, abortion, breakdown of marriage and the family, gay marriage, injustice, corruption, media portrayal of sin, teaching of evolution and rejection of intelligent design, genetic manipulation and engineering, and the list could go on and on.
There are also concerns about natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, viruses and other pestilences, famines and drought. There are concerns about the unsettled state of nations, wars, threats of war and genocide.
There are fears of collapse of the retirement system, the overpriced medical system, increased taxation, government waste, mismanagement and corruption, the breakdown of public education, and our growing national debt.
Some of their concerns also have a political side, which motivates the legislative side of the movement, such as court injunctions against prayer in school and against the public display of the Ten Commandments, efforts to remove “In God We Trust” from our money, and “under God” from the pledge of allegiance; ethical issues like euthanasia, stem cell research, and other new technologies that reduce the value of life.
But the political side of the Ten Commandments Commission is bigger than this. Over 300 letters have already been sent to senators and Representatives in Congress encouraging them to support the Ten Commandments Commission. What would be the point of writing letters to those in Congress? The only reason is to encourage these national leaders is to take legislative action. That’s ominous my friends!
Part of the concerns of the Ten Commandments Commission relate to what is called judicial activism. They believe that liberal judges have eroded the morality of our country by actively reinterpreting the Constitution to support their liberal agendas, such as abortion rights, gay rights, prayer in school, and of course the removal of the Ten Commandments from courtrooms. They believe that the only way to overcome this is to appoint judges that interpret the Constitution their way, or more subtlety put, in line with the “original intent” of the framers of the Constitution.
But “original intent” only goes so far. What is original intent to one, may be activism to another. In the end, whether they believe it or not, their movement will go beyond original intent and develop a bit of their own judicial activism the other way. The pendulum will swing, all in the name of supporting the morality that the framers of the Constitution supposedly envisioned for the United States.
But the movement will go beyond the U.S. The citizens of other nations will also be encouraged to become politically active in restoring the “moral foundations” of their governments and societies. Don’t think that this movement is innocuous. It is something that should be closely watched.
Let me remind you where this is leading. The Ten Commandments Commission leaders may or may not understand that this will lead to a resurgence of Sunday observance and calls for laws to require all citizens to attend church on Sunday. Perhaps it will take some time to develop the momentum for this. It may also take other events or groups of individuals in their own scope to bring it about, but the Ten Commandments Day celebrations will certainly support the Sunday law movement.
Scripture makes it clear that it is the fourth beast of Daniel seven that seeks to change times and laws. Beasts in prophecy are human governments. Let us read it from vs. 23. “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” This is a clear reference to the temporal rise of the Roman catholic power in the dark ages, which came to power by subduing or destroying three of the ten kingdoms that invaded the secular Roman Empire.
But scripture goes on. I’ll continue reading from verse 25. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Again, this is a clear reference to the Holy Roman Empire which persecuted or “wears out” faithful souls that did not accept her dogmas, and especially those that did not accept her false Sabbath. Rome’s Sunday Sabbath is a change in God’s time and God’s law which she claims to have done on her own authority. But this verse is referring to the rule of the Papacy during the 1260 years of the dark ages when God’s true church had fled to the wilderness.
This same beast is pictured again in Revelation 13 along with another “lamblike beast” which works with Rome to implement the image to the beast. Let us read Revelation 13:15. “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” So the issue is about worship of the beast, or Rome. Rome will again claim the worship of all, and through the “Lamblike beast,” will enforce worship in harmony with her dogma, or more specifically Sunday worship. The “lamb-like” beast is another human government that is established on principles that allow freedom, particularly freedom of worship. That can be none other than the United States of America. But the scripture says that America eventually cooperates with Rome to enforce her worship, or Sunday observance.
Again I quote from Dies Domini. Speaking of Cannon Law concerning Sunday observance, John Paul II says, “This legislation has normally been understood as entailing a grave obligation: this is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church…” Then he goes on to say, “the Church has not ceased to confirm this obligation of conscience,” and that, “In our own historical context there remains the obligation to ensure that everyone can enjoy the freedom, rest and relaxation… which are difficult to meet if there is no guarantee of at least one day of the week on which people can both rest and celebrate.” And he concludes by saying that, “it is clear therefore why the observance of the Lord’s Day is so close to the Church’s heart, and why in the Church’s discipline it remains a real obligation.” Rome still teaches that Sunday observance is obligatory. When this will become a global issue, we can be sure that it will involve legislation, and punishment for those that do not go along with it.
Notice what Revelation 13:16 and 17 say will happen to those that do not go along with the coming Sunday law. “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
So those that go along with the coming Sunday Laws will receive the mark and will be permitted to carry on life as normal, but they will lose their eternal salvation. Those that do not will not be permitted to carry on as normal for they will be prevented from buying or selling.
The Ten Commandments Commission has a logo which depicts the Ten Commandments in stone in front of an American flag. Perhaps as time goes on, a more generic version of the logo will be used so that Christians of other countries will connect more directly. But by putting them in stone, they are symbolizing the unchangeable principles of the Ten Commandments, yet most of the leaders of this movement are in at least one of its precepts, breaking the express command of God. By keeping Sunday holy, they are placing themselves in opposition to God and His law, for the apostle James says “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” That’s James 2:10. It is ironic that the logo presents a cracked stone version of the Ten Commandments. Perhaps they have unwittingly admitted their own disobedience to the very law they are supposedly upholding.
In the U.S., the Ten Commandments Commission has already begun sending letters to legislative leaders and asked for their support of the Ten Commandments Commission. There can be only one reason to write to lawmakers; either to encourage them to enact legislation, or to encourage them to oppose legislation. Even if this was an introductory letter with no express or implied requests other than to support the Ten Commandments Commission, there is an underlying agenda to support laws that involve the Ten Commandments. Getting the support of lawmakers will increase the profile of the whole concept of promoting the Ten Commandments, but it will eventually lead to actual legislation. After all, one of the stated objectives of the Ten Commandments Commission is to make the ten commandments the supreme law of the land. No doubt they will get a good deal of support.
Building support for the Ten Commandments in society is a strategic approach. Many people would fight an all out Sunday law, but this way many people will come on board and support the Ten Commandments Commission that would otherwise fight a Sunday law. Jews, particularly non-religious Jews would not fight a Sunday law, but since there is a strong emphasis on Moses, many religious Jews would also likely support it even though the Commission would one day press for laws supporting Sunday observance.
Here is how the movement for a Sunday law could develop. First there would be the celebrations and a call to action with an invitation to join the movement. As the movement grows, there would be increasing pressure on lawmakers to enact legislation to strengthen the morals of society. Since liberal judges have largely been replaced with conservative judges in the federal courts and the Supreme Court, there would be a much greater legal window through which laws involving or related to the Ten Commandments could be made. Success in enacting laws relating to marriage, abortion, or other hot button issues, will embolden the movement to press for Sunday laws. If there are more major terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, or some substantial disasters that awe the world, the pressure for a law getting everybody in church to plead for God’s protection will likely strengthen. When a Sunday law is finally enacted, at first it would be a mild law. But as there is little opposition to the popular movement, again it will become emboldened to increase the strength of the law. Laws always carry penalties. At first penalties would be mild. Then as pressure is increased, they would be more severe until eventually, those that keep God’s Seventh-day Sabbath will be outright persecuted. Eventually the death penalty would be enacted against seventh day Sabbath keepers.
This is not fiction. Historically, death has always been the penalty for those that have refused to follow Rome’s doctrines and practices. Historically, though others have been persecuted, it is Sabbath keepers that have been the main object of persecution and death. We only have to go back as far as World War II to understand this. It is important to remember that the Nazi government targeted Jews and killed over six million of them. These were Sabbath keepers my friends, not Sunday keepers. You might say, well, that was a secular government. But why weren’t religious people in general the target of the persecution and annihilation? You see, Satan is especially hostile to God’s holy law. He knows that the Sabbath is a special sign between God and His people. He knows that the Sabbath symbolizes loyalty to God, and those that are loyal to God are the special target of his hostility. He comes as an angel of light, mixing enough truth in to his teaching that he is disguised in a form that the vast majority will accept.
Let’s go back a bit farther in history. During the dark ages, Rome persecuted many people, but often they were Sabbath keepers. Many of the Waldenses for example, were Sabbath keepers. Other groups of Sabbath keepers existed throughout Europe and suffered greatly for it, often with death.
Let us go back even further. In spite of what Roman Catholic historians will tell you, and in spite of what Protestant theologians will tell you, the persecutions of the early Christians by the emperors, was carried out almost entirely against Sabbatarians – those who keep God’s holy Sabbath.
Historically, Sabbath keepers have been the most persecuted body of believers. Satan is so shrewd that he has co-opted even some modern Sabbath keepers in getting involved in the movement. The founder and president, for example, is Ron Wexler, who was born in Israel. It is ironic that a number of prominent Jews are involved in the movement to support the Ten Commandments. Satan loves to show his disrespect and hatred for Christ by using those who were once God’s special people.
The scripture says “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12. Those that love the truth will not be in the majority. They will not be the ones enacting religious legislation by popular pressure. They will not be the ones who will be in the majority. In the coming crisis, they will be a tiny minority.
Let us come back to our opening text in Psalm 94:20-21. “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.”
There is a coalition developing to influence the government to enact a law that will set it against the law of God, and to persecute those that are loyal to God by keeping His holy Sabbath.
But notice verse 22 and 23. “But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.”
Just when they are ready to triumph, God will cut them off. They will not be able to secure the entire control of the world for their version of righteousness. My friends, don’t you want to be numbered with those that are defended by Jehovah? I do.
My friends, we can see the future because of prophecy. To some, these things sound outlandish and impossible. But unfortunately, they are all too true. It is vital that we understand the principles involved as we watch the news and learn of these developments. Now is the time to get ready my friends, not in some distant future. May God help you and me to be awake and watch and pray, so that we enter not into the final temptation and deception that will lead the world into the final crisis. I want to be on Jesus’ side, don’t you? I want my family to be on Jesus’ side too. Let us diligently seek the Lord for character purification, so that Jesus will be able to place us under his shadow and carry us through to His second coming in the clouds of glory.
Let us pray. Our Father in Heaven, Thank you for prophecy that opens our eyes and causes us to wake up when we see it unfolding in our day. May your Holy Spirit lead us to surrender our lives completely to you each day, that we may be prepared for the time spoken of in scripture, when men’s hearts fail them for fear. May we have your peace even in the coming chaos. In Jesus’ name, amen.
For those of you receiving the CD version of this message, the following is a current events update of interest to those that love the appearing of Jesus Christ and are watching the fulfilling prophecies. This part of the program is only available on CD and on our website. We can see the signs of the times telling us that we are nearing the world’s great crisis. May the Lord find us faithful.
Our first report today concerns terrorism. It seems that the fox is trying to get into the henhouse. President Bush and his White House negotiators have been trying to hand control of six major U.S. ports, including New York and New Orleans, to a company based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. This is a company that is controlled by that government. Congress is resisting this “ports deal,” but the President claims that this is merely bias against a Middle Eastern Company. While the United Arab Emirates is an alley of the United States, reported the New York Times, “its record in the war on terror is mixed.”
But the Bush administration is firm in its support for the “ports deal.” Considering the circumstances, it would not be irrational for the U.S. to resist putting control of its ports in the hands of the United Arab Emirates. How easy would it be for opportunities to arise that would give terrorists an entering wedge though U.S. borders to infiltrate the nation? This deal makes ordinary Americans worry. But it also makes us wonder what kind of thinking is going on in the U.S. administration. The New York Times reported that the ports deal, according to the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, “doesn’t go to who they hire, or how they hire people.” This could have serious implications, and could indeed open the door of opportunity to the terrorists. You can be sure that Osama Bin Laden has connections in Dubai, just like he has connections with other alleys of the U.S. like Saudi Arabia. Some of the 9-11 terrorists had operational and financial activities in the United Arab Emirates reported the New York Times of February 20, 2006.
President Bush insists that this deal would not compromise our port security. But in reality, it makes port security potentially even less secure than it is at present. The Bush administration has not done much for the security of chemical plants or transport of toxic substances since 9-11. Even the infrastructure for port security is not well developed. Why would the U.S. want to decrease the level of certainty more than it is already? Instead of discussing the details of the deal, the Bush administration simply says that the information is classified, and has defended its “decision to forgo a national security review of the deal,” reported the Washington Post, February 24, 2006. Many question why the President’s cabinet members and other high-ranking officials failed to consult with the President and members of congress before approving this sensitive transaction.
Here is another fox-in-the-henhouse situation. President Bush and Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz agreed to a deal in which 25,000 U.S. student visas would be given to Saudi students over the next 5 years. The Saudi government is paying 100% of the costs of tuition. Keep in mind that Saudi Arabia is the homeland of Osama Bin Laden, and is the birthplace of “Wahhabism, the radical brand of Islamism that spawned Al-Qaida,” reported Worldnetdaily’s G2 Intelligence Bulletin.
“The scholarship program is unrolling quietly, without announcement from the Saudi Embassy or the White House,” reported Worldnetdaily. “The White House Press Office has declined to comment on the program and Saudi Embassy officials did not return calls inquiring about the program.”
“The State Department’s database to track foreign students in the U.S. has no automated system to ensure that students who complete their education leave the country within the required 60 days. Nor are there enough compliance officers” to track them down.
Saudi children are still taught to hate Jews and Christians, and still promote Jihad against the west, according to the U.S. State Department. Interestingly, on December 12, 2005, Harvard and Georgetown Universities each accepted a $20 million donation from Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz, reported Worldnetdaily.
Bird Flu Continues its March
Bird flu cases in Europe have greatly expanded. While European nations continue to try to bolster dramatically declining sale of chicken, more nations continue to report confirmations of the deadly H5N1 in its swan population. Bird flu has now been found in Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia, Austria, Romania, as well as Turkey, Egypt and Nigeria.
On February 25, 2006, the BBC reported that France confirmed its first case of bird flu in a turkey farm… just 200 meters from the lake where the two wild ducks (carrying the H5N1 virus) were detected.”
“Experts had not expected to see bird flu arriving in Europe until this spring at the earliest,” reported the International Herald Tribune, February 15, 2006, but the extreme cold weather in Russia, has apparently pushed the migrating birds farther west, spreading the disease more widely.
Interestingly, the turkey farmer told the media that he had kept all 11,000 birds indoors, so the big question is, how were they infected? Experts suspect “that the virus may have been carried on straw bedding brought from outside the farm,” said the BBC.
In the wake of the infected turkey farm, Japan announced an import ban of French poultry. Sales of poultry in Europe has also dropped one third, and in some countries one half.
France and Britain are urging their citizens to eat the chicken saying that it is safe. However, what happens when a strain of the virus develops that resists the normal heat used to cook the chicken, and becomes easily transmittable from human to human?
Meanwhile, more cases of human death in Indonesia from bird flu have been reported. Deaths from Bird Flu are generally limited to those that handle birds. It is expected that Canada and the United States could have avian flu infections among bird populations as early as this coming summer.
Though the deadly form of bird flu which has killed more than 50% of the people that have become infected is still largely an animal disease, it is feared that the virus will mutate into a form that can transmit easily from human to human. If this should happen, chances of a human pestilence of enormous proportions is likely, killing millions of people.
The Pope and Religious Symbols
Pope Benedict XVI reacted to the controversy over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. Benedict said, “The Catholic Church continues convinced that, to foster peace and understanding between peoples and men, it is necessary and urgent that religions and their symbols be respected,” reported Zenit, the Vatican’s news agency. He “requested that this respect be guaranteed ‘in a reciprocal manner in all societies,” to ensure for all “the exercise of the religion freely chosen.’”
What does it mean to respect religions and their symbols? While free societies prize the freedom to ridicule or criticize anything, even religious groups, the cartoon controversy has made it obvious that those who criticize Islam will face the wrath of militant Islamists, which in effect is a strong damper on freedom of speech.
More concerning to those that love Present Truth is the question of what does the term “respect” mean? Actually, it could mean whatever the politically correct view happens to be. Those who teach the Bible truth concerning the man of sin, or the beast of Daniel 7 or Revelation 13, pointing out that this refers to the Catholic Church, may one day find themselves accused of disrespecting the Catholic religion.
Benedict XVI noted that “for believers, as for all people of good will, the only path that can lead to peace and fraternity is respect for the convictions and religious practices of others.” For many, many years, non-Catholic missionaries and soul-winners have often been accused of not respecting the Catholic religion because they seek to make converts of Roman Catholics. This gave rise to the idea that true Christians should reach the unreached; meaning that missionaries and evangelists should not attempt to convert those who claim to be Christians to their faith from another.
While we should respect the convictions of others, it is important to realize that some convictions are unbiblical or simply wrong. Respecting their convictions, does not mean that we should not try to convince them of their error, but rather that we should respect their right to hold erroneous beliefs or practice things forbidden in God’s word. No one should be forced to accept the truth; that’s not really genuine conversion. While Benedict XVI did not suggest in his remarks that forced conversions were still part of the Catholic principles, Roman Catholic history is replete with such examples. Has Rome changed? Not according to scripture. The Papacy of the last days will be just as persecuting as a millennia ago.
What will happen when there is a law requiring worship on Sunday? Will there be force used to ensure compliance? Would this be respecting the religion of those that do not go along with the majority, or do not believe in Sunday worship?
Spying on Americans
President Bush as defended the wiretap surveillance of American citizen’s calls and emails abroad without a warrant on the basis of the Presidential war powers authorized by Congress when they authorized the war on terrorism. But a congressional report by the Congressional Research Service concluded “that the administration’s justification for the warrantless eavesdropping authorized by President Bush conflicts with existing law and hinges on weak legal arguments,” reported the Washington Post, January 7, 2006.
“The report,” said the Post, “also concluded that Bush’s assertion that Congress authorized such eavesdropping to detect and fight terrorists does not appear to be supported by the special resolution that Congress approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which focused on authorizing the President to use military force.” In other words, the Congressional Research Service clearly contradicted the President and attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ claim that the National Security Agency’s spying on Americans is legal. “It looks lie the President’s wiretapping was not only illegal,” said the report, “but also ensnared innocent Americans who did nothing more than place a phone call.”
The question of whether spying on Americans without a court ordered warrant, is central to the Constitutional principles of the United States. We are told in the Spirit of Prophecy that every principle of the U.S. Constitution will be repudiated. Here is the statement: “When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with Spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and Republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan, and that the end is near.” That is from Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 451.
Even though it is easy to get court ordered search warrants to wire tap American’s phones and emails, this simple protection is being ignored because the Bush administration does not want to be forced to convince the court that there is a reasonable cause to spy on Americans. This is the stuff of a budding dictatorship.
President Bush is taking steps to fulfill this prophecy by broadening the Presidential powers and assuming the constitutional authority that belongs to congress or the courts as part of the historical American system of checks and balances that protect the liberties of the people. In the name of security, personal liberties and freedoms are being sapped one by one so that merely the shell of the venerated U.S. Constitution remains.
Green Light for Torture
On February 26, 2006 The New York Times reported on Mr. Maher Arar. Perhaps you remember that Maher Arar was arrested in JFK airport in New York and sent to Syria where he was interrogated and tortured because he was suspected of being an al-Qaida terrorist. Well, here is an update about what happened as reported in The New York Times.
“Mr. Arar, a 35-year-old software engineer… was detained at Kennedy Airport in 2002 while on his way home from a family vacation. He was held in solitary confinement in a Brooklyn detention center and interrogated without proper access to legal counsel. Finally, he was shipped off to a Syrian prison. There, he was held for 10 months in an underground rat-infested dungeon and brutally tortured because officials suspected that he was a member of Al Qaeda. All this was part of a morally and legally unsupportable United States practice known as “extraordinary rendition,” in which the federal government outsources interrogations to regimes known to use torture and lacking fundamental human rights protections.
“The maltreatment of Mr. Arar would be reprehensible — and illegal under the United States Constitution and applicable treaties — even had the suspicions of terrorist involvement proven true. But no link to any terrorist organization or activity emerged, which is why the Syrians eventually released him. Mr. Arar then sued for damages.
“The judge in the case, David Trager of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, did not dispute that United States officials had reason to know that Mr. Arar faced a likelihood of torture in Syria. But he took the rare step of blocking the lawsuit entirely, saying that the use of torture in rendition cases is a foreign policy question not appropriate for court review, and that going forward would mean disclosing state secrets.
“It is hard to see why resolving Mr. Arar’s case would necessitate the revelation of privileged material. Moreover, as the Supreme Court made clear in a pair of 2004 decisions rebuking the government for its policies of holding foreign terrorism suspects in an indefinite legal limbo in Guantánamo and elsewhere, even during the war on terror, the government’s actions are subject to court review and must adhere to the rule of law.
“With the Bush administration claiming imperial powers to detain, spy on and even torture people, and the Republican Congress stuck largely in enabling mode, the role of judges in checking executive branch excesses becomes all the more crucial. If the courts collapse when confronted with spurious government claims about the needs of national security, so will basic American liberties.”
My friends, torture is very much alive. The U.S. Government knows it can get away with it. Perhaps its time to realize what God’s people may face when they become the enemy of the state.
That’s all we have time for today. God bless and keep you, until next month, this is Pastor Hal Mayer.
TThe Ten Commandments Commission, a group of mainly evangelical and Jewish religious leaders begins its work of raising public interest in the United States about the Ten Commandments. What are the implications?