Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 34, 1897

Two Opposing Armies


April 16, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in 3SM 422-423; OHC 88; FLB 35; 5MR 78-80.

We are nearing the close of this earth’s history, when two parties alone can exist, and every man, woman, and child will be in one of these armies. Jesus will be the General of one army; of the opposing army, Satan will be the leader. All who are breaking, and teaching others to break, the law of God, the foundation of His government in heaven and in earth are marshalled under one superior chief, who directs them in opposition to the government of God. And “the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation” [Jude 6], are rebels against the law of God, and enemies to all who love and obey His commandments. These subjects, with Satan their leader, will gather others into their ranks through every possible means, to strengthen his forces and urge his claims. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 1

Through his deception and delusion, Satan would, if possible, deceive the very elect. His is no minor deception. It is a masterly education he has been gaining for years. He will seek to annoy, to harass, to falsify, to accuse, and misrepresent all whom he cannot compel to give him honor and help him in his work. His great success lies in keeping men’s minds confused and ignorant of his devices, for then he can lead the unwary, as it were, blindfold. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 2

Satan claims to be the god of this world. Hear this pretender, this deceiver, as he talks with the Son of God, the world’s Redeemer. Exhibiting all the kingdoms of the world in a most attractive light, he says, “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. (False usurper!) If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” [Luke 4:6, 7.] What a presumptuous, fearful boast to make to the Son of God who made the world! Satan remembered how easily he had overcome Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, through his deceptive temptations, how readily they had thrown off their allegiance to God, had cast aside His Word, and accepted that of the fallen foe. On this Satan founded his claims as prince of the world. But Christ had to win back the race to their allegiance to God, while Satan’s work has been to overthrow the Son of God. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 3

And as Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, so he will tempt every son and daughter of Adam. Our faith will be tested, our motives will be proved, our principles will be tried, and if we have not a daily, living experience in a knowledge of the truth and of Jesus Christ who is the Sent of God, we shall be led away from our steadfastness into the error of the wicked. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 4

Satan’s plans and devices are soliciting us on every hand. We should ever remember that he comes to us in disguise, covering his motives and the character of his temptations. He comes in garments of light, clad apparently in pure, angel robes, that we may not discern that it is he. We need to use great caution, to closely investigate his devices, lest we be deceived. And we have a defense which we may use and be safe. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” [Ephesians 6:11.] 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 5

Notwithstanding the Bible is so full of warning, caution, and injunctions; notwithstanding that the experience of many has been left on record, where they have been overthrown by the subtlety of Satan, yet how difficult it is to awaken minds to realize the earnest and continual activity of the devil. Yet the testimony loses its force. The warnings pass out of mind. Those warned cease to watch, they cease to pray; they do not enlist the skill and care of angels, that in their ministration they may lift up a standard for them against the deceiver. By very many Satan is received as an honored guest; his suggestions are cherished as precious light. The plain truth, so clear and pointed in the Word of God, marking out the very course man should pursue, is regarded by many as idle tales until they are ensnared and taken, and are wholly on the enemy’s side, doing him service, while professing to serve Jesus Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 6

The apostle has said, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Verse 12.] We should individually study the nature, the character and extent of this spiritual wickedness in high places, lest we become the dupes of Satan. “The god of this world hath blinded the eyes of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” [2 Corinthians 4:4.] 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 7

There are none who make a profession of Bible truth, but that Satan is close upon their track. When any one is in a position where he can have a controlling influence upon other minds in connection with powers of darkness, then Satan works in a masterly manner to confuse the mind that has a degree of influence, that wrong shall appear right, and right shall appear wrong. This is his deceptive power working upon the mind. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 8

The suggestions and counsel of Satan always tend to lessen the importance of God’s requirements and lead men to walk contrary to God’s law, while they flatter themselves that they are walking in union with God. A man thinks that he has faith, while his heart is filled with unbelief, for he will not accept God’s holy standard. His own human reasoning leads him in his business arrangements to make plans for his own advantage, till he comes to think that it is God’s plan. But this is the sly, deceptive working of the enemy of souls. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 9

In whatever ability a man professing to obey God’s law may excel, Satan has a snare for his feet. And when once he is entangled therein, he has no lack of agencies and opportunities to lead him still further away. Thus souls are deluded. The deception becomes stronger and still stronger, until they are lost to the cause of God, deceiving and being deceived. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 10

A deep stupor is upon man. He does not consider the works of Satan as they are, and he thus helps the archdeceiver in his work of leading men to cast off their allegiance to God, and transgress His holy law. Satan is come down in great power, knowing that his time is short. He works with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. As he led Adam and Eve to disregard God’s law, so he is leading men today to transgress the divine precept, presenting before them the loss they will sustain if they obey it. If it were possible, he would deceive the very elect. We need to be very cautious, that we do not accept the sophistry of Satan as Bible truth, or the will and mind of Satan for the will and mind of God. Satan does not tell men that if they keep the commandments of God they will be saved. He tells them an altogether different story. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 11

“If you keep the law of God,” he says, “you will have fallen from grace.” The ministers repeat the same words. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 12

I have been pained as I have seen those who profess to believe the binding claims of God’s law, the claims of the seventh day Sabbath brought to view in the fourth commandment, careless in regard to its sacred character. They do the very things the Lord has told them they should not do on that day. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 13

There should be a different mold given to the work in nearly every field of labor, especially in Europe. The Sabbath is not held by many in the light that it is presented in the fourth commandment. Some men engaged in business, having workmen under them, disregard the injunctions of God. They not only break the Sabbath themselves, but by precept and example they teach others to do the same. This is one of Satan’s devices, and it will lead away from allegiance to God. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 14

The Sabbath is God’s time. He sanctified and hallowed the seventh day. He set it apart for man to keep as a day of worship. But nothing that I can say will be stronger than the words of the command: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh-day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” [Exodus 20:8-11.] This is God’s day, and we show our allegiance to Him when we not only believe, but do His commandments. Those who rob God of His time will be called to account as surely as the throne of God exists. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 15

The law of God is His great standard of righteousness. Men may, with their finite ideas, erect a standard of their own, and claim that they are righteous; but it is God’s standard that will judge every man in that great day. The Sabbath claims must not be regarded in a way to show only half respect, to make a pretence of keeping it by making it altogether a matter of convenience. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 16

If worldly interests are in danger of suffering, some will infringe on the Sabbath, and actually steal God’s time, and appropriate it to their own use. This detracts from the sacredness of the Sabbath not only in their own minds, but by their example they remove the hallowed, sacred dignity which the Lord has placed upon it in other minds. That which God has made holy is brought down upon a level with other common working days as soon as any unnecessary work is done on that day. Be it loss or gain from a worldly point of view, it will not alter one jot or one tittle of God’s claims in the fourth commandment. The name of every transgressor, with the character of the offense is written against the offender in the books of heaven. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 17

But the Sabbath has been treated with great disrespect. It has been used in a way to detract from its dignity, and to remove the hallowed sanctity that God has placed upon it. God would have His Sabbath stand before the people in its moral power, answering the design of Jehovah in keeping in remembrance the living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. “It is a sign between me and thee,” said God. [Exodus 31:13.] 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 18

The Sabbath is not to be molded to meet man’s temporal business arrangements. Men’s business is to be arranged to meet God’s great standard of righteousness. Business matters must come under the divine restriction. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 19

The god of this world has blinded the minds of many on this subject. They need to come closer in counsel with God, and cast off the suggestions of Satan. They need to listen to the great I AM. There is no respect of persons with God. Those who fear God and work righteousness are precious in His sight. God has opened before us precious Bible truth. It is testing trust, and through obedience to it, we shall be sanctified. But we must show our allegiance to the God of heaven in strictly observing the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, both by precept and example. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 20

Let no one upon whom the light of the third angel’s message has shone become tempters to their fellow men, agents of Satan in leading minds into confusion, and removing the sanctity that God has placed upon his Sabbath by exalting the traditions and customs of men. Jesus reproved the Pharisees for this, saying, “Ye teach for doctrines the commandments of men.” [Matthew 15:9.] 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 21

When men’s authority and human enactments become mixed up with God’s holy requirements, and the dignity and holiness of God is not recognized, men need to be alarmed; for God is jealous of his honor. These men are standing directly in the way of God’s commandments, that they shall not be implicitly obeyed according to God’s directions. God has set the lines of His Sabbath, and he has made explicit and definite His requirements concerning that day. Then let men beware how they remove the least jot and tittle of that law that God has pronounced “holy, and just, and good.” [Romans 7:12.] 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 22

In Europe and foreign countries our brethren will find some difficulty in schooling their children, and keeping the Sabbath according to the commandment. What shall they do in that case? Shall they break the Sabbath? or at considerable inconvenience and expense, educate their children to know that the commandment is holy, and just, and good, and that it must be obeyed, whatever inconvenience and loss may be sustained? 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 23

One sister in Basel has been imprisoned three times because she would not let her child go to school upon the Sabbath day. She looked upon this subject in the right light. The laws of men came into collision with the law of God, and the question came, Shall I obey God or man? 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 24

In Norway the children are taught to do some kind of work in the schools they attend. Young ladies are taught to sew and knit, etc. Some of our brethren, while having a knowledge of this, have made arrangements, and sent their children to school on the Sabbath, to learn to study and to work. In doing this, did they, as Abraham, command their household and their children after them? How does this course of action correspond with the words of holy Writ: “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thine house, and on thy gates.” [Deuteronomy 6:6-9.] 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 25

How could the fathers work in harmony with the directions here given, while accompanying their children to the school room or the academy on the Sabbath, the day that God has sanctified and blessed? How can they repeat the words of Moses, “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye shall do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 26

“For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons and thy sons’ sons.” [Deuteronomy 4:5-9.] 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 27

With such special directions as these, how can fathers consent to their children attending school on the Sabbath, or any part of the Sabbath, the same as on any common week day? Here is a cross to lift. Here the line of separation is drawn between the loyal and the disloyal. This is the sign that there is a people who will not make void the law of God although it is at a sacrifice to themselves. Here we may bear our testimony to the world of our allegiance to the Creator and governor of the world. Here the testimony is borne to the world of the truthfulness of the Sabbath. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 28

One teacher stated before the church that he thought it right to send the children on the Sabbath, quoting the words of Christ, “It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath day.” [Matthew 12:12.] The question is, Shall we transgress the plain letter of the commandment in order that our children may be educated in the schools? In the very act of giving them lessons in which there is no sacredness, the Sabbath, that is to be a test to the world, a sign between God and his people, is brought down on a level with the common working days. When we see the law of God made void in our world, then it is the work of every loyal child of God to elevate the standard and show that they are hearkening diligently to the voice of God and teaching His statutes to His children. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 29

Has God made a distinction between the Sabbath and the six working days? If he has done this, man must abide by his decision. The question is not left for each one to decide as his human wisdom shall dictate. God has not left his law for men to sanctify or profane. They are not left to cut and carve for the Almighty. They are to obey the laws of God instituted in Eden, and proclaimed from Mount Sinai in such awful grandeur that the people “did exceedingly fear and quake.” [Hebrews 12:21.] The Lord’s chosen ones must take His law just as He has given it to them, and obey it right loyalty, without seeking to change or alter one jot or tittle. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 30

God has declared that He will not alter the thing which has gone out of His lips. His law is not to be left open for men to weave in their amendments and place their own version upon the claims of the holy Sabbath. Those who quote the words of the divine Teacher to justify their removal of sanctity upon that day, are surely blinded by the sophistry of the archdeceiver. The sayings of Christ do not convert the sin of transgression into obedience of His commandments. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 31

The bread winner of the family may quote the words of Christ to serve his purpose, saying, It surely is a good work to earn means to supply the wants of my family. Therefore he feels it right to do work on the Sabbath day. He says, I acknowledge the claims of the Sabbath; but I must work. Of what effect to him is the Word of God: “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates”? [Exodus 20:9, 10.] 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 32

If the truth is of any value, then let men obey it, and be sanctified through it. Then they can exercise faith in God’s promises. And they can prove the promises of God. When truth is obeyed, the faithful ones will be tried, and will suffer for the truth’s sake. We must stand before the Judge of all the earth, to be rewarded according to our works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil. No excuse will stand in that great day as a reason why men should break the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. None, indeed, will attempt to offer an excuse, for there will be a wonderful change in the sentiments then. How different will appear the matter when we face the great lawgiver, the Judge, in that day? 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 33

We have a message of solemn import to bear to the world. It bears a test, a close test, on its front. The Sabbath is the great test question. It is the line of demarkation between the loyal and true, and the disloyal and transgressor. This Sabbath, God has enjoined; and those who claim to be commandmentkeepers, who believe that they are now under the proclamation of the third angel’s message, will see the important part the Sabbath of the fourth commandment holds in that message. It is the seal of the living God. They will not lessen the claims of the Sabbath to suit their business or convenience. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 34

What man who claims to believe in the law of God will dare to take upon himself to prescribe what business may be done on the Sabbath and be guiltless? Where is the boundary line that he may give his neighbor as to what constitutes the keeping of the fourth commandment? 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 35

A powerful influence controls the minds of men which they do not care to acknowledge, and which draws them away from God. They are absorbed in business. They feel that great responsibilities are resting upon them from which they do not care to be released. Their hearts give a welcome to these responsibilities, for they are mingled with flattering promises to their ambition and desire for supremacy and gain. Business occupies nearly the whole of their time. It is even carried into their sleeping hours, monopolizing both time and vital power and crowding out other duties of high importance. The business man feels himself dependent upon other business men who are not of the faith for their prosperity. These men cannot endure the thought, even for Christ’s sake, of being looked upon with contempt, as singular, and of being reproached for their faith. The unbelievers with whom they are connected in business bring their thoughts and work to break in upon the Sabbath hours. And if one becomes lax, and brings his own work into the sacred time, another will go still farther to suit his convenience, which he makes a necessity. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 36

There are constant temptations opening before the Sabbathkeeper. Yet in place of heeding the injunction, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18], he has joined himself in close business relation with men who have no respect for God’s Sabbath or for the men who keep it. [Those] who acknowledges the truth for this time and the binding claims of the law of God, are under constant temptation. They become familiar with profane men, with godless men. They are constantly surrounded by an atmosphere of worldliness that beclouds their discernment. They cannot see that their eternal interests suffer, that there is a worldly, freezing atmosphere about them that will make them unfit for Christ’s kingdom. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 37

Through the position which these men have thus accepted, they are brought to the place where they must break the Sabbath. Accounts are to be settled, bills paid, and the Sabbath is made a day of business transaction. They regret that it must be so, but keep right on in the same course. In the place of submitting to circumstances which lead them to break the Sabbath, they should change their position so that circumstances shall not become their master, but be in the place where they can control and master their circumstances. But the enemy blinds their eyes. They try to make themselves believe that they would be less responsible out of the church, and thus they sever their connection with the church that they may have more freedom to break the Sabbath. They place themselves beyond the labors and reach of the church. But this does not help the matter. Although they are not identified with Sabbathkeepers, or connected with the great and good cause, yet they are betraying that cause every day. They are trying to serve God and mammon. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 38

The entire influence of every man is needed to vindicate the honor of God’s law both by precept and example. But while all their assistance in maintaining and advancing the cause of truth is called for, those who know the Master’s will, refuse to do it because it involves a cross and a loss of worldly interest. They feel themselves walled about with obstacles that hold them back from an entire surrender to God, while they grow more and more in love with the life they have chosen, and less inclined to tear away the obstacles and come into full harmony and co-operation with the people of God. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 39

God calls upon these men who see the light to walk in the light. If you do not do this, the light that you now have will become darkness to you, and that which you now regard as darkness will be light. You will grow more and more estranged from the people who obey God in keeping His commandments. You will measure yourself by others, and create a standard for yourself. Habits do not become weak from long continuance in them. Are the cares of business having less and less hold upon the mind and will? If so, thank God. But is it not exactly the opposite? 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 40

We are surrounded by men and women who do not regard life as a serious matter. We see that the multitudes are selfishly engrossed in pleasure seeking. Men die, they go into their graves without a thought of preparation for eternity. Men eat and sleep and dress and pursue their course of life in every form of vanity, pride, and selfish indulgence. But what are you doing who have had the light? You must meet these souls in the judgment. Have you lived the truth? Has your example been a living testimony to them? 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 41

It takes self-denial, self-sacrifice, to be on Christ’s side. There is noble heroism in standing for the faith once delivered to the saints. It is not easy for men who have a high estimate of themselves to receive counsel even from God. But it will pay in the end to be wholly and interestedly on the right side, although to do so involves a cross. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 42

The Sabbath is God’s day, not yours. He has given us six days wherein we may work for a livelihood, and He has reserved only one day to Himself. Shall we seek to rob the Creator of the heavens and the earth by stealing His reserved time, the God who had not withheld from us His only begotten Son, but gave Him up to die for man, that through His merits imputed to men, it might be made possible for him to keep the law of God? Will man insult and dishonor God by disregarding His holy day? 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 43

And this sacrifice was to evidence to man the sacred claims of the law of God. Yet men will venture to plead custom and tradition, and teach by precept and example that men may break the Sabbath be engaging in their own business, covering their transgression by, “It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath day.” [Matthew 12:12.] Thus while professing to believe the Sabbath, both by precept and example, you teach men to break it. My brethren, you have a work to do for yourselves. Your hearts are not converted. You are not in harmony with Christ. You have erected a standard of your own, and have felt it strange that you could not be left alone to follow your own mind. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 44

God will never come to your standard; you must come to God’s standard. Will you heed God’s great moral standard? Will you bow to it? The only way in which you can make a success of the Christian warfare, is to throw your whole life, your thinking, acting, and planning into God’s cause, and use the ability that God has given you as a power to uplift and mould and bless. The life which God has given you must be hid by faith in the Son of God. Your souls needs the divine touch, to be attuned with all your powers to engage in this great work of God to act a part in fitting up a people to stand in the day of God. You must be imbued with the spirit of Christ, my brethren, if you would meet the wants of your fellow men. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 45

In God’s sight a man is not measured by his position [or] his wealth, but by his genuine goodness, by his power so employed as to minister to the lives of those around him. It is practical men the church needs now, men of experience and common sense. Remember Him who came to our world, who became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He wore the seamless robe, the crown of thorns. He was crucified between two thieves. Do you bear His likeness? Do you follow His example? He came to save, to uplift man. And men may be honored in being co-workers with Jesus Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 46

The God of heaven so loved the world that He gave to the world His only begotten Son. In sending Christ God has filled the world with evidences of His benevolence, with expressions of His greatness and majesty. But the world saw not God in Jesus Christ. They received Him not. They would not see His divine character. Then why did not the Majesty of heaven despise the world? Why did He not leave the race to perish who were continually disgracing themselves and dishonoring God? But no; the God of heaven, the supreme Ruler of the universe shows that He still prized the work of His hands. He sent His Son down to earth to bear the nature of man, to taste of life’s humblest fare, to descend to the office of a servant, to die an ignominious death, that the world through Him might have eternal life. 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 47

And Christ declares, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] The work of Christ is before us. We are to follow His example of complete obedience, of self-denial, or self-sacrifice, of devotion to the uplifting and saving of fallen man. Shall we not take hold of this work now, and who that we will work the works of Jesus Christ, giving all there is of us to this sacred work? Christ has declared, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and my enter in through the gates into the city.” [Revelation 22:14.] 12LtMs, Ms 34, 1897, par. 48