9 – Liberty of Conscience Threatened

////9 – Liberty of Conscience Threatened
9 – Liberty of Conscience Threatened2016-11-27T17:36:36+00:00

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Sabbath, March 1, 2014

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12.

“These records of the past clearly reveal the enmity of Rome toward the true Sabbath and its defenders, and the means which she employs to honor the institution of her creating. The word of God teaches that these scenes are to be repeated as Roman Catholics and Protestants shall unite for the exaltation of the Sunday.” –The Great Controversy, p. 578.

Babylon’s guilt

1. What are the grave faults for which Babylon is responsible to God? Does only one church have these problems, or are there many such organizations?

Revelation 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Revelation 17:1, 2 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

Revelation 18:1-3 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

“God denounces Babylon ‘because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ This means that she has disregarded the only commandment which points out the true God, and has torn down the Sabbath, God’s memorial of creation….

“God has a controversy with the churches of today. They are fulfilling the prophecy of John. ‘All nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ They have divorced themselves from God by refusing to receive His sign. They have not the spirit of God’s true commandment-keeping people. And the people of the world, in giving their sanction to a false sabbath, and in trampling under their feet the Sabbath of the Lord, have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” –(Letter 98, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 979.

The main point of discussion 

2. At the end of time, what will be the main point of the controversy?

Psalm 119:126 It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law. 

1 John 2:3, 4 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

“The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other, choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.” –The Great Controversy, p. 605.

3. What is the mission of the angel who ascends from the east?

Revelation 7:1-3 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

“The Israelites placed over their doors a signature of blood, to show that they were God’s property. So the children of God in this age will bear the signature God has appointed. They will place themselves in harmony with God’s holy law. A mark is placed upon every one of God’s people just as verily as a mark was placed over the doors of the Hebrew dwellings, to preserve the people from the general ruin. God declares, ‘I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.’” –(Review and Herald, February 6, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 968, 969.

Fully aware of their actions

4. Are the Protestant churches which uphold Sunday observance aware of the danger they are in?

Matthew 15:7-9 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

“The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the undercurrent is tending…. They are working in blindness. They do not see that if a Protestant government sacrifices the principles that have made them a free, independent nation, and through legislation brings into the Constitution principles that will propagate papal falsehood and papal delusion, they are plunging into the Roman horrors of the Dark Ages.” –(Review and Herald, Extra, December 11, 1888) Last Day Events, pp. 125, 126.

“We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecy is fast fulfilling. The Lord is at the door. There is soon to open before us a period of overwhelming interest to all living. The controversies of the past are to be revived; new controversies will arise. The scenes to be enacted in our world are not yet even dreamed of. Satan is at work through human agencies. Those who are making an effort to change the Constitution and secure a law enforcing Sunday observance little realize what will be the result. A crisis is just upon us.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 753.

Overcoming inactivity

5. What is the responsibility of God’s children?

Ezekiel 33:7-9 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

“It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger. We should endeavor to disarm prejudice by placing ourselves in a proper light before the people. We should bring before them the real question at issue, thus interposing the most effectual protest against measures to restrict liberty of conscience. We should search the Scriptures and be able to give the reason for our faith. Says the prophet: ‘The wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.’… 

“We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be most earnest prayer, and then let us work in harmony with our prayers.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 452, 714.

The Sunday law will soon be enforced

6. When will Protestantism join hands with the papal power?

Revelation 13:15-17 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. 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.

“When our nation shall so abjure the principles of its government as to enact a Sunday law, Protestantism will in this act join hands with popery;…” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 712.

“Protestants will throw their whole influence and strength on the side of the Papacy; by a national act enforcing the false sabbath, they will give life and vigor to the corrupt faith of Rome, reviving her tyranny and oppression of conscience. Then it will be time for God to work in mighty power for the vindication of His truth.” –Maranatha, p. 179.

“Soon the Sunday laws will be enforced, and men in positions of trust will be embittered against the little handful of God’s commandment-keeping people.” –(Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, p. 278

[1909]) Last Day Events, p. 129.

Supporting argument 

7. What will be the main argument in support of Sunday law enforcement?

Esther 3:8-10 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries. And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.

“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. 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.” –The Great Controversy, p. 587.

8. What will God’s people do under these circumstances? What will happen in such a difficult situation?

Esther 4:15-17 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.

Esther 9:1, 2 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;) The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people. 

“The trying experiences that came to God’s people in the days of Esther were not peculiar to that age alone…. The same spirit that in ages past led men to persecute the true church, will in the future lead to the pursuance of a similar course toward those who maintain their loyalty to God…. The decree that will finally go forth against the remnant people of God will be very similar to that issued by Ahasuerus against the Jews. Today the enemies of the true church see in the little company keeping the Sabbath commandment, a Mordecai at the gate. The reverence of God’s people for His law is a constant rebuke to those who have cast off the fear of the Lord and are trampling on His Sabbath.” –Conflict and Courage, p. 245; Prophets and Kings, p. 605.

For meditation

Matthew 5:17-19; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10, 15-17; Revelation 17:3-6.

“To secure popularity and patronage, legislators will yield to the demand for a Sunday law. Those who fear God cannot accept an institution that violates a precept of the Decalogue. On this battlefield comes the last great conflict of the controversy between truth and error. And we are not left in doubt as to the issue. Now, as in the days of Mordecai, the Lord will vindicate His truth and His people.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 451.

“Conscientious obedience to the Word of God will be treated as rebellion. Blinded by Satan, the parent will exercise harshness and severity toward the believing child; the master or mistress will oppress the commandment-keeping servant. Affection will be alienated; children will be disinherited, and driven from home.” –The Great Controversy, p. 607.

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