We wanted to share with all of you the joy of receiving the Lord’s blessing of our eighth child into our home! As you can see from the pictures, there is no greater gift that a family can receive than a child, and our children love other children. 😊
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” – Psalm 127:3-5
The Sabbath was hallowed at the creation. As ordained for man, it had its origin when “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. Peace brooded over the world; for earth was in harmony with heaven. “God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good;” and He rested in the joy of His completed work. Genesis 1:31.
Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,”—set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God’s power and His love. The Scripture says, “He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered.” “The things that are made,” declare “the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world,” “even His everlasting power and divinity.” Genesis 2:3; Psalm 111:4; Romans 1:20, R. V.
All things were created by the Son of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1-3. And since the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ.
The Sabbath calls our thoughts to nature, and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul. He “who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6.
It was this thought that awoke the song,—
“Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work;
I will triumph in the works of Thy hands.
O Lord, how great are Thy works!
And Thy thoughts are very deep.”
Psalm 92:4, 5.
And the Holy Spirit through the prophet Isaiah declares: “To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? … Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in…. To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? … He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.” “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” This is the message written in nature, which the Sabbath is appointed to keep in memory. When the Lord bade Israel hallow His Sabbaths, He said, “They shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am Jehovah your God.” Isaiah 40:18-29; 41:10; 45:22; Ezekiel 20:20, R. V.
The Sabbath was embodied in the law given from Sinai; but it was not then first made known as a day of rest. The people of Israel had a knowledge of it before they came to Sinai. On the way thither the Sabbath was kept. When some profaned it, the Lord reproved them, saying, “How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?” Exodus 16:28.
The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law.” So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator’s power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God’s holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. “From one Sabbath to another” the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up “to worship before Me, saith the Lord.” Matthew 5:18; Isaiah 66:23.
No other institution which was committed to the Jews tended so fully to distinguish them from surrounding nations as did the Sabbath. God designed that its observance should designate them as His worshipers. It was to be a token of their separation from idolatry, and their connection with the true God. But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ. When the command was given to Israel, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” the Lord said also to them, “Ye shall be holy men unto Me.” Exodus 20:8; 22:31. Only thus could the Sabbath distinguish Israel as the worshipers of God.
As the Jews departed from God, and failed to make the righteousness of Christ their own by faith, the Sabbath lost its significance to them. Satan was seeking to exalt himself and to draw men away from Christ, and he worked to pervert the Sabbath, because it is the sign of the power of Christ. The Jewish leaders accomplished the will of Satan by surrounding God’s rest day with burdensome requirements. In the days of Christ the Sabbath had become so perverted that its observance reflected the character of selfish and arbitrary men rather than the character of the loving heavenly Father. The rabbis virtually represented God as giving laws which it was impossible for men to obey. They led the people to look upon God as a tyrant, and to think that the observance of the Sabbath, as He required it, made men hard-hearted and cruel. It was the work of Christ to clear away these misconceptions. Although the rabbis followed Him with merciless hostility, He did not even appear to conform to their requirements, but went straight forward, keeping the Sabbath according to the law of God.
Upon one Sabbath day, as the Saviour and His disciples returned from the place of worship, they passed through a field of ripening grain. Jesus had continued His work to a late hour, and while passing through the fields, the disciples began to gather the heads of grain, and to eat the kernels after rubbing them in their hands. On any other day this act would have excited no comment, for one passing through a field of grain, an orchard, or a vineyard, was at liberty to gather what he desired to eat. See Deuteronomy 23:24, 25. But to do this on the Sabbath was held to be an act of desecration. Not only was the gathering of the grain a kind of reaping, but the rubbing of it in the hands was a kind of threshing. Thus, in the opinion of the rabbis, there was a double offense.
The spies at once complained to Jesus, saying, “Behold, Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day.”
When accused of Sabbathbreaking at Bethesda, Jesus defended Himself by affirming His Sonship to God, and declaring that He worked in harmony with the Father. Now that the disciples are attacked, He cites His accusers to examples from the Old Testament, acts performed on the Sabbath by those who were in the service of God.
The Jewish teachers prided themselves on their knowledge of the Scriptures, and in the Saviour’s answer there was an implied rebuke for their ignorance of the Sacred Writings. “Have ye not read so much as this,” He said, “what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread,… which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?” “And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” “Have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” “The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Luke 6:3, 4; Mark 2:27, 28; Matthew 12:5, 6.
If it was right for David to satisfy his hunger by eating of the bread that had been set apart to a holy use, then it was right for the disciples to supply their need by plucking the grain upon the sacred hours of the Sabbath. Again, the priests in the temple performed greater labor on the Sabbath than upon other days. The same labor in secular business would be sinful; but the work of the priests was in the service of God. They were performing those rites that pointed to the redeeming power of Christ, and their labor was in harmony with the object of the Sabbath. But now Christ Himself had come. The disciples, in doing the work of Christ, were engaged in God’s service, and that which was necessary for the accomplishment of this work it was right to do on the Sabbath day.
Christ would teach His disciples and His enemies that the service of God is first of all. The object of God’s work in this world is the redemption of man; therefore that which is necessary to be done on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law. Jesus then crowned His argument by declaring Himself the “Lord of the Sabbath,”—One above all question and above all law. This infinite Judge acquits the disciples of blame, appealing to the very statutes they are accused of violating.
Jesus did not let the matter pass without administering a rebuke to His enemies. He declared that in their blindness they had mistaken the object of the Sabbath. He said, “If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” Matthew 12:7. Their many heartless rites could not supply the lack of that truthful integrity and tender love which will ever characterize the true worshiper of God.
Again Christ reiterated the truth that the sacrifices were in themselves of no value. They were a means, and not an end. Their object was to direct men to the Saviour, and thus to bring them into harmony with God. It is the service of love that God values. When this is lacking, the mere round of ceremony is an offense to Him. So with the Sabbath. It was designed to bring men into communion with God; but when the mind was absorbed with wearisome rites, the object of the Sabbath was thwarted. Its mere outward observance was a mockery.
Upon another Sabbath, as Jesus entered a synagogue. He saw there a man who had a withered hand. The Pharisees watched Him, eager to see what He would do. The Saviour well knew that in healing on the Sabbath He would be regarded as a transgressor, but He did not hesitate to break down the wall of traditional requirements that barricaded the Sabbath. Jesus bade the afflicted man stand forth, and then asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” It was a maxim among the Jews that a failure to do good, when one had opportunity, was to do evil; to neglect to save life was to kill. Thus Jesus met the rabbis on their own ground. “But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” Mark 3:4, 5.
When questioned, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days?” Jesus answered, “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.” Matthew 12:10-12.
The spies dared not answer Christ in the presence of the multitude, for fear of involving themselves in difficulty. They knew that He had spoken the truth. Rather than violate their traditions, they would leave a man to suffer, while they would relieve a brute because of the loss to the owner if it were neglected. Thus greater care was shown for a dumb animal than for man, who is made in the image of God. This illustrates the working of all false religions. They originate in man’s desire to exalt himself above God, but they result in degrading man below the brute. Every religion that wars against the sovereignty of God defrauds man of the glory which was his at the creation, and which is to be restored to him in Christ. Every false religion teaches its adherents to be careless of human needs, sufferings, and rights. The gospel places a high value upon humanity as the purchase of the blood of Christ, and it teaches a tender regard for the wants and woes of man. The Lord says, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Isaiah 13:12.
When Jesus turned upon the Pharisees with the question whether it was lawful on the Sabbath day to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill, He confronted them with their own wicked purposes. They were hunting His life with bitter hatred, while He was saving life and bringing happiness to multitudes. Was it better to slay upon the Sabbath, as they were planning to do, than to heal the afflicted, as He had done? Was it more righteous to have murder in the heart upon God’s holy day than love to all men, which finds expression in deeds of mercy?
In the healing of the withered hand, Jesus condemned the custom of the Jews, and left the fourth commandment standing as God had given it. “It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days,” He declared. By sweeping away the senseless restrictions of the Jews, Christ honored the Sabbath, while those who complained of Him were dishonoring God’s holy day.
Those who hold that Christ abolished the law teach that He broke the Sabbath and justified His disciples in doing the same. Thus they are really taking the same ground as did the caviling Jews. In this they contradict the testimony of Christ Himself, who declared, “I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10. Neither the Saviour nor His followers broke the law of the Sabbath. Christ was a living representative of the law. No violation of its holy precepts was found in His life. Looking upon a nation of witnesses who were seeking occasion to condemn Him, He could say unchallenged, “Which of you convicteth Me of sin?” John 8:46, R. V.
The Saviour had not come to set aside what patriarchs and prophets had spoken; for He Himself had spoken through these representative men. All the truths of God’s word came from Him. But these priceless gems had been placed in false settings. Their precious light had been made to minister to error. God desired them to be removed from their settings of error and replaced in the framework of truth. This work only a divine hand could accomplish. By its connection with error, the truth had been serving the cause of the enemy of God and man. Christ had come to place it where it would glorify God, and work the salvation of humanity.
“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” Jesus said. The institutions that God has established are for the benefit of mankind. “All things are for your sakes.” “Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” 2 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 3:22, 23. The law of Ten Commandments, of which the Sabbath forms a part, God gave to His people as a blessing. “The Lord commanded us,” said Moses, “to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive.” Deuteronomy 6:24. And through the psalmist the message was given to Israel, “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Psalm 100:2-4. And of all who keep “the Sabbath from polluting it,” the Lord declares, “Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer.” Isaiah 56:6, 7.
“Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For “all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, “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,”—make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.
And the Lord says, “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; … then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” Isaiah 58:13, 14. To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
– The Desire of Ages, pages 281-289
The Mystery of Iniquity
The apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, foretold the great apostasy which would result in the establishment of the papal power. He declared that the day of Christ should not come, “except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” And furthermore, the apostle warns his brethren that “the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 7.
Even at that early date he saw, creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy.
Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, “the mystery of iniquity” carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions. The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a form of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ.
The Man of Sin
This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of “the man of sin” foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan’s power—a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will.
Satan once endeavored to form a compromise with Christ. He came to the Son of God in the wilderness of temptation, and showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, offered to give all into His hands if He would but acknowledge the supremacy of the prince of darkness. Christ rebuked the presumptuous tempter and forced him to depart. But Satan meets with greater success in presenting the same temptations to man. To secure worldly gains and honors, the church was led to seek the favor and support of the great men of earth; and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan—the bishop of Rome.
It is one of the leading doctrines of Romanism that the pope is the visible head of the universal church of Christ, invested with supreme authority over bishops and pastors in all parts of the world. More than this, the pope has been given the very titles of Deity. He has been styled “Lord God the Pope,” and has been declared infallible. He demands the homage of all men. The same claim urged by Satan in the wilderness of temptation is still urged by him through the Church of Rome, and vast numbers are ready to yield him homage.
But those who fear and reverence God meet this heaven-daring assumption as Christ met the solicitations of the wily foe: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Luke 4:8. God has never given a hint in His word that He has appointed any man to be the head of the church. The doctrine of papal supremacy is directly opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures. The pope can have no power over Christ’s church except by usurpation.
Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and willful separation from the true church. But these accusations apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 3.
Satan well knew that the Holy Scriptures would enable men to discern his deceptions and withstand his power. It was by the word that even the Saviour of the world had resisted his attacks. At every assault, Christ presented the shield of eternal truth, saying, “It is written.” To every suggestion of the adversary, He opposed the wisdom and power of the word. In order for Satan to maintain his sway over men, and establish the authority of the papal usurper, he must keep them in ignorance of the Scriptures. The Bible would exalt God and place finite men in their true position; therefore its sacred truths must be concealed and suppressed. This logic was adopted by the Roman Church. For hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was prohibited. The people were forbidden to read it or to have it in their houses, and unprincipled priests and prelates interpreted its teachings to sustain their pretensions. Thus the pope came to be almost universally acknowledged as the vicegerent of God on earth, endowed with authority over church and state.
Changing Times and Laws
The detector of error having been removed, Satan worked according to his will. Prophecy had declared that the papacy was to “think to change times and laws.” Daniel 7:25. This work it was not slow to attempt. To afford converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council finally established this system of idolatry. To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number.
The spirit of concession to paganism opened the way for a still further disregard of Heaven’s authority. Satan, working through unconsecrated leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment also, and essayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the day which God had blessed and sanctified (Genesis 2:2, 3), and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the heathen as “the venerable day of the sun.” This change was not at first attempted openly. In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians. They were jealous for the honor of God, and, believing that His law is immutable, they zealously guarded the sacredness of its precepts. But with great subtlety Satan worked through his agents to bring about his object. That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Religious services were held upon it; yet it was regarded as a day of recreation, the Sabbath being still sacredly observed.
To prepare the way for the work which he designed to accomplish, Satan had led the Jews, before the advent of Christ, to load down the Sabbath with the most rigorous exactions, making its observance a burden. Now, taking advantage of the false light in which he had thus caused it to be regarded, he cast contempt upon it as a Jewish institution. While Christians generally continued to observe the Sunday as a joyous festival, he led them, in order to show their hatred of Judaism, to make the Sabbath a fast, a day of sadness and gloom.
In the early part of the fourth century the emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a public festival throughout the Roman Empire. The day of the sun was reverenced by his pagan subjects and was honored by Christians; it was the emperor’s policy to unite the conflicting interests of heathenism and Christianity. He was urged to do this by the bishops of the church, who, inspired by ambition and thirst for power, perceived that if the same day was observed by both Christians and heathen, it would promote the nominal acceptance of Christianity by pagans and thus advance the power and glory of the church. But while many God-fearing Christians were gradually led to regard Sunday as possessing a degree of sacredness, they still held the true Sabbath as the holy of the Lord and observed it in obedience to the fourth commandment.
The archdeceiver had not completed his work. He was resolved to gather the Christian world under his banner and to exercise his power through his vicegerent, the proud pontiff who claimed to be the representative of Christ. Through half-converted pagans, ambitious prelates, and world-loving churchmen he accomplished his purpose. Vast councils were held from time to time, in which the dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world. In nearly every council the Sabbath which God had instituted was pressed down a little lower, while the Sunday was correspondingly exalted. Thus the pagan festival came finally to be honored as a divine institution, while the Bible Sabbath was pronounced a relic of Judaism, and its observers were declared to be accursed.
The great apostate had succeeded in exalting himself “above all that is called God, or that is worshiped.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4. He had dared to change the only precept of the divine law that unmistakably points all mankind to the true and living God. In the fourth commandment, God is revealed as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and is thereby distinguished from all false gods. It was as a memorial of the work of creation that the seventh day was sanctified as a rest day for man. It was designed to keep the living God ever before the minds of men as the source of being and the object of reverence and worship. Satan strives to turn men from their allegiance to God, and from rendering obedience to His law; therefore he directs his efforts especially against that commandment which points to God as the Creator.
Protestants now urge that the resurrection of Christ on Sunday made it the Christian Sabbath. But Scripture evidence is lacking. No such honor was given to the day by Christ or His apostles. The observance of Sunday as a Christian institution had its origin in that “mystery of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:7, R.V.) which, even in Paul’s day, had begun its work. Where and when did the Lord adopt this child of the papacy? What valid reason can be given for a change which the Scriptures do not sanction?
In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon had given to the beast “his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Revelation 13:2. And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5-7. Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headsman’s ax. Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: “Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake.” Luke 21:16, 17. Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield. For hundreds of years the church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity. Thus says the prophet: “The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three-score days.” Revelation 12:6.
An Age of Darkness
The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed. A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. Thus the minds of the people were turned away from God to fallible, erring, and cruel men, nay, more, to the prince of darkness himself, who exercised his power through them. Sin was disguised in a garb of sanctity. When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that ever results from setting aside the law of God.
Those were days of peril for the church of Christ. The faithful standard-bearers were few indeed. Though the truth was not left without witnesses, yet at times it seemed that error and superstition would wholly prevail, and true religion would be banished from the earth. The gospel was lost sight of, but the forms of religion were multiplied, and the people were burdened with rigorous exactions.
They were taught not only to look to the pope as their mediator, but to trust to works of their own to atone for sin. Long pilgrimages, acts of penance, the worship of relics, the erection of churches, shrines, and altars, the payment of large sums to the church—these and many similar acts were enjoined to appease the wrath of God or to secure His favor; as if God were like men, to be angered at trifles, or pacified by gifts or acts of penance!
Forgeries and Scandals
Notwithstanding that vice prevailed, even among the leaders of the Roman Church, her influence seemed steadily to increase. About the close of the eighth century, papists put forth the claim that in the first ages of the church the bishops of Rome had possessed the same spiritual power which they now assumed. To establish this claim, some means must be employed to give it a show of authority; and this was readily suggested by the father of lies. Ancient writings were forged by monks. Decrees of councils before unheard of were discovered, establishing the universal supremacy of the pope from the earliest times. And a church that had rejected the truth greedily accepted these deceptions.
The few faithful builders upon the true foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10, 11) were perplexed and hindered as the rubbish of false doctrine obstructed the work. Like the builders upon the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day, some were ready to say: “The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build.” Nehemiah 4:10. Wearied with the constant struggle against persecution, fraud, iniquity, and every other obstacle that Satan could devise to hinder their progress, some who had been faithful builders became disheartened; and for the sake of peace and security for their property and their lives, they turned away from the true foundation. Others, undaunted by the opposition of their enemies, fearlessly declared: “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible” (verse 14); and they proceeded with the work, everyone with his sword girded by his side. Ephesians 6:17.
The same spirit of hatred and opposition to the truth has inspired the enemies of God in every age, and the same vigilance and fidelity have been required in His servants. The words of Christ to the first disciples are applicable to His followers to the close of time: “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Mark 13:37.
The darkness seemed to grow more dense. Image worship became more general. Candles were burned before images, and prayers were offered to them. The most absurd and superstitious customs prevailed. The minds of men were so completely controlled by superstition that reason itself seemed to have lost its sway. While priests and bishops were themselves pleasure-loving, sensual, and corrupt, it could only be expected that the people who looked to them for guidance would be sunken in ignorance and vice.
Another step in papal assumption was taken, when, in the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII proclaimed the perfection of the Roman Church. Among the propositions which he put forth was one declaring that the church had never erred, nor would it ever err, according to the Scriptures. But the Scripture proofs did not accompany the assertion. The proud pontiff also claimed the power to depose emperors, and declared that no sentence which he pronounced could be reversed by anyone, but that it was his prerogative to reverse the decisions of all others.
A striking illustration of the tyrannical character of this advocate of infallibility was given in his treatment of the German emperor, Henry IV. For presuming to disregard the pope’s authority, this monarch was declared to be excommunicated and dethroned. Terrified by the desertion and threats of his own princes, who were encouraged in rebellion against him by the papal mandate, Henry felt the necessity of making his peace with Rome. In company with his wife and a faithful servant he crossed the Alps in midwinter, that he might humble himself before the pope. Upon reaching the castle whither Gregory had withdrawn, he was conducted, without his guards, into an outer court, and there, in the severe cold of winter, with uncovered head and naked feet, and in a miserable dress, he awaited the pope’s permission to come into his presence. Not until he had continued three days fasting and making confession, did the pontiff condescend to grant him pardon. Even then it was only upon condition that the emperor should await the sanction of the pope before resuming the insignia or exercising the power of royalty. And Gregory, elated with his triumph, boasted that it was his duty to pull down the pride of kings.
How striking the contrast between the overbearing pride of this haughty pontiff and the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who represents Himself as pleading at the door of the heart for admittance, that He may come in to bring pardon and peace, and who taught His disciples: “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” Matthew 20:27.
Plato and Purgatory
The advancing centuries witnessed a constant increase of error in the doctrines put forth from Rome. Even before the establishment of the papacy the teachings of heathen philosophers had received attention and exerted an influence in the church. Many who professed conversion still clung to the tenets of their pagan philosophy, and not only continued its study themselves, but urged it upon others as a means of extending their influence among the heathen. Serious errors were thus introduced into the Christian faith. Prominent among these was the belief in man’s natural immortality and his consciousness in death. This doctrine laid the foundation upon which Rome established the invocation of saints and the adoration of the Virgin Mary. From this sprang also the heresy of eternal torment for the finally impenitent, which was early incorporated into the papal faith.
Then the way was prepared for the introduction of still another invention of paganism, which Rome named purgatory, and employed to terrify the credulous and superstitious multitudes. By this heresy is affirmed the existence of a place of torment, in which the souls of such as have not merited eternal damnation are to suffer punishment for their sins, and from which, when freed from impurity, they are admitted to heaven.
Still another fabrication was needed to enable Rome to profit by the fears and the vices of her adherents. This was supplied by the doctrine of indulgences. Full remission of sins, past, present, and future, and release from all the pains and penalties incurred, were promised to all who would enlist in the pontiff’s wars to extend his temporal dominion, to punish his enemies, or to exterminate those who dared deny his spiritual supremacy. The people were also taught that by the payment of money to the church they might free themselves from sin, and also release the souls of their deceased friends who were confined in the tormenting flames. By such means did Rome fill her coffers and sustain the magnificence, luxury, and vice of the pretended representatives of Him who had not where to lay His head.
The Scriptural ordinance of the Lord’s Supper had been supplanted by the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass. Papal priests pretended, by their senseless mummery, to convert the simple bread and wine into the actual “body and blood of Christ.”—Cardinal Wiseman, The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist, Proved From Scripture, lecture 8, sec. 3, par. 26. With blasphemous presumption, they openly claimed the power of creating God, the Creator of all things. Christians were required, on pain of death, to avow their faith in this horrible, Heaven-insulting heresy. Multitudes who refused were given to the flames.
Corrector of Heretics
In the thirteenth century was established that most terrible of all the engines of the papacy—the Inquisition. The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the papal hierarchy. In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes. “Babylon the great” was “drunken with the blood of the saints.” The mangled forms of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power.
Popery had become the world’s despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. The destinies of men, both for time and for eternity, seemed under his control. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed, its festivals generally observed. Its clergy were honored and liberally sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power.
But “the noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world.”—J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, b. 1, ch. 4. The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests. Like the Pharisees of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God’s law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint. Fraud, avarice, and profligacy prevailed. Men shrank from no crime by which they could gain wealth or position. The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes of the vilest debauchery. Some of the reigning pontiffs were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavored to depose these dignitaries of the church as monsters too vile to be tolerated. For centuries Europe had made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon Christendom.
The condition of the world under the Romish power presented a fearful and striking fulfillment of the words of the prophet Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee: … seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” “There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.” Hosea 4:6, 1, 2. Such were the results of banishing the word of God.
Editorial Note: This article was adapted from The Great Controversy, chapter 3, entitled “An Era of Spiritual Darkness.”
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 Titles.—In a passage which is included in the Roman Catholic Canon Law, or Corpus Juris Canonici, Pope Innocent III declares that the Roman pontiff is “the vicegerent upon earth, not of a mere man, but of very God;” and in a gloss on the passage it is explained that this is because he is the vicegerent of Christ, who is “very God and very man.” See Decretales Domini Gregorii Papae IX (Decretals of the Lord Pope Gregory IX), liber 1, De Translatione Episcoporum, (On the Transference of Bishops), title 7, ch. 3; Corpus Juris Canonici (2d Leipzig Ed., 1881), col. 99; (Paris, 1612), tom. 2, Decretales, col. 205. The documents which formed the decretals were gathered by Gratian, who was teaching at the University of Bologna about the year 1140. His work was added to and re-edited by Pope Gregory IX in an edition issued in 1234. Other documents appeared in succeeding years from time to time including the Extravagantes, added toward the close of the fifteenth century, all of these, with Gratian’s Decretum, were published as the Corpus Juris Canonici in 1582. Pope Pius X authorized the codification in canon law in 1904, and the resulting code became effective in 1918.
For the title “Lord God the Pope” see a gloss on the Extravagantes of Pope John XXII, title 14, ch. 4, Declaramus. In an Antwerp edition of the Extravagantes, dated 1584, the words “Dominum Deum Nostrum Papam” (“Our Lord God the Pope”) occur in column 153. In a Paris edition, dated 1612, they occur in column 140. In several editions published since 1612 the word “Deum” (“God”) has been omitted.
 Infallibility.—On the doctrine of infallibility as set forth at the Vatican Council of 1870-71, see Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, Vol. 2, Dogmatic Decrees of the Vatican Council, pp. 234-271, where both the Latin and the English texts are given. For discussion see, for the Roman Catholic view, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, art. “Infallibility,” by Patrick J. Toner, 790ff.; James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of our Fathers (Baltimore: John Murphy Company, 110th ed., 1917), chs. 7, 11. For Roman Catholic opposition to the doctrine of papal infallibility, see Johann Joseph Ignaz von Dollinger (pseudonym “Janus”) The Pope and the Council (New York: Charles Scribner’s sons, 1869); and W.J. Sparrow Simpson, Roman Catholic Opposition to Papal Infallibility (London: John Murray, 1909). For the non-Roman view, see George Salmon, Infallibility of the Church (London: John Murray, rev. Education, 1914).
 Image Worship.—“The worship of images … was one of those corruptions of Christianity which crept into the church stealthily and almost without notice or observation. This corruption did not, like other heresies, develop itself at once, for in that case it would have met with decided censure and rebuke: but, making its commencement under a fair disguise, so gradually was one practice after another introduced in connection with it, that the church had become deeply steeped in practical idolatry, not only without any efficient opposition, but almost without any decided remonstrance; and when at length an endeavor was made to root it out, the evil was found too deeply fixed to admit of removal…. It must be traced to the idolatrous tendency of the human heart, and its propensity to serve the creature more than the creator….
“Images and pictures were first introduced into churches, not to be worshiped, but either in the place of books to give instruction to those who could not read, or to excite devotion in the minds of others. How far they ever answered such a purpose is doubtful; but, even granting that this was the case for a time, it soon ceased to be so, and it was found that pictures and images brought into churches darkened rather than enlightened the minds of the ignorant—degraded rather than exalted the devotion of the worshiper. So that, however they might have been intended to direct men’s minds to God, they ended in turning them from him to the worship of created things.”—J. Mendham, The Seventh General Council, the Second of Nicaea, Introduction, pages III-VI.
For a record of the proceedings and decisions of the Second Council of Nicaea, A.D. 787, called to establish the worship of images, see Baronius, Ecclesiastical Annals, Vol. 9, pp. 391-407 (Antwerp, 1612); J. Mendham, The Seventh General Council, the Second of Nicaea; Ed. Stillingfleet, Defense of the Discourse Concerning the Idolatry Practiced in the Church of Rome (London, 1686); A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d series, vol. 14, pp. 521-587 (New York, 1900); Charles J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, from the Original Documents, B. 18, ch. 1, secs. 332, 333; ch. 2, secs. 345-352 (T. and T. Clark Education, 1896), vol. 5, pp. 260-304, 342-372.
 The Sunday Law of Constantine.—The law issued by the Emperor Constantine on the seventh of March, A.D. 321, regarding a day of rest from labor, reads thus:
“All judges and city people and the craftsmen shall rest upon the venerable day of the sun. Country people, however, may freely attend to the cultivation of the fields, because it frequently happens that no other days are better adapted for planting the grain in the furrows or the vines in trenches. So that the advantage given by heavenly providence may not for the occasion of a short time perish.”—Joseph Cullen Ayer, A Source Book for Ancient Church History (New York: Charles Scribner’s sons, 1913), div. 2, per. 1, ch. 1, sec. 59, g, pp. 284, 285.
The latin original is in the Codex Justiniani (Codex of Justinian), Lib. 3, Title 12, Lex 3. The law is given in Latin and in English translation in Philip Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, 3d period, ch. 7, sec. 75, p. 380, footnote 1; and in James A. Hessey’s Bampton Lectures, Sunday, Lecture 3, par. 1, 3d ed., Murray’s printing of 1866, p. 58. See discussion in Schaff, as above referred to; in Albert Henry Newman, A Manual of Church History (Philadelphia: the American Baptist Publication Society, printing of 1933), rev. Education, 305-307; and in Leroy E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1950), vol. 1, pp 376-381.
 Prophetic Dates.—An important principle in prophetic interpretation in connection with time prophecies is the year-day principle, under which a day of prophetic time is counted as a calendar year of historic time. Before the Israelites entered the land of Canaan they sent twelve spies ahead to investigate. The spies were gone forty days, and upon their return the Hebrews, frightened at their report, refused to go up and occupy the promised land. The result was a sentence the Lord passed upon them: “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years.” Numbers 14:34. A similar method of computing future time is indicated through the prophet Ezekiel. Forty years of punishment for iniquities awaited the kingdom of Judah. The Lord said through the prophet: “Lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.” Ezekiel 4:6. This year-day principle has an important application in interpreting the time of the prophecy of the “two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings” (Daniel 8:14, R.V.) and the 1260-day period, variously indicated as “a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25), the “forty and two months” (Revelation 11:2; 13:5), and the “thousand two hundred and threescore days” (Revelation 11:3; 12:6).
 Forged Writings.—Among the documents that at the present time are generally admitted to be forgeries, the Donation of Constantine and the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals are of primary importance. “The ‘Donation of Constantine’ is the name traditionally applied, since the later Middle Ages, to a document purporting to have been addressed by Constantine the Great to Pope Sylvester I, which is found first in a Parisian manuscript (Codex lat. 2777) of probably the beginning of the ninth century. Since the eleventh century it has been used as a powerful argument in favor of the papal claims, and consequently since the twelfth it has been the subject of a vigorous controversy. At the same time, by rendering it possible to regard the papacy as a middle term between the original and the medieval Roman Empire, and thus to form a theoretical basis of continuity for the reception of the Roman law in the Middle Ages, it has had no small influence upon secular history.”—The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 3, art. “Donation of Constantine,” pp. 484, 485. GC 681.2
The historical theory developed in the “Donation” is fully discussed in Henry E. Cardinal Manning’s The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, London, 1862. The arguments of the “Donation” were of a scholastic type, and the possibility of a forgery was not mentioned until the rise of historical criticism in the fifteenth century. Nicholas of Cusa was among the first to conclude that Constantine never made any such donation. Lorenza Valla in Italy gave a brilliant demonstration of its spuriousness in 1450. See Christopher B. Coleman’s Treatise of Lorenzo Valla on the Donation of Constantine (New York, 1927). For a century longer, however, the belief in the authenticity of the “Donation” and of the False Decretals was kept alive. For example, Martin Luther at first accepted the decretals, but he soon said to Eck: “I impugn these decretals;” and to Spalatin: “He [the pope] does in his decretals corrupt and crucify Christ, that is, the truth.”
It is deemed established that (1) the “Donation” is a forgery, (2) it is the work of one man or period, (3) the forger has made use of older documents, (4) the forgery originated around 752 and 778. As for the Catholics, they abandoned the defense of the authenticity of the document with Baronius, Ecclesiastical Annals, in 1592. Consult for the best text, K. Zeumer, in the Festgabe fur Rudolf von Gneist (Berlin, 1888). Translated in Coleman’s Treatise, referred to above, and in Ernest F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages (New York, 1892), p. 319; Briefwechsel (Weimar ed.), pp. 141, 161. See also The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1950), vol. 3, p. 484; F. Gregorovius, Rome in the Middle Ages, vol. 2, p. 329; and Johann Joseph Ignaz von Dollinger, Fables Respecting the Popes of the Middle Ages (London, 1871).
The “false writings” referred to in the text include also the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, together with other forgeries. The Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals are certain fictitious letters ascribed to early popes from Clement (A.D. 100) to Gregory the Great (A.D. 600), incorporated in a ninth century collection purporting to have been made by “Isidore Mercator.” The name “Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals” has been in use since the advent of criticism in the fifteenth century.
Pseudo-Isidore took as the basis of his forgeries a collection of valid canons called the Hispana Gallica Augustodunensis, thus lessening the danger of detection, since collections of canons were commonly made by adding new matter to old. Thus his forgeries were less apparent when incorporated with genuine material. The falsity of the Pseudo-Isidorian fabrications is now incontestably admitted, being proved by internal evidence, investigation of the sources, the methods used, and the fact that this material was unknown before 852. Historians agree that 850 or 851 is the most probable date for the completion of the collection, since the document is first cited in the Admonitio of the capitulary of Quiercy, in 857.
The author of these forgeries is not known. It is probable that they emanated from the aggressive new church party which formed in the ninth century at Rheims, France. It is agreed that Bishop Hincmar of Rheims used these Decretals in his deposition of Rothad of Soissons, who brought the Decretals to Rome in 864 and laid them before Pope Nicholas I.
Among those who challenged their authenticity were Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464), Charles Dumoulin (1500-1566), and George Cassender (1513- 1564). The irrefutable proof of their falsity was conveyed by David Blondel, 1628.
An early edition is given in Migne Patrologia Latina, CXXX. For the oldest and best manuscript, see P. Hinschius, Decretales Pseudo-Isidorianiae at Capitula Angilramni (Leipzig, 1863). Consult The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1950), vol. 9, pp. 343-345. See also H. H. Milman, Latin Christianity (Vols.), vol. 3; Johann Joseph Ignaz von Dollinger, The Pope and the Council (1869); and Kenneth Scott Latourette, A history of the Expansion of Christianity (1939), vol. 3; The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, art. “False Decretals,” and Fournier, “Etudes sure les Fausses Decretals,” In Revue D’Historique Ecclesiastique (Louvain) vol. 7 (1906), and vol. 8 (1907).
 The Dictate of Hildebrand (Gregory VII).—For the original Latin version see Baronius, Annales Ecclesiastici, Ann. 1076, vol. 17, pp. 405, 406 of the Paris printing of 1869; and the Monumenta Germaniae Historica Selecta, Vol. 3, p. 17. For an English translation see Frederic A. Ogg, Source Book of Medieval History (New York: American Book Co., 1907), ch. 6, sec. 45, pp. 262-264; and Oliver J. Thatcher and Edgar H. McNeal, Source Book for Medieval History (New York: Charles Scribner’s sons, 1905), sec. 3, item 65, pp. 136-139.
For a discussion of the background of the Dictate, see James Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire, Rev. Ed., Ch. 10; and James W. Thompson and Edgar N. Johnson, An Introduction to Medieval Europe, 300-1500, pages 377-380.
 Purgatory.—Dr. Joseph Faa Di Bruno thus defines purgatory: “Purgatory is a state of suffering after this life, in which those souls are for a time detained, who depart this life after their deadly sins have been remitted as to the stain and guilt, and as to the everlasting pain that was due to them; but who have on account of those sins still some debt of temporal punishment to pay; as also those souls which leave this world guilty only of venial sins.”—Catholic Belief (1884 ed.; Imprimatur Archbishop of New York), page 196.
See also K. R. Hagenbach, Compendium of the History of Doctrines (T. and T. Clark ed.) vol. 1, pp. 234-237, 405, 408; vol. 2, pp. 135-150, 308, 309; Charles Elliott, Delineation of Roman Catholicism, B. 2, ch. 12; The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 12, art. “Purgatory.”
 Indulgences.—For a detailed history of the doctrine of indulgences see Mandell Creighton, A History of the Papacy From the Great chism to the sack of Rome (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1911), vol. 5, pp. 56-64, 71; W.H. Kent, “Indulgences,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 7, pp. 783-789; H. C. Lea, A History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church (Philadelphia: Lea Brothers and Co., 1896); Thomas M. Lindsay, A History of the Reformation (New York; Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1917), vol. 1, pp. 216-227; Albert Henry Newman, A Manual of Church History (Philadelphia: The American Baptist Publication Society, 1953), vol. 2, pp. 53, 54, 62; Leopold Ranke, History of the Reformation in Germany (2d London ed., 1845), translated by Sarah Austin, vol. 1, pp. 331, 335-337, 343-346; Preserved Smith, The Age of the Reformation (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1920), pp. 23-25, 66.
On the practical outworkings of the doctrine of indulgences during the period of the Reformation see a paper by Dr. H. C. Lea, entitled, “Indulgences in Spain,” published in Papers of the American Society of Church History, Vol. 1, pp. 129-171. Of the value of this historical sidelight Dr. Lea says in his opening paragraph: “Unvexed by the controversy which raged between Luther and Dr. Eck and Silvester Prierias, Spain continued tranquilly to follow in the old and beaten path, and furnishes us with the incontestable official documents which enable us to examine the matter in the pure light of history.”
 The Mass.—For the doctrine of the mass as set forth at the council of trent see The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent In Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, Vol. 2, pp. 126-139, where both Latin and English texts are given. See also H. G. Schroeder, Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (St. Louis, Missouri: B. Herder, 1941).
For a discussion of the mass see The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol 5, art. “Eucharist,” by Joseph Pohle, page 572ff.; Nikolaus Gihr, Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Dogmatically, Liturgically, Ascetically Explained, 12th ed. (St. Louis, Missouri: B. Herder, 1937); Josef Andreas Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, its Origins and Development, translated from the German by Francis A. Brunner (New York: Benziger Bros., 1951). For the non-Catholic view, see John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, B. 4, chs. 17, 18; and Edward Bouverie Pusey, The Doctrine of the Real Presence (Oxford, England: John H. Parker, 1855).
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Tags: 2017 EGW Remembering the Reformation, Indulgences, Mary, Papacy, Purgatory, Sabbath
About the author
Ellen G. White
Ellen G. White
Ellen G. White (1827-1915), a cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. She was more than a gifted writer; she was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent. Read her writings at egwwritings.org.
For our family we consider this topic very seriously. Dating is when a young man and lady spend time together without a commitment and often sensual pleasure and emotion is the basis of the relationship. Two disastrous examples of dating in the Bible occurred with Samson and his first betrothed and with Delilah.
Courting is when a young man and woman become acquainted with the specific purpose of marriage in mind and with the guidance of parents or spiritual counselors. The arrangements are made so as to preserve the purity of both and to develop a foundation upon spiritual and mental commonalities which is a basis for lasting love and true appreciation upon which the emotional and physical can be added as God blesses. Two examples of biblical courtship are the marriage between Isaac and Rebekah and between Boaz and Ruth.
In my mind our young people as a whole enjoy too much familiarity with the opposite sex generally and it’s not really appropriate for teenagers to hangout together casually. It sets the stage for temptation and emotional attachment which is not healthy at the age when hormones are raging and judgment is immature.
We believe there are three most important life decisions a young person must make and that they should be done in this order:
1. Developing a personal walk with God.
2. Discovering the life calling.
3. The choice of a companion.
We would not encourage any young person in a relationship unless the first two are understood and being practically demonstrated in the life.
We believe in traditional Biblical roles of men and women as is enumerated in 1Cor. 11. God has given men the role of being the head of the home: the priest, provider, and protector. Women are to be the help meet of their husband and to flourish in the care of the home, and in training the children. Unless a young man has a faith in God which will help him spiritually lead a family, and a career by which to support them, he has no business seeking a relationship with a young lady. Conversely, unless a young lady has a spiritual walk with the Lord, and the training to be able to care for a home and family, she has no business receiving the attentions of a young man. Now she may still acquire education for nursing or teaching, etc and as a young lady may work but once married the primary priority and duty is to her home and family first. Our views are very countercultural but what we believe the Bible enjoins upon Christians.
Parents and/or other spiritual counselors can often see things about a young person that they cannot discern and so it is important for young people to have someone they can counsel with who can help them through this time in their life. Also, daughters are under the protection of their father prior to marriage and it is important that the father assist in determining the character of the young man who desires his daughter’s company. It is his duty as a father, especially a Christian father to make sure his daughter will be in good hands.
We believe chaperoning to be appropriate in a developing relationship and that physical contact should be kept to an absolute minimum during courtship and should rather be saved for the years of marriage.
For my husband and I, our parents were out of the picture but we looked to spiritual counselors whom we respected and could see had good marriages themselves. We knew each other for a year and a half before my husband asked my father for permission to court me (that was a sign to me that God was leading that he asked my father first-although my father wasn’t much more involved than that) and it was a bout six months courting/engagement before marriage. We had a courtship package we went through together which helped us to discuss important topics before marriage: children, career, finances, health, family issues…we were in a long distance relationship during most of our courtship but we talked daily on the phone and prayed together. Communication was established early on and we still love talking together. We will be up until 3 am just talking about different things. We are individuals and have differences of opinion but there is not one issue we have not worked out. Sometimes it is necessary for me to give the decision making power to my husband to do as he feels best, but he is always willing to hear any concerns I may have about an issue. Our first kiss was at the altar and we both determined in Christ to find the right one and to wait until it was clear that God was leading. We have had a very happy marriage for almost 12 years now and we have no regrets. The Lord brought us together and He has sustained us through the years.
If Christians took this seriously I believe we would see a whole lot more happy marriages and the divorce rate in the church would be much lower.
That’s my ten cents for the day! 😀
– Celina Richards
“The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Eden bloomed on earth. Adam and Eve had free access to the tree of life. No taint of sin or shadow of death marred the fair creation. “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7.
The great Jehovah had laid the foundations of the earth; He had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty and had filled it with things useful to man; He had created all the wonders of the land and of the sea. In six days the great work of creation had been accomplished. And God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” God looked with satisfaction upon the work of His hands. All was perfect, worthy of its divine Author, and He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the manifestations of His glory.
After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God’s great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God’s wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker.
In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation, in placing His blessing upon the seventh day. The Sabbath was committed to Adam, the father and representative of the whole human family. Its observance was to be an act of grateful acknowledgment, on the part of all who should dwell upon the earth, that God was their Creator and their rightful Sovereign; that they were the work of His hands and the subjects of His authority. Thus the institution was wholly commemorative, and given to all mankind. There was nothing in it shadowy or of restricted application to any people.
God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator.
God designs that the Sabbath shall direct the minds of men to the contemplation of His created works. Nature speaks to their senses, declaring that there is a living God, the Creator, the Supreme Ruler of all. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” Psalm 19:1, 2. The beauty that clothes the earth is token of God’s love. We may behold it in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the opening buds and the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God. The Sabbath, ever pointing to Him who made them all, bids men open the great book of nature and trace therein the wisdom, the power, and the love of the Creator.
– “Patriarchs and Prophets”, pages 47-48.
By Celina Richards
You may know someone like me who does not digest grains well. Even many of the “gluten-free” grains cause me a few days of joint pain and general malaise after eating them. However, as a mother of 6 (right now) young children and with a country home, I get hungry and desire something like bread. The commercial products available often have ingredients I can’t eat and are too expensive to purchase with a limited budget. This recipe is affordable. I can use buckwheat and rice so I made this recipe with those two grains and a few other wholesome ingredients. Here’s a recipe the whole family can enjoy!
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- 6 tbsp brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans
- 1/2 tsp salt of choice
- 1 tbsp honey (this gives the lovely color–a tbsp of apple juice concentrate or raisins does the same thing)
- 2 cups water
Blend all ingredients together. Pour in hot waffle iron (with a little nonstick spray first). Sprinkle with a mix of sesame, sunflower, and flax seeds, if desired. Cook until golden brown. Top with favorite toppings such as a mixed fruit salad and maple syrup, nut butter and applesauce, or Kodiac syrup, and enjoy! This can also be used as a replacement for sandwich bread if you have a thinner style waffle maker. I found my Oster “Gold and Crispy” waffle maker at a thrift store and love it!
This recipe is child approved. When I first made them, my son Josiah (8), had 7, the next three had 4 each, and the baby even put away 1 1/2! I’m sure your family will like them too. 😊
By Celina Richards
Recently I was describing the change in weather to snowfall to my mother, who is blind and has never seen it. I remember the first time the beauty of the snow first hit me. Our eldest daughter was only a couple months old and we were house sitting for a friend. I took a walk outside with Sarah and noticed that the snow was sparkling like a million diamonds. It was lovely. Breathtaking. I also love when the sun shines through the snow on pine or fir branches, showing millions of little rainbows.
As I was sharing this description with my mother, my mind went to the verse in Isaiah: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. As I began to meditate upon this verse, the beauty of the plan of salvation stood out to me. When God cleanses us from the filthiness of sin, He does a thorough and complete job. He makes us sparkling clean like the snow.
In Job 38:22, the snow is described as some of the “treasures” of God. Each flake comes forth from the Creator’s hand uniquely designed and beautifully formed. So we also, as we repent of our sins and look to Christ at the foot of the cross, we become His treasures: “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” Malachi 3:17. Also, we are given this promise: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4: 6,7.
When we behold His face as we study the Scriptures, we are changed into His image, or character: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. What does the glory of the Lord look like? The prophet Ezekiel describes what he saw: “And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.” Ezekiel 1:27, 28 I thought this was such a beautiful object lesson and one that could easily be lost in the busyness of the day. When we are washed from our filthiness and sin by the “washing of regeneration by the Word” Christ makes us new creatures. He makes us white as the snow. Sparkling. Clean. He makes us His jewels. He writes his new covenant promise in our hearts: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 10:16-17. As we look at the snow we can remember the work that Christ is doing and has done in our lives and that one day we can have the privilege to “awake with [His] likeness.” Psalm 17:15. May these thoughts encourage you today as you think of the worth and value you have in Christ and what He is doing for you. May we be like the snow: as the Son of righteousness shines in our hearts, may His reflection shine through us as the sun through a snowflake. May we sparkle and shine for Him who has done so much for us!