Counting the Cost

Luke 14:26-33  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,  Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.  Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?  Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.  So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Mission Statement of the Seventh Day Adventist Church

The mission of the Seventh Day Adventist Church is to make disciples of all people, communicating the everlasting gospel in the context of the three angels messages of  Revelation 14:6-12, leading them to accept Jesus as personal Saviour and unite with His remnant church, discipling them to serve Him as Lord and preparing them for His soon return.

Let us read through the three angels’ messages that the above mission statement refers to.

Revelation 14:6-12 ¶  And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,  Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.  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.  And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.  Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Nearly all companies, schools, organisations and institutions all around the world now have mission statements. But did you know that historically mission statements were the sole property of the church? The word mission is derived from the Latin word ‘missio’ which means “the act of sending”. It was in 1598 that the Jesuit priests of the Roman Catholic church created the word ‘mission’ and ‘missionary’ and applied it to themselves as they sought to advance the cause of Rome worldwide and to destroy Protestantism wherever they found it.

The Biblical word for one who is sent is the Greek word  αποστολος (apostolos) which in English is apostle. So perhaps the statement above ought to be entitled “apostolic statement of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.”

It is interesting however that the devil does have missionaries, and that they have a specific message to preach promoting his counterfeit religion. And even more interesting is that as we understand our own message for the world being in the context of the three angels’ message of Revelation 14, if we turn in our Bibles to Revelation 16 we can see that there are three angels involved in the counterfeit message as well.

Revelation 16:13,14  And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.  For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Unlike the three angels messages of chapter 14, this passage of scripture does not give us any indication of what the messages actually entail. In these last days, we are inundated with a myriad of religious messages coming from every quarter. There are many perversions of the true gospel, yet the Bible tells us that in the days just before our Lord’s return, there will be but two gospel messages being taught , and only two organisations teaching them. There will be the everlasting gospel of Revelation 14, and the false gospel of Revelation 16. The first is taught and preached by the remnant church, those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus, (Revel. 12:17) and the second is promulgated by Babylon the Great (Revel. 17), whose principle spokesman will be the false prophet (Revel. 13:11-18).

I appreciate that the three demonic messages of Revelation 16:13 are given in the context of the 6th plague, and that is still future. However, in that context, it is united with miracles and brings to fruition the amalgamation of the one world superchurch which sets itself in opposition against the true people of God.  Revelation also informs us that ‘fire’ shall fall from heaven in the presence of the beast and the false prophet. This I am convinced  represents a false outpouring of the Holy Spirit, counterfeiting the true ‘latter rain’. That said, I am convinced that the messages themselves are even now being taught worldwide, and the present ‘Pentecostal’ or charismatic movement, while only in its infancy, is giving these messages impetus. This indicates to me how close we are to the time of the end. We are but a short step away from seeing the full fulfilment of Revelation 16.

So we will have 2 three angels’ messages, one the true, the other the counterfeit. The counterfeit is not given to us in Revelation; however I believe we can gain much insight into what they are by looking at an event in the Old Testament. Before we do take a look at the event itself, allow me to give a brief summary of Israel’s history in order to set the scene so to speak.

A little less than 1000 years before the time of Jesus, Solomon the son of King David ruled in Israel. Solomon started out great. He was blessed of God with great wisdom, and built the temple with the supplies that had been left for that purpose by his father. Unfortunately Solomon had a weakness for women. He took to himself many wives, most of which were foreign women who brought with them their own idols such as Milcom, Chemosh, Ashtoreth, and Moloch, and many types of abominable false worship. Solomon built shrines and groves for this false worship on behalf of his wives, but worse, finished up worshiping the idols himself.

Because of his unfaithfulness God warned Solomon that the kingdom would be taken away from him, only not in his days, but rather in his sons days. Nor would it be the entire kingdom, but ten tribes would be removed from his kingdom and he would retain 2 tribes, Judah and Benjamin. These two would remain, as God’s purpose was to still to bring to Israel a Saviour, and He was to be born through the tribe of Judah, thus Jerusalem would ever remain at least until that time.

God also warned Solomon that the peace he had enjoyed throughout his reign to that time would end, and war would break out in his kingdom. Solomon had forgotten that it is God who brings peace, for Solomon had begun to trust in politics, making peace treaties with foreign powers and taking princesses of kings as wives to seal the treaty.

And so it ensued. God raised up enemies to harass the kingdom, and war broke out on many sides. One such person God raised up was Jereboam. Jereboam was one of Solomon’s favourite servants, being set in charge of all the foreign labour force in the country, that is, the slaves.

One day while walking in a field outside of Jerusalem, Jereboam met with the prophet Ahijah, who took from him his new coat, tore it into 12 pieces, and returned 10 of them to Jereboam. He told Jereboam that it was God’s intention to remove ten tribes from Solomon’s rule, and if he sought God with all his heart, God would bless his reign. Jereboam however grew impatient. He began a number of insurrections and conspiracies which Solomon became aware of, and who thus sought Jereboam’s life. Jereboam fled to Egypt and sought and gained refuge with Pharaoh Shishak.

After Solomon died and his son Rehoboam took the throne of the nation, Jereboam returned from his self imposed exile and was courted by his former northern tribal colleagues to be king. What he decided however was to give Rehoboam an opportunity to see how the son’s reign would go. He gained an audience with the new king and enquired if he might lighten the load that had been laid upon the people of the nation by his father, and if so, would gain the whole nations fidelity. Rehoboam however after consulting the young men he grew up with and spurning the counsel of the elders, chose to make the burden even heavier that would be imposed upon the people. He spoke harshly to Jereboam, so the ten tribes from that time declared their independence, and there was war between Jereboam and Rehoboam from that time forward.

And so it went, a succession of kings and the odd queen who for the next 250 years ruled over two separate kingdoms, one called Israel (the northern ten tribes) and the other Judah, which included the small tribe of Benjamin. Some rulers were faithful to the God of their fathers, but most were not. When they were faithful, God blessed them, but when they sought after their idols and forsook the religion of their fathers, other nations became thorns and pricks in their sides, sent by God in order to encourage them to repent and return to Him.

Israel had 19 kings over the next 250 years or so, none of which worshiped the God of Abraham, their father. Judah had 13 kings over the same period, some of which were faithful, some not. Throughout that time period Satan had sought to destroy any avenue through which God might bless the nations. Through war, apostasy, and insurrection from within, he endeavoured to impede and if possible stop the prophetic mandate that the Messiah would one day be born and free the nation from its bondage of sin. And what’s more, he enjoyed much success, in both nations. Until we come to the time of King Hezekiah. Let us turn to the Bible and read of Hezekiah and discover why he was different, and what we can learn from his experiences.

2 Kings 18:1-7 ¶  Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.  Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.  He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.  He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.  For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.  And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.

Hezekiah began a reformation in the land, one never before so all encompassing, and so deep.

8  He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.

Philistia was an Assyrian province. By attacking Philistia Hezekiah was in effect rebelling against Assyria, and helped the local nationalists of the Philistines to regain their own independence from Assyria. Hezekiah over the ensuing years gained much influence around the area, and his reign in Jerusalem became more and more powerful, wealthy, and blessed. Many foreign dignitaries brought gifts and sought his counsel and friendship, much like they did in the beginning of Solomon’s reign, only Hezekiah remained faithful to his God. Because of his rebellion against Assyria, and his growing influence among the surrounding nations, the kings of Assyria decided to take action. The first action came fairly early in Hezekiah’s reign when Shalmaneser laid siege to the capital of Israel, Samaria.

9-12 ¶  And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it.  And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken.  And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes:  Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.

It wasn’t Shalmaneser however that concluded that siege, for that honour went to his son, Sargon II.

Like his father Asa, there was an occasion when Hezekiah paid tribute to the Assyrian king in order to preserve the peace.  It would appear however that this arrangement did not satisfy Assyrian demands. According to Assyrian tablets from that time Hezekiah only paid a portion of the amount demanded of him, and in addition refused to turn over to the Assyrians the Ekronite king who had sought refuge in Jerusalem.

So Sennacherib decided to pay Hezekiah a visit and deal with this problem in his realm.

13-21  Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them  And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.  And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house.  At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria. ¶  And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field.  And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder. 

And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?  Thou sayest, (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?  Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.

There is coming a time just as Revelation 16:13 informs us that the church of God will be surrounded by an enemy far outnumbering and by far outweighing anything the church may put up against them. At present we are freely able to rebel against the spiritual rulers of this world, just as Hezekiah rebelled against the rulers in his day. By our faithfulness to truth, and through our preaching of the true gospel, the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, we testify to the lies and deceitfulness of Satan. He is not taking this lying down however. He is even now forming that coalition which he will use against the remnant people of God, and if possible, to finally destroy them.

Revelation 12:17  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The three ambassadors that Sennacherib sent to Jerusalem to propose peace terms and grounds for surrender, had a message. There are some very interesting parallels with what we are hearing today from the beast, the false prophet, and the dragon, and that message we can read in 2 Kings 18. Rabshekeh is not a name, but a title. He was the ‘cupbearer’ for  king Sennacherib. This job was quite dangerous, tasting all the drinks and testing for poisons before the king partook, and was customarily reserved for foreign slaves. Nehemiah, the Jewish captive a couple of hundred or so years later in Babylon was cupbearer to the king of his day, and although a dangerous work, was highly respected and was an exalted position in the house of the royal family. The Rabshekeh who spoke before the walls of Jerusalem on behalf of Sennacherib spoke eloquently and fluently in the Jewish language. I believe it is quite possible he was in fact Jewish, sent against his own people to deceive and encourage them to surrender, possibly a captive taken from Sargon’s capture of Samaria many years earlier.

It is a fact that we will face similar circumstances. Many who will fall away from the faith will turn against us and become our most dangerous foes. They will know our ‘language’. I spend much time communicating with other Christians online and in person. Different denominations have their own ‘language’. Catholics speak quite differently from Protestants, and Seventh Day Adventist Protestants speak quite differently from say Episcopalians or Baptists. Those who turn against that which they were once a part know our weaknesses, understand our thought processes, and can speak the same ‘language’ when it comes to understanding the doctrines and beliefs we hold dear.

The Rabshekeh first attacked any faith the citizens of Jerusalem might have in help from Egypt. Egypt in scripture is a metaphor for the world in general. There are two major things that those who believe in religious freedom might be relying on to support their cause.

1. The British Monarchy.

There is mounting pressure to do away with those laws in Britain that protect the throne from Roman Catholic influence. Moves toward a suggested republican government in Australia and New Zealand by certain individuals in power despite the lack of any demands from the general populace to do so, is also designed to undermine religious freedom.

2. The American Constitution.

The Supreme Court in America is now presided over by 6 Catholics, and not one protestant. There are constant challenges to the first amendment and the premise of the separation of church and state. The Supreme Court has great power, and even today is beginning to be heard the voice of the dragon which will cease to defend the minority, but favour the majority. Very similar scenario to what the Rabshekeh is developing in his speech against Hezekiah.

Like Rabshekeh, the devil will take great delight in pointing out the futility in relying on worldly institutions for support, and he will be absolutely right. But though he speaks the truth, let us not be deceived…truth in the mouth of a false prophet is a lie, his motives designed to ensnare and deceive. There are subtle hypnotic art forms in this speech, similar to the way the serpent spoke to Eve in the garden of Eden.

Historically, Egypt was indeed unreliable. They could not be trusted. So what was Rabshekehs motive? To destroy hope. He was reducing all options so that Jerusalem felt alone, abandoned, and helpless. All designed to show the logic of surrendering. Either they remain shut up in the city and starve to death or resort to cannibalism as had happened in Samaria, or leave the city and live.

When that message is given to us today, what are our alternatives? It is interesting that Christianity today has been so compromised that the reformers work that brought them out of Rome is now being undone by many Protestant denominations beginning to seek out Rome again and return to their former ‘mother’. As I share my faith on the internet, I also have become aware of many ex-Adventist pastors and lay members now joining themselves with other Protestant churches. It baffles me that these people do not just give up one specific doctrine they have trouble with, but cast aside all they formerly believed in favour of doctrines that have no foundation in scripture. And curiously they hold a deep seated antipathy against everything Adventist…they speak our language, they know us, and even Ellen White said they will be our most fervent opponents in the future.

Ellen White also said of the three demonic powers in Revelation 16:13, that they represent spiritualism, Catholicism, and apostate Protestantism. These three will form into one union. Strange bedfellows one may think, but they do in fact hold much in common.

*The natural immortality of the soul.

*Immediate afterlife upon death

*Sunday sacredness

*Ecstatic experiences such as speaking in tongues as being a sign of spiritual maturity.

*Soon all will agree that the only solution to the worlds problems will be a global religious system under the auspices of the Roman church.

Even as you read this there is a powerful melding of spiritualism and Christianity, such as in the emerging church movement and Oprah Winfreys online ‘church’ among many others. Hard core spiritualists claim the Bible as their own and the ‘Christ consciousness’ of spiritualism evidence of their way as being truth. Sin, repentance, the atonement, and Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest play no part in these new methods of ‘worship’.

When I first became a Christian in the 1970s the words antichrist, occult, one world government, banking dynasties, Rothschild, Rockefeller, Kuhn Loeb, Morgan, secret societies, Illuminati, Freemasons, Bilderburgers, council on foreign relations and such, were household words and names and titles to be abhorred because they were the great enemy who will bring in the antichrist who will ravage the church prior to the second coming. Conspiracy theories abounded, books were hugely popular on these subjects, and time hasn’t changed that. Today, the internet, Hollywood, and bookstores are awash with these things. And we are repeatedly told that we cannot trust them. Precisely the same message that the Rabshekeh delivered to Jerusalem. “You cannot trust Egypt”. Interestingly, Egypt was the historical home of the occult; of course we cannot trust secret societies and even current governments nor politics, so the question must be asked, “what is the alternative?” What is the alternative that the devil today is proffering as an alternative to trusting in the governments and ways of Egypt or the world? You see, the antagonism against the politicians and secret societies etc is working precisely in the devils favour, and he is effectively eliminating options by hypnotically forcing our attention to the only logical and viable alternative. His alternative by comparison with the conspiracy theories will appear kind, benevolent, reasonable, and above all, Christian!

But more on that a little later.

 22-24  But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?  Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.  How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?

This is interesting. The Rabshekeh is claiming that the old ways that have been long discarded were in fact the true ways, and that Hezekiah had led Jerusalem into error. I hear this repeatedly from ex-Adventists saying Ellen White has removed the true day of worship, and replaced with the false Sabbath. That she has removed the true gospel of salvation of grace through faith by a false gospel of works. That she has removed Jesus as our sole sin-bearer and replaced Him with Satan, the scape-goat. Other Protestants are saying the same thing of the reformers. That they removed the true ways and it is time to return to Rome.

And everyone is claiming that the majority cannot be wrong. Just as the Rabshekeh was saying, “You are small…you even call yourselves a remnant….how can so many of us be wrong?”

America was established on the principle of democratic republicanism – a system that was specifically designed to protect minorities – but the scriptures tell us that she will at some time speak as a dragon, which I believe is now, and proclaim majority rule, particularly in matters of religion.

I spoke earlier of  the alternative to the occult. I said that the devil is behind the conspiracy theories, but also behind the antagonism that is felt toward them in the church. This was with the intention to present to the world an alternative which is his own special baby, an alternative which will appear logical, benevolent, kind, and reasonable.

See what the Rabshekeh has next for Jerusalem and Hezekiah:

25  Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

Here is the great deception that is being repeated as you read this. Who is this “Lord” that the Rabshekeh is claiming as his special advisor and counselor? Assredly it is absolutely true what he is saying…someone has sent the command that God’s people are to be destroyed, but is it the God of Israel, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Or is it a counterfeit God? And who is traveling the world right now, proclaiming that the Lord is with him, and that he is the only logical person with the moral authority and mandate to head the New World Order? And who is it that within his church’s dogma contains laws and canons justifying the destruction of ‘heretics’? Yes, beginning with the previous popes John Paul II, and Benedict XI, and now with the current Pontiff Francis I , (his visit recently to the US Congress and the UN being a campaign for election)  the Vatican  is placing itself as the only viable alternative to the capitalist corrupt systems that have enslaved and captured the people of the world. What a contrast between the occult secret societies such as the Illuminati and Freemasons to the Catholic Church. Already the Protestants are running to her side, it doesn’t take much imagination to see the remainder of Protestantism doing likewise when faced with a crisis such as was facing Hezekiah. This is typical Hegelian dialectic. Control both sides, the thesis and antithesis, to formulate and establish the synthesis. Ask yourselves. Was the god of the Rabshekeh the same God of Hezekiah? Is the god of Francis I and the Vatican the same God our Adventist pioneers worshiped and taught as being the God of the Bible? No, on both counts. Yet sadly today, the god of the Vatican and the God described in the fundamental beliefs of the official Adventist church is one and the same. Does that concern you?

Then did Rabshekeh deliver the final ultimatum, and it is like he was quoting from the book of Revelation.

31,32  Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:  Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us.

Remember the verse in Revelation 16:13 that speaks of the message with miracles that will unite the world against God’s people? Here is another perspective of the very same event….

Revelation 13:14 -17  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.  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.

The final ultimatum is an appeal to leave the city, and live. Come out to us and you will eat and work. Surrender to us and we will ensure you will be able to trade and buy and sell. Stay in the city however and you will starve and die. Sunday laws my friends  are associated with the ability and freedom of people to earn a living and eat.

A brief summary: the Rabshekeh’s message comprised 3 parts, just as the three angels message contains three parts. They are parallels.

1. Both have a component that claims loyalty to and teaches the sovereign claims of God.

2. Both claim that their opposition is in error, that their own special teachings are the truth, and therefore the adherents to and the institution that promotes those wrong teachings are fallen.

3. Both call “come out of her my people”. “Come out and live”.  “Remain and die”.

We are facing a crisis much as Hezekiah faced. How did he prepare? We read a little further that upon hearing the massage Hezekiah entered the temple and laid it all out before the Lord, the Lord answered his prayer and wrought a mighty victory on behalf of His people. This action was the fruit of preparation that Hezekiah had embarked on much earlier. Was it the removal of the idols that we read of in the beginning? No, for there is something else he did even before that. To find that we will go to the following…..

2 Chronicles 29:1-3 ¶  Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.  He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them.

Seventh Day Adventism began as our pioneers spiritually or symbolically opened the doors of the temple and along with Jesus entered into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. The sanctuary message is foundational to all of us as Adventists. It is our mission to finish the work of the reformers and restore the truths that the sanctuary reveals, replacing the furniture if you will that had been cast aside and thrown down by the apostate power of Rome. The sanctuary is inimical to everything we are as Adventists, and it is that message which is the prime target of our enemies, they knowing its importance to our theology and our eschatological teachings. Now is not the time to abandon that which our Lord and God was pleased to reveal to our forbears. Even from within there are aspects of the sanctuary message which are being attacked and eroded or undermined. Let us, just  as Hezekiah did, enter once again into the temple, repair the doors, invite Jesus in, and cleanse and purify by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor. 3:16, 17 ¶ Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

We must count the cost. Hezekiah knew what he was up against. It is time to take stock and ascertain if we are willing to continue with our rebellion against the powers of this world. There is a price we may have to pay. Are we willing to forsake friends, family, for the sake of Christ? Are we willing to face ridicule such as those on the walls faced in ancient Jerusalem? They faced blasphemy, insult, and cruel mocking. Are we ready for that?  Are we ready for our opposition to reverse right from wrong, to claim their gospel is truth and ours a lie? Are we willing to endure the same as Christ endured and be charged with teaching a message of demons? Yes friends, I believe the roles will be reversed. We who teach the message of Revelation 14 will be accused of teaching the message of Revelation 16:13. We will be accused of being the cause of the plagues, the disasters that are falling upon mankind.

My friends, if you have made up your mind to abide in truth, then today is the time to enter the temple and prepare for the coming crisis. In 2 Chron. we read how Hezekiah entered in the first month. However, a little later on we read the following…

17  Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the LORD: so they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end.

Not just in the first month, but even on the first day of the month of his reign did Hezekiah enter the temple and begin the work of restoration. Today is the day of salvation. There are two applications of opening the temple doors and repairing them.

First is the work of reformation in restoring the truths of the sanctuary. This restoration which began with the reformers in the middle ages is to continue until all is restored. It is the Adventist special honour and privilege to be given the mandate to restore that most holy piece of furniture, the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the law of God. This is the final piece of furniture to be restored in the sanctuary. It is true however that the other truths which the reformers brought back to life are now being eroded away by their present day followers, so we have the charge to also replace those items of furniture that have recently been misplaced. The whole truth is to be proclaimed in these last days. This whole truth is encapsulated in the everlasting gospel of Revelation 14:6-12, and thus we have come full circle. This is our mission, or shall we say our apostolic commission, in the context of the three angels’ messages.

Hezekiah, despite being surrounded by his enemies, remained fully confident in his God, trusting in him implicitly to deliver His beloved city from the hands of His enemies. So also can we. So also must we. But it must start today. Let us all begin today, if not already begun, a work of reformation that will grant us the sure and intimately close relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that we all will need to see us through the coming crisis.

God bless you all and Lord Jesus, please come quickly.

One thought on “Counting the Cost

  1. Pingback: Curses and Blessings of The Congregation | Moshebarabraham2013's Blog

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