Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jesus Knows

"Jesus knows the circumstances of every soul. You may say, I am sinful, very sinful. You may be; but the worse you are, the more you need Jesus. He turns no weeping, contrite one away. He does not tell to any all that He might reveal, but He bids every trembling soul take courage. Freely will He pardon all who come to Him for forgiveness and restoration.

"Christ might commission the angels of heaven to pour out the vials of His wrath on our world, to destroy those who are filled with hatred of God. He might wipe this dark spot from His universe. But He does not do this. He is today standing at the altar of incense, presenting before God the prayers of those who desire His help."

The Desire of Ages, p. 568

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Justinian's Imperial Letter, June 6, 533

"The Emperor Justinian, Victorious, Pious, Happy, Renowned, Triumphant, always Augustus, to John, Patriarch, and most Holy Archbishop of the fair City of Rome:

"With honor to the Apostolic See, and to Your Holiness, which is, and always has been remembered in Our prayers, both now and formerly, and honoring your happiness, as is proper in the case of one who is considered as a father. We hasten to bring to the knowledge of Your Holiness everything relating to the condition of the Church, as We have always had the greatest desire to preserve the unity of your Apostolic See, and the condition of the Holy Churches of God, as they exist at the present time, that they may remain without disturbance or opposition. Therefore, We have exerted Ourselves to unite all the priests of the East and subject them to the See of Your Holiness, and hence the questions which have at present arisen, although they are manifest and free from doubt, and, according to the doctrine of your Apostolic See, are constantly firmly observed and preached by all priests. We have still considered it necessary that they should be brought to the attention of Your Holiness. For we do not suffer anything which has reference to the state of the Church, even though what causes the difficulty may be clear and free from doubt, to be discussed without being brought to the notice of Your Holiness, because you are the head of all the Holy Churches, for We shall exert Ourselves in every way (as has already been stated), to increase the honor and authority of your See."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

2300 Days

Here's a chart of the time prophecy of Daniel 8:14 as it is explained in Daniel 9:21-27. The key to understanding the prophetic time periods in Daniel and Revelation is that one prophetic "day" represents a full year of actual time.

Friday, September 20, 2013

True Education

"Now, as never before, we need to understand the true science of education. If we fail to understand this, we shall never have a place in the kingdom of God." E. G. White, Christian Educator, August 1, 1897

Because of the importance of understanding true education, and because of the wealth of material we have on the subject, I have started a separate blog devoted exclusively to it. You'll find my True Education blog at

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Michael the Archangel

Michael is mentioned five times in the Bible. Here is an excellent summary of what we learn from those five references:

What the Bible Says About Michael

No created being could fit the Bible's description. The name Michael is an unmistakable reference to the divine Son of God.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Wedding Ring

"Some have had a burden in regard to the wearing of a marriage ring, feeling that the wives of our ministers should conform to this custom. All this is unnecessary. Let the ministers' wives have the golden link which binds their souls to Jesus Christ, a pure and holy character, the true love and meekness and godliness that are the fruit borne upon the Christian tree, and their influence will be secure anywhere. The fact that a disregard of the custom occasions remark is no good reason for adopting it. Americans can make their position understood by plainly stating that the custom is not regarded as obligatory in our country. We need not wear the sign, for we are not untrue to our marriage vow, and the wearing of the ring would be no evidence that we were true. I feel deeply over this leavening process which seems to be going on among us, in the conformity to custom and fashion. Not one penny should be spent for a circlet of gold to testify that we are married. In countries where the custom is imperative, we have no burden to condemn those who have their marriage ring; let them wear it if they can do so conscientiously; but let not our missionaries feel that the wearing of the ring will increase their influence one jot or tittle. If they are Christians, it will be manifest in their Christlikeness of character, in their words, in their works, in the home, in association with others; it will be evinced by their patience and long-suffering and kindliness. They will manifest the spirit of the Master, they will possess His beauty of character, His loveliness of disposition, His sympathetic heart."

Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 180, 181

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The 1290 and 1335 Days

Daniel 12 contains three prophetic time periods:  3 1/2 times (or 1260 days), 1290 days, and 1335 days. In this post I will not explain the 1260 days. We will focus only on the other two time periods. Everything here is based on the premise that the 1260 days extended from AD 538 to 1798. We also assume that one prophetic day equals one literal year.

To find the starting date for the 1290 days we begin with the observation that two answers are given for a single question asked in Daniel 12:6.

Question:  "How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?" (verse 6)

Answer #1:  "It shall be for a time, times, and an half." (verse 7)

Answer #2:  "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." (verse 11)

Because both answers address the same question, both periods mentioned must have the same ending point, which the text refers to as "the end of these wonders." From that ending point it is easy to count back 1290 years. That tells us that the 1290-day prophecy began in the year 508. Now what about the 1335 days?

It is clear from the text that the 1290 days and the 1335 days have the same starting point.

"And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." Daniel 12:11, 12.

Notice that when the 1290 days ended, one must still "wait" until the end of the 1335. Both prophecies are dated "from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that maketh desolate set up." So we simply add 1335 years to their common starting point, and we find that the 1335-day prophecy ends in the year 1843. At that time Daniel would stand in his lot (verse 13).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Letter 51a

September 11, 1874

We are forming characters for heaven. No character can be complete without trial and suffering. We must be tested, we must be tried. Christ bore the test of character in our behalf that we might bear this test in our own behalf through the divine strength He has brought to us. Christ is our example in patience, in forbearance, in meekness and lowliness of mind. He was at variance and at war with the whole ungodly world, yet He did not give way to passion and violence manifested in words and actions, although receiving shameful abuse in return for good works. He was afflicted, He was rejected and despitefully treated, yet He retaliated not. He possessed self-control, dignity, and majesty. He suffered with calmness and for abuse gave only compassion, pity, and love. 

Imitate your Redeemer in these things. Do not get excited when things go wrong. Do not let self arise, and lose your self-control because you fancy things are not as they should be. Because others are wrong is no excuse for you to do wrong. Two wrongs will not make one right. You have victories to gain in order to overcome as Christ overcame.

Christ never murmured, never uttered discontent, displeasure, or resentment. He was never disheartened, discouraged, ruffled, or fretted. He was patient, calm, and self-possessed under the most exciting and trying circumstances. All His works were performed with a quiet dignity and ease, whatever commotion was around Him. Applause did not elate Him. He feared not the threats of His enemies. He moved amid the world of excitement, of violence and crime, as the sun moves above the clouds. Human passions and commotions and trials were beneath Him. He sailed like the sun above them all. Yet He was not indifferent to the woes of men. His heart was ever touched with the sufferings and necessities of His brethren, as though He Himself was the one afflicted. He had a calm inward joy, a peace which was serene. His will was ever swallowed up in the will of His Father. Not My will but Thine be done, was heard from His pale and quivering lips.

We long and pray that the grace of God may come into your hearts. We want you to make an entire surrender to God. . . . May God help you all to walk humbly and carefully is our prayer.

–Letter 51a, 1874, pp. 2, 3, 4.
(To "Dear Children, Edson and Emma White," September 11, 1874.)
3MR 427, 428 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The 400-Year Prophecy and the Fourth Generation

Question:  How long were the children of Israel in Egypt?

Answer:  215 years

To come up with that answer we have to do a few calculations. Let's start with the prophecy given to Abraham:

"And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." Genesis 15:13-16

Two measurements are given:  four hundred years, and four generations.

Before we look at the four-hundred-year prophecy, we notice that Israel's sojourn in Egypt was to last for four generations. We can confirm that that turned out to be the case. Levi and Judah represent the generation that went into Egypt. Moses and Caleb represent the generation that left Egypt.

Exodus 6:16-20
1. Levi
2. Kohath
3. Amram
4. Moses
     1 Chronicles 2:3-5, 18
1. Judah
2. Pharez
3. Hezron
4. Caleb

So what about the 400-year prophecy? Stephen confirmed the accuracy of that time measurement in Acts 7:17. "But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt." Stephen didn't leave us to guess what that time period was that God had promised Abraham. "And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years." Acts 7:6

In order to reconcile all these statements, we need to isolate the main points:

1. Abraham's seed were to sojourn in a strange land for four generations.
2. Abraham's seed were to be afflicted and treated evil for 400 years.

Examples of Abraham's seed being treated evil may be found in Genesis 27:41; 31:7; 37:28; 39:20; and Exodus 1:11. The first instance of Abraham's seed being mistreated was when Isaac was mocked by Ishmael in Genesis 21:9. Paul described it as persecution in Galatians 4:29. From that event we may count the predicted 400 years to Israel's deliverance from Egypt.

Another inspired reckoning of this period is given in Exodus 12:40, 41. "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt."

Paul clarified that the 430 years began with God's promise to Abraham. "And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect." Galatians 3:17

So the law was given 430 years after God's promise was made to Abraham. The law, of course was given on Mt. Sinai at the time of the Exodus. Abraham received God's promise when he was 75 years old in Genesis 12:1-5. From that time we can reckon 430 years to the Exodus.

Starting from God's promise to Abraham we may count 25 years to Isaac's birth (Genesis 21:5), then sixty years to Jacob's birth (Genesis 25:26), then 130 more years to the time when Jacob's family moved to Egypt (Genesis 47:9). That adds up to 215 years from Abraham's entrance into Canaan until his descendants moved to Egypt. Of the 430 total years, that leaves 215 remaining years as the amount of time the Israelites actually spent in Egypt. That fits well with the time span of four generations.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Contemplating the Life of Jesus

"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.

"It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ." The Desire of Ages, p. 83.

You may have at one time seen in an old academy Bible textbook a summary of Jesus' character traits based on statements from The Desire of Ages. What a blessing that has been to me over the years! I'm now providing a link to that file so we can all think on these things:

The Character of Christ