Who shall abide in thy tabernacle?

Who shall abide in thy tabernacle?

Copyright © 2012 Jonathan Mukwiri  |   | 

The tabernacle of the Lord is beautiful!  But a large class of Seventh-day Adventists are, by their lifestyles, choosing not to abide in God’s tabernacle.  “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).  Why forfeit eternity for vanity of this world?

In the book, Early Writings (pp. 14-20), a beautiful picture of what awaits us is told.  There is a tree of life, its fruit is glorious, and it looks like gold mixed with silver.  Our greatest trials here on earth are so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that will surround us in the holy hill.  The flowers there never fade.  The fields of tall grass, living green with a reflection of silver and gold, are most glorious to behold.  We will be served at a table of pure silver.  We will eat of the fruit of the tree of life, the manna, almonds, figs, pomegranates, grapes, and many other kinds of fruit.  The tabernacle of the Lord is too wonderful to describe!

But we cannot appreciate the tabernacle with a carnal mind, for “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). We must first be transformed to appreciate the tabernacle. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). We must cooperate with Christ to transform: “Abide in me, and I in you,” He says, “for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

But to abide in God’s tabernacle depends on your election. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).  Your lifestyle reveals your election.  You can make your calling uncertain by ignoring true revival and reformation.  But if you determine to make your calling sure by working “out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” you “shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:12; 2 Peter 1:10-11).

Unless we truly reform in our dress, diet, worship, and abstaining from sports idolatry, we have a false hope of abiding in God’s tabernacle. As Seventh-day Adventists, we know these things, but “I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2 Peter 1:10).  Christ wants us to abide in His tabernacle, but we must first show that, by our lifestyles, we have made our election sure.


Are we rich and in need of nothing?

The rich young ruler had kept all Commandments from his youth (Mark 10:20).  But over the years, he had copied the customs of the world in trusting in his wealth, so much that it was hard to change his lifestyle and follow Jesus; he left grieved (verse 22).

Likewise, many Seventh-day Adventists have kept all Commandments from their youth.  But over the years, they have copied the customs of the world in sports idolatry, abominable dress, gluttony eating and irreverent worship, so much that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than” for them to change their lifestyles and follow Jesus (Mark 10:25).  Who shall abide in thy tabernacle?

It was “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than” the rich ruler to “take up the cross, and follow” Jesus (verses 25 and 21).  The disciples were astonished at this and exclaimed: “Who then can be saved?” (verse 26).  As many Seventh-day Adventists may find it hard to reform in dress, diet, worship, and to abstain from sports, in astonishment we echo the exclamation: Who then shall be saved? Thankfully, “with God all things are possible” (verse 27); and you can say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

Can dress or meats or sports cause a Christian to be lost?  The paradox of Christianity is this: what we do absolutely does not save us, but what we do not do can cause us to be lost.  Our faith in Christ is demonstrated by our willingness to submit to His Lordship over our lifestyle.  If we are not willing to submit our lifestyle to the will of Christ, we have not truly accepted His gift of salvation.  If what we do does not matter, then it does not matter what we do.

We claim to be rich, God charges us of spiritual feebleness: “I know thy works … thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to … anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:15-18).

It is in His mercy that God reproves us.  “If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye … not sons” (Hebrews 12:8).  Our Lord has said: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Revelation 3:19).  “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth” (Proverbs 3:12).  “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).  It is a bitter discipline, but it is appointed by a Father’s tender love, “that we might be partakers of His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).

Jesus, who knows us well, says we are wretched.  The word “wretched” is used twice in the New Testament, in Romans 7:24 and Revelation 3:17. Being wretched is being in a dead body without hope.  The man in Romans 7:9 looked in the mirror of the law, saw his hopeless condition, saw he was wretched, and he cried for help (verse 24).  But the church in Revelation 3:17 thinks she is alive, yet she does not know she is wretched.  The reason why the law is not effective is because it has been separated from the context of the investigative judgment.

The investigative judgment (see The Great Controversy, chapter 28) reviews only the cases of the people of God, for “Judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). Judgment is based on the law of God.  Says the wise man: “Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14). The law must be kept in the context of the investigative judgment.

We are wretched unless we keep the law in the context of the investigative judgment, as to make it “our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24), making the judgment central to our diet, dress and practices, until “in all who are under the training of God is to be revealed a life that is not in harmony with the world, its customs, or its practices” (Desire of Ages, p. 363).

Jesus also says that we are miserable. Paul helps us to understand what it means to be miserable.  Paul says: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).  If we die, we want to be counted in the first resurrection, otherwise we are miserable if counted in the second resurrection.  To qualify for the first resurrection, there is a judgment that examines our character. The investigative judgment tells us that we have a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.  “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).  But many Christians are miserable, for they are in the easy religion of this world with its amusements, with a false hope, as they do not carry their cross.

Jesus said: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29).  This links resurrection with the investigative judgment.  The deeds of the dead are reviewed in the judgment, to determine whether they resurrect unto life or damnation.

The investigative judgment is also the antitypical Day of Atonement that begun at the end of the 2300 days (Daniel 8:14) in 1844 (see The Great Controversy, chapter 24).  If we should not be miserable when Christ returns, we must live as required in this antitypical Day of Atonement.  We are told how Israelites lived in the Day of Atonement:

“Not until the goat had been thus sent away did the people regard themselves as freed from the burden of their sins.  Every man was to afflict his soul while the work of atonement was going forward.  All business was laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel spent the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep searching of heart” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 355).

Until our sins are blotted out, we must afflict our souls.  Our sins are now only registered in holy of holies, they are not yet blotted out, and we cannot celebrate until our sins are laid upon the escape goat.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” (Psalms 139:23), should be our prayer.  We are miserable, for we think we can eat and dress worldly and engage in sports and still abide in His tabernacle. We cannot abide in His tabernacle unless in our profession and practices is “revealed a life that is not in harmony with the world, its customs, or its practices” (Desire of Ages, p. 363).

Why have our standards gone down?  “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away” (Matthew 13:25).  “While the Lord brings into the church those who are truly converted, Satan at the same time brings persons who are not converted into its fellowship.  While Christ is sowing the good seed, Satan is sowing the tares” (Faith I Live By, p. 305).  The tares have influenced the wheat in dress and idolatry of sports.

Jesus says that we are naked. This nakedness is best illustrated in the parable of Jesus: “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment … Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:11-13).  The man was naked, but did not know it until the investigative judgment was upon him.  Many will not know they are naked until their names come up in the investigative judgment.

The man had no wedding garment because he “had refused to make the preparation required by the king. The garment provided for him at great cost he disdained to wear. Thus he insulted his lord” (Christ’s Object Lesson, p. 309).

“It is not enough to make a profession of faith in Christ and have our names registered on the church roll. ‘He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.’ ‘Hereby we do know that we know Him if we keep His commandments.’ 1 John 3:24; 2:3. This is the genuine evidence of conversion. Whatever our profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness” (Christ’s Object Lesson, pp. 310-313).

Seventh-day Adventists are God’s ambassadors in this world.  We are a peculiar people, separate from the world in how we dress, eat, socialize and worship. Sadly, we are rapidly uniting with the world.  Christ bids and warns us: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5).  If we truly repent, then we must be temperate in all things, in order to “turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things” and we must always remember that “whoever violates moral obligations in the matter of eating and dressing prepares the way to violate the claims of God in regard to eternal interests” (3 Testimonies, pp. 62-3).

We must not join the idolatry of sports, gluttony of meats, abomination of dress, but rather we must be distinct, for “the Eternal God has drawn the line of distinction between the saints and sinners, the converted and the unconverted.  The two classes do not blend into each other imperceptibly, like the colors of the rainbow.  They are as distinct as midday and midnight” (Counsel to Teachers, p. 341).

“God calls for a spiritual revival and a spiritual reformation. Unless this takes place, those who are lukewarm will continue to grow more abhorrent to the Lord, until He will refuse to acknowledge them as His children” (Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 127).

We must respond by clearing the way: “There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation” (Messages to Young People, p. 133).


Does God mind women’s trousers?

Someone might as well shout: stop it right there, preacher! To preach against women’s trousers, you may as well remove most women from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Western countries!  Another thing, preacher, women’s trousers keep them warm in winter!  But let me ask.  Are you converted?  Would you rather die than displease God?  Are you very sure God is pleased with women’s trousers?

In developed countries, most Adventist women wear trousers during the week, at home, at their workplaces, in the markets, and occasionally at church gatherings.  Majority of these Adventist women are indifferent or just do not know that the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy condemns both the person who wears and the women’s trousers worn as abominations.  Even outside the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, a careful study reveals a rebellious spirit of feminist movement blended with spiritualism to defy God-given gender distinction as underpinning women’s trousers. Prayerfully study this matter.

Shall we be ready for God’s tabernacle, dressed like the world does? God calls us to reform and be distinct: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:17).  But very few in the remnant church are aware of the abomination of following the popular world fashions, especially dress fashions that blur the distinction between men and women.  Clothes that blur gender distinction are linked with the feminist movement that is linked with spiritualism.  This is a devilish rebellion against gender distinction given at creation by God.

“Thus do the Radical Feminists say that gender is the source of all forms of oppression of women; gender structures how men and women dress, eat, work, have sex and view themselves. If the problem is gender, then gender must be eliminated. Feminism’s goal must be androgyny [Alison Jaggar, Feminist Politics and Human Nature(Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Allanheld, 1983) 86].  Thus, The Feminists, an influential New York-based Radical Feminist group, states: ‘The sex roles themselves must be destroyed. If any part of these role definitions is left, the disease of oppression remains and will reassert itself again in new, or the same old, variations throughout society’ [Jaggar, 86]” (Anne Maloney, fnsa.org/v1n4/maloney.html, accessed 15 July 2012).

“Wearing a female pants suit – a power suit if you will – is an imitation of male power clothing. Now there are definitely variations of women’s pants suits that make them look more feminine, but it is still a woman’s suit imitating a man’s suit. It could also be argued that women’s right to wear pants is something worth fighting for since it wasn’t until the early 90s when women were allowed to wear pants on the senate floor. But I would argue that this is precisely the kind of change that made women feel the only kind of equality, is the androgynous kind” (statementsoffashion.wordpress.com/2008/09/19, accessed 15 July 2012).

“The theological and scientific assumptions which make acceptable the intentional restructuring of gender were established in contemporary culture by the anthropological assumptions of modern psychology and oriental religion. Jungian psychology, itself influenced by eastern religious thought, was very influential in the founding of modern psychological theory. The operative anthropology of Jungianism was a belief in the androgynous nature of all people - that there are female/feminine and male/masculine characteristics latent within everyone” (scholarscorner.com/didache, accessed 15 July 2012).

Does God mind women’s trousers – a rebellion against gender distinction given by God at creation?  Note that, “A person’s character is judged by his style of dress. A refined taste, a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire” (Education, p. 238).  A large class of Seventh-day Adventists sees nothing wrong with our sisters wearing trousers or short dresses, and have long become lukewarm in regard to dress.  Yet, women’s trousers are manifestation of a rebellious character.

God said: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 22:5).

We are told: “There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination. ‘In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety’ (1 Timothy 2:9).  Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of woman’s rights and the so-called dress reform [Pants Suit Costume] might as well sever all connection with the third angel’s message. The spirit which attends the one cannot be in harmony with the other. The Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women” (1 Testimonies, 457).

“One of the points upon which those newly come to the faith will need instruction is the subject of dress. Let the new converts be faithfully dealt with. Are they vain in dress? Do they cherish pride of heart? The idolatry of dress is a moral disease. It must not be taken over into the new life. In most cases, submission to the gospel requirements will demand a decided change in the dress” (6 Testimonies, p. 96).  Sadly, to bring the un-churched into church, new converts are rarely taught on dress.

“Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God” (Testimonies, Vol.4, p. 647).

It is great error to suppose that because women’s trousers are fashioned for women they do not offend Deuteronomy 22:5.  God’s prophet, Ellen White, calls it abomination for women “to fashion their dress very much like that of men.”  Godly women should not put on women’s trousers, for it is an abomination to our holy God, and a gender rebellion against God.

Moreover, in wearing dresses, women must avoid extremes in length: “My views were calculated to correct the present fashion, the extreme long dress, trailing upon the ground, and also to correct the extreme short dress, reaching about to the knees, which is worn by a certain class.  I was shown that we should shun both extremes.  By wearing the dress reaching about to the top of a woman’s gaiter boot we shall escape the evils of the extreme long dress, and shall also shun the evils and notoriety of the extreme short dress” (1 Testimonies, p. 464).

Women’s trousers are not of God: “God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase of crime” (Child Guidance, p. 427).

With the abomination of women’s trousers tolerated in our church, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than” for many of our sisters to put off trousers (Mark 10:25).  Many are deceived by the statement in the Church Manual that “they will not be the first to adopt the new styles of dress or the last to lay the old aside” (Church Manual, p. 176, 2005) in thinking that as long as they are not the first or last to adopt the wearing of women’s trousers they are guiltless.  What a strong deception!  Biblical and Spirit of Prophecy principles (Deuteronomy 22:5; Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 647) are contrary to the guide in the Church Manual.  With a conflict between a Church Manual and God’s Word, we must heed inspiration in the Spirit of Prophecy.

Avoiding women’s trousers is a cross to carry: “self denial and self-sacrifice will mark the Christian’s life.  Evidence that the taste is really converted will be seen in the dress of all who walk the narrow path of holiness, the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in” (Manuscript Release, Vol. 6, p. 160).

In this reform, we must shun any fear: “The fear of ridicule leads many a youth to temptation, and to walk in the way of the ungodly … is it not a sad thing that judgment-bound creatures should be controlled more by the thought of what their neighbors will think of them than by the thought of their obligation to God?  We too often sacrifice the truth in order to be in harmony with custom, that we may avoid ridicule” (Review & Herald, March 31, 1891, Para. 1).

As many wear women’s trousers, the few faithful, “To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few – this will be our test.  At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason” (5 Testimonies, 136).


Does it matter what we eat?

To the Seventh-day Adventist Church, “God has shown that health reform is as closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is with the body.  There is nowhere to be found so great a cause of physical and moral degeneracy as a neglect of this important subject” (3 Testimonies, p. 62).  “When properly conducted, the health work is an entering wedge, making a way for other truths to reach the heart. When the third angel's message is received in its fullness, health reform will be given its place in the councils of the conference, in the work of the church, in the home, at the table, and in all the household arrangements. Then the right arm will serve and protect the body” (6 Testimonies, p. 327).

“The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. And as we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome” (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 491-492).

“God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design – that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it” (Counsels on Health, 450; Last Day Events, 81-82).

“Those who indulge in meat eating, tea drinking, and gluttony are sowing seeds for a harvest of pain and death. The unhealthful food placed in the stomach strengthens the appetites that war against the soul, developing the lower propensities. A diet of flesh meat tends to develop animalism. A development of animalism lessens spirituality, rendering the mind incapable of understanding truth” (Counsels on Health, p. 575).

“Let not any of our ministers set an evil example in the eating of flesh meat.  Let them and their families live up to the light of health reform.  Let not our ministers animalize their own nature and the nature of their children.  Children whose desires have not been restrained, are tempted not only to indulge in the common habits of intemperance, but to give loose rein to their lower passions, and to disregard purity and virtue.  These are led on by Satan not only to corrupt their own bodies, but to whisper their evil communications to others” (Medical Ministry, p. 281).

“Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ.  Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done.  There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God’s people, to walk no more with them” (Last Day Events, p. 82).


Both amused and afflicted?

Many Seventh-day Adventists want to be amused with sports idolatry than be afflicted as their records are reviewed in this antitypical Day of Atonement.  A large class of Adventists is engaged in sports either for evangelism or for exercise. They have forgotten that: “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). It is great error to engage in world amusements, even Olympic games, in the name of evangelism.  “God does nothing in partnership with Satan” (Evangelism, p. 260). Drinking from broken cisterns (Jeremiah 2:13), our Church is ‘Christianising’ sports as ‘acceptable’ tools to attract un-churched “who are not converted into its fellowship” (Faith I Live By, p. 305).  It is sad!

It is error to play sports for exercise.  “What force of powers is put into your games of football and your other inventions after the way of the Gentiles – exercise which bless no one! Just put the same powers into exercise in doing useful labor, and would not your record be more pleasing to meet the great day of God? … I cannot find an instance in the life of Christ where He devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for the present and the future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; and yet Christ was our pattern in all things” (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 229).

The Biblical principle is presented in the counsel of Paul: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3).  In verse 7 Jesus “made Himself of no reputation,” He emptied Himself of His divine power so that He sets us an example. He would rely upon no power we ourselves cannot access. Now we like Him must empty ourselves and be acquainted with Him who made Himself of no reputation.  But the trends of sports, the likes of football or baseball, are anything but making oneself of no reputation!  It is very difficult to see how having the mind of Christ can mesh with having the mind of an athlete bent upon defeating his foe through strength of might and through various plays which trick your opponent.

Nowhere in Scripture do we find any slightest hint from Jesus that He would have us feed the carnal nature in sports that inclines us to selfishness.  “Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).  “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).  “For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great” (Luke 9:48).

It is clearly impossible in this antitypical Day of Atonement for a true Seventh-day Adventist to engage in sports yet retain a Christ-like character of humility outlined in scripture.  In all sports, whether be the so-called Church sports, widely practiced in our Seventh-day Adventist schools, there is always a winner, as there is always a looser.  But in the Christ-like view, all who strive for God’s will can win; there need be no losers.  There is a fundamental disconnect between the gospel of God and the philosophy of sports.  A Christian playing football in a Christ-like character, being “least among you all” (Luke 9:48), would result in a poor showing in sports.

“The world is not a croquet ground, on which we are to amuse ourselves; it is a school where we are to study earnestly and thoroughly the lessons given in the word of God. There they may learn how to receive and how to impart. There they may learn how to seek for souls in the highways and byways of life. How earnestly the games of this world are engaged in! If those who engage in them would strive as earnestly for the crown of life which fadeth not away, what victories they would gain! They would become medical missionaries, and they would see how much they could do to relieve suffering humanity. What a blessing they would be! What we need is practical education. Ministers and people, practice the lessons Christ has given in His word, and you will become Christlike in character” (Medical Ministry, p. 318).

“The true followers of Christ will have sacrifices to make. They will shun places of worldly amusement because they find no Jesus there, – no influence which will make them heavenly minded and increase their growth in grace. Obedience to the word of God will lead them to come out from all these things, and be separate” (Messages to Young People, p. 376).

No true and faithful Seventh-day Adventist living in this antitypical Day of Atonement will find comfort in watching or playing sports, even for exercise, as these games ensnare souls into “vainglory.”  God watches the drunken throng on the football pitch, the vulgar language used by the football fans, taking God’s name in vain, the drugs used, the fornication involved, the precious soul winning time wasted, and all the effects on the entire human race these games create.  A large class of Seventh-day Adventists have taken these games and Christianised them for exercise, thereby becoming lukewarm in the sight of a holy God who takes a panoramic view of the wider evil effects these games have upon the salvation of precious souls in this antitypical Day of Atonement.

No honest and decent advocate would knowingly plead for a criminal who at the time of pleading is committing another crime.  Sadly, Adventists expect Christ to plead their cases while they continue to commit the sin of idolatry in sports.  The list of sports idolatry here prohibited include: Card-playing, chess, Football, Tennis, Cricket, Baseball, Croquet, and any other amusements of such category or that fall under the principles by which these games are prohibited.  As a remnant church, we cannot say the Bible does not say that we should not engage in sports, for the Spirit of Prophecy is plainly against us making any lame excuse in regard to these sports.  But as many Adventists continue engaging in sports, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than” most Adventists will give up sports (Mark 10:25).


Standing ovation or bended knees?

In terms of how we worship, a large class of Seventh-day Adventists have adopted a lukewarm spirit, and our worship praises are fast becoming abominations to the heavenly visitors in our churches. Church music is fast turning into worldly amusements. We are told: “Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted. God calls upon His people, who have the light before them in the Word and in the Testimonies, to read and consider, and to take heed. Clear and definite instruction has been given in order that all may understand” (Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 38).

As to musical instruments in worship services, the Lord specified three types of instruments to be used by the Levites in the Sanctuary: harp, lyre, and the cymbal (1 Chronicles 25:1, 6; 2 Chronicles 29:25).  In this list there are no drums.  The celebratory drum worship is not of God, and those engaged therein cannot expect the Holy Spirit to reside therein.

The other aspect of our worship is prayer.  There is much laxness of reverence in our worship, and our prayer attitudes reveal that the lukewarm spirit has almost become incurable.  Sadly, in most Seventh-day Adventist churches today, prayers are offered on standing ovation instead of on bended knees.

“Men and women, do not dishonor God by your irreverence and pomposity. Do not stand up in your Pharisaism and offer your prayers to God. Mistrust your own strength. Depend not in it; but often bow down on your knees before God, and worship Him” (Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 314).

“Seventh-day Adventists are professedly the commandment-keeping people of God; but they are losing their devotional spirit ... Man must come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the footstool of mercy” (2 Selected Messages, 314).

Seventh-day Adventists who know that they are living in this antitypical Day of Atonement, in the investigative judgment, must humbly obey the duty: “Both in public and in private worship it is our duty to bow on our knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him (Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 312).

“Jesus, our example, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ Luke 22:41.  Of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ Acts 9:40.  Paul declared, ‘I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Ephesians 3:14.  In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. See Ezra 9:5.  Daniel ‘kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God.’ Daniel 6:10” (Prophets and Kings, p. 48).


Concluding Remarks

We ask: “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” (Psalms 15:1).  It is God’s trained child in whom is “revealed a life that is not in harmony with the world, its customs, or its practices” (Desire of Ages, p. 363). But the Lord says: “My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).  With Seventh-day Adventists still eating meats, dressed abominably, watching or playing sports, worshipping irreverently, we ask: “Who then can be saved?” (Mark 10:26).

No wonder at Sunday law, many Adventists will be lost: “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition” (The Great Controversy, p. 608).

Nathan reproved David.  “The law of the Lord,” David exclaimed, “is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7). Like David, let us accept reproofs from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. “My prayer is, O Lord, anoint the eyes of thy people, that they may discern between sin and holiness, between pollution and righteousness, and come off victorious at last” (Signs of the Times, October 15, 1885, Par. 9).

Finally, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).