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2014 February Newsletter - "Set the Captives Free!"

President’s Welcome

Greetings friends of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

It is with joy that this newsletter is sent to you. We’ve had some bumps in the road over the last few years. Thank you, who daily wrestle with God on behalf of this ministry. We desperately need the specific message that brings “more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour” which will be “attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.” (1888 1336.2) Our families, our Church, and the world cannot afford for us to slow down, give up, or back off. Eternity beckons all of us. By God’s grace, may we all determine to stay at our posts of duty until the earth is lightened with His Glory. 

Contrary to appearance, God is working and the truth of His Son is spreading rapidly. He is raising up a people who see the deceptions Satan is trying to force upon God’s people. By the intervention of the Holy Spirit, these men and women are being led to the Solution, the Way of escape, the Truth. Christ and His righteousness innoculates against these emerging evils. 

We trust that you are encouraged by the updates on the work that God is doing through this ministry to help prepare a people for the coming of the Lord. Please join us in prayer that God will bless these humble endeavors, for we are nothing without Him. Your continued, heartfelt support is vital to this ministry and is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

1888 Message Study Committee Editorial Board


From The Editor

This passage surely grabbed my attention: “Christ says, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ It is this marked nothingness, so apparent in the labors of many who profess to be preaching the truth, that alarms us…”

This is an unusual commentary on a familiar text, isn’t it? Let’s let the full statement mold our thoughts in Christ’s intended direction:

“Christ says, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ It is this marked nothingness, so apparent in the labors of many who profess to be preaching the truth, that alarms us; for we know that this is an evidence that they have not felt the converting power of Christ upon their hearts. You may look from the topmost bough to the lowest branch of their work, and you will find nothing but leaves. God desires us to come up to a higher standard. It is not his will that we should have such a dearth of spirituality.” {RH October 8, 1889}

As you may know, things have changed at the office. Folks have called in wondering if we were “still alive.” The answer is most certainly “Yes.” But new personnel doesn’t automatically translate into new power. Only the personal presence of Christ can bring the vitality, vision, and blessing every Christian organization needs. It’s nice to have new people, but we must have Jesus or we will perish into “marked nothingness”!

Here’s the other passage that recently spoke volumes to me:

“My guide then had many things to say which left an indelible impression upon my mind. His words were solemn and earnest. He opened before me the condition of the church at Battle Creek.... He stated that the church needed the ‘energy of Christ’—that all must cling close to the Bible, for it alone can give a correct knowledge of God’s will.” {1888 93}

What a decisive choice of words—“the church needed the ‘energy of Christ.’”

What was missing from this divinely organized body that led the angel to such a conclusion? What would have been different if they were sustained by the “energy of Christ”?

“He said that the work of Christ upon the earth was to undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free, to break every yoke; and the work of His people must correspond with the work of Christ.” {1888 93}

The “energy of Christ,” when received, has a direct impact on those around us, especially the oppressed and heavily burdened.

For an organization that exists to encourage the study, proclamation, and experiencing of a message so precious that it will swallow up every other, we must have the Author and Perfecter of this message intimately involved or failure is certain. We must not allow this. 

When the message of Christ is proclaimed with the “energy of Christ,” the branches of our lives and this ministry will be filled with trophies of God’s grace. The promise is sure, “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually…” (Isa. 58:10, 11)

With our gaze captivated by the matchless charms of Christ, may we hear His enabling call, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” (Isa. 60:1).

We pray that this newsletter aids in that experience.


Voices From the Harvest

“The Seminar was spiritually uplifting because it bolstered the text, John 12:32 ‘And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ Therefore, the seminar focused on Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. At the same time, it emphasized the need for man to enter into ‘His (Christ’s) rest and cease from his works as God did from His’ Hebrews 4:10. This was a paradigm shift for me in that one can view their own works as God’s. Whereas all good works that is produced from me is not a work I can claim, but it is Christ’s working in me. I left the seminar spiritually filled and changed. Thank you.” —Ramona

“The meetings were truly eye opening. I had a relationship with the Lord before, but never fully understood Him or some passages in the Bible. My understanding has changed now. I was informed that everything comes from God and if you ask Him for understanding He will give it to you. I also learned that you are to be completely surrendered to Him. I knew that beforehand, but after the meetings I see that it is only about Him, and graciously through His love for us, about us too. The concept of Jesus being separated from God the Father for an eternity, if He messed up just one time amazes me as to how much He loves us. And nothing short of your full surrender to Him will satisfy Him. I mean why not? He went to bat for us even until the death. We owe Him everything. Our faith comes from Him, our strength comes from Him, and our willingness to please Him even comes from Him because He absolutely without a doubt knows we can’t do it on our own. He has promised to provide all for us, and I didn’t realize it meant even our willingness to want to follow Him. Not only do our sins get washed away but our record gets replaced and filled with all the goodness He has done. Through Him we are totally redeemed. The meetings revealed to me the revelations of Jesus Christ and I was baptized and have given my life to Him forever.”



Thank you for supporting 1888 Glad Tidings Evangelism. Your continued intercessory prayers are needed to open up new cities and hearts to this message most precious.


Asking in His Name

By A.T. Jones


“VERILY, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you” John 16:23. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” Chapter 14:13, 14. 

What is his name? “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness 


and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” What is it, then, to ask in his name, but to ask in the very spirit and nature of the fullness of mercy and graciousness, in long-suffering and abundance of goodness and truth, and forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin! It is to be imbued with his own Spirit, making manifest his own disposition and character in the heart, and then in this disposition making our requests known unto God. 

To ask in his name means a good deal more than to present a series of formal or perhaps even selfish requests, and then put at the end of it the words “in Jesus’ name.” To pray “in his name,” is to have the whole petition imbued through and through with his name—with his disposition and character, with his nature. For his name is his nature. “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Rom. 8:26, 27. As the Spirit of God makes intercession for us, in order that our prayers may be such as they ought to be, it is evident that our prayers must be according to the mind of the Spirit to be acceptable with God. It is the Spirit of God that sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts (Rom. 5:5); it is by the Spirit that Christ dwells in the heart. Thus it is by the Spirit that we are made partakers of the divine nature through the promises. And to ask according to the Spirit and in the Spirit, is to ask according to his nature, it is to ask in his name. This and this only is asking “in his name.” 

This is made plain by Mark 11:25: “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any.” This shows that we are to pray in the very disposition and nature of the Lord. 

As he is “forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,” so are we to be. As this is his name, and we are to “ask in his name,” so when we pray, and as we pray, we are to pray, “forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” This is what it is to ask in his name. To pray to him while we are unforgiving and holding hardness in the heart toward our brethren or any other man, and then close the prayer with the words, “In his name,” is only to take his name in vain. It is only a mockery, both of prayer and of his name; for it is not done in his name at all; it is not done in fullness of mercy, in graciousness, in long-suffering and abundance of goodness and truth, nor in the forgiveness of iniquity and transgressionand sin. 

O, it is too true, as he says in another place, “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name.” John 15:24. There has been in us too much hardness, too much judging, too little long-suffering and kindness and goodness and truth to man and too little of the divine nature,—all this has been too largely true for us truly to have asked “in his name.” 

But it is not too late yet. Let us thank the Lord and take courage, that it is not yet too late. We are in the time of which it is written, “My people shall know my name.” Let us in sincerity of heart accept the promise in its fullness, that it may indeed be fulfilled in us as we walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Then, knowing his name, we shall believe in his name, we shall work in his name, we shall preach in his name, we shall baptize and be baptized in his name, we shall meet in his name, we shall pray in his name, yes, whatsoever we do, in word or deed, we shall do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the father by him. 

“And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sin, and before whom no man is guiltless [German version]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 

“And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. And he said, Behold, I make a covenant; before all thy people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord; for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.” (Read with this also Isa. 52:1-12.) And let all the people say, Amen, the Lord do so. (The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 15, 1895.)


Kid's Corner - Secrets

By Sharon Pergerson


Secrets, Secrets, Secrets. Some secrets, kept, can be harmful and even deadly. Other secrets, shared, can be healing and lifesaving. In the story of David and Mephibosheth, Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, was hidden from David. He even became lame in the process of running away from David. The true character of David was kept a secret from him. Mephibosheth grew up thinking David was a cruel tyrant out to destroy him and his family. For years, he lived in fear of David. He had no idea that the king was actually a really nice guy. In fact, David sent messengers to look for Saul’s family in order for him to show them kindness!

Satan has done an excellent job of trying to keep secrets from us. Secrets that, if kept, are harmful and even deadly. And secrets that, if shared, are healing and soul-saving. Would you like to guess what secret he has probably guarded the most? It is the truth about the character of Jesus Christ and all that He has done for you! By keeping this a secret, Satan has been able to cripple us spiritually, and to keep us away from God. By hiding this secret, he has caused us to be distrustful of God, live in fear of Him, and even fight Him. This has robbed so many people of God’s joy and peace.

Satan knows that keeping this secret is his source of power. Keeping this secret gives him greater control over our minds and bodies, so that he can enslave us with his lies and lead us to destruction! Satan realizes that when this secret is shared, the truth will be revealed, and his power over us will be broken!

The good news is that this secret will be shared more and more, until all the world hears it! This secret is so valuable to our salvation and our Christian experience, that Jesus Himself exposed it. He came to Earth to show us kindness, the kindness of His character. As long as we keep gazing into His character, we will be spiritually healed and we will run to be in God’s presence. We will come to trust Him and no longer live in fear. Our lives, no matter how difficult they may be, will be filled with His joy and peace. Jesus Christ will have the throne of our hearts, and our loyalty. He has made us part of His family, and one day we will dine with Him at His personal banquet table. I can’t wait, can you?

Let’s make a deal: every time we learn a secret about Jesus, let’s make sure we share it. So many of our friends and family are like poor Mephibosheth, living crippled with fear, and staying as far away from God as they can. Let’s be the ones to introduce them to the real King Jesus. (You can read the story of David and Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9:1-13.)


Healing of the Soul

By Ellen G. White


Many of those who came to Christ for help had brought disease upon themselves, yet He did not refuse to heal them. And when virtue from Him entered into these souls, they were convicted of sin, and many were healed of their spiritual disease as well as of their physical maladies. 

Among these was the paralytic at Capernaum. Like the leper, this paralytic had lost all hope of recovery. His disease was the result of a sinful life, and his sufferings were embittered by remorse. In vain he had appealed to the Pharisees and doctors for relief; they pronounced him incurable, they denounced him as a sinner and declared that he would die under the wrath of God. The palsied man had sunk into despair. Then he heard of the works of Jesus. Others, as sinful and helpless as he, had been healed, and he was encouraged to believe that he, too, might be cured if he could be carried to the Saviour. But hope fell as he remembered the cause of his malady, yet he could not cast away the possibility of healing. His great desire was relief from the burden of sin. He longed to see Jesus and receive the assurance of forgiveness and peace with heaven. Then he would be content to live or to die, according to God’s will. 

There was no time to lose; already his wasted flesh bore signs of death. He besought his friends to carry him on his bed to Jesus, and this they gladly undertook to do. But so dense was the crowd that had assembled in and about the house where the Saviour was, that it was impossible for the sick man and his friends to reach Him, or even to come within hearing of His voice. Jesus was teaching in the home of Peter. According to their custom, His disciples sat close about Him, and “there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem.” Luke 5:17, A.R.V. 

Many of these had come as spies, seeking an accusation against Jesus. Beyond these thronged the promiscuous multitude, the eager, the reverent, the curious, and the unbelieving. Different nationalities and all grades of society were represented. “And the power of the Lord was present to heal.” Verse 17. The Spirit of life brooded over the assembly, but Pharisees and doctors did not discern His presence. They felt no sense of need, and the healing was not for them. “He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away.” Luke 1:53. 

Again and again the bearers of the paralytic tried to push their way through the crowd, but in vain. The sick man looked about him in unutterable anguish. How could he relinquish hope when the longed-for help was so near? At his suggestion his friends bore him to the top of the house and, breaking up the roof, let him down at the feet of Jesus. The discourse was interrupted. The Saviour looked upon the mournful countenance and saw the pleading eyes fixed upon Him. Well He knew the longing of that burdened soul. It was Christ who had brought conviction to his conscience when he was yet at home. When he repented of his sins and believed in the power of Jesus to make him whole, the mercy of the Saviour had blessed his heart. Jesus had watched the first glimmer of faith grow into a conviction that He was the sinner’s only helper, and had seen it grow stronger with every effort to come into His presence. It was Christ who had drawn the sufferer to Himself. Now, in words that fell like music on the listener’s ear, the Saviour said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” Matthew 9:2. The burden of guilt rolls from the sick man’s soul. He cannot doubt. Christ’s words reveal His power to read the heart. Who can deny His power to forgive sins? Hope takes the place of despair, and joy of oppressive gloom. The man’s physical pain is gone, and his whole being is transformed. Making no further request, he lay in peaceful silence, too happy for words. Many were watching with breathless interest every movement in this strange transaction. Many felt that Christ’s words were an invitation to them. Were they not soul-sick because of sin? Were they not anxious to be freed from this burden? But the Pharisees, fearful of losing their influence with the multitude, said in their hearts, “He blasphemeth: who can forgive sins but One, even God?” Mark 2:7, R.V. Fixing His glance upon them, beneath which they cowered and drew back, Jesus said, “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,” He said, turning to the paralytic, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” Matthew 9:4-6. 

Then he who had been borne on a litter to Jesus rose to his feet with the elasticity and strength of youth. And immediately he “took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” Mark 2:12. It required nothing less than creative power to restore health to that decaying body. The same voice that spoke life to man created from the dust of the earth, had spoken life to the dying paralytic. And the same power that gave life to the body had renewed the heart. He who at creation “spake, and it was,” who “commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:9), had spoken life to the soul dead in trespasses and sins. The healing of the body was an evidence of the power that had renewed the heart. Christ bade the paralytic arise and walk, “that ye may know,” He said, “that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” 

The paralytic found in Christ healing for both the soul and the body. He needed health of soul before he could appreciate health of body. Before the physical malady could be healed, Christ must bring relief to the mind, and cleanse the soul from sin. This lesson should not be overlooked. There are today thousands suffering from physical disease who, like the paralytic, are longing for the message, “Thy sins are forgiven.” The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies. They can find no relief until they come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can impart would restore vigor to the mind and health to the body. The effect produced upon the people by the healing of the paralytic was as if heaven had opened and revealed the glories of the better world. As the man who had been cured passed through the throng, blessing God at every step and bearing his burden as if it were a feather’s weight, the people fell back to give him room and with awe-stricken faces gazed upon him, whispering softly among themselves, “We have seen strange things today.” Luke 5:26. 

In the home of the paralytic there was great rejoicing when he returned to his family... They gathered round with tears of joy, hardly daring to believe their eyes. He stood before them in the full vigor of manhood… Glad thanksgiving went up from that home, and God was glorified through His Son, who had restored hope to the hopeless and strength to the stricken one. This man and his family were ready to lay down their lives for Jesus. No doubt dimmed their faith, no unbelief marred their fealty to Him who had brought light into their darkened home. 

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: 

And all that is within me, bless His holy name... 

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; 

Who healeth all thy diseases; 

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;... 

So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s..... 

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; 

Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.... 

Like as a father pitieth his children, 

So the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” 

Psalm 103:1-13.  (Ministry of Healing, Chapter 5)



Christ Our Righteousness 

By Walton S. Whaley, Sr.


Christ our Righteousness Imputes God’s gracious forgiveness freely To all sinners in every time and every place. 

Christ our Righteousness Imparts His holiness through His faith To all who receive God’s good news of mercy and grace. 

Christ our Righteousness Covers the whole of our sins with His blood: To all He speaks grace, pardon and peace to atone. 

Christ our Righteousness Guarantees eternal salvation 

To all who trust completely in His merits alone.


In Appreciation


We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. 1 Thessalonians 1:2


God has blessed our ministry over the years. Friends have come and gone, yet their contributions to the proclamation of this Gospel are permanently recorded in the heart of God. How treasured to God is the labor of those who have been touched and changed by the power of Christ. Although we cannot list them all, we would like to thank two of the families who worked with 1888 Glad Tidings for over a combined 30 years of service.

RJ and Gail Gravell served as our general manager and office manager. They officially relocated to Florida in December of 2012. Their friendliness and warmheartedness blessed many a heart and led countless contacts to become “friends” of the gospel. The publications produced under their leadership helped carry this beautiful message all over the world. We sincerely thank the Gravells for their years of work and dedication. May their lives and new endeavors be as highly blessed of God as we were by them. 

Herb and Neta Natzke worked with 1888 Glad Tidings for over 20 years. They officially retired in October 2013. Almost every book you ordered or received had Herb and Neta’s fingerprints on it. Their years of quiet, consistent labor were a reflection of two lives transformed by this message of peace. Their kind and helpful spirits left an indelible impression on us all. We truly thank the Natzkes for their years of self-sacrificing labor. May their golden years be filled with the love and peace that comes from the heart of Christ our Savior.

Only in heaven will we see clearly all the “fruit” of these families’ labors. Until then, please join us in asking for heaven’s continued blessings on them and their families. They will be missed, but thank God they are only a phone call or card away. If you would like to contact them simply call the Glad Tidings office. 

God’s Work is a continuous movement. We are both thankful for the labors of those who have been “reassigned” and those whom God has led to take up their mantle. We welcome Autumn Roberts to the 1888 MSC office. Most likely she is the voice you hear when you call the office, or the first face you would meet if you came by the office. Ms. Roberts’ background is in graphic design. She was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the new formatting of our newsletter. Kindly keep Ms. Roberts in your prayers as she seeks to use her gifts for the glory of God. 

We are also excited that Pastor William Pergerson has begun working with the 1888 MSC. Pastor Pergerson pastored for 20 years, but his first love and spiritual gift is Christ-Centered Evangelism. He and his family have dedicated themselves to sharing this message of Christ our Righteousness which has preserved them to God and the ministry. Elder Pergerson conducts evangelistic series, weeks of prayer, and evangelism training all over the world. He also manages the 1888 MSC Office. His goal is to ensure that operations are efficient and the office is transformed into a friendly, welcoming resource center for those interested in studying the message. Thank you for remembering them all in your prayers.



Jesus: The Great Center of Attraction

By J. W. “Bill” Lehman


“...The great center of attraction, Jesus Christ, must not be left out of the third angel’s message. By many who have been engaged in the work for this time, Christ has been secondary, and theories and arguments have had the first place.” —Review and Herald, 3/20/1894; Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 383.

“The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people …This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the surety, it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.” —Christ Our Righteousness, p. 24; Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91, 92.

Jesus Christ was to be the great center of attraction in the message of 1888. Theories and arguments were not to have first place while Christ was made secondary. Many people had even lost sight of Jesus.

What about today? Is Christ the great center of attraction in our teaching and preaching of Christ our righteousness, or have the methods and processes of justification and the various theories and arguments about justification and sanctification been predominant? The emphasis is usually on the process and not on Christ. The disagreements that are so strongly presented seem to always focus on the method by which we are justified and not on the Person by Whom we are justified. Ellen White said: “They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.” —Testimonies to Ministers, p. 92.

How easily we miss the focus and emphasis in Christ, Our Righteousness. Jesus, The Person, The Christ, is the heart and theme of Christ Our Righteousness. Justification and sanctification are the results, the products of His great work on our behalf. But the Producer, the Active Agency is Jesus, the Christ. The theme must always be on Christ; then secondarily, what He accomplished for us.

Intimately related to Christ, the great center of attraction and focusing on the Person of Jesus is the rest of the title: “Christ Our Righteousness.” The righteousness of Jesus is to be emphasized above all other themes. His character, His holiness, His virtues, His righteousness or merits, as Ellen White often called them, is the primary theme in “Christ Our Righteousness.” While we need to know how we are counted righteous, etc., we must first see and always behold the beauty of the character of Jesus which is His righteousness.

Ellen White described the message of Christ Our Righteousness as: “I have had the question asked, ‘What do you think of this light that these men are presenting?’ Why, I have been presenting it to you for the last forty-five years—the matchless charms of Christ. This is what [I] have been trying to present before your minds. When Brother Waggoner brought out these ideas in Minneapolis, it was the first clear teaching on this subject from any human lips I had heard, excepting the conversations between myself and my husband.” —A. V. Olson, Through Crisis to Victory, p. 48, quoted from Ms. 5, 1889.

She used this phrase, “matchless charms of Christ,” in other places, such as p. 256 of Through Crisis to Victory and Review and Herald, Dec. 22, 1896. Her picturesque language (matchless charms) describes the righteousness of Jesus, His perfect character. When His beauty of character is seen it grips our attention so that our eyes are riveted upon Him. His beauty of holiness is so appealing, so attractive that we are charmed by such great beauty that we find ourselves staring at Him, transfixed in admiration, possessed by such perfection.

“Matchless charms of Christ” was her description of the 1888 message. How different from all the legal, objective presentations which we have heard so frequently on this subject. How appealing when compared to all the theories and arguments. How simple and personal. Her descriptions of Jesus found elsewhere probably also refer to the righteousness of Christ. In Testimonies to Ministers, p. 81 she speaks of “the preciousness of Christ.” In Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 76, “the attractive loveliness of Christ.” In Testimonies to the Church, Volume 6, the righteousness of Christ is likened to “sweet music”:

“The sweetest melodies that come from God through human lips—justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ—do not call forth from them a response of love and gratitude.” —Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 6, p. 426.

Perhaps many never realized that the Bible had reference to the righteousness of Christ, His character, in such well known descriptions of Jesus as the One who is “altogether lovely,” Song of Solomon 5:16; “I am the Rose of Sharon, and lily of the valleys,” Song of Solomon 2:1; “I am … the bright and morning star,” Revelation 22:16; “the desire of all nations,” Haggai 2: 7. This is surely a unique view of the 1888 message. Has this been our emphasis when we speak of justification by faith and Christ our righteousness? While God desires us to understand the process of justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ and sanctification and all the various aspects of this message, Christ and His righteousness is the heart of it, the power, the appeal and the beauty of that message. If we correctly understand all of it, but in our emphasis make Jesus merely secondary, we lose everything. Nothing must be permitted to supersede Jesus —the Person.

Lest we misunderstand, the “matchless charms” of Jesus does not refer to any physical, external beauty or attraction, for the Bible teaches that Jesus would not have this outward appeal. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2 NIV. It does refer to His inward character or beauty, and this beauty was reflected in the face of Jesus, in His teachings, His treatment of people and all of His works. His inward perfection can be discerned by us. His love, purity, self-denial, humiliation, patience, holiness and, all of His virtues were constantly demonstrated.

As a result, people perceived this beauty of character called righteousness and were drawn to Him. Little children wanted to be near Him, or held by Him. Fishermen, farmers, tax collectors, Roman soldiers and the heathen gathered to Him as if by some irresistible force. Even the demoniacs, when delivered, wanted to always be with Him. These activities were a demonstration of the matchless charms of Jesus in operation. Christ our righteousness, “the matchless charms of Jesus,” appeals to our hearts, not merely the intellect. It is an entirely different way of soul winning. All argument, selling, and logic are omitted. It is the presentation of the beauty of Christ’s character or righteousness in such a way that it has the effect of “charming” the listener or viewer.

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has this definition of “charm” as “a trait or quality that fascinates and allures, as if by a spell;” “to affect by or as by charm or magic;” “to fascinate, bewitch, enchant;” “to attract irresistibly;” “to delight exceedingly.” How pleasant and enjoyable is such a work as drawing listeners irresistibly and at the same time they are delighted exceedingly. “You should search the Bible; for it tells you of Jesus. As you read the Bible, you will see the matchless charms of Jesus. You will fall in love with the Man of Calvary, and at every step you can say to the world, ‘His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all His paths are peace.’ You are to represent Christ to the world. —Life Sketches p. 293.

Matchless charms! What a different message is this! “Messages bearing the divine credentials have been sent to God’s people; the glory, the majesty, the righteousness of Christ, full of goodness and truth have been presented; the fullness of the Godhead in Jesus Christ has been set forth among us with beauty and loveliness, to charm all whose hearts were not closed with prejudice.” —Review and Herald, 5/27/1890.

What did they preach? “The glory, the majesty, the righteousness of Christ, full of goodness and truth, have been presented, the fullness of the Godhead in Jesus Christ.” And how did they present it? “…has been set forth among us with beauty and loveliness.” And why was it presented? “ … to charm all hearts.” With such great appeal and power in the messages of that time how could anyone resist such attraction? The answer is given in the quotation: PREJUDICE. And it can still harden our hearts today. But we may also fail to respond today for other reasons. Many of us are fearful of heart religion. Some have great difficulty with LOVE. We seem unable to handle such appeals that strike us where we are vulnerable, perhaps helpless. Many insist on making their religion coldly scientific, logical and objective, but a religion that charms me by-passes all of this and grips my heart in a subjective manner which is often impossible to explain or understand. Mentally, we flee from such presentations and harden our hearts. But God wants our hearts and Jesus came to win them. This is a necessity if we are to be truly Christian. See Steps to Christ, page 18 and Christ’s Object Lessons, page 97.

Oh what a privilege and opportunity we have to present “the matchless charms of Christ.” This is the message, which is so desperately needed today.  (From “The Matchless Charms of Christ” by J.W. “Bill” Lehman. Chapter 1. Copyright 2006. Reprinted with permission.)


FEATURE - The Acceptable Year of the Lord

By William Pergerson


It is not coincidental that, during the first New Testament introduction to Jesus Christ the Sabbath Keeper, the Savior chose for His sermon’s text “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Isa. 61:1, 2). Perhaps, by combining His Sabbath rest with the practical work of proclaiming liberty, binding up the broken hearted, and freeing captives, Jesus was revealing the blueprint of the acceptable labor that He would finally complete through those who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). To see the downtrodden, captive, benighted multitudes as “candidates for the kingdom of God” requires the “faith of Jesus” doesn’t it? “In man, defiled and ruined by sin, He saw the possibilities of redemption” (COL 118). 

The Father also surveys us through the eye of faith, “God looked upon humanity, not as vile and worthless; He looked upon it in Christ, saw it as it might become through redeeming love” (COL 118). Since the faith of God is powered by His limitless, tireless love (Gal. 5:6), He gladly “collected all the riches of the universe, and laid them down in order to buy” us, redeem us through the priceless life of God the Son (COL 118). Now the Godhead is earnestly engaged in the work of rescuing and reconciling mankind to the reality of their new position in Christ. Paul revealed that his labor was only an extension of the work of God when he stated that, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:19, 20).

Having spared no expense to redeem us, it should be no surprise that, “Hearts that have been the battleground of the conflict with Satan, and that have been rescued by the power of love, are more precious to the Redeemer than are those who have never fallen” (COL 118). It should not shock us to learn that “It is His glory to pardon the chief of sinners” (MH 161). This is the character of God and the character of God’s work. He delights in setting captives free through a knowledge of the truth of what His love has accomplished for them “in Christ.” But do those who are called “the chief of sinners” by society have ready access to this truth? Has the everlasting gospel that has set many of us free from the power of the enemy sounded in their ears? Through the hearing of the gospel, “We which have believed do enter into rest, as he said” (Heb. 4:3). We have found rest for our souls in the finished work of Christ, of which the Sabbath is a sign. By faith, we have ceased from our own works. Does not the joy of entering Christ’s rest also motivate us to join Christ in His work? While resting in His accomplishments, should we not also be energized to labor with Him “to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives?” 

The blueprint of Luke 4 declares this to be so. There is a large population in our society, most of whom will never attend a Gospel convention in Berrien Springs, or any other city for that matter, because they are on lock down. They are locked behind bars by our legal system and behind the stronger bars of dark misunderstandings. The scenes of Calvary plead with us to get the message of salvation to His lost children, whatever the cost. The Father urgently implores us to tell them the message that He “in His great mercy sent... [and] commanded to be given to the world” (TM 92), thus enabling them to face the consequences of their decisions as “prisoners of hope.” Behind bars, but set free by an intelligent, studied, and experienced knowledge of Him who is the Truth. 

How may we help proclaim “the acceptable year of the Lord” to these incarcerated souls? The vast majority of us will never gain access to these precious people personally. But we may assist in sending the message to them. Let us take up an aggressive campaign we might call “Set the Captives Free.” Let this be a campaign to sponsor every Federal Prison Library with a box from 1888 Glad Tidings Publishers, carrying this “most precious message.” There are 182 Federal prisons in the United States, housing well over 200,000 federal inmates. With God blessing our hearts to take up this cause with a mind to work, we could ensure that by July 1, 2014, every Federal inmate in every state of America could read for himself, in English or Spanish, the message for this time. Each of us might answer God’s plea to aid heaven in binding up their broken hearts and setting them free! Let us send the keys of truth to those who are twice captive, thus giving them a chance to experience what it means to be “free indeed!”

Won’t you kindly consider this mission of mercy? A box of sixteen carefully selected books may be sponsored & shipped for only $165.00. We have contacted the Federal Prison system and they are desirous of having the inmates helped in this manner. 

Will you prayerfully join the Savior as He brings the Gospel to these desperate members of His family? As God directs, you may send your sponsoring support of any amount to 8784 Valley View Dr., Berrien Springs, MI 49103. Heaven eternally thanks you for helping them “Set the Captives Free!”


FEATURE - Peter and Forgiveness: Part 1

By Fred Bischoff




This study began with looking at the details of forgiveness in story of Peter’s denial of Jesus. Slowly it began to dawn on me that I should trace the theme of forgiveness with Peter as the connecting person. The connecting theme behind forgiveness came from John 3:16. In crafting and expressing the forgiveness of sinners, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” After all, the core of the English word “forgiveness” is this very dynamic that first flowed from the heart of God.

In this series we will examine ten stories from the Gospels. Some stories are chapters of the same event.

• Peter’s Revelation: Beginning to Measure the Enormity of Forgiveness

• Peter’s Rebuke: Encountering the Offense of Forgiveness

• Peter’s Drowsiness: Missing the Encouragement of Forgiveness

• Peter’s Boast: Retreating on the Enormity of Forgiveness

• Peter’s Question: Learning More the Measure of Forgiveness

• Peter’s Claim: Revealing the Motive Opposite of Forgiveness

• Peter’s Blindness: Needing the Persistence of Forgiveness

• Peter’s Defense: Blocking the Path of Forgiveness

• Peter’s Denial: Experiencing the Look of Forgiveness

• Peter’s Humility: Embracing the Selflessness of Forgiveness

The various methods I will use to review the stories will be (1) to recount them each in the very words of Scripture, (2) to paraphrase as needed what I see as the implications of the elements of the conversation, and (3) to develop further in questions, reflections, commentary, notes, and/or comparisons what the story shows us of the theme of forgiveness. (All emphases in bold are supplied.)

Story #1: Matt. 16 (1): Peter’s Revelation: Beginning to Measure the Enormity of Forgiveness

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, ‘Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?’

And they said, ‘Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’

“He saith unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’

“And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’

“Then charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ” (verses 13-21).

Peter: I know who You are. I love who You are.It is amazing who You are.

Diagram1 of Matt. 16:16 

Consider: Peter’s confession of Jesus’ identity was correct. His perception of this identity was not from any human source, himself included. The Father who sent Jesus revealed this to Peter. Peter used the exact same words in John 6:69 when many of Jesus’ disciples abandoned Him. Peter’s confession there was in the plural—”we believe and know.” But as certain as this revelation was, it was only part of what Jesus’ witness was. For Peter still failed to understand the dynamic—the motive—of how the Son of God became Jesus of Nazareth. And failing to see this, Peter was to reveal the generic blindness we all have in the flesh. We don’t see and embrace the giving that is in the heart of forgiving. What giving had taken place for the “Son of the living God” to become “Jesus the Christ [Messiah]”? What did the Father have to give? What did the Son have to give? What motivated Them to give? What was the purpose of the incarnation? And how was this additional and vital knowledge to be revealed to Peter? The divine revelation was active, but the human “eye of faith” was blinded by self. The next story is chapter two of the same, following the above immediately.

Story #2: Matt. 16 (2): Peter’s Rebuke: Encountering the Offense of Forgiveness

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

“Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

“But he turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.’

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

‘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?

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works’” (Verses 21-27).

Peter: I hate the trajectory of your path. I hate where you are headed. I hate what this will cost you

Evidence: The verb “took” of verse 22, what Peter did with Jesus, has one of its definition as, “to take by the hand in order to lead aside.” By his words, “This shall not be unto thee,” Peter said, “I won’t let this happen to You.” We will see this again in Story #8, with connections to this story.

Jesus: Peter, this is what you hate—you hate “the things that be of God.” You love “those that be of men.” 

Contrast: Alternate translations of Peter’s words, “Be it far from thee, Lord” render them thus:

“Favour thyself, Lord” (Wesley New Testament)

“Be kind to thyself, sir” (Young’s Literal Translation)

With these statements we see better the contrast that Jesus’ path and words were to Peter’s direction, which Peter insisted Jesus take. Was Jesus’ mission about favoring Himself or denying Himself? Jesus plainly expanded His response to all the disciples in stating that one direction has a living future (“find it”), and the other doesn’t (“lose it”); the “it” one finds or loses is life itself! But what connection do these options have with forgiveness? We will see.

Compare: We find another occurrence of Jesus speaking of coming, taking, and finding, in Matthew 11:28-30. (The “take” and “find” are identical verbs.)

Peter and the other eleven were in a school learning of Jesus. The above parallel suggests that the yoke is the cross of self-denial that flows from being meek and lowly in heart, and that the rest we find is none other than life itself—resting in learning of Him in whose image we were made, and the lack of which drains the life forces and has no future. This self-giving must be describing the core of forgiveness. We must see that the theme of forgiveness is central to life itself, for the finding and giving of life is what Jesus is teaching.Commentary: “In these words, Christ is speaking to every human being. Whether they know it or not, all are weary and heavy-laden. All are weighed down with burdens that only Christ can remove. The heaviest burden that we bear is the burden of sin. If we were left to bear this burden, it would crush us. But the Sinless One has taken our place. ‘The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ Isaiah 53:6. He has borne the burden of our guilt. He will take the load from our weary shoulders. He will give us rest. The burden of care and sorrow also He will bear. He invites us to cast all our care upon Him; for He carries us upon His heart.” {DA 328.5}

“As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, ‘Come, learn of Me,’ and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. All that human nature can bear, we may receive here. But what is this compared with the hereafter? There ‘are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’ Revelation 7:15-17.” {DA 331.3}

Connections: The verb translated “savourest” occurs only in the Gospels in this Matthew 16 story. It means to have the thoughts and feelings focused on something. Paul used this same verb repeatedly, including this observation. “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:5). The contrasting options that Jesus described, “of God” or “of men” are “of the Spirit” or “of the flesh.” Jesus would later use this way of describing the struggle that Peter and the others were immersed in over these options. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41; compare John 3:6; 6:63). There are no other options. 

The second time Paul used this verb he connected it to the universal gift of faith. “Think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” It was this perspective of faith that Peter needed, that all need. This is wisdom. The word “soberly” translates a prepositional phrase using another form of the same verb. This literal translation captures that—“think so as to think wisely” (YLT). We know Peter eventually caught the principle, as he would write using this other form of the verb, “Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Pet. 4:7). “Sober” in the biblical sense means the proper functioning of the mind. Peter would learn that this soberness comes only by watching unto prayer. But how did he learn this lesson? The stories we are reviewing will reveal that.

A third time Paul used the verb from our passage, he gives the key to how we see things this way. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). He then summarized, in the experience of Jesus, how this mind functions in the path of forgiveness. This mission of His was exactly what Jesus told Peter and the others, that caused Peter to reveal his mind in opposition.

Diagram adding Matt. 16:21:


We find in this second phase of the Matthew 16 story two more elements of the diagram mentioned above. Jesus had not only, in giving Himself for our forgiveness and salvation, humbled Himself to become a man, Jesus of Nazareth, He would further humble Himself—He would give His life. And that humbling would be followed by an exaltation.

Reflections: Peter missed that the “raised” is contingent on the “killed”—that the “raised,” the exaltation, is the evidence of winning the great controversy and can only follow the humiliation, the “deny himself,” “take up his cross,” and “lose his life for my sake,” which is itself the victory. The exaltation is not the victory, but the affirmation of the victory. The giving manifested at the cross is the victory. Christ’ resurrection and ascension only confirmed that.

The “sake” of such giving is described elsewhere to show us the purpose or goal.It is described by Jesus as for: 

• “righteousness’ sake” (Matt. 5:10; for the sake of faith working by love); 

• “my name’s sake” (Matt. 19:29; for the sake of what My name stands for, My character of faith and love);

• “my sake and the gospel’s” (Mark 8:35; the good news flows out of the principle of giving);

• “kingdom of God’s sake” (Luke 18:29; God’s universal kingdom is based on giving). 

It is described by Paul as for or by:

• “the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20; God chose Abraham to bless the world through him by giving the Messiah with all He includes); 

• “reason of the glory that excelleth” (2 Cor. 3:10; the glory of New Covenant—the depth of its giving—far exceeds that of the Old Covenant)

The eternal principle of giving is the winning—the victory, 


faith working by love. (Caution: one can lose his life through a counterfeit giving; see 1 Cor. 13:3.) The giving of self-denying love is the full path Jesus was on. The principle must never be abandoned. Who will “follow me”? Peter still wanted to “save his life,” to “gain the whole world.” And that’s also what he wanted Jesus to do! But such taking is to “lose it.” It is being on the wrong side, because it is the temporary principle—it had a beginning (John 8:44), and will come to an end. In the end that principle, and all identified with it, will be abased to oblivion.

Jesus came not “to save his life.” When He was born a man, He was doomed to die. He came to “lose his life.” Had He attempted to save it, He would have died, but He would have saved no one. He would have failed at His mission—to save His people from their sins to which they are attached by the:

1. Shame of sin

2. Guilt of sin

3. Consequences of sin

4. Love of sin.

Forgiveness in its fullness is the releasing of each of these ties. Consider what Jesus had to do to release His people from each of these. He must embrace the first three in giving “His life,” and repudiate the last one, also in giving, for the love of giving is hatred of sin. As we enter into His giving (His forgiving), our giving will be in His footsteps in each of these. 

Not too many days later, Jesus’ transfiguration and meeting with Moses and Elijah reaffirmed His divine identity. The sight and sound were special gifts to Peter, John, and James. But they missed part of the revelation. That is our next story.

A. T. Jones’ Note: 

“The services of the sanctuary, in the offering of the sacrifices and the ministering of the priests, and of the high priests alone, was for the making of atonement and for the forgiveness and sending away of the sins of the people. Because of the sin and guilt, because of their having ‘done somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which should not be done,’ atonement must be made and forgiveness obtained. Atonement is literally at-one-ment. The sin and the guilt had separated them from God. By these services they were made at-one with God. Forgive is literally give-for. To forgive sin is to give for sin. Forgiveness of sin comes alone from God. What does God give, what has He given, for sin? He gave Christ, and Christ ‘gave himself for our sins.’” Gal. 1:4; Eph. 2:12-16; Rom. 5:8-11. {1905 ATJ, CWCP 66.1}

The diagrams in these stories are built on the picture painted in Phil. 2:5-11. The connections will be noted. All elements of that picture are not shown in each diagram.


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