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Letter to the SDA Church in Lethbridge

 

September 20, 2000

To those attending the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lethbridge:

You are a people, some of which do many works, ministering to the poor, sacrificing what you have, gathering for worship, praying for God to accomplish so many things in relation to those whom you encounter, preaching to many, organizing yourselves efficiently in many things. You even keep the Lord’s weekly Sabbaths. The problem is that while you do all these things in the Name of the Lord, He is not in your works. Oh, He has had mercy on you in measure, limited measure; He has honored whatever He has been able to honor in each of you in varying degrees on a personal basis but He has not found your works pleasing in His sight in general, no not at all.

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

Your sacrifices are bloodless; obedience to the Lord is ever with blood.

Saul, in the Name of the Lord, sacrificed, not reluctantly but willingly, not the poorest or mediocre but the best he took in battle, not unto a pagan deity but unto the Lord God of Israel. Not only was his sacrifice rejected but that which he had was taken from him because he did not in heart obey the Lord Whom he thought to serve. So do you all offer sacrifices to God but He is not pleased with them. In fact, He hates them just as He hated Saul’s sacrifice. Your sacrifices are those of flesh and not spirit. He cannot honor your religious works; they are abominable to Him.

Cain also brought an offering of his own will to the Lord and not to some other god. It was rejected.

“It was not a blood sacrifice,” you respond, as if knowing why his was rejected. But do you know that your sacrifice is not accepted for the very same reason?

“Jesus Christ was our blood sacrifice; we need no more sacrifice,” you reply. But why do you then sacrifice? You are sacrificing; but your blood is not in it. That is why your sacrificing is not accepted. Your sacrifices are bloodless, but true obedience to the Lord, the kind of works He desires, is ever with blood, your own blood and not that of others. You do not live for the Lord, but for yourselves, and you preserve your lives in the name of sacrifice, not obeying from the heart. You withhold your hearts from the Lord, yet worship Him with your lips as though you love Him.

You say you keep all the commandments. How is it you have ignored not only the first but the second commandment which says, “You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of anything this is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth…”? In your organization are found more likenesses of the Lord Jesus Christ than in many. “But” you protest, “we don’t bow down to or worship these images, these likenesses.” No? Do you not presume to worship the One of Whom these images are? Has He not commanded that you should not make any likeness of anything in His Name, in a spiritual worship context? Why toy with the commandment? Why drive near the edge of the cliff? Why play with fire? Do you need those pictures, whether they be on the wall or in a book or on a movie screen?

You presume to worship the One Whose likeness it is. In vain you worship Him.

It is blasphemy to portray the Lord Jesus Christ. The finest pictures of Him devised by man are an abomination. And you make a liar of the Lord and lies of His testimony by Isaiah when He says, “…He has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men….” Rarely does one see a homely likeness of Jesus. Rather, He is portrayed as handsome, godly, compassionate, friendly, lovable, and attractive. These are all fleshly notions, things which men savour, yes, satanic. He came as He, by Isaiah, said He would and you make a liar of Him, you and your whole organization. Oh yes, you justify yourselves; perhaps Ellen G. White would approve of your pictures and so you think you are justified. If she does approve, she is not a true prophetess or messenger of God walking with Him. Nevertheless, “you are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).

You may think you do not worship the likeness but in that you make it, you worship it, and you presume to worship the One Whose likeness it is. In vain you worship Him with your lips.

Have you not known that women and not men have ruled in marriage even as men have usurped God’s rule on earth? Without exception, women have ruled and have been the heads of their houses. “I decided that I would establish a strong relationship with my husband first before I had any children and so I waited 5 or 6 years to do so,” says one, as though in charge and, indeed, she has been. But the Lord has come to change all that now.

Darrell Beaudoin: You are laboring, not so much to be accepted of the Lord but to be a star in the religious organizational works of men (Psalm 17:4), recognized and honored of them. This will not do even if you were to succeed. Your works are works of flesh, not of the Spirit of God, and they will fail, no matter that you convert many proselytes to Christ who will only hear, in the end, “I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity.”

The Lord desires reality and not religion. Your studiousness and labor are in vain. I invite you to take the invitation of the Lord Who has said, “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke (not yours) upon you, and learn of Me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy (unlike yours I see), and My burden is light.”

You keep the weekly Sabbath and so you should, but the Sabbath within is what the one without is all about and, whereas you labor in the flesh, you ought to be laboring in the spirit to enter into that rest which He has promised and reserved for those who do not sacrifice but who obey, not men but God.

There is much more than the rest of the external weekly Sabbath.

Lise: You are head of your house though both of you may profess otherwise. So it is with all marriages, but the Lord has come to change that and make it right, as He ordains it to be. Do not deter your husband from laying down his life. You will only be found fighting God, and nobody has ever succeeded in resisting His will. Take your place; only by the grace of God will you do so. Darrell must forsake his life, including his wife, as do any and all married men called of God.

Mike Lemon: You are also burdened, much so, and insecure. Find your security in God; you will never find it in men or in their works purportedly of and for God. You must follow the Lord without the city, “without the gate,” forsaking the honor of men and service to them, which you do selfishly for your sake. You cannot prosper any more than Saul of Tarsus prospered in his zeal for God before he was turned. Are you turned? Not as you need to be.

There is much more than the rest of the external weekly Sabbath. For those who are weary in soul, there is that inner Sabbath reserved for those who earnestly seek. I know of no Seventh Day Adventists who have received this, not that I single them out, because there are many who have not kept the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:19).

It is so hard for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom. You are rich: you are a pastor; you have training, knowledge, an image to maintain; you are supposed to be the strong one and “must” act the part, and it is not easy. But you are poor, not in an evil way but in reality, and, if you humble yourself, the Lord will meet you and embrace you and, as a child, you will rejoice, as a child dandled on his father’s knee, carefree, one in whom his daddy rejoices. But Mike will have to go and it is so hard for a rich man to go. Pride must be replaced by true and godly humility. Christ is able to do all things if you will.

Your wife also sits in authority over you; it isn’t even an equal partnership. Admit it, both of you; it is true, as with others.

John L., elder; Ben as well: You needn’t aspire to Western accomplishment; especially in the Name of the Lord you ought not to do so. While you would declare otherwise, yet, intellectually, you seek to be equal. You are not inferior if in Christ. There must be where you place your faith squarely, and you must not be a manpleaser, trying to prove yourself.

You have nothing to prove because you are nothing; none of us is anything. And you err in looking to emulate those who themselves are not accepted of God, though they appear to be otherwise. They are nothing. Do not anger God by insisting on your path; He opens a door for you to receive praise and honor of Him and not of men. Get honest; you have seen better than that which you have pursued.

The One Who died for you calls on you to lay down your life.

Jean Claude Lesard: You need to look up, to lift up your eyes and see the salvation of the Lord. The things of this world are not the issue to Him; flesh is expendable, as are the works of this world; the temporal does indeed pass away and when it does, you will marvel and be in joy. You will see Him Who has been pierced and you will mourn, but your mourning will be turned to gladness and you will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Mike Schaber: You have followed that wide well-trodden path of the generations before you and have thought to be established in the path above, which only few have found and traveled (Matthew 7:13-14), but it isn’t so. Repent of following man who professes to follow the Lord, seeking the crown and the throne, but who refuses the cross. Humble yourself; you are no better than the prodigal at the swine pen but poorer because you still presume to have the inheritance. The One Who died for you calls on you to lay down your life (which entails everything and you have laid down nothing) even as He laid down His life for you.

Sharon Davies: There is a joy in the Lord few have known by obedience to Him. That joy is better than the joy of this earth. Do not go by the appearance; avail yourself of the Lord and He will bring you into that wide open space you seek, though you will only find it in the confines, without the city. Don’t rebel; it won’t prosper you to do so.

Mike Bowes: Yes, the Lord has laid on you a burden and an infirmity many do not have, but in lemons are the makings of lemon juice. Add the sugar of thanksgiving and faith in God and look to be accepted of Him and Him alone. You seek to be accepted of men and to not be perceived as less than they. You aren’t less and you will learn that in Christ and in Christ alone there is true worth, no matter if you are nothing or everything in this world before men.

Most with 2020 are empty and utterly blind and they are those you to whom seek to measure up or to recognize you. You grieve the Lord by the longing to please men and to be as good as them and accepted or recognized of them, determining to prove yourself. Are not all things in His hands? Cannot He see Who made the eye to see? But His purposes are beyond your understanding, so stop striving with your Maker, and, when you turn to Him with appreciation, you will see that your reward is commensurate with the price and more so. In a realization of and obedience to these things, you will cut your hair, too.

Roy Wooliscroft: “The time is short: it remains, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not” (1 Corinthians 7:29-30). If you seek the Lord with all your heart, He shall be found of you. Be thankful and know that He knows and that upon men are visited blessings in disguise, to be unveiled at the appointed time. Consider that all things from the hand of God come because we either deserve them or need them. There is no righteousness with man, only “wrongness.” We are not condemned in that wrongness, only when we refuse to acknowledge it, grieving Him, and, even then, we condemn ourselves; God does not do so.

Take the hard and solitary path, and you will prosper in the One Who calls you.

Yvon Goulet: The same words of Scripture apply to you as to Roy. In fires and only so are we made strong. We are all unworthy, everyone of us. Forgive your wife. Impossible? Yes, with us, but not with God. Thank Him for what has happened, not so that He will bring her back but because of what He is doing in having hardened her heart toward you and removing her. The Lord is over all (Isaiah 45:5-7).

Jeremy Roque: If out of sand a clam is able to form a pearl, out of clay the Lord is able to fashion a precious gem. Only believe. He has given to you a measure of faith He has not given to many others. In your obedience and acknowledged unworthiness, He will reward and direct your steps. Beware of men who will be employed to love and counsel you apparently toward the Lord but in reality away from Him. Do not believe them. Take the hard path, the solitary one, the one with rocks and holes and not the paved one, and you will prosper in the One Who calls you.

Elaine (with Eldon): The Lord is Here, Now; you needn’t look for Him elsewhere, not in a closet or in a desert or in a church but here, now, not before or after. “I AM THAT I AM.” Even Abraham saw the Lord’s day, and was glad. So did and do others. The Christ within; the Kingdom of Heaven within; “The word is nigh thee, even in your mouth, and in your heart…” (Romans 10:8) “…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…” (Colossians 1:27). The Kingdom of God comes without observation, with clouds, yet you will see.

Claude (Eldon and Elaine’s): Only God can do for you what needs to be done, and that’s good, because when it’s done, you will know that He did it. Neither is it any different for any other. But in your poverty, you have great advantage because God shows Himself mighty and faithful especially to the weak, the widows, orphans, dispossessed, and outcast. Yes, you have advantage. Beware of your own strength; His alone will suffice and prevail.

Darlene Aldous and family: You are not superior because you keep the Sabbath or have what you think is correct doctrine compared to others who name the Name of the Lord, or because you belong to some religious organization such as the one to which you now belong. It is good that one should stand strong in what he or she believes but beware that it be so at the cost of worshipping the Lord, the Father, in spirit and in truth. Anything else is idolatry and breeds self-righteousness. You trust in man’s strength and must learn to trust in the Lord and Him alone. He is not a religion; He is a person, here, now. Having your own oil, you have everything and will not take pride; going by the oil of others, you have nothing but pride.

Larry and Pat: The blessedness of the Lord does not lie in knowledge or in strength of man’s wisdom; neither is the Kingdom of God meat and drink nor doctrine but peace and joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit, Whom God gives to those that obey Him, loving not their lives unto death, following the Lamb, and not men, wheresoever He goes. First is the power of the Lamb, then of the Lion. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Without death, we have nothing.

He is grieved that you should aspire to men and their ways and not to Him.

Althea: The Lord loves you and accepts you without your works and in spite of them. Your labor to be that saintly person before God is not honest, not real, and is not pleasing to God in the least. It is not our righteousness, but His and His alone. We are all, every one of us, in wrongness. Neither is there anything we can do about it. It is the Lord’s righteousness and His alone. We grieve Him to think or to do otherwise. The Lord requires obedience by faith and not sacrifice by works. Are you as good as or better than He?

You Filipinos: None of you ought to even for one moment think to aspire to the white man or to the Westerner or to his ways. Such is idolatry and a sorry lack of appreciation of your Saviour and God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is grieved that you should aspire to men and their ways and not to God Himself. You say you don’t, but you do.

There needs to be no feeling of inferiority or discomfort of being in a strange land because God is over all lands. If you are humbled, that is good, because He gives grace to the humble; it is the proud, those who “have it altogether,” that He resists.

Do strangers have it hard? Of course; but God is over all and does not count acceptance as men do. If you do well, and worship in spirit and truth, you have all heart could wish; there is no more to have, and God receives the glory, not men. Do not glorify men; I repeat: Do not glorify men.

God is the Author of your uniqueness; do not despise Him by being ashamed or dissatisfied or unthankful for it. We are every one of us all in wrongness. He alone is worthy; He alone is righteous; He alone is to be worshipped and only His favor should we pursue.

I desire that none of you will be offended or that you would count me as an enemy. In essence, I speak to all of you, urging you to enter into the Sabbath. Blessed are those who are not offended but who humble themselves and seek after the Lord to be corrected, healed and delivered.

Keep the Feast of Tabernacles. We invite you to join us in the Sabbath day at Harvest Haven Farm on Saturday, Oct. 14th at 2:00 P.M. or even the Friday evening before and the entire 24 hours for that matter. There you are welcome to rest, worship, fellowship, dine, express yourselves in order as you will, bring forth that which you bear on your hearts, and listen to what others may have to say. It is our desire that you will have the freedom to do so, without opposition or shame. Only be prepared to give others the same opportunity.

Jesus Christ is Lord! He reigns over all! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Victor Hafichuk

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