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2011 Campaign Message
“Choose  Ye”
by Charles D. Brooks
Jan. 23, 2011
           Audio of this message
I had a dream years ago. In it, I had to decide whether to obey God’s known will and suffer persecution or to relinquish and give in to disobedience, which offered a kind of prosperity and peace. I awakened, being much disturbed but having decided to follow Jesus regardless of the negative consequences.
  Though this was but a dream, I lay in the darkness and thanked God I had made the right choice. I reflected on the fact that for millions in years gone by, it was not a dream and “they loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11)*. For great masses of people today eternal decisions must be made about whether to follow Christ or not. This is no dream. Making the right choice could mean trial, difficulty, pain, or even being an outcast from your own family. Before Jesus comes the Bible predicts a time of trouble such as never was! (Dan. 12:1.)
  Long ago up in heaven, God was accused of being oppressive, harsh, unjust, and devoid of love. One of His most honored creatures had risen up to accuse God. He had pondered and feared the consequences of his horrific choice, but through repeated transgression he became bold in iniquity and stubborn in his zeal to press forward his plan of apostasy or to die in the process. This creature’s name was Lucifer—Covering Cherub and “Light Bearer.” (Lucifer is a compound noun meaning “Light Carrier”.)
  God disproved Lucifer’s brazen attacks against His holy character by lovingly appealing to him to turn from his dreadful folly and make the wise choice of receiving forgiveness and restoration. Instead he was emboldened by the apparent patience of his amazing, long-suffering God and thought that he could contend with his Creator. The patience of God, the holy long-suffering, however, had limits. He who sees the end from the beginning clearly beheld the deception of perfect angels, unfallen worlds disturbed by questions, the great eternal fall of Lucifer from heaven. God had planned the creation of the earth and of Adam and Eve made in His image. He saw the temptation and fall in the garden of Eden. He saw the unspeakable misery and the awesome cost of redemption. He appealed with divine love to Lucifer, who stood so close to Him in the throne room of the universe that he glowed with the apparent divinity of God.
  All of His enormous love, Lucifer misunderstood. Pride, arrogance, hard-heartedness—all these things sprang up within him to forever settle in his mind the awful deception that had ruined him. He became insensible to the fact that he was wrong and that he was introducing pain, rebellion, and death—all “aliens”—into the commonwealth of God.
  One third of the sinless angels joined Lucifer in his perverted choice. How could this be? God made Lucifer, the angels, and all other intelligent beings with the power of choice. There could be no true worship and obedience without this. These angels chose to rebel and stand with the deceiver, Lucifer, who dared challenge the great Creator who had forever been the most loving and tender God with all His creation.
  He (the Godhead) decided to proceed with plans to create the earth and Adam and Eve, who would be made in His own image. They, too, would be given the power of choice, or else they would be mere automatons who could only behave as they were programmed to behave by God. Lucifer would have loved this.
  In the Council of Peace, before the foundations of the earth were laid, the decision was made to proceed—a decision based on love; a decision that comprehended the awesome cost of redemption should mankind choose to sin. God would not receive a forced worship or obedience. His very “Godhead” was challenged.
  In the great prophetic overview, Revelation 12 stated there was war in heaven between Michael and the devil (see verse 7). The devil was defeated. He and his host were cast out into the earth. His wrath is enormous, because he knows his time is short. He has directed his wrath at mankind, and particularly against those who keep the commandments of God (by choice). In Revelation 12:17, the prophet calls these the remnant (those who remain or the last of a kind).
   Way back in Eden, Lucifer broke upon the consciousness of God’s first earthbound creatures. Channeling himself through the form of a serpent, he encountered Eve with a question: “Hath not God said ye shall not eat of the trees…?” Eve was quick to defend God. “Oh, no,” said she. “Of all the trees we may freely eat except one.” The devil had waited for that answer. Now, he would make it appear that “that one tree” was the greatest and most desirable of all! “It will make you like God. God has attempted to keep you from this one that really matters.” (Now comes the choice.) “But God says the day we eat of it, we shall surely die,” replied Eve as she pondered her choice and decision. “Ye shall not surely die,” said the devil. This was the first recorded lie. Now the choice will be between God’s TRUTH and the enemy’s lie! All the death and destruction, all the hatred and malice, all the pain and deformity, all the lies and broken covenants—all the evil recorded in history and around us every day can be traced back to that terrible decision. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Dominion in a real sense was transferred to Satan, and henceforth he and his host would be intolerant of any of Adam’s posterity who didn’t fall into line with the “Prince of this world.” Religious liberty would be strained and wherever God did not intervene, the enemy would fall upon people to torture, persecute and destroy. He always craved “worship.” Now in his domain, he would make life miserable for those who chose to believe and worship God.
  Cain was used to destroy Abel. Cain chose to be Satan’s ally. Abel chose to believe God. Seth and the succeeding patriarchs placed their faith and allegiance with the true God by choice. Satan despised them. He attacked those who did not worship him as God!
  Abraham believed God!  He made choices for himself and led his household to honor God. Satan had so fervently sought complete control of this planet and yet God had His witnesses who chose to be loyal to Him. The devil turned the majority of mankind into pagan tribes and nations while warring constantly against those who loved God! He sought in many ways to take away the liberty of God’s chosen people and force them to turn to him. “Force” is the program of the devil himself. Millions upon millions have paid with their lives for choosing Christ. Jesus has promised that they shall live again — eternally!
   Israel lived in Egypt with peace and privilege for a while, until there came a pharaoh who knew not Joseph. Then Israel became an enslaved people for centuries. The work program in Egypt required them to work without regard for the Sabbath of the Lord. Hence, they forgot the God of their fathers. Satan exulted! With pressure and force, with whips and thongs, with sweat and blood he warred against God’s people. With denial to keep the Sabbath, they even forgot their God. Those who correctly keep the true Sabbath can never be an atheist, an unbeliever, an agnostic, or any of those because once a week they celebrate God’s Godhood! (See Ex. 20:8-11.)
  In harmony with the covenant established with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God’s promise of deliverance finally came. He had Moses lead these former slaves into a wilderness. They were now fascinated with the pagan deities of Egypt. What God intended as a preparatory journey of a few weeks would become a 40-year nightmare and death in a desolate wilderness because they made wrong choices! They had to choose to serve God. Yet, they chose to worship a golden calf with lewd dancing and frivolity. There were times they chose to return to Egypt. They were encumbered with faithless choices and consequences. They chose to rebel. They chose not to believe in spite of overwhelming evidence. They were decimated by war and plagues. “I have set before you life and death; blessing and cursing,” said one of God’s servant-leaders! Therefore, choose life! Make the right choice for your own sake! Make the choice based on God’s word, which never fails! Choose God and His service! Choose ye! In spite of threats and pain and suffering —“ He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” said Jesus (Matt. 10:39).        
  Throughout the Old Testament, like a sad refrain there are the verses that say, “Israel did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.” Nothing is too evil or wicked for the devil and his angels. They don’t even like each other! Imagine the devil’s board meetings and planning sessions. They were united on one thing, however, a constant warfare against God and His precious people. And the people cooperated with him. Then came the silent years between Malachi and Matthew. No true prophet emerges as leader. Satan will take full advantage! He will create division in Israel. He will counterbalance paganism and idolatry against religion, through tradition, thus obscuring the truth. Eventually, along comes John the Baptist and a new era. John, the forerunner, declared that in the fullness of time, the Son of God will break upon the scene—not to force the wills and take away the power of choice, but to demonstrate the love of God, to live a perfect life of godly choices, and to withstand the spiritual fables that Satan had developed to enslave the minds—even of the Israelites.
  Religious Liberty had been long removed. Herod, the impostor, sat on a tinsel throne, jealously guarding his seat and power. He was a tool in the hands of the evil one. He could easily resort to force. Now, Satan is the archfoe of religious freedom. He knows the “truth will set people free.” The enemy of righteousness studies the Scriptures that he might wrest it, twist it, compromise it, bend it, and contaminate it to confuse the minds of those who must choose to serve God. Jesus came to make truth clear by precept and example. Making the right choice might not always make things easier on this earth, but it is still right. It was not easy for Jesus! He said marvel not that the world hates you—it hated me before you (see 1 John 3:13 & John 15:18). Christ would be stopped, but not by the power of false religious leaders or even Satan himself. His time had come! He will do the business of salvation. He was born “for this cause.” Born to die so that we can live! He would open the doors of the prison house and set the captives free!
  Satan presumptuously tempted the Lord. He pressed the claims of hell through torture and crucifixion. In those days crucifixion must be endorsed and approved by Rome. Pontius Pilate had been maneuvered into the governorship of the area by dubious means. The pesky, troublesome Jews were ever threatening revolt. Pilate was to keep the “lid” on in this awful province and make certain that the people’s minds were bent by peace or by force to favor Rome.
  Then there was Herod, the puppet king. He and Pilate didn’t like each other, but their mutual hatred of the Holy One would not only secure the death sentence by crucifixion, it would make them friends—allied against all Christ was and stood for. (Luke 23:12.)
   So He bore the cross! Jesus died on the cross! He went to the tomb.
  Satan exulted (somewhat). He knew the powers of God. He heard Christ say, “After three days, I shall rise again!” He must hold Him in the tomb—just one more day! Early in the morning of that third day, there was a rupture in the earth! An angel had touched down! Jesus had risen! The death knell of the devil, his host, and his disciples was rung, and that death knell sounds today. The victory is won, however. “Free at last! Free at last!”
  With his fate sealed for eternity, the devil is come down having great wrath because he knows his time is short! (Rev. 12:12.) Away with liberty, he decided. Our only chance is force! Great men of state and of war will join him. There will be rules of conduct. Hatred will motivate men as love motivates the followers of Christ. Intolerance and spiritual slavery will grip the millions. Christians began to die at Jerusalem. His program was begun! He would send the world spiraling down into palpable darkness. He thought he would crush the believers and extinguish the light! However, the Christians fled and wherever they went, light sprang up, new believers joined! They loved Jesus, the loving Savior who had died for their sins. The more the devil killed, the more joined the family of God!
  The Christians longed for Jesus to return, as He had promised (John 14:1-3). But Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica that “that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess. 2:3,4). Though not fully understood, Paul was introducing that long terrible epoch of the Dark Ages, when more than 50 million of God’s people died in the most heinous ways imaginable; and worst of all, they were slain by the “church.” Satan had decided to join the church. He brought in paganism and “baptized” it. In order for this to work, he had to make war on the Scriptures. Bibles were confiscated and burned. Then he applied force. Anyone violating his “law” was a heretic and could be put to death. A pall of ignorance settled over the land. The “dark ages” were on earth (538-1798 A.D.) for more than 1200 years.
  After the many years were fulfilled, the Reformation broke out (within the time frame of the 1260 prophetic years). Great leaders rose up! The power of the apostate church was broken: Folk flocked to a new land called America to enjoy a country without a king or a pope. Satan is now especially angry. There is a new development (see Rev. 12:17). The dragon (verse 9) is angry with the church and went to make war with the remnant (verse 17). Who are they? They keep the commandments of God and have the “spirit of prophecy”  (Rev. 19:10).
  We are living in the “last days” (Matt. 24; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; etc.). There is a remnant (last church). This does not mean no one else can be saved. Oh, no! This means there will be a model church on earth to inform and attract all others who are willing to make the right choice! Satan hates this church with a special hatred! But God loves her with a special love! “Fear not,” He calls to His people. “Follow Me.” “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14). The 1260 years of persecution are past. More than 50 million have paid a great price. A greater tragedy is that error is still alive and millions are blundering back toward darkness. Revelation 12:12 says that the enemy is on earth and because he knows that his time is short, he has great anger against those who keep the commandments of God and follow the guidance of the “spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 12:17; 19:10).
  We can detect the surge of the enemy and his forces. As the Spirit of the Lord is gradually being withdrawn from the earth, Satan’s host is moving forward. The Bible has prophesied that there will be a “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1). God’s remnant church and the teeming masses that will turn to the TRUTH through the power of the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit will become the special targets of the devil’s wrath. Persecution with torture, pain, and terror will be revived.
  Precious liberty of conscience will be denied soon. An improbable alliance between three great powers will take place. The “dragon,” the “beast,” and the false prophet will come together (as did Herod and Pilate) in mutual hatred of those who keep the commandments of God and are guided by the testimony of Jesus. A great test will come to God’s people— even worse than that during the Dark Ages. Religious liberty, as we have enjoyed it, will be taken away. During this very ordeal the “sealing work” will be completed, while those who war against the TRUTH will receive the mark of the beast in their foreheads (seat of conviction and belief) or in their hands (receiving error for convenience or other such reasons).
  Some will be cast in dark dungeons and left there to die. True churches will be locked to God’s people, denying them the encouragement of strengthening fellowship and prayer. Ministers and laypersons who have taught the Scriptures to others will be arrested. Families will be separated from one another. This is to be a time of real test. The gold will be refined and the silver purified. Pretenders and hypocrites will find many causes for which to fall away. They will become bitter enemies of their former brothers and sisters in the faith. Children will turn against their parents, and parents against their children. Betrayal will characterize many who now walk with us.
  The dark clouds are gathering on the horizon. Spiritual perception will “see” what others cannot. It seems incredible to the masses that the marvelous guarantee of religious freedom found in our Constitution can or would be repudiated. A sure and powerful hand will guide God’s people. They will have learned to follow God’s leadership and the inspiration He gave to His servant Ellen G. White. For many, the darkness is impenetrable. Even true believers will experience doubts and fears until they are so finally sure that God can be depended upon to keep His word and deliver His people that they truly learn to walk by faith. The issues will wax hot; the way will seem impossible to follow. Thousands will abandon the TRUTH and become bitter enemies. The promise is, however, that other thousands will join the final remnant and the ranks of the Lord’s army will not be diminished!
  The heavens will split and roll back, revealing Jesus, the Coming Conqueror. The blast of His trumpet will awaken the righteous dead. The tread and the shout of the redeemed will rattle the cosmos. Christ is coming! Christ is coming! CHRIST HAS COME! Finally, the value of making the right choice will be realized forever.
                                                                Choose Ye!

The founder of the “Breath of Life” television ministry, Elder C.D. Brooks is well known among Seventh-day Adventists as an evangelist. His sermons are legendary and his tapes widely distributed. There are a number of “Breath of Life” congregations, church plants, and converted Christians resulting from his evangelism campaigns. We were honored to have him compose this year’s Religious Liberty sermon.

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