WE ARE in a holy war wherein we are challenged to fight a hand-to-hand battle with the prince of darkness. In order for man to achieve victory in this battle he must do his part. He "must be victor on his own account, through the strength and grace that Jesus gives him." Ellen G. White, in Review and Herald, Nov. 21, 1882, p. 730.
When men are content to live merely for this world, the inclination of the heart unites with the suggestions of the enemy, and his bidding is done. But when they seek to leave the black banner of the power of darkness, and range themselves under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, the struggle begins, and the warfare is carried on in the sight of the universe of heaven.
Every one who fights on the side of right, must fight hand to hand with the enemy. He must put on the whole armor of God, that he may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. --Temperance, p. 110.
In June, 1967, while the Cairo radio was screaming, "Welcome to the Jihad [Holy War], destroy Israel," the Israeli radio was coolly broadcasting code words that helped to complete their mobilization, words with Biblical connotation, Zion, love, wedding march, and open letters. It was indeed a holy war, but insignificant in comparison to the holy war that has been raging from time immemorial to our day.
In the holy war between Prince Emmanuel and Satan it is the purpose of the prince of darkness to keep the world in constant confusion.
Confusion is the masterful weapon of the enemy. By confusing men on the is sues of right and wrong Satan is leading multitudes into the pathway of death and destruction. "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isa. 57:20, 21).
Confused and frustrated, those who have been content to live simply for this world struggle vainly for happiness and security. They slip from their grasp like fleeting phantoms in the dark.
Peace, health, hope, and harmony is our message for the world. Our Saviour is a God of peace. "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints" (1 Cor. 14:33). "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
We as God's messengers have a grave responsibility to our fellow men. Men, women, and youth need to be freed from the shackles of confusion and sin. It is high time for us to move out and share the glorious counsel given to us.
Means of Accomplishment
Among the ways through which this sharing is to be accomplished are the temperance and better-living programs. Through these means curtains of prejudice have been drawn back and the Lord has opened up areas of evangelistic opportunity never before dreamed of.
Listen to this:
I have been informed by my guide that not only should those who believe the truth practice health reform but they should also teach it diligently to others; for it will be an agency through which the truth can be presented to the attention of unbelievers. They will reason that if we have such sound ideas in regard to health and temperance, there must be something in our religious belief that is worth investigation. If we backslide in health re form we shall lose much of our influence with the outside world. --Temperance, p. 242. (Italics supplied.)
Here, then, is a key to our success. An indulged appetite in the Garden of Eden ushered in sickness, sorrow, and death. Since then Satan by this means has capitalized in destroying men, women, and children. It was the devil's personal plan to turn what was good for food into poisons to make men mad and to destroy their physical, mental, and spiritual powers.
Satan gathered the fallen angels together to devise some way of doing the most possible evil to the human family. One proposition after another was made, till finally Satan himself thought of a plan. He would take the fruit of the vine, also wheat, and other things given by God as food, and would convert them into poisons, which would ruin man's physical, mental, and moral powers, and so over come the senses that Satan should have full control. --Ibid., p. 12.
Intemperance of any kind benumbs the perceptive organs and so weakens the brain-nerve power that eternal things are not appreciated, but placed upon a level with the common. The higher powers of the mind, designed for elevated purposes, are brought into slavery to the baser passions. If our physical habits are not right, our mental and moral powers cannot be strong; for great sympathy exists between the physical and the moral. --Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 50, 51.
We are called to a holy war against appetite and lust.
Are our young men [ministers] prepared to lift their voices in the cause of temperance and show its bearing upon Christianity? Will they engage in the holy war against appetite and lust? Our artificial civilization encourages evils which are destroying sound principles. And the Lord is at the door. Where are the men [ministers] who will go forth to the work, fully trusting in God, ready to do and to dare? God calls, "Son, go work today in My vineyard." --Temperance, p. 236. (Italics supplied.)
It is time to press the attack on the enemies' ground. In so doing we must use the strategy planned by God to minister to the physical needs of humanity, thus opening the door to men's hearts.
Five-Day Plan Opens Doors
The Five-Day Plan to Stop Smoking is a God-ordained plan to release millions from the shackles of the enemy and lead them to Christ. It has reached from villages and hamlets to the mightiest cities in the world. Five-Day Plans have been held at the World Health Organization, Walter Reed Hospital, the Pentagon, NASA headquarters, HUD (Housing and Urban Development), and thousands of other government, industrial, educational, and religious facilities and organizations. Jesus ministered to the physical needs of mankind and opened the heart's door to receive truth. We as His ministers are to follow His example.
A new program, the Four Dimensional Key to the Cause of Alcoholism, has been successfully presented and received in the largest cities of the United States-- New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles-- as well as in many smaller cities round the country. This is another program to help set the captives free. It has come to the kingdom at a time when the Government of the United States is taking positive steps to combat alcoholism.
Let us raise our voices against the curse of drunkenness. Let us strive to warn the world against its seductive influences. Let us portray before young and old the terrible results of indulgence of appetite. --Ibid., p. 238.
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Prov. 20:1).
Our young people are responding and have moved into battle. We need to give them our full support and involve them in our programs. One academy with its staff and youth were proclaimed by the governor of their State as the representatives of temperance and better living for the whole State. He bestowed high honors on them. Counsel has been given to us by the servant of the Lord:
There is no class of persons capable of accomplishing more in the warfare against intemperance than are God-fearing youth. . . . What a power they might be for good! . . . They should do all they can to stay the tide of intemperance now spreading with demoralizing power over the land. --Ibid., p. 235.
Laymen Lead in Home Help Plan
Another new program has been developed, called Home Help. We have been moving toward institutionalization, which tends to draw us away from the individual. The Home Help plan will lead our laymen into a close relationship with individuals and their problems. When people call for help in response to advertising announcing help in the areas of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, a dedicated, trained Christian layman team can respond to their need. This is Home Help.
How important that we, the ministers of Christ's great army, fully understand what temperance is and practice it. Temperance is a spiritual ministry that opens the door to self-control, healthful living, peace, harmony, and happiness. To carry forward this ministry we must bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
"It is impossible for those who indulge the appetite to attain to Christian perfection." --Ibid., p. 19.
In Galatians 5:22, 23, are listed the nine fruits of the Spirit. The last, but one of the most important, is temperance, for without it, we would find it quite impossible to produce the others.
Temperance means self-control as defined in the Greek word egkrateia of Galatians 5:23. It is interesting to note the relationship of egkrateia to the verb form krateo, which means "to get into one's power."
We as ministers need to get into the power of Jesus Christ, and this accomplishment will be granted us as soldiers of the cross as we permit Him to help us exercise self-control in our lives.
As brethren of God's remnant church, we must first practice the principles of Christian temperance; next, we must teach our laymen diligently to do the same; and then together we are to use the tremendous facility God has given us in temperance evangelistic programming to reach out to our communities, opening the heart's door, and preparing the soil to receive the seeds of truth.
As World Temperance is spotlighted in our churches on Sabbath, October 28, let it be with an earnest appeal to our members for their enthusiastic support. Let us share in helping to make the future of our youth worth while and in freeing men, women, and children from the bondage of sin by showing them the positive way of Christian temperance and healthful living.