The Third Angel Proclaims . . .
Let Freedom Ring
Voices for Liberty
It is the right of every individual to regulate his own religious activities; to accept or reject any creed; to adopt any or no form of worship without interference.
“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” —United States Constitution (First Amendment).
“Religion is not in the purview of human government. Religion is essentially distinct from government and exempt from its cognizance. A connection between them is injurious to both.” —James Madison.
“Every man who conducts himself as a good citizen, is accountable to God alone for his religious faith, and should be protected in worshiping God according to the dictates of his own conscience.” —George Washington.
“Religion flourishes in greater purity without than with the aid of government.” —James Madison.
“Of all the attempts to arrogate unjust dominion, none is so pernicious as the efforts of tyrannical men to rule over the human conscience. Religion is exclusively an affair between man and his God. If there be any subject upon which the interference of human power is more forbidden than on all others, it is on religion.” —William Gaston, U.S. Jurist & Congressman.
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence the act of the whole American people, which declares that the legislature should make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.” —Thomas Jefferson.
“Religion is ever a matter between God and the individual; the imposing of religious tests has been the greatest engine of tyranny in the world.” —Isaac Backus, 18th Century Baptist Minister.
“Nothing can be conceived more abhorrent to the true spirit of religion, than the hypocritical pretensions of kings, princes, rulers, and magistrates, to uphold her holy cause by their unholy violence.” —William Gaston, U.S. Jurist and Congressman.
“Secular power has proved a satanic gift to the church, and ecclesiastical power has proved an engine of tyranny in the hands of the state.” —Philip Schaff, Theologian and Historian.
“Freedom in civil affairs, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech are valued possessions; but religious freedom is more sacred than all these, because it is first in the estimation of humanity, and because it is the chief protection and guarantee of all other freedom.” —James M. King.
“Condemn no man for not thinking as you think. . . . If you cannot reason nor persuade a man into the truth, never attempt to force a man into it. If love will not compel him to come, leave him to God, the judge of all.” —John Wesley.
God’s Memorial of Creation
• God rested on the seventh-day Sabbath after He created the earth (see Genesis 2:2).
• God blessed and sanctified it as holy (see Genesis 2:3).
• It was kept by Abraham (see Genesis 26:5).
• It was taught before the law was given at Sinai (see Exodus 16:13-30).
• The Jews kept the Sabbath (see Exodus 31:16, 17).
• Jesus kept it. He declared it His day (see Luke 4:16; 6:5; Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28).
• Jesus rested on it after His work of redemption (see Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:54-56).
• It was kept by the Apostle Paul (see Acts 13:14; 17:2).
• Early Christians kept it (see Matthew 24:20).
• About A.D. 196 the bishop of Rome attempted to force all the churches to commemorate Christ’s resurrection on the day called Easter Sunday instead of on the Passover.
• The first secular Sunday law was enacted by the Emperor Constantine in AD. 321, making Sunday a family holiday.
• When the practice of keeping Lent was instituted, each Sunday during that time period was kept in honor of the resurrection.
• Sunday and Sabbath were kept together, Saturday as the memorial of creation and Sunday in honor of the resurrection.
• Throughout the ages the seventh-day Sabbath has been kept by Christ’s followers. At present there are over fifteen million Christians worldwide keeping the seventh day Sabbath.
Christ and His Word are its Source. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” “I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts” (see John 8:31, 32, 36; Psalm 119:45, 46).
Christ offers His gospel to all, freely and without force. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (see Matthew 11:28-30; Revelation 22:17).
This liberty makes us care deeply and compassionately for others. “Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all.” “Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand” (see 1 Corinthians 9:19, 23; 10:23; 2 Corinthians 1:24).
Its effects on human character are elevating and ennobling. We are “delivered … into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (see 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18; Romans 8:2-4, 21; 3:24).
Its beneficiaries are those who accept salvation in Christ, who are thus made free from sin. Jesus was anointed to “Preach deliverance to the captives … to set at liberty them that are bruised” (see Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; Romans 6:18, 22).
It gives us a clearly defined sense of moral accountability to God, and is not arrogant, unholy or abusive. “As free, and not using your liberty as a cloak of maliciousness, but as servants of God” (see James 1:25; 2:12; 1 Peter 2:16; Acts 26:24-29; 1 Corinthians 8:9; Galatians 5:13-15).
The cost of our liberty is the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. “That through His own death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (see Hebrews 2:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).
False religious teachings destroy one’s spiritual liberty. “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption” (see Galatians 5:1-7; 2 Peter 2:1-3, 18-22).
Religious powers (churches) that persecute dissenters violate every principle of true liberty. “Why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience” (see Revelation 13:11-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, 9-12; 1 Corinthians 10:29)?
Satan, who tries to bring everyone into the bonage of evil and despair, is the instigating force of all persecution. Satan’s favorite kind of persecution is religious. “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 3:12; Galatians 4:29; Matthew 5:10-12; John 15:20; 16:1-3; Acts 7:52; 9:1-5; Revelation 12:13-17; 13:11-18; Daniel 7:20-26).
At His Second Coming Christ will establish ultimate spiritual liberty for every faithful believer. And the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. (see Leviticus 25:9, 10; Romans 8:21, 22;
Daniel 7:8, 21-27; Revelation 13:1-10; 17:1-14; 21:4-6).
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” —2 Corinthians 3:17