Have we as a people followed in the footsteps of the Pharisees, substituting human policy for the Commandments of God? Can we hear Jesus asking us, “Is it lawful to save life or to kill?”
Two thousand years ago, the commandment-keeping leaders of the Jewish nation caved in to Satan’s desperate confederacy. The conniving Pharisees legislated a loophole so they could keep more money in their pockets and appear sanctimonious, while avoiding the just claims of the law of God.
Jesus Hates Corban
“In the fulness of time Christ came, and in human nature lived on this earth a life unmarred by spot or stain of sin. With His whole being He hated sin of any kind.” (Sp TB02 7)
His moral purity quickly brought Jesus into collision with the unlawful traditions and policies of the Jews.
When the Pharisees accused Jesus of Sabbath-breaking, He looked upon them in anger, “being grieved for the hardness of their hearts.” Linking the fourth commandment with the sixth, He turned the tables upon them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?” (Mark 3:4, 5).
Rather than repent, the leading Pharisees and scribes hated Jesus and sought to entrap Him that they might destroy Him. These hypocrites later confronted Jesus with the accusation that His disciples had neglected their hand-washing traditions. This was a serious charge and a “heinous sin” in their eyes; “it was regarded as a virtue to destroy the transgressor” of their purification laws! (DA 396) Going to the heart of the issue, Christ countered, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God that ye may keep your own tradition.” Mark 7:9.
To avoid the responsibilities entailed in keeping the fifth commandment, the wily Pharisees formed their own loophole by pronouncing the word “Corban” over their belongings. This essentially formed a will, devoting every penny of their estate as “a gift to God.” Then they could selfishly use all their goods for life without lifting a finger to help their parents.
Concluding His indictment of their hypocrisy, Jesus boldly exposed their sin. “And ye suffer him no more to do aught for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition” (Mark 7:12).
Corban Crucifies the Commandments
By their man-made policies, the Pharisees proved themselves to be lovers of self, power, pleasure, and plenty more than lovers of God. While meditating on this Corban story, “the end justifies the means” came forcibly to my mind.
They feel that it is a virtue in them, in order to gain their object, to bear false witness or stoop to almost any course of equivocation or deception, as did the Jews in their rejection of Christ. They reason that the end justifies the means. They virtually crucify the law of the Father, as the Jews crucified Christ. (3T 213)
Selfish policy is not heaven-born, it is earthly. In this world the leading maxim is, “The end justifies the means;” . . . It has a controlling influence in every class of society, in the grand councils of nations, and wherever the Spirit of Christ is not the ruling principle (5T 561).
“The end justifies the means” applies to both Pharisees and Jesuits. “It was a fundamental principle of the order [of the Jesuits] that the end justifies the means. By this code, lying, theft, perjury, assassination, were not only pardonable but commendable, when they served the interests of the church” (GC 235).
Ellen White’s Medical Prediction
In the infancy of our beloved church, our pioneers called abortion “fashionable murder,” “a great sin,” and “nefarious business.”  James White included in “A Solemn Appeal” a doctor’s quote that abortion was a “worse than devilish practice.” At this same time period, religious magazines of other denominations were publishing lucrative ads for abortionists! Sister White was not silent on abortion either, calling it one of “the greatest evils that curse our world” and a violation of the sixth commandment. In magazines to the general public, she wrote:
Priests and popes have made laws forbidding priests to marry, and secluding them in monasteries. These laws and restrictions were devised by Satan to place men and women in unnatural positions. Thus Satan has tempted human beings to disregard the law of marriage as a thing unholy, but at the same time he has opened a door for the indulgence of human passion. Thus have come into existence the greatest evils that curse our world—adultery, fornication, the murder of innocent children born out of wedlock (ST Aug 30, 1899).
Sister White made a timely prediction applying the Corban principle of “the end justifies the means” to our Adventist doctors:
Some of our medical men have been learning lessons that will prove to be to their eternal ruin, unless they earnestly seek the Lord. They need to purify their hearts through obeying the truth. A reformation is needed in their lives. Physicians need to set the Lord ever before them, carrying the lamp of life with them wherever they go, or else Satan will use their scientific knowledge to lead them astray. The purest, most Christlike influences must control their lives, else the enemy will lead them to believe that the end justifies the means, and they will do strange things, that will make the God of heaven ashamed of them. They will sacrifice principle in order to obtain their desires, and will endeavor to bring into the work of God the methods of worldlings.
When physicians do this, God says of them, “You have sold the truth, and you must reap the displeasure of heaven. Unless you change, the gates of the holy city will be closed against you. Nothing that man can do has power to sanctify an unrighteous act (SpTB02 20-21).
Are all our Adventist doctors carrying “the lamp of life”?
Today many doctors and medical professionals are committing murder in the name of “the healing arts.” Instead of saying “Corban” like the Pharisees, we say, “Choice,” “Women’s Rights,” and “It’s my body” to negate the commandments of God. The Corban of abortion has become the leading cause of death in the world: 42 million babies are murdered each year, greater than the destruction of multiple world wars.
These little ones suffer an excruciatingly painful death as they are brutally dismembered and torn apart or burned by caustic salt solutions. In scenes more like the ancient Inquisition than modern medicine, the baby’s body parts must then be counted and put back into the semblance of a body to ensure that no portion of the child might cause infection to the mother.
This greatest holocaust in human history is not restricted to worldly medical institutions. I am grieved because Ellen White’s prediction has come to pass: some Adventist physicians have sold the truth and dropped “the lamp of life.”
As the Jewish leaders secretly plotted to destroy Christ, so for decades Adventist leaders have kept hidden their abortion policies. Our first abortion guidelines were formulated by church and Adventist hospital leaders in 1970, three years before Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court’s decision that women have a fundamental right to choose abortion. The Religious New Service posted the March 17, 1970 comment by Elder N C Wilson: “Though we walk the fence, SDA’s lean towards abortion rather than against it.”
More than twenty years later, the history of our abortion guidelines was published in the August 1991 issue of Ministry magazine which is sent to Adventist ministers and those of other denominations. When our hospital administrators demanded “the right to do elective abortions,” the church’s official abortion policy was formulated by 1992. The complete history of Adventist abortion policy can be obtained online. However, members at large had no idea that some of our doctors were doing these “strange things” in the name of “policy.”
Today after half a century of monumental cultural changes, many Seventh-day Adventists follow cultural norms more closely than the Ten Commandments. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Survey, forty-two percent of us Adventists now favor abortion in all or most cases. In practice we have become a pro-choice church, performing elective abortions. Written October 12, 1992 and later posted online, the official Adventist guidelines on abortion claim that “the guidance of the Holy Spirit” can help the woman to know whether or not to “terminate the pregnancy,” a euphemism for allowing the abortionist to destroy her child.
Our mission and witnessing have been crippled and hindered by our abortion policy for nearly fifty years. Does it make sense to ask new members to give up their jobs to keep the Sabbath holy and obey all the commandments of God, and yet our abortion policy allows our medical personnel to destroy the lives of infants? How can the Three Angels’ Messages flourish while we are breaking the sixth commandment? One of the seven abominations that Jesus hates is “hands that shed innocent blood.” Proverbs 6:17.
In 1985 a Sunday pastor and his wife chose an Adventist hospital for prenatal care because they wanted Christian medical personnel. When the doctor asked, “Do you want this baby or do you want an abortion?” the couple was shocked. “We are sorry. We must be in the wrong place,” they replied as they left our medical institution.
The Rocks Are Crying Out!
Gianna Jessen survived a saline abortion, and has testified to many, including Congress. Her Seventh-day Adventist abortionist, Dr. Allred with more than a quarter million abortions under his belt, has been honored by several Adventist institutions, including La Sierra and Loma Linda.
Dr. Anthony Levatino has been asked to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and the Congress. Why? After doing more than 1,200 abortions, he repented of this evil and became a pro-life advocate. His testimony and his virtual reality videos which depict abortion in each of the three trimesters have changed the minds of many, including young people.
“To save life” remains the goal of every conscientious medical professional. As the God-fearing midwives rejected government orders of male infanticide in the days of Moses, so medical doctors are speaking out against abortion and holding up “the lamp of life.”
The truth, known to thousands of OB-GYNs worldwide, is that there is no situation in which an abortion is medically necessary. . . . Today, Americans are so used to hearing that abortion must be legal to protect the health of the mother that it may be difficult to fathom that there are truly no medical situations in which abortion, the direct, intentional killing of a preborn baby, is necessary to save a woman’s life. . .
As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn child – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman. We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child. We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.
Should the mother’s life require premature delivery, the dedicated obstetrical staff will labor to save the lives of both mother and baby. Emergency delivery remains the speediest and safest solution when either one is endangered.
“Tenderest Earthly Tie”
Navels, also known as belly buttons, remind us of the time we were in the womb, life-long tokens of our temporary dependency upon that maternal connection. “The tenderest earthly tie is that between the mother and her child.” (2T 536) This umbilical connection is a living parable of our life-line to our Creator: “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28.
Raped women who become pregnant need not shed the blood of their babes. Two friends of mine were raped and conceived seed. One was incestuously raped by her adult brother when she was only 12 years old; her aunt is caring for this child. The other’s son serves God as a Pathfinder leader. For both of these women, victims of inconceivable crime, their children are the joy of their lives!
The Lord calls His people to a repentance that needs not to be repented of. My brethren, amidst all your business cares, remember that you have taken upon you the name of Christ. Say, I am a Christian, and therefore I cannot act upon the maxim that the end justifies the means. I must love my neighbor as myself. I must do to others as, under similar circumstances, I should wish them to do to me. I must not benefit myself at the expense of my neighbor. Never must I connive at the sins that nailed my Saviour to the cross of Calvary. I must not “crucify the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” (Ms 59-1903)
Do you think the religious leaders thanked Jesus for defending His Father’s law against their policies? No, these professed commandment keepers were enraged and filled with revenge when “their false teaching was exposed” by Christ. (DA 398)
Do not be surprised when your friends and family speak hard words against you for taking a solid stand on the sixth commandment against abortion. Satan’s war against the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus has not ceased.
The disciples hoped Christ would take a more conciliatory tone and say something to make peace and calm the offended Pharisees, but He did not. Instead Jesus solemnly pointed to the final judgment: “Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” Matthew 15:13.
“Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand: when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” Isaiah 28:18. Every policy that goes against the law of our Creator will soon be destroyed.
We all must tremble at the word of God and deeply repent. Then with fervent prayers, tears in our voice, and merciful actions, we will pick up the lamp of life! Let’s share God’s truth in love, and obey all ten of His commandments by His grace and power, even unto death.
Let us remember Christ’s words: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40.
(To the tune of “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”)
O little head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down!
Now scornfully surrounded by deadly tools around.
O little head, what glory, what bliss till now was thine.
Yet though despised and gory, I joy to call thee Mine.
What thou, My child, hast suffered, as you died all alone,
I bore for those who killed you, their sins for to atone.
Lo, here they fall, thy blood drops, as angels weep for thee,
As on that dreadful Friday, their tears were shed for Me.
What language shall I borrow to melt these hearts of stone?
To tell thy dying sorrow, thy bitter pain and moan.
O, see his mangled body! This babe’s blood cries to Me.
Repent, in Me find refuge, and live abundantly!
Lyrics by Diane Bloom Kobor, June 3, 2019
A Michigander, Diane recently celebrated 30 years of marriage with Bela Kobor, a Hungarian and an ordained Adventist minister. They are assisted by Joanna, their young adult daughter, in missionary work. Diane’s studies include BS Biology, BA Elementary Education, MT ASCP, and MA Old Testament from the Seminary. After 22 years in the ministry, they’ve retired from full-time work, and now seek God’s leading in their next soul-winning venture.