The family was the first institution established by the Creator and is one of the most important facets of His perfect design for the human race. At the very beginning of Christ’s ministry on earth, He gave high priority to this institution when He performed His first miracle, transforming water into pure grape juice.
Moses gave detailed instructions about the education of children by converted parents: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes” (Deuteronomy 6:4–8).
Actually, God directs parents to carry out the important work of education seven days a week, 24 hours a day. In these inspired words are presented a wholesome education, encompassing even the environment and the method of teaching.
John the Baptist, the second Elijah, was put to death for courageously defending family values before Herod the king, a potential baptismal candidate: “Herod was affected as he listened to the powerful, pointed testimonies of John, and with deep interest he inquired what he must do to become his disciple. John was acquainted with the fact that he was about to marry his brother’s wife, while her husband was yet living, and faithfully told Herod that this was not lawful. Herod was unwilling to make any sacrifice. He married his brother’s wife, and through her influence, seized John and put him in prison. . . . Soon John was beheaded, through the influence of Herod’s wife.”1
In their epistles also, the apostles Paul and Peter gave specific instructions about preserving the unity and sanctity of the family. They recognized the vital importance of this institution in the education of the believers.
Likewise, in our time, the most important work of the Elijah message today is to preserve and educate the family on how to fulfill God’s purpose—to prepare a people to receive the Lord Jesus at His second coming. Through Malachi, God uttered a key prophecy concerning the work of God’s people in these last days when He declared: “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5, 6).
In these last moments of our probationary time, Satan is busy at work to cause dissension and separation among the members of the family, triggering internal conflicts between husbands and wives, parents and children—with the sinister aim to spoil God’s beautiful plan.
It is high time for our people to rebuild the family altar (morning and evening worship), dedicating special attention to God’s word both individually and as families, constructing a shield of protection for our children and youth against the cunning ploys of the old serpent.
During this week of prayer, special messages prepared by God’s servants will be considered to help our families to labor effectively to save ourselves and our loved ones from eternal perdition.
“The great reformatory movement must begin in presenting to fathers and mothers and children the principles of the law of God. As the claims of the law are presented, and men and women are convicted of their duty to render obedience, show them the responsibility of their decision, not only for themselves but for their children. Show that obedience to God’s word is our only safeguard against the evils that are sweeping the world to destruction. Parents are giving to their children an example either of obedience or of transgression. By their example and teaching, the eternal destiny of their households will in most cases be decided. In the future life the children will be what their parents have made them.”2
May the Lord help us to seriously take these timely messages to heart!
Early Writings, p. 154.
Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 119.