January, 2019

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Seals opened in context of the judgement

There is an inescapable parallel between the setting of Revelation chapters 4 and 5, in which the seals are opened, and the judgement scene of Daniel chapter 7.  We’ll consider some of the parallel elements and the implications for the present time, but before we do so, the following word of admonition is most instructive: “Study Revelation in connection with Daniel, for history will be repeated”White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 116.  Here are some of the parallels:

 

  1. Thrones were set – Daniel says, I beheld till the thrones were cast down [set](Dan. 7:9; Revelation says, “a throne was set in heaven” (Rev. 4:2) and “round about the throne were four and twenty seats” (Rev. 4:4). Note that the persons who were seated on the twenty-four seats “had on their heads crowns of gold” (Rev. 4:4), so these twenty-four seats are really thrones, but obviously not as impressive as the one on which God sat. That explains why Daniel says “thrones”, while Revelation says, “a throne” and “four and twenty seats”.

 

  1. God sat on a throne – Daniel says, the Ancient of days did sit” (Dan. 7:9); Revelation says, “one sat on the throne” (Rev. 4:2).

 

  1. Millions of angels gathered around God’s throne – Daniel says, thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him” (Dan. 7:10); Revelation says, “many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Rev. 5:11).

 

  1. Christ comes to the Father – Daniel says, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days” (Dan. 7:13); Revelation says, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6).

 

  1. Christ receives glory, honour and power – Daniel says, And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom” (Dan. 7:14); Revelation says, “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

 

  1. Books were opened – Daniel says, the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Dan. 7:10); Revelation says, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof” (Rev. 5:2) and “he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Rev. 5:7), also, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals” (Rev. 6:1). Daniel says “books” (Dan. 7:10), while Revelation says, “a book” (Rev. 5:1).  A comment from Uriah Smith, an early Seventh-day Adventist pioneer, explains the seeming discrepancy.  In the comment, he quoted John Wesley as follows: “The usual books of the ancients were not like ours, but were volumes, or long pieces of parchment, rolled upon a long stick, as we frequently roll silks. Such was this represented, which was sealed with seven seals. Not as if the apostle saw all the seals at once; for there were seven volumes wrapped up one within another, each of which was sealed; so that upon opening and unrolling the first, the second appeared to be sealed up till that was opened, and so on to the seventh.”Smith, Uriah, Daniel and the Revelation, p. 420 (1909).

Daniel declares that the setting is the judgement.  This judgement takes place before the second coming of Christ.  The result of the judgement is that Christ receives a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:14).  It was further explained to Daniel that “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” (Dan. 7:27).  Thus, Christ receives the title deed to this earth along with the list of all those who will be His faithful subjects.  He then returns to earth to claim the dominion.  At that time, it will be declared, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15).

 

The opening of the seals within the context of the judgement means that although there may be a historic interpretation of the seals, there is undoubtedly, an end-time fulfillment that began in 1844, when the judgement commenced.  The opening of the first seal sees events unfolding that are depicted as a white horse, whose rider went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2).  This coincides with what is described as the Church of Philadelphia, to which was presented “an open door” that no man could shut (Rev. 3:8).  This is a church for which there was no rebuke but only commendation.  This opening of the first seal also coincides with the appearance of the Third Angel of Rev. 14 – indeed, a period of the gospel going forth with renewed power and direction from God.  This is the period of the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers.

 

Back in the day, it was popular for Seventh-day Adventists to sing, “Have you heard of the Advent Church, how she is moving according to prophecy?”  Today, many Seventh-day Adventists, while being convinced of the Sabbath, are not so sure that the Advent Movement has any special significance, more than any other church.  But God sees otherwise.  This Movement was raised up for a purpose, to preach the final message to the world.  While we win the hearts of people with our health message, we should not stop there.  People must be taught the mission for which the Movement was raised up, so that we can fulfill our God-ordained purpose.

 

By God’s grace, we will look, in another presentation, at the events associated with the opening of the remaining seals and consider where we are now in the unfolding fulfillment of prophecy.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Unity upon the Three Angels’ Messages – Pt 4

Characteristics of Babylon

It should now be clearly established that there are distinct differences between the little flock which continued with Christ into the most holy place, after the passing of time in 1844, and the other churches which rejected the judgement hour message and in consequence, were aptly categorized as Babylon.

The fallen churches of Babylon are characterized by two distinct errors which, above all else constitutes the wine with which she drunks the nations. These are :(1) Sunday sacredness – the spurious sabbath of human invention and (2) the immortality of the soul, which forms the basis for spiritualism.

“The wine of Babylon is the exalting of the false and spurious sabbath above the Sabbath which the Lord Jehovah hath blessed and sanctified for the use of man, also [it is] the immortality of the soul. These kindred heresies, and the rejection of the truth, convert the church into Babylon.”

White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68.

Additional identification of Babylon is given as follows:

“The whole chapter shows that Babylon that has fallen is the churches who will not receive the messages of warning the Lord has given in the first, second, and third angel’s messages. . . . . .  The message in the eighteenth chapter of Revelation is plain and clearly defined.”

White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68.

 

Characteristics of “The Little Flock”

That which characterizes God’s little flock is the acceptance of the truth, generally, but particularly, those which constitute the Three Angels’ Messages. Among these are the following: (1) the sanctuary truth which points to Christ’s final work of atonement in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary and brings to view the blotting out of sins or investigative judgement which began in 1844; (2) the Sabbath truth which was the light which shone from the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary when Christ commenced the last phase of his mediatorial work which is centred there,

“I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps – the first, second, and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, “Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.” I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step, until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform.”

White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 258, 259.

 

Identification of “The Little Flock”

The mark of identification of this little flock is the seventh day Sabbath.

“As I was considering this matter in the night season, it seemed as if One stood up in the midst of us and pointed us back to the Israelites as an illustration of a distinct people, denominated of God. That which made them denominational was the observance of God’s commandments. In the twelfth to the eighteenth verses of the thirty-first chapter of Exodus their distinguishing sign is mentioned. ‘Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep’, the Lord declared, ‘for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you…. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever’”.

White, Ellen G., Manuscript Releases, Vol. 19, p. 38.

“We are Seventh-day Adventists. this is a fitting name, for we keep the seventh-day Sabbath, and look for the second advent of our lord in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. Even with respect to the name indicating some of the peculiar points of faith distinguishing us from other Christians, we are denominational. In keeping the Sabbath that God declares should be kept holy as a sign between Himself and His people, we show to the world that we are His peculiar, chosen people – a people whom He has denominated.”

White, Ellen G., Manuscript Releases, Vol. 19, p. 40.

“Do not these words point us out as God’s denominated people? and do they not declare to us that so long as time shall last, we are to cherish the sacred, denominational distinction placed on us? The children of Israel were to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations ‘for a perpetual covenant.’ The Sabbath has lost none of its meaning. It is still the sign between God and his people, and it will be so forever.”

White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, 8/4/1904

Wherever the above-mentioned truths are accepted and adhered to, there we have members of the little flock. As to which ones will have their names retained in the book of life and which ones will have their names blotted out is not ours to determine, but such are of that “house of God” at which “judgement must begin” (1 Pet. 4:17).

In accordance with the distinctive truths that characterize the little flock, it was revealed through the Spirit of Prophecy that their name should be Seventh-day Adventists.

“We are Seventh-day Adventists. Are we ashamed of our name? We answer, “No, no! We are not. It is the name the Lord has given us. It points out the truth that is to be the test of the churches.” – Letter 110,1902. “We are Seventh-day Adventists, and of this name we are never to be ashamed.”

White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 384.

 

Criteria for Denominational Identity

It is important to note that the parameters which define the boundaries of the denominational identity are not organizational criteria; rather, it is the Three Angels’ Messages and, in particular, the Sabbath. It is upon these very points which distinguish the little flock from the churches which constitute Babylon that the final conflict between good and evil will be centred.

It is primarily on account of the Sabbath that Seventh-day Adventists have been hated and despised by a large proportion of a world that has exalted the spurious sabbath above the true. This hatred will yet again blaze forth in open persecution in the final conflict that lies just ahead of us.

“The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other, choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.”

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 605.

“As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, and religions and secular authorities have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument eighteen hundred years ago was brought against Christ by the “rulers of the people,” “It is expedient for us,” said the wily Caiaphas, “that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” John 11:50. This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death.

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 615, 616.

It is in the interest of God’s people to recognize what makes us unique, what binds us together and where our strength lies.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

The Three Angels’ Messages and the Seven Churches

While it is true that the Three Angels’ Messages contain truth of a general nature – for example, “worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” – it is also important to note that the vision of three angels flying one after the other, represents a sequence of prophesied events.  These events were fulfilled at specific times, in a similar way as the four Beasts of Daniel 7 arose sequentially and represented four successive kingdoms.  Likewise, the Seven Churches are sequential in their prophetic fulfilment and represent God’s Church at specific times, some of which overlap with the periods represented by the three angels.

 

The first angel represents the initial stages of the Advent Movement, before the disappointment of 1844, as they preached a message of the second coming of Christ and the hour of God’s judgement approaching.  The second angel represents a later stage of the same Movement, starting in the summer of 1844, when the focus of the message was a call for people to leave Babylon, the churches that had rejected the message of the soon return of Jesus Christ.  The third angel represents the Seventh-day Adventist Movement that has been preaching the Sabbath and warning people against the Mark of the Beast, from shortly after the disappointment in 1844.

 

There is an overlap between the time period covered by the three angels and the time period covered under the last three of the seven churches, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.  It was said to Sardis that “thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”; to Philadelphia, “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it”; and to Laodicea, “because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:1-17).  Unlike Sardis and Laodicea, there was no rebuke for Philadelphia.

 

Many persons view Philadelphia as the period covering what is known as the Great Awakening or the Evangelical Revival, extending up to the disappointment in 1844; and Laodicea, they see as the period from 1844 onward.    In this, they give God’s commendations of Philadelphia to a brand of Christianity that was considered by men to be alive, but which God’s message declared was dead.  The testimony concerning the churches that rejected the Advent Message before the disappointment was as follows:

 

“But the churches generally did not accept the warning . . . . . .  The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church revealed all to surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ. The ties which bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heavenward. They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom and turned away from the heart-searching message of truth.

“In refusing the warning of the first angel, they rejected the means which Heaven had provided for their restoration. They spurned the gracious messenger that would have corrected the evils which separated them from God, and with greater eagerness they turned to seek the friendship of the world. Here was the cause of that fearful condition of worldliness, backsliding, and spiritual death which existed in the churches in 1844.”

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 379, 380.

 

The churches were dead, even though they were thought to be alive.  This was the period leading up to the disappointment in 1844.

 

Where then would Philadelphia fall?  Philadelphia comes immediately after the dead Sardis.  Consider what was said of Philadelphia: “I have set before thee an open door and no man can shut it” and “thou hast a little strength”, “hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” and “hast kept the word of my patience” (Rev. 3:8-10).  This is an apt description of the early Pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement just after the disappointment of 1844.  The testimony concerning the Pioneers was as follows:

 

“I was pointed back, and saw the condition of God’s people in 1844. Then God was pleased with them, and his love rested upon them.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, p. 279.

 

“I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, and would give no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps—one, two and three—the first, second and third angels’ messages. Said the angel, Woe to him who shall move a block, or stir a pin in these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received. I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. Step by step had God brought them along, until he had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, p. 168, 169.

 

How long did this period of Divine approval last?  It did not last more than a few years.  The transition to Laodicea took place by 1857.  In that year, the situation was described as follows:

 

“In the spring of 1857, I accompanied my husband on a tour East. His principal business was to purchase the Power Press. We held conferences on our way to Boston, and on our return. This was a discouraging tour. The testimony to the Laodicean church was generally received; but some in the East were making bad use of it. Instead of applying it to their own hearts, so as to be benefited by it themselves, they were using the testimony to oppress others . . . . . .”

 

“I saw that the testimony to the Laodiceans applied to God’s people at the present time, and the reason it has not accomplished a greater work, is because of the hardness of their hearts.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, p. 222, 223.

 

It is significant, what a main cause for this condition was.  We are told:

 

“And I saw what God marked above everything else was their contented state. They have the truth. None can successfully oppose, and they enjoy it, as if the Saviour had no work for them to do in the salvation of souls.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, p. 279.

 

This point in time was not immediately after the disappointment when they were struggling to hammer out the truth by tireless study of the scriptures. They were now at a point when they had the truth and were contented that nobody could oppose them.  This was even before the organization was established.  By 1857, much of the severe hardship had already passed.  The account was:

 

“Could some be placed back ten or twelve years, and labor through the discouragements that then existed, they would find a great change in the labor now, compared with what it was then. Then the friends of the cause were few, their means limited, and it was a constant battle against error and fanaticism. Privation and want were then endured by God’s servants without murmuring.”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, p. 286.

 

The Church of Philadelphia was the Post-Disappointment, Pre-Organization Movement that had a short span from the end of the 2300 days in 1844, as was prophesied by Daniel, when the “open door” became applicable, to around 1856 when the Church of the Laodiceans started.  Daniel prophesied that at the end of the 2300 days God would start a work of restoring the truth that had been trampled underfoot.  Sure enough, on the very next day, after the disappointment at the end of the 2300 days on October 22, 1844, God started to reveal new light to those who had just “a little strength”, who had “kept” His word, and had “not denied” His “name”.  Starting with Hiram Edson’s vision, of Christ moving through the “open door” from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary in heaven, to the first vision of Ellen White (nee Harmon) later that same year, God restored the major truths that would keep His people grounded until the second coming of Christ.  By 1858 God had already revealed that “Step by step had God brought them along, until he had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform” and that “God looked upon them with approbation”White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, p. 168, 169.

 

Establishing clearly the period that God in His wisdom described as Philadelphia, as distinct from the Sardis and Laodicean periods might seem like a small point, but it is very important.  It saves us from looking for inspiration from the wrong period.  Many Seventh-day Adventists today glorify the period of the so-called Great Awakening among Evangelicals, while speaking with derision of the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers, not reckoning that, in God’s eyes, the first group was dead, while it was to the latter group that God looked with approbation.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Unity upon the Three Angels’ Messages – Pt 3

The First Angel

When the fullness of time came, God ordained that a message should be proclaimed which would prepare His people for the last phase of Christ’s heavenly ministry on our behalf – the blotting out of sins, also known as the investigative judgement and the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.

Accordingly, in different lands simultaneously, leading up to the end of the 2300 prophetic days (or 2300 literal years) which culminated on October 22, 1844, the message of Daniel 8:14 was heralded – “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Dan. 8.14.

These prophetic days (one literal year for each prophetic day – Num. 14:34) extended from the autumn of the year 457 BC, when the command of Artaxerxes to “restore and to build Jerusalem” (Dan. 9:25) went into effect.

Fulfilling the symbolic prophecy of the first of three angels flying “in the midst of heaven” (Rev.14:6, 7), the Advent movement (as the messengers were collectively called) proclaimed that the “hour” of God’s judgement had come.  True to the connotation of the prophetic symbol, the message was carried far and wide.

“Like a tidal wave the movement swept over the land. Prom city to city, from village to village, and into remote country places it went, until the waiting people of God were fully aroused. Fanaticism disappeared before this proclamation like early frost before the rising sun. Believers saw their doubt and perplexity removed, and hope and courage animated their hearts.” – White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 400.

Notwithstanding the glory that characterized the Advent movement during the days leading up to the commencement of the investigative judgement in 1844, the early stages of this very important work of Christ found only a little company focusing their faith in the direction of this final work of atonement.

“The first angel’s message of Revelation 14, announcing the hour of God’s judgement and calling upon men to fear and worship Him, was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world and arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. In this message, God had sent to the church a warning, which, had it been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting them away from Him . . . . . .  


“But the churches generally did not accept the warning . . . . . .  The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church revealed all to surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ. The ties which bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heavenward. They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom and turned away from the heart-searching message of truth.

“In refusing the warning of the first angel, they rejected the means which Heaven had provided for their restoration. They spurned the gracious messenger that would have corrected the evils which separated them from God, and with greater eagerness they turned to seek the friendship of the world. Here was the cause of that fearful condition of worldliness, backsliding, and spiritual death which existed in the churches in 1844.”

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 379, 380.

 

The Second Angel

As a result of the churches rejecting the special message that was sent from heaven to prepare them for the investigative judgement, the second angel’s message (Rev. 14:8) became applicable to them.

“The second angel’s message of Revelation 14 was first preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the judgement had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however can it be said that “Babylon is fallen . . . . . .  because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” She has not yet made all nations do this. The spirit of world conforming and indifference to the testing truths for our time exists and has been gaining ground in churches of the Protestant faith in all the countries of Christendom; and these churches are included in the solemn and terrible denunciation of the second angel. But the work of apostasy has not yet reached its culmination.

“The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness;” and they that “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” will be left to receive “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11. Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the church with the world shall be fully accomplished throughout Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete. The change is a progressive one, and the perfect fulfillment of Revelation 14:8 is yet future.”

White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 389, 390.

 

The Third Angel

While the churches that existed in 1844 rejected the judgement hour message and experienced a moral fall, the few persons who accepted the message received further light. They were shown the fact that the phase of Christ’s heavenly ministry which began in 1844 was the reality to which the ancient Jewish Day of Atonement pointed; that it was the judgement during which the sins of God’s professed people would be forever blotted out or otherwise, their names blotted from God’s book of life.

The little company was further blessed with the Spirit of Prophecy which was given to one of their number, Ellen Gould White (nee Harmon). They were further awakened to the breach that was created in God’s holy law by unsanctified human hands which foisted on the world a spurious sabbath in place of God’s holy Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, which is the eternal sign that He is the creator and the One who sanctifies His people (Ex. 20:8-11 ; Eze. 20:12,20). This awakening brought to them the realization that they were specially called by God and peculiarly denominated by Him as messengers who had a special responsibility to prepare for Him a people who could stand in the judgement. In order to accomplish this task, it would be a significant part of their mission to point men and women to the perfect law of God in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary (Rev. 11:19; 2 Chron. 5:10) which is the standard by which all persons would be judged (James 2:10-12).

A transcript of God’s law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai and right in the bosom of that law was the fourth commandment which enjoined the observance of the seventh day Sabbath as holy unto the Lord. This commandment above all the others was being disregarded by a world which had almost entirely been deceived into accepting the spurious sabbath of human invention.

Hence, it would be the responsibility of each one to stand as a “repairer of the breach” (Isa. 58:12) by drawing attention, particularly, to the sabbath of the Lord as enjoined by the fourth commandment. This work was represented prophetically as that of the third angel (Rev. 14:9-12).

“As foretold in the Scriptures, the ministration of Christ in the most holy place began at the termination of the prophetic days in 1844. To this time apply the words of the Revelator, “The temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” The ark of God’s testament is in the second apartment of the sanctuary. As Christ entered there, to minister in the sinner’s behalf, the inner temple was opened, and the ark of God was brought to view. To those who by faith beheld the Saviour in his work of intercession, God’s majesty and power were revealed. As the train of his glory filled the temple, light from the holy of holies was shed upon his waiting people on the earth.


“They had by faith followed their High Priest from the holy to the most holy, and they saw him pleading his blood before the ark of God. Within that sacred ark is the Father’s law, the same that was spoken by God himself amid the thunders of Sinai, and written with his own finger on tables of stone. Not one command has been annulled; not a jot or tittle has been changed. While God gave to Moses a copy of his law, he preserved the great original in the sanctuary above. Tracing down its holy precepts, the seekers for truth found, in the very bosom of the decalogue, the fourth commandment, as it was first proclaimed: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor, thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

“The spirit of God impressed the hearts of these students of his word. The conviction was urged upon them, that they had ignorantly transgressed the fourth commandment by disregarding the Creator’s rest-day. They began to examine the reasons for observing the first day of the week instead of the day which God had sanctified. They could find no evidence in the Scriptures that the fourth commandment had been abolished, or that the Sabbath had been changed; the blessing which first hallowed the seventh day had never been removed. They had been honestly seeking to know and do God’s will, and now, as they saw themselves transgressors of his law, sorrow filled their hearts. They at once evinced their loyalty to God by keeping his Sabbath holy.

“Many and earnest were the efforts made to overthrow their faith. None could fail to see that if the earthly sanctuary was a figure or pattern of the heavenly, the law deposited in the ark on earth was an exact transcript of the law in the ark in Heaven, and that an acceptance of the truth concerning the heavenly sanctuary involved an acknowledgement of the claims of God’s law, and the obligation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Here was the secret of the bitter and determined opposition to the harmonious exposition of the Scriptures that brought to view the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary . . . . . . Christ had opened the door, or ministration, of the most holy place, light was shining from that open door of the sanctuary in heaven, and the fourth commandment was shown to be included in the law within the ark; what God had established, no man could overthrow.

“Those who had accepted the light concerning the mediation of Christ and the perpetuity of the law of God, found that these were the truths brought to view in the third message.”

White, Ellen G., The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 273-275.

“As the ministration of Jesus closed in the Holy place, and he passed into the Holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, he sent another mighty angel to earth with the third message. He placed a parchment in the angel’s hand, and as he descended to earth in majesty and power, he proclaimed a fearful warning, the most terrible threatening ever borne to man. This message was designed to put the children of God upon their guard, and show them the hour of temptation and anguish that was before them. Said the angel, They will be brought into close combat with the beast and his image. Their only hope of eternal life is to remain steadfast. Although their lives are at stake, yet they must hold fast the truth. The third angel closes his message with these words, Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

White, Ellen G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, p. 162.

 “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

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Revelation confirms that God is one, not three

Jesus said: “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord”.[1]  He said this to a scribe who queried, “Which is the first commandment of all?”.[2]  The scribe responded, “Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he”.[3]  To this, the Divine record says, “And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.”.[4]  Jesus considered the scribe’s answer a discreet one.  Revelation confirms that God is one person, not three.

 

The book of Revelation begins with a declaration of a chain of command: God gave to Christ, Christ gave to His angel, and the angel gave to John – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Rev. 1:1).  There is no confusion here, and most people seem to understand this.

 

The Revelation continues with greetings being brought to the seven churches from God, Christ and the seven spirits before God’s throne – “Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead” (Rev. 1:4, 5).  This is where some people get confused – they say that it is not really seven spirits but one spirit – the ‘seven-fold’ spirit.  But the Revelation is clear that the seven spirits are seven discrete entities, not one entity – “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” (Rev. 4:5).

 

What are these seven lamps of fire before God’s throne, who can send greetings?  They must be living beings!  Is there any category of living beings who are described as lamps of fire?  Let the scriptures answer – “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Heb. 1:7); and further, “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14).

 

There ought to be no confusion as to who these seven spirits are, who send greetings.  But lest some say that they are still unclear, let the scriptures describe in further detail those who stand before God’s throne – “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God” (Rev. 8:1, 2).   Recall that it is the same scene in which the throne of God is described with seven lamps of fire before it, and the lamb came to Him that sat on the throne, took the book from His hand and started to open the seals of the book.  The word of God is clear, for those who will receive it.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

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[1] Mark 12:29

[2] Mark 12:28

[3] Mark 12:32

[4] Mark 12:34

Unity upon the Three Angels’ Messages – Pt 2

Laodicea, not Babylon

The Seventh-day Adventist church is not Babylon. The Seventh-day Adventist church is Laodicea (2SM 66)[1]. The Lord has indicated through His messenger, Ellen G. White that the churches of Christendom which have rejected the Three Angels’ Messages are classified in their corporate capacity, as Babylon (2SM 68; GC 389, 390; TM 61)[2]. With respect to these churches we have been given a message to call people out (Rev. 18:1-4). For Laodicea, however, no such message has been given (2SM 66)[3]. The message to Laodicea is an appeal to repent (Rev. 3:19).

In the case of Babylon there are certain characteristic errors which are described by Inspiration as the “wine” with which Babylon drunks the nations. These errors are the doctrines of: (1) Sunday sacredness (2) Immortality of the soul (3) Eternal torment of the wicked (4) Denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem (TM 61; 2SM 68)[4].

So far as end-time prophecy is concerned, Babylon in the first instance is the impure woman of Revelation 17, which we clearly understand to represent the Papacy. This identification is extended to include the so-called daughters of the impure woman, which daughters we understand represent the religious bodies which have imbibed her doctrines and to some measure, have patterned after her, namely the nominally Protestant churches of Christendom which have rejected the Three Angels’ Messages in their corporate capacities (GC 389, 390)[5].

In the second instance, Babylon is an end-time confederation of the Papacy, apostate Protestantism, Spiritualism and the rulers and merchants of the earth (Rev. 16:13,14; 18:3) all of which will join forces to war against Christ, in the form of His faithful Sabbath-keeping people, by enforcing the Mark of the Beast (Rev. 19:19; 13:12-17). This will be a situation (which is currently taking shape) wherein “kings, merchants, rulers and religious teachers are all in corrupt harmony” (2SM 68)[6].

In the case of Laodicea, however, the Three Angels’ Messages and kindred truth which are of relevance and applicability to the present time have been embraced and understood. Laodicea represents “Seventh-day Adventists who have had great light and have not walked in the light” (2SM 66)[7]. Hence, the message to Laodicea is an appeal for repentance, whereas, there is no message to Babylon, but rather, a call for the faithful and chosen children of God who are in her ranks to “Come out of her” (Rev. 18:4).

 

Need for Repentance

Laodicea is guilty of not walking in the light. For this, the only recourse that is acceptable to God is repentance. The repentance that is needed is not only at an individual level since the individual and the church is not affected only by the personal sins of individuals (as in the case of Achan). Both individuals and the church collectively are affected also by corporate sins. Hence, the divinely specified precursor for the church receiving the latter rain is not only individual but corporate repentance, supplication and confession of sins (Joel 2:12-18).

True confession, however, is always of a specific nature and acknowledges particular sins (SC 38)[8].  The church over the years has been guilty of sins which have been of an open and public nature, for which, no public confession has been made, and in some cases involve continuing offense. These sins can be listed. One such sin was the terrible act, by the European Division, and with full knowledge of the General Conference, in endorsing the forced drafting of believers into the armed forces of Europe (World Wars 1 and 2), to bear arms, and particularly so, on the Sabbath; and going further to denounce as fanatics and facilitate and augment the persecution of believers who conscientiously refuse to so break the commandments of God.  Those actions led to the formation and continuation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Reform Movement.  Other groups, such as the Free Seventh-day Adventists have been formed similarly, for other reasons.

For the sake of non-Adventists who might be inclined to scoff on account of such a grievous sin as denouncing and facilitating the persecution of conscientious objectors to secular warfare, it might be well considered that such actions were not unique to Sabbath-keeping Adventists. Most of the churches that existed at the time acted in a similar manner. Of course, this is no excuse or consolation, neither does it lessen the abhorrence of such actions on the part of a people who profess and ought to be a light to the world – God’s fortress in a revolted world.

This example may be considered as having its place in the distant past, but there are others which are more recent.

 

Uncharitable Attitude

It is particularly unfortunate that, over the years, some believers have taken a rather uncharitable attitude to those who have dared to point out any sin, by marginalizing them, denouncing them, accusing them of evil motives and in some cases even persecuting them. Such actions are bad in themselves, but they are particularly disturbing in light of the fact that the divinely stated purpose to be accomplished in the human heart by the gospel is the creation of an enmity for sin and all that savours of unrighteousness (Gen. 3:15). Therefore, anything that would stifle, diminish or suppress an individual’s sense of revulsion to any perceived act of unrighteousness could be a very serious impediment to one’s spirituality.

Unfortunately, the attitude that has been manifested by and within some churches has been to some persons, that type of impediment. This has led them to establish and maintain fellowship groups that are not subject to direct control by church leaders who may unsettle their faith or impede their spiritual development.

Error and sin, whether by teaching or practice is never harmless. Consequently, individuals have, not only a right, but a positive duty to seek an environment that offers upliftment and enrichment of their spiritual experience. Individuals are not obliged (under the gospel) to consistently fellowship in an environment where they are subjected to influences that wear down their spirituality and tend to diminish their revulsion for unrighteousness (CW 47; EW 124, 125, 7SDABC 934, Loma Linda Messages 165)[9].

All persons do not have the same spiritual experience or the same level of spiritual sensitivity to the same things. Hence, an environment that one person would find stifling to his/her spirituality might very well be of some spiritual value to another person, provided the fundamental tenets of present truth are to be found there. Hence one person cannot act as conscience for another as to determine where he/she should fellowship within the framework and setting of an established belief in the Three Angels’ Messages.

Within the progressively falling churches of Babylon where the Three Angels’ Messages have been rejected there can be no safety in seeking fellowship (EW 124, 125)[10]. With respect to such, individuals are admonished “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul” (Jer. 51:6). For Laodicea, however, the message is: “Repent”. All Laodicean churches do not offer the same influence. Some churches offer a greater backsliding influence than others. One’s safest course is to repent, get back to the old paths and fellowship in an assembly where one can grow spiritually, where the truth is best upheld. In thus working out one’s own salvation with fear and trembling, one is better able to minister to others and in the process, help to strengthen that nucleus where the truth is upheld.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

[1] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66.

[2] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68; White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 389; White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 61.

[3] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66.

[4] White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 61; White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66.

[5] White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 389, 390.

[6] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68.

[7] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66.

[8] White, Ellen G., Steps to Christ, p. 38.

[9] White, Ellen G., Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 47; White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 124, 125; White, Ellen G., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 934; White, Ellen G., Loma Linda Messages, p. 165.

[10] White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 124, 125.