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/
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