February, 2019

now browsing by month

 

Who killed Jesus Christ and what does it mean to be saved by His blood?

Someone gave an experience that went like this: “I have a friend who is a dedicated, principled Christian. The person is generally thorough and logical. I asked the individual the question: “When Christians and the Bible say that Jesus Christ died for us to save us from sin, explain exactly how that works?” The individual humbly confessed that she did not know but asked me for my explanation. She was actually asking me to explain a scripture text because she was to do a presentation at her group worship that night.” This is not a unique situation and it illustrates the fact that even though people are saying certain things, many of the issues involved are not really understood.

It is well established among Christians that Jesus Christ died to save us and that it is by the grace of God we are saved. But what do these things mean? How does His death serve to save us? And is anything required of us?  To answer these questions, I’ll make the following points:

The truth

  1. To be saved, the primary requirement is that we believe the truth about God.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16).

“Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12).

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3).

  1. The basis for us obtaining salvation has been provided to all humanity.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11, 12).

  1. People are lost because they fail to believe the truth. Why do people not believe the truth? Because they take pleasure in unrighteousness.

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2:9-12).

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Heb. 3:12-14).

 

 The sin problem

  1. The sin problem is an attitude of rebellion against God, started by a bright angel whose wisdom got corrupted from admiring himself rather than God, and his rebellion is transmitted to others by his deceiving them concerning God.

Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Eze. 28:12-17).

  1. Jesus is the best revelation of God that has ever been given to humanity.

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).

No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18).

  1. Salvation, which is to be saved from the deceptions concerning God, and hence from the destruction that will come upon those who remain in rebellion against God, is based on the knowledge of the truth concerning God.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17).

 

The death of Christ

  1. The death of Christ was brought about by the fallen angel, Lucifer, now called Satan, stirring up of a multitude against Christ, the only begotten Son of God; an event that provides the ultimate evidence of the truth that God is love, whereas, Satan is a liar and a murderer. This understanding should lead us to love God and forsake all forms of rebellion against God.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through 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.” (Heb. 2:14, 15)

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Col. 1:20).

“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15).

“Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His type of government was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted.”The Desire of Ages, p. 761 by Ellen G. White.

  1. The death of Christ provides the basis whereby our minds might be purged (cleansed) of all rebellion (sin) against God, which was planted in our minds through Satan’s deception.

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” (John 12:31-33).

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2).

“But even as a sinner, man was in a different position from that of Satan. Lucifer in heaven had sinned in the light of God’s glory. To him as to no other created being was given a revelation of God’s love. Understanding the character of God, knowing His goodness, Satan chose to follow his own selfish, independent will. The choice was final. There was no more that God could do to save him. But man was deceived; his mind was darkened by Satan’s sophistry. The height and depth of the love of God he did not know. For him there was hope in a knowledge of God’s love. By beholding His character, he might be drawn back to God.”The Desire of Ages p. 761, 762 by Ellen G. White.

“Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.”Education p. 263 by Ellen G. White.

 

The blood of Jesus

Many people speak about the “blood of Jesus” without understanding that it is a reference to the fact that Christ died, the fact of who killed Him and what it therefore says about the issues concerning God and Satan. It is these beliefs that determine whether we will be aligned with God or Satan; that is, whether we will still have sin (rebellion against God) in our hearts or not. The cleansing from sin is a purging of our thoughts. Of course, there is an aspect of it that is beyond us, namely, forgiveness for past transgressions and empowerment to act in accordance with the truth that we would now believe. If we believe the truth concerning God, as revealed in Jesus, which is what accepting Jesus Christ means, and we are sorry for our past misdeeds and wrong attitudes, God’s promise is that He will forgive us and give us the power to live righteously.

God did not require the death of His Son as a precondition to His forgiving us, as in pagan religions, where the god would not forgive except a sacrifice is offered.  He forgives freely without holding a grudge or demanding payment, as He asked us to do.  By allowing His Son to be placed in a vulnerable human form, He provided an opportunity for Satan to show his true colours before the entire universe, while showing the extent of His love for us, so that our minds might be aligned with the truth.  This is God’s cure for rebellion (sin).  For those who still harbour rebellion in their hearts, there is nothing else that would change them, and they will perish with their sin, as will Satan.

Some people will outrightly reject the truth, while others will choose not to avail themselves of it. Jesus warned us to take heed that no man deceives us. To be deceived especially in the last days is to forfeit salvation. If we believe that Christ must work a special miracle in order to save us, beyond what is already done for all humanity in making the truth available to us, and that we have no part to play in our own salvation, we deceive ourselves and open ourselves for other deceptions of the evil one. We are admonished to search for the truth as for hidden treasures, because it is by belief in the truth that our minds are transformed and our mistrust for God and our lack of submission to His will (our sinfulness) is eradicated.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12).

“The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.” The Desire of Ages p. 456-466 by Ellen G. White.

 

Our part

It is what we need to do that we need to focus on.  Many people go to lengths to emphasize that salvation is a gift from God to the exclusion of our part in it, as though its all up to Jesus to do everything. So, if it is not done for us, what then? Is it that Jesus did not do His part? They will say, oh, you need to accept that he has already done it for you. And what does that mean, when everybody claims to accept the gift? Will they all be saved, then? Is it that deception is of no consequence, even though we have been warned?

We need to understand and help others to understand that we have a part to play in our own salvation. Nobody can know the truth for us. We must know it for ourselves. So, let’s stop focusing on that which is outside of our control, which is already taken care of, and do what we need to do, or we’ll be sorely disappointed.

People must understand that the controversy is an information war. It started with a corrupting of knowledge (the truth); that is, it started with deception, and it can be resolved only by a reversal of that process. Even Satan himself, iniquity was found in him because his wisdom was corrupted by reason of his brightness – looking at himself and then developing a warped view of God (Ezekiel 28:22-27).

We have a task on our hands. Christianity has embraced a view of salvation that leads people to focus on things that Christ supposedly does, which are out of our hands, while neglecting the one thing that is required of us, which is to know the truth and believe it, so that our minds might be brought back in harmony with God. People seem to think that it is Christ’s job to work a miracle.  They wait and think that they will be saved in ignorance. Many will be sadly disappointed when they hear, “Depart from me” and find out that they were really serving the Devil in willing ignorance.

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matt. 27:21-24).

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

 

“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 6

Appeal and Conclusion

A conviction is felt that this series should be concluded with a personal appeal for unity under the banner of the Three Angels’ Messages. The appeal is for all the different groups that subscribe to the Three Angels’ Messages (be they of the main organization, from among the “independent (or self-supporting) ministries” or the “reformed groups”) to place greater focus on the mission of saving souls for the kingdom of God.  We should place no greater focus on denouncing each other than we place on denouncing the other religious bodies of Christendom.  While we respectfully disagree with the other churches of Christendom in their views on such important matters as the Sabbath, the state of the dead, the final punishment of the wicked and other teachings, we seek to teach and enlighten in order to win, rather than to denounce them.  That is the right thing to do, but oftentimes we take a less charitable attitude towards each other.  Is such an attitude of God?  I think not.

It is obvious that varying levels of conviction exist with respect to some of the finer points of doctrine and management. As a result, a general amalgamation of these various entities, organizationally, is not likely to occur.  Under the gospel, it is acknowledged that there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (1 Cor. 12:5, 6).

At least, all indifference, suspicion, exclusiveness and negative publicity should cease. This is not suggesting that actions which are deemed to be sinful or unbecoming should not be pointed out in love. But offenders should be approached personally, and such matters considered in the appropriate fora.

It should ever be remembered that the “beam” should be taken out of our own eyes before we attempt to take the “mote” out of the eye of another (Matt. 7:5). There should be less eagerness to denounce. Let us concentrate our efforts on building up the faith of believers and calling sinners out of the kingdom of darkness. The field is wide. Millions of people are hungering for the gospel of salvation and many are ignorantly trampling upon the law of God. The coming of the Lord is soon and there is much work to be done.

Whether or not we wish to acknowledge it, the fact is that the venom of the beast and his image will not be unleashed against one of these groups only, but against all Sabbath-keeping Adventists. Therefore, we all would do well to heed the Divine injunction to “press together” (2 SM 274)[1]. We need to “arouse to comprehend the situation and view the contest before us in its true bearings” (5T 716)[2].

The devil has surely stolen a march on us in thus scattering the little flock and creating a spirit of indifference towards each other. How could the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist church organization, for example, justify a greater spirit of openness to establish common ground with the progressively falling churches of Christendom while stoutly denouncing and dissociating themselves from those who are clearly of a similar faith? This has got to be the work of the enemy. How can we not see this?

The devil has stolen a march on us! May the Good Lord forgive us! The longer we take to recognize our responsibility in contributing (whether actively or passively) to the disunity among our brethren and make a decided effort to press for unity at whatever level we are capable of exerting an influence, the longer it will be that we remain in a self-righteous Laodicean condition and hold the Lord’s work to ransom, at the peril of losing our own soul salvation.

Let us all be reminded that the church was purchased dearly by the blood of Christ and it is His burden that “they be one” as He and the Father are one (John 17:21-23). The grand object of the gospel is “that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Eph. 1:10). Therefore, any failure on our part to cooperate with this process can only prepare us to be misfits in a universe where “one pulse of harmony” will beat “throughout the realms of illimitable space” (GC 678)[3]. In short, we would be preparing ourselves not to be there.

It is my sincere conviction that we should give preeminence, in our ministry, to the truths which have made Seventh-day Adventists a distinct people and by which, we have been specially denominated by God. As we do this and as we grow daily, both individually and collectively, approaching the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13), our differences will gradually pale into insignificance until they cease to exist.

Until then, we may give God thanks and take courage from His promises, among which we may consider the following which was said to ancient Israel:

“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.” Jer. 3:18.

“The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.” Isa. 11:13.

 

“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. 374

[2] White, Ellen G., Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 716

[3] White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 678

Opening of the Seven Seals

Following on our earlier presentation, “Seals opened in context of the judgement”, in which we showed that the Seven Seals are opened after the judgement is convened, and we considered the opening of the first seal, we now consider the opening of the remaining seals.  The first seal, when opened, brought to view a white horse which represented the raising up of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement after the passing of time, at the end of 2300 prophetic days, in 1844.  This started the restoration of truth that had been trampled under foot during the Dark Ages.  The rider, “went forth conquering, and to conquer.” (Rev. 6:2).

 

The opening of the second seal sees a red horse and and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another” (Rev. 6:4).  After the initial period of the raising up of the Advent Movement, the world went into a period when peace was taken from the earth.  This is the period of World Wars I and II.  There is hardly another period in the history of the world when it would have been true to say that peace was taken from the earth and power was given to people to kill one another.  For the first time, in 1914, there was a war that was so extensive as to be described as a World War.  Then followed the second World War, beginning on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland.  This is considered the deadliest conflict in human history, that involved over 30 countries and saw an estimate of 50 to 85 million people being killed.

 

The opening of the third seal sees a black horse, and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Rev. 6:5, 6).  The imagery of trading is inescapable.  After the world war era, the world saw an era that was dominated by trade.  We are still in that era at the beginning of 2019.  That is where we are in the prophetic unfolding of events.  There has never been an era before when there were global trade agreements, economic sanctions and a market-driven determination of global affairs as the period after the Second World War, continuing up to today.  But things are about to change.

 

The fourth seal opens with a pale horse being seen, “and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” (Rev. 6:8).  At any time now, the world will be plunged into a period of extensive loss of life, to the extent of one-fourth or a quarter of the world’s population.  Are you ready for it?  Whether or not we like it, it is coming.  Jesus also predicted it in Matthew chapter 24.

 

In Matthew 24, Jesus gives a sequence of events that would lead up to the second coming of Christ.  He tells us that there would be wars and rumours of wars, but we should not be troubled when we see those things, because “the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6).  He went on to say that nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, that there would be famines, pestilences and earthquakes and that such would be the “beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:7, 8).  Note what comes next: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matt. 24:9). That is the sequence of events.  The last part has not yet taken place.  It is the same sequence as depicted in the opening of the seals.  There would be wars, as in World wars I and II, but it would not be the end just yet.  Afterward they are going to deliver up God’s people to be killed.  But others are going to be killed as well.

 

We have seen increasing pestilences and earthquakes, so do we think that the part to follow, wherein we will be hated by all nations and will be persecuted and killed will not happen, or that it is far away?  Think again!  It is within that context, that Jesus continues by saying that the gospel will be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come (Matt. 24:14).  That is the Loud Cry of the angel of Rev. 18 being described there.  You’ll get the sequence quite easily if you read in order, verses 4 to 14 of Matthew 24.

 

The fifth seal opens and “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Rev. 6:9-11).  This depicts a time when many would have been killed and, as it were, their souls are crying out to God for Him to intervene.  It is further confirmed that this takes place during the pre-advent judgement because white robes were given to them at that point, even though they were told to wait a little longer.  Others of their brethren would be killed, and the judgement would pass from the dead to the living.

 

The opening of the sixth seal sees massive natural upheavals, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:12-17).

 

The events, as described here, are in quick succession.  Obviously, these have not happened yet, since every mountain and island have not yet been moved out of their places and the heavens have not yet departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.  Even though there have been historical events that reflect partial fulfilment of this prophecy, the full unfolding of the prophecy will take place in its entirety, with all the elements occurring in quick succession.  This is a description of the end, and the question is asked, “who shall be able to stand?”

 

The scene then shifts, in the next verses continuing in Revelation chapter 7, to show those who will be able to stand.  “The living saints, 144,000 in number” (Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 14), will be able to stand.  They would have gone through the great tribulation and would have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14).  The context shows that these are faithful end-time survivors who will be alive to see Christ’s second coming.

 

The seventh seal opens, and “there was silence in heaven” (Rev. 8:1).  Christ and His retinue of angels would have left heaven to come to earth to receive His faithful children – those who would have overcome the tribulation of the last days, and those who would have died in faith, whom He would raise from the dead.

 

The opening of the seven seals marks the events that would transpire from the start of the judgement through to the second coming of Christ.  When all the seals are opened, there is nothing left to be seen.  It is not at that time that the book is now ready to be opened, as though all the seals must be opened before the book can be read.  One scroll at a time is opened and read as its seal is opened and its contents brought to view. We are now in the third seal, the black horse period.  Are we ready for what is coming next?

 

“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 5

The Unfortunate Scattering

It is very important that the earmarks of Babylon be clearly distinguished from those of God’s little flock.  A failure to do this will almost inevitably result in the establishment of false criteria for the identification of’ God’s denominated people.

With the passing of time, since the pioneers of 1844 fell asleep, a situation has developed whereby the divinely appointed criteria that defines God’s denominated people have, to some extent, been replaced by humanly invented organizational criteria. This is not to minimize the importance of organization. It was revealed by the Holy Spirit that “there must be order and thorough discipline in the church – that organization was essential.” (TM 26)[1]. However, if organization was made everything and given undue pre-eminence, then evil would result.

“Evil does not result because of organization, but because of making organization everything, and vital godliness of little moment. When form and machinery take the pre-eminence, and a laborious task is made of carrying on the work that should be done with simplicity, evil will result,”White, Ellen G., Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 253.

A situation has developed whereby many persons have been cast out of the church for no other reason but that they have conscientiously refused to comply with certain organizational directives which attempt to stipulate the precise way they should (or should not) present the gospel. Others who have neither committed open sin nor denied the tenets of the Three Angels’ Messages but have simply expressed conscientious objections to certain actions of the church leadership, have been likewise disfellowshipped. Trends of these sorts had already started to show manifestation even before some of the pioneers fell asleep.

“A strange thing has come into our churches. Men who are placed in positions of responsibility that they may be wise helpers to their fellow workers have come to suppose that they were set as kings and rulers in the churches to say to one brother, do this; to another, do that; and to another, be sure to labor in such and such a way. There have been places where workers have been told that if they did not follow the instructions of these men of responsibility, their pay from the conference would be withheld.” – White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 477.

Divinely inspired warnings were issued against the continuation of such trends.

“If the cords are drawn much tighter, if the rules are made much finer, if men continue to bind their fellow-laborers closer and closer to the commandments of men, many will be stirred by the spirit of God to break every shackle and assert their liberty in Christ Jesus.”White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, July 23, 1895.

Notwithstanding the inspired councils, such high-handedness and kingly power has continued over the years, in many instances, and hence, the present situation tells for it.  Several groups and factions have been created within the ranks of Seventh-day Adventism, many of which relate to each other and to the parent organization with little more than indifference, and in some cases, virtual hostility. This is totally unacceptable before the Lord.

Though the level of fragmentation that has occurred over the years (and persists) has not been, and is not without cause, God’s will is that all be united. It was never His purpose that the church be fragmented.

“I know that the Lord loves His church. It is not to be disorganized or broken up into independent atoms. There is not the least consistency in this; there is not the least evidence that such a thing will be.”White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68, 69.

 

The Question of Legitimacy

The basis on which some of these groups came into existence can hardly be questioned. Some of them began and have continued as genuine self-supporting ministries with the sole objective of preaching the gospel.  Others got started because faithful believers in the Three Angels’ Messages were unjustly cast out of the church.  Having been cast out of the church for reasons which cannot be sustained by inspiration and having endeavoured to obtain reconciliation without compromise of principle and being true to their convictions to cooperate with God in spreading the gospel, they could hardly be considered as having erred in organizing themselves to make their efforts more effective in doing the Lord’s work.

Some of these groups, however, have subsequently taken an extreme and unjustified course in deliberately distancing themselves from most other professed Seventh-day Adventist believers. Some have attempted to read themselves into prophecy, claiming that their circumstances were prophesied by the Spirit of Prophecy writings of Ellen G. White in comments made about the Angel of Revelation 18. Others have flatly denounced the parent organization as apostate and classified it as being a part of Babylon.

Such positions are extreme and untenable for several reasons, among which the following might be considered:

  1. Repeated warnings have been given that the Seventh-day Adventist church should not be denounced as Babylon. Babylon has certain distinct characteristics which cannot be ascribed to the Seventh-day Adventist church, notably, the doctrines of Sunday sacredness and the immortality of the soul. These two great errors, we have been repeatedly told will constitute the basis for the marvelous workings of Satan in the last days, and such doctrines particularly constitute the wine with which Babylon drunks the nations (2 SM 66-69, GC 588, 4SP 405)[2].
  2. Only one great Reformatory Movement has been prophesied to take place among God’s people in the last days and this movement has been clearly linked with the Latter Rain experience when God will be “taking the reins in His own hands” (TM 300, 9T 126)[3]. Prior to that experience the condition of God’s people will be typified by the Laodicean condition. This condition will persist until it is broken by a shaking (or sifting). The final stages of this shaking will coincide with the Mark of the Beast crisis (EW 270, GC 608, 12 MR 318-325)[4]. None of the various groups that profess the Seventh-day Adventist faith can truly, since their inception, identify their experience with the characteristics of the great Reformatory Movement that has been prophesied. All must admit that they have been no more than Laodicean.
  3. The Angel of Revelation 18 is manifested at a time, specifically, when the sins of Babylon would have “reached unto heaven” (Rev.18:5). Of that point in the world’s history, the inspired commentary is as follows:

“The sins of the world will have reached unto heaven when the law of God is made void; when the Sabbath of the Lord is trampled in the dust, and men are compelled to accept in its stead an institution of the Papacy through the strong hand of the law of the land.  White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1889.

Individuals will be compelled to accept Sunday sacredness, the Mark of the Papacy (the leopard-like beast of Rev. 13), in place of the Lord’s holy seventh day Sabbath in the crisis of the Mark of the Beast.  Hence, this crisis marks the point when the sins of Babylon would have “reached unto heaven”. The last act in the drama that would have filled up the cup of Babylon’s iniquity is the imposition of the Mark of the Beast (RH April 23, 1901)[5]. At that time, the Third Angel’s Message will carry its greatest force (GC 605-606)[6]. It is just at that time, as the Third Angel’s Message swells to a loud cry, that the Angel of Revelation 18 joins the Third Angel, giving added power to the Third Angel ‘s Message.

“The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet.”

“This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844.”

White, Ellen G., The Story of Redemption, p. 399, 400.

“The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of world-wide extent and unwonted power is here foretold.” – White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 611.

For groups that have taken extreme positions such as those which have been mentioned, the solution lies in simply discarding such views and re-directing the focus of their ministry to reflect objectives which are more consistent with the primary purpose for which the Seventh-day Adventist church was raised up. It is the mission of the church to proclaim the Three Angels’ Messages to the world, pointing them to the law of God which has been made void by the enemy and to the final work of atonement by our great High Priest to blot out our sins.

God’s professed people cannot afford to confuse the issues of their warfare and turn their ammunition against themselves. We cannot now afford to deny our history, because we have nothing to fear for the future except as we forget how God has led us in the past. God has led us step by step and placed us on a “solid, immovable platform” – the Three Angels’ Messages – from which a block should not be moved, nor a pin be stirred (EW 258, 259)[7]. We must ever remember that it is the Sabbath, primarily, around which the final conflict will be centred. The Sabbath is our sign of distinction and this identifies us with God’s denominated people. If we are not faithful to our high calling and profession then we will be sifted out from among God’s remnant people as the “messenger of the covenant” works to “purify the sons of Levi” “for he is like a refiner’s fire” (Mal. 3:2, 3).

 

“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., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 26.

[2] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66-69; White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 588; White, Ellen G., The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 405.

[3] White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 300; White, Ellen G., Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 126.

[4] White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 270; White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 608; White, Ellen G., Manuscript Releases, Vol. 12, p. 318-325.

[5] White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, April 23, 1901.

[6] White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 605-606.

[7] White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 258, 259.