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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).


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[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.