Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 24, No. 3 Straight and Narrow March 2015
Thus says the Lord God: Disaster after disaster! Behold, it comes.
An end has come; the end has come; it has awakened against you.
Behold, it comes. Your doom has come to you, O inhabitant of the land.
The time has come; the day is near, a day of tumult,
and not of joyful shouting on the mountains. (Ezekiel 7:57 ESV)
In this issue:
The Time Has Come
2015 West Virginia Camp Meeting
From the File Cabinet of History
What Are We Doing in the Harbor?
The Time Has Come
The time has come for the marvelous working of Satan. The end is near! To some this may sound like an alarmist chant. To others it may sound like a failed prophecy which has been echoed down the halls of Adventism for over one hundred seventy years, but never in those one hundred seventy years have we seen and heard the sights that are now upon the world. In this study we wish to look at two points that help us know that the time has come for the work to finish and for the end to come.
Let us first begin with some basic groundwork and review of the truth that has safely moored the people of God for nearly one hundred seventy years.
The advent message was to go to “every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” because Satan was planning a worldwide evangelistic campaign that would succeed in captivating almost the whole world. John writes of this in the Revelation:
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:1–7)
The text does not say all the world follows the beast, but all the world wonders, or marvels, at the beast. The Greek word translated all is holos, from which we get our word holistic. The world marvels (thaumazô) at this wild beast. Thaumazô is also used in Matthew 8:27, when Jesus, after he was awakened from a sleep, stilled the raging storm that threatened to sink his ship and drown his disciples. But the men marveled (thaumazô), saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” Try to imagine the disciples’ thoughts at this time. They had heard the teachings of Jesus and had even seen him miraculously heal the sick, but now even the elements obeyed him, and they marveled! In like manner at the end of time, the entire world will marvel at what this beast power has been able to accomplish.
There are currently over one billion Muslims, one billion Roman Catholics, and almost a billion Protestants in the world. In addition to these, there are over one billion Hindus and many of other religious faiths, as well as many atheists. All of these people are marveling at the beast, and most will follow the beast power, but there will be some who do not follow the beast. God will have a people who will be faithful to him. Revelation 17:14 describes them:
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
The followers of the Lamb are called, and chosen, and faithful. Peter describes God’s people this way:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous (thaumazô) light. (1 Peter 2:9)
God’s people are peculiar, they stick out like a sore thumb, they are not the people who follow the crowds or have a herd mentality!
Adventism, in its early stages, identified the first beast of Revelation 13 as the same power as the little horn of Daniel 7: the papacy. They did this with solid biblical support from Daniel.
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Daniel 7:1–8, 20, 24, 25)
Adventists, with most of Protestant scholars, have identified the lion as Babylon, the bear as Media-Persia, the leopard as Grecia, and the nondescript beast as Rome. The ten horns represent the ten divisions that broke up from the Roman Empire. Those ten nations were:
5. Visigoths –Spain
We recognize these first seven nations as those that comprise Western Europe. We will shortly come back to the last three, but we still need to understand the identity of the little horn power. There are at least nine identifying marks of this power in Daniel 7:
1. Comes up among the ten (Western Europe)—Daniel 7:8
2. Comes to power after the ten (AD 476)—Daniel 7:8
3. Uproots three, never to rise again—Daniel 7:8, 20, 24
4. A man is at the head—Daniel 7:8, 20
5. It is a different kind of power—Daniel 7:24
6. It blasphemes—Daniel 7:25, 20
7. It persecutes—Daniel 7:25
8. Has a reign of a time, times, and dividing of times or 3½ prophetic years (1,260 literal years)—Daniel 7:25
9. Thinks to change times and laws—Daniel 7:25
Only the papacy, the Roman Catholic Church, has fulfilled all of these marks:
1. She came up in the middle of Western Europe.
2. She gained her political power after the ten, specifically in the year AD 538.
3. She uprooted three—the Heruli, the Ostrogoths, and the Vandals. To uproot something means to deal with it at its basic foundation level and to destroy it so that it cannot reappear. The Heruli, Ostrogoths, and the Vandals were all people who denied the trinitarian doctrine. The papacy destroyed them and that same spirit is in the papacy today to destroy those who will not accept her teachings. Where she still lacks political or moral influence to force her will, she bides her time, waiting till she can again rekindle the spirit of the inquisition.
4. The papacy has a man at the head of its system, the pope.
5. It is different from the other powers, which were purely secular. The papacy is both a civil and a religious power.
6. Through its doctrines, such as the trinity, the mass, and confession, it blasphemes and dares to place itself in the position of God.
7. According to the most conservative estimates, at least fifty million Christians were killed by this power during the Dark Ages. Foxes Book of Martyrs (1563) chronicles some of these deaths. When published the book was over two hand-widths thick and was, at that time, the largest publishing project ever undertaken in England.
8. The papal reign of 1,260 years from AD 538 to AD 1798 is well-documented.
9. It has attempted to change times and laws. Specifically, the papacy has attempted to change the Ten Commandments, and we wish to focus upon the fourth commandment in this article.
The connection between the composite beast in Revelation 13 and the little horn power of Daniel 7 is unmistakable. Both speak blasphemies (Revelation 13:5, 6; Daniel 7:25), both make war with the saints (Revelation 13:7; Daniel 7:25), and both reign 1,260 years (Revelation 13:5; Daniel 7:25). There can be no doubt that the papal power described in Daniel is also the composite beast of Revelation 13.
The Bible is the sure anchor to hold God’s people and to keep them from the deceptions of Satan, and the papacy has repeatedly substituted tradition for the word of God, but notice what Jesus said, concerning this:
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
Jesus said that we must worship in truth! To use tradition is dangerous, for Jesus said:
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9)
Remember, it is the large, overwhelming majority that wonders at the beast (Revelation 13:3). The majority favors the broad way, and the few believers take the narrow path:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13, 14)
Not every one 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. (Matthew 7:21–23)
Iniquity is another word for sin, and sin is the transgression of the Ten Commandments (1 John 3:4). God’s people are obedient to the Ten Commandments, while the multitude trample upon God’s law. Jesus told us that the test of love is obedience: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
We noted earlier that we would focus upon the fourth commandment for this study, and we can see how God values the fourth commandment from the following visions given to Ellen White:
The Lord gave me the following view in 1847, while the brethren were assembled on the Sabbath, at Topsham, Maine. . . .
In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. I saw the ten commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table were four, and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of Gods holy name. The holy Sabbath looked gloriousa halo of glory was all around it. I saw that the Sabbath commandment was not nailed to the cross. If it was, the other nine commandments were; and we are at liberty to break them all, as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for He never changes. But the pope had changed it from the seventh to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws. (Ellen White, Early Writings, pp. 32, 33)
It was represented to me that the remnant followed Jesus into the most holy place and beheld the ark and the mercy seat, and were captivated with their glory. Jesus then raised the cover of the ark, and lo! the tables of stone, with the ten commandments written upon them. They trace down the lively oracles, but start back with trembling when they see the fourth commandment among the ten holy precepts, with a brighter light shining upon it than upon the other nine, and a halo of glory all around it. (Ibid., p. 255)
Satan is described in Revelation 12 as a great red dragon. He hates God and all that is righteous and good, and he uses the papacy as his agent in his attacks upon God. How does the papacy attack God? Through his people, who are the apple of his eye.
Satan hates God, and he hates God’s law because it is a reflection of God’s character, and Satan especially hates the Sabbath because it identifies the true God and reveals his great creative power.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, 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 manservant, nor thy maidservant, 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. (Exodus 20:8–11).
Only in the Sabbath commandment do we find the seal of God. Only here we find his name, his title, and his territory. He is the creator of all things and as we go to Genesis, the book of beginnings, we find the origin of the Sabbath:
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Exodus 20:8–11)
It is interesting that God did not bless the Sabbath in Eden per se. He blessed the seventh day. Some may agree that the Sabbath was blessed but then will declare that the first day has become the Sabbath and that the blessing is now in the first day of the week. So that none need be confused, God blessed the seventh day as his memorial of creation.
In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation, in placing His blessing upon the seventh day. (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 48)
J. N. Andrews, one of our great Adventist pioneers, wrote about the importance of the Sabbath so clearly and so powerfully that this thought was included by Ellen White in her book, The Great Controversy.
The importance of the Sabbath as the memorial of creation is that it keeps ever present the true reason why worship is due to God. For the worship of God is based upon the fact that he is the Creator and that all other beings were created by him. The Sabbath therefore lies at the very foundation of divine worship, for it teaches this great truth in the most impressive manner, and no other institution does this. The true ground of divine worship, not of that on the seventh day merely, but of all worship, is found in the distinction between the Creator and his creatures. This great fact can never become obsolete, and must never be forgotten. (J. N. Andrews, The History of the Sabbath, p. 510; quoted in The Great Controversy, pp. 437, 438 )
Prophecy declared that the man of sin, the papacy, would attempt to alter God’s law. History says that they did it, the Spirit of Prophecy says that they did it, and they admit that they have done it:
The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. (The Catholic Mirror, September 23, 1894)
This is but one of many similar admissions of guilt of attempting to change God’s holy law. True Adventist have known the truth about the papacy being the man of sin for over a century and a half. In our first statement of fundamental principles, published in 1872, we clearly pointed to the papal power as the man of sin and to the origin of Sunday worship:
That as the man of sin, the papacy, has thought to change times and laws (the laws of God), Dan 7:25, and has misled almost all Christendom in regard to the fourth commandment, we find a prophecy of a reform in this respect to be wrought among believers just before the coming of Christ. Isa. 56:1, 2, 1 Pet. 1:5, Rev. 14:12, etc. (Fundamental Principles tract of 1872; Signs of the Times editorial, June 4, 1874, p. 3; the 1889, 1905, 19071914 Yearbooks, which are every Yearbook that carried a statement of fundamental principles during that time)
Also of importance is that our statement noted the importance of prophecy in the end time:
That the worlds history from specified dates in the past, the rise and fall of empires, and chronological succession of events down to the setting up of Gods everlasting kingdom, are outlined in numerous great chains of prophecy; and that these prophecies are now all fulfilled except the closing scenes. (Ibid.)
Both of these statements were dropped when the 1931 Yearbook statement was published. That, of note, was the first statement of principles that included the trinitarian doctrine. The 1980 statement, with its addition and revisions, still included the trinitarian doctrine and did not include any statement on the papacy or Sabbath reformation based upon prophecy!
God says, however, that there is a blessing in the seventh day, and another day of the week has never been blessed or sanctified by God. This is true if we have lived in the year of our Lord, 31, 67, 1844, 1872, 1980, or 2015. God has a day, and that has not changed, nor ever will. John says he “was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10). In Isaiah 58:13, God calls the Sabbath “my holy day,” and in Mark 2:28, Jesus says that he is “Lord also of the Sabbath.”
Today the blessing of the Sabbath is being attacked by the beast and even by many who declare themselves to be a part of Gods people. The so-called lunar Sabbath teaching declares that the weekly cycle changes and that the Sabbath day rotates when measured by the standard calendar in use, but Inspiration declares:
Like the Sabbath, the week originated at creation, and it has been preserved and brought down to us through Bible history.
God Himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive weeks to the close of time. Like every other, it consisted of seven literal days. Six days were employed in the work of creation; upon the seventh, God rested, and He then blessed this day and set it apart as a day of rest for man.
In the law given from Sinai, God recognized the week, and the facts upon which it is based. (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 111)
At the turn of the twentieth century, there was a teaching being promoted that the Adventists were wrong in which day to keep the Sabbath, due to the International Date Line. Ellen White wrote to a sister who was concerned about this, assuring her that the Sabbath that the Seventh-day Adventists were keeping was the sure Sabbath:
The seventh-day Sabbath is in no uncertainty. It is God’s memorial of His work of creation. It is set up as a heaven-given memorial, to be observed as a sign of obedience. God wrote the whole law with His finger on two tables of stone. . . .
Now, my sister, . . . I write . . . to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the day line theory.
It is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds. You see how utterly impossible for this thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and Gods remnant people are all wrong. This theory of the day line would make all our history for the past fifty-five years a complete fallacy. But we know where we stand. (Ellen White, Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 318; written 1900)
Jesus kept the Sabbath that we may keep today. It was his custom to keep the Sabbath:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. (Luke 4:16)
Paul and the Apostles also faithfully kept the Sabbath (Acts 13:14, 27, 42–44; 16:13; 17:12; 18:4).
The Devil’s attempt to destroy God’s commandment-keeping people has not taken God by surprise. He had a place prepared for his people during the 1,260 years (Revelation 12:14), and he has a place for his people today who will honor and obey him, even if the whole world runs after the beast. He has promised: “them that honour me I will honour” (1 Samuel 2:30).
As we reported in the April 2014 issue of Old Paths, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, extended a formal and open invitation on March 13 to Pope Francis to address a joint meeting of Congress. No pope or religious leader that serves as a head of state has ever addressed the United States Congress. Boehner, a Roman Catholic, stated:
His address as a visiting head of state before a joint meeting of the House and Senate would honor our nation in keeping with the best traditions of our democratic institutions. . . . It would also offer an excellent opportunity for the American people as well as the nations of the world to hear his message in full. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/03/13/boehner-pope-francis/6373779/; accessed March 16, 2014)
In other words, the pope has been invited to use the United States Capitol building as his pulpit!
USA Today also reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also a Roman Catholic and normally a bitter political enemy of Boehner, joined Boehner in welcoming Pope Francis to address Congress. The USA Today article also reported that
Pelosi attended his inauguration at the Vatican and praised him as a moral force. (Ibid.)
Last month it was announced that the pope has accepted the invitation to speak and will address the Congress on September 24 of this year.
Boehner who frequently references his own Catholic faith, said: “we’re humbled that the Holy Father has accepted our invitation and certainly look forward to receiving his message on behalf of the American people.” (http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/05/politics/pope-us-visit-congress)
Nancy Pelosi said she was
. . . honored and overjoyed. . . . Pope Francis has renewed the faith of Catholics worldwide and inspired a new generation of people, regardless of their religious affiliation, to be instruments of peace. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/02/05/pope-francis-congress-boehner/22923081)
The pope will make his visit with the full support of the president. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said:
I can tell you that the President and his team here at the White House have been anticipating the visit from Pope Francis here in the United States for quite some time, and even as far back as the President’s visit to the Vatican where he first met Pope Francis he talked about how eager he was to welcome the Pope to the United Sates, so the President is certainly looking forward to this visit. (http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/05/politics/pope-us-visit-congress)
Obama, who says he is a great admirer of the pope, said at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5:
He challenges us to press on in what he calls our “march of living hope.” And like millions of Americans, I am very much looking forward to welcoming Pope Francis to the United States later this year. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/02/05/pope-francis-congress-boehner/22923081)
When the pope speaks at the United States Capitol to our Congress, whose leadership says that they are there in behalf of the American people, it would certainly constitute a repudiation of our constitution. We have been told:
When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 451)
The time has come for the marvelous working of Satan among the nations, and he is going to especially work within the professed people of God.
Just after the Vatican announced its plan to address Congress last month, the First Seventh-day Adventist Church of Huntsville, Alabama began its SURGE Sunday church services (February 8). The notice on their website says, “NO SUITS, NO TIES, JUST JESUS” (http://first-sda-church.org/prod/). This church’s logo and name emphasizes First Church.
This church, like so many churches, celebrates in its services. You may log onto their website and watch live or see recorded services. In these videos you will hear music and song that are more akin to night club music and rock and roll concerts. (In the video version of his message, we have posted about seventeen seconds of clips.) The First Church is not a lone wolf among the denomination. Many are now doing this same thing and with spring coming, we can expect to see more Easter sunrise services, as well.
To better appreciate the meaning of this, we need to understand something that became known as the Holy Flesh movement. During the years of 1899 to 1901, there was a movement in the Indiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists that taught believers were to enter in with Jesus into a special Gethsemane experience, whereby the receiver would receive a special anointing, have sinless flesh, and a sinless nature. During the services the members followed practices not known before to Adventists. G. A. Roberts reported as an eyewitness to the meetings:
The followers of this doctrine would gather in the cleared basement of the church, and a large number of them would dance in a large circle, shouting and lifting up their hands. The children would be placed upon boxes or barrels, and they too would shout and lift up their hands. In their church services, they would preach and shout and pray until someone in the congregation would fall unconscious from his seat. One or two men would be walking up and down the aisles watching for just this demonstration, and would lay hold of the person who had fallen, literally dragging him up the aisle and placing him on the rostrum. Then a number, perhaps a dozen, would gather about the prostrate form, some shouting, some singing, and some praying, all at the same time. Finally the individual would revive, and he was then counted among the faithful who had passed through the Garden. (Statement of G. A. Roberts June 11, 1923, White Estate D. F. #190; quoted by William Grotheer in The Holy Flesh Movement, p. 13)
Another testimony concerning the style of meetings held stated:
They worked themselves up to a high pitch of excitement by the use of musical instruments, such as: trumpets, flutes, stringed instruments, tambourines, and organ, and a big bass drum. They shouted and sang their lively songs with the aid of musical instruments until they became really hysterical. Many times I saw them, after these morning meetings, as they came to the dining tent fairly shaking as though they had the palsy. (Letter of Burton Wade to Arthur White January 12, 1962, Berrien Springs, Michigan; quoted by William Grotheer in The Holy Flesh Movement, p. 15)
Concerning the style of these meetings, Ellen White was given special heaven-sent information:
The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. (Ellen White, Last Day Events, p. 159; for further details see Selected Messages, book 2, pages 31–39)
Do you understand what we may know by the celebration movement within Adventism? It means that probation is soon to close!
Brethren we are at the edge of the close of probation. We are just at the time for the marvelous working of Satan. What are we going to do about it?
Are we going to sit back and rock in a chair and say, Lord save the perishing, or are we going to sound the trumpet?
Will we be quiet, or will we speak, share literature, give Bible studies, and whatever else we can do?
But, BUT most of all, are we going to demonstrate the character of Jesus because if people are turned off by traits of bad character, doctrine will mean little to them. They will certainly be turned off by our faith and not want anything to do with our Christianity and what has made us what we are. We must demonstrate the character of God and that he is a God of love who loved us so much that he gave his only begotten Son for us (John 3:16). We must demonstrate what the gospel will give us one for one another (John 13:35).
Do you want to give the Elijah message? I do! Beloved, we are at the end, and we need seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal, but dear friend, it is only as you have the character of Elijah that you can do the work of an Elijah, and the character of Elijah is the character of Christ!
This message is available in video format on our YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHx00PDxnTg&list=UUvsrGJG5fm2ux0AEwVuoVAw
2015 WV Camp Meeting
The sixteenth camp meeting of Smyrna Gospel Ministries will be held June 913, 2015, at Smyrna Valley, and we hope you will prepare now to join us for prayer, study, and fellowship. Our theme is Preparing for the End and is of vital importance for us all, for the time of the end is at hand:
Protestantism is reaching out its hands to clasp hands with popery, and every indication makes manifest that the prophecies are about to be fulfilled. (Ellen White, The Review & Herald, February 21, 1893)
In the time of testing and trial the shield of Omnipotence will be spread over those whom God has made the depositaries of His law. When legislators shall abjure the principles of Protestantism, so as to give countenance and the right hand of fellowship to Romanism, then God will interpose in a special manner in behalf of His own honor and the salvation of His people. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 525; written 1889)
Please, PLEASE join us at camp meeting this year, as we earnestly seek for Gods help to prepare us for what is ahead and as we seek his protection during the marvelous working of Satan.
(This month we start a new book, Escape from Siberian Exile by John Godfrey Jacques, published by Pacific Press in 1921. We start with the introduction to the book, by M. E. Kern, and with the first chapter.Editor)
The complete story of the sufferings of humanity because of the great world war can never be written. Now and then there comes to us a record of individual experiences which gives something of an idea of the intensity of human passions, and of the hopes and fears and sufferings of the world, during those awful years. Such a story is this.
The hero of this story is a young Russian evangelist of a Protestant “sect.” At the outbreak of the war, the priests of the Greek Church, under cover of insuring greater security to the state, took occasion to wreak vengeance on those who had dared to teach the people any other way than that of the established church. Along with many others, our author was banished, being sent to the most northern penal station of western Siberia.
The terrible prisons en route; the contact with the worst of criminals ; the fellowship with other religious prisoners; the surveillance of tyrannical priests; the sojourn in the lonely forests of the far north with hardened criminals and in proximity to wild tribes; the meeting with a brother minister in the faith who was likewise an exile, with only a few words in passing; the sudden decision to break for liberty; the hasty nocturnal visit home ; the six thousand mile flight across Siberia; the perilous and painful journey on foot through Manchuria, over frozen snows, with no guide but the twinkling stars, walking at one time for thirty hours, with torn feet, without rest; the journey to Shanghai; the voyage across the Pacific, with a narrow escape from becoming a prisoner of war, — all this makes the story a most adventurous and thrilling one.
In reading this book, one cannot fail to get a glimpse of the great warfare that is constantly waged between the forces of darkness and light, between superstition and enlightenment, between tyranny and true democracy. The assumption of spiritual control and the coercion of men’s consciences by ignorant and even drunken priests, cannot but impress the reader with the utter wickedness of the old regime in Russia, and of any system where the state assumes control of religion.
There is also a golden thread of God’s care and overruling providence running through this story. The escape, a soldier’s assistance offered in a time of greatest perplexity, the “chance” meeting of a boy late at night in a great city, who proved to belong to the same “sect,” when there was no other who could shelter the fleeing exile, and many other such things that seemed to “happen” at just the right time, cannot but impress one that God hears the cry of His children in their distress and answers them. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34: 6. We heartily commend this book to all English-speaking young people, and pray that it may inspire in those who read it such a love for truth, that they too may be willing to suffer, if need be, rather than disobey God.
M. E. Kern, General Secretary Young Peoples Society of Missionary Volunteers
WHAT LIBERTY MEANT
IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA
THE giant acacia tree that shaded the doorway of my grandfather’s home in the Caucasus, shook its yellowing leaves in the autumn breeze like myriads of tiny banners, as I passed out from beneath its sheltering boughs on a September day the year before the beginning of the great war.
In the adjacent chapel — which stood on my grandfather’s land — a general meeting had been in progress for some days past. It was attended not only by delegates from different parts of the Caucasus, but also by ministers from other sections of Russia; for this little town of Alexandrodar was to some extent a center for our work in that country, being one of the first places where a church of our faith had been organized in the land of the czars. My parents, when they were young people, became charter members of that church; hence I was reared in the faith we all love.
At this meeting, request had been made that I go and assist our minister located in the Black Sea city of Odessa. The few years that had passed since I finished my school course, I had spent chiefly in evangelistic work in the Caucasus; but consent was given to the proposed transfer, and I was starting for a brief visit to my father’s home, a hundred miles distant, before setting out on the longer journey.
When, after spending a day with my parents, I bade them good-by, it was well that we did not foresee the circumstances under which we should next meet.
Instead of taking the ordinary railway route to Odessa, I chose to go by steamer across the Black Sea, as I hoped to be able thus to see my only brother, who was in military service at a post near the shore. I could also, in this way, gratify a long cherished desire to get a glimpse of the beautiful Crimea, the Switzerland of Russia.
Eventually reaching the port from which I should take passage, I sailed away from the shores of my beloved Caucasus. To my deep regret, I was unable to obtain the expected interview with my brother. A matter of less serious disappointment was the fact that the steamer passed some of the most romantic portions of the Crimean coast at night and consequently I did not have a view of them. To compensate myself, as far as possible, for this loss, I was early on deck next morning. The vessel kept close to shore all day, and a delightful panorama moved continuously before us.
With evening and darkness came also rain, in such torrents as to suggest an attempt to raise the sea’s level. I found a quiet place in the deck cabin, and there busied myself writing English. From my childhood, the study of that language had possessed an extraordinary charm for me, though I could not have explained why. When only about eight or ten years old, I saved money to buy a large Russian-English dictionary, and that volume I conned most persistently. Doubtless you would hardly have known that it was your mother tongue I was trying to speak; yet those boyish struggles were not without reward when afterwards, under more auspicious conditions, I essayed to master the language that has become to me a symbol of much that is best in life.
But let us resume our Black Sea voyage. Later in the evening, as I was crossing the upper deck in the half darkness, I came into collision with a young man whom I was thus brought to recognize as a former schoolmate of mine. He had been for some years a marine, and that accounts for his preference for the wind-swept deck rather than the cabin.
Not many years before, through the influence of Seventh-day Adventist friends, this young man had been led to accept our faith; and he had since endured great hardships — for to be a Christian in Russia, except in the legal sense, implied persecution in those not remote times.
When, in medieval days, western Europe was emerging from barbarism and adopting Christianity, Russia, not to be outdone, sent commissioners to various countries, to select a new religion for her. The choice fell to Greek Catholicism, and priests were engaged to go from Constantinople to teach the Russian people the forms of that church.
Form and force were predominant features of the religion acquired by the great nation of the north, as was indicated by the practice in vogue in those early days, of driving large companies into the water and compelling them to receive the rite of baptism. Greek Catholicism was the only Christianity known to Russia until the time of the missionary awakening of the last century, when some of the evangelical churches began activities there.
That the state church had lost none of its dictatorial character in the course of the years, was often demonstrated before the rule of the czars ceased. Near the beginning of the present century, religious liberty for all the “sectarians” was announced; but in reality they had less liberty thereafter than before, when they depended upon secrecy for safety.
The old Russian conception of religious liberty did not include liberty to express one’s convictions. Though the imperial government had adopted what was supposed to be a very liberal policy in reference to the “sects,” yet, like the Jewish leaders in apostolic times, it required that they should not “speak at all nor teach” of their faith.
The reply in the two cases was the same: “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18, 20.
The first Seventh-day Adventist in Russia, so it is recorded — an aged man who had been to the United States, where he learned our faith — was arrested, after his return to his native land, on the accusation that he was teaching doctrines not in harmony with those of the Greek Catholic Church.
This man stuttered so badly that he could scarcely talk, and to accuse him of conducting any kind of propaganda seemed quite ridiculous.
He had industriously spread our doctrines; but his method was such that he appeared to be the one taught instead of being the teacher. He would ask someone to read to him, indicating what he wanted to hear read — a text of Scripture or other matter bearing on “present truth”; and thus both the reader and any who might be within hearing learned the grounds for our belief.
An effort was made to have the old man exiled; but the judge, for very shame, would not pronounce sentence against him. His affliction served as a safeguard.
When I reached Odessa, among the first persons I met was one of our members who, a short time before, had concluded a two-year term of imprisonment for the Word’s sake. His rapid aging during those two years, and the air of constant apprehension that still I was soon called to go with one of our ministers to a village some distance from Odessa. There were a number of candidates for baptism; but to administer that ordinance, we must needs go at night to an isolated place outside the town, even choosing a dark and stormy night, in order the more effectually to avoid being observed. Experience had proved that all these precautions were necessary.
In at least one instance, in the Caucasus, a convert who had been baptized into our church, was forcibly rebaptized by priests of the ‘‘Orthodox” Church — after the medieval fashion. Others suffered much more severe punishment.
At another town that we visited on this same tour, a child of one of our members had died the day before, and there was much perplexity as to the disposition to be made of the body, the local priest having refused permission for interment in the public cemetery. After our arrival, it was learned that the priest had gone from home. Then the relatives of the dead child quickly and quietly proceeded with the burial. Not infrequently, bigots of the state church disinterred our dead; and often only by appeal to the civil authorities could we secure a place for burial.
At still another town, a young man and his wife had become interested in the Bible, and had been attending our meetings. The priest, learning of this, came one day to their home to remonstrate with them; and the young man, to justify their course, called attention to numerous scriptures that show our teachings to be sound, and those of the Greek Church the contrary. Thereupon the priest struck the man mercilessly with his walking stick. The terrified wife seized the stick from the hands of the priest, in an effort to defend her husband; but the priest then clutched the heavy crucifix that was suspended from his neck, and with it, beat his victim over the head. The man died a few weeks afterwards, in consequence of this abuse.
After the “sects” began missionary operations in Russia, an organization was formed that was often called “the Black Society.” It was made up of zealots of the “Orthodox” Church, whose alleged purpose was the “protection” of that church against “spiritual degeneracy” and loss of members.
This society was specially active in Odessa. Seldom could we hold a meeting without having several of these disturbers of the peace as unbidden guests, and it was their custom to interrupt the services by noisy outcries. They tried also to excite controversy, and thus produce confusion. They often sent women to act as spies on us. These feigned sympathy with us, but listened for any word that might be construed as an offense against the state church.
At a gathering of Baptists near our place of worship in that city, some of these men were asked to leave; and as they did not comply with the request, they were led from the building. One of them then loudly asserted that he had been kicked out by the ‘‘sectarians,” and he sanctimoniously added that thus had Jesus been treated. In this way, he caused great excitement. The police were attracted to the scene, and much trouble resulted for the Baptists.
These “zealous brethren” — so termed — came to our services in such numbers that their testimony would suffice to condemn any of our speakers they might accuse. Often the leaders of our meetings were arrested at the instigation of these men, the most common charge being that of blasphemy against God and the church; and in case of conviction, the penalty generally was one or two years in jail. There were always some of our people under arrest or in jail in Russia.
But the more vehemently our work was opposed, the more persons seemed impelled to investigate the anathematized doctrines. These persons were surprised to hear, in our meetings, only the pure teachings of the Word; and not a few chose to unite with us. This enraged the priests; and they took revenge, whenever they could, by causing the arrest and imprisonment of our workers.
Still, happily, there were a few men in official position, in both state and church, who stood for justice and equity. When one of our ministers in Odessa was arrested on the charge of ‘‘reviling God and the church,” the open-eyed old judge, perceiving the groundlessness of the accusation, reprimanded the prosecutors, and acquitted the accused man.
Personally I met a similar spirit of fairness more than once. In a Cossack town where I held meetings not long before going to Odessa, partisans of the state church raised a disturbance, and haled me before the magistrate; but when I stated the circumstances to him, he said that I should be allowed to defend my teachings publicly, then the priests should have opportunity to refute what I said, if they could do so.
The people gathered at the church to hear; and the magistrate himself presided, seeing to it that I received just treatment. The priests objected to my going on the speaker’s platform, as that place, they said, was holy, and my presence would desecrate it ; but there was no other point from which I could be heard well, and the priests were required to grant me equal advantages with themselves.
Not only did the magistrate thus come to my rescue in this crisis, but he also gave me liberty to continue my work in the town; and later a church of our faith was organized there.
In another town in the Caucasus, as I was speaking to a small company of Bible students in a private building, a tall priest entered, and questioned my right to address an audience. In reply, I read Revelation 22:17, “Let him that heareth say. Come.” The priest declared that the text had no bearing on the matter in hand; whereupon the people present — most of them his own parishioners — called to me: ‘‘Read it to him again! He doesn’t understand.” As he still denied the application of the scripture, the people once more called, “Read it again!”
His protests were at last silenced for that time; but at our next meeting, two policemen appeared, and each took hold of one of my arms, as if to lead me away. I reminded them that the law forbade the interruption of a religious service, whether that service were lawful or otherwise; and finally they consented to wait till the meeting had ended. At its close, I voluntarily preceded them to police headquarters.
There, by way of explaining the situation, I gave a resume of the offending discourse. Some priests who were present urged that I be taken away, lest I make converts of the attaches of the place. Next I was taken to a police station; and the sergeant, after hearing the case, ordered me to leave the town, else he would send me home by etape — that is, with a company of prisoners traveling under guard — which might signify a sojourn of many days in jail on the way.
I returned to the house where our meetings had been held, and found scores of people waiting for me. They begged that I explain the Scriptures further to them; and regardless of the danger incurred by both speaker and hearers, I did so. We were not molested again; and one of our older ministers later joined me there, and baptized a group of converts.
In a city on the Romanian border, that I visited after going to Odessa, I was arrested for teaching supposedly heretical doctrines, and the books I had with me were seized. I was not imprisoned, but had to report at the district headquarters each day for a week. There I learned that my books had been turned over to some of the younger men connected with the office, for examination as to the grievousness of the heresy they contained.
At any time that the higher officers were not present when I called, these young men inquired, with much enthusiasm, concerning the light they had found in the accused volumes; and one of them soon afterwards, as a result of his reading, accepted our faith.
Through his influence, the interest in the truths we hold became so marked as to arouse the priests, and they arranged for a prominent opponent of the sects to go there and combat our teachings. Through the police department, an order was sent for me to meet this defender of nominal orthodoxy; and I could not well refuse to obey.
I had only enough time to reach the place before the hour appointed. As I entered the city, the cathedral bell was sounding its call to the people to assemble for the contest. I did not even know what was demanded of me; but I went direct to a priest of the state church whom I had previously found to be amiable, and from him I learned that three hours each afternoon for three days was to be given to the debate — for a debate the priests had decided there should be — their chosen orator and I to speak alternately for periods of twenty minutes each. Mere boy that I was, it was expected the weakness of my defense would convince the people that I was in error. But the truth of God is not weak; nor did He who has promised to be with those who are called to speak in behalf of the gospel, fail me in those trying days.
The discussion was held in the courthouse, which contained the largest auditorium in the city. This arrangement was made in deference to my expressed wish. I did not want to speak in the cathedral; for there, I knew, the priests would not be willing that I should stand where I could be heard easily.
Written regulations were drawn up, and the opposers of the gospel were obliged to conform to them, the court officials present using their authority on the side of order.
I was the first speaker; and my presentation of the Scriptures did not inspire my antagonist to eloquence. When his turn came to speak, he became greatly confused, and implored the people to pray to the icons for him; and his last period, he spent almost wholly in appeal to these paganish travesties.
The audience manifested strong feeling, some for me, others against me; and probably I should have suffered violence, had not the diocesan, at the close of each session, thrown his long cloak about me and walked by my side. He felt responsible for my safety.
Notwithstanding the consideration shown me at this time, I was forbidden to remain in the city, or to return afterwards to instruct those who might desire instruction. This caused great dissatisfaction on the part of many, specially of the young people, and the priests had difficulty to quell the commotion.
Such was liberty in old Russia.
To be continued
From the File Cabinet of History
Letter of Leif Kr. Tobiassen to LeRoy Froom
What Are We Doing in the Harbor?
By Onycha Holt
In 1879 George Washington De Long left San Francisco on the USS Jeannette, captain of her crew of thirty-two, bound for the North Pole. No one had reached it yet, and the race was on. De Long was convinced that his approach through the Bering Strait, a first, would bring success. He was guided by the most up-to-date maps, he planned to ride the warm Kuro Siwo current flowing from Japan up through the Bering Strait to the high north, and his men were eager and optimistic.
In 697 BC, Manasseh ascended the throne of Judah at the age of twelve, after the death of his father, Hezekiah, and for fifty-five years, he and his counselors piloted an infamous course of anarchy against God. A reign of terror ruled in which innocent blood was shed, the old landmarks of religion were torn down, and the despicable practices of idolatry and human sacrifice were re-instituted. We do not know who the king’s advisors were, but we do know the king and his men were the worst team ever to rule God’s people. Manasseh’s reign was one of almost total apostasy—he rebuilt the high places his father had destroyed, he erected altars for Baal, he made a grove for Baal, and he worshiped and served all the host of heaven. (See 2 Kings 21:3.)
Such wickedness, however, was not new on the earth. Before the flood not only were people killing animals and using them for food, but people were ferocious and violent and looked upon the blood of human beings with astonishing indifference (Ellen White, Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 64), so much so that they sacrificed their own children to please their false, so-called gods.
For seven days before the rain began, Noah and his family waited patiently in the ark.
. . . upon the eighth day the heavens gathered blackness. The muttering thunders, and vivid lightning flashes, began to terrify man and beast. The rain descended from the clouds above them. This was something they had never witnessed, and their hearts began to faint with fear. The beasts were roving about in the wildest terror, and their varied voices seemed to mourn out their own destiny and the fate of man. The storm increased in violence until water seemed to come from heaven like mighty cataracts. The boundaries of rivers broke away, and the waters rushed to the valleys. The foundations of the great deep also were broken up. Jets of water would burst up from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and then they would bury themselves deep in the earth.
The people beheld the destruction, first of the works of their hands. Their splendid buildings, their beautifully arranged gardens and groves, where they had placed their idols, were destroyed by lightning from heaven. Their ruins were scattered everywhere. They had erected altars in groves, and consecrated them to their idols, whereon they offered human sacrifices. These which God detested were torn down in his wrath before them, and they were made to tremble before the power of the living God, the Maker of the heavens and the earth, and they were made to know that it was their abominations and horrible, idolatrous sacrifices, which had called for their destruction. (Ibid., pp. 69, 70; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)
Satan sought to control so powerful a race, and wished them to live to practice their abominations, and increase their rebellion against the God of Heaven (Ibid., p. 70), but God intervened. Though most of the inhabitants of the world were destroyed by the flood, the earth was gradually repopulated, and Satan once again gained control of the majority of men. Rebellion against God and the worship of false gods flourished and centuries later even found a home with the Israelites during their sojourn in Egypt, some of whom participated in the “horrible, idolatrous sacrifices” that had caused the destruction of the world by a flood!
While the Israelites were in Egyptian bondage, they were surrounded with idolatry. The Egyptians had received traditions in regard to sacrificing. They did not acknowledge the existence of the God of Heaven. They sacrificed to their idol gods. With great pomp and ceremony they performed their idol worship. They erected altars to the honor of their gods, and they required even their own children to pass through the fire. After they had erected their altars they required their children to leap over the altars through the fire. If they could do this without their being burned, the idol priests and people received it as an evidence that their god accepted their offerings, and favored especially the person who passed through the fiery ordeal. He was loaded with benefits, and was ever afterward greatly esteemed by all the people. He was never allowed to be punished, however aggravating might be his crimes. If another person who leaped through the fire was so unfortunate as to be burned, then his fate was fixed; for they thought that their gods were angry, and would be appeased with nothing short of the unhappy victim’s life, and he was offered up as a sacrifice upon their idol altars.
Even some of the children of Israel had so far degraded themselves as to practice these abominations, and God caused the fire to kindle upon their children, whom they made to pass through the fire. They did not go to all the lengths of the heathen nations; but God deprived them of their children by causing the fire to consume them in the act of passing through it. (Ibid., p. 303)
How anyone familiar with the history of the flood could turn again to idolatry and to the sacrifice of their own children is hard to understand. It is also hard to conceive how someone who lived within sight of the holy angels guarding the entrance to Eden could rebel against God, as Cain did. It took many hundreds of years for the life span of man to shorten, but his spiritual nature fell as soon as he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and here is why:
When faith in Gods word is lost, the soul has no guide, no safeguard. The youth are drawn into paths which lead away from God and from everlasting life.
To this cause may in great degree be attributed the widespread iniquity in our world today. When the word of God is set aside, its power to restrain the evil passions of the natural heart is rejected. Men sow to the flesh, and of the flesh they reap corruption. (Ellen White, Christs Object Lessons, p. 41)
And this is why Manasseh was so evil for so much of his life—he had set aside the word of God—and not only did he build up the high places of idol worship, but he also:
. . . .built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: (2 Kings 21:4–7)
Manasseh was charting his own course and did not depend upon the word of God.
Map-making in the Nineteenth Century
One of Petermann's maps that De Long may have used.
August Petermann lived in Germany during the nineteenth century and had a thriving map-making business. His maps were the most current and the most sought after. Whenever someone returned from an exploration or voyage, he immediately sought an interview to learn more about the geography of the land explored. His maps were built on information gained from trustworthy and adventure-hardened men, and they were in demand worldwide; however, no one had ever made it to the far north. No reports had come back from the land of the standing-still sun, but Petermann was convinced a warm, open sea surrounded the North Pole. The only thing a ship needed to do was break through the circle of ice that surrounded the open North Sea, and then the ship would enter calm and relatively warm, open water. His map of the high frozen world was simply a figment of his imagination! And it was upon this map that De Long and his men relied. Our Captain, however, offers us a tried and true map:
Our Captain, Jesus Christ, has hid nothing from us in regard to the battles we are to fight. He opens the map before us and shows us the way. Strive, He says, to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24). (Ellen White, Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 243)
Oh, how many in this time of peril, are making a hard pull against a head sea! The moon and stars seem to be hidden by storm clouds, and in despondency and despair, many of us say, It is no use; our efforts are as nothing. We shall perish. We have toiled at the oars, but without any success. . . . Jesus is just as near to us amid scenes of tempest and trial as He was to His followers who were tossed on the Sea of Galilee. We must have calm, steady, firm, unwavering trust in God. . . . We must now have an individual experience in holding fast unto God. Christ is on board the vessel. Believe that Christ is our Captain, that He will take care, not only of us, but of the ship. . . . (Ellen White, Our High Calling, p. 56)
We have been told, concerning the evils of Manasseh’s reign:
The kingdom of Judah, prosperous throughout the times of Hezekiah, was once more brought low during the long years of Manassehs wicked reign, when paganism was revived, and many of the people were led into idolatry. Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen. 2 Chronicles 33:9. The glorious light of former generations was followed by the darkness of superstition and error. Gross evils sprang up and flourishedtyranny, oppression, hatred of all that is good. Justice was perverted; violence prevailed. (Ellen White, Prophets and Kings, p. 381)
Under the leadership of Manasseh, paganism, idolatry, superstition, error, tyranny, oppression, hatred, injustice, and violence thrived; and God called Manasseh’s works more evil than those of the heathen who were destroyed before him. And the question is: Could any of these evils be present in God’s remnant church today?
If we consult Webster’s 1828 dictionary for definitions of the terms Sister White used in the above quotation, we find that in her day
1) paganism meant the worship of false gods;
2) idolatry meant the worship of images;
3) superstition (and she called it dark superstition) meant, among other things, excessive exactness in religious practice, extreme and unnecessary scruples that were not required when observing religious rites, the doing of or the abstaining from things which God does not require, and the belief in something without supporting evidence or in something absurd;
4) tyranny meant the same as it does today—the arbitrary or despotic exercise of power or the exercise of power over subjects and others with a rigor not authorized by law or justice; and
5) perverted justice and violence continue to carry the same meaning today.
So, let us consider the Seventh-day Adventist Church today. Is she practicing paganism? We would say almost immediately, Of course not, but remember in Ellen Whites day, paganism meant the worship of false gods (as it implies today), and I ask you, does the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church worship false gods? It certainly does. Any belief in trinitarianism, in trithesism, or in a triune god is worshiping a false god. Trinitarianism was received into Adventism shortly after the death of Ellen White, was officially accepted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the General Conference Session of 1980 in Dallas, and is one of the standard, fundamental doctrines taught at all her seminaries. It was never a part of her doctrines while Ellen White lived but was, after her death, increasingly advocated by leading brethren and by Questions on Doctrine in the years leading up to 1980, and it was promoted and later officially accepted to avoid being classified as a cult.
In 1968, Walter Martin did not include the SDAs in the main body of his book Kingdom of the Cults (Bill Muehlenberg, http://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/02/26/ben-carson-potus-and-the-sda/) because the acceptance of trinitarianism, in Martins mind, classified Adventism as orthodox. Martin later noted in his book that it was perfectly possible to be a Seventh-day Adventist and be a true follower of Jesus Christ . . . (Ibid.).
Many of the older standard works on the cults included the SDA, such as Hoekemas 1963 The Four Major Cults; Van Baalans 1962 The Chaos of the Cults; Gerstners 1960 The Theology of the Major Sects; DeHaans 1958 A Study of Cults; and Breeses 1975 Know the Marks of the Cults. (Ibid.)
Later-dating books on religious cults, however, often do not include Seventh-day Adventism:
Bob Larsons volume Larsons New Book of the Cults (1982, 1989) does not even mention White or the SDA. Nor do Ankerberg and Weldon in their 1999 Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions. Ditto for Mather and Nichols 1993 Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult.
So all in all, I would tend to not call them a full-fledged cult. They certainly do not deny some of the biblical fundamentals that the other cults do, such as the deity of Christ and the Trinity. (Ibid.)
Seventh-day Adventists have never denied the deity of Christ, but they have done an about-face on their acceptance of the trinity, and this was done in order to be accepted by the evangelical Christian world and not because it was a new truth that had come to light which our founding fathers had not understood.
Does the Seventh-day Adventist Church practice idolatry? Surely not, you say.
Would not the mind have clearer, more perfect ideas of angels, of Christ, of all spiritual things, if no pictures were made to represent heavenly things? (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, pp. 114, 115)
Neither God nor heaven nor Christ, who is the image of the Father, can be truly represented by the art of man. If the Lord had thought it advisable to represent Christ in this way, His person would have been described in the writings of the apostle. (Ibid., p. 105)
If you were to tour the General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, you would see, as you can see in their video tour, a large portrait of Jesus holding a lamb (at 00:12 in “The General Conference Video Tour,” http://www.adventist.org/world-church/general-conference/tours/), a wall sculpture of the return of Jesus with his angels (00:26), a large sculpture of an angel (00:42), a painting of the return of Jesus (01:12), a painting with the crucifixion of Jesus as the central focus (01:19), a representation of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (02:05), representations of some of Harry Anderson’s portraits of Jesus (02:25), and a mural at the White Estate of the narrow way with Jesus dominating the center of the mural (03:22). You can view a picture of this mural at https://www.flickr.com/photos/adventistnewsnetwork/14830519515/in/photostream/.
We need not any external representations of the person of Christ. The imagination must take in the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, the One altogether lovely and the chiefest among ten thousand.MS 131, 1899. (Ibid., p. 107; also in The Publishing Ministry, pp. 219, 220)
God can make pictures upon the minds eye more beautiful and correct than can be made by the greatest artist who has ever presented to the world a representation of heavenly things.Letter 137, 1899. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, p. 352)
Sister White was asked to describe the New Jerusalem in greater detail than that given in the Bible, but she replied:
I positively decline to do anything of the kind. My powers would be inadequate to do this or even make an approach to it, and I advise you not to make any attempt to have a particular representation which will carry the impression that it is the representation of the New Jerusalem. . . .
Your power as an artist will, when stretched to its utmost capacity fall down faint and weary in seeking to take in the things of the unseen world, and yet there is an eternity beyond. With these statements you will excuse me from attempting to portray before you anything concerning the works of the great Master Artist. (Ellen White, This Day With God, p. 103)
It is hard to comprehend how someone would try to draw, paint, or sculpt something of a heavenly origin that he or she has never seen and then present it as a legitimate possibility or probability of the reality. At best, the interpretation is inadequate, and at worst it is completely wrong. Either can only result in a lowering of the standard of beauty and truth. Doing so with secular ideas and concepts has hazards enough that grow in seriousness as the importance of the idea grows, but heavenly things are of utmost and eternal importance, and we would do best to follow the counsel of not laying our hands to such a project.
The works of the Great Master are painted on the sensitive canvases of our minds and are enlivened by the Holy Spirit in a way that no brush and no pen and inkhorn can rightly convey. They are for the individual and the individual alone. Each of us carries an art gallery within himself, and it is filled with the paintings, engravings, and sculptures of the artist of the universe. It is his work to fill this gallery, and he relinquishes his brush to no other. Surely you have glowed as you have read an old scripture with new meaning—another portrait has been hung, as you have placed yourself on the plain of Dura—another masterpiece has been framed, and as you have mentally brushed the tears from the face of Jesus—another engraving has been etched.
You may not consider the hanging or the placing of paintings and sculptures depicting heavenly things as an act of worship, but the display of them in our books and especially in the General Conference building and at the White Estate, in opposition to heavenly counsel, certainly is placing the value of artistic representations above heaven’s counsel concerning them and, thus, it becomes idolatry.
Superstition and Error
Are superstition and error alive and well among the remnant of God’s people? On an individual level, I am sure you have known or know well-meaning people who believe just about anything, without proof or logic, because it suits their mold of thinking. This happens in the world, as well as in the church, but when superstition affects one’s spirituality, it becomes especially dark. Martin Luther was in darkness when he spent the night barefooted in the snow. Doing things not required by God or abstaining from things not forbidden by him is what held Luther captive during this time. He thought his actions could mystically exert a power over God and grant him extra favor. Some people approach God in the same way today, especially in areas of health—doing exacting or extreme things that God does not require, especially without evidence of benefit—and in areas of so-called new light, but these things are dark superstition.
We do want to please God, but going above and beyond what he requires in order to obtain his favor will not grant us more grace. Doing so is simply seeking salvation by works and is, again, dark superstition.
On a corporate level we see dark error being filtered down to us in teachings and sermons, as well as in published materials, errors such as the denial of the cleansing ministry of Jesus in the most holy place, the teaching that Jesus is our substitute only, the trinitarian doctrine, etc. These errors are dark and sinister and have an eternal effect upon our souls.
Tyranny, Oppression, and Hatred of All That Is Good
Tyranny, oppression, and hatred of all that is good are heavily-loaded words and carry with them the connotation of the abusive use of power. It is inconceivable that Seventh-day Adventists would harbor such qualities. In St. Louis, Missouri, a group of people were peacefully handing out literature on public sidewalks close to the Edward Jones Dome, where the 2005 General Conference Session of Seventh-day Adventists was being held. These literature evangelists were not on the Dome’s private property, which the Seventh-day Adventist corporation was renting, but were on the public sidewalks of St. Louis, yet the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church threatened the leader of this group with imprisonment, called the police on him, and was verbally hostile to him. Interestingly, when this same group, along with others, protested Pope John Paul II’s, appearance at the Dome in 1999 by passing out anti-Catholic literature, no police and no Catholic official in any way tried to stop them.
In Atlanta, Georgia, the leader of this group tried to pave the way for literature distribution during the 2010 General Conference Session and was assured by the chief of security at the Georgia Dome that groups handed out literature all the time at events held at the Dome and that it would not be an issue for him and his group to do so also, as long as common civility was followed. When the leader and his group arrived, however, they were forbidden to hand out literature anywhere near the activities of the GC Session and were assigned a place behind the dome where virtually no one traveled or congregated. The excuse? These people are paying millions of dollars to use this facility, and they dont want you here. The leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in both of these incidents were not as civil as the organizers of sports games and of political events, nor as even the Papacy was! When considering oppression in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we also think of the corporate church suing independent ministries for using the name Seventh-day Adventist, and we are ashamed when we think that even Baptists and Lutherans do not treat their dissidents in this way.
Perverted Justice and Prevailing Violence
And now the most difficult issue to ponder—perverted justice and prevailing violence. Is it possible that church leaders who understand God to be just and merciful could ever pervert justice and sanction violence? God’s faithful Israelites must have wondered the same thing when Manasseh had eloquent Isaiah killed.
Vladimir Shelkov was a leader in the Church of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists during most of his adult life.
Imagine a person who has spent 23 years of his life in Soviet prisons, prisons which even fascist Germany could not devise for itself. He was finally released at age 69. In the first year after his release authorities began to search for him to re-arrest him. But he hid in the underground. And spending 13 years in the underground he succeeded in more than 80 works of theology. He translated into Russian eight books of Ellen G. White, and wrote a series of 10 books, each 300 pages long, on the just struggle against state atheism. All of these works he published on his own underground press, and organized their distribution. All in thirteen years. When he was 83, he was arrested again, and condemned to five more years in Soviet concentration camps. I speak of Vladimir Shelkov, the present head of the True and Free Adventist Church in the Soviet Union. ( Alexander Ginsburg, one of five Russians expelled from Russia, in his lecture at the Hole Memorial Auditorium on the La Sierra campus at Loma Linda University on November 13, 1979, as reported in La Sierra Today Winter 1979 and as quoted by William Grotheer in Watchman, What of the Night? March 1980, Shelkov Update, p. 8)
Here is Ginsburgs own evaluation of this man of God, whom Pierson [Robert Pierson, then General Conference President] ignored, and refused to intercede for when in Russia: I met Sholkov [sic] during my second sentence in a Soviet concentration camp. And I would say Shelkov played the decisive role in my own moral training as a human being. Now I have been a Russian Orthodox since I was 13, and I don’t think I’ll ever become an Adventist, but to this day I remain very much under the influence of this miracle.
I myself spent nine years in prison, and I can tell you it is possible to spend 10 years in those camps and not be totally crushed by the experience. But it is extremely difficult if one spends 25 years to even retain one’s physical strength. But to spend 25 years, and retain one’s intellectual power and one’s personality as a human being is truly a miracle. And this miracle has had its influence not only on those of us in the camp who knew him, but also on those who have heard of him.
It is precisely due to the influence of people like Shelkov that our society which has been perverted into a society of atheists will one day return to be a society of believers. (Ibid., p. 7)
But our church leadership did not intervene for Shelkov, even when agencies and people pressed for other people and for the General Conference to intervene:
On March 14, 1978, Elder Vladimir Sholkov [sic], presiding elder of the Church of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists, was arrested in Tashkent, a Soviet city in Central Asia. According to Amnesty International, a London based organization, “his arrest was clearly related to his exercise of the right of freedom of conscience.” On March 12, 1979—almost a year later to the day—Elder Sholkov was tried in Tashkent and sentenced to five years strict regime in a corrective labor colony. Amnesty International recommended in an “Urgent Action” bulletin that telegrams, and express letters be sent to Russian leaders calling for the immediate release of Elder Sholkov, and to express concern that the sentence poses a risk to the health of this 84 year old man. (Release dated, March 30, 1979)
The combined Sunday edition of the Charleston, S. C., newspaper (March 25, 1979, p. 2A) carried the information that four other Seventh-day Adventists were also convicted along with Elder Sholkov. The Sacramento Union (Nov. 28, 1978, p. A4) reported that “Nobel prize winner Andrei Sakharov issued an appeal Monday to the World Council of Churches and to Pope John Paul II on behalf of an 83 year old Seventh-day Adventist leader scheduled to go on trial next month. Sakharov said Vladimir Sholkov, president of the Soviet Adventist Church, would be tried on anti-Soviet slander in late December in the Central Asian city of Tashkent.” For some reason the trial did not take place till March.
Dr. Michael Wurmbrand, General Director of Jesus to the Communist World, Inc., in his December 1978 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs (p. 2), published an article captionedPersecuted Adventist. In this article he called for all who would read it, regardless of denominational affiliation, to write to the General Conference leadership and ask them to tell the truth about the Communist persecution and to start helping the victims. (Grotheer, Watchman, What of the Night?, October 1979, “Seventh-day Adventists in Russia,” pp. 4, 5; accessed at http://www.adventistalert.com/aawwn/sev/nine-od.htm)
A schism occurred in the Adventist Church in Russia in 1924 that resulted in the formation of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventist Church, following which the mainline Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia (represented by the Fifth All-Union Congress of Seventh-day Adventists) issued a declaration of appreciation for Lenin:
The actual schism in Russian [SDA] church didnt take place until the meeting of the Fifth All-Union Congress of Seventh-day Adventists in 1924. The leaders of the main Russian Adventist church felt that in order to brings others to salvation, Adventists must learn to integrate themselves into Soviet society. They issued a statement expressing their full support of the new government:
We are convinced that God, in His provience [sic], has disposed the heart of our unforgettable V. I. Lenin and his closest associates and given them wisdom in the capable organization of the only progressive and up-to-date apparatus of government in the world. We delegates of the Fifth All-Union Congress of Seventh-day Adventists express to the government of the USSR. ... our gratitude and sincere support for all the freedoms it has won.”
[Comment (by Grotheer): The segment of the church which made obeisance to atheistic and godless communism is the church group which the hierarchy in Washington is backing. This is the church which Pierson in his state visit to Russia encouraged and sought to unite its factions. This is the church which sends its representatives to our Annual Councils, and General Sessions, and which bows to Soviet legislation in regard to work and school attendance on the Sabbath. Let it not be forgotten, however disagreeable it may be, that as long as one supports the hierarchy with their means, they are in the act seconding the church in Russia that did obeisance to atheism.] (Grotheer, Watchman, What of the Night?, March 1980, “Shelkov Update” p. 9; accessed at http://www.adventistalert.com/aawwn/eight/zero-jm.htm)
This pandering of the Russian Adventist Church to Lenin was also reported by Marite Sapiets: Gratitude and sincere support was indeed expressed to V. I. Lenin, his close associates and the only progressive government in the world by the Fifth All-Union Congress of Seventh-Day Adventists in 1924 . . . (Marite Sapiets, The World Today, 1980, vol. 36, “V. A. Shelkov and the True and Free Seventh-Day Adventists of the USSR,” p. 203; accessed 9–7–14 at http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/rcl/08–3_201.pdf)
One of the issues over which Shelkov and the Russian mainline church disagreed, as noted above, was whether or not they should send their children to school on the Sabbath, as required by Soviet law. Shelkov and like believers chose to take the command of the Bible and the counsel of Ellen White seriously:
If parents allow their children to receive an education with the world, and make the Sabbath a common day, then the seal of God cannot be placed upon them. They will be destroyed with the world; and will not their blood rest upon the parents? But if we faithfully teach our children Gods commandments, bring them into subjection to parental authority, and then by faith and prayer commit them to God, he will work with our efforts; for he has promised it. And when the overflowing scourge shall pass through the land, they with us may be hidden in the secret of the Lords pavilion (Ellen White, Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, p. 217; published 1886).
What a sweet promise that our children can be hid in the secret of the Lord’s pavilion! These words were written by Ellen White in Norway to parents who were sending their children to school on the Sabbath.
Tragically, the faithful brethren in Russia, who accepted the biblical command to honor the Sabbath day, did not get support from church leadership, locally or globally.
Another serious posturing by the church to secular authority occurred in Germany. Time magazine named Hitler Man of the Year for 1938, but called his leadership audacious, defiant, ruthless, and striding over a cringing Europe, and also called him the greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today (Time, January 2, 1939; accessed at http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,760539,00.html).
What Adolf Hitler & Co. did to Germany in less than six years was applauded wildly and ecstatically by most Germans. He lifted the nation from post-War defeatism. Under the swastika Germany was unified. His was no ordinary dictatorship, but rather one of great energy and magnificent planning.
What Adolf Hitler & Co. did to the German people in that time left civilized men and women aghast. Civil rights and liberties have disappeared. Opposition to the Nazi regime has become tantamount to suicide or worse. Free speech and free assembly are anachronisms. The reputations of the once-vaunted German centres of learning have vanished. Education has been reduced to a National Socialist catechism.
Germanys 700,000 Jews have been tortured physically, robbed of homes and properties, denied a chance to earn a living, chased off the streets. Now they are being held for ransom, a gangster trick through the ages. But not only Jews have suffered. Out of Germany has come a steady, ever-swelling stream of refugees, Jews and Gentiles, liberals and conservatives, Catholics as well as Protestants, who could stand Naziism no longer. (Ibid.)
Times cover for this Man-of-the-Year issue shows Adolf Hitler as an organist in a desecrated cathedral, playing a hymn of hate while victims dangle on a St. Catherines wheel and the Nazi hierarchy looks on (Ibid.). Please remember that this was written in January 1939 concerning the atrocities Hitler had performed in 1938 and earlier.
The 1940 German morning watch book for Seventh-day Adventists, entitled Morning Watch Calendar, has this entry for April 20, translated from the German by Erwin Sicher, professor of history at Southwestern Adventist University:
Trust in his people has given the Fuhrer the strength to carry through the fight for freedom and honor of Germany. The unshakable faith of Adolf Hitler allowed him to do great deeds, which decorate him today before the whole world. Selflessly and faithfully he has struggled for his people; courageously and proudly he has defended the honor of his nation. In Christian humility, at important times when he could celebrate with his people, he gave God in Heaven honor and recognized his dependence upon Gods blessings. This humility has made him great, and this greatness was the source of blessing, from which he always gave for his people. Only very few statesmen stand so brilliantly in the sun of a blessed life, and are so praised by his own people as our Fuhrer. He has sacrificed much in the years of his struggle and has thought little about himself in the difficult work for his people. We compare the unnumbered words, which he has issued to the people from a warm heart, with seeds which have ripened and now carry wonderful fruit. ( Morning Watch Calendar, entry for April 20, translated by Erwin Sicher in Seventh-day Adventist Publications and the Nazi Temptation by Erwin Sicher, Spectrum, vol. 8, no. 3, p. 21; accessed at http://www.andrews.edu/library/car/cardigital/Periodicals/Spectrum/1976-1977_Vol_8/3_March_1977.pdf on 2-17-15)
Can it get any worse than this? In case you are inclined to think the German Seventh-day Adventist people did not know in April 1940 the extent of the abominable behavior of Adolf Hitler and might, therefore, be excused for writing such abhorrent nonsense, I offer this timeline of events, adapted from www.jewishgen.org/ForgottenCamps/General/TimeEng.html:
While these events were occurring, the mainline German Seventh-day Adventist Church also continued to publish Kirche und Staat (Church and State), but failed to ever say anything against Hitler’s abuses, while the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement and others in the world were wise to what was happening and were decrying Hitler.
No, no excuse can be given for such support of an evil despot. Leadership again failed to stand firm before a worse-than-modern-day Nebuchadnezzar, and it is obvious that the evils of Manasseh’s day have been replicated in our religious time, but our tragedy is worse than that of Manasseh’s people, for we have been given many more spiritual opportunities. Each of us has a Bible or access to one, and the same is true with the writings of Ellen White. Inspiration has clearly laid out the evils of Manasseh’s reign—paganism; idolatry; superstition and error; tyranny, oppression, and hatred of all that is good; and the perversion of justice and prevalence of violence. Instead of standing steadfast against such evils, the corporate Seventh-day Adventist church has embraced them under a cloak of modern spirituality. The false god they worship is the trinity; the idols they worship are the images of heavenly things they exhibit in disregard of inspired counsel; the errors they advocate are the impossibility of perfection, no heavenly sanctuary, etc.; their oppression is seen in their behavior toward those who disagree with them theologically and/or legally; and perversion of justice and prevalence of violence is readily seen in their support of Hitler and of Lenin and in their compliance with the abominable acts done by these men.
It may be argued that current leadership had no control over the decisions made decades ago, and that is true, but current leadership at least has the obligation to acknowledge the public wrongs done in the past and to publicly and pronouncedly guide the members away from such behavior in the future. The Ellen G. White Estate offices are currently being remodeled at the General Conference headquarters, and it would please us greatly if the mural of Jesus were removed and something more appropriate put in its place. Publicly acknowledging the wrong and removing the mural are some steps that can be taken by the corporate church to effect change and to prepare a people to meet their God, for soon the command will be given to “slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house” (Ezekiel 9:6).
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod the king, “there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matthew 2:1–3). Because a new king had been born, Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem was troubled with him. Both felt threatened—Herod for his own reign and Jerusalem for the continued viability of their system of religious services and of their leaders. They both were concerned for preservation, and both Herod and the Jewish leaders sought the same end in order to accomplish it—the murder of Jesus. Caiphas expressed it well when he said “it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” (John 11:50). A terrible consequence for both of them resulted in the fulfillment of their desire—the Son of God was killed! We don’t know to what degree, but most likely there was some collaboration over the years between the two entities in their efforts to protect themselves, and the back-patting of Lenin and of Hitler by the Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership was also done out of a concern for self-preservation, and a great evil also ensued—the condoning of torture, imprisonment, and murder. Let us not seek self-preservation by joining hands with the enemy, for we know that “whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35). Let us, instead, seek the preservation of our lives by dwelling “in the secret place of the most High” and by abiding “under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
Do you remember how it was in Noah’s day?
How was it in Noahs day?God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Had man co-operated with God, there would have been no Cain-worshipers. Abels example of obedience would have been followed. Men might have worked out the will of God. They might have obeyed his law, and in obedience they would have found salvation. God and the heavenly universe would have helped them to retain the divine likeness. Longevity would have been preserved; and God would have delighted in the work of his hands. But the inhabitants of the antediluvian world turned from Jehovah, refusing to do his will. They followed their unholy imagination and perverted ideas. God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, . . . Make thee an ark of gopherwood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. . . . And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die. (Ellen White, The Review & Herald, December 27, 1898)
Do you remember the warning Jesus gave?
Remember the warning, As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. It was because of the wickedness of the inhabitants of the old world, that they were destroyed; and today the world is following in the same way. No flattering signs of millennial glory are to be seen. Human lawmakers open their law-books, and pronounce sentence against those who do not keep their laws. But those who frame and enforce these laws are themselves transgressors of Gods law, and their transgression is filling the earth with wickedness. Betting, horse-racing, gambling, dissipation, lustful practises, untamable passions, are fast filling the earth with violence and moral pollution. Bank failures ruin thousands of families. Widows and orphans are left to starve. Every species of indulgence prevails. Men have become so infatuated with vice that they will not listen to warnings or appeals. (Ibid.)
Are you safe from the coming storm?
The great work from which the mind should not be diverted, is the consideration of our safety in the sight of God. The storm is coming, relentless in its fury. Are we prepared to meet it? Are our feet on the Rock of Ages? Are we one with Christ, as he is one with the Father? (Ibid.)
And do you have a reliable map?
Many are sailing in a dangerous harbour. They need a pilot; but they scorn to accept the much-needed help, feeling that they are competent to guide their own bark, and not realizing that it may strike a hidden rock that will cause them to make shipwreck of faith and happiness. They need an unerring counselor, an infallible guide. This they will find in the Word of God. Unless they are diligent students of that Word, they will make grave mistakes, which will mar their happiness and that of others, both for the present and the future life. (Ellen White, The Bible Echo, October 15, 1893)
In the Bible are found the only safe principles of action. It is a transcript of the will of God, an expression of divine wisdom. It opens to mans understanding the great problems of life, and to all who heed its precepts it will prove an unerring guide, keeping them from wasting their lives in misdirected effort. (Ellen White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 506)
The map that De Long followed showed an imaginary continent that stretched, as a finger, from north Greenland all the way around the North Pole to a mysterious land mass near the Bering Strait. De Long soon tossed his maps. He knew he and his men were hopelessly alone. They were about seven hundred miles from the North Pole and a thousand miles from the nearest land (Siberia), without ship or chart. He was on his own, on an ice floe, with fourteen of his men. Seeing what they thought was land fade in and out of view in the distance, through fog and snowy wind, they valiantly pushed for eight days across the ice toward it, expending much of the little strength they had left, only to find that the floe they were on was drifting faster north than they were escaping south. De Long was loath to tell his men and redid the calculations, hoping he was wrong. All their precious energy was being swallowed by the icy north. They did succeed in reaching land at last, if you can call it that, a frozen wasteland, devoid of anything useful except driftwood, but soon a fire was started and here they paused to renew their strength. A little over a month later, De Long was dead, the last of the fifteen to surrender to the cold grave of the arctic. He had been a man willing to endure hardship, privation, and pain in his quest for fame, but he had depended on a false map and on the false information of others to guide him.
Manasseh also followed a map in his pursuit of pleasure, fame, and glory. His cartographer was Satan and under his evil command, Manasseh rebuilt the old blasphemous high places, made a grove for the worship of Baal, erected altars to Baal in the temple of God, and erected altars to all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. He observed times, used enchantments, dealt with familiar spirits and wizards, made his son pass through the fire, and placed in the house of the LORD a graven image of the grove he had made. In addition to leading the people into abominable pagan idolatry and dark, superstitious spiritual error, he also manifested tyranny, oppression, and hatred toward all that was good and throughout his reign, justice was perverted and violence ruled.
His behavior was so outrageous that it is almost ludicrous to see any connection to Adventism today. The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates a number of hospitals worldwide, even more schools, and supports an unknown-to-me number of missionaries. Much good is being done for suffering mankind through some of its institutions and by many of its dedicated people, and for that we are grateful, but probation’s close is upon us. Dedication to a good cause is not enough. It is dedication to God that we need. When this occurs, paganism in the form of the trinitarian doctrine, idolatry in the form of images of heavenly beings, error in the guise of new truth taking the place of the pillars of our faith, oppression toward nonconforming believers in the form of trademark cases and attempted control of literature distribution on public property, and toleration and promotion of injustice and violence as seen with Shelkov and in the German morning watch book will not be found among us.
One scene of the night in particular made a deep impression on Ellen White, so much so that she was up at 1:00 am writing about it:
Shortly before I sent out the testimonies regarding the efforts of the enemy to undermine the foundation of our faith through the dissemination of seductive theories, I had read an incident about a ship in a fog meeting an iceberg. For several nights I slept but little. I seemed to be bowed down as a cart beneath sheaves. One night a scene was clearly presented before me. A vessel was upon the waters, in a heavy fog. Suddenly the lookout cried, “Iceberg just ahead!” There, towering high above the ship, was a gigantic iceberg. An authoritative voice cried out, “Meet it!” There was not a moment’s hesitation. It was a time for instant action. The engineer put on full steam, and the man at the wheel steered the ship straight into the iceberg. With a crash she struck the ice. There was a fearful shock, and the iceberg broke into many pieces, falling with a noise like thunder to the deck. The passengers were violently shaken by the force of the collisions, but no lives were lost. The vessel was injured, but not beyond repair. She rebounded from the contact, trembling from stem to stern, like a living creature. Then she moved forward on her way.
Well I knew the meaning of this representation. I had my orders. I had heard the words, like a voice from our Captain, “Meet it!” I knew what my duty was, and that there was not a moment to lose. The time for decided action had come. I must without delay obey the command, “Meet it!”
That night I was up at one oclock, writing as fast as my hand could pass over the paper. For the next few days I worked early and late, preparing for our people the instruction given me regarding the errors that were coming in among us. (Ellen White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, pp. 205, 206)
If these errors were allowed to continue, they would result in the giving up of the pillars of our faith, in the creation of a new organization, in the authoring of books of a new order, in the introduction of a system of intellectual philosophy, and in a light regard for the Sabbath and the God of the Sabbath. Have these possibilities become a reality? Do you see today, when compared to the church structure of 1854–1904, an undermining and even a destruction of the pillars of our faith, a different organization, a new order of published materials, an intellectual philosophy that is relied upon instead of the word of God, and God and his Sabbath being lightly regarded? The solid timbers bracing the platform of truth God has given us have been under attack!
In a vision of the night I was shown distinctly that these sentiments [promoted in The Living Temple] have been looked upon by some as the grand truths that are to be brought in and made prominent at the present time. I was shown a platform, braced by solid timbers—the truths of the Word of God. Someone high in responsibility in the medical work was directing this man and that man to loosen the timbers supporting this platform. Then I heard a voice saying, “Where are the watchmen that ought to be standing on the walls of Zion? Are they asleep? This foundation was built by the Master Worker, and will stand storm and tempest. Will they permit this man to present doctrines that deny the past experience of the people of God? The time has come to take decided action.”
The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.
Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth?
I hesitated and delayed about the sending out of that which the Spirit of the Lord impelled me to write. I did not want to be compelled to present the misleading influence of these sophistries. But in the providence of God, the errors that have been coming in must be met. (Ibid., pp. 204, 205)
She met them, and so must we. We cannot wrap ourselves within the sophistication of our modern, scholarly age, thinking we are far above shedding innocent blood, above worshiping at the shrine of Baal, and above offering our children as sacrifices and that we definitely are not as crude and warlike as the Egyptians and the Israelites. If our precepts and example lead men away from the waymarks of our faith and from the God of our forefathers, then we are guilty of innocent blood and of worshiping Baal, and we sacrifice our children, just as Manasseh did, when we expose them to errors taught in the churches we attend and when we send them either to church schools, where false theology is taught, or to secular schools, where atheistic evolution is expounded. We are no different than Manasseh.
We are Gods commandment-keeping people. For the past fifty years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us, to becloud our minds regarding the teaching of the Wordespecially concerning the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and the message of Heaven for these last days, as given by the angels of the fourteenth chapter of Revelation. Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayerful study, and testified to by the miracle-working power of the Lord. But the waymarks which have made us what we are, are to be preserved, and they will be preserved, as God has signified through His Word and the testimony of His Spirit. He calls upon us to hold firmly, with the grip of faith, to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority. (Ibid., p. 208; published 1904)
The purpose of this article is not to criticize the organized church, but to help prepare a people who are on the brink of momentous and universe-wide events. Protestantism has grasped the hand of spiritualism, and it is grasping the hand of Catholicismshe is the instigator of this union.
The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience. (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 588)
Soon America will fulfill prophecy and trample upon the rights of conscience, and God, in his mercy, has given us this waiting time to fortify our minds with truth against the increasing stranglehold on all things spiritual. We have seen how easy it was for the Adventist Church, in times of stress, to join hands with political powers, and we must be prepared for any eventuality in the future. Will she again join hands, this time with opposing spiritual powers, to preserve herself? We hope and pray that the past will cast light on the future and prevent her from doing so; however, we know that many leading spiritual lights will disappear in the crisis ahead:
The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. . . .
The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. . . . Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 80, 81)
Why will God’s people be subjected to “derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death?” Because the faithful will be blamed for the calamities Satan brings upon the world:
While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he [Satan] will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. . . .
And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity. . . .
The miracle-working power manifested through spiritualism will exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men. Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to convince the rejecters of Sunday of their error, affirming that the laws of the land should be obeyed as the law of God. They will lament the great wickedness in the world and second the testimony of religious teachers that the degraded state of morals is caused by the desecration of Sunday. Great will be the indignation excited against all who refuse to accept their testimony. (White, The Great Controversy, pp. 589, 590)
Shelkov was a faithful member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and stood for God and truth against the oppression of his national government and against the errors of the Russian Seventh-day Adventist Church. The worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church chose to support the mainstream local Russian Seventh-day Adventist Church, which allied with Lenin and, later, with the atheistic Soviet government. We in America must be prepared to oppose the same, for we know our national government will seek our arrest, and we may have to flee to the underground, so to speak, as did Shelkov. We may find ourselves in the shelter of forests, caves, and mountains, or even imprisoned, but we are told angels will care for us:
During the night a very impressive scene passed before me. There seemed to be great confusion and the conflict of armies. A messenger from the Lord stood before me, and said, Call your household. I will lead you; follow me. He led me down a dark passage, through a forest, then through the clefts of mountains, and said, Here you are safe. There were others who had been led to this retreat. The heavenly messenger said. The time of trouble has come as a thief in the night, as the Lord warned you it would come. (Ellen White, Maranatha, p. 270)
I saw the saints leaving the cities and villages, and associating together in companies, and living in the most solitary places. Angels provided them food and water, while the wicked were suffering from hunger and thirst. Then I saw the leading men of the earth consulting together, and Satan and his angels busy around them. I saw a writing, copies of which were scattered in different parts of the land, giving orders that unless the saints should yield their peculiar faith, give up the Sabbath, and observe the first day of the week, the people were at liberty after a certain time to put them to death. (Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 282)
The corporate church has already had people fined and imprisoned who crossed her will. This was done with no secular pressure put upon her. What will she do during the greatest crisis the world will ever face? It will be well for us to remember:
If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5)
They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (John 16:2)
God has blessed this church with the greatest light mankind has ever known. We are at the end of the worlds existence, and all the accumulated light has flowed down through the ages to us. We are Seventh-day Adventists today because of the light God gave the organized Adventist church, and for this we are thankful; however, we must always keep in mind that the church that will go through to the end without falling is his people, not the organization:
Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted outthe chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. (White, Selected Messages, book 2, p. 380)
God does have a church, and this church may appear to topple. This reference cannot, however, refer to the organized church, as many of us have thought, believing that the ship was going through, for here the contrast is made between chaff and precious wheatsymbols of people and not of church hierarchies. It is from Gods people (the precious wheat) that the chaff (the sinners in Zion) is sifted out, not from the organized church. Be of good cheer if you have been disfellowshipped for the truths sake, for the chaff has been separated from you! God’s people will be a little flock after the chaff is scattered on the wind, but remember that wherever two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, there is his church, and he presides over it!
God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.
Where two or three are present who love and obey the commandments of God, Jesus there presides . . . (Ellen White, The Upward Look, p. 315)
Those who keep Gods commandments, those who live not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, compose the church of the living God. Those who choose to follow Antichrist are subjects of the great apostate. Ranged under the banner of Satan, they break Gods law, and lead others to break it. They endeavor so to frame the laws of nations that men shall show their loyalty to earthly governments by trampling upon the laws of Gods kingdom. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p. 296)
And antichrist is . . .
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)
Expect one day to stand for God and for the testimony of Jesus against all political and organized church leadership, for they will join hands against God’s little flock.
The so-called Christian world is to be the theater of great and decisive actions. Men in authority will enact laws controlling the conscience, after the example of the Papacy. (White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p. 296)
On June 11, 1893, Ellen White wrote to W. F. Caldwell and informed him that the Lord had not given him a message to call the Seventh-day Adventist church Babylon, and to call the people of God to come out of her. All the reasons you may present cannot have weight with me on this subject; because the Lord has given me decided light, that is opposed to such a message (Ibid., p. 297). In 1893, the organized church was not Babylon, nor was it in 1905 when Ellen White stated:
The Lord has declared that the history of the past shall be rehearsed as we enter upon the closing work. Every truth that He has given for these last days is to be proclaimed to the world. Every pillar that He has established is to be strengthened. We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth.Manuscript 129, 1905. (White, Selected Messages, book 2, p. 390)
And what truths and pillars were to be strengthened and proclaimed? Those established during the fifty years prior to and including 1905:
Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years? (Ellen White, The Review & Herald, May 25, 1905)
In 1875 Ellen White wrote that the judgment of the General Conference was the highest authority of God upon the earth:
I have been shown that no mans judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any one man. But when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon the earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered. . . . You did not seem to have a true sense of the power that God has given to His church in the voice of the General Conference. You thought that in responding to the call made to you by the General Conference you were submitting to the judgment and mind of one man. You accordingly manifested an independence, a set, willful spirit, which was all wrong. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 492; written in 1875)
But twenty years later, she wrote:
As for the voice of the General Conference, there is no voice from God through that body that is reliable. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, p. 178, Manuscript 57, 1895)
And she closed this particular document with these words:
Oh, how my heart aches, that spiritual wickedness should prevail in high places! The working of minds under the inspiration of Satan has come to a high pass. The men have been listening to the suggestions of Satan, and they know not from what source their wisdom came. They know not that that wisdom was from beneath, and would stop at nothing until they saw that all control was in the power of a set of men who were taking the place of God. The principle has been at work either to control or to crush all that cannot be controlled. There has been a spirit of deep, deep heart opposition to the truth of the gospel. Oh, to what obstinacy can the heart of man be brought! I stood nearly three years in Battle Creek. The power of God was revealed. Evidence was piled upon evidence, and on different occasions I hoped for a thorough work to be done.Manuscript 57, 1895. (Ibid., p. 179)
Would she say the same thing today, if she were alive? The evidence suggests she would. I think her heart would grieve over the very things mentioned earlier in this article, and it is very possible that the words penned in 1893 about not calling the church Babylon and about not calling people out of the church would be replaced with new words, just as she retracted her words about the General Conference being the authority of God on earth. Time and place must be considered:
Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered. (Ellen White, Pamphlet 116, The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to the Church, p. 25a; published 1913; see also Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 57)
But there is more to ponder.
The whole chapter [Revelation 18] 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 angels’ messages. They refused the truth and accepted a lie. They refused the messages of truth. See 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12. The message in the eighteenth chapter of Revelation is plain and clearly defined. “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (verse 3). Anyone who reads this chapter need not be deceived.
How Satan would exult to have a message go broadcast that the only people whom God has made the repositories of His law are the ones to whom this message applies. 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. Kings, merchants, rulers, and religious teachers are all in corrupt harmony. (White, Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 68)
The Babylon that is fallen, is fallen, is clearly those churches that have rejected the first, second, and third angels messages, which were begun to be preached in 1844. It is the spurious sabbath, the immortality of the soul, and other kindred heresies, as well as the rejection of the truth, which convert the church into Babylon (Ibid.), and since the Seventh-day Adventist organization holds to the seventh-day Sabbath, the non-immortality of the soul, and other truths, they should not be Babylon, but we have a serious issue to consider: If the church accepts most of the three angels’ messages, but rejects a small portion of it, would she be considered guilty of rejecting the three angels’ messages? What if she accepts all of the second and third messages and most of the first message? What then?
All Seventh-day Adventists claim to believe the three angels’ messages. They never have any problem with the second angel’s proclamation:
And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. (Revelation 14:8)
They all accept the third angel’s announcement:
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:9–12)
And they quickly assent to the first angel’s command:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Revelation 14:6, 7)
But notice, the command is not to give glory and worship to them, but to him, who made heaven, the earth, the sea, and the fountains of water, and that being is the Father:
The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:10, 11)
He did this through his Son:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. (Colossians 1:16)
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. (Hebrews 1:1, 2)
But the organized Seventh-day Adventist Church and its members worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The worship that is commanded in Revelation 14:7 is to be given to the Father, yes, but the verse does not limit worship only to the Father. The Father has commanded worship to also be given to his Son:
And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Hebrews 1:6)
But never is worship commanded to be given to the Holy Spirit. Ever. Giving glory and worship to our heavenly Father is part of the everlasting gospel, and this the organized Seventh-day Adventist Church cannot do while trinitarian, ever, because there is no father and there is no son in trinitarianism—they are both equal in every respect.
In the first angels message men are called upon to worship God, our Creator, who made the world and all things that are therein. They have paid homage to an institution of the Papacy, making of no effect the law of Jehovah, but there is to be an increase of knowledge on this subject. (White, Selected Messages, book 2, p. 106)
The institution of the Papacy to which Ellen White refers is Sunday sacredness, and Seventh-day Adventists have traditionally not paid homage to it, but there is a more insidious and more fundamental belief Adventists do pay homage to today that they did not pay homage to in Ellen White’s day, which is also an institution of the Papacy—trinitarianism. The reason this is more insidious and more fundamental is that trinitarianism attacks the very character of God and makes him dishonest when he says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). This causes some to wonder that if the Father lied about this, would he lie about something else?
Do you see how deep and insidious one error can be? We can do all manner of good things, believe in the mark of the beast and in the fall of Babylon, and hold onto the sanctity of the Sabbath and the non-immortality of the soul, but if we cling to one known error, it will separate us from God. (See the article The Time Has Come on page 2 concerning Sunday worship coming into Adventism. Also, the trinitarian doctrine denies that Jesus died on the crossbecause God cannot die,thus supporting the non-immortality of the soul.)
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. (Matthew 7:22, 23)
Oh, that the people of God would take this to heart! That they would consider that not one wrong will be righted after Jesus comes! Not one error of character will be removed when Christ shall come. Now is our time of preparation. Now is our time of washing our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. If we go on excusing our errors and trying to make ourselves believe we are about right we deceive our own souls and will find ourselves weighed in the balance and found wanting.Manuscript 5, 1874. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, p. 21)
Seventh-day Adventists are now to stand forth separate and distinct, a people denominated by the Lord as His own. Until they do this, He cannot be glorified in them. Truth and error cannot stand in copartnership. Let us now place ourselves where God has said that we should stand.Lt 113, 1903. (Ellen White, Mind, Character and Personality, vol. 2, p. 559)
There can be no unity between truth and error. (White, The Upward Look, p. 89)
To those who thus trifle with the plain testimonies of Gods word, and who refuse to believe because it is inconvenient and unpopular to do so, the light will finally become darkness; truth will appear to the darkened understanding as error, and error will be accepted as truth. When thus shrouded in error, they will find it perfectly natural and convenient to believe what is false, and will become strong in their faith. (Ellen White, The Review & Herald, January 5, 1886)
God has given us His word that we may become acquainted with its teachings and know for ourselves what He requires of us. When the lawyer came to Jesus with the inquiry, What shall I do to inherit eternal life? the Saviour referred him to the Scriptures, saying: What is written in the law? how readest thou? Ignorance will not excuse young or old, nor release them from the punishment due for the transgression of Gods law; because there is in their hands a faithful presentation of that law and of its principles and claims. It is not enough to have good intentions; it is not enough to do what a man thinks is right or what the minister tells him is right. His souls salvation is at stake, and he should search the Scriptures for himself. However strong may be his convictions, however confident he may be that the minister knows what is truth, this is not his foundation. He has a chart pointing out every waymark on the heavenward journey, and he ought not to guess at anything. (White, The Great Controversy, p. 598)
De Long and his crew divided into three small boats after their ship was crushed in the ice. Only one made it to safety. If Jesus is the captain and pilot of our boat, no matter how small the boat and no matter how vast the ice, we will make it to safe harbor.
One leak will sink the mightiest vessel that ever rode the proud ocean; so will the church make shipwreck amid the perils of these last days unless the holy Captain of her salvation shall not only serve as Captain but Pilot. (Ellen White, The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 919)
The question is, Will we push out from the harbor today and meet the current icebergs?
God has a distinct people, a church on earth, second to none, but superior to all in their facilities to teach the truth, to vindicate the law of God. God has divinely appointed agenciesmen whom He is leading, who have borne the heat and burden of the day, who are cooperating with heavenly instrumentalities to advance the kingdom of Christ in our world. Let all unite with these chosen agents, and be found at last among those who have the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus. (Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 58)
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