A Purified Church

There are two texts of scripture upon which to build our study. The first is found in Ephesians 5:27. “That He may present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” That sounds exciting! For as we look at our church today, it is a far cry from perfection; but God states in His holy Word that His church will become holy and without blemish. John the Revelator describes this purified church in these words of which you are very familiar, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.

There will be a violent shaking within God’s remnant church, which will leave only the precious wheat within the city of Jerusalem. Of this we read in Joel 2:24: “And the floor shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.” “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” Isaiah 26:1. Jerusalem will be a completely united city. Her inhabitants will be fully armed, covered with the protection of Christ’s righteousness. She shall be enabled to stand against the enemy.

“The forces of the enemy will no more be able to overpower her than is the chaff to resist the whirlwind.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 11. In Early Writings, 270, this is explained: “Said the angel, ‘Look ye!’ My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were mightily shaken. I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping and praying in agony of spirit. The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, like a company of soldiers.”

Concerning the remnant, the Word of God describes this purified and victorious church with these words: “Thus saith the Lord, I am returned unto Zion, and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.” Zechariah 8:3. “And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 4:3.

Polishing the Jewels

We are nothing but rough stones; we have no light or beauty in ourselves. We are nothing but common, warped and drab. “None is good, save One, that is, God.” Luke 18:19. But when the true light of Christ shines through us, we become living stones and emit His light. We become purified, polished, tested and tried, fitly representing the perfection that God wishes as He places us without a flaw to mar the reflection of Christ. Isaiah describes it in this way, “Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Isaiah 62:3. Then in that beautiful book, Our High Calling, 167: “The company of believers may be few in number, but they have been taken by the cleaver of truth as rough stones from the quarry of the world . . . to be fitted up by test and trial for a place in God’s heavenly temple, and they are very precious in the sight of the Lord . . . Even in the rough, they are precious in the sight of God. The ax and the hammer and the chisel of trial and test are in the hands of the One who is skillful, and are used not to destroy, not to bring to nothingness, but to work out the perfections of every soul. The divine Worker spends little time on worthless material. Only the precious jewels does he polish after the similitude of a palace, cutting away all the rough edges. This process is severe and trying; it hurts human pride. Christ cuts deep into the experience that man in his self-sufficiency has regarded as complete, and takes away self-uplifting from the character. He cuts away the surplus surface, and putting the stone to the polishing wheel, presses it close, that all roughness may be worn away. Then, holding the jewel up to the light, the Master sees in it a reflection of Himself, and He pronounces it worthy of a place in his casket.” [All Emphasis Supplied]

We must allow Christ to measure, test, cleanse, and polish us; to fit us into the very temple of God. In the judgment all will be measured, whether we are good or evil, and all who do not measure up to the pattern will be rejected. But those who are wise, that is they are willing to be made ready, will be used in God’s building. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house . . . acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” I Peter 2:5.

Let us compare God’s last day remnant church with the following found in Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1029. “The Jewish temple was built of hewn stones quarried out of the mountains; and every stone was fitted for its place in the temple, hewn, polished, and tested, before it was brought to Jerusalem. And when all were brought to the ground, the building went together without the sound of ax or hammer. This building represents God’s spiritual temple, which is composed of material gathered out of every nation, and tongue, and people, of all grades, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. These are not dead substances, to be fitted by hammer and chisel. They are living stones, quarried out from the world by truth; and the great Master-Builder, the Lord of the temple, is now hewing and polishing them, and fitting them for their respective places in the spiritual temple. When completed, this temple will be perfect in all its parts, the admiration of angels and men; for its Builder and Maker is God.”

The Harvest of Babylon Ripened

There is another city, Babylon, embracing the whole world, that must also be ripened for the harvest before Christ comes the second time. How can this be accomplished? Just as God is able to transform His subjects into living stones, so He produces the circumstances that will prepare the harvest of Babylon for the reapers. Even though the people of God, His very small remnant, have experienced victory over the beast and over its image and over every sin, there is still a great work for them to do on this earth. The remnant are to give the harvest producing message, the Loud Cry, designed to ripen the harvest within Babylon.

Who will give the Loud Cry? Many suppose it will be given by the whole church, those represented as the wheat and the tares, but the Spirit of Prophecy is very plain; this will never happen. “The third angel’s message is to lighten the earth with its glory; but only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it when it shall have swelled into the loud cry.” Review and Herald, November 19, 1908. Now that can mean only one thing: those represented by the tares will not be permitted to give the Loud Cry.

This is also explained in Testimonies, vol. 9, 40. “In the future the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God. A holy influence is to go forth to the world from those who are sanctified through the truth.” You see, the loud cry will be a demonstration given by those who have been sanctified. In this last call, the world is to be warned not by theories of the truth alone, nor of judgments, terrible as they are as foretold in the third angel’s message. No! They are to be given a demonstration! “The world can only be warned by seeing those who believe the truth sanctified through the truth, acting upon high and holy principles, showing in a high, elevated sense, the line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and those who trample them under their feet. The sanctification of the Spirit signalizes the difference between those who have the seal of God and those who keep a spurious rest day.” Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 980.

God’s Noblemen

During the Loud Cry, the Sabbath will be preached to the world by a sanctified group who are showing the difference between keeping the Sabbath as commanded by God, and keeping Sunday as commanded by men. Merely representing the arguments of worship on the seventh day is not the third angel’s message. It is sanctification that draws a distinct line between those who proclaim the true Gospel and those who proclaim the Devil’s false theories. Sad to say, few of us today seem to realize this, nor do we fully comprehend the meaning of the third angel’s message, for it contains the glory of God that will lighten the whole earth. This is explained in Testimonies, vol. 6, 19: “The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel.” How is this revelation of Christ’s character to be proclaimed to the world by men? “To give glory to God is to reveal His character in our own, and thus make Him known. And in whatever way we make known the Father or the Son, we glorify God.” Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 979. Then compare this with Christ’s Object Lessons, 414: “The light of His glory—His character—is to shine forth in His followers. Thus they are to glorify God, to lighten the path to the Bridegroom’s home, to the city of God, to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

In Christ’s Object Lessons, 415, are these amazing words: “It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy and truth. Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, Behold your God.” They will see in us the revelation of God’s character.

“God will make known the mystery which has been hidden for ages, He will make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the hope of glory.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 386. So you see, Christ will be within us. And as Christ represented the Father, so with Jesus in us, we will represent God. In Testimonies, vol. 8, 50, we read: “In the time of confusion and trouble before us, a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, the uplifted Saviour will be presented to the people of all lands, that all who look to Him in faith may live.”

Now during this little time of trouble, the attention of the entire world will be directed upon those who cannot be moved from their position of truth. This is exactly what God has proposed should take place. In vision, the Lord’s messenger was shown the remnant who had passed through the shaking, and had obtained the victory over every sin. They are the ones that will now go to Babylon and will give the truth with great power. “My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were mightily shaken. The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, like a company of soldiers. . . The numbers of this company had lessened. Some had been shaken out and left by the way . . . I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. It had effect . . . I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, ‘It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.’ ” Early Writing, 270, 271.

“Clad in the armor of Christ’s righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. ‘Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners, she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer.’” Prophets and Kings, 725. The message of a purified church is to go forth triumphant as a conqueror.

“They are made indeed a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. They are marked characters because of their purity of heart and life, their strength of purpose, their firmness and usefulness in the cause of God. They are God’s noble men.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 578. Just to think that we will be God’s noblemen! The church will give not only a final demonstration, but the full display of God’s character will be revealed within every individual. “The members of the church, those whom he has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to ‘the principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ the final and full display of the love of God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 9.

“While multitudes are devoted to mammon, and serve not the Holy One of Israel, there are a few who have not defiled their garments, but have kept them unspotted from the world; and these few will be a power.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 482. “Character is power. The silent witness of a true, unselfish, godly life, carries an almost irresistible influence. By revealing in our own life the character of Christ we cooperate with him. And the wider the sphere of our influence, the more good we may do. When those who profess to serve God follow Christ’s example, practicing the principles of the law in their daily life; when every act bears witness that they love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves, then will the church have power to move the world.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 340. “He will restrain the forces of darkness until the warning is given to the world and all who will heed it are prepared for the conflict.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 453.

As an example, do you remember how Nebuchadnezzar persecuted the truth, yet it only served to spread the truth? The king thought to force the worship of the golden image by casting the three Hebrews into the fiery furnace, but God preserved His servants in the midst of the flames. Thus the knowledge of the true God was presented to all the assembled princes and great men. “The efforts made to retard the progress of truth, will serve to extend it.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 554. That is encouraging. What is holding us back from having this wonderful experience? It is because God’s people are not ready to receive the great power of the Latter Rain.

Unfitted to Receive the Latter Rain

“Ministers and people are unprepared for the time in which they live, and nearly all who profess to believe present truth are unprepared to understand the work of preparation for this time . . . They are wholly unfitted to receive the latter rain . . . Ministers and people must make greater advancement in the work of reform. They should commence without delay to correct their wrong habits of eating, drinking, dressing, and working.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 466.

“God’s people are not prepared for the loud cry of the third angel. They have a work to do for themselves which they should not leave for God to do for them. He has left this work for them to do. It is an individual work; one cannot do it for another. ‘Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’” Testimonies, vol. 1, 486.

“The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with his glory, will not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God.” Review and Herald, July 21, 1896. This experience will not take place until the shaking first shakes out the tares. And this will happen when the Sunday Law bursts upon us. Why did the lamps of the foolish virgins go out? Because character, not theology, lightens the way to the Bridegroom. This is why the tares are ruled out of having a part in giving the Loud Cry.

The false brethren have never fully comprehended the third angel’s message. Thus they will be left in darkness, and Satan will so delude these that they will actually denounce the Loud Cry as a false, spiritualistic phenomena. Where do I get this? In Review and Herald, May 27, 1890: “The third angel’s message will not be comprehended, the light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light, by those who refuse to walk in its advancing glory.” At Pentecost, the foolish virgins declared the demonstration of the Former Rain to be the result of the use of alcohol by the leaders of the church.

Only the members of the purified church will receive the Latter Rain, and give the Loud Cry. The storm of persecution perpetrated by Babylon in the Sunday Law harassment will finally separate the tares from the wheat and leave a small remnant perfectly united and holy. “As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks . . . Those who have had great light and precious privileges, but have not improved them, will, under one pretext or another, go out from us.”

“The promises of God now repeated as if the soul had never tasted of His love, will then glow upon the altar of the heart, and fall in burning words from the lips of the messengers of God. They will then plead with souls with an earnestness that cannot be repulsed. Then the windows of heaven will be open for the showers of the latter rain. The followers of Christ will be united in love.” Review and Herald, February 25, 1890. “It is not numerous institutions, large buildings, or great display that God requires, but the harmonious action of a peculiar people, a people chosen by God and precious. Every man is to stand in his lot and place, thinking, speaking, and acting in harmony with the Spirit of God. Then, and not till then, will the work be a complete, symmetrical whole.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 293.

Oh, how God wants to prepare His people now for this marvelous work of presenting the last message of mercy! As millions leave the true and faithful, as the tares separate, so millions from Babylon will take up the ranks of those that leave, because of the Divine Power of the Loud Cry which will sweep the world like fire in stubble. May we be among those faithful few who will have a part in the closing work; for there is a bright and glorious day just ahead for the church—a purified church, a triumphant church.

The End