May 15, 2005 – May 21, 2005
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:15–17.
Suggested Reading: Testimonies, vol. 5, 207–216.
In this lesson, we are going to take a closer look at how the Lord of heaven differentiates between two groups of people during the time of the final warning—that is, the time between the beginning of the latter rain and the close of probation. See chart on page 46.
1 How many groups/classes will there be during the end of time when every man will be tested? Revelation 12:17; 14:9, 12; 22:14, 15.
note: “The warfare against God’s law, which was begun in heaven, will be continued until the end of time. Every man will be tested. Obedience or disobedience is the question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to choose between the law of God and the laws of men. Here the dividing line will be drawn. There will be but two classes. Every character will be fully developed; and all will show whether they have chosen the side of loyalty or that of rebellion.” The Desire of Ages, 763.
2 What will be the distinguishing factor between these groups/classes of people? Revelation 22:11.
note: “The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.” The Great Controversy, 605.
“The worshipers of God will be especially distinguished by their regard for the fourth commandment, since this is the sign of God’s creative power and the witness to His claim upon man’s reverence and homage. The wicked will be distinguished by their efforts to tear down the Creator’s memorial and to exalt the institution of Rome. In the issue of the conflict all Christendom will be divided into two great classes, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 16.
3 What is one name given to those who obey the laws of men? Revelation 18:1, 2, 4.
note: “This scripture [Revelation 18:1, 2, 4] points forward to a time when the announcement of the fall of Babylon, as made by the second angel of Revelation 14 (verse 8), is to be repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the various organizations that constitute Babylon, since that message was first given, in the summer of 1844. . . .
“Of Babylon, at the time brought to view in this prophecy, it is declared: ‘Her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ Revelation 18:5. . . . Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard: ‘Come out of her, My people.’ ” The Great Controversy, 603, 604.
4 Who constitute Babylon? Revelation 14:8; 17:1–6.
note: “It is our individual duty to walk humbly with God. We are not to seek any strange, new message. We are not to think that the chosen ones of God who are trying to walk in the light compose Babylon. The fallen denominational churches are Babylon.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 61.
5 From the following quotation, list the poisonous doctrines of Babylon. In the Scriptures, what symbolic language is used to describe the poisonous doctrines of Babylon? Revelation 14:8; 17:2; 18:3.
note: “Babylon has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy and sanctified day. These and kindred errors are presented to the world by the various churches, and thus the Scriptures are fulfilled that say, ‘For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ [Revelation 18:3.]” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 61, 62.
6 What title is applied to the people of God from 1844 to the close of probation? Revelation 3:14–17.
note: “I was shown that the testimony to the Laodiceans applies to God’s people at the present time.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 186.
7 What is the purpose of the Laodicean message? Revelation 3:17–21. See also The Great Controversy, 416.
note: “I saw that this message would not accomplish its work in a few short months. It is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance, that they may be favored with the presence of Jesus, and be fitted for the loud cry of the third angel.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 186.
8 Is Laodicea part of Babylon? Compare Revelation 3:14–22 with Revelation chapters 17 and 18. Are these references talking about the same church or different churches?
note: “For years I have borne my testimony to the effect that when any arise claiming to have great light, and yet advocating the tearing down of that which the Lord through His human agents has been building up, they are greatly deceived, and are not working along the lines where Christ is working. Those who assert that the Seventh-day Adventist churches constitute Babylon, or any part of Babylon, might better stay at home. Let them stop and consider what is the message to be proclaimed at this time.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 36, 37.
comment: The reason Laodicea is not Babylon is that they do not teach the poisonous doctrines of Babylon described above. Laodicea professes to have the pure truth, but as noted below, “their works deny their faith.”
9 What is said about Laodicea? Revelation 3:14–17.
note: “The True Witness declares: ‘I know thy works.’ The selfish, covetous heart will be tested. . . . They [Laodiceans] profess to believe that Jesus is coming; but their works deny their faith. Every person will live out all the faith he has. Falsehearted professor, Jesus knows thy works.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 195.
“There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine. . . . All who preach the truth will not themselves be saved by it. Said the angel: ‘Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.’ [Isaiah 52:11.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 261, 262.
10 What two classes/groups described in the following texts are also present in Laodicea? Revelation 3:2–5 (see The Great Controversy, 490); 16:15.
note: “Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: ‘They are joined to their idols, let them alone,’ and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 187.
comment: This reference explains that at the time the latter rain begins, the people of God are separated into two classes. Those who overcome are obedient to the Law of God and give the final warning. Those who do not overcome join the disobedient group who obey the laws of men and remain in Laodicea.
According to the quotation above and the statements below, probation is over when the latter rain falls for those who have had great light (Laodiceans) but have not been purified by the truth.
11 To whom is the door closed so they will not hear the message of Revelation 18:4?
note: “The light that was shed upon the waiting ones penetrated everywhere, and those in the churches who had any light, who had not heard and rejected the three messages, obeyed the call and left the fallen churches. . . . Some chose life and took their stand with those who were looking for their Lord and keeping all His commandments. The third message was to do its work; all were to be tested upon it, and the precious ones were to be called out from the religious bodies.” Early Writings, 278.
“The time of God’s destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; his hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter. Large numbers will be admitted who in these last days hear the truth for the first time.” Review and Herald, July 5, 1906.
comment: We have now documented from the Spirit of Prophecy that probation closes at the beginning of the final warning—the latter rain—for the Laodicean group. This group is described in The Great Controversy, 608. The message of Revelation 18:4 will go only to those who have not heard and rejected the third angel’s message.