After the flood came and took them all away, the earth was as desolate as were those who, in the spiritual sense, had been taken away by the judgments of God. The apostasy became so bad in Noah’s day that only eight were saved off the whole earth! Had it not been for Noah’s unfailing courage and unselfish dedication, the whole world would have been lost. God, in His eternal mercy gave man another chance, and the world was washed clean and new.
“To re-people the desolate earth, which the Flood had so lately swept from its moral corruption, God had preserved but one family, the household of Noah . . . Yet in the three sons of Noah was speedily developed the same great distinction seen in the world before the Flood.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 117.
Very soon after the flood the apostasy started all over again. Through the family of Ham the agenda of apostasy, from within the camp, continued. Humans often try to figure out how to go their own way. We want “to do our own thing,” and get away with it. The days following the Flood were no exception. First the people had not taken God at His word when He said there was to be a flood. Then, they would not believe Him when He said there would not be another!
In the undertaking of raising up the Tower of Babel, “the people were fully united in their Heaven-daring undertaking . . . Their confederacy was founded in rebellion; a kingdom established for self-exaltation, but in which God was to have no rule or honor. Had this confederacy been permitted, a mighty power would have borne sway to banish righteousness—and with it peace, happiness, and security—from the earth. For the divine statutes, which are ‘holy and just and good’ (Romans 7:12), men were endeavoring to substitute laws to suit the purpose of their own selfish and cruel hearts.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 123.
“The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God . . . Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 78.
Babylon is Born
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37. How true are these words. Babylon found its birth on the plains of Shinar. The essence of Babylon is to make of none effect the true testimony; to replace the true testimony with the opinions and rebellions of men. It wants to shake the confidence of God’s people in His Word, and turn away the present generation from the true God. To exalt self and to lead the people into idolatry, are Babylon’s goals.
“The whole undertaking [the building of the Tower of Babel] was designed to exalt still further the pride of its projectors and to turn the minds of future generations away from God and lead them into idolatry . . . The people rejoiced in their success, and praised the gods of silver and gold, and set themselves against the Ruler of heaven and earth.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 119.
This is exactly what is going on right now. The results demonstrated in the history of the Tower of Babel will be the same, without deviation, for the present generation if they continue to choose the same course. Sister White wrote: “We must as a people arouse and cleanse the camp of Israel. Licentiousness, unlawful intimacy, and unholy practices are coming in among us in a large degree; and ministers who are handling sacred things are guilty of sin in this respect. They are coveting their neighbor’s wives, and the seventh commandment is broken. We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 380. [All emphasis supplied.]
God is in the business of saving every single soul who will accept Him. God calls the wandering soul unto Himself through various methods and agencies. One who has the knowledge of God and then rejects it is far more guilty than one who has not come to the light of truth. It follows then that an Adventist is held in higher responsibility because of his profession to a higher knowledge. Our responsibilities increase with the privilege of greater truth. To be a leader in Adventism, a representative of Christ Himself, and misuse this office or mislead people, is to deepen one’s damnation! The claim to Adventism has very serious consequences, and the acceptance of leadership, the highest consequences.
In years past, God turned away from those who united in their apostate agenda and chose Abraham to carry out His will. Just so in this age, God turns from those who persist in apostasy, to men of His own choosing who will carry on the closing work. Abraham grew up “in the midst of superstition and heathenism.” The world beckoned on every side, but Abraham promptly answered God’s call. Because he was well acquainted with heathenism and idolatry he could view with sharp eyes the stark contrast between God’s way and the way of the world.
He became different from his friends and relatives when he answered the call, breaking many close ties that would have pulled him downward. It was by necessity that God asked him to separate himself from his former associates.
“Now that Abraham was, in a special sense, connected with heaven, he must dwell among strangers. His character must be peculiar, different from all the world. He could not even explain his course of action so as to be understood by his friends. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and his motives and actions were not comprehended by his idolatrous kindred.
“It was no light test that was thus brought upon Abraham, no small sacrifice that was required of him. There were strong ties to bind him to his country, his kindred, and his home. But he did not hesitate to obey the call . . . God had spoken, and His servant must obey; the happiest place on earth for him was the place where God would have him to be.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 126.
Conformity to World
Lot, Abraham’s nephew, was not as mature or wise as his uncle. I am sure Lot felt, as many of us perhaps have, that the influences of worldliness would not eclipse his dedication to God. Lot, by choice, settled in the thriving metropolis of Sodom. In this city of unchecked frivolity was found a society of “if it feels good, do it” inhabitants. A people that closely parallel the society of the present world. This was the society in which Lot chose to live. Maybe he felt he could do some good for these poor people, and perhaps bring a little religion into their lives. But as the years went by it was not Sodom who was being converted to Christianity, but Lot’s family who was being converted to heathenism.
“Conformity to worldly customs converts the church to the world; it never converts the world to Christ. Familiarity with sin will inevitably cause it to appear less repulsive. He who chooses to associate with the servants of Satan will soon cease to fear their master. When in the way of duty we are brought into trial, as was Daniel in the king’s court, we may be sure that God will protect us; but if we place ourselves under temptation we shall fall sooner or later.” The Great Controversy, 509.
The condition of Sodom had become so bad that it provoked the Lord to destroy it. Christ Himself came down to oversee the task and spoke about it with Abraham. He was willing to hold off the destruction of that thriving city for only ten souls, but there were not ten righteous souls in that city.
Lot had placed his family in association with those who scoffed at the Word of God. They did not believe that God paid attention to or would punish their crimes against His kingdom of righteousness. All of this had taken a toll on Lot’s family, and perhaps he did not even realize until the test came, that it was too late to improve his circumstances.
The angels arrived in Sodom on that last night, and were besieged at Lot’s house by a lawless crowd inflamed by the vilest passions, saying, “Bring them out to us that we may them (that is sexually).” Such is the perversion in the minds and lives of those who disregard God.
Lot’s family was warned of the destruction soon to fall, but they were reluctant to leave the city. How powerful the gravity of Satan’s deceptions over the human heart. In this generation, do we have less to fear from the effects of our own society? As many are running back to apostate conference churches, please read the next words carefully, and apply them to today. “The angels revealed to Lot the object of their mission . . . The strangers who Lot had endeavored to protect, now promised to protect him, and to save also the members of his family who would flee with him from the wicked city . . . Lot went out to warn his children. He repeated the words of the angels, ‘Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.’ But he seemed to them as one that mocked. They laughed at what they called his superstitious fears. His daughters were influenced by their husbands. They were well enough off where they were . . . Lot returned sorrowfully to his home and told the story of his failure. Then the angels bade him arise and take his wife and the two daughters who were yet in his house and leave the city. But Lot delayed . . . He did not realize the terrible necessity for God’s judgments to put a check on sin . . . But for the angels of God, they would all have perished in the ruin of Sodom. The heavenly messengers took him and his wife and daughters by the hand and led them out of the city . . . Hesitancy or delay now would be fatal. To cast one lingering look upon the devoted city, to tarry for one moment from regret to leave so beautiful a home, would have cost their life . . . If Lot himself had manifested no hesitancy to obey the angels’ warning, but had earnestly fled toward the mountains, without one word of pleading or remonstrance, his wife also would have made her escape. The influence of his example would have saved her from the sin that sealed her doom. But his hesitancy and delay caused her to lightly regard the divine warning. While her body was upon the plain, her heart clung to Sodom, and she perished with it.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 159–161.
Brothers and sisters, we must understand that to once have left, or have been disfellowshipped from a church, for the reason of fidelity to God, and then to go back, is doing the same thing as Lot’s wife. We cannot afford to turn back unless we are obeying the truths and principles of God’s guidance. To return to a conference, self-supporting ministry or church that continues to demonstrate an agenda of apostasy is spiritual suicide!
Did you notice that the influence of Lot could have saved his wife? I can tell you this. If either my wife or I went back to a ministry or a church that was still preaching and promoting apostasy, we would go alone. This was part of our original wedding vows and our personal vows to our God. He must, and will always, come first in the life of true Christians and that means even above wife, husband or family members.
My friends, God understands your desire for fellowship. He shares that desire with you, and as quickly as He safely can, He wants to bring you into physical companionship with Himself, forever. But loneliness or a lack of fellowship will not excuse one from the consequences of disregarding the express requirements of our Lord. We are not to look back as did Lot’s wife! To do so would be fatal.
“It is only those who render perfect and thorough obedience to God that He will choose. Those who follow the Lord are to be firm and straightforward in obeying His directions. Any deviation to follow human devising or planning disqualifies them for being trustworthy. Even if they have to walk as did Enoch, [a representation of the 144,000] with God alone,—His children must separate from those who do not obey Him, who show that they are not in vital connection with Him.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1036.
My dear beloved friends in Jesus, once having laid your hands to the plow, do not look back, save to remember how God has graciously led you in the past.