I believe that God has a message for his people today, which is found in Isaiah 28. I have deepening conviction that what is here portrayed, is that which we are soon to face.
“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valleys, to those who are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, will be trampled underfoot; and the glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valley, like the first fruit before the summer, which an observer sees; he eats it up while it is still in his hand.” Isaiah 28:1-4.
The valley of deceitfulness can look so fair; there can be so many beautiful flowers in it; those in charge of the valley can be so fat with the gifts of God’s professed people; but, friend, the judgment of God hangs over the professed people of God today because we have disregarded the voice of his messenger. We have cast it aside if it called us to reform, and we have obeyed only that which has gone along with our natural inclination. Then, to prove that we are obeying it, we have held up that part of the counsel which goes along with our inclination. It is for this reason the judgement of God hangs over His people today. However beautiful the flowers in the valley of deceitfulness may be, destruction and judgment are coming from the Lord. If God’s people today are to know where they are in the stream of time, they must have the heavenly eye salve.
Many men who once might have given godly counsel to God’s people, today, are no longer fit to give that counsel because they have failed to stand against the prevailing apostasy. They have stood, watching it take place, but they have continued to make strange alliances with the falsehood. Perhaps these men, themselves, are trying to live righteous lives, but this is not enough. If we do not stand up against apostasy, wherever it is manifest, we are no longer fit to be messengers to God’s people.
To illustrate this point, let us draw from the rich, but terrible history, of the conflict between the Waldenses and the papacy. If we do not learn from the mistakes of history, we are destined to repeat them.
Before we look at this history let me share a story with you.
A few years ago, our family visited a Pennsylvania colony called the Ephrata Cloister. Here many years ago there lived a group who kept the seventh day Sabbath. They introduced the seventh day Sabbath to the Baptists. The Baptists who accepted this truth became the Seventh-day Baptists, who in turn, later shared this truth with the Seventh-day Adventist.
I remember the guide showing us into the print room where the old-fashioned press was located. The press had a long handle, which, when pulled down, lowered the plate, leaving an impression on the paper. This process was repeated again and again, all day long. Because the labor was very wearying to the people, the handle became known as the devil’s tail.
The guide explained to us that there were more copies of the Bible printed here than of any other book. But, do you know what book ranked second in the number of copies to be printed? Fox’s Book of Martyrs. It was the second most widely read book in the United States of America. Our forefathers used to read these stories to their children. This reading helped to make us a Protestant nation. Our people knew the history then.
History of Protestantism by Wylie records the history of God’s people during the seventeenth century. It is recorded that in 1655, a decree was made calling for the complete extermination of the Waldenses. Army after army attempted to destroy them, only to meet with failure. After a short time of peace, General Pianeza determined he was going to do that which others had failed to do. As he began his march, the Waldenses became aware of his plans and they sent ambassadors down to the town of Turin to plead with the army to leave them alone.
The governor on Turin stalled the Waldensian representatives, while the papal armies were secretly gathering, hoping to deceive them as to their real intentions. A meeting was arranged with the Waldensian representatives for April 17, 1655. At about two o’clock in the morning, on the day of the meeting, General Pianeza’a army surrounded the city. Three hundred of his army of 15,000 slipped under the city wall and made an attack on Sabbath morning, April 17.
The Waldenses, totally unprepared for the attack, hastily threw up a barricade, which the invading soldiers stormed. So stoutly did the Waldenses resist that after three hours of intense fighting, the papal soldiers, who had been unable to make any advance at all, were driven back.
At one o’clock the next morning, one of General Pianeza’s colonels who knew the territory, sent a flanking recruitment to storm the town from behind. The Waldenses turned about-face, pierced the enemy rank, held the soldiers back and escaped to the mountains. In the whole encounter, which involved much bloody fighting, there were only three Waldensian soldiers killed.
The Vaudois (Waldenses) were once more in the mountains, their families having previously been transported up because of the threat of war. They watched the valley below as their orchards were cut down and their homes burned. On Monday, the nineteenth, and the day that followed, a series of skirmishes took place. The Vaudois, although poorly armed and vastly out numbered, were victorious on every point, causing the popish soldiers to fall back, carrying wondrous tales of the Vaudois’ valor and heroism and infusing panic into the rest of their troops.
Pianeza now began to have misgivings. As he recalled history, he was haunted by the memory of other mighty armies that had perished on these mountains. He determined to resort to deceit. Before daybreak on Wednesday, the twenty-first of April, he announced by the sound of trumpet, his willingness to receive the Vaudois deputies and treat for peace. Delegates set out for his camp headquarters and, on arrival, were treated with utmost courtesy and sumptuously entertained. Pianeza expressed the utmost regret for the excesses committed by his soldiers, which he assured them had been done contrary to orders. He protested that he had only come into their valleys to track a few fugitives who had disobeyed Gastaldo’s order. He said that the higher communes had nothing to fear, but that if each would admit a single regiment for a few days, in token of their loyalty, all war would be amicably ended. Despite the warnings of the more discerning pastors, especially pastor Leger, Pianeza was able to convince the Vaudois of his sincerity and accomplished by craft that which he had been unable to do by open warfare. The Waldenses opened the passes to their valleys and the doors of their dwellings to the soldiers of Pianeza.
The first two days were passed in comparative peace—the soldiers eating at the same table, sleeping under the same roof and conversing freely with their destined victims. This interval was needed to allow for every preparation to be made for what was to follow. The enemy now occupied the towns, the villages, the cottages, and the roads throughout the valleys.
At last the blow fell with the sudden crash of a thunderbolt. At four o’clock on the morning of Sabbath, April 24, 1655, the signal was given and in an instant a thousand assassins began the work of death. In a moment dismay, horror, agony, and woe overspread the Valleys of Lucerna and Angrogna. The cries and groans of the dying were echoed and reechoed from the rocks around. It seemed as if the mountains had taken up a wailing for the slaughter of their children. “Our Valley of Lucerna,” exclaimed pastor Leger, “which was like a Goshen, was now converted into a Mount Etna, darting forth cinders and fire and flames. The earth resembled a furnace, and the air was filled with a darkness like that of Egypt, which might be felt, from the smoke of towns, villages, temples, mansions, granges, and buildings, all burning in the flames of the Vatican.” History of Protestantism, 484.
The soldiers were not content with the quick dispatch of the sword; they invented new and hitherto unheard-of modes of torture and death. No man to this day dare write in plain words all the disgusting and horrible deeds of these men; their wickedness can never be all known because it never can be all told.
Uncontrollable grief seized the hearts of the survivors at the sight of their brethren slain, their country devastated and their church overthrown. “Oh that my head were waters,” exclaimed Leger, “and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.” Ibid., 485
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own consciences seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” 1 Timothy 4:1-3
Let us look carefully at verse two: “Speaking lies and hypocrisy.” If you allow the first part of this verse, “speaking lies and hypocrisy,” to lodge in your heart, the second half of the verse is the result, “speaking lies and hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” Your conscience is seared by your speaking lies and by hypocrisy. If the lies start living in our heart and we start acting out these lies, we are preparing our conscience to be “seared by a hot iron” so that we have no conscience left.
Let us consider the fact that, in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, ministers are being trained in imaging, a form of mind control that is basic in the spiritual exercises of Ignatius Loyola. In this story we have seen the end result of training a priesthood to have a dead conscience. These men are now teaching these exercises to their congregations. We can already see the first fruits of the persecution through the disbanding and disfellowshipping taking place, but these persecutions will not be the last fruits.
What the Vaudois had power and valor to do in open confrontation, they were unable to do when they gave in to deceit. The deceit cloaked the murder in the wicked ones’ hearts. In Proverbs 12:5 we read: “The counsels of the wicked are deceitful.”
Friends, what do you think all these committee meetings concerning the independent ministries are really about? Do not be fooled; the devil knows that what he cannot do through open confrontation, he can often accomplish through the deceitfulness of pretended friendship. If you accept the proposals of such, it will be as fatal to your salvation and that of your family as was the Waldenses’ accepting of their murderers into their homes.
The devil has studied history; he knows what tricks will work. We would be extremely naive to believe that he will not use them on us. He is seeking to do through peace and unity what he has been unable to do by force.
“When God’s people voluntarily unite with the worldly and the unconsecrated, and give them the preeminence, they will be led away from Him by the unsanctified influence under which they have placed themselves. For a short time there may be nothing seriously objectionable; but minds that have not been brought under the control of the Spirit of God will not take readily to those things which savor of truth and righteousness. If they had heretofore any relish for spiritual things they would have placed themselves in the ranks of Jesus Christ. The two classes are controlled by different masters and are opposites in their purposes, hopes, tastes, and desires.” Counsels to Teachers, 542
This is the reason that the issue of who and what is the church is a salvational issue; one you must understand. If you are confused on this issue and you believe that there is a set of men which you need to go counsel with (regardless of their betrayal of sacred trust in upholding wickedness in others), you will lose your soul. In His instruction to His disciples, Jesus warned them to beware of men. “They were not to put implicit confidence in those who knew not God, and open to them their counsels; for this would give Satan’s agents an advantage. Man’s inventions often counterwork God’s plans. Those who build the temple of the Lord, are to build according to the pattern shown in the mount–the divine similitude. God is dishonored and the gospel is betrayed when His servants depend on the counsel of men who are not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Worldly wisdom is foolishness with God. Those who rely upon it, will surely err.” Desire of Ages, 354
Do not go to the Pharisees and the Sadducees and try to unite with them in an evangelistic endeavor or some other seemingly worthy project. Do not get up in front of church and try to speak words that will please both the children of darkness and the children of light.
“‘The kingdom of God cometh not with outward show.’ The gospel of the grace of God, with its spirit of self-abnegation, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world. The two principles are antagonistic.” Review and Herald, January 18, 1906. (All emphasis supplied.) What does it mean when it says never? Never! When those who were professing truth, but were not bringing forth its fruits in their life, came to John the Baptist, he refused to baptize them. In fact, he called them vipers, or deadly snakes.
Before the cobra strikes, it hypnotizes its victim. In the same manner, the Waldenses were first lulled to sleep with a treaty of peace. Then, when they least expected it, the deathblow was struck.
It says of John the Baptist’s harsh denunciation of religious leaders of his day: “This sect [the Sadducees] was largely composed of unworthy characters, many of whom were licentious in their habits. By the word ‘vipers’ John meant those who were malignant and antagonistic, bitterly opposed to the expressed will of God.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1077
Is malignant a safe situation to be in? It is deadly! Though they were the leaders of God’s professed church, it was not safe to follow them. Can we see the importance of the issue who and what is the church?
The devil is striving to lull the whole world into a fatal sleep from which they will not awaken until it is too late. I am so thankful that there are some people who are standing up and warning the people before they are struck by the poisonous snake.
“Those who have the mind of Christ will let the light shine forth to the world in good works, but that light will bring about a division. Shall the light therefore be hid under a bed or under a bushel, because it will mark a distinction between the followers of Christ and the world? It must be apparent that the believers in the truth are antagonistic to the serpent and to his seed.” Signs of the Times, April 9, 1894
The fear of being branded as “uncooperative” or ” uncharitable” leads many to join work with those they have no confidence in, and become involved in activities about which they have grave reservation. We must, brothers and sisters, stand up against the apostasy and not be content to remain in the shadows, mingling on the fringes. There are vipers in the camp today. With sublety and deceit they will seek to deceive you. Do not listen to their talk of peace.
“The words of Jesus addressed to this generation may well be regarded with sorrow and awe. He asks, ‘When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?’ Christ looked down the ages, and with prophetic eye marked the conflict between the antagonistic principles of truth and error. He saw how real Christianity would become almost extinct in the world, so that at His second advent He would find a state of society similar to that which existed before the flood. The world will be engaged in festivity and amusement, in theatrical show, in the indulgence of base passion. Intemperance of every grade would exist, and even the churches would be demoralized, and the Bible would be neglected and desecrated. He saw that the desperate revelries of the last days would only be interrupted by the judgments of God.” Signs of the Times, April, 21, 1890
Judgments are coming. Do not try to secure peace by your silence. Regardless of the motive, beware of entering into any kind of agreement for peace with the children of darkness. You will be taking a step toward Babylon. “Peace is too dearly obtained if purchased by the smallest concession to Satan’s agencies.” Signs of the Times, November 8, 1899
“The opposition of the children of disobedience is excited by a Christianity that is spiritual….That peace and harmony which are secured by mutual concessions to avoid all differences of opinion are not worthy of the name.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 244
“We are to make no concessions to the enemy. [What is a concession? Giving in.] We are not to change one principle of the truth that we have received from God. We cannot hold converse with those who are in league with evil angels. Christ never purchased peace by compromise.” Notebook Leaflets, 124
Friend, no one should feel that he is so strong that he is safe to enter into discussions with people who are in league with evil angels in order to keep peace. None of us are safe from deception. Our only safety is in being kept by holy angels. If, however, we go where the Lord has not bidden us go, we forfeit their protection.
Do not think you are doing a soul winning endeavor when you join in peace talks with ministers who are not speaking up against the apostasy. You are preparing to be destroyed. God did not protect the Waldenses when they entered into an unauthorized treaty with the powers of darkness. Do you believe He will deal differently with us today?
If we do not learn the lessons of history, we are insuring that we will share the bitter results of the same mistakes.
Those who are teaching NLP and practicing it on our people are wicked men; and those who hold these men’s hands in quietness are partakers of their sins. The Word of God says, “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valleys, to those who are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, who will bring them down to the earth with His hand.” Isaiah 28:1-4
The judgments of God are far bigger than any of us. Our only safety when the storm breaks is to be found under the sheltering hand of God. There is no other safety.
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11
Everyone in this world is either going to have a new heart, a heart of truth and righteousness, or they will enter into a league with Satan’s angels and be deceived by a strong delusion. Which is it going to be for you?