“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. Notice, this verse does not say the room of the just, but the path of the just. As you walk that path, if you stay on it, the light is going to become brighter and brighter. But it is also true, friend, that if you do not keep walking on the path, the light is going to become darkness, because the light is moving.
The Bible talks about present truth. (See II Peter 1:12.) There are certain things that can be preached at one time that cannot be preached at another time. There are some truths that are timeless, but there is some truth that is present truth. What is present truth today is not exactly the same as it was 100 years ago.
I believe that very soon God’s servants are going to have to preach things that we have never thought we were going to preach. We are in a situation very similar to the Jews in the time of Christ. The devil had manipulated them into a situation, through what they had been taught, so that they were ready to reject the truth. They had developed a series of criteria which, if Jesus was the Messiah, they believed He would meet. Interestingly enough, they based these expectations on the Old Testament. Jesus did not, however, meet their criteria. It is interesting to note, in the study of history, that almost every time prophecy is fulfilled, it is not fulfilled in the way expected.
Seventh-day Adventists used to wonder what Ellen White meant when she said, “I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 608. Very soon we are going to find out.
This concept that spiritual light is moving and the person who does not keep walking in the light finds himself in the dark, explains many spiritual phenomena that are happening all around us that otherwise would be very confusing. A few years ago, two Seventh-day Adventist ministers came to Marshall’s home, where I was staying, to question me. One of them said something like this: “Do you believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization was ordained by God? Well, do you or don’t you?” Well, let me ask you some questions? Do you believe that the Jewish church organization was ordained by God, or that He had a hand in setting it up? Was there a time when the Jews were in the light? Yes, there was. The Jews had been called by God and chosen as His special people. They had been in the light. They had, friends, the spirit of prophecy. They had all of the Old Testament; that is the spirit of prophecy. But when the light moved, they did not move with it. God had more light for them, but they would not accept it. They stayed put and, as a result, they were left in the dark.
Jesus is the light of the world. I want you to notice Revelation 14:4 and what it says about the 144,000. “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” When the light (Jesus) moves, the 144,000 follow. The problem today is that when the light moves, there are so many people who do not follow it; they stay put. They are left in the dark and are then spiritually blind. There was a time when they were in the light; but the light moved, and they did not move with it. “As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation.” The Desire of Ages, 232. Did you notice that she said that this has taken place in every succeeding generation? “Again and again the history of Christ’s withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the Word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light.” Ibid. What happened? The religious leaders refused to walk in the light. “And those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth.” Ibid. Everyone who does not love the truth is going to be deceived and be lost.
“Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the Word of God.” Ibid. Did you know that there are many people who no longer believe that this statement can apply today? Have you ever heard people say, “Well, the cycles have to stop somewhere, and they stopped in 1863 because that is when we incorporated”? The trouble is, friends, The Desire of Ages was not even written until 1898.
We are living in a time that a few years ago no one expected to see. We believed that when persecution came, it would come from outside of the church. We failed to understand what Ellen White meant when she said that we have far more to fear from within than from without. (See Selected Messages, Book 1, 122.) Who would have thought that in Adventism the apostasy would become so great that in many places it would become spiritually dangerous to even attend the local Seventh-day Adventist Church because error was being “forced home to the people.”? (See Early Writings, 125.) We were not expecting the true and faithful Seventh-day Adventists to be disfellowshipped and persecuted by their former brethren all over the world, as is taking place today. But when we go to the inspired writings, we see all of this prophesied—we just did not understand it. People have come to believe that these things would not happen until after the national Sunday law. Friend, that theory is a dangerous deception. The national Sunday law does not initiate the shaking; it brings the shaking to a climax! Those who are waiting to take a bold, unyielding stand for the truth until the Sunday law test comes are simply preparing to receive the mark of the beast.
You see, when anyone rejects the light of truth that God has given to this people, he has turned his back on the light and goes out in darkness. He may still call himself a Seventh-day Adventist; but if he does not believe the First Angel’s Message and truth of the Investigative Judgment beginning in 1844, he has gone into darkness. You cannot, with safety, go to his church and listen to him preach. When a person rejects the truth of the great Day of Atonement that began in 1844 and says that instead of afflicting the soul (Leviticus 16:29, 30) it is time to celebrate, they have gone out into darkness. If a preacher says that you will sin until Jesus comes, he has accepted Satan’s fatal sophistry (see The Great Controversy, 489), and you dare not go and listen to him preach lest you be deceived and lose your own soul. Finally, if you are not hearing the historic doctrines of Adventism preached in your church, if you are hearing the same kinds of sermons that you could hear in any other church, then you are endangering your soul if you do not either find an Historic Seventh-day Adventist congregation, or start a home church where you can teach the truth, at least to your own family.
Our opportunities for learning and knowing God’s last message to a perishing world and being prepared for what is coming on the world are very limited at best, and we dare not allow ourselves and our families to be exposed to either heretical preaching or “peace and safety” messages that come just before destruction. “I saw that we have no time to throw away in listening to fables. Our minds should not be thus diverted, but should be occupied with the present truth, and seeking wisdom that we may obtain a more thorough knowledge of our position, that with meekness we may be able to give a reason of our hope from the Scriptures. While false doctrines and dangerous errors are pressed upon the mind, it cannot be dwelling upon the truth which is to fit and prepare the house of Israel to stand in the day of the Lord.” Early Writings, 125.
Every Sabbath after church, you should be more fitted to stand in the day of the Lord than before. But the prophet wrote sadly, “Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ring-leaders in apostasy and examples in indifference and in the abuse of God’s mercies. Their wicked course He will tolerate no longer, and in His wrath He deals with them without mercy.
“It is with reluctance that the Lord withdraws His presence from those who have been blessed with great light and who have felt the power of the word in ministering to others. They were once His faithful servants, favored with His presence and guidance; but they departed from Him and led others into error, and therefore are brought under the divine displeasure. . . .
“Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart.
“By their lack of devotion and piety, and their failure to reach a high religious standard, they make other souls contented with their position. Men of finite judgment cannot see that in patterning after these men who have so often opened to them the treasures of God’s Word, they will surely endanger their souls. Jesus is the only true pattern. Everyone must now search the Bible for himself upon his knees before God, with the humble, teachable heart of a child, if he would know what the Lord requires of him. However high any minister may have stood in the favor of God, if he neglects to follow out the light given him of God, if he refuses to be taught as a little child, he will go into darkness and satanic delusions and will lead others in the same path. . . .
“What are you doing, brethren, in the great work of preparation? Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212–216.
Friends, it is a dangerous thing to fail to advance in the opening providence of God. The light is moving. Are you moving with it or are you in the dark? Early in her experience, Ellen White saw a vision about this light. You can read this vision in Early Writings, 15–20. In other places in her writings, she speaks about the light that was set up at the beginning of the path that the Advent company was traveling that shone all of the way up to the Holy City. This path, friends, is narrow; and if you do not have light on the path, you are going to stumble and fall off.
What was that light that was set up at the beginning? Sister White says that it was the Midnight Cry. The Midnight Cry was based on the Bible prophecies of Daniel 8 and 9, and Revelation 14:6, 7—the message of the 2300 days and the sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment. The devil knows that if we reject these truths, we will stumble and fall off of the path. It is amazing how successful the devil has been in leading us to reject them.
We have been told that, “When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No after suppositions contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 161. Yet there are Adventist teachers and ministers today who no longer believe these truths. Friend, if you are in the situation where you listen to this error, you are in the dark; you are going to lose your way. The Lord is not going to work a miracle to save you; you have turned your back on the light. This idea that you can have a spirit of free inquiry and ask any question you want to is not according to the Scriptures. Jesus rebuked people for their doubt. Friend, if these truths are not being upheld in your church, your church is in the dark.
In Testimonies, vol. 2, 594–597, Ellen White describes a very impressive dream. “I dreamed of being with a large body of people. A portion of this assembly started out prepared to journey. We had heavily loaded wagons. As we journeyed, the road seemed to ascend. On one side of this road was a deep precipice; on the other was a high, smooth, white wall. . . . As we journeyed on, the road grew narrower and steeper. . . . We concluded that we could no longer travel with the loaded wagons. We . . . took a portion of the luggage from the wagons and placed it upon the horses, and journeyed on horseback. As we progressed, the path still continued to grow narrow. . . . We then cut the luggage from the horses, and it fell over the precipice. We continued on horseback. . . . A hand seemed to take the bridle and guide us over the perilous way. As the path grew more narrow, we . . . left the horses and went on foot, in single file. . . . At this point small cords were let down from the top of the pure white wall; these we eagerly grasped. . . . The path finally became so narrow that we concluded that we could travel more safely without our shoes, so we slipped them from our feet. . . . Soon it was decided that we could travel more safely without our stockings; these were removed, and we journeyed on with bare feet.”
One of the most interesting points of this dream is that several changes were made. They began with heavily loaded wagons, then changed to horses with a portion of the luggage, to horses with no luggage, to single file on foot, to removing their shoes, and finally to removing their stockings. Notice that “at every change some were left behind, and those only remained who had accustomed themselves to endure hardships. The privations of the way only made these more eager to press on to the end. . . . We pressed close to the white wall, yet could not place our feet fully upon the path, for it was too narrow. We then suspended nearly our whole weight upon the cords, exclaiming: ‘We have hold from above!’” Ibid.
The light, friends, is moving. Are you keeping up with the providence of God? Are you aware that the road we are traveling is getting narrower? Have you noticed it? How are you going to stay on the path and keep up with the providence of God? The only way is to have faith. These cords represent faith. A few years ago a good friend of mine told me that he was sorry that I had worked so many years for the Adventist denomination and now had to give up all of my retirement benefits. If you stay on the road all the way to the end, you are going to give up much more than retirement benefits.
Oh friend, how much time are you spending in prayer? If you are energetic enough to get up and to pray, God will hear and answer.
“Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim.” The Desire of Ages, 825.
You must not only study your Bible and pray, you must be actively involved in missionary work. If you are not, ask the Lord to show you what to do to become involved in some type of outreach program spreading the Third Angel’s Message.
We did not follow the path to the end of the vision. The time came, however, when the path disappeared and all that was left were the cords that had been let down from above. When you come to this place in your experience, will you have a faith that will hold you? Do you want the Lord to let down a cord of faith today so that you can get a hold from above? If so, determine that from this day forward, you will faithfully walk in the light as God sheds it upon your pathway.