The issue of the two differing views among the ministries as to who and what is the church has been a frustration and a sorrow to many of us laity. Many of us have asked, “Why can’t they get together on this?” of “Aren’t they both saying the same thing?” After much research in this area, I fear these sides may not find unity. But with a greater understanding of the roots for these two trains of thought, it is my prayer that a unity can come, based on truth, that will prepare the way for the latter rain fullness. As we are still to be operating as a theocracy (see Testimonies, vol. 8, 180; Testimonies, vol. 7, 109), I have been puzzled as to why some have been so adamant against the ordination service that was carried out according to the Bible plan. I am reluctant to comment concerning what motives may be hidden here.
Is it not appropriate at this time, when much of the structure is rapidly hastening off the platform of truth and forming the false organization we are warned about (see Selected Messages, book 2, 390), to ask the question, Where is God’s theocracy ? This became a life and death issue in Jesus’ day when Jesus and John presented the good old paths. But God knows that we, as humans, cannot handle knowing these things ahead of time. I cannot find any place that the infallibility of this structure is taught—it is conditional. I believe this was why God sealed the book of Daniel to the Jews, for it predicted their termination and the times when who and what is the church would be an issue. They were not to know ahead of time but were to do as we must do—dig deep into the mine of truth. As is our situation now, their shaking, or harvest, involved the shaking of their minds when confronted with truth interfacing with errors. (See 2 Thessalonians 2) It is then, when one’s mind remains unshaken from the platform of truth and he upholds God’s law, that his name also remains unshaken from the books of heaven. (See Hebrews 12:23, 27)
I believe God has again held His hand over aspects of truth until His timing is correct. He has promised before the last great test to indicate to the sheep which shepherds were in danger of leading them astray and to vindicate those who are teaching the truth. (See 1888 Materials, 1002; Testimonies, vol. 5, 100) This is a wonderful promise.
The traditional view which has been held in Adventism for many years is that the shaking out of the truth, or off the platform of truth, necessarily equates with being shaken out of the church. This latter has next become the prominent feature of the shaking—another tower of Babel so to speak. And indeed, as long as the structure and theocracy remains pure, these will be equated. But in times of apostasy, instead of leaving the organized structure, those who blow off the platform of truth by the heresies and false doctrines allowed by God’s fan are received and maintained, while those who attempt to expose their danger by the presentation of truth are cast out. This is truly the measure of our apostasy. (See Testimonies to Ministers, 490-410; Habakkuk 3:17)
Are the true and faithful ministries under God’s theocracy as they move according to all God’s counsels and by the leading of the Holy Spirit? Yes. Are we under God’s theocracy when we go to Egypt or to Babylon for church growth aid, use NLP, ecumenize, celebrate in sin, and as we go to legal counselors of the world instead of our true Counselor? We need to take God’s Word as it reads. I find that Selected Messages, book 3, 303, speaks clearly to me that our lawsuits being allowed are a sign from God concerning who is in control. And when ministers read Elder Johnson’s Review and Herald concerning the harmless nature of labs 1 and 2, if they truly understand the issue, they will be found following the counsel in Selected Messages, book 3, 412.
Do we believe Mrs. White, that this structure will be swept away if the omega remains? (See Selected Messages, book 1, 205) We know that historically, the whole system had to be swept away. (See The Desire of Ages, 36) History is repeating. In the 1888 Materials, 919, we read that if we do not keep God as our local destination harbor pilot, the church will make shipwreck and sink. This could not be referring to the true church, for we know it will go through. Mrs. White teaches the conditionality of the fate of the structure. The true ship to go through will be the one with solid planks of truth. The one that will shipwreck will be those who step off the platform of truth and range under Satan’s banner, joining the ranks of the enemy. And many of these are now still professing to be Seventh-day Adventists.
With these, and other quotes, are we not misreading Selected Messages, book 2, 380 if we view this church as being the whole church and structure? Are we not in danger of causing Mrs. White to contradict herself and thus to subtly be a part of Satan’s last great deception. Can the side-skirting of Upward Look, 131, occur? If I read these quotes correctly, it is very possible.
If we try to reason out things from the Bible without regard for the Spirit of Prophecy, our divinely inspired expositor of Scripture, we are idolizing our own reason and have not truly experienced the new birth. We need to study line upon line (see Selected Messages, book 1, 42) in order to find the true view that will bring unity.
Now, if we look closely at Selected Messages, book 2, 380, in a way that does not bring contradictions in Mrs. White’s teachings, we find defined there which church she is talking about which does not fall off the platform of truth. It is the wheat, the true church, which ever will remain on the platform of truth. Yes, Mrs. White is a true prophet and does not contradict herself.
This also brings to light our grave danger of attributing this phase of the harvest, which is even now occurring, to a time in the future. If our structure had remained pure, indeed it would also have been found with the true church which remains on the platform of truth. Many would not have been found leaving the true gospel of present truth and dabbling in worldly methods, including hypnotism (see Early Writings, 55-56) Rather, they would have sided on the truth with God’s messengers.
Are we too embarrassed today to call attention to God’s plan for a theocracy , with no need for church lawsuits which always culminate in persecution? If so, may God be with us and give us the love we need for our brethren in the structure who are caught unawares and need to know where the truth is. As Jesus did with Nicodemus, we need to point out to the leaders that they cannot understand the nature of the new birth when they refuse to understand the nature of Christ. The lifting up of the brass serpent typified the mystery of godliness, the union between humanity and divinity made possible by God’s great plan. It represented Christ, come in the likeness of sinful flesh. (See John 3:14 with Desire of Ages, 174-175 and Series A, 304)
Some are now emphasizing that we have time to choose here, as did those in Jerusalem as the Roman armies approached; but we need to remember what happened in Jesus’ day to those who did not, according to God’s timing, receive His message concerning who and what is the church.
The surrounding of Jerusalem by the Roman armies now equates with the national Sunday law, of course. But many forget that the door of mercy always closes first on those with great light. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 41, 401; This Day With God, 163; Review and Herald, July 5, 1906; Testimonies, vol. 5, 208-216; The Great Controversy, 27-18) In this latter reference, we see that the long probation on Jerusalem was especially for the children ant those who had not yet received ample light. It concerns me when I hear leaders apply this time factor to themselves. It is true that many leaders took their stand for truth during the early rain, but most were looking to a bright future for the apostate church structure with a freedom from the one-world order, Roman oppressors. And most of the people followed them to destruction without studying for themselves. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 747) Notice in Adventist Apocalypse, 256, that this deceptive teaching was prominent before the fall of Jerusalem. But especially note that it is again going to be prominent with us. Are we not now seeing the beginnings of this same deceptive message today in some of the ministries? I will try to explain.
Notice in Rosenvold’s book on the wheat and tares—1993, that some are beginning to place all the “weeds” with the tares. Some are placing open sinners with the tares and wheat. This homogenous mixture is taught to be the apple of God’s eye and includes open sin and the new theology false prophets. This, they say, is God’s church; and God will cause it to be physically purged of all the tares, at this highly visible, physical cleansing of the structure prior to the latter rain. According to this view, the cleansing from all sin of the individuals in the church and the polarization within the church, to then be brought about by the three angels’ messages as is even now under way, is effectively placed in the future. This cleansing, which will be very obvious, will, of course, bring a mass exodus from our church and will also free us again from the Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist oppression from those in our midst who are ecumenizing and favoring the coming one-world order. Does not this view depict a glorious future for the structure? I would also like to embrace this view! Then the issue of who and what is the church is already cut and dried. It is a cinch and we will clearly see the time for the latter rain. But does Inspiration uphold this view?
This generally held view is exactly why many now see no relevancy in the question of who and what is the church and actually become upset at hearing about it. This, of course, is why they also see no reason for the ordination service which they feel was out of God’s timing. Some with this view, who place open sinners with the tares, quote from Testimonies to Ministers, 233-235, but somehow fail to see that on page 234 this final separation takes place at the second coming! They forget that the reason we are in danger of unifying with those who depart the faith (see Selected Messages, book 3, 412) is that they still call themselves Seventh-day Adventists. In The Great Controversy, 608, we need to emphasize that these apostates abandon the three angels’ messages and join ranks of the enemy, whether or not they physically leave a pure church or remain in an apostate church.
Are we not now seeing this storm approach? Mrs. White equates the Jews, who are in the synagogue of Satan (see Revelation 2:2, 9; 3:9), to Adventists. (See Little Flock, 11.) Understanding who and what the true church militant is becomes clear by looking closely at Testimonies to Ministers, 1-81 (recommended reading by writers of Issues) and has helped us to place things in perspective. Notice how Testimonies to Ministers, 16, defines the synagogue of Satan. Then notice the definition of the true church militant on page 51. It is those on God’s side of the great controversy who are militant with truth against the synagogue of Satan. Notice all of the qualifying phrases all through these pages which help to clarify God’s true church militant. So, Testimonies to Ministers, 22-23, must now be flip-flopped 180 degrees when we understand the earmarks of His people. Testimonies, vol. 5, 83, states that we are God’s people only when entirely His (new birth = wheat = wise virgins). They do not rise up against the message. (See Early Writings, 270) They do not disparage the true church about to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They do not fight against those who uphold the Laodicean message. (See Testimonies to Ministers, 23) It is the synagogue of Satan which forms a hollow square around the true church militant, turning upon it their unholy guns of Perth, issues, lawsuits, and illegal disfellowshipping, done according to men’s rules rather than God’s. They denounce the Seventh-day Adventist Church as Babylon. It is not the true church militant which favors celebration and ecumenism over the three angel’s messages. (See Testimonies, vol. 8, 118-119.) Many have forgotten that for us to celebrate in the day of atonement when we have this great light is to commit an unpardonable sin. (See Isaiah 22.)
The Jews rejected the theocracy when they chose Caesar as their king rather than Jesus. (See The Desire of Ages, 737-738.) Do we love our brethren enough to warn them about the true nature of God’s theocracy ? Was this not one of the main issues in 1888? Do we not repeat history as we go against Christ in the form of His messenger, going to Caesar to rid ourselves of them?
Please read Testimonies, vol. 6, 408, concerning what it means to be spewed out of Jesus’ mouth. Those in Jesus’ day who did not learn who and what is the church did not know when they were spewed. And when Jesus cleansed the temple, the structure and leadership went right on for years claiming to be the true Seventh-day Adventist Church, while those seeking the truth found it. During the early rain, Peter had to warn the people to no longer wait for nor counsel with the leaders. (See Acts of the Apostles, 43-44) It appears that the latter rain is near. I want to be a part of it. This is why Satan now has his new theology ministers trying to hypnotize the flocks. (See Early Writings, 43-44) We are not to link up or unify with them. (See Selected Messages, book 3, 411-412) By simply following this counsel and Jesus’ counsel to not follow the blind leaders of the blind, we will be called separationists and dissidents. That is all right. We want to be saved along with our young children. Lately, we have not been having to worry about having to explain to our children why the minister has been teaching error. We have come to realize that we can no longer safely exclude our Seventh-day Adventist Church from the counsel in Early Writings, 124-125. If, after addressing error with truth, a minister plays down truth in favor of some “hidden agenda,” then we no longer feel safe in going back to that church. I praise the Lord for the shepherds who are feeding many, now in their own home churches. God indicated the value of home churches in the latter rain time as in the early rain. (See Testimonies to Ministers, 508) Sad to say, I know altogether too many sheep and loved ones who are not now motivated to really study. They do not recognize this current harvest and the crisis that is here. They are determined to stay by what they believe is the ship because of their erroneous view concerning a future physical purging, confusing this with our current harvest being effected by the third angel. (See Early Writings, 118) Some of them who used to be staunch missionaries are actually now willing to say that it must not now be God’s timing to give the three angels’ messages, for the church leaders will know the timing. I want to realize God’s timing on who and what is God’s theocracy .
It appears that we are in excellent company when we absent ourselves from many of today’s religious gatherings. (See Desire of Ages, 449-450) We see no Bible precedent for withdrawing our membership. But nonattendance may be necessary to not unify with them and to maintain our Bible standards. “At that time [latter rain—just before close of probation and plagues] many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this wold has supplanted love for God and His Word.” Maranatha, 33. If the world is introduced into the church, it will thus become corrupted as other denominations, as stated in Revelation 18. (See Testimonies, vol. 4, 513) “When Christians choose the society of the ungodly and unbelieving, they expose themselves to temptation.” Great Controversy, 508