The following quotation is one that many Adventists do not want to apply to themselves. They look only to the other churches, applying the warning to them: “I saw that as the Jews crucified Jesus, so the nominal churches had crucified these [Three Angels’] messages, and therefore they have no knowledge of the way into the most holy, and they cannot be benefited by the intercession of Jesus there. Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself, working with his power, his signs and lying wonders, to fasten them in his snare.” Early Writings, 261.
Does that apply to Adventists today? Can we crucify Christ today? When Ellen White compares the crucifixion of Christ with the crucifixion of the Three Angels’ Messages, she describes an undermining of the Word by those who were aiming to destroy the fundamental beliefs of Adventism. God gave His people warning messages. It is Satan’s aim to destroy the sanctuary message and the Three Angels’ Messages.
An Effective Tool
Organization is good. It is a tool for the church, but the organization itself is not the church. Ellen White wrote of this and of Satan’s aim concerning the Adventist organization: “As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization there would be great confusion, and the work would not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying the work in new fields, for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for many other objects, organization was indispensable. . . .
“We sought the Lord with earnest prayer that we might understand His will, and light was given by His Spirit that there must be order and thorough discipline in the church—that organization was essential. System and order are manifest in all the works of God throughout the universe. Order is the law of heaven, and it should be the law of God’s people on the earth.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 26.
“Oh, how Satan would rejoice to get in among this people and disorganize the work at a time when thorough organization is essential and will be the greatest power to keep out spurious uprisings and to refute claims not endorsed by the word of God!” Ibid., 228.
“Organizations, institutions, unless kept by the power of God, will work under Satan’s dictation to bring men under the control of men; and fraud and guile will bear the semblance of zeal for truth, and for the advancement of the kingdom of God.” Ibid., 494. Satan’s methods are practiced even among Seventh-day Adventists who claim to have the advantage of truth.
This danger was already visible in Ellen White’s time! Many Seventh-day Adventists do not recognize that Satan already works through the organization of the Seventh-day Adventists, but he has a very effective tool in his hand. He can bring men under the control of other men.
Ellen White warns us of fallen leaders and preachers, for through their influence whole churches have been and will be defiled. “If those who hold positions of trust in connection with our institutions, or in connection with the church, make self first, if their hands are defiled in any way, and they do not reflect in character the image of the divine One, they are bodies of darkness.” Review and Herald, February 27, 1894.
“We are in a day when iniquity abounds. There are those who have but little moral sense; self-pollution has been practiced, and the moral powers are benumbed. Such have no just sense of holiness or purity. They are corrupt, and will corrupt others. Miserable wrecks of humanity are everywhere. Some put on a religious garb; but the soul is defiled, and they corrupt other minds. They call evil good, and good evil. They are Satan’s most efficient agents, and individuals of this stamp will connect with our institutions and with God’s instrumentalities, masking their evil ways under a pretension of godliness.” Pamphlet 167, Counsels to Physicians and Medical Students, 38, 39.
She is describing those men who will be the reason for evil deeds, and when people follow these men, they will be separated from God. We are warned of those who defile institutions; we should never put our trust in men, but only in Christ and in His Word. All who trust in preachers who bring them nice and sweet words to calm them down are cursed. “The people are too willing to believe their teachers without careful thought and prayerful investigation of God’s word. They love to have their consciences quieted,—love to be rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. In their blind selfishness, they deceive themselves in those things wherein they are willing to be deceived.” The Signs of the Times, March 6, 1884.
“Men who have perverted truth, misapplied Scripture, and who have become blinded by resisting the word which is truth, form the great apostate power of the last day. It belongs to the same order as the power which the Lord Jesus revealed to John as drunken with the blood of saints. It is to pursue the same line of action, determined to rule or ruin. The crisis is right upon us, and many will be deceived. Men who have all their life had opportunity to learn of Christ, but who have tenaciously clung to their own habits and practices, unwilling to change their own course of action and walk in the light, will act like blind men. They will accept everything that will coincide with their own ideas.” The Bible Echo, January 25, 1897.
End Time Apostasy
Ellen White predicts a dramatic apostasy in the end time. “Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 197. Can you already see part of those startling things happening around you?
“I [Ellen White] knew that the omega would follow in a little while; and I trembled for our people.” Ibid., 203.
Do you know what the Alpha crisis has been among the Adventist people? You can read about it in Book 1 of Selected Messages. This crisis and what God told us these situations are teaching are helpful to us in the end time crisis.
“The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced.” Ibid., 204.
“We are living in the last days of this earth’s history, and we may be surprised at nothing in the line of apostasies and denials of the truth. Unbelief has now come to be a fine art, which men work at to the destruction of their souls. There is constant danger of there being shams in pulpit pr eachers, whose lives contradict the words they speak; but the voice of warning and of admonition will be heard as long as time shall last; and those who are guilty of transactions that should never be entered into, when reproved or counseled through the Lord’s appointed agencies, will resist the message and refuse to be corrected. They will go on as did Pharaoh, and Nebuchadnezzar, until the Lord takes away their reason, and their hearts become unimpressible. The Lord’s Word will come to them; but if they choose not to hear it, the Lord will make them responsible for their own ruin.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1170.
Is this being fulfilled today? We still have a time of mercy, although the time of mercy for Seventh-day Adventists is ending earlier than for the rest of the world, which has not yet had the opportunity to hear the truth. “Oh, that the people might know the time of their visitation! There are many who have not yet heard the testing truth for this time. There are many with whom the Spirit of God is striving. The time of God’s destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have had 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.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 97.
Ellen White stated that in her time she already had the impression that some pastors had gone too far, as they could not repent. “I inquire of those in responsible positions in Battle Creek, What are you doing? You have turned your back, and not your face, to the Lord. There needs to be a cleansing of the heart, the feelings, the sympathies, the words, in reference to the most momentous subjects—the Lord God, eternity, truth. What is the message to be given at this time? It is the third angel’s message. But that light which is to fill the whole earth with its glory has been despised by some who claim to believe the present truth. Be careful how you treat it. Take off the shoes from off your feet; for you are on holy ground. Beware how you indulge the attributes of Satan, and pour contempt upon the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I know not but some have even now gone too far to return and to repent.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 89, 90.
When I look around among the German people and talk with our pastors, I only can agree with that impression. They cannot any longer see the truth. They are equally as blind as were the Pharisees who could not believe that God would cast off His people. But they forgot one thing—all prophesying of God is connected to conditions; promises are connected to conditions. They did not fulfill the conditions, but they liked to take the promises. Are we the same?
“Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas.’ ” Ibid., 409. Well, sure, all of those churches around us are this way, but keep on reading. “Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much. ‘If thou hadst known,’ said Christ, ‘even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.’ [Luke 19:42.]” Ibid., 409, 410.
Where will the faithful pastors and ministers be? Together with the professed people of God when they are in apostasy? The faithful ministers will be removed from the so-called Adventist people. We need to learn to distinguish between the real people of God and the so-called people of God.
What do we experience as the faithful ministers or preachers are removed from the so-called Adventist people? Are they separated from the true people of God? No, they are separated from the so-called or professed people of God. We must learn and know the difference. If we do not learn this differentiation, we will confuse and mix all the quotations of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy that talk about the people of God. There is only one true people of God.
“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.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212. About whom is this talking? It is talking about the ministers of God who once were His faithful ministers, bestowed with His presence and His guidance, but they departed from Christ and led others into error. Therefore, they are brought under divine displeasure.
Some Adventists do not discern this apostasy, and they are warned through the following quotations: “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.” Ibid., 214.
Apostasy Prepares Way
Paul, in 11 Thessalonians 2:3, described the apostasy of the church. He said, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”
So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image of the beast. (See The Great Controversy, 443.) What is the image of the beast? “The ‘image to the beast’ represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas.” The Great Controversy, 445.
Unfortunately, that is happening now in Germany. Protestantism and the ecumenical movement are requiring Sunday laws from the state. It will happen in the United States: “When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” Ibid.
Read again the testimony in Revelation 13:15, 4: “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” This image is being formed, and the ecumenical unification is a step in this direction. Only unified churches of the world can force the state to support their dogmas. If the Seventh-day Adventist Church unites with those churches, is it still opposing the dogmas?
The leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany probably voted to keep Sunday as a national holiday. There has been no threat of religious persecution; it is just to keep no work on Sunday. In Germany, all the shops are closed and there is no work on Sunday.
This is not really going against the Sabbath, but can we, as Adventists, vote for keeping a work-free Sunday? God says, “Six days thou shalt work.” (Exodus 20:9.) To take a second holiday in the week is apostasy. That is a step towards forming a unity with the beast.
Therefore, Ellen White could state: “The spirit of worldly conformity is invading the churches throughout Christendom. Robert Atkins, in a sermon preached in London, draws a dark picture of the spiritual declension that prevails in England: ‘The truly righteous are diminished from the earth, and no man layeth it to heart. The professors of religion of the present day, in every church, are lovers of the world, conformers to the world, lovers of creature comfort, and aspirers after respectability. They are called to suffer with Christ, but they shrink from even reproach. . . . Apostasy, apostasy, apostasy, is engraven on the very front of every church; and did they know it, and did they feel it, there might be hope; but, alas! they cry, “We are rich, and increased in goods, and stand in need of nothing.” ’—Second Advent Library, tract No. 39.” The Great Controversy, 388. Surely she had in view her own people!
“Every church,” she wrote. “Well,” you say, “Ellen White did not write this. This comes from another historian.” When Ellen White quotes a historian of church history and includes his statements in her works, does she not stand behind such statements? Otherwise, she would have to criticize the statements! But she put it into The Great Controversy. It is very plain that in the last apostasy the Seventh-day Adventist Church is included.
When Christ returns, those united with Him are only those who are staying with His orders and His commandments, who heed His prohibitions, who truly heed the call of the Midnight Cry, “Come out of her, my people.” Revelation 18:4. We need to go forward. We are not allowed to look back. We have a great work to do. The whole world needs to be warned—more than just the United States, more than Europe—the whole world. We should allow nothing to hinder us in this work.
The history of most Adventist pastors who stand faithful to Jesus has been always the same. Satan tries to forbid those pastors, through the organization, to spread the message. He has used the organization to hinder it.
Should faithful ministers disregard such commands, even though the danger of losing their jobs exists? Should they disregard the commands, in spite of the danger that they will not receive any money from the conference? They might fear problems of sustaining their families; should they allow those things to hinder them from preaching the truth? When they want to be saved and show all of us the way to find redemption, they should not allow anything to hold them back.
The apostle said, “We need to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), when the official organization wanted to hinder them. Today, again, there is an organization that wants to stop the faithful pastors. As a result, where are the faithful ministers to be found? Separated from the professed people who think, We are rich and we are in need of nothing. We do not need the Three Angels’ Messages in this clear form. We need a sermon about the love of Christ.
“The Lord knoweth them that are His. The sanctified minister must have no guile in his mouth. He must be open as the day, free from every taint of evil. A sanctified ministry and press will be a power in flashing the light of truth on this untoward generation. Light, brethren, more light we need. Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm in the holy mountain. Gather the host of the Lord, with sanctified hearts, to hear what the Lord will say unto His people; for He has increased light for all who will hear. Let them be armed and equipped, and come up to the battle—to the help of the Lord against the mighty. God Himself will work for Israel. Every lying tongue will be silenced. Angels’ hands will overthrow the deceptive schemes that are being formed. The bulwarks of Satan will never triumph. Victory will attend the third angel’s message. As the Captain of the Lord’s host tore down the walls of Jericho, so will the Lord’s commandment-keeping people triumph, and all opposing elements be defeated. Let no soul complain of the servants of God who have come to them with a heaven-sent message.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 410.
Without a doubt, we need to preach the love of Christ, but the preaching of love is the Three Angels’ Messages in a whole sense.
The Narrow Path
God loves mankind; He wants to save them. But the saving path is narrow. He is not irritated or confused because there are just a few people with you on the path. Do not become insecure that you may be on the wrong path or that you may have come a bit too far out from the mother church. What do we read about those who thus fear? “Some grew weary, and said the city was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted, ‘Alleluia!’ Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below.” Early Writings, 14, 15. They are lost for eternity.
As it is for the pastors, when they turn the wrong way, the same will happen to those who follow them. We cannot allow ourselves to go this wrong way. We cannot allow ourselves not to give the loud cry. We cannot allow ourselves to go together with those who fall off the path of Christ.
Can two walk one way if they are not in unity? Impossible. What is said of the people of the 144,000? Are they in unity? Fully, completely, in all things. May the Lord’s people come and be led to this unity, through His Spirit, through His light. May the Lord give His mercy, that we belong to those who have learned this lesson and who are fitting to the words of Matthew 25:34: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Dr. Korinth is a physician living in Berlin, Germany. He is very active in spreading the Three Angels’ Messages throughout Europe. He and his family have a printing press in their home and have had tracts translated in most of the different European languages. He is a promoter of home churches and is very interested in working with other historic Seventh-day Adventist groups worldwide. He may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.