As we see things of this world coming very rapidly to an end, we must rejoice! That is what Christ told His disciples to do (See Luke 21:28.) Rejoice when you see these things coming to pass because redemption is at hand. However, the things that have been happening are still a surprise to many of us. It never even came to my mind that I was going to be facing what I am facing today. [Editor’s note: Pastor Perez, the Eternal Gospel Church and its directors have been sued by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in November, 1999.]
The more that I read the Federal Judge’s ruling, the less it makes sense. It is just a secular law being applied to a religious group, to a religious institution. I invite each one of you to go to our website when you have a little time, www.eternalgospel.com. There you can see the entire 16 pages of the Judge’s decision protecting the order of the structure church. They have a trademark that they have to protect, and the Judge states that he has to protect that trademark.
I never, brothers and sisters, even dreamed that a Federal Judge from this great nation would come out with a ruling calling God’s people, the worshippers of the Most High, “customers”! And he repeats the word “customers” time after time throughout the document.
Running a Business
So what the General Conference, the structure from Silver Springs, Maryland, had requested of the civil government of this nation was that they be able to protect their business, their customers. I never thought—and I am sure that none of you ever thought—that the General Conference is running a commercial business.
This is a very serious thing! I understand that some of you still feel a need to be part of the structure, because you are trying to help some brethren over there. My heart goes out to you, and I hope you will be able to help some brethren. But if that is not the main purpose for you to still be attending a structure church, brothers and sisters, pray! I am sure the Lord will guide you to be completely separated from that structure.
How do you suppose they are going to go to the Federal government and request that their customers not be stolen away? Back in 1990, 1991, when I heard some of the Seventh-day Adventist pastors accusing me of stealing their members, I took it as a joke. I still take it as a joke; but do you know what? It is a very serious thing.
180 Degree Turn Around
We have come to a point in this nation, where the institution that God called out to give the last message of warning to mankind has been turned 180 degrees, and they are opposing the people who are, by the grace of God, giving this very message to the people. So, it has been shocking to me. It has been like a nightmare.
Is a church a commercial business? I do not think any of the brethren think of it that way. I want you to think, those of you who are still going and will be going next Saturday to your local churches; think of this: your leaders consider you a customer, just as if you were going to MacDonald’s, to Burger King, or to the grocery store.
I do not think you want to be treated like a customer. It is about time, brothers and sisters, that we try, not only with words but also with our actions, to stop this ind of action in our land.
The Judge’s ruling also says that the Plaintiff’s registration covers religious books, magazines, pamphlets, newsletters and more. And then he concluded the list by saying, “Also religious services.”
What does that mean? Do you see, brothers and sisters, the Lord is trying to wake up His people before it is too late. I have a copy of a letter from New Zealand addressed to the President of the United States. This New Zealand brother wrote a letter on my behalf, and I hope that somebody high up in government levels will read it. It says, “The only church in the whole world that has trademarked the name of the church, is the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
Even the Roman Catholic Church has not done that. Right in the county where we live, Palm Beach County, there is an independent Catholic Church and, as far as I know, the Bishop and the Catholic Diocese are not trying to sue them. This Catholic Church calls the pope the antichrist, by the way. I mean, it is like God is trying to speak to us through the stones.
Learning a Hard Lesson
Part of the message, part of the warning that we should be giving to the world, now God is using people of the world to give us a lesson. We received one of the most beautiful letters from Bob Jones University. You know they are not Adventists, they are Baptists. Bob Jones has written a nice letter on our behalf!
I called him, and he said, “As you know, I cannot agree with everything that you are putting in these newspapers, The Earth’s Final Warning. But one thing that I agree with you 100 percent, you are under the Constitution of this nation, and you have the right to express your religious beliefs.” He went on to say, “Who do those people in Silver Springs, Maryland, think they are, trying to stop you from expressing your religious faith?”
I said, “Well, that is the question I have been trying to resolve for quite a long time.” Yet, it is so sad to see so many of our brethren being appeased. Their conscience has been compromised. The General Conference will be making them believe that the Three Angels’ Messages is being preached, because they are doing that Net ‘95, ‘96, ‘99, 2000 program.
Do a little testing, if you do not want to believe me. If some of you sincerely believe that the presentation of these global nets are giving the Three Angels’ Messages to the world, test it out. Ask your pastor, or call your Conference leader, and ask them to put those same messages out on secular television where you live and see what they do.
A Time of Double Standards
Let us not be so naïve, brothers and sisters. We put in our newsletter a copy of a letter from Pastor Doug Bachelor, the same pastor who was preaching on the so-called Net ’98 and ’99 programs. He said he was telling the people in America to pray for the heart of Pastor Perez to be converted, so he would not give so much trouble to the General Conference. He does not even know me! You see, we are living in a time of double standards.
There is a beautiful quote from Mrs. White about how no voice should be stopped in preaching the Three Angels’ Messages (See Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 308.) Yet, look what they are doing! You see, there is a double standard. The same brother out in California, after he wrote that letter, said, “Oh, we have to try to stop this terrible thing that the General Conference is persecuting a little group in Florida.” This same brother! How long are we going to be playing games with our salvation and the salvation of so many people?
The time has come, brothers and sisters, that we have to take seriously the calling which God has given to us. God has called you and me, not only to be part of His kingdom but also to bring souls to His kingdom. Do we understand that? Do we understand that there cannot be a greater commission, a greater appointment by anybody given—even by God—than the commission of being made an instrument of salvation to others?
Luke 21 talks a little bit about the experience that we are going to be facing in these last days. For example, it states in verse 12, “‘But before all these, [Jesus is talking about all the signs that would happen before the Second Coming], they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.’”
You know, many of us, when we used to read these verses, especially those of us who have come out of Roman Catholicism, thought that these verses meant people would be fleeing from the Roman Catholic Church. We thought it was the Roman Catholic Church that would go after us. I remember, about twenty years ago, coming out after attending a Roman Catholic Seminary, and coming to this beautiful light. I said, when I came to this message, “In the near future we are going to see the Roman Catholic Church persecuting us and taking us to the court.” To be honest with you, until seven or eight years ago, that was my mentality. All of a sudden we are learning, through experience, that our worst enemies are our own brethren!
I could imagine the Roman Catholic leaders sitting down in their big palace, crossing their arms and laughing at us: “Look at them; we have to deal with these ‘offshoots.’” But my own General Conference brothers have taken care of it for them.
Now they are laughing at each one of us. They say, “Look, we do not have to do it, we have been doing a good job by even trying those churches. They are doing what we are supposed to be doing against those ‘offshoots.’”
And, of course, Luke 21:16 goes on to say, “‘And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends, and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.’” So we see in the book of Luke, very clearly, that we would be used for the sake of testifying for Christ; for verse 13 says, “‘And it shall turn to you for a testimony.’” Like Sister White says, that may be the only means that those men and women will have to come across the message. (See The Desire of Ages, 630.)
In the book of Matthew, we see another aspect of these words from Christ that we may not have seen in Luke 21. Look what it says in Matthew 24:10. Jesus is talking about the last days, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Why do you suppose many were going to be offended? because of the Three Angels’ Message.
Confronted with Opposition
You know, it is the same principle, the same method that Satan has been using against mankind forever. Every time that God has raised up His people, to give a special truth for a particular generation, a hatred has developed. People get offended and they go against the message and against the messenger. That has happened time after time. Sister White says very clearly that God has a message of present truth for this time. “Who dare refuse to publish it?” The Great Controversy, 609.
Because she knew that it is part of our human makeup to want to be accepted, God created us to live together. Remember that. God created all of us as a family. And it is part of our nature to want to be accepted by everybody. Everybody wants to be popular. Everybody wants to be in accord with the rest of the people. I am sure that is the same way you feel.
Brothers and sisters, very soon, we are going to come to our heavenly place, and then, yes, there will be forever and ever that unity, that one family for the rest of eternity. But while we are here, we are going to be confronted with opposition.
You know, it is not a surprise that in Matthew 24:14 it says He presented us a clear sign for the aid of the preaching of this gospel. “‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’”
Look how clearly the book of Mark presents it. Notice how Mark registered that quote: ” “‘And the gospel must first be published among all nations.’” Mark 13:10. We have been told, time after time, that the reason God raised up the Seventh-day Adventist people was to give this message, the last message.
Speak Smooth Things, Brother
On pages 94 and 95 of the book, Counsels to Writers and Editors, we are told that the people of the world will try to induce us to soften our message.
Have they done that? Of course!
For those of you who have not read it, I have a report from the General Conference, which they proudly post on their network. They have announced, how after more than 15 years of meetings between the Catholic Church in Poland and the Adventist Church, they have now come to agreement. The Catholic Church will no longer treat the Adventist Church as a sect or a new religious group. This is declared in a joint statement drawn by the Roman Catholic Church and the Adventist Church. So, again, the structure church has been doing a good job by allowing the infiltration of the Roman Catholics into the church to soften the message.
Oh, let us not preach anything negative about the people, they say. But God tells us to unveil the man of sin. God said to unmask the things of Babylon, but the world says, oh, no, no, do not do it! Do not do it! And Satan’s agents are not only saying do not do it, but they are persecuting the ones who are doing it. Satan has been very successful with the saints.
The world, Mrs. White says, will try to suppress one of our more distinctive features. “They say: ‘why do you in your teaching make the seventh-day Sabbath so prominent? This seems to be always thrust before us; we should harmonize with you if you would not say so much on this point.’” Ibid., 94.
Do you know what was the very first complaint from the evangelical leaders, Barnhouse and Martin, to the General Conference leaders back in 1956? It is recorded in the book, Letters to the Church, by M. L. Andreason. The very first thing that Martin noticed when he sat down in the office was a book that talked about the mark of the beast, according to Pastor Andreason’s report. He said, How can you be seeking to be accepted into the mainstream churches when you are teaching those things about the mark of the beast?
According to Pastor Andreason, the very next quarter the scheduled Sabbath School Quarterly had an entire chapter dealing with the mark of the beast. Do you know what happened to that chapter? It disappeared from the Sabbath School Quarterly.
For those of you who have not read the book, Letters to the Church, by M. L. Andreason, I recommend that you get the book. It is available from Steps to Life. You will be surprised.
You see, these things have been happening for quite a long time; the thing is, we have been asleep. People have been asleep. Satan has been trying to keep us just conforming. Many of us are conforming ourselves in a selfish manner. I do not even see how he knew a person could pretend to be saved by himself, because God called you and me for His kingdom, and with the same calling, He also called us to disciple others.
Run, Hide, Do Nothing!
Some feel that you can be saved, just by trying to ensure that only you are going to be saved. I have found, especially in the Spanish countries, a little wind of doctrine blowing. Recently, in Puerto Rico, some brethren have been going and hiding in places. Now it is good to be going into the country, but they are going beyond that. They said, “We do not see the need for you to be putting these messages out, because the law is going to be in control of all the message, anyway.”
I looked at one of the leaders, and said, “Who do you suppose God has been calling to get this message out?” God help us to accept this responsibility. We are going to be responsible for those souls, thousands and thousands of souls, who are perishing because of lack of knowledge, and their blood will be on us.
We were recently in Guatemala, and we were hardly able to find people to take care of a little work, because everybody was running and leaving the whole responsibility to finish the work for God.
Betraying a Sacred Trust
It does not matter which means Satan uses to keep the message from going out. He does not care which way he does it. We are not to get worried about that. But we are to be very aware. Look what Mrs. White says, “Shall we for the sake of policy, betray a sacred trust? If the world is in error and delusion, breaking the law of God, is it not our duty to show them their sin and danger? We must proclaim the Third Angel’s Message.” Ibid., 95.
This is not a matter of choice, whether we want it or do not want it. I came from a very strong Roman Catholic background. I have five or six cousins who are Roman Catholic priests. One of them was made a Bishop in the Dominican Republic not too long ago. He recently came to see me. They are still working hard to get me to go back home, so to speak, back into the “house.” They see me as the black sheep of the family.
And my heart is broken, because I know they are being deceived. I know them. They grew up with me, and still they cannot see that they have been, not only deceived, but manipulated by the Roman Catholic Institution. They are now deceiving the whole church; they are being manipulated. It is a heartbreaking experience. The message should be going out. It is so late, brothers and sisters, to be playing with the salvation of so many souls. Their blood will be on our hands.
It Has Nothing to do With the Name
We have been very anxious to go out and preach, even more than ever, because we know that the trial and the lawsuit is not really because of the name, Seventh-day Adventist. We are not deceived. It is because of the work that has been going on. Knowing that, we are trying to go as many places as possible to spread this message, even outside of North America.
There is a need for this message to go out. I just heard a brother from California. Their board has already made a decision to do some of this work out there, too, even though we have already done this several times in California. But California is huge, and I believe that some other people should start doing this, too, so the General Conference will see that it is not only a little “offshoot” people down there in Florida, but it is God’s people, around the world. Some of you told me that you took the Earth’s Final Warning to a local paper, and they refused to print it, even though you offered to pay. You can always bulk mail it to the zip codes. That is what we are doing. Also give it out; pass it out to the people. Very soon that is not going to be accepted, we know that, but sometimes the Lord opens up little opportunities and big opportunities.
Setting the Record Straight
Not too long ago somebody sent me a copy of an article that was in the Cairo, South Carolina, paper. It was almost a half page article entitled, “Thus Shall it Rest.” It says that every minister of the ministerial association officially declares a day of rest. I called the brother who sent this, and I said, “Did anybody in South Carolina answer this article? I know there are a lot of Seventh-day Adventists there.”
They said, “No, everybody has been quiet.”
“You mean not even one letter to the Editor, sent by somebody who is a Seventh-day Adventist?”
“Not as far as we know.”
So I called information, and I asked for the phone number of the newspaper. I had in front of me a copy of the articles of both the evangelical and the Roman Catholic churches. They said that they are trying to introduce the idea, or trying to implement the idea, of Sunday worship—you know, not enforcing, but presenting a day of worship.
“I am a Seventh-day Adventist,” I told the lady who was taking care of me over the phone, “and we believe that that is wrong.”
She said, “Well. . .”
“Will you allow me to write an article and put it in the paper?” I asked.
She said, “Well, let me see what can be done.” After a moment she said, “We can sell you some space.”
I said, “Okay, that is fine. I need you to give me a full-page ad.”
She said, “A full page?”
I said, “Yes, a full page. Not a quarter of a page, a full page.”
“Well, send me the material” she said. Then she wanted to charge me like a business.
I said, “No, we are a church, and we have a non-profit status.” I know, after a while of dealing with them, you have to press hard to get the cheapest rate possible. I always ask, “Do you have a stand-by program?” You know, like you set it aside.
That is what I recommend to you, if you are planning to do this. When you talk to the newspaper, tell them not only to give you the non-profit rate but also what they call Ramen, like a remnant space. If, at the last minute, they cancel an ad, they have your material right there, ready, and they will call you and say, “Okay, we have a page available, now. Do you want to go?”
“Yes!” We do not have a specific date to come out. It can come out any time.
That is the way we have been doing it. And let me tell you, in the Los Angeles Times, we were able to get the price down from $78,000 to only $21,000 by using this method. And the U.S.A. Today ad went from $150,000–$160,000 worldwide, to $52,000. You send them the material, they keep it there; and when they have had some other advertisers cancel, they put in your ad. It works well.
One time we did that with the Miami Herald, and the day the Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, was coming to Miami, there was a cancellation of a full page ad in the Miami Herald, and our Earth’s Final Warning came through right on the same day that she was in Miami! A $5,000 ad, and we got it for $1,600.
Madeline Albright is a very, very strong Roman Catholic lady. But do you not feel that she needs to be confronted with the Three Angels’ Messages, too? Yes, of course.
Then we received a lot of letters. You know, brothers and sisters, for the grace of God 80 percent of the people were requesting more books and materials. The other 20 percent were upset. When I give the 1-800 phone number, whoever calls, it is because they are in need of calling. And whoever sits down and writes a letter is either very angry at the message or is very interested in the message.