Often God’s people ask the question, “Why do we preach and teach about unity and yet there seems to be more division and separation among God’s professed people than ever before?” Though we do not have specific answers to each particular situation, we do have a general description in inspired writings of what we are going through right now in Adventism.
There are some who have entered the work, but who were not fitted to do so. Though they have a theory of the truth, they have not experienced true sanctification. God will allow circumstances to develop that will weed out those whom He has not appointed, leaving a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain. A winnowing process is going on just as it did in the days of Christ; and by it, many will be separated from God’s work.
“It is wholehearted, thoroughly decided men and women who will stand now. Christ sifted His followers again and again, until at one time there remained only eleven and a few faithful women to lay the foundation of the Christian church….These are salt that retains the savor. It is when the work moves hard that the churches develop the true helpers.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 130 [Emphasis supplied]
What is the reason for this winnowing process?
“The dark hours of trial are to come to every one as a part of his education for higher work, for more devoted, consecrated effort. The storm was not sent upon the disciples to shipwreck them, but to test and prove them individually. Before the great trouble shall come upon the world such as has never been since there was a nation, those who have faltered and who would ignorantly lead in unsafe paths will reveal this before the real vital test, the last proving, comes, so that whatsoever they may say will not be regarded as voicing the True Shepherd. The time of our educating will soon be over. We have no time to lose in walking through clouds of doubt and uncertainty because of uncertain voices.” 1888 Materials, 1002
One of the great reasons for many of the trials is that only those who have fortified the mind with the truth of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict we go through. God will have a people who do not make decisions based on emotion or feeling but on His Word alone.
“If we would maintain our fidelity to God, in this time of danger and deception, we must constantly rely upon the power of Christ. We must be often before God in prayer, holding every emotion and every passion in calm subjection to reason and conscience, banishing all unholy imaginings, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. By earnest prayer and living faith we can resist the assaults of Satan, and keep our hearts unspotted from pollution.” Signs of the Times, October 4, 1883
“In His Word the Lord declared what He would do for Israel if they would obey His voice. But the leaders of the people yielded to the temptations of Satan, and God could not give them the blessings He designed them to have, because they did not obey His voice but listened to the voice and policy of Lucifer. This experience will be repeated in the last years of the history of the people of God, who have been established by His grace and power. Men whom he has greatly honored will in the closing scenes of this earth’s history pattern after ancient Israel.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 379
In this great apostasy many of our leaders will fall and only a few will be faithful to truth. “I am in great distress and agony as I see how determined are some who have often been warned in their refusal to hear the words of entreaty. They have linked their arms in the arm of the deceiver, and are led captive by him at his will. I heard the words spoken, “So long have they been impregnated with the life and customs of the enemy that they have no desire to break away from his companionship.” Ellen G. White Pamphlets (“Perils Increase Till Jesus Comes,” 1) in the Concordance, vol. 2, 103
“Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 81
“To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason. The nation will be on the side of the great rebel leader.” Ibid., 136