The Church “Then”. . . . . .and the Church Now
by Terry S. Ross
In the last chapter I promised that we would go right to the Word of the Lord to establish who and what the church is and that’s just what we’re going to do. It’s alarming to find so many people who profess to be Adventists tossing out the Spirit of Prophecy. I have heard things like, “Well, if you need Ellen White, I guess that is all right for you, but I just need my Bible.” Perhaps these poor souls do not realize that when we throw away the Spirit of Prophecy, we are throwing away the Bible at the same time for, in the description of the remnant church in Revelation, one of the identifying marks of the true church is the gift of prophecy.
In the book of Acts we will discover the plain, simple truth about who and what the church is. We will better see if people are throwing out only the Spirit of Prophecy. Actually, this will prove that those who do not want to accept the truth will throw it aside no matter where it is found.
The good news is that this little study in Acts is amazingly clear and the honest Christian searching for truth and direction from the Lord will praise His name!
You know the story of Stephen. Now, was Stephen a Conference man or an Independent man? Well, of course. Stephen had been chosen by the disciples (Independent Preachers). The Conference did not recognize these men and told them they had no authority to preach. They forbade them to preach in the name of Christ.
The Independent Preachers (including Stephen) preached anyway because they didn’t get their orders from the Conference, but from the Lord. Stephen was called in by the “Conference Committee” and as he was explaining to them the prophecies concerning Christ, the Conference men became very angry. As a matter of fact, Acts 7 verse 54 says, they “gnashed on him with their teeth”. Let’s pick up the story in verse 55.
Acts 7: 55- 60: “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord [UNITY], And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Now we know that those who stoned Stephen were Conference Leaders. And we know that Stephen was an Independent Preacher who was being murdered by the Conference Leaders for preaching for the cause of Jesus.
Who was Saul? Was he a Conference man or an Independent? Saul, of course, was a Conference man in whom the Conference put a lot of confidence. His future with the Conference looked bright indeed. Saul was gifted in the ability of argumentation and he was bold.
One important lesson we surely don’t want to miss is the spirit Stephen possessed as the Conference was literally stoning him for taking a stand for Jesus. Stephen rather than being bitter, rather than being vengeful, asked the Lord not to lay this sin against their charge. This is the same spirit that Jesus Himself demonstrated as He was being martyred by the same Conference people. Neither one of these men shunned the duty of exposing the true character of this apostate Conference and neither took on the spirit of hate while doing it. Both Jesus and Stephen truly were “not blind, nor bitter,” but let’s read on.
Acts 8: 1- 4: “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against THE CHURCH which was at Jerusalem;” STOP!
Let’s look at this closely because in these few words is a great truth and revelation! “And at that time there was a great persecution against…” whom? Yes! The church! Now who was persecuting whom in Jerusalem? Were the Romans persecuting the Conference men? No. The Conference men were persecuting the Independents and here the Bible, God’s Word, plainly says that this was THE church. Not A church but THE church. Brothers and Sisters, can it be any plainer than this? Here it is right in the Word of God and to dismiss these plain words you will have to throw away your Bibles. But let’s read on. There’s more.
“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, EXCEPT THE APOSTLES.” STOP!
Do you see it? The Bible plainly states that THE church being persecuted which was scattered abroad had the apostles in it. This proves beyond any doubt whatsoever that THE church in Christ’s day was NOT the Conference but those who followed Jesus or whom the Conference would have called the Independents at that time. The Conference hated the Apostles and the other Independent Leaders who had been chosen. This is why they were persecuting them and this is why Saul was persecuting them. But hate them or not, recognize their authority to preach Christ or not, the Conference plainly did not have the say. God did! God said they were THE CHURCH! But we’re not done yet!
“And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of THE CHURCH…” STOP!
Saul made havoc of whom? Yes! THE church. Now just whom was Saul making havoc of? Was Saul making havoc of the Ancient Conference Leaders? Of course not, for he was employed by the Ancient Conference, he being an Ancient Conference man. You know, Saul was making havoc of the Independents and those who supported them for taking a stand for Jesus. Going on.
“And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of THE church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
Folks, it just doesn’t get any more simple than this. Here we see clearly that although the Ancient Conference had originally been raised up by Christ Himself and was claiming, “The church is going through, the church is going through,” it was NOT THE CHURCH THAT WAS GOING THROUGH.
Most Adventists (modern day Jews) have fallen into the same trap that the Jews (Ancient Adventists) fell into. Their pride influenced them to trust wholly in the Conference which had been raised by Christ. But when the Conference became corrupt the people which didn’t adhere to principle became corrupt with them and with blind loyalty followed after these men. That’s why Jesus had so much trouble while He was here. That’s why Jesus was rejected by the Conference while He was here. That’s why Jesus rejected and brought to an end the Conference HE HAD RAISED (they hadn’t raised themselves) while He was here. That’s why Jesus chose Independent Leaders and told them to move on with the work while He was here. AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHY HE IS DOING THE SAME THING TODAY.
What are our people reading today?! Many of you know the quotations which clearly tell us that the last day leaders will be educated by the Holy Spirit rather than by literary institutions, that God will have leaders in the last days of His own choosing. Doesn’t it clearly seem that the Lord is having to do just what He had to do while He was here? Are we like King Belshazzar who could not read the handwriting on the wall? This lesson that we are studying is vital! Just as vital to our understanding as it was in the days of our precious Lord for ONLY THOSE WHO GRASP THE LESSON WILL BE SAVED! Please allow me to ask another question. I don’t want anyone to miss these simple truths.
Later in the same story of Saul, what happened to him? He was on his way to Damascus continuing his persecution of THE church. He was on his way there to find those who were following the Independents and to throw them in jail. We read about it in Acts 9: 1- 2: “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”
So what Saul was doing was securing the authority from the Conference to go down to the local churches to disfellowship people in the strongest way. He was going to take care of these troublers of Israel who followed Jesus Christ, those whom the Conference rejected. But Saul never got the job done. Something happened out of the ordinary and we read about it in the very next verses.
Acts 9: 3- 5: “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined around about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:…”
And so on the road to Damascus Saul literally sees the light and realizes that although he may have thought he was doing the proper work, he was actually persecuting the wrong people. The story goes on, as you know, and because of this experience on the Damascus road, Saul is blinded and spends a few days in Damascus. While there the Lord sends a disciple, Ananias, to him who gave him back his sight and he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 9: 17- 18: “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”
This is where the story of Saul’s intended work takes a drastic change and also where the prior claims which the Bible sets forth regarding who was THE CHURCH is verified once again.
Acts 9: 19- 21: “And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that DESTROYED THEM WHICH CALL ON THIS NAME IN JERUSALEM, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?”
Can there be any doubt as to what the Bible is clearly saying here? I think not. God’s Word is expressing in Acts 9 exactly what it did in Acts 7 & 8. God’s church was being persecuted in Jerusalem and that church was NOT the Conference.
Understandably, the church in Damascus (the followers of Jesus) was very apprehensive of Saul. They rightly stated that this was the same man who was persecuting the church in Jerusalem and they were nervous about trusting this Conference man. They were concerned that his intent was to drag them off to the Conference Committee that had already killed Jesus and stoned Stephen. It’s true that this was Saul’s original intent but the Lord had other plans, praise His name!
Acts 9: 22: “But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”
So, I think Saul understood the situation and was willing to take up his new duties immediately to prove his new loyalty. You might want to ponder the point that Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, lead Saul to preach in His name rather than send him back to some literary institution. What happens next is very interesting and proves that the apostate Conference will, in the end, even turn on its own men rather than listen to plain words of truth.
Acts 9: 23: “And after that many days were fulfilled, the JEWS TOOK COUNSEL TO KILL HIM.”
The story goes on, of course, and Saul tries to work with the disciples in Jerusalem but they are nervous about his intentions. The Lord eventually works out the details and Saul becomes Paul — one of our heroes.
In this story we can learn many things and I want to ask a few questions which will give opportunity for you to reflect upon some important points. Why did the Jews now want to kill Paul, (Saul)? When he saw the truth as it is in Jesus, what was his course of action? Did Saul, who became Paul, continue to persecute THE church or did he support it and which church after his conversion was it that he supported? Did Saul remain a Conference Leader or did he become an Independent Leader? Did the Ancient Adventist Conference support his decision? Will Saul, who became Paul, who became an Independent Leader for Jesus, be in heaven or will the Ancient Adventist Conference Leaders?
I can’t place enough emphasis on the above scriptures and the vital lessons that are clearly in them. What a glorious God we serve Who has made provision for our every need. Most will end up like the Ancient Adventists did, unfortunately. Our own books tell us this but we who love the truth as it is in Jesus need not be deceived. Now let’s get back into the Desire of Ages and continue our study in prophetic parallels.
DA 590: “The priests and rulers had hardened their hearts through selfishness and avarice. The very symbols pointing to the Lamb of God they had made a means of getting gain. Thus in the eyes of the people the sacredness of the sacrificial service had been in a great measure destroyed…. AGAINST THESE PRACTICES CHRIST HAD SPOKEN THROUGH THE PROPHETS.”
What is Avarice? Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language says: “insatiable greed for riches; inordinate, miserly desire to gain and hoard wealth.” Insatiable means: “not satiable; incapable of being satisfied.” The word inordinate is described as: “not within proper limits; immoderate; excessive; disorderly; uncontrolled; unrestrained in conduct, feelings, etc.”
Did you know that millions of the dollars of which God has entrusted to you and of which you believed were going directly into the Lord’s work have been gambled in the stocks and bonds market? That’s right. You didn’t misread it. As a matter of fact, I have the documentation which proves that in 1980, at least $117,000,000 were “invested” in the world market. The documentation is very revealing to the layman who has no idea that this has been happening and this documentation is available through Servants of the Saviour. Let me share a letter written in 1983 by one concerned soul who understood what was going on.
“Dear Elder xxxxxx, “As a faithful member of the Seventh- day Adventist church, I am greatly concerned in regard to what goes on within the church structure. At this writing, I am concerned regarding the finances and handling of the finances of the church. The December 31, 1980 financial report of the General Conference of Seventh- day Adventists Investments leaves many unanswered questions. This report shows that as of December 31, 1980 the General Conference had $117,858,288.07 in investments, and the current value as of December 31, 1980 was $103,909,802.99, making a net loss of $13,948,379.92. This figure alone makes it very plain that our financial leaders and advisors in the General Conference are woefully lacking in following the Lord’s specific instructions to His church. Furthermore, 54 of the long- term investments do not mature until 2000 to 2020 A. D. and this amounts to almost $20,000,000. I have a question. Are the brethren in the financial department of our church putting off the coming of our Lord, or do they really expect Him to come at all? You will find these long- term investments listed on pages 28, 29, 30, 33, 47, 48, 49, 50, and 52 of the 1980 financial report of the General Conference.
“Those of us who are old enough to remember what happened in the years 1930- 1932 know perfectly well that if we had a depression now such as we had at that time, these millions of dollars of the Lord’s funds would be worthless as far as carrying on the church work is concerned.”
This same brother who has shared this documentation with us has also informed me that a couple of years after this letter was written, he was told that the invested amount had risen to over $250,000,000 and a couple of years after that to over $450,000,000!
There is not much I could add to what the letter above states but I would like to ask just three honest questions to go along with those already asked in the letter. Did you know that the funds you were sending in to “finish the work” were being invested in stocks and bonds? Why is God’s money being invested in worldly enterprises in the first place? And do you want to continue sending your dollars to those who do NOT place them into the finishing of God’s work but invest them in the stock market?
I can assure you that God will hold everyone responsible for what happens to the means He has entrusted to them according to the knowledge they have. And this principle doesn’t stop with the leadership, but is just as binding right down through the ranks to the lowliest layman.
In the Desire of Ages, it states that the very things God had entrusted to the church were turned into a way of making large profits and this caused many to lose respect for the sacredness of these entrustments.
I have always been offended (because I believe the Lord is) by the selling of magazine subscriptions, such as the Signs of the Times, in the Sanctuary on the Sabbath. I was a colporteur for about three years. I would never have thought of selling a book on the Sabbath and certainly not in the Sanctuary! I would have given one away, if need be, but never would have done business during these sacred hours or in the Sanctuary. This plainly would have been a violation of the Fourth Commandment. But the Conference thinks nothing of selling these things on Sabbath in the Sanctuary. This is something even the apostate Jews didn’t do! Has the result been a lowering of sacredness for the sanctuary, the Sabbath, and other sacred things? You know it has. In many ways we are worse than the Jews who, we readily admit, rejected Jesus.
DA 590: “HE KNEW THAT HIS EFFORTS TO REFORM A CORRUPT PRIESTHOOD WOULD BE IN VAIN; nevertheless His work must be done; to an unbelieving people the evidence of His divine mission must be given.”
Jesus knew that His work to reform the corrupt Ancient Conference would be in vain. We have been showing for years how the Conference is in apostasy and have tried to plead with these men to reform, but it has been in vain. Jesus, although knowing the Ancient Conference wouldn’t reform, did His work anyway. Why? Because on the books of Heaven the warnings have to be recorded; also others who were listening to the words of Christ would some day be converted. Even though we know that our work is in vain toward an apostate Conference, we also know that honest souls will come to conversion as a result of it, just as they did in Christ’s day. The same loving Jesus is still working through the Holy Spirit Who speaks to those who are willing to be taught. We must continue our work, having faith that these precious souls will come to a correct knowledge and walk in the light.
DA 591: “Those standing nearest Him drew as far away as the crowd would permit. Except for a few of His disciples, the Saviour stood alone.”
As this contest intensifies, the majority of those calling themselves Adventists will draw as far away from the truth as they dare and from those who are advocating it. Like the disciples of Christ, we must be willing to stand with Him alone and will have many opportunities to do just that. When it came time to stand against the apostate Conference in Christ’s day, but few were willing.
DA 592: “But a large number pressed through the hurrying crowd, eager to reach Him who was their only hope.”
These are the ones Christ is working for. These are the precious souls who accept His sacrifice on the cross and are willing to stay on the narrow path of Jesus wherever it leads them. These are those who realize that Jesus is their ONLY hope.
DA 592: “When the panic had abated, they were seized with anxiety to know what would be the next movement of Jesus.”
Here Jesus was coming to stand in His rightful place in the sanctuary which He had ordained. Here He was standing in the midst of the people He had chosen. HE OWNED THEIR VERY NAME, ISRAEL (are you thinking about parallels?), for it was He who had given it to Jacob. Why then were these Conference men and their loyal followers panicking?
Now you must know that after Jesus had cleansed the temple the first time that these Conference Leaders met in one of their committee meetings and discussed what had just taken place. I can almost hear them saying, “If this young fellow from Nazareth ever tries anything like that again, it will be a much different story. We’ll take care of him next time!”
Well, it did happen again and they panicked again! Why? Because darkness and Light cannot co-habitate. When Christ takes a commanding position, the devil’s agents have to give way. As the evidence of apostasy continues to be uncovered and Jesus makes plain to those who want to know the truth, we will witness more and more panic from the apostate Conference Leadership. Panic finally drove the Ancient Conference to seek out, persecute, and murder its own people. Has anything changed after two thousand years? Are you beginning to understand why this study is so important and why Jesus wanted us to have this knowledge? I pray that you are.
DA 593: “One whom they could not intimidate was in command.” So many times I have witnessed Seventh- day Adventist laymen shake in their shoes when someone from the conference was “sent down” to their church to take care of a “problem.” Maybe you have been one of those who have become very nervous when this event has taken place. If you have or have been involved in a meeting of this type, you know what I’m referring to. It seems the whole church just automatically crumbles in fear when the conference man shows up. I’m so glad that Jesus was “One whom they could not intimidate,” aren’t you?
In this little statement there’s a revealing lesson to be learned. If we are being intimidated by those who are trying to get us to serve something or someone other than Jesus, then Jesus is not our Commander. When we are totally converted and Jesus is in full command we cannot be intimidated by anyone, especially those who are trying to scare us into doing that which would dishonor our Lord.
DA 593: “Repairing to the temple where He was teaching, they proceeded to question Him: ‘By what authority doest Thou these things? and who gave Thee this authority? ’ They expected Him to claim that His authority was from God. Such an assertion they intended to deny. But Jesus met them with a question apparently pertaining to another subject, and He made His reply to them conditional on their answering this question. ‘The baptism of John, ’ He said, ‘whence was it? from heaven, or of men? ’”
Are you thinking about parallels? Have you heard similar questions being asked about those who are just preaching and teaching the truth? What they were really telling Christ was, “You can’t preach! You didn’t go to any of our schools and you haven’t obtained our permission!”
John 7: 14- 16: “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, HAVING NEVER LEARNED? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me.” If you read the remainder of John 7, you will see that the apostate Conference Leadership didn’t want Jesus to preach and were actively trying to stop Him.
They also asked Jesus, “Who gave thee this authority?” or “Who told you that you could be a pastor?” Many times have I heard this question. To many, just as in Jesus’ day the question is not: Is this man bringing to us truth? It is rather: Who said you could preach or who said you could be a pastor? The inference is, of course, the Conference didn’t say that you could be a pastor, so what do you think you’re doing? How sad that we have all this history of the Ancient Adventists and we are still asking such questions. How Satan must marvel at our dullness of mind and stupidity. But, fortunately, the lessons don’t stop here.
DA 593- 4: “The priests saw that they were in a dilemma from which no sophistry could extricate them. If they said that John’s baptism was from heaven, their inconsistency would be made apparent. Christ would say, Why have ye not then believed on him? John had testified of Christ, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. ’ JOHN 1: 29. If the priests believed John’s testimony, how could they deny the Messiahship of Christ? IF THEY DECLARED THEIR REAL BELIEF, THAT JOHN’S MINISTRY WAS OF MEN, THEY WOULD BRING UPON THEMSELVES A STORM OF INDIGNATION; for the people believed John to be a prophet.”
One important lesson we can learn is how to use the methods of Christ; here is the parallel of the above quotation. When someone or some leader who claims to be an Adventist is giving you trouble when you are merely trying to clarify the truth, just ask them from where did the Spirit of Prophecy come? The writings of Ellen White, from where did they come? From the Devil or from God? If the person says from God, you should rightly be able to direct him to whatever references state the truth you are promoting. If he says from the Devil, he will be exposing himself. It’s a good question and just what the Lord did in similar circumstances. This won’t always work, however, and there’s another valuable lesson that is vital for us to know and understand.
In the introductory pages 6- 11 of Great Controversy, Sister White claims very plainly to be that prophet who has come in the Spirit and power of Elijah. She says that you either have to acknowledge her prophetic gift as from God or the Devil, one way or the other. Now read these words once more and let’s see the implication.
“If they [the apostate Conference Leaders] declared their real belief, that John’s ministry was of men, they would bring upon themselves a storm of indignation: for the people believed John to be a prophet.”
Dear fellow Adventists, we have to stop being so naive! Don’t you realize that a large portion of the professed Leadership of the Adventist “church” does not believe Ellen G. White to be inspired! As a matter of fact, they are trying to eradicate her. From a large number of pulpits every Sabbath her writings are either being dismissed or actively trashed. But if you think these Conference Leaders are so foolhardy as to openly declare their true belief (“ that John’s [Ellen White’s] ministry was [is] of men,” and “bring upon themselves a storm of indignation”), then we are indeed in need of the eye salve.
DA 594: “By their cowardice and indecision they had in a great measure forfeited the respect of the people, who now stood by, amused to see these proud, self- righteous men defeated.”
While all this apostasy has been going on openly in the Adventist structure, the same cowardice and indecision have taken place. You probably remember when we first began exposing the “Celebration” churches, the official statement from the Conference was that we will “wait and see.” Brothers and Sisters, Jesus never “waits and sees” in the midst of a spiritual crisis! Aren’t you glad that He doesn’t? If men who call themselves leaders are afraid to lead, then surely it would be better for them to find a position somewhere in which their influence would be minimized. Since they are not likely to pursue that course, let me tell you how it can be brought about anyway. DON’T ALLOW THEM TO LEAD YOU! We can place the blame on the “leaders,” and this is correct to some extent, but that’s not where fault stops. The decision of who leads YOU firmly rests with your own God- given power of choice. I am very happy to say that many have already made this choice and are determined to support those leaders who are supporting the truth, as it is in Jesus.
While the Conference Leaders continue to “wait and see,” Satan continues to divide and conquer. “By their cowardice and indecision they had [have] in a great measure forfeited the respect of the people.”
Before we move on, let me point out one other revealing truth about this decision to “wait and see” where it concerns the “Celebration” churches. Garrie Williams wrote the manual “Trinity Power Circle” that mirrors another book, “20/ 20 Vision” written by a “Celebration” Sunday preacher by the name of Dale Galloway. My research and subsequent exposure to this manual clearly showed that “Trinity Power Circle” was the manual for bringing the celebration service into our churches. Many Adventist Conference men would have you believe that they didn’t really have a part in all this and they weren’t even educated enough to make a judgement on it, so they wanted to “wait and see.” But Brothers and Sisters, I have “Trinity Power Circle” and PLAINLY WRITTEN ON THE BACK COVER ARE THE WORDS “GENERAL CONFERENCE WORLD MINISTRY COUNCIL, INDIANAPOLIS 1990. SEMINAR NO. GCM 7274″!! Did Garrie Williams slip these words onto the back cover without anybody from the General Conference knowing about it? If we believe that, we are very naive! Let’s read the quotation from the back cover about the author.
“Garrie Williams is a New Zealander by birth who studied and worked in Australia for 15 years before moving to the USA in 1982. He has served the Seventh- day Adventist Church as a pastor, evangelist, college lecturer and, since 1985, as Ministerial Director of Oregon Conference. Elder Williams has TRAVELED EXTENSIVELY AROUND THE WORLD and has taught Spirit- filled ministry seminars in a NUMBER OF DIVISIONS. In 1987 he FOUNDED the Homes of Hope small group ministry, and in 1989 and 1990 was chairman of the FIRST NATIONAL Adventist Small Group Conference. Garrie Williams is strongly committed to the historic Seventh- day Adventist message and mission, and believes that we are living in the time of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
This quotation really says a lot! It reveals that this man has been intricately involved with the General Conference which has known for years what he has been doing. When you think about it, the main men who have plagued the Seventh- day Adventist “church” with heresy in recent years have mostly come from either the West coast or from Down Under. (And you can take that any way you wish, the application fits either way.) Is it any surprise that the author of 20/ 20 Vision is the proprietor and pastor of the Sunday- going celebration church which was the same one rented by the Seventh- day Adventists who started the first “Celebration” church in Oregon that became known as the Milwaukee Church? Isn’t it also a coincidence that the Seventh- day Adventist Conference Office of the Pacific Northwest is a mere four blocks or so from the same church?
As we continue to uncover these important truths for God’s honest children, it is wonderful to realize that many are breaking the mold of their past and studying to show themselves approved of God. Friends, we are in a desperate struggle for our very salvation. We are moving rapidly to the center of this battle that will intensify to the bitter end. The enemy will not surrender and he is not likely to give up any ground easily. I am happy to say, however, that just a few years ago there were only a handful who saw what was going on. Now there are many more.
DA 594 “But as the popular feeling turned in His favor, the hatred of the priests toward Jesus increased.”
We can read our own future in this statement and I believe the Lord would have us do just that. He warned His disciples many times of what was to come and He would have us realize that we, too, face the same future. Many of us have thought that it would be in the world where our greatest danger lay but we now realize: “We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world. Unbelievers have a right to expect that those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will do more than any other class to promote and honor, by their active influence, the cause which they represent. But how often have the professed advocates of the truth proved the greatest obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan’s devices.” 1SM 122.
DA 595- 6 “In His contest with the rabbis, it was not Christ’s purpose to humiliate His opponents. He was not glad to see them in a hard place. He had an important lesson to teach.”
For those who still say that it’s sinful to enter into this exposure of the Conference Leaders, we ask the question: What does “In His contest with the rabbis…” mean? We need so much to quickly learn that: “Our work is an aggressive one, and as faithful soldiers of Jesus, we must bear the blood- stained banner into the very strongholds of the enemy. ‘We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ’ If we will consent to lay down our arms, to lower the blood- stained banner, to become the captives and servants of Satan, we may be released from the conflict and the suffering. But this peace will be gained only at the loss of Christ and heaven. We cannot accept peace on such conditions. Let it be war, war, to the end of earth’s history, rather than peace THROUGH APOSTASY AND SIN.”
But on the other hand, Jesus was not elated that His work had to put them in a difficult place. His motive was one of salvation and He was sorrowed to see human beings for whom He was about to die being humiliated. There is a real fear we need to respect — that we will become bitter toward our enemies. Jesus would have us ever keep in mind that vengeance is the Lord’s alone and we are to love even our enemies and not hate them. We are to be “not blind, nor bitter.” Our work must be the same work as Christ’s. That means that some of us will have to do the unpleasant work of exposure, etc. But we are to do our work that precious souls might cast their lot for Jesus — NOT BECAUSE WE ENJOY SEEING PEOPLE BURN! The Bible plainly teaches that any man who takes on this attitude of Satan, even though he may be gifted in all other areas, will himself be lost. Especially as the battle intensifies, we need the grace of Jesus in our lives so that the enemy of all souls is not able to place his character of hate into our motives. As the quotation above (DA 594) states, “the hatred of the priests [apostate leaders] toward Jesus [His followers in these last days] increased,” we will need the love of Jesus fully to keep our own motivation pure.
DA 595- 6: “They made great professions of piety, they claimed to be obeying the law of God, but they rendered only a false obedience. The publicans were denounced and cursed by the Pharisees as infidels; but they showed by their faith and works that they were going into the kingdom of heaven before those self- righteous men who had been given great light, but whose works did not correspond to their profession of godliness.”
Jesus is trying to teach us that we should not follow the example of or allow the influence of such men to rule over us. Yes, we are all human beings and we all make mistakes. But making an occasional mistake (and repenting for it) and making a mockery of inspiration are two different things. You know the difference. The Lord says that we should not allow the men who have no real interest (demonstrated by their works) in the truths we hold near and dear to our hearts to have persuasion over our lives.
DA 597 : “His warnings, failing to arouse them to repentance, would seal their doom, and He wished them to see that they had brought ruin on themselves. He designed to show them the justice of God in the withdrawal of their national privileges, which had already begun, and which would end, not only in the destruction of their temple and their city, but in the dispersion of the nation.”
Jesus came to the very church He had raised. He had handpicked them from among the other nations that He might show the rest of the world His goodness. This church had gone its own way and was misrepresenting Christ while professing to be the expression of who He was. Over the years Jesus had sent many to warn this church of the certain disaster that a lack of repentance and reform would bring. This church’s leaders, time and time again, refused these warnings. Now Jesus had come Himself to give the last call and was being rejected by the people who owed their very existence to Him.
Today, dear friends, can you see the parallel experience that we are passing through? If you ask any professed Adventists if we are living in the last days most of them would say, “Yes.” Do they not see then that the warning given in the message to the Laodiceans is the last message and that its close is in the near future? Oh! that we would understand the time of our visitation! The last message to God’s professed people is going forward. We ARE living in the reality of Ezekiel chapter 8. Ezekiel, chapter 9, is just around the corner and what are we doing!? As these statements reveal, the main reason that the Adventist system will be lost will be due to those apostate leaders who refuse to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
Not only this but to some degree we will continue to lose our national privileges and the dispersion of the Adventist “nation” will be caused by these self- destructing professors of Adventism.
The next line in The Desire of Ages is startling; the implication and the lesson to be applied is extremely important for us to better understand our situation.
DA 597: “The hearers recognized the warning.”
Dear precious Adventist friends, please understand that we are dealing with apostate leaders who have calculated what they are doing. They KNOW AND RECOGNIZE THE WARNING. However, they are determined to carry out their present agenda. I can tell you with a completely clear Christian conscience that the agenda hasn’t changed and these apostate leaders are forging ahead. Please don’t be fooled by an occasional strategically well- placed statement here or there. These occasional statements or articles are one of two things. Either a Joseph or Nicodemus is trying to hold the line from the inside or they are calculated to deceive you about the intentions or direction of apostate leaders. Do not be tricked by those who come in old clothes and have molded bread. We need to pray earnestly for the eyesalve of discernment. Our lovely Jesus will make sure it is applied if we do our honest part. He has died for us that we might be saved and He brings these truths forward that you shouldn’t be deceived. We may have made mistakes in the past. We may at times have felt that we are struggling to learn and understand. But let us run to Jesus, for “In Christ the guilty heart has found relief. His is the sure foundation. ALL WHO MAKE HIM THEIR DEPENDENCE REST IN PERFECT SECURITY.” “To fall upon the Rock and be broken is to give up our self- righteousness and to go to Christ with the humility of a child, repenting of our transgressions, and believing in His forgiving love. And so also it is by faith and obedience that we build on Christ as our foundation.” DA 599.
DA 600: “And what was it that destroyed the Jews?” I hope you are still thinking about prophetic parallels as you read this inspired answer to this most important question:
DA 600: “Men set themselves in opposition to God, and all that would have been their salvation was turned to their destruction. All that God ordained unto life, they found to be unto death. In the Jews’ crucifixion of Christ was involved the destruction of Jerusalem. The blood shed upon
Calvary was the weight that sunk them to ruin for this world and for the world to come. …
“By many illustrations and repeated warnings, Jesus showed what would be the result to the Jews of rejecting the Son of God. In these words He was addressing all in every age who refused to receive Him as their Redeemer. Every warning is for them. The desecrated temple, the disobedient son, the false husbandmen, the contemptuous builders, have their counterpart in the experience of every sinner. Unless he repent, the doom which they foreshadowed will be his.”
It is critical, friends, that we understand what constitutes God’s true church. After all, the great controversy is all over what? Yes, whom you are going to worship. We need to take God at His Word and not replace it with man’s opinion or popular committee votes. There is no such thing as a democratic legislation by the professed church on how to be admitted into God’s kingdom. I guarantee, based on the Word of God, that when we are all standing at the Judgment Bar of God, He will not acquiesce to the authority of the Conference Committee.
I will admit that the apostate Adventist Leaders and their followers do have a church. In the book of Revelation, both the true and this other church are spoken of so it would be well for us to read about these churches and their last experience with one another on earth.
Revelation 3: 8- 9, 12: “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my work, and hast not denied my name. Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, WHICH SAY THEY ARE JEWS, AND ARE NOT, BUT DO LIE; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
All those professed Adventists who believe in the doctrine of the “New Theology;” all professed Adventists who are preaching and believing that we don’t have to overcome but can go on sinning and still get into the kingdom because, after all, Jesus understands; all these poor diluted souls have a church but it is the synagogue of Satan.
Brothers and Sisters, be ye not deceived! Jesus does understand and it is not He who is confused, it is us! Read your Bible for it plainly states, “to him who overcometh will I grant.” What we need to do is quit loving sin and love Jesus enough to understand and believe by an experiential knowledge that we serve an all knowing, all loving, ALL POWERFUL God who will indeed finish the work of perfection which He has started in EVERY WILLING SOUL. May we, poor sinners take on the humility of our crucified Saviour and learn these most sacred truths.
Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross