The Church “Then”. . . . . .and the Church Now
by Terry S. Ross
Oh, the love of our Saviour and His Father! Can we really grasp even a particle of the vast truth about the gift that heaven emptied out for our salvation in the life and death of our Master and friend Jesus Christ?
The God Who was and is the originator of our very existence, the God Who is the way, the truth and the life was about to experience death for us. In this trip through Gethsemane’s gate Jesus would know what it means to be separated from the blessings of His Father and what the fate of those who reject His offering of redemptive mercy will suffer.
DA 686: “The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man’s sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression.
“Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. His suffering can best be described in the words of the prophet, ‘Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts. ’ (Zech. 13: 7.) As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself. “As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness….”
It is so difficult for the dull minds of sinful humanity to comprehend the price paid to give us an opportunity for salvation, or even to realize that God loves us so much that He would want to do it in the first place!
Christ was now going through an experience that was new and unspeakably dreadful. But in doing so, He demonstrated two powerful lessons for those who choose to believe.
God will separate from Himself those who continue in sin. If Christ Who knew no sin was separated when He was made sin for us, then it is crystal clear that those who choose to make sin a part of themselves will indeed be separated from the Father.
What is the solution to our sin problem and how can we escape this eternal separation? The answer lies in the second lesson: total faith, the faith OF Jesus Christ — that is the key that opens the door of victory. The faith of Jesus is the only way through our own Gethsemane. It is in this garden experience that our eternal destiny hangs and it is only those who choose the faith of Jesus who will come out of it victorious as Jesus did. Those who continue to make excuses for their unbelief, lack of trust in God, and their love for sin will not share in the victorious glory of the redeemed. Rather, they will share in the experience of Judas who was separated as a betrayer of sacred trust. IT IS THE FAITH OF JESUS THAT IDENTIFIES HIS TRUE CHURCH.
DA 367: “Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan’s kingdom, and would never more be one with God.
“… How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: ‘The people who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected you. They are seeking to destroy you, the foundation, the center and seal of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of your own disciples, who has listened to your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray you. One of your most zealous followers will deny you. All will forsake you. ’ Christ’s whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible.”
Satan told Christ that the Ancient Adventist Church, who made the same claim that the modern Adventist “Church” makes, were the very people seeking to destroy Him! Is this happening today? Is there a real correlation between the experience of the past and that of our present day? Sadly to say, the answer is “yes.” The organization has slipped into the same spiritual pride of our forefathers. It is true that not all are demonstrating this rejection of Jesus but the evidence of apostasy is overwhelming. Only those who have been blinded by things other than inspiration can’t see or won’t see the obvious truth or the present situation.
I want to say, as well, that I have known for some time that there has been a tremendous struggle behind the scenes to hold on to the pillars of our faith by the Josephs and Nicodemuses in the organization. Please allow me to tell you a little story that took place several years ago to demonstrate.
Several months after Cathy and I initially exposed the “Celebration” churches, I received a phone call from out of state. The lady on the other end at first requested that I not insist she identify herself until we had spoken awhile, and to this I agreed. She told me that her husband was a well- known writer who wrote for the Review and that he had been asked to write on a certain subject within the next few months.
I will not disclose the contents of the article because I do not wish to break a trust, but I will tell you that she asked me to send her all our materials which we had gathered to that point. She wished to provide her husband with this material to allow him to be well- versed in what was really going on. I shared with her that I would be more than happy to do this; I believed at the time that she was an honest Christian and I still believe it.
We spoke for a few more moments and then she revealed who she was. Immediately I knew who her husband was and told her so. I think she was checking my attitude about certain things and this was all right. I have found out on several different occasions with very different people that when honest hearts get together, even when they may disagree in some areas, in many cases if they understand your attitude is one of salvation rather than destruction, all still can be friends. Far too many “Christians” are making enemies unnecessarily. Far too many “Christians” are turning away from people whom the Lord loves and would not cast aside. Far too many “Christians” are taking the attitude that it’s my way or no way at all.
Brothers and Sisters, it is my continued experience that those who truly do have my eternal interests in mind are not the enemy! We may not be able to come together on certain things just now, but the Lord will sort out these differences if we are truly seeking to uphold His truth and not our own. (And who knows if I might be the one who needs a little character development myself!) Well, I think you get the point. Pride and politics have polluted God’s people to an alarming and deadly degree. Anyway, back to the story.
Before we ended our phone conversation I just had to ask this Sister a question. I shared with her that I just couldn’t believe that with everything that was going on there wasn’t some kind of internal struggle, behind the doors, in the organization. She told me, “Terry, if you only knew what struggles have really been going on that the general laity have no idea about.” And then she went on to say, “The younger generation of pastors and administrators told us some time ago that when they came into power things would be different. Now they are beginning to outvote us and we can’t stop it. They are now taking over.”
We need to realize that not all the people in the Conferences are Judases; we also need to realize that not all in the Independents are Christ’s true disciples. We are in a transitory time and this will take more than a few weeks. I do want to add something here, however. Time is certainly running out for everyone and decisions will have to be made before it’s forever too late. Remember that probation closes on God’s professed people first. Joseph and Nicodemus didn’t always work behind the scenes and there are great and important lessons for those who are still doing this work. I ask you in brotherly love to understand what part these two men finally played and do that which they did. I fear that if you don’t, your experience will end up different from theirs. When these two honest souls finally understood where Jesus was leading, they eagerly followed and became a tremendous help to His true people and church.
By the way, the above husband in our story did write an article for the Review right at the time his wife said he would. It still remains the finest article on the subject in the Review since we began revealing the apostasy. We openly thank this Brother for writing it and commend him for taking the stand he did. If he or his wife reads this book, they will understand.
Satan had come directly to Christ and pressed some truth upon Him in an attempt to get Him to turn aside from His chosen path. Logically speaking, Satan’s argument made sense. But Jesus knew that God had promised just the opposite of what Satan was telling Him and in faith He clung to these promises. I have found that Satan’s tactics are very interesting and he will lie and contradict his own arguments if it serves his purposes.
Today Satan is telling professed Adventists (and all other professed Christians) just the opposite of what he told Jesus in the garden. Today, from many professed Seventh- day Adventist pulpits, comes the modern message that we can go on sinning and there will be no separation from the Father. Two thousand years ago Satan told Jesus that if He became sin, the separation would be eternal. Today he tells us that if we remain in sin, the separation of which he tried to convince Christ doesn’t really exist! Unbelievably, most professed Seventh- day Adventists refuse to see the contradiction! Because of their love for sin most “Christians,” including Seventh- day Adventists, either knowingly or unknowingly forsake the very Jesus Whom they claim to honor.
DA 688: “They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.”
DA 688- 89: “… the disciples trusted to themselves. They did not look to the mighty helper as Christ had counseled them to do. Thus when the Saviour was most in need of their sympathy and prayers, they were found asleep. Even Peter was sleeping.
“And John, the loving disciple who had leaned upon the breast of Jesus, was asleep. Surely, the love of John for his Master should have kept him awake. His earnest prayers should have mingled with those of his loved Saviour in the time of His supreme sorrow. The Redeemer had spent entire nights praying for His disciples, that their faith might not fail. Should Jesus now put to James and John the question He had once asked them, ‘Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? ’ they would not have ventured to answer, ‘We are able. ’ (Matt. 20: 22).”
Many of us, quickly, need the experience of watching and praying — not just prayer that covers the areas of the larger crisis we find ourselves in the midst of, but also in our everyday decisions. Total victory follows close behind total reliance on God and total communion with God. This must be our experience! It WILL be the experience of the redeemed. It is not confidence in self that will win for us the prize, but communion with God that gains for us that which we cannot possibly realize on our own.
With urgency I say we must understand that: “Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty. …
“Some of these agents of Satan were affecting the bodies of some of the saints— those whom they could not deceive and draw away from the truth by a Satanic influence. Oh, that all could get a view of it as God revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan and be on their guard! I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing STIFFLY FOR PRESENT TRUTH. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not FIRMLY PLANTED ON THE TRUTH, and the covering of Almighty God could NOT BE DRAWN OVER THEM WHILE THEY WERE THUS TREMBLING. …
“Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God’s people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. God has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter. God will work in power for His people; and Satan will be permitted to work also.” EW 43- 44
Two thousand years have not changed the minds of men. We are still the same people with the same basic problems of self- reliance. We still are suffering from the same problems of which the people of Christ’s day suffered. Somehow we must realize that we are, in fact, in the time in which this covering process is taking place! I am convinced that this event is NOT in the future! I think we are going through the process right now! Only those who understand the gravity of these events and choose to be convinced by God’s Word will have a chance to make a decision for eternal life. All others will be deceived and not know it until it is too late! Please get on you knees with the Word of God and honestly ask Him to show you what you must know. The God Who was willing to give all for our salvation still reigns on the throne. Praise His name!
DA 690- 93: “But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission.”
Jesus knows what it means to be tempted to leave a post of duty. He knows and understands the pressure to want to walk away. I believe Jesus has a special place in His heart for pastors who are holding to their sacred trusts but are sorely tempted to leave their post. He understands, first hand, what the convincing arguments are which Satan uses to turn the true minister aside from his sacred vows.
Even as I write this book, Cathy and I are becoming more aware of the tremendous pressures being applied to every person and every family. We have asked different ones if they have felt the increase of this pressure over the last several years and almost without exception, the answer has been a firm “yes.” We see pastors falling under the load and we know of fragmented families and marriages.
Cathy and I are aware of situations where a spouse who wishes to leave the other spouse and may not even be convinced that their own marriage is under this sort of decay. We also know of those whom we thought solid in the faith who have left those whom we thought weak. And there are families even in leadership (not necessarily in Conferences only) who are showing the public a much different picture than that which is the truth behind closed doors.
It is unnecessary to name names or try to convince anyone here. You know in your heart whether this scenario fits you. You also know, or at least I would hope you are honest enough to know, it matters not if you are able to fool every single human being on the entire face of the earth. It will make no difference in the soon coming judgment.
Whether we are Conference, Independent, Self- supporting, Reform (or whatever we deem appropriate) leaders or laity, the principles of God’s eternal government are exactly the same for everyone. If we don’t accept it now, we will know soon enough when probation closes that God has a mutual respect for every single soul. He loves us supremely but at the same time will in no wise clear the guilty. Whether prince or pauper, His treatment of us in the judgment will be the same. If we are to be safe in our salvation, we must understand, accept, and enter into these terms with an honest willingness to vindicate God’s character and not our sinful ones. To vindicate our character is to choose eternal death and separation. To lay it down and despise it, to replace it with the eternal righteousness of the Father and the Son is to chose life. Although this process may at times be embarrassing and painful to be sure, we hope and pray that you will choose life.
The lesson of Christ’s experience in the garden is multifaceted of course, but one of the important lessons is that we may at times have to stand alone in our decision for Jesus. In the end we will feel alone even though we may have many others around us. Salvation is offered to each individual and becomes an experience for and of the individual. Because of sin it can be an awful experience of death and sacrifice but, nonetheless, it is the experience we must be willing to go through. In the end we will know that heaven was cheap enough and our awful experience will forever be turned into a glorious one.
DA 693: “The Saviour trod the wine- press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.
“But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour’s agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of Satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin.”
DA 694: “… He heard the footsteps of the mob in search of Him, and said, ‘Rise, let us be going; behold, he is at hand that doth betray Me. ’
“No traces of His recent agony were visible as Jesus stepped forth to meet His betrayer. Standing in advance of His disciples He said, ‘Whom seek ye? ’ They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth. ’ Jesus replied, ‘I am He. ’ As these words were spoken, the angel who had lately ministered to Jesus, moved between Him and the mob. A divine light illuminated the Saviour’s face, and a dove- like form overshadowed Him. In the presence of this divine glory, the murderous throng could not stand for a moment. They staggered back. Priests, elders, soldiers, and even Judas, fell as dead men to the ground.”
In this portion of the Garden experience we find the structure, calling themselves the “church,” has joined forces with the government of their day in order to kill God. The Great Controversy and the book of Revelation tell us this experience will be repeated in the near future. The apostate people of God will use the government to persecute God’s true and faithful. As a matter of fact, it will be apostate Seventh- day Adventists who will turn in true Adventists so that they may be killed! Jesus said to the disciples that their worst enemies would be those of their own household. Jesus knew what He was talking about. After all, it was the Ancient Adventist Church that put Him on the cross.
Having said that and wanting to stay fair to the story, let’s not forget that the betrayer of Christ was an Independent Leader who refused to be converted. Although he had held this position of leadership for several years, he turned back to a corrupt priesthood in the end to betray the Lord. This will be the fate of any pastor, no matter what “group” he’s in or how extensive his following, who refuses to be fully converted. This conversion is only demonstrated in practical Christian living. Preaching straight sermons is not enough. It is that experiential knowledge of which we are speaking here that the Spirit of Prophecy is concerned with. Only those who engage in the character changes that God has promised to give will be or stay loyal to the Lord.
DA 696: “The disciples had thought that their Master would not suffer Himself to be taken. For the same power that had caused the mob to fall as dead men could keep them helpless, until Jesus and His companions should escape. They were disappointed and indignant as they saw the cords brought forward to bind the hands of Him whom they loved. Peter in his anger rashly drew his sword and tried to defend his Master, but he only cut off an ear of the high priest’s servant. When Jesus saw what was done, He released His hands, though held firmly by the Roman soldiers, and saying, ‘Suffer ye thus far, ’ He touched the wounded ear, and it was instantly made whole. He then said to Peter, ‘Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? ’”…
In reprimanding Peter for resorting to violence, Christ demonstrated that these methods are not to be the weapons of our warfare. The warfare is one of a spiritual nature and we are to lean on the Father as did Jesus, in faith. While defending the honor of God we are to leave the vengeance to Him and not take it into our own hands. While we are to expose error, we are not to do so with violent human passion.
DA 696: “The official dignity of the Jewish leaders had not prevented them from joining in the pursuit of Jesus. His arrest was too important a matter to be trusted to subordinates; the wily priests and elders had joined the temple police and the rabble in following Judas to Gethsemane. What a company for those dignitaries to unite with, — a mob that was eager for excitement, and armed with all kinds of implements, as if in pursuit of a wild beast.”
The Ancient Adventist Apostate Church Leaders could not stoop low enough in their pursuit to maintain their power over the people. The priesthood itself took the lead in the planning and capture of Christ. The laity later got caught up in this Satanic frenzy, but it was clearly the Ancient Conference that was still leading in the death of Christ. The people, although guilty were relatively innocent compared to those who ruled over them.
DA 697: “Turning to the priests and elders, Christ fixed upon them His searching glance. The words He spoke they would never forget as long as life should last. They were as the sharp arrows of the Almighty. With dignity He said, You come out against Me with swords and staves as you would against a thief or a robber. Day by day I sat teaching in the temple. You had every opportunity of laying hands upon Me, and you did nothing. The night is better suited to your work. ‘This is your hour, and the power of darkness. ’”
This darkness of which Jesus speaks concerning His own church is once again enshrouding us. The same methods of the Ancient structure are realized in the modern. As the Ancient Adventist Conference played the lead role two thousand years ago, we see an exact replica of our future in the movement of the present Conference.
The journey through Gethsemane was just the beginning of the end for Jesus and this experience of decision and faith was only the gate which led to Golgotha’s hill. Upon Christ’s capture by the then recognized “church” Jesus was whisked away to face the General Conference President and the Conference Committee. Even though they had become grossly corrupt, they were still recognized by the laity as the voice of God. I hope you are still paying attention to Prophetic Parallels.
DA 698: “Annas was the head of the officiating priestly family, and in deference to his age he was recognized by the people as high priest. His counsel was sought and carried out as the voice of God. He must first see Jesus a captive to priestly power. He must be present at the examination of the prisoner, for fear that the less- experienced Caiaphas might fail of securing the object for which they were working. His ARTIFICE, CUNNING, and SUBTLETY must be used on this occasion; for at all events, Christ’s condemnation must be secured.”
Once again I decided to look up a few key words taken from this paragraph and would like to share their meaning with you. Artifice (from the same root word as artificial interestingly enough) — a clever trick or stratagem; tricky; guile; or craftiness. Remember that the church which goes through is comprised of people who have no guile. Cunning — skill employed in a crafty manner, as in deceiving. And, subtly — fine or delicate, often when likely to elude perception or understanding, otherwise well- skilled in the qualities of oration and used to persuade others to ones argument by use of deception; able to baffle people by skilled argumentation.
Is it any surprise that the structure is pouring thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into learning skills in communication which involve practices that are deceptive and covert in nature? And yet with these evils unearthed, the majority still recognize a polluted Conference as the voice of God. It is strange that the Lord brings forth all this evidence and gives us all this history and still we refuse to learn. It’s no wonder that our own prophet stated that we are worse than they, the Ancient people. Praise God that there are many more today who have and are recognizing the truth in these matters as the Lord continues to show the clear evidence of these parallels.
DA 699: “Not a few among the priests and rulers had been convicted by Christ’s teaching, and only fear of excommunication prevented them from confessing Him. The priests well remembered the question of Nicodemus ‘Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? ’ (John 7: 51). This question had for the time broken up the council, and thwarted their plans. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were not now to be summoned, but there were others who might dare to speak in favor of justice. The trial must be so conducted as to unite the members of the Sanhedrin against Christ. There were two charges which the priests desired to maintain. If Jesus could be proved a blasphemer, He would be condemned by the Jews. If convicted of sedition, it would secure His condemnation by the Romans. The second charge Annas tried first to establish. He questioned Jesus concerning His disciples and His doctrines, hoping the prisoner would say something that would give him material upon which to work. He thought to draw out some statement to prove that He was seeking to establish a secret society, with the purpose of setting up a new kingdom. Then the priests could deliver Him to the Romans as a disturber of the peace and a creator of insurrection.”
Can a better description of what is going on be found? The Conferences are trying desperately to find anything to discredit the Independent Ministries. They are bringing the charge of lack of respect for properly constituted church authority to gain the support of the people. This is the echo of insurrection or disruption inside the church. One day in the near future when the judgments of God are falling on the land before the seven last plagues, these same people will transfer this charge to a broader scope and blame the faithful few for the judgments falling upon the land.
Also, as stated previously in this chapter the Josephs and Nicodemuses need to understand that their eternal fate will depend on what choices they make: either to come forward for God or remain behind for apostate Adventism. They need to side with the true people of God, or they WILL side with those who are against the government of God and be forever lost. The middle ground is forever disappearing and soon, if a decided choice is not made for the right, a choice for the wrong will be registered in the books of heaven by the names of those who refused to take a stand for Jesus. The trial that Jesus went through and all of its players will be duplicated in this our day. This we must realize, and we must make a firm choice to stand for the right if we are indeed TRUE Seventh- day Adventist Christians. If this choice is not made, we are, in reality, Seventh- day Adventists in name only.
DA 699: “The Saviour contrasted His own manner of work with the methods of His accusers. For months they had hunted Him, striving to entrap Him and bring Him before a secret tribunal, where they might obtain by perjury what it was impossible to gain by fair means. Now they were carrying out their purpose. The midnight seizure by a mob, the mockery and abuse before He was condemned, or even accused, was their manner of work, not His. Their action was in violation of the law. Their own rules declared that every man should be treated as innocent until proved guilty. By their own rules the priests stood condemned.” By their own “Church Manual,” the trial of Christ was not legal. Take it from a person who has first- hand experience in this matter. These same trials and this same disregard for their own rules, when it’s convenient for them to do so, is very much alive and in operation today. There’s an old saying “there’s no honor among thieves.” That also goes for liars and power mongers. These people will use every means to save their own authority. They will even break their own rules when it seems necessary. In reality, and it will eventually be seen, there are no rules among this group, at least none which have anything to do with Christian morals. The only reason they have to give an impression that there is, is for the purpose of fooling those whom they want to support them. But as with any corrupt organization, these very leaders will find out all too soon and far too late that their leader, the Devil, has no rules either and they, mean nothing to him. In the end they will lose all their authority and their very existence. If you understand this you will also understand why it’s fatal to give these people any authority over your spiritual life.
DA 700: “Christ suffered keenly under abuse and insult. At the hands of the beings whom He had created, and for whom He was making an infinite sacrifice, He received every indignity. And He suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness and His hatred of sin. His trial by men who acted as fiends was to Him a perpetual sacrifice. To be surrounded by human beings under the control of Satan was revolting to Him. And He knew that in a moment, by the flashing forth of His divine power, He could lay His cruel tormentors in the dust. This made the trial the harder to bear.”
If we could but comprehend just a sliver of the truth concerning Christ’s sacrifice, we would not only understand Him as our only true friend, but our hearts would take the opportunity to reach out to Him with the appreciation we owe Him. It is in this approach to God’s grace and His law that we find a balance and subvert both cheap grace and legalism. I do what I do because Christ first loved me. I do the works of Christ because I appreciate what He has and is doing for my salvation. This is love in action and the pure motivation that actuates from a heart that wants to say to God, “Thank you, Lord.”
When it comes to personal trial, we need to learn the ways of Christ so much! His spirit of longsuffering, calmness, and gentleness is the hallmark of God’s love.
We also need to grasp from whom these insults and abuses were coming from and why it hurt Jesus so much. As we do, it will help us to understand much about our immediate future.
DA 703- 4: “When the council had assembled in the judgment- hall, Caiaphas took his seat as presiding officer. On either side were the judges, and those specially interested in the trial. The Roman soldiers were stationed on the platform below the throne. At the foot of the throne stood Jesus. Upon Him the gaze of the whole multitude was fixed. The excitement was intense. Of all the throng He alone was calm and serene. The very atmosphere surrounding Him seemed pervaded by a holy influence.
“Caiaphas had regarded Jesus as his rival. The eagerness of the people to hear the Saviour, and their apparent readiness to accept His teachings, had aroused the bitter jealousy of the high priest.”
Just a couple of questions: What council had assembled? Caiaphas sat as presiding officer. Who was Caiaphas? Who were the judges? Who were those especially interested in the trial? And why did Caiaphas regard Jesus as his rival?
DA 705: “There were plenty of witnesses to prove that Christ had denounced the priests and scribes, that He had called them hypocrites and murderers; but this testimony it was not expedient to bring forward. The Sadducees in their sharp contentions with the Pharisees had used to them similar language. And such testimony would have no weight with the Romans, who were themselves disgusted with the pretensions of the Pharisees. There was abundant evidence that Jesus had disregarded the traditions of the Jews, and had spoken irreverently of many of their ordinances; but in regard to tradition the Pharisees and Sadducees were at swords’ points; and this evidence also would have no weight with the Romans. Christ’s enemies dared not accuse Him of Sabbath- breaking, lest an examination should reveal the character of His work. If His miracles of healing were brought to light, the very object of the priests would be defeated.
“False witnesses had been bribed to accuse Jesus of inciting rebellion and seeking to establish a separate government. But their testimony proved to be vague and contradictory. Under examination they falsified their own statements.”
How many times have you heard the statement from different others whose religious experiences differ widely that “Jesus never condemned anyone? And so we should never say anything against anyone, especially the leadership, or anything that might offend anybody.” I have thought frequently how these same people and multitudes of others don’t understand or believe the plain Word of God. This teaching of many a Conference man is pure falsehood and an attempt at self- preservation. Many Conference men and laity are hypocritical in this area. Jesus certainly did condemn others and also the leadership of His day. For this very reason the Adventist Church of two thousand years ago murdered Him on a cross!
As the struggle in the great controversy intensifies, the gulf between the two camps within the movement will broaden. These sons of Ancient Apostate Adventist Conference Leaders will continue to play out their role in the attempted destruction of Jesus in the persons of His people one last time.
DA 706- 7: “Patiently Jesus listened to the conflicting testimonies. No word did He utter in self- defense. At last His accusers were entangled, confused, and maddened. The trial was making no headway: it seemed that their plottings were to fail. Caiaphas was desperate. One last resort remained; Christ must be forced to condemn Himself…
“At last, Caiaphas, raising his right hand toward heaven, addressed Jesus in the form of a solemn oath: ‘I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God. ’
“To this appeal Christ could not remain silent. There was a time to be silent, and a time to speak. He had not spoken until directly questioned. He knew that to answer now would make His death certain. But the appeal was made by the highest acknowledged authority of the nation, and in the name of the Most High. Christ would not fail to show proper respect for the law. More than this, His own relation to the Father was called in question. He must plainly declare His character and mission. Jesus had said to His disciples, ‘Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. ’ (Matt. 10: 32). Now by His own example He repeated the lesson.”
Christ did not defend Himself. He maintained a spiritual dignity that confused and exposed His accusers. It would be well for us to realize that just as important as not defending self is the lesson that when God’s honor is brought into question, our silence is a denial of our profession and Jesus denies us before the Father.
DA 708: “The thought that there was to be a resurrection of the dead, when all would stand at the bar of God, to be rewarded according to their works, was a thought of terror to Caiaphas. He did not wish to believe that in [the] future he would receive sentence according to his works. These rushed before his mind as a panorama the scenes of the final Judgment. For a moment he saw the fearful spectacle of the graves giving up their dead, with the secrets he had hoped were forever hidden.”
Just as now, because pastors, have gone to Babylon to be educated, the Ancient Adventist pastors, were split even within their own ranks because of unbiblical theology. Caiaphas shuddered at the thought of having to meet his works at the judgment bar so he openly taught there was no resurrection. Today, Apostate Adventist pastors shudder at the thought of having to meet their sins at the judgment bar, so they openly teach that we don’t have to quit sinning and God will still save us.
DA 708: “The scene passed from the priest’s vision. Christ’s words cut him, the Sadducee, to the quick. Caiaphas had denied the doctrine of the resurrection, the Judgment, and a future life. Now he was maddened by Satanic fury. Was this man, a prisoner before him, to assail his most cherished theories? Rending his robe, that the people might see his pretended horror, he demanded that without further preliminaries the prisoner be condemned for blasphemy. ‘What further need have we of witnesses? ’ he said; ‘behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy. What think ye? ’ And they all condemned Him.”
This piece of inspiration definitely states that this leader — the official head of the structure — placed Christ on trial and pressed to take His life, not because Jesus had wrong theology but because He assailed Caiaphas’ cherished theories. The reflection of this experience can be seen in many of today’s “trials” being held by the conferences in regard to certain people who are “rocking the boat.”
DA 709: “Everything worn by the priest was to be whole and without blemish. By those beautiful official garments was represented the character of the great antitype, Jesus Christ. Nothing but perfection, in dress and attitude, in word and spirit, could be acceptable to God. He is holy, and His glory and perfection must be represented by the earthly service. Nothing but perfection could properly represent the sacredness of the heavenly service. Finite man might rend his own heart by showing a contrite and humble spirit. This God would discern. But no rent must be made in the priestly robes, for this would mar the representation of heavenly things. The high priest who dared to appear in holy office, and engage in the service of the sanctuary, with a rent robe, was looked upon as having severed himself from God. By rending his garment he cut himself off from being a representative character. He was no longer accepted by God as an officiating priest. This course of action, as exhibited by Caiaphas, showed human passion, human imperfection.
“By rending his garments, Caiaphas made of no effect the law of God, to follow the tradition of men.”
The representation of the perfect garment is the equivalent to the perfect character of Christ and His righteousness. This lesson has great significance in the light of the present situation. Two things happened if a pastor tore his garments. One, he made of none effect the law of God and second, he immediately disqualified himself from being a pastor. The teaching of what has become known as the new theology today is the same, spiritually speaking, as rending the robe. It rends the pure, righteous character of God and makes it something that is both human and satanic. In teaching these things pastors are disqualifying themselves from representing Christ and leading God’s people, just as surely as did Caiaphas when he tore that which represented to the people the character of God. Dear people Jesus did not accept this authority. As a matter of fact He did everything in His power to tear it down! Is this what you are doing? Or are you siding with a power which seeks to destroy God’s government and all who support it?
DA 709: “When Caiaphas rent his garment, his act was significant of the place that the Jewish nation as a nation would thereafter occupy toward God. The once favored people of God were separating themselves from Him, and were fast becoming a people disowned by Jehovah.” As the modern day officials of the structure continue to lower the standards in the “church” and in the official papers, as they continue to teach new theology and defend their unbiblical positions of authority, they are doing exactly what Caiaphas did. God has not changed, so the result will be the same. If you choose to support them, your result will be the same, as well.
DA 714- 15: “And so by the third condemnation of the Jewish authorities, Jesus was to die. All that was now necessary, they thought, was for the Romans to ratify this condemnation, and deliver Him into their hands.
“Then came the third scene of abuse and mockery, worse even than that received from the ignorant rabble. In the very presence of the priests and rulers, and with their sanction, this took place. Every feeling of sympathy or humanity had gone out of their hearts. If their arguments were weak, and failed to silence His voice, they had other weapons, such as in all ages have been used to silence heretics, — suffering, and violence, and death.
“When the condemnation of Jesus was pronounced by the judges, a Satanic fury took possession of the people. The roar of voices was like that of wild beasts. The crowd made a rush toward Jesus, crying, He is guilty, put Him to death! Had it not been for the Roman soldiers, Jesus would not have lived to be nailed to the cross of Calvary. He would have been torn in pieces before His judges, had not Roman authority interfered, and by force of arms restrained the violence of the mob. “Heathen men were angry at the brutal treatment of one against whom nothing had been proved. The Roman officers declared that the Jews in pronouncing condemnation upon Jesus were infringing upon the Roman power, and that it was even against the Jewish law to condemn a man to death upon his own testimony. This intervention brought a momentary lull in the proceedings; but the Jewish leaders were dead alike to pity and to shame.
“Priests and rulers forgot the dignity of their office, and abused the Son of God with foul epithets. They taunted Him with His parentage. They declared that His presumption in proclaiming Himself the Messiah made Him deserving of the most ignominious death. The most dissolute men engaged in infamous abuse of the Saviour. An old garment was thrown over His head, and His persecutors struck Him in the face, saying, ‘Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, Who is he that smote Thee? ’ When the garment was removed, one poor wretch spat in His face.
“The angels of God faithfully recorded every insulting look, word, and act, against their beloved Commander. One day the base men who scorned and spat upon the calm, pale face of Christ, will look upon it in its glory, shining brighter than the sun.”
ALL of the above events, ALL of the heinous crimes committed against the person of Jesus Christ WILL BE AGAIN committed by professed Seventh- day Adventist Christians! It got so bad that even the heathen soldiers became indignant at the depths of cruelty these “church” leaders and laity could heap upon another human being. Brother and Sister, why do you suppose all of this has been left for us to understand by the same Jesus Whom this abuse was leveled upon? Who was it that made sure an accurate account was left for us who are facing these issues today? We must know present truth! If we don’t, we will not know that this is the time of our visitation and we will treat it just as the Apostate Church did. We certainly don’t want that to be the eternal account written by our name, do we?
Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross