The Last Crusade

The apostasy that darkened Europe was never universal. There never was a time when God left His truth without a witness. When one group of faithful would yield to the darkness, or was cut off by violence, another group would arise in another land. In every age in some country or another of Christendom, there were those who cried out against the errors of Rome and in behalf of the gospel which it sought to destroy.

From the fifth to the fifteenth century, the Lamp of Truth burned dimly. At times, its dim light appeared as if about to go out, yet it never did. There were times it burned most brightly in the cities of northern Italy and again on the plains of southern France. At other times, its beauty shone from along the Danube in Germany or sent its beams of light across Europe from the shores of England. As early as the ninth century, like the breaking of day across the land, its light shone gently across the landscape of Europe from the valleys high in the Alps.

Just as light shines more brightly in contrast with darkness, so error necessitates a fuller development and a clearer definition of truth. As the darkness of superstition and error deepened over Europe, the seed of truth found congenial soil in which to grow in the mountains of northern Italy. From the very country where the darkness was spreading over the world, the truth shone forth, shedding the light of truth amidst the dark apostasy that gripped Europe. It was in the fertile valleys of the mountains of northern Italy that the Waldenses, one of the most ancient groups to oppose the errors and superstitions of Rome, made their home. No group more stoutly defended the truth nor suffered more for the truth’s sake than these simple people of the valleys.

Satan realized that it was impossible to maintain his control of the people while they had the Holy Scriptures, because they would be able to discern his deceptions and withstand his power. He therefore urged the papal bishops and prelates to take the Bible from the world. For hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was prohibited, and what copies were available were locked up in a language that was not understood by any but the highly educated.

The Waldenses were the first people in all of Europe to obtain a translation of the Scriptures in their native tongue. In their valleys, protected by the surrounding mountains, the Waldenses witnessed the truth for centuries before the light of the Reformation broke forth. Because they had the truth unmixed with error, they were the special object of hatred by the Church of Rome.

The Church of the Alps, in its simplicity of organization, was much like that of the early Christian church. The entire territory of the Waldenses was divided into parishes. Over each parish was a pastor who was helped by laymen. Once a year a conference, or synod, met, which all the pastors and an equal number of lay members attended. Sometimes as many as a hundred and fifty barbs, or pastors, were present.

The barbs were the young people’s teachers. Not only was the Bible their textbook, but they were required to commit to memory and be able to recite accurately whole Gospels and Epistles. This was necessary because before the age of printing, copies of the Bible were very rare. Besides memorizing, they spent part of their time transcribing the Bible by small sections that they would later distribute when they went forth as missionaries.

It was not uncommon for the Waldensian youth, after having completed all the education they could gain in their native land, to go to one of the universities in the surrounding countries. In these institutions of higher education, their purpose was twofold. Not only were they able to extend their field of study but they quietly and with great care opened the truth to the other students as they showed an interest. Converts to the true faith were won, and from these centers of education, they took the seeds of truth back to their native lands. At times the principles of truth were found permeating the entire school, but try as they might, the papal leaders were unable to trace the teaching to its source.

Not content to merely practice the truth, keeping the precious light to themselves, the Waldenses sent out missionaries over the greater part of Europe. Every young person who expected to enter the ministry was required to first gain experience as an evangelist, serving three years as a missionary. Of course, had these men gone out as preachers of the gospel, their purpose would have been defeated. Instead, they traveled as merchants, carrying with them many valuable articles, such as jewelry and silks, not easily obtainable except at far away marts of business. While they would have been despised as missionaries, as peddlers they found entrance. From the humble peasant’s cottage to the baron’s castle, they found a ready welcome.

In preparing for their mission, they took care to conceal among their wares and in their clothing, copies of the Word of God, usually portions they had written themselves. Wherever they found an interest in spiritual truth, they would call the attention of their customers to these portions of Scripture. When means were not available to purchase these portions of Scripture, they gladly left them as a gift to those who were interested in having them.

Their travels took these itinerant missionaries to the west as far as Spain and to Germany, Bohemia and Poland in the north and east. To the south, they successfully penetrated even the city of Rome. During the years that the Church of Rome was expanding its borders, seeking to engulf the whole of Europe, in southern France the simple gospel was taking a hold of the minds of the people. The people who accepted the gospel in this area became known as Albigenses. Disciples multiplied and congregations were formed. In some areas, cities and even whole provinces joined in the movement. For a short time it appeared that all of southern France might become truly Christian, throwing off the superstitions of the Roman Church a full three-hundred years before the Reformation began. Mercifully, providence veiled the future from these devout followers of Christ.

Meanwhile, in Rome the Church suddenly awakened to the fact that while her attention had been directed to far away conquests, right within the dominions that she had considered secure, a new threat was arising. For a number of years the popes had viewed with comparative indifference the small and seemingly insignificant sects that were springing up across Europe and particularly in southern France. For a time the Church even hoped that eventually they could be blended into the larger Catholic Church. After years of fighting the Moslems in the East with little to show for all the blood shed and expense, Rome began to see that the zeal and blood which she so freely shed on distant shores might be turned to a better account nearer to home.

With the ascension of Innocent III to the papal throne, a new policy was adopted. He recognized that the principles of these communities were completely foreign in their nature to those of the papacy and that they would never fit into the Roman Church. More than that, left to themselves these new principles would most certainly result in Rome’s eventual overthrow. The very existence of this people, holding the faith of the ancient church, testified to Rome’s apostasy and therefore excited her most bitter hatred. Accordingly, she set out to destroy them.

In those days, France, rather than forming an entire monarchy, was divided into four great divisions. It was the southern most of these territories that had proved to be most receptive to the preaching of the true gospel. It was a fertile land, plentifully watered by the Rhone River and bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. The people were intelligent and industrious, and under their care the whole area blossomed like a garden.

To stamp out the rival religion, the pope called for a crusade. In exchange for forty days of service, the soldiers were promised that all who engaged in the battle against these enemies of God and the Church would receive forgiveness of all their sins—and atonement for a lifetime of vice and crime. In addition, as a part of the reward, all of the homes and property of the hated sect were to be given to those who helped to destroy them. Going beyond these immediate rewards they had the word of the pope that at death they would find angels prepared to carry them directly through the gates of Paradise where crowns and rich rewards awaited them. Never had heaven been so cheap!

Throughout the years of 1207 and 1208 the preparations for war went on. Like the mutterings of distant thunder, the dreadful sound echoed throughout Europe, reaching the doomed provinces where they were heard with terror.

In the spring of 1909, the armed host was ready to move. Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, a French nobleman who had returned from the crusades, was the chief military officer. The army of over 50,000 soldiers was followed by an even larger host of ignorant and fanatical rabble, bringing the total closer to half a million men. The multitude that followed the soldiers, though ill prepared to do battle with knights, were armed with scythes and clubs, prepared to murder the women and children.

It is never safe to compromise with wrong, but Raymond VI, the Count of Toulouse, seeing the dreadful storm approaching, was overcome with terror. Quickly he wrote a letter to the pope, offering to come to his terms, whatever they might be. As the price of his reconciliation, he was required to give over to the pope seven of his strongest towns. In addition, he was to appear at the town where a papal legate lay, who had been murdered in his dominions. He was there beaten with rods. Next a rope was placed around his neck and he was dragged by the legate, in the presence of several bishops and an immense multitude of spectators, to the tomb of the friar. After all of this, he was obliged to take the cross and join with those who were plundering his cities, massacreing his subjects, and by fire and sword, turning his territories into a desert waste. Stung by the humiliation, he again changed sides, but it was too late to save himself. In the end, he lost all of his possessions, which were given to Simon de Montfort.

The person next in rank and prestige to the Count of Toulouse to oppose the invading force was young Raymond Roger, Viscount of Beziers. As he watched the horde of murderers draw closer, he realized that submission would only invite destruction. Working quickly, he placed his kingdom in a position of strong defense. Given the number of subjects he had, and their defenses, he had reason to hope that they might succeed in defeating the undisciplined mob that threatened them. A Catholic himself, he called together his knights and told them of his purpose. Though many of them were also papists, they willingly supported him in his determination to resist. The castles were garrisoned and provisions gathered. From the surrounding villages the peasants were brought into the fortified cities, there to await the advancing host.

In the middle of July, 1209, the crusaders arrived before the walls of Beziers. To the defenders it appeared as if the whole world was gathered against them. Deciding that the best defense would be an early attack before the invaders had an opportunity to fortify their encampment, they immediately attacked.

The assault was repelled, and the crusaders, mingling with the citizens as they retreated to the town, entered the gates along with them. Before they had even formulated a plan of attack, the papal army had the city in their hands. The knights, realizing that there were many faithful Catholics in the town, asked the papal legate, the Abbot of Citeaux, how they might distinguish the Catholics from the heretics. In reply, he cried: “Kill all! Kill all! The Lord will know His own.” Wylie, The History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 42

The city that normally had a population of 15,000 was now filled with more than 60,000 people. As soon as they realized the city was taken, the multitude fled to the churches and began to toll the bells by way of supplication. Instead of gaining mercy for them, the sound only attracted the invaders, and soon the dead bodies of innocent victims covered the floors of the churches. The bodies of the helpless victims were heaped in piles around the altar while their blood flowed out the doors in torrents. In one church alone, 7,000 bodies were counted. When the last living creature in all Beziers had been killed and every home pillaged of anything that was worth carrying off, the city was burned to ashes. Not one house remained inside; not one human was left alive.

In the terrible fate of Beziers, the other towns and villages read the fate that awaited them. Many smaller towns and villages were entirely vacated as the people fled to the caves and forests for refuge. The advancing host burned and destroyed everything in their path.

Finally, on the first of August, the crusaders advanced to Carcassonne. This city stood on the bank of the Aude, and its fortifications were strong. The young count, Raymond Roger, was the leader. There were many defenders inside, and as the multitude advanced, they were met with a stout defense. From inside the walls the defenders poured streams of boiling water and oil on the crusaders and crushed them with great stones and other heavy projectiles. As often as they attacked, they were repulsed. Meanwhile, the forty days’ service for which most of the men had signed up was expiring, and in the face of continued resistance, the army was beginning to melt away. Arnold, the papal legate, seeing that if there was not a sudden change of things all might yet be lost, decided to resort to craft.

In all ages, the righteous have obtained help from God. The enemies of His people can never put down those whom God would lift up, as long as they remain faithful to principle. Time and again Satan has tried to destroy those whom God is leading and guiding, but if the followers of Jesus are faithful, they need not be terrified by the rulers of darkness of this world. The power of the enemy is limited; God has set limits that he cannot go beyond. When unable to destroy God’s people by an open frontal attack, Satan often resorts to policy and deceit, seeking to lead them to concede to a compromise. Our great fear should not, therefore, be the enemies who come against us, but that we will fail to maintain our integrity. There can never be agreement between those who have aligned themselves with error and those who have chosen to defend the truth, but Satan seeks to persuade God’s people to listen to his agents. He knows well that the road to compromise is entered upon as soon as God’s people agree to discuss their differences with those who have shown themselves to be enemies of truth.

The papal legate offered Roger the hope of an honorable surrender and promised to respect his liberty if he would only come out of the city. Listening to God’s enemies is always dangerous, and on coming out, Roger was immediately arrested, along with the 300 knights who had accompanied him. On the inside of the city, the garrison, seeing what had happened to their leader, determined, along with the citizens of the town to make their escape by a secret passage known only to themselves.

The next morning, upon entering the city without meeting any resistance, the papal legate was amazed to find it completely deserted. Though deprived of the full victory he had anticipated, he was determined not to be wholly deprived. He might not have the greater satisfaction he had anticipated, but he could certainly have a measure of triumph. Casting about, he was able to gather together 450 persons, a group made up partly of fugitives whom he had earlier captured and partly of the 300 knights who had accompanied the viscount. Of these, he burned 400 persons alive, and the remaining 50 he hanged.
Though this was the last of the crusades, the next twenty years were dedicated to rooting out any seeds of heresy that remained. In the place of the crusades, Rome introduced a new and more to be dreaded engine of terror—the Inquisition. The rich plains of southern France which had once yielded bountiful harvests were turned into a desert wasteland. The once flourishing towns and villages were swept away, leaving only blood and ashes.

But Rome, with all her violence, was unable to fully arrest the progress of truth. In seeking to crush the flame of truth, she only managed to scatter the sparks that were to later spring up over an even wider area. And though she had succeeded in slowing the movement that would become the Reformation, new instruments of power, unknown to that age, were being prepared to spread the gospel more quickly and over a wider field than had yet been dreamed possible. The divine principles upon which the Reformation was to build, though seemingly extinguished, were yet to burn ever more brightly, filling the whole earth with their light.

The End

New? Movement

After the death of Wycliffe in 1384, his followers, variously known as Wycliffites or Lollards, traversed the length and breadth of England preaching the gospel. An effort to restrict these activities resulted in the passage of a law that allowed for fines, confiscation of property and imprisonment for the crime of preaching “without license of the ordinaries.” “These preachers were not troubled with doubts touching their right to assume the sacred office. They reasoned that the same charter which gave to the Church her right to exist, gave to her members the right to discharge those functions that are needful to her welfare. They went not to Rome, therefore, but to the Bible for their warrant to minister.” Wylie, The History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 350

Today, Adventism is faced with a similar situation as a “new movement” has sprung up of Seventh-day Adventist ministers who do not look to any earthly authority for their authorization to preach the gospel, not only within the United States but indeed all over the world.

Just as the preaching of present truth for fourteenth century England evoked a harsh response from the combined religious and civil powers, so today the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have sought ways and means by which they might avail themselves of the assistance of the civil power to eliminate, and failing in that, make as difficult as possible, the work of the independent ministries.

The history of the early Reformation in England reveals that when lesser efforts failed, it ultimately resulted in a death decree being passed against the Lollards by King Henry IV. In the preamble of this infamous act, we find enumerated the activities in which the Lollards were engaged which were so offensive to those who opposed them that they felt constrained to resort to such harsh tactics. It was there stated that the Lollards “were going from diocese to diocese, holding conventicles, opening schools, writing books, and wickedly teaching the people.” Ibid., 351.

In comparing these charges with the record of those who today speak on behalf of Historic Adventists, we find some remarkable parallels. The leaders in the movement, if it may be called that, of Historic Adventists, not only travel widely, preaching and holding conventions, but they have organized training programs and Bible-worker training schools.

It is interesting to note that William Sawtrey, the rector of St. Margarets’s in Lynn and the first Lollard martyr, was martyred on the charge that he would not worship the cross. Yet, in Montana, one home church group was formed over precisely this same issue. The pastor of the church which a family that has since started a home church had been attending, reportedly erected a cross on the platform and then, with his wife, sang a hymn to it and kissed it.

I hope it is thus clear to all our readers that the Historic Adventist Movement is not new at all. In fact, it goes back at least as far as the first century A.D. We read in Acts 19:8-10 of Paul’s failure to convert all of the Jews of his day and the resulting separation that took place. “And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

Let us take special note of the fact that the separation occurred only after certain of the Jews hardened their hearts against the truth. Then Paul was presumably forced to move his location of worship service and Sabbath school out to a private location, a school of one brother named Tyrrannus. Reread verse 10 and note that this separation did not happen overnight. It occurred over a period of years. This was clearly a period of turmoil and perplexity as apostolic Christianity became distinct from Jewish orthodoxy. This is the corresponding period in which we find ourselves today.

What is it that motivates Adventists to separate from the fellowship of their brethren? The answer lies in the fact that they believe that it is neither wise, nor safe, to continue listening to error week after week. This is not a personal preference but a biblical principle. “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.” Proverbs 19:27

Were this principle not true, there would never have been a need for the early Adventists to have separated from the other denominations from which they came. Neither was this separation something peculiar to the early Adventists. Many true Christians have had to make this painful transition—the Waldenses, the Lollards, the Hussites, the Lutherans—to name only a few.

That those who value truth refrain from listening to error is no surprise. The thing that is so surprising is that apparently good and faithful Adventists continue to excuse themselves in listening to wolves in sheep’s clothing preach to them such errors as the pre-fallen nature of Christ, of His inability to save us from sin, and kindred heresies.

The idea of home churches is not a new one but extends back at least as far as New Testament times. In Romans 16, Paul refers to this. “I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you; for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also. Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfrutis of Achaia unto Christ.” Romans 16:1-5 [All emphasis supplied]

In addition, there are several other places where home churches are referred to. “The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.” 1Corinthians 16:19. “And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house.” Philemon 1:2. In Colossians 4:15, we read of yet another home church, “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.”

Returning our attention to fourteenth century England, we read of William Thorpe, a Lollard Protestant, whose chief sins in the eyes of the establishment of his day were his refusal to believe in the transubstantiation of the communion bread and his refusal to worship images such as the cross. While his final fate is unknown to us, it seems most likely that he perished in a dungeon for there is no record of his release of public execution. So I class William with the lengthy list of martyrs and request your attention to his recorded statement as to what constitutes God’s church. “And I believe in the holy Church—that is, all they that have been, and that now are, and that to the end of the wold shall be, a people that shall endeavor to know and keep the commandments of God.” The History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 357

It is a remarkable thing, but a point well to be remembered, that in every moral crisis within the church, when the majority have followed after error, leading those who choose to be faithful to the truth to separate from them, there has been unity of understanding as to what constitutes the church of Christ. Thorpe’s understanding of God’s church was that it is “a people that shall endeavor to know and keep the commandments of God.” God’s church is not and never has been a man-made structure. It is simply those people who love God supremely and keep His commandments. How very different is this ancient but simple understanding from that of the majority in every age who have viewed the corporate structure as the church!

By way of illustrating the point, consider in your mind a church. Most often the picture that comes to mind is a typical church building. Generally, most people will form a mental picture of a building with doors, windows, probably a steeple, and perhaps with a cross on the top.

Starting at the top of this structure, we must recognize that the cross is not at all a Christian symbol but was imported from pagan sun worship. Its introduction occurred in the ninth century and it caused a schism in the establishment of that day. Claude, the bishop of Turin, stoutly resisted cross worship, commenting, “…in kneeling to the image, or kissing the cross, you do what the second commandment forbids, and what the Scripture condemns as idolatry. God commands one thing and these people do quite the contrary. God commands us to bear our cross, and not to worship it; but these are all for worshipping it, whereas they do not bear it at all. To serve God after this manner is to go away from Him. For if we ought to adore the cross because Christ was fastened to it, how many other things are there which touched Jesus Christ! Why don’t they adore mangers and old clothes, because He was laid in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes? Let them adore asses, because He entered Jerusalem upon the foal of an ass.” Ibid., 22

In tracing back the history of the cross, its origin appears to have been the first letter of the name of Tammuz, the illegitimate son of Ishtar, the evil queen who originated sun worship and astrology. After Tammuz’s death in a hunting accident, Ishtar shrewdly encouraged his worship by the populace of Babylon, thereby retaining her position of authority. Very quickly the “T” was used as Tammuz’s symbol in the same manner that the sign of the cross is practiced today by Roman Catholics. It is from this satanic religion that pagan Rome apparently borrowed the cross as the form on which to practice crucifixion. The Bible lists a number of pagan practices within God’s church in Ezekiel 8, calling them abominations. In the fourteenth verse we read of this worship of Tammuz. “Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.”

Moving away from this satanic symbol of cruelty and idolatry and striking it from the top of our mental picture of a church, we move our consideration down to the steeple.

The fifteenth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 11, 232, correctly identifies the origin of the steeple as the obelisk. The obelisk was the externally identifying mark of temples of the sun god in the Middle East, just as the steeple today commonly identifies the buildings of many Christian denominations. The very center of modern spiritual Babylon, the Vatican, has gone to great pain and cost to identify itself with the mystery religion of ancient Babylon by erecting the largest obelisk in Europe in the very heart of the papacy, St. Peter’s Basilica.

Now, recognizing that the steeple is not more Christian than the cross, we strike it from our mental image of a church building, and what do we have left? Just a house—a home church. Yes, the home is the real center for Christian worship.

In closing, let us take a quick look at a passage of Scripture that is commonly twisted out of its proper context to attack the home church movement. How often we hear that we are not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together.” See Hebrews 10:25. Let us, however, consider this admonition in the context in which it was given. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Hebrews 10:23-26. The context clearly identifies that the meeting that we are not to forsake is one where we provoke one another to good works, not one where virtually everybody does no more good than warming the pews once a week. And of current import, do not miss the fact that in verse 26, Paul clearly connects sinless living with the meeting of the saints. Yet the meetings forsaken by those who have joined the home church movement are those where the preacher openly preaches that sinless living is impossible until Jesus returns.

Given the errors and outright apostasy of the corporate Sabbath gatherings that I have seen, these verses in Hebrews demand that we find meetings apart from those which contradict the biblical gospel. For further bible study on this topic see also: 1 Corinthians 6:15-18; Proverbs 5:3-8; and Proverbs 7:10-22. As you read, keep in mind that a harlot is the biblical symbol for an apostate church.

Brothers and Sisters, I do not believe that this Historic Adventist Movement is some new phenomenon but a necessary continuation of historic theology and practice. We presently know of over 600 groups that have satellite receivers and we have reason to believe that there are approximately 1000 home churches which meet regularly.

We have seen that though a conventional church building may be desirable as a place of meeting, it is not necessary, and certainly not synonymous with the church. I would like to urge each reader to not only consider this home church alternative, but to support the leaders of this movement. Once you have joined or started your home church, remember that every successful reformatory movement has been characterized by active proselytizing by all members. If we do not seize our opportunity to do the task in front of us, taking the gospel to the whole world, our candlestick will also be removed from its place.

The End

Scriptural Basis Of Communion

Jesus’ time with His disciples was rapidly drawing to a close. But a few hours remained and they were to be spent for the benefit of His beloved disciples. This was the setting, and it was under these circumstances that Jesus initiated that very first communion service.

Jesus knew that in just a few hours he would make the supreme sacrifice. There were many things on Jesus’ heart that he longed to share with His disciples, but before He could say this meaningful good-by, he saw a need to prepare their hearts for the things he was about to say.

“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; he riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” John 13:3-5

These words are rich in meaning. When Jesus laid aside His garments that he might serve his disciples, it was not the first time he had done so. When Jesus was in heaven, he took the great step of condescension in laying aside His kingly robes, the robes of deity, and came down to this earth to be robed in the robes of a servant. Jesus laid aside His kingly robes, but more than that, he put on the vestments of human flesh, sharing in our human nature in the fullest sense.

Who was Jesus? Was he some created being? No, He was one with the Father. “For….his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. It was this everlasting Father who laid aside the robes of deity and came down to this earth, taking upon Himself the vestments of fallen human nature.

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2. Jesus was everlasting, just as was His Father.

Paul also compared Him to Melchisedec, who was a type of Christ. “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” Hebrews 7:3. Paul is using this to say that Christ is without beginning of days—not a created being, but one with the Father.

In that upper room when Jesus laid aside His garments to serve, he was but demonstrating that which He had literally done in order to become one with us.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7

Christ did not just look like a man. His humanity was not like a veneer or some costume that is put on the outside, but He was really made just like we are. That is what it means when we are told that He was made in the likeness of men—he partook of the same fallen, sinful nature.

We do not spend time enough contemplating the great step that Christ took when he became one with the human family. The Holy Spirit gives us glimpses, but we still see it as through a darkened glass, and even the clearest glimpses we see are nothing as compared to the glory He laid aside to come down to this earth. When we reach the kingdom of glory and we see unveiled all of the glory he laid aside to come down to this earth, then we will marvel.

“This was a voluntary sacrifice. Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that he might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing. Nearly two thousand years ago, a voice of mysterious import was heard in heaven, from the throne of God, ‘Lo I come.’ ‘Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldst not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me….Lo, I come (In the volume of the book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God.’ Hebrews 10:5-7.In these words is announced the fulfillment of the purpose that had been hidden from eternal ages. Christ was about to visit our world, and to become incarnate. He say, ‘A body hast Thou prepared Me,’ had he appeared with the glory that was His with the Father before the world was, we could not have endured the light of His presence. That we might behold it and not be destroyed, the manifestation of His glory was shrouded. His divinity was veiled with humanity,—the invisible glory in the visible human form.” The Desire of Ages, 23.

Can you grasp it?

That night in the upper room, as Jesus was about to leave His disciples, though he knew he would see them again, he saw evidence that the devil was working among the brethren. There was strife among them as to who would be the greatest, and this pained the heart of Jesus. He had spent three and a half years with them, and yet, as he was preparing to leave this world, their minds were wrapped up in self. Somehow he had to get the message through to them that this was not the spirit which must be among those who would walk in his footsteps and finally enter the kingdom of heaven. Though he might have given them a very scathing rebuke, he laid aside the opportunity of using words and he set them an example. Taking the place of a servant, he began to wash His disciples’ feet. This demonstration had an effect that the most eloquent sermon Christ might have preached or the strongest rebuke could not have equaled.

“This action opened the eyes of the disciples. Bitter shame and humiliation filled their hearts. They understood the unspoken rebuke, and saw themselves in altogether a new light.” The Desire of Ages, 644. In other words, they saw themselves in the real light. They needed to see themselves in this light or else they were not qualified to enter into the Lord’s supper. Jesus saw that it was necessary that they receive this rebuke through His example to prepare their hearts, minds and spirits for what was to come next. Seeing the King of kings and Lord of lords condescend again to become a servant, broke their hearts.

“When Jesus girded himself with a towel to wash the dust from their feet, he desired by that very act to wash the alienation, jealousy, and pride from their hearts. This was of far more consequence than the washing of their dusty feet. With the spirit they then had, not one of them was prepared for communion with Christ. Until brought into a state of humility and love, they were not prepared to partake of the paschal supper, or to share in the memorial service which Christ was about to institute. Their hearts must be cleansed. Pride and self-seeking create dissension and hatred, but all this Jesus washed away in washing their feet. A change of feeling was brought about. Looking upon them, Jesus could say, ‘Ye are clean.’ Now there was union of heart, love for one another. They had become humble and teachable.” The Desire of Ages, 646

There cannot be unity among God’s people while there is a striving for supremacy and while pride and selfish ambition still lives in the heart. Though we may deny these things, placing over them a cover of piety and sincerity, the Lord sees through it all, and until we are cleansed from them, we are not prepared to take of the meaningful emblems.

As the disciples submitted to be cleansed through the means the Lord had provided, so must we.

“Like Peter and his brethren, we too have been washed in the blood of Christ, yet often through contact with evil the heart’s purity is soiled. We must come to Christ for his cleansing grace. Peter shrank from bringing his soiled feet in contact with the hands of his Lord and Master; but how often we bring our sinful, polluted hearts in contact with the heart of Christ. How grievous to Him is our evil temper, our vanity and pride. Yet, all our infirmity and defilement we must bring to Him. He alone can wash us clean. We are not prepared for communion with Him unless cleansed by His efficacy.” The Desire of Ages, 648,649

Having washed His disciples feet and prepared them for communion, He then gave them the following charge: “Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:13,14. This is the charge that the Lord has given to us as well—that we should wash one another’s feet just as He washed the disciples feet, thereby setting us an example.

“This ordinance is Christ’s appointed preparation for the sacramental service. While pride, variance, and strife for supremacy are cherished, the heart cannot enter into fellowship with Christ. We are not prepared to receive the communion of His body and His blood. Therefore it was that Jesus appointed the memorial of His humiliation to be first observed.

“As they come to this ordinance, the children of God should bring to remembrance the words of the Lord of life and glory: ‘Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.’ There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother, to work for self, to seek the highest place; and often this results in evil surmising and bitterness of spirit. The ordinance preceding the Lord’s supper, is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of heart that will lead him to serve his brother.” The Desire of Ages, 650

The opportunity of serving one another, of following the example of Christ, is a very special one. Where there are differences, it is a time of making reconciliation, of putting things right, being brought into full unity with one another and with Christ, as we receive this very special cleansing.

When this service is completed, because we have faith in Jesus and believe by faith that we have been cleansed by Him, we are not to come around the table with mourning and solemness, even though it is a very sacred and solemn time. The Lord wants us to come with a spirit of thankfulness and rejoicing.

“But the communion service was not to be a season of sorrowing. This was not its purpose. As the Lord’s disciples gather about His table, they are not to remember and lament their shortcomings. They are not to dwell upon their past religious experience, whether that experience has been elevating or depressing. They are not to recall the differences between them and their brethren. The preparatory service has embraced all this. The self-examination, the confession of sin, the reconciling of differences, has all been done. Now they come to meet with Christ. They are not to stand in the shadow of the cross, but in its saving light. They are to open the soul to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. With hearts cleansed by Christ’s most precious blood, in full consciousness of His presence, although unseen, they are to hear His words, ‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.’ John 14:27.” The Desire of Ages, 659

You cannot buy that peace with a million dollars. It cannot be purchased with all the treasures of this earth; but the Lord Jesus Christ has given us that peace that passes all understanding, and we can rejoice in that peace as we come around the table and partake of the very precious emblems.

Jesus told His disciples that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine until He came for them, took them back to the kingdom of glory and sat down with them in heaven; then He would drink of the fruit of the vine again. Do you believe that Jesus is longing to drink of the fruit of the vine again? Not that He misses drinking grape juice, but He misses His faithful children and He is longing to gather them in that glad reunion that will take place when He comes. As we partake of the emblems He has given us, He wants us to look forward with rejoicing to that time, believing that through His grace, we have been forgiven and cleansed.

Remember that Jesus became a servant. He came to give Himself for us, linking Himself with us by ties that are never to be broken; He will retain His humanity forever. We are linked to the Deity, and He loves us because He not only laid down His life for us, but He has entered into the human experience. We are very precious and very special, and when He ascended to heaven, we meant everything to Him.

Jesus wanted assurance from the Father that through His efficacious sacrifice it would indeed be possible for Him to take His children into the kingdom of heaven so they could sit down with Him and drink again of the fruit of the vine. I like the way Ellen White portrays the scene in the very last chapter of The Desire of Ages.

“All heaven was waiting to welcome the Saviour to the celestial courts. As he ascended, He led the way, and the multitude of captives set free at His resurrection followed. The heavenly host, with shouts and acclamations of praise and celestial song, attended the joyous train.

“As they drew near to the city of God, the challenge is given by the escorting angels,—‘Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in!’

“Joyfully the waiting sentinels respond, ‘Who is this King of Glory?’

“This they say, not because they know not who He is, but because they would hear the answer of exalted praise, ‘The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in!’

“Again is heard the challenge, ‘Who is this King of Glory?’ for the angels never weary of hearing His name exalted. The escorting angels make reply, ‘The Lord of hosts; He is the King of Glory!’ Psalm 24:7-10.

“Then the portals of the city of God are opened wide, and the angelic throng sweep through the gates amid a burst of rapturous music.

“There is the throne, and around it the rainbow of promise. There are cherubim and seraphim. The commanders of the angel hosts, the sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds, are assembled. The heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and His Son, the representatives of those sinless realms over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion,—all are there to welcome the Redeemer. They are eager to celebrate his triumph and to glorify their King. But he waves them back. Not yet; he cannot now receive the coronet of glory and the royal robe. He enters into the presence of His Father. He points to His wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet; he lifts His hands, bearing the print of nails. He points to the tokens of His triumph; he presents to God the wave-sheaf, those raised with Him as representatives of that great multitude who shall come forth from the grave at His second coming. He approaches the Father, with whom there is joy over one sinner that repents; who rejoices over one with singing. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he would be overcome by Satan. They had clasped their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race. This pledge Christ has fulfilled. When upon the cross He cried out, ‘It is finished,’ he addressed the Father. The compact had been fully carried out. Now he declares, ‘Father, it is finished. I have done Thy will, O My God. I have completed the work of redemption. If Thy justice is satisfied, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’ John 19:30; 17:24.

“The voice of God is heard proclaiming that justice is satisfied. Satan is vanquished. Christ’s toiling, struggling ones on earth are ‘accepted in the Beloved.’ Ephesians 1:6. Before the heavenly angels and the representatives of unfallen worlds, they are declared justified. Where he is there his church shall be. ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.’ Psalm 85:10. The Father’s arms encircle His Son, and the word is given, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’ Hebrews 1:6.

“With joy unutterable, rulers and principalities and powers acknowledge the supremacy of the prince of life. The angel host prostrate themselves before Him, while the glad shout fills all the courts of heaven, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing!’ Revelation 5:12” The Desire of Ages, 833-834

As we partake of the emblems of the communion service, let us do so looking forward to that time when Jesus will take us home and again we will sit with Him around the table. Once again, who will be the servant? It will be Jesus.

As the disciples in the upper room recognized that Jesus was the Son of God, though they had never seen his full glory, and yet marveled at His condescension, how will we marvel as there in heaven we see Him crowned. When we see the awesomeness and glory of Christ, the great God, and now, not withstanding all of this, He serves us again, little wonder we will cast our crowns at His feet, exclaiming before all the angels, “Worthy is the lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:12.

The End

Are You Ready for the Time of Trouble?

I believe that the time of trouble is right around the corner for God’s people. God’s people should not be afraid of the time of trouble. When I was a little boy, I used to have nightmares about the time of trouble. I have found out since, that when you know the Lord Jesus Christ, you do not need to worry about the time of trouble. It is during this time that Michael is going to stand up to protect God’s people.

We are going to study about the persecution of God’s people. Second Timothy 3:12 tells us that, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Is persecution of God’s people something new? No, it has been going on for thousands of years, but there is going to be a time of trouble that is going to come upon God’s people that is going to be worse than any persecution that has ever taken place. Have you heard about what happened to God’s people during the Dark Ages, about how the early Christians were fed to the lions?

“In every age since the fall of Adam the opposition of evil agencies has made the lives of those who would be loyal and true to God’s commandments a continual warfare. Those who would at last be victorious must meet and conquer the forces of Satan, who with fierce determination opposes every step of advance. They must meet a vigilant foe, a crafty enemy who never sleeps and who tries untiringly to undermine the faith of God’s servants.” In Heavenly Places, 260. Do you know what it means when it speaks of undermining the faith of God’s servants? It means to discourage them. If that does not work, then there is an effort to undermine the work God’s servants are doing.

I believe that one of the master strokes of Satan in recent memory has been the Waco tragedy. Because that fanatical group had a tie-in with the Seventh-day Adventist Church some sixty years ago, the structure is now trying to show them to be an example of what takes place when groups separate from the organized structure, thereby casting reproach upon all independent ministries. I believe this was a master stroke of Satan to tie in anyone who dares, in 1993, to stand for the truth, with the group in Waco. Perry Parks, the president of the Montana Conference, immediately following the disbanding of the Troy, Montana Church said that the only difference between the Troy Church and Waco is that the Troy group had no guns.

Let me tell you; any man who would be so vile and low, who would stoop to compare the Historic Adventist independent ministries with the fanatical group in Waco, is absolutely devoid of all honesty. Cyril Miller, the Southwestern Union Conference president made the statement that the independent ministries and those responsible for the billboards have the potential of being more dangerous than the group in Waco had.

Satan has worked though his agents to agitate, to bring reproach upon the cause of God. We have been told that this is exactly what we are to be faced with in the last days, and we have not seen anything yet. There will be more reproach brought upon the truth and those who dare to stand for truth, than anything we have yet seen.

Let me assure you that there is no peace between truth and error. “The antagonism that exists between the spirit of Christ and the spirit of Satan was most strikingly displayed in the world’s reception of Jesus. It was not so much because He appeared without worldly wealth, pomp, or grandeur that the Jews were led to reject Him. They saw that He possessed power which would more than compensate for the lack of these outward advantages. But the purity and holiness of Christ called forth against Him the hatred of the ungodly.” The Great Controversy, 506. This is why Jesus was hated, for no other reason. “His life of self-denial and sinless devotion was a perpetual reproof to a proud, sensual people. It was this that evoked enmity against the Son of God. Satan and evil angels joined with evil men. All the energies of apostasy conspired against the Champion of truth.” Ibid.

What is apostasy? When you hold to a religious belief and later backslide from it and renounce what you once believe, that is apostasy. So, in the last days, we see that Satan is going to use the energies of apostasy. Now, does this mean that he is going to use people of other churches against Seventh-day Adventists? In order to be an apostate Adventist, you must have once been an Adventist and have backslidden. This does not necessarily mean you will no longer call yourself a Seventh-Day Adventist, because if you did that, you could not do as much damage. No, these people will still call themselves Seventh-day Adventists. They will still attend Seventh-day Adventist churches, but they will be suing people they do not like, and they will not believe what true Seventh-day Adventists have believed for one hundred and fifty years.

“The same enmity is manifested toward Christ’s followers as was manifested toward their Master. Whoever sees the repulsive character of sin, and in strength from above resists temptation, will assuredly arouse the wrath of Satan and his subjects. Hatred of the pure principles of truth, and reproach and persecution of its advocates, will exist as long as sin and sinners remain. The followers of Christ and the servants of Satan cannot harmonize. The offense of the cross has not ceased. ‘All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.’ 2 Timothy 3:12.” The Great Controversy, 507

Please do not waste your time, folks, calling me and suggesting a meeting with the conference men to try to reconcile. Can we reconcile? Folks, I am sorry. When the Waldensian Christians were persecuted, when God’s faithful people down through the ages who have been persecuted were approached by those who wanted to work out a compromise, they responded by telling them that when they would forsake their false doctrines and separate from sin, they would gladly embrace them; but as long as they insisted on being joined to falsehood, there was no purpose in talking.

Friends, do not think that some of the independent ministries are unwilling to reconcile. Oh, we are! We want to be reconciled with the corporate structure, and if they would be willing to get the Pentecostalism, the New Age spiritualism and the Neuro-linguistic programming of our pastors out of the church and ask for forgiveness, we would get on with preaching the three angel’s messages together. There cannot, however, be reconciliation over falsehood.

“All who in that evil day would fearlessly serve God according to the dictates of conscience, will need courage, firmness, and a knowledge of God and his word; for those who are true to God will be persecuted, their motives will be impugned, their best efforts misinterpreted, and their names cast out as evil.” The Acts of the Apostles, 431. We cannot be timid in the last days. We can no longer warm the pews. “No longer consent to listen without protest to the perversion of truth.” Selected Messages, book 1, 196. You are not going to obtain courage and firmness unless you are reading and studying.

God always divides His people up into two groups, and this is happening right now. There are no longer any gray areas; things are becoming black and white.

“He [Satan] is now preparing for his last campaign against the church. All who seek to follow Jesus will be brought into conflict with this relentless foe. The more nearly the Christian imitates the divine Pattern, the more surely will he make himself a mark for the attacks of Satan.” The Great Controversy, 510

Have you heard of the carrot and the stick routine? First of all, the person trying to conform you to his idea hangs the carrot out—something you like—and an attempt is made to entice you to conform to his idea. If you do not go for that, then the stick is brought out; and if you still do not conform, he will hit you with the stick. It is a method of Satan.

“As the movement for Sunday enforcement becomes more bold and decided, the law will be invoked against commandment keepers. They will be threatened with fines and imprisonment, and some will be offered positions of influence, and other rewards and advantages, as inducements to renounce their faith.” Ibid., 607

I do not know how the devil will try to use the carrot on you, but just as he offered to Jesus all of the kingdoms of this world if He would but bow down and worship him, he will come to you, offering you advantages to be gained by compromise. Just as the alternative to accepting the bribe was death, so in the last days, if you remain faithful, expect betrayal from your fellow Adventists. “Those who apostatize in time of trial, will, to secure their own safety, bear false witness, and betray their brethren. Christ has warned us of this, that we may not be surprised at the unnatural, cruel course of those who reject the light.” The Desire of Ages, 630

I believe that The Great Controversy does more to prepare God’s people than any other book.

“When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In the fearful time, the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor.” The Great Controversy, 614

Now what does it mean to live without an intercessor? It mans that we must have allowed Christ to give us victory over all sin in our life.

“The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.” Ibid.

Do you realize that in A.D. 69, when Cestius had surrounded Jerusalem problems were encountered in the homeland and the Romans suddenly withdrew? This was a sign that had been given by Jesus nearly forty years earlier. The Christians, following Jesus’ instructions, fled from the city and not one lost. The following year, Titus, another Roman general, again surrounded the city. Rather than attack the city, Titus resolved to starve the people out. Eventually things got so bad that people would try to slip out of the city gates at night just to find some grass to eat. If they were caught by the Romans, they were crucified in the area surrounding the city. It finally became so bad that the Roman soldiers had difficulty moving among the crosses, they had become so numerous. And, if they managed to escape the Romans and get back into the city, the people were killed by their own countrymen for the grass they had risked their lives to obtain.

Here, we read, however, that when God’s presence is finally withdrawn from the earth, it is going to be more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old. Can we really fathom how terrible this world will be?

But even though God’s presence is withdrawn from the world, it is not withdrawn from His people. His presence is never withdrawn from His people.

“Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” Revelation 18:8

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24:22, This means that it will be worse than any other persecution that has ever come upon this earth. Are we really ready for this? It comes right down to your Christian experience and how much you depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ, because if you depend upon Him enough, then you will be able to stand, and this is the only way that you will be able to stand.

Do God’s people suffer during this time?

“The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food, they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants. To him that ‘walketh righteously’ is the promise: ‘Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.’” The Great Controversy, 629

“Some were denouncing God and cursing Him. Others rushed to the people of God and begged to be taught how they might escape His judgments. But the saints had nothing for them.” Early Writings, 281. Why are the saints unwilling to help? It is because probation has closed. “The last tear for sinners had been shed, the last agonizing prayer offered, the last burden borne, the last warning given. The sweet voice of mercy was no more to invite them. When the saints, and all heaven, were interested for their salvation, they had no interest for themselves. Life and death had been set before them. Many desired life, but made no effort to obtain it. They did not choose life, and now there was no atoning blood to cleanse the guilty, no compassionate Saviour to plead for them, and cry, ‘Spare, spare the sinner a little longer.’” Ibid.

We hear about the time of trouble, and then we hear about a special part of this time of trouble know as Jacob’s time of trouble. During Jacob’s night of wrestling, through the entire time he was struggling, he feared that his sin had not been forgiven. Though he had confessed and repented, he feared that he had not obtained forgiveness. During this time of trouble, God’s people realize that there is no more forgiveness for sins. There is the awful realization that they are either saved, or lost, and that the plan of salvation is over. They will also be concerned as to whether they failed to do anything during the time of salvation. They will realize that should they fail, God will be dishonored, and this will bring a torture of mind we do not now comprehend. Though it is a terrible ordeal for God’s people, it is a time for them to look up in faith. The person who has in these times of relative peace and prosperity developed perfect faith in God, will not then be as severely tried as those who have failed to gain this experience.

Right now the Lord is allowing trials and troubles to come to us to develop the faith we will need to stand in the final time of the great test. God wants us to learn to live moment by moment in perfect peace because of our confidence in Him.

“When Christ shall cease His work as mediator in man’s behalf, then this time of trouble will begin. Then the case of every soul will have been decided, and there will be no atoning blood to cleanse from sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 201

Friends, we must get our eyes off of the things of this world and no longer allow the things that people are saying against us, or the problems that come against us in our daily lives, to bother us, but to turn them over to the Lord. We have to give up the concern that we have, that if we turn it over to the Lord, it may not turn out as we want it to.

“As Satan influenced Esau to march against Jacob, so he will stir up the wicked to destroy God’s people in the time of trouble. And as he accused Jacob, he will urge his accusations against the people of God. He numbers the world as his subjects; but the little company who keep the commandments of God are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. He sees that holy angels are guarding them, and he infers that their sins have been pardoned; but he does not know that their cases have been decided in the sanctuary above. He has an accurate knowledge of the sins which he has tempted them to commit, and he presents these before God in the most exaggerated light, representing this people to be just as deserving as himself of exclusion from the favor of God. He declares that the Lord cannot in justice forgive their sins and yet destroy him and his angels. He claims them as his prey and demands that they be given into his hands to destroy.

“As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins, the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. Their confidence in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested. As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their weakness and unworthiness. Satan endeavors to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations and turn from their allegiance to God.

“Though God’s people will be surrounded by enemies who are bent upon their destruction, yet the anguish which they suffer is not a dread of persecution for the truth’s sake; they fear that every sin has not been repented of, and that through some fault in themselves they will fail to realize the fulfillment of the Saviour’s promise: ‘I will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world.’ Revelation 3:10. If they could have the assurance of pardon, they would not shrink from torture of death; but should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of their own defects of character, then God’s holy name would be reproached.” The Great Controversy, 618,619

When Moses saw the great apostasy of the people of Israel in the wilderness when they worshipped the golden calf, he chose rather to die himself than to have the people destroyed and bring reproach upon God. This is the concern that people of God will have for the honor of God’s name in these trying times.

“Those who exercise but little faith now, are in the greatest danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the test, they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected they will be force to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.” The Great Controversy, 622

Are you ready to give God every portion of your life? Are you ready to say, “Lord, prepare me for the time of trouble. Help me to be willing to give these little things that happen to me every day, over to You and to learn to trust You implicitly”? If we cannot in confidence do this now, we will not be able to stand in the time of trouble which all of God’s faithful must soon meet.

The End

The Call to the Sleeping Virgins

There are two statements in the Spirit of Prophecy that motivated me to search the parable of the ten virgins as for hidden treasures. One of them is found in the Review and Herald, September 19, 1890, and it says: “I am often referred to the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish. This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter, for it has special application to this time, and like the third angel’s message, has been fulfilled and will continue to be present truth until the close of time. In the parable, the ten virgins had lamps, but only five of them have the saving oil with which to keep their lamps burning. This represents the condition of the Church.”

The second statement is in an article on the parable of the ten virgins in the Review and Herald, October 31, 1899, and it says: “Every specification of this parable should be carefully studied.”

“As Christ sat looking upon the party that waited for the bridegroom, he told His disciples the story of the ten virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His second coming. The two classes of watchers represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for the Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the Word of God. The Psalmist says, ‘Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ Ps. 199:105. The oil [we know] is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 406

Remember that there were ten virgins. They all had lamps, and the lamps were all lit. They all initially had oil. They were all anxiously awaiting the bridegroom, but there was a delay. In this delay, they grew very weary. Hour after hour passed, and God’s people began to slumber and sleep. At midnight the call was heard, and all ten arose. They saw a procession going by. The ten virgins seized their lamps and began to trim them, but only five of them had the oil so needed. Those who had the oil made preparation, joined with this procession of people going by and entered into the house with the bridal train.

Let us remember also that every specification of this parable is to be studied and that it has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter.

When the bridal party—remember, the bride is the true church—came along, the call was given, and five of the waiting virgins, representing the professed church, joined with the bridal party and went in to the feast.

For a while the waiting virgins all looked the same, until there was a shaking, a message that startled them from their lethargy.It then became apparent who had made preparation and who had not. To the five who were the foolish virgins the master said: “I know you not.” They were left without in the blackness of night.

“The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hyprocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working. They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up.” Christ Object Lessons, 411. Ellen White also tells us that they are not open sinners. They are professed Christians. “In the time of peril they are found wanting and their cry is peace and safety.” See Review and Herald , October 31, 1899.

In the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 985, 986, Ellen White states three different times that the bride is the Church, the Lamb’s wife. Yet it is stated in Christ’s Object Lessons, 406, that the ten virgins illustrate the church that shall live before the second coming of Christ.

In trying to understand this apparent contradiction, I began to study. How could the bride, who is obviously with the party that is passing by on their way to the wedding, and the waiting ten virgins both represent the church of Christ? I found some very interesting and enlightening statements regarding this parable.

“All the Christian world is represented in this parable. The bride constitutes the church that is waiting for the second appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 268. Did you notice that the church—God’s true church—is represented by the bride? A little further along in this same article, Ellen White, speaking specifically of the ten virgins, says that “They represent the church of professed Christians.” Ibid., 271. Here we have a distinction being made between the true and the professed church.

In Christ’s Object Lessons, 405, we are told: “By torchlight the bridal party proceed from her father’s house to his own, where a feast is provided for the invited guests. In the scene upon which Christ looks, a company [the professed church] are awaiting the appearance of the bridal party, intending to join the procession.”

We are told in the Spirit of Prophecy that the five wise virgins joined with the little company (the true church) that had given them the light. Ellen White also makes another observation. “At midnight the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.’ The sleepers, suddenly awakening, spring to their feet. They see the procession moving on, bright with torches and glad with music.” Ibid., 406

Friends, I was puzzled. I thought, the cry is coming from the bride, but the bride is the church; and yet the ten virgins are the church. As I studied further, everything began to come clear. As Paul preached of two Israels—literal Israel and spiritual Israel—so this parable represents literal, or professed church members, and spiritual, or faithful and true church members.

Wise virgins, please let us wake up. There is a procession going by; I see it in Caleb and Joshua, outside; I see it in camp meetings across the country; I see it in the voice of the independent ministries, speaking loud and clear a distinct message: “Prepare to meet thy Lord.”

I Jeremiah 3:1, the Lord tells Israel: “But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.” He rebukes them because they have polluted the land with their whoredoms and their wickedness, and in verse 3, he tells them: “Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.” They would not heed the call from the true bride.

Notice what it says in verse 8. Here was the church; here was Israel, His professed people, and the Lord says: “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce.”

I then looked in Jeremiah 7:30,34. “For the children of Judah have done evil while in My sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to pollute it.” “Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.”

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.” Jeremiah 6:16,17 [All emphasis added]

As we go further down in time, to the time of John the Baptist, there is again another voice crying, this time in the wilderness. John was independent of the professed church, working for the Lord, calling Israel to repentance.

We read in The Great Controversy, 382: “It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot.” Just as Jeremiah was telling Israel—you have become a harlot; you have become an adulterous wife, and I must give you a bill of divorce—see John the Baptist giving the same message because the Jewish Church became a harlot, and he is trying to call them back to repentance.

Another time in which God raised faithful ministers to call His people from apostasy was in the days of William Miller. It was called the first great Advent Movement and took place in the 1840s. Ellen White makes a comment on this in Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 222. “To Wm. Miller and his colaborers it was given to preach the message in America, and the light kindled by their labors shown out to distant lands.” The procession that God had called—His true bride—with torches shining, glad with music, was giving light to America; this time to the harlot churches. It goes on to say: “The testimony of the Scriptures pointing to the coming of Christ in 1843, awakened widespread interest. Many were convinced that the arguments from the prophetic periods were correct, and , sacrificing their pride of opinion, they joyfully received the truth. Some ministers laid aside their sectarian views and feelings, left their salaries and their churches, and united in proclaiming the coming of Jesus. There were but few ministers, however, who would accept this message; therefore it was largely committed to humble laymen. Farmers left their fields, mechanics their tools, traders their merchandise, professional men their position; and yet the number of workers was small in comparison to the work to be accomplished. The condition of an ungodly church and a world lying in wickedness burdened the souls of the true watchmen, and they willingly endured toil, privation, and suffering that they might call men to repentance unto salvation.” Ibid., 223

“Under the proclamation of these messages the cry was made, ‘Behold the Bridegroom cometh….go ye out to meet Him.’ Many who heard these messages thought they would live to see Christ come; but there was delay in the coming of the Bridegroom, in order that all might have an opportunity to hear the last message of warning to a fallen world.” Review and Herald, October 31, 1899

In the same article it says: “At the call, the sleeping eyes are opened, and everyone is aroused. They see the procession they are to join moving on, bright with torches and glad with music. They hear the voice of the Bridegroom and the voice of the bride.” Who was the bride who was giving the message to those churches? William Miller and his co-laborers, whom God had called to announce it to the world, were fulfilling this. The five wise virgins trimmed their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom. You see, they joined the procession that was moving on and left the harlot apostate churches.

“Unfaithful watchmen hindered the progress of the work of God. As the people were roused, and began to inquired the way of salvation, these leaders stepped in between them and the truth, seeking to quiet their fears by falsely interpreting the Word of God. In this work, Satan and unconsecrated ministers united, crying, Peace, peace, when God had not spoken peace. Like the Pharisees in Christ’s day, many refused to enter the kingdom of Heaven themselves, and those who were entering in, they hindered. The blood of these souls will be required at their hand….

“Many were persecuted by their unbelieving brethren….Not a few were cut off from the fellowship of the church for no other reason than expressing their belief in the coming of Christ….

“Angels of God were watching with deepest interest the result of the warning. When the churches as a body rejected the message, angels turned away from them in sadness….many were deceived by husbands, wives, parents, or children, and were made to believe it a sin even to listen to such heresies as were taught by the Adventists.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 226,227

Do you see a parallel today? Every letter of this prophecy will be fulfilled.

I see today that the true church is calling the professed church to wake up. The voice of the bride—the true church—is once again sounding to the apostate structure.

“Many who went forth to meet the Bridegroom under the messages, of the first and second angels, refused the third, the last testing message to be given to the world, and a similar position will be taken when the last call is made.” Review and Herald, October 31, 1899

I believe we are seeing history being repeated one more time.

“The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins, is also spoken of as the Laodicean state.” Review and Herald, September 19, 1890. You see, the foolish virgins equal the Laodicean state.

“Since the time of the Minneapolis meeting, I have seen the state of the Laocicean Church as never before.” Ibid., September 26, 1890. The people of God have rejected the message of 1888. They have rejected the call of the Holy Spirit and the righteousness by faith message—victory over all sin. They bolted the door shut and drove the Spirit of God away.

Eight years later, Ellen White said: “The Church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst.” Notebook Leaflets, 99. She likens the church to the foolish virgins. These are those who call Him by His name, and they say: “Didn’t we go to church every Sabbath. Wasn’t I an elder and a deacon. Didn’t I serve and put my tithe faithfully in the collection plate.” But he looks and says, “But you did not do the will of My Father. You sat by and preached a peace and safety message while millions around you were perishing for the truth.”

Today, God’s faithful are being disfellowhsipped and many are again hearing the call from the Bridegroom and the bride. Jesus is ready to come and the procession is moving on again.

“Some will not receive the testimony that God has given us to bear, flattering themselves that we may be deceived and that they may be right. They think that the people of God are not in need of plain dealing and of reproof, but that God is with them.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 259. They think that God is with them, but she said in 1898, that he is not. “These tempted ones, whose souls have ever been at war with the faithful reproving of sin, would cry: Speak unto us smooth things….There can be no deception here. This message must be borne to a lukewarm church by God’s servants.” Ibid. You see, the true bride is giving the cry to the professed bride. “It must arouse His people from their security and dangerous deception in regard to their real standing before God.” Ibid.

Why do you have the right to speak and rebuke open sin publicly? Because open sin is to be publicly rebuked. I am pleading within my heart for a church to come to repentance, because the door of probation is closing fast; God is withdrawing. And when the professed believers persecute God’s faithful servants, they are silencing the voice of the bride.

“The Lord here shows us that the message to be borne to His people by the ministers whom he has called to warn the people is not a peace-and-safety message….The people of God are represented in the message to the Laodiceans as in a position of carnal security. They are at ease, believing themselves to be in an exalted condition of spiritual attainments.” Ibid., 252. But they are not.

“The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation will consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result?” Special Testimonies Series B, no. 2, 54,55
I want you to see the identifying marks of a new organization. You tell me if it is the one that the independent ministries are preaching, or is it one that you see taking place in the structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

“The principles of truth that God in his wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced….Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice,….they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.” Ibid.., 55

How long can you sit within an apostate structure, a false bride that is receiving a bill of divorce from God, and think you are in the remnant church of Bible prophecy? Who has conditioned your mind?

“One thing it is certain is soon to be realized,—the great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout. We are to hold fast the first principles of our denominated faith, and go forward from strength to increased faith.” Ibid., 57

Do not apostatize. Do not accept this new movement. Hold firm to the first denominated faith. Hold to the old paths—the landmarks of Adventism. Jesus Christ is ready to come.

The church structure became a harlot in Jeremiah’s day. It rejected Christ and His truth in John the Baptist’s day, and in William Miller’s day it again did the same. Today modern Israel is following in the footsteps of ancient Israel. I believe that God’s last call to the professed Seventh-day Adventist structure is now being sounded by His bride. Soon it will end, and when it does, of which group will you be a part?

The End

Unity and the Waymarks

The servant of the Lord has told us that we must have unity or in the storm that is coming, we will be destroyed. In two previous articles, we have studied two of the prerequisites for unity—repentance and confession. “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

One of the reasons Historic Adventists all over the world are in trouble now is that there has been sin in spiritual Israel. But as soon as someone stands up and says: “To have a clear conscience, I have to speak out on this,” that person gets into trouble.

If we are going to be in harmony as a people, we are going to have to quit covering things up and repent of all sin. If there is lying or stealing or other forms of dishonesty, this must be repented of, confessed and forsaken. Departure from Bible truth must also be repented of, confessed and forsaken. When the early Adventists first learned the truth of the Sabbath, though they had been breaking it ignorantly, they were very sad. They not only repented and confessed it, but they started to live differently. Whenever anyone becomes involved in error, when it is pointed out, he must go to the Lord, repent, confess and forsake it. If others have been hurt by their teaching, they need to go to them and confess and tell them that they have forsaken their erroneous belief. If the offending person does not confess it, he must be separated from God’s professed people.

In this article we are going to consider the remaining two points that must be met in order for there to be unity between Historic Adventists today and the Seventh-day Adventist world church structure.

The third requirement is that there must be a reformation in the life of the person. See Desire of Ages, 555. After confession, as far as is in their power, they must make restitution. Ezekiel 33:15 says, “If the wicked…gives back what he has stolen…he shall surely live.” Full restitution is then the third step.

The fourth thing that must be done to prepare the way for unity is that there must be an agreement to stand together on the pillars of the truth that the Lord has given us. Unless all four of these things take place, there can never again be unity and harmony.

“If your faith in the Word of God is strengthened; if you will fully accept the truths that have called us out of the world and made us a people denominated by the Lord as His peculiar treasure; if you will unite with your brethren in standing by the old landmarks, then there will be unity.” Manuscript Releases, vol.11, 319 [Emphasis supplied] Notice that it is these truths that have brought about unity.

In Adventism in the last days, it is only those who stand by the landmarks, on the platform of truth, who can be truly united. The people who reject the Spirit of Prophecy and preach new theology are all confused. Though they may have an outward union, they will never have true unity.

“God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 311

“We are one in faith in the fundamental truths of God’s Word. And one object must be kept in view constantly; that is, harmony and cooperation must be maintained without compromising one principle of truth. And while constantly digging for the truth as for hidden treasure, be careful how you open new and conflicting opinions. We have a worldview message. The commandments of God and the testimonies of Jesus Christ are the burden of our work.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 79

Notice that in giving counsel in how we may have unity, she says, “Be careful how you introduce new and conflicting opinions.” We are to be united on the fundamental truths of God’s Word, and if we have new light, there are ways that the new light can be introduced to the church. In Historic Adventism, we must get back to gospel order or the devil is going to destroy us. There is a right way and a wrong way to introduce new light. We are never going to have unity if we all go off on our own ways.

Some people think that we just preach on anything that comes into our mind. That is absolutely not true. There are many things that we use great restraint in preaching or teaching because we want to move in harmony and unity with the body of God’s people. There are many scriptures that I have studied and I am very interested in understanding, but that I do not preach about. They are not the scriptures of primary importance for the world to understand right now. The messages that are critical for the world to understand at this point in time are the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation and especially the three angels’ messages.

When we find some precious new light in scripture, we should not be sending it all over the world before we have sought counsel. If you are going to an Historic Seventh-day Adventist Church, even if you are absolutely sure that what you have found is truth, until you have counseled with some other experienced brother, prayed about it and come to a unity of opinion, you should not present it publicly. Suppose that after you have presented it to the brethren, the brothers say, “Well, I just don’t know.” Then you might want to talk it over with some leaders or minister in historic Adventism.

There are many scriptures that are interesting to study which we do not have unity of opinion on right now. I can continue to enjoy studying them and, if the Lord wills, one of these days soon maybe we can have a Bible conference or two on some of these scriptures. We need to get together like they did in the Bible conferences in 1848 and kneel down, pray and study the Word and come to unity of understanding among the brethren before we introduce something, even though we may be very sure of opinion.

To have unity in Historic Adventism, we must be united on what the Bible calls “present truth.” See 2 Peter 1:12. One of the great reasons for the lack of unity in Adventism today is that some people who call themselves Seventh-day Adventists have gotten away from present truth.

“The oneness and unity of God’s truth-believing remnant people carries powerful conviction to the world that they have the truth, and are the peculiar, chosen people of God. This oneness and unity disconcerts the enemy, and he is determined that it shall not exist. The present truth, believed in the heart and exemplified in the life, makes God’s people one, and gives them a powerful influence.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 327

There are some timeless truths. Since the Fall, it has always been true that if you are going to be saved, you can only be saved through the blood of Christ’s sacrifice. But there are other truths that are present truth—truth for a certain time. There was a present truth in the time of Noah; there was a present truth in the time of Christ and the apostles; and there was present truth in Martin Luther’s time. There has been present truth in every generation of God’s people—and there is present truth today.

What is present truth today? How about the three angel’s messages? Were the three angel’s messages preached in the time of the apostle Paul? No, that prophecy was not even given yet. Were they preached in the time of Martin Luther? No, they were not. It was not present truth then. The three angel’s messages began to be preached in the 1840s. Since then, and all the way to the close of time, the three angel’s messages are present truth.

Now, to understand the three angel’s messages, there are some other truths that we could also call present truth. In the three angel’s messages in Revelation 12:14 it says, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God.” Can you be called a commandment keeper if you break one? No, you cannot because it says in James 2:10, if you keep the whole law but you break one, you are guilty of all. So, you cannot be called a commandment keeper unless you keep all of God’s commandments. Is the Sabbath part of present truth? Yes, it is.

Then you have in the fist angel’s message that the hour of God’s judgment is come. What information do you have to know to be able to say to the whole world with a loud voice that the hour of God’s judgment has come. You have got know that the judgment has already started. How do you know for sure that it has started? There is only one way that you can determine that for certain, and that is from Hebrews 8 and 9 and Daniel 8 and 9.

Daniel 8 tells you that the judgment will begin in 1844. Here you have the subject of the sanctuary. You cannot understand that the hour of God’s judgment has come without an understanding of the sanctuary. If you forsake the doctrine of the sanctuary, you have forsaken present truth. When this happens, unity is impossible. The only people who are going to be united at the end of time are the Historic Adventists who hang on to present truth. Everybody else is going to be in all kinds of confusion. They can call themselves Seventh-day Adventists or anything they choose to, but if they do not hold to present truth, there can be no unity. When you start forsaking present truth, you lose the unity. That is why we have confusion now, and we will never, never have unity again until we come back and stand on present truth.

“Unity is the strength of the church. Satan knows this, and he employs his whole force to bring in dissension. He desires to see a lack of harmony among the members of the church of God. Greater attention should be given to the subject of unity. What is the recipe for the cure of the leprosy of strife and dissension? [She gives the simplest of answers.] Obedience to the commandments of God.” Selected Messages, book 2, 159

If we would all make the decision that when God commands something, that would be the end of all controversy, we would have unity.

Ellen White says that historically God sent a message to Christendom that would have brought unity, if they had accepted it.

“The first angel’s message of Revelation 14, announcing the hour of God’s judgment and calling upon men to fear and worship Him, was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world and to arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. In this message [preached in the United States by William Miller and his cohorts], God has sent to the church a warning, which, had it been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting them away from Him. Had they received the message from heaven, humbling their hearts before the Lord and seeking in sincerity a preparation to stand in His presence, the Spirit and power of God would have been manifested among them. The church would again have reached that blessed state of unity, faith, and love which existed in apostolic days, when the believers ‘were of one heart and one of soul,’ and ‘spake the Word of God with boldness,’ when ‘the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.’ Acts 4:32,31; 2:47.” The Great Controversy, 379

Do you realize what this statement is saying? If the first angel’s message had been accepted, it would have brought the church back to the condition it was in the days of the apostles. Do you suppose that this message could still bring unity in the 1990s?

The people who are destroying the unity in the Seventh-day Adventist Church are not the Historic Adventists. It is the people who are trying to change our doctrines! It is the people who no longer believe in the two apartment sanctuary, who no longer believe in 1844, who no longer believe that you can overcome sin and who no longer know who Babylon is. If you do not understand these things, how can you even call yourself a Seventh-day Adventist?

Satan has a goal for Seventh-day Adventists, and I leave it with you to decide whether or not he has had any success.

“This is intended as a warning to the people of God living in the last days. If they follow after righteousness and true holiness, if they keep all the commandments of God, Satan and his agents will not be permitted to overcome them. All the opposition of their bitterest foes will prove powerless to destroy or uproot the vine of God’s own planting, Satan understands what Balaam learned by sad experience, that there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither divination against Israel, while iniquity is not cherished among them; therefore his power and influence will ever be employed to mar their unity and defile the purity of their characters. His snares are laid in a thousand ways to weaken their power for good.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 599

If we will cling to the truth and live the truth, if we will follow after righteousness and true holiness, there is no way that the devil can overcome us. The devil understands this much better than we do. There is no divination against Israel, there is no enchantment against Jacob, there is no way that he can overcome the people of God, and he knows this. That is why he is laying traps and snares to try to get us to trip up into sin so that our unity will be marred and our characters defiled so he can destroy us. This is one of the reasons why at Historic Adventist meetings there is so much emphasis on how to overcome sin. When God’s people understand how to overcome sin and they are standing on the truth and are united, the devil knows that there is no way that he can overcome us. He is trying to divide us up, split us up into all kinds of factions, get us arguing or quarreling over anything imaginable so that our unity can be broken up and our characters defiled so that he can destroy us.

There are many people today who are separationists. I want to share with you who the real separationists are. I want you to see how important this is.

Speaking of those who forsake the historic Adventist teaching on the sanctuary, Ellen White said, “But on no other platform than that which the Lord has laid can we unite with them. Never could we combine on any other basis. The foundation has been laid and all who will take their stand upon this platform, uniting wholeheartedly with the Lord’s people, will be made welcome with rejoicing. But we cannot unite with those who choose to take their stand upon another foundation.” Manuscript Releases vol. 760, 5

“There is to be a decided change in those who have kept up their warfare against the principles delivered to us by the Lord. Truth is truth, and righteousness is righteousness. To those who have separated in principle from true believers, choosing their own course, the word is spoken, ‘Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ There is to be unity, but it is to be on the right basis.” Ibid.

Now, who are the real separationists? She calls them the people who have separated in principle from the true believers—the people who have forsaken the true doctrines, the present truth, the fundamental doctrines, the platform which God has made for His people. In Early Writings, the three angels’ messages are called a firm platform and the angel pronounced a curse upon anyone who tried to move a pin or a block in those messages. The people who leave the truth—the three angels’ messages, the sanctuary and the commandments of God and the ability to overcome sin through the grace of Christ—are the separationists.

It is time to think straight, friends. You need to recognize that it is those people who have separated from the truth who are in the business of labeling those who have stayed with the truth, separationists, when just the opposite of what they say is true.

There are some times and situations in which God has forbidden us to attempt to unify with others. I would like to mention three situations.

  • We are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith.
  • We are not to unify on wrong practices.
  • We are not to attempt to unify on a platform of error.

Are we willing to have unity with the entire world church? Absolutely, but there are four requirements—repentance, confession, restitution and a willingness to stand together on the truth, the truth that God has given to Seventh-day Adventists.

Ellen White has told us that this unity cannot occur in a moment. It takes prayer, time, and discussion together. When unity comes, however, it will give more force to our evangelistic preaching than anything else we can do. When we come into perfect unity, we are going to see miracles, the sick healed among us and many wonderful things. Is it worth working toward?

Like a great sweeping tidal wave, there are people around the world who are recognizing that we must get together and work together as Historic Adventists to finish the work—we must have perfect unity. The will of God demands it. The sacrifice of Jesus demands it. For the work to be finished, it must happen. If it is your desire that there be perfect unity in God’s people, let the prayer of your heart be, “Lord, any change that there has to be in my mind, my body, my spirit or anything about my life, show me what it is and give me the grace to do it.”

The New Testament Church

“He [Jesus], who was the foundation of the ritual and economy of Israel would be looked upon as its enemy and destroyer.” Desire of Ages, 111. The reason for this was that those who were in charge of the system viewed themselves as being the church and they realized that if Jesus were to be accepted, many of them would lose their positions.

Today there is similar problem in the professed church of God there are some inspired counsels we are willing to deal with but others that we are not. If many of the counsels of Ellen White were really advocated, they would be considered to be dangerous to the church, possibly even capable of destroying it. I do not believe, however, we will ever receive God’s blessing until we feed upon every word.

Principles of church organization affect every aspect of the church, from the youngest member on up to the General Conference. In the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, there is a great deal of information dealing with church organization that is written not only to those in leadership positions but to laymen as well.

Throughout history, whenever doctrine becomes corrupted, organization also becomes corrupt. In fact, in Revelation, God is as concerned about false organization as He is about false doctrine. In the writings of Ellen White there is a great deal written about doctrine, but I also find hundreds of pages written about church organization which we are afraid to touch because if we even read the quotation, we will be accused of criticism. It is time, however, that we have the courage of John the Baptist and, with the spirit of love, humbly look at the things God has given to us, praying that He will help us to implement these things so He can pour out His spirit and finish the work he is seeking to do.

First Corinthians 1:2 tells us how the New Testament church is organized. “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints.’ The church at Corinth, identified by Paul, is not addressed as the church which is registered. It could be registered, but that is not the point. Nothing is said regarding their organization or where they meet. They may meet in some building and they are organized, but that is not the point. The church here in Corinth is those people in Corinth who are sanctified and called to be the saints of God. Now the church was to be organized, but the organization was not the church. The people were the church. These people could work in harmony, because this is possible when God is in your heart. So they would meet and work together, send out missionaries and take up offerings, and do all those things which are necessary for God’s work to progress. But the church itself was the people. This is what the church has always been.

In a special sense, the church is those people who are registered in the books of heaven. “But you have come to the Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the Firstborn who are registered in heaven” Hebrews 12:22,23. The church, the true church of God, is composed of those people who are registered in the Book of Life in heaven.

Now this presents a very interesting situation. Who decides who is going to be a church member? Is it the pope who has the keys? If it is not the pope, is it the church board? Can they decide? What about the church body? Can we decide who is saved and who is not, whose name is written in heaven and whose is not?

“Well, don’t we have anything to do?” Oh, yes, we have something to do. We are called to recognize those whom God has registered in the books in heaven; and those whom he has registered there, we are to register here. He does not, however, follow our suit; we are to follow His, and there is a difference.

Let us suppose that God takes someone’s name off of the books in heaven and they are disfellowshipped. Are they still church members? No. But suppose their names remain in the books on earth. This is an interesting dilemma. The church is purified when the books on earth match the books in heaven. You see, God has given mankind no authority to decide who can be a member and who cannot be a member, but simply to recognize those whom he has accepted or rejected.

God has local congregations here on earth and we have organizations here to help organize the work, but the headquarters of your local church is in heaven, where only the sanctified are registered, not in some office in your state or some office in Washington, D.C. Some people find this rather disconcerting, believing such a policy could lead to all kinds of trouble.

Just suppose that a coup took place in some local church or conference through politicking and some people who were not inspired by the Lord or filled with the Holy Spirit took over through manipulation and because of their prejudices certain people were unjustly disfellowshipped. Would those who were disfellowshipped cease to be church members? Certainly not. Suppose, on the other hand, that people were allowed to come into the church who were never converted. Because their names were in the books on earth, would they, therefore, be church members? Not in any way, shape or form. God has never left His church to be manipulated and tampered with by the political whims of mankind. There is coming a time when He is going to turn and overturn the professed church that is called by His name. God’s true church remains the same as it has always been—those people who are registered in the books of heaven.

“God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matthew 18:20). Where Christ is, even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church.” Upward Look, 315

When Paul was ordained, he was ordained to baptize and establish churches—the two together. According to inspiration, the same ordination that gives people the right to baptize gives them the right to establish churches. More and more, however, there are increasing restrictions controlling the starting of new churches.

I have been doing some studying on the history of Kansas. In 1903, Kansas had one hundred churches. The state has grown by almost a million people in the last fifty years, and during that period of time, we have gone from one hundred churches down to fifty-four.

Not only has God alone reserved the right to start and to recognize a church, but if you and I decide to go out and start a church apart from His will, no matter what conference committee may approve it, it will never be a church. “For the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.” Ibid. [All emphasis supplied] If God’s presence is not the center of His church, it is not recognized by Him as His church whether or not it is recognized by a conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

In New Testament times, the church was those who were called and sanctified. Wherever Paul went and converted a few people, he organized them into a church, right there and then, without seeking any other permission. It was not up to the church in Jerusalem to give permission or to decide if they were a church, but to recognize the fact that they were. Now, of course, if a church apostatized or if a local member apostatized, it was also up to the church in Jerusalem to decide that, as these people are no longer keeping the commandments of God, they are no longer recognized by us as being one of God’s churches.

For us individually to receive the Holy Spirit, we must study the Bible, pray, overcome sin and witness. For the church body to receive the Holy spirit, they must, as a body, also have these four things present. Not only is it necessary for us as individuals to be winning others to Christ, but God’s design for his church is that every church should start new churches.

One of the things that must take place before God can pour out His blessing upon the church is not only revival of primitive doctrine, but a revival of primitive organization. The New Testament churches had the freedom to go out and start new churches; but they were not just started and left to flounder by themselves, they were left with local organization. “And when they had preached the gospel to the city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God’ So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” Acts 14:21-23

Authority in the early church was to be earned because of a godly life, and knowledge of the Scriptures and the ability that God had given to one; but never was it to come just by virtue of office. Today our church is almost being destroyed in some parts of this world, because some have assumed the office of minister and decided that because they have that office they are the king of the local church. God never intended that office to be that of a king, but one of service.

From Miletus, he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.” Acts 20:17. What elders were these that He called? These were the elders who had been appointed. Notice, it is elders plural, not the elder. “Therefore take heed to yourselves [this is the instruction he is giving to these elders] and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” Acts 20:28-31

So he called the elders to guard the church from wolves. In a correlating passage to this in Testimonies, vol. 5, 77, Ellen White, writing of her own experience, says that she could scarcely keep from weeping when she saw the people who were taking charge of the church who were trained by Satan. Paul had the same concern, and the elders were called to protect the church from these wolves.

Now the question is, suppose that a wolf came from Jerusalem. Were the elders to protect the church from that wolf? “Oh, no,” Someone says, “not a local elder.” Turn with me to one of the most interesting passages in the New Testament in regard to this. “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.” Galatians 2:11-13. Paul stood up and rebuked Peter, but Paul was not happy about this because he was not the one who should have had to do the rebuking.

God had established a local leadership to protect the church. “Not from Peter ,” someone might say, “he was from Jerusalem. He was one of the pillars; he knew Jesus personally. No, not from Peter. They were only Gentiles who had been newly converted to the faith. You do not expect them, these Gentile Galatians who had just come into the Christian church a few years ago, to stand up and rebuke Peter, who was from the Jerusalem church, who had been a Jew all his life, one of the pillars in the church, a follower of Jesus—not Peter! I mean, Paul was an apostle. He could do that.” But Paul was most unhappy that he had to do that. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” Galatians 3:1

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” Galatians 5:1. Someone might say, “That scripture is dealing with circumcision and all those things.” Circumcision was involved, and eating with Gentiles was involved, but that was not the issue! The issue in Galatians was that Peter had caused them to transgress and they were to stand in their freedom, even if it was Peter from Jerusalem who should come down and preach false theology.

“But strange fire has been offered in the use of harsh words, in self-importance, in self-exaltation, in self-righteousness, in arbitrary authority, in domineering, in oppression, in restricting the liberty of God’s people, binding them about by your plans and rules, which God has not framed, neither have they come into his mind. All these things are strange fire, unacknowledged by God, and are a continual misrepresentation of His character.” Testimonies to Ministers, 358

The Lord established the church upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, and he is to be the head of the church. See Ephesians 1:22,23. The issue in the days of Martin Luther was who was in charge of the church, the Lord or the pope. That was the issue in Wesley’s day and it was the issue in 1888. I have been amazed at how little Ellen White deals with doctrine in relationship to 1888. The problem with Jones and Waggoner was the they did not go through the “proper channels.” They were not approved by the “proper people.”

The following statements are from a letter that Ellen White wrote to Elder Butler. “God designs that men shall use their minds and consciences for themselves. He never designed that one man should become the shadow of another, and utter only another’s sentiments. But this error has been coming in among us, that a very few are to be mind, conscience, and judgment for all God’s workers. The foundation of Christianity is ‘Christ our Righteousness.’” 1888 Materials, 112. Do you want to know what Christ our Righteousness means? She tells us what it means. “Men are individually responsible to God and must act as God acts upon them, not as another human mind acts upon their mind.” Ibid. God is to decide what is right, not some human committee. God makes the rules, not some human rule book. The Bible is our creed. We always used to say: “We do not have a creed book; the Bible is our creed.”

“For if this method of indirect influence is kept up, souls can not be impressed and directed by the great I AM. They will, on the other hand, have their experience blended with another, and will be kept under a moral restraint, which allows no freedom of action or of choice….If we would be wise, and use diligently, prayerfully, and thankfully the means whereby light and blessings are to come to His people, then no voice nor power upon earth would have authority over us to say, ‘This shall not be.’” Ibid., 112,113

In the book Testimonies to Ministers, Ellen White wrote a great deal of material to the leadership and ministry in general after 1888. Much of this book is dealing with this very principle of church authority. Among other similar statements, she said, “The high-handed power that has been developed, as though position has made men god’s, makes me afraid, and ought to cause fear. It is a curse wherever and by whomever it is exercised.” Testimonies to Ministers, 361. “The spirit of domination is extending to the presidents of the conferences. If a man is sanguine of his own powers and seeks to exercise dominion over his brethren, feeling that he is invested with authority to make his will the ruling power, the best and only safe course is to remove him.” Ibid., 363

In the chapter “Under Which Banner?” she says, “Humanity is hailed as God.” Ibid.,365. She is talking to us dear friends. She says, “God will not vindicate any device whereby man shall in the slightest degree rule or oppress his fellowmen.” Ibid., 366. A curse is pronounced upon all who do this. See Jeremiah 17:5

“State conferences may depend upon the General Conference for light and knowledge and wisdom; but is it safe for them to do this? Battle Creek is not to be the center of God’s work. God alone can fill this place. When our people in the different places have their special convocations, teach them, for Christ’s sake and for their own soul’s sake, not to make flesh their arm. There is no power in men to read the hearts of their fellow men. The Lord is the only One upon whom we can with safety depend, and He is accessible in every place and to every church in the Union. To place men where God should be placed does not honor or glorify God. Is the president of the General Conference to be the god of the people?” Ibid., 375. Following the counsel and teaching of these ideas does not make a person very popular, but we are told to do it.

Instead of teaching the truth God has commissioned to be taught, do you know what she says we have taught? “For many years an education has been given to the people which places God second, and man first. The people have been taught that everything must be brought before the council of a few men in Battle Creek.” Testimonies to Ministers, 325. I want you to notice that this is a serious matter because it is breaking the first commandment. God says, “you shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3. “Let me entreat our state conferences and our churches to cease putting their dependence upon men and making flesh their arm.” Ibid., 380. Today we have gone far beyond where they were in 1888.

“In reference to our conference, it is repeated o’er and o’er and o’er again, that it is the voice of God, and therefore everything must be referred to the Conference and have the conference voice in regard to permission or restriction or what shall be and what shall not be done in the various fields….We have heard enough, abundance, about that ’everything must go around in the regular way.’…He [God] wants every living soul that has a knowledge of the truth to come to their senses.” Spalding-Magan Collection, 163. “The Lord wants His Spirit to come in, he wants the Holy Ghost king.” Ibid., 166. Today we have come to the point, in many places, that if you ever invite someone to come and speak in the pulpit, you have to get the permission of the local conference.

God is looking for every one of us, from the General Conference president down, to be broken on the Rock. When Jesus is the King, unity, peace and love pervade. This does not do away with organization. It is the only thing that creates a working organization. We still have offices, but when God’s plan is followed, no one is striving for office because everyone is striving to serve one another. See Matthew 20;25-28.

The message of Christ our Righteousness has to become practical. We need to exercise less and less control over one another and do more and more praying for one another. Let us not decide that God has given any one of us authority to tell everyone else how they are to serve God. God is calling for much more freedom in His church than what we have been willing to allow. There is a place for order, a place for leadership, but dear friend, God is calling for us to be broken on the Rock, to be filled with the humility and the love of Jesus. Then we will find that once again the Holy Spirit will be King.

The End

Editorial – If God had Workers Who

A time unprecedented in this world’s history is already upon us. In this time of crisis, God’s mercy, long treated with contempt, will soon cease to plead in man’s behalf and the time of His judgment will begin. As men rapidly close their accounts, base ingratitude is being registered in the books of heaven. Divine patience must soon give way to divine judgment, and in natural disasters which are following one another in rapid succession, and in the crimes of no common nature that have become so common, we see the evidence that even now God’s restraining Spirit is being withdrawn. God has waited long for a company of united sanctified people through whom He can finish His work. In words of solemn import Ellen White described what God would do if He had such a group of people.

“If the Lord had a company of workers who would rely wholly upon Him, He would accomplish a great work through them. One could chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight. God is just as willing now as anciently to work through weak intrumentalities. We shall not gain the victory through numbers, but through full surrender of the soul to Jesus. We are to go forward in His strength, trusting in the mighty God of Israel.” Review and Herald, January 11, 1887

Are we really awake to these solemn realities and to the great work of preparation in which we must all engage? “The important future is before us. To meet its trials and temptations, and to perform its duties, will require great faith, energy, and perseverance. But we may triumph gloriously; for not one watching, praying, believing soul will be ensnared by the devices of the enemy. All heaven is interested in our welfare, and waits our demand upon its wisdom and strength. Neither wicked men nor evil spirits can hinder the work of God or shut out His presence from His people, if they will, with subdued, contrite hearts, confess and put away their sins, and in faith claim His promises. Every opposing influence, whether open or secret, may be successfully resisted, ‘not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.’” Ibid. [Emphasis supplied]

If we have complied with the conditions of God’s Word, Christ will be our refuge in the coming storm, and His pledge of security will be ours. If, however, “the warnings which God has given are neglected or regarded with indifference, if you suffer sin to be cherished, you are sealing your soul” destiny; you will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. Grace, peace, and pardon will be withdrawn forever; Jesus will have passed by, never again to come within the reach of your prayers and entreaties. While mercy still lingers, while Jesus is making intercession for us, let us make thorough work for eternity.” Ibid.

Though it is possible to be regarded as a Christian by being a partial follower of Jesus, yet if you are lacking in essential qualifications that constitute Christian character, you are sealing your soul’s destiny and will eventually be numbered with those who are lost. Now is no time to venture to tamper with sin, or remain in a state of lethargy and stupid indifference. Soon grace, peace and pardon will be withdrawn forever; Jesus will have passed by, never again to come within the reach of your prayers and entreaties. Now is not the time to be in uncertainty as to your soul’s destiny By purifying your soul from every stain, press on to follow the light God has so graciously given us. While mercy still lingers, and Jesus still makes intercession for us, make thorough work for eternity. With works that correspond to your profession, let it not be your lot to be a formal, partial believer, weighed and found wanting in the scales of the heavenly sanctuary.

In the time of God’s judgments, the humble followers of Jesus will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish. While others are attempting to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness that is everywhere so prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor will not hold their peace to obtain the favor of any. Though they are powerless to stop the rising torrent of iniquity that everywhere surrounds them, they will plead with God to vindicate His honor.

We are now in the time of overwhelming interest that Ellen White predicted. God is still looking for a company of workers who will rely wholly upon Him. What part will you act in this momentous time of the closing scenes of earth’s history? Will you be one of this company?