Removing the Candlestick

When God is Forced to Set Aside His Favored Instrument(s)

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Revelation 2:5

The removing of the candlestick is a metaphor for the act of God in rejecting those who, entrusted with the task of diffusing the light of truth, have failed to do so. But more significantly, and sadly, it denotes the withdrawal of Jesus Himself from the individual(s), who cannot henceforth be used by Him.

It is noteworthy that the sanctuary had no windows, and the curtains were opaque. The only physical light inside the sanctuary came from the candlestick – an apt portrayal of Jesus as the only true source of light in a dark and evil world. The removal or snuffing out of the candlestick would thus result in total darkness inside the sanctuary.

Inspiration declares, “Without the light of the candlestick [Jesus in her midst], the church cannot advance, and is in a very perilous position.” Manuscript 81, 1900, 43, 44. It is therefore of utmost importance to ascertain the circumstances under which the Lord Jesus is likely to withdraw Himself from His people in order that we might not make the same terrible mistake that would result in such a withdrawal.

Fortunately, we are not left to speculate on this point, because the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy make it perfectly clear for us. Let us begin by understanding a few very significant points from the inspired pen of Mrs. Ellen White: “The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the expressed will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps, and the displeasure of the Lord is as surely resting upon them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 94.

“The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 406.

These quotes establish two powerful facts:

  1. Modern Israel – the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) – is treading the same path as ancient Israel, and
  2. The “displeasure of God is as surely resting upon” her as upon ancient Israel. Notice that God’s displeasure is not something to be expected in the future, but is on us at this very moment.

“Unsanctified hearts” in ancient Israel were responsible for their ultimate rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. It must mean, therefore, that “unsanctified hearts” have just “as surely” steered us into a path of rebellion. And we are on track to reject the Lord Jesus again.

God predicted this eventuality following the death of Mrs. White:

“I am charged to tell our people that do not realize, that the devil has device after device, and he carries them out in ways that they do not expect. Satan’s agencies will invent ways to make sinners out of saints. ‘I tell you now, that when I am laid to rest, great changes will take place. I do not know when I shall be taken; and I desire to warn all against the devices of the devil. … I do not know especially what changes will take place; but they should watch every conceivable sin that Satan will try to immortalize.’ ” 1 Manuscript, 1, 1915.

Is there any objective evidence that the “great changes” Mrs. White feared have indeed come to pass since 1915 when she went to her rest? Regrettably, there is much to be said on this point. But first, it must be recognized that as fallible human beings, we cannot judge such cherished, yet hidden, evils as envy, jealousy, pride, to mention a few – all of which are incompatible with the candlestick of God. But it is incumbent on us to apply the infallible test of Matthew 7:20 and “know them by their fruits.” The external words and acts are an irrefutable gauge to the inner state of the heart. So, it is in this category of evidence that we will confine ourselves to, as we consider the direction the corporate church is headed.

  1. The Spirit of Prophecy

“My brethren, I feel great sorrow of heart. I shall not appear before you again in our general gatherings unless I am impressed by the Spirit of God that I should. The last General Conference that I attended gave you all the evidence that you will ever have in any meeting that shall be convened. If that meeting did not convince you that God is working by His Spirit through His humble servant, it is because the candlestick has been removed out of its place. … God is knocking at the door of the heart; but as yet the door has not opened to let Him enter and take full possession of the soul-temple.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 196.

The rejection of the Spirit of Prophecy, both overtly and covertly, is probably the greatest sin of the SDA church. Many examples can be cited where official publications of the church deny, denigrate or dismiss the writings of Mrs. White. This is none other than the rejection of God Himself who gave her to the remnant church to steer her through the fatal deceptions of the last days. On every hand, in every area of mission and ministry, is evidence piled upon evidence of rank apostasy and deliberate disobedience. If there were just one sin for which God would be justified in removing the candlestick from the SDA church, it would have to be the casting aside of the Spirit of Prophecy in practice, if not in actuality. But there is more.

  1. Health Reform

“Those who are truly on the Lord’s side will be self-denying and self-sacrificing. They will eat and drink to the glory of God, refusing to corrupt soul and body by intemperance. Then the condition of the church will testify that her light has not been removed. But if church members do not act the part God has assigned them, the movement of health reform will go on without them, and it will be seen that God has removed their candlestick out of its place. Those who refuse to receive and practice the light will be left in the background.” A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education, 45, 46.

It is common knowledge that many of our ministers who stand behind the pulpit Sabbath after Sabbath, are not health reformers—they are not vegetarians, much less vegan. This deplorable state of affairs is rarely, if ever, addressed by men in responsible positions. The thinking, perhaps, is that because ingesting clean meats is not a test of fellowship to a new-born Adventist, that it is of no consequence for leaders to keep to the same low standard of diet as well. But the Spirit of Prophecy is unequivocal in stating that all God’s people should quit eating flesh foods as we approach the end of time. Especially should ministers and leaders be exponents of health reform in strict veganism.

  1. True Education

“The education given in our schools should be of that character which will strengthen the spiritual intelligence and give an increased knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. This kind of education will qualify men to become missionaries …

“Unless our schools rise to a much higher plane of action, their candlestick will be removed out of its place.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 250.

It is a matter of much sad and solemn regret that the vast majority of our institutions of learning are of a worldly character, preparing students, for the most part, for high paying jobs in the world. Schools like Madison College, Tennessee, in the days of Ellen White are extremely few and far between, if present at all. The blueprint in this area has been all but denied and disregarded in total.

  1. Medical Missionary Work

“Great light has been shining in regard to medical missionary work. Had our people accepted this light when first presented, what a change would now be seen in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers. If we do not heed this light, our candlestick will certainly be removed out of its place. The Lord has been withdrawing His presence from some who have had great light but who have failed to walk in accordance with this light.” Ibid., vol. 2, 181.

Who can deny that the medical work officially conducted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a far cry from the medical missionary work endorsed by the Spirit of Prophecy?

  1. Litigation of Believers

“When troubles arise in the church we should not go for help to lawyers not of our faith. God does not desire us to open church difficulties before those who do not fear Him. …

“These men cast aside the counsel God has given, and do the very things He has bidden them not to do. They show that they have chosen the world as their judge, and in heaven their names are registered as one with unbelievers. Christ is crucified afresh, and put to open shame. Let these men know that God does not hear their prayers. They insult His holy name, and He will leave them to the buffetings of Satan until they shall see their folly and seek the Lord by confession of their sin.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 299.

The seriousness of the brazen disobedience in this matter cannot be overstated. Even though it is not explicitly stated that the candlestick will be removed for the sin of suing a brother in court, it is obvious that if God will not hear the prayers of the guilty party, it means that the candlestick has been explicitly removed – Jesus has left the apostates to their wicked devices. The guilt of the SDA church in this matter is well documented in the public records.

More exhibits can be provided to demonstrate the total refutation of light by our leaders. The foregoing are the most egregious examples that come to mind. Clearly, if God does not call the church to account now, He will have to apologize to the ancient church for the holocaust of A.D. 70, which He was forced to bring upon their stubborn heads.

The question that begs to be answered now is, How far does modern Israel go in repeating the history of ancient Israel? Will she reverse course, step back from the brink of the precipice, and turn whole heartedly back to God again? Most unfortunately, prophecy reveals that she will careen off the cliff into rejecting Jesus too—this time in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Note the decimation of the church that has rejected the Holy Spirit manifesting in the latter rain:

“There is to be in the [Seventh-day Adventist] churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their expectations and ideal, they will oppose the work. ‘Why,’ they say, ‘should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?’ ” Maranatha, 219.

“In the last vision given me, I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved. Many will get above the simplicity of the work. They will conform to the world, cherish idols, and become spiritually dead. The humble, self-sacrificing followers of Jesus will pass on to perfection, leaving behind the indifferent and lovers of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 608, 609.

In view of this sobering fact, how does God expect His faithful people to relate to the emergency? Are we to glue ourselves to the church pew, comforting ourselves with the hope that God will fix matters at the headquarters in His own time and way? Or are we to take a more proactive stance?

What about the quote, so often cited, that the Church will go through to glory? Let us look at it closely:

“Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. … The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy.” Maranatha, 203.

Here are the points established by this quote:

  1. The Sunday laws of Satan plunge the SDA Church into an existential crisis.
  2. The storm of persecution causes “the chaff” (“sinners in Zion”) to be blown away.
  3. The crisis is so severe – so much chaff is blown away – that the church appears to be in a state of imminent collapse.
  4. Nevertheless, because “the precious wheat” “remains,” the church survives.
  5. The “wheat” are designated as “the remnant,”  a miniscule fraction of the original church.
  6. They are “without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths.”
  7. This description confirms them to be none other than the 144,000 sealed saints of Revelation 7.
  8. God recognizes them as His “church.”
  9. Therefore, the great majority – the chaff – their profession notwithstanding, were never really a part of God’s church at all! They were plants and agents of Satan!
  10. The tiny, post-crisis remnant “church,” shorn of all earthly trappings of greatness, bears almost no resemblance to the imposing precrisis entity. Yet, this is the “church” that “does not fall,” giving the lie to the notion that the present-day gargantuan SDA organization will go through unscathed.

Clearly, from the evidence presented here, the “chaff” are in control of the SDA Church. Far outnumbering “the wheat,” they wield immense power, keeping to themselves the name and assets of the church. Thus, it is entirely within reason that in the time of the great crisis, the compromising majority, still sitting in the pews and going through the motions of religion, are thought to be the “wheat,” while the troublesome “remnant,” despised and driven away, will seem to be the “chaff” which is blown away. The external appearance of the church, therefore, will be very misleading.

This inspired scenario proves that we are right now at that point corresponding to the time in ancient Israel when God was leading a movement apart from the control of the Sanhedrin. Deeply ensconced in incorrigible apostasy, the ancient Church was about to step off the cliff in crucifying Jesus. And God was proactively preparing a small band of faithful, independent souls to meet the emergency. And so it was that the Jewish church appeared to “fall” in A.D. 70, but it “remained” in the form of the 120 Jewish disciples in the upper room (and their converts) under the direction and control of the Holy Spirit. Today Jesus is preparing 144,000 saints for a similar crisis in the Adventist Church. Answerable directly to God alone, independent of the apostate organization, they are the faithful “fishermen and peasants,” vilified and unqualified in the eyes of men, who carry the torch of truth (the candlestick) through to the end. It is because of them that the “church” does not fall.

May we “strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” Maranatha, 241.


Dr. Pandit is a retired cardiologist living in Arkansas with his wife Dorothy. He is proud to call himself a historic Seventh-day Adventist. He, with his wife, is involved in backing two self-supporting ministries in India 1) Medical Missionary Training and Lifestyle Center in South India and 2) A printing ministry in Western India. They are also founding members of a “home church” located in Hot Springs, AR. He can be contacted via his email address:, or phone: 870-356-4768.

Bible Study Guides – “They Overcame Him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Word of Their Testimony”

MEMORY VERSE: “And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” Revelation 10:11.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 1, 58–61.

INTRODUCTION: “The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Review and Herald, October 12, 1905.

  • How is the remnant of God’s church in the final generation described? Revelation 12:17.

NOTE: “Those who are living amid the perils of the last days, days which are characterized by the masses turning from the truth of God to fables, will have close work to turn from the fables which are prepared for them on every hand, and have an appetite to feast upon unpopular truth. Those who turn from these fables to truth are despised, hated, and persecuted by those who are presenting fables to the people for their reception. Satan is at war with the remnant who are endeavouring to keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. Evil angels are commissioned to employ men as their agents upon the earth. These can the most successfully exert an influence to make Satan’s attacks effective against the remnant whom God calls ‘a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ This, Satan is determined to hinder. He will employ everyone who will engage in his service to hinder the chosen people of God from showing forth the praises of Him who has called them from darkness into His marvelous light. To hide, to cover up this light, to cause people to distrust it, to disbelieve it, is the work of the great rebel and his host. While Jesus is purifying His people unto Himself, redeeming them from all iniquity, Satan will employ his forces to hinder the work and prevent the perfection of the saints. He does not exert his power upon those who are all covered up with deception and walled in by fables and error, and who make no effort to receive and obey the truth. He knows he is sure of them; but those who are seeking for truth, that they may obey it in the love of it, are the ones who excite his malice and stir his ire. He can never weaken them while they keep close to Jesus; therefore he is pleased when he can lead them in a course of disobedience.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 105.

  • Against what particular error are those who live in the last days warned? 2 Timothy 3:1 and 5.

NOTE: “We are living in perilous times, when those who profess to love and obey God deny Him in their daily lives. ‘For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’ God does not want you to be found among this class . . . In His word you may learn how to shun these evils, and in the end be overcomers . . .It is not enough for you to avoid the appearance of evil; you must go farther than this; you must ‘learn to do well.’ You must represent Christ to the world. It must be your daily study how you can learn to work the works of God. His followers are to be living epistles, ‘known and read of all men.’ You can never secure a good character by merely wishing for it. It can be gained only by labour. Your desires in this direction must be expressed in earnest, honest endeavour and patient toil. By taking advance steps each day up the ladder of progress, you will find yourself at last at the top, a conqueror, yes, more than a conqueror, through Him who has loved you.” Youth’s Instructor, November 5, 1896.

  • What message must be proclaimed to the whole world before Jesus comes? Revelation 14:6–12.

NOTE: “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God’s people are to be true to the trust committed to them. They are not to engage in speculation, neither are they to enter into business enterprises with unbelievers; for this would hinder them in their God-given work. Christ says of His people: ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ Matthew 5:14. It is not a small matter that the counsels and plans of God have been so clearly opened to us. It is a wonderful privilege to be able to understand the will of God as revealed in the sure word of prophecy. This places on us a heavy responsibility. God expects us to impart to others the knowledge that He has given us. It is His purpose that divine and human instrumentalities shall unite in the proclamation of the warning message.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 19.

  • How does the prophecy of Revelation 10 picture the worldwide proclamation of the final message and the disappointment of those who first proclaimed it? Revelation 10:1–11.

NOTE: “The message of the coming of the Lord in the autumn of 1844 spread rapidly through America and other parts of the world. It greatly moved the hearts of men and stirred the Protestant churches of that time. Tens of thousands looked for the coming of the Lord at the close of the great prophetic period of 2300 days in 1844. Every preparation was made to greet Him with great joy and gladness, and then came the bitterness of disappointment, for the Lord did not come….The disappointment, however, was no evidence that the Lord was not in the movement, for in this tenth chapter of Revelation He anticipates this very experience, and in the last verse points His people to a task of world-wide extent He had yet for them to perform prior to His glorious appearing, for their work had not yet been finished.” Daniel and the Revelation, Uriah Smith, 528.

  • Against what development in the church in the last days are we warned? 2 Timothy 4:3.

NOTE: “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 would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillarsof our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? 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 accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath, of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed 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. Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth?” Battle Creek Letters, 81–82.

  • What will guard God’s people against such developments? Acts 17:11.

NOTE: “The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition and worship they know not what.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 707.

  • What are the Scriptures able to do for the one who has faith in Jesus? 2 Timothy 3:15.

NOTE: “The truth of God received into the heart is able to make you wise unto salvation. In believing and obeying it you will receive grace sufficient for the duties and trials of today. Grace for tomorrow you do not need. You should feel that you have only to do with today. Overcome for today; deny self for today; watch and pray for today; obtain victories in God for today. Our circumstances and surroundings, the changes daily transpiring around us, and the written word of God which discerns and proves all things—these are sufficient to teach us our duty and just what we ought to do, day by day.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 333.

  • What salvation did Jesus come to this world to offer? Matthew 1:21.

NOTE: “The work of gaining salvation is one of co-partnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner.” Acts of the Apostles, 482.

“Your only hope and salvation is in overcoming as Christ overcame.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 457.

“The Ten Commandments, ‘Thou shalt,’ and, ‘Thou shalt not,’ are ten promises, assured to us if we render obedience to the law governing the universe. ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments.’ Here is the sum and substance of the law of God. The terms of salvation for every son and daughter of Adam are here outlined.” Bible Echo, June 17, 1901.

  • What responsibility does God place upon parents? Deuteronomy 6:6–7.

NOTE: “In every Christian home, God should be honoured by the morning and evening sacrifices of prayer and praise. Children should be taught to respect and reverence the hour of prayer. It is the duty of Christian parents, morning and evening, by earnest prayer and persevering faith, to make a hedge about their children. In the church at home the children are to learn to pray and to trust in God. Teach them to repeat God’s law. Concerning the commandments the Israelites were instructed: ‘Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.’ Deuteronomy 6:7. Come in humility, with a heart full of tenderness, and with a sense of the temptations and dangers before yourselves and your children; by faith bind them to the altar, entreating for them the care of the Lord. Train the children to offer their simple words of prayer. Tell them that God delights to have them call upon Him. Will the Lord of heaven pass by such homes and leave no blessing there? Nay, verily. Ministering angels will guard the children who are thus dedicated to God.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 110.

  • What promise is given concerning children taught in this way? Isaiah 54:13.

NOTE: “What can give you greater joy than to see children and youth following Christ, the great Shepherd, who calls, and the sheep and lambs hear his voice and follow Him? What can spread more sunshine through the soul of the interested, devoted worker than to know that his persevering, patient labour is not in vain in the Lord, and to see his pupils have the sunshine of joy in their souls because Christ has forgiven their sins? What can be more satisfying to the worker together with God, than to see children and youth receiving the impressions of the spirit of God in true nobility of character and in the restoration of the moral image of God—the children seeking the peace coming from the Prince of Peace?” Christian Education, 156.

  • What must be the foundation of every preacher’s message? 2 Timothy 4:2.

NOTE: “This solemn charge to one so zealous and faithful as was Timothy is a strong testimony to the importance and responsibility of the work of the gospel minister. Summoning Timothy before the bar of God, Paul bids him preach the word, not the sayings and customs of men; to be ready to witness for God whenever opportunity should present itself, before large congregations and private circles, by the way and at the fireside, to friends and to enemies, whether in safety or exposed to hardship and peril, reproach and loss.” Acts of the Apostles, 503.

“Ministers are not to preach men’s opinions, not to relate anecdotes, get up theatrical performances, not to exhibit self; but as though they were in the presence of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are to preach the word. Let them not bring levity into the work of the ministry, but let them preach the word in a manner that will leave a most solemn impression upon those who hear. Let them not present their own ideas and fanciful notions as God’s word, but let them present the pure word of God, in all sincerity.” Review and Herald, September 28, 1897.

“Our churches are dying for the want of teaching on the subject of righteousness by faith in Christ, and on kindred truths.” Gospel Workers, 301.

“Instead of discussing erroneous theories, or seeking to combat the opponents of the gospel, follow the example of Christ. Let fresh truths from God’s treasure house flash into life. ‘Preach the word.’ ” Christ’s Object Lessons, 40.

  • What will be the effect of the Word of God on those who are willing to receive it? Acts 20:32.

NOTE: “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. We must have the holy unction from God, the baptism of His Spirit. This is the only efficient agent in the promulgation of sacred truth. It is the Spirit of God that quickens the lifeless faculties of the soul to appreciate heavenly things, and attracts the affections toward God and the truth. What we need, what we cannot do without, is the power of the Holy Spirit to work with our efforts. All pampering of self must be at an end. There is a weakness of intellect, a lack of religious fervour, in those who want to lean upon others, to be petted, waited on, and propped up. There must be an earnest longing, a soul-hunger, for the presence of the Lord. Make Him your support, your front guard and your rearward.” Home Missionary, November 1, 1890.

  • Against what form of religion are God’s people warned to turn away? 2 Timothy 3:5.

NOTE: “Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord’s second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavour to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God’s special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world.” Great Controversy, 464.

Satan’s Third Brigade

The devil has three brigades. The first brigade is the persecutors. Whenever God’s work is becoming prominent anywhere, at anytime, and the people are learning what the truth is and turning away from error, Satan’s first brigade comes on with persecution.

If that does not work, he brings in his second brigade, which is the dividers. They come in among the people of God and try to divide them one from another, and thus destroy them.

Satan’s third brigade is even more subtle. We read about it in Selected Messages, Book 2, 19.

“If Satan sees that the Lord is blessing His people and preparing them to discern his delusions, he will work with his master power to bring in fanaticism on the one hand and cold formalism on the other, that he may gather in a harvest of souls. Now is our time to watch unceasingly.” [All emphasis supplied.]

When does the devil bring in fanaticism? Whenever God is blessing His people. And certainly He is blessing the historic Adventist movement today. If you could go with me, in a time machine, back to the fall of the year 1977 when I moved to Loma Linda, California, and first became aware of the problems that were ravishing the church, you would not believe how lonely I felt. I was like a fence post in the middle of a field, standing all by myself, so far as I knew. Soon, however, I discovered that there were others who were standing for the truth and they too were being put through the fire.

Yes, the devil has tried his first brigade on us. Many have been persecuted, pushed out of their churches and put through kangaroo court proceedings of various kinds. But the devil’s first brigade has not succeeded in destroying us. The devil tried to scare us, but he found that historic Adventists do not scare easily. And so tremendous things have been tried: false accusations, false articles, false books (books that are full of false accusations of one kind or another), but it did not work.

Meanwhile our work was growing more and more and more. Books, magazines, television programs, radio programs, campmeetings and revival meetings all over the world. And so the devil had to fall back on his second brigade, the dividers. And these he has sent with full force, and all too often we have allowed divisions to come among us.

When people ask me about these divisions, I remind them of the Reformation. Those strong-minded men who became reformers had a difficult time getting along all the time, also. There are painful moments in our experience as we read that there were in their experience.

For example, when Martin Luther went to Zurich, Switzerland, to discuss the Lord’s Supper with Zwingli. Poor, dear Brother Martin, went up to the desk, which was a large table between them, and took a piece of chalk and wrote, “This is My body.” Then he backed off and he said, “It does not say ‘Represents it!’ It says, ‘This IS My body.’”

Poor Brother Martin, have you never read where Jesus said, “I am the vine”? He did not say, I represent the vine. Have you never read where Jesus said, “I am the way”? He did not say, I represent the way and so on down the line. That was the way Jesus talked. But there is the problem, you see. It takes a very strong-minded man to lead a ministry, to take all of the opposition, to take all of the guff, and that kind of man is not easily persuaded on any point.

Bring in the Third Brigade!

So we must bear in mind that although division has hurt us, and we must learn to get along if we all plan to be in heaven together, there is something that is even more serious than division. That is the devil’s third brigade. And I must tell you that the third brigade could stop us. The fanatics could kill this movement, because they almost killed the Reformation. Let me show you.

“In every age Satan has sought to impair the efforts of God’s servants by introducing into the church a spirit of fanaticism.” Acts of the Apostles, 348.

In The Great Controversy, in the chapter entitled “The Progress of Reform in Germany,” Sister White tells a particular story about Martin Luther that well illustrates the question we are considering.

At this time, Luther had made his stand before the Emperor and the Diet, and the Elector had put him in the castle at Wartburg, high in the mountains, to keep him safe from the death decree that had been issued against his life. He was there for about a year, and during that year two things were happening. The progress of the cause was going forward because various men had stepped in to fill Luther’s position. At the same time, Satan was looking on and realized that his first brigade, the persecution by the Emperor and the Pope, had not been successful. There had been much division and it had been very painful, but it was not stopping the work and so he said, “It is time to call my third brigade. Let us send in the fanatics.” And the fanatics gathered on all sides. They even invaded Wittenburg. People with strange ideas about this and strange ideas about that, apparently all very deeply convinced that they had the truth. But, friend, sincerity does not help if you do not have the truth.

Luther, hearing the news at Wartburg, decided that persecution or no persecution, death threat or no death threat, he was going to return. And so he went back to Wittenburg. We are told that after much effort he was able to stem the tide of fanaticism.

“But Satan was not idle. He now attempted what he has attempted in every other reformatory movement to deceive and destroy the people by palming off on them a counterfeit in place of the true work.…From the professed friends of the Reformation had arisen its worst enemies. [Worse than the Emperor; and even worse than the Pope.] They brought the Reformation to the verge of ruin.” The Great Controversy, 186, 187.

This is my authority for telling you that if this historic movement is ever stopped, it will not be stopped by persecution, it will not be stopped by division, but it could be stopped by the fanatics who are hitting us unmercifully on every side. Ellen White goes on to say that it was nothing but the firm rock-like stand of Luther that saved the Reformation: “Fearlessly did Luther defend the gospel from the attacks which came from every quarter. He stood firm as a rock against the fanaticism that sought to ally itself with the Reformation.” Ibid., 193.

It was the same in the early Advent movement. After the movement of William Miller, which was remarkably free of fanaticism, when the Bible conferences were going on for the next four or five years, and the message we lovingly describe as “the truth” was being studied out, Ellen White was called to her work. She tells us herself that her very first work was to fight off the fanatics. Although she was little more than a youth, her first work was to travel in Maine, then Vermont, and much later into Wisconsin and meet people with their wild ideas. Probably they were very earnest people. Only in a few rare cases does she accuse anyone of insincerity, but oh, the nonsense they wanted to get into the movement.

Sister White knew what it was like to fight fanaticism. She knew the intensity of the battle and she knew something else. She knew it was going to be acted on all over again in the final days of the movement! Here are just some of the warnings she gives about fanaticism.

“Fanaticism will appear in the very midst of us.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 16.

“Every phase of fanaticism and erroneous theories claiming to be the truth will be brought in among the remnant people of God.” Ibid., 14.

“Fanaticism will come in as it always has when God works.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 245.

“Every conceivable, fanciful and deceptive doctrine will be presented by men who think that they have the truth.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 25.

“In the last days it will be like it was in 1844 as far as fanaticism is concerned.” The Review and Herald, January 28, 1909.

“Fanaticism once started and left unchecked is as hard to quench as a fire which has obtained hold of a building.” Mind, Character and Personality, 43.

“I was instructed that fanaticism similar to that which we were called to meet after the passing of time in 1844 would come in among us again in the closing days of the message. And then we must meet this evil just as decidedly now as when we met it in our early experience.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 221.

Are you a little surprised to read an article such as this from the pen of Ralph Larson, the gentle, kind old man? Well, I want to be gentle and I want to be kind, but I am going to be fair! Fanaticism could destroy us and I am going to take a stand against it. Sister White said fanaticism is like fire in a building. It is harder to quench when the whole building is in flames than when the fire is first ignited. And so, today, it is past time that we take a stand against fanaticism in our midst. We must call heresy by its right name and we must call fanaticism by its right name.

The Basis of All Fanaticism

Fanaticism has many different names, but they all have something in common which runs like a thread through them. We read in Selected Messages, Book 2, 14: “The devisings of men’s minds will invent tests that are no tests at all. That when the true test shall be made prominent, it shall be considered on a par with the man-made tests that have been of no value.”

“God will send us direct and practical tests, to teach us, if we will be taught, the benefits of faith. He has no use for man-made tests. The tests that He has given are sufficient.” The Pacific Union Recorder, October 20, 1904.

“Satan will lead men to manufacture false tests and thus seek to obscure the value of and make of non-effect the message of truth.” The Review and Herald, May 29, 1888.

What is the real test we should be focusing on today? “The commandment of God that has been almost universally made void is the testing truth for this time.” Ibid.

After referring to the Sabbath, Sister White stated: “This is the Lord’s test. Let us not descend from it to man-made tests.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 56.

“‘Ye shall not add to the word nor diminish from it.’ The Lord guarded against the adding of man-made tests which would bring in confusion.” Letters to Sanitarium Workers in Southern California, 10.

“There will be brought in a vast amount of man-made tests that have not the least bearing upon the word given us of God to prepare a people to stand with the whole equipment of the heavenly armor on without leaving one piece.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 91.

Examples of Man-Made Tests

What are the man-made tests that historic Adventists are being faced with today? The following is just a partial list.

The Feast Days

We are being called to tests on the Feast Days. We are being told today that if we do not keep the Passover, Pentecost, Feast of Tabernacles and so on we are going to be lost. Strange as it may seem, this is unsettling and troubling to good sincere people because it is wrapped in packages of sophistry that appears to be very convincing. (Sophistry is that which appears to be logical but it is not logical.)

It is not easy to know how to relate to someone who comes to you, apparently with great earnestness and with great sincerity and zeal and assures you most solemnly that two plus two, properly understood, equals seventy-five. Let me explain. A certain brother put out information calling on everyone to keep the feast days. When I published an article in Land Marks in which I called attention to some of the errors with these type of teachings, he responded with an open letter. I’ll reproduce just a few lines from his letter here, so that you may evaluate the logic of his conclusions for yourself.

Here are his words. “We are all familiar with the story of Moses and Pharaoh. Most of us have thought, until recently, that the Feast of the Passover was given to the Jews at that time. However, Abraham kept the feast four hundred thirty years before Moses.”

What! Abraham kept the Passover? How could a man, who claims to believe the Spirit of Prophecy, send out a letter of this type and even sign his name to it?

Look carefully at these inspired quotations which so clearly tell us when the Passover was instituted. “The observance of the Passover began with the birth of the Hebrew nation on the last night of their bondage in Egypt. The Hebrews went out from Egypt an independent nation.” The Desire of Ages, 76.

“On that night so terrible to the Egyptians and so glorious to the people of God was the solemn ordinance of the Passover instituted.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 217.

“The Jews had been strictly enjoined to celebrate the Passover. This had been instituted at the time of their deliverance from Egypt.” The Review and Herald, November 4, 1902.

Now do you understand what I mean when someone solemnly assures you that two plus two equals seventy-five? How do you deal with that kind of a mind? I sent him the quotations that I have just listed and, so far, he has not responded. So, that was just one example of how we are being challenged to face a test about the Feast Days.

The Name of God

We are being called to face a test about the name/names of God. There are at least three variations on the name of God being endorsed and embraced by certain groups among us today. And all of them assure us that if we do not pronounce it their way, we will all go to hell. There is no hope whatever for our salvation if we do not say it right and they say it three different ways?

Beloved, if I may say so, of all the strange stuff, this is the most weird that we have ever come across. The Jewish people stopped pronouncing the name of God at least five hundred years before Christ. And the orthodox Jew, today, will not pronounce the name of God. He will refer to the deity saying “Hashem” which means “The Name.” He will not pronounce the sacred name. It has not been pronounced for probably twenty-five hundred years. Yet there are people coming among us today who say, “We know exactly how that name should be pronounced and if you do not say it like we say it, you are going to hell.”

Dear hearts, what happens to the human mind? They will with great triumph, pull out a verse from the Psalms which says “My name is Yaw” and place that under your nose. David, who wrote that, put down the Y or J and he put down the H, but he did not put the A in there. There were no vowels in the Hebrew alphabet. They had only consonants.

How did they get along? Well, they got along just like you and I do with abbreviations. When you see Mt. Lassen, does anyone have to tell you what it means? It means Mount Lassen, of course. However, if you had never learned that, as a child, you could look at Mt. for a thousand years and never know it said Mount.

The Hebrew alphabet was entirely like that and that is the way they read all of their words. About seven to eight hundred years after Christ, they finally decided to invent some vowels and put them underneath the letters so that you could follow along if you did not know from memory.

So, just think, if there has been no one around for twenty-five hundred years to speak the name and tell you how it sounds and if the people who wrote the name did not even have vowels, how can someone come along in our time and say, “I know! You say it like I say it or you are going to hell.” Dear people, what goes on in the human mind? And what is surprising is that this is troubling our people.

The Godhead

Another man-made test deals with the Godhead. Is the Holy Spirit God? Most people do not argue about whether the Father is God, but they argue about whether the Spirit is God. Here are just a few lines from the Spirit of Prophecy. “The Spirit being God knoweth the mind of God;” “The three powers of the Godhead;” “The Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead;” “The Third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit;” “The three powers of the Godhead, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 36; Review and Herald, July 18, 1907; Evangelism, 615; Australian Union Conference Record, October 7, 1907.

There are also those who are trying to chip away at the divinity of Christ. Consider this strong rebuke: “That doctrine that denies the absolute Godhead of Jesus Christ denies also the Godhead of the Father.” Signs of the Times, June 27, 1895.

Dual Application of Prophecy

Then we have a lot of “dual application of time prophecies.” When people approach me and say, “Would you not be interested in learning about a dual application of this prophecy?” I say, “No thanks, give me the tenth application. That is where my interest lies. Give me the fifteenth, the twentieth, the thirtieth, the fortieth, the fiftieth, the hundred and fiftieth, that is where my interest lies.”

Am I bewildering you? If an historic time prophecy can be re-applied, can it be re-applied twice or again and again and again? I do not know why not. So tell me about the twentieth one, that is where I want to plug in.

Then to a lesser degree, there are smaller items such as kneeling in prayer. I want to believe that these folk who come in and challenge us when we do not kneel for a benediction are sincere, dedicated, earnest, consecrated people, but I have a little trouble over this point. Almost invariably, when they detect that you are not buying their reasoning, they get furiously angry with you and are ready to denounce you as a false minister, a false prophet, a child of Satan, etc. It just makes me wonder, is this the spirit of Christ?

I have to share with you the bitter pill. There have been, and there are now, many thousands of earnest, sincere, dedicated, historic Seventh-day Adventists who in view of all the warnings that we have about error, have found it necessary to worship separately in little groups here and there. Inevitably, there come in among them people professing to be just like they are and, of course, they embrace them. They take them right in and pretty soon they start telling them, “You will surely be lost if you do not keep the Passover.” Or, “You will surely be lost if you do not pronounce the name of God right.” Or, “You will surely be lost if you think there are three divine beings who have the fullness of the Godhead, when Jesus and the Holy Spirit were not really God,” and so forth and so on down the list. They point out irrelevant texts and pile them around the issue, until, by their confused logic, they have convinced some that they are speaking the truth.

Dear friend, as we have read, God has no use for man-made tests. The Sabbath is the test that we are all going to be called upon to pass. All man-made tests will divert the mind from the great and important doctrines that constitute present truth. Let us not descend from the Sabbath to man-made tests. The truth is pure; the truth is wonderful. The tests of God are like they ought to be. They do not need to be improved upon.

We know that the truth will prevail, the only problem is that we must hold fast to it. This message is going to go through. The only question is whether I will go through with it. And that is what we all need to be thinking about day-by-day. Let us accept the test of God and let us reject all man-made tests.

Watch out for the devil’s third brigade—fanatics.

Bible Study Guides – “Not of the World”

November 6, 1999 – November 12, 1999

Memory Verse

“I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” John 17:15.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 600–602.


“I have been shown the high and responsible position which God’s people should occupy. They are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and they must walk even as Christ walked. They will come up through great tribulation. The present is a time of warfare and trial. Our Savior says in Revelation 3:21: ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.’ The reward is not given to all who profess to be followers of Christ, but to those who overcome even as He overcame. We must study the life of Christ and learn what it is to confess Him before the world.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 303.

“The Light Shineth in Darkness”

  1. What is the light that is to shine into the world? 2 Corinthians 4:3–5.

note: “In order to gain a proper knowledge of ourselves, it is necessary to look into the mirror, and there discovering our own defects, avail ourselves of the blood of Christ, the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, in which we may wash our robes of character and remove the stains of sin. But many refuse to see their errors and correct them; they do not want a true knowledge of themselves. If we would reach high attainments in moral and spiritual excellence we must live for it. We are under personal obligation to society to do this, in order continually to exert an influence in favor of God’s law. We should let our light so shine that all may see that the sacred gospel is having an influence upon our hearts and lives, that we walk in obedience to its commandments and violate none of its principles. We are in a great degree accountable to the world for the souls of those around us.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 58–59.

  1. Whom do God’s remnant people have as their example in bringing light to a dark world? John 3:17.

note: “Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world as the unwearied servant of man’s necessity. He ‘took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses,’ that He might minister to every need of humanity. Matthew 8:17. The burden of disease and wretchedness and sin He came to remove. It was His mission to bring to men complete restoration; He came to give them health and peace and perfection of character.” Ministry of Healing, 17.

  1. What is Christ asking us to do for our Heavenly Father? John 17:18; Matthew 5:16.

note: “I have been shown that the disciples of Christ are His representatives upon the earth; and God designs that they shall be lights in the moral darkness of this world, dotted all over the country, in the towns, villages, and cities, ‘a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.’ If they obey the teachings of Christ in His Sermon on the Mount, they will be seeking continually for perfection of Christian character, and will be truly the light of the world, channels through which God will communicate His divine will, the truth of heavenly origin, to those who sit in darkness and who have no knowledge of the way of life and salvation.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 631.

  1. Whose life shows that it possible to live as a pure light for God in today’s world? Genesis 5:21–24.

note: “Christ came into the world to save it, to connect fallen man with the infinite God. Christ’s followers are to be channels of light. Maintaining communion with God, they are to transmit to those in darkness and error the choice blessings which they receive of heaven. Enoch did not become polluted with the iniquities existing in his day; why need we in our day? But we may, like our Master, have compassion for suffering humanity, pity for the unfortunate, and a generous consideration for the feelings and necessities of the needy, the troubled, and the despairing.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 113.

“An Holy Nation”

  1. What characteristics will be seen in our lives if we are truly to reflect God to those around us? 1 Peter 1:13–16.

note: “In order to manifest the character of God, in order that we may not deceive ourselves, the church, and the world by a counterfeit Christianity, we must become personally acquainted with God. If we have fellowship with God, we are His ministers, though we may never preach to a congregation. We are workers together with
God in presenting the perfection of His character in humanity.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 13.

  1. What will be the sign of true holiness and loyalty to our Savior and Creator? Exodus 20:8; Psalm 29:2; Revelation 14:7.

note: “Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 213, 214.

“A Royal Priesthood”

  1. A priest is the one who stands between God and man. What is the “royal priesthood” to declare about God to the world? 1 Peter 2:9, 10.

note: “God declares, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.’ He is the benefactor of the universe. His tender mercies are over all His works. ‘The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.’ It is God’s desire that man shall proclaim the benevolence of His character. In word and deed His people are to reveal His mercy, calling attention to His compassionate designs. The world is to see in the believers who make it their first aim to fulfil the will of Christ, a true representation of Christianity.” Review and Herald, November 26, 1901.

  1. What are the sacrifices to be offered by today’s “royal priesthood”? Romans 12:1, 2.

note: “In the ancient Jewish service it was required that every sacrifice should be without blemish. In the text we are told to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. We are God’s workmanship. The psalmist, meditating upon the marvelous work of God in the human frame, exclaimed, ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Psalms 139:14. There are many who are educated in the sciences, and are familiar with the theory of the truth, who do not understand the laws that govern their own being. God has given us faculties and talents; and it is our duty, as His sons and daughters, to make the best use of them. If we weaken these powers of mind or body by wrong habits or indulgence of perverted appetite, it will be impossible for us to honor God as we should.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 15.

“A Chosen Generation”

  1. What special work for the world is assigned to the last generation of God’s people? Revelation 14:6.

note: “We are nearing the close of this earth’s history. We have before us a great work, the closing work of giving the last warning message to a sinful world. There are men who will be taken from the plough, from the vineyard, from various other branches of work, and sent forth by the Lord to give this message to the world. The world is out of joint. As we look at the picture, the outlook seems discouraging. But Christ greets with hopeful assurance the very men and women who cause us discouragement. In them He sees qualifications that will enable them to take a place in His vineyard. If they will constantly be learners, through His providence He will make them men and women fitted to do a work that is not beyond their capabilities; through the impartation of the Holy Spirit He will give them power of utterance. Many of the barren, unworked fields must be entered by beginners. The brightness of the Savior’s view of the world will inspire confidence in many workers, who, if they begin in humility, and put their hearts into the work, will be found to be the right men for the time and place…He corrects our erring piety, giving the burden of the work for the poor and needy in the rough places of the earth to men and women who have hearts that can feel for the ignorant and for those that are out of the way. The Lord teaches these workers how to meet those whom He wishes them to help. They will be encouraged as they see doors opening for them to enter places where they can do medical missionary work. Having little self-confidence, they give God all the glory. Their hands may be rough and unskilled, but their hearts are susceptible to pity; they are filled with an earnest desire to do something to relieve the woe so abundant; and Christ is present to help them.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 270, 271.

  1. How will these workers find protection from the final, angry onslaught of the evil one? Ephesians 6:10–18.

note: “The Great General is not only leading a few generals; but the Captain of the Lord’s host is leading the armies of both heaven and earth to battle; and they are marching on to the glorious victory. Every soldier is to put on the whole armor of God, and fight courageously, realizing that he is battling in full view of the invisible universe. If they will obey orders, the Lord’s army will find themselves influenced by the Holy Spirit to work the works of God. The battlefield is glorified with the light shining from the cross of Calvary.” Australasian Union Conference Record, April 1, 1898.

“I Pray for Them”

  1. How are we included in Jesus’ prayer for His disciples? John 17:11, 20, 21.

note: “Yes, that prayer of Christ embraces even us. We should be comforted by the thought that we have a great intercessor in the heavens, presenting our petitions before God. ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ In the hour of greatest need, when discouragement would overwhelm the soul, it is then that the watchful eye of Jesus sees that we need His help. The hour of man’s necessity is the hour of God’s opportunity. When all human support fails, then Jesus comes to our aid, and His presence scatters the darkness and lifts the cloud of gloom.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 530.

  1. As we realize our weakness and frailty, what invitation and promises come to us from the Most Holy Place? Hebrews 4:14–16.

note: “Let us begin to work for those who have not had the light. ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth,’ the Savior declares, ‘and, lo, I am with you alway.’ Matthew 28:18, 20. What we need is a living faith, faith to proclaim over the rent sepulchre of Joseph that we have a living Savior, one who will go before us and who will work with us. God will do the work if we will furnish Him the instruments. There needs to be among us a great deal more of prayer and much less of unbelief. We need to lift up the standard higher and still higher before the people. We need to remember that Christ is always at our right hand as we proclaim liberty to the captives and deal the bread of life to hungry souls. When we keep before our minds the urgency and importance of our work, the salvation of God will be revealed in a remarkable manner.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 107.

Editorial – He sits as God – Part IV

A quick review is that the church is God’s temple (Ephesians 2), that God has prerogatives that He will not give to any created being, and any man or angel who attempts to assume prerogatives of God in the church has thereby set himself up as God, in the temple of God, as the antichrist is described as doing in II Thessalonians 2.

One of the prerogatives of God that the angels and the apostles have never had (and which therefore the church has never had) is the right to decide what is right and wrong—the right to be the lawgiver. There is only one lawgiver (James 4:12).

Another right that only God has, is the right to be the Saviour—to deliver you and me from the guilt and power of sin.  Both the Old and New Testaments declare this. (See James 4:12; Matthew 9:2-6; Isaiah 45:21.) The church cannot save you from sin; the leaders of the church cannot save you from sin; the services of the church cannot save you from sin. Only God can do that. All that the church or any man can do is point people to where the help is, where the salvation is. But the essence of false religion is to lead men to look to men, to trust in men for salvation, to trust churches or rituals or theological beliefs for salvation.  This is why false religion doesn’t work.

If your religion is not leading you to victory over sin, to a cessation from sinning in your life, then there is something wrong with your religion. True religion points people to the true God and results in a spiritual new birth, which results in victory over sin. (See I John 5:18.)

Through heathenism, Satan had, for ages, turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions the heathen had lost a knowledge of God and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin. (See Desire of Ages, 35, 36.)

One of the most serious consequences of the rule of antichrist is that the people are not delivered from their sins and a theological system has been developed to handle this.  The theological explanation is that we cannot overcome our sins because of our fallen sinful nature (“original sin”). Therefore, we are saved just by being forgiven of our sins and the church claims to do this. So the sinner who goes on in sin, regularly confessing his sins, believes, mistakenly, that he is on the road to salvation. Nowhere in the Bible is salvation promised to the person who is living in sin.  In fact, damnation is promised to the person who goes on living in sin. Salvation is promised only to the one who overcomes or is set free from sin. (See John 8:32-36; Romans 6; I John 3; Revelation 21:5-7; I Corinthians 6:9, 10; Revelation 22:14, 15.)

There was a time when God’s remnant people knew this, and we proclaimed that the doctrine of being saved in sin was from the antichrist and that we could only be saved from sin.  But the doctrines of antichrist have strangely become much more acceptable to the professed people of God, and many have accepted the “saved in sin” theology along with the majority of the professed Christian world. Where will this theology leave you in the Day of Judgment? With antichrist. (See Matthew 7:21-23.)

“The victory that Jesus gained in the wilderness is a pledge to you of the victory that you may gain through His name. Your only hope and salvation is in overcoming as Christ overcame.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 457.

Bible Study Guides – “Wilt Thou Not Revive Us Again?”

March 17, 2001 – March 23, 2001

Memory Verse

“O LORD, I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2.

Study Help: Selected Messages, Book 1, 121–128.


“We must pray more, and talk less. Iniquity abounds, and the people must be taught not to be satisfied with a form of godliness without the spirit and power. If we are intent upon searching our own hearts, putting away our sins, and correcting our evil tendencies, our souls will not be lifted up unto vanity; we shall be distrustful of ourselves, having an abiding sense that our sufficiency is of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 122.

“Let Us Return Unto The Lord”

1 What should be the focus of our prayers for the church? Psalm 85:6.

note: “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work. There must be earnest effort to obtain the blessing of the Lord, not because God is not willing to bestow His blessing upon us, but because we are unprepared to receive it. Our heavenly Father is more willing to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, than are earthly parents to give good gifts to their children. But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfil the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us His blessing. A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 121.

2 What spiritual qualities are needed for the Lord to bring revival? Isaiah 57:15.

note: “We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world. Unbelievers have a right to expect that those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will do more than any other class to promote and honor, by their consistent lives, by their godly example and their active influence, the cause which they represent. But how often have the professed advocates of the truth proved the greatest obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan’s devices.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 122.

“Rich And Increased With Goods”

3 How does the Lord describe the mindset of His church in the closing days of earth’s history? Revelation 3:17, first part.

note: “What is our condition in this fearful and solemn time? Alas, what pride is prevailing in the church, what hypocrisy, what deception, what love of dress, frivolity, and amusement, what desire for the supremacy! All these sins have clouded the mind, so that eternal things have not been discerned. Shall we not search the Scriptures, that we may know where we are in this world’s history? Shall we not become intelligent in regard to the work that is being accomplished for us at this time, and the position that we as sinners should occupy while this work of atonement is going forward? If we have any regard for our souls’ salvation, we must make a decided change. We must seek the Lord with true penitence; we must with deep contrition of soul confess our sins, that they may be blotted out.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 125.

4 How does the Lord describe the actual spiritual condition of the church? Revelation 3:17, last part.

note: “It has been shown me that there is a fault with us, of honoring the human, flattering men, accepting their ideas, their judgement, as the voice of God, and advocating their cause. Many have such confidence in those whom they have been accustomed to regard as leaders, that they seem incapable of discerning when these persons are in error, and they are ready to cling to and defend erroneous positions, because others do so. This spirit is displeasing to God, and is dangerous to all who indulge in it; for if leading men allow themselves to be controlled by prejudice, evil surmisings, or envy, those who look to them for an example are led astray. Brethren, trust not in man; look to God; trust in His infallible wisdom. Shun as a sin the practice, so common even among Seventh-day Adventists, of becoming the echo of any man, whatever his position. Listen to the voice of the True Shepherd, and you will never be led astray.” Gospel Workers, 1892 edition, 390, 391.

“Turn To The Lord”

5 What promise is given to God’s people if they will turn back to Him? Deuteronomy 4:30, 31.

note: “There is before the church the dawn of a bright, glorious day, if she will put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness, withdrawing from all allegiance to the world. God calls upon His faithful ones, who believe in Him, to talk courage to those who are unbelieving and hopeless. Turn to the Lord, ye prisoners of hope. Seek strength from God, the living God. Show an unwavering, humble faith in His power and His willingness to save. When in faith we take hold of His strength, He will change, wonderfully change, the most hopeless, discouraging outlook. He will do this for the glory of His name.” Prophets and Kings, 260.

6 What does it mean for the church to ‘turn to the Lord’? Lamentations 3:40–45.

note: “Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given. The power of God awaits their demand and reception. This promised blessing, claimed by faith, brings all other blessings in its train. It is given according to the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive.” The Desire of Ages, 672.

“A proper fear of God, in believing His threatenings, works the peaceable fruits of righteousness, by causing the trembling soul to flee to Jesus. Many ought to have this spirit today, and turn to the Lord with humble contrition, for the Lord has not given so many terrible threatenings, pronounced so severe judgements in His Word, simply to have them recorded, but He means what He says. One says, ‘Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Thy law,’ Paul says, ‘Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.’” Review and Herald, October 21, 1890

“Be Zealous Therefore And Repent”

7 What qualities does the Lord wish to develop in His people? Revelation 3:18.

note: “We must have the buyers and the sellers cleared out of the soul temple, that Jesus may take up His abode within us. Now He stands at the door of the heart as a heavenly merchantman; He says,…‘Open unto me; buy of Me the heavenly wares; buy of Me the gold tried in the fire.’ Buy faith and love, the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer.…He invites us to buy the white raiment, which is His glorious righteousness; and the eyesalve, that we may discern spiritual things. Oh, shall we not open the heart’s door to this heavenly visitor?” Our High Calling, 350.

8 What price must we pay to receive these precious gifts? Matthew 13:44; Luke 14:33.

note: “…the believer is to bear in mind that he is dedicated to God, to Christ, and to the Holy Spirit. He is to make all worldly considerations secondary to this new relation. Publicly he has declared that he will no longer live in pride and self-indulgence. He is no longer to live a careless, indifferent life. He has made a covenant with God. He has died to the world. He is to live to the Lord, to use for Him all his entrusted capabilities, never losing the realization that he bears God’s signature, that he is a subject of Christ’s kingdom, a partaker of the divine nature. He is to surrender to God all that he is and all that he has, employing all his gifts to His name’s glory.” Evangelism, 316.

“I Will Spew Thee Out”

9 If the church is unwilling to heed Christ’s call to repentance, what does the Lord promise to do? Revelation 3:15, 16.

note: “What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right, when they are all wrong? The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true situation of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake; for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct.” Review and Herald, September 16, 1873.

10 What work will purify the church? Hebrews 12:26, 27.

note: “I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people. I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified.” Early Writings, 270.

“The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. We must be divested of our self-righteousness and arrayed in the righteousness of Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 380.

“A Remnant Shall Be Saved”

11 How does the Bible picture the remnant of God’s people? Zephaniah 3:12, 13.

note: “In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But, it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the daytime we look toward heaven, but do not see stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine luster. The time is not far distant, when the test will come to every soul.…In this time, the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy, will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness.” Instruction for Effective Christian Service, 49.

12 What is to be our prayer for God’s church? Hosea 6:1–3.

note: “A revival and a reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 128.

13 What promise do we have that revival will do its work among God’s people? Hosea 14:7.

note: “Are we hoping to see the whole church revived? That time will never come. There are persons in the church who are not converted, and who will not unite in earnest, prevailing prayer. We must enter upon the work individually. We must pray more, and talk less.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 122.

“…the Lord will carry out His plans through a variety of ways and instruments. It is not alone the most talented, not alone those who hold high positions of trust, or are the most highly educated from a worldly point of view, whom the Lord uses to do His grand and holy work of soulsaving. He will use simple means; He will use many who have had few advantages to help in carrying forward His work. He will, by the use of simple means, bring those who possess property and lands to a belief of the truth, and these will be influenced to become the Lord’s helping hand in the advancement of His work.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 128.

No New Denomination – Part I

Are You Starting a New Denomination?

I would like to study something with you that we actually have studied before, however, I believe we need to study it again, because of the confusion that is developing among God’s professed people, especially in the revival and reformation movement. I have received many letters and communications lately asking questions like, Are you starting a new denomination?

Why, no, we have never thought of starting a new denomination. We have never intended to do any such thing. We do not want to do anything like that. We have no intention of doing anything like that. So where are all these ideas coming from? Well, people are getting these ideas because other people are making accusations about things they do not really understand or know.

The basis for these accusations is the fact that they do not understand the New Testament concept about who and what is the church. The first time I heard about the New Testament concept of the church was in 1987; my brother had started preaching it. I had never heard of anything like this before. I had been a Seventh-day Adventist minister for over 20 years, and at that time I was working in the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. I had to study out this theory. In fact, before I ever preached on this subject myself, which was the next year, in 1988, I had studied it very thoroughly and very carefully for a number of months, to find out what the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy really teach on this subject.

This is a critical subject. You see, Marshall and I were told, in effect, in 1988, that we could not do evangelism. It is a very serious matter when you cannot do evangelism. We are commanded in the gospel commission to go to all the world. The reason we were told that we could not do evangelism was very simple; when we got people ready for baptism, the church and the church organization would not accept them as members because they had been brought in by the “wrong” people.

We actually had people come to the Steps to Life campmeeting and say, “I want to be a Seventh-day Adventist. I want to be baptized and become part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but where I live the pastor will not baptize me because the “wrong” people gave me Bible studies.” Because of confusion on this subject, there are many people who are not doing any evangelism.

Waiting for the Lord

Publicly they have said, we cannot do any evangelism right now; we are just waiting for God to clean up the church and purify the church, and then we will do evangelism. Some of these people have been waiting now for the better part of 20 years. I do not know how long they plan to wait. How long do you want to wait to finish God’s work? Do you want to wait 50 years? 100 years?

The reason people cannot get serious about finishing God’s work is because of what they believe about who is the church. If the church tells them not to do it, they are afraid to do it for fear that they will be dishonoring God and disobeying Him. It is from the same misapprehensions that the question is asked, Are you starting a new denomination?

So before we look at the specific question of, Are you starting a new denomination? , let us ask a few very basic, simple questions that can be answered right out of the Bible.

How Many “True” Churches are There?

First question: How many true churches are there? Now some people say that there have been lots of true churches. There was the church in Abraham’s time; there was the church in Moses’ time; there was the church in Jesus’ time, the Jewish Church; there was the church during the Dark Ages, the Protestant Churches, the Waldensian Church, and there is the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Some people think that there are lots of different churches, but that is not what the Bible says. What does the Bible say about how many churches there are? My brother, Marshall, used to say that if you want to know the truth about who and what the church is, the Bible would be a good place to look. So, let us look at the Bible.

In Ephesians 1:22, 23, Paul says very distinctly that Christ is the Head of the church; it only has one Head. There are some organizations in the Scripture that are described as having seven heads, but not the church of Christ. It does not have two or three or four or seven heads; it only has One.

According to Ephesians 1:22, 23, Christ is the Head. It is also stated there that the church is His body. So, how many bodies does Christ have? Look at Ephesians 4:4: “There is one body and one Spirit.…” There are how many bodies? One. So how many true churches are there? One! There has only been one true church since the days of Adam and Eve, and there will never be more than one until the end of time. Whether you are talking about time or space, the answer is the same. There is only one body! The first three chapters of Ephesians say that His body is the fullness of Him who fills all in all. That is the whole universe.

Ellen White distinctly and very powerfully reaffirms, validates and verifies exactly what we just read in Ephesians 4. She says, “God had a church when Adam and Eve and Abel accepted and hailed with joy the good news that Jesus was their Redeemer. These realized as fully then as we realize now the promise of the presence of God in their midst. Wherever Enoch found one or two who were willing to hear the message he had for them, Jesus joined with them in their worship of God. In Enoch’s day there were some among the wicked inhabitants of earth who believed. The Lord never yet has left His faithful few without His presence nor the world without a witness.” The Upward Look, 228.

From Age to Age

She talks in very similar language throughout the first chapter of The Acts of the Apostles. She speaks of the churches being one throughout the whole period of earth’s history— from the apostles’ time, through the Dark Ages, to our time, to the end. “Through the ages of moral darkness, through centuries of strife and persecution, the church of Christ has been as a city set on a hill. From age to age, through successive generations to the present time, the pure doctrines of the Bible have been unfolding within her borders.” Our High Calling, 172.

Notice, she is talking singular here: “The church of Christ, enfeebled and defective though she may appear, is the one object on earth on which He bestows in a special sense His love and regard. The church is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to make experiments of mercy on human hearts.” Ibid. Is that not exciting? The church is a theater; a “theater of His grace.”

Revival and Reformation Exists!

I want to tell you, friends, as I travel and as I visit with people in different countries and in different places, over and over again, I have been amazed as I have seen what God is doing. When Evelyn and I went to New Guinea a few years ago, they told us that the Lord is going all through this country, and some of the people who are the greatest criminals have accepted the gospel.

In fact, while we were there, they had a baptism on Sabbath afternoon. One of the people who was baptized had been the head of a drug gang. Unbelievable things like this happen! You see people who have been involved in every kind of crime and problem, and God is pulling them out of that lifestyle and completely changing their lives, by grace.

It is something that you cannot explain by any method of psychology, human education or anything like that. It is beyond explanation. It is “the theater of His grace,” and it is worldwide. Ellen White says, in Testimonies, vol. 6, 367, that the church below and the church above are one. (See also Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 316.) There are not two separate churches, one in heaven and one on earth. They are both one!

There is just one true church. Now it immediately follows that if there is only one true church in all time and all of space, if you or I would ever start another church or another denomination, that would be apostasy. Does that make sense? If there is only one true church in all of time and all of space, and that is exactly what the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy teaches, then to start a new church would be apostasy from the true, and we certainly do not want to do that! There is only one true church!

You see, Adventists did not start a new church in 1863 or 1861 or 1844. The church has existed since the days of Adam and Eve, and it has been shaken over and over again. People have been shaken out, but there have always been some who have gone through.

Were there some people who went through in Jesus’ day? Yes. The 12 apostles came right out of the Jewish Church. There were some people who endured the shaking and accepted the Messiah and stayed with it. Did the same thing happen in the times of Martin Luther? Yes. Did the same thing happen in the days of Ellen White? Absolutely!

A Remnant

Were there some people after the great disappointment who held on to their faith even though they were disappointed beyond measure and could not understand how God could have allowed such a thing to happen to them? Were there some people who hung on? Yes, there were, and they were not a new church. They are called, in the Bible, a remnant. Is a remnant something new? No, a remnant is not something new. A remnant is something that goes back to the beginning, but it is just the last part of the original.

But, of course, there is a dividing line in God’s church. There always has been, because in this world, since the devil rebelled in heaven and since Adam and Eve fell, we are in a situation where there are people who profess things that are not true.

The devil and his angels profess things that are not true, and so do human beings, the devil’s agents. If you are one of God’s children, you will never make a profession that is not true, because then you are breaking the ninth commandment. That is why, by the way, you and I can never, ever make any profession that we are perfect or holy. We will never be making those professions, even during the time of trouble. We will be in heaven before we will be able to say, I am holy or I am perfect. God’s children do not ever make a profession that is not true. But the devil’s children do, and the devil has been doing this for thousands of years.

Drawing the Line

The devil brings his agents into God’s church, and they make a profession of something that is not true. So now you have this group of people all together; some of them are true; some of them are not true, and you cannot tell for sure which is which because they all make the same profession. But God draws the dividing line.

You can find this in the Bible, (See Matthew 7:15, 21–23) and I like the way Ellen White put it in Signs of the Times, June 30, 1881. She says, “He draws the dividing line between those who bear His name by profession, and those whose character shows them to be His children.”

So, here you have a people, all professing to be part of the true church, the remnant. They all profess to be commandment keepers; they all profess to believe the Spirit of Prophecy, and they all profess to be Christians. Where does God put the dividing line? They all make this profession, but God draws a line. Some people are on one side of the line; some people are on the other side of the line.

You and I do not have to know where the line is. God has drawn it, and He knows which people are on which side of the line. As the shaking progresses, it will become apparent to everybody else, also. On one side of the dividing line there are the people who make the profession, but their profession is not true. On the other side of the dividing line is the true church. They are the people who make the profession, too, but their profession is true. Their character shows that they are God’s children.

The True Church

I want to go over several distinguishing points about the true church. I am not talking about the true church by profession, I am talking about the true church in character. Many, many times Ellen White describes the true church as being those who have a certain type of character. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 310.)

The true church does not have any tares in it. There are tares that make the profession; they are all part of the group, but notice carefully, this church does not have any tares in it. Jesus talked about people who do not go through the door, but they come in another way. He said they are thieves and robbers. (See John 10:1.)

You can have a thief in your house. A thief does not come through the door, he climbs through the window. So is he part of your family? He is in the house, but that does not make him part of your family. It is the same with the wolves in sheep’s clothing; they have climbed over the wall, and they are in the fold. Does that make them part of the flock? Are they part of the true church? Well, they profess to be, but they are not. They may have their lamb’s clothing all zipped up, clear up to the neck, but they are not really a part of the true church.

Notice what Ellen White says about the true church: “From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth.” The Acts of the Apostles, 11. Now what does the word constitute mean? That is who makes up the church, and it is the faithful souls.

By the way, are the faithful souls the tares? Is any tare a faithful soul? No, a tare is not a faithful soul. So this church that she is talking about here does not have any tares in it, because it is constituted by faithful souls. She says that, until the end of time, the true church will have the Holy Spirit. (See The Acts of the Apostles, 54, 55.)

Not the Various Denominations

And then there is this very familiar statement from The Upward Look, 315. It is a very interesting statement that I have pondered many, many times. A lot of people do not like some things in this statement, and they try to get around it. I am always afraid, if I am trying to get around something in God’s Word. If there is something in God’s Word that sounds like it is difficult, well, probably that means we just do not understand everything yet. Notice what this says: “God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations.”

Now that is a very pointed statement. It is not the various denominations. It is not?

Well, it is our denomination, people say.

No, it is not. It is not the various denominations.

Oh, but ours is an exception.

It does not say there are any exceptions. It just says that it is not the various denominations. Now that is a very powerful statement. I did not write it. I am not even interpreting it. I am just sharing it with you.

Well, who is it then?

Oh, it is our denomination.

No, that is not what she said. Now she is going to tell you who it is.

“It is the people who love God and keep His commandments.” Ibid.

So, do you love God and keep His commandments? Then you are part of the true church. You are a member of the church of which there is only one in all time and space. When the church is taken to heaven, all generations from all over the world, plus the angels and the beings up there, will all be one. And you will be part of it—if you are one of those who love God and keep His commandments.

This is important to understand right now, especially if some of you have heard Pastor Billy Paul tell about what is happening in Central and South America. People are being disfellowshipped all over Central and South America for standing up and proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages. Should these people become frightened and say, Oh, no, I am lost! I am not in the church anymore. Is that what they should think? Are they out of the church? No. Do they love God and keep His commandments? Yes, they do. Then they are in the church!

Organization Needed Now!

Now, just because you love God and keep His commandments does not mean that you should not be organized. All we are saying is that the organization is not the church. Our organization is not the church. We have a church at Steps to Life, and it is organized. We have elders, deacons, a church clerk, and a treasurer. We are an organized church so that we can do the work of Christ. But our church organization is not the church itself. Do you see the difference? And if that church organization should apostatize, even if all the leaders should apostatize, the church would still remain.

Let me tell you, I have seen that happen more than once. I have seen the leaders of a church all apostatize, but the church remains, because the church is the people who love God and keep His commandments.

The General Conference is Not the True Church

And then, I thought about this. I asked myself, Should I get this pointed? I think that I had better do it. I think that I have an obligation to do it. So, brace yourself for this, because some people are going to read this and they are going to be shocked when they do. The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is not the true church, and it has not been the true church, or even part of the true church, for a long time.

I am going to read that to you right out of the Spirit of Prophecy: “Says the prophet, ‘The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ [Now notice what she says about this text. She has just quoted Revelation 12:17.] We can see from this Scripture that it is not the true church of God that makes war with those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The Signs of the Times, April 22, 1889. [Emphasis supplied.]

Any organization, or group, that makes war with those who keep the commandments is not the true church. That is what Ellen White says. When you take people, who are keeping the commandments, to court and you put them in jail, and believe me, that has happened; when you take them to court and try to ruin them financially, you are waging war. Do you know what a lawsuit is? A lawsuit is a legal war, a legal battle. I do not know how anybody could controvert or dispute that. If you think that it is not, you have just not yet been sued.

People can lose everything that they have and go to jail because of a lawsuit, you know. Mrs. White says that it is not the true church of God that makes war with those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. That makes it absolutely certain that the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists could not possibly be the true church today, or any part of it, because they are making war against those who are trying to take the Three Angels’ Messages to all the world. They are making war on these people all over the world. In Interamerica they are disfellowshipping them. In South America they are disfellowshipping them. In the United States they are taking them to court. They are doing similar things in the South Pacific, in Australia and in Europe, and just about anywhere in the world where people are getting aggressive and saying that we need to get the Three Angels’ Messages to the world now!

Now, I know that they are the true church by profession. So that nobody will misunderstand that, let me just remind you that Caiaphas and company were the true church by profession in the days of Jesus, but it was not true.

The true church is built, established, on the Rock. (See Matthew 16:18.) This is one of the favorite texts of the papacy. The true church is established on the Rock. It is established on the Rock, Christ Jesus. By the way, I have thought many times that, of all the apostles, the Lord chose to have the apostle Peter explain that explicitly so that nobody would be mixed up about who the Rock is upon whom the church is built.

Built on the Chief Cornerstone

So the apostle Peter spends about ten or eleven verses in 1 Peter 2, and he tells you exactly who the Rock is upon whom the church is built, so you cannot make a mistake. He says, Now the rest of you, you are living stones, too, but you are built on a Foundation and on the Chief Cornerstone. And any church that is not built on that Rock is not the true church. The church that is built on the apostle Peter is not the true church, because he is not the Rock.

Let us look at two or three more characteristics about the true church. In the book The Great Controversy, 51, Ellen White makes the following statement: “Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and willful separation from the true church. But these accusations apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from ‘the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Jude 3.”

Now, if you study that statement carefully, she says the accusation against the true church of departing from the church applies to whom? To the Romanists. And why does it apply to them? Because of two things: they laid down the banner of Christ and departed from the faith once delivered to the saints. Now that paragraph, if you study it carefully, reveals to you characteristics of the true church.

The true church is that group of people who will uphold the banner of Christ and who will defend the faith once delivered to the saints. They will defend the historic Christian teachings in the Bible. That is still true. That is where the term “historic” Adventists came from. People said, We want the doctrines that we know are true, that our people have believed and that Christians have believed throughout all ages. They studied their Bibles. That is what we want!

Who Laid Down the Banner of Christ?

Now the Roman Church laid down the banner of Christ and departed from the faith that was once delivered to the saints, so they are the ones that willfully separated from the true church. You need to understand this point crystal clear. I am amazed that I find Seventh-day Adventists who are mixed up on this point, and I hope after you have studied this over with me that nobody will ever be able to be mixed up on this again.

Who was the true church during the Dark Ages, between the time that the apostles died and the Protestant Reformation or up to our own time? I find that people are very confused on this. I was absolutely shocked just a few weeks ago when I found out that there are Adventist leaders in the revival and reformation movement who apparently think that the Roman Church was the true church clear up until the sixth century.

I could have fallen off my chair. The Roman Church, friends, apostatized in the second century, and after they apostatized, they were not the true church any more. Who was the true church? Ellen White is very, very specific about this.

“‘The church in the wilderness, [Now who is the church in the wilderness? That was those Bible-believing Christians who had to flee from persecution.] and not the proud hierarchy enthroned in the world’s great capital, was the true church of Christ.” The Great Controversy, 64. And that is as plain as you can state it!

Here is another one. “The professed church of God was swept into the ranks of this delusion, and for more than a thousand years the people of God suffered under the dragon’s ire.” The Signs of the Times, November 1, 1899.

So, the church at Rome went into apostasy in the second century, before ad 170 or 180. We have good historical evidence that it was starting in the late ad 120s at least, and that the apostasy was well under way by the late ad 150s. We do not need to look at the spiritual, religious, Bible side of things, you can go right to the history book and figure that out.

Upholding the Banner of Christ

So the true church will uphold the banner of Christ, and it will not depart from the faith. In fact, the apostle Paul gives that as a definition of the true church. It is the pillar and ground of the truth. (See 1 Timothy 3:15.)

So who was the true church in Jesus’ day? Was it Caiaphas and company? They professed to be, but it was not really true, was it? Remember that God draws the dividing line between those who are His children by profession and those whose characters show that they really are His children. So who was the true church in Jesus’ day? It was the people who followed Jesus, and that is all that it was.

The people who were following Caiaphas crucified Jesus. Did the true church crucify Jesus? No, that was not the true church; those were the people following the devil. You cannot be following the devil and the Lord at the same time. Does that make sense? The true church in Jesus’ day were those who followed Jesus.

Who was the true church in the second, third, fourth and fifth centuries? It was those Christians who maintained their faith, those who were Bible-believing Christians. They were scattered all over the world. They were called many, many different names. Ellen White says that the whole world became a battlefield over the Christian faith. You can see the evidence of the battle in England, the British Isles, the Continent of Europe, in the Middle East, down to Africa and India. (See The Great Controversy, 55, 56.)

The whole world became a battlefield, and what happened to the true church? Do you know where one of the most common places was that the true church met? One of the most common places where the true church met was in the fields of martyrdom, where their members were killed by those claiming to be the true church.

If you read the book, The Martyr’s Mirror, one of the major debating points was the Waldenses claim that they were the only true church. The papists could not stand that, because if the Waldenses were the true church, then they were an apostate church.

The true church was in the wilderness, according to Revelation 12. So you know from Revelation 12 that you would not find the true church in London or Paris or Rome or Jerusalem. The true church was in the wilderness, in the desert.

The Church in the Desert

Several years ago when I was traveling in southeastern France, in the Cevennes Mountains, which was where the headquarters of the Huguenots was located, I had the privilege of visiting a church. I looked on the stone wall that was built in 1696; I went inside the church, and the church was built like a fort. It had walls about three feet thick. You had to get on a ladder to see out the windows, as they were probably higher than the peak of most ceilings.

They still have the church Bible. You see, private people in those days often could not afford to have a Bible, so the church had a Bible and you would come to the church; somebody would read, and the rest of the church would listen. That is the way you studied the Bible back in those days. If they really wanted a part of the Bible for themselves, while it was being read they copied down the text, then they had part of the Bible for their own. The Bible is still there, in the front of the church.

It is very interesting what they called themselves. They called themselves the church in the desert. Where do you suppose they got that idea? They got it from Revelation 12. They knew that they were the church described in Revelation 12.

So who was the church in 1844? It was the people who accepted the truth about the hour of God’s judgment to come. Like always, the church was the pillar and ground of the truth. Now, they did not understand what that meant yet, but it was the people who accepted that. There were a lot of people who claimed to accept it who were not true, so the Lord arranged to divide things so you could find out who really believed this message.

Sorting Things Out

And that is what is going to happen to us, too. It is already under way. God is arranging things for the shaking to sort things out. By the time Jesus comes, all of the people who make a profession, and whose character does not agree with their profession, will be weeded out. But that is God’s business, not ours. We do not take the tares out of the church. God does that, and He is doing it right now. We do have an obligation to disfellowship members living in open sin. When a tare becomes an open sinner, he is to be disfellowshipped by the church. (See 1 Corinthians 5; 2 John and Christ’s Object Lessons, 71.)

Who is the church now? And who will be the church in the future? It will still be the same as it has always been, since the days of Adam and Eve. It is those who love God and keep His commandments; those who uphold the banner of Christ; those who defend the faith once delivered to the saints; those who have the Holy Spirit; those who are built on the Rock, and those who do not ever make war against those who are keeping God’s commandments.

We need to be careful that we never have the wrong spirit. People might come to you and me and say, Well, you know so-and-so, look what they are doing; they are terrible; they are fanatics. They may be a fanatic. They may be doing something wrong, but let me tell you something, if they are keeping God’s commandments, we had better not get in a war with them, even if they are making mistakes. Because, if we do, we will show the whole universe that we are on the opposite side of the great controversy, that we are not part of the church at all, no matter what our profession.

We are not self-supporting workers or some adjunct, some sideline, some irregular line. I believe Martin Luther put it best when he said, “The Pope and the priests need not make a noise. We are the church!” Do you believe that? It is still true. We are the church.

Melancthon said it just as well: “‘There is no other church than the assembly of those who have the word of God, and who are purified by it.’” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 237.

to be continued…

Bible Study Guides – Fulfilling Signs and the Church

September 1–7, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “[Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Romans 12:9, 10.

SUGGESTED READING: Early Writings, 285–295; The Adventist Home, 533–550.

INTRODUCTION: “Of special value to God’s church on earth today—the keepers of His vineyard—are the messages of counsel and admonition given through the prophets who have made plain His eternal purpose in behalf of mankind. In the teachings of the prophets, His love for the lost race and His plan for their salvation are clearly revealed. The story of Israel’s call, of their successes and failures, of their restoration to divine favor, of their rejection of the Master of the vineyard, and of the carrying out of the plan of the ages by a goodly remnant to whom are to be fulfilled all the covenant promises—this has been the theme of God’s messengers to His church throughout the centuries that have passed. And today God’s message to His church—to those who are occupying His vineyard as faithful husbandmen—is none other than that spoken through the prophet of old: [Isaiah 27:2, 3 quoted.]” Prophets and Kings, 22.

1 Of what did Christ caution His followers, as they see the end times approaching? Luke 21:34, 35.

NOTE: “Dear Brethren and Sisters in _____: June 12, 1868, I was shown that the love of the world was to a great extent taking the place of love to God. You are situated in a pleasant country, one that is favorable to worldly prosperity. This places you where you are in constant danger of having your interest swallowed up in the world, in laying up treasure upon the earth. Your hearts will be where your treasure is. You are situated where there are temptations to be plunging deeper and deeper into the world, to be continually accumulating; and while you are thus engaged, the mind becomes engrossed with the cares of this life to such an extent as to shut out true godliness. But few realize the deceitfulness of riches.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 183.

2 What other peril will confront the church in the last days? Matthew 24:48–51.

NOTE: “The evil servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delayeth his coming.’ He does not say that Christ will not come. He does not scoff at the idea of His second coming. But in his heart and by his actions and words he declares that the Lord’s coming is delayed. He banishes from the minds of others the conviction that the Lord is coming quickly. His influence leads men to presumptuous, careless delay. They are confirmed in their worldliness and stupor. Earthly passions, corrupt thoughts, take possession of the mind. The evil servant eats and drinks with the drunken, unites with the world in pleasure seeking.” The Desire of Ages, 634.

3 In the parable of the ten virgins, how did Jesus illustrate the attitude of His people immediately before His return? Matthew 25:5.

NOTE: “Here [Matthew 25] is brought to view the church living in the last days, the same that is pointed out in the close of chapter 24. In this parable their experience is illustrated by the incidents of an Eastern marriage. . . .

“Two classes are represented. All had taken their lamps, the Bible, and by its light had gone forth to meet the Bridegroom. . . .

“By the tarrying of the bridegroom is represented the passing of the time when the Lord was expected, the disappointment, and the seeming delay. . . . ‘They all slumbered and slept;’ one class in unconcern and abandonment of their faith, the other class patiently waiting till clearer light should be given. Yet in the night of trial the latter seemed to lose, to some extent, their zeal and devotion. The halfhearted and superficial could no longer lean upon the faith of their brethren. Each must stand or fall for himself.” The Great Controversy, 393–395.

4 What should our first priority now be? Romans 13:12–14

NOTE: “Not one is to feel that he can use his time as he chooses. Heavenly requirements are not to be ignored. It is the universal tendency of men to subordinate the eternal realities to temporal matters, to make the claims of the future, immortal life subservient to the commonplace affairs of this fleeting life.” Signs of The Times, July 30, 1894.

5 What urgent counsel has Christ left on record for His remnant church? Revelation 3:15–19.

NOTE: “Christ now calls them [professed Christians]: ‘Be zealous and repent.’ He kindly and faithfully admonishes them to buy gold, white raiment, and eyesalve. They can choose either to be zealous, and partake largely of salvation, or be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord as disgusting, and be thrust from Him. God will not bear always. He is of tender pity, yet His Spirit will be grieved away for the last time. Mercy’s sweet voice will be no more heard. Its last precious notes will have died away, and those described will be left to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 153.

6 What is the duty of God’s people as the end of time approaches? Revelation 14:6.

NOTE: “In the prophecy this warning of the judgment, with its connected messages, is followed by the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. The proclamation of the judgment is an announcement of Christ’s second coming as at hand. And this proclamation is called the everlasting gospel. Thus the preaching of Christ’s second coming, the announcement of its nearness, is shown to be an essential part of the gospel message.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 227.

7 What response does God expect from His church to this message? Revelation 14:7.

NOTE: “The gospel invitation is to be given to all the world—‘to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.’ Revelation 14:6. The last message of warning and mercy is to lighten the whole earth with its glory. It is to reach all classes of men, rich and poor, high and low. ‘Go out into the highways and hedges,’ Christ says, ‘and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.’

“The world is perishing for want of the gospel. There is a famine for the word of God. There are few who preach the word unmixed with human tradition. Though men have the Bible in their hands, they do not receive the blessing that God has placed in it for them. The Lord calls upon His servants to carry His message to the people. The word of everlasting life must be given to those who are perishing in their sins.

“In the command to go into the highways and hedges, Christ sets forth the work of all whom He calls to minister in His name. The whole world is the field for Christ’s ministers. The whole human family is comprised in their congregation. The Lord desires that His word of grace shall be brought home to every soul.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 228, 229.

8 How are the members of the remnant church to manifest their faithfulness? Hebrews 10:23–25.

NOTE: “You need to take a decided interest in religious meetings. You have no strength to keep yourself under the sharp assaults of the enemy. You are kept by the power of God through faith. Make earnest and determined efforts to be to every meeting possible. The divine direction is, Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but so much the more as you see the day approaching. [See Hebrews 10:25]. You are to be found among the little few who meet to worship God. The help of every soul who loves the truth is needed to bear testimony of the truth and act as missionaries of God, home missionaries to strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die. Every jot of influence from Christ’s soldiers is now called for on the Lord’s side. Where two or three are assembled together in My name, there am I in the midst and that to bless. [See Matthew 18:20.]” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 105.

9 How should the remnant church relate to the needs of mankind? Matthew 25:31–40.

NOTE: “All His gifts are to be used in blessing humanity, in relieving the suffering and the needy. We are to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for the widow and the fatherless, to minister to the distressed and downtrodden. God never meant that the widespread misery in the world should exist. He never meant that one man should have an abundance of the luxuries of life, while the children of others should cry for bread. The means over and above the actual necessities of life are entrusted to man to do good, to bless humanity. The Lord says, ‘Sell that ye have, and give alms.’ Luke 12:33. Be ‘ready to distribute, willing to communicate.’ 1 Timothy 6:18. ‘When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.’ Luke 14:13. ‘Loose the bands of wickedness,’ ‘undo the heavy burdens,’ ‘let the oppressed go free,’ ‘break every yoke.’ ‘Deal thy bread to the hungry,’ ‘bring the poor that are cast out to thy house.’ ‘When thou seest the naked, . . . cover him.’ ‘Satisfy the afflicted soul.’ Isaiah 58:6, 7, 10. ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Mark 16:15. These are the Lord’s commands. Are the great body of professed Christians doing this work?” Christ’s Object Lessons, 370, 371.

10 What should be the spiritual objective of the church that is waiting for Christ to come? 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:14, 15.

NOTE: “Christ is soon coming in the clouds of heaven, and we must be prepared to meet Him, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing. . . . The converting power of God must be upon our hearts. We must study the life of Christ, and imitate the divine Pattern. We must dwell upon the perfection of His character, and be changed into His image. No one will enter the kingdom of God unless his will is brought into captivity to the will of Christ.” In Heavenly Places, 285.

11 What will be the highest goal of every true Christian? 1 John 3:2, 3.

NOTE: “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214.

12 What reward awaits those who persevere to the end? Revelation 2:10; Matthew 24:13.

NOTE: “If we move forward where Jesus leads the way we shall see His triumph, we shall share His joy. We must share the conflicts if we wear the crown of victory. Like Jesus, we must be made perfect through suffering. Had Christ’s life been one of ease, then might we safely yield to sloth. Since His life was marked with continual self-denial, suffering, and self-sacrifice, we shall make no complaint if we are partakers with Him. We can walk safely in the darkest path if we have the Light of the world for our guide.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 71.

13 How much is promised to the faithful? Matthew 19:29; Revelation 21:7.

NOTE: “Says John: ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.’ Sons of God, members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King! Can there be any other honor equal to this bestowed on finite man? Yet the world does not discern our relationship to the divine, nor know the source of our strength. They know not that we are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ to an immortal inheritance. We may inherit all things. We may have a home where there will be no more death, neither sorrow nor sighing.” Review and Herald, October 7, 1884.

“There is much hard work to be done for the Master, and much wisdom must be brought into the work. It is the unconquerable perseverance, the never-failing endurance, which will bring the victory. Many have a theory of truth, but know scarcely anything of the sweet victories through that faith which overcometh the world. An experience must be gained by each one for himself, or we shall never sit down with the suffering Man of Calvary. It will cost us all we have, but as a reward we shall inherit all things.” Signs of the Times, September 7, 1891.

Bible Study Guides – Phases of Present Truth

November 17-23, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth.” 2 Peter 1:12

SUGGESTED READING: The Desire of Ages, 632–636; The Great Controversy, 355–374.

INTRODUCTION: “There was a present truth—a truth at that time of special importance—in the days of Christ, of Paul, of Luther; there is a present truth for the church today.” Signs of the Times, June 21, 1883.

1 How do the teachings of Christ harmonize with teachings of Old Testament scripture? Matthew 22:36–40; 5:17–19; Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18.

NOTE: “The teaching of Christ in the gospel is in perfect harmony with the teaching of Christ through the prophets in the Old Testament. The prophets spoke through the messengers of Christ in the Old Testament as much as the apostles voiced His messages in the New Testament, and there is no contradiction between their teachings.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 345.

2 What clarification did Jesus give about his teachings? John 7:16.

NOTE: “[Jesus answered] My words are in perfect harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures, and with the law spoken from Sinai. I am not preaching a new doctrine. I am presenting old truths rescued from the framework of error, and placed in a new setting (Manuscript 33, 1911).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1136.

3 What present truth was taught after Christ’s ascension? 1 John 1:1–3; 2 Peter 1:12, 15, 16.

NOTE: “When, after His ascension, the Holy Spirit brought His teachings to the remembrance of the disciples, their slumbering senses awoke. The meaning of these truths flashed upon their minds as a new revelation, and truth, pure and unadulterated, made a place for itself. Then the wonderful experience of His life became theirs. The Word bore testimony through them, the men of His appointment, and they proclaimed the mighty truth, ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth.’ ‘And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.’ John 1:14, 16.” The Acts of the Apostles, 520.

4 In what way does that truth affect us today? John 17:17–20.

NOTE: “We are to be brought into a sacred nearness with the world’s Redeemer. We are to be one with Christ as He is one with the Father. What a wonderful change the people of God experience in coming into unity with the Son of God! We are to have our tastes, inclinations, ambitions, and passions all subdued, and brought into harmony with the mind and spirit of Christ. This is the very work that the Lord is willing to do for those who believe in Him. Our life and deportment are to have a molding power in the world. The spirit of Christ is to have a controlling influence over the life of His followers, so that they will speak and act like Jesus. Christ says, ‘The glory which thou gavest Me I have given them.’ . . .

“The grace of Christ is to work a wonderful transformation in the life and character of its receiver; and if we are truly the disciples of Christ, the world will see that divine power has done something for us; for while we are in the world, we shall not be of it.” My Life Today, 252.

5 What did Paul say about the plan of redemption which was more fully revealed in the gospel of Christ? Ephesians 3:3–6, 9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 16:25, 26.

NOTE: “Jesus longed to unfold the deep mysteries of the truth which had been hid for ages, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs with the Jews, and ‘partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.’ Ephesians 3:6. This truth the disciples were slow to learn, and the divine Teacher gave them lesson upon lesson.” The Desire of Ages, 402.

“Give yourself to the Lord for purification and sanctification. A godly example will tell more for the truth than the greatest eloquence, unaccompanied by a well-ordered life. Trim the lamp of the soul, and replenish it with the oil of the Spirit. Seek from Christ that grace, that clearness of comprehension, which will enable you to do successful work. Learn from Him what it means to work for those for whom He gave His life.” Gospel Workers, 104, 105.

6 When the mystery of God (light given to the Gentiles) is completed, what will happen? Matthew 24:14.

NOTE: “Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability. When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 111.

7 What final verdict will be declared at that time? Revelation 22:10, 11.

NOTE: “The gospel dispensation is the last period of probation that will ever be granted to men. Those who live under this dispensation of test and trial and yet are not led to repent and obey will perish with the disloyal. There is no second trial. The gospel that is to be preached to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples presents the truth in clear lines, showing that obedience is the condition of gaining eternal life. Christ imparts His righteousness to those who consent to let Him take away their sins. We are indebted to Christ for the grace which makes us complete in Him (Manuscript 40, 1900).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 971, 972.

8 How can we know that Christ’s second coming is close? Matthew 24:32–39.

NOTE: “Let men beware lest they neglect the lesson conveyed to them in the words of Christ. As He warned His disciples of Jerusalem’s destruction, giving them a sign of the approaching ruin, that they might make their escape; so He has warned the world of the day of final destruction and has given them tokens of its approach, that all who will may flee from the wrath to come.” The Great Controversy, 37.

9 In our day what notable religious revival marks the beginning of the present truth, and how is it described? Revelation 14:6.

NOTE: “A great religious awakening under the proclamation of Christ’s soon coming is foretold in the prophecy of the first angel’s message of Revelation 14. . . .

“The fact that an angel is said to be the herald of this warning is significant. By the purity, the glory, and the power of the heavenly messenger, divine wisdom has been pleased to represent the exalted character of the work to be accomplished by the message and the power and glory that were to attend it. And the angel’s flight ‘in the midst of heaven,’ the ‘loud voice’ with which the warning is uttered, and its promulgation to all ‘that dwell on the earth,’—‘to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,’—give evidence of the rapidity and world-wide extent of the movement.” The Great Controversy, 355.

10 In what way does the first angel’s message exalt God’s law and prepare a people for Christ’s return? 1 John 3:2, 3; Psalm 19:7.

NOTE: “The message proclaimed by the angel flying in the midst of heaven is the everlasting gospel, the same gospel that was declared in Eden when God said to the serpent, ‘I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel’ (Genesis 3:15). Here was the first promise of a Saviour who would stand on the field of battle to contest the power of Satan and prevail against him. Christ came to our world to represent the character of God as it is represented in His holy law; for His law is a transcript of His character. Christ was both the law and the gospel. The angel that proclaims the everlasting gospel proclaims the law of God; for the gospel of salvation brings men to obedience of the law, whereby their characters are formed after the divine similitude.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 106.

11 To whom is the commission given to teach the first angel’s message? Matthew 28:19, 20.

NOTE: “As His representatives among men, God does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took humanity that He might reach humanity. A divine-human Saviour was needed to bring salvation to the world. And to men and women has been committed the sacred trust of making known ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ.’ Ephesians 3:8.

“In His wisdom the Lord brings those who are seeking for truth into touch with fellow beings who know the truth. It is the plan of Heaven that those who have received light shall impart it to those in darkness. Humanity, drawing its efficiency from the great Source of wisdom, is made the instrumentality, the working agency, through which the gospel exercises its transforming power on mind and heart.” The Acts of the Apostles, 134.

12 What will be the experience of the end-day remnant? Matthew 24:9.

NOTE: “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 Great Controversy, 507.

13 How is the end-day remnant distinguished from the rest of the world? Revelation 12:17.

NOTE: “I [Ellen White] was shown in regard to the remnant people of God taking a name. Two classes were presented before me. One class embraced the great bodies of professed Christians. They were trampling upon God’s law and bowing to a papal institution. They were keeping the first day of the week as the Sabbath of the Lord. The other class, who were but few in number, were bowing to the great Lawgiver. They were keeping the fourth commandment. The peculiar and prominent features of their faith were the observance of the seventh day, and waiting for the appearing of our Lord from heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 223.

“Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects, he has gained control of the apostate churches; but here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy. . . .

“Their only hope is in the mercy of God; their only defense will be prayer.” Ibid., vol. 5, 472.

Lessons From the Book of Amos, Part V

Perhaps you have never before studied the Book of Amos. I have chosen the Book of Amos in developing a series of articles to give us an understanding of the New Testament. You may wonder how Amos of the Old Testament is going to help us with the New Testament. You cannot understand the New Testament unless you understand the Old Testament.

In 1 Corinthians 10:11, we are told that the things that happened in the Old Testament were written for our admonition, for our instruction, and for examples to us upon whom the ends of the world are come. I find that statement very interesting, because it refers to Old Testament instances and says that those things are going to pertain to us for last day event understanding. I understand that to mean that those things found in the Old Testament, as far as principles are concerned, are last day concepts. History has an uncanny way of repeating itself.

As we read the Old Testament, we learn how God dealt with His people—how He tried to woo them, how He tried to lead them, and how He tried to help them. We learn what their reactions were to the way God was relating to them. It is all there. We also find that there were many times that God had to deal with distasteful situations and conditions. Many times God would extend His mercy and His love, only to meet with a stiff-necked people. They yearned after their own way, and they would have nothing whatsoever to do with God. That is basically the setting of the Book of Amos.

What was God going to do? There comes a time of finality when no remedy of any kind will rectify a problem. That is what Amos was called to reveal to God’s people. God said, “I have tried this, and I have tried that, and it did not work. So now I am going to call My prophet. He is going to be My spokesman. He is going to be My mouthpiece. I am going to send him with a message, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel.”

Woe Unto You

As we come to Amos 6, we find what is going to take place. ”Woe to them [that are] at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, [which are] named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!” Verse 1.

This chapter starts out pronouncing a woe. When you are reading Scripture, and you come to the word woe, you want to pay special attention, because God is using this word to draw attention to what is going to follow. The meaning of the word woe has not changed over the years. We still use it today. When we talk about a bad situation, we may refer to it as a woe. It still carries with it the connotation of doom and disfavor, of calamity and misfortune. The prophet Amos is here attempting to let Israel know just where they stood in relation to their favor with God. To hear a woe coming from one of God’s prophets is no light matter. It needs to be taken to heart.

The Bible says, ”Believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.” 11 Chronicles 20:20. When God speaks, He means exactly what He says. This principle is taught in the Old Testament. This is certainly the case here with the Northern kingdom of Israel and with Judah as well.

At Ease in Zion

“Woe to them [that are] at ease in Zion.” The word ease depicts a very meaningful picture of what was taking place. God had to pronounce a woe, because they were at ease in Zion. The Hebrew word sha’anan used here for ease means to be tranquil—but in a bad sense—that is, to be settled back when everything around you is wrong. When things were in a life-threatening condition, there was a settling back, with an attitude of, Why should I care? It is not affecting me. Things are going great, as far as life is concerned. I am quite secure from any danger.

That was the attitude of the people when Amos came on the scene, and he said, ”Woe to you that are at ease in Zion.” This was a direct statement to those who were at ease in Zion. It was one thing for the world to kick back and to take it easy, believing that there was no accounting for their indifference or ease. But for those who were in Zion—those who knew the Scriptures and God’s requirements—to kick back, it was altogether a different matter.

Parallel to Laodicea

There is a parallel here to the church of Laodicea, and this is why I believe that Old Testament prophetic utterances have last day applications. What is the message to the church of Laodicea? It is, “Woe unto you. You think that you are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, but I am here to tell you a different story. You need to look at where you are, because in actuality, you are poor, wretched, blind, miserable and naked.” (See Revelation 3:17.)

I do not know of any one of us who would like to hear those words spoken to us, do you? There is a sense of stiffening up, when we hear words like that. We think that certainly they cannot apply to us—we are not miserable; we are happy most of the time! Wretched? No, no, Lord, you have it all wrong. Poor and blind and naked—what do you mean? We are rich and increased with goods, and we have need of nothing. This is specifically what God was speaking to His people in the days of Amos. ”Woe unto you who are taking your ease.”

Hiding From God

Being at ease is caused by only one thing. Those to whom Amos is speaking believe that they have been entirely successful in hiding their true condition from God. They consider themselves to be right. There is nothing wrong, as far as they are concerned. They think that God is off on a vacation somewhere and does not know what is happening. This indeed is a masterful deception that the devil will pull off in every generation.

Sacred history tells us that this is a very easy deception on God’s people. This is precisely the reason why it is so difficult for the Gospel to be accepted when it is preached. There are people who are at ease, either in the world or in Zion, who think that everything is all right when indeed everything is all wrong. Those who could benefit from the Gospel are so deceived that they think God—nor anyone else—knows their situation. It is easy to fall into such a trap, when everything around you seems to be going right.

At this particular point of time in history, Israel was at its height of prosperity. The stock market was at 12,000, and they were buying and selling and having a good time. They were kicked back, at ease. Yet, all of this was leading to a deplorable condition. They were oppressing the poor; they were grinding down everyone they could so their stock prices would stay high. They were riding high!


As I studied about this, I mused to myself about what was really happening—what contributed to this deception, this kicking back at ease. I came across a very interesting quotation from pages 52 and 53 of the book Temperance: “The use of wine among the Israelites was one of the causes that finally resulted in their captivity.” We need to remember that the Book of Amos applies to last day conditions.

Ellen White continues, on page 53 of Temperance, to quote from Amos 6. Israel had problems with intemperance. Wine was blurring their thinking processes. We know that wine affects the mind in this manner, and I am convinced that this is one of the reasons we are in the condition that we are as a people today. “But,” someone protests, “Pastor, what are you saying? We are Seventh-day Adventists; we don’t use wine. What are you talking about?”

When I became a Seventh-day Adventist, I was taught that one of the foundational principles of Adventism was abstaining from alcoholic beverages. Let me ask you a question: When was the last time you heard a temperance crusade being promoted within the Adventist church? It used to be that temperance crusades came around as often as Ingathering. It was something that was promoted and upheld before the people. This is one of the things about preaching; we need to continually hold before the people the high ideals of God, or those principles seem to lose contact with our minds and are forgotten.

I have read how some Adventists today are now imbibing in alcoholic beverages, and they have no compunctions about doing so. If we want to be successful Seventh-day Adventist Christians, we will follow the counsels God has given for us. We will review them constantly, holding them up in our minds so we do not lose sight of what it is that God has for us. This will prepare us for the last days on this earth.

Like the World

Temperance crusades, unfortunately, have been relegated to the heap of old rubbish along with some of the other teachings that have made us distinct as a people. But God has not changed—we have changed. We, too, have been at ease in Zion for so long that we think we need to update things and do away with some of the old things we think hold us back as a people. But remember, God does not change, and neither should we.

We have the problem of doing the same things that the world does. We go to the same places that the world goes; we listen to the same music that the world listens to. So why should we not drink the same drink that the world drinks and have a “good time”? This was what was happening in the days of Amos. We need to learn the lessons that are there for us. The sad part is, in many Adventist churches, if we begin to touch on these areas of intemperance and how people ought to live, we will immediately be branded as mean-spirited, narrow-minded, bigoted, and meddlers into people’s lives.

When I was in conference work, I mentioned from the pulpit, one Sabbath during the 11 o’clock service, some of the concepts of temperance and stated that we should not imbibe certain beverages. That very week the conference president drove 175 miles to see me. After confirming things I had expressed in my sermon, he counseled, “Mike, you need to leave those things alone on Sabbath morning. Keep them for prayer meeting.” You know as well as I do what prayer meeting attendance is in comparison with the attendance at 11 o’clock on Sabbath morning!

False Security

Why not just sit back and relax? Maybe the world is not doing so badly. After all, the coming of Jesus is a long way away. These are the thoughts in many people’s minds. There is a danger in that kind of thinking; it causes us to lose the urgency of God’s message.

This is the very same kind of thinking that was in the minds of the children of Israel during the days of Amos when woe was brought upon them. “Woe to them [that are] at ease in Zion and trust in the mountain of Samaria.” Israel thought that they were going to be safe. They were perched upon a mountain where they could see the approach of any enemy. God told them that it did not make any difference where they were located. They may have believed they were safe, but they were not.

”Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: [be they] better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border?” Amos 6:2.

The cities mentioned here were all very familiar to the Israelites. These cities had been overthrown and destroyed. If we were to bring this into a modern scenario and terminology, we would say, “Take a look at the Twin Towers [the former World Trade Center, New York City, New York] today. How much hope would there be for your security to look to the Twin Towers today? Thousands were killed on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers came down.” That was the lesson that God was trying to bring to these people’s minds: “Look at these towns out here. You think you are doing just fine. Look at them; they are destroyed. You need to learn the lessons from those things.”

They were all aware of what had happened to these communities. They had thought these cities were safe, but they had fallen into the hands of their attackers, and Amos used the destroyed ruins as an illustration of what was going to happen to them. “You are no better than they are, and you are going to be just as vulnerable as they were,” he told them.

An Evil Day

“Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near. . . .” Verse 3. One of the greatest, fatal deceptions to come upon God’s people is to believe that the day of the Second Coming of Jesus is a long way off. When you begin to believe that all is well—you have money in the bank, your health is good, you think life will go on as it has for many more years, you are at ease while others are suffering around you, you think that the day the Lord can reach you is a long way away—the devil is speaking in your ear.

All the while you put off the evil day. All the while, you think that the Second Coming of Jesus is a far way off. Believe me, people who know about the Second Coming, and who know that their lives are not right with Jesus, see His Second Coming as an evil day. They do not welcome the Second Coming, because they know that ultimately it will destroy their lives.

The children of Israel viewed it in the same way. They knew that the day of the Lord was the Day of Judgment, and they looked at it as an evil day. So the seat of violence came near, involving the oppression of the poor for their own personal gain.

It is not unusual that, when people come into a lot of money, such as winning the lottery, for example, they suddenly consider themselves to be someone of great importance. Have you ever noticed that? Many, many of the people who have become big dollar winners end up living under a bridge, because they cannot handle the prosperity that comes to them. But they had thought themselves very important!

One of the first things people do, when they come into big money, is to bedeck their mortal bodies with all kinds of junk to make them appear attractive to other people. And they buy big, big houses and big, big cars, thinking that these will impress people around them.

Picture of Luxury

“Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall.” Verses 3, 4.

What a tremendous picture is given in these verses! Prophets of old were able to put together word pictures that conveyed things you could not say by typing out a flat sentence. What a picture! While most people were out working from sunrise to sunset, these people were lounging on beds of ivory.

Ivory, even today, is a very precious commodity, but these were bedsteads that were inlaid with ivory! A very luxurious picture. Most people were lucky to have a mat to sleep on, let alone a bed—and certainly not a bed that was inlaid with ivory. They would stretch out and take their rest in luxury. This is a picture of the society today.

Perverted Appetite

And then, when they finally climbed out of their beds of luxury, they ate lambs out of the flock and calves out of the midst of the stall. It does not say that they were eating sheep and cows. It says they were eating the delicate meat of lambs and calves. They were eating lambs and calves, not sheep and cows, because one of the greatest treats for meat eaters is the tenderest cut. Nobody wants tough meat.

Have you ever heard of veal cutlets? Do you know from where veal cutlets come? Veal cutlets come from calves that have been penned up in small crates, hardly able to move. They are raised there until they are a certain age, and then they are slaughtered. Their meat is harvested at its most tender stage, so it can go upon the plates and into the palates of those who desire tender cuts of meat.

It would make you sick to see how these animals are raised and how they are treated, yet we see this very thing taking place in the days of Amos. They were crating up these little animals so they would have tender cuts of meat that only the rich could afford. If you are poor, you may be able to buy hamburger, but you certainly cannot afford veal cutlets. They are expensive. But here the people were satisfying the cravings of perverted appetites. They wanted the choice cuts; they would not settle for second best. They wanted tender meat. They wanted the lambs and the calves.

From what I have been able to determine, as I have researched this series on Amos, most Israelites—not all but most—ate meat only three or four times a year. That was the norm! The three or four times they ate meat centered around the times of their festivals. The poor ate meat even less times than that.

So the picture given in Amos 6 is that the leading citizens were eating quite a bit of the choice cuts—they had the money to buy it. Their actions were causing some very baleful effects to come into the nation. History has recorded that for us, and if we fail to learn the lessons that God has for us, then we are destined to repeat the same mistakes and to face the same future that Israel faced.

Symptoms Developing

Remember the visions recorded in Ezekiel 8 and 9, where God took Ezekiel to the temple and showed him the priests there that were worshipping the sun, playing the harlot? The record shows that God took him even deeper into vision and showed him greater abominations that were taking place. We ask, how in the world could these things of old have taken place? How could they have gotten so far out of hand that those who were commissioned of God to perform a sacred service so prostituted it that it became immoral and was an abomination before God? How could they depart from God in that way?

We see a definite pattern that brought these things to pass. Is it not true that if we see symptoms developing regarding a certain situation, we know what the results are going to be? This is one of the requirements of a physician. A physician always looks for symptoms. A pastor is somewhat like a physician. He watches for spiritual symptoms, and when he sees these symptoms, it behooves him, under the direction of God, to point out the potential results, so the actions can be corrected and God’s glory can be manifested.

Ezekiel saw things that were very uncomfortable for him, and as we have been studying, in Amos, we see things coming out in the forefront that are disturbing for us. We see certain kinds of trends and symptoms developing within the body of Adventism and within the body of Christians at large. I state this from a standpoint that the majority of God’s people are in other churches. (See John 10:16; The Great Controversy, 1888, 383.)

Sound of Music

“That chant to the sound of the viol, [and] invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David.” Amos 6:5. This verse is very difficult to translate. The phrase, “chant to the sound of the viol,” is translated in other versions to read, “sing idle songs to the sound of the harp.” But even this translation does not really do justice to what is being said here. The words, “sing idle songs,” are used only once in the entirety of the Old Testament, so it is difficult to find a translation that will make sense to us. There is an Arabic equivalent, however, which has the meaning, “to talk immoderately or to babble or prattle to the sound of the harp.”

It seems that this would be the best translation to apply to the context of what was taking place in this text and to us in the times in which we live.

The same is true of the phrase, “inventing to themselves instruments of musick.” The alternate translation of this would be, “shouting, they imagine themselves to be singing.” If you watch the videotape Are You Ready for Church? you see an exact parallel of this taking place today. In reality, there is nothing new under the sun! People are shouting and prattling and talking and considering this music. I am sorry, but I still like melodious strains of music and not all the babbling and shouting that passes for music today.

But let me point out to you that this was taking place in the days of Amos, and this music was part of their downfall. It was part of what led them to do things they probably never would have done otherwise. Ellen White tells us that music was part of the problem for the children of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai when they built the golden calf and just before they crossed over into Canaan, at Kadesh-Barnea, when they began to associate with the Midianitish women. They would never have succumbed to the temptations had it not been for the music. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 319, 320, 454.)

Music pervades our entire society today. I am not bringing these things out to condemn anyone, but we need to elevate the standards once again. “If we do not receive the religion of Christ by feeding upon the word of God, we shall not be entitled to an entrance into the city of God. Having lived on earthly food, having educated our tastes to love worldly things, we would not be fitted for the heavenly courts; we could not appreciate the pure, heavenly current that circulates in heaven. The voices of the angels and the music of their harps would not satisfy us.” Review and Herald, May 4, 1897.

“That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.” Amos 6:6. The “affliction of Joseph” here means that the conditions in Israel were deplorable for most of the people, because most of the people were quite average people. They were getting by, but they were not happy, and they were not growing spiritually. They were not developing a character like God intended them to do. Those who were eating and drinking and laying and stretching themselves out on couches and beds thought life would never end. They had food, wine, and perfume. For what more could they ask?

Wrath of God

Verse 7 changes gears somewhat: “Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed. The Lord God hath sworn by himself, saith the Lord the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein. And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die. And a man’s uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that [is] by the sides of the house, [Is there] yet [any] with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the Lord. For, behold, the Lord commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.” Amos 6:7–11.

Those who thought they were so blessed, living in luxury and letting the world go by, were to be the first to go into captivity. Do we dare make a comparison here? In the circumstances Amos described, he was speaking specifically of the leadership of that day. He asked, “Do you want the best places at the banquets? Do you want the most acknowledgement in the Synagogues? Then you are going to be the first to go into captivity.” And the reason was that they had departed from the plan that God had for His people.

All men are created equal. There is a value of the soul, and God looks upon all people the same, but there are certain areas of responsibility to which God has called people. He has equipped them for those responsibilities, but at the same time, they will have greater accountability when they are called before God in the Day of Judgment. That is the way that God works.

As He was trying to deal with the nation of Israel, God left no doubt regarding how He felt about the Northern kingdom. They would pay the price for their attitudes and their actions. God said, “I hate everything about you, and you are not going to escape; you are going to die.”

These verses give a very realistic account of the horrors of pestilence that would come after the seize of Jerusalem took place. So complete was the destruction to be that even where a large number gathered in a house to escape these dangers, not one of them would escape. There would be no place to hide.

Those who would give the burial message of them that had died did not even want to carry the bodies out, for fear that they would be attacked or sieged upon, so they would burn the bodies. When giving the burial message, they dared not even mention the name of the Lord. Why? Because they were fearful that a greater manifestation of wrath would come upon them by even mentioning the name of God.

This is one of the things that contributed to the loss of the name Yahweh. Many people have tried to re-capture the use of that name, and they have not succeeded. If someone comes to you saying that you need to call upon the name of the Lord in a certain way, do not listen. This is one of the things that contributed to the loss of the pronunciation of the name. The children of Israel did not dare call upon the name of the Lord because they were fearful that their sins would be raw and ripe before God and His wrath would come down upon them—even in a burial message. That is how far away from God that they had gone.

For Ensamples

Again I say, “All these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11. The books of the Old Testament, dear friend, point to last day happenings.

“Shall horses run upon the rock? will [one] plow [there] with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock: Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the Lord the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.” Amos 6:12–14.

The general order of things at this time of judgment, this time of retribution, would be so far out of the order that it would be like horses running on rocks—something you do not do. If you have ever ridden a horse, you know you do not run a horse on rocks. People knew that back then too. And you do not take oxen and plow a rock field. God was trying to convey to them that these things were not things that would normally be done, but they would be done to deal with such a corrupt and poisonous situation.

Some things become so poisonous in God’s mind that they have to be dealt with in a very severe way—a way that normally would not be used.

Again, we have to learn the lessons of these things. God is longsuffering. God is merciful. Israel’s history was long. That is the principle that God has for us in dealing with situations. We, as human beings, do not have long periods of time to deal with situations like God does. God did not deal with individuals per se; He dealt with entire nations who had long, long lives. Sometimes He allowed them to go on for hundreds of years, and then finally, when the cup was full, God dealt with them.

Translate that down to us today and to how we are to relate to people and individuals in circumstances within the church. We do not have long periods of time, but we can apply the principles. We can extend the hand of mercy, but when a limit is reached and situations become poisonous, we have to deal with them in the same way that God dealt with them. That is the lesson we can gain from Amos 6. If we are going on the same path as the children of Israel, we will have to pay the same price. The price was a permanent one for Israel. The whole Northern kingdom was lost.

A Remnant Spared

In spite of that, God held out a light. He held out the fact that there was a remnant that would be spared, and that remnant was Judah. And even out of Judah there was another remnant that was to be saved. A smaller group even yet—a remnant of a remnant. The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that the majority will leave us. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 102, 103.) We need to try to examine the reasons why the majority depart, and stay far away from the circumstances that would draw us, if we possibly can.

The children of Israel loved their wine so much that it blurred their thinking. They loved their fine cuts of meat so much that they had perverted appetites. They loved their celebration music and dance so much that it caused them to enter into temptation. They loved their money that provided for all of this, and the love of money is the root of all evil.

Friend, we dare not repeat the same history. Are we going to survive? We can survive by understanding. We can survive by drawing near to God. We can survive by not stiffening our necks against rebuke, when it comes from the Word. We can survive. It is possible. Amos 6 is a dark picture, but God has placed it there so we can survive. He has made all the provisions for us to survive, if we will just learn the lessons.

To be continued . . .

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life Ministry. He may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.