Bible Study Guides – Warnings Paralleled Today

August 2, 2009 – August 8, 2009

Key Text

“Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, [were] in it [the land], [as] I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall [but] deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14:20.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 622, 623; The Ministry of Healing, 452–457.


“No one will be borne upward without stern, persevering effort in his own behalf. All must engage in this warfare for themselves; no one else can fight our battles.” The Ministry of Healing, 453.

1 How did the Lord describe the condition of His professed people in Ezekiel’s day? Ezekiel 12:1, 2. How has this problem continued even to our time? Matthew 13:14, 15; John 3:19, 20.

Note: “It is a fearful thing to have great light and blessing, to have many opportunities and privileges, and yet make no saving use of them. Those who do not make a saving use of their opportunities, will be condemned by the privileges God has granted to them; but those who walk in the light will have increased light.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 259.

2 What was God’s plan for His people entrusted with heaven-sent light? Isaiah 43:10. What similar exhortation echoes down to us today? Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 5:8.

Note: “Had Israel been true to her trust, all the nations of earth would have shared in her blessings. But the hearts of those to whom had been entrusted a knowledge of saving truth, were untouched by the needs of those around them. As God’s purpose was lost sight of, the heathen came to be looked upon as beyond the pale of His mercy. The light of truth was withheld, and darkness prevailed. The nations were overspread with a veil of ignorance; the love of God was little known; error and superstition flourished.” Prophets and Kings, 371.

3 Describe the warning that Ezekiel was to give to the people of Judah. Ezekiel 12:21–28. What mistake did the king of Judah make in the crisis hour? Ezekiel 17:15.

Note: “Judah’s king rebelled against the prophets, against his benefactor, and against his God. In the vanity of his own wisdom he turned for help to the ancient enemy of Israel’s prosperity, ‘sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people.’ [Ezekiel 17:15.]” Prophets and Kings, 451.

4 How is the dangerous tendency of evil men gaining ground among the professed people of God today? Matthew 24:48–51.

Note: “The evil servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delayeth his coming.’ [Matthew 24:48.] 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. He smites his fellow servants, accusing and condemning those who are faithful to their Master. He mingles with the world. Like grows with like in transgression. It is a fearful assimilation. With the world he is taken in the snare.” The Desire of Ages, 635.

5 How were the lying prophets reproved? Ezekiel 13:1–3, 6. What reproof applies to the popular ministry today? Isaiah 50:11.

Note: “Since the second angel proclaimed the fall of the churches, they have been growing more and more corrupt. They bear the name of being Christ’s followers; yet it is impossible to distinguish them from the world. Ministers take their texts from the Word of God, but preach smooth things. To this the natural heart feels no objection. It is only the spirit and power of the truth and the salvation of Christ that are hateful to the carnal heart. There is nothing in the popular ministry that stirs the wrath of Satan, makes the sinner tremble, or applies to the heart and conscience the fearful realities of a judgment soon to come. Wicked men are generally pleased with a form of piety without true godliness, and they will aid and support such a religion.” Early Writings, 273.

6 What accusation rested upon the false prophets in the time of Ezekiel? Ezekiel 13:4. How applicable is this to our day?

Note: “Some who occupy the position of watchmen to warn the people of danger have given up their watch and recline at ease. They are unfaithful sentinels. They remain inactive, while their wily foe enters the fort and works successfully by their side to tear down what God has commanded to be built up. They see that Satan is deceiving the inexperienced and unsuspecting; yet they take it all quietly, as though they had no special interest, as though these things did not concern them. They apprehend no special danger; they see no cause to raise an alarm.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 440.

7 How did God denounce the actions of those who were leading His people? Ezekiel 13:10–16.

Note: “There will be men and women who despise reproof and whose feelings will ever rise up against it. It is not pleasant to be told of our wrongs. In almost every case where reproof is necessary, there will be some who entirely overlook the fact that the Spirit of the Lord has been grieved and His cause reproached. These will pity those who deserved reproof, because personal feelings have been hurt. All this unsanctified sympathy places the sympathizers where they are sharers in the guilt of the one reproved. In nine cases out of ten if the one reproved had been left under a sense of his wrongs, he might have been helped to see them and thereby have been reformed. But meddlesome, unsanctified sympathizers place altogether a wrong construction upon the motives of the reprover and the nature of the reproof given, and by sympathizing with the one reproved lead him to feel that he has been really abused; and his feelings rise up in rebellion against the one who has only done his duty. Those who faithfully discharge their unpleasant duties under a sense of their accountability to God will receive His blessing.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 359.

8 What did God propose to do to the false prophetesses who went about deceiving the people? Ezekiel 13:18–23. What will happen to the ministers who have used falsehoods to deceive the people?

Note: “The people see that they have been deluded. They accuse one another of having led them to destruction; but all unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they have led their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would keep it holy. Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fury. ‘We are lost!’ they cry, ‘and you are the cause of our ruin;’ and they turn upon the false shepherds. The very ones that once admired them most will pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The very hands that once crowned them with laurels will be raised for their destruction.” The Great Controversy, 655, 656.

9 What appeal and warning from the Lord did Ezekiel direct to the people? Ezekiel 14:2–8.

Note: “Many who call themselves Christians are mere human moralists. They have refused the gift which alone could enable them to honor Christ by representing Him to the world. The work of the Holy Spirit is to them a strange work. They are not doers of the word. The heavenly principles that distinguish those who are one with Christ from those who are one with the world have become almost indistinguishable. The professed followers of Christ are no longer a separate and peculiar people. The line of demarcation is indistinct. The people are subordinating themselves to the world, to its practices, its customs, its selfishness. The church has gone over to the world in transgression of the law, when the world should have come over to the church in obedience to the law. Daily the church is being converted to the world.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 315, 316.

10 What principle requires our immediate attention? Ezekiel 14:14–20.

Note: “The ‘time of trouble, such as never was,’ [Daniel 12:1] is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God.” The Great Controversy, 622.

“ ‘Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ Revelation 22:17. But character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working. ‘Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it [the land], as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.’ Ezekiel 14:20.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 412.

Additional Reading

“The vows of David recorded in Psalm 101 should be the vows of all upon whom rest the responsibilities of guarding the influences of the home. David declared: ‘I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. … I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.’ (Psalms 101:2, 3.)

“The enemy of souls will invent many things to lead the minds of our youth from firm faith in God to the idolatrous practices of the world. Let the cautions given to ancient Israel be carefully studied. Satan’s efforts to spoil the thoughts and confuse the judgment are unceasing, and we must be on our guard. We must be careful to maintain our allegiance to God as His peculiar people. …

“We should endeavor to keep out of our homes every influence that is not productive of good. In this matter some parents have much to learn. To those who feel free to read story magazines and novels, I say: You are sowing seed, the harvest of which you will not care to gather. There is no spiritual strength to be gained from such reading. Rather it destroys the love for the pure truth of the Word. Through the agency of novels and story magazines Satan is working to fill with unreal and trivial thoughts the minds that should be diligently studying the Word of God. Thus he is robbing thousands upon thousands of the time and energy and self-discipline demanded by the stern problems of life.

“Let the youth be taught to give close study to the Word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptations. ‘Thy word,’ the psalmist declares, ‘have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.’ ‘By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.’ (Psalms 119:11; 17:4.)

“If the counsels of the Word of God are faithfully followed, the saving grace of Christ will be brought to our youth; for the children who are trained to love and obey God, and who yield themselves to the molding power of His Word, are the objects of God’s special care and blessing.” In Heavenly Places, 215.

“When God sends to men warnings so important that they are represented as proclaimed by holy angels flying in the midst of heaven, He requires every person endowed with reasoning powers to heed the message. The fearful judgments denounced against the worship of the beast and his image (Revelation 14:9–11), should lead all to a diligent study of the prophecies to learn what the mark of the beast is, and how they are to avoid receiving it. But the masses of the people turn away their ears from hearing the truth and are turned unto fables. The apostle Paul declared, looking down to the last days: ‘The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.’ II Timothy 4:3. That time has fully come. The multitudes do not want Bible truth, because it interferes with the desires of the sinful, world-loving heart; and Satan supplies the deceptions which they love.” The Great Controversy, 594, 595.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Messages of Warning for Our Day

July 15 – 21

Key Text

“Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah” (Isaiah 1:9).

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 270; Patriarchs and Prophets, 156–170.


“The voice of God is heard in a message of warning, bidding His people separate themselves from the prevailing iniquity.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 166.



  •  To what time in the history of the world did Jesus compare our days? Matthew 24:37–39; Genesis 6:5, 13.

Note: “The same sins exist in our day which brought the wrath of God upon the world in the days of Noah. Men and women now carry their eating and drinking to gluttony and drunkenness. This prevailing sin, the indulgence of perverted appetite, inflamed the passions of men in the days of Noah and led to general corruption, until their violence and crimes reached to heaven, and God washed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 163.

  • What do believers have to face today? 2 Peter 3:3–6.

Note: “The world, full of rioting, full of godless pleasure, is asleep, asleep in carnal security. Men are putting afar off the coming of the Lord. They laugh at warnings.” The Desire of Ages, 635.



  •  Besides comparing these last days to Noah’s time, to what other historical scene did the Lord compare the hour of His return? Luke 17:28–30.

Note: “The state of the world now is similar to that which existed in the days of Lot, when Sodom’s corruption called for the angel’s visit to that wicked city, to see whether the cries coming up before heaven were of such a character that the inhabitants of beautiful Sodom—a city that had been so highly favored of God—had so corrupted their ways before the Lord that there was no hope of their redemption. God’s wrath was revealed so signally because the corruption of the Sodomites was so deep.” Southern Union Worker, October 16, 1913.

  • What sin was prominent in Lot’s day? Genesis 19:5–7; Romans 1:21, 26, 27.

Note: “They [the Sodomites] crowded about the house of Lot, and as the crowd increased, vile speeches were made which revealed the state of corruption that existed among the people, and the worst suggestions were received and acted upon. The crowd became more clamorous in their cries to have Lot bring forth the strangers to them; for they had become so base through the indulgence of evil passions, that every good thought had been uprooted, and reason was so clouded that they would even do violence to the angels of heaven.” The Signs of the Times, October 9, 1893.

  • Why is Sodom’s fate a warning to all? Genesis 19:24–26; Luke 17:32, 33.

Note: “The angels had come to see if there were any in the city who were not corrupted, and could be persuaded to flee from the impending doom that threatened Sodom. That night the evil doers added the last drop to their cup of iniquity, and the wrath of God could no longer be delayed.” The Signs of the Times, October 9, 1893.

“The warning that was given to Lot comes down to us who live in this degenerate age—‘Escape for thy life.’ The voice of the tempter is crying peace and safety. The evil one would have you feel that you have nothing to fear, and bids you eat, drink, and be merry. Which voice will you heed, the voice of heaven, or the voice that lures you to destruction?” Ibid., October 16, 1893.



  •  What warnings are given about Sodom’s spiritual decline? Ezekiel 16:49.

Note: “Many of those who have so long rejected divine guidance and guardianship are rushing on in the path of levity and selfish pleasure, yea, more, into baser acts and defilement of the body. As a consequence their minds are polluted, and religion is distasteful to them. Some have gone so far in this downward course, and followed so earnestly in the path of the Sodomites, that they are today nigh unto cursing, and the voice of reproof and warning is lost upon them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 39.

  • How are we, who are entrusted with great light, warned of degradations more serious even than those of Sodom? Hosea 4:6; Proverbs 1:24–30, 33.

Note: “The Redeemer of the world, the compassionate Friend of man, discloses to our eyes the fact that there is a sin greater than the sin of Sodom. It is that of sinning against greater light. To those who have heard and have not heeded the gospel invitation to repent and have faith in Christ, the sin is greater than was the sin of Sodom. To those who have professed the name of Jesus, who have professed to know God, and to keep His commandments, and yet who have misrepresented Christ in their daily life and character, who have been warned and entreated, and still dishonor their Redeemer by their unconsecrated lives, the sin is greater than that of Sodom.” The Signs of the Times, October 16, 1893.

“Many who profess to believe the truth do not want God in their thoughts, any more than did the antediluvians or Sodomites. One sensible thought of God, awakened by the Holy Spirit, would spoil all their schemes. Self, self, self, has been their god, their alpha and their omega.” Counsels on Stewardship, 141.

“The sins of Sodom are repeated in our day, and the earth is destroyed and corrupted under the inhabitants thereof; but the worst feature of the iniquity of this day is a form of godliness without the power thereof. Those who profess to have great light are found among the careless and indifferent, and the cause of Christ is wounded in the house of its professed friends.” The Signs of the Times, October 16, 1893.



  •  To avoid Lot’s mistake that had led his family in a downward path, what must we realize? Genesis 13:12, 13; 19:30–38; 1Corinthians 15:33.

Note: “The corruption of Sodom in breaking the law of God was especially manifested in licentiousness.” The Great Controversy, 269.

“When Lot entered Sodom he fully intended to keep himself free from iniquity and to command his household after him. But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had an effect upon his own faith, and his children’s connection with the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interest in a measure with theirs. The result is before us.

“Many are still making a similar mistake. In selecting a home they look more to the temporal advantages they may gain than to the moral and social influences that will surround themselves and their families. They choose a beautiful and fertile country, or remove to some flourishing city, in the hope of securing greater prosperity; but their children are surrounded by temptation, and too often they form associations that are unfavorable to the development of piety and the formation of a right character. The atmosphere of lax morality, of unbelief, of indifference to religious things, has a tendency to counteract the influence of the parents. Examples of rebellion against parental and divine authority are ever before the youth; many form attachments for infidels and unbelievers, and cast in their lot with the enemies of God.

“In choosing a home, God would have us consider, first of all, the moral and religious influences that will surround us and our families. We may be placed in trying positions, for many cannot have their surroundings what they would; and whenever duty calls us, God will enable us to stand uncorrupted, if we watch and pray, trusting in the grace of Christ. But we should not needlessly expose ourselves to influences that are unfavorable to the formation of Christian character. When we voluntarily place ourselves in an atmosphere of worldliness and unbelief, we displease God and drive holy angels from our homes.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 168, 169.

  • Give various reasons why we must avoid the typical attitudes characteristic of today’s culture. 2Timothy 3:1–5; Isaiah 1:9.



  •  What does God say about where His people can prosper? Isaiah 32:18, 19.

Note: “My warning is: Keep out of the cities. Build no sanitariums in the cities. Educate our people to get out of the cities into the country, where they can obtain a small piece of land, and make a home for themselves and their children. …

“Our restaurants must be in the cities; for otherwise the workers in these restaurants could not reach the people and teach them the principles of right living. And for the present we shall have to occupy meeting-houses in the cities. But erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities that those who wish to leave them will not be able.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.

“Parents can secure small homes in the country, with land for cultivation, where they can have orchards and where they can raise vegetables and small fruits to take the place of flesh-meat, which is so corrupting to the lifeblood coursing through the veins. On such places the children will not be surrounded with the corrupting influences of city life. God will help His people to find such homes outside of the cities.” Medical Ministry, 310.

  • Why must we heed the appeals for country living? Proverbs 15:31, 32.

Note: “There was a coming out, a decided separation from the wicked, an escape for life. So it was in the days of Noah; so with Lot; so with the disciples prior to the destruction of Jerusalem; and so it will be in the last days.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 166.



 1      In facing those who scoff at Christ’s return, what should we keep in mind?

2      Why do all need to be aware of the history of Sodom and Gomorrah?

3      What impact should the fate of these cities exert on the people of God?

4      Am I in danger of repeating the mistake of Lot—and if so, how?

5      What are the benefits of country living?

God’s Warnings

God’s warnings serve to remind us of the conditionality of His promises to His church. If one forgets the conditionality of the promises, as the Jews did, he must first reject God’s warnings. God’s warnings often appear to contradict His promises, but properly understood, they are compatible. God always grants to us freedom of choice; and if we fail to comply with the conditions for receiving the promises, His warnings simply reveal His alternate plans.

In warning the people of Battle Creek of the danger of despising warnings and entreaties and of refusing to respect God’s counsels, Ellen White said that “By rejecting God’s warnings in this our day, men are repeating the sin of Jerusalem.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 68. To many of the Battle Creek people, these warnings were confusing and were misunderstood. Being seemingly unconscious of their wrong course, they felt Ellen White was speaking in parables or with idle tales. (See ibid.) Sincerity in believing is no protection against the result of failing to have a love for all of the truth. (See 2 Thessalonians 2.)

Today some are focusing only on God’s promises of prosperity, presenting those promises which reveal God’s optimal plan for His church while refusing to also present His warnings that reveal the conditionality of those promises and the alternative in the face of disobedience, While we all like to hear these messages, we must realize that they reflect a loss of love for part of the truth. In concentrating only on the promises of prosperity, those who present the messages are becoming sincerely deceived into believing that some of the promises for God’s church are not conditional! In seeking to prove their point, some even refer to the very same Old Testament promises which the Jews used, failing to remember that this became their fatal error.

Israel’s forty extra years of wandering was not part of God’s original plan for them. “It was not the will of God that Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness; He desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan and establish them there, a holy, happy people. But ‘they could not enter in because of unbelief.’ Hebrews 3:19. Because of their backsliding and apostasy they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the Promised Land.” The Great Controversy, 458

It was God’s plan that the Jewish organization and structure would remain pure. According to this plan, Jerusalem would have become the center of the universe; but as a people they rejected the only conditions under which this plan was open to them. Forgetting the conditionality of the prosperity of the church, the leaders, in their apostasy, still expected a future cleansing and triumph. They were thus blinded to the significance of what was taking place among them and the cleansing already going on in the minds of the faithful remnant who recognized the “good old paths” of truth which Jesus taught.

The vast majority of the leaders of the Jewish church and the structure as a whole maintained that they were the true professed church after Christ cleansed the temple. As most of the people did not study for themselves, they chose what seemed to them to be the next most reasonable approach. They followed their blind leaders into the same ditch and were lost. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 747; Testimonies to Ministers, 109; The Great Controversy 19, 598.) They had concluded that Jesus’ warnings only confused them, so they chose not to listen to Him.

In arriving at truth, it is no less dangerous for us today to overlook God’s warnings. We are in just as great a danger of following in the tracks of the religious leaders of Christ’s day. If we fail to respond to the Laodicean message and its warnings, we, too, will go out into darkness as did the Jews. (See Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 354.) When one is deceived, he is unaware of the fact that he has been spewed from Jesus’ mouth. (See Testimonies, vol. 6, 408; Review and Herald, November 26, 1861.*)

God is merciful; but in allowing this freedom of choice, there is a limit beyond which He cannot go and still respect our freedom of choice. In the book, The Publishing Ministry, 171, Ellen White points out that a cleansing of the temple took place in the Review and Herald fire, during which the alpha of apostasy text book plates were burned. She then states that if the warning was rejected, God’s judgments of mercy would soon become judgments of retribution. “I want to tell you that if after the warnings given in these burnings the leaders of our people go right on, just as they have done in the past, exalting themselves, God will take the bodies next.” Ibid. We need to consider carefully whether or not we as a people have allowed the early rain to remove all of our inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil. Must we not admit that as a group we have employed man-made weapons, such as the Perth Declaration or the Issues book, thereby fighting against the very means that our God of mercy sends to prepare us to receive the latter rain?

While true faith leads God’s children to claim His promises, thereby partaking of godliness and overcoming sin in their lives, another class presumptuously claim the same promises in order to lightly pass over sin. In doing so, they forget God’s warnings and conditions. Inevitably, such are uncomfortable around the true “virgins” with a pure faith, just as was Cain with Abel. In continuing to presume upon God’s promises and sin by choice, they become members of the synagogue of Satan. (See Testimonies to Ministers, 16; Review and Herald, December 4, 1900.) Such can change leaders little by little without even knowing it, until God eventually sends them strong delusions and they believe a lie. (See Testimonies, vol. 7, 219; 2 Thessalonians 2.) Though they still claim to be the church of God and are often sincere in this belief, they are not telling the truth. (See Revelation 2:2,9.) Some maintain that those who comprise this group are tares and should, therefore, be retained in the church. Though this may make them more comfortable, it is failing to carry out the work that God has given us to do.

Very soon, the door of mercy will close. As in the past, it will close first for those of us with the greatest light. We have nothing to fear, however, for we can be a part of the loud cry if we will take full advantage of this present probationary time.

Our most urgent need, and that which will keep us from receiving a delusion, is a love for all of the truth. “Perilous times are before us. Everyone who has a knowledge of the truth should awake and place himself, body, soul, and spirit, under the discipline of God. The enemy is on our track. We must be wide awake, on our guard against him. We must put on the whole armor of God. We must follow the directions given through the spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His Word. He has spoken to us through the testimonies to the church and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy. The warnings that have been given, line upon line, precept upon precept, should be heeded. If we disregard them, what excuse can we offer?” Testimonies, vol. 8, 298

It is because of God’s great love that He warns of the alternative to obedience. In mercy and love he lifts the veil from the future, revealing to us the results of a course of sin.

In the parable of the cursed fig tree, the Jewish nation was represented by the fruitless fig tree; but it also stands as a warning to us. The Jews, who did not profit by their increased blessings, were represented by the fruitless fig tree. In the parable, Jesus did not reveal the final outcome for it rested with those of His day to determine their own destiny. “In the rejection of their present mercies and warnings lay the guilt of that generation.” The Desire of Ages, 584

The leaves, representing the profession or form of godliness but which are unaccompanied by fruit, are less than worthless for they do the work of Satan in misleading others by denying God’s power. (See 2 Timothy 3:5.) The new theology which is coming into our midst is as fig leaves without fruit. Not only does it fail to urge men to bring forth the fruits of righteousness, but it actually excuses their sins. (See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 16.)

“Will the churches heed the Laodicean message? Will they repent, or will they, notwithstanding that the most solemn message of truth—the third angel’s message—is being proclaimed to the world, go on in sin? This is the last message of mercy, the last warning to a fallen world. If the church of God becomes lukewarm, it does not stand in favor with God any more than do the churches that are represented as having fallen and become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Those who have had opportunities to hear and receive the truth and who have united with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, calling themselves the commandment-keeping people of God, and yet possess no more vitality and consecration to God than do the nominal churches, will receive of the plagues of God just as verily as the churches who oppose the law of God. Only those that are sanctified through the truth will compose the royal family in the heavenly mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him and keep His commandments.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 176

Some are forgetting God’s warnings* and are seeking to downgrade the importance of the issue of who and what the church really is as it applies to Seventh-day Adventists. Let us not forget, however, that this issue had to be understood by God’s people when Jesus taught that it was not mere profession which counted but obedience to the truth.

Though some seek to distance the early Christian church from the papacy, disavowing that the papacy was derived from it, inspiration is very clear that it was through corruption and by a departure from the simplicity of the gospel that the early church found itself in need of the secular power of the state. “The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the State, and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of ‘heresy.’” The Great Controversy, 443. So today, by ignoring the Spirit of Prophecy counsels and resisting the cleansing of God’s church, currently in progress, we are preparing to receive the mark of the beast. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 81.)

If it was crucial for the Jews, the early Christians, the churches in 1844, and the eight souls who walked into the ark to know who and what is the church, can we possibly be so naive as to believe it is not significant to God’s people today? Is it possible that we could still be found waiting for what we believe will be our ultimate denominational triumph when, because of disobedience and rebellion, we no longer have any warrant for such expectations?

After pointing out the failure of the Jewish church to fulfill God’s expectations for them and the results that followed, the servant of the Lord poses the question: “Is not the church of today doing the same thing?…Are they less guilty than was the Jewish church?” (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 303-306.) Do we believe that these are merely rhetorical questions, or do we love the truth enough to dig deep to find out answers to these questions?

“Men cannot with impunity reject the warnings that God in mercy sends them. From those who persist in turning from these warnings, God withdraws his spirit, leaving them to the deceptions that they love.” The Acts of the Apostles, 266

Because the Jews allowed God’s Word to be replaced by the Talmud (their church manual) as their guide, they disfellowhiped Christ at Calvary. In reality, this did not remove Christ from His church but secured the fact that corporately they were not a part of God’s church. If John the Baptist was today in our midst calling for our repentance, could he not be disfellowshiped according to our church manual? Would we do so?

In writing to the Thessalonian church, Paul not only admonished them to faithfully adhere to the truth but told them to separate from their fellowship those persisted in disregarding instruction. Because we have failed to follow this counsel, the time has come when church committees and boards have as members such a significant proportion who are Seventh-day Adventists by name and profession only, but who deny in their lives the truths that were given to this church, that there is extreme danger that they cannot be depended on to differentiate between light and darkness. “The minds of many have been so darkened and confused by worldly customs, worldly practices, and worldly customs, worldly practices, and worldly influences that all power to discriminate between light and darkness, truth and error, seems destroyed.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 62

Past history reveals that in times of great apostasy, those who are most involved in apostasy, are most often promoted while those who are standing for truth are put out of the way. Jesus clearly warned us of this when He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me.” John 16:1-3

We are not left to wonder as to what God’s alternate plan will be if we fail to accept His counsel. “Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much.” Testimonies to Ministers, 409-410

Notice that the words to follow this prophetic statement are the same that were pronounced over Jerusalem (see Luke 19:42) when in their deception, they knew not their hour of visitation. “‘If thou hadst known,’ said Christ, ‘even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.’” Ibid., 410

At this time of crises, when above all other times there is need of faithfully rebuking sin and preparing a people for the latter rain, is the very time when, in the name of preserving the church, the confederacy of evil has brought in its unholy guns for warfare—the Perth Declaration and the Issues book. These are aimed at silencing those who are most faithful in reproving and upholding all of Gods’ truths, including His warnings. Such weapons are turned against the true church militant—those who are most faithful in reproving and upholding all of God’s truths, including His warnings. Such weapons are turned against the true church militant—those who are on God’s side in the great controversy, engaging their energies against the synagogue of Satan. We need to be surprised that this synagogue of Satan profess to be Jews while exalting apostasy over truth. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15. While professing to be and speaking as the church, they fight against God’s reproofs and corrections; but God does not own them as His.

“I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people….And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 217

In the last analysis, it is not the profession or name but an adherence to God’s Word that draws the line of distinction between the professors and the true church of Christ. The history of the Jewish church is an eloquent testimony to the importance of recognizing this reality and that we not be found in the end with unrealistic expectations.

* “Those who separate from God and lose their spirituality, do not fall back all at once into a state which the True Witness calls lukewarm. They conform to the world little by little. As its influence steals upon them, they fail to resist it and maintain the warfare. After the first step is taken to have friendship with the world, darkness follows and they are prepared for the next. At every step they take in the downward course darkness gathers about them, until they are enshrouded. As they conform to the world they lose the transforming influence of the spirit of God. They do not realize their distance from God. They think themselves in good case because they profess to believe the truth. They grow weaker and weaker, until the Spirit of God is withdrawn, and God bids his angels, ‘Let them alone!’ Jesus spues them out of his mouth. He has borne their names to his Father; he has interceded for them, but he ceases his pleadings. Their names are dropped, and they are left with the world. They realize no change. Their profession is the same. There has not been so glaring a departure from the appearance of right. They had become so assimilated to the world that when heaven’s light was withdrawn they did not miss it.”

The End