All Manner of Beasts
I – Introduction: The Beast and His Image
ost of the articles on this website are dedicated to bringing the Gospel to all who will hear. This is regardless of “kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation,” for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven composed. Unfortunately, not everyone is easily reached with these matters, and not because the principles are complicated, but because their specific creeds or church organizations have imposed upon them a worldview or a set of doctrines that makes it very difficult to believe, for example, that “whosoever is born of Yahweh doth not commit sin.” (1 John 3:9) Truly, and sadly, has it been written of such that “all the world wondered after the beast.” (Revelation 13:3)
It is the Beast that is the ultimate enemy of the Almighty. It is the Beast that has exerted its influence on the world of men to corrupt and destroy pure doctrine. (Daniel 7:25) It is the Beast and his Image that impose upon mankind the last set of trials before the return of the Redeemer. (Revelation 14:9)
It is the Beast that has set up these systems and organizations which make it very nearly impossible for one who is a member of such to respond to the loving invitations of the Master through His faithful people.
What is the Beast? The Bible tells us that in prophecy, a beast is a king, or a kingdom, ruling over people on the earth. “‘These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.’ Thus he said, ‘The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.’” (Daniel 7:17, 23)
The beast, then, that opposes the people of the Most High is a human power, a kingdom of men, that advances principles contrary to the principles of Heaven. And why should it do this? We are not left to guess: “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” (Revelation 13:2) We know very well who this source of authority is: “the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan.” (Revelation 20:2)
A second beast follows the first, which at first appears to be benign, but it also speaks “as a dragon.” (Revelation 13:11) At the incitement of this second beast, an image to the first is made. (verses 14, 15) It is very important that we know what this image is, for the Bible tells us that this is the final enemy of Yahweh’s people. (Revelation 13:15, 16) Ellen White tells our Adventist brethren, “The Lord has shown me clearly that the image of the beast will be formed before probation closes; for it is to be the great test for the people of God, by which their eternal destiny will be decided.” [Manuscript Releases Volume Fifteen, page 15]
And so what is this image, that which forms that final trial for Christians: the Mark of The Beast? As I began by saying, most of my articles are written to a general audience, but...
Amazingly, some of the most difficult groups of people for Creation Seventh Day Adventists to reach with these testing truths are Adventists of other sorts. Then again, perhaps it is not to be such a surprise, for there is great Biblical precedent for the idea: “And when [the Hebrews] agreed not among themselves they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, ‘Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive; for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
“‘Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.’” (Acts 28:25-28)
And more simply, it was said of Christ, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (John 1:11)
As such, this article is written primarily to those who have an Adventist background, and thus I feel comfortable using quotations from Ellen White to illustrate certain points. At the same time, the Christian from any other tradition need not feel uncomfortable, for I will provide, with such quotes, Scriptures that point out the same principles.
Thus, when answering the question, “What is the image of the beast?” we may give a simple answer for Adventists: “When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the State to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” [The Great Controversy (1888 edition), page 445]
Again, “The image is made to the first or leopard-like beast, which is the one brought to view in the third angel’s message. By this first beast is represented the Roman church, an ecclesiastical body clothed with civil power, having authority to punish all dissenters. The image to the beast represents another religious body clothed with similar power.” [The Spirit of Prophecy Volume Four, page 278]
Let the readers who are familiar with Mrs. White’s body of work take note: I am deliberately leaving out the paragraph numbers of my references because, though space constrains me to select only the most direct and useful quotes, the context of all these statements is absolutely essential to a proper understanding. As such, I encourage those who take the time to examine my sources to read the entire passages, if possible, to see the settings of the statements I use. I have no desire to give evidence for anything by “proof-texting,” or, in this case, “proof-quoting.” The matter is far too important to be trivialized in this way.
Now, for those not already familiar with Adventist teachings on the nature of these beasts, there are several excellent Bible studies available. It should be apparent, however, that Christ said His Kingdom was not of this world, (John 18:36) and that the weapons of a Christian’s warfare were never to be carnal. (2Corinthians 10:4) Every “church” that has resorted to inflicting civil or criminal penalties on dissenters has denied Christ in this way. Much more is it the case with those organizations that have launched overt warfare upon those who would oppose it, such as during the notorious Crusades. These are “beasts” in every sense of the word but literal, and an “image” to the beast would be another organization that comes after it, but reflects, as it were, the same mindset and practices.
Keeping all these things in mind, Creation Seventh Day Adventists teach that the “image of the Beast” that will impose a test upon those who are faithful to the Almighty is representative of ANY organization with religious entity that unites with state government and human power to enforce its authority upon the unwilling. This includes the Seventh-day Adventist Church; and now the unfamiliar reader may begin to understand why mainstream SDAs in particular have difficulty receiving the Gospel from our hands. No one likes to be told they are in the wrong religious system, and this is especially true when those of that faith have respected writings that tell them (they believe) that they will always be in the right system. We will discuss this as we continue, but what we know assuredly is this: “Force is the last resort of every false religion.” [The Signs of the Times, May 6, 1897] The details of this use of force by the SDA church, in conjunction with the United States government, may be found in this article: The Mark and The Seal.
Now there are some, like the fairly well-known Mr. Bob Sessler, who do an excellent job of showing the progress of the fall of a Church, even a once-true body like the Seventh-day Adventist movement. The comparisons that such ministries make between the SDA organization and Rome are startling, and valid; and indeed some parts of this article owe a debt to the research the above named individual has done. On the other hand, such individuals generally believe that it is enough to separate from the organization. They believe, “Once we remove ourselves from the broken body while still maintaining our doctrines, Christ will accept us.” This is only part of the story. Specifically, it is only one-third of the Gospel message. In the last section of this article, I will briefly go over the three-fold message given to us for salvation in the last days, and we will see that, simply put, it takes the forms: Come Forth, Come Out, Come In.
Coming out from fallen bodies is only one stage of the plan (not even the first stage!) and it was never the purpose of Christ that His people be disorganized, divided, dissenting. This is Satan’s plan, not that of the Redeemer.
For now, a brief recap of the introduction, as these ideas will be vital for what follows:
1) We see that the “beast” in the Book of Revelation is a human, governmental organization that opposes the principles of Heaven, and works to destroy the people of Yahweh.
2) We see another beast rising up, and in short order it not only begins to act like the first beast, but it causes men to form an “image” to this first beast, and to enact laws that govern worship. If worship is not offered to the original beast, the image will seek to cause the destruction of those who dissent. We understand this to be a religious power using civil government to pay homage to the spirit of Romanism (responsible for Inquisitions and Crusades), and enacting a law in an attempt to control conscience.
3) It is not enough to show that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has begun to do the very things described above, and thus to teach “come out of her.” The plan of Christ is more exalted than this, and even when the disciples scattered at the surrender of the Messiah to worldly forces (another striking parallel), it was only so that they come into “one accord” before receiving the Holy Spirit thereafter. (Matthew 26:56, Acts 2:1)
Those who are ambassadors for Heaven bring the entire message, pure and undefiled. Yahweh will have a people, and they are united.
II – Unholy Transformation: Going From Man to Beast
We know what the Beast is. But we see that even in Romanism, which today represents the first Beast of Revelation (Chapter 13), this was a gradual fall. They began as the true Church of Christ, about which it was said, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) There are many in Roman Catholicism today who look at that verse and use it as a basis to refute the entire Protestant movement, claiming, “I am in the Church that Christ established, and we know that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. You cannot convince me that my church has gone into apostasy.”
The problem with this idea is that it confuses the idea of a “Church” with an “Organization.” They are not the same thing! Christ gave the parable of the vineyard, which represents the Church, in the custody of unworthy husbandmen. These workers abused their privileges, and eventually rejected the son of the landowner. Christ asked, “‘When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?’ They say unto him, ‘He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.’ Yahshua saith unto them, ‘Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof And whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever It shall fall, It will grind him to powder.’ And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spake of them.” (Matthew 21:40-45)
Those who misunderstand or downplay this principle fall into all manner of error, including “Two-House” theology, but the statements are clear. The vineyard does not change... the Church is STILL the Church against which the gates of hell will never prevail; but the organization itself has, and can, change when the leaders prove unfaithful. Adventists, of all people, should know this, for it says in our writings, “The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work.” [Last Day Events, page 59]
There are some who believe that “this principle” cannot apply to the SDA Church. So the Jews also believe, and so do the Catholics; yet we are told OF the SDA Church in Mrs. White’s works, “In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: “Found wanting.” By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged.” [Last Day Events, page 59]
Now what happens when a Church is “found wanting?” Christ has already told us in Matthew 21. Yet the Bible does not even leave His words without a second witness, and tells us specifically in the Book of Daniel, “‘This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.’ In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans [Babylonians] slain.” (Daniel 5:26-28, 30) This is the only place in all Scripture that the expression “found wanting” appears. If we let Scripture determine our conclusions, and subject the “lesser light” to the greater, there can be no possible misunderstanding. A Church that is found wanting sees the glory, promises, and prophecies (an important point) departing from her, and another movement is called to finish the work she lightly regarded.
How, specifically, does a Church go from blessed to cursed? How does it go from faithful virgin awaiting her Husband, to harlot for the kings of this world? Adventists know this already; if only they would consent to seeking the log in their own eyes before the log (they are both logs) in those of the Catholics and Sunday-keeping Protestants: “It was apostasy that led the early church to seek the aid of the civil government, and this prepared the way for the development of the papacy--the beast. Said Paul: ‘There shall come a falling away, . . . and that man of sin be revealed.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:3. So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image to the beast.” [Great Controversy pages 443,444]
For the strict student of the Bible, the verse is contained right within that quote. Paul long expected a falling-away, and it began in earnest shortly after the end of his ministry. (Acts 20:29) The inevitable result was that the most clearly expressed principles of the Messiah (love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek) were twisted, perverted, rationalized away – and an organization resulted in which kings and warriors knelt in the snow before papal power. Yet let the reader know this: we are not saying, “Whenever a church starts to apostatize, and teach false doctrines, it is immediately time to leave.” No, Christ is not so impatient. At the same time, He is not so careless as to leave us without an indication of when it is time to leave. There does come a point at which it is time to depart, and it is when the Church unites with a beast so completely that they begin to operate with a shared purpose; and confusion naturally results, because the Kingdom of Christ is NOT of this world.
When a Church (represented by a woman in Scripture – Jeremiah 6:2) unites with a beast (which we have already seen is the worldly system)... we may read it for ourselves, “neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.” (Leviticus 18:23) The spiritual application of this literal law is not at all difficult to perceive. The result is tebel, a Hebrew word synonymous with babel, the confusion of Babylon. This serves to “prepare the way for the image to the beast.”
Has this happened in the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Is this why so many of them have difficulty understanding what even our own writers have told us, that to be accepted by Yahweh, we must cease from all known sin? Is this why it is so hard for unity to be achieved within Adventism, because they will not accept the testimony of new keepers of the Vineyard? We believe this is the case: that apostasy is the root of the problem. We have, actually, clear statements that this is the case:
“Apostasy has come in to our ranks as it came in to Heaven, and all who unite with Satan in this kind of work will act on the same principles Satan has worked.” [Letter 156, 1897]
“In 1890 and 1891 there was presented to me a view of dangers that would threaten the work...propositions which to their authors appeared very wise would be introduced, looking to the formation of a confederacy that would make Battle Creek, like Rome, the great head of the work...” [Letter 71, April 8, 1894]
The casual reader of Ellen White’s work would be shocked at the amount of times she compared the manner in which the General Conference (the self-proclaimed “head” of the SDA Church) and its ministers operated to the Roman system. Though there are a great many, I will give only one more for the sake of brevity:
“The spirit of domination is extending to the presidents of our conferences. If a man is sanguine of his own powers and seeks to exercise dominion over his brethren, feeling that he is invested with authority to make his will the ruling power, the best and only safe course is to remove him, lest great harm be done and he lose his own soul and imperil the souls of others. [...] When men who profess to serve God ignore His parental character and depart from honor and righteousness in dealing with their fellowmen, Satan exults, for he has inspired them with his attributes. They are following in the track of Romanism.” [Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, page 362]
Anyone who has been following the recent Trademark Dispute, which CSDAs vehemently protest, knows that this is true. Seventh-day Adventists, despite repeated and multitudinous warnings from the Bible and writings of Ellen White and our SDA pioneers, have rejected every principle of the Heavenly Kingdom, and have gone to the United States government seeking aid in covering up the consequences of their own past wrongs. They have gone to this human power, which they believe to be the Second Beast of Revelation 13 mentioned in our introduction, and said, “Protect our name from dissenters. We need your authority, your power. We cannot inflict penalties on those who teach against us... so you must do it on our behalf.” Now, we have spoken with the lawyers employed in this action, and they have expressed hesitancy – they themselves do not want to pursue these cases(!), but the Church that employed them is forcing the issue. It is enough to raise the hair on the back of one’s neck to read, after learning of this, a passage of the Bible without any additional commentary from me:
“Then led they Yahshua from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment; and it was early, and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. Pilate then went out unto them, and said, ‘What accusation bring ye against this Man?’ They answered and said unto him, ‘If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto thee.’ Then said Pilate unto them, ‘Take ye Him, and judge Him according to your law.’ The Jews therefore said unto him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.’ [...] Yahshua answered, ‘Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.’ And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release Him; but the Jews cried out, saying, ‘If thou let this Man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.’” (John 18:28-31)
This is how a Church becomes a Beast.
“And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and [Pilate] saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’” (John 19:14, 15)
“They cried out for the crucifixion of Christ and, as representatives of the Jewish nation, placed themselves under the Roman jurisdiction, which they despised, by saying, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’ When they said this, they unchurched themselves.” [Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve, page 388, paragraph 1, emphasis added]
Can the SDA Church ever become Babylon? This is a question often raised in the presence of those whose consciences forbid them from having anything further to do with the mainstream denomination. Mrs. White, in many places, said it was not – in her day. As we will see shortly, however, the Church in the days of Ellen White and the mainstream SDA church today are two very different “animals.” What, in her day, did not fulfill the characteristics of that condition (being joined to a “beast” as we read in Leviticus 18) now does. But an even bigger issue is raised by the quote verses John 19 and the quote from Manuscript Releases 12: Is the mainstream SDA church today even a Church at all?
By subjecting themselves to the kings of the world, rather than the King of Heaven, we know the answer to this already. They are no longer a “virgin,” a pure Bride of Christ, but a woman riding a beast. (Revelation 17:3)
More clear evidence of this transformation is to be provided, but we are not merely attacking a system, we are trying to help individuals. The workers of the Gospel do not have the job of tearing things down – and in this case, it is the leaders who rejected Christ that did that – but of seeking to save souls. We must demonstrate, therefore, the impact of the above principles on individual members, who are genuinely seeking the right path.
III – Accurséd Heart: Corporate Accountability
There are some who say to us, “Even if all you are saying is true, even if you can prove that the SDA Church went to the government and united with them to form an oppressive law, it doesn’t really affect me directly.” They believe, you see, that Christ will simply remove the leaders, and the laity will be safe. In fact, they have a couple quotes from Ellen White that they use to this effect:
“When a church proves unfaithful to the word of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But, if these in turn do not purify their lives from every wrong action, if they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict and humble them and, unless they repent, will remove them from their place and make them a reproach.” [Last Day Events, page 59]
This, and several like it, are used in an attempt to say that it is never appropriate to withdraw one’s self from an organization that was once blessed... and even if the leaders apostatize, Christ will remove them and set up others in their place, without the need for reorganization. Of course, the quote above was talking about a “church” in total, not merely those in charge.
We have already seen that there does come a time when a calling-out is precisely what happens. When the leaders unite with the world for policy and protection, then it is not a matter of simply removing these leaders; there is a need for something else, a new set of keepers of the Vineyard which results in a new Body, just as it did when the “Kingdom of Heaven” was taken from the Hebrews.
At one point Ellen White did say, “We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization, for this would mean apostasy from the truth.” [Last Day Events, page 55]
Then again… “What we want now is a reorganization. We want to begin at the foundation, and to build upon a different principle.” [Last Day Events, page 53]
These two statements are not contradictory; they simply reflect that there is a time to stay, and then a time to reorganize. Ellen White, of course, never advocated leaving the main body of Adventists; she envisioned the “reorganization” as taking place within the same structure. But what those who therefore stay inside the current Church fail entirely to take into account are the following two thoughts:
1) The doctrines and practices of the current SDA Church are not the same as they were when Mrs. White made the former statement.
2) The church in her day had not “unchurched” themselves in the precise manner Mrs. White described it as occurring for the Jews.
There IS a time, therefore, when the latter statement becomes applicable, and we are not left in the dark regarding when it is. It is when the organization goes from Church to Beast. But why? Why do the people need to depart, even if it is only the leaders who join to the world? We are not speaking of mere apostasy, you recall... for if it is merely a matter of apostasy the leaders can, indeed, be removed without damage to the church. But we are speaking of apostasy such as that described in John 19 – uniting with the world to punish dissenters. This destroys the entire structure, and “unchurches” every least member. This is called “Corporate Accountability.”
“Therefore Yahweh will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail; for the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.” (Isaiah 9:14-16)
Just as “in Adam all die, [and] even so in Christ shall all be made alive,” (1Cor 15:22) so the members of a spiritual Body receive the rewards and punishment of their leaders. And if the leaders unite with the world, removing them will not solve the problem – the entire nation/church becomes chronically poisoned. This is the only reason Christ did not “reform” the Jewish Church, but had His disciples call people out. Peter said, even to those men who had not even been in the area at the time, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Yahshua, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36) What was the answer? They needed to repent, be baptized, and come out from the fallen body. But, as we shall see, that is not the whole story.
There is corporate accountability, and just as we teach that every Catholic needs to come out, because the leaders of their organization joined to the world and changed divine law, so we say to all, and for the same reason. Just as we teach that Sunday-keeping Christians are continuing to bow to the unscriptural changes made to the Sabbath commandment, thus respecting the papal union (though often without realizing it), so we teach that those who go along with the union of the SDA Church and the United States government are not where the Creator would have them be. Yes, that organization was very blessed. Yes, it received assurances that the “gates of Hell” would not prevail against it, and that the Gospel Ark would take them safely to Heaven... but this was never to be used as a license for tolerating apostasy.
Ellen White, for example, never said that a coming-out was impossible. In fact, she said this, “I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis [at the Gen. Conference meeting], that a reformation must go through the churches. Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities and privileges. As reformers they had come out of the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out.” [Last Day Events, page 48]
The denominational Adventists, of course, are quick to claim that this is the only such statement she made. That is only partly true. It is the only statement she made using these words – but how much more clear need it have been? If reforms were not made in her day, the Church would not stand. This should be clear from what she wrote. Now, that being understood, three questions remain:
1) Were the necessary reforms accomplished?
2) What would happen if they were not?
3) Is it possible, today, for the SDA Church to now accomplish those reforms, and return to faithful, Christian service?
We will answer these three questions in the next section, but a few thoughts by way of summary, before moving on. We must understand how important these matters are, even for the laity, because the Divine Kingdom operates on the principle of Corporate Accountability. Were this not the case we would not all have become guilty by the sin of our first parents and, more significantly for us in this dark condition, we could not all be saved by the sacrifice of one Messiah!
“... as the human heart throws its living current of blood into all parts of the body, so does the management at this place, the headquarters of our church, affect the whole body of believers. If the physical heart is healthy, the blood that is sent from it through the system is also healthy; but if this fountain is impure, the whole organism becomes diseased by the poison of the vital fluid. So it is with us. If the heart of the work becomes corrupt, the whole church, in its various branches and interests, scattered abroad over the face of the earth, suffers in consequence.” [Testimonies for the Church Volume Four, page 210]
“If most earnest vigilance is not manifested at the great heart of the work to protect the interests of the cause, the church will become as corrupt as the churches of other denominations.” [Testimonies for the Church Volume Four, page 512]
Is it possible? Could that great and blessed organization become corrupt? Oh, yes.
“We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil? [Manuscript Releases Volume Twenty-one, page 380]
“It is now the duty of God’s commandment-keeping people to watch and pray, to search the Scriptures diligently, to hide the word of God in the heart, lest they sin against Him in idolatrous thoughts and debasing practices, and thus the church of God become demoralized like the fallen churches whom prophecy represents as being filled with every unclean and hateful bird.” [Review & Herald, May 17, 1887]
“The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, ‘a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’” [Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, page 265, emphasis added]
This is the key... as we have seen, apostasy is not enough. That can be repaired; but when there is a “marriage” between the world and the Church, this is when the organization becomes “as stated in Revelation [chapter 18].” This is the beginning of the answer to the third question, regarding whether or not it is too late for reform in the existing, mainstream body. But let those who say that the Seventh-day Adventist Church can never become Babylonian take careful note of the above statements. The Church was not Babylon in Mrs. White’s day, but it has since lain with a beast, and – if the Scriptures be true (Leviticus 18, for example) – there can be no other honest conclusion reached than that it now is.
IV – The Noble Shipwreck: Becoming Babylon
We seek to answer three questions in this section:
1) Were the necessary reforms accomplished in the Seventh-day Adventist Church?
2) What would happen if they were not?
3) Is it possible, today, for the SDA Church to now accomplish those reforms, and return to faithful, Christian service?
Let us take the second question first, since it is the most easily answered. The quote that sparked these questions ended with the statement, “We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out.” [Last Day Events, page 48]
In other words, if the reforms that were vital to the health of the Church were not performed, there would be a “necessity” for a coming out; this is not a suggestion or a strong preference, for Christ will marry a Virgin Church, and none other. (2Corinthians 11:2) We have already seen that if a Church unites with the world to form policy, and in an attempt to seek protection from dissenters, this is identified as a “marriage,” and results in the Church becoming “indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, ‘a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’” [Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, page 265]
The importance of that quote cannot be underestimated! Where is it in Revelation that the phrase “a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” appears? It is found in only one place:
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.’ And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto Heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’” (Revelation 18:1-5)
There is only ONE place in all the Bible that uses these words, and therefore it is not true, as the Conference publications state, that Mrs. White only spoke in that one place about the possible need for withdrawing from the mainstream Adventist Church. No, there are indeed several witnesses within her writings, if we take the time to heed what is truly being said.
To answer the second question, directly from Mrs. White’s works, we find that if the reforms were not accomplished, the Church would become a beast (we have been examining the process this study), would become a part of Babylon, and a calling-forth would become necessary.
“When Jerusalem was divorced from God it was because of her sins. She fell from an exalted height that Tyre and Sidon had never reached. And when an angel falls he becomes a fiend. The depth of our ruin is measured by the exalted light to which God has raised us in His great goodness and unspeakable mercy. Oh, what privileges are granted to us as a people! And if God spared not His people that He loved, because they refused to walk in the light, how can He spare the people whom He has blessed with the light of heaven in having opened to them the most exalted truth ever entrusted to mortal man to give to the world?” [Manuscript releases 12, pages 319, 320] Remember, Christ will apply the same principle to “every branch of His work” as He did with the Hebrews.
“Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to walk in the light that God has given. [...] Christ turned from them, saying: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,’ how can I give thee up? ‘How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!’ Matthew 23:37.” [Testimonies for the Church Volume Eight, page 67]
Now that we have the answer to “what would happen,” let us see if it has happened, if the heart of the work has indeed become corrupt.
“That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be as the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be--that is past.” [Last Day Events, page 50, quoting a General Conference Bulletin from 1901]
“Are the men at Battle Creek to be regarded as infinite in wisdom? When the Lord shall work upon human hearts and human intellects, principles and practices different from this will be set before the people. ‘Cease ye from man.’ The Lord has a controversy with His people over this matter. Why have they left the Lord their God, who so loved them ‘that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’?” [Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, page 376]
“The voice from Battle Creek, which has been regarded as authority in counseling how the work should be done, is no longer the voice of God.” [Last Day Events, page 50]
“It has been some years since I have considered the General Conference as the voice of God.” [Last Day Events, page 50, emphasis added; this was said in 1898]
Has the reform been accomplished?
“The same work that has been done in the past will be carried forward under the guise of the General Conference Association. The sacred character of this Association is fast disappearing. What will then be respected as pure, holy, and undefiled? Will there be any voice that God’s people can regard as a voice they can respect? There certainly is nothing now that bears the divine credentials. Sacred things are mixed and mingled with earthly business that has no connection with God.
“The enslaving of the souls of men by their fellow men is deepening the darkness which already envelopes them. Who can now feel sure that they are safe in respecting the voice of the General Conference Association? If the people in our churches understood the management of the men who walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling, would they respect their decisions? I answer, No, not for a moment. I have been shown that the people at large do not know that the heart of the work is being diseased and corrupted at Battle Creek. Many of the people are in a lethargic, listless, apathetic condition, and assent to plans which they do not understand. Where is the voice, from whence will it come, to whom the people may listen, knowing that it comes from the true Shepherd? I am called upon by the Spirit of God to present these things before you, and they are correct to the life, according to the practice of the past few years. [...] Men are very zealous to change the order of things, but the Lord forbids such a consolidation, Every branch should be allowed to live and do its own work. [Spalding and Magan Collection, page 35, emphasis added]
Despite the exact phrasing used, such as “the heart of the work” and other striking parallels, some people read statements like the above and reply, “Okay, so it was bad in her day, and if the work was to continue as it was then, it’s probably worse now. So what? That is not a reason to leave! Ellen White didn’t leave. And, by the way, she said that the SDA Church was not Babylon.”
That is all true. Apostasy on its own is not a reason to leave. Only when the Church joins to the world is a justification for departure valid; yet all this has taken place since the days Ellen White wrote those statements about not calling the Church Babylon. Obviously, anyone in her day who called the SDA Church Babylon was wrong; obviously, it was a Satanic delusion, and an attempt to confuse the laity and distress the then-relatively-faithful leaders. But this union has now been formed, and the SDA Church is not immune to the fate that befell the Jews, Catholics, and other Protestant bodies. These former bodies were not less loved than the Adventist movement; nor were the promises given to them of a less lofty nature.
Yet some take the statements of Mrs. White, like the following, and declare that we will never see the fall of the Adventist movement – even if it does the very things that made the previous bodies fall:
“There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the work will not succeed. God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the work God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port.” [Last Day Events, page 52]
That is a powerful statement. Yet we find others very much like it in the Hebrew literature, given to a system that did fall. To quote Yahweh Himself, “But Israel shall be saved in Yahweh with an everlasting salvation; ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” (Isaiah 45:17)
Ellen White tells us that the Jewish leadership flattered themselves with the promises given to them, not realizing that these promises were all conditional on their faith.
“Christ promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs as much to us as to the first disciples. But like every other promise, it is given on conditions.” [God’s Amazing Grace, p. 212, emphasis added]
Here is the specific quotation that applies to Churches and the promises they have received:
“‘Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of hosts is his name: “If those ordinances depart from before me,” saith the Lord, “then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever. Thus saith the Lord: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.”‘ Jer. 31:35-37.
“These words the Jews applied to themselves. And because God had shown them so great favor and mercy, they flattered themselves that, notwithstanding their sins and iniquities, he would still retain them as his favored people, and shower especial blessings upon them. They misapplied the words of Jeremiah, and depended for their salvation upon being called the children of Abraham. If they had indeed been worthy of the name of Abraham’s children, they would have followed the righteous example of their father Abraham, and would have done the works of Abraham.
“This has been the danger of the people of God in all ages; and especially is this the danger of those living near the close of time.” [The Spirit of Prophecy Volume Two, page 52, 53]
A little later on, “They were claiming the blessings God had promised to confer upon them should they be obedient and faithful. But at the very time they were suffering under the curse of God because of disobedience. John declared to them that unless they bore fruit, they would be hewn down and cast into the fire.” [page 55]
Let none miss the point; no matter how sure the promises are, if the leaders unite with the world it is no longer a mere matter of removing the “bad eggs.” Misunderstanding this distinction is especially “the danger of those living near the close of time.” That would be us. Were it not the case that the leaders’ uniting with the world causes an entire corruption of the system, the Jews in Acts 2 need not have separated from Levitical Judaism when their leaders went to Rome to declare Caesar as their king instead of Christ. The Catholics need not have joined Luther’s Reformation. If the erring leaders are always removed, so that a calling-out is never necessary, we ought to go back to literal, earthly Israel.
No, but when this union of church and state, and this union specifically, has been effected, the promises regarding simply removing “bad leaders” can no longer apply. This has always been the breaking point. This is clear both from Mrs. White’s writings, and every single relevant example that may be cited from Scripture. It is so plain that “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” (Isaiah 35:8)
The Scriptures tell us, “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before Yahweh, and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which Yahweh thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 24:1-2)
The necessary conclusion? Once a Church has united with a human power to the degree that a union of policy and purpose is created, this is a “marriage,” according to Adventist writings (and plain to anyone able to see the spiritual application of these laws), and Christ is never again able to take her to wife. It should be obvious in another sense that He cannot take her back, for we are told that the Church is a “chaste Virgin,” and one who has not, therefore, known any Husband, any Protector, but Christ Himself. (2Corinthians 11:2)
For those in a church, any church, whose policies they recognize as a sign of marriage to the world, we have this instruction:
“You are exhorted to touch not the unclean thing; for in touching this, you will yourself become unclean. It is impossible for you to unite with those who are corrupt, and still remain pure. ‘What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?’ God and Christ and the heavenly host would have man know that if he unites with the corrupt, he will become corrupt.” [Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 2, 1900]
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, while not Babylonian in the days of its early pioneers, gradually came to follow in the course of every other denomination. Its leaders lost sight of the protective power of Christ, and apostasy began to creep into its doctrines and practices. Yet for all this, there could have been healing. When the leaders joined to the world, however, uniting the entire Church in marriage to the kings of the earth, it became something it had never been before.
In her warnings for reform, Ellen White said that the Church could indeed become Babylonian. In this article, all the quotes showing her statements associated with the need for reform directly connect to the fall of Babylon, first by Daniel 5, and then by Revelation 18. Those who claim, “The SDA Church can never become Babylon” have not understood the warnings they have been given for over a hundred years. They have not understood, or they have downplayed and ignored, how much their organization has become like that of Rome, which they (officially) despise:
“At the local conference level the Seventh-day Adventist church has a representative form of government, above that level the polity of the Seventh-day Adventist is hierarchical: authority flows downward and members in local congregations have virtually no voice [...] the Seventh-day Adventist church is a closed, self-operating, and self-perpetuating system, similar to the Roman Catholic church, in which those in authority are not responsible to lower echelons. Above the local conference level, those in authority are not elected by, representative of, or administratively accountable to, local congregations or the membership at large.” [General Conference President Neal C. Wilson, Court Transcript Trial of 1974-75 (U.S. Gov’t vs. SDA Church), p. 42]
This was NEVER what Christ ordained for His people.
“The Ship will go through,” some tell us, quoting from Letter 55: “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.” [Selected Messages Book 2, page 380, quoting Letter 55]
Those who will not see the truth say, “You see here, Mrs. White said that the church may appear to fall, but does not.” What they do not do is read the paragraph before this statement, which reads, “We are to be ready and waiting for the orders of God. Nations will be stirred to their very center. Support will be withdrawn from those who proclaim God’s only standard of righteousness, the only sure test of character. And all who will not bow to the decree of the national councils and obey the national laws to exalt the sabbath instituted by the man of sin, to the disregard of God’s holy day, will feel, not the oppressive power of popery alone, but of the Protestant world, the image of the beast.” [ibid.]
When the image of the beast is formed, THEN “Satan will work his miracles to deceive [and] set up his power as supreme.” At this point, the quote says, the Church will appear to fall – to the pressure of nations and laws – but does not. This says nothing, nothing at all, of the “fall” caused by apostasy; this is speaking specifically of the church members surviving civil persecution. We already know from the Bible and Mrs. White’s other writings that when a Church unites with civil government it “unchurches” itself, and that Christ will use this very principle in every area of His vineyard. This automatically rules out the denominational Adventist Church as being “the church” that will face the wrath of Satan. It cannot be, and the context of Mrs. White’s statements about what a Church is, what causes it to fall, and what constitutes Babylon and its destruction make this abundantly clear.
Babylon is confusion, and the leaders, membership, and doctrines of the mainstream Seventh-day Adventist Church are all experiencing nothing short of confusion.
V – Lament of The Third Angel: Coming Out and Coming In
“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 pillars of 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.” [Battle Creek Letters, page 81]
Interestingly enough, when Creation Seventh Day Adventists and other protesting groups point out the union of church and state that has occurred, and the need for the faithful believers to depart from the organization as surely as the faithful Jews departed from the Israelite System in Acts 2, we are accused of promoting a new organization on different principles.
The truth is, the “great reformation” that consisted of “giving up the doctrines which stand as pillars of our faith” has already taken place within the denomination. A new organization, diverse from that of primitive Adventism, has already been formed. Those things which were once believed by Adventists are no longer now taught from the pulpits (although some individuals retain these truths in their hearts), and those things which were once rejected as pagan doctrines are being fiercely promoted under the guise of New Light. For an example of this, readers may see the article “The Trinity and the argument of Progressive Revelation.”
We notice, however, that those who remain in the broken body are attempting to use quotations like that above, which were given to be a kind of spiritual vaccine, as a defense against the cure! If some dissenting Hebrew had called the Levitical priesthood a Babylonian system, and went around telling people to “come out of her” before they had joined to Rome, would he not have been an apostate? Would he not have been advocating a new, unsanctioned system, on new principles, and encouraging a rejection of Christ’s people? Yes, these things are so; and it would have been right to sanction him for doing this evil work.
What about after the apostles received the Holy Spirit and began to teach about the union of church and state that had occurred between the chief priests and the representatives of pagan Rome? What about after they began to teach, “We know that Yahweh said Israel would endure forever, but there is a new Body bearing the name ‘Israel’ now”? (cf. Galatians 3:7, Ephesians 2:12) The same man, saying the same things, would now be a messenger of Heaven – because the Spirit indicated that it was time for the call. It is a matter of timing: Yahweh’s timing.
As I said in the introduction, it is important that we point these things out. It is a part of the Gospel that we avoid the Beast and his image. (Revelation 14:9) But it is not enough to do so, and no publication put out by the Church of Christ would be truly complete without a reminder of what the Gospel is. The “Three Angels” of Revelation 14 tell us what the Gospel is for the last days, and it does not merely include the verse mentioned above. The full message is:
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come; and worship Him that made Heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’
“And there followed another angel, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.’ Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of Yahweh, and the faith of Yahshua.” (Revelation 14:6-12)
Merely pointing out the nature of Babylon, declaring it fallen, and calling men from it, is not enough; it is not even the first step. First, we must learn how to give glory to the Creator, and this can only be done by one who is spiritually alive. “For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day.” (Isaiah 38:18, 19a) The first angel declares, “Come forth from your grave of trespasses and sins.” (cf. Ephesians 2:1)
If we continue in known sins, it does not matter what organization we join or leave. The Bible tells us, “We know that whosoever is born of Yahweh sinneth not; but he that is begotten of Yah keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (1 John 5:18) This is the chief thing.
Adventists have little excuse for downplaying this verse as other denominations have habitually done, for this principle is underscored by our early writers, including Ellen White: “While God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties.” [The Faith I Live By, page 115]
More relevant to this particular topic: “Not one should be buried with Christ by baptism unless they are critically examined whether they have ceased to sin, whether they have fixed moral principles, whether they know what sin is, whether they have moral defilement which God abhors. Find out by close questioning if these persons are really ceasing to sin, if with David they can say, I hate sin with a perfect hatred.
“My burden is that ministers of the gospel shall preach the truth as to what constitutes true conversion. They are not to lead down into the water souls who are not converted. The church is becoming composed of men and women who have never realized how sinful sin is.” [Manuscript Releases Volume Six, pages 165, 166]
Had this instruction been followed, there would be fewer Adventists, no doubt... but they would be pure Adventists, converted Adventists, and the structure would never have fallen. Converted members mean converted leaders, and converted leaders to not betray their constituency by bringing lawsuits and thus uniting the Church with the state in an unholy marriage. “The world and unconverted church members are in sympathy. Some, when God reproves them for wanting their own way, make the world their confidence, and bring church matters before the world for decision. Then there is collision and strife, and Christ is crucified afresh and put to open shame. Those church members who appeal to the courts of the world show that they have chosen the world as their judge, and their names are registered in heaven as one with unbelievers. How eagerly the world seizes the statements of those who betray sacred trusts!” [Manuscript Releases Volume Five, page 415]
The Trademark Law would never have been enacted, the apostasy would never even have entered the body to such a degree as it has, and no one need ever have written – or read – an article such as this.
The First Angel tells us to cease from sin, that we may give glory to Yahweh.
The Second Angel, which we have been discussing, only makes sense if the First has already been followed. Let those who read these words cease from all known sin, and then, and then only, let them fully understand the state of the body to which they are currently attached. They may see it before, but if they have fully committed to avoiding all sin, they will assuredly find it impossible to remain a part of a sinful system. Though it may once have been pure, every denomination that unites with the world, or bows to the teachings of one that has, becomes an agency of Satan.
Some may say, “What of the other protestant denominations?” If they are keeping Sunday as a sacred day, they are still bowing the knee to the errors enshrined in the union of Rome and Christianity that led to the Roman Catholic system. They are a part of that marriage. Some may say, “What of other Adventist movements? They are not part of the General Conference that enacted the union we are discussing.”
Well, many have officially given up the name “Seventh Day Adventist,” and in so doing they bow the knee TO that union, which gives the Conference authority over that name. Those who have not given up the name will soon be forced to choose, for the persecution rolls forward, and soon every individual will have to decide, “Will I respect this human law, even if it forces me to disregard the instructions of the Creator?”
And let there be no mistake, the name “Seventh-day Adventist” was given to Yahweh’s people in the last days, as every Adventist should already know: “We are Seventh-day Adventists. Are we ashamed of our name? We answer, ‘No, no! We are not. It is the name the Lord has given us. It points out the truth that is to be the test of the churches.’” [Selected Messages Book 2, 384, emphasis added]
“The name Seventh-day Adventist carries the true features of our faith in front, and will convict the inquiring mind. Like an arrow from the Lord’s quiver, it will wound the transgressors of God’s law, and will lead to repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Testimonies for the Church Volume One, page 224]
“As to the name Seventh-day Adventists: I was shown in regard to the remnant people of God taking a name [...] No name which we can take will be appropriate but that which accords with our profession and expresses our faith and marks us a peculiar people.” [The Early Years Volume 1, page 438, emphasis added]
How can we obey men rather than Yahweh, and still think we can stand before His Throne with innocent hands? How can we stand before the Father of Spirits, if we prefer to render our allegiance to creatures of flesh? No, this is not a small issue... it contains within it the very essence of “faith,” the “Faith of Yahshua.” (Revelation 14:12)
If all I have said is true, let those who have understanding of these matters “come forth” from the fall of Babylon. Let them first escape sin by the redeeming power of Christ, (John 8:36) and then “save themselves from this untoward generation,” (Acts 2:40) by disassociating themselves from the corporate accountability for transgression to which their leaders have subjected them. They were unwitting, they were innocent, and they were violated – every bit as much as those faithful Jews who knew nothing about their leaders’ decision to crucify the Lord of the Sabbath.
This is an eternal principle: “Before God can use him, Abraham must be separated from his former associations, that he may not be controlled by human influence or rely upon human aid.” [Testimonies for the Church Volume Four, page 523, emphasis added]
But that is not the end of the story!
The Creator called His people out from Egypt, but He did not leave them to wander around in the wilderness. He had a place prepared for them: Canaan. The Savior called Noah and his family from the sinful pre-flood world, but He had bade them prepare a place of safety, saying to them at the appointed time, “Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)
The Third Angel’s Message says, “There is a Mark of The Beast to be avoided,” and this article points out that any church or organization that does not have Christ at its head will be a part of the beast’s organization, and thus take its mark. There is only one place of safety. The Scriptures asks us, “Is Christ divided?” (1Corinthians 1:13) Then we are answered, that none need wonder: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Yahshua the Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (verse 10)
Yes, we must come forth from fallen organizations, but most who call others out are content to leave them as independent atoms or, just as clumsily, to draw away disciples after themselves. But Christ has a people, a Church; and organization is not a bad thing, but ordained in Heaven.
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:20-22)
Christ’s prayer will be answered, and it will be answered by Seventh-day Adventists: “God has a church upon the earth, who are His chosen people, who keep His commandments. He is leading, not stray offshoots, not one here and one there, but a people.” [The Faith I Live By, page 282]
We are specifically told WHAT the uniting force will be: “God is leading out a people, not a few separate individuals here and there, one believing this thing, another that. Angels of God are doing the work committed to their trust. The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly. Some run ahead of the angels that are leading this people; but they have to retrace every step, and meekly follow no faster than the angels lead.” [Testimonies for the Church Volume One, page 207, emphasis added]
It is the Third Angel that unites the people of Yahweh. It is the Third Angel that gives the Church purpose, saying, “Come in,” to protest the Mark of the Beast, to stand firm against the unions of Church and state that threaten the religious freedom of both Christians and those who have not yet accepted the grace of the Messiah.
Adventists have long believed that a Sunday Law would result from the union of Church and State, and be the final manifestation of the Beast’s power. Ellen White believed this, and taught it clearly. Yet we are told that promises, prophecies, and their fulfillments are almost universally conditional. Adventists have formed the very union of Church and state they have long feared. Adventists have enacted a law to suppress the religious freedom of others, thus violating the Spirit of the Sabbath day. While the purpose of this article is not to go over the nature of conditional prophecy, or the specifics of the Mark’s final form, we are not left in ignorance about this matter either. This article, The Mark in Prophecy, gives that relevant information; but for now it is sufficient to ask: If the Adventist Church has indeed been weighed in the balances and “found wanting,” thus becoming a part of Babylon’s fallen system, what does this do to the prophecies and promises she was granted?
Has it ever been the case that the changing faith of a people had no impact on the way the prophecies associated with these people have come to pass? No; it has never been the case.
The Third Angel is leading a people, and we protest ANY AND EVERY union of the world with an organization claiming to belong to our Savior. The Savior of every faithful believer has a Kingdom that is not of this world. No carnal weapons have ever protected this kingdom. No human means have ever been necessary for its preservation. Here is the test: here is the Sabbath test, for it reveals those who have truly learned to rest in Christ. Do we believe that the “Virgin” that is to marry Christ will have ever gone to the world and said, “Protect me from my enemies?” Lamentably, many people do.
Creation Seventh Day Adventists do not; and we cannot be private in our disagreement. This would merely strengthen apostasy by silent assent. (Isaiah 56:10, 58:1)
I will end by relating the following vision, and I testify that it is being fulfilled to the letter before the eyes of the world, putting the name of Christ to open shame by those who have initiated the actions described. I pray with all my heart that men and women with wisdom will understand what these things mean:
“That night I dreamed that I was in Battle Creek looking out from the side glass at the door and saw a company marching up to the house, two and two. They looked stern and determined. I knew them well and turned to open the parlor door to receive them, but thought I would look again. The scene was changed. The company now presented the appearance of a Catholic procession. One bore in his hand a cross, another a reed. And as they approached, the one carrying a reed made a circle around the house, saying three times: ‘This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They have spoken against our holy order.’ Terror seized me, and I ran through the house, out of the north door, and found myself in the midst of a company, some of whom I knew, but I dared not speak a word to them for fear of being betrayed.
“I wept and prayed much as I saw our goods confiscated. I tried to read sympathy or pity for me in the looks of those around me, and marked the countenances of several whom I thought would speak to me and comfort me if they did not fear that they would be observed by others. I made one attempt to escape from the crowd, but seeing that I was watched, I concealed my intentions. I commenced weeping aloud, and saying: ‘If they would only tell me what I have done or what I have said!’ My husband, who was sleeping in a bed in the same room, heard me weeping aloud and awoke me. My pillow was wet with tears, and a sad depression of spirits was upon me.” [Testimonies for the Church Volume One, page 577, 578]
In her dream, Ellen White was not able to protest the actions of the Conference, which is currently committing these precise evils; but we must protest.
It is time to wake up. This is no dream.