Between God's faithful Adventist people and those Seventh-day Adventists that persecute them in this generation, one major point of disagreement may be summarized as, "who is an Adventist?" Or, perhaps more accurately, "what makes one an Adventist?"
Those who wield the sword of Caesar to settle religious matters, using civil power to enforce their answer to this question, show evidently that they do not have the Spirit of Yahweh; they have forsaken the plain "thus saith the Lord" that forbids such actions entirely. We know that the Scriptures (1 Cor. 6) and Mrs. White are explicit about the evils of Christians appealing to civil courts, and the idolatrous nature of trusting in governments (symbolized as beasts) for vengeance or protection:
"I have written largely in regard to Christians who believe the truth placing their cases in courts of law to obtain redress. In doing this, they are biting and devouring one another in every sense of the word, "to be consumed one of another." They cast aside the inspired counsel God has given, and in the face of the message He gives they do the very thing He has told them not to do. Such men may as well stop praying to God, for He will not hear their prayers. They insult Jehovah, and He will leave them to become the subjects of Satan until they shall see their folly and seek the Lord by confession of their sins." [3SM 302]
Yet what of the answer to the question itself? The side of the oppressor may be accurately summarized as "a true Adventist is one who is a member of the true Adventist organization." This is despite what changes in belief or action may occur in that organization. The head of the organization defines the faith of Adventism in this view, and therefore Adventists are defined as those in agreement with them. This may sound familiar; it is effectively the Roman doctrine of "Apostolic succession." It sets the organization's head and their successors above the faith, who by definition cannot err from it, even if they must reject those who received the faith and name in the first place as a result:
"Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination's Fundamental Beliefs." [George R. Knight, Ministry, October 1993]
The side of the oppressed may be accurately summarized as "a true Adventist is one who is an Adventist in spirit and in truth." This is in direct reference to the beliefs and actions, rather than in spite of them. It is true that Yahweh explicitly enjoins order and church relationship between Christians, and will never forsake the gathering of His people into visible relationship. This is a principle of truth that has stood since there were ever a people to be called His own, and "the Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him." [14MR 102]
Yet opposite that truth there has ever been the same error; identifying the people after the flesh as the "true people" based solely on their covenant membership or identity.
"We may be strengthened and confirmed in the past experience that holds us to the essential points of truth which have made us what we are - Seventh-day Adventists. . . Pillars of truth were revealed, and we accepted the foundation principles that have made us what we are - Seventh-day Adventists, keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus." [UL 352]
Creation 7th Day Adventists have arrived at our understanding by, among others, reading the following passage for principle:
"Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God." (Romans 2:26-29)
"Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, [are they] all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." (Romans 9:6-8)
The identity of "Israel" was a major source of contention in the early Church. Nearly every epistle Paul wrote addressed those who sought to enforce circumcision on the new converts as a sign of membership in the covenant of Abraham, according to the "church membership" of the now fallen "organized church" at the time. Even as "he is not a Jew which is one outwardly," so too "he is not an Adventist which is one outwardly." As "he is a Jew which is one inwardly," so too is "he an Adventist which is one inwardly."
This was the great offence of the cross and the church, and the source of much persecution from their former brethren, both in their day and in ours.
"And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased." (Galatians 5:11)
That those who were uncircumcised should be called Israel was an offense judged worthy of persecution. That those who are not members of the General Conference should be called Adventists is an offense judged worthy of persecution. One would think that those who call themselves Seventh-day Adventists today did not have Scriptures and testimonies showing the error of such a position. One would think that those who called themselves Israel in Paul's day did not have the same.
"In plotting against Christ, the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not his children.
"This principle bears with equal weight upon a question that has long agitated the Christian world, - the question of apostolic succession. Descent from Abraham was proved, not by name and lineage, but by likeness of character. So the apostolic succession rests not upon the transmission of ecclesiastical authority, but upon spiritual relationship. A life actuated by the apostles' spirit, the belief and teaching of the truth they taught, this is the true evidence of apostolic succession. This is what constitutes men the successors of the first teachers of the gospel." [DA 466,467]
This is true whether of Israel or Adventism; it is true of the successors of the Apostles as well as the successors of the Pioneers.
We have recently reviewed a number of places in Isaiah from which Revelation draws much of its prophecies. Tonight I would like to look at a number of Scriptures from Jeremiah, which have similar ties to both Revelation and the principles of the scenes that book describes.
Even as we do not teach any new doctrine to those who are familiar with inspired writings, Paul taught no new doctrine to the same:
"Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench [it], because of the evil of your doings." (Jeremiah 4:4)
We may see here that the notion of circumcision being an inward manner was not a new one. What of the idea that those who have the outward symbol without the inward truth are not counted among the true people?
"Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will punish all [them which are] circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all [that are] in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all [these] nations [are] uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel [are] uncircumcised in the heart." (Jeremiah 9:25,26)
Jeremiah preached a startling message to a people who called themselves the people of God, by the name of God, in the house of God. His message was that the Church of that day was to be destroyed and scattered, carried into the dread condition of Babylon, with a remnant gathered under a new organization. And what was the response?
"Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, [are] these." (Jeremiah 7:4)
Yet what does Yahweh say to those who trust in the institution, and not in the faith?
"Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen [it], saith Yahweh. But go ye now unto my place which [was] in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. Therefore will I do unto [this] house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, [even] the whole seed of Ephraim." (Jeremiah 7:8,10-12, 14-15)
Was being a part of "the house," which was called by the right "name," enough? Was it enough for Shiloh, the portion of northern Israel that was carried into captivity after joining to the power of Assyria? Despite these plain warnings, it was this very prophet's words that were misused to prove the opposite:
"The Jews had deceived themselves by misinterpreting the words of the Lord through his prophets, of his eternal favor to his people Israel.
"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." Jeremiah 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." [2SP 52]
As Corporate Israel has done to Jeremiah, so has Corporate Adventism done to Mrs. White. They have deceived themselves by misinterpreting the words of the Lord through Mrs. White, who rebuked the notion that the faithful, God-fearing, and repentant church of 1893 was Babylon. These words the denomination applies to themselves today. And because God has shown them so great favor and mercy, they flatter themselves that, notwithstanding their sins and iniquities, He will somehow retain them as His favored people. They misapply the words of Ellen White, and depend for their success on corporate succession and the trademarked name 'Seventh-day Adventist;' if they were indeed worthy of the name of Adventism, they would have followed the righteous example of Adventism, and done the works of Adventism.
The very prophet whose words are misapplied gives no such excuse; we may read from Mrs. White:
"It should be remembered that the promises and threatenings of God are alike conditional." [1SM 67]
"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?" [21MR 380]
"I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis, 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. While we will endeavor to keep the "unity of the Spirit" in the bonds of peace, we will not with pen or voice cease to protest against bigotry." [16MR 216]
"Virtually Caiaphas was no high priest. He wore the priestly robes, but he had no vital connection with God. He was uncircumcised in heart. With the other priests he instructed the people to choose Barabbas instead of Christ. 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." [12MR 388]
As with Adventism, so with Israel; we may read from Jeremiah:
"Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make [it]. Then the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith Yahweh. Behold, as the clay [is] in the potter's hand, so [are] ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. [At what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy [it]; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And [at what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant [it]; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them." (Jeremiah 18:3-10)
We see here the Scriptural foundation of conditional prophecy plainly stated. The church of Jeremiah's day refused to hear any such message saying they could go into Babylon, or would be carried away to Babylon. They were, after all, the people of the covenant, to whom promises that they should never fall had been given. How could the people that Yahweh had raised up, called out, and established become cast off? We may see how they responded to any such message:
"Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who [was] also chief governor in the house of Yahweh, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that [were] in the high gate of Benjamin, which [was] by the house of Yahweh." (Jeremiah 20:1,2)
The people did not repent; instead they smote and imprisoned the prophets, and "have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace." (Jeremiah 8:11).
Is this not the message of those who have become "a cage of every unclean and hateful bird" in our generation? The message is "peace, peace;" the message is "wait for the Sunday law, stay in the church, the ship will go through." The message is "the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these" structures, organizations, and corporations, all while actively working to censor and imprison commandment-keepers. As it is written in the next verse:
"Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith Yahweh." (Jeremiah 8:12)
"They shall fall among them that fall" is the message to those who will not be ashamed; those who know the second angel's message know very well who "them that fall" are in this generation. And who is it that "shall fall" among them?
"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." (Revelation 18:2)
We see a cage of unclean and hateful birds referenced; Jeremiah uses similar language:
"As a cage is full of birds, so [are] their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these [things]? saith Yahweh: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" (Jeremiah 5:27-29)
We may see that Yahweh will indeed be avenged on such a nation, which has "waxen rich" through her merchandise, and "prospers" through the merchants of the earth:
"Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double." (Revelation 18:6)
We see here a message of double judgment to that church that persecutes the faithful; and what do we see in Jeremiah to Israel of old?
"Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction." (Jeremiah 17:18)
"And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things." (Jeremiah 16:18)
It was the refusal to be ashamed that caused the fall among them that fall. For Israel of old, it was the refusal to be ashamed of following the idols of the heathen, claiming reliance on Yahweh while sacrificing their children to things that had no power. It was the refusal to be ashamed of calling for aid from heathen armies and nations, relying on Yah's promises for their favor, but not for their protection. For the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, it was the refusal to be ashamed of fornication with the kings of the earth, preaching religious liberty while seeking the imprisonment of the faithful. It was the refusal to be ashamed of relying on the arm of flesh, preaching the Sabbath while resting only in the power of the second beast of Revelation 13.
"They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith Yahweh. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed." (Jeremiah 3:3,5)
In the forehead, where the seal of Yah and mind of Christ is to be found, we find instead the forehead of a harlot and the mind of Babylon in her that had expected the showers of the latter rain. And who are "they" that say these words about a woman, divorced from her husband, becoming another man's and returning?
"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 24:1-4)
Here we find the laws of marriage and remarriage. Here we find the law that a woman, having joined herself not only to another lover as Israel had, but to another husband in marriage, can never return. Of that church that marries the state, it is an eternal truth that they have "fallen among them that fall." It is an eternal truth that she "is defiled," and "her former husband," that is Christ, "may not take her again to be his wife."
This is not a new doctrine; it is the application made by Jeremiah of the law of God to the people of God. As it is written, "I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate [woman]." (Jeremiah 6:2) And again, "Turn, O backsliding children, saith Yahweh; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion." (Jeremiah 3:14)
This is not an old doctrine; it is the application of prophecy made by the Adventist church to every church, without exception: "It has ever been true that a backslidden body, one that has turned from God's word to men, from God's power to the state, was never reformed in itself. Invariably God's message has called out those from the fallen church who would do His will and preach His gospel." [First Quarter Sabbath School, 1896]
"Why did Babylon fall? Ans. Because of rejecting Christ and committing fornication with the kings of the earth. . . What was the next inevitable step for Babylon to take? Ans. The church turned from the Lord and sought power of the state. She left her lawful spouse and committed fornication with the kings of the earth. Compare 2 Cor. 11:2 with Rev. 14:8; 17:2. This was the last step in her separation from Christ. Out of this came persecution of those who did not subscribe to her creed." [Ibid.]
And again, "When the early church departed from God and imbibed pagan errors, she became Babylon. When she united with the state, she fell, and, as an organization, was the body of Christ no longer. While the Reformation churches held fast to the word, Christ was with them. Then they crystallized their various errors into creeds and endeavored thus to confine God's word, they made themselves daughters of Babylon. When some of them united with the state, they fell, and God had to use other people, called out of Babylon to carry forward His work." [Ibid.]
How is it that such things, written from the old covenant to the new, have been forgotten? Thus comes the reply from a fallen church, "Ah, but we have the law, we have the Sabbath, we have the commandments of God and a past gift of prophecy! We cannot go into Babylon while we have the law and the right doctrine on the state of the dead!" We may note that Israel had all these things, and it did not save them.
"Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of Yahweh. How do ye say, We [are] wise, and the law of Yahweh [is] with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he [it]; the pen of the scribes [is] in vain. The wise [men] are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of Yahweh; and what wisdom [is] in them?" (Jeremiah 8:7-9)
What wisdom can be in those who full well reject the testimonies of Yahweh, and "do the very thing He has told them not to do?" It is these "wise scribes" who say "the law of Yahweh is with us" that the very next verses describe:
"For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith Yahweh. I will surely consume them, saith Yahweh: [there shall be] no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and [the things that] I have given them shall pass away from them." (Jeremiah 8:11-13)
While we have seen that much of Revelation 18 refers to Isaiah in previous studies, time will not suffice us to consider all the ways in which Revelation sources Jeremiah. For example, of the fallen church of Revelation 18, we read:
"And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived." (Revelation 18:23)
And, in Jeremiah:
"For thus saith Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride." (Jeremiah 16:9)
Of the false systems of worship in Revelation, we may read:
"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." (Revelation 14:8)
And, in Jeremiah:
"For thus saith Yahweh God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it." (Jeremiah 25:15)
"And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." (Revelation 19:17,20,21)
And, in Jeremiah:
"Therefore thus saith Yahweh; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith Yahweh, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth." (Jeremiah 34:17,20)
We see there are many parallels in terms of the second and third angel's messages; there are messages of Yahweh's judgment on a people who claim to be His while refusing to proclaim liberty. There are messages to those who reckon the true people by organization, and who smite and persecute their brethren. There are messages to those who proclaim the right doctrines and the law while trusting in false idols that cannot save to protect and sustain their institutions. There are messages to those who say "peace, peace;" that they cannot fall, no matter their sins, because God is too merciful, and His promises too grand to be visited in righteous judgment.
Yet in every dispensation, Yahweh does not give messages of judgment and destruction without messages of how to avoid it. He does not give the second and third angel's messages without also giving the first. He does not judge for sin without providing the remedy for sin.
Yahweh gives such messages as these: "Thus saith Yahweh; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from Yahweh." (Jeremiah 17:5)
Yet a few verses later, He also speaks of the prevention, and the cure:
"Blessed [is] the man that trusteth in Yahweh, and whose hope Yahweh is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and [that] spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
To those who make Yahweh their trust, we read the very same new covenant upon which our faith is built:
"But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith Yahweh, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Jeremiah 31:33)
And what is the result of the law being written in our hearts? What is the sign of those who are His people?
"And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." (Jeremiah 32:38-40)
"One heart" is the fruit of those who are known by their love for one another. "One way" is the visible unity of those who walk even as Christ walked, following the lamb withersoever He goeth. "We shall not depart from Him" is the result of His law and His fear, being placed by His Word, in our very souls.
"Behold, I [am] Yahweh, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:27)
"In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this [is the name] wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness." (Jeremiah 33:16)
Here we have the message of the first angel and the third; here we have "righteousness by faith," which gives power to the fourth angel. It is the rejection of this message that prepares the way for every system of falsehood and idolatry. It is the failure to receive this gospel - "Christ in you, the hope of glory" - that prepares a people to seek other hopes for their glory, turning to the arm of flesh, praying to the gods of civil courts, and seeking to cover their lack of righteousness with prosperity and wealth.
"Hath a nation changed [their] gods, which [are] yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for [that which] doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith Yahweh. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." (Jeremiah 2:11-13)
Two evils; first, turning away from Yahweh the source of all, and second, appealing to something man-made that cannot fill the void. First the church leaves purity for apostasy, grieving the Spirit. Second it feels the lack, and rather than repenting, resorts to the broken cisterns of man-made tests and coercion. First she "imbibes pagan errors," then realizing her lack of spiritual power, substitutes earthly power; becoming a persecuting power, she "unites with the state and falls."
"When men indulge this accusing spirit, they are not satisfied with pointing out what they suppose to be a defect in their brother. If milder means fail of making him do what they think ought to be done, they will resort to compulsion. Just as far as lies in their power they will force men to comply with their ideas of what is right. This is what the Jews did in the days of Christ and what the church has done ever since whenever she has lost the grace of Christ. Finding herself destitute of the power of love, she has reached out for the strong arm of the state to enforce her dogmas and execute her decrees. Here is the secret of all religious laws that have ever been enacted, and the secret of all persecution from the days of Abel to our own time.
Christ does not drive but draws men unto Him. The only compulsion which He employs is the constraint of love. When the church begins to seek for the support of secular power, it is evident that she is devoid of the power of Christ-the constraint of divine love." [MB 126-127]
The difference in character between those who worship Yahweh and those who worship Him not, despite claiming the same name, will be fully developed before the world. It is the spirit of love versus the spirit of persecution. It is Yah our Righteousness versus The Law our Righteousness. It is the Sabbath of perfect trust versus the Sabbath of perfect Babylon. It is the Seal of Yahweh verses the Mark of the Beast; the mark of truth or the mark of trade.
"Yahweh shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs [were] set before the temple of Yahweh. . . One basket [had] very good figs, [even] like the figs [that are] first ripe: and the other basket [had] very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. Then said Yahweh unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil." (Jeremiah 24:1-3)
All of mankind will be divided into one of these two baskets before the pronouncement is made, "he that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." (Revelation 22:11)
In the last generation, all will be among the figs that are "as the firstfruits," or will be so rotten that they cannot be eaten, and are spewed out. Let us take the attitude of repentance that both Christ and Jeremiah demonstrated, seeking and doing the perfect will of our Father. "O Yahweh, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Yahweh, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing." (Jeremiah 10:23,24)
So it will be that, the law written in our hearts, having one heart and one way before Him in Yahweh our Righteousness, we shall be found as the firstfruits. So we will meet Him without enduring the grave, receiving the promise: "But I will deliver thee in that day, saith Yahweh: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou [art] afraid. For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith Yahweh." (Jeremiah 39:17,18)
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