From Exodus To Calvary: The Church Then
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 1 Corinthians 10:11
All the great events and solemn transactions of Old Testament history have been, and are, repeating themselves in the church in these last days. Selected Messages, Book 3, 339
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:6–13
Lusting in the wilderness:
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 1 Corinthians 10:6
And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. That place was called Kibroth hattaavah the graves of sensuous desire, or the graves of lust, because there they buried the people who lusted, whose physical appetite caused them to sin. Numbers 11:4, 6, 33 KJV, 34, The Amplified Bible
The light that God has given and will continue to give on the food question is to be to His people what the manna was to the children of Israel. Medical Ministry, 267
As God gave manna from heaven to sustain the children of Israel, so He will give His people in different places skill and wisdom to use the productions of these countries in making foods that will take the place of meat. These foods must be made in the different countries; for to transport foods from one country to another makes them so expensive that the poor cannot afford to buy them. The Kress Collection, 133
I was shown that the work of health reform has scarcely been entered upon yet. While some feel deeply and act out their faith in the work, others remain indifferent and have scarcely taken the first step in reform. There seems to be in them a heart of unbelief, and, as this reform restricts the lustful appetite, many shrink back. They have other gods before the Lord. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 486
Do not, I beg of you, look on the dark side. When the Israelites were content with the portion of manna that God gave, they found that it was sweet, and full of nourishment for both body and soul. When they were dissatisfied, there were worms in the manna. Contentment is a blessing, and discontent a curse. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1807
The Holy Spirit through the Scriptures says that we who live in these last days are not to lust after evil things. That which was accounted as “evil things” in the wilderness was a diet of flesh in contrast to the diet of manna that God gave. Thus we who live at the end of time and whom God is desiring to lead to heavenly Canaan, are being called to God’s modern manna. That is living upon the fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables that God has provided in nearly every country on the globe. To openly disregard God's plan will as in the days of ancient Israel lead us to a “physical appetite” that “causes them (us to sin).”
Idolatry ancient and modern:
Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 1 Corinthians 10:7
Play—(to dance and give way to jesting and hilarity)
And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Exodus 32:6–9
Play—To laugh outright (in merriment or scorn) to sport.
Surely in this enlightened age God’s people could not and would not fall into idolatry. Yet this example is given as a warning for those living at the end of time.
The apostle Paul plainly states that the experience of the Israelites in their travels has been recorded for the benefit of those living in this age of the world, those upon whom the ends of the world are come. We do not consider that our dangers are any less than those of the Hebrews, but greater. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 358
In concluding this narrative, I would say that we are living in a most solemn time. In the last vision given me, I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved. Many will get above the simplicity of the work. They will conform to the world, cherish idols, and become spiritually dead. The humble, self-sacrificing followers of Jesus will pass on to perfection, leaving behind the indifferent and lovers of the world.
I was pointed back to ancient Israel. But two of there adults of the vast army that left Egypt entered the land of Canan. Their dead bodies were strewn in the wilderness because of their transgressions. Modern Israel are in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than were His ancient people. Many Idols are worshipped, even by professed Sabbathkeepers. God especially charged His ancient people to guard against idolatry, for if they should be led away from serving the living God, His curse would rest upon them, while if they would obey Him with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their might. He would abundantly bless them in basket and in store, and would remove sickness from the midst of them.
A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God—a blessing if they come out from the world and are separate, and walk in the path of humble obedience; and a curse if they unite with the idolatrous, who trample upon the high claims of heaven. The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 608, 609
Those who conform to the pleasures of this world are setting idols before there face and will meet the same fate as did the rebellious of Israel. What is this idolatry that modern Israel is in danger of following?
Man is forbidden to give to any other object the first place in his affections or his service. Whatever we cherish that tends to lessen our love for God or to interfere with the service due Him, of that do we make a god. Patriarchs and Prophets, 305
Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. The love of money, the desire for wealth, is the golden chain that binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshipped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. But these slavish bands must be broken. We cannot be half the Lord's and half the world's. We are not God's children unless we are such entirely. Steps to Christ, 44
There is among us as a people an idolatry of human instrumentality’s and mere human talent, and these even of a superficial character. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 75
The most grievous sin of idolatry exists in the church. And he who interposes between the professed Christian and his wholehearted service to God, takes the form of an idol, and the most grievous sin of idolatry is idolatry itself. Manuscript Releases vol. 12, 330
They are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame who mind earthly things. Philippians 3:18, 19
I was shown that the work of health reform has scarcely been entered upon yet. While some feel deeply, and act out their faith in the work, others remain indifferent and have scarcely taken the first step in reform. There seems to be in them a heart of unbelief, and as this reform restricts the lustful appetite, many shrink back. They have other gods before the Lord. Their taste, their appetite, is their god, and when the ax is laid at the root of the tree, and those who have indulged their depraved appetites at the expense of health are touched, their sin pointed out, their idols shown them, they do not wish to be convinced; and although God’s voice should speak directly to them to put away those health-destroying indulgences, some would still cling to the hurtful things which they love.
They seem joined to their idols, and God will soon say to His angels, Let them alone. . . . I saw that we as a people must make an advance move in this great work. Ministers and people must act in concert. God’s people are not prepared for the loud cry of the third angel. They have a work to do for themselves which they should not leave for God to do for them. He has left this work for them to do. It is an individual work; one cannot do it for another. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 486
No outward shrines may be visible, there may be no image for the eye to rest upon, yet we may be practicing idolatry. It is as easy to make an idol of cherished ideas or objects as to fashion gods of wood and stone. Thousands have a false conception of God and His attributes. They are verily serving a false god as were the servants of Baal. Are we worshipping the true God as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, in nature, or are we adoring some philosophical idol enshrined in His place? God is a God of truth. Justice and mercy are the attributes of His throne. He is a God of love, of pity and tender compassion. Thus He is represented in His Son, our Saviour. He is a God of patience and long-suffering. If such is the being whom we adore and to whose character we are seeking to assimilate, we are worshipping the true God. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 173, 174
So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]; sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God). Colossians 3:5. (See Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 839, 840; page 44 this book.)
Modern Israel—professed Seventh-day Adventists are to take heed, to “watch and pray always,” for we are in greater danger of following idols than was ancient Israel. This idolatry is far more pervasive and subtle than merely worshiping objects of wood and stone, for it incorporates our very thoughts, motives and understanding. Thus, the admonition for professed Christians in these last days is “little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” 1 John 5:21
Fornication in the wilderness then and now:
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 1 Corinthians 10:8
And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor. Numbers 25:1–5
They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. Psalm 106:28
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:11, 12. Satan well knows the material with which he has to deal in the human heart. He knows—for he has studied with fiendish intensity for thousands of years—the points most easily assailed in every character; and through successive generations he has wrought to overthrow the strongest men, princes in Israel, by the same temptations that were so successful at Baalpeor. ….
As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul. It is not the ignorant and uncultured merely that need to be guarded; he will prepare his temptations for those in the highest positions, in the most holy office; if he can lead them to pollute their souls, he can through them destroy many. And he employs the same agents now as he employed three thousand years ago. By worldly friendships, by the charms of beauty, by pleasure seeking, mirth, feasting, or the wine cup, he tempts to the violation of the seventh commandment. Patriarchs and Prophets, 457, 458
It was the traitors within the walls that overthrew the strongholds of principle and betrayed Israel into the power of Satan. Patriarchs and Prophets, 459
Satan is continually seeking to overcome the people of God by breaking down the barriers which separate them from the world. Ancient Israel were enticed into sin when they ventured into forbidden association with the heathen. In a similar manner are modern Israel led astray. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4:4.
All who are not decided followers of Christ are servants of Satan. In the unregenerate heart there is love of sin, and a disposition to cherish and excuse it. In the renewed heart there is hatred of sin, and determined resistance against it. When Christians choose the society of the ungodly and unbelieving, they expose themselves to temptation. Satan conceals himself from view, and stealthily draws his deceptive covering over their eyes. They cannot see that such company is calculated to do them harm; and while all the time assimilating to the world in character, words, and actions, they are becoming more and more blinded. The Great Controversy 1888 edition, 508
Now the question is, Will those who profess the truth comply with the conditions? Will the characters of those who profess to believe the truth correspond with its sacredness? Satan’s special efforts are now directed toward the people who have great light. He would lead them to become earthly and sensual. There are men who minister in sacred things whose hearts are defiled with impure thoughts and unholy desires. Married men who have children are not satisfied. They place themselves where they invite temptation. They take liberties which should only be taken with their lawful wives. Thus they fall under the rebuke of God, and in the books of heaven “Adultery” is written opposite their names. Manuscript Releases Volume 21, 385
Modern Israel is admonished to flee from fornication, which is sexual uncleanness, be it in the marriage relationship or outside of marriage. By virtue of this warning for us at the end of time, we must be especially prayerful and watchful lest we too fall into this most grievous sin.
Murmuring and complaining:
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 1 Corinthians 10:9, 10
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. Numbers 21:5
The murmurings of ancient Israel and their rebellious discontent, as well as the mighty miracles wrought in their favor and the punishment of their idolatry and ingratitude, are recorded for our benefit. The example of ancient Israel is given as a warning to the people of God, that they may avoid unbelief and escape His wrath. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 11, 12
It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Caana, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in “because of unbelief”: their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them.
For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years. Evangelism 696
There will be temptations to jealousies and murmuring, and there will be outspoken rebellion, as are recorded of ancient Israel. There will ever be a spirit to rise up against the reproof of sins and wrongs. But shall the voice of reproof be hushed because of this? If so, we shall be in no better situation than are the various denominations in our land who are afraid to touch the errors and prevailing sins of the people.
Those whom God has set apart as ministers of righteousness have solemn responsibilities laid upon them to reprove the sins of the people. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 358
Had the children of Israel, as they journeyed, called to mind the wonderful deliverance which God had wrought for them in breaking from their necks the yoke of Egyptian bondage, had they dwelt upon the many precious and miraculous revelations of divine power in their behalf, they might have strengthened the courage of the fainthearted and unbelieving, and thus averted the terrible judgments which had fallen upon them. But light had become darkness to them, and darkness light. Egypt looked brighter and more desirable than liberty and the land to which God was leading them.
Thus it is with many professed Christians at the present day. They become weary of self-denial and humiliation. They desire an easier path, in which there is less self-restraint, in which there is no necessity for a constant, individual effort. Their hearts are ever pleading, “I pray thee, have me excused.” They have no love for duty, no affinity for wholesome restraint and discipline. They act over the experience of ancient Israel, in doubting and murmuring.
They dwell upon the objectionable features in their experience, and with their spiritual sight dimmed, everything pertaining to their religious life wears a dark, forbidding aspect. They begin to turn toward the world, as the hearts of the Israelites were constantly turning back to Egypt. In conversation, in dress, in deportment, this class manifest a conformity to the world. How dwelleth the love of Christ in them? Signs of the Times, October 21, 1880
I saw that many who profess to believe the truth for these last days think it strange that the children of Israel murmured as they journeyed; that after the wonderful dealings of God with them, they should be so ungrateful as to forget what He had done for them. Said the angel: “Ye have done worse than they.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 129
Modern Israel is called to avoid mocking Christ by unbelief and murmuring. We do this by a refusal to follow God's expressed will in His word and through His prophet. When we refuse to follow Inspiration and choose the ways of man, we are guilty as the angel said and “Ye have done worse than they.”
The Sin of Nadab and Abihu:
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Leviticus 10:1, 2
Those who become careless and reckless and self-indulgent, do not stop to think of the consequences of their actions. Thus it was with Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron. The word of God had given specific direction that sacred fire only was to be used in the service of God. But the senses of Nadab and Abihu were beclouded with wine, and they offered strange fire before God. They placed themselves in a position where they could not distinguish between the sacred and the common.…
How often the actions of these men have been repeated! In a careless manner, the sacred work of God has been mingled with common ideas. This has cheapened the truth. Human opinions have been brought to the front, and unsanctified propositions, born wholly of self, have been acted upon. If those who have done this could see the results of their work, if they could know what it means to turn things upside down, they would tremble before God. Special Testimonies Series A, Number 10, 10
But strange fire has been offered in the use of (1) harsh words, in (2) self-importance, (3) in self-exaltation, (4) in self-righteousness, (5) in arbitrary authority, (6) in domineering, (7) in oppression, (8) in restricting the liberty of God’s people, binding them about by your plans and rules, which God has not framed, neither have they come into his mind. All these things are strange fire, unacknowledged by God, and are a continual misrepresentation of his character. Special Testimonies Series A, Number 9, page 14, or Testimonies to Ministers, 357, 358
Many of the professed priests of modern Israel have offered, and are offering “strange fire” in their service to God and in their ministry for His people. While sentence against this evil work of offering strange fire is delayed, nevertheless it is an abomination to God that will meet a just punishment unless there is genuine repentance.
Rebellion of Korah:
Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? Numbers 16:1–3
These rebellious ones had flattered the people in general to believe that they were right, and that all their troubles arose from Moses their ruler, who was continually reminding them of their sins. The people thought if Korah could lead them, and encourage them, and dwell upon their righteous acts, instead of reminding them of their failures, they should have a very peaceful, prosperous journey, and he would without doubt lead them, not back and forward in the wilderness, but into the promised land. Spiritual Gifts, Volume 4A, 31
The facts relative to Korah and his company, who rebelled against Moses and Aaron, and against Jehovah, are recorded for a warning to God's people, especially those who live upon the earth near the close of time. Satan has led persons to imitate the example of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, in raising insurrection among the people of God. Those who permit themselves to rise in opposition to the plain testimony, become self-deceived, and have really thought that those upon whom God laid the burden of His work were exalted above the people of God, and that their counsels and reproofs were uncalled for. Counsels on Diet and Foods, 428
If you seek to turn aside the counsel of God to suit yourselves, if you lessen the confidence of God’s people in the testimonies, he has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 66
This rebellion of the princes of Israel, the equivalent of modern day denominational employees, and local church leaders is being repeated. Those who oppose revival and reformation while bringing in ideas contrary to God’s plan, those who refuse to separate from sin, and those who disregard the Spirit of Prophecy are reenacting this rebellion. Moreover, they will meet with the same destruction unless they quickly and thoroughly repent.
Rebellion on the border of Canaan:
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost, saith Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:7–10, 13
At Rochester, New York, December 25, 1865, I was shown many things concerning the people of God in connection with His work for these last days. I saw that many professed Sabbathkeepers will come short of everlasting life. They fail to take warning from the course pursued by the children of Israel and fall into some of their evil ways. If they continue in these sins they will fall like the Israelites and never enter the heavenly Canaan. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 533
In His Word the Lord declared what He would do for Israel if they would obey His voice. But the leaders of the people yielded to the temptations of Satan, and God could not give them the blessings He designed them to have, because they did not obey His voice but listened to the voice and policy of Lucifer. This experience will be repeated in the last years of the history of the people of God, who have been established by His grace and power. Men whom He has greatly honored will in the closing scenes of this earth's history pattern after ancient Israel. Hebrews 3:7–13 quoted…
Bear this in mind. History is being repeated. The perils that God’s people encountered in past ages, they will encounter again, intensified. Satan has obtained influence over men whom God has honored above all human intelligence, as He honored Solomon.
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him?” Hebrews 2:1-3. Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 379, 380
Modern Israel’s love of sin and the refusal to yield the whole heart to God and follow His ways explicitly will leave the majority of modern Israel outside of the heavenly Canaan.
Retreating to Egypt then and now:
And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Numbers 14:3, 4
Great light has been shining upon the church, and by it they are condemned because they refuse to walk in it. If they were blind they would be without sin. But they have seen light and have heard much truth, yet are not wise and holy. Many have for years made no advancement in knowledge and true holiness. They are spiritual dwarfs. Instead of going forward to perfection, they are going back to the darkness and bondage of Egypt. Their minds are not exercised unto godliness and true holiness. Testimonies for the Church vol. 2, 124
I have been instructed that the arbitrary authority exercised at one time in Battle Creek to control all our publishing houses was never again to have sway. To make such propositions was more like going back to Egypt than on to Canaan. Spalding and Magan Collection, 279
We have been going back to Egypt rather than on to Canaan. Shall we not reverse the order of things? Shall we not have plain, wholesome food on our tables? … Those who elevate the standard as nearly as they can to the order of God, according to the light God has given them through His word and the testimonies of His spirit, will not change their course of action to meet the wishes of their friends or relatives, be they one or two or a host, who are living contrary to God’s wise arrangement. If we move from principle in these things, if we observe strict rules of diet, if as Christians, we educate our tastes after God’s plan, we shall exert an influence which will meet the mind of God. The question is, are we willing to be true health reformers? Testimony Studies on Diet and Foods, 69
I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing, and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders. The church has turned back from following Christ her leader, and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 217
The people of God will be tested and proved. A close and searching work must go on among Sabbathkeepers. Like ancient Israel, how soon we forget God and His wondrous works, and rebel against Him. Some look to the world and desire to follow its fashions and participate in its pleasure, just as the children of Israel looked back to Egypt and lusted for the good things which they had enjoyed there, and which God chose to withhold from them to prove them and thereby test their fidelity to Him. He wished to see if His people valued His service, and the freedom He had so miraculously given them, more highly than the indulgences they enjoyed in Egypt while in servitude to a tyrannical, idolatrous people.
All true followers of Jesus will have sacrifices to make. God will prove them and test the genuineness of their faith. I have been shown that the true followers of Jesus will discard picnics, donations, shows, and other gatherings for pleasure. They can find no Jesus there, and no influence which will make them heavenly minded and increase their growth in grace. The Word of God obeyed leads us to come out from all these things and be separate. The things of the world are sought for, and considered worthy to be admired and enjoyed, by all those who are not devoted lovers of the cross and spiritual worshipers of a crucified Jesus. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 287, 288
God will have a separate and distinct people from the world. And if any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as his children. They are the children of the world and darkness. They hanker after the leeks and onions of Egypt, want to be as much like the world as possible; and those who profess to have put on Christ, by thus doing put him off, and show that they are strangers to grace, strangers to the meek and lowly Jesus. If they had acquainted themselves with him, they would walk worthy of him. Review and Herald, January 13, 1863 see 1T 287, 288
Professed Seventh-day Adventists claim to have been delivered from the bondage of Egypt. Yet by our deeds and attitudes, we show the desire like many in ancient Israel that we are going back to Egypt. By our lives, we show that we are in fact in Egyptian bondage. That is why we are lovers of the things of this world rather than obedient children of God.
Settling down in ease not conquering new territory:
And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you? Joshua 18:3, see Judges 1:27–33 2:2, 3.
When the Israelites entered Canaan, they did not fulfill God’s purpose by taking possession of the whole land. After making a partial conquest, they settled down to enjoy the fruit of their victories. In their unbelief and love of ease they congregated in the portions already conquered, instead of pushing forward to occupy new territory. Thus they began to depart from God. By their failure to carry out His purpose they made it impossible for Him to fulfill to them His promise of blessing.
Is not the church of today doing the same thing ? With the whole world before them in need of the gospel, professed Christians congregate where they themselves can enjoy gospel privileges. They do not feel the necessity of occupying new territory, carrying the message of salvation into regions beyond. They refuse to fulfill Christ’s commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Are they less guilty than was the Jewish church? Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 119
Ancient Israel loved ease and exhibited an unwillingness to sacrifice and follow God’s way in taking hold of all the promised land. This began their departure from God. So professed SDA’s love of ease and an unwillingness to sacrifice to take the three angels messages to every nation, kindred, tongue and people is causing us to depart from God.
Rejecting God and His prophets and seeking a king:
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 1 Samuel 8:19, 20, 7
I was shown that the follies of Israel in the days of Samuel will be repeated unless men have greater humility and less confidence in themselves, and greater confidence in the Lord God of Israel, the Ruler of His people. The ability and wisdom of any man is only derived from God. Connected with God, his life bound up with God, he will work the works of God. God has wisdom underived. He is the Infinite One; the human is finite, erring. He is the Fountain of the light and life and glory of the world. One leak will sink the mightiest vessel that ever rode the proud ocean; so will the church make shipwreck amid the perils of these last days unless the holy Captain of her salvation shall not only serve as Captain but Pilot.
We have a living Head, and every man in office where sacred responsibilities are involved must inquire at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” He must look constantly and continuously to Jesus for His guidance, and maintain principle at any cost. It is not what finite men can do, but what God can do through finite men who are teachable, humble, unselfish, and sanctified. We cannot put the least confidence in human ability, unless the divine power cooperate with the human. When men make God their trust, it will be evidenced by meekness, by much prayer, by love, by Christian politeness and genuine courtesy to all people, and by great caution in their position and movements. They will reveal dependence upon God, and give evidence that they have a firm platform of solid, uncontaminated principle beneath their feet. These men will show that they have the mind of Christ. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 919, 920
I was shown that the follies of Israel in the days of Samuel will be repeated among the people of God today, unless there is greater humility, less confidence in self, and more trust in the Lord God of Israel, the Ruler of the people. It is only as divine power is combined with human effort that—the work will abide the test. When men lean no longer on men or on their own judgment, but make God their trust, it will be made manifest in every instance by meekness of spirit, by less talking and much more praying, by the exercise of caution in their plans and movements. Such men will reveal the fact that their dependence is in God that they have the mind of Christ.
Again and again I have been shown that the people of God in these last days could not be safe in trusting in men , and making flesh their arm. The mighty cleaver of truth has taken them out of the world as rough stones that are to be hewed and squared and polished for the heavenly building. They must be hewed by the prophets with reproof, warning, admonition, and advice, that they may be fashioned after the divine Pattern; this is the specified work of the Comforter, to transform heart and character, that men may keep the way of the Lord. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 953
We must make God our explicit trust following His counsels and ways rather than our own. For Christ through His word and His prophet must be our head. Apart from this we as individuals, churches or leaders choose another king over Jehovah.
Rejecting the prophets:
Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear. 2 Chronicles 24:19
And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. Jeremiah 25:4
My message will become more and more pointed, as was the message of John the Baptist, even though it cost me my life. The people shall not be deceived.
I have been instructed that there are in Battle Creek [church Headquarters at the time this was written] men who are or have been connected with our institutions, who have rejected light, and chosen their own perverse way. Unless these men are converted, they will become Satan’s decoys, to lead souls away from the truth. At times they will work to undermine the confidence of those in whose minds they can plant the seeds of doubt and questioning. They hate the testimonies of reproof sent them, and refuse to follow the light given by God to direct their feet in the right way. Special Testimonies series B, Number 2, 22, 23
Brethren, you are urging me to come to your campmeetings. I must tell you plainly that the course pursued toward me and my work since the Gen. Conference at Minneapolis—your resistance of the light and warnings that God has given through me—has made my labor fifty times harder than it would otherwise have been. I find that my words have far less influence upon the minds of our people than upon unbelievers whose hearts have not been hardened by rejecting the light.
I have no word from the Lord to labor for you in the camp meetings, to repeat to you, little by little, that which, at great cost and labor I have published for your benefit. As you feel no burden to obtain and circulate the books, I feel that my oral testimony would make no lasting impression. I have no courage to meet you in campmeeting. It seems to me that you have cast aside the word of the Lord as unworthy of your notice. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 659
I have been shown that unbelief in the Testimonies has been steadily increasing as the people backslide from God. It is all through our ranks, all over the field. But few know what our churches are to experience. I saw that at present we are under divine forbearance, but no one can say how long this will continue. No one knows how great the mercy that has been exercised toward us. But few are heartily devoted to God. There are only a few who, like the stars in a tempestuous night, shine here and there among the clouds. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 75, 76
Ancient Israel seemed to ever be in opposition to God’s prophets. Modern Israel is walking in the same path, rejecting God's prophets of old, and God’s modern day messenger, choosing instead to walk in the path of their own imagination.
Casting God's Word into the fire:
Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’s house, in the ears of all the people. And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.
So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. Jeremiah 20:10, 20–24
Some in the experience of the past few years have virtually repeated the act of king Jehoiakim in burning the messages of the Spirit of God. But today as of old these messages of warning have been repeated. …
The Lord has been trifled with by his people. The time that should have been devoted to repentance and reform has been spent in criticism and in following man-formed opinions and ideas. A terrible influence for evil is exerted when men turn from the right way to follow selfish devisings. Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men, and he is gaining the victory. We can learn from a study of King Jehoiakim’s example what men will do when they pass the boundary line. We see it in the persecution and suffering that Christ endured at the hands of wicked men. We see it in the treatment that the Lord's faithful servants in every age have received. Paulson Collection, 80
Taking another roll, Jeremiah gave it to Baruch, “who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.” Verses 28, 32. The wrath of man had sought to prevent the labors of the prophet of God; but the very means by which Jehoiakim had endeavored to limit the influence of the servant of Jehovah, gave further opportunity for making plain the divine requirements.
The spirit of opposition to reproof, that led to the persecution and imprisonment of Jeremiah, exists today. Many refuse to heed repeated warnings, preferring rather to listen to false teachers who flatter their vanity and overlook their evildoing. In the day of trouble such will have no sure refuge, no help from heaven. … Prophets and Kings, 437
Many now despise the faithful reproof given of God in testimony. I have been shown that some in these days have even gone so far as to burn the written words of rebuke and warning, as did the wicked king of Israel. But opposition to God’s threatenings will not hinder their execution. To defy the words of the Lord, spoken through His chosen instruments, will only provoke His anger and eventually bring certain ruin upon the offender. Indignation often kindles in the heart of the sinner against the agent whom God chooses to deliver His reproofs. It has ever been thus, and the same spirit exists today that persecuted and imprisoned Jeremiah for obeying the word of the Lord. Testimonies for the Church vol. 4, 180
Those who are willing to have the straight, plain messages of God consumed, to get them out of their sight, will only give increased publicity to, and confirmation of, the messages that they dismissed and repulsed. When the Lord sends a message to any man or woman, and they refuse to be corrected, refuse to receive it, that is not the end of the message by any means. All the transaction is recorded, and those who took part in it, by their refusal to be corrected, pronounce their own sentence against themselves. Special Testimonies Series B, Number 7, 254
Those who despise, ignore, or reject the words of God through His prophets become as guilty as the king who burned the words of Jeremiah.
Accepting false prophets:
I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. Jeremiah 14:16, 17
These false prophets will have to be met. They will make an effort to deceive many, by (1) leading them to accept false theories. (2) Many scriptures will be misapplied in such a way that deceptive theories will apparently be based upon the words that God has spoken. (3) Precious truth will be appropriated to substantiate and establish error. These false prophets, who claim to be taught of God, (4) will take beautiful scriptures that have been given to adorn the truth, and will use them as a robe of righteousness to cover false and dangerous theories. And even some of those who in times past the Lord has honored, will depart so far from the truth as to advocate misleading theories regarding many phases of truth, including the sanctuary question.—Ms. 11, 1906. Manuscript Releases vol. 4, 146
Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much. “If thou hadst known,” said Christ, “even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” Testimonies for Ministers, 409, 410
False prophets were not limited merely to Bible times, neither are they found only in the fallen churches of Babylon. Even among God’s professed people are to be found false prophets. Like in ancient Israel, it is often the false prophet who is most popular and accepted, and it is the false prophets who most often influenced the kings of Israel rather than God's true prophets. Thus it is today, the princes of Israel—the leaders, and people are more often giving heed to the false notions of the modern day false prophets who are despisers of a plain “thus saith the Lord.”
A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; (power, direction) and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? Jeremiah 5:30, 31
I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. Jeremiah 23:25–26
To the end of time, men will arise to create confusion and rebellion among the people who profess to obey the law of God. But as surely as divine judgment was visited upon the false prophets in Jeremiah’s day, so surely will the evil workers of today receive their full measure of retribution, for the Lord has not changed. Those who prophesy lies, encourage men to look upon sin as a light thing. When the terrible results of their evil deeds are made manifest, they seek, if possible, to make the one who has faithfully warned them responsible for their difficulties, even as the Jews charged Jeremiah with their evil fortunes. Review and Herald, March 14, 1907
There will be counterfeit messages coming from persons in all directions. One after another will rise up, appearing to be inspired, when they have not the inspiration of heaven, but are under the deception of the enemy. All who receive their messages will be led astray. Then let us walk carefully, and not open wide the door for the enemy to enter through impressions, dreams, and visions. God help us to look in faith to Jesus, and be guided by the words He has spoken.—Letter 66, 1894. Selected Messages Book 3, 404
Both in ancient and in modern Israel false prophets have prophesied lies, whose end result leads the people to believe they can be saved in their sin and rebellion. And even worse they come to believe their sin and rebellion is the narrow way and the true path to God. Thus through the lies and teachings of the false prophets people are heading to perdition thinking they are going to heaven. The effect of the false prophets is the same as that upon ancient Israel who claimed to be God’s children not knowing they were divorcing themselves from God.
History repeated in rejecting light:
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16
But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Jeremiah 7:23, 24
Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up. Jeremiah 18:15
I have been shown that the spirit of the world is fast leavening the church. You are following the same path as did ancient Israel. There is the same falling away from your holy calling as God’s peculiar people. You are having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Your concord with unbelievers has provoked the Lord’s displeasure. You know not the things that belong to your peace, and they are fast being hid from your eyes. Your neglect to follow the light will place you in a more unfavorable position than the Jews upon whom Christ pronounced a woe. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 75, 76
The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the expressed will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps, and the displeasure of the Lord is as surely resting upon them. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 94. (See Review and Herald vol. 2, 433.)
In rebellion while claiming to be obedient:
Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number. Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned. Jeremiah 2:32, 35
And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God? Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law. Jeremiah 16:10, 11
In the days of Samuel, Israel thought that the presence of the ark containing the commandments of God would gain them the victory over the Philistines, whether or not they repented of their wicked works. Just so, in Jeremiah’s time, the Jews believed that the strict observance of the divinely appointed services of the temple would preserve them from the just punishment of their evil course.
The same danger exists today among the people who profess to be the depositaries of God’s law . They are too apt to flatter themselves that the regard in which they hold the commandments will preserve them from the power of divine justice. They refuse to be reproved for evil, and charge God’s servants with being too zealous in putting sin out of the camp. A sin-hating God calls upon those who profess to keep His law to depart from all iniquity. Neglect to repent and obey His word will bring as serious consequences upon God’s people today as did the same sin upon ancient Israel. There is a limit beyond which He will no longer delay His judgments. The desolation of Jerusalem stands as a solemn warning before the eyes of modern Israel, that the corrections given through His chosen instruments cannot be disregarded with impunity. Testimonies for the Church vol. 4, 166, 167
As ancient Israel rejected God’s word they declined more and more both as a nation and as an instrumentality in God's hands. The deception of believing they were God's children while yet in rebellion reached its height when they claimed in John chapter 8 to have never been in bondage. Yet they had been under the control of Rome for decades and throughout their history had been in subjection to many nations. As Jesus so aptly pointed out the real bondage they were in, was the bondage of sin and the control of Satan. Yet the majority continued to believe they were God's children while persecuting Jesus who was “God manifest in the flesh.”
Modern Israel, professed Seventh-day Adventists are moving in the same track of professing to be obedient children of God, while in outright rejection of God’s counsel through His word and prophet. We join our hospitals with Roman Catholic hospitals and call it successful cooperation. We belong to ecumenical organizations, dialogue with fallen churches, and call it discovering truth. We bring fellow Seventh-day Adventist believers before courts of law who are giving the three angles messages, yet publish and promote religious liberty. Truly we claim obedience in our institutions and in our churches and in our homes but we are in too many cases in insubordination thus we are told, “the desolation of Jerusalem stands as a solemn warning before the eyes of modern Israel, that the corrections given through His chosen instruments cannot be disregarded with impunity.” Testimonies for the Church vol. 4, 166, 167
Trusted in their relationship to the structure rather than God:
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And [then dare to] come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name, and say, [By the discharge of this religious formality] we are set free!—only to go on with this wickedness and these abominations? Has this house, which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes a place of retreat for you between acts of violence? Behold, I myself have seen it says the Lord. Jeremiah 7:3–9, KJV, verses 10, 11 Amplified
What is it that constitutes the wretchedness, the nakedness of those who feel rich and increased with goods?—It is the want of the righteousness of Christ. In their own righteousness they are represented as clothed with filthy rags, and yet in this condition they flatter themselves that they are clothed upon with Christ’s righteousness. Could deception be greater? As is represented by the prophet, they may be crying, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we,” while their hearts are filled with unholy traffic and unrighteous barter.
The courts of the soul-temple may be the haunt of envy, pride, passion, evil surmising, bitterness, and hollow formalism. Christ looks mournfully upon his professed people who feel rich and increased in the knowledge of the truth, and who are yet destitute of the truth in life and character and unconscious of their destitute condition. (1) In sin and unbelief, they (2) lightly regard the warnings and counsels of his servants, and (3) treat his ambassadors with scorn and contempt, (4) while their words of reproof are regarded as idle tales. (5) Discernment seems to have departed, and they have no power to discriminate between the light which God sends them and the darkness that comes from the enemy of their souls. Review and Herald, August 7, 1894, vol. 3, 173
I am instructed to say that the church needs to take a much higher view of what is comprehended in yielding all to God. When the individual members of the church are obedient to the commands of God, following in the way which Christ has trodden before them, they will find fewer difficulties to encounter. The distress and sorrow that are the result of wrong moves, will no more prove their destruction. Self-sufficiency will be purged from the soul. God's people will eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood. From the heart they will obey the commandments.…
These are not the words of Sister White, but the words of the Lord, and His messenger has given them to me to give to you. God calls upon you to no longer work at cross purposes with Him. Much instruction was given in regard to men claiming to be Christian when they are revealing the attributes of Satan, counteracting in spirit, word, and action the advancement of truth, and are surely following the path where Satan is leading them. In their hardness of heart they have grasped authority which in no way belongs to them, and which they should not exercise. Saith the great Teacher, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn.” Men say in Battle Creek, [Then GC headquarters] “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we” but they are using common fire. Their hearts are not softened and subdued by the grace of God.
Many claiming to obey the truth are captives to Satan's rule. And they have no power from his snare to go, for they have submitted to his way so long. How long will they act on the principles of the power of darkness? I am instructed to say to you, my brethren in every place, “It is high time that ye awake out of sleep. Put off the works of selfishness and darkness. No longer abuse the sacred principles of heaven by your unrighteousness, lest in your experience the history of the children of Israel is repeated. Take heed lest ye fall after the same example of unbelief. We are now a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. Satan has linked your arm, who have given him opportunity, within his arm.” Manuscript Release, vol. 13, 222, 223
Dear Brethren Who Occupy Responsible Positions in the Work: The Lord has a controversy with you. I have no need to specify the reasons; you have had them laid open before you again and again. The clean hands, the pure, unselfish, holy purposes have not been brought into your practice, and the benediction of God has not come upon many of those who handle sacred things. The lifting up of the soul and speaking vanity, and the lifting up of men to manage their fellow men, body and soul, is all open before God, with whom we have to do. There is no man or set of men that can manage men. “All ye are brethren.” The Holy Spirit of God alone can do this. When you, because of your position, supposed you could say the word, and it would be done just after your idea, you made a mistake. Truth, honor, and integrity have been compromised to gain certain advantages. Justice hath fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
Religious principles have been corrupted. We will either make more pure, noble, and holy the principles held by God's heritage, or else we will mislead by false proposition, unholy schemes, saying, “The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are we.” The work and cause of the Lord are sacred. There is to be no mingling of human, common, unholy fire with God’s offering. This has been and is still being done; but the men are blind, and see not the result of their zealous efforts. The question is, shall those who are called from place to place to act a part in the sacred work of God, use the fire of God’s own kindling? or shall they use the common fire, of which not one spark should be used, to kindle the incense upon the censors which are offered to God? The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1476
The deception of the human heart in both ancient and modern Israel leads people to believe an intellectual profession of truth or an outward attachment to some of the visible forms of religion constitutes salvation. These outward forms of religion largely without heart conversion takes the place in the thinking of many that this constitutes an assurance of acceptance with God, and is the essence of being a Seventh-day Adventist. Not knowing that the essence of Christianity and being a Seventh-day Adventist is an experience, thus many accept God’s forgiveness of sin, but never follow on to the experience spoken of in Romans 6:22—“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” This deception led to the ruin of the vast majority of Israel, and will again lead to the loss of most within the ranks of Seventh-day Adventism.
Abominations that lead to Babylonian captivity:
Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up; To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head. I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity. Jeremiah 18:15–17
And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. Jeremiah 11:9–11
Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations. And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear. Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. Nehemiah 9:26, 29, 30
I have seen the condition of the people professing the truth. The words of the prophet Ezekiel are applicable to them at this time: “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face; should I be inquired of at all by them. Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God: Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols.”
If we love the things of the world and have pleasure in unrighteousness or fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness we have put the stumbling block of our iniquity before our face and have set up idols in our heart. And unless by determined effort we put them away we shall never be acknowledged as the sons and daughters of God. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 164
When I study the Scriptures, I am alarmed for the Israel of God in these last days. They are exhorted to flee from idolatry. (1) I fear that they are asleep and so conformed to the world that it would be difficult to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. (2) The distance is widening between Christ and His people, and lessening between them and the world. (3) The marks of distinction between Christ’s professed people and the world have almost disappeared. Like ancient Israel, they follow after the abominations of the nations around them. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 277
The Israel of God in these last days are in constant danger of mingling with the world, and losing all signs of their being the chosen people of God. Read again Titus 2:13–15. We are brought down to the last days, when God is purifying unto himself a peculiar people. Shall we provoke God as did ancient Israel? Shall we bring his wrath upon us by departing from him and mingling with the world, and following the abominations of the nations around us? Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4B, 74
The distance is widening between Christ and his people, and lessening between them and the world. The marks of distinction between Christ’s professed people and the world, have almost disappeared. They follow after the abominations of the nations around them, as did ancient Israel. Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4B, 68
But through their own course of rebellion the blessing of God toward Israel was turned away from them. That which they had sown in questioning and unbelief, they had to reap. The record says, “But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” May the Lord forbid that the history of the children of Israel in departing from God, in refusing to walk in the light, in refusing to confess their sins of unbelief and rejection of his messages, should be the experience of the people claiming to believe the truth for this time. For if they do as did the children of Israel in the face of warnings and admonitions, the same result* will follow in these last days as came upon the children of Israel. Review and Herald, October 21, 1890, *[judgment and captivity]
Ancient Israel rebelled against JEHOVAH and followed the abominations of the nations around them. Thus, they were given up to Babylonian captivity. Modern Israel is becoming like the world and nations (i.e. denominations). Gradually like Israel, we are coming under Babylonian captivity, and unless we repent as individuals and institutions, we will join with Babylon fully when the mark of the beast becomes a test.
Attitude and actions of the church at the time of first and second advent:
We want to understand the time in which we live. We do not half understand it. We do not half take it in. My heart trembles in me when I think of what a foe we have to meet, and how poorly we are prepared to meet him. The trials of the children of Israel, and the attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control of the minds of the Jews, and TODAY he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious truth. Selected Messages, Book 1, 406
Those who live just prior to the second appearing of Christ, may expect a large measure of His Holy Spirit; but if they do not watch and pray, they will go over the same ground of refusing the message of mercy, as the Jews did in the time of Christ. If they turn away from the light, they will fail to meet the high and holy claims of God, they will fail to fulfill the sacred responsibility that he has entrusted to them.
The character and prospects of the people of God are similar to those of the Jews, who could not enter in because of unbelief, self-sufficiency, self-importance, and spiritual pride separated them from God, and He hid His face from them. The apostle exhorts us, “if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.” “Because of unbelief, they were broken off, and thou standest by faith, be not high minded, but fear.”
The Jews despised the good that was proffered them in the time of Christ, and after long forbearance of God, the things that were for their peace were hidden from their eyes, that which if received would have been to them their greatest blessing became their stumbling block. Thus it is today among us. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 406, 407
We are less excusable than were the Jews; for we have before us their example of the rejection of Christ and his apostles, and we have been warned not to fall after the same example of unbelief. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 399
There is a deplorable lack of spirituality among our people. A great work must be done for them before they can become what Christ designed they should be—the light of the world. For years I have felt deep anguish of soul as the Lord has presented before me the want in our churches of Jesus and His love. There has been a spirit of self-sufficiency and a disposition to strive for position and supremacy. I have seen that self-glorification was becoming common among Seventh-day Adventists and that unless the pride of man should be abased and Christ exalted we should, as a people, be in no better condition to receive Christ at His second advent than were the Jewish people to receive Him at His first advent. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 727, 728
If we want to understand the situation prevailing in Adventism at this time, then we need only study the attitudes, deception and apostasy of God’s church when Christ was here the first time. Just prior to the two great events of history the first and second coming of Christ we find God’s church then and now largely unprepared “not knowing the time of their visitation.”
Repeating the History of The Jews at Christ’s
First Advent—Specific Examples
Leading men only source of light then and now:
It is selfishness also that prompts the feeling, on the part of workers, that their judgment must be the most reliable and their methods of labor the best or that it is their privilege in any way to bind the conscience of another. Such was the spirit of the Jewish leaders in Christ's day. In their self-exaltation the priests and rabbis brought in such rigid rules and so many forms and ceremonies as to divert the minds of the people from God and leave Him no chance to work for them. Thus His mercy and love were lost sight of. My brethren, do not follow in the same path. Let the minds of the people be directed to God. Leave Him a chance to work for those who love Him. Do not impose upon the people rules and regulations, which, if followed, would leave them as destitute of the Spirit of God as were the hills of Gilboa of dew or rain.…
The Jews were looking for the Messiah; but He did not come as they had predicted that He would, and if He were accepted as the Promised One, their learned teachers would be forced to acknowledge that they had erred. These leaders had separated themselves from God, and Satan worked upon their minds to lead them to reject the Saviour. Rather than yield their pride of opinion, they closed their eyes to all the evidences of His Messiahship, and they not only rejected the message of salvation themselves, but they steeled the hearts of the people against Jesus. Their history should be a solemn warning to us. We need never expect that when the Lord has light for His people, Satan will stand calmly by and make no effort to prevent them from receiving it. He will work upon minds to excite distrust and jealousy and unbelief. Let us beware that we do not refuse the light God sends, because it does not come in a way to please us. Let not God's blessing be turned away from us because we know not the time of our visitation. If there are any who do not see and accept the light themselves, let them not stand in the way of others. Let it not be said of this highly favored people, as of the Jews when the good news of the kingdom was preached to them: ‘Ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.' Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 727, 728
But beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 106, 107
The Lord has shown me that men in responsible positions are standing directly in the way of His work because they think the work must be done and the blessing must come in a certain way, and they will not recognize that which comes in any other way. My brethren, may the Lord place this matter before you as it is. God does not work as men plan, or as they wish; He "moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform." Why reject the Lord's methods of working, because they do not coincide with our ideas? God has His appointed channels of light, but these are not necessarily the minds of any particular set of men. When all shall take their appointed place in God's work, earnestly seeking wisdom and guidance from Him, then a great advance will have been made toward letting light shine upon the world. When men shall cease to place themselves in the way, God will work among us as never before. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 726
Why treat God's ways as worthless, because they do not coincide with our private ideas? God has appointed channels of light, but these are not necessarily through the minds of any particular man or set of men. When all shall take their appointed places in God's work, and not allow others to mold them at will, then one great advance will have been made toward letting the light shine upon the world. The efforts made here to close every avenue to light and truth which is supposed to disagree with the opinions of some leading men, are very unreasonable. Are these men infallible? Has God appointed them supreme judges of how light shall come to his people? I answer, No. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 113
The Lord has been appealing to His people in warnings, in reproofs, in counsels; but their ears have been deaf to the words of Jesus. Some have said, "If this message that Brother A. T. Jones has been giving to the church is the truth, why is it that Brother Smith [Uriah Smith author Review and Herald editor] and Brother Butler [G. I. Butler General Conference President] have not received it, and have not united with him in heralding it? These good intelligent men would surely know if this was the message of truth."
In the days of Christ there were many who incurred deep guilt because they denounced His teaching, without carefully investigating its claims to their attention. We are sorry to say that similar guilt is incurred today through a similar cause. There are many who hear the words of Christ, but they do not in moral independence go to the word of God to search the scriptures and see whether or not these things are so. Though they have souls to save or to lose, they dare to rely upon the interpretation and application that their religious teachers give. God has endowed men with reasoning powers, that they may compare scripture with scripture, and know for themselves what is truth, that they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is within them, with meekness and fear. When the Lord graciously sends to us the means of knowing the truth, and we turn from the precious privilege, and are indifferent to His message, we insult the Spirit of God, and we shall walk in darkness and stumble in unbelief. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 417, 418
Like the people and religious leaders in Christ's day, modern Israel places too much confidence in leaders, who themselves are too often found to be blocking God's work.
Rules and regulations made by the clergy separated the people from God and hindered the work:
In their self-exaltation the priests and rabbis brought in such rigid rules and so many forms and ceremonies as to divert the minds of the people from God and leave Him no chance to work for them. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 113; or Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 727
All through our ranks, individual talent has been sadly neglected. A few persons have been selected as spiritual burden-bearers, and the talent of other members has remained undeveloped. Many have grown weaker since their union with the church, because they have been practically prohibited from exercising their talents. The burden of church work should be distributed among its individual members, so that each one may become an intelligent laborer for God. There is altogether too much unused force in our churches. There are a few who devise, plan, and work; but the great mass of the people do not lift their hands to do anything for fear of being repulsed, for fear that others will regard them as out of their place. Many have willing hands and hearts, but they are discouraged from putting their energies into the work. They are criticized if they try to do anything, and finally allow their talents to lie dormant for fear of criticism, when if they were encourage to use them, the work would be advanced, and workers would be added to the force of missionaries. Review and Herald, vol. 3, 270
God has not appointed any man guide, nor made any man conscience for another; therefore let human hands be withheld from restraining his servants who feel the burden to enter his vineyard to labor. Let God work with his own chosen agents by His Holy Spirit. No human being is to sit in judgment upon his brother.…Laws and rules are being made at the centers of the work that will soon be broken into atoms. Men are not to dictate. It is not for those in places of authority to employ all their powers to sustain some, while others are cast down, ignored, forsaken, and left to perish. But it is the duty of the leaders to lend a helping hand to all who are in need. Let each work in the line which God may indicate to him by His Holy Spirit. The soul is accountable to God alone. The Lord does not ask permission of those in responsible positions when he wishes to use certain ones as his agents for the promulgation of truth. But he will use whom he will use. He will pass by men who have not followed his counsel, men who feel capable and sufficient to work in their own wisdom; and he will use others who are thought by these supposedly wise ones to be wholly incompetent.…They are not to devise and put in practice methods and plans to bring every individual under their jurisdiction. Review and Herald, vol. 3, 275
Ancient Israel's leadership brought in so many man made rules and tests that it kept God from the people. Modern Israel has as well placed human devising in the way of God's work.
Resisting the Spirit:
Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Acts 7:51
The church has departed from the light, neglected her duties, abused her high and exalted privileges of being peculiar and holy in character, and thereby dishonored her God, like ancient Israel. They have violated their covenant to live for God and Him only. They have joined in with the selfish and world-loving. Pride, the love of pleasure, and sin, are cherished, and Christ has departed. His Spirit has been quenched in the church. An Appeal to the Battle Creek Church, 4 or Testimonies, vol. 2, 442
There has been a departure from God among us , and the zealous work of repentance and return to our first love essential to restoration to God and regeneration of heart has not yet been done. Infidelity to God has been making its inroads in our ranks; for it is the fashion to depart from Christ, and give place to skepticism. The cry of the heart has been, "We will not have this man to reign over us." Baal, Baal, is the choice. The religion of many among us will be the religion of apostate Israel, because they love their own way, and forsake the way of the Lord. The true religion, the only religion of the Bible, that teaches forgiveness through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, that advocates righteousness by the faith of the Son of God, has been slighted, spoken against, ridiculed. It has been denounced as leading to enthusiasm and fanaticism. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 444
Both ancient and modern Israel while maintaining the profession of religion have in fact resisted God and departed from Him.
Assent to truth constitutes righteousness:
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20
The greatest deception of the human mind in Christ's day was that a mere assent to the truth constitutes righteousness. In all human experience a theoretical knowledge of the truth has been proved to be insufficient for the saving of the soul. It does not bring forth the fruits of righteousness. A jealous regard for what is termed theological truth often accompanies a hatred of genuine truth as made manifest in life. The darkest chapters of history are burdened with the record of crimes committed by bigoted religionists. The Pharisees claimed to be children of Abraham, and boasted of their possession of the oracles of God; yet these advantages did not preserve them from selfishness, malignity, greed for gain, and the basest hypocrisy. They thought themselves the greatest religionists of the world, but their so-called orthodoxy led them to crucify the Lord of glory.
The same danger still exists . Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of the truth. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly-minded, it is a curse to its possessors, and through their influence it is a curse to the world. Desire of Ages, 309, 310
Study the Saviour's words, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case"—whatever your position —"enter into the kingdom of heaven." The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was of a selfish character, consisting of external forms. The righteousness which God requires is internal as well as external. The heart must be purified, else Christ cannot be enthroned there. The life must be conformed to the will of God.
There is no need to marvel that the church is not vivified by the Holy Spirit's power. Men and women are setting aside the instruction Christ has given. Anger and covetousness are obtaining the victory. The soul-temple is full of wickedness. There is no room for Christ. Men follow their own perverse ways. They will not heed the words of the Saviour. They take themselves into their own hands, rejecting reproofs and warnings, until the candlestick is moved out of its place, and spiritual discernment is confused by human ideas. Though deficient in service, they justify themselves, saying, "The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are we." They set the law of God aside to follow the light of their own imagination. Review and Herald, April 8, 1902 vol. 4, 397
Outward forms of religious practice and intellectual assent to certain theological tenants cannot and do not prove conversion. The Jews were satisfied with a form, and largely left out of the life the substance of being true worshippers of Jehovah. Modern Israel is following in the same path.
Church rejected one who came in authority of God: Accepted one who came in his own authority:
"I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." Jesus came by the authority of God, bearing His image, fulfilling His word, and seeking His glory; yet He was not accepted by the leaders in Israel; but when others should come, assuming the character of Christ, but actuated by their own will and seeking their own glory, they would be received. And why? Because he who is seeking his own glory appeals to the desire for self-exaltation in others. To such appeals the Jews could respond. They would receive the false teacher because he flattered their pride by sanctioning their cherished opinions and traditions. But the teaching of Christ did not coincide with their ideas. It was spiritual, and demanded the sacrifice of self; therefore they would not receive it. They were not acquainted with God, and to them His voice through Christ was the voice of a stranger.
Is not the same thing repeated in our day ? Are there not many, even religious leaders, who are hardening their hearts against the Holy Spirit, making it impossible for them to recognize the voice of God? Are they not rejecting the word of God, that they may keep their own traditions? Desire of Ages 212, 213
Leaders kept light from the people:
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Matthew 23:13
"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." By perverting the meaning of the Scriptures the priests blinded the understanding of those who would otherwise have seen the nature of Christ's kingdom, and that inward, divine life which is essential to true holiness. By their endless round of forms they fastened the minds of the people upon external services to the neglect of true religion. The Spirit of Prophecy vol. 3, 61
Do the words of Christ spoken in reproof to the Pharisees, find an application in our days? He said, "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you keep the law of God?—No. for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." Do we not in our own day find just such teachers, who will not obey the plainest statements of truth, who turn from the light of God's word, and then do their utmost to pervert the Scriptures and to blind the eyes of those who are seeking to understand the word of God?
These transgressors of God's law seek with all their power to hedge up the way so that souls shall grope in vain for the door that Christ has opened, and which he says no man can shut. Are there not teachers today who seek to close, if possible, the door of the understanding? They will not enter into the light themselves, and neither will they permit others to enter in. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayer; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation." Signs of the Times, January 24, 1895
These words, condemning this sin of the Pharisees, are applicable to all who follow their example. In all ages of the world truth has been unpopular; its doctrines are not congenial to the natural mind. The cold professor, the bigot and hypocrite are not willing to accept that which searches the heart, and reproves the life. Some ministers turn the ears of the people from truth unto fables, stopping at nothing that will help to carry out their purpose. They even stoop to pervert the words and malign the characters of those who receive and love the precious truths of God, and labor to bring others to a knowledge of them. Signs of the Times, March 21, 1878
Why were the eyes of the people blinded, and their hearts hardened? As they listened to Christ's words and witnessed His miracles, they were convinced of His divinity. The Spirit of God impressed their hearts, leading them to say, This is indeed the Messiah, the One for whom we have looked, the Desire of all nations. But they hardened their hearts, and refused to accept Him. To a great degree, the priests and rulers were responsible for the people turning away from the truth to the maxims of men. And today the preachers of the people are following the footsteps of the priests and elders of the Jewish nation. When conviction is trampled on, the light that has shone into the chambers of the mind grows dim, and the darkness of error takes the place of the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The result of this is shown in the following verses: [Jer. 13:15–17, 20, 21, 23–25; 10:19–21, quoted]. Manuscript Releases Volume 19, 181
Now it is just exactly as in the days of the Jews . When a message came in, why all the power of the leaders was put against it, that it should not have access to the people. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 541
The Lord is willing to bestow great light upon those who open their hearts to its divine rays. Those who have marked out a certain course in which the light must come will fail to receive it, for God works in His own appointed way. It will be said of some here, unless they quickly change their present attitude, "Ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in, ye hindered" Luke 11:52. The church needs earnest and persevering labor.
The churches have been cherishing a spirit which God cannot approve ; and unless they humble their souls before God and possess a different spirit, they will reject God's light and follow spurious light to the ruin of their own and many other souls. They must have the converting power of God to transform them. This power needs to come into your heart, my brother, and mold you over anew. You are passing a crisis in your experience, and are in great danger of self-deception. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 95. Letter to GC President G. I. Butler
Spiritual leaders both ancient and modern are refusing God's truth, while at the same time keeping others from the kingdom of God.
Commandments and traditions of church above inspiration:
Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. But the Jewish nation unduly exalted the forms and maxims which had been handed down from rabbi to rabbi. They taught error instead of truth. Many of the doctrines they cherished were not in the Bible, but were the opinions of men. The Jewish leaders thought themselves to be the most religious people in the world; but Christ said to them, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God," "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Ye make void the law of God by your traditions. Signs of the Times, March 1, 1899
You have the example of the Jews how they treated everything that did not harmonize with their opinions of doctrines. They settled the matter that they had the truth on every subject and could be instructed in no point. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 529
It was the unwillingness of the Jews to give up their long-established traditions that proved their ruin . They were determined not to see any flaw in their own opinions or in their expositions of the Scriptures; but however long men may have entertained certain views, if they are not clearly sustained by the written word, they should be discarded. Counsels to Writers and Editors, 37
We are living in perilous times, and it does not become us to accept everything claimed to be truth without examining it thoroughly; neither can we afford to reject anything that bears the fruits of the Spirit of God; but we should be teachable, meek and lowly of heart. There are those who oppose everything that is not in accordance with their own ideas, and by so doing they endanger their eternal interest as verily as did the Jewish nation in their rejection of Christ. Counsels to Writers and Editors, 35, 36
When God's people are at ease, and satisfied with their present enlightenment, we may be sure that He will not favor them. It is His will that they should be ever moving forward, to receive the increased and ever-increasing light which is shining for them.
The present attitude of the church is not pleasing to God. There has come in a self-confidence that has led them to feel no necessity for more truth and greater light. We are living at a time when Satan is at work on the right hand and on the left, before and behind us; and yet as a people we are asleep. God wills that a voice shall be heard arousing His people to action. Counsels to Writers and Editors, 41
The Jews despised the good that was proffered them in the time of Christ, and after long forbearance of God, the things that were for their peace were hidden from their eyes that which if received would have been to them their greatest blessing became their stumbling block. Thus it is today among us. They thought that Christ's teaching was counteracting the influence of the old and only religion that had been from the beginning, after they had once rejected the light, their minds were blinded, and they thought Christ's teaching was a deception of the enemy.
Christ was bringing out the old religion in its true light, but they had separated themselves from the old paths, from the old truths, and had permitted the customs and traditions of men to take the place of the only vital faith. Sufficient light was given to the Jewish people so that they might have known "the time of their visitation." God had sent them "the way, the truth, and the life," in the gift of His son, Thus it is in our day . The light of truth is shining upon us clearly as it shone upon the Jewish people, but the hearts of men are as hard and unimpressible as in the days of Christ.
Many who claim to be standing in the light are in darkness and know it not. They have so enshrouded themselves in unbelief that they call darkness light, and light darkness. They are ignorant of that which they condemn and oppose. But their ignorance is not such as God will excuse, for he has given them light, and they reject it. They have before them the example of the past, but they will not be warned, no unbelief is enclosing them in impenetrable darkness. They refuse to accept the testimonies they ought to believe and are ready to accept tidbits of gossip and testimonies of men showing their *credulousness and readiness to believe that which they want to believe. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 407, 408 *[ready to believe without sufficient evidence]
The Jews refused to receive Christ, because he did not come in accordance with their expectations. The ideas of finite men were held as infallible, because hoary with age. This is the danger to which the church is now exposed,—that the inventions of finite men shall mark out the precise way for the Holy Spirit to come. Though they would not care to acknowledge it, some have already done this. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1540, 1541
The religion of men in the church has too often taken the place of, and is accepted more readily than God speaking through the writings of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.
Building on the wrong platform:
I have been shown that the Jewish nation were not brought suddenly into their condition of thought and practice. From generation to generation they were working on false theories, carrying out principles opposed to the truth, and combining with their religion thoughts and plans that were the product of human minds. Human inventions were made supreme. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 359, 360
Satan was deceiving them, and they were receiving his false representations. He was actively seeking to counterwork the work of Christ as foretold by the unerring Word of prophecy. The simplicity of His mission and the character of His work were altogether different from that which the Jews had anticipated. It was in perfect harmony with the prophecies, but not in harmony with the prophecies as they had read them in the light of false and delusive hopes. (1) The people were so infatuated by the falsehoods of Satan that their minds were wholly unprepared for the real Christ.
Christ saw that Israel, who had been so highly favored, in having had committed to them the oracles of God, (2) were misconstruing the Scriptures to meet their own backslidden condition. (3) Their teaching was no longer the Word of God, but the sayings of men. (4) They were making of none effect the commandments of God by their tradition. (5) They were working away from the high and holy standard given them in the Word of God, and were meeting a human standard. Christ's work was to strip away these false theories, and by His own life reveal the character of God, that He might lift souls who were perishing in ignorance of true godliness into a pure and holy atmosphere. Signs of the Times, Jan 10, 1900
The Jews had the word in the Old Testament, but they had so mingled it with human opinions, that its truths were mystified, and the will of God to man was covered up. Review and Herald, vol. 3, 185
The customs and practices of the Jews were very exacting. (1) The sayings and dogmas of finite men were constantly put in front, as essential to their salvation. …(2) They were constantly approaching idolatry by placing the commandments of men where God and His requirements alone should be. (3) The chastisement of the Lord was upon the people because they were idolizing things, sentiments, and ideas of their own creating.
(4) There own ideas and customs and practices were their idols. Would they give up their own misinterpretations, which they had taught the people to regard as sacred doctrines? No; never! They formed a confederacy to stand by the old traditions. Their human interpretations they set in defiance to the lessons and pure truths of practical godliness. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 839, 840
The same spirit of resistance is to be found even among those who claim to believe the truth for this time. The gospel of Christ, His lessons, His teachings, have had but very little place in the experience and the discourses of those who claim to believe the truth. Any pet theory, any human idea, becomes of the gravest importance and as sacred as an idol to which everything must bow. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 840, 841
"The angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life." We see here that the men in authority are not always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be teachers of Bible doctrines. They are many today who feel indignant and aggrieved that any voice should be raised presenting ideas that differ from their own in regard to points of religious belief. Have they not long advocated their ideas as truth? So the priests and rabbis reasoned in apostolic days.
Even Seventh-day Adventists are in danger of closing their eyes to truth as it is in Jesus because it contradicts something which they have taken for granted as truth, but which the Holy Spirit teaches is not truth. Let all be very modest, and seek most earnestly to put self out of the question, and to exalt Jesus. In most of the religious controversies, the foundation of the trouble is, that self is striving for the supremacy. About what?—About matters which are not vital points at all, and which are regarded as such only because men have given importance to them. See Matt. 12:31–37; Mark 14:56; Luke 5:21; Matt. 9:3. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1547
There are men at the heart of the work who do not realize their responsibilities. They do not realize how many there are who are in positions of trust who have not a correct knowledge of God, whom to know aright is life eternal. They know not what it means to sanctify the Lord God in their hearts. They do not know what it means to make God their fear and their dread. Had they known this, they would now be humble men, fearing God, the living God. But like Jehu, they have been driving furiously forward, to assume burdens which they cannot carry. It is because men know so little of true godliness, because they have so little genuine experience in the building up, little by little, of the work and cause of God, that they make long strides without God to lead the way.…
Sometimes the case seems hopeless to me, because you have been treading in the very footsteps of the Jewish nation . You are repeating their history. The whole heavenly universe is astonished at the spiritual condition of things at Battle Creek. Now and then there is a comfortable, easy feeling, but this is not the deep moving of the Spirit of God. All heaven sees that if you had a more correct experimental knowledge of the truth, you would never assume jurisdiction and command over your fellow-men as you have done. You would never think that you could take control of the great interests all over the field, nigh and afar off. It is because of a departure from God that such gross ignorance in regard to the management of his work has come in. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1630–1632
Ancient and modern Israel have been separated from God by building the work and our characters not upon a "thus saith the Lord," but upon human understanding. This went on anciently decade after decade, century after century until such a point that when Christ came the majority could not and would not accept Him as the Messiah. Now decade after decade modern Israel has supplanted a "thus saith the Lord," and we stand in grave danger of again rejecting Christ.
The teachers of the Jewish nation professed to educate the youth to understand the purity and excellence of the laws of that kingdom which is to stand forever and ever, but they perverted truth and purity. Fundamentals of Christian Education, 397, 398
In the days of Christ the town or city that did not provide for the religious instruction of the young was regarded as under the curse of God. (1) Yet the teaching had become formal. (2) Tradition had in a great degree supplanted the Scriptures. True education would lead the youth to "seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him." Acts 17:27. But the Jewish teachers gave their attention to matters of ceremony. (3) The mind was crowded with material that was worthless to the learner, and that would not be recognized in the higher school of the courts above. The experience which is obtained through a personal acceptance of God's word had no place in the educational system.
Absorbed in the round of externals, the (4) students found no quiet hours to spend with God. They did not hear His voice speaking to the heart. (5) In their search after knowledge, they turned away from the Source of wisdom. The great essentials of the service of God were neglected. The principles of the law were obscured. That which was regarded as superior education was the greatest hindrance to real development. Under the training of the rabbis the powers of the youth were repressed. Their minds became cramped and narrow. Desire of Ages, 69
In His teaching our Savior did not encourage any to attend the rabbinical schools of His day, for the reason that their minds would be corrupted with the continually repeated, "They say," or, "It hath been said." Spalding and Magan, 52
How could we consent to have the flower of our youth called to Battle Creek to receive their education, when God has given warning after warning that they are not to gather there. Some who stand there as leaders and teachers do not understand the real groundwork of our faith. Many of those who have been educated in Battle Creek need to learn the first principles of present truth.
We can not advise our youth to go to Battle Creek to obtain their education when the Lord is calling them away from Battle Creek, that they may be taught the truth for this time. "I will turn and overturn," saith the Lord. Not all the leaders in Battle Creek are safe, reliable teachers; for they are not taught and led by God. Those who have had message after message, and yet have not heeded these messages, do not know the value of the knowledge that maketh wise unto salvation.
Let those who have seen our youth lose their Christian experience and go into infidelity in Battle Creek, for quite a number have, ask themselves the question, "What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what will a man give in exchange for his soul." What line can sound the depths of the ruin of one soul? Who can weigh the eternal weight of glory and bliss that every human being who is saved will surely enjoy?
God forbid that one word of encouragement should be spoken to call our youth to a place where they will be leavened by misrepresentations and falsehoods regarding the testimonies, and the work and character of the ministers of God. Special Testimonies Series B, Number 2, 21, 22. *Battle Creek was the center of the work of SDA's as the GC HQ's was there as well as the Sanitarium, R&H publishing house and the school spoken of in this reading.
It is so easy to drift into worldly plans, methods, and customs and have no more thought of the time in which we live, or of the great work to be accomplished, than had the people in Noah's day. There is constant danger that our educators will travel over the same ground as did the Jews, conforming to customs, practices, and traditions which God has not given. With tenacity and firmness some cling to old habits and a love of various studies which are not essential, as if their salvation depended upon these things. In doing this they turn away from the special work of God and give to the students a deficient, a wrong education. Minds are directed from a plain "Thus saith the Lord," which involves eternal interests, to human theories and teachings. Infinite, eternal truth, the revelation of God, is explained in the light of human interpretations, when only the Holy Spirit's power can unfold spiritual things. Human wisdom is foolishness; for it misses the whole of God's providences which look into eternity. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 150, 151
The practical nature of the teaching of Him who gave His life to save men is an evidence of the value He places upon men. He gave the education which alone can be called the higher education. He did not turn His disciples away because they had not received their instruction from pagan and infidel teachers. These disciples were to proclaim truth that was to shake the world, but before they could do this, before they could be the salt of the earth, they must form new habits, they must unlearn many things learned from priest and rabbi. And today those who would represent Christ must form new habits. Theories which originate with the world must be given up. Their words and their works must be after the divine similitude. They must not place themselves in connection with the debasing principles and sentiments that belong to the worship of other gods. They cannot with safety receive their education from those who know not God, and acknowledge Him not as the life and light of men. These men belong to another kingdom. They are ruled by a disloyal prince, and they mistake phantoms for realities.
Our schools are not what they should be. The time which should be devoted to laboring for Christ is exhausted on unworthy themes and self-pleasing. Controversy arises in a moment if once-stated opinions are crossed. So it was with the Jews. To vindicate personal opinion and petty interests, to gratify worldly ambition, they rejected the Son of God. Time is passing. We are nearing the great crisis of this earth's history. If teachers continue to close their eyes to the necessities of the time in which we are living, they should be disconnected from the work. Fundamentals of Christian Education, 468, 469
In Christ's day, much was made of education of the youth, but it was an education that largely led away from God. The Jewish educational system came under the influence of Greek philosophy. This began the intermingling of the sacred and the secular to the place where the secular held sway. Today modern Israel's schools far to often also lead people away from God and Biblical Adventism.
By accepting government funding and government accreditation standards, our schools have changed masters to a large degree. The principles of the world are to a great degree intermingled with the high principles of God, and the result. The same confusion that overtook the Jews is overtaking us. The enemy of souls is causing generation after generation of students to be building on a wrong platform, thus many of the students are being trained to reject the present truth and sadly know it not.
The rejection of Christ at Nazareth repeated:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian, And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. Luke 4:16–29
Jesus had given the people of Nazareth clear and distinct evidence that his mission was just what he had claimed it to be. Would they not retrace their steps? With such tokens of his truth before them, would these blind, fanatical men see in Jesus nothing more than the carpenter of Nazareth, the son of Mary?
At the beginning of his ministry, they had taken their first steps in the rejection of Christ, they had committed themselves to the work and the will of Satan, and their pride was so strong, their prejudices so great, that at his second call, they would not acknowledge him as the Messiah although they had the most convincing proof of his divinity. O, what will not pride, unbelief, and prejudice lead men to do!
The Lord has shown me that we are in just as much danger in our day as were the people in the days of Christ. The Lord is speaking through his delegated messengers; but the same unbelief is exhibited. Men close their hearts against Jesus, and hold themselves in the veriest bondage to Satan, supposing that they are preserving their dignity as free men; that they are maintaining their right to act and think for themselves, to believe or doubt; and like the despisers of the gospel in the apostolic times, they wonder and perish.
Those who on special occasions of controversy have taken a course similar to that of the men of Nazareth, should take heed lest they follow their example when a second opportunity is given to accept the gracious light of truth. After the first rejection, when excitement and confusion are over, you may again be called upon by the divine messenger, and you should beware lest you harden your hearts in prejudice and pride, and in final rejection of the message that would work for your salvation.
You may encase yourselves in pride, and continue to reject Christ in the person of his messengers. If you do this, the words of the apostle will find an application in your case, as in the time of the Jews:— "He came to his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Said Christ, "I am come in my father's name, and you receive me not. If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive."
We are less excusable than were the Jews; for we have before us their example of rejection of Christ and his apostles, and we have been warned not to fall after the same example of unbelief. Throughout the history of the church in all ages, and especially in that of the Seventh-Day Adventists, we have examples of those who refused the light God sent them by his chosen agents. They have had opportunities and privileges that should have enabled their faith to rest on God, and yet they have revealed the evil heart of unbelief. Their course has been similar to that of Pharaoh. The light that the Lord sent to the king of Egypt was shunned and rejected by him. His stubborn heart caused him to brace himself against the light.
My brethren, the Lord is not pleased to have us settle down in unbelief, and question and quibble over matters of truth as you have done. It is indeed human to err, and the wisest often make mistakes, but it is noble to confess error, and not enclose the heart in prejudice. To make yourselves and others believe you have pursued a righteousness you reject Christ by rejecting the message he sends; in so doing, you place yourselves under the control of the prince of darkness.
Your spiritual discernment has been blunted. God has sent messages of light to his people which would have been as healing balm had they received them; but you did not do this, like the men of Nazareth, you set yourselves to refuse the light, you exalted your own opinion and judgment as more valuable than the judgment of those whom God has made channels of light. This course has brought you where your faith has become confused. The sweet, subduing love of God has not characterized your labors. You have presented dry theories of doctrine, which are not productive of fruit. You would be satisfied with the present senders launching and exposition of what is truth but remain dry and spiritless. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 397–400. * The message rejected was that of righteousness by faith as presented by the messengers Jones and Waggoner. Many leading men were rejecting even EGW herself because she upheld the truths taught by Jones and Waggoner.
Barabbas chosen over Christ:
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. (See Matthew 27:20, Mark 15:11, Luke 23:18, John 18:40.)
Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, "Not this Man, but Barabbas."
Let all who read these lines, take heed. Satan has made his boast of what he can do. He thinks to dissolve the unity which Christ prayed might exist in His Church. He says, "I will go forth and be a lying spirit to deceive those that I can, to criticize, and condemn, and falsify." Let the sin of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is. Testimonies to Ministers, 409
When Christ looked down from the crest of Olivet, he saw this state of things existing in every church. The warnings come down to all that are following in the tread of the people of Jerusalem, who had such great light. This people is before us as a warning. By rejecting God's warnings in this our day men are repeating the sin of Jerusalem. The Lord sees what the human agent does not see and will not see, —the outcome of all the human devising in Battle Creek.
He has done all that a God could do. He has flashed light before the eyes of the people, that their sins might not reach the boundary where repentance cannot be felt. But by a long process of departure from just and righteous principles, men have placed themselves where light and truth, justice and mercy are not discerned. This course has become part of their very nature. I call upon all who have united in a course of action that is wrong in principle to make a decided reformation, and forever after walk humbly with God. The world is soon to be judged. A righteous God must avenge the death of his Son. Today men are choosing Barabbas, and saying, Crucify Christ. They will do this in the person of his saints. They will go over the same ground as the Jewish priests and rulers did in their treatment of Christ. He, the Son of God, and an innocent man, was murdered because He told men truths that it did not please them to hear. Yet He was the Son of the infinite God. PH086, Special Testimony to Battle Creek Church, 28
But let all walk and work circumspectly, under the molding influence of the Holy Spirit. There is little wisdom in binding about the work in any line. God has not given His sanction to any branch of His work being bound about. But unbelief has strengthened, and those who have not been sanctified through the truth will be subjects of Satan's temptations. They will be his most successful allies to criticize, speak evil, and work unrighteousness. There are now those who will show just what they will do under temptation and in an emergency. They cannot be depended upon.
The Lord has given them great light but they choose Barabbas rather than Christ. This is being enacted in our very midst. They crucify afresh the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. But the unsetting Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth, and those who have worked to counterwork what God has appointed will be gathered in bundles with the tares. Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 383
As horrifying as it may sound the people and leaders of modern Israel are going over the same ground as the Jews in choosing Barabbas over Christ. Our spirit of unbelief and rejection of God's counsels, places us in the same position as that of the Jews who rejected and crucified the Saviour. Thus "unless we individually repent toward God because of transgression of His law, and exercise faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the world has rejected, we shall lie under the full condemnation that the action of choosing Barabbas instead of Christ merited." And we will be with "the whole world…charged today with the deliberate rejection and murder of the Son of God." Testimonies to Ministers, 38
Calvary and the rejection of truth same spirit:
I stood before our people after I came from Minneapolis* in the church. I told them that every one of them that laid that hardness into their hearts when they were at Minneapolis, and that pursued the course they did, they never would see a ray of light till they confessed it. …I want to tell you, brethren, whoever you are, I want to tell you, that you are just going over the very same ground that they went over in the days of Christ. Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 593. * [1888 General Conference session]
I shall never, I think, be called to stand under the direction of the Holy Spirit as I stood at Minneapolis. The presence of Jesus was with me. All assembled in that meeting had an opportunity to place themselves on the side of truth by receiving the Holy Spirit, which was sent by God in such a rich current of love and mercy.
But in the rooms occupied by some of our people, we heard ridicule, criticism, jeering, laughter. The manifestations of the Holy Spirit were attributed to fanaticism. Who searched the Holy Scriptures as did the noble Bereans, to see if the things they heard were so? Who prayed for divine guidance? The scenes which took place at this meeting made the God of heaven ashamed to call those who took part in them, his brethren. All this the heavenly Watcher noticed, and it is written in the book of God's remembrance.
The Lord will blot out the transgression of those who, since that time, have repented with a sincere repentance, but every time the same spirit wakens in the soul, the deeds done on that occasion are endorsed, and the doers of them are made responsible to God, and must answer for them at his judgment throne. The same spirit that actuated the rejecters of Christ, rankles in their hearts and had they lived in the days of Christ, they would have acted toward Him in a manner similar to that of the godless and unbelieving Jews. Paulson Collection, 351, 352
The people of each age will be judged by the light they have received. The church of today has been favored with great light and many opportunities—favored even as Chorazin and Bethsaida were favored. How Christ longed to see some fruit from the labor He expended on these cities. And how greatly He longs to see His church of today standing in freedom from sin. O that those for whom He has wrought so mightily would strive to be like Him in character! How it would cheer His heart to see them partaking of His nature, their works testifying to their faith in God, and to their realization of the obligation resting upon them to work for Him.
Many wonder at the blindness of the Jews in rejecting Christ. Had we lived in His day, they declare, we would gladly have received His teaching. We should never have been partakers of the guilt of those who rejected the Saviour. But too often, when obedience to God requires self-denial and sacrifice, these very ones stifle their convictions and refuse to obey. Signs of the Times, November 21, 1906
Many today, as did the Jews, will turn conviction into resistance because of the cross involved. By their resistance to the messages of truth, professed Christians show that, had they lived on the earth at the time of Christ's first advent, they would have joined with the Jews in accusing Him, and would have taken an active part in crucifying the Prince of Life. Review and Herald, May 18, 1897
How the religious leaders worked to persecute Christ: history repeats itself as the same tactics are used against God's people:
As those disaffected disciples turned away from Christ a different spirit took control of them.…they misinterpreted his words, falsified His statements, and impugned his motives. They sustained their course by gathering up every item that could be turned against Him; and such indignation was stirred up by these false reports that His life was in danger. Desire of Ages, 392, 393
By misconstruing his words, they hoped to prejudice the people against Him. Desire of Ages, 389
Early in His ministry Christ had said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." In the figurative language of prophecy, He had foretold His own death and resurrection. "He spake of the temple of His body." John 2:19, 21. These words the Jews had understood in a literal sense, as referring to the temple at Jerusalem. Of all that Christ had said, the priests could find nothing to use against Him save this. By misstating these words they hoped to gain an advantage. Desire of Ages, 705
The scribes, Pharisees, and rulers were determined that they would not see the evidences of truth, and they evaded the most manifest conclusions. To justify their course of stubborn unbelief, they lost no possible opportunity of seizing upon anything in the teaching of Jesus that they could misconstrue, misapply, or falsify. When there was no possibility of misapplying the truth of Christ's words, these men who rejected the counsel of God against themselves, started questions that had no reference to the matter in hand, so as to attract the attention of the people away from the lesson that Jesus sought to teach, and adroitly evade the truth.
The Pharisees were not blindly opposing the doctrines of Christ; for the truth made deep impressions upon their minds; but they resisted truth, and went contrary to their convictions, closing their eyes lest they should see, hardening the heart, lest they should perceive, and be converted, and Christ should heal them. In their self-righteousness they were too proud to accept the help that Christ came to bring to them. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1061
You have the example of the Jews how they treated everything that did not harmonize with their opinions of doctrines. They settled the matter that they had the truth on every subject and could be instructed in no point, and in the place of producing reasons from the Old Testament to show that Christ and His disciples were in error, they would not hear Him and condemned him, and misstated His positions and His doctrines, treated Him as a criminal and guilty of grievous wrongs.
The Priests and Rulers sent men claiming to be just men for the purpose of catching Him in His words or that something would drop from His lips that would justify them in their prejudice,— words that they could present clothed in a different light that they could interpret as they choose to present to the people in their own way and make Christ appear as a deceiver, a heretic. When I see men passing over the same ground, I recognize it, and I am worried and distressed,…Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 529, 530
The priests…were willing to commit perjury could they but secure their end. Desire of Ages, 726
As Satan worked to destroy Christ's ministry and influence so today he works in the same way. Those individuals and ministries seeking to give the three angels messages and who are calling Israel to repentance, revival, and reformation are ridiculed, maligned, falsified, and misrepresented. Those who did this in Christ's day and remained unrepentant came under Satan's control and lost their souls. Those in modern Israel who follow the same path will meet the same fate.
Religious leaders caused ruin:
For the rejection of Christ, with the results that followed, they were responsible. A nation's sin and a nation's ruin were due to the religious leaders. Christ's Object Lessons, 305. (See also Desire of Ages, 738.)
The Jews perished as a nation because they were drawn from the truth of the Bible by their rulers, priests, and elders. Had they heeded the lessons of Jesus, and searched the Scriptures for themselves, they would not have perished. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 109
Men who stand in very responsible positions at the heart of the work are asleep . Satan has paralyzed them in order that his plans and devices may not be discerned, while he is active to ensnare, deceive, and destroy.
Some who occupy the position of watchmen to warn the people of danger have given up their watch and recline at ease. They are unfaithful sentinels. They remain inactive, while their wily foe enters the fort and works successfully by their side to tear down what God has commanded to be built up. They see that Satan is deceiving the inexperienced and unsuspecting; yet they take it all quietly, as though they had no special interest, as though these things did not concern them. They apprehend no special danger; they see no cause to raise an alarm. To them everything seems to be going well, and they see no necessity of raising the faithful, trumpet notes of warning which they hear borne by the plain testimonies, to show the people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins.
These reproofs and warnings disturb the quiet of these sleepy, ease-loving sentinels, and they are not pleased. They say in heart, if not in words: "This is all uncalled for. It is too severe, too harsh. These men are unnecessarily disturbed and excited, and seem unwilling to give us any rest or quietude ‘Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them.' They are not willing that we should have any comfort, peace, or happiness. It is active labor, toil, and unceasing vigilance alone which will satisfy these unreasonable, hard-to-be-suited watchmen. Why don't they prophesy smooth things, and cry: Peace, peace? Then everything would move on smoothly." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 440
Repentance or ruin?
Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says, "But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgement, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light,] which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgement, than for thee." At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent [in their own estimation], and hast revealed them unto babes." Review and Herald, August 1, 1893; Bracketed words in the original
If there is not an awakening among us who have had so great light and so many privileges, we shall sink to ruin, and our fate will be worse than that of Chorazin and Bethsaida; ‘for,' as Christ said of those cities, ‘if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.' Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 529
As Christ was riding into Jerusalem, on the crest of Olivet He broke forth in uncontrollable grief, exclaiming in broken utterances as He looked upon Jerusalem: ‘If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.' He wept not for Himself, but for the despisers of His mercy, long-suffering and forbearance. The course taken by the hardhearted and impenitent inhabitants of the doomed city is similar to the attitude of churches and individuals toward Christ at the present time.
They neglect His requirements and despise His forbearance. There is a form of godliness, there is ceremonial worship, there are complimentary prayers; but the real power is wanting. The heart is not softened by grace, but is cold and unimpressible. Many, like the Jews, are blinded by unbelief and know not the time of their visitation. So far as the truth is concerned, they have had every advantage; God has been appealing to them for years in warnings, reproofs, corrections, and instruction in righteousness; but special directions have been given only to be disregarded and placed on a level with common things. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 258
Many of our people are backsliding from God . We need to arouse. Let every soul that has named the name of Christ depart from iniquity. We want a pure Christianity. Great dangers are lurking for us on every side. When they most need the presence of God, many have it least. They are in danger of becoming like the Jewish nation, who knew not the Scriptures nor the power of God. Like the teachers of Israel, you may explain Bible truth to others, and yet not practice it in your daily life. If the Jews had possessed an experimental knowledge of the Scriptures, they would not have been ignorant of the power of God.
Like them, we have great light and privileges; but many do not respond to these, and herein lies their peril. When Jesus wept over Jerusalem, his tears were for all who abuse present privileges. He wept that so many who profess His name fail to become what God designed them to be; that they continue in sin and weakness, while he is willing and able to save them if they will but come to him. The Saviour says, "What more could I have done that I have not done in it?" He has dealt with his people as a loving father with a wayward and rebellious child. But He sees grace resisted, privileges abused, opportunities slighted.
Where He had a right to expect earnest, vital piety, He sees insincerity, hollow formalism, and Pharisaic pride. Neglect of light is chargeable on those whom God has intrusted with great and solemn truths. Ingratitude for God's mercies, abuse of blood-bought privileges, stand registered against many in the books of heaven, and are treasuring up for them wrath against the day of wrath. Vengeance will surely be visited on those who have had so great light, yet are so cold and unimpressible that no light shines from them to the world.
God has loaded us with his benefits. Immortal blessings have been poured upon us in great measure. Messengers have been sent with warnings, reproofs, and entreaties. God's servants have wept and prayed over the lukewarm state of the church. Some may arouse, but only to fall back into unconsciousness of their sin and peril. Passion, worldliness, malice, envy pride, strife for supremacy, make our churches weak and powerless. Some of Christ's ambassadors are carrying a heavy burden on their souls, because their message is treated by so many as an idle tale.
The eye of Jesus, looking down the ages, was fixed upon our time when he said, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace!" It is still thy day, O church of God, whom He has made the depository of His law. But this day of trust and probation is fast drawing to a close. The sun is fast westering. Can it be that it will set, and thou not know the things that belong unto thy peace? Must the irrevocable sentence be passed, "But now they are hid from thine eyes?"
I tell you there is need to be alarmed. It is time to seek God earnestly, saying with Jacob, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." It will be of no avail to make a spasmodic effort, only to fall back into spiritual lethargy and lukewarmness. The past, with the slighted mercies, the admonitions unheeded, the earthly passions uncorrected, the privileges unimproved, the soul temple filled with desecrated shrines,—all is recorded in the books of heaven. But most solemn moments are still before you. Because of past neglect, the efforts you make must be the more earnest. Review and Herald, vol. 2, 89, November 2, 1886
Our position in the world is not what it should be. We are far from where we should have been had our Christian experience been in harmony with the light and the opportunities given us, had we from the beginning constantly pressed on ward and upward. Had we walked in the light that has been given us, had we followed on to know the Lord, our path would have grown brighter and brighter. But many of those who have had special light are so conformed to the world that they can scarcely be distinguished from worldlings. They do not stand forth as God's peculiar people, chosen and precious. It is difficult to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.
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. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 247
May the Lord forbid that the history of the children of Israel in departing from God, in refusing to walk in the light, in refusing to confess their sins and rejection of his messages, should be the experience of the people claiming to believe the truth for this time. For if they do as did the children of Israel in the face of warnings and admonitions, the same result will follow in these last days as came upon the children of Israel. Review and Herald, vol. 2, 433
The final destruction then and now:
Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to walk in the light that God has given. Jerusalem was favored of God as the depositary of sacred trusts. But her people perverted the truth, and despised all entreaties and warnings. They would not respect His counsels. The temple courts were polluted with merchandise and robbery. Selfishness and love of mammon, envy and strife, were cherished. Everyone sought for gain from his quarter. 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
So Christ sorrows and weeps over our churches, over our institutions of learning, that have failed to meet the demand of God. He comes to investigate in Battle Creek, [Then General Conference headquarters] which has been moving in the same track as Jerusalem. The publishing house has been turned into desecrated shrines, into a place of unholy merchandise and traffic. It has become a place where injustice and fraud have been carried on, where selfishness, malice, envy, and passion have borne sway. Yet the men who have been led into this working upon wrong principles are seemingly unconscious of their wrong course of action. When warnings and entreaties come to them, they say: "Doth she not speak in parables?" Words of warning and reproof have been treated as idle tales. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 67, 68
We must face the startling fact that we as a people stand before God as did ancient Israel. Thus if we individually and corporately abuse God's mercies and walk contrary to His will, we shall meet the same fate as did ancient Israel. We too shall be asked of God "how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?" Jeremiah 2:21. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Ecclesiastes 8:11.
God has not changed though He bears long with our perversity. Yet if we presume upon God's mercies not taking heed to His loving call to repent as He stands crying "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20; if we reject this last call to God's last church in the time of the judgment then that which ancient Israel met will also be our fate.
Dear reader regardless of what others do will you not repent, coming into harmony with God's counsel and plans? Take heed and "Seek ye the LORD, …seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger." Zephaniah 2:3
1. The Seventh-day Adventist movement was raised up by God to give the last warning message, to herald to the world the final revelation of Jesus Christ, and prepare a people to be translated.
2. God has bestowed incalculable blessings and benefits upon the Seventh-day Adventist church to enable them to accomplish His plan.
3. Among the gifts which God has given to the movement has been the gift of governments which finds its expression in the development of a corporate, legal organizational structure.
4. This organizational structure is not the movement per se, but is rather a tool in the hands of the movement to aid in efficiently carrying out God's plans.
5. The movement can and has existed without corporate organizational structure, but the organizational structure is useless and meaningless without the movement.
PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the rest of these propositions the term "Seventh-day Adventist church" will be used to refer to the organized church structure in its corporate form. The Seventh-day Adventist movement will be referred to by the term "movement" (movement meaning a particular message and those who adhere to it and promote it)
6. The gifts which God gives for the developing and upbuilding of a movement can be perverted and made to serve the purposes of the adversary even to the point of being used to seduce and oppress the movement. This means that it is possible for Satan to gain a sufficient foothold within the levels of organizational structure to actually be able to influence the church structure to corrupt and mislead, and even to persecute the movement.
7. Thus the Seventh-day Adventist Church organized structure has the potential to be the greatest threat to the Seventh-day Adventist movement.
8. One of the severest tests that can come to a Seventh-day Adventist is that in which he finds himself in the midst of a conflict between levels of church organization and the movement. And individual's loyalty to God and His truth in contrast with his loyalty to men would be decisively tested.
9. All individuals, groups, organizations, churches, and nations are granted a period of probation in which to respond to God and accomplish His purposes.
10. There has never been a nation, organization, or individual who has been guaranteed a successful outcome in the fulfillment of their high destiny, except as they comply with the conditions of faith, repentance, and obedience.
11. The Seventh-day Adventist Church organization is no exception to this principle. It too has conditions of obedience upon which its promised destiny hinges. It too can be rejected by God if it fails to use its God-given blessings and advantages to accomplish the purposes which God designed, and for which He gave counsel to guide in accomplishing.
12. When a nation has fallen into apostasy the only course by which it can recover favor with God and still fulfill in any great degree the destiny which God has marked out for it, is through the path of acknowledging its apostasy and experiencing thorough repentance.
13. The message of God to the Seventh-day Adventist Church (Revelation 3:15–21) is calling for repentance,— a repentance that is deeper and more thorough than that required of any nation in past history.
14. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has resisted God's call to national repentance and is seeking to evade the needed repentance by different methods.
15. One of our methods of evading repentance is to make an expression of repentance that in reality does not acknowledge the very sins of which we are guilty, and of which God asks us to repent. The shallow hypocrisy of this repentance is shown by an unwillingness to change our course of action and strictly heed God's counsel.
16. As a result of the direction of apostasy in which the Seventh-day Adventist Church is presently going, God's displeasure is manifestly being shown by a number of things including the following: Rapidly increasing number of bankruptcies and foreclosures of SDA entities. Rapidly escalating indebtedness of SDA organizational branches such as the Adventist Hospital Systems. Rapid rate of apostacies and drop-outs from church fellowship. The noticeable lack of the Holy Spirit's influence in church services and meetings. No living prophet in the church. The subservience of our medical and educational branches of work to worldly organizations and the standards they impose.
17. If we think we have rendered satisfactory repentance, or even if we conceive that we are not in need of repentance of a "denominational level, the evidence of which a few examples are given in proposition #16 should be conclusive enough to show us that we have not come to that repentance which God is calling for. However satisfied we may be with our present condition of repentance, or absence of even a need for any, we may clearly see that it is not satisfactory to God.
18. Our first work as an organized church structure should be to acknowledge that we are not in the position that God made provision for us to be in, and then to seek how to gain the repentance that God is calling for. This in itself will be a very humbling process, one in which, I believe, every voice claiming to have light on the matter should have allowance for consideration.
19. Unless the Seventh-day Adventist Church does respond to God's call for true repentance, and changes its present direction to align with God's leading, it will finally be rejected by God and will meet a fate represented by the fate of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation.
20. I believe that probationary time is still open for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but that probationary time is almost over by present indications.
May God help us!