XXVI - 5 (93)
what of the night?”
"The hour has come, the hour is striking
and striking at you,
WHAT IS IT?
How Are We Developing it? A Higher Plane?
What was to be the
nature of Adventism which the Messenger of the Lord envisioned for the Church? This
is not a trivia question, but a question fraught with eternal consequences. In 1890, Ellen White addressed this
question. She wrote: We must not think, "Well, we have all the
truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge."
The truth is an
advancing truth, and we must walk in the
This vision of
"advancing truth" and "increasing light" was an issue at
the time of the 1888 message, and it has become an issue again as a result of
the present crisis in Adventism. The resolution of this crisis cannot be found
in the hue and cry of staying with Historic Adventism. This is deceptive, just
as deceptive as staying in the apostasy that has engulfed the Church. It leaves
those who embrace this concept in the same Laodicean blindness that they decry
in the leadership of the Church itself. It is simply blind leaders calling
others blind. Neither can see, thus they lead the poor deceived
"sheep" into the pit of destruction. Tragically, many of the
"sheep" would have it so. This is exactly the condition that the
messenger of the Lord warned about a few years later in 1894. She wrote
then: It is a fact that we have the truth,
and we must hold with tenacity to the positions that cannot be shaken; but
we must not look with suspicion upon any new light which God may send, and say,
"Really, we cannot see that we need any more light than the old truth
[historic Adventism] which we have hitherto received, and in which we are settled.
While we hold to this position, the testimony of the True Witness applies to
our cases its rebuke, "And knowest not that thou
art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Those who
feel rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing,
are in a condition of blindness as to their true condition before God, and
they know it not. (R&H,
Those, therefore, who are followers and devotees of the "Private Ministries" named in ISSUES are merely exchanging one Laodicean condition for another. They have not opened the door to let Jesus, the Truth, "pure and unadulterated" to come in and break the bread of life with them. They are in as much confusion as they were before. But does "advancing truth" and "increasing light" mean that we have to be inundated with all kinds of speculative theories about Bible prophecy, and fanciful interpretations of the Word of God? No, absolutely not! The Messenger of the Lord has given a careful guideline to be followed in pursuing our duty in searching for "advancing truth." She counseled:
The Lord has made His people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done. (Ms. 27, 1897; emphasis supplied)
It is "that truth" - "present truth" - not some speculative theory that is to be presented, but a development of the "sacred truth" received, to "a higher scale than it has hitherto been done." This process can be rather painful, if not unnerving at times, as we seek to find truth, pure and unadulterated" even the righteousness of Christ. (TM, p. 65) We are plainly told: "We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have an occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed." (ibid., P. 30)
"Peter exhorts his brethren to 'grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received [historic Adventism] from God's word, and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative, and seek to avoid discussion." (5T:706-707) Everyone of the Private Ministries named in ISSUES declined an invitation to come together to discuss key doctrines of truth. "When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition [historic Adventism], and worship they know not what." (ibid.)
This is exactly what is happening today in the community of Adventism. "Many" are devotees of certain men, and instead of seeking the truth as it is in Jesus - the Word - they go and worship at the feet of these men. You talk with them, and tell them what the Word says, even giving them the texts in the Bible, suggesting that they study these carefully and then form their own convictions. The response is, I will call - and a certain man is named - and see what he says." They worship they know not what!
Before one can develop "present truth" to "a higher scale than it has hitherto been done," he must know what is "present truth." In other words, he must find the firm foundation of truth - basic Adventism - upon which to build. Interestingly, the same hue and cry we hear today - stay with "historic Adventism" - was the cry in 1888 of those who opposed the messages sent through Elders Jones and Waggoner to the church. It was merely phrased differently. In 1888, it was, "Stand by the old landmarks." However, there was evidence that many "knew not what the old landmarks were." The same is true today. Those crying, "Stay with historic Adventism" do not know what basic Adventism is, so as to be able to tell if what has been built on "the foundation," now called, "historic Adventism" is really pure and unadulterated truth, or if there are things both to learn as well as "many, many" things to unlearn.
What were the "old landmarks" - basic Adventism upon which to build? In the crisis year which followed 1888, the messenger of the Lord wrote:
The passing of the time in 1844 was a period of great
events, opening to our astonished eyes
the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having a
decided relation to God's people upon the earth,
 the first and second angels' messages and the third, unfurling
the banner on which was inscribed, "The commandments of God and the faith
of Jesus."  One of the
landmarks under this message was the
can come under the head of old landmarks. (Ms. 13, 1889; numbers supplied)
These five fundamental doctrines constitute basic Adventism. It would be as well for our edification to consider what is not included as to study these five doctrines which are designated as "old landmarks." We will let each reader consider for himself what is not included asking, Why? We will discuss the five basic teachings of Adventism, suggesting wherein each might be developed "on a higher scale than...has hitherto been done."
I. The Cleansing of the Sanctuary
This fundamental landmark is two pronged, that which is transpiring in heaven, and its "decided relation to God's people upon the earth." our knowledge of what is transpiring in heaven is based upon the typical services of the model sanctuary which Moses was instructed to build. The priests of this tabernacle served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." (Heb. 8:5) The service which ceremonially cleansed the sanctuary yearly was the ritual of the Day of Atonements. But in this cleansing were included “all the people of the congregation." (Lev. 16:33)
In the ceremonies of that day, the High Priest ministered in three different areas of the sanctuary, the most holy, the holy, and the altar. (Lev. 16:20) [In this chapter, the most holy is noted as simply the "holy," the word, "place," being supplied. (v. 2) The holy place is noted as "the tabernacle," and "the altar" is the altar of the court where the confessions of the individuals throughout the year were recorded] The record outlining the ministry in the most holy place stated that two things were involved: 1) "the uncleanness of the children of Israel" and 2) "their transgressions in all their sins." () But it was not until the third step - the ministry at the altar - that the uncleanness was removed (.) This was done by mingling the blood of the Lord's goat, and the blood of the bullock provided by the high priest (.) This basic concept has not been developed.
Further light is cast upon the services of this day by a careful study of Daniel 7 when the "judgment was set and the books were opened" (.) This was done before the angelic host. The significance of this prophetic representation has not been pursued in the light of the fact that where sin began, its final judgment must also begin so that affliction will not arise again a second time.
A careful study of the
daily services reveals that the record of the confessed sins of individuals
were placed on the horns of the altar in the court, while the record of the
confessed sins of corporate Israel were placed on the horns of the altar of
incense in the tabernacle. See Leviticus 4. The services of the Day of
Atonements involved not only these two places, but also the Most Holy where the
presence of God dwelt. This succession of ministry on the Day of Atonements -
from the Most Holy to the Holy to the Court - or from God, to corporate
identities, to the individual, is the same succession that is observed in the
Three Angels' Messages. From the "hour of the judgment
of Him, "to "
II. The Three Angels' Messages
In the study of the Three Angels of Revelation 14 with their messages, it must be kept in mind that John first sees before he hears. He sees the angel "having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred and tongue and people" (14:6.) There are two items noted that need to be carefully considered:
1) The expression - "them that dwell on the earth" is used in the previous chapter. The second beast deceives "them that dwell on the earth." The same beast advises "them that dwell on the earth" (.) Is this telling us that the giving of the messages centers where the action of Revelation 13 focuses? It is true that the messages are to be world-wide in extent for the everlasting gospel is to go "to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." But have we given consideration to the final drama, and its particular focus on "them that dwell on the earth"?
2) The "everlasting
gospel" is the framework in which the messages of the "mark of the beast," and "
gospel, "let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:8) it is true that "an angel" who fell from heaven is indeed insinuating a different gospel, but tragically today, the Church to whom God committed the giving of the "everlasting gospel" is also accepting this false gospel.
When our spiritual forefathers perceived their mission in relationship to the Three Angels' message of Revelation 14, they believed fervently that the Second Advent of Christ was imminent. They also perceived the many things of Revelation and other prophecies were in their day as yet unfulfilled. These they concentrated into a very small period of time. That which they believed would be fulfilled in a few decades has now lengthened into more than a century. Does that mean that we discard these messages? Never! But it does challenge us to re-study our perceptions to see what we might need to unlearn as well as to learn.
Linguistically, the tenses
in which these messages are stated call for careful study. The "hour of
His judgment is come (elthen)" is past tense. Likewise, "
The third angel's message is in the present tense - "if any man is worshiping the beast and his image." This message then would not become present truth until the "image" would be set up. You could not be worshiping that which was not. Or else, we have not perceived the significance of the image to the beast, and the "image of the beast" is upon us and we know it not.
Some perception as to
how God works might cast light on the present. The victory of Jesus Christ in
the flesh was worked out within the framework of His chosen people in a
restricted geographical area before the contest became world-wide. Jesus
declared plainly that he was "not sent but unto the lost sheep of the
We dare not forget that when the 1901 Constitution was jettisoned, and in its place was enacted the 1903 Constitution, the delegates were warned from the floor that "the principles which are to be brought in through this proposed constitution, and in the way which they are brought in, are the same principles, an introduced in precisely the same way, as they were hundreds of years ago when the Papacy was made" - the "beast." (1903 GC Bulletin, p. 150.) Further it needs to be recalled that Ellen White declared of this action that the Church was "now being leavened with her own backsliding." (8T:250) Sadly it must be declared that the “image" of the Papacy has been set up in the Church. This time "the very stones" have cried out. The "Findings of Fact" of a United States District Court Judge read:
77. One of the twenty-seven fundamental beliefs of Adventists - based on Bible passages - is that "the Church is one body with many members called from every nation, kindred, tongue and people." Theologically, the Seventh- day Adventist Church is a single unified church. Church documents that prescribe the Church's structure and governance confirm that all parts of the Church are parts of a single entity. Next to the Roman Catholic Church, the Adventist church is the most centralized of all major christian denominations in this country. (Case No. 81 C 4938; United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division; emphasis supplied.)
"If any man is
worshiping the beast and his image,...the same shall
drink of the wine of the wrath of God." Did not the Lord's messenger write in commenting on
Ezekiel 9 - "Here we
see that the church - the Lord's sanctuary - was the first to feel the stroke
of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom
God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual
interests of the people, had betrayed their trust." (5T:211.) Basically as the
Three Angels' Messages clearly declare - we have a choice of worship, either
"worship Him who made," or "worship the beast and his
image." We must discern between the truth of God and a church which has
denied the truth committed to it in trust. Is indeed the final drama being
worked out first in "spiritual"
Historic Adventism has
never questioned the fact that there is a temple in heaven, but it has left its
believers with the concept that it is identical to the model which Moses
erected in the
Neither have we asked the question as to why the angelic host is assembled at the time when the judgment is set, and the books are opened. We have contented ourselves with the perception that these angels come to verify the records they have placed in the archives of heaven of the acts of human beings through the ages. But these angels have abode in the truth; the records they have kept are beyond question. God knows this and does not question their veracity. (Eccl. 5:6) Neither have we considered that this is "the hour of the judgment of Him" (Greek Text), and that the judgment must begin where sin began - in heaven, when God was questioned by an angel. Affliction will never arise a second time. But the angels must of their own free will consent for God to carry out His original plan and purpose. His plan is to do this through human beings whose sorry record, these unfallen angels have kept and know all too well what it is. Will they agree? What will persuade them? Does an in-depth study of Leviticus 16 give us an answer? If we would give consideration to some of these questions, we would begin to develop this fundamental truth of Adventism on a much higher scale than it is perceived in "historic" Adventism.
When the Law of God as stated in the Ten Commandments has done its work, we bow as convicted sinners at the foot of the Cross. There we behold a love expressed which calls forth in us a responding love, and we freely give to God our whole devotion - body, soul and spirit. Too many are still burdened under the condemnation of the law, instead of living by the law of love "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. ) The development of this fundamental of basic Adventism would bring not only a forward step in a deeper theoretical understanding of the grace of God, but also would advance the student in a manifestation of practical godliness. (I Peter 1:5-7)
IV. The Sabbath
We have read the story
of creation many times, and noted that after each day the formula is repeated,
"And the evening and the morning were the first day" and so on
through all six days. But we have given little consideration to the fact that
it is not stated - "And the evening and morning were the seventh
day." it was not until after sin entered, that the Sabbath is noted as
coming after the succession of days. (Gen. 4:3, margin) Keep in mind that
Adam's first full day of life was spent as a Sabbath in worship and communion
with God. Was it ever to end? Did not Adam in
The New Testament teaching in regard to this basic fundamental of Adventism connects the Sabbath with the rest of salvation. In Hebrews 4, the word, rest, is emphasized. (This word's Greek root is the same as the root of the word for "rest" in Matt. 11:28-30.) When it states - "There remaineth therefore a keeping of the
sabbath to the people of God" (4:9, margin), it is connected with the fact that he who has entered into the rest provided through Christ has "ceased from his own works, as God did from His" at creation. (4:10.) And thus eternity begins again for all who so enter. "As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in this coming we begin the life eternal." (DA, p. 331) When we perceive this truth, then we are better prepared to understand the fifth basic landmark.
Further, when God raised up this people and committed to them the great truth
of the sanctuary teaching, He also restored to them the true Sabbath. This had
a purpose, a purpose which "historic" Adventism has not developed. In giving the Sabbath
commandment, God emphatically stated - "in it thou shalt not do any
work." (Ex. 20:10) This same command marked off the typical Day of
Atonements from all the other feast days of
V. Nonimmortality of the Wicked
This is not the usual formulation of this concept. We say, the nonimmortality of the soul. But basic Adventism teaches the nonimmortality of the wicked. John stated that we "know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." (I John 3:15) But John could also write - "He that hath the Son hath life." (I John 5:12) In this concept, Paul concurs. He wrote - "Your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." (Col. 3:4)
When the Sadducees questioned Christ about the resurrection, He told them plainly that they erred, "not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." (Matt. 22:29) He then quoted to them God's declaration - "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Jesus added - "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." The multitude who heard the exchange "were astonished at His doctrine." (-33) Tragically, so are we who have not accepted "present truth" in reality and developed it to a higher scale. This percept of truth would have helped us over and over again as we presented the subject of "The State of Man in Death" in Christ-centered evangelism.
To know that when we face death with the dissolution of "our earthly house" that we have "an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" would bring to us gentle, trusting sleep as we enter the valley of the shadow. We would know that walking "by faith, and not by sight" is a walk to the very close of this present life." (11 Cor. 5:1-9) Did not Jesus say of Lazarus, He "sleepeth, but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." (John 11:11)
Of all generations, we have an illustration which should help us understand this mystery better than any other. I am not a computer expert, but I know that when I have formed this column on our computer-typewriter, I can press, "Text" and it fades from the screen. Then when I need to recall it, I again press, "Text," and give its code identification. It reappears exactly as when I "put it to sleep" in the memory. Or I can press, "Code" and "Text" and forever erase it from memory. Our God has a memory that exceeds any memory that man can create. He even has a Book of Remembrance, and of those entered, He declares - "They shall be mine...in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." (Mal. 3:17)
When Ellen G. White completed listing these five basic pillars of Adventism, she wrote - "I can call to mind nothing more that can come under the head of old landmarks." Have we added to these basics today? Have we subtracted from them, or have we altered them? We have not, as we ought to have done, developed them to a higher scale than it has hitherto been done. We have failed in our "duty," for "the truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light." We dare not rest in "historic" Adventism; we must cease to abide in Laodiceanism. (Now re-read carefully page one)
The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.
Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 35
The month of March was
The groups that are
protesting the apostasy in
There are some sad aspects in this picture. Permeating through these groups in varying degrees is a revival of the "Holy Flesh" teachings which plagued the Church back at the turn of the Century. These doctrines, teaching the eradication of the fallen nature, and that Christ in becoming man came "born, born again," are having a very adverse effect on a number of lives. Either a "self -righteousness" is manifest in which one claims he has ceased to sin, or discouragement stalks a contrite soul. While the emotional extravaganza which accompanied the Holy Flesh Movement is not manifest, the basic teachings of the movement are nevertheless made prominent. Ellen White declared that there was not a "thread of truth in the whole fabric." (DF 190) The same is true today.
Another emphasis found among the various groups is medical missionary work. Such a work is good and is emphasized in the Writings. But there is also a warning to be found which has special meaning now as we are entering the final struggle of the ages when the deceptive arts of Satan are to be manifest under a guise of light and truth. This warning reads: "You know that Satan will come in to deceive if possible the very elect. He claims to be Christ, and he is coming in, pretending to be the great medical missionary." Then the counsel is given - “We must stand barricaded by the truths of the Bible. The canopy of truth is the only canopy under which we can stand safely." (Medical Ministry pp. 87-88) To mingle the techniques of the occult with the laws of health as set forth in the Writings is to offer "strange fire" on the altar of the Lord.
Some of these subjects we will address in detail in future issues of WWN, giving documentation as to what the occult involves.
“Though the mills of God grind slowly
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all."