In this lesson we shall begin with a very popular objection.
OBJECTION NO. 6
Are we not warned against calling the Remnant Church Babylon?
ANSWER: Yes, indeed! In fact the Remnant Church could not possibly be Babylon. It would be a lying accusation. In such a case God would have no church left on earth to vindicate His honor by keeping His law. But let us think a little further about the question: Considering everything, who is the Remnant Church today? Take, for instance, the European situation we have just studied. When 98% of the Seventh-day Adventist Church fell into apostasy by trampling upon God’s holy law, were they still the Remnant Church that keeps His law (Rev. 12:17)? We think you will admit that they were not. Then who made up the remnant? The 2% who stood firmly on the platform of truth in the face of death – the Reform Movement. They were the Remnant Church. They are the remnant of her seed – the woman represents the Christian churches; her seed, the Advent believers; and the remnant of her seed, the Reform Movement.
False teachers have arisen in great numbers throughout the years to denounce the Adventist Church as Babylon. According to Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 32-62, these men were (1) setting time, (2) against organization, (3) opposed to tithe paying, etc. – things which the Reform Movement has never advocated.
Yet, there is one outstanding factor to be considered:
“Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered.” – Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 57 (emphasis ours).
If we observe this divine measuring stick, we notice that this testimony was written in 1893. With great wisdom Sister White wrote at that time:
“There is but one church in the world who are at the present time (1893), standing in the breach, and making up the hedge, . . .” – Testimonies to Ministers, p. 50 (emphasis ours).
The four words injected here, “at the present time,” are significant. At that time, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the one true church. But when the Reform Movement proved itself faithful in the face of great apostasy, it became the only church answering the description of the Remnant Church.
As to the question whether we believe the large Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon, we need not teach this; but we believe the statement in Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 250 is true. It reads in part:
“Then He (Christ) said to me: ‘Can you not see how they have pretentiously covered up their defilement and rottenness of character? “How is the faithful city become an harlot!” My father’s house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed!'”
This statement was written in 1903, or ten years after the chapter, “Remnant not Babylon,” was penned. It depicts the church as a “harlot.” Nowhere have we found any statement written later to the effect that the church was no longer in this stated sinful condition.
You see, dear student, one’s acceptance of truth depends on the point of observation from which he looks at certain matters. Everything falls beautifully in place when applied according to the written word and Testimonies.
OBJECTION NO. 7
There are only seven churches outlined in Revelation 2 and 3. Are you not setting up an eighth church?
ANSWER: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” Rom. 9:27.
None of the seven churches of Revelation was saved as a body. In fact, at the end of every letter the few faithful souls are addressed – “He that overcometh. . . .”
Laodicea, the seventh church period, means “a people adjudged,” or in a special sense the people of God living during the investigative judgment which began in 1844. Of this last church the prophet Zephaniah said, “I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, . . . and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame. . . .” Zeph. 3:18,19.
The Reform Movement is a part of the seventh, or Advent Movement, period – just as the Joshua/Caleb movement was a part of old Israel that came out of Egypt, though they were under a new leadership. The Reform Movement members are orthodox Seventh-day Adventists, certainly not on the Adventist Church’s records but more importantly in the spirit and truth of the threefold angel’s message. They are the true Adventists and the Remnant Church of Revelation 12:17. They heed the testimony of the True Witness, are going through the shaking, and are preparing for the latter rain. They are separate from the nominal Adventists in organization but do not form an eighth church.
OBJECTION NO. 8
You have so few numbers. How can you ever finish the work?
ANSWER: This old argument has no merit. Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “. . . There is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” 1 Sam. 14:6. And to Gideon the Lord said, “The people that are with thee are too many. . . .” Judges 7:2. Elijah was all alone, and Noah had only his family of eight to take in the ark out of all the millions on earth. Is it any different today? If so, show us why. 144,000 saved as a result of the third angel’s message is like a drop in a bucket. But God’s work will be finished “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” which means a divine miracle will finish the work during the latter rain. Thus God will be given all the glory, not man or any earthly organization.
OBJECTION NO. 9
Sister White always expressed her full confidence in the brethren of the General Conference, and in her will she left the testimony transcripts in the custody of a Board of Trustees composed of General Conference men to carry on the work after her death.
ANSWER: This coincides with the blessing which Moses pronounced upon Israel prior to his death, as recorded in Deuteronomy 33. Nevertheless this blessing did not apply to those of that great multitude whose carcasses were strewn in the wilderness with all their unbelieving leaders.
Moses loved the people so much that he even stayed God’s punishment of total annihilation by desiring to have his own name blotted out with them if the sentence were executed. Sister White was no different. Her love for the cause, which was an integral part of herself, was deep and devoted. And at that time she had no real reason to distrust her brethren in America. Their testing time had not yet fully come, and she hoped for the best. But, strange as it may seem, she did not herself fully comprehend all the significant words the angel bade her write. Concerning this she said the following:
“Even the prophets who were favored with the special illumination of the Spirit, did not fully comprehend the import of the revelations committed to them. The meaning was to be unfolded from age to age, as the people of God should need the instruction therein contained.” – Great Controversy, p. 344.
“The prophets had made the statements, but the spiritual import of what they had written, was undiscovered by them. They did not see the meaning of the truth.” – Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 404.
But why were her manuscripts all entrusted to the leading men of the General Conference? A counter-question is in place: If the printing of the Bible were left to this Reform Movement alone, would we be able to accomplish this gigantic task? The answer is No, for we do not have the facilities. Even the large Adventist Church with all its facilities purchases its Bibles from the Bible societies outside the Adventist faith. We thank God for the White Estate and the Board of Trustees which supervise the printing of the Testimonies and all other Spirit of prophecy publications, which the Reform Movement would not be able to do. But here, too, a word of caution is in order. When books are compiled from different sources, the compilers may sometimes arrange them in a way that will influence minds in a wrong direction. We advise the readers of such compiled books, or any other works containing quotations from the Spirit of prophecy, including our own, to turn to the original sources and read the statements in their entire context, considering time and place as well.
OBJECTION NO. 10
Sister White was laid to rest right at the height of the crisis. Why did the Lord not preserve her life a little longer, so she could have told the brethren distinctly about the great apostasy in Europe and rectified the grave injustice committed against the disfellowshipped group?
ANSWER: There were good reasons. First of all, consider the following texts: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples. . . . To the law and to the testimony: . . .” Isa. 8:16,20. The texts show the very close relationship between the Ten Commandments and the Spirit of prophecy. And Revelation 12:17 verifies this fact: “. . . Which keep the Commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Of ancient Israel the prophet Hosea said: “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” Hosea 4:17. In other words, the people were transgressing God’s holy law. What would be the result? Hosea answered this in the same chapter: “Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.” Hosea 4:5. So, we conclude, when God’s people ignore His inspired prophet and transgress His divine law, He will take the prophet away from them. And this is exactly what happened first in 1914 in the open revolt against God’s law, and then in 1915 when the prophet was taken away.
Then there is another important point. If Sister White had openly condemned the European apostasy and taken sides with the faithful few, many may have joined the Reform Movement for Sister White’s sake and not from their own conviction. The Lord did not permit this to happen.