Sabbath, June 19, 2010
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12.
A spirit of war and the work of reformation
1. Was the Adventist Church warned by the Spirit of Prophecy about what was coming?
Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
“… The world is stirred with the spirit of war.” –(November 24, 1904) Christian Service, p. 54.
“Five years later, or in the year 1909, she solemnly charged the representatives at the General Conference assembly to prepare their hearts for the terrible scenes of strife and oppression beyond anything they had conceived of, soon to be witnessed among the nations of the earth. She said, ‘Very soon the strife and oppression of foreign nations will break forth with an intensity that you do not now anticipate.’ (General Conference Bulletin, 1909, p. 57). Five years after this prediction was made, the great world war was precipitated….
“While these calamities were witnessed among the nations of the earth, another scene was presented–a great reformatory movement among God’s people.” –The Time and the Work, pp. 12, 13, published by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists after World War I).
2. At the time of World War I and the conflict among the nations, with whom should the reformation have begun? Nevertheless, what did the church, blinded by apostasy, do with its faithful members?
Isaiah 8:16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
2 Kings 19:31 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
The work of reformation began within the Adventist Church with the few believers who remained firm during the storm, even as the message and the messengers were rejected by the official church.
“After the war broke out, there was a division among the Adventists. The majority wanted to invalidate the principles during the war while others insisted on the sacredness of the Sabbath even in time of war. This dispute led to the disfellowshipment of those who proclaimed the validity of the old beliefs.” –Kölnische Zeitung, September 21, 1915.
The message and the messengers were rejected
3. As has often happened in history, where did the reformation continue due to the intolerance by the apostatized church? What did the believers who were forced by the persecution in the church to join together in a reform movement long for?
Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Acts 18:6, 7 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
Acts 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
Revelation 3:18, 20 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 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.
“When the church abandons these words and uses her own, she loses the power of the word, which is the power of God that saves all who believe in it. If this happens with men, even if they say they are the church of Christ or a part of it, it is then time for those who are joined to her to remember this warning,… ‘from such turn away.’ 2 Timothy 3:5.
“Love, truth, faith, and all the essential elements of the true church of God remain with those who left the body that apostatized from God. These are the ones who constitute the church of God.” –Christlicher Hausfreund, March 12, 1906.
The remnant is the light of the world
4. Therefore, who was the light of the world when the great trial came to the Adventist Church in 1914? Was it the official church or the small remnant?
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Isaiah 1:8, 9 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
“The Lord requires of all who profess His name a strict adherence to truth. This will be as salt which has not lost its savor, as a light amid the moral darkness and deception of the world.
“‘Ye are the light of the world,’ says Christ. Those who are truly connected with God, by reflecting the light of heaven will have a saving power in the church and also in the world; for the perfume of good deeds and truthful acts will make them of good repute, even among those who are not of our faith. Those who fear God will respect and honor such a character; and even the enemies of our faith, as they see the spirit and life of Christ exhibited in their daily works, will glorify God, the source of their strength and honor.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 356.
5. What happens when a church rejects and tramples on the light?
Genesis 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
“It pains me to say, my brethren, that your sinful neglect to walk in the light has enshrouded you in darkness. You may now be honest in not recognizing and obeying the light; the doubts you have entertained, your neglect to heed the requirements of God, have blinded your perception so that darkness is now to you light, and light is darkness. God has bidden you to go forward to perfection. Christianity is a religion of progress. Light from God is full and ample, waiting our demand upon it. Whatever blessings the Lord may give, He has an infinite supply beyond, an inexhaustible store from which we may draw. Skepticism may treat the sacred claims of the gospel with jests, scoffing, and denial. The spirit of worldliness may contaminate the many and control the few; the cause of God may hold its ground only by great exertion and continual sacrifice, yet it will triumph finally.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 28.
“When this happened, there was a reformation in the church, but not a reformation of the church, because a church was never reformed. Reformation and conversion apply only to a few, and not to corporations.” –Christlicher Hausfreund, March 12, 1906.
6. What did a few righteous men believe in the time of Martin Luther?
Jeremiah 7:3, 4 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.
“Some are in danger of being satisfied with the glimpses they have had of the light and love of God, and so ceasing to advance. Watchfulness and prayer have not been maintained. At the very time when the acclamation is made, ‘The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these,’ temptations come in, and darkness gathers about the soul–earthliness, selfishness, and self-glorification. There is a necessity for the Lord Himself to communicate His own ideas to the soul.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 485, 486.
“In Luther’s time there were some good men who worked, thinking that the Roman Church could be reformed. Not long after, they realized their mistake. The reformation was not applicable to the Roman Catholic Apostolic church, but it was a reformation of some men and women who were in that church and had participated in its false doctrines.” –Christlicher Hausfreund, March 12, 1906.
The fallen churches and the lightbearers
7. Was that always how reformations came into existence?
Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Numbers 16:3 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?
“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.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 440.
“Thus it was with all reformations before and after that time. The church continued to exist with its outward forms and ceremonies and even increased its wealth and membership, since a church is always popular in the measure that it conforms to worldly customs so that the great mass of the world may easily enter the apparent door of salvation.” (Quotation from the Adventist magazine Christlicher Hausfreund, March 12, 1906).
8. What happened to the Waldenses and the Hussites?
2 Corinthians 4:8, 9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.
“Those who remained faithful to the gospel were subjected to a bloody persecution.
“As their former brethren, entering into compact with Rome, imbibed her errors, those who adhered to the ancient faith had formed themselves into a distinct church, taking the name of ‘United Brethren.’ This act drew upon them maledictions from all classes. Yet their firmness was unshaken. Forced to find refuge in the woods and caves, they still assembled to read God’s Word and unite in His worship.” –The Great Controversy, p. 119.
“Stripes and imprisonment, cold and hunger and thirst, perils by land and by sea, in the city and in the wilderness, from his own countrymen, from the heathen, and from false brethren–all this he endured for the sake of the gospel. He was ‘defamed,’ ‘reviled,’ made ‘the offscouring of all things,’ ‘perplexed,’ ‘persecuted,’ ‘troubled on every side,’ ‘in jeopardy every hour,’ ‘alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake.’” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 296, 297.