Sabbath, July 10, 2010
“Two great opposing powers are revealed in the last great battle. On one side stands the Creator of heaven and earth. All on His side bear His signet. They are obedient to His commands. On the other side stands the prince of darkness, with those who have chosen apostasy and rebellion.” –(The Review and Herald, May 7, 1901) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 982, 983.
Promoters and participants
1. Who will participate in the war of Armageddon, willingly or unwillingly?
Revelation 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
“I saw that the anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead, were separate and distinct, one following the other; also that Michael had not stood up, and that the time of trouble, such as never was, had not yet commenced. The nations are now getting angry, but when our High Priest has finished His work in the sanctuary, He will stand up, put on the garments of vengeance, and then the seven last plagues will be poured out.” –Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 116.
2. To whom do the participants thus surrender? Who will never willingly let them go?
Revelation 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
“Angels are holding the four winds, which are represented as an angry horse seeking to break loose and rush over the face of the whole earth, bearing destruction and death in its path.
“A terrible conflict is before us. We are nearing the battle of the great day of God Almighty. That which has been held in control is to be let loose. The angel of mercy is folding her wings, preparing to step down from the throne and leave the world to the control of Satan. The principalities and powers of earth are in bitter revolt against the God of heaven. They are filled with hatred against those who serve Him, and soon, very soon, will be fought the last great battle between good and evil. The earth is to be the battlefield–the scene of the final contest and the final victory.” –My Life Today, p. 308.
Participation in war and apostasy
3. Considering that brethren from the Adventist organization have already taken part in various wars, what can we expect that they will do in the future war if they do not accept the call of reformation?
Revelation 3:16, 17 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
Isaiah 1:21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
Some of the wars in which members of the Adventist organization are known to have participated include World War I (1914-1918), the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay (1932-1935), World War II (1939-1945), the Korean War (1950), the Vietnam War (1964-1975), the Malvinas War (Falkland Islands) (1982), the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), and the Iraq War (2003 to the present).
“The people of God were represented to me as in a backslidden state. They have not an eye single to the glory of God. Their own glory is prominent. They seek to glorify themselves and yet call themselves Christians….
“I have tried in the fear of God to set before His people their danger and their sins, and have endeavored, to the best of my feeble powers, to arouse them. I have stated startling things, which, if they had believed, would have caused them distress and terror, and led them to zeal in repenting of their sins and iniquities. I have stated before them that, from what was shown me, but a small number of those now professing to believe the truth would eventually be saved–not because they could not be saved, but because they would not be saved in God’s own appointed way. The way marked out by our divine Lord is too narrow and the gate too strait to admit them while grasping the world or while cherishing selfishness or sin of any kind. There is no room for these things; and yet there are but few who will consent to part with them, that they may pass the narrow way and enter the strait gate.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 444-446.
4. With what debatable arguments did the leaders of the church allow their members to take part in this destructive work?
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
“There is a prospect before us of a continued struggle at the risk of imprisonment, loss of property, and even of life itself, to defend the law of God, which is made void by the laws of men. In this situation worldly policy will urge an outward compliance with the laws of the land, for the sake of peace and harmony. And there are some who will even urge such a course from the Scripture: ‘Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers…. The powers that be are ordained of God.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 712.
Each person according to his own conscience
5. What arguments has the Adventist organization presented ever since World War I to encourage the participation of its members in armed conflicts? Nevertheless, what is God’s will?
Deuteronomy 12:8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Psalm 106:3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.
“We have taken the position that in these circumstances each person should act according to his own conscience.” –President of the General Conference A.G. Daniells, in Friedensau, Germany, July 1920, in the Protokoll der Verhandlung mit der Gegenbewegung (Minutes of the Discussion with the Opposition Movement), p. 36.
“We grant to each of our church members absolute liberty to serve his country at all times and in all places, in accord with the dictates of his personal conscientious conviction.” –Review and Herald, March 6, 1924.
“God has given men no liberty to depart from His requirements. The Lord had declared to Israel, ‘Ye shall not do … every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes;’ but ye shall ‘observe and hear all these words which I command thee.’ Deuteronomy 12:8, 28. In deciding upon any course of action we are not to ask whether we can see that harm will result from it, but whether it is in keeping with the will of God. ‘There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.’ Proverbs 14:12.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 634.
“Were men free to depart from the Lord’s requirements and to set up a standard of duty for themselves, there would be a variety of standards to suit different minds and the government would be taken out of the Lord’s hands. The will of man would be made supreme, and the high and holy will of God–His purpose of love toward His creatures–would be dishonored, disrespected.
“Whenever men choose their own way, they place themselves in controversy with God.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 51, 52.
6. By following their country’s command, in what dangerous situation did the brethren of the Adventist Church find themselves during World War II? Can a personal freedom that allows people of the same faith to fight against and kill each other on opposing fronts come from God?
Face to face on the battlefield. One dark, quiet night, a soldier in his foxhole heard a religious hymn being whistled behind an enemy trench; it was a melody he recognized as a hymn from the Zionslieder the German Adventist Hymnal. He climbed up and, after some minutes of listening, asked the whistler with a voice as from the grave: “Are you a brother?”
From the darkness a voice was heard floating over the barren waste that lay between them: “Yes, I am a brother.” After sharing a moment of worship together in the darkness, they returned to their assigned watch in the night–two brothers who lay in deadly peril and who were on opposing sides of the conflict, waiting for the day and the battle to begin again. –Paraphrased from The Review and Herald, June 1947.
We cannot serve two masters
7. Who will gather the nations for the battle of Armageddon? Can anyone be saved or represent God’s church while taking part in such a war?
Revelation 16:14-17 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
“When existing evils are not met and checked, because men have too little courage to reprove wrong, or because they have too little interest or are too indolent to tax their own powers in putting forth earnest efforts to purify the family or the church of God, they are accountable for the evil which may result in consequence of neglect to do their duty. We are just as accountable for evils that we might have checked in others, by reproof, by warning, by exercise of parental or pastoral authority, as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves.” –Gospel Workers, 1892 edition, p. 83.
8. What dual role does Satan play especially during the period of the seventh trumpet?
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
“Through spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people, and professing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith; but at the same time he works as a destroyer. His temptations are leading multitudes to ruin. Intemperance dethrones reason; sensual indulgence, strife, and bloodshed follow. Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.” –The Great Controversy, p. 589.
“The present is a solemn, fearful time for the church. The angels are already girded, awaiting the mandate of God to pour their vials of wrath upon the world. Destroying angels are taking up the work of vengeance; for the Spirit of God is gradually withdrawing from the world. Satan is also mustering his forces of evil, going forth ‘unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world,’ to gather them under his banner, to be trained for ‘the battle of that great day of God Almighty.’ Satan is to make most powerful efforts for the mastery in the last great conflict. Fundamental principles will be brought out, and decisions made in regard to them. Skepticism is prevailing everywhere. Ungodliness abounds. The faith of individual members of the church will be tested as though there were not another person in the world.” –(Manuscript 1a, 1890) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 983.