Sabbath, September 20, 2014
“Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads–it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved–just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land,… that we may know what is coming.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 287.
Significance of the sifting
1. What did Jesus tell Simon would soon come about? What will happen among God’s people in the end times?
Amos 9:9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.
Luke 22:31, 32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Online dictionaries define “shaking” as “To cause to move to and fro with jerky movements,” “to cause to lose stability or waver,” “to remove or dislodge by jerky movements.” The definition of “sift” is: “To separate or separate out by or as if by putting through a sieve.” –Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
“I saw some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, pleading with God. Their countenances were pale, and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness was expressed in their countenances; large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads….
“Evil angels crowded around, pressing darkness upon them to shut out Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and thus they be led to distrust God, and murmur against Him….
“My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were mightily shaken.” –Early Writings, pp. 269, 271.
2. Before what main event will this cleansing process take place? For what purpose?
Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Isaiah 1:25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.
“I know that a work must be done for the people, or many will not be prepared to receive the light of the angel sent down from heaven to lighten the whole earth with His glory. Do not think that you will be found as vessels unto honor in the time of the latter rain, to receive the glory of God, if you are lifting up your souls unto vanity, speaking perverse things, in secret cherishing roots of bitterness.” –Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, pp. 327, 328.
“I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing,’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action.” –Early Writings, p. 71.
The testimony of the True Witness and the shaking
3. What statement of Christ as the True Witness to the Laodicean church causes a shaking? How?
Revelation 3:14-17 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 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.
“I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans.” –Early Writings, p. 270.
“Men and women must be awakened to the duty of self-mastery, the need of purity, freedom from every depraving appetite and defiling habit.” –Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 74.
“While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 253.
4. What is the only way to keep from being “spued out,” or rejected forever?
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 True Witness counsels us to buy of Him gold tried in the fire, white raiment, and eyesalve. The gold here recommended as having been tried in the fire is faith and love. It makes the heart rich; for it has been purged until it is pure, and the more it is tested the more brilliant is its luster. The white raiment is purity of character, the righteousness of Christ imparted to the sinner. This is indeed a garment of heavenly texture, that can be bought only of Christ for a life of willing obedience. The eyesalve is that wisdom and grace which enables us to discern between the evil and the good, and to detect sin under any guise…. Christ is the depositary of all graces. He says: ‘Buy of Me.’ ” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 88, 89.
Accepting the message
5. What will be revealed in the life of one who has accepted the message to the Laodiceans? What has been your personal experience with this?
Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Isaiah 62:10 Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
“This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth.” –Early Writings, p. 270.
“No line of truth that has made the Seventh-day Adventist people what they are is to be weakened. We have the old landmarks of truth, experience, and duty, and we are to stand firmly in defense of our principles, in full view of the world.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 17.
“Death before dishonor or the transgression of God’s law should be the motto of every Christian. As a people professing to be reformers, treasuring the most solemn, purifying truths of God’s word, we must elevate the standard far higher than it is at the present time. Sin and sinners in the church must be promptly dealt with, that others may not be contaminated.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 147.
6. What is the great danger for God’s people when a crisis comes? What will those who remain faithful until the end receive?
Revelation 3:3; 2:10 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee…. 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
“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.
“Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 81.
7. Whom does God use as His instruments to give the message of the hour to His people and to the world?
Isaiah 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
“Our Redeemer sends His messengers to bear a testimony to His people. He says: ‘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. But many refuse to receive Him. The Holy Spirit waits to soften and subdue hearts; but they are not willing to open the door and let the Saviour in, for fear that He will require something of them. And so Jesus of Nazareth passes by.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 262.
8. What was Gideon’s experience before victory was achieved? How are conditions in the church and the world today similar to those existing at that time?
Judges 7:2-7 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest I-srae-l vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. 3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. 4 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. 5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. 6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. 7 And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
“I was shown the people of God, and saw them mightily shaken….
“The number of this company had lessened. Some had been shaken out, and left by the way….” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 179, 182.
“Soon God’s people will be tested by fiery trials, and the great proportion of those who now appear to be genuine and true will prove to be base metal….
“To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few–this will be our test.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 136.
“As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition.” –The Great Controversy, p. 608.
Sealing of God’s servants
9. In God’s final work of salvation, what will the saints receive to be prepared to meet the Lord?
Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
“An angel with a writer’s inkhorn by his side returned from the earth and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed. Then I saw Jesus … throw down the censer. He raised His hands, and with a loud voice said, ‘It is done.’ And all the angelic host laid off their crowns as Jesus made the solemn declaration, ‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.’
“Every case had been decided for life or death….
“All heaven had united with Jesus, as they heard the fearful words, ‘It is done. It is finished.’ The plan of salvation had been accomplished, but few had chosen to accept it.” –Early Writings, pp. 279-281.
“The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice….” –Early Writings, p. 15.
10. Since the shaking, or purification, will occur before the latter rain, what responsibility do God’s people have?
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
“I saw that decided efforts should be made to show those who are unchristian in life their wrongs, and if they do not reform, they should be separated from the precious and holy, that God may have a clean and pure people that He can delight in. Dishonor Him not by linking or uniting the clean with the unclean.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 117, 118.
“Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times those who are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 232.
“Before the work is closed up and the sealing of God’s people is finished, we shall receive the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Angels from heaven will be in our midst.” –Maranatha, p. 212.