What is the Church

What is the Church? 

  There has been a lot of rumors and accusations flying around lately, that seem to be causing some to ask this question. So I thought it would be beneficial for us to take a look at this issue and discover what the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy define as constituting the church.

You know, today there are many people saying that the conference does not approve of this message, and so they tell us that in order to be faithful to the church we must abide by the decisions of the conference. Now if this issue is so vitally important, then it stands to reason that we must understand what constitutes the “church” that we are to stay faithful to – isn’t that right?

Matt. 16:18 is the first reference that I can find to the word “church.”

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Now this word “church” is the Greek word “ekklēsia” – which is a combination of 2 words, one of which means “origin, out, from” and the other word means “called”

So the word translated “church” literally means, among other things, “origin of the called”!

So to find out what is “the called” and where does it originate from, we need to dig a little deeper.

Eph. 1:22,23  “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

So if the church, as the body, is the fullness of God that filleth all in all – where does God fill?

Jer. 23:24  “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.”

OK, so we see that the fullness of God fills heaven and earth, and this fullness is the church. What does Sister White say about this subject?

 “The church of God below is one with the church of God aboveBelievers on the earth and the beings in heaven who have never fallen constitute one church. Every heavenly intelligence is interested in the assemblies of the saints who on earth meet to worship God. In the inner court of heaven they listen to the testimony of the witnesses for Christ in the outer court on earth, and the praise and thanksgiving from the worshipers below is taken up in the heavenly anthem, and praise and rejoicing sound through the heavenly courts because Christ has not died in vain for the fallen sons of Adam. While angels drink from the fountainhead, the saints on earth drink of the pure streams flowing from the throne, the streams that make glad the city of our God.” 6T 366

Now there is a lot in this quote. First, we see that angels are part of God’s church. We also see that the believers on earth and the angels in heaven who have never fallen – constitute one church!

We also see that the inner court represents heaven, and the outer court represents earth. This has direct reference back to the Sanctuary. Now our scripture reading today plainly states that God’s way is shown in the sanctuary. So in a moment, we will look at the sanctuary to see what it reveals about this subject.

Now this one quote right here has just defined the whole presentation today, but before we are done, we will look at a lot more evidence to prove this.

So now we see from this quote that angels constitute part of God’s church. Where do angels first come on the scene? Before mankind!

Rev 12:7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 

Rev 12:8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 

Rev 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Alright, so here we begin to see the picture – God has a church in heaven. It is perfect, united, and happy – a single unit – in other words, whole. If you look at the sanctuary, you can see some of this lesson brought out.

Here is the layout of the sanctuary. Notice that there is three compartments, the Most Holy Place, the Holy Place, and the courtyard. 

Now the Ark of the Covenant, which represents the throne of God, was inside the tabernacle in the Most Holy Place. The altar of burnt offering, which represents Calvary, was in the courtyard. So the throne of God, in the Most Holy Place, would be in Heaven, right? And Calvary, in the courtyard, would be earth, right? So the Most Holy Place represents heaven, and the courtyard represents earth! 

Now this last quote stated that the angels are in heaven – do we see angels portrayed in the tabernacle? On the ark, veil, royal liner, if in Solomon’s temple – engraved in all the gold walls!

We can also see from this quote that this area where the angels are, is referred to as the “inner court”, while the world is the “outer court.”

So taking all this information together, we can see that the tabernacle (the inner court) and courtyard (the outer court) constitute one sanctuary! Just as this quote says that the angels in heaven and the believers on earth constitute one church! So here is that perfectly united church.

But then there is a rebellion. One of the members, in the inner court, refuses to take God at His word, he tries to change the law of God and this brings sin into the picture. As a result of this rebellion, this member and his followers are banished from heaven to this earth. Here we see a rift, a breach, a division in the church. 

God intends to repair this breach, to reconcile the members of this church, and it is for this purpose that He creates mankind.

“Man was created for a higher, holier state of enjoyment than this world can afford. He was made in the image of God for high and noble purposes, such as engage the attention of angels.” 4T 438

“Satan urges before God his accusations against them, declaring that they have by their sins forfeited the divine protection, and claiming the right to destroy them as transgressors. He pronounces them just as deserving as himself of exclusion from the favor of God. "Are these," he says, "the people who are to take my place in heaven and the place of the angels who united with me?"  5T 473

“Heaven will triumph, for the vacancies made in heaven by the fall of Satan and his angels will be filled by the redeemed of the Lord.” RH, May 29, 1900

OK, so here we can see the exact same thought that was expressed in the first quote – that the believers on earth and the angels who have never fallen – constitute one church! But now how is this possible? Are the angels members of the conference? How can angels constitute part of the church? As you can see, there is something wrong with this picture, and it all stems from the definition of the word – “Church.” What is the “Church”? Keep in mind, as we move along here, what we just saw revealed in the sanctuary.

Now, I believe that Sister White hit the nail on the head when she wrote:

“God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominationsit is the people who love God and keep His commandments. "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Where Christ is, even among the humble few, this is Christ's church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.”  17MR 81

Now please notice, she specifically says that the church is not the “great cathedral” – in other words, it is not the church buildings, schools, hospitals, General Conference headquarters, etc.

She also specifies that it is not the “national establishment”. Now if you look up the words, “national” and “establishment” in the dictionary from Sister White’s day, you find some interesting aspects.

National = 1. Pertaining to a nation; as national customs, dress or language. 

                   2. Public; general; common to a nation; as a national calamity.

                   3. Attached or unduly attached to ones own country. 

Establishment = The act of establishing, founding, ratifying or ordaining. 1. Settlement;; fixed state.

                    2. Confirmation; ratification of what has been settled or made.

                    3. Settled regulation; form; ordinance; system of laws; constitution of government.

                    4. Fixed or stated allowance for subsistence; income; salary.

                    5. That which is fixed or established; as a permanent military force, a fixed garrison, a local government, an agency, a factory, &c. 

                    6. The episcopal form of religion, so called in England.

                    7. Settlement or final rest.

So in other words, the church is not the religion recognized by the state. What is the religion recognized by the state? It’s the 501 C3 Corporation. But it is also not the “establishment”, or the “system of laws”, or the government of any system of religious beliefs. In other words, the church is not the conference, nor is it the Seventh-day Adventist bylaws, policies, church manuals, rules or regulations! 

It is also not the episcopal form of religion! The word “EPIS'COPAL” from the same dictionary says 

                      “Belonging to or vested in bishops or prelates; as episcopal jurisdiction; episcopal authority.

                       1. Governed by bishops; as the episcopal church.

In other words, the “church” is not the authority or influence invested in the leadership!

She also specifies that the church is not the various denominations! Now the word “denomination” means “The act of naming; A class, society or collection of individuals, called by the same name; as a denomination of christians.”

In other words, what we commonly recognize as “a church”, any church, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, or Seventh-day Adventist – is not what she states constitutes the “church”!

What is it that she says constitutes the church?

She says –“ it is the people who love God and keep His commandments”!

And she adds the defining characteristic of the “church” – “for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.”

So in other words, in order for it to be God’s church – it has to be people; they have to love God; they have to be obeying and keeping His commandments; and the presence of God has to be in their midst!

But notice that she says “can alone constitute a church” –  What does “can alone” signify?

In other words, the people have to love God and be keeping His commandments to the best of their knowledge – but that in and of itself still doesn’t qualify them as the church!

This is above all, the point to remember – if the presence of God is not there, it is not qualified to be a church!

Now remember what we have already seen about the sanctuary. We have one sanctuary, the structure. But yet there are three compartments – and we know that among the members of the church, there has come a breach, a division.

So the church was divided into two groups – the righteous and the wicked (the inner and outer courts, the tabernacle and the courtyard). But we are not to be of the world, we are called to be separate from the world. Remember the vision that Sister White saw of the path – it was cast up High above the world! This is the Holy Place – the compartment where heaven and earth overlap!

Now in order for God to repair this breach, this separation, between the members of His church – Jesus came and died!

Rom. 5:10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

And what happened when Christ died?

Mark 15:37,38  And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

With the death of Christ, God opened the veil, repaired this breach, He made the way possible so that the repentant, separated members could once again be reunited with the unfallen members! 

Now if the church started in heaven with the angels, then can we show that the church has been in existence for all of this earth’s history?

God had a church when Adam and Eve and Abel accepted and hailed with joy the good news that Jesus was their Redeemer. These realized as fully then as we realize now the promise of the presence of God in their midst. Whenever Enoch found one or two who were willing to hear the message he had for them, Jesus joined with them in their worship of God. In Enoch's day there were some among the wicked inhabitants of earth who believed. The Lord never yet has left His faithful few without His presence nor the world without a witness.--Ms 43, 1900. Released January 27, 1970.  4MR 293

Notice that when Adam, Eve, and Abel were faithfully worshipping God, He was in their midst – and Sister White says - that was God’s church!

“The church is God's fortress, His city of refuge, which He holds in a revolted world. Any betrayal of the church is treachery to Him who has bought mankind with the blood of His only-begotten Son. From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the generation in which they lived. These sentinels gave the message of warning; and when they were called to lay off their armor, others took up the work. God brought these witnesses into covenant relation with Himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth His angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people.”  AA 11

Now this concept is extremely important for us to understand, because today the majority of people are falling for a major deception of Satan.

You will notice that Satan always likes to take what God made and flip it around and counterfeit it with something that is reversed. A good example of this is the Sabbath, God placed the Sabbath at the end of the week (the 7th day), but Satan flipped it around and made his counterfeit Sabbath at the beginning of the week (the 1st day).

Now Satan has done this same thing with the definition of the word “church”. God organized His faithful people, His church, into a structure, a system, and gave them a name, a denomination  – Seventh-day Adventists! 

“We are Seventh-day Adventists. Are we ashamed of our name? We answer, "No, no! We are not. It is the name the Lord has given us. It points out the truth that is to be the test of the churches."--Letter 110, 1902.  2SM 384

“God is to be recognized and honored by the people calling themselves Seventh-day Adventists.” 8T 155

But Satan comes along and flips it around. Now it is not “the church” organized into a structure, a system, - it is people organized into a church. By doing this, Satan has now made people think that the church is the structure, the system of government, the laws, the conference.

Let me give you an example:

What group does this represent? (show pic of cross)

Most people would say “Christianity” – but they would be wrong! This represents Paganism!

The cross is a pagan symbol! Its origin can be traced back to the time of the tower of Babel and the worship of Tammuz and sun worship! That is why Satan had Christ crucified on it – as the most derogatory and humiliating thing that Satan could heap on Christ at the very last.

The true symbol for Christianity is Jesus Christ who was hanging on that cross. But the devil has brainwashed everyone into focusing on the structure, instead of on the Saviour!

Now, many people worship the cross, a pagan symbol, while they claim to be followers of Christ. They wear it on their shirts, around their necks, in their ears, tattoo it all over their bodies, stick it on their cars and just about everywhere else you can imagine, and they forget about the body of their Saviour that died, on that pagan symbol, for the very sins that they are committing while they flash images of that pagan symbol around!

This is what Satan has done with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He has convinced us that it is the organization, the structure, that constitutes the true church; and by doing so, it is easy for him to corrupt a few leaders of this organization, and then get people to go along with any kind of error they promote, because the people have been deceived into thinking that the structure is the church, or the bylaws and regulations are the church, or the authority of the leaders are the church.

Let’s look at the typology of the literal Israelites to illustrate what I am talking about.

Ex.13:21  And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Ex. 20:2  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

"And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord."  Thus the children of Israel were denominated as a special people. By a most solemn covenant they were pledged to be true to God.”  FE 506

Exodus 15:17  “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.

So God called literal Israel (His church) out of Egypt, they were denominated and established (a national establishment), but notice that they were a church before they were denominated or established. He organized them (because God is a God of Order) and if you read on in Exodus, you find that He laid out the plans, every little detail, for the Sanctuary (the structure). And the cloud came and rested over the tabernacle and His glory filled it.

Notice that the cloud (the presence of God – which is what constitutes a church) was with the Israelites, the people, before the structure existed! When had the “Presence of God” begun to be with the people? Just as soon as they turned their backs on Egypt and followed God’s leading!

Then, when the structure was added, His presence came and filled the structure as well.

Now the structure had its purpose – it was there for an object lesson, it purpose was to enable the people to understand the gospel, and be able to present the gospel to the world!

But what happened to the Jewish nation? They made an idol out of the structure! They worshipped the temple instead of the One who had given the temple as an illustration of Himself!

Look at Jer. 7:4  

“Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.”

This is what the Jews had done in the days of Christ. They had so far departed from truth, that they worshipped the temple itself and the hollow formalism of their sacrifices, while they rejected and killed the very one whom the temple was an illustration of! And all the while they were claiming that they were the chosen people, they had the temple of the Lord.

“For centuries the Jews had vainly endeavored to show wherein the promise of God given by Haggai had been fulfilled; yet pride and unbelief blinded their minds to the true meaning of the prophet's words. The second temple was not honored with the cloud of Jehovah's glory, but with the living presence of One in whom dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily--who was God Himself manifest in the flesh. The "Desire of all nations" had indeed come to His temple when the Man of Nazareth taught and healed in the sacred courts. In the presence of Christ, and in this only, did the second temple exceed the first in glory. But Israel had put from her the proffered Gift of heaven. With the humble Teacher who had that day passed out from its golden gate, the glory had forever departed from the temple. Already were the Saviour's words fulfilled: "Your house is left unto you desolate." Matthew 23:38. The disciples had been filled with awe and wonder at Christ's prediction of the overthrow of the temple, and they desired to understand more fully the meaning of His words. Wealth, labor, and architectural skill had for more than forty years been freely expended to enhance its splendors. Herod the Great had lavished upon it both Roman wealth and Jewish treasure, and even the emperor of the world had enriched it with his gifts. Massive blocks of white marble, of almost fabulous size, forwarded from Rome for this purposeformed a part of its structure; and to these the disciples had called the attention of their Master, saying: "See what manner of stones and what buildings are here!" Mark 13:1.  To these words, Jesus made the solemn and startling reply: "Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matthew 24:2.  GC 24

So here you have the people (the invisible or spiritual church) that has the presence of God in their midst. Then you have the structure (the external or visible church). Notice that when the spiritual or invisible church and the external or visible church are together, united as one – the presence of God was in both. But over time, the people started worshipping the structure, and the shekinah (the presence of God) departed from the structure. We are told that by the time of Christ, the shekinah had departed from the temple. In actuality, the presence of God had departed from the structure, when the Jews went into captivity to Babylon. The start of the 2520! That was when the ark was taken and hidden in a cave to protect it from the Babylonians.

“The church of God was captive in Babylon, deeply tried, deeply humiliated. The glory had departed from Israel; the sons and daughters of Judah were captive; and the sacred vessels of the sanctuary had become the property of the spoiler. Their beautiful temple was in ruins, and Ichabod, Ichabod, the glory is departed from Israel,' was heard in songs of lamentation." "The outward ordinances had been allowed to take the place of God; ceremonial observances were worshiped, while Christ, the foundation of all their ceremonial service, was lost sight of."  GCDB, March 7, 1899

Notice that instead of the shekinah, it was the Word of God (Jesus Christ) whose presence entered the structure. Then the leaders rejected Him and His presence forever departed from not only the apostate leaders, but also the structure – Your house is left unto you desolate!

From that point, the presence of God was departed from the external (structure) and abode with the common people, the laity (the spiritual church). As you study out this topic, you discover that the “presence of God” always stays with His faithful people, but it abides with the structure only so long as the “structure” is faithful to God and connected, as one, with God’s faithful people. If the structure/organization, departs from the will of God (in any way, shape, or form) – His presence leaves – at which point, the organization, by Sister White’s definition, no longer qualifies as a church.

Look at this quote:

“While representing the kingdoms of this earth, the image that was revealed to Nebuchadnezzar also fitly represented deterioration of religion. We grow weak morally and spiritually, just in proportion as we forget God. Those who claim to be Protestants are not today what Luther was. They have left the old landmarks, and have depended on forms, ceremonies, and outward display to make up for the lack of purity and piety, meekness and lowliness, found in obedience to God.” RH, February 6, 1900

All these thoughts can be better understood by looking at the sequence on a timeline.

Example: 

 “The people of the world are so engrossed in temporal affairs that eternal realities seem of subordinate importance to them. They cannot distinguish truth from error. In spirit and in practice they are repeating the history of the Jews, and in these last days the chosen of God who keep his commandments will be objects of contempt, both to those in high position and those in the common walks of life. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."  {ST, June 11, 1894

Could it be possible that the Laodicean Seventh-day Adventist church could be repeating the same mistakes that the Jewish nation did in the time of Christ?

Listen to what Sister White had to say:

“Shall Seventh-day Adventists walk in the same path as did the Jewish nation? Shall the message to the Laodicean church be applicable to this people? Shall those who have seen great light, who have had large opportunities and many privileges, cease to do service as witnesses for Christ? Those who know the truth, but who feel no special burden to reveal corresponding works, will be like that servant who knew his Master's will, but did it not.”  19MR 172

“What is it that constitutes the wretchedness, the nakedness of those who feel rich and increased with goods?--It is the want of the righteousness of Christ. In their own righteousness they are represented as clothed with filthy rags, and yet in this condition they flatter themselves that they are clothed upon with Christ's righteousness. Could deception be greater? As is represented by the prophet, they may be crying, "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we," while their hearts are filled with unholy traffic and unrighteous barter. The courts of the soul-temple may be the haunt of envy, pride, passion, evil surmising, bitterness, and hollow formalism. Christ looks mournfully upon his professed people who feel rich and increased in the knowledge of the truth, and who are yet destitute of the truth in life and character and unconscious of their destitute condition. In sin and unbelief, they lightly regard the warnings and counsels of his servants, and treat his ambassadors with scorn and contempt, while their words of reproof are regarded as idle tales. Discernment seems to have departed, and they have no power to discriminate between the light which God sends them and the darkness that comes from the enemy of their souls.”  RH, August 7, 1894

“Oh, what a description! How many there are in this fearful condition. I earnestly entreat every minister to study diligently the third chapter of Revelation, for in it is portrayed the condition of things existing in the last days. Study carefully every verse in this chapter, for through these words Jesus is speaking to you. If ever a people were represented by the Laodicean message, it is the people who have had great light, the revelation of the Scriptures, that Seventh-day Adventists have received. In the place of exalting self by manifesting pride, self-reliance, and self-importance; in the place of revealing personal weakness of character by remaining proud, boastful, and unconverted; God's professed people should realize their need of the graces of the Spirit of truth and righteousness. They should come to Jesus in childlike trustfulness, the melting love of God filling every heart. Never should they cherish thoughts of self-exaltation or dependence on human capabilities. Never should they think that they can exercise the power that comes from God alone.”  18MR 193

Notice that she says that Rev. 3 is revealing the condition of things in the last days. There are only 3 churches described in Rev. 3 – Sardis (time of the Protestant Reformation), Philadelphia (time of the Great Advent awakening and the transition from the Holy to the Most Holy), and Laodicea (the church in the end of time). 

Remember that we are looking at what constitutes the church – and she specifies that the church is the people, and that the presence of God in the midst of the people who love and obey Him is the only thing that can constitute a church!

If you look at the sanctuary, where do you find the 10 commandments (the obedience) shown?

Where do you find the “presence of God”, the shekinah shown?

And actually, if you study out Peter’s “ladder of sanctification” in the sanctuary (which is a whole study in itself), you find that charity or “the love” also falls at the ark of the covenant.

So here you have the people who love and obey, and you have the presence of God!

Now I don’t have time to go into all the studies associated with this thought, but using the ladder of sanctification shown in the sanctuary, and comparing it with the 5 pillars at the door of the tabernacle, you have here the time period of Sardis, and the 5 Solas or 5 pillars of the reformation.

And with the ladder of sanctification shown in the sanctuary, and comparing it with the 4 pillars of and the veil, here you have the time period of Philadelphia, and the 4 pillars of Adventism.

“The church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst.”  LDE 49

This is a very solemn thought. If Rev. 3 shows what is going to be in the last days, and we see that the presence of God is not in the midst of a people who are in the Laodicean state – then in order for us to receive the presence of God, we must turn out of the Laodicean state and back into the condition of one of the other 2 churches in Rev. 3 –

Now if you look at the messages to these three churches, you can see a pattern.

Look at Rev. 3

Now the pastor really covered a lot of this 3 weeks ago in his sermon on Philadelphia, but if you look at the message to Sardis, you see that they have a name – Protestant – but they are not living up to that name because they are dead, they are no longer protesting. God’s call to them is for them to return to their original “Protestant” method of religion – in other words, following the Bible, Sola Scriptura – because as long as they were following the Bible, they were continuing to grow in the truth.

Now since this church has a name, but it is not living up to that name – this cannot be the church we are to be like – but we are to return to the Sola Scriptura, to growing in the truth!

Notice that Philadelphia’s message is based on an open door.  Remember that when Christ got up from the throne – He shut this door and opened this door. 

I believe that it is more than coincidence that Philadelphia is the only one of those 3 churches that receives no rebuke from Christ! What was it that Philadelphia was doing that made God so happy with them? They were following the Protestant principle – sticking with the Bible and continuing to grow in the truth.

What time period is the time of Philadelphia? The period that contained 1840-1844! The Advent Movement – the ‘chart people!’

What is it that causes Laodicea to be rejected? Notice that Christ is waiting for Laodiceans to “open the door”! That means that when they went from being Philadelphian (with the door open) that they ended up with a shut door. This puts them back in the same condition as Sardis. They have stopped following the Bible, and they are no longer growing in the truth! Do you see the flip?

Now this method of Satan taking what God has and flipping it around the opposite way is not a new tactic. I want to read some excerpts from the book The History of the Reformation:

“Whenever religion has been under discussion, there have been three points to which our attention has been directed. God, Man, and the Priest. There can only be three kinds of religion upon earth, according as God, Man, or the Priest, is its author and its head. I denominate that the religion of the priest, which is invented by the priest, for the glory of the priest, and in which a sacerdotal caste is dominant. By the religion of man, I mean those various systems and opinions which human reason has framed, and which, being the offspring of human infirmity, are consequently devoid of all healing power. The term divine religion I apply to the truth such as God gave it,— the end and aim of which are the glory of God and the salvation of man. Hierarchism, or the religion of the priest—Christianity, or the religion of God—Rationalism, or the religion of man, are the three doctrines that divide Christendom in our days. There is no salvation, either for man or for society, in the first or in the last. Christianity alone can give life to the world; and, unhappily, of the three prevailing systems, it is not that which has the greatest number of followers.” p.5

On p.8, talking about Christ gathering His disciples:

“A new people, a holy nation, was formed upon the earth; and the astonished world beheld in the disciples of the Galilean a purity and self-denial, a charity and heroism, of which it had retained no idea. Two principles especially distinguished the new religion from all the human systems that fled before it. One had reference to the ministers of its worship, the other to its doctrines. The ministers of paganism were almost the gods of these human religions. The priests of Egypt, Gaul, Dacia, Germany, Britain, and India, led the people, so long at least as their eyes were not opened. Jesus Christ, indeed, established a ministry, but he did not found a separate priesthood: he dethroned these living idols of the world, destroyed an overbearing hierarchy, took away from man what he had taken from God, and re-established the soul in immediate connection with the divine fountain of truth, by proclaiming himself sole Master and sole Mediator. “One is your master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.”  As regards doctrine, human systems had taught that salvation is of man: the religions of the earth had devised an earthly salvation. They had told men that heaven would be given to them as a reward: they had fixed its price; and what a price! The religion of God taught that salvation comes from him alone; that it is a gift from heaven; that it emanates from an amnesty—from the grace of the Sovereign Ruler: “God hath given to us eternal life…. 

The Church was in the beginning a community of brethren, guided by a few of the brethren. All were taught of God, and each had the privilege of drawing for himself from the divine fountain of light. The Epistles which then settled the great questions of doctrine did not bear the pompous title of a single man — of a ruler. We learn from the Holy Scriptures, that they began simply with these words: “The apostles and elders and brethren send greetings unto the brethren.” But these very writings of the apostles already foretell that from the midst of this brotherhood there shall arise a power that will destroy this simple and primitive order. Let us contemplate the formation and trace the development of this power so alien to the Church. Paul of Tarsus, one of the greatest apostles of the new religion, had arrived at Rome, the capital of the empire and of the world, preaching in bondage the salvation which cometh from God. A Church was formed beside the throne of the Caesars. Composed at first of a few converted Jews, Greeks, and Roman citizens, it was rendered famous by the teaching and the death of the Apostle of the Gentiles. For a time it shone out brightly, as a beacon upon a hill. Its faith was everywhere celebrated; but erelong it declined from its primitive condition. It was by small beginnings that both imperial and Christian Rome advanced to the usurped dominion of the world.” p.8

“The doctrine of the Church and the necessity of its visible unity, which had begun to gain ground in the third century, favored the pretensions of Rome. The Church is, above all things, the assembly of “them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:2)—”the assembly of the first-born which are written in heaven”(Heb. 12:23). Yet the Church of our Lord is not simply inward and invisible; it is necessary that it should be manifested, and it is with a view to this manifestation that the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper were instituted. The visible Church has features different from those which distinguish it as an invisible Church. The invisible Church, which is the body of Christ, is necessarily and eternally one. The visible Church no doubt partakes of the unity of the former; but, considered by itself, plurality is a characteristic already ascribed to it in the New Testament. While speaking of one Church of God, it no sooner refers to its manifestation to the world, than it enumerates “the Churches of Galatia, of Macedonia, of Judea, all Churches of the saints.” These Churches may undoubtedly, to a certain extent, look for visible unity; but if this union be wanting, they lose none of the essential qualities of the Church of Christ. The strong bond which originally united the members of the Church, was that living faith of the heart which connected them all with Christ as their common head. Different causes soon concurred to originate and develop the idea of a necessity for external union. Men accustomed to the political forms and associations of an earthly country, carried their views and habits into the spiritual and eternal kingdom of Christ. Persecution, powerless to destroy or even to shake this new community, made it only the more sensible of its own strength, and pressed it into a more compact body. To the errors that sprung up in the theosophic schools and in the various sects, was opposed the one and universal truth received from the apostles, and preserved in the Church. This was well, so long as the invisible and spiritual Church was identical with the visible and external Church. But a great separation took place erelong: the form and the life became disunited. The semblance of an identical and exterior organization was gradually substituted for that interior and spiritual communion, which is the essence of the religion of God. Men forsook the precious perfume of faith, and bowed down before the empty vessel that had contained it. They sought other bonds of union, for faith in the heart no longer connected the members of the Church; and they were united by means of bishops, archbishops, popes, mitres, canons, and ceremonies. The living Church retiring gradually within the lonely sanctuary of a few solitary hearts, an external Church was substituted in its place, and all its forms were declared to be of divine appointment. Salvation no longer flowing from the Word, which was henceforward put out of sight, the priests affirmed that it was conveyed by means of the forms they had themselves invented, and that no one could attain it except by these channels. No one, said they, can by his own faith attain to everlasting life. Christ communicated to the apostles, and these to the bishops, the unction of the Holy Spirit; and this Spirit is to be procured only in that order of succession! Originally, whoever possessed the spirit of Jesus Christ was a member of the Church; now the terms were inverted, and it was maintained that he only who was a member of the Church could receive the Spirit.

As these ideas became established, the distinction between the people and the clergy was more strongly marked. The salvation of souls no longer depended entirely on faith in Christ, but also, and in a more especial manner, on union with the Church. The representatives and heads of the Church were made partakers of the trust that should be placed in Christ alone, and became the real mediators of their flocks. The idea of a universal Christian priesthood was gradually lost sight of; the servants of the Church of Christ were compared to the priests of the old covenant; and those who separated from the bishop were placed in the same rank with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram! From a peculiar priesthood, such as was then formed in the Church, to a sovereign priesthood, such as Rome claims, the transition was easy.” p.9

“Thus everything was changed in the Church. It was at first a community of brethren, and now an absolute monarchy was established in its bosom. All Christians were priests of the living God, with humble pastors as their guides. But a haughty head is upraised in the midst of these pastors; a mysterious voice utters words full of pride; an iron hand compels all men, great and small, rich and poor, bond and free, to wear the badge of its power. The holy and primitive equality of souls before God is lost sight of. At the voice of one man Christendom is divided into two unequal parties: on the one side is a separate caste of priests, daring to usurp the name of the Church, and claiming to be invested with peculiar privileges in the eyes of the Lord; and, on the other, servile flocks reduced to a blind and passive submission—a people gagged and fettered, and given over to a haughty caste.” p.13

Do you see the parallels? Christ organized His disciples into a system, a structure, that enabled them to spread the gospel to the world. This “structure” revealed that Christ was the head, and everyone else were brethren – in other words, equal in authority; for each person received their authority directly from Christ! It was an organization where all Christians were priests of the living God!

But over time and with Satan’s help, it developed into a hierarchy, where the authority rested in the leadership, and the common man became a kind of slave of the leaders to be whipped into submission.

Look at this quote from Raymond Cottrell, an associate editor of the SDA Bible Commentaries:

“In a hierarchical form of government there is a supreme authority to which local congregations and their members belong and are subject but in which they have no voice. That supreme authority is “the church”; in and of themselves the people are not “the church” but belong to it as subjects to an absolute monarch who rules by divine right. Authority flows down from the supreme authority to the local congregations and individual members, and the leaders rule the church. The Roman Catholic Church is the preeminent example of this form of government. The pope and the Roman curia are the supreme authority. In the Seventh-day Adventist Church the General Conference is that supreme authority. The hierarchical form of government is incompatible with the servant-leader concept of the gospel and with the priesthood-of-all believers principle of the Protestant reformation. The principal reason that led the Eastern Orthodox churches to separate from Rome in A.D. 1054 was their rejection of centralized authority in the papacy. That is also the major reason why they have rejected overtures to reunite with the church of Rome since Vatican Council II. By etymology, a hierarchy is a form of government conducted by priests as intermediaries between the members and God, vested with His plenary authority and responsible to Him for the people under their jurisdiction. As commonly used the word implies centralized authority and stratified administrative levels, each of which is responsible to the next higher level and all levels to a supreme authority at the apex of the hierarchical pyramid. Whether these administrative levels consist of priests, bishops, cardinals, a curia, and a pope, or pastors, committees, and presidents, is irrelevant. The essential characteristic of a hierarchy is centralized control from which authotity flows--downward. Only the Roman Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist churches qualify as hierarchies.”  The Role of Biblical Hermeneutics in Preserving Unity in the Church p.18

This is very sad indeed. God never intended the structure of the Seventh-day Adventist church to be a hierarchy! Remember the timeline sequence from earlier? The formation of a hierarchy within the church structure is a direct departure from the will of God! This is the point where the presence of God withdraws from the structure.

I think it is also very ironic that the city of Rome was built on 7 hills and the city of Laodicea was also built on 7 hills. There are many parallels between these two!

You can see what the true organization is to be like, if you look at a flock of sheep. You know, the Bible uses sheep to represent God’s people a lot.

In Bible times, and even today, in some areas of the middle east, each flock has a shepherd. The individual sheep of each flock, recognizes the voice of their particular shepherd, so that when it comes time to move, all the shepherd has to do is call his sheep, they follow him and he leads the way. Even if several shepherds are together and their flocks are all mingled with each other, when the shepherd calls, his sheep come out from among the other sheep and follow him. In this kind of setup, no one sheep is more important than any other sheep – they are all brethren.

But look at the modern way of moving flocks of sheep. The shepherds many times are not involved. They send out their sheep dogs, who growl, bark, and nip at the heels of the sheep, to herd them into submission. 

Incidently, what do dogs represent in the Bible?

Isa 56:10  His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. 

Isa 56:11  Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. 

Isa 56:12  Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

“Any man, be he minister or layman, who seeks to compel  [herd] or control the reason of any other man, becomes an agent of Satan, to do his work, and in the sight of the heavenly universe he bears the mark of Cain.”  Paulson Collection 30

Also notice that the flock, the sheep, (the church) are never considered the fold (the structure). They are two separate and distinct things! And the “presence” of the shepherd is only with the fold, while the sheep are with the fold. The shepherd and the sheep go together!

Now all these thoughts bring out another object lesson. Remember what we saw about the sanctuary  before? 

Satan apostatizes, sin starts changing the law of God (which is shown in both the Holy and Most Holy), there is a division and the sin begins to spread and multiply.

We see this in our world today, it is called CANCER!

If you look at the cell, it is structured just like the sanctuary. There are three compartments, the cytoplasm, the nucleus, and the nucleolus – the DNA (the law of the body) resides in both the Nucleus and the Nucleolus.

Cells become cancer cells because of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) damage. DNA is in every cell and it directs all the cell’s actions. In a normal cell, when DNA gets damaged the cell either repairs the damage or the cell dies. In cancer cells, the damaged DNA is not repaired, and the cell doesn’t die like it should. Instead, the cell goes on making new cells that the body doesn’t need. In other words, there is a division of cells, a separation! These new cells all have the same abnormal DNA as the first cell does (the cancer is multiplied)!

The interesting thing about it is that frankincense was used as a perfume in the sanctuary.

According to Sister White, frankincense represents faith!

“Sincere and uncorrupted faith is to Him as gold and frankincense and myrrh--the gifts of the Wise Men to the Child of Bethlehem, and the evidence of their faith in Him as the promised Messiah.” CT 60

And ironically, frankincense is a cure for cancer! The boswellic acid in the frankincense causes cancer cells to commit cell suicide, but it doesn’t harm the good cells!

Just some thoughts for you to think about.

As we close this half of the presentation, I would just like to leave you with the Protestant Definition of “Church”!

Apostate Protestantism Definition:  “The Truth is where the Church is.” 

True Protestant Definition: “The Church is where the Truth is.”

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Now I want to shift gears a little and take a look at some quotes that people seem to be having difficulty with. 

And while I am on this subject, let me just state that I am a firm Seventh-day Adventist! I truly believe that the Seventh-day Adventist church is the remnant church of Bible prophecy! I don’t want anyone to think that I am trying to call people out of the church structure or anything like that. The Seventh-day Adventist church has the truth! The problem is that they are not living up to the truth that they have! The purpose of this study is for 1 to help people understand the issues, and 2 it is a call for a revival and a reformation within the SDA structure. I firmly believe that God set up the Seventh-day Adventist church structure for a purpose, but the structure has forgotten its purpose because it has been infiltrated and corrupted by Satanic principles. Therefore, what we need is not for everyone to make a mass exodus from the system, but for everyone, to humbly turn to God and change the corrupted principles of the system!

“As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. Again and again the history of Christ's withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth. In our day few of the professed followers of the Reformers are actuated by their spirit. 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.”  DA 232

Now in this age of “Political Correctness” – if you try to point out and correct some of the errors and the abuses of power that are taking place within the church “structure” – people will automatically label you as an offshoot guilty of treason, a troublemaker, a schismatic, and just about any other kind of bad name you can think of.

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One of the quotes that they like to use to back up their accusations is:

“The message to pronounce the Seventh-Day Adventist Church Babylon, and call the people of God out of her, does not come from any heavenly messenger, or any human agent inspired by the Spirit of God.”

What they don’t say is that they took that statement out of context.

“God is leading out a people. He has a chosen people, a church on the earth, whom He has made the depositaries of His law. He has committed to them sacred trust and eternal truth to be given to the world. He would reprove and correct them. The message to the Laodiceans is applicable to Seventh-day Adventists who have had great light and have not walked in the light. It is those who have made great profession, but have not kept in step with their Leader, that will be spewed out of His mouth unless they repent. The message to pronounce the Seventh-Day Adventist Church Babylon, and call the people of God out of her, does not come from any heavenly messenger, or any human agent inspired by the Spirit of God. 

     (Then she repeats the Laodicean message)  2SM 66.3

Remember what Sister White’s definition of a “church” is! Also notice that she says, “God IS leading out a people!” In other words – He isn’t finished yet! We sometimes get the mentality that we have arrived! We have the truth, and there is nothing more for us to learn. But this is that Laodicean mindset that Satan wants us to have!

Remember the Israelites? God lead them out of Egypt, He organized them, established them as a national establishment, gave them a name (denomination) – but they were not to the promised land yet. And if you remember the history of Israel, of that denomination of people – only 2 of the original denomination actually made it into the promised land! And of the next generation of that denominated people, thousands upon thousands died, including much of the leadership, because of apostasy right on the border of the promised land! Now this is a warning to us because it is going to happen again!

“In the last vision given me, I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved. Many will get above the simplicity of the work. They will conform to the world, cherish idols, and become spiritually dead. The humble, self-sacrificing followers of Jesus will pass on to perfection, leaving behind the indifferent and lovers of the world. I was pointed back to ancient Israel. But two of the adults of the vast army that left Egypt entered the land of Canaan. Their dead bodies were strewn in the wilderness because of their transgressions. Modern Israel are in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than were His ancient people. Many idols are worshiped, even by professed Sabbathkeepers. God especially charged His ancient people to guard against idolatry, for if they should be led away from serving the living God, His curse would rest upon them, while if they would love Him with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their might, He would abundantly bless them in basket and in store, and would remove sickness from the midst of them. A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God--a blessing if they come out from the world and are separate, and walk in the path of humble obedience; and a curse if they unite with the idolatrous, who trample upon the high claims of heaven. The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1T 608

Do you all grasp that? Only a “small portion” of those who profess the truth will be saved! That is talking about Seventh-day Adventists! Only a “small portion” of SDA’s will be saved!! This is very sobering! 

Notice that Israel was not Babylon! If someone had referred to the nation of Israel as Babylon, they would obviously have been wrong! However, even though Israel was not Babylon, they had apostatized. They worshipped the same pagan gods as the Babylonians, they formed their rituals and services to match the same services in the Babylonian and heathen temples, and for the most part, acted just like the Babylonians and Canaanite nations around them.

All those who participated in these apostasies and refused to repent were killed and did not make it to the promised land.

“Satan's snares are laid for us as verily as they were laid for the children of Israel just prior to their entrance into the land of Canaan. We are repeating the history of that people.” 5T 160

In other words – While the Seventh-day Adventist church (the people) are not, nor ever can be considered, Babylon – (Just as the Jewish captives in Babylon were still Jews, not Babylonians) – There are many Babylonian practices that are being incorporated into the church “structure!” The spiritual church and the external church are becoming separated. A hierarchy has been formed and is lording it over the church!

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Another quote that some like to use to try to keep people in submission to the “structure” is this one by Willie White:

“I TOLD HER [MRS. LIDA SCOTT] HOW MOTHER REGARDED THE EXPERIENCE OF THE REMNANT CHURCH, AND OF HER POSITIVE TEACHING THAT GOD WOULD NOT PERMIT THIS DENOMINATION TO SO FULLY APOSTATIZE THAT THERE WOULD BE THE COMING OUT OF ANOTHER CHURCH.--W. C. White to E. E. Andross, May 23, 1915, White Estate Correspondence File.  LDE 56

But they don’t continue reading, for just a few pages later:

“The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant.--Ev 707 (1892).  {LDE 62.1}  

The life of Christ was a life charged with a divine message of the love of God, and He longed intensely to impart this love to others in rich measure. Compassion beamed from His countenance, and His conduct was characterized by grace, humility, truth, and love. Every member of His church militant must manifest the same qualities, if he would join the church triumphant.--FE 179 (1891)  {LDE 62

Obviously, Sister White believed that there would be another church – but notice when this church is formed. It takes place at the 2nd coming, when Christ gathers all the faithful and takes them to heaven. Then the new “church” is formed! The redeemed and the angels!

You can see this illustrated all through the Bible and history! In Christ’s day, the Jewish nation (God’s church) had so fully apostatized, that Christ had to bypass the leadership and get the common fishermen to pick up the truth and run with it. He spent 3 ½ years calling for revival and reformation in His church, and gathering His disciples and getting them ready,- but the leadership rejected Him and turned on His followers. But the “New” church, the Christian church, was not formed until after His resurrection  which parallels with the 2nd coming. You will also notice that the “New church” was organized with those of the “Old church” that had proven faithful!  And she says that we are repeating that history! 

Later, when that “New” church had so fully apostatized that God could no longer use it, God raised up men, members of that “Old” church – who called for revival and reformation in the church (Luther, Knox, Huss, Jerome, etc.) But the apostate leaders rejected Truth and the Reformers finally were forced out and began the Protestant churches.

Then in the 1840’s, when the Protestant churches had so apostatized – there arose men calling for revival and reformation in the Protestant churches (Millerites/Adventists), who were forced out of their churches by apostate leaders and eventually formed the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

And what does Sister White say about this?

“The work of God in the earth presents, from age to age, a striking similarity in every great reformation or religious movement. The principles of God's dealing with men are ever the same. The important movements of the present have their parallel in those of the past, and the experience of the church in former ages has lessons of great value for our own time.”  GC 343

“Again and again I have been shown that the past experiences of God's people are not to be counted as dead facts. We are not to treat the record of these experiences as we would treat a last year's almanac. The record is to be kept in mind, for history will repeat itself. PM 175

What are the characteristics of all these revival and reformation movements that have taken place throughout history? 

They are calls for God’s people to come back to the “old paths”, to put away error, to clean up the act of the church, to restore the former faith.

Remember the quote from History of the Reformation, and how it showed the development of the hierarchy within the church? Do you remember what it called the era of the apostles before the hierarchy was formed?

Let me refresh your memory!

“…this simple and primitive order…”

“…it declined from its primitive condition…”

“…The holy and primitive equality of souls before God is lost sight of.”

What does this have to do with us?

“Notwithstanding the widespread declension of faith and piety, there are true followers of Christ in these churches. Before the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. GC 464

Do you realize the import of this statement?

Today, we are living in the beginning of this revival of “primitive godliness!” People are beginning to wake up and call for a return to the “Old Paths” – to the faith once delivered to the saints – to the kind of church structure that existed before the hierarchy!

And what is the opposition that they face? It’s the hierarchy!

“Alas that pride, unbelief, and selfishness, like a foul cancer, are eating out vital godliness from the heart of many a professed Christian! When judged according to their works, how many will learn, too late, that their religion was but a glittering cheat, unacknowledged by Jesus Christ.”  RH, November 29, 1887

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Another quote used against those who would see reform brought in is:

“We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth.”

But here again, we see that this is taken out of context.

“After the passing of the time, God entrusted to His faithful followers the precious principles of present truth. These principles were not given to those who had had no part in the giving of the first and second angel's messages. They were given to the workers who had had a part in the cause from the beginning. Those who passed through these experiences are to be as firm as a rock to the principles that have made us Seventh-day Adventists. They are to be workers together with God, binding up the testimony and sealing the law among His disciples. Those who took part in the establishment of our work upon a foundation of Bible truth, those who know the waymarks that have pointed out the right path, are to be regarded as workers of the highest value. They can speak from personal experience regarding the truths entrusted to them. These men are not to permit their faith to be changed to infidelity; they are not to permit the banner of the third angel to be taken from their hands. They are to hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the endThe Lord has declared that the history of the past shall be rehearsed as we enter upon the closing work. Every truth that He has given for these last days is to be proclaimed to the world. Every pillar that He has established is to be strengthened. We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth.”  20MR 150

So by looking at this quote, we see that it is those who are stepping off of the foundation that are entering into a “new” organization!

So what is this foundation?

“The warning has come: Nothing is to be allowed to come in that will disturb the foundation of the faith upon which we have been building ever since the message came in 1842, 1843, and 1844. I was in this message, and ever since I have been standing before the world, true to the light that God has given us. We do not propose to take our feet off the platform on which they were placed as day by day we sought the Lord with earnest prayer, seeking for light. Do you think that I could give up the light that God has given me? It is to be as the Rock of Ages. It has been guiding me ever since it was given.” RH, April 14, 1903

If they were building on the foundation ever since – that means that those years (1842-1844) were the years that the foundation was laid!

This was the time period that is represented by the 1843 chart!

What does James White say?

“It was the united testimony of Second Advent lecturers and papers, when standing on "THE ORIGINAL FAITH," that the publication of the chart was a fulfillment of Hab.ii,2,3. If the chart was a subject of prophecy, (and those who deny it leave the original faith,) then it follows that B. C. 457 was the year from which to date the 2300 days. It was necessary that 1843 should be the first published time in order that "the vision" should "tarry," or that there should be a tarrying time, in which the virgin band was to slumber and sleep on the great subject of time, just before they were to be aroused by the Midnight Cry.” December 1850 JWe, ARSH

James just said that those who deny the chart are those who leave the original faith. In other words, those who reject the teachings of this chart are the same ones who are stepping off of the foundation! They are the ones leaving the original faith! They are the ones who are entering a “New Organization.”

“The Lord showed me that the 1843 chart was directed by his hand, and that no part of it should be altered; that the figures were as he wanted them. That his hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until his hand was removed.”  RH, November 1, 1850

“I saw that the old chart was directed by the Lord, and that not a figure of it should be altered except by inspiration. I saw that the figures of the chart were as God would have them, and that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none should see it till His hand was removed.”  SpM 1.3

“I saw that God was in the publishment of the chart by Brother Nichols.”  13MR 359

Ecc 3:14  I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

In other words, no matter how much some leaders fight against the charts – they were directed by God and they stand fast forever! And God’s purpose in giving these charts – was so men would “fear” Him!

Many of our people are really nervous about stepping out and accepting this message. They hesitate and question why it is so important.

“The word of the Lord, spoken through His servants, is received by many with questionings and fears. And many will defer their obedience to the warning and reproofs given, waiting till every shadow of uncertainty is removed from their minds. The unbelief that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to the evidence that God is pleased to give. He requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge. Those followers of Christ who accept the light that God sends them must obey the voice of God speaking to them when there are many other voices crying out against it. It requires discernment to distinguish the voice of God. Those who will not act when the Lord calls upon them, but who wait for more certain evidence and more favorable opportunities, will walk in darkness, for the light will be withdrawn. The evidence given one day, if rejected, may never be repeated.”  3T 258

Now Ellen White, referring to the foundation and platform that this chart is portraying, said that it is to be as the “Rock of Ages!”

"Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." The reason why our people have not more power is that they profess the truth, but do not practice it. They have but little faith and trust in God.” 4T 613

The wise man and the foolish man – paralleling the wise and foolish virgins – this is a parable of those within the Seventh-day Adventist Church! The wise are building on the Rock of Ages, the foolish are building on the sand of men’s ideas and men’s theories.

Look at the typology of Paul’s shipwreck.

In the Bible, what does a woman represent? A church! Now look at the description of the virtuous woman in Pro. 31:14

“She is like the merchants' ships…”

So a ship also represents a church, but more specifically, it represents the church “structure”, because a ship is a structure!

Now a ship (church structure) gets its ability to be useful by floating on the sea. It keeps its passengers (or members) safe from drowning in the sea.

What does the sea represent? Look at Is. 57:20  

“But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

Notice that in the story of Paul, he is being held as a prisoner, in the ship structure. But yet everyone is to remain on the ship, in order to be saved! But then the ship (structure) comes into contact with the Rock and is wrecked and destroyed. Then the people (church), using bits and pieces of the structure, swim to shore.

Do you see the parallels?

We are right in the midst of this shipwreck, right now! In some places, whole church congregations are accepting this message – the Rock of Ages! But in others, whole church congregations are rejecting this message. This is the shaking! God is sifting His people, to see who will take Him at His Word, and who will not!

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Still another quote used is:

“The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out.”

Here again, this is taken out of context.

“We are to be ready and waiting for the orders of God. Nations will be stirred to their very center. Support will be withdrawn from those who proclaim God's only standard of righteousness, the only sure test of character. And all who will not bow to the decree of the national councils and obey the national laws to exalt the sabbath instituted by the man of sin, to the disregard of God's holy day, will feel, not the oppressive power of popery alone, but of the Protestant world, the image of the beast. Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out--the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. We must be divested of our self-righteousness and arrayed in the righteousness of Christ.”  2SM 380

Remember, the “church” is people! This quote shows that in the “people” that are claiming to be the “church” – that there is both chaff and wheat.

Rom 9:6  Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 

Rom 9:7  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 

Rom 9:8  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

In other words, there are people out there that may have never heard of the Seventh-day Adventist church – but they love God and are obeying Him to the best of their knowledge, and when the time comes that they are given the truth about the 7th day Sabbath, they will accept it and follow Christ. They are part of God’s true commandment keeping church – the flock.

John 10:16  “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

On the other hand, there are many Seventh-day Adventists, who think that because they are Seventh-day Adventists, they are part of God’s true church, they, like the rich young ruler, keep every one of the 10 commandments to the very letter – yet they don’t truly love God, and even though they have a head knowledge of the truth, they don’t follow it, they want to live like the world. They are the ones who are “of Israel” but are not “Israel”!

Let me state that in a different way. Inside the SDA church organization – there are actually 2 churches – the church of Christ, and the church of Satan – the wise and the foolish, those who follow the Lamb wither so ever He goeth, and those who want to live like the world! You see this illustrated in the message to Philadelphia – there are those who are claiming to be Jews but they are lying, they are inside the church but they are actually of the synagogue of Satan!

Now in light of this statement that Sister White makes about the church not falling, look at what God has to say about His people in Hosea 4:14:  

“I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.”

And if you cross reference that with Daniel 12:10  

“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

Jer. 4:22  “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”

This is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins – those who are members of the church (virgins) that do not understand (foolish) will fall! Those who are foolish, are the ones that are trying to be like the world!

What happens when the “church” wants to be like the world?

“The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, "a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."  TM 265

That is the very wording of Revelation 18 and its reference to Babylon! In other words, those elements within the church that marry the world, that incorporate worldly standards and practices into the church, that bring in the worldly methods and teachings into the church – they are the ones that are becoming “a sister” to fallen Babylon!

We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?”  21MR 380

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Another quote used:

“God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for in so doing he despises the voice of God.”

And once again, we see that this is taken out of context.

“You are constantly inclined to individual independence. You do not realize that independence is a poor thing when it leads you to have too much confidence in yourself and to trust to your own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly estimate the judgment of your brethren, especially of those in the offices which God has appointed for the saving of His people. God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for in so doing he despises the voice of God. It is not safe for you to trust to impressions and feelings. It has been your misfortune to come under the power of that satanic delusion, spiritualism.” 3T 417

So we can see here that this quote is not referring to the wise virgins that are following the counsel of the Bible. It is not talking about those who are rejecting the counsel and judgment of apostate leadership. What it is talking about are those who are stepping out in independence, apart from the brethren, based on their own judgment, impressions, and feelings. Those who are forced to become independent because they are staying faithful to the Bible counsel against the wishes of an apostate leadership – are not the topic of this quote.

It is never safe for a sheep to venture out on his own, away from the flock and the shepherd. But here again, this quote is referring to the church, which we have already seen, is the faithful people, the flock, who are following the shepherd. It is interesting that a wolf will try either to lure a sheep away from the flock, or he will try to chase the whole flock and get them to scatter away from the shepherd.

It is separation from faithful fellow believers that this quote warns about.

Many of the pictures I have seen of sheepfolds show that the walls are not all that high – which means that even if you stay “in the structure” – if you are a lone sheep, the wolf can still get you. Your only safety is in staying with the true shepherd – no matter where the other sheep are!

And if you look at the sheep illustration, what happens if a thief comes along, posing as a shepherd, and the majority of the flock follows him? In other words, our only safety is to follow the voice of the true Shepherd – even if the majority are going the other way! 

But that is not the same as “doing your own thing,” or “trusting your own judgment!” 

That is individually following the voice of the true Shepherd!

“No one should lean wholly upon another's mind; but as God's free agents, each should ask wisdom of Him. When the learner depends in a large degree upon another man's thoughts, and goes no farther than to accept his plans, he sees only through that man's eyes, and is so far only an echo of the other. God will, by His own Spirit, work directly through the mind he has put in man, if the man will only give him a chance to work, and will recognize his dealings with him. God designs that men shall use their minds and consciences for themselves. He never designed that one man should become the shadow of another, and utter only another's sentiments. But this error has been coming in among us, that a very few are to be mind, conscience, and judgment for all God's workers. The foundation of christianity is "Christ our Righteousness." Men are individually responsible to God and must act as God acts upon them, not as another human mind acts upon their mind; for if this method of indirect influence is kept up, souls can not be impressed and directed by the great I AM. They will, on the other hand, have their experience blended with another, and will be kept under a moral restraint, which allows no freedom of action or of choice….The Lord has presented before me that men in responsible positions are standing directly in the way of the workings of God upon his people, because they think that the work must be done and the blessing must come in a certain way they have marked out, and they will not recognize that which comes in any other way.”  1888 Materials p.112

"While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept." By the tarrying of the bridegroom is represented the passing of the time when the Lord was expected, the disappointment, and the seeming delay. In this time of uncertainty, the interest of the superficial and halfhearted soon began to waver, and their efforts to relax; but those whose faith was based on a personal knowledge of the Bible had a rock beneath their feet, which the waves of disappointment could not wash away. "They all slumbered and slept;" one class in unconcern and abandonment of their faith, the other class patiently waiting till clearer light should be given. Yet in the night of trial the latter seemed to lose, to some extent, their zeal and devotion. The halfhearted and superficial could no longer lean upon the faith of their brethren. Each must stand or fall for himself.”  GC 394

Not only that, but look at this quote again.

Notice that “God has invested His church (people) with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for in so doing he despises the voice of God.”

So what is this special authority that they have been invested with?

“The Vaudois churches, in their purity and simplicity, resembled the church of apostolic times. Rejecting the supremacy of pope and prelate, they held the Bible as the only supreme, infallible authority. Their pastors, unlike the lordly priests of Rome, followed the example of their Master, who “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” GC 68

You see, the Bible, and the Bible alone – Is the only authority that God recognizes! The Bible is the only thing that can be considered the “Voice of God”!

If a person disregards and despises the Bible – they are indeed despising the “Voice of God!”

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Here is another one:

“God has bestowed the highest power under heaven upon His church. It is the voice of God in His united people in church capacity which is to be respected.”

But what does it say in context?

“When the messengers of Christ who go forth to teach the truth to others are rejected and their words find no place in the heart, Christ is rejected and His word despised in the messengers of truth whom He has chosen and sent. This has just as full an application in this age of the world as it had when Christ gave the instruction to His chosen messengers. When Christ was upon the earth, there were men who had no respect or reverence for God's messengers and no more regard for their warning than for their own judgment; also in this age of the world there are those who do not respect the testimony of God's chosen servants so highly as their own opinions. Such cannot be benefited by the labors of God's servants, and time should not be lost in degrading the work of God to meet such minds. Christ said to the servants whom He sent forth: "He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me." Christ gives power to the voice of the church. "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." No such thing is countenanced as one man's starting out upon his own individual responsibility and advocating what views he chooses, irrespective of the judgment of the church. God has bestowed the highest power under heaven upon His church. It is the voice of God in His united people in church capacity which is to be respected. God has given to His church men who have an experience, those who have fasted and wept and prayed, even through the entire night, for the Lord to open the Scriptures to their minds. In humility these men have given the world the benefit of their mature experience. Is this light of heaven, or of men? Is it of any value, or is it worthless?”  3T 450

When you understand that the church is the people – then these kind of quotes make all kinds of sense.

Notice also that she specifies the men who have had experience. A study of her writings shows that these were the faithful Millerite/Adventists who passed through the time of the building of the foundation and the Great Disappointment!

“I then felt my spirit stirred within me, and I bore a very plain testimony to these brethren. I told them a little of how matters had been carried [on] at Minneapolis, and stated the position I had taken, that Pharisaism had been at work leavening the camp here at Battle Creek, and the Seventh-day Adventist churches were affected; but the Lord had given me a message, and with pen and voice I would work until this leaven was expelled and a new leaven was introduced, which was the grace of Christ. I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation must go through the churches. Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities and privileges. As reformers they had come out of  the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out. While we will endeavor to keep the "unity of the Spirit" in the bonds of peace, we will not with pen or voice cease to protest against bigotry. We see a people whom God has blessed with advanced light and knowledge, and will the people thus favored become vain of their intelligence, proud of their knowledge? Will men who ought to be more closely connected with God think it better to trust in their own wisdom than to inquire of God? There are ministers who are inflated, self-sufficient, too wise to seek God prayerfully and humbly with the earnest toil of searching the Scriptures daily for increased light. Many will close their ears to the message God sends them, and open their ears to deception and delusion.”  16MR 216

“At the center of the work matters are being shaped so that every other institution is following in the same course. And the General Conference is itself becoming corrupted with wrong sentiments and principles. In the working of plans, the same principles are manifest that have controlled matters at Battle Creek for quite a length of time.  I have been shown that the Jewish nation were not brought suddenly into their condition of thought and practise. From generation to generation they were working on false theories, carrying out principles opposed to the truth; and combining with their religion, thoughts and plans that were the product of human minds: human inventions were made supreme… Men have taken unfair advantage of those whom they supposed to be under their jurisdiction. They were determined to bring the individuals to their terms; they would rule or ruin. There will be no material change until a decided movement is made to bring in a different order of things. Let no plans or methods be adopted in any of our institutions that will bind mind or talent under the control of human judgment; for this is not in God's order. God has given to men talents of influence which belong to him alone, and no greater dishonor can be done to God than for one finite agent to bring other men's talents under his absolute control, even though the benefits of the same be used to the advantage of the cause. In such arrangements one man's mind is ruled by another man's mind, and the human agency is separated from God, and exposed to temptation. Satan's methods tend to one end-- to make men the slaves of men. And when this is done, confusion and distrust, jealousies and evil surmisings, are the result. Such a course destroys faith in God, and in the principles which are to control, to purge from guile and every species of selfishness and hypocrisy. The High-Handed Power that has been developed, as though position has made men gods, makes me afraid, and ought to cause fear. It is a curse wherever and by whomsoever it is exercised. This lording it over God's heritage will create such a disgust of man's jurisdiction that a state of insubordination will result. The people are learning that men in high positions of responsibility cannot be trusted to mold and fashion other men's minds and characters. The result will be a loss of confidence even in the management of faithful men.” SpTA09 16

The voice from Battle Creek, which has been regarded as authority in counseling how the work should be done, is no longer the voice of God.--17MR 185 (1896).  {LDE 50.2}  

     It has been some years since I have considered the General Conference as the voice of God.--17MR 216 (1898).  {LDE 50.3}  

     That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be as the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be--that is past.--GCB April 3, 1901, p. 25.  {LDE 50.4}


I have only covered some of the usual quotes, but once we have a correct understanding of the word “Church” – it makes it a lot easier to understand the things that Sister White had to say about the church!

My prayer is that we will all stay faithful Seventh-day Adventists – faithful to our foundations and to the voice of the True Shepherd – and not be misled, as was the Jewish nation, into rejecting truth in order to stay faithful to an “empty vessel” and the “doctrines of men.”