“Josiah did not compromise with sin one bit. He knew that Israel had to be cleansed, the people of God purified from their involvement with heathen worship. Does modern Israel need cleansing today? In Josiah’s time, Israel was involved with the worship of Molech and Baal of Ekron.’ ‘It is Satan who created and who maintains the worship of idols, to divert the minds of men from God. It is by his agency that the kingdom of darkness and falsehood is supported.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 192:2.
Are there parallels in our time?
“The mystic voices that spoke at Ekron and Endor are still, by their lying words, misleading the children of men. The prince of darkness has but appeared under a new guise'” Evangelism 608:2.
- Spiritualistic forms and sentiments:
- “The heathen oracles of ages long past have their counterpart in the spiritualistic mediums, the clairvoyants and fortune tellers of today. The mysteries of heathen worship are replaced by the secret associations and sèances, the obscurities and wonders, of the sorcerers of our time. And their disclosures are eagerly received by thousands who refuse to accept light from the Word or the Spirit of God. They speak with scorn of the magicians of old, while the great deceiver laughs in triumph as they yield to his arts under a different form.” Evangelism 608:2.
- “I was instructed to call upon our physicians and ministers to take a firm stand for the truth. We are not to allow atheistic, spiritualistic sentiments to be brought before our youth. God has led us in the past, giving us truth, eternal truth. By this truth we are to stand. Some of the leaders in the medical work have been deceived, and if they continue to hold fanciful, spiritualistic ideas, they will make many believe that the platform upon which we have been standing for the past fifty years has been torn away. These men need now to see with anointed eyes, with clear spiritual vision, that in spite of all men can do, “the foundation of God standeth sure,” and “The Lord knoweth them that are His.”‘ Battle Creek Letters, p. 80:3.
- These seem obvious and would be shunned by the Christian, but we are warned that they will come in a different form.
- Spiritualistic healing:
- “These Satanic agents claim to cure disease. They attribute their power to electricity, magnetism, or the so-called “sympathetic remedies,” while in truth they are but channels for Satan’s electric currents. By this means he casts his spell over the bodies and souls of men.” Signs of the Times, March 24, 1887.
- Instead we must study God’s method of healing.
- Sacrifices to Molech through training in worldliness:
- “Children are not to be trained to be the devotees of society. They are not to be sacrificed to Molech, but they are to become members of the Lord’s family. Parents are to be filled with the compassion of Christ, that they may work for the salvation of the souls that are placed under their influence. They are not to have their minds all engrossed in the fashions and practices of the world. They are not to educate their children to attend parties and concerts and dances, to have and attend feasts, because after this manner the Gentiles walk.”‘ Child Guidance 181:3.
- “I speak to the church at Battle Creek: What testimony are you bearing to the world? As your course was presented before me, I was pointed to the dwellings recently erected by our people in that city. These buildings are so many monuments of your unbelief of the doctrines which you profess to hold. They are preaching sermons more effective than any delivered from the pulpit. I saw worldlings point to them with jesting and ridicule, as a denial of our faith. They proclaimed that which the owners have been saying in their hearts: “My Lord delayeth His coming.”” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 188:3.
- This involves fashion:
- “But how are the professed people of God today maintaining the honor of His name? How could the world infer that they are a peculiar people? What evidence do they give of citizenship in heaven? Their self-indulgent, ease-loving course falsifies the character of Christ. He could not honor them in any marked manner before the world without endorsing their false representation of His character.”‘ Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 188:2.“I looked upon the dress and listened to the conversation of many who profess the truth. Both were opposed to the principles of truth. Dress and conversation reveal that which is most treasured by those who claim to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth. “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 188:4.
- “Puritan plainness and simplicity should mark the dwellings and apparel of all who believe the solemn truths for this time. All means needlessly expended in dress or in the adorning of our houses is a waste of our Lord’s money. It is defrauding the cause of God for the gratification of pride. Our institutions are burdened with debt, and how can we expect the Lord to answer our prayers for their prosperity when we are not doing what we can do to relieve them from embarrassment?” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 189:1.
- “Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people. Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God.”‘ Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4, 647:2.
- “There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 45, 648:1.
- Ekron Education:
- “Our people are now being tested as to whether they will obtain their wisdom from the greatest Teacher the world ever knew, or seek to the god of Ekron. Let us determine that we will not be tied by so much as a thread to the educational policies of those who do not discern the voice of God and who will not hearken to His commandments.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students 255:4.
- “There is great need of elevating the standard of righteousness in our schools, to give instruction after God’s order. Should Christ enter our institutions for the education of the youth, he would cleanse them as he cleansed the temple, banishing many things that have a defiling influence. Many of the books which the youth study would be expelled, and their places would be filled with others that would inculcate substantial knowledge, and abound in sentiments which might be treasured in the heart, in precepts that might govern the conduct. Is it the Lord’s purpose that false principles, false reasoning, and the sophistries of Satan should be kept before the mind of our youth and children? Shall pagan and infidel sentiments be presented to our students as valuable additions to their store of knowledge? The works of the most intellectual skeptic are works of a mind prostituted to the service of the enemy, and shall those who claim to be reformers, who seek to lead the children and youth in the right way, in the path cast up, imagine that God will be pleased with having them present to the youth that which will misrepresent his character, placing him in a false light before the young? Shall the sentiments of unbelievers, the expressions of dissolute men, be advocated as worthy of the student’s attention, because they are the productions of men whom the world admires as great thinkers? Shall men professing to believe in God, gather from these unsanctified authors their expressions and sentiments, and treasure them up as precious jewels to be stored away among the riches of the mind?–God forbid.” Christian Education, 71:1 and The Reveiw and Herald, November 17, 1891, paragraph 2.
God has given us His standards to be upheld in His church. Anything other than these standards should not be within His body.
“There is great necessity for a reformation among the people of God. The present state of the church leads to the inquiry: Is this a correct representation of Him who gave His life for us? Are these the followers of Christ and the brethren of those who counted not their lives dear unto themselves?” Testimonies for the Church, 474:3.
But is purification so necessary?
“I have been shown that God here illustrates how He regards sin among those who profess to be His commandment-keeping people. Those whom He has specially honored with witnessing the remarkable exhibitions of His power, as did ancient Israel, and who will even then venture to disregard His express directions, will be subjects of His wrath. He would teach His people that disobedience and sin are exceedingly offensive to Him and are not to be lightly regarded. He shows us that when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all. But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for those sins. In His dealings with His people in the past the Lord shows the necessity of purifying the church from wrongs. One sinner may diffuse darkness that will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation. When the people realize that darkness is settling upon them, and they do not know the cause, they should seek God earnestly, in great humility and self-abasement, until the wrongs which grieve His Spirit are searched out and put away.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 3, 265:1.
“If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty. In vision I have been pointed to many instances where the displeasure of God has been incurred by a neglect on the part of His servants to deal with the wrongs and sins existing among them. Those who have excused these wrongs have been thought by the people to be very amiable and lovely in disposition, simply because they shunned to discharge a plain Scriptural duty. The task was not agreeable to their feelings; therefore they avoided it.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 3, 265:2.
“God’s displeasure is upon His people, and He will not manifest His power in the midst of them while sins exist among them and are fostered by those in responsible positions.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 3, 270:2.
What is our responsibility in this time, realizing that Ezekiel 8 & 9 are also in the prophecies to be fulfilled?
“The crisis is fast approaching. The rapidly swelling figures show that the time for God’s visitation has about come. Although loath to punish, nevertheless He will punish, and that speedily. Those who walk in the light will see signs of the approaching peril; but they are not to sit in quiet, unconcerned expectancy of the ruin, comforting themselves with the belief that God will shelter His people in the day of visitation. Far from it. They should realize that it is their duty to labor diligently to save others, looking with strong faith to God for help. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 209:2.
“The leaven of godliness has not entirely lost its power. At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 209:3.
“The earnest prayers of this faithful few will not be in vain. When the Lord comes forth as an avenger, He will also come as a protector of all those who have preserved the faith in its purity and kept themselves unspotted from the world. It is at this time that God has promised to avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 210:1.
“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. 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. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people.” Early Writings, 270:2.
Is this an easy work to accomplish? It is a painful work, but if it is not done, God will remove our candlestick. Now, that is serious.
“I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” This labor of purifying the church is a painful work, but one that must not be neglected, if the church would have the commendation of God. But repent, because thou hast left thy first love. Here is plainly presented before us our work as members of the church of Christ. If we are faithless, we shall lose the crown of life and another will take it; for in the dropping out of the faithless the places are supplied by the faithful. If we refuse to let our light shine for the Master, if we do not do the works of God, others will do that very work which we might have done and could have done, but refused to do. When we cease to fulfill our mission, when the candlestick refuses to reflect light, and the great truths committed to us individually in trust for the world, are not given to them, then the candlestick will be removed. “I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place.” Another will be placed in his stead and will shine. Let prayer be ascending now without delay to Him who walketh in the midst of the golden candlesticks. Take not thy Holy Spirit from us. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways: and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Basel, Switzerland.”‘ The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887, paragraph 17.
“The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work.. When a church proves unfaithful to the word of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But, if these in turn do not purify their lives from every wrong action, if they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict and humble them and, unless they repent, will remove them from their place and make them a reproach. . . .’ ” The Upward Look, 131:3.
Study the current events:
Notice that in April of 2008, an historic visit to Washington by the Pope occurred, with an official welcome by the President of the United States. Are hands reaching across the gulf?
“Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the word of God, and striving to conform their lives to its precepts. . . . God calls for a revival and a reformation.–Prophets and Kings, p. 626.” Christian Service, 41:3.
“A revival and a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from the spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.– Review and Herald, Feb. 25, 1902.’ ‘ The time has come for a thorough reformation to take place.When this reformation begins, the spirit of prayer will actuate every believer and will banish from the church the spirit of discord and strife. Those who have not been living in Christian fellowship will draw close to one another. One member working in right lines will lead other members to unite with him in making intercession for the revelation of the Holy Spirit. There will be no confusion, because all will be in harmony with the mind of the Spirit. The barriers separating believer from believer will be broken down, and God’s servants will speak the same things. The Lord will co-operate with His servants. All will pray understandingly the prayer that Christ taught His servants: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, 251:1.
“I was shown God’s people waiting for some change to take place–a compelling power to take hold of them. But they will be disappointed, for they are wrong. They must act, they must take hold of the work themselves and earnestly cry to God for a true knowledge of themselves. The scenes which are passing before us are of sufficient magnitude to cause us to arouse and urge the truth home to the hearts of all who will listen. The harvest of the earth is nearly ripe.”‘ Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1, 261:1.
“God’s people must take warning and discern the signs of the times. The signs of Christ’s coming are too plain to be doubted, and in view of these things everyone who professes the truth should be a living preacher. God calls upon all, both preachers and people, to awake. All heaven is astir. The scenes of earth’s history are fast closing. We are amid the perils of the last days. Greater perils are before us, and yet we are not awake. This lack of activity and earnestness in the cause of God is dreadful. This death stupor is from Satan. He controls the minds of unconsecrated Sabbathkeepers, and leads them to be jealous of one another, faultfinding, and censorious. It is his special work to divide hearts that the influence, strength, and labor of God’s servants may be kept among unconsecrated Sabbathkeepers and their precious time be occupied in settling little differences when it should be spent in proclaiming the truth to unbelievers.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1, 260:3.
“The coming of the Lord is nearer than when we first believed. What a wonderful thought it is that the great controversy is nearing its end! In the closing work we shall meet with perils that we know not how to deal with; but let us not forget that the three great powers of heaven are working, that a divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring His purposes to pass. He will gather from the world a people who will serve Him in righteousness.”‘ Selected Messages, Volume 2, 391:3.
“Fearful perils are before those who bear responsibilities in the Lord’s work–perils the thought of which makes me tremble. But the word comes, “My hand is on the wheel, and in My providence I will carry out the divine plan.”– The Review and Herald, May 5, 1903.”‘ Selected Messages, 391:4.
“There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the work will not succeed. God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the work, God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port.”‘ Selected Messages, 390:2.
With all of this in mind, we believe that it is time for God’s people to study together and unitedly stand on the truths and standards that God has marked as distinctive for His people. Will you join us in that endeavour?