As the once great nation of America reels under a staggering debt crisis, looming wars, civil unrest, increasing violence, unemployment, and natural disasters on the left and the right one must wonder if this nation will ever gain the prosperity of days gone by? Days where America was seen as a bastion of freedom and individual liberty where one could worship God according to the dictates of their conscience and pursue the happiness of life. In today’s troubled world question foremost on the minds of many thinking individuals, is wither bound mankind and our future as a nation? For some solid reasoning and Bible based answers to these questions let us turn to some inspired commentary and learn what is the secret to having peace and lasting prosperity and why we are having so many troubles today that will only worsen, unless we take God into account. Is history repeating itself? What role does the church have in all of this? Read and see for yourself.
“All seem to think that peace and prosperity depend upon the man they put in the White House. Upon the authority of the Word, though, I stand to tell you that regardless who is put in office there will be no peace and desirable lasting prosperity, for God is left out of the plans which have been devised although He alone can give what we are after. And now how may we know that God is not taken into partnership? The clue that gives the answer is this:
If the church members themselves leave God out of consideration and go to men for counsel instead of to God, then how can one expect the world to go to Him? I have in my possession hundreds of letters from our own Denomination which prove this very thing! They give me this information by saying:
“I never read your literature (The Shepherd’s Rod), and never will; our ministers have investigated your teachings and they have found them to be false. We have all the Truth; we need nothing more. Take my name off your mailing list.”
Practically all of these brethren that are trapped by the Laodicean “having need of nothing” idea attempt to refute the message of present Truth by quoting from Sister White’s writings, in spite of the fact that their quotations are irrelevant to the subject and misconstrued in their own minds. All quote passages which the leading brethren have cunningly passed on to them in their brochures against us, and all of them sing the same Laodicean song which the leading brethren have put into their mouths.
These things again and again prove that instead of using their own God-given reason, the multitude are led by the minds of a few hostile brethren. Passages, though, such as the ones I am about to read to you, are kept away from them.
Let me now read these simple and to the point lines of inspired Writ which need no comments:
“Introduce nothing that will cause dissension, without clear evidence that in it God is giving a special message for this time.
“But beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men, and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men, and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them.
“No one should claim that he has all the light there is for God’s people. The Lord will not tolerate this.”—Testimonies To Ministers, pp. 106, 107.
“We must study the truth for ourselves. No man should be relied upon to think for us. No matter who he is, or in what position he may be placed, we are not to look upon any man as a criterion for us. We are to counsel together, and to be subject one to another; but at the same time we are to exercise the ability God has given us, in order to learn what is truth. Each one of us must look to God for divine enlightenment. We must individually develop a character that will stand the test in the day of God. We must not become set in our ideas, and think that no one should interfere with our opinions.”—Id., pp. 109, 110.
“God wants us to depend upon Him, and not upon man. He desires us to have a new heart; He would give us revealings of light from the throne of God.”—Id., p. 111.
“. . . Whatever may be his position of authority, no one has a right to shut away the light from the people. When a message comes in the name of the Lord to His people, no one may excuse himself from an investigation of its claims.”—Counsels On Sabbath School Work, p. 28.
Does not the Denomination’s perverted trend in finding Heaven-revealed Truth prove to you that God is left out of consideration, that in His place are put those who are supposed to be His servants? What else can it be if man is consulted when the Spirit of God should be? Are we not told by the Scriptures that the Spirit Himself is to lead us individually into all Truth? that we are not to make flesh our arm by having someone else decide for us what is Truth and what is error? Are we not denying the Spirit and our connection with Heaven when we take a substitute? And still worse is it to go for advice to one who is already against that which you expect him to approve or disapprove. If God can teach the cattle individually to seek water in the lower lands, not on the top of the mountains and hills, and to search for a place of warmth where the wind does not strike, then why can he not personally show us what is Truth and what is error?
Were the founders of the church directed into Truth by the counsel of the priests and rabbis, or by the Spirit of God in their hearts? Are we not individually told: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every Spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.” 1 John 4:1, 2. “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thess. 5:19-21.
Moreover, Amos by the eye of Inspiration looked down through the centuries, deep into the Christian era, and declared:
Amos 1:2—The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.
This scripture, you see, reflects the tragedy which took place on the top of Carmel in the days of Elijah. Here we are given the hint that there is to be another show-down between the prophet of God and the prophets of Baal. The prophets of Baal in our day even boast that they are not inspired, that what they teach and preach is what they themselves discovered by deep study and research! They even sneer at those who claim to be inspired of the Lord! They seem to think that God has forsaken the earth; that He cares not to send His Spirit as in former time; that men are now so wise that what the Spirit can do for them, they themselves can do even better! The truth is, though, that if there ever was a need for inspired interpreters of the Scriptures, it is today while many winds of doctrines are blowing from all directions, bringing in confusion, dissension, and disaster everywhere. No one sees eye to eye!
Of this sad condition the Spirit of Prophecy warns:
“Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth can not receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true,—in harmony with God’s word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas, that they will not examine the Scripture evidence, with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices.
“The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits,—because it is truth.”—Testimonies To Ministers, pp. 105, 106.
The world has never seen a more religious group, nor a more praying and pious people than were the priests, scribes, and Pharisees in Christ’s day. Yet they were the very ones who protested against Christ’s teachings, who spread prejudice and confusion among the people and who kept them in darkness! Yes, they deceived a whole nation. Finally, if the Jewish Sanhedrin was not to be trusted at Christ’s first advent, then how do we know that the Christian’s Sanhedrin at Christ’s second advent is to be unquestionably correct? It was the Sanhedrins of the middle ages and down to this day that have fought against any Divinely led Reformation. And let me read to you of that which took place in the pioneering days of the Denomination:
“But the churches generally did not accept the warning. Their ministers, who as ‘watchmen unto the house of Israel,’ should have been the first to discern the tokens of Jesus’ coming, had failed to learn the truth, either from the testimony of the prophets or from the signs of the times. As worldly hopes and ambitions filled the heart, love for God and faith in His word had grown cold; and when the advent doctrine was presented, it only aroused their prejudice and unbelief. The fact that the message was, to a great extent, preached by laymen, was urged as an argument against it. As of old, the plain testimony of God’s word was met with the inquiry, ‘Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed?’ And finding how difficult a task it was to refute the arguments drawn from the prophetic periods, many discouraged the study of the prophecies, teaching that the prophetic books were sealed, and were not to be understood. Multitudes, trusting implicitly to their pastors refused to listen to the warning; and others, though convinced of the truth, dared not confess it, lest they should be ‘put out of the synagogue.’ The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church, revealed all too surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ. The ties which bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heaven-ward. They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom, and turned away from the heart-searching message of truth.”—The Great Controversy, p. 380.
If such has been the experience of the past, and if we all had to make up our own minds for or against the Advent truth in opposition to the decisions of the priests and ministers in our former churches, and if this was the only method of finding Truth then, why should it not be so now? Have we now become less capable than we were before becoming Adventists? Are our prayers now failing to bring results? Has the Spirit left us? or have we turned away from Him? There is but one honest answer that can be given:
The church is drifting with the world and she, too, is expecting the world’s great men, not the Spirit of God, to tell her what is Truth and what is error, whom to put in office and whom not to. “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.” Lam. 3:40.
The idea that we, as Seventh-day Adventists, have all the Truth we need, that we are “rich and increased with goods,” in need of nothing more, is the idea with which the Sanhedrin in Christ’s day indoctrinated the minds of the people, and to this day the Jewish nation has not recovered from the effects. Do not our Seventh-day Adventist brethren therefore stand in the same degenerating position of rejecting any light that God may send, if it does not agree with their ideas? And even if Christ Himself should bring it down, and if it disagree with theirs, would they not like the Jews of old be dangerously tempted to crucify Him if they could? O the great need for revival and reformation! And if such be the condition of the people in our own church, then what can be expected elsewhere? Return unto Me, for why should you perish? is Heaven’s cry.
These are some of the current events which show that humanity is drifting farther and farther away from God and drawing closer and closer to individual self. If we take God into partnership, we will have peace, security, and prosperity. But as it is now, we as a nation and as a people are headed for trouble and uncertainly at home, and for war abroad, while the church sleeps on.”
Excerpt taken from Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 41, pp. 5-10 by V. T. Houteff. Please click the link to download a scan of the original text in its entirety.