Recently, Elder Ted Wilson, President of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist church, gave a first ever video address to the church body addressing the state of the church with its successes and some its shortcomings. Adventist News Network reported on the presentation and highlighted its contents. Two of the major concerns of the president was the loss of the church’s identity in Bible prophecy and history among both ministers and members alike. As well, the loss of standards once held in high regard, such as health reform, dress reform, recreation, etc., have been set aside as a flood of worldliness and come into the ranks. We share concern with the president regarding the church losing its understanding of Bible prophecies regarding the divine purpose as God called forth the Seventh-day Adventist movement for a specific purpose and mission. However, we also believe that even the current church leadership has also completely lost sight of the church position in prophecy at the present time much in the same manner that the church leadership in Christ’s day misunderstood and misapplied prophecies concerning the first advent of the Messiah. Thus, today perhaps our most urgent need as Seventh-day Adventist’s is to hear the clarion call from inspiration to open our eyes to our ignorance of the prophecies regarding the church today and into the near future. May God bless your search for all Truth as for hidden treasure and to open the eyes of the wise that they may understand.
The Church in Prophecy
“As the church of today is conversant with past church history, but totally ignorant of the Divine prediction concerning herself, we, in an endeavor to enlighten her, shall set forth in this article the reason for her ignorance of the prophecies. But let us first refresh our minds by a brief review of the past before turning our attention to the future.
In the following few paragraphs we shall see how completely the Lord has foretold to His church the course that she should, also the course that she would, follow, and the ultimate results in either case.
Abraham, by the voice of prophecy, was informed that God had promised at some time to give him land the location of which was not then made known. Later he was told that he and his seed would sojourn in a strange land “four hundred and thirty years” before possessing the land of promise. When the fulness of this prophetic time came, even at the “self same day,” Israel was led out of the land of Egypt. But because of their repeated rebellions the Lord did not see fit immediately to take them into the promised land; therefore, He made known to them that they must remain in the wilderness another forty years. At the end of this prophetic period of time, the children of Israel, by as great a miracle as when they crossed the Red Sea, crossed the Jordan and went into the land promised to them.
Neither did the Lord leave them in darkness while they were in the promised land, but rather He sent to them prophet after prophet, (II Chron. 36:15), warning them of the consequent results that would befall them because of their depraved spiritual condition, and telling them that by their attitude toward the prophets, and by their demeanor, they were making their final decision either for or against themselves.
As they failed to turn from their evil course, the voice of prophecy declared that they were to be delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans and there to remain captive seventy years. At the close of that span of time, God, by the hand of Cyrus and Darius, the kings of Medo-Persia, again set His people free, and the kings commanded them to rebuild the temple and the holy city. (Ezra 1:1, 2). As the prophecies concerning the church were then fulfilled, God in His faithfulness, made known to His people that which was to take place within a period of “two thousand three hundred days” or years (Dan. 8:14), beginning at the time when the commandment was made to rebuild the city, and ending in 1844. Among the events that took place during that length of time were Christ’s first coming and His crucifixion. (Dan. 9:26.)
Thus, these prophetic periods of time, linked one to another, carried us through history from the time of Abraham to 1844. But as we have referred to but a few of the prophecies, we might mention that there are many other prophetic events interwoven in the foregoing periods of time, such as the twelve hundred and sixty year period of Daniel 7:25, and the prophecies concerning the First-day Advent movement prior to 1844, etc., all of which shows that there has occurred nothing in church history of which the voice of prophecy has failed to speak.
As the prophecies connected with the First-day Advent movement and the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, are of greater importance to us than are any of the others, we shall treat of them more fully. However, as we are writing directly to Seventh-day Adventists, to explain the Scriptures with which they are already familiar is needless; therefore, we shall only refer to them and draw the lesson that God would have His people to know now.
In the tenth chapter of Revelation we read: “And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” (Rev. 10:10.) This scripture is rightly interpreted by the denomination to be a perfectly fitting symbolic prophecy of the indescribable happiness and the crushing disappointment of the First-day Advent movement which declared prior to 1844 the truth of the “2300” day prophecy, whose followers believed what they preached, sold everything of this world’s goods, and spent the proceeds for the preaching of the Gospel that others along with them might be ready for Christ’s coming in the year 1844.
Hence, the thought of taking a flight through the starry heavens and entering through the pearly gates into the eternal city of the King of kings and the Lord of lords, where there is no sorrow, nor pain, nor death, was as sweet a thought to them as is honey to the taste of the tongue. Therefore, to John, the incident was symbolically represented by eating the little book—the Word of God—and by being as sweet as honey at the first. But as the set date passed into eternity, and the Lord Whom they expected to come, did not appear, they, as John, felt their inexpressible joy turn into the gall of bitterness.
Furthermore, as the verse following the one which refers to the disappointment, says, “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (Rev. 10:11), it proves to be an accurate prophecy of the understanding and experience of the movement prior to 1844, for they thought that the Gospel work was then finished, and that probation had closed. Therefore, the angel declared: “Thou must prophesy again;” that is, you have made a mistake, and now you must repeat the preaching of your message. Thus, the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, composed largely of those who had been First-day Adventists, arose to fulfill the heavenly commission while some of the First-day Adventists have maintained their own organization to this day.
Now our attention is called to the most important question: Could it be possible that the Scriptures should contain such a complete prophecy of the church to 1844 and contain none at all for her since then? All must honestly agree that to leave the church out of prophecy at any time is illogical and also impossible, for God has never left His people in darkness, and He surely would not do so now at the most important time in the world’s history. Then why does the church of today know so much about the prophecies of the past and so little of the prophecies concerning her own destiny?
There are two great reasons for this mystery. The primal reason is given by the apostle Peter:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19.)
This scripture declares that prophecy is the more sure word, and that it is as a light that shines in a dark place, and that when it is understood it makes the subject so plain that its clearness is compared by Inspiration, as a “day star”
in our hearts. However, the verses following say:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20, 21); that is, had the Scriptures come by the will of man, then they could be interpreted by the will of man without the aid of the Spirit. But the fact that “holy men of God” received the Scriptures from the Spirit of God, and as it is impossible for man of himself to know the mind of the Holy Spirit, he cannot interpret the Scriptures without the Spirit’s aid—he must, therefore, be inspired as verily as the ones to whom the Scriptures were given at the first.
This is attested by the fact that today we have thousands of isms which are the result of thousands of interpretations of the Scriptures, which proves that men have independently of the Spirit interpreted the Scriptures, for the Spirit of Prophecy does not, and cannot, give to one person one interpretation of scripture, and give to another another interpretation of the same scripture.
Moreover since it is true that the Laodicean church does not know the prophecies concerning herself, it bears evidence that the Spirit of Prophecy is no longer active in the midst of her.
The second reason for her ignorance of “the more sure word of prophecy,” is in that she esteems herself as being “rich, and increased with goods,” and to “have need of nothing,” whereas, the prophecies declare that she is “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” and that she knows it not. (Rev. 3:17.) Hence, as the prophecies concerning her “wretched” spiritual condition, and the ultimate results (should she fail to acknowledge and repent of her spiritual poverty), are in direct opposition with her supposed spiritual prosperity, she only partially interprets or misinterprets, misapplies, or leaves them entirely alone.
In the following paragraph we will endeavor to prove that the church of today is repeating the mistakes which the church of the past committed.
For an example, as the Pharisees of old rejected the Inspired interpretation of the Scriptures, and as they feared that the common people might see their mistakes, they killed the prophets to silence them. Consequently, they were left in spiritual darkness, and as they privately—without Inspiration—interpreted the Scriptures, they misunderstood and misapplied even the most simple portions of the Word of God, with the result that they crucified the very One for Whom they had expended millions of dollars in sacrifices, and served hundreds of years in ceremonial services.
“The little horn” of Daniel Seven is a well-defined prophecy of the Roman Hierarchy. This prophecy has been preached for many years, but the Romans have never accepted it although they have not been able to attach its fulfillment elsewhere, nor to remove the time of its application. Just as the prophecies which did not commend the deeds of the Jewish and of the Roman leaders were not understood by them, so the prophecies which point out the errors of the Protestant churches are likewise considered as great mysteries.
This lack of understanding is not because the prophecies are difficult to be understood, but because they reveal the facts which the churches are not only unwilling to admit, but also very zealous to cover up. Hence, the advocates of “the more sure word of prophecy” are met with opposition, hatred, and ridicule, while their adversaries declare that the prophecies are but sealed mysteries. Therefore, as a result, ignorance of the Scriptures prevails among the people everywhere.
Thus, while on the one hand the prophecies reveal the poverty, wretchedness, and miserableness of the church today, she on the other hand boasts of her supposed high attainments, and of being rich and increased with goods, and of having need of nothing. This prevailing condition makes impossible her interpreting correctly or accepting “the more sure word of prophecy.” Thus, she is repeating the mistakes of the Jews, the Romans, and the Protestants.
We shall now carefully compare the voice of prophecy with the voice of the church. According to the prophecies, the Seventh-day Adventist denomination was commissioned to “prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” (Rev. 10:11.) The word “many” is a limited word—it does not mean all. Thus, the prophecy in no uncertain terms declares that the Gospel commission to the S. D. A. church does not extend to all the nations, but only to “many,” showing that before the Gospel is proclaimed to all the nations, there must be another commission. This fact is attested also by the Spirit of Prophecy:
“God calls for a spiritual revival and a spiritual reformation. Unless this takes place, those who are lukewarm will continue to grow more abhorrent to the Lord, until He will refuse to acknowledge them as His children.
“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 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.”—“Christ Our Righteousness,” p. 154. (Italics ours.)
“Clad in the armor of Christ’s righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. ‘Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,’ she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer.”—“Prophets and Kings,” p. 725.
While the voice of prophecy on the one hand declares that there is to be a “reorganization” and then a commission for the church to go to all the nations, the voice of the church, without having any more authority for what it says than do the Sunday observers for their belief that Sunday is the correct day to keep, cries aloud that the Seventh-day Adventist organization is “going through,” and the laity, as the laity of the nominal churches, do not ask for proof from “the more sure word of prophecy,” but rather, blindly exclaims “amen” to the voice of man against the voice of God! At the same time, to keep them in darkness, they are told not to listen to any other voice lest they be deceived!
We as the Seventh-day Adventist denomination were commissioned to go to “many” nations, and to gather the hundred and forty-four thousand, the first fruits, as is clearly shown in Revelation 11:1, 2: “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles.”
The words “measure” and “number” are synonymous, for measuring must be accompanied by numbering. Moreover, as those who worship therein are people, they must be measured by numbering. Hence, from 1844 to the time of this prophetic “reformation and organization,” is the measuring, or numbering time—the gathering of the 144,000, the first fruits, the twelve tribes, or those who worship inside the temple—whereas, “the porch that is without” is to be filled with the Gentiles—the second fruits, a great multitude which no man can number—who are to be gathered after the aforesaid reformation and reorganization is effected, just as it is stated in the Revelation. The revelator saw the 144,000 sealed and after that the great multitude. (Rev. 7:3-9.)
The Spirit of Prophecy declares that “only those who have withstood and overcome temptation in the strength of the Mighty One, will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming this message when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry.”(R. & H., Nov. 19, 1908.)
This excerpt bears plain evidence that we are not now in the time of the Loud Cry, neither have we ever been, for the Loud Cry is to be proclaimed only by those who have overcome temptation, whereas, the message has been, and is now proclaimed by both sanctified and unsanctified ministers. Therefore, if the message in the time of the Loud Cry is to be proclaimed only by those who have overcome temptation, there must necessarily be a reformation, and it shall sift out all the unsanctified ministers. (5T—p. 80; G.C. 424, 5.)
The more sure word of prophecy through the “gospel prophet” throws great light on the subject. We read:
“For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.” (Isa. 66:16, 19, 20).
The slaughter of the Lord here brought to view must take place in His church, for those who escape must be Christians, well acquainted with the Lord, otherwise they could not proclaim His fame and His glory. Moreover, as the Gentile nations will remain after the slaying takes place, and as they will be privileged to hear the Gospel, it proves that this slaughter of the Lord shall take place before the close of probation.
Still further, the Spirit of Prophecy writes that when the sealing of the 144,000 and the slaying of Ezekiel Nine is about to take place, the ministers will have betrayed their trust (5T 211), and as the message must be preached by a pure ministry, it again proves that this purification must take place just before the commencement of the Loud Cry, thus making possible the closing of the Gospel work by a reformed and reorganized movement, commissioned to go to all the nations rather than to “many.”
Although we have merely touched the prophecies concerning the church of today, we already see that they are just as thorough as the prophecies concerning the church of the past, and that the three angels’ messages will go through, but both, this system of organization and those who do not take heed now to overcome temptation, will perish in “the slain of the Lord.”
There are many who do not see the necessity of reorganizing, though they see the need of a reformation. For this reason we shall add a few words of explanation.
As there would have been no need of a reformation had the church remained true, there would have been no need of reorganization had the church organized right and stayed right. But as the spirit of the world conquered the church, so the spirit of the world conquered the organization, which is unmistakably evidenced by the fact that both the medical and the educational departments of the denomination are now governed by the standards of the world. Therefore, rather than the church leading the world, the world is now leading the church; or, in other words, rather than the church being the head, as God designed, she has now become the tail; and instead of the world partaking of the spirit of the church, the church is partaking of the spirit of the world, thus cheating the world from receiving the heavenly light, and causing herself to go into darkness, dishonoring God and honoring mammon. Hence, the need of both reformation and reorganization, for how can God finish His work, bless His people, and save the world with a church organization that itself is seeking help from the world?
The Lord’s having seen the course the church would pursue, has, for her benefit, so shaped the prophecies in an endeavor to awaken the church and to save her people. Hence, let us take heed to the sure Word of prophecy as it says: “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” (Heb. 4:7.)” — Symbolic Code, Vol. 4, Nos. 10-12, pp. 2-5.