1. Light in a Dark Place of Denominational Confusion

By John Thiel, Light in a Dark Place Seminar, Study 1, Audio: mp3

Amos 5:1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, [even] a lamentation, O house of Israel. 2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; [there is] none to raise her up. 3 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out [by] a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth [by] an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.

We live in perilous times. Our need to be members of God’s visible church is being severely attacked as we move forward into the last scenes of our journey on this planet. Ever since Christ launched His New Testament church, it has been tossed in such a way that it always required diligent search to recognise His church amongst the apostatised bodies. There was a question that was posed:

Song of Solomon 1:7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest [thy flock] to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?

A very pertinent question, is it not? The answer comes back:

Song of Solomon 1:8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.

The answer is to be diligent. “Go your way by the footsteps of the flock.” If ever you are looking for a flock that you can’t find, you look for the imprints on the ground. You need to be a bit of a tracker; and trackers require skills. Here the answer comes, Go and follow the tracks of God’s church – the one that Jesus Christ launched out on the very days He was on the planet. And there, if you can find them, “feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.

Jeremiah 6:2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate [woman]. 

The daughter of Zion, God’s people, is a delicate woman.

Jeremiah 6:3 The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch [their] tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.

The shepherds of the flock themselves need to be part of the delicate woman, bringing their flocks to feed there, as it says in Song of Solomon, “Go thy way … and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.” We want to examine the coming down through the centuries, the footsteps that we need to recognise today. The perplexity of trying to find the footsteps of the very church of Jesus Christ that He launched out when He was with us on earth, is a perplexing experience because of what is written in Songs of Solomon chapter 6, and which we see with our own eyes.

The Undefiled Church

If you are looking for the footsteps of His church, there it is:

Song of Solomon 6:8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. 9 My dove, my undefiled is [but] one;

That is the one that Jesus launched out in the beginning – the undefiled church.

Song of Solomon 6:9 … she [is] the [only] one of her mother, she [is] the choice [one] of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; [yea], the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

Here is the question, Among all these women, among all these daughters of Zion, where is His flock?

Song of Solomon 6:10 Who [is] she [that] looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, [and] terrible as [an army] with banners?

Good question? Among all these denominations, among all these churches, among all these virgins, we are looking for a needle in a haystack, figuratively speaking. Who is she? Where is she? There are so many organisations everywhere, which one is truly His?

Christ, amid His sufferings, and being daily rejected of men, looks down the lines two thousand years to His church which would be in existence in the last days, before the close of this earth’s history. {1MR 355.1}

The Lord has had a church from that day, through all the changing scenes of time to the present period, 1893. {1MR 355.2}

She wrote this in 1893. Where are we today? 2008. God has had His church all the way through.

The Bible sets before us a model church. They are to be in unity with each other, and with God. When believers are united to Christ the living vine, the result is that they are one with Christ, full of sympathy and tenderness and love. {1MR 355.2}

The Organized Body

God has His church, His dove, His undefiled.

When anyone is drawing apart from the organized body of God’s commandment-keeping people, when he begins to weigh the church in his human scales, and begins to pronounce judgment against them, then you may know that God is not leading him. He is on the wrong track. {1MR 355.2}

We are trying to track God’s church. There are some powerful pointers here: “God’s commandment keeping people;” people who are full of sympathy, tenderness and love. They are the people we are looking for; there is the church, and He has her. But the perplexing question is, Who is she? God tells us, and He shows us, if we will look to her, to His church. He actually appeals to her in the darkness in which we live today. He calls to His church. He calls for His church to become prominent, because people are looking and searching for His pure body:

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

He is talking to His church, and He is telling her, “In the darkness that covers the earth – gross darkness, ignorance, confusion and blindness – I want you to stand up and be counted.” There are people out there who are saying, “Will the real Jesus please stand up?” The church that has His glory is to be seen so that the answer can be given, “Here they are, follow their track.” Gross darkness: How can you see in gross darkness, and how can the church be illuminated in the gross darkness?

Prophecy a Requirement

2 Peter 1:19 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:

A light that shineth in a dark place.” Gross darkness covers the planet. How are you going to see whether you are part of God’s church, or whether the church can stand up and be counted? Prophecy is the illuminator.

Prophecy is the light in the darkness. This is our present purpose, to let prophecy illuminate His church; to let prophecy illuminate the last movements among the people of God so we can choose intelligently to be part of it. The light in a dark place of denominational confusion is prophecy.

Identifying God’s Church

Before we launch out into the research of the prophecy, let us first put a nail in a sure place to make sure of a qualifying factor in identifying God’s church. We touched on it before. This is an identification mark:

God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; {UL 315.5}

What is it?

…it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. {UL 315.5}

That is God’s church.

 “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). 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. {UL 315.5}

What can constitute a church? Only where the presence of Jesus Christ is, and where the people love God and keep His commandments. Where Jesus is amongst them, this is the church. That is a qualifying factor. There is also an enlargement of this qualification, by which we understand all the other prophetic outlines:

If we comply with the conditions the Lord has made, we shall secure our election to salvation. {6BC 1079.5}

What is the election of God’s individuals in relation to His church?

Perfect obedience to His commandments is the evidence that we love God, and are not hardened in sin. Christ has a church in every age. There are in the church those who are not made any better by their connection with it. They themselves break the terms of their election. {6BC 1079.5}

You can have church members there who are not benefited by the church. They break the terms of their election.

Obedience to the commandments of God gives us a right to the privileges of His church (MS 166, 1898). {6BC 1079.5}

If I am going to be part of the church, the church is a company of people who love God and keep His commandments, and in a church where I am attending, if I wish to have the privilege of being part of that church, it is dependent upon my obedience to the commandments of God. What is included in the keeping of the commandments? They are usually so shallow in people’s understanding.

There is coming in among us a spirit which God will not suffer to rule. Never should Christians feel that they are lords over God’s heritage. There should not be among Christians a spirit which makes some patrons and some proteges. The commandments of God forbid this. {TDG 192.3}

If I want to identify God’s people, His church, they will not be a church where they will lord it over each other. Why? Because the commandments of God condemn that. God has His church to the end.

From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. {AA 11.2}

Who were they? Faithful souls.

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 11.2}

Who is the church? Not the denomination, not the various denominations, but the people who love God and keep His commandments. In every generation the Lord has had them, but in every generation there were also apostate bodies that claimed to be God’s church, and it has accumulated today to what we read in Song of Solomon (6:8). There are countless organisations. We are in a dark place in reference to denominational identification of God’s church. It is too hard to find. As we look to the last days right down to the period of 1893, and right to the very end, remember, we are looking for the people of God who are faithful and who keep God’s commandments. Are they identifiable from 1844 to 1914? Can you actually read something in prophecy by which you can identify the faithful ones? There is a very clear testimony of Jesus, the Spirit of Prophecy, by which we can identify where they are:

God has a church on earth who are lifting up the downtrodden law, and presenting to the world the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. {TM 50.1}

God has a church.” What are they doing? They are “lifting up the downtrodden law.”

There is but one church in the world who are at the present time standing in the breach, and making up the hedge, building up the old waste places; and for any man to call the attention of the world and other churches to this church, denouncing her as Babylon, is to do a work in harmony with him who is the accuser of the brethren. Is it possible that men will arise from among us, who speak perverse things, and give voice to the very sentiments that Satan would have disseminated in the world in regard to those who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus? {TM 50.2}

Who is Sr. White here pointing to under inspiration? The organisation with the name “Seventh-day Adventist Church”. She says that God has this church “who are at the present time standing in the breach.” At the present time, when she wrote that (1893), there was a people who were standing in the breach and were upholding the law of God. Then we came to the First World War, in 1914.

The First World War

What is the history of that church that she described beforehand? The history was that they broke God’s law and taught men that it was alright for them to do so. Here is an article written not long ago by the Seventh-day Adventist Church of today where they apologised, especially for the Second World War, for the fact that they had disassociated from them Sabbath-keeping Jews that were worshipping among them, under Hitler’s regime. They said, We are sorry; why? Because they broke the law of God and disassociated themselves from God’s faithful people.

Church Leaders say “We’re Sorry”

Today they are sorry, but they are still in harmony with people going to war and taking up arms.

A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists in Times of War

The church apostatised. It failed to keep God’s commandments. From that 1914 experience there was the rising of a reform, the Reform Movement, these faithful people. They were faithful under the threat of death, and death itself. They were faithful to God’s law, and that constituted God’s church. They held firm under severe trial. They uplifted the standard high. That was 1914. I ask you the question, Are anymore of these people alive today – these faithful people?

The Ministry of the Church

Let us examine the prophecy that illuminated that these faithful people were truly identified in prophecy as another movement after the movement of the Seventh-day Adventist church. In Revelation 14 we read the three angels’ message. Who are these angels? Who do these angels represent? The people of God who are working in harmony with the universe (see Selected Messages Book 2, p.387.1).

Malachi 2:7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he [is] the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

The Greek word for angel is angelos, which means “messenger.”

2 Corinthians 8:23 Whether [any do inquire] of Titus, [he is] my partner and fellow helper concerning you: or our brethren [be inquired of, they are] the messengers of the churches, [and] the glory of Christ.

The ministry, “they are the messengers of the churches.” When the third angel is proclaiming his message, in Revelation 14 is a prophecy of the church that proclaimed this message. But in prophecy there arose also another angel. Here is another group of messengers who are doing their work:

Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

This is the preaching church that is identified with power. Without going now into all the detail, we are familiar with the fact that, back in 1888 this angel began his work under the preaching of E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones. It was this angel that was ultimately pushed out by the company who had represented the third angel.

Another Movement

They continued as a movement.

But God still has a people in Babylon; {GC 604.1}

There is a people in Babylon amongst all the other women of Song of Solomon.

But God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of His judgments these faithful ones must be called out, that they partake not of her sins and “receive not of her plagues.” Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. {GC 604.1}

What is it? A movement that continues as a faithful people proclaiming the beautiful message of Christ and His righteousness, and responding to the call of Isaiah 60, Arise, shine. His glory filled the earth. They were a people who proclaimed the power of the commandments of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and who stood immovably and sacrificed their lives. That was a movement, back there in 1914, after 1888. Prophecy identified it here. The detail is powerfully identifiable in the Spirit of Prophecy.

Divisions in the Church

What actually happens within this company of people who under the Revelation 18 angel were coming into prominence?

“Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24: 44). This is our message, the very message that the three angels flying in the midst of heaven are proclaiming. The work to be done now is that of sounding this last message of mercy to a fallen world. A new life is coming from heaven and taking possession of all God’s people. {2SM 113.3}

As this new life comes, as this Revelation 18 angel comes from heaven, what happens?

But divisions will come in the church. Two parties will be developed. The wheat and tares grow up together for the harvest. {2SM 113.3}

The work will grow deeper and become more earnest to the very close of time. {2SM 114.1}

If you are in this scene, it will get deeper and more earnest. Two companies are identifiable in the church.

And all who are laborers together with God will contend most earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. They will not be turned from the present message, which is already lightening the earth with its glory. {2SM 114.1}

Sr. White wrote that at the time in reference to this other company that was dislocated, because two parties were developed.

Nothing is worth contending for but the glory of God. The only rock that will stand is the Rock of Ages. The truth as it is in Jesus is the refuge in these days of error. . . .  {2SM 114.1}

Are the days any easier today than when Sr. White wrote that? No, they are more intense. The work grows deeper and deeper. In the church, “both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks.” (Testimonies Vol. 6, p.400.3) As it happened, two parties were developed much like with Israel of old. The Israel of old, God’s church, split into two companies, didn’t they? The ten tribes and the two tribes. The ten tribes became corrupt, and the loyal but faulty were the two tribes. When Jesus came unto His own, what happened? His own received Him not. But what did He give to those who received Him? He gave them power to become the sons of God. There was a splintering of ultimate separation between the two companies that had developed. This picture is a prophetic reality that takes us through even to our time now.

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. {DA 232.2}

The plain teaching of the word of God, no interpretation needed, just as it reads.

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 232.2}

The Two Tribes and the Ten Tribes

We see the two tribes and the ten tribes, and then the separation from even those two tribes – a separation from a church that was recognised as God’s church. This has happened in every succeeding generation. How does prophecy reveal these last movements so we can identify the dark place experience and see where we should be? The last movements down to the next generation. In 1914 the movement, the organisation that we are members of, started, but those faithful people have died now. Their children and the new converts are now living. What do we expect from these?

A New-Modelling of the Cause

As the founders, those who possessed the true spirit of reform, pass away, their descendants come forward and “new-model the cause.” While blindly clinging to the creed of their fathers and refusing to accept any truth in advance of what they saw, the children of the reformers depart widely from their example of humility, self-denial, and renunciation of the world. {GC 385.1}

What do they do? They depart widely from that which their fathers were very faithful in.

Thus “the first simplicity disappears.” A worldly flood, flowing into the church, carries “with it its customs, practices, and idols.” {GC 385.1}

What happens to the next generation? Are they now faithful? What has happened? Are they as faithful as those who died for their faith? Are they so stringently obedient to all of God’s ways that they would even suffer death for it? They can hardly keep afloat under peer pressure; they give in to the worldly ways. This is the next generation. It has happened in the Adventist church. This is reality. As we look at that, as we look at prophecy and the new-modelling of the cause within the organisation, what will the faithful in God’s organisation of this new generation do, within God’s organisation which was launched out by faithful people in the time of the First World War? Who are the church? What did we read? Faithful souls, people who are faithful to the pristine originality of God’s faithful church.

I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps– the first, second, and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, “Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.” {EW 258.3}

In God’s church there are two companies together in the same organisation. We are looking at the prophetic detail of the church in the last days.

The church of Christ on earth will be imperfect, but God does not destroy His church because of its imperfection. … There are two opposing influences continually exerted on the members of the church. One influence is working for the purification of the church, and the other for the corrupting of the people of God. {TM 46.1}

God’s church is imperfect. Within His church there are corrupting influences of people who are the new generation and who bring in the worldly flood. That is to be expected in God’s church. And with them there are also the faithful ones who will not budge. They are all together in one organisation. “One influence is working for the purification of the church.

The Church Militant is not the Church Triumphant

Has God no living church? He has a church, but it is the church militant, not the church triumphant. We are sorry that there are defective members, that there are tares amid the wheat. {TM 45.1}

It is the church militant, not the church triumphant. We want to see prophecy revealing the two churches.

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 179.3}

What is this saying? While the church militant is not the church triumphant, the members of the church militant must embrace the true display of the love of Jesus Christ. The little company that is within that church militant, and the others who are in it, must all learn to be like Him, and they can then join the church triumphant.

Another Separation

Does this suggest another separation? Follow this very carefully. Who is the church militant? They are the ones who are proclaiming the message of Revelation 18:1-3, the faithful ones; and there are also those who are in the church but who aren’t very much benefitted by it, but they are still in there. They are all interacting together. They are part of the Revelation 18 movement. What is the movement towards triumph? What is the movement within the church that is purifying the people in her? Is it not the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

Many have in a great measure failed to receive the former rain. They have not obtained all the benefits that God has thus provided for them. They expect that the lack will be supplied by the latter rain. {TM 507.1}

She is talking to the people in the church militant.

When the richest abundance of grace shall be bestowed, they intend to open their hearts to receive it. They are making a terrible mistake. The work that God has begun in the human heart in giving His light and knowledge must be continually going forward. Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit. It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now. … Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it. {TM 507.1}

What is it that the church, the faithful members within the organisation are doing? They are advancing, they are being purified, they are becoming more and more like Jesus. Sr. White writes:

Are we hoping to see the whole church revived? That time will never come. {1SM 122.1}

What is going to happen then? If the faithful ones within God’s organisation receive and embrace the outpouring of the latter rain and the others can’t see it, what is the consequence?

The Latter Rain

Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father. Before this time the awfully solemn declaration has gone forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” I saw that none could share the “refreshing” unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence. {EW 71.2}

Who will not receive the refreshing? Who will not receive the latter rain? Those who have not gained the victory. The people who receive the latter rain have a triumphant experience. They constitute the church triumphant within the organisation. The company that we read of in Song of Solomon is further described here in its prophetic detail for the last days, the detail of God’s faithful people, the church triumphant that is within God’s church militant:

My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were mightily shaken. {1T 181.3}

Do you feel like that? Are we mightily shaken?

I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping and praying with agony of spirit. The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. … They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude, and holy, sacred joy. {1T 181.3}

What happened then?

I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth in great power. It had effect. I saw those who had been bound; some wives had been bound by their husbands, and some children had been bound by their parents. The honest who had been held or prevented from hearing the truth, now eagerly laid hold of it. All fear of their relatives was gone. The truth alone was exalted to them. It was dearer and more precious than life. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered: “It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.” {1T 182.2}

That is another prophetic picture in Revelation 18:4. Who were these people? They were the victorious people who received the latter rain. They went forth, and as they became victorious, there was separation and unity in the church.

The Loud Cry

This is the next step in prophecy:

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

This is the loud cry. Who is it given by? Those who receive the latter rain. This is the prophetic detail of another voice from heaven. It wasn’t another movement. The movement was the Revelation 18 angel. But what do we read? Connected with this angel’s message comes this voice.

Of Babylon, at the time brought to view in this prophecy, it is declared: “Her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:5. She has filled up the measure of her guilt, and destruction is about to fall upon her. But God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of His judgments these faithful ones must be called out, that they partake not of her sins and “receive not of her plagues.” Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard: “Come out of her, My people.” These announcements, uniting with the third angel’s message, constitute the final warning to be given to the inhabitants of the earth. {GC 604.1}

Who is it according to this prophecy that is giving this loud cry? The faithful ones who gained the victory. How will they be treated by their brethren? How will their brethren counsel them in the church militant?

The baptism of the Holy Ghost as on the day of Pentecost will lead to a revival of true religion and to the performance of many wonderful works. {2SM 57.1}

The church militant is now in her second generation and a worldly flood has come in, so true religion is again being reinforced.

Heavenly intelligences will come among us, and men will speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Spirit of God. But should the Lord work upon men as He did on and after the day of Pentecost, many who now claim to believe the truth would know so very little of the operation of the Holy Spirit that they would cry, “Beware of fanaticism.” They would say of those who were filled with the Spirit, “These men are full of new wine.” {2SM 57.1}

That is how the church militant will treat the church triumphant within her.

When souls long after Christ, and seek to become one with Him, then those who are content with the form of godliness, exclaim “Be careful, do not go to extremes.” When the angels of heaven come among us, and work through human agents, there will be solid, substantial conversions, after the order of the conversions after the day of Pentecost. {2SM 57.2}

Now brethren, be careful and do not go into or try to create human excitement. But while we should be careful not to go into human excitement, we should not be among those who will raise inquiries and cherish doubts in reference to the work of the Spirit of God; for there will be those who will question and criticize when the Spirit of God takes possession of men and women, because their own hearts are not moved, but are cold and unimpressible. –Letter 27, 1894. {2SM 57.3}

Opposition

What happens in the church militant? Cold, unimpressible hearts will seek to oppose those who are on fire under the power of the latter rain. What does Jesus say?

The opposition which Christ received came from his own nation, who would have been greatly blessed had they accepted him. In like manner the remnant church receive opposition from those who profess to be their brethren. {RH, August 28, 1883 par. 13}

The remnant church – the people who are receiving the Holy Spirit and who go forward with power – they are ridiculed and opposed. As it says in Matthew 24, how will the faithful servant who is giving meat in due season be treated by the one who says in his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming? The unfaithful servant will smite him.

There is a repetition of the reality expressed in Desire of Ages, p. 232. In every succeeding generation Jesus was opposed. He was opposed in the First World War. The next generation of those who were reformers is the church militant which will also oppose their brethren. This repetitious behaviour of Christ being pushed out of His church again is reiterated here:

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. . . . {UL 131.3}

What is that saying? If they will oppose the work of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain among God’s faithful, victorious people, they will be doing the same thing that the Jews did to Christ, and God will remove them also. Is this prophetic? Remember the two houses of Israel – the ten tribes and the two tribes – Benjamin and Judah. The faithful church was separated from the unfaithful company.

Isaiah 8:13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread. 14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence

To whom?

Isaiah 8:14 …to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. 16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

How does prophesy reveal the two houses of Israel? In the Laodicean period. Here is the prophecy for the last church. Who is Jesus speaking to?

Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;

He is speaking to the angel of the church of Laodicea, to the messenger, to the ministry of this church.

Revelation 3:14 …These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Who does He turn to after He asks them to repent and they don’t? To the church? No. To the “any man.” Knock, knock.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

The Faithful

Here are the faithful ones within God’s church, those who will open the door. As they open the door, He sups with them, and He relates with them to bring them up to every standard of truth. This company is finally superseded with verse 21 – another one. These are the two houses: The church/ministry – and the any man. And out of those two must come this one:

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

That is another company – the church triumphant. This is repeated here:

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war

With whom? With the seed? The seed of the woman in the time of Israel was the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and then the remnant out of that.

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The woman, the seed, and the remnant. In Revelation 18:1-3, the movement is the seed from the third angel, and then comes the voice from heaven, the remnant of her seed. The ten tribes, the two tribes, and the disciples. It is the same prophetic revelation. It has been repeated in every succeeding generation. Where do we stand today?

We are still members of the church militant. Those who will be faithful and will conquer under the preparation for the receiving of the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit and who embrace and proclaim it, are going to be opposed by the church militant to comprise the members of the church triumphant, and then Jesus can come. There won’t be another movement necessary, because the church triumphant has been a membership of the movement of the Revelation 18 angel. This is the last and final call to come out by the faithful, triumphant church. When that church stands in its vivid representation, responding to the call, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come; the glory of the Lord shall be seen upon you, and the people of Babylon will come and stream to you;” that will be the grand finale. No more church organisation after that. The churches that have been organisations, Israel, Judah, are described in Amos:

Amos 5:1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, [even] a lamentation, O house of Israel. 2 The virgin of Israel is fallen;

The church who was a virgin, but who has seen the second generation coming into it, is now fallen.

Amos 5:2 …she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; [there is] none to raise her up. 3 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out [by] a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth [by] an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.

There is much more that we can enlarge, and this will be the focus of this seminar; it will be a total enlargement of the small details which have here been presented. Here is the word of God, the identification of prophecy. It shines in a dark place so that I can measure up and open my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, and decide that as a member of the church militant I will ultimately join the church triumphant.

Amen.

Posted on July 20, 2009, in Divine Service Sermons, Light in a Dark Place of the Remnant Church and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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