The Closing Scenes of the Remnant Church

By John Thiel

Zephaniah 3:12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.

Do you sense within yourself that this is the end?  That we are living on the final stages of this world?  Do you sense this because true children of God rely not on their senses but on every word that proceeds from God?  It is my purpose to search Gods word, his revelation regarding his remnant people.

Zephaniah 3:11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. 12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.  13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid. 14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15 The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, [even] the LORD, [is] in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.  16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: [and to] Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.  17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee [is] mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.  18 I will gather [them that are] sorrowful for the solemn assembly, [who] are of thee, [to whom] the reproach of it [was] a burden. 19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20 At that time will I bring you [again], even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.

Consider the remnant.  How they come into prominence, how they rise.  As we read, you notice what transpires as these remnant people rise.

Zephaniah 3:18 I will gather [them that are] sorrowful for the solemn assembly, [who] are of thee, [to whom] the reproach of it [was] a burden.

A people sorrowful, reproached.

Zephaniah 3:19 I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20 At that time will I bring you [again], even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.

Observe these statements. God is saying a poor and afflicted people, a people that he gathers.  A sorrowful people.  People who have been under reproach and driven out.  People that have been captive.  This is to be our contemplation at this time.  The closing scenes of the remnant people.  What are their experiences? The closing scenes of Gods people.  What are their senses; sorrow, reproach, circumstances of being driven out?  What is their sorrow?  This is a description of the wrath to come to the world.

Ezekiel 9:4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

Jerusalem, the head quarters of the church has the man with the writers ink by his side to seal.  Who does he mark?  The sorrowful, the people that are not celebrating, the people that are burdened.  About what?  The abominations that are done in the midst thereof – in Jerusalem.

The people of God are sighing and crying for the abominations done in the land. With tears they warn the wicked of their danger in trampling upon the divine law, and with unutterable sorrow they humble themselves before the Lord on account of their own transgressions. The wicked mock their sorrow, ridicule their solemn appeals, and sneer at what they term their weakness. But the anguish and humiliation of God’s people is unmistakable evidence that they are regaining the strength and nobility of character lost in consequence of sin. It is because they are drawing nearer to Christ, and their eyes are fixed upon His perfect purity, that they so clearly discern the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Their contrition and self-abasement are infinitely more acceptable in the sight of God than is the self-sufficient, haughty spirit of those who see no cause to lament, who scorn the humility of Christ, and who claim perfection while transgressing God’s holy law. {5T 474.4}

Here is the experience of the senses that go through those that are the remnant.  Did you notice they were crying for the transgressions and abominations done in the church including their own?  Why are they doing it?  Because they can see Jesus.  The nearer you come to Jesus the more you will see your own sinfulness.  That will cause sorrow.  Blessed are they that mourn says Jesus.

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.  {5T 209.3}

Here is a clarification.  The abominations are what?  The church is doing after the manner of the world.  Here you have a vast field of contemplation.  That is what the people that are standing in the light are lamenting about.

These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.  {5T 210.2}

Oh yes, church religion goes on and Gods church goes on, however, they are doing according to the world and the sighing crying ones have been holding forth the words of life.  There is their sorrow, there is their experience.  What is the scene of that experience of the people that tremble before Jesus?  What their experience will be?

Isaiah 66:2 For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Poor, sighing, crying people over their own sins.  As we’ve been reading, these are the people.

Isaiah 66:5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

The remnant people are those who tremble at his word who are indeed a poor and afflicted people.  A people who tremblingly recognise they are unworthy.  As they read Gods word, they are contrite, they can feel their sins and they repent their soul to the Lord.  The gospel of Jesus Christ saves them and takes away their shame.

Psalm 147:2 The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

When you and I decide to follow Jesus right down the line and confess our sins and turn away from the corruptions we are used to, and we are upholding the word of God before the people, and the people hate us for it, we will get all broken up.  Our hearts will be breaking in both directions.  I have a broken heart as I have discovered my sinfulness.  I am also broken because of my brethren and I am wounded.  The Lord gathers the outcasts.

Isaiah 56:8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather [others] to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

Here is a description of the last days because Revelation 18 says come out of her my people.  The outcasts of Babylon.  Who gives the message?  The outcasts of Israel.  Gods people are outcasts and he will gather other outcasts as they are conscious.  The church members will chaff and feel unhappy.

Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God and who murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! Unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval. {3T 267.1}

This is an amplification of the remnant.  Who are the remnant?  Who are those that stand in the counsel of God at this time?  It is not those that murmur and accuse.  They may not do it openly but in their hearts, they dislike this incessant correction of their life, they hate it.  As the message keeps on coming and coming to correct the wrongs, they get very fed up.  Under one pretext or another they will turn against their brethren and say we have had enough of this – OUT! What were they doing to warrant that they should be driven out?  They had been holding forth the word of light, reproved, counselled and entreated.

We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world.  {1SM 122.3}

Let us understand what God is actually saying here.  We must realise this is not a man saying this to you.  That it is God speaking to us in the Words of inspiration.

If we hope to wear the crown, we must expect to bear the cross. Our greatest trials will come from those who profess godliness. It was so with the world’s Redeemer; it will be so with his followers. I should doubt whether I were a child of God, if the world, or even all professed Christians, spoke well of me. Those who are in earnest to win the crown of eternal life need not be surprised or disheartened because at every step toward the heavenly Canaan they meet with obstacles and encounter trials. 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}

This is a very interesting statement. The members of the church that are going after the world and yet claim to be Gods church, their brethren will oppose the remnant church.  When I first read this statement my brain did a flip.  What?  And the remnant church?  The church will oppose the remnant church.  You will appreciate the wonderful answer to this query.  Follow very carefully the revelations of the word, the manifestations of the remnant church.  When Jesus came to this earth his own brethren opposed him;

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

When Jesus work was finished, what sense went through him?  That he had been labouring for his church and that he had been putting in a total sacrifice for his own.  Contemplate his entire sacrifice for the salvation of his own.

Isaiah 49:2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; 3 And said unto me, Thou [art] my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. 4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: [yet] surely my judgment [is] with the LORD, and my work with my God.  5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb [to be] his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

Jesus laboured and he had a sensation – its all in vain.  If this was Christs experience, what will be the experience of those who will open the heart who stands at the door and knocks and asks admittance, can I sup with you?  What will you sup with?  The one who spoke like this.  You will be with the remnant.  You will say, I have laboured in vain for his cause and it looks like its all coming to naught.

As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. Again and again the history of Christ’s withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth. In our day few of the professed followers of the Reformers are actuated by their spirit. Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times those who are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience.  {DA 232.2}

Who is longing for the truth?  Where will you find it?  This happens according to the statement in every succeeding generation.  Look down through the corridors of the history of Christs church and see what you see.

…as the old disciples retired to their graves, their children, along with new converts, . . . came forward and new-modeled the cause.”–Robert Robinson, Ecclesiastical Researches, ch. 6, par. 17, p. 51. {GC 384.5}.

That is how you know that the faith of the catholic church developed.  Just in the next generation.

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

Lets take in the generation of the pioneers of the SDA church, the generation of the founders of the SDA church.

The old standard bearers knew what it was to wrestle with God in prayer, and to enjoy the outpouring of His Spirit. But these are passing off from the stage of action; and who are coming up to fill their places? (NEW CONVERTS AND THE CHILDREN) How is it with the rising generation? Are they converted to God? Are we awake to the work that is going on in the heavenly sanctuary, or are we waiting for some compelling power to come upon the church before we shall arouse? Are we hoping to see the whole church revived? That time will never come.  {1SM 122.1}

The old standard bearers give way to the children and new converts and re-model the cause.  Just the next generation!  If you study the history it was exactly what happened from 1844-1914. Sr White was about to die in 1915 and there came the dreadful history of the SDA church changing it original stance, not to participate in war.  It was known across the world.  But this company didn’t want to do that and were thrown out.  Here we are, as a result of that company back in 1914 onwards, that company of reformers that stood on the platform of the truth that would not deviate. Will it be repeated again?  The same thing in every successive generation?

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}

How many people were there?  The apostles.  They were all in one place at that time.  one hundred and twenty, that’s all. Has anything changed according to Gods word?  Gods word has stood true all through the history.  As we come to these last days, these final scenes, the generation that was succeeded by the next one was faithful and the next one became unfaithful.  If they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict them.

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.” I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step, until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform. I saw individuals approach the platform and examine the foundation. Some with rejoicing immediately stepped upon it. Others commenced to find fault with the foundation. They wished improvements made, and then the platform would be more perfect, and the people much happier. Some stepped off the platform to examine it and declared it to be laid wrong. But I saw that nearly all stood firm upon the platform and exhorted those who had stepped off to cease their complaints; for God was the Master Builder, and they were fighting against Him. They recounted the wonderful work of God, which had led them to the firm platform, and in union raised their eyes to heaven and with a loud voice glorified God. This affected some of those who had complained and left the platform, and they with humble look again stepped upon it.  {EW 258.3}

Have you heard that today?  “no, no, no, the way the pioneers saw it, that’s wrong.” The remnant are those who keep on incessantly holding on to that which was once delivered to the saints.  Those who feel we should release this foundation will dislike them.  The people will be much happier, this is not a good experience to be contrite and poor.  We want to enhance things.  Is this not what we’re hearing?  Yes, if you’re going to follow Jesus, you’re going to be on a platform of truth in the last days that will render you a poor and afflicted people. They are the ones.  These poor and afflicted people, how many are needed in this experience?

Jeremiah 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

Is that allot?  What about all this church growth we hear all the time?  What is written?  One in a family, two in a city.

Ten members, who were walking in all humbleness of mind, would have a far greater power upon the world than has the entire church, with its present numbers and lack of unity. {5T 119.1}

How many does God need?  What does he need?  He needs a little company.  Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  Three!  What did they do to evangelise the world?  You know the story.  While all the other Jews fell down.  While all the other members of the church let them down, there they stood with the flames burning.  If all the other Hebrews stood with them, do you think they would have been able to burn them all?  Just three.

When the truth we now cherish was first seen to be Bible truth, how very strange it appeared, and how strong was the opposition we had to meet in presenting it to the people for the first time; but how earnest and sincere were the obedient, truth-loving laborers! We were indeed a peculiar people. We were few in numbers, without wealth, without worldly wisdom or worldly honors; and yet we believed God and were strong and successful, a terror to evildoers. Our love for one another was steadfast, it was not easily shaken. Then the power of God was manifested among us, the sick were healed, and there was much calm, sweet, holy joy. But while the light has continued to increase, the church has not advanced proportionately. {5T 534.1}

The fine gold has gradually become dim, and deadness and formality have come in to cripple the energies of the church. Their abundant privileges and opportunities have not led God’s people onward and upward to purity and holiness. A faithful improvement of the talents God has entrusted to them would greatly increase those talents. Where much is given, much will be required. Those only who faithfully accept and appreciate the light God has given us, and who take a high, noble stand in self-denial and self-sacrifice, will be channels of light to the world. Those who do not advance will retrograde, even on the very borders of the heavenly Canaan. It has been revealed to me that our faith and our works in no way correspond to the light of truth bestowed. We must not have a halfhearted faith, but that perfect faith which works by love and purifies the soul. God calls upon you in California to come into close relationship with Him.  {5T 534.1}

Ten members is all it needs to stand on that platform and not vary.  Every pillar of truth must be in place.  That which the church has already established over the fifty years of that generation in the pioneers.  That organisational principle was all laid down in living oracles so that when the test comes, we know enough of all those pillars and standards so we will not buckle under the tests.  The people that will not buckle will be the outcasts again and again joined with the outcasts of Babylon. Who does Satan finally make war with?

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.

Who does he make war with?  The church?  No.  The seed of the church?  No. The remnant of the seed.  How many will there be?  Will you be among them? The remnant of her seed. As you look at the generations, you have the generations of the pioneers, the seed of the pioneers and how long did they go for?  Then you have the remnant of her seed.  Who are they?  The remnant church opposed by the organised church. Will you and I make a decision to be among those who God can bless at last?

The saints then will be an obscure people, little known to the Catholics; but the churches and nominal Adventists who know of our faith and customs (for they hated us on account of the Sabbath, for they could not refute it) will betray the saints and report them to the Catholics as those who disregard the institutions of the people; that is, that they keep the Sabbath and disregard Sunday. -2-  {SpM 1.5}

Who do the Catholics know? They know every church organisation in the world.  This people will be little known by the Catholics.  They will be the outcasts both out of Israel and out of Babylon.  In this outcast position, God says they will glorify over you.

Isaiah 66:5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

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.  {5T 210.1}

In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. {5T 210.3}

Mark those words, they will not HOLD THEIR PEACE TO OBTAIN FAVOUR.  The remnant will not countenance the slightest deviation, not a pin, not an iota.  If we will be among them, it will burn, we will be terribly maligned.  All sorts of garbage will be thrown against you, be assured of it.  But Jesus looks with favour on these people.

Amen.

Posted on September 6, 2009, in The Church of God and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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