8. The Remnant Part 2

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By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

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. 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.  

The scripture of Revelation 3:20-21 identifies the people who are responding to the call of Jesus. He is knocking on the heart’s door and they respond to the call. They open their heart and assimilate with Jesus. Then, as they assimilate with Jesus, they can conquer; they can overcome and then become the remnant of verse 21. We want to follow this sequence through in a living history.

Jesus wanted to convey to the disciples in John chapter 6 that He desires to come in to us, and to eat and drink with us. The message of eating and drinking of Jesus and with Jesus, is the very message that separates just like it separated the seventy from the other disciples.

John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Let us meditate on the living aspect of eating and drinking.

It is by beholding the love of Christ, by drinking it in, by dwelling upon it, that we eat his flesh and drink his blood, becoming partakers of the divine nature. As we meditate upon the truth as it is in Jesus, it becomes more deeply impressed upon the soul. {BEcho, April 1, 1892 par. 3}

Here is a living appreciation of eating and drinking with Jesus. It is by beholding the love of Christ, by drinking it in and by dwelling upon it. That is what it means to eat His flesh and drink His blood. In that way we become partakers of the divine nature. We become entwined with Him. We need to meditate upon the truth as it is in Jesus and that then becomes deeply impressed upon our soul. It is just like when you eat food, it becomes part of you. Jesus ate and drank with us, and we are to eat and drink with Him. The full benefit of this activity is expressed in 2 Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

What does it means to partake together with Jesus? Jesus partook with us in our experience of sin – not that He sinned, but He was made to be sin – so that we might be made the righteousness of God. There is an exchange and a partaking.

As one with us, He must bear the burden of our guilt and woe. The Sinless One must feel the shame of sin. The peace lover must dwell with strife, the truth must abide with falsehood, purity with vileness. Every sin, every discord, every defiling lust that transgression had brought, was torture to His spirit. {DA 111.4}

Jesus partook with us. He ate and drank with us. This is what is called the atonement. He became at one with us so that we can be at one with Him. He wants us to open our hearts to this, to meditate upon it, and to let it be real to us.

When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. {COL 311.4}

Can you see the assimilation here? Just like eating, you assimilate the food and it becomes part of you. Jesus became part with us and we become part with Him in that transaction. As we gaze upon it, as we marvel about it and as we absorb it, we become one with Him as individuals and as a church.

As we assimilate and eat and drink with Him, it is such a combination with Him one of becoming bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. It’s expressed as a building cemented together but not with joints, it is a thorough amalgamation. That’s what Jesus wanted to get across to the disciples.

Christ, the true foundation, is a living stone; His life is imparted to all that are built upon Him. “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house.”  “Each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord.” 1 Peter 2:5, R.V.; Ephesians 2:21, R.V. The stones became one with the foundation; for a common life dwells in all. That building no tempest can overthrow; for “That which shares the life of God, With Him surviveth all.” {MB 150.2}

We have here a building in which the stones are amalgamated with the foundation so that there are no joints. No buffeting, no earthquake, nothing can separate it. It is one block, but joined as individuals who first off assimilate and unite with Jesus.

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

Can you see what Jesus was trying to communicate when He was saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man open I will come in to him, and will sup with him”? He is actually saying to this people, I want you to become so amalgamated with me that we become one building, one body. This is what the message of the three angels is trying to produce for the people who are living under it: One body, one building, which equals the church. The church is meant to be that and in these last moments of the three angels’ messages, Jesus is trying to bring about such a condition, a perfect replica of His own body, of His own building, the temple.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

One body. One building. Every individual becomes amalgamated as he opens his heart to Jesus. This is the purpose of the message that such a people would exist. It is made very realistic here:

Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

The word “edifying” is a word that is related to a building, an “edifice”. The body and building are both portrayed. As Jesus says, I want to eat and drink with you. He is saying; I want us to become one solid building, one body. We must grow up into that. We must assimilate and become part of that. That was His thrust and that is what His church is.

1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

As we have been looking at these scriptures, what Jesus is trying to get across is that He wants His church to be so established that it becomes one solid building, one solid body, with Him as the head, and that can only be by the pillar and ground of the truth. It is the truth that is to be the source of that building, of that body. The pillar and ground of the truth, that’s what the church is meant to represent.

We want to look at God’s church on earth concluding at Laodicea to the end so that we may see that ultimately His original plan will be demonstrated in this remnant people. From the beginning, God has always had His church:

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

If we are looking for God’s real church, it is always identified by faithful people.

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. Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. {AA 11.2}

You can’t put a name to that church can you? Because it has changed names all the way through. It is talking about the people that are faithful, the people that are in tune with Jesus and the truth.

During ages of spiritual darkness the church of God has been as a city set on a hill. From age to age, through successive generations, the pure doctrines of heaven have been unfolding within its borders. {AA 12.1}

What is Gods church? It is a company of people who are faithful.

The names of the seven churches [of Revelation 2 and 3] are symbolic of the church in different periods of the Christian Era. The number 7 indicates completeness, and is symbolic of the fact that the messages extend to the end of time, while the symbols used reveal the condition of the church at different periods in the history of the world. Christ is spoken of as walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks. Thus is symbolized His relation to the churches. {AA 585.3}

Christ’s relation to the churches makes the church. It is one church in seven periods of the Christian era. To understand this in its living concept, we read the following:

God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. {UL 315.5}

So what is the church? It is not the denominations. It is not what is looked upon as the church. It is the people who love God and keep His commandments.

“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 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. {Ibid.} 

This is a very important criterion as to what we are looking at here. God’s church is to be identified by a people who are faithful and amalgamated with Jesus Christ. That is what constitutes the church. It is He and the people that are assimilating with Him. It’s interesting to realise that this people are not just an invisible company, it is a people who are bound together by a form of harmony and organisation.

Christ … 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. The Lord has had a church from that day, through all the changing scenes of time to the present period, [this was written in 1893]. 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. 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 355.1-2}

It is a building, in terms of being bound together. It is a company of people that are united with Christ. He is the head, they are the body, and everything functions together. It is an organism, or in another word, an “organisation”. It is an organism and it is to be understood as such.

To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church.  {AA 54.2}

As we go through the history of the church from Jesus’ time right down the lines, we come to the year 1914. At that time God’s faithful church surfaced in the First World War because in the First World War those who stood faithful did so under the severest tests.

When champions are few and the majority forsake us – that will be the test.

That is what happened. At that time there came into existence an Advent people who were preaching the three angels’ messages and who were faithful through that terrible test of the First World War and thereafter.

As we look at that church that existed through these two world wars, what do we imagine? Is this church that came forth loyal and faithful to its true beliefs still a perfect church?

Through long ages God has borne the anguish of beholding the work of evil, He has given the infinite Gift of Calvary, rather than leave any to be deceived by the misrepresentations of the wicked one; for the tares could not be plucked up without danger of uprooting the precious grain. And shall we not be as forbearing toward our fellow men as the Lord of heaven and earth is toward Satan? {COL 72.2}

The world has no right to doubt the truth of Christianity because there are unworthy members in the church, nor should Christians become disheartened because of these false brethren. How was it with the early church? Ananias and Sapphira joined themselves to the disciples. Simon Magus was baptized. Demas, who forsook Paul, had been counted a believer. Judas Iscariot was numbered with the apostles. The Redeemer does not want to lose one soul; His experience with Judas is recorded to show His long patience with perverse human nature; and He bids us bear with it as He has borne. He has said that false brethren will be found in the church till the close of time. {COL 72.3}

Although God has His church and we can identify it right through, yet we are not to look for a church that hasn’t got faulty people in it.

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}

Some people seem to think that upon entering the church they will have their expectations fulfilled, and meet only with those who are pure and perfect. They are zealous in their faith, and when they see faults in church members, they say, “We left the world in order to have no association with evil characters, but the evil is here also;” and they ask, as did the servants in the parable, “From whence then hath it tares?” But we need not be thus disappointed, for the Lord has not warranted us in coming to the conclusion that the church is perfect; and all our zeal will not be successful in making the church militant as pure as the church triumphant. {TM 47.1}

While the church is still the church militant, it is not perfect but the church triumphant is. The detail of our last study was based upon Matthew 24:45-51 with the faithful servant and the evil servant. The evil servant smites his faithful fellowservant. This is to be expected in the church that is still not the triumphant church.

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}

In the church militant there are two opposing influences. The faithful within the church militant are going receive opposition from their brethren, just as Jesus received opposition from His own church. “The remnant church receives opposition from those who profess to be their brethren.” This suggests that within the church militant there exists the remnant church.

We are looking for the remnant church in this scenario. In every succeeding generation, Jesus has been with His remnant people who are amalgamated with Him  just like the disciples were around Jesus. Judas was amongst them. Afterwards, Ananias and Sapphira were part of the early church and so on down the line.

The story of this for the time period of the three angels’ messages is identified in Matthew 25. This chapter is a continuation of the scene of the faithful and the unfaithful servant, at the time of the danger of being surprised by Christ’s coming. There is the description of this threefold experience within the church. Jesus has just finished talking about the two servants, and then He says:

Matthew 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five [were] foolish. 3 They that [were] foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

This is what Jesus is using as a parable for the church which proclaims the coming of Jesus under the three angels’ messages. Here you have an interesting picture. There are ten virgins, five wise, and five foolish, the good and the bad mingled together, just like the faithful servant and the evil servant. But what is actually portrayed in this scene is enlarged in Christ Object Lessons:

In many parts of the East, wedding festivities are held in the evening. The bridegroom goes forth to meet his bride and bring her to his home. By torchlight the bridal party proceed from her father’s house to his own, where a feast is provided for the invited guests. In the scene upon which Christ looks, a company are awaiting the appearance of the bridal party, intending to join the procession. {COL 405.1}

Lingering near the bride’s house are ten young women robed in white. Each carries a lighted lamp and a small flagon for oil. All are anxiously watching for the appearance of the bridegroom. But there is a delay. Hour after hour passes; the watchers become weary and fall asleep. At midnight the cry is heard, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” The sleepers, suddenly awaking, spring to their feet. They see the procession moving on, bright with torches and glad with music. They hear the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. {COL 405.2}

As you ponder and meditate on this, what do you see? You see ten virgins who are sleepy and you see the bridegroom with the bride and the bridal party. What constitutes God’s church? The faithful people that are with Jesus. The bridal party are the faithful people that are with Jesus. The five wise and the five foolish virgins are not yet in the bridal party. The bridal party is moving, and at midnight a cry is made, Behold the bridegroom cometh, and the ten virgins hear it. Who made the call? Who gave the message? Jesus identified that in Matthew 24. It is the faithful servant that gives meat in due season. “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” That’s the meat in due season.

The bridal party is the party that is with Jesus, and the others are joining the bridal party. We are seeing here a description of a company of people that are faithful and close to Jesus. They are God’s remnant church within the company of others that are not perfect. They are always concentrating on being where Jesus is, and doing what Jesus is doing. Watch this company as we are looking for the remnant as they finally come into existence before the public eye. Here is a description of this company that are truly faithful:

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}

There is a company who are standing bound together and established on the faith of the body, and they are part of the three angels’ messages. They are the company that is in the light. They are part of the bridal company. Let us follow them through. The church that is imperfect, the church militant, is powerfully portrayed in the following testimony, where there is a description of the developments that are happening within her:

November 20, 1857, I was shown the people of God, and saw them mightily shaken. Some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, were pleading with God. Their countenances were pale, and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. {1T 179.3}

These are the people who opened their hearts to Jesus when He was knocking on the door.

Firmness and great earnestness were expressed in their countenances, while large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads. Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God’s approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look would settle upon them. {1T 179.3}

Evil angels crowded around them, pressing their darkness upon them, to shut out Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and they distrust God and next murmur against Him. Their only safety was in keeping their eyes directed upward. Angels of God had charge over His people, and as the poisonous atmosphere from the evil angels was pressed around these anxious ones, the heavenly angels were continually wafting their wings over them, to scatter the thick darkness. {1T 180.1}

Some, I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. {1T 180.2}

Does that sound like the Laodicean? We see can the development: Indifference and carelessness.

They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left these, and I saw them hastening to the assistance of those who were struggling with all their energies to resist the evil angels, and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance. But the angels left those who made no effort to help themselves, and I lost sight of them. {1T 180.2}

Remember Revelation chapter 3. Jesus could only assimilate with the ones who opened the heart’s door. The other ones, she lost sight of them.

I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God’s people. {1T 181.1}

The shaking experience is doing its work.

My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were 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 moved in exact order, firmly, like a company of soldiers. … They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude, and holy, sacred joy. {1T 181.3}

Can you see what is revealed in that description? She sees the company, the shaking, the faithful ones, she loses sight of the other ones, and the faithful ones continue until finally they gain the victory. They are finally the faithful remnant.

The railroad depot statement by Ellen White

“Sister White told us as we three stood there on the railroad depot platform, that a terrible storm of persecution was coming like a windstorm that blew down every standing object. There was not a Seventh-day Adventist to be seen. They, like the disciples, forsook Christ and fled. All who sought positions were never seen anymore. After the storm there was a calm, then the Adventists arose like a flock of sheep, but were without shepherds. They all waited in earnest prayer for help and wisdom, and the Lord answered by helping them to choose leaders from among them who had never sought positions before. They prayed earnestly for the Holy Spirit which was poured out upon them making them fully ready for service. They then went forth ‘fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,’ to give this message to the world. I was astonished, and asked if that applied to Loma Linda, as we were looking in that direction. Sister White replied to my question by stating that it applied to the entire denominational world. It so stunned me that I did not ask any more questions.” {Railroad depot statement, Signed by Will Ross, Elman Johnson & Sarah McEntefer}

They were without shepherds, without ministers. This is description of God’s people going through the experience of forming a visible remnant company. Since the separation that took place in 1914 in the ranks of Adventism, it would get more and more intense as we came closer to the end. We have a description of a people who are continually being shaken and purity is developing. Test and trials are creating conditions either for or against God. All those that are not pure and perfect will finally be shaken out, all that is going to be left is a faithful remnant who gain the victory.

That company that was separated in 1914 is still being shaken from that time onwards. We can see that from the following statement. “They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude, and holy, sacred joy.

The numbers of this company had lessened. Some had been shaken out, and left by the way. The careless and indifferent, who did not join with those who prized victory and salvation enough to perseveringly plead and agonize for it, did not obtain it, and they were left behind in darkness, but their numbers were immediately made up by others taking hold of the truth and coming into the ranks. Still the evil angels pressed around them, but they could have no power over them. {1T 182.1}

This is the separated company which is still being shaken. There are still people in there like Judas, Ananias and Sapphira. The shaking continues until they have been finally shaken out and others have taken their place. This continues until the church is portrayed as victorious.

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. {1T 182.2}

Then she 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}

When the latter rain is fully received the little company will be perfectly united and will have gained the victory, and they will then give the loud cry completely and soundly. Until that time, the company is still being shaken, still being cleansed. There were faithful ones within that remnant that were already receiving the outpouring of the sprinklings of the rain but it was not received by the others and that is why they caused that separation. It’s an integrated experience.

The story of unfaithful members is relevant to the close of time, to the point when finally the remnant will stand forth.

The time of the judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares. Those who have been members of the same family are separated. A mark is placed upon the righteous. “They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” Those who have been obedient to God’s commandments will unite with the company of the saints in light; they shall enter in through the gates into the city, and have right to the tree of life. {TM 234.2}

Those who have been obedient to God’s commandments,” like the five wise virgins, “will unite with the company of the saints in the light,” the bridal party. The bridal party have been shaken and shaken and shaken until they have been perfected. Then the others will join them and then the end will come. That’s the story of this remnant people.

When finally this company exists, the statement of Christ Object Lessons p. 69 comes to fruition:

Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. {COL 69.1}

Here we are right through the seven church periods to the Laodicean period and in the Laodicean period, God is culminating His work of perfecting His people. When He can see Himself perfectly reflected in them (from the angel of Laodicea, to the any man, to the overcomer), when He has finally got the overcomer there, then He will come to take them home.

Ever since the windstorm of 1914 which was so fierce that it separated the three angels’ message people one from another, the remnant church was being developed but they are not yet the overcomers, they are still being developed, they are still being shaken. In that shaking experience ever since the First World War the church militant is still there with its faithful people and with the other unfaithful ones. The culmination of that picture is here described:

The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant.– Letter 32, 1892. {Ev 707.1}

Faithful souls have always constituted the church on earth. It is the faithful souls that comprise the building, the body, the church. When Christ has finally brought about on earth a people living who are totally triumphant, that will be the membership of the church triumphant. The church members of the church militant who have proved faithful will be separated from the tares and the dross, and will constitute the church triumphant. That goes right back to what we have studied at the beginning of this message. The personal response by which we respond to the assimilation with Jesus, that individual amalgamation with Him that constitutes the building, that relationship with Jesus will become revealed and will produce a church where people are totally one with Jesus. This is summarised here:

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}

In those symbols and parables, the people who were part of the bridal party are people who are so assimilated with Jesus that they are like Him. In the church militant they are being trained through trials, tests and challenges, to become like Him. When the remnant church finally comes into display – from the woman, to the seed, and then to the overcomer – they are then representing Jesus perfectly, they are members of the church militant who manifest the qualities of Jesus, and they will join the church triumphant. They will be dispersed from among the people who know so much, they will be rejected by them.

This is the detail of the remnant church. If you eat and drink and overcome with Jesus Christ, you will be among the church triumphant, the remnant.

Amen.

Posted on October 7, 2009, in 3rd Angels Message, The Adventist Church and War, The Shaking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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