Apostasy by Stealth – The Seal of God
14 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.
15 What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest [celebrates]. Jeremiah 11:9-15
Ellen White stated in Selected Messages, Bk. 1, 205: “The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it.”
She also said:
The Lord has a controversy with His professed people in these last days. In this controversy men in responsible positions will take a course directly opposite to that pursued by Nehemiah. They will not only ignore and despise the Sabbath themselves, but they will try to keep it from others by burying it beneath the rubbish of custom and tradition. In churches and in large gatherings in the open air, ministers will urge upon the people the necessity of keeping the first day of the week. (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, March 18, 1884, p. 465.
This is a chapter from the book Half a Century of Apostasy, by Dr’s Russell R. Standish and Colin D. Standish. As a tribute to the late Dr. Russell R. Standish, recently killed in a vehicle accident (May of 2008), I am going to reproduce a number of chapters from the book as a tribute to him and for all in poor countries who cannot afford it, but all who are able should purchase the book. You won’t be disappointed! Here is the information you need: Half A Century Of Apostasy: The New Theology's Grim Harvest 1956-2006 By Russell R & Colin D Standish
Click the link above for more information on the book.
Apostasy by Stealth—The Seal of God
From time to time the South Pacific Record has used its pages to insinuate doubt through articles under the headline, Viewpoint, covering this practice with the disclaimer:
Viewpoint allows RECORD readers to have their say. The views expressed re not necessarily those of the editors or the denomination, but readers are encouraged to respond. (South Pacific Record, 21 October, 2000).
In the “Viewpoint” article cited above, the author, Pastor Eddie Erika, minister of the Wellington Church in the North New Zealand Conference, asked a question in his title, “The Sabbath Seal?”
Pastor Erika’s article commenced with a series of questions and inferences which cast doubt upon the Sabbath being the Seal of God.
We quote the first eight paragraph of the article, removing a repeated highlight statement and a subheading just before paragraph six – “The Disappointed God.”
“The Sabbath is the sign or seal of God true church. Or is it? This is an important topic for Seventh-day Adventists, and there are texts that seem to support the idea (Exodus 31:13, 17; Ezekiel 20:12, 20).
We Adventists believe we keep the correct day as the Sabbath, hence the connection that we are God’s chosen people. Others who are “not of this fold” must be brought into this fold for salvation (John 10:16) – or so the argument goes.
However, such use of the texts is misuse of Scripture. It takes them out of context.
In Exodus, God reintroduced the Sabbath to His chosen nation as a sign by which the Israelites may know that He is the Lord who sanctifies them (Exodus 31:13). In verse 17, God reiterates that keeping Sabbath is an acknowledgement by the Israelites that He is Lord and Creator – they know the Lord is the God who made heaven and earth.
The Sabbath, in this context is a mutual and perpetual sign between God and His people then, and throughout generations. The theme of the passage is God’s desire that His people know Him. The passage, however, doesn’t say anything about the Sabbath being a sign that the world may know that the Israelite nation is God’s true people.
Another favourite passage used by Adventists is Ezekiel 20:12, 20. The context here is the prophet’s report of Israel’s failure to preserve a close relationship with the Lord their God who sanctifies them. Again the text doesn’t suggest the Sabbath as a sign whereby the Israelites are identified as chosen of God.
This hardly supports the idea that the Sabbath is the sign and seal of the true church of God. On the contrary, the passage talks about God’s disappointment with the Israelites for turning against Him and worshipping idols.
Keeping the Sabbath was supposed to be a sign by which the Israelites acknowledged God’s sovereignty. Instead, the Israelites desecrated and polluted God’s Sabbath (see verses 13, 22, 24). The Sabbath is not mentioned in terms of it being a sign whereby Israel is identified by other nations as the people of God.”
We notice a question, “Or is it?” and inferences including “texts that SEEM to support it” (emphasis added); “We Adventists BELIEVE we keep the correct day” (emphasis added); “or so the argument goes;” “This hardly supports the idea that the Sabbath is a sign and seal of the true church of God. On the contrary…”; “Keeping the Sabbath was SUPPOSED to be a sign….” (emphasis added).
Here the certainty of our faith is shattered and the reader is expected to question a doctrine which bears the imprint of divine revelation.
Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man’s allegiance to God as long as there are any upon the earth to serve Him. The fourth commandment is the only one of all the ten in which are found both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It is the only one that shows by whose authority the law is given. Thus it contains the seal of God, affixed to His law as evidence of its authenticity and binding force. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 307).
In a year when the General Conference leadership supported Sabbath desecration and the Ministerial Association of the General Conference published a book which spent over five pages advocating Sunday worship, (See Part XX – Chapter entitled Sabbath Desecration), the casting of doubt upon the Sabbath as the seal of the living God surely added to our mounting rebellion against God. Pray for God’s flock!
Olympic Games Sabbath Desecration
15 September, 2000, the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games was held. It was Friday evening during the Sabbath hours.
North New South Wales Conference Youth Director [Pastor] Wayne French brought together an unprecedented number of Christians from throughout Newcastle and the Hunter Valley to put on what could be the biggest single Christian event in Newcastle’s history so far – the Games Opening Family Fun Day on 15 September.
Approximately 8000 Novocastrians [citizens of Newcastle] passed through the gates of the Newcastle Entertainment Centre from 12.00 pm [noon] through until 11.30 pm. Some of the performers included Superhubert, the Waratah Girls Choir, Dennis Clare & Tony Williams [famous mime artist], Living Proof – Disabled Talent School, Francine Bell, Tony Bentley (from Newcastle Herald). Continuous Christian presentations went for 7 hours before the live Opening Ceremony which was simulcast onto an 8 metre screen.
Over 400 volunteer helpers were there throughout the day, with more than 150 Adventist Youth from Greater Sydney and NNSW Conferences. Other attractions included, horizontal bungy, a skate park, huge slide, jumping castles, ferris wheel, 45 exhibitions for charities and churches, games such as giant chess, giant drafts [sic], giant jigsaws, giant snakes and ladders, box hockey, 5-hole mini golf course, youth stage, Hang Out Café and much more. Pirates were there to welcome children with a showbag and give them a treasure map of the area where they could find different events which finally led to the Treasure Christ containing Peters ice-creams and the wonderbook (a Christian portrayal of the gospel for children). Feedback from the public was extremely positive with many expressing disbelief that the Christian church could state such a successful large scale event in Newcastle and all for a service to the community. Many bridges to other churches in the region were built. Roger heft, [Anglican] Bishop of Newcastle, commented that “good will and the desire for common witness was prevalent enabling the event to take place with a great deal of joy.” (NNSW [North New South Wales] Conference News, No. 193, October 2000 – italics in the original).
This is the Conference into which we were born. This disgraceful event occurred in Newcastle, the city of our birth. Contrary to the false information dispersed about self-supporting workers, many of us do care deeply for our church. We call it “our” Church because we refuse to concede that the Seventh-day Adventist Church belongs to the liberal, apostate element of the Church. This is our Church, weak and defective, in need of a mighty reformation and which now, we believe, can only be purified through the shaking process when those who demonstrate no love for God and His truth will be shaken out. Make no mistake, when dire penalties come for truth Sabbath-keeping, only those who love God wholeheartedly, who obey Him in His strength, will dare to be known as Seventh-day Adventists. Then God will bring to His fold, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, purified of all the dross, all His faithful flock who have been cast out by unfaithful Church leaders. These Sabbath-breaking Church leaders – unless, as we earnestly pray, they become re-converted – will have no part in the Seventh-day Adventist Church after the sealing process is completed.
The activities of 15 September, 2000 we thought so newsworthy that they were placed on the front page of the North NSW Conference Newsletter. Unashamed, this defiance of divine directives was boasted as a wonderful event. Of course the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle praised the activities of that day and evening. At least he was not breaching his day of worship, nor the entertainment standards of his church.
But Seventh-day Adventists were! It would be incredible if the Conference President and the Conference Youth Director were unacquainted with God’s demands in respect of these matters. Undoubtedly w did build bridges to other churches. But the burning question is, in which direction are our people crossing that bridge?
To occupy sacred Sabbath hours telecasting the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games defied God’s Sabbath command, one of the mighty pillars of our faith.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11).
32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. (Lev. 23:32).
32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. (Mark 1:32).
Note by Ron: Russell Standish (now deceased) nor his surviving brother, Colin, have ever had any conception of the fact that the good will be shaken out of the apostate SDA church militant, just as in the prefigure of A.D. 27-70.
COUNTERPART: "The Lord commanded one of his ancient servants, 'Pray not thou for this people [Jer. 7:16 and 11:14], neither lift up cry nor prayer for them neither make intercession to me for I will not hear thee.' The prophet thus describes the sins which had called forth this fearful denunciation: 'The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means and my people love to have it so and what will ye do in the end thereof?' 'From the least of them even unto the greatest of them, every one is given to covetousness and from the prophet even unto the priest, every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.' The apostles declare that this state of things will find its COUNTERPART in the last days. Many have a form of godliness, but in their daily life deny the power thereof. They have ceased to be convicted of their sins or alarmed at their state. They say in their hearts, 'The church is flourishing. Peace and spiritual prosperity are within her borders.' The words of the prophet may well apply to these self-deceivers, 'They have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them." E. G. White, Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 11-07-82.
"Shall the Lord be compelled to say, `Pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to Me: for I will not hear thee' [Jeremiah 7:16]? `Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain....Wilt thou not from this time cry unto Me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth' [Jeremiah 3:3-4]?...
We are to be judged by the light that has been given us,(159) and we can find no excuse by which to extenuate our course." Review and Herald, Vol. 3, p 69-70 (August 1, 1893). (Brackets by Ellen White)