A Correct Response to the Issue as to Whether or Not There is an Eighth Church
One of the diversionary tactics of Satan regarding the apostasy of the professing New Movement, New Organization Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders is to suggest that if one leaves that New Movement, he/she would be entering some eighth church because the last church mentioned in God’s list of seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, is Laodicea.
Satan has convinced professing SDA’s that as long as a New Movement—New Organization is formed “among,” (within) the church, it is not an eighth church, but to leave the apostate SDA church would involve forming an eighth church, even though the “organized” church has removed God, per Selected Messages, Vol. 1, 204-5. To any true Reformer, this is one of Satan’s most clever deceptions ever perpetrated upon God’s people.
God’s Intended Design in the Seven Churches of Revelation
As of the writing of this document, there are thousands of different denominations within the Christian church itself. It is purported that there are 33,830 different Christian denominations.
How do 33,830 Christian denominations fit in God’s schema of seven churches described in Revelation 2 and 3? If SDA leaders are correct in saying that additional organized churches add to God’s list in Rev. 2 and 3, any new SDA church would not be an eighth church but rather the 33831 church.
But what is the truth of the matter? The truth regarding this issue is that all 33,830 of the professing Christian denominations fit one or more of God’s seven descriptions of the various states (era’s) of the church during history. One could form any number of additional church organizations and they all would fall into one or more of the categories of the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 and 3! They would not constitute an eighth, ninth, tenth etc., church! And it is foolish of any SDA leader or member to ever make that assumption.
Let’s analyze the above statement to get it’s full meaning in mind:
· The seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 existed concomitantly (all at the same time) in the days of the disciples.
· Those seven churches and their defined traits are symbolic of the church in different periods of the Christian era.
· But wait a minute! The messages (Plural—all seven messages) extend to the end of time. All the messages APPLY to the end of time.
· The descriptions (symbols used) reveal the general condition of the Christian church at different periods in the history of the world.
Let’s take the well known and more popular Christian denominations by way of example to illustrate what I am saying. In 1844, the following denominations were popular:
· Anglican etc.
All of the above (and there were more) fell into the category(s) of the seven churches of Rev. 2 and 3, although they all had the predominant traits of one of the seven church eras, namely Sardis. It is demonstrable from the following evidence, that a church can exhibit the traits of more than one state of the seven church eras at a time except for Philadelphia, which is not faulted on one score. Philadelphia is true Zion, the true bride of Jesus Christ in all ages.
It has been aptly observed:
Why is the SDA church fixated on the Laodicean condition of 1859 (and earlier) when in Nov. 2, 1886 the warning to the Sardis church was applicable to the SDA church at that time. (See Review & Herald, 11/2/1886). And in Review & Herald, 2/25/1902 the Ephesus condition was "applicable to the Seventh-day Adventist churches in their present condition." And these (Sardis and Ephesus) conditions are reiterated as applying to "us as a people" in Manuscript (MS) 18, 1903.
The concept that the Philadelphian period terminated in 1844, is not divinely inspired but is rather a totally human construct. Consequently, it's not a matter of going back to it, but of coming into it. (Again, compare EW: 13, 37; TM: 446; GC: 560; Word to the Little Flock, p. 12, to Rev. 3:7-12.)
In a September 1850 article by the Advent Review Publishing Committee, which was composed of Hiram Edson, David Arnold, George W. Holt, Samuel W. Rhodes, and James White who apparently wanted to leave a permanent record of what their stand was on God's last true church, the article states:
"Now just as sure as the Philadelphia church is the true church of the last days, just so sure the 144,000 are sealed, just before the coming of the Lord"
In addition, E.G. White counseled Haskell to write on Daniel and the Revelation for she knew he had truth, and he quotes in his book Story of the Seer of Patmos, pp. 86, 87: "The message to the Philadelphian period reaches to the end of time. And all who receive the crown will have passed through its experiences... The messages to Sardis and Philadelphia separately cover a period extending to the second coming of Christ; but in addition to the experiences portrayed in the fifth and sixth messages, that which is directed to Laodicea is also applicable... The cry. Babylon is fallen, 'was proclaimed when the churches rejected the advent message; and as in the Thyatira period the true separated from those who turned from the light; so in the days when the principles of Protestantism are again discarded, this time by the daughters of Babylon, a separation is necessary." Stephen Haskell, Story of the Seer of Patmos, pp. 86, 87
So here we have these church pioneers-James White himself and the others, S.N. Haskell, and E.G. White who all support the position that the last true church is Philadelphia-and we should take their word ahead of any expositors who claim that 1844 was the closing of that period. Especially since their conclusions are not supported by inspiration.
Ellen White’s Reference to Sardis
"I beseech my brethren and sisters to lay aside their darling luxury of tea and coffee, the use of which creates an unnatural state of mind and body. 'Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments' [Rev. 3:4]. How are their garments defiled? By eating of that which brings disease and infirmity." (MR Vol. 20, p. 6).
Another reference to Sardis:
“Read the Third Chapter of Revelation.—In the message to the church at Sardis two parties are presented—those who have a name to live, but are dead, and those who are striving to overcome. Study this message, found in the third chapter of Revelation. [Rev. 3:1, 2 quoted]. Who are meant by those that are ready to die? And what has made them thus? The explanation is given, ‘I have not found thy works perfect before God.’” [Vs. 3-5 quoted.]
To the church of the PRESENT DAY this message is sent. I call upon our church members to read THE WHOLE of the third chapter of Revelation, and to MAKE AN APPLICATION OF IT. The message to the church of the Laodiceans applies especially to the people of God today. It is a message to professing Christians who have become so much like the world that no difference can be seen [vs. 14-18 quoted]. (RH Aug. 20, 1903). SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7a, p. 959.
Chapter 3 of Revelation includes the messages to Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea! But don’t forget that Ellen White said that ALL THE MESSAGES apply to the end of time!
Let’s take the message to Ephesus. It lost its first love. It was admonished to repent and return to its first love state or have its candle removed. What was the first love of Adventism? It was Philadelphia perfection—coming out of Babylon to be a holy, peculiar and separate people unto God. That is what we left. That is the state of the church we are to return to. Thus, it is not a matter of any eighth church! It is a matter of returning to our first love, the sixth church—the church of brotherly love, Philadelphia.
Thus, it is positively foolish, redundant and moot to even make mention of an eighth church! If that were possible, the New Movement—New Organization formed “among” SDA’s, as defined in 1SM 204-5, that is described as “removing God,” would certainly be an eighth church by so doing and by fulfilling all of the specifications mentioned on those two pages as part of the Omega of Apostasy. But rather, the professing SDA church became cold, apostate Laodicea. All who are saved will return to the church’s state of first love—Philadelphia, which is not faulted in one case.
Notice that Philadelphia is given the promise of being pillars in the Temple of God in heaven. Would that mean that folk of the last generation and the 144,000 who are without guile, would not qualify for position in the Temple of God, and the New Name, because they were born in the wrong generation?! Of course not friend. The message to Philadelphia and ALL THE MESSAGES apply to the end of time and every professing church on earth will fall into one or more of the categories defined in the messages to the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 and 3.
It is interesting to consider that there is no record that literal Laodicea in the time of the disciples ever repented! She will be spewed out in the judgment. According to Ellen White, the omega of apostasy was to surely develop and continue until Jesus comes. Thus, modern day Laodicea will follow the course of literal Laodicea.
It is most foolhardy to conclude that by returning to and maintaining our first love, Philadelphia, that we would be starting an eighth church! Even the New Movement formed “among” (within) the SDA church that has removed God, is not an eighth church. It is cold, apostate Laodicea.