The "B" Word by Jim Snipes
I will be presenting some things that are errant by Robert Sessler and his supporters, but first, I will present what I fully agree with. The following is an article by Jim Snipes on the SDA church and Babylon.
Part 1 of 12
Can the Remnant Church be Part Virgin, Part Street-Walker?
There are two basic meanings for the word "church":
(1) A GROUP OF ORGANIZED BELIEVERS (from home churches to world-wide denominations); and
(2) THE BODY OF CHRIST (which even includes all of the unfallen beings, see TESTIMONIES FOR THE CHURCH Volume 6 [6T] p 366; ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, p 11).
It is this second definition of church which Christ will present to Himself, not having spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27,30); which "may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall" (SELECTED MESSAGES, Book 2 [2SM], p 380); and which will become the church triumphant at the second advent (EVANGELISM, p 707; REVIEW & HEARLD Articles [RH] 07-26-98): for no organized group is going to be saved, we are saved on an individual basis.
The first definition of church is sometimes called a "visible church"; while the terms "invisible church", and "mystical church" have been applied to the second. No mere human has the ability to determine exactly who belongs to this mystical church, for only God can read the hearts. Visible churches may be broken further into two categories; true and false: the invisible church exists within both of these (GREAT CONTROVERSY [GC] p 383,390,464).
Some people have gone against the idea of there being both a visible and an invisible church. However, Mrs. White used the term "visible church" (GC 204; 4T 16; 5T 619; UPWARD LOOK [UL] p 63; etc); although she did not use the term "invisible church", or "mystical church", she did use "mystical body" (DESIRE OF AGES [DA] p 417; 5T 731; THOUGHTS FROM THE MOUNT OF BLESSING p 64, THAT I MAY KNOW HIM p 19; etc). Nevertheless, there is no point in getting hung up over semantics: what name-tag you care to use for definition #1 and #2 listed above is not the problem; the problem comes when people say that God's visible true church is the organized denominational structure--no matter how bad it gets. If this was actually the case, then Rome is still the true church!
Another problem, which often comes with the concept of a visible and an invisible church, is the idea that a human being can be the head of the visible church:
"It is one of the leading doctrines of Romanism that the pope is the visible head of the universal church of Christ..." (GC 50).
There is only one Head of the true church--both visible and mystical--and it is Christ. Now God's visible church may well include several different visible groups, which all meet the necessary qualifications. It was not a single, man-made organization which fled into the wilderness during the dark ages (Rev 12:6,14); rather, it was several different groups (Waldenses, Huguenots, etc) that were all under one Head--even Christ Jesus.
What about the remnant church, must it rely upon the General Conference for its existence? Well, the remnant church began in 1844; yet the Conference didn't begin until 1862--for eighteen years the remnant church existed without being organized into a single denominational structure. What about after the General Conference was set up? Did it then have exclusive rights--or could there still be groups outside of the Conference, which were part of God's last-day true church? Madison was "independent" of the Conference, and yet undoubtedly considered part of the remnant church by Ellen White:
"When the work for the new school was organized, Ellen White accepted an invitation to serve on the board of directors--the only time she ever served in such a capacity. She watched the developments at Madison with deep interest." (White, Arthur L., THE ELLEN G. WHITE BIOGRAPHY, Volume 5, page 347).
For those who like to apply the term "independent atoms" to the various independent ministries: study the context, and you will find that it applies to religious groups which are operating independent of "God's supervision" ("Special Testimony to the Brethren in Battle Creek" Pamphlet 156, p 12), "Christ's army" (Spalding and Magan Collection p 121), "the soldiers of Christ" (The Signs of the Times, 09-07-91), etc--it is not a term for groups that are independent of the conference.
So, just what exactly are the qualifications necessary for a group to be part of God's visible remnant church? Are they the remnant of her seed, in which some of them keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ; while the rest of them live in open sin, and trample on the Spirit of Prophecy? You won't find it translated that way in the King James Version! The visible remnant church includes any group that visibly (outwardly) keeps the Ten Commandments and follows the Spirit of Prophecy--pretty simple, isn't it? It is correct that there are those within God's visible true church who outwardly appear to keep the commandments; but who break them in their thoughts--or perhaps even in their actions, when other church members aren't around. However, we are not to attempt weeding these "tares" out of the church; for we are unable to accurately determine who they are, and may end up weeding the wrong ones out (Matt 13:29; CHRIST OBJECT LESSONS [COL] p 71; TESTIMONIES TO MINISTERS [TM] p 45-47, etc).
God's church is made up of wheat and tares, and they appear very similar on the outside; but it is not made up of wheat and tumbleweeds, which are very easily distinguishable by outward appearance. It is also true that there are sins and sinners within God's visible true church (TM 45-49; LAKE UNION HERALD Articles 12-09-08; etc); but she is not talking about open sinners. The Bible and E.G.W. are very clear that the true church is to be separate from persistent, open sinners (1 Cor 5:9-13; 2 Cor 6:14-17; Eph 5:11; COL 71; 3T 239,265,266; SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Vol 2 [2BC], p 996; 5BC 1096; etc). Not only will open sinners be separate from the true church (by definition), but; "Even the tares have a lesson. They are of Satan's sowing, and, if left unchecked, spoil the wheat by their rank growth." (8T 326).
The visible, remnant church includes wise and foolish virgins; but not virgins and prostitutes! The foolish virgins are comparable to the tares, and cannot be positively identified by mortal man: "When the foolish virgins reached the banqueting hall, they received an unexpected denial. They were left outside in the blackness of night. This parable is not a representation of open sinners" (RH 10-31-99).
The message to the Laodiceans applies to these foolish virgins and tares who are "neither cold nor hot" (Rev 3:15; RH 08-19-90); but not to the stone-cold streetwalkers who are living in open violation of God's law. "Come out of her, my people" (Rev 18:4) is the message to leave the open sinners.
Some have thought that an organization can be a harlot and still not be in Babylon, because Israel played the harlot many times before it was ever rejected by God as a chosen nation. However, this is not a fair comparison.
In the Old Testament times there was no such thing as spiritual Babylon; people couldn't have been "called out" of Israel when it was in apostasy, because there would have been nowhere else to be "called into". The visible church of God at that time was defined by ancestral heritage--not by the messages which are practiced and taught, as is the case in the New Testament times.
As of A.D. 34, religious organizations have been able to remain in God's true church or join Babylon; and their own decisions and actions would make such a transition occur. Once a transition occurs there is a period of time before their actions have closed their probation as was the case with Israel.
The literal Israelite nation can never again return to being the chosen nation, no matter what it does, its probation has closed; but organizations which have been in Babylon and whose probation has not closed can come out of it and be part of God's true church, if they choose to take the necessary actions. The opposite is also true: organizations which have been part of God's true church can become part of spiritual Babylon, through their own course of action. If there had been such a thing as spiritual Babylon in the days of Israel, they would have qualified with flying colors many times over! They were into Sabbath-breaking, sun worship, idolatry, human sacrifices, murdering God's prophets, spiritualism and even had the wine of false doctrines (exalting human traditions above the fifth commandment, no resurrection of the dead, salvation by works, etc).
Yes, literal Israel became part of literal Babylon because of playing the harlot; and spiritual Israel will just as surely become part of spiritual Babylon, any time it plays the harlot!
THE "B" WORD
Part 2 of 12
Is it possible for the SDA Conference Structure to Become Babylon?
One of the main failures of the Jewish nation was that they took things out of context in the inspired writings of the prophets, and interpreted them as unconditional promises. Are we taking things out of context when we ay the Seventh-day Adventist Church can never be called Babylon? If it is impossible for an organization to become part of Babylon as long as it has the words "Seventh-day Adventist" tacked up on the sign-post; then they could call Sunday the seventh day of the week, take on every single doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, and still not be Babylon.
"We are in danger of becoming a sister of fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?" (TESTIMONIES ON SEXUAL BEHAVIOR, ADULTERY, AND DIVORCE [TSB] p 188).
Now, how could there be any "danger" of becoming another one of Rome's harlot daughters ("sister to fallen Babylon"), if such a thing were impossible? And if such a danger existed back then (1886), how much more danger is there now? What church is it, then, that Mrs. White said not to call Babylon; was it the Conference structure, or was it the remnant church? Just the title of the section in TESTIMONIES TO MINISTERS on this subject provides an answer: "The Remnant Church Not Babylon". However, the context of these statements offers further light on what church it is that should not be called Babylon: "His People" (p 20); "a church that is enjoying a season of refreshing" (p 23); "the church of God" (p 36); "the people of God" (p 41) "the remnant people of God" (p 42); "the very people receiving of the Holy Spirit, who are to receive the latter rain" (p 49); "those who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus" (p 58); "the chosen ones of God who are trying to walk in the light" (p 61); "a chosen people" (2SM 66); "the church that keeps the commandments of God" (2 SM 68); "The chosen ones who are standing and breasting the storm of opposition from the world" (THIS DAY WITH GOD p 172). Never once does she say not to call the Conference structure Babylon.
It is true that in her day, the SDA Conference denomination met the qualifications of Rev 12:17; but this does not guarantee that it always will. You shouldn't call the remnant church Babylon, because it is impossible for those who keep the Ten Commandments and follow the Spirit of Prophecy to ever be Babylon; but no such impossibility exists for any particular organization. If an organization separates itself from being part of the remnant church, then the statements about not calling the remnant church Babylon just don't apply.
THE "B" WORD
Part 3 of 12
What are the Characteristics of Babylon?
If you are willing to study a little, you will find that it was over a hundred years ago when Mrs. White wrote all those articles against calling the Seventh-day Adventist Church Babylon. She said that Babylon did not apply to the SDA denomination "at this time", and "at the present time" (TM 37, 50); both of these statements were written in 1893. You will also find that; "Those who have proclaimed the Seventh-day Adventist Church as Babylon, have made use of the TESTIMONIES in giving their position a seeming support" (TM 56). The position of those who were calling the SDA denomination Babylon at that time, was based upon counsel and reproof written to the church by Ellen White herself--not on the various characteristics of Babylon. Few if any of the characteristics of Babylon applied to the Conference back in 1893.
Before going on, then, it would be worthwhile to briefly outline some of the characteristics of Babylon:
(1) Threw a celebration in bold defiance of God, during a most solemn time of judgment (Dan 5:1-4,27).
(2) Perverts and destroys God's sanctuary (2 Kings 24:11-13; 25:8,9; 2 Chron 36:18,19; Dan 1:1, 2; 8:11,13; 9:17; 11:31; 2 Thess 2:3,4; Rev 13:6; etc).
(3) Teaches salvation in sin (Dan 3:15; Rev 18:4,5; GC 572; PATRIARCHS AND PROPHETS [PP] p 124).
(4) Deceives with sorcery, or spiritualism (Rev 18:23).
(5) Rejects the prophets of God (Dan 9:6; Rev 18:24).
(6) Seeks worldly counsel and "wisdom" (Dan 2:2; 4:6,7; 5:7).
(7) Gives confusing messages (Gen 11:7,9; GC 381; SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, Vol 4 [4SP], p 232).
(8) Rejects the Sabbath (Rev 13; TM 61; 2SM 68,118; 4SP 235).
(9) Is friendly to Rome (Rev 17:5; GC 572).
(10) Is not friendly to the saints (Dan 3:19,20; 6:7; 7:21,25; 8:10,24; 11:33; Rev 12:13,17; 13:7; 17:6; 18:24; GC 17-678; etc).
(11) Has fallen from a once pure condition, through the love of and desire to imitate the world (Rev 14:8; 18:2; GC 381-390: PP 124; EARLY WRITINGS [EW] p 273,274; etc).
(12) Puts faith in a man-made structure, instead of the word of God (Gen 9:11; 11:4; Dan 4:30).
(13) Commits spiritual fornication (Rev 14:8; 17:1-5; 18:3,9; 19:2; GC 381-390; etc).
THE "B" WORD
Part 4 of 12
What are some Misconceptions?
"He [Luther] sometimes doubted whether he had indeed been led of God to set himself against the authority of the [Catholic] church...Luther was as yet but partially converted from the errors of Romanism. But as he compared the Holy Oracles with the papal decrees and constitutions, he was filled with wonder. 'I am reading,' he wrote, 'the decrees of the pontiffs, and... I do not know whether the pope is antichrist himself, or his apostle, so greatly is Christ misrepresented and crucified in them.'-- Ibid., b. 5, ch. 1. Yet at this time Luther was still a supporter of the Roman Church, and had no thought that he would ever separate from her communion." (GC 132,139; also see GC 102).
Yes, the great reformer Martin Luther had been so thoroughly ingrained with the concept: "the structure is the true church, and the true church is the structure" --that even after starting the reformation, he still did not fully understand the issue of who and what constitutes the true church. Today we also see reformers who are trying to keep one foot in the church, and still stand for the truth with the other one. As a result there have been some definitions of the remnant church proposed which are very confusing to say the least; while the truth suffers because of receiving only a crippled, one-footed service.
There are over a dozen characteristics which apply to spiritual Babylon, only one of which is the wine of false doctrines; however, many have come to the conclusion that the entire definition of Babylon, and the only qualification for being part of it--is rapped up in one or two of the false doctrines commonly found within the wine of error. Because of this major imbalance, there is a definite need for further understanding on the topic.
First, we need to recognize that even though the cup is full which is in the hand of "MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS" (Rev 17:4,5), there are still some Babylonian errors that are not in this cup (as we soon will see). Also, the various harlot daughters do not hold all of the false doctrines that the Mother has in her cup; yet they are still a part of Babylon (GC 383).
Next, we need to understand the fact that there is one and only one spiritual Babylon in the entire world; it is made up of the Catholic church, who is the Mother of harlots (plural), and "the various forms [plural] of false OR apostate religion" (GC 381). Here it is stated even clearer: "corruptions which have been entering the various organizations [plural] that constitute Babylon [singular]" (GC 603).
Why is it important whether Babylon is singular or plural? Because the examples given by Ellen White of common Babylonian doctrines, are referring to the wine of error found in the teachings of Babylon as a whole singular unit:
"The fallen denominational churches [plural] are Babylon [singular]. Babylon [the combined unit of all these religions] has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God's holy and sanctified day. These and kindred errors are presented to the world by various churches" (TM 61,62).
Notice that she said "the various churches" are the source for these false doctrines; she didn't say that every individual church must hold all of these errors before it may be called Babylon.
Now let's look at how different individual religions contribute to the wine of Babylon as a whole.
(1) Roman Catholics: teach "the eternal torment of the wicked"; but not "the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem", etc.
(2) Jehovah's Witnesses: teach "advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God's holy and sanctified day"; but not "the natural immortality of the soul", etc.
(3) Seventh-day Baptists: teach "the natural immortality of the soul"; but not the "advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God's holy and sanctified day", etc.
Some people have the idea that the SDA denomination must teach Sunday worship and the immortality of the soul before it can become part of Babylon. The problem here is that people want an easy chair way to know when it's time to get out; something that simple doesn't take any serious thinking, studying, praying, or faith. Yes, it may take some faith.
"God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith... Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt...Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith." (STEPS TO CHRIST, p 105; see also PP 432).
Must Sunday keeping be promoted, before an organization can become Babylon? Does that make sense? If this is actually the case, then as long as the congregations attend a building on Saturday (or even Friday evening): they could each set up a graven image to the sun-god and bow down before it, burn the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy on an altar to it, literally sacrifice the true and faithful before it, have orgies and practice witchcraft around it, and teach every false doctrine ever invented by the devil except Sunday keeping--but still not be Babylon! Heaven help anyone who really believes such utter ridiculousness!
Others are focusing on a few technicalities related to Babylon, forgetting that God's loving purpose for calling people out of her is so that they won't be lost.
THE "B" WORD
Part 5 of 12
What is the "Line" Which Makes an Organization Part of Babylon?
So far we've determined that the remnant church is made up of wise and foolish virgins, but not virgins and hookers; that the SDA Conference has not been handed any unconditional promise that it can never become Babylon; and that the "line" which must be crossed in order for an organization to join Babylon is NOT: (1) a point in time when God designates an irreversible close of probation, similar to that of the Jewish nation; (2) teaching all of the false doctrines listed by Sister White in her various examples of Babylonian doctrines; or (3) Sunday keeping. Therefore, the next two things that need to be determined are:
(1) what would it take for the SDA denomination to cross the "line" and join Babylon; and
(2) has that already occurred?
Obviously, the SDA Conference structure would have to cease being part of the remnant church, in order for it to join Babylon. 1SM 204,205 lists twelve steps which would take place if the SDA structure were to establish a "new organization".
Here is another indicator: when an organization ceases to disfellowship open commandment breakers, and begins to disfellowship the commandment keepers--you can be absolutely assured that it is no longer part of the remnant church "which keep the commandments of God..." (Rev 12:17).
The "line" that makes a denomination Babylon is crossed when it stops LEADING its members to paradise, and starts LEADING them to perdition!
"For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed." (Isa 9:16). God's purpose for calling people out of Babylon is to keep them from being led astray, and lost: "Let them alone [in other words, Come out of her, my people]: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matt 15:14).
This verse was in reference to the apostate leadership of those days (Pharisees). God calls the willing ones to come out from among those who will not take their stand by the side of Christ." (RH 08-28-00).
THE "B" WORD
Part 6 of 12
Has the "Line" Been Crossed by the SDA Denomination?
Now we are ready to put in the final piece of the puzzle; we know what the "line" is, all we need to know now is whether or not the SDA Conference structure has already crossed it. Is that organization now leading towards heaven, or hell?
Look again at those twelve steps that show what would have to take place for there to be a "new organization" (1SM 204,205) and apply them to the SDA structure. You will see that eleven of them are now history, only the twelfth has yet to take place.
God's intention for His church is that it should be His voice on earth (Matt 18:18-20). Yet, Mrs. White states: "We hear that the voice of the Conference is the voice of God. Every time I have heard this, I have thought it was almost blasphemy. The voice of the Conference ought to be the voice of God, but it is not" (Sermons and Talks, Vol 2, p 159, 160).
What about the quote: "We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon" (TSB 188), what was the situation that brought such a stern warning from God through His prophet? If you read the whole letter (it starts on page 185), you will find that it was the failure to deal firmly with violators of the seventh commandment. Don't miss the question at the end of that paragraph: "We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon...and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?"
Later on in the same letter, she states it even plainer: "unless there is a cleansing of the soul temple on the part of many who claim to believe and to preach the truth, God's judgments, long deferred, will come. These debasing sins have not been handled with firmness and decision. There is corruption in the soul, and, unless it is cleansed by the blood of Christ, there will be apostasies among us that will startle you." (page 193).
Have these things actually happened? Has there been a failure in making decided movements to cure this evil (non-Biblical divorce and remarriage, etc)? Has the Conference organization ceased to disfellowship open commandment breakers, and begun to disfellowship the commandment keepers? Oh yes, both leadership and laity are allowed to divorce (and even remarry) without Biblical grounds, work at non-emergency jobs on Sabbath, etc.
Also, the SDA denomination is now disfellowshipping the commandment keepers who are taking a stand against all the open sin and apostasy. Are there now apostasies among us that are startling? Without a doubt, this warning is not being heeded--and the inevitable results have already occurred. So, is it unreasonable to say that the SDA denominational structure has now become a sister to fallen Babylon (another harlot daughter of Rome)?
THE "B" WORD
Part 7 of 12
What are those characteristics of Babylon again?
Let's look aqain at those characteristics of Babylon which do apply to the SDA structure at this time:
(1) Babylon: threw a celebration in bold defiance of God, during a most solemn time of judgment. SDA: of all the various religious denominations, the only one having the judgment-hour message is also the one that has been so bold as to lead out in the celebration abomination.
(2) Babylon: perverts and destroys God's sanctuary. SDA: says that atonement was completed at the cross; Ford theology, "new theology"; etc.
(3) Babylon: teaches salvation in sin. SDA: Conference leadership says that sanctification (victory over sin) is not important for salvation (ISSUES: THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH AND CERTAIN PRIVATE MINISTRIES, p 109); many pastors teach that victory over sin is not essential, or even possible.
(4) Babylon: deceives with sorcery, or spiritualism. SDA: pastors are using NLP (hypnotism): another form of modern-day spiritualism as found in GC 557, 558: "It is true that spiritualism is now changing its form and, veiling some of its more objectionable features, is assuming a Christian guise... Love is dwelt upon as the chief attribute of God, but it is degraded to a weak sentimentalism, making little distinction between good and evil. God's justice, His denunciations of sin, the requirements of His holy law [victory over sin], are all kept out of sight."
(5) Babylon: rejects the prophets of God. SDA: creates a church manual; establishes mammoth worldly educational and medical systems; builds a hierarchal structure; etc, etc, etc--all in open rebellion against the plain inspired statements of the last-day prophet.
(6) Babylon: seeks worldly counsel and "wisdom". SDA: quotes from all sorts of worldly theologians (SAINTS VICTORY by William G. Johnsson, REVIEW editor, etc); pastors take Lab training from commandment breakers; pastors are sent to Fuller Theological Seminary (non-SDA institution) to be trained on techniques for so-called "evangelism" (actually, ecumenism).
(7) Babylon: gives confusing messages. SDA: mixes truth with error; etc.
(8) Babylon: rejects the Sabbath. SDA: holds Easter sunrise services, which is both Sunday worship and sun worship; rejects sanctification (ISSUES 109), which is a rejection of the Sabbath--regardless of what day you attend an assembly--because the Sabbath is the sign of sanctification (Ex 31:13; Ezek 20:12; DA 288).
(9) Babylon: is friendly to Rome. SDA: gives gold medal to the pope; invites Catholic official to have prayer in General Conference session; tries to stop independents who put up billboards warning against the papacy, and even apologizes to Rome for the billboards; says that applying the first beast of Rev 13 to the papacy "smacks of narrowness and bigotry", and denies that 666 applies to the pope (SAINTS VICTORY); etc.
(10) Babylon: is not friendly to the saints. SDA: attacks and disfellowships the true and faithful who are standing up against all the abominations and gross apostasy. Some may argue that the Conference hasn't gone so far as to openly execute God's people; but then again, neither have the other fallen churches at this time in history--not even the Roman Catholic one.
(11) Babylon: has fallen from a once pure condition, through the love of and desire to imitate the world. SDA: though once quite pure, it has now allowed a flood of worldliness to come in--diet, dress, jewelry, music, watching movies, participating in acting, drama, dancing, celebration, etc.
(12) Babylon: puts faith in a man-made structure, instead of the word of God. SDA: says to stay with the Conference structure, regardless of how corrupt it gets--claiming that it is the ship which is going through, the church which may appear as about to fall but doesn't, the church which should never be called Babylon, etc.
(13) Babylon: commits spiritual fornication. This spiritual fornication applies to uniting either with the world (see #11), with the powers of civil government (Waco, Whitecoats, lawsuits, etc), or with the other apostate churches (ecumenical movement).
THE "B" WORD
Part 8 of 12
Is the Ecumenical Movement Involved?
Ecumenism is the most fundamental characteristic of spiritual Babylon, being found not only in many of the Bible and the S.O.P. references to her--but even in the SDA denomination's own Bible Commentary:
"The capstone of ecumenical effort came with the creation of the World Council of Churches at Amsterdam in 1948... On the basis of Bible prophecy and the writings of Ellen G. White, SDA's anticipate the eventual success of the ecumenical movement, both in eliminating the divisions of Protestantism and in reuniting Christendom by bridging the gulf that separates non-Catholic communions from Rome. The ecumenical movement will then become a concerted effort to unite the world and to secure universal peace and security by enlisting the power of civil government in a universal religio-political crusade to eliminate all dissent. SDA's envision this crusade as the great apostasy to which John the revelator refers as 'Babylon the great.' They understand, also, that God's last message of mercy to the world prior to the return of Christ in power and glory will consist of a warning against this great apostate movement, and a call to all who choose to remain loyal to Him to leave the churches connected with it." (10 BC 362,363--1966 edition; page numbers vary in later editions).
The SDA Conference leadership has united with the ecumenical movement, and the World Council of Churches; so by her own definition, all who choose to remain loyal must come out of her! So, we see that the SDA denominational structure fits many of the Bible and S.O.P. characteristics of Babylon--as well as it's own published definition.
Some will admit that there is also a lot of corruption at the top in these days, but they are sure that their own local congregation isn't involved; however, the root word of leadership is lead: "by controlling the minds of these leaders, he [Satan] can influence the multitudes according to his will." (GC 595).
"If the heart of the work becomes corrupt, the whole church, in its various branches and interests, scattered abroad over the face of the earth, suffers in consequence." (4T 210).
"Internal corruption will bring the denunciations of God upon this people as it did upon Jerusalem." (2SM 378).
Others have said that the SDA structure isn't Babylon yet, because there are still a great number of honest-hearted and sincere people within it; however, the same is true about the Sunday-keeping Protestant churches and even the Roman Catholic church itself: having sincere, loving, caring, kind, gentle, honest-hearted members within a denomination, has nothing to do with whether or not it qualifies as Babylon. You can find faithful members among unfaithful leadership; but the religion is leading towards perdition, God's people should come out of it.
THE "B" WORD
Part 9 of 12
Is the Storm Aproaching?
There is now no way one can doubt as to which way the SDA's are being led, except of course those who: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets [E.G.W.], neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead" (Luke 16:31). He that hath an ear, let him hear:
"As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel's message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side." (GC 608).
This quote does not fall into the category of inspired counsel, reproof, or admonition--it is inspired prophecy. Therefore, it needs to be studied with more than a one-time glance, in order to discover the intended meanings:
--AS THE STORM APPROACHES--
First, let's look at the time-frame for WHEN the fulfillment of this prophecy occurs. Page 608 is found in chapter 38, "The Final Warning", which is about the loud cry warning message of the fourth angel, that takes place when the Sabbath and Sunday issue heats up.
Notice, however, that the passage we're looking at is fulfilled shortly before the final conflict over God's law: it doesn't say, "after the storm has arrived" all but those who are oblivious to current events, will know that the storm is approaching RIGHT NOW! Notice also the future tense found in the second sentence: "when the test is brought"; again showing that these things will occur prior to the test of Sabbath and Sunday.
--A LARGE CLASS WHO HAVE PROFESSED FAITH IN THE THIRD ANGEL'S MESSAGE--
Second, let's nail down for certain WHO this prophecy is about. It is referring to the majority (it doesn't say, "a small class") of professed Seventh-day Adventists; no other denomination would qualify as professing faith in the third angel's message. However, just in case someone still isn't convinced, the last half of this paragraph leaves no possibility of uncertainty:
"Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth [this can't be Catholic priests, or Baptist ministers, etc], employ their power to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren." Former brethren of what religion? "When Sabbathkeepers are brought before the court to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them." (GC 608).
Obviously, the later part of this paragraph does not happen until "Sabbathkeepers are brought before the courts". So, we've found that this prophecy is about the majority of professed SDA's, and that the things brought out in the first part of it are fulfilled prior to the enforcement of Sunday sacredness.
--BUT HAVE NOT BEEN SANCTIFIED THROUGH OBEDIENCE TO THE TRUTH, ABANDON THEIR POSITION--
Next, we need to determine IF these things have already occurred, or is the fulfillment yet future? Well, it doesn't say that they "abandon their profession"; so, they retain the same name, Seventh-day Adventist: it's only the position which they forsake. What position? It's found in the very same sentence: sanctification through obedience to the truth (God's law, Ps 119:142). Has that position been deserted by the General Conference? Oh yes, and they're not even ashamed to admit it:
"The real problem is that Hope International/OUR FIRM FOUNDATION holds certain views on the human nature of Christ, the nature of sin, and sanctification. These issues have never been settled among Christians, much less among SDA's. They are not issues so essential to salvation that souls will be lost unless they are resolved. The problem that Hope International/OUR FIRM FOUNDATION has created is that this independent ministry feels driven to charge the SDA Church with being in a state of apostasy because it does not accept their views on these moot theological issues. And the sins and failures of the church are seen as issuing out of this condition as well." (ISSUES, page 109).
Unbelievable! Did you catch what all was said there? That the nature of Christ, the nature of sin, and sanctification, are not issues essential to salvation--that they are moot (debatable; unimportant; meaningless) theological issues! But worst of all, that the SDA Conference does not accept the views on these issues that Hope International/OUR FIRM FOUNDATION holds!
Exactly what are these views, that the Conference does not accept? Let's let Hope International answer for themselves:
"The historic Seventh-day Adventist belief on these topics, in brief, is that sin is the transgression of the law. We are guilty of sin when we choose to cherish wrong thoughts, or to perform wrong actions, or not to perform known duties. In other words, sin is a willful action contrary to God's will or a willful inaction of something required. Sin is something we choose to do or choose not to do. When Christ came to this earth, He received from His mother Mary the same human nature that we would have received if Mary had been our mother--a fallen nature from the seed of David and of Abraham. By continual surrender to the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christ maintained a life without sin, just as we may do through that same continual surrender to God's will. The daily abiding in Christ and continual growth in victory over sin leads us into an increasing at-one-ment with Christ, or sanctification." (AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MEMBERS OF THE WASHINGTON CONFERENCE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST, page 12).
Since the SDA leadership does not accept these views just quoted, we know what views they do accept: (1) Christ took the nature of Adam before the fall; (2) sin is a condition that we are born in, not a decision (also known as the doctrine of "original sin", invented by the papacy); and (3) victory over sin and sanctification are not possible. These three false doctrines (wine of error) go hand-in-hand: if sin is a condition which we are born in, then Christ had to be born through an "immaculate conception" with a pre-fallen nature (otherwise, Christ would've been born with "inherited guilt"); and if Christ was born with a pre-fallen nature, then His sinless life was the result of an advantage that we can't have--therefore, we can't overcome sin or live the experience of sanctification through obedience to the law of God.
So, the SDA Conference has fulfilled the prophecy about abandoning their position on sanctification.
--AND JOIN THE RANKS OF THE OPPOSITION--
Who is the opposition? Isn't it Babylon?
--BY UNITING WITH THE WORLD AND PARTAKING OF ITS SPIRIT--
Here is further evidence that the prophecy we're looking at has already come to pass (not that there is any remaining room for doubt): the mainstream of Seventh-day Adventism has already united with the world, and is now partaking of its spirit (see characteristics of Babylon #11).
--THEY HAVE COME TO VIEW MATTERS IN NEARLY THE SAME LIGHT--
If you read the whole chapter ("The Final Warning", GC 603-612), you will see that the matters mentioned here are in reference to the importance of obeying God's law; "in nearly the same light", is a comparison to the other false religions who trample on the Decalogue through Sunday observance, etc.
We have already seen the fulfillment of this line, as well: the SDA Conference has come to view matters about God's moral law in nearly the same light as the Sunday keeping denominations, because "it does not accept their [Hope International] views on these" matters of sanctification, victory over sin (obedience to the Ten Commandments), etc.
--AND WHEN THE TEST IS BROUGHT, THEY ARE PREPARED TO CHOOSE THE EASY, POPULAR SIDE--
This phrase describes what the final result will be of abandoning the position onsanctification, uniting with the world, and viewing matters about God's law in nearly the same light as the other apostate Protestant denominations. In light of the context, the "test" here mentioned can be none other than the test which comes when Sunday laws are enforced; choosing "the easy, popular side", is obviously referring to choosing Sunday.
Now we have the background to understand exactly what this prophecy is saying: As the Sabbath and Sunday conflict is approaching, a majority who have taken the name Seventh-day Adventist, but have rejected sanctification through obedience to the law of God, abandon their position on victory over sin and JOIN the ranks of BABYLON! By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters about obedience to the Ten Commandments in nearly the same light as the other harlot daughters; and when the Sunday laws are enforced, the majority of professed Seventh-day Adventist are prepared to choose Sunday worship and receive THE MARK OF THE BEAST!
THE "B" WORD
Part 10 of 12
Prepared for What?
By all means, do not miss the word "prepared"; it doesn't just say that they choose the easy way out--it says that "they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side". How are the majority of professed SDA's being prepared to receive the mark of the beast? Actually, there are several ways; the most basic of which is that they are not being prepared to receive the seal of God. Read the section titled "The Seal of God" (5T 207-216), and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that very few if any of the Conference churches are preparing their members to receive the seal of God.
However, there are two very specific ways that the masses within Seventh-day Adventism are being prepared to fail when the test comes, and both of them are mentioned in the prophecy of GC 608.
The first one comes from the rejection of sanctification. Attending a church building on Saturday has no more spiritual significance in and of itself, than did literal circumcision during Old Testament times--these are both merely "signs" or "tokens" of an experience. What experience is the seventh day Sabbath a sign of? Sanctification:
"Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them." (Ezek 20:12; see also Ex 31:13); "the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God." (DA 288; see also this entire chapter, "The Sabbath" 281-289). "The sanctification of the Spirit signalizes the difference between those who have the seal of God and those who keep a spurious rest day." (7BC 980).
So we find that the rejection of sanctification is also a rejection of the seventh day Sabbath--regardless of which day you sit in the pews--and when the Sunday laws are enforced, those who have not been experiencing sanctification through victory over all sin will fail the test and receive the mark of the beast.
Satan has gotten the majority of the Christian world to believe that the fourth commandment is the only one that we don't have to obey; but he's also got the majority of SDA's believing that it is the only commandment that we DO have to obey--that somehow the "seventh day" part of the commandment is more important than the "keep it holy" (by being holy, DA 283) part of it, and more important than the other nine commandments.
The second way is outlined here: "Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for THE MARK OF THE BEAST." (5T 216).
Notice how perfectly this quote harmonizes with and verifies the proper interpretation of GC 608: "By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit... they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side." So, the nail is in the coffin; there can be absolutely no mistaking the fact that the corporate structure of Seventh-day Adventists is preparing its members to receive the mark of the beast, and therefore to receive of the seven last plagues (Rev 18:4)--they are most definitely leading towards perdition; without question, that organization has crossed the "line", and fully qualifies as Babylon!
However, in God's eyes, they not only have joined Babylon--but they are worse than the other harlot daughters, and even the Mother of harlots:
"Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says, 'But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light], which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.'" (RH 08-01-93; comments in brackets added by E.G. White).
"In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: 'Found wanting.' By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged." (8T 247).
The bottom-line question is whether SDA's should be called out of the Conference at this time; anyone with a trace of spiritual discernment will agree that people should come out of a system which is preparing its members to receive the mark of the beast: "those who fear God today are heeding the message to withdraw from spiritual Babylon" (PROPHETS AND KINGS p 715).
THE "B" WORD
Part 11 of 12
Should the SDA Conference Structure be Called "Babylon"?
Actually, there is still one more question which has not yet been answered: the one in the title above. We have conclusively determined that the General Conference is part of Babylon; but somehow, a very strange idea has developed that, even though it fully qualifies, the structure doesn't need to be called Babylon, and God's people don't need to be called out of it at this time.
However, Rev 18:2 does not say: And he spoke softly with a weak voice when nobody was around, quietly whispering, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen... My Bible reads this way: "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying..." My Bible also says: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." (Matt 5:14,15). Identifying Babylon and calling people out of it is so extremely vital, that it constitutes two of the four (2nd & 4th angel) "most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals" (9T 19).
Babylon is Babylon no matter where it is found; and all who are following Jesus will not be afraid of identifying Babylon and calling people out of it, no matter how unpopular that message may be; while those wanting to follow Jesus who are now in its communion will not only come out of Babylon themselves, but also call others out (even if you're not a theologian, you can still copy and distribute this STUDY).
Closely related to the concept that an organization must teach and practice Sunday keeping, before it can qualify as Babylon-is the concept that we should wait until the corporate Adventist machine officially changes to Sunday services (RH 03-18-84), before God's people should be called out of it.
The main problem with this idea, is that by then it will be too late! The masses will have already been prepared to receive the mark of the beast; the seal of God will not be on their foreheads, and they will fail the big test. It's true that when Satan begins enforcing Sunday laws, and the latter rain/loud cry comes as God's opposing force in this last great battle: many will come out of the Sunday keeping churches at that time and still be saved (GC 612). But this will NOT be the case of SDA's, who have had access to great light:
"I was shown that if God's people make no efforts on their part, but wait for the refreshing [latter rain] to come upon them and remove their wrongs and correct their errors; if they depend upon that to cleanse them from filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and fit them to engage in the loud cry of the third angel, they will be found wanting." (1T 619; see also EW 71; TM 507).
Do you see the crisis that is upon SDA's? It is NOW, before the big test that SDA's have their test.
"It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, 'Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,' and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares; but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation. So now, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is any real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul's need to be supplied." (COL 412).
Another strange reason for not calling the Conference Babylon is the idea that this is the devil's way of getting our attention off of giving the three angels' messages. There are several problems with that misconception:
(1) It would be just as unreasonable to say that we shouldn't waste time calling God's people out of the Sunday keeping Protestant denominations, because that is the devil's way to divert us from our mission to call Catholics out of their religion.
(2) Identifying and calling people out of Babylon, wherever it may be found, IS a fundamental part of the three angels' messages; it is not possible for the giving of the second angel's message to be a diversion from giving the three angels' messages!
(3) All of our time should not be invested on those who are in the SDA part of Babylon; but there is a very wide range between giving them all of our time, and entirely neglecting them! What, do we not care if they're lost?
THE "B" WORD
Part 12 of 12
Are there any other Excuses?
"The Jews [SDA's] worshiped the temple [structure] and were filled with greater indignation at anything spoken against that building [organization] than if it had been spoken against God." (EW 198).
Those who don't want to let go of their cherished idol (SDA Conference) have made all sorts of excuses for clinging to it, most of which have already been dealt with in this study; but there is one more common excuse that has not yet been answered:
"There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the WORK will not succeed. God is at the head of the WORK, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the WORK, God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong." (2SM 390).
Please take careful note of the fact that the wording here used is "work", and not "General Conference". What, then, is the word "work" here referring to? "In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a WORK of the most solemn import--the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages. There is no other WORK of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention."
It doesn't say that they are to allow floats in the Rose Parade, and Christmas specials on network TV, etc, to absorb their attention. Going on: "The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world [not just brush over in the lesson quarterly, once in a rare while]. The proclamation of these truths is to be our WORK." (9T 19).
No, the Conference corporate structure of Seventh-day Adventism is not giving the straight three angels' messages to the world; quite the opposite, we have already found that they are preparing their own members to fail the test outlined in the third angel's message and receive the mark of the beast. Yes, the General Conference was originally part of the "work"; but what happens when an organization fails to do the "work" that God has entrusted to them?
"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 WORK of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling [even the SDA Conference], the Lord can no longer WORK with them. OTHERS are then chosen to bear important responsibilities." (UL 131).