The Sabbath, the Trinity Doctrine, and Ecumenism
by Kaj-R. Nilsen
Among Seventh-day Adventists it is generally agreed that the Sabbath will be the all-important question in the last days, before the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. A lot of focus is put on the Sabbath, and of course we should keep the Sabbath, but is something wrong with this end-time scenario? Is this all there is to it? Is it so simple that based upon the practice of either keeping the Sabbath or not, people will be separated into two parties; one prepared for destruction, the other for eternal life?
Now first of all we must remember that the keeping of the Sabbath in and of itself has no merit whatsoever. Keeping the Sabbath will never save us. In fact, we will never be saved by works in any way. Only through faith in the righteousness of Christ can any of us be saved, and only as this faith produces a willing heart of obedience, will there ever be any true Sabbath-keeping. We need a faith that works, not faith plus works. Notice the Word of the Lord concerning this point:
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. Ezekiel 20:12
The sabbath is the covenant sign. The keeping of the Sabbath signifies a rest in God, a rest from our own frustrating attempts to be justified by our own efforts. It signifies faith in a living God that loves, that redeems and that gave His only begotten Son for us. He is able, and we must die to the flesh. So behind the Sabbath day there are much deeper issues at stake: faith, righteousness, love, a spirit-filled life of obedience Christ in you, the hope of glory. "Not I, but Christ" is the watch-word of the believer.
The true believers who have experienced the deeper significance of the Sabbath, will keep it both in the spiritual and the practical sense. It will be a sign between them and God that they belong to Him, that there is a living connection operating.
Rejecters of the Sabbath
But our attention will now be turned to those that learn about, but reject, the true understanding of the Sabbath day. We are told by Ellen G. White that there will be Adventists that will advocate the keeping of Sunday from their own pulpits. Many of those Adventists will no doubt keep on worshipping on both the Sabbath and on Sunday, and in doing so they will in reality reject the Sabbath. Another group of Adventists will keep the Sabbath only on a practical level, and not keep it in a spiritual sense as they do not rest in Christ and His righteousness. This group have either gone into a subtle form of legalism, or anti-nomianism / liberalism. Lastly, the majority of the world will learn about the Sabbath day and its significance, but will also reject it.
But the great question is, "Why will even Adventists advocate Sunday as a day of worship?" And why will the Sabbath be evaluated as a question of minor importance by the world? Why is it even today seen as such?
The Basis of Ecumenism
The truth is that there is a particular reason the Sabbath is, and in a stronger sense will be, seen as not of primary importance. It has very much to do with ecumenism.
What is ecumenism? It is a principle built on one very simple idea. This idea is that those people that worship the same God, should have no problems coming together and having fellowship even though they disagree on other doctrines.
This idea is built on the premise that after all there is only one all-important doctrine.
The question is, if you are in agreement on this most fundamental doctrine, then why care so much about the other doctrines? They are, after all, only secondary and of minor importance, it is claimed.
Now the most important thing is the identity of the God you worship, and I guess everyone will agree with that. This is a reasonable idea that makes sense to many people! Not only is it reasonable, but it is Biblically correct too!
So the ecumenical world is built on one single article that everyone has to accept. This article consists of their definition of the god that they worship and this is a god in Trinity!
Notice: The Trinity god is the god of the ecumenical movement. It is the god of almost the whole Christian world.
This will not change, you can be pretty sure. Oh yes, the whole ecumenical world WILL come together, as prophesied in Revelation chapters 13 and 17, and they will stick to this fundamental principle: The worship of the Trinitarian god.
Is it a safe thing to follow the ecumenical movement? What spirit is leading those who are involved in it? Do they worship the true God? Given the end-time picture as presented in the Bible, we can be certain that any god that is worshipped by almost all of Christendom, cannot possibly be the true God of the Bible. The god that is worshipped by the majority of the world will have to be a false god. Why is this so? Read what John says:
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. Revelation 13:3
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8
It is all the world, which will engage in false worship, and this includes the great majority of professing Christendom. We are talking about the greatest deception that has ever come upon human beings! And we see it being prepared now. Alliances that no one dared to hope for only years ago, are now being formed. Lutherans and Catholics, Evangelicals and Catholics. Yes, we are stunned to read that there has even been cooperation between Catholics and SDAs in Poland for many years, below the surface. Nothing is as revealing as that in signifying the time in which we live. When fundamental Islam is "conquered" and the US Constitution laid to rest in the dust, the whole world will be ready for the Papacy and the US working in union to subjugate the world.
This is How
I submit to you that this is how Adventists will be persuaded to drop the Sabbath. The argument that the whole Christian world worships one and the same god, will be seen as the most important point. Every other doctrine will be relegated to the back seat, effectively swept under the rug. Our religion will be completely changed, and the new organization will be up front. "The Sabbath will be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it" all this just as the prophet of the Lord foresaw. (1SM 205) Those Adventists that accept the Trinity god will find it extremely hard to counter this forceful argument, and we see this today even on a smaller scale.
Because today there apparently is no difference between Adventists and the other denominations as to the definition of the god they worship, the barriers have been broken down and Adventists are increasingly seeking to establish ecumenical ties. The question is, "why not when we have so much in common?" The trap is laid, and is working well already. This is a tragedy that words cannot express. We desperately need the distinction from the other denominations that our former fundamental beliefs provided for us. These distinctions would have made it easier to identify with the task we are here for: not to join Babylon, but to call people out of it.
The Most important Issue
So the true keeping of the Sabbath will identify those that do not worship the same god as does the ecumenical, so-called "Christian" world.
In other words: the Sabbath signifies a deeper issue, one of worship. Which God you worship will be the most important issue, and it will have consequences for how you relate to all the other doctrines.
Some people write me and say that we have now "gone off the deep end" because we are focusing on the Trinity. But is this really so?
The truth about God is an issue that deals with the characteristics and the identity of the God you worship. It deals with the question, "Which God do you worship?" Thus it deals with the most fundamental issues there are, issues, which led to the great rebellion in heaven in the first place.
There is absolutely no way that the godhead question could be a secondary issue, with the Sabbath issue being the more fundamental one. In fact these issues cannot be separated. They both deal with worship, but in two different ways.
The truth about God deals with the identity of God. The Sabbath deals with the practical and spiritual reality that results from your worship of the true God, signifying a living relationship with God. The first issue is the starting point of it all, the cause, the very source of life. The second issue is the result, the symptom, the sign of life operating.
May God guide and help us as we seek to find and worship Him alone, and may His Spirit inspire our hearts in willing service to Him Who is all in all, is my prayer for all of us!!
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