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The History and Transfer of the Sacred Oracles

By Pastor Hal Mayer

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Jesus came to walk among His people today, as He did 2000 years ago? What would He say? Would He make the same kind of statements about the SDA church today as He made of the Hebrew church in His own day? Would He say that we are approved of heaven, or would He have to say that we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked? Revelation 3:17. Would He commend us for our large system of organization, our TV Christmas programs, youth rock concerts, and large churches, hospitals and schools? Or would He sadly hang His head at the systematic departure from His Word throughout the system? Would He commend our large number of baptisms, or would He say, “Your house is left unto you desolate,” as He did the Jewish Church? Matthew 23:38.

This subject is really quite an important one. What does God do in the event that His church ultimately chooses to follow the world? What will He do to purify Himself a people in these last days? Does God still have a church on earth where He has deposited His sacred oracles of truth? Before we enter this subject further, let us pray.

Our Father, we want to understand your purpose especially in relation to your compromised Remnant church. The confusion and apostasy around us in our own beloved church is making us sad. Please give us answers. Help us understand your plans for your church today and how we can know who is your true people, we pray. In Jesus name, amen.

Have you ever heard anyone say: “The SDA General Conference is now Babylon because of its apostasy, and that it is no longer the depository of God’s truth and that it is time to come out and go somewhere else?” Have you ever heard the opposite idea that sounds like this: “Don’t worry about the church. We have to just trust our leaders. God will take care of them and the church.” In other words, “keep silent, don’t make trouble for anyone. Go along with the status quo, God will take the reigns in His own hands.” The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy are replete with examples and admonitions concerning this later example showing why faithful souls should raise their voices in protest of open sin and apostasy.

But how can we know if the SDA church is still God’s church and if it is still the depository of His sacred oracles? In order to understand the situation of the SDA Conference church, we must go back in time and review how God handled the sacred oracles that He has entrusted to His churches in the past.

The sacred oracles are those teachings and understandings that are handed down from one generation to another about God, the unseen realities of the supernatural, and they provide a system of spiritual guidance for each successive generation. The sacred oracles provide instructions for worship and faith and daily life. They also give prophetic revelations of the future, and often reveal the characters of men and institutions. Spiritual vitality depends on how the sacred oracles are treated. If they are respected and followed, there is growth. If they are not respected, there is a loss of spiritual power. Do you respect and obey the sacred oracles God has given His Remnant people?

Every religion in History has its sacred oracles. Pagan oracles were usually mystical stories and legends about gods and goddesses. These legends expressed their own ideas about the world, the universe and things unseen. Worship centered in rituals that would either appease the gods or ingratiate them to the worshippers. The oracles were reverently regarded, followed and protected, even though not written down. Pagan oracles are quite opposed to the worship of the true God, because they are the ideas of merely human minds. And when brought in contact with the oracles of God through His church, they created conflict and strife, such as the persecution of Christians under the Romans in the time of Nero, Diocletian and other emperors. When Paul was in Ephesus, the Ephesians listened to him, but the silversmiths, who were profiting by the pagan superstitions, led out in a riot when their income was threatened by Paul’s teaching. They stirred up the people to defend their pagan oracles including the Goddess Diana. See Acts 19.

Islam also has its oracle called the Koran. The Koran provides Islam with guidance concerning life and worship. The Koran also conflicts with God’s oracles and when brought in contact with them, it also creates strife. Islam despises Christianity and considers it an invalid system of understanding and of worship. Persecution and oppression of Christians in Islamic countries is known to almost all.

But these are all counterfeits. God in His wisdom has provided His people with the true sacred oracles. They originate from His mind, not man’s mind. He gave them to Adam and Eve, and they handed them down verbally to their children and their children’s children right down through the patriarchal age of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all the way to Moses. They included His moral law, instruction on how the world came about, and instruction on how to understand and worship God. These sacred oracles were to be respected, and reverently treated by following their instruction.

When Israel became a great nation down in Egypt, God brought them out with a mighty hand, and restated the sacred oracles, especially His law at Mt. Sinai. These laws were written on tables of stone and were to be protected and revered and honored and most of all, obeyed. Moses also wrote five books of sacred history that tell of God’s dealings with his people. These also became part of the sacred oracles, as did the writings of the prophets, and the rest of the Old Testament later on.

The Hebrew Canon (or the Torah) was developed over a period of time. The rabbis were very careful to protect these sacred oracles, and keep them from being corrupted. They were to teach them faithfully to Israel, and the people were required to obey them. With extreme care they copied and protected the Hebrew scripture text so that it would not have any errors or be damaged.

But Israel strayed from God’s revealed will. At first there developed a growing apostasy IN the church, by certain leaders and members, but eventually as one king after another led all Israel into error and deeper idolatry, it became so widespread, that the whole church was IN apostasy. God eventually punished the whole nation of Israel by sending them into captivity to Babylon. While in captivity, Israel was still God’s church, the depository of His sacred oracles. It did not become Babylon. Of course, there were some that got comfortable in Babylon and even absorbed the ideas and principles of Babylon. THEY had become part of Babylon. But when God told his church to go out of Babylon and rebuild Jerusalem, He was asking them to separate themselves from Babylon. But some refused to go, for they had become part of Babylon.

God had sent His church to Babylon to reform her, not because He had rejected her. He called her out, when it was time to give His people another opportunity to obey the sacred oracles loyally. Do you think we may have among us those that are so comfortable in this world that they will not come out and be separate, spiritually? God is calling you and me to become Holy and distinct. How tragic that so many Adventists are caught up in worldliness and are captivated by Babylon’s enchantments.

There is an important distinction to be made here. There is a difference between those that reject the oracles (like Cain, Nimrod, the Builders of the Tower of Babel, etc.) and those that struggle with sin and must overcome their faulty traits of character. If a church leader should make a mistake in management; that is not apostasy. If he sins openly, he is fallen, but cannot be considered apostate if he is repentant for his sin. It is when he persistently refuses to bring his open life into harmony with the Bible that we consider a person in apostasy. Or when he continually preaches and teaches things that are not in the Bible, or distorts the things that are, and misleads the people, this is a man in apostasy.

How can we tell if a church is IN apostasy? How can we tell the difference between “apostasy IN the church” and “the church IN apostasy?” We can say that there is apostasy IN the church when there are those in leadership positions, for example, who do not lead a godly example, or who lead some individuals or some institutions of the church away from God’s pattern of truth and right principles. The church has good and responsible ways of dealing with apostasy IN the church, if she will use them. Tragically, she has not. But when the apostasy is limited to some individuals, or if only a small part of the church is involved, we cannot say that the church AS A WHOLE is IN apostasy. Only that there is apostasy IN the church.

However, when a large body of leaders and laymen lead virtually all the institutions of the church, whether educational, health, publishing, and even ministerial institutions astray, and also many people, and persistently lead these institutions in the opposite direction from God’s clear, revealed will, over a long period of time, we can then say that the church ITSELF is IN apostasy. When committees and boards continually do not consult God’s Word in making decisions, or ignore the plain counsels of God in the sacred oracles when making those decisions, and continually lead their respective institutions in the sparks of their own kindling, they are classed, as being IN apostasy.

But remember that just because a person in leadership, or even a layman makes a mistake or commits a sin, this is not apostasy of the church. It is apostasy in the church. Many people confuse this point. They think that those leaders who are persistently leading their institutions or ministries away from the revealed will of God, disrespecting the sacred oracles, and going their own way, ARE MERELY MAKING A MISTAKE, and that faithful souls should not point this out, for this would be criticism. This is not the case! When leaders refuse to follow God’s counsel, and who ignore it and go their own way, leading out in false teaching and practices; it is not criticism to point that out and plead for reform.

Let’s think about John Harvey Kellogg. He did not merely make a mistake when, after the fire at his sanitarium in Battle Creek, he rejected the counsel of Ellen White to build the sanitarium small, decentralize it, and disperse the resources all over the country. He deliberately chose to reject that counsel, and built his sanitarium larger than before, like many of our hospitals today, and this eventually led the Battle Creek sanitarium into apostasy and right out of God’s church. And today, our hospital system has largely followed in this “fine” tradition of rebellion, and has ignored the counsel of God in the sacred oracles, and now they are being joined with Catholic hospitals, and Baptist hospitals, etc., in an effort to save them from financial ruin. How on earth will they ever be in a position to give the last warning message, while entangled in such alliances? There is no way. They are IN apostasy, and quite rightly they should not bear the name Adventist. So are our schools, publishing houses and ministerial organizations. Which ones are even attempting to follow the sacred oracles? This is not a mere moral lapse, as bad as that is. It is not merely a mistake. It is much worse because it involves the whole church in a direction the leads to its destruction. Does our beloved church merely have apostasy IN it, or is it actually IN apostasy? By the way, being in apostasy is not equal to being Babylon. That is another common mistake. They are two quite different things. A church may be in serious and rebellious apostasy, but not become Babylon, as was the case of Israel. Unless god transfers the sacred oracles to another church, like it or not, it is still His depository of truth.

You see, it is God’s purpose to get men and women to be loyal to His sacred oracles. And because God does not force you to do this, it is not an easy task, as you probably know from your own life. So God is practical. He is not going to give up on you or His church without great longsuffering and patience. Aren’t you thankful for that! He is not going to reject His church until He has given it everyopportunity possible to repent and return, or without going to great lengths to confront the apostasy of His people. And this may take a frustratingly long time. Remember, God is not on a human time table. God’s true people must come up to the help of Lord, and speak up, protest false teaching and the lowering of standards. They are one of the tools He uses to confront apostasy. But if they join the conspiracy of silence, it only extends the process. Let us not be like Jonah and get angry with God when He does not meet our expectations.

After their return from Babylon, the Hebrews were determined not to wander after the gods of the other nations any more, but the leaders isolated the church from the nations around them. They lost their witness. They developed so many restrictions and rabbinical laws that they eventually had their own church manual. Their sacred oracle was the Torah, or the Old Testament, but their church manual was the Mishna. As the Hebrews elevated the Mishna higher and higher in importance and authority, they lowered the sacred Torah in authority, until eventually the Law and the Torah had little influence on them. This is always what happens when you place the church manual higher in authority than the Bible. Do you think we are in danger of doing this today?

The Hebrews also misapplied the prophecies of the Torah about the first coming of Jesus. And they didn’t recognize the Messiah when He was among them. By the time of Christ the Jews had become so confused about the matter of divine authority that they thought the Mishna church manual, and the rabbis had more authority than the sacred scriptures of the Torah. Jesus came to sort out the confusion, and separate the sacred oracles from the common oracles. Do you remember some of his statements?

Listen: “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matt 15:6-9.

Here is another: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Matthew 5:21–22.

And here is yet another: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:43–44.

In these statements Jesus was contradicting long-held maxims of church leaders. Do you think they appreciated Jesus and His self-supporting ministry?

Listen to the words of Ellen White: “But the Jews had exalted the forms and ceremonies and had lost sight of their object. The traditions, maxims, and enactments of men hid from them the lessons which God intended to convey. These maxims and traditions became an obstacle to their understanding and practice of true religion. And when the Reality came, in the person of Christ, they did not recognize in Him the fulfillment of all their types, the substance of all their shadows. They rejected the antitype, and clung to their types and useless ceremonies.” {COL 34-35} Do you think we are in danger of not recognizing Christ today in the form of his Holy Spirit by elevating the church manual above the Bible’s authority?

Here is an important statement. “Only those who are living up to the light they have, will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.” {TM 507.1} How are we going to live up to all the light if we disrespect and ignore the sacred oracles from which the light comes?

Just as the Jews did not recognize Christ when he came, so can we miss recognizing the Holy Spirit. If we place our opinions above the Word of God, we begin to think that we don’t need to fulfill all of God’s requirements. Soon we have our own twisted ideas of what God’s requirements are, and we will miss the latter rain because we are not preparing our characters to receive it. Those that teach that it is not important to overcome sin through the grace of Christ, that Jesus was even our substitute obedience, are teaching the people in the best way calculated for them to miss the latter rain.

Could we be so busy pretending that the Holy Spirit is with us in our dancy music, our so called “Holy Spirit” retreats, our celebration services, and charismatic preaching, and in at least one case, tongues speaking, that we won’t even recognize the true Holy Spirit when He manifests Himself among those that are “sorrowful for the solemn assembly,” (Zephaniah 3:18) and among those that “weep between the porch and the alter?” (Joel 2:17) I tell you, unless we are burdened for the lost souls in our church and for the rebellion and apostasy that is rampaging through its corridors; unless you and I are crying out to God over the sins of His people, we will not participate in the outpouring of the latter rain. Ask God for a burden for those very souls that have made you heartsick over their apostasy, and angry at their determined rebellion. You must not ignore that responsibility. You never know when there is a Nicodemus among them. You never know how many “priests” will become obedient to the faith under the power of the latter rain. You may not be able to attend their celebration assemblies or rock concerts. You may not be able to worship in their apostate worship services or camp meetings. You may have to start a home church. But you must “weep between the porch and the alter,” and you must “sigh and cry for the abominations that are done in the church,” or your own soul is in danger of not being sealed. Read Ezekiel 9:4 carefully. Note that only those who cry and sigh for the abominations will be sealed.

Ellen White makes this astonishing statement about this passage: “Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost… are those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’ in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. {3T 267} Are you in agony over the sins of the church? Do you sigh and cry whenever you hear about some new abomination brought into God’s church? Or do you rejoice in the fall of your brothers and sisters? Maybe you are just passive? These things will prevent you from being ready to receive the latter rain. We need the experience of sighing and crying to God over the sins of others.

Whenever a church elevates the authority of the church manual, it automatically lowers the authority of scripture. That is why in the Roman Catholic Church, there is so much reliance on traditions instead of the Word of God. They have elevated tradition, so they say, on an equal plain to scripture, but in reality they have placed it over scripture. Do you think there is a danger that Seventh-day Adventists will elevate the authority of human rules over the Word of God? Most certainly. By making the church manual the basis of decisions and plans, we actually restrict the Holy Spirit to work His will in His own way. By gradually raising the church manual in authority in administrating the affairs of our church, we have gradually lowered the authority of the Scriptures until imperceptivity we have replaced them with man’s ideas and plans. Ellen White makes a most interesting statement. “One sentence of Scripture is of more value than ten thousand of man’s ideas or arguments.” Isn’t that something? Let me say it again. “One sentence of Scripture is of more value than ten thousand of man’s ideas or arguments.” That is from 7T 71.

Just think about that statement for a minute. What is most important for you? Is it the Word of God? Or are you more concerned about what others think? Do you want to follow only the principles of Scripture, or do you first think about how you can follow the teachings of man, the plans of man, and the devisings of fallible human beings. Take God at His Word and submit to God’s way as revealed in His Word. Of course we should cooperate with other faithful souls in winning others to the truth, but the Word must be the primary authority.

When Jesus was on earth He often disregarded the Mishna church manual, and by His words and actions elevated the Torah to its rightful place. This was what He had to do in order to help the people recognize Him. Naturally this made the rabbis and other church leaders quite angry at Him. But He had to do it to place the Bible (or the Torah) back in its proper place of authority. Listen to this from Desire of Ages p. 611-612: “Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed.” Do you think we may have to do that again? We can’t just go along with error in doctrine or practice. That would be wrong. But if we are like Jesus, speaking up will lead to us being treated in much the same way He was treated. It actually happens that way these days to those who oppose the onrushing torrent of rebellion to God’s Word. Jesus said that what they have done to Him, they would do to his followers. “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:20. See also Luke 6:22.

At the time of Christ, the Jewish church was the depository of the sacred oracles. It was still the place to which God had entrusted His truth, though not for many more years. . Jesus still offered opportunity for the church leaders to lead out in repentance. He still gave them the choice as a church to accept Him as the Messiah. But finally they sealed their rejection of Christ, and God had to remove them from being the depository of His sacred oracles. They were no longer His church.

But to whom did God give the sacred oracles when He removed them from Israel? What church would become the new depository of Truth? Would he just give His sacred oracles to individuals? No. Though individuals have always been a part of God’s true church, and though individuals have always personally responded to the sacred oracles and practiced their counsel, God has always had a BODY, His church, to whom He entrusted those sacred oracles. It may have only been a small number of people, but there has always been a body of believers. In some cases it might be two or three, for “when two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” Matt. 18:20.

The obvious intent was for Jesus to place his sacred oracles with His apostles, as the nucleus of His new church body. His purpose was for the Christian church to become His chosen people, His church body on earth. The organization was simple. There has always been organization, even if the body of believers is scattered. You can read about how God started His new church throughout the book of Acts.

I want you to notice that even though the oracles had been transferred to the new “denomination,” the apostle Paul, and Peter and others, were not unconcerned about the apostate and forsaken church. They never said “leave them alone, they are joined to their idols.” They prayed for them. They went to their gatherings to try to win them to the truth. They did not ignore those still in the structure. They had a great burden for their souls. Paul even wrote a letter to the Hebrew Christians whom he loved, which shows that he had not neglected to try to win them to the truth, and with some success.

Whenever a church is rejected and there is to be a new church, the new church must of necessity become the new depository of the sacred oracles. There must be a transfer of the oracles into that new depository. It is interesting to note that every time God has changed churches and transferred His sacred oracles from one church to another, there have always been a number of important conditions present in order that confidence in the new denomination can develop. These have been present both times in history that God has changed churches, that is, at the beginning of the Christian church and at the beginning of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. So in order to help us to understand what God is presently doing today, we need to look at what happened when He changed churches in the past.

Before we look at the conditions that existed at the times in history when God has changed churches, we need to be reminded that in the Dark Ages, the Roman Catholic Church had usurped control of the visible church on earth, and God’s true church had to go “into the wilderness,” into hiding. Let’s read it. It is found in Revelation 12:13-14. “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” The Roman Catholic Church was never God’s church even though it professes to be. God’s church had to hide during the time of Roman Catholic supremacy. God never made the Catholic Church his depository of truth, and the place where he kept His sacred oracles. It was deposited with the Waldenses and other faithful groups known as “The Church in the Wilderness.”

The Reformation therefore cannot be counted as another change in churches from the Catholic to the Protestant. The Reformation was the result of sincere Catholics following the Bible, and coming out of her and joining the true church which had been hidden in the wilderness for so many years. The Reformation was part of God’s plan to break the power of the Roman Catholic Church over the world, and bring Freedom of Religion to millions who otherwise would be lost forever in the grasp of Roman Catholic control.

There were a number of important elements in the apostolic church that we need to understand in order to see how God worked to develop confidence in the new denomination, so that people would not look to the wrong church for truth. He had to make it clear, so there would be no confusion. So clear in fact, that no sincere soul could miss it, or be argued away from it, or confused by circumstances.

First, there was miraculous power that attended the apostles in the early rain. There were thousands converted in a day, and the conversions spread like wildfire. Without this supernatural power manifesting itself in the lives of everyday people, there would not be a transfer of confidence to the new church from the old. For there to be a new church, and for people to have their attention drawn to it, God had to give it supernatural power. In Apostolic times there were healings, speaking in tongues (or foreign languages), visions, and even raising the dead, etc. These supernatural manifestations convinced people that the new “denomination” was of God.

Second, for there to be a change in depository, there had to be men and women of the deepest spiritual commitment and love for one another, and with characters that had been transformed by the renewing spirit of God. Remember what happened on the day of Pentecost? They were all together in one place praying, confessing their faults to one another, and developing a deep love between them. In order for there to be the outpouring of manifest spiritual power of the Holy Ghost, there had to be deep unity and personal commitment one to another. All arguing was put aside. All infighting and petty jealousies were surrendered. All pride and self seeking were put away. There was nothing to stand in the way between brother and brother, or sister and sister. God’s Holy Spirit had free reign and could do as He pleased. Without godly, consecrated and earnest men of character in charge of the movement, it could not gain the confidence of true hearted people. So God laid the groundwork by training 12 men to be that kind of character.

A third condition that is necessary for a transfer of depository was the deep study of the Word of God. In the early church the Old Testament canon was the focus of their study along with the life of Christ, to understand more of the meaning of the prophecies of the Messiah. How important this is for us today in preparation for the latter rain! How often have you gotten out your Bible and pled with the Lord to show you His truth, and to perfect your character and prepare you for the latter rain? I fear that even among those of us who believe the truth, there is a sad neglect in this area. We will never be ready for the latter rain if we don’t make the necessary preparation. It will fall all around us, and we won’t even recognize it – I’m talking about conservative, truth professing Seventh-day Adventists. We will probably think that the Holy Spirit is of the Devil.

Listen to this statement from the pen of inspiration again: “Only those who are living up to the light they have, will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.” TM 507. Deep personal Bible study is vital for any change in depository. Without it, the new church would have no credible basis for its mission and message.

Fourth on the list of necessary criteria for establishing a new church is the history of an extended confrontation with the apostasy of His people prior to God’s rejection of their church as His depository of truth. God went through quite a few steps in the process of warning Israel before He finally rejected them as His people. There were the repeated and frequent warnings of the prophets. There were the confrontations such as Elijah on Mount Carmel. There was the temporary captivity to Babylon, and the final servitude to Rome. There was also the manifestations and miraculous work of Christ and the Apostles. These all clearly pled with God’s Hebrew church, the existing Depository of truth, to return and reform her ways.

There is yet one final, important characteristic that was present when God changed churches and made the Christian Church His depository of truth. Up until the time of the apostles, the sacred oracles involved the Old Testament canon only. There had been additions made to the five books of Moses, such as books written by the prophets and kings and others of Israel. But in conjunction with the change in church came a major expansion of the sacred oracles. There had to be books added to the sacred scriptures because there was a new environment, a new church, and it needed inspired guidance and prophetic enlightenment to meet its present needs and challenges. This would greatly increase the confidence of God’s true people in the new denomination and point them in the right direction.

Why was it so important to add more to the existing inspired sources? The apostles pointed to Christ as the object of the already established canon of the Old Testament, which demonstrated their loyalty to the existing oracles of God. But without inspired, guidance geared to its specific circumstances, the new church would falter and would be unclear in its mission. The new church needed to have the confidence of its members that this is the new depository, and the expansion of the sacred oracles would provide them with an anchor to help them establish themselves in the truth. As the Apostles sent letters and copies of their gospels to the churches, the churches respected and protected them as instruction from God. Why? Because the apostles who were so obviously and manifestly controlled by divine power, they viewed these letters as God’s message just for them to strengthen them for the ordeal of trials they would face.

The new denomination also needed specific divine counsel to give them that distinctiveness that would distinguish the new church from the previous Jewish church, which had not been given these sacred oracles. Later on, as persecution developed, these letters had the additional importance of being the anchor of their faith, for which they might have to suffer much, or even give up their lives. These new oracles were preserved, studied and read in the churches from Sabbath to Sabbath, in order to help the people understand the principles of the gospel and God’s purpose for their lives. Incidentally, the way Roman Catholicism took over was by twisting the sacred oracles to promote their ambitious agenda. The true church had to flee into the wilderness, and with her she took the uncorrupted truth, into hiding.

Now let us look at the Millerite movement and the beginning of the SDA church. When God changed churches in the 19th century, he left the protestant churches and centered His truth in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, making it the new depository of his sacred oracles. God had confronted the Protestant churches with their apostasy by the work of the Anabaptists, the Puritans, the Wesleys and others, and now by the work of the Millerites. And in many other ways, he had given them opportunity to step out into the light and move forward. But they chose to stagnate, and not advance with advancing truth. Eventually God had to let them go.

Again, the necessary characteristics were in place to develop confidence in God’s new church. There were great manifestations of the Holy Spirit. There was power in the preaching, there were healings, prophetic visions and other clear evidences that God was behind the movement, just like in apostolic times. Again spiritual giants were the men and women who led the movement. They confessed their faults one to another, they put away arguing and disunity. They had an earnest love for souls. They came closer and closer together so that God, who was directing the movement, would be able to use them as He saw fit.

There was a deep and earnest study of the Word. In the apostolic church the emphasis was on the fulfillment of the prophecies related to Christ’s first coming, while the Millerites emphasized the fulfillment of prophecies related to Christ’s second coming. These men and women were deep Bible students, and their spiritual experience revealed their maturity. They knew where they stood, and they could prove it by the Bible. Can you prove from scripture that you are part of the Remnant? Can you show from the Bible how that your church has the truth, and that the other churches do not constitute the Remnant and that they don’t have present truth?

Finally, in order for there to be solid confidence that the Adventist movement was of God, there was again to be an expansion of the oracles of truth. By the grace of God, He raised up Ellen White to provide inspired guidance and prophetic insight just suited to the needs and time of the new denomination. It gave the new depository of truth a distinctiveness that distinguished it from all other churches. What better gift could heaven give? The writings of Ellen White were an expansion of the sacred oracles and have provided a tremendous source of guidance, instruction and enlightenment to the faithful. By rejecting the counsel of Ellen White, the liberals among us are in essence denying one of the keys to what makes the Seventh-day Adventist Church the depository of God’s sacred oracles. That is why often those who reject the Spirit of Prophecy end up leaving the message. Can you imagine how God feels about the rejection of the Spirit of Prophecy by His own church, after heaven has put so much energy and resources into making it what it is? What a tragedy!

Whenever God has changed churches in the past, there have been identifiable characteristics that were present in order to draw attention to the new church and to build confidence in it. Do you think God will raise up another church before the Latter Rain, and before Jesus comes again? If He does, He will have to somehow develop the confidence of faithful souls in the new denomination. He will have to build it up by using men and women that have an earnest love for souls and for each other. Men and women who are deep Bible students. He would have to make it evident that the new denomination is supported by supernatural events that would make it obvious that the new movement is of divine origin so there wouldn’t be any confusion. Wouldn’t there have to be miracles, visions, and healings, and other forms of miraculous intervention? And of course it would be essential for there to be an expansion of inspired counsel, the sacred oracles, for the guidance, counsel and insight of the new denomination, just suited for its specific needs.

Those who chose to reject the “new denominations” of the past (or rather the new depositories of truth) and keep their old religion, had to overcome two huge obstacles in their rebellion to the Spirit of God. First they had to reject present truth based on clear scriptural research. Second, they had to reject as fake, the obvious manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

Do you think there are people who are still doing that today, and rejecting the truth of God’s word, that He has entrusted to the Seventh-day Adventist people? I once attended a meeting of Adventist University administrators. As I listened to the discussions, I was shocked to find that some them were sneering at the idea that Seventh-day Adventists considered themselves to be the Remnant of Bible prophecy. What a tragedy! Is it true that our students in our universities are now learning that the church to which they belong is not the remnant church? Could it be that we are losing our identity as a people? Are we losing our mission, in this ecumenical age of confusion? Some of these leaders also made fun of the idea that Seventh-day Adventists think they have the truth.

I am troubled when I see some claiming that God has changed churches again without supporting evidence that He is actually doing so. If He has changed churches, who then is the body of Christ which has become the depository of sacred oracles? God has to entrust them somewhere. He cannot merely trust them to individuals, as that will never accomplish His purpose of revealing himself through His body, His church. Are those teaching this trying to say that their independent church has become the depository of sacred oracles? If so, where is the evidence of the supernatural power as that which attended previous transfers of the depository? Where are the consecrated men and women who have turned from their infighting and clamoring for power and attention? How do they know that God has truly given the GCSDA all the time and opportunities possible to repent and reform? In order to say that God has changed churches again, they would have to be pretty close to having the gift of prophecy and have a direct communication from heaven. And finally, where is the evidence that God is adding to the sacred oracles in support of a new denomination?

Instead of spending time trying to convince people that the God has changed churches again, wouldn’t it be wiser to spend that same amount of time helping to awaken sleeping SDAs to their danger and prepare for the real crisis that is coming? Those that imply by their claims that the depository is transferred to them from the SDA denomination, are taking a lot of responsibility upon themselves to demonstrate the same characteristics that were present in previous transfers, in a way that will openly draw the confidence of God’s people in the new denomination.

So what is going to happen to the structure? While the details are not clear in the Word, there is one thing that is certain. God has a tender regard for those who are faithful, and will not leave them without leadership and comfort. While it is probably not wise to speculate about what is going to happen to the SDA structure, there will certainly be dramatic changes, changes that harmonize God’s work with His plans and workings. It may well be that the structure will not be able to function any longer at some point. It may even collapse. But it is equally certain that God will finish His work only with those who are genuinely and earnestly living up to the light He has given them. He will have to raise up leaders that will not compromise the truth. In context of the apostate leadership He says in Jeremiah 23:4 “I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking saith the Lord.” Isn’t that a wonderful promise?

Do you think most of our leaders are getting ready for the kind of leadership needed in the final crisis? How many of our men and women in responsible positions are taking the time and the steps necessary to become like those early apostles? Or are they like the scribes and Pharisees, being blind leaders of the blind? How much overcoming of sin is taking place? How much putting away of differences is there? How much turning from worldliness? Instead leaders are going after their doctorates at non-SDA institutions rather than seeking to become better acquainted with the truths in Holy Scripture. They are advocating celebration services, rock music, disrespect for the Sabbath, an emaciated gospel that doesn’t give victory, etc. But God will work, behind the scenes if He has to, in order to prepare a generation of leaders of that kind of quality and character to lead out in the finishing work. Men of the Bible, men who know the truth, men whose hearts are warmed with the coals off the alter of God. It will be men and women who have consecrated hearts, who have surrendered their innermost souls to Christ for purification and righteousness, who weep and sigh for the abominations done in the church. They may not be in leadership positions now, they may not have their doctoral degrees, but they will be under the unction of the Holy Ghost.

Listen to this: “As the time comes for [the message of the third angel] to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power—all will be unmasked. GC 606.

Notice that it is not the men of literary distinction that will then lead out in the finishing work. It will be men of experience in Holy Scriptures and who have been training in the school of Christ. Oh how important it is for young people to gain their training in scripture. How can we send our young people to schools that can never teach them the ways of God and the truths of His Holy Word! Why is it that so many Adventist youth are not entering the work of God? Could it be that we are sending them to schools with the Adventist name only, where they are being trained to be skeptics, with no experience in vital truths? Are our Universities training them to be leaders in rebellion to God and to support the status quo, while avoiding the necessary preparation of themselves and their churches for the coming crisis? Oh I am thankful for a school like Hartland College, where the youth are being prepared to know the truth and to stand for it, and being trained to win souls.

Oh brothers and sisters. Let us, by the grace of God, get ready for the crisis that is coming. Work to be among those that sigh and cry for the abominations done in the church. Be among those that weep between the porch and the alter. Do what you can to warn others of their dangers. Plead with God to take the reigns in His own hands and finish His work. But let Him decide what to do with the structure and its determined resistance of the truth.

No, you don’t have to be a member of the GCSDA structure to be saved. There is a place for wisely managed home churches or self-supporting churches. Nor is it necessary for you to send the money which God has entrusted to you into corrupt channels. It is not necessary to justify a self-supporting church on the basis that the GCSDA is now Babylon. Let us pray. Let us witness. Most importantly, let us prepare ourselves for spiritual maturity and leadership when God especially needs us in the coming struggle, when the structure is swept away or is no longer able to function. Oh, don’t forget to witness your faith to others. And let us do all we can to uphold the truth and oppose apostasy. God bless you and keep you is my prayer.