A. Balbach




Published by:

Northwestern Publishing Association

5770 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Sacramento, CA 95820


Table of Contents


History Is Being Repeated

Questions for Believers in the Threefold Message

I - How far does connection with Christ involve connection with the church of our fathers?

II - Since the nominal churches became Babylon, has God still used them?

III - Where does God have faithful souls?

IV - On what condition would the church continue standing in God's favor?

V - How does the SDA Church as a denomination stand in the presence of God in these last days? How is her future position and fate described?

VI - Is the Adventist Church doing the work that she was called to do?

VII - Is the Adventist Church the last remnant?

VIII - For how long can the two classes of Adventists stay together in one religious body? Until the coming of Christ? Until the close of probation? Until the final test? When does the shaking process begin? When must it be completed?

IX - How is the triumph of the remnant church described?

X - No new organization

XI – The church of God on earth: right and wrong concepts


 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31,32



With the help of the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, we are here giving the reasons for the position taken by the SDA Reform Movement in the controversy that is going on among believers in the threefold message of Revelation 14.

We do not expect everyone to agree with us, but we assume that the honest ones will heed the light that God sent to His people through the ministry of E. G. White. In this hope we ask the reader to please consider prayerfully the messages, the warnings, and the prophetic picture that belong to all Adventists. Those who are seriously interested in their salvation -- we take it for granted -- will read this booklet more than once.

It is not our purpose to criticize those who decide to join the official establishment, which is often called the SDA "mother church." We want to assure them that we love them and respect their conscience and their freedom of choice. But, in the interest of their salvation, we must recommend them to examine their reasons in the light of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy to make sure whether their reasons and arguments are valid.

The Adventist denomination is rent into factions by conflicting theological tenets. The inroads of the New Theology are visible everywhere, and minds are being "confused by many divergent voices." Not all can see what is going on in the church. The great majority seems to feel that, as long as they are affiliated with the church, they are safe; but to the faithful few it is evident that there is "a removing of the landmarks and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith" (7BC 985).

We have no assurance of salvation if we overlook an important distinction: "Joining the church is one thing, and connecting with Christ is quite another. Not all the names registered in the church books are registered in the Lamb's book of life." 5T 278. Jesus said, "No man cometh to the Father but by me." John 14:6. The first thing that we must make sure of is our connection with Christ. "It is not a profession of faith or a name registered in the church book that constitutes us children of God. It is a vital connection with Christ. We must be one with him, imbued with his Spirit, partakers of the divine nature, crucified to the world with its affections and lusts, renewed in knowledge and true holiness." RH November 12, 1914. But there is no doubt that connection with Christ involves connection with His church.

We repeat, however, that connection with the church is not enough. "There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads." 5T 214. Will they have a place in the kingdom? No! "Only those who receive the seal of the living God will have the passport through the gates of the Holy City." 7BC 970. If we want to be sealed with the mark of God, we must meet a condition: "Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those 'that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done' in the church." 3T 267. Not only that. Before the close of probation, they must leave the church where open sin and sinners are tolerated with "all the abominations" for which the faithful few are sighing and crying. "The angel is to place a mark upon the forehead of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and [then] the destroying angel will follow, to slay utterly both old and young." 5T 505.

If anyone from the SDA Reform Movement comes and says he will not keep quiet, but will sigh and cry aloud, because he is convinced of his duty based on 3T 267 and 5T 505, will the Adventist Church fellowship him and give him access to the pulpit? Of course not, you will say. If, however, a SDA Reformer decides to join the SDA Church with the intention of keeping quiet and refraining from the duty to openly "sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the church" (3T 267), would he be a candidate for the seal of God? The Spirit of Prophecy says No! As you can see, this dilemma is one of the reasons why an SDA Reformer will not easily change church affiliation, unless he is not sure of what he is doing.

We are not attacking or defending a denomination. Our first concern is to establish a clear distinction between right and wrong concepts. We want to attack error and defend the truth--no matter where it may be found.

The Editor

P.S. - All emphasis is added. For lack of space, we have used only short quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy, often with ellipses. We recommend the reading of the whole context from which these quotations have been taken.



Christ delivered a sermon -- the discourse on the Bread of Life -- which was to bring a test upon the disciples in order to separate the chaff from the wheat. "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." John 6:66.

"They had made their choice -- had taken the form without the spirit, the husk without the kernel. Their decision was never afterward reversed; for they walked no more with Jesus.... A different spirit took control of them.... They sought out His enemies, for they were in harmony with their spirit and work." DA 392.

"Many are still doing the same thing." DA 392.

Without using persuasive words in an effort to hold back those who were leaving Him, Christ turned to the twelve with the question: "Will ye also go away?"

Then Peter, speaking in the name of the twelve, said: "Lord, to whom shall we go?" "Thou hast the words of eternal life." "We believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." John 6:67-69.

As "we cannot now comprehend the works and ways of God," we are sad when we see people leaving the church. Of course, the loss of souls is not a cause for rejoicing. But we should bear in mind what the Lord said in Isaiah 55:8:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways."

The preliminary test that Jesus allowed to come upon the disciples in Galilee was not without a purpose. By causing them to go through a shaking, the Lord "smoothed the way for the disciples, prepared them for their crowning trial, and strengthened them for the final test." DA 394. In behalf of those who belong to Him, He is still doing this kind of work today in view of the tests and shakings that they must face.

As a fulfillment of prophecy, the Adventist people are divided in almost every country. "Unless they shall become Christians indeed, they will go from weakness to weakness, divisions will increase, and many souls will be led to perdition.... Take up the light which God has given you and follow it at any cost to yourselves. This is your only safety.... The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the expressed will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps." 5T 93, 94. "History is being repeated" (PK 177), especially now, during the closing work of the gospel (2TT 363). Consider, from the pen of E. G. White, the following prophetic vision concerning the state of the church before the close of probation:

"August 3, 1861, the condition of God’s people was presented before me. Many failed in coming up to the standard set up by our Saviour. They are in an alarming condition, not careful to examine the foundation of their hope, but are indifferent to their state and self-deceived….

"Those who separate from God and lose their spirituality do not fall back all at once into a state which the true Witness calls lukewarm. They conform to the world little by little. As its influence steals upon them, they fail to resist it and maintain the warfare. After the first step is taken to have friendship with the world, darkness follows, and they are prepared for the next. At every step they take in the downward course darkness gathers about them, until they are enshrouded.

"As they conform to the world they lose the transforming influence of the Spirit of God. They do not realize their distance from God. They think themselves in good case because they profess to believe the truth. They grow weaker and weaker, until the Spirit of God is withdrawn and God bids His angels, Let them alone! ….

"They realize no change. Their profession is the same. There has not been so glaring a departure from the appearance of right. They had become so assimilated to the world that when heaven’s light was withdrawn they did not miss it…. Unfaithful Sabbath-keepers are the worst enemies the truth can have….

"God will have a separate and peculiar people. Their faith is peculiar. Their prospects are peculiar and glorious. And if they do not consider the heavenly inducement offered them of sufficient value to lead them to renounce the fashions of the world, when God rises up to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, they must perish with them….. God’s people will be tested and proved." RH November 26, 1861.

We are now going through a testing time. In the present crisis, God is proving every believer in the threefold message. There is a reason why the Advent people are divided among themselves. Therefore, the words of Peter ("Lord, to whom shall we go?") will certainly sound familiar in the mind of many faithful Adventist brethren, who will have some serious questions.


I - How far does connection with Christ involve connection with the church of our fathers?

  1. The Holy Spirit guides honest souls into all truth (John 16:13), putting them in connection with the church (Acts 2:47), which is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). The church of the living God is an organized body, as suggested by the following symbols:

  1. a flock and a fold, not scattered sheep (John 10:16; 11:52)
  2. one loaf of bread, not scattered grains of wheat (1 Corinthians 10:17)
  3. a building, not scattered stones (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5)
  4. a body composed of many members, not scattered bones (1 Corinthians 22:12-27; Ephesians 4:15, 16; Colossians 2:19)
  5. a candlestick, not some isolated or scattered lamps (Zechariah 4:2; Revelation 1:20)
  6. a fig tree, not isolated twigs (Luke 13:6-9)
  7. a vine with many branches attached to it, not separated branches (John 15:1-5)
  8. an army, not a disorganized mob (Songs of Solomon 6:10)

"Christ and His church are inseparable." 3T 418.

"Connection with Christ, then, involves connection with His church." Ed 263.

  1. What must happen in case of apostasy in the church? What pattern of procedure does history teach us?
  2. "When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth .... Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times those who are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience." DA 232.

    Please reread the quotation from 5T 93, 94. What are we to do where the church is divided through apostasy? What is our only safety if our eyes are open to see the difference between right and wrong? "Take up the light which God has given you and follow it at any cost to yourselves." We have the example of our forefathers in the faith:

    "After a long and severe conflict, the faithful decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry.... If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war. Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God's professed people." GC 45, 46.

    "Even if they have to walk as did Enoch -- with God alone -- His children must be separate from those who do not obey Him." 2BC 1037.

    "Christ calls for unity. But He does not call for us to unify on wrong practices." 1SM 175.

    "We have a testing message to give, and I am instructed to say to our people, 'Unify, unify.' But we are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." 3SM 412.

    "Let the watchmen on the walls of Zion not join with those who are making of none effect the truth as it is in Christ." 4BC 1141.

    Adventists know that God does not endorse unconditional affiliation, but one thing is not clear to all: Where does the "established church," that is often called the "mother church," stand in the present controversy between truth and error within the denomination? There are faithful ones who know what is going on in the ranks of those who have received much light. What must they do when they see that truth and righteousness are being compromised by the church (GC 45, 46)? That the church, as a body, does not obey God (2BC 1037)? That the leadership is departing from the faith and giving heed to satanic doctrines (3SM 412)? That the watchmen on the walls of Zion are making of none effect the truth as it is in Jesus (4BC 1141)? Keep this question in mind. We will revert to it further ahead.

  3. Does Christ have true worshipers who are not connected with His church or with any church at all?

Yes, He does. "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd." John 10:16. Read also John 11:52; Revelation 18:4.

a) In heathen lands and in Catholic countries

"Among earth's inhabitants, scattered in every land, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Like the stars of heaven, which appear only at night, these faithful ones will shine forth when darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and South America, in China, in India, in the islands of the sea, and in all the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones…" PK 188, 189,

b) In the nominal Christian churches

"Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ's true followers are still to be found in their communion." GC 390.

"God has jewels in all the churches, and it is not for us to make sweeping denunciation of the professed religious world." 4BC 1134.

In a time of great apostasy in Israel, Elijah tried to number the people of God. How many did he find? "He could count only one on the Lord's side." PK 189. But the Lord revealed to him that there were seven thousand more who the prophet did not count. We should take a warning from Elijah's short-sighted and self-deluded assumption.

"Then let no man attempt to number Israel today, but let every one have a heart of flesh, a heart of tender sympathy, a heart that, like the heart of Christ, reaches out for the salvation of a lost world." PK 189.

II - Since the nominal churches became Babylon, has God still used them?

  1. Who is translating, publishing, and distributing the most important book -- the Bible --which is to be used in the finishing of the work?
  2. This essential work is done mostly by the Protestants, and we are required to distribute publications containing the threefold message of Revelation 14, acting "upon the great plan of liberality" adopted by the Bible societies (1T 689, 690).

  3. Who established foreign missions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the islands of the sea, with great sacrifices, opening the way for the threefold message?

"It was… the power of the Holy Spirit that… made successful the efforts of the noble men and women who pioneered the way for the establishment of modern missions and for the translation of the Bible into the languages and dialects of all nations and peoples." AA 53.

"These prophecies [of Isaiah 60:1-4, 10, 11; 45:22] of a great spiritual awakening in a time of gross darkness are today meeting fulfillment in the advancing lines of mission stations that are reaching out into the benighted regions of the earth." PK 375.

"Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, yet they will not perish…. They are recognized as the children of God." DA 638.

"From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth." AA 11.

A comparison between 1 Timothy 3:15 (3T 413; Ed 268) and John 10:16 (PK 188, 189; GC 390; AA 53; PK 375; DA 638; AA 11) shows that the terms "people of God," "children of God," "true followers of Christ," "faithful ones," etc. do not refer exclusively to Seventh-day Adventists or to SDA Reformers. Even the word "church" does not always have one and the same meaning.

III - Where does God have faithful souls?

Only faithful souls will be saved. Revelation 2:10. Where are they? Everywhere -- not only among believers in the threefold message -- but everywhere.

Does that mean that those who know the present truth, according to Revelation 14:6-12, can join anyone of the fallen churches in the hope of being saved among "Christ's true followers" (GC 390) in Babylon? Not at all. Faithful Catholics are responsible for the light that they have. Faithful Protestants are responsible for the light that they have. Faithful Adventists are responsible for the light that they have. And faithful SDA Reformers are responsible for the light that they have. Turning back from the truth already possessed and professed, in order to believe error, is a very dangerous step. God overlooks innocent ignorance, but not voluntary blindness.

"God has a people upon this earth. Who are they? They are those who will purify their souls by obeying the truth as it is in Jesus." GC Bulletin, April 20, 1901, p. 123.

"The angels of heaven are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. We know not now who they are; it is not yet made manifest who shall overcome and share the inheritance of the saints in light." DA 639.

"We know not who are the chosen of God only as they reveal the education they have received from the Father and the Son, through the Holy Spirit." SpT, Series B, No. 7, p. 45.

We have no assurance of salvation through a church. We can be saved only through Christ (John 14:6), who does not promise the kingdom to any denomination as such, but only to those who do God's will. Matthew 7:21; Luke 12:32; 2 Peter 1:2-11. However, if we are faithful, submitting to the control of the Holy Spirit, He will guide us into all truth (John 16:13) and lead us into the remnant church of God. Acts 2:47.

Who qualifies to be God's remnant according to the above definition? (GC Bulletin, April 20, 1901). We will discuss this question later.

IV - On what condition would the church continue standing in God's favor?

If we do not comply with the conditions, but take God's prophetic promises unconditionally, like our Catholic friends do with some chosen Bible verses (Matthew 16:18; 28:20; John 14:16-18; Ephesians 5:25-27), then we deceive ourselves.

"Jesus is coming; and will He find a people conformed to the world? And will He acknowledge these as His people that He has purified unto Himself ? Oh, no. None but the pure and holy will He acknowledge as His." 1T 133.

"We cannot be half the Lord's and half the world's. We are not God's people unless we are such entirely." 5T 83.

"We are decided, whole hearted Christians, or none at all." 1T 126.

"The church is God's agency for the proclamation of truth, empowered by Him to do a special work; and if she is loyal to Him, obedient to all His commandments, there will dwell within her the excellency of divine grace. If she will be true to her allegiance, if she will honor the Lord God of Israel, there is no power that can stand against her." AA 600.

In case these "ifs" mean nothing to us -- if we as Adventists think we will stand in the favor of God and enter into the kingdom unconditionally -- then we must be greatly deceived, and there is no greater deception than self-deception. What will happen to us as a people if we overlook the conditions?

"If most earnest vigilance is not manifested at the great heart of the work to protect the interests of the cause, the church will become corrupt as the churches of other denominations." 4T 513 (Compare with 4T 210).

"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.

"Neglect to repent and obey His word will bring as serious consequences upon God's people today as did the same sin upon ancient Israel. There is a time limit beyond which He will no longer delay His judgments." 4T 166, 167.

"The result of Israel's sin is before us. Will the church of today take the warning?" COL 306.

"Outward opposition will not cause the faith of God's people, who are keeping His commandments, to become dim. But the neglect to bring purity and truth into practice will grieve the Spirit of God and weaken them because God is not in their midst to bless. Internal corruption will bring the denunciations of God upon this people as it did upon Jerusalem." 2SM 378.

These Spirit of Prophecy references portray our great concern about ourselves and our Adventist brethren in general. We think especially of those who ignore the serious questions which must be raised in the light of the statements quoted in this section. If we are sure that we are fulfilling the conditions, then we are on the right track. But what if we do not even want to discuss this question? Where is our assurance?

V - How does the SDA Church as a denomination stand in the presence of God in these last days? How is her future position and fate described?

1. Since the days of E. G. White...

"I have been shown that the spirit of the world is fast leavening the church. You are following the same path as did ancient Israel. There is the same falling away from your holy calling as God's peculiar people.... Your neglect to follow the light will place you in a more unfavorable position than the Jews upon whom Christ pronounced a woe." 5T 75, 76 (1882).

"When God shall work His strange work on the earth, when holy hands bear the ark no longer, woe will be upon the people. Oh, that thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace'. Oh, that our people may, as did Nineveh, repent with all their might and believe with all their heart, that God may turn away His fierce anger from them." 5T 77, 78.

"The church has turned back from following Christ her leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt." 5T 217 (1882).

"God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth.... But very few of those who have received the light are doing the work entrusted to them.... The sins that control the world have come into the churches and into the hearts of those who claim to be God's peculiar people.... The same disobedience and failure which were seen in the Jewish church have characterized in a greater degree the people who have had this great light from heaven in the last messages of warning." 5T 455, 456 (1885).

"The church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst." MS 156, 1898.

"Why is there so dim a perception of the true spiritual condition of the church?.... One who sees beneath the surface, who reads the hearts of all men, says of those who have had great light: (Isaiah 66:1, 4; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 10, 12 quoted).

"The heavenly Teacher inquired: 'What stronger delusion can beguile the mind than the pretense that you are building on the right foundation and that God accepts your works, when in reality you are working out many things according to worldly policy and are sinning against Jehovah? Oh, it is a great deception,…’

"Who can truly say: '0ur gold is tried in the fire; our garments are unspotted by the world’? I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments of so-called righteousness. Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement beneath. Then He said to me: ‘Can you not see how they have pretentiously covered up their defilement and rottenness of character? How is the faithful city become a harlot! My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed! For this cause there is weakness and strength is lacking.’" 8T 248-250 (1903).

"The central power of the earth is a demon. His throne is in the midst of the world, where should have been seen the throne of God. He has been patronized by the church, for the church has been conformed to the world, and is living in transgression of the holy law of God." This Day With God, p. 23 (1900).

"The line of demarcation between worldlings and many professed Christians is almost indistinguishable. Many who once were earnest Adventists are conforming to the world -- to its practices, its customs, its selfishness. Instead of leading the world to render obedience to God's law, the church is uniting more and more closely with the world in transgression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world." 8T 118, 119 (1903).

"On every hand we see those who have had much light and knowledge deliberately choosing evil in the place of good. Making no attempt to reform, they are growing worse and worse." 7T 62 (1900).

In previous pages we read that, although "Christ calls for unity" 1SM 175), God's children "must be separate from those who do not obey Him" (2BC 1037). What shall we do then if we see that the church as a denomination refuses to obey God and that her spiritual condition has been deteriorating over a period of many years? Shall we, contrary to God's command, insist on being united with her unconditionally?

2. Toward the end...

What does prophecy say? Will the Adventist Church, as a denomination, be purified by obeying God's program for a genuine reformation? If the prophetic answer is Yes, then we must all, as believers in the threefold message, be united with her. But what if the answer is No? If we choose to ignore the prophetic picture which shows the true situation of the church when the door of probation is about to close, we deceive ourselves. The Spirit of Prophecy says:

"Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God.... Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is.

"Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much." TM 409, 410.

"There will be seducing spirits and doctrines of devils in the midst of the church, and these evil influences will increase." Therefore: "God now calls for all who choose to serve Him, to stand firmly on the platform of eternal truth." RH August 9, 1906.

"Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature." 2STB 16.

What must we do when we see these things in the church?

"We have a testing message to give, and I am instructed to say to our people, 'Unify, unify.' But we are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. With our hearts sweet and kind and true, we are to go forth to proclaim the message, giving no heed to those who lead away from the truth." 3SM 412.

Those who insist that they must remain united with the mother church unconditionally, until the close of probation, should give serious consideration to the following prophecy:

"In the time when [God's] wrath shall go forth, pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect." 5T 210, 211.

When we see this situation in the Adventist mother church, shall we still remain united with her, hoping against hope that she will still be reformed and restored to the favor of God? What is our duty in this case?

"Let the watchmen on the walls of Zion not join with those who are making of none effect the truth as it is in Christ." 4BC 1141.

3. After the close of probation...

"It is impossible to tell what might have been the character and condition of the church today, had its members been doing the works of Christ ....

"The people of God might be far in advance of what they are now, if they would sincerely and perseveringly connect daily with Christ ....

"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.' At that time Jesus said, ... 'And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim'....

"Shall the Lord be compelled to say, 'Pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.'?" - RH August 1, 1893.

(The words in parentheses, after "Capernaun," were added by E. G. White. Please check the original article published in the Review and Herald of August 1, 1893.)

There is a parallel between the default of ancient Israel and the failure of modern Israel.

"When God’s presence was finally withdrawn from the Jewish nation, priests and people knew it not. Though under the control of Satan, and swayed by the most horrible and malignant passions, they still regarded themselves as the chosen of God. The ministration in the temple continued; sacrifices were offered upon its polluted altars, and daily the divine blessing was invoked upon a people guilty of the blood of God's dear Son and seeking to slay His ministers and apostles. So when the irrevocable decision of the sanctuary has been pronounced and the destiny of the world has been forever fixed, the inhabitants of the earth will know it not. The forms of religion will be continued by a people from whom the Spirit of God has been finally withdrawn; and the satanic zeal with which the prince of evil will inspire them for the accomplishment of his malignant designs, will bear the semblance of zeal for God." GC 615.

"Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him [while the door of probation was still open]. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking." 5T 210.

"The class [the Adventist Church known by this name, the official establishment or organization, is only a class of Adventists] who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension nor mourn over the sins of others will be left without the seal of God.... Ezekiel 9: 5, 6 [quoted].

"Here we see that the church -- the Lord's sanctuary -- was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust." 5T 211.

"Those who receive the pure mark of truth... are those 'that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done' in the church.... Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel.... The general slaughter of those who do not thus see the wide contrast between sin and righteousness, and do not feel as those do who stand in the counsel of God and receive the mark, is described in the order to the five men with slaughtering weapons." 3T 267.

"As the priests and rulers, full of indignation and terror, sought refuse in flight at the last scene of the cleansing of the temple, so will it be in the work for these last days. The woes that will be pronounced upon those that have had light from heaven, and yet did not heed it, they will feel, but will have no power to act. This is represented in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins." SpT, Series A, No. 7, p. 99.

As the reader can see, these prophetic statements do not teach that the official establishment, the church, will be purified before the end in order to receive the latter rain. But God will have a faithful remnant.

VI - Is the Adventist Church doing the work that she was called to do?

In previous pages, we considered the following declaration of the Spirit of Prophecy:

"God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth." 5T 455.

No believer in the threefold message will deny that the Adventist Church was entrusted with a solemn message which includes the truth about the eternal law of God, about the Sabbath (the seal of God), about the sanctuary, about the righteousness of Christ, about Christ's second coming etc. This message also includes a special warning to Babylon, the fallen churches, and to the world in general.

God has called modern Israel, as He had called ancient Israel, to be "a light in the earth." But what has happened?

"The same disobedience and failure which were seen in the Jewish church have characterized in a greater degree the people who have had this great light from heaven in the last messages of warning." 5T 456.

What message can we give to Babylon if we adopt some of the characteristics of Babylon? Let us not deceive ourselves.

"We are in danger of becoming a sister of fallen Babylon, a cage of every unclean and hateful bird..." Letter 51, 1886 (Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, p. 188).

This is more than a warning; this is a prophecy:

"Through union with the world the church will become corrupt -- 'a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’" RH February 26, 1895.

"When the Saviour saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, He saw also a professed Christian church united to the world and the papacy." RH October 8, 1901.

If this is the condition of the denomination, is she qualified to finish the work of God on earth? What does the Spirit of Prophecy say?

"Christ longs to work mightily by His Spirit for the conviction and conversion of sinners. But, according to His divine plan, the work must be performed through the instrumentality of His church; and her members have so far departed from Him that He cannot accomplish His will through them. He chooses to work by means, yet the means employed must be in harmony with His character." 5T 189.

"The church has long been contented with little of the blessings of God; they have not felt the need of reaching up to the exalted privileges purchased for them at infinite cost. Their spiritual strength has been feeble, their experience of a dwarfed and crippled character, and they are not qualified for the work the Lord would have them to do." TM 175.

Therefore, we firmly believe that the work of God on earth will be finished, not by the established organization, but by faithful believers in the threefold message.

"The world needs evidences of sincere Christianity. The poison of sin is at work at the heart of society.... The world is full of sickness, suffering, and iniquity.... The gospel of truth is kept ever before them, yet they perish, because the example of those who should be a savor of life to them is a savor of death." PK 232.

"The great question to be investigated, weighed, and decided is, What can I do to reach souls that are lost? God calls for a work to be done by Seventh-day Adventists that I need not define. Unless the work is first done in their own hearts, all the specific directions that might be given to point out their course of action will be labor in vain." TM 125.

"This is an age of almost universal apostasy; and those who claim to hold advanced truth mislead the churches when they do not give evidence that their character and works harmonize with the divine truth." TM 151.

"I was shown in vision some things that concern the church generally.... I saw the distinction between the two roads, also the distinction between the companies traveling them.... I saw many traveling in the broad road who had the words written upon them: 'Dead to the world. The end of all things is at hand. Be ye also ready.' They looked just like all the vain ones around them.... They were in the broad way, yet they professed to be of the number who were traveling the narrow way. Those around them would say: ‘There is no distinction between us. We are alike; we dress, and talk, and act alike.’" 1T 127, 128.

When the majority in Israel bowed down to a Moabite deity, it was said that "Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel." Numbers 25:3. Therefore, when the great majority of a denomination (leadership and people) is in apostasy, then it must be said that the church is in apostasy.

"Satan... leads those who should be waiting and watching to take an advance step toward the world... thus step after step is taken toward the world, until all the difference between them and the world is a profession, a name only." 1T 193.

In an early vision, E. G. White was shown the future condition of the church, which she described, prophetically, as follows:

"I was shown the state of God's professed people.... Many were cherishing idols in their hearts.... I saw but few who stood in the light.... Satan exults at his success in controlling the minds of so many who profess to be Christians. He has deceived them, benumbed their sensibilities, and planted his hellish banner right in their midst.... Like ancient Israel the church has dishonored her God by departing from the light.... Her members have violated their covenant to live for God and Him only... and Christ has departed. His Spirit has been quenched in the church." 2T 439-442.

We are very sorry to see this situation in the mother church. But we cannot close our eyes, as some do, and pretend that there is nothing wrong with her. Prophecy and facts must match together. And what is the unavoidable consequence of the apostasy mentioned in the many Spirit of Prophecy statements quoted above? The presence of God is withdrawn (2T 442; MS 156, 1898; 8T 250; 5T 210; GC 615).

"He [God] will take His Holy Spirit from the church and give it to others." RH July 16, 1895.

"Without the Spirit and power of God it will be in vain that we labor to present the truth." 5T 158.

At this point the question will come up: If the official denomination, as a church, is not spiritually qualified to finish the work of God on earth, then who will give the final warning? God will use only a small remnant of faithful believers in the fulfillment of Revelation 18:1-4.

"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. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren.... In this time of persecution the faith of the Lord's servants will be tried. They have faithfully given the warning.... They remember that the words which they have spoken were not theirs, but His who bade them give the warning." GC 608, 609.

When we put these prophetic statements together, it is clear to us that the "church" from whom God withdraws His Holy Spirit is the "large class" of Adventists and that the "others" to whom the Holy Spirit is given are the "former brethren" -- a remnant of faithful Adventists.

This faithful remnant constitutes "the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory, and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon." "These announcements, uniting with the third angel's message, constitute the final warning to be given to the inhabitants of the earth." GC 604. Several Spirit of Prophecy statements say that the light of the angel of Revelation 18, represented by a faithful few, began to shine in 1888.

"If we would receive the light of the glorious angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, let us see to it that our hearts are cleansed, emptied of self, and turned toward heaven, that they may be ready for the latter rain. Let us be obtaining a fitting up to join in the proclamation of the angel who shall lighten the earth with his glory." ST August 1, 1892.

VII - Is the Adventist Church the last remnant?

From the evidence examined so far, the reader will realize that the official establishment is not the last remnant. In the large denomination God has faithful souls who are sighing and crying for all the abominations that are practiced in the church (3T 267). These certainly belong to the remnant, and, in spirit, we are one with them. Although no more statements would be needed to show the distinction between the two classes (the great majority and the small minority), we will consider a few more passages hereunder.

"Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant shall be saved." Romans 9:27.

"I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved.... Modern Israel are in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than were His ancient people.... The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us is a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they." 1T 608, 609.

"Thank God, all will not be rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. There will be faithful ones who will discern the signs of the times. While a large number professing present truth will deny their faith by their works, there will be some who will endure unto the end." 5T 10.

"The true people of God... will... feel most deeply the wrongs of God's professed people." 3T 266.

The denominational majority: "A company was presented before me under the name of Seventh-day Adventists, who were advising that the banner or sign which makes us a distinctive people should not be held out so strikingly; for they claimed it was not the best policy in securing success to our institutions." 2SM 385.

A small remnant: "I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body." EW 258.

"Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God.... They will show the people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins." TM 411.

"Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those that ‘sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’ in the church." 3T 267.

This same condition was revealed to E. G. White in this other vision:

"The end of all things is at hand.... The Spirit of God is moving upon men's hearts.... And as they let their light shine, they receive more and more of the Spirit's power. The earth is lighted with the glory of God. But, 0, sad picture! ... He will take his Holy Spirit from the church and give it to others who will appreciate it. There is no greater evidence that those who have received great light do not appreciate that light than is given in their refusal to let their light shine upon those who are in darkness.... The absence of harmony with God becomes apparent. The light grows dim, goes out; the candlestick has been removed." RH July 16, 1895.

In the Spirit of Prophecy, the term "church" often designates both classes together. Sometimes, however, it may refer either to the small remnant (the faithful minority) or to the large denomination (the unreformed majority). Compare these statements :

"In the hour of the church's greatest danger most fervent prayer will be offered in her behalf by the faithful remnant." 5T 524.

"At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying... especially... in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world.... Some who had been dishonoring. God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel [the Laodicean church]; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking....

"While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God's honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any.... They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect….

"The abominations for which the faithful ones were sighing and crying were all that could be discerned by finite eyes, but the worst sins, those which provoked the jealousy of the pure and holy God, were unrevealed....

"No superiority of rank, dignity, or worldly wisdom, no position in sacred office, will preserve men from sacrificing principle when left to their own deceitful hearts. Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ringleaders in apostasy and examples in indifference and in the abuse of God's mercies. Their wicked course He will tolerate no longer, and in His wrath deals with them without mercy....

"When the time of trouble comes, every case is decided: there is no longer probation, no longer mercy for the impenitent. The seal of the living God is upon His people. This small remnant… make God their defense." 5T 209-213.

"The remnant church will be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects; he has gained control of the apostate churches, but here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy." 5T 472, 473.

Hereunder is another clear distinction between the small remnant church and the Adventist mother church after the close of probation:

"A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob's trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. The 144,000 triumphed.

"Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, 'Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.' I asked who this company were. The angel said, 'These are they who once kept the Sabbath and have given it up.' I heard them cry with a loud voice, 'We have believed in Thy coming and taught it with energy.' And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters and fouled the residue with their feet -- trodden the Sabbath underfoot -- and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting." EW 36, 37.

For the identification of this "company" who were "found wanting," please read two statements from the Spirit of Prophecy quoted before: 2SM 385 and 8T 247.

While the large denomination will be hit by the stroke of the wrath of God (5T 211), the remnant church will be protected: "The day of wrath to the enemies of God is the day of final deliverance to His church.... the remnant church." PK 727, 728.

Needless to repeat, the Adventist mother church will not be protected: "Here [in Ezekiel 9:5, 6] we see that the church -- the Lord's sanctuary -- was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God." 5T 211.

The distinction between the two Adventist companies -- each of which is called "the church," even after the close of probation, as can be seen by comparing PK 727-728 with 5T 211 -- is further described as follows:

"Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought that it was thunder and an earthquake.... At our happy, holy state the wicked were enraged.... Then it was that the synagogue of Satan knew that God had loved us ... and they worshiped at our feet." EW 15.

"You think that those who worship at the saints' feet (Rev. 3:9) will at last be saved. Here I must differ with you; for God shewed [sic] me that this class were professed Adventists, who had fallen away, and crucified to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame. And 'in the hour of temptation' which is yet to come, to show out every one's true character, they will know that they are forever lost; and, overwhelmed with anguish of spirit, they will bow at the saints I feet." -- A Word to the Little Flock, p. 12.

These statements are sufficient to prove: (1) That, in the end, the Adventist people are divided, basically, into two companies or churches; and (2) That the large denomination, the mother church, is not the last remnant.

VIII - For how long can the two classes of Adventists stay together in one religious body? Until the coming of Christ? Until the close of probation? Until the final test? When does the shaking process begin? When must it be completed?

In the study of the prophetic picture, we are now turning back from the close of probation to our present days. E. G. White wrote:

"It is a solemn statement that I make to the church, that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner.... So many have brought into the church their own unsubdued spirit, unrefined; their spiritual taste is perverted by their own immoral, debasing corruptions, symbolizing the world in spirit, in heart, in purpose.... Those who claim to be Christians and will confess Christ should come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing, and be separate." ChS 41.

1. The beginning of the sifting process

"God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the [faithful] flock Himself.... God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. Those who have rendered supreme homage to ‘science falsely so called’ will not be the leaders [of the true flock) then. Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the faithful flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view." 5T 80.

"The separation causes pain and bitterness to both parties. It is the variance which Christ declares that He came to bring. But the converted will feel a continual longing desire that their friends shall forsake all for Christ, knowing that, unless they do, there will be a final and eternal separation." 5T 83.

"0 that all might repent and do their first works. When the churches do this, ... Ephraim will not envy Judah, and Judah will not vex Ephraim. Divisions will then be healed ...." 1SM 385.

Reconciliation between the two companies would be possible only on condition of repentance, which necessarily involves a reformation. But as the Adventist mother church has gone too far in the wrong direction, and as, from a prophetic standpoint, there is no hope for her as a church (3T 267; 5T 209-212), the faithful few realize that the predicted separation is unavoidable.

"The time will come when it must be said of the impenitent, 'Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone.' Will the church see where she has fallen?" RH December 23, 1890.

"Here are plainly represented two distinct parties, formed from a company that was once united. The members of one of these parties are in resistance to the will of God. They have taken themselves from the side of the loyal and true, and are now resisting the warnings of the Spirit of God. To the obedient the Lord will be for a sanctuary, but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both houses of Israel.... Notwithstanding all their knowledge of the Word of God, all their light and position as expositors of truth, many shall stumble, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken." RH July 18, 1907.

"The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith. And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith and take their stand with its avowed enemies, toward whom their sympathies have long been tending. These apostates will then manifest the most bitter enmity, doing all in their power to oppress and malign their former brethren and to excite indignation against them." 5T 463.

"Many who have had great light have not appreciated and improved it as it was their privilege to do. They have not practiced the truth. And because of this the Lord will bring in those who have lived up to all the light they have had. And those who have been privileged with opportunities to understand the truth and who have not obeyed its principles will be swayed by Satan's temptations for self-advancement. They will deny the principles of truth in practice and bring reproach upon the cause of God.

"Christ declares that He will spue these out of His mouth, and leave them to follow their own course of actions to distinguish themselves. This course of action does indeed make them prominent as men that are unfaithful householders.

"The Lord will give His message to those who have walked in accordance with the light they have had, and will recognize them as true and faithful, according to the measurement of God. These men will take the place of those who, having light and knowledge, have walked not in the way of the Lord, but in the imagination of their own unsanctified hearts." - Manuscript 97, 1898 (3SM 421, 422).

"God will arouse His people; if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat." GW 299.

"When the shaking comes, by the introduction of false theories" (TM 112), we may be so deceived that we will stand on the wrong side, with the apostatized majority, if we do not cultivate the habit of studying the Word of God daily, with prayer and meditation.

2. The end of the sifting process

"The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church." 5T 81.

"The time of the judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares. Those who have been members of the same family are separated. A mark is placed upon the righteous.... The righteous are those who keep the commandments of God, and they will be forever separated from the disobedient and unrighteous who trampled underfoot the law of God." TM 234, 236.

"When the work of the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the separation between good and evil, and the destiny of each class is forever fixed." COL 123.

"The angel is to place a mark upon the forehead of all who are separated from sin and sinners." 5T 505.

IX - How is the triumph of the remnant church described?

In chapter VII we saw that, not the unreformed mother church (5T 211), but the faithful remnant church (5T 213; 5T 472; 5T 524; PK 727, 728), will be protected from the wrath of God. This is the church triumphant. Her victory is described as follows:

"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. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port." 2SM 390.

"The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out -- the chaff separated from the precious wheat." 2SM 380.

"I am encouraged and blessed as I realize that the God of Israel is still guiding His people, and that He will continue to be with them, even to the end." 2SM 406.

Prophetic promises must not be misappropriated. We are no more entitled to misapply these last three Spirit of Prophecy statements in behalf of the mother church, that will become the target of God's wrath (3T 267; 5T 211-212), than do our Catholic friends have a right to misapply Matthew 16:18 and 28:20 in behalf of Rome. A misappropriation or misapplication of these statements – by putting them where they do not belong -- is one of the favorite deceptions of Satan.

X - No new organization

During the crisis caused by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who tried to institute a reorganization on a new and erroneous doctrinal basis (1904-1905), Sister White wrote:

"The Lord declared that the history of the past shall be rehearsed as we enter upon the closing work. Every truth that He has given for these last days is to be proclaimed to the world. Every pillar that He has established is to be strengthened. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth." 2SM 390.

"The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established." 1SM 204.

The new organization, or reorganization, that Dr. Kellogg wanted to bring in at that time (1904-1905) was not of God; God required a different kind of new organization or reorganization:

"The work all over our field demands an entirely different course of action than we have had. We have heard enough, abundance, about the 'everything must go around in the regular way.' When we see the regular lines are altered and purified and refined, and the God of heavens mold is upon the regular lines, then it is our business to establish the regular lines. But when we see... no change, just the same as it was before, then it is evident that new blood must be brought into the regular lines. The leaders of the regular lines, they must have an entire change, and entirely new organization." Spalding and Magan's Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies, pp. 165, 166 (remarks made by Sister White at the General Conference in 1901).

"A revival and a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from the spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices." ChS 42 (1902).

From these few statements, which must be compared with each other, we understand that: (a) a reformation, or reorganization, or new organization as proposed by Dr. Kellogg is forbidden; (b) a reformation, or reorganization, or new organization as God revealed to Sister White is required.

XI – The church of God on earth: right and wrong concepts

The Jews believed that, since they were the descendants of Abraham, they were the children of God. Catholic theology teaches a similar idea: "Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia" (Where Peter is, that’s where the church is). What does the Bible say?

It is a well-established biblical doctrine that lineal descent from the great patriarch or from an apostle of Jesus, without likeness of character, does not make us successors of these men of God. Likeness of character is the decisive factor. Read Matthew 3:9; John 9:39; Romans 9:6-8; 11:22; Galatians 3:7-9.

"The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as he did, a life of obedience to God…. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not his children.

"This principle bears with equal weight upon a question that has long agitated the Christian world--the question of apostolic succession. Descent from Abraham was proved, not by name and lineage, but by likeness of character. So the apostolic succession rests not upon the transmission of ecclesiastical authority, but upon spiritual relationship. A life actuated by the apostles' spirit, the belief and teaching of the truth they taught, this is the true evidence of apostolic succession. This is what constitutes men the successors of the first teachers of the gospel." – DA 466, 467.

The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy specify the conditions on which the Lord has promised to recognize us as His people. Jesus said:

"My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God and do it." Luke 8:2l.

"If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed." John 8:31.

"Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." John 15:14.

"He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." 2 John 9.

"A profession… is nothing in the sight of God; but true, humble, willing obedience to His requirements designates the children of His adoption." – 2T 441.

"God has a church…. It… is the people who love God and keep His commandments…. Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church." – UL 315.

"When we see men firm in principle, fearless in duty, zealous in the cause of God, yet humble and lowly, gentle and tender, patient toward all, ready to forgive, manifesting love for souls for whom Christ died, we do not need to inquire: Are they Christians? They give unmistakable evidence that they have been with Jesus and learned of Him." – 5T 224.

"Those who accept Christ as their personal Saviour are not left as orphans, to bear the trials of life alone. He receives them as members of the heavenly family; He bids them call His Father their Father…. He has toward them an exceeding tenderness, as far surpassing what our father or mother has felt toward us in our helplessness as the divine is above the human…. Christ loves the heavenly beings that surround His throne; but what shall account for the great love wherewith He has loved us? We cannot understand it, but we can know it true in our own experience. And if we do hold the relation of kinship to Him, with what tenderness should we regard those who are brethren and sisters of our Lord!.... Adopted into the family of God, should we not honor our Father and our kindred? -- DA 327.


"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, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities." -- The Upward Look, p. 131.

At the present time, the Adventist people are divided, but, before the close of probation, all honest ones will be brought together into one fold.

"Like will attract like. Those who are drinking from the same fountain of blessing will draw nearer together. Truth dwelling in the hearts of believers will lead to blessed and happy assimilation. Thus will be answered the prayer of Christ that His disciples might be one even as He is one with the Father. For this oneness every truly converted heart will be striving....

"The pure and base metal are now so mingled that only the discerning eye of the infinite God can with certainty distinguish between them. But the moral magnet of holiness and truth will attract together the pure metal, while it will repel the base and counterfeit." 5T 100, 101.

"As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks." 6T 400.

"God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth.... The light will shine, and all who are honest will leave the fallen churches and take their stand with the remnant." EW 261.


For further details on the subject discussed in this booklet, write to us applying for the book Differences between the SDA Church and the SDA Reform Movement. And for a still more advanced study we recommend the book A Turning Point in the History of Adventism.