Protestant History - 1840-1844 and Beyond
If you will turn with me to:
If you will turn with me to:
Ecclesiastes 3:15: "That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past."
This tells us "that which hath been," or that which has already occurred in history "is now" or is presently reoccurring now. And "that which is to be," or that which is yet future, "hath already been" or has already occurred in history. So if we look at historical events, and pay close attention to the details of what was taking place at that time, then we can know what is taking place presently and what is facing us in the near future. With this in mind, let us look at the history of Protestantism surrounding the years of 1840 to 1844, paying particular attention to the details outlined in the Spirit of Prophecy--an inspired source of history.
What was the condition of the churches of Protestantism before 1840?
Spirit of Prophecy, vol 4 (4SOP), p. 194-96: "Those who received the great blessings of the Reformation did not go forward in the path so nobly entered upon by them. A few faithful men arose from time to time, to proclaim new truth, and expose long-cherished error; but the majority, like the Jews in Christ's day, or the papists in the time of Luther, were content to believe as their fathers believed, and to live as they lived. Therefore religion again degenerated into formalism; and errors and superstitions which would have been cast aside had the church continued to walk in the light of God's word, were retained and cherished. Thus the spirit inspired by the Reformation gradually died out, until there was almost as great need of reform in the Protestant churches as in the Roman Church in the time of Luther. There was the same spiritual stupor, the same respect for the opinions of men, the same spirit of worldliness, the same substitution of human theories for the teachings of God's word. Pride and extravagance were fostered under the guise of religion. The churches became corrupted by allying themselves with the world. Thus were degraded the great principles for which Luther and his fellow-laborers had done and suffered so much.
"As Satan saw that he had failed to crush out the truth by persecution, he again resorted to the same plan of compromise which had led to the great apostasy and the formation of the church of Rome. He induced Christians to ally themselves, not now with pagans, but with those who, by their worship of the god of this world, as truly proved themselves idolaters. Satan could no longer keep the Bible from the people; it had been placed within the reach of all. But he led thousands to accept false interpretations and unsound theories, without searching the Scriptures to learn the truth for themselves. He had corrupted the doctrines of the Bible, and traditions which were to ruin millions were taking deep root. The church was upholding and defending these traditions, instead of contending for the faith once delivered to the saints....
"The Lord raised up men to investigate his work, to examine the foundation upon which the Christian world were building, and to raise the solemn inquiry, What is truth? Are we building upon the rock, or upon shifting sand?
"God saw that many of His professed people were not building for eternity; and in his care and love he was about to send a message of warning to arouse them from their stupor, and prepare them for the coming of their Lord. The warning was not to be intrusted to learned doctors of divinity or popular ministers of the gospel. Had these been faithful watchmen, diligently and prayerfully searching the Scriptures, they would have known the time of night; the prophecies of Daniel and John would have revealed to them the great events about to take place. If they had faithfully followed the light already given, some star of heavenly radiance would have been sent to guide them into all truth."
The Protestant churches were considered by God to be "His professed people" at that time. Did God leave His people in this wretched condition? No. He was going to send them a message of warning to try and arouse them from sleep. What was the message of warning that God sent to try to arouse His professed people to see their true condition?
4SOP 199-201: "Jesus sends his people a message of warning to prepare them for his coming. To the prophet John was made known the closing work in the great plan of man's redemption. He beheld an angel flying 'in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his Judgment is come; and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.'...
"Jesus saw His church, like the barren fig-tree, covered with pretentious leaves, yet destitute of precious fruit. There was a boastful observance of the forms of religion, while the spirit of true humility, penitence and faith--which alone could render the service acceptable to God--was lacking. Instead of the graces of the Spirit, there were manifested pride, formalism, vainglory, selfishness, oppression. A backsliding church closed their eyes to the signs of the times. God did not forsake them, or suffer his faithfulness to fail; but they departed from Him, and separated themselves from his love. As they refused to comply with the conditions, His promises were not fulfilled to them.
"Love for Christ and faith in his coming waxed cold. Such is the sure result of neglect to appreciate and improve the light and privileges which God bestows. Unless the church will follow on in his opening providence, accepting every ray of light, performing every duty which may be revealed, religion will inevitably degenerate into the observance of forms, and the spirit of vital godliness will disappear. This truth has been repeatedly illustrated in the history of the church. God requires of his people works of faith and obedience corresponding to the blessings and privileges bestowed. Obedience requires a sacrifice and involves a cross; and this is why so many of the professed followers of Christ refused to receive the light from Heaven, and, like the Jews of old, knew not the time of their visitation."
It is important to realize that God considered the Protestant churches to be not only His professed people, but also His church on the earth at that time.
What was the condition of God's church and His professed people at the proclamation of the first angel's message?
4SOP 239: "At the proclamation of the first angel's message, the people of God were in Babylon..."
So God's church and His professed people were represented as being Babylon "at the proclamation of the first angel's message!" What year did the first angel's message basically begin? 1840. It really started in 1833, but it didn't gain momentum until 1840. So by 1840, God's church had become Babylon and His professed people were numbered with Babylon!
How could this be? How could God's once pure church become so corrupted that it became Babylon?
4SOP 194: "The churches became corrupted by allying themselves with the world."
God's once pure church and His professed people, by uniting themselves with the world became Babylon. But how could God's church become Babylon by just uniting themselves with the world?
4SOP 233-234 she says: "The close relation of the church to Christ is represented under the figure of marriage. The Lord had joined his people to Himself by a solemn covenant, He promising to be their God, and they pledging themselves to be His, and His alone. Said Paul, addressing the church, 'I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.' But when her confidence and affection were turned away from Him, and she sought after vanity, and allowed the love of worldly things to separate her from God, she forfeited the privileges included in this peculiar and sacred relation. By the apostle James those who assimilate to the world are addressed as 'adulterers and adulteresses.'"
God's church is married to whom? To Christ alone. Now when a married woman departs from her husband and first love and unites herself with another entity, she commits what? She commits adultery, and adultery is another word for harlotry. It was because of this harlotry, that God's church became Babylon!
4SOP 233: "A virtuous woman represents a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church. Babylon is said to be a harlot."
So, by God's church and His professed people departing from Christ and uniting themselves with the world, they became an harlot of Babylon! Do we have any other examples in history, prior to 1840, of this same thing occurring? Yes, we do.
Great Controversy (GC), p. 382: "Babylon is also charged with the sin of unlawful connection with 'the kings of the earth.' It was a departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot; and Rome, corrupting herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers, receives a like condemnation."
--(some may not realize that the Roman Catholic church was not always corrupt, but at one time was God's pure and chosen apostalic church and people! In 4SOP 396 Sister White states that the papal church kept the seventh-day Sabbath before her complete apostasy. On 195 she states that Satan used a plan of compromise which had led to the great apostasy and the formation of the church of Rome. And on 39-46 she states that the Saviour beheld what was to happen to the apostalic church or Christians. Satan planted his banner within God's church and led the majority of its memebers to follow his plan to compromise the high standard of the word of God and to modify some of their doctrines in order to unite together with the pagan world. These pretended and professed to be converted and to accept Jesus as the son of God. Thus the apostalic christian church lost her purity and power and became corrupted. The faithful few recognized the abominations being brought in that were being disguised as garments of light and fought hard against this apostasy. But as the apostasy increased instead of decreased, God led these faithful few to finally disolve all union and membership with their beloved, but apostate church, and to willingly separate from her in order to obey the word of God, and thus set a righteous example for others to follow instead of an example of compromise and union with apostasy that would imperil the faith of others.)--
So the Jewish church--which was once God's pure church and His professed people--by departing from His side and uniting herself with the heathen world, became a harlot of Babylon. And Rome--which was once God's pure apostalic Christian church and His professed people, by departing from His side and uniting herself with the world, also became a harlot of Babylon. And now the Protestant churches--which were once God's pure church and His professed people--have followed the same history by departing from His side and uniting herself with the world to become an harlot of Babylon.
Now I want to emphasize that in 1840, Protestantism was not Babylon fallen. They were Babylon, and did not become Babylon fallen until 4 years later in 1844. This proves that a church must first be Babylon before she can become Babylon fallen!
God did not cast off His Protestant churches and professed people in 1840, after they departed from Him and became an harlot of Babylon, but He gave them a merciful chance and opportunity to repent--a period of probation in which to decide if they would continue to unite closer to the world and satan or if they would come back to the side of Christ. This was the reason why the first angel's message was given.
This heavenly message was designed to bring His wandering bride and woman back to His side. It was designed to separate her from her marriage and harlotrous union with the world so that she would become Christ's partner once again, and to do His bidding and not the bidding of anyone else.
4SOP 231: "It was to separate the church of Christ from the corrupting influence of the world that the first angel's message was given."
So the first angel's message was designed to break his church's marriage and connection with the world. Breaking their harlotry, bringing them away from corruption and from being Babylon, back to His side as a faithful and pure bride.
Early Writings (EW) 233: "This soul-purifying work led the affections away from worldly things, to a consecration never before experienced."
The first angel's message was a message to repent and to rid sin from the life. It was designed to separate the people and church away from being contaminated and corrupted by their connection with the world so that the image of the Saviour could be reflected in them. You can see the infinite love and mercy of God in giving that message to His wandering church and people. It was to bring them back to his side and to give them an experience they would never have had before if they would only accept, repent, and act upon it.
Now who gave the first angel's message to God's church and professed people? Was it God Himself with His own literal voice? Was it a literal angel that came down from heaven and proclaimed the message? Who gave the message?
4SOP 199: "The angel represented in prophecy as delivering this message, symbolizes a class of faithful men, who, obedient to the promptings of God's Spirit and the teachings of His word, proclaim this warning to the inhabitants of earth. This message was not to be committed to the religious leaders of the people."
4SOP 223: "There were but few ministers, however, who would accept this message; therefore it was largely committed to humble laymen. Farmers left their fields, mechanics their tools, traders their merchandise, professional men their positions; and yet the number of workers was small in comparison with the work to be accomplished. The condition of an ungodly church and a world lying in wickedness burdened the souls of the true watchmen, and they willingly endured toil, privation, and suffering that they might call men to repentance unto salvation. Though opposed by Satan, the work went steadily forward..."
Why was the message given to the humble laymen instead of to the religious leaders of the church?
4SOP 200-01: "They had failed to preserve their connection with God, and had refused the light from Heaven; therefore they were not of the number described by the apostle Paul: 'But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night nor of darkness.'
"The watchmen upon the walls of Zion should be the first to catch the tidings of the Saviour's advent, the first to lift their voices to proclaim Him near, the first to warn the people to prepare for His coming. But they were at ease, dreaming of peace and safety, while the people were asleep in their sins....
Because of their pride and unbelief, the Lord passed them by, and revealed His truth to men in humble life, who had given heed to all the light they had received."
What was the response of God's church and its leaders to this heavenly message of love and mercy from God through His humble laymen?
4SOP 214-217: "In every age, God has called his servants to lift up their voices against the prevailing errors and sins of the multitude....The majority are usually to be found on the side of error and falsehood. The fact that doctors of divinity have the word on their side does not prove them to be on the side of truth and of God. The wide gate and the narrow way are sought only the few.
"If ministers and people had really desired to know the truth, and had given to the Advent doctrine the earnest, prayerful attention which its importance demands, they would have seen that it was in harmony with the Scriptures. Had they united with its advocates in their labors, there would have resulted such a revival of the work of God as the world had never witnessed....
"While they refuse to search the Scriptures to learn if these things are so, they grasp every fable..."
4SOP 346: "Those who are unwilling to accept the plain, cutting truths of the Bible, are continually seeking for pleasing fables that will quiet their consciences."
The Protestant churches and its leadership refused to accept the first angel's message to break their harlotrous love affair with the world and to come back to the side of their Saviour. They did not want to hear the truth that exposed and would have corrected their errors if obeyed, and so they started looking for pegs to hang their doubts upon. They started searching for every kind of fable with which to quiet their consciences that their church was really an harlot of Babylon and that they needed to dissolve their marriage and union with the world. The leadership were unwilling to accept this truth and were determined not to allow any of their membership the privilege of hearing or accepting it either by using any tactics or lies to accomplish this.
Sister White even states some of the tactics and lies that were used by the church leadership and its ministers!
EW 241: "...men belonging to the different companies and revered by them passed through, some with pleasing words, and others with wrathful looks and threatening gestures, and fastened the cords which were weakening. These men were constantly saying, 'God is with us. We stand in the light. We have the truth.' I inquired who these men were, and was told that they were ministers and leading men who had rejected the light themselves, and were unwilling that others should receive it."
4SOP 226-27: "Unfaithful watchmen hindered the progress of the work of God. As the people were roused, and began to inquire the way of salvation, these leaders stepped in between them and the truth, seeking to quiet their fears by falsely interpreting the word of God. In this work, satan and unconsecrated ministers united, crying, Peace, peace, when God had not spoken peace. Like the Pharisees in Christ's day, many refused to enter the kingdom of Heaven themselves, and those who were entering in, they hindered. The blood of these souls will be required at their hand.
"Whenever the message of truth was proclaimed, the most humble and devoted in the churches were the first to receive it. Those who studied the Bible for themselves could not but see the unscriptural character of the popular views of prophecy, and wherever the people were not deceived by the efforts of the clergy to misstate and pervert the faith, wherever they would search the word of God for themselves, the Advent doctrine needed only to be compared with the Scriptures to establish its divine authority.
"Many were persecuted by their unbelieving brethren. In order to retain their position in the church, some consented to be silent in regard to their hope; but others felt that loyalty to God forbade them thus to hide the truths which He had committed to their trust. Not a few were cut off from the fellowship of the church..."
4SOP 218-19: "Ministers occupied themselves in gathering up damaging reports, absurd and malicious fabrications, and dealing them out from the pulpit. Earnest were the efforts put forth to draw away the minds of the people..."
It was a battle for the MINDS of the people! And what were some of the tactics that were used by the ministers and leaders of the churches in trying to draw the minds of the people away from the truth?
What was the result to God's once pure church and professed people in rejecting God's message of love and mercy?
4SOP 227: "Angels of God were watching with the deepest interest the result of the warning. When the churches as a body rejected the message, angels turned away from them in sadness. Yet there were in the churches many who had not yet been tested in regard to the Advent truth. Many were deceived by husbands, wives, parents, or children, and were made to believe it a sin even to listen to such heresies as were taught by the Adventists. Angels were bidden to keep faithful watch over these souls; for another light was yet to shine upon them from the throne of God."
So, even though the churches, as a body, rejected the message, there were still individuals in those bodies who had not even heard, nor rejected the truth.
4SOP 236: "God sent his professed people a message that would have corrected the evils which separated them from his favor....But Babylon scornfully rejected the last means which Heaven had in reserve for her restoration, and then, with greater eagerness, she turned to seek the friendship of the world."
So Babylon, or the Protestant churches as a body, refused to receive, spurned, and rejected the last message of mercy that would have brought them back into connection with God, and with greater eagerness they continued on with their adulterous love affair with the world. They used their probationary time, that was mercifully granted them, increasing in apostasy and rebellion against God, instead of repenting and following God and His will, and He could not save them from the results of their choice.
4SOP 232: "When the churches spurned the counsel of God by rejecting the Advent message, the Lord rejected them. The first angel was followed by a second, proclaiming, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.'"
The departure of the Protestant churches from the side of Jesus and their union and marriage with the world, made them an harlot of Babylon with the chance to repent. God mercifully sent them a message and granted them precious time to come back into His waiting arms. But "Babylon scornfully rejected the last means which heaven had in reserve for her restoration" as God's faithful and chosen church once again.
When God's church, as a body, refused to listen to the voice of God through His messengers (who were giving the last message of mercy to them), but continued on in their harlotrous love affair with the world, the Lord rejected them from being His professed people and church in the earth. The probation of God's once favored and chosen church closed corporately, and Jesus denounced them as being Babylon fallen.
Now, who raised this heaven endorsed message that probation had closed upon God's once favored church, they were now Babylon fallen, and all of God's true and honest people must willingly separate themselves physically from her in order to be with Jesus outside?
Did God Himself, with His own literal voice, proclaim this message? No! Did a literal angel proclaim it with his own voice to the people? No! Then who raised this message?
This message, that God's once pure and favored church was now Babylon fallen and for all God's true and honest people to physically separate from her, was given by God's true people! But how did they come to the realization that this message was the truth and that it was now time for it to be given? There was no Bible text stating in these words; "The churches of Protestantism in 1844 are now Babylon fallen, come out." There was no plain "thus saith the Lord" that they could use to remove all doubt stating; "the church of the Baptists, or Lutherans, etc., has now become Babylon fallen and its time to separate." So how did God's people know that it was time to give this message?
It was by hours of prayer, study, and enlightenment of God's Spirit, and by examining the fruits being produced by their church that they realized that their church could not in any way constitute the true church of God--the pillar and ground of the truth--but that it instead fit the description of Babylon fallen. They were the ones who agonized with God over this issue, and God led them to this reality, giving them sufficient evidence to base their faith on; He then filled them with His Spirit to raise their voices and loudly proclaim this message far and wide.
Why did God call for His true people to physically separate themselves away from their church? They loved their churches and were loath to separate from them. So why did God consider it a necessity for them to separate from the church?
God, in His unerring wisdom, saw that His honest people would lose their purity by their continued membership in and association with their corrupt church!
EW 246-247: "...very many were weighed in the balance and found wanting. They loudly claimed to be Christians, yet in almost every particular failed to follow Christ. Satan exulted at the state of the professed followers of Jesus. He had them in his snare. He had led the majority to leave the straight path, and they were attempting to climb up to heaven some other way. Angels saw the pure and holy mixed up with sinners in Zion, and with world-loving hypocrites. They had watched over the true disciples of Jesus; but The corrupt were affecting the holy... Angels viewed the scene and sympathized with the remnant who loved the appearing of their Lord."
So, the remnant were not considered to be the whole corporate church body, but only those who loved their Lord and who were obeying the light of God as it came to them. But these faithful few were being affected by their corrupt church.
EW 249-250: "I saw Jesus turn His face from those who rejected and despised His coming, and then He bade angels lead His people out from among the unclean, lest they should be defiled. Those who were obedient to the message stood out free and united. A holy light shone upon them. They renounced the world, sacrificed their earthly interests, gave up their earthly treasures, and directed their anxious gaze to heaven, expecting to see their loved Deliverer. A holy light beamed upon their countenances, telling of the peace and joy which reigned within. Jesus bade His angels go and strengthen them, for the hour of their trial drew on. I saw that these waiting ones were not yet tried as they must be. They were not free from errors. And I saw the mercy and goodness of God in sending a warning to the people of the earth, and repeated messages to lead them to a diligent searching of heart, and study of the Scriptures, that they might divest themselves of errors which have been handed down from the heathen and papists."
What effect did this message have upon the people?
4SOP 250: "The work did not stand in the wisdom and learning of men, but in the power of God. It was not the most talented, but the most humble and devoted, who were the first to hear and obey the call. Farmers left their crops standing in the fields, mechanics laid down their tools, and with tears and rejoicing went out to give the warning. Those who had formerly led in the cause were among the last to join in this movement. The churches in general closed their doors against it, and a large company who had the living testimony withdrew from their connection."
4SOP 236-37: "Those who preached the first message had no purpose or expectation of causing divisions in the churches...In the days of the Reformation, the gentle and pious Melancthon declared, 'There is no other church than the assembly of those who have the word of God, and who are purified by it.' Adventists, seeing that the churches rejected the testimony of God's word, could no longer regard them as constituting the church of Christ, 'the pillar and ground of the truth;' and as the message, 'Babylon is fallen,' began to be proclaimed, they felt themselves justified in separating from their former connection."
So, some of those who were foremost in preaching the first angel's message were among some of the last to see any truth in the message that God's once chosen church was now Babylon fallen--rejected of God and that God wanted His true people to separate from it!
EW 238-39: "In many churches the message was not permitted to be given, and a large company who had the living testimony left these fallen churches....The message was heart-searching, leading the believers to seek a living experience for themselves. They knew that they could not lean upon one another....but the great mass manifested the spirit of satan in their opposition to the message....Many who professed to be looking for Christ had no part in the work of the message....Angels were watching with the deepest interest the effect of the message, and were elevating those who received it, and drawing them from earthly things to obtain large supplies from salvation's fountain."
This message, that probation had closed upon God's once pure church and it was now Babylon fallen with no chance of ever reforming back to God, and that all of God's honest people were to physically separate from her, was represented as being what?
4SOP 251: "Like showers of rain upon the thirsty earth, the Spirit of grace descended upon the earnest seekers."
How many obeyed this "showers of rain" message?
4SOP 232: "The proclamation, 'Babylon is fallen,' was given in the summer of 1844, and as the result, about fifty thousand withdrew from these churches."
How many churches did God require His people to be separate from? "All nations" or churches were Babylon fallen (Rev 14:8), and God required all of His true people to separate from every single one of them. Not one established church was safe for His people to remain connected to!
After the faith of those who obeyed these messages was tested, how many still continued to follow Jesus and refused to deny these truths which they had obeyed?
4SOP 252: "A large class who had professed to believe in the Lord's soon coming, renounced their faith. Some who had been very confident were so deeply wounded in their pride that they felt like fleeing from the world. Like Jonah, they complained of God, and chose death rather than life. Those who had based their faith upon the opinions of others, and not upon the word of God, were now as ready to again exchange their views. The scoffers won the weak and cowardly to their ranks..."
4SOP 254, 256-57: "But while many, under strong temptation, yielded their faith, there were some who stood firm. They could detect no error in their reckoning...The ablest of their opponents had not succeeded in overthrowing their position....God did not forsake His people; His Spirit still abode with those who did not rashly deny the light which they had received...To renounce their faith now, and deny the power of the Holy Spirit which had attended the message, would be drawing back toward perdition....Their only safe course was to cherish the light which they had already received of God..."
EW, p. XVII: "By the year 1846 they reckoned their numbers as about fifty."
So, about 50 out of the total group of about 50,000--or 1/10 of 1% proved themselves faithful to God when their faith was tested. While 49,950 proved themselves to be unfaithful to the Lord and His truths. It was shown that many had only based their faith upon the words and opinions of others instead of studying it out for themselves, or "proving all things." When trials, temptations, and especially peer pressures came to try and get them to give up their belief in the truthfulness of these heavenly messages, the majority gave in and began to doubt that their church was really Babylon fallen and that they had been wrong in separating from her. They then denounced their past experience and belief as being error that they had ignorantly followed, and they gave up their faith.
What was the consequence to those who did give up their faith and pronouncd their belief in these heaven sent messages a delusion?
Word To The Little Flock, p. 14: "Others rashly denied the light (Midnight cry) behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the city, as all the wicked world which God had rejected." (Edited in EW 15)
1SM 63-64: "I was shown in vision, and I still believe, that there was a shut door in 1844. All who saw the light of the first and second angels' messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the messag from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.
"Those who did not see the light, had not the guilt of its rejection. It was only the class who had despised the light from heaven that the Spirit of God could not reach. And this class included, as I have stated, both those who refused to accept the message when it was presented to them, and also those who, having received it, afterward renounced their faith. These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of satan."
Those who flatly rejected the idea that their church was Babylon fallen and that they needed to willingly separate from her, were lost! The door shut upon them and their probation closed forever--at their decision to disobey God and these truths. Also those who believed and accepted the truth that their church was Babylon fallen and who separated, but afterward renounced their faith and pronounced these truths to be error and their experience a delusion, were also lost! The door shut upon them and their probation closed forever--at their decision to renounce their faith and pronounce their belief in these messages of truth as error. They had sinned against and blasphemed the Holy Spirit, and though they might have a form of godliness, and profess to still be followers of Christ, and may even preach some of the truth to others, they are but deceivers rapped in the delusions of satan! Truly, many followed the same history of the Jews, in loving and worshipping their idol church above God and obedience to His truth (see EW 198).
These messages of the first and second angel's--or to willingly separate from your connection to the world and to your personal sins, and from your corrupt and fallen church to be completely free in Jesus--were the last messages of mercy, or the shut door messages, to all those who heard them. Their individual decision against either one of these messages, especially after they had already accepted them, closed the door of their probation forever without any second chance remaining open to them. It was impossible for them to recover and accept the truth again!
Let us now briefly recap some of the history we have gone over.
God's chosen church and His profess people, being greatly favored of the Lord and married unto Him in a sacred covenant relationship to be His and His alone, gradually began to lose their first love. They, just like the Jews and the Apostalic churches before them, departed from the side of Jesus and united themselves with the world. This adulterous and corrupt love affair with the world made God's church an harlot of Babylon, but not Babylon fallen.
Jesus did not forsake His wayward bride and church. With infinite love and mercy He sent her a message, through His humble messengers, to try and separate her from her union with the world and satan, in order to bring her back to His side as His faithful church once again. He greatly desired His church to be purified from being the harlot of Babylon and to cleanse her from her corruption and wickedness, and thus He granted her precious time--probationary time--in which to decide whom she would follow, God or satan.
But His church, as a corporate body, rejected His merciful message of love, and with greater eagerness united more fully with the world! They refused to search the Scriptures for themselves, but eagerly grasped every fable in order to soothe their pricking consciences. Those in the leadership positions of the churches, put forth earnest efforts to try and draw the minds and attentions of their membership away from hearing God's messengers proclaim the solemn truth about their church.
These ministers and leaders tried to destroy the message of truth by using such tactics as; character assasination of the messengers of truth, preaching absurd falsehoods, misstating and perverting the message, and crying peace, peace to quiet fears. They stood in between the truth and the people and refused to allow any to enter in. They preached blatent lies from the pulpit telling the people that God was still in their midst, that He was only with them, and that they were the only ones who had the truth and stood in the light, while none of this was true--it once was, but not now.
These false shepherds were fastening the cords of bondage tighter and tighter around the people to try and keep them captive to a Godless church and a corrupt leadership. They wanted the people to remain corporately responsible for the sins of their harlot church and to suffer the same punishments and tried to scare the people into submission to their authority by wrathful looks and threatening gestures. They tried to silence conviction to the message of truth by offering rewards of position advancement in the church. They also used these positions as blackmail to force submission. They used church membership as a tool for concession and even resorted to actual force and persecution to try and silence the truth from being spoken.
God gave His Babylon church precious time to repent, but she flatly refused all overtures of His love and mercy, and His once pure and chosen church became rejected of God and was decounced as Babylon fallen. The church as a corporate body was no longer His bride, nor could ever again become His bride! Now the individual members must be tested to see if they would follow God or be just like their church--rejected of God. All those who still wanted to be a follower of God and Him alone must now leave all of their apostate churches in order to be with their beloved Saviour and King who was waiting without the camp with open and outstretched arms.
The corruption in the church was affecting the holy, and God's true people would become defiled by continuing their membership and association in their church. Therefore the message, that God's once pure and chosen church was now Babylon fallen--rejected of God--and that separation from her was an absolute necessity to salvation, was given.
This merciful message was proclaimed, not by God Himself, nor by a literal angel, but by God's humble followers. But how did they know that it was now the time to give this message? By earnest prayer for the guidance of God and for a complete knowledge of His will. By study with an honest and opened unbiased mind, and they were enlightened by the Holy Spirit. They also closely examined the fruits that were being produced by their church and saw that the church had not repented of their harlotry nor was it in any way producing the fruits descriptive of God's true church, but were producing the fruits descriptive of fallen Babylon! They were then compelled by God to zealously proclaim this heaven sent message to all around them./p>
This message was as showers of rain descending upon the earnest seekers of truth and those who obeyed this message made a full sacrifice and an entire consecration to the Lord. They willingly took up and bore their cross in order to be with their Lord.
The most humble were the first to obey the truth and leave their church in order to be with Jesus, while those who had led out in calling for their church to repent and to come back to God, were among some of the last to receive and follow it. But by far, the great majority of the people rejected the truth and rose up decidedly against this message that their church was now rejected of God being Babylon fallen. And probation's door closed upon all those who rejected this merciful message--there was no second chance left open to them!
But not all those who separated were secure either. Out of all those who obeyed, only a small remnant (1/10 of 1%) were truly acting upon the truth that they had studied out for themselves being convicted of its correctness by the Holy Spirit. These stood firmly upon the Rock Christ Jesus and could not be moved. While the majority of those who separated were relying upon emotion and/or the words of others without studying for themselves to see if it was the truth or not. These stood upon a foundation of sand.
When the faith of all was closely tested, the majority (over 99 9/10%) of all those who separated, recanted their belief and gave up the truth. They chose another path, thereby rejecting Jesus as their King and pronounced their experience--in separating and believing the church to be Babylon--a delusion, thereby blaspheming against the Holy Ghost, and the door of their probation closed forever upon them. While the small remnant few, who were in little companies, clung even closer to Jesus--refusing to deny Him or the truth. These manifested complete faith and trust in God and His leadership in their course of separation from their church, even though it looked, to all appearance, that they had done the wrong thing. But these faithful few remnant were approved of God as His chosen children and church, and God was with them.
Now this is just history that we have gone over--but can this history be repeated today? Can this history, that the Jewish, Apostolic, and Protestant churches followed, be repeated today? Is there any chance that the SDA church could repeat this same history? Yes!
In the year 1891, Sister White wrote to the leadership of the General Conference and warned them stating thus;
TM 265: "The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, 'a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.'"
Where is this phrase found? Revelation 18:2, dealing with Babylon! But how could just becoming married and united with the world make the church Babylon?
Who is the SDA church married to? To Christ! Now if this married woman departs from the side of her Husband and unites herself with the world, she would become an adulterer and an harlot. So God, through Sister White, was basically warning the SDA church that if she repeated the same history that the Jewish, Apostalic, and Protestant churches followed and would depart from the side of Jesus--their first love and husband--to unite herself with the world, then the SDA church would become an harlot of Babylon!
Now two years later, in 1893, a man named A.W. Stanton, along with several others, put out a tract calling the SDA church to be Babylon fallen in 1893. In 1893 the SDA church was not Babylon fallen or any part of Babylon, and Sister White wrote plainly that this message in 1893 was error and that it was directly from satan and not from God.
Most of the SDA people believe and have been taught by their ministers and leaders that since Sister White stated that the SDA church was not Babylon fallen or any part of Babylon in 1893, that these statements stand forever that the SDA church can never and will never become Babylon or Babylon fallen, no matter what the church does. But is this really what Sister White said or implied? No!
Every testimony that you will find Sister White saying not to call the SDA church Babylon, is only in the year 1893! There are no testimonies either before or after this date which say not to call the church Babylon. Which strongly suggests that these testimonies were written in the present tense form, and are conditional. In other words, these testimonies were written with the year of 1893 in mind, and would only continue to be the truth on condition of the church being obedient to God.
In fact, Sister White even says this in TM 50, that there is but one church (SDA) in this world who are at this present time in 1893 not to be denounced as Babylon.
Also in the year 1893 in an article published in the Review and Herald articles, Sister White verifies what we have discussed and even lists all the different phrases which God and herself use to also refer to Babylon.
6RH 515, col 1: "How dare mortal man pass his judgment upon them and call the church a harlot, Babylon, a den of thieves, a cage of every unclean and hateful bird, the habitation of devils...the Lord has had a church from that day (apostalic times) through all the changing scenes of time to the present period, 1893."
So, both God and Sister White considers that to call the SDA church a harlot, or a cage of every unclean and hateful bird, etc., is the same as calling them Babylon!
You see, in 1893 the SDA church had not yet departed fully from the side of Christ--her husband--and united themselves to the world, fulfilling the conditions necessary to convert them into an harlot of Babylon as Sister White had warned in the testimony of 1891 (in TM 265).
No where in the writings of Sister White did she unconditionally promise that the SDA church would never become Babylon! It was just in 1893 the church had not yet united herself fully with the world to fulfill the conditions in the TM 265 testimony, and that is why she wrote that "at the present time" do not call the church Babylon. And just so that none of our people would become confused over this vital issue, she writes just two years later in 1895.
3RH 233 col. 2, Feb 26, 1895: "The world must not be introduced into the church and married to the church. Through union with the world the church will become corrupt, 'a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.' The customs of the world must not have a place; for they will be open doors through which the prince of darkness will find access, and the line of demarcation will become indistinguishable between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not....Satanic forces are continually at work through the world, and it is satan's object to bring the church and the world into such close fellowship that their aims, their spirit, their principles, shall harmonize..."
Again it is emphasized that if the SDA church departs from the side of Christ and unites herself with the world, that the church would become a cage of every unclean and hateful bird or an harlot of Babylon! So, the question that needs to be asked is; "Did the SDA church depart from Christ her husband and united herself to the world, committing harlotry? Did they follow satan's plan to harmonize together after being plainly warned not to? Sadly, yes.
COL 315-16: "The professed followers of Christ are no longer a separate and peculiar people. The line of demarcation is indistinct. The people are subordinating themselves to the world, to its practices, its customs, its selfishness. The church has gone over to the world in transgression of the law, when the world should have come over to the church in obedience to the law. Daily the church is being converted to the world."
8T 118-19: It is a solemn and terrible truth that many who have been zealous in proclaiming the third angel's message are now becoming listless and indifferent! 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, it 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 trangression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world."
TDWG 28: "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."
Manuscript 44, 1900, p. 19: "The church has taken the world into her fellowship, and has given her affections to the enemies of holiness. The church and the world are standing on the same ground in transgression of the law of God. The church prefers to assimilate to the world rather than separate from its customs and vanities."
Sadly, the SDA church departed from Christ and united herself to the world, just like the Jewish, Apostolic, and Protestant churches did before her! They are no longer a separate and peculiar people to God. The line of demarcation is indistinct. The SDA church, with her forehead firmly held up and refusing to be ashamed, chose to conform herself, to be converted and in harmony with satan and the world. This woman rejected God's explicit warning and has left Christ her husband and first love, and has willingly given her affections to satan. The church has transgressed the holy law of God by becoming an harlot!
Since the SDA church has disregarded the plain warnings sent to her by God through Sister White, and has chosen to unite and marry herself to the world, they have fulfilled the conditions necessary to become a cage of every unclean and hateful bird or an harlot of babylon as found in TM 265 and 3RH 233.
Since this is true, would anyone dare raise their voice against the SDA church and declare her sins? Would anyone dare declare this apostate and adultrous woman to be an harlot of Babylon? YES!
There was a lone voice which denounced the SDA church as being an harlot! And this lone voice was none other than the estranged husband of the SDA church--Jesus Christ Himself!
Manuscript 32, 1903 (edited version in 8T 247-51): "Our position in the world is not what it should be. We are far from where we should have been had our christian experience been in harmony with the light and the opportunities given us, had we from the beginning constantly pressed onward and upward. Had we walked in the light that has been given us, had we followed on to know the Lord, our path would have grown brighter and brighter. But many of those who have had special light are so conformed to the world that they can scarcely be distinguished from worldlings. They do not stand forth as God's peculiar people, chosen and precious. It is difficult to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.
"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....Let God's people remember that only as they believe and work out the grand principles of the gospel of Christ, can He make them a praise in the earth. Only as they use their God-given capabilities in His service will they enjoy the fullness and power of the promise whereon the church has been called to stand....
"Why is there so dim a perception of the true spiritual condition of the church? Has not blindness fallen upon the watchmen standing on the walls of Zion?...One who sees beneath the surface, who reads the hearts of all men, says of those who have had great light: 'They are not afflicted and astonished because of their moral and spiritual condition.' 'Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will chose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.' 'God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,' 'because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,' 'but had pleasure in unrighteousness.' Isaiah 66:3, 4; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 10, 12.
"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?...'
"Who can truthfully say, 'Our 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 (Christ) 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 an harlot!' My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed!...'
"Unless the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat of the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself. When she resists the evil and chooses the good, when she seeks God with all humility and reaches her high calling in Christ, standing on the platform of eternal truth and by faith laying hold upon the attainments prepared for her, she will be healed. She will appear in her God-given simplicity and purity, separate from earthly entanglements, showing that the truth has made her free indeed. Then her members will indeed be the chosen of God, His representatives."
In 1903 Jesus Himself unerringly pronounced the SDA church and its organizational structure to be an harlot of Babylon! He did not pronounce them to be Babylon fallen!! The SDA church still had a merciful chance to repent and to come away from her harlotry! So many confuse this issue in their minds. A church must be Babylon before she can become Babylon fallen!
Remember the Protestant churches were Babylon "at the proclamation of the first angel's message" (4SOP 239), which started about 1840. But these churches were not declared to be Babylon fallen until the summer of 1844 (4SOP 232)! So for a number of years these churches were an harlot of Babylon before they became Babylon fallen.
The first angel's message was given to these Babylonian Protestant churches to try and "separate the church of Christ from the corrupting influence of the world" (4SOP 231). These churches had departed from Christ, their first love, and had united themselves to the world--thus committing harlotry and becoming an harlot of Babylon. But God, in His infinite mercy, sent them warnings and messages and a period of probationary time to repent of their great sin and to come back to His side, and He allowed them a precious period of time in which to either accept or reject His offer.
The Protestant churches did not accept the heavenly messages to repent and to break their union with the world, but by their fruits or actions showed that they had rejected these messges. They continued to grow worse in apostasy and rebellion against God, and in the summer of 1844, they were denounced as being Babylon fallen. And now this same history is seen being repeated in the experience of the SDA church!
The SDA church has already united herself with the world, and has been denounced by Jesus as an Harlot of Babylon--not Babylon fallen--in 1903. God has mercifully held out and granted to the SDA church a precious period of time to repent of this great sin (8T 250-51), and not be rejected of Him and be denounced as Babylon fallen.
This merciful probationary period of time was seen to be held open to the SDA church throughout the rest of Sister White's lifetime. She continued to send messages which were designed to separate the church of Christ from the corrupting influence of the world--bringing them back solely to Jesus. This is the reason why Sister White did not resign her membership from the SDA church, because the church's probation was not closed! They still had a chance to repent from being an harlot of Babylon by breaking away from the world and coming back to the side of Jesus--being His remnant church and bride once again.
But the great question that must be asked today is; "Has the SDA church repented? Have they divorced themselves from their marriage and love affair with the world to come back to the side of Christ? Or have they rejected their chance to repent, and have used their probationary time in continuing to grow worse in apostasy and rebellion against God and His truths ever since Sister White's death, to become Babylon fallen?"
How can we know for certain if the SDA church is Babylon fallen today? What has history showed us and how did the Protestants know that their church had passed the boundary of God's mercy and had become Babylon fallen? They had no "Thus saith the Lord" which plainly told them in these words; "The Protestant churches are now Babylon fallen, come out." So how did God's true people know that their church had become Babylon fallen and that it was time to give the message?
God's true people spent hours of earnest agonizing prayer and intense study to know what His will and truth was. They were enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and they examined the fruits that were being produced and exhibited by their church. And this is the same for us today!
There will be no "Thus saith the Lord" which plainly states in these words; "The SDA church is now Babylon fallen, come out." Then how do we know for ourselves if this is true or not? By earnest prayer to God for Him to open our eyes and grant us His clear discernment; by our careful unbiased study of the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy; by the enlightenment of God's Holy Spirit in our opeded minds; and by our examining the fruits that are being produced by the SDA church.
FRUITS DO NOT LIE! They are but the true outworking and evidence of what is already in the heart by choice! Christ has plainly told us this.
Matthew 7:16-20: "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
So, if the SDA church is producing only good fruits, then she has repented of her harlotry and is the bride of Christ once again. But if the SDA church is producing fruits of evil, then she has not repented, but has continued on and has rejected God's merciful plea to come back to Him.
Your honest and unbiased examination of the fruits produced by the SDA church since 1903 will plainly reveal that this harlot has continued on in her adulterous love affair with satan and the world since 1903, but especially after Sister White's death in 1915!
In fact, Sister White even warned the SDA people that this would occur--especially after her death!
Manuscript 1, Feb 24, 1915: "I am charged to tell our people, that do not realize, that the devil has device after device, and he carries them out in ways that they do not expect. Satan's agencies will invent ways to make sinners out of saints.
"I tell you now, that when I am laid to rest, great changes will take place....I want the people to know that I warned them fully before my death."
There has been over 85 years of "great changes" and continuous growing apostasy and rejection of God and His truths by the SDA church ever since 1903, and she continues to grow worse as time goes along! The churches of Protestantism had only 4 years of the same before their probation closed corporately and they became Babylon fallen. So, has this history also occurred with the SDA church? Is the probation of the SDA church closed and has the SDA church become Babylon fallen?
This is the ultimate question that is now and will face every SDA member; and all must decide for themselves if this is true or not. None are to decide for us. We cannot trust in any of the words of men. We must decide this question for ourselves, and our decision, either for or against, will be wrought with eternal results.
As this is true, how can we know for certain, for ourselves if the SDA church is still God's conditional remnant church of Revelation 12:17, or if she is Babylon fallen of Revelation 18 today?
The unerring guide from the very lips of our Saviour is;
"By their fruits ye shall know them."