As great preachers of Babylon heal the sick and bring thousands to the altar, are they going to say that they are the devil’s agents, conducting an effort to bring souls to Satan? No. Not one of them. It will all be done in Jesus’ name.
They are claiming that they are the fulfillment of scripture. They believe that speaking in tongues and healing the sick is the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. That is what they say, and I don’t doubt that many of them believe it. But they are deluded. And the remnant will not be deceived by it.
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” Isaiah 8:20.
We know that the spirit they receive did not come from the most holy place. If it did, it would lead them into conformity to the law of God; it would lead them into obedience to the Ten Commandments. So in these counterfeit movements which claim to be the work to prepare the church for the latter rain, there will be, and always will be…, the claim that this is it.
I will give an example. One of the great words which the Spirit of Prophecy uses in connection with the work that the church must experience is the work of reformation. During and shortly after World War I, a movement arose in Germany which eventually developed into a group calling themselves the SDA Reform Church. For half a century, they have been hammering away at the defects in the church, the sins in the church, the worldliness in the church, and attempting to call God’s people to reform. They have the vocabulary of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. They claim to be the defenders of the truth. They claim to be the remnant of Revelation 12:17.
But how is it we know this is not the movement which will prepare the remnant church for the latter rain? It is not because of their claims. It is because the way that they go about it is not the way heaven has told us to.
“When men arise, claiming to have a message from God, but instead of warring against principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, they form a hollow square, and turn the weapons of warfare against the church militant, be afraid of them. They do not bear the divine credentials. God has not given them any such burden of labor. They would tear down that which God would restore by the Laodicean message. . . . The Lord lays upon no man a message that will discourage and dishearten the church. He reproves, He rebukes, He chastens; but it is only that He may restore and approve at last” Testimonies to Ministers, pages 22-23.
This makes it simple. When men come along claiming to have a message from God, this is one of the tests we should bring them to. Where are they directing their weapons? When they shoot, what direction do they fire? If they are shooting at the church and its leadership, this says, Be afraid of them. I think this means exactly what it says.
There are people who boast of their ability to read anything and it would not affect them. I say in simple words, Don’t fool yourself. There were some things that even the prophet of God would not read. When Brother Canright left this movement and wrote a letter explaining his reasons, one of the brethren wanted to read it to Sister White. She said, No. She wrote to Brother Canright and said, “If these are the things that have caused you to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage, I don’t want to run the risk of my mind being poisoned.”
If the prophet of God was afraid to read some things, I wonder how it is that we have come to a time when it is fashionable to read anything. It is supposed to be an evidence of a broad mind.
I repeat, Don’t fool yourself.
The movement I spoke of in Germany has been going on. Some years later another movement arose in another part of the world field. It took as its special claim Righteousness by Faith. Are those words all right? Yes. And remember, the devil is never going to come into the Seventh-day Adventist Church with a message that says, This is from the devil, and is designed to fool you, and get you off the track. Oh, no. The devil is not going to do that. He takes the very words and phrases that belong to the true work of preparing the church for the latter rain, and he uses them.
The devil has two purposes. One is he knows that thousands of our people are longing for true revival and reformation, so when something comes along that uses these words, thousands say, Maybe this is it. But that is the smallest purpose. The greatest purpose of the devil is to so prejudice our people against that which bears the name of reform, or against that which bears the name Righteousness by Faith, or against that which bears the name of the sanctuary message, or anything he can do to get our people afraid of the real thing, it suits him very much.
Do not be mislead by Satan’s devices in either direction. If some movement chooses to call itself the SDA Reform Church, God help them. Let’s pray for them. And let’s go right ahead with our work of true reform within the framework of the organization that God has established. If some other movement in some other area chooses to take the name The Lord Our Righteousness, and begins to champion it in a way to draw away from the church, let us not spend time arguing over it. Let us not be diverted for one moment from our work of making ready a people prepared for the Lord, with true righteousness by faith within the framework of the organization that God has established.
If there are those who choose to use the term The Awakening, or the sanctuary message, or coming to the open door of the most holy place in a way to criticize the church and its leadership, let us pray for them; but let us not be diverted by them. Let us not for one moment miss the work God has given us to do. Let us come to the sanctuary and the open door of the most holy place, and let us get our inspiration from that. Let us get our inspiration from the Bible, Great Controversy, and Early Writings, and let our hearts be stirred with a genuine love for the true sanctuary service of Jesus, our great High Priest.
Let us not for one moment be afraid of these words of reform, even though the enemy uses them. Let us not let the devil pull us off on one side into some offshoot, or pull us on the other side into some complacent, lackadaisical Laodiceanism and say, Don’t talk to us about that. It is fanaticism. Don’t talk to me about righteousness by faith. Some people have gone out of the church by studying it. Don’t talk to me about waking up. Let’s sleep on. Don’t talk to me about the sanctuary. People get extreme doing that. There is danger in both directions.
In our last study, we saw that we must be willing to go through the time when the false Christ appears, and wait for the true Christ. We must be willing to wait for God’s time to purify the church. We must not take things into our hands and begin to push and criticize. Before a man or set of men assumes the work of Elijah, let them tarry with the prophet in the mountains of Gilead until they get a love for the church such as Elijah had.
“The time has come for a thorough reformation to take place. When this reformation begins, the spirit of prayer will actuate every believer and will banish from the church the spirit of discord and strife. Those who have not been living in Christian fellowship will draw close to one another. One member working in right lines will lead other members to unite with him in making intercession for the revelation of the Holy Spirit. There will be no confusion, because all will be in harmony with the mind of the Spirit. The barriers separating believer from believer will be broken down, and God’s servants will speak the same things” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, page 251.
The burden of the true reformer will be the unity of the
church. By this sign you will know them. And I pray that God will anoint our eyes that we may see, our ears that we may hear, our hearts that we may understand, for we are in the most solemn hour of the history of the church.