Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Remnant Who Keep the Commandments

Revelation 12:17, "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring--those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus." NIV (the NASB records, "keep the commandments.")

Adventists believe that the Apostle John was speaking of the Ten Commandments (a futurist, last-day event) when he spoke about the remnant as being those who keep the commandments of God. Though I would disagree, let us look at this text through the filters of the SDA church:

The prophecy says that the remnant are those who OBEY the commandments.

Does this actually point to the Adventist church? Notice that the church claims to preach all ten (as opposed, in their minds, to those who preach only nine). Let's again ignore the SDA erroneous perspective that other churches disregard one commandment, instead focusings on their claim. Adventists claim to preach/teach all ten, but that is NOT what the text says. It says the remnant KEEP/OBEY the commandments. Can the Adventist church really suggest that they alone--of ALL the different denominations are the remnant because they KEEP ALL TEN? That's a whole different ball game when you actually think about it. These remnant actually keep all ten.

So let's go over a few of the commandments and ask if the SDA church really keeps all ten (not looking at individuals, but as a corporate SDA body).

The first two are basically--"don't put any gods before God". As someone who does a LOT of talking about Adventism to non-SDAs, I can tell you--that the vast majority of those who do know what an Adventist is, immediately respond that they "worship on the Sabbath, have Ellen White as a prophetess and don't eat certain foods." These define Adventism--not Christ. From a perspective OUTSIDE the church, Adventists break this commandment by making the Sabbath and Ellen White gods, to a much lesser degree, their stomachs. (BREAK ONE and TWO)

Do Adventists really KEEP Sabbath as God intended? The vast majority do not. Look at how orthodox Jews keep Sabbath, it doesn't even resemble in any way Adventism. (BREAK THREE)

Do Adventists murder? Yes, it is very well known to those in Adventist leadership that some Adventist hospitals do abortions on demand. This is sanctified by church silence. (BREAK FOUR)

Do Adventists give false witness against their neighbor? Absolutely! It is part of their doctrine to wrongfully, unhistorically twist and purposefully slander their Protestant and Catholic family. They create animosity and distrust between the body of Christ because they distort Protestant and Catholic views, histories, their motivations.... ( BREAK FIVE).

My point is made without detailing other commandments.

I don't write these things to be particularly hard on Adventists, only to point out that they as a church CANNOT define themselves as the remnant based upon their idea that they teach people about the Jewish Sabbath. Teaching and obeying are two very different things. That is like saying those who teach adultery is wrong, but cheat on their wives are keeping the commandment.

NO CHURCH keeps the commandments, whether you say they are the two commandments of Christ (love God and your neighbor) or the ten. No church body can claim the remnanthood. And that is the point. WE ALL HAVE SINNED and fallen short of the Glory of God. It is Christ's grace and His atoning blood that makes us perfect and able to keep His commandments. ALL Christians in ALL denominations can make this claim available to them. It is surely not exclusive to Adventists!

So whether you fall at coveting, keeping the seventh-day holy, honoring your parents; maybe you have put something ahead of God in your life, breaking the first two commandments--this puts us each and every Christian (including Adventists) in the exact same boat whatever your denomination. We are all sinners, we have all broken the commandments. Sorry Adventists, you cannot claim any better. So, by virtue of this, none of us can be "the remnant." That's pretty bad news.

But the good news is that ALL of us-- EVERYONE who takes on the name of Christ can be the remnant (again, according to the remnant being a last-day prophecy) if we repent of our sins and accept the merciful grace of God! HE WILL MAKE US PERFECT!

Then, we will naturally, as we behold the Lamb, become more and more like Him--putting nothing ahead of our dearest Savior, resting in His perfect atoning Sabbath, honoring all the saints, cleaving to our Christian family and loving each other as He loved us. We will never think of tearing the unity of the body apart through adultery, murder, slandering other Christians or covetousness.

Let us become the true remnant.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting subject and your point is well made but obscured slightly by your obvious dislike of the SDA church. I think what you have written about the SDA church is incorrect in that it is extreme (filtered through your bad experience?). However the mainpoint that the remnant is not indeed one specific church but all who are saved by the atoning death of Christ is very important.

Teresa Beem said...

I didn't have a bad experience in Adventism. I had a great experience. I loved the people, the sabbath was my favorite day of the week, I was very active in Sabbath school and choir and writing for several of their publications. I used to know a lot of the top dogs. My family grew up in one of the best SDA churches--in fact I would say the most liberally loving SDA church I ever walked into--the Dallas First SDA church. The people there were and are extraordinary! Kindest, gentlest, most accepting and loving people around. I truly loved being SDA even when some of the doctrines seemed a bit off to me. Where I saw problems in the beliefs, I wanted to stay within the church and change it from within. I never, ever expected to walk away. It was my life, my heart and soul.

I assure you, it was the most traumatic thing I have experienced in my lifetime thus far to walk away from it--my family and friends, my identity, my position. But when God says "walk" walk you must.

The point of this post is to comfort those who no longer believe Adventism. Those who have been traumatized by learning they have been living in a false reality. Their lives, their goals, their dreams, their families often have been utterly shattered by learning Adventism's special doctrine is not based in the Bible.

It is our goal as former Adventist is to provide a safe, understanding support group that allows them to grieve, to let go of bitterness, let go of fears implanted within them that Adventism is the only place of "truth" and all else is from deception. It is a very difficult road to travel. We reach out to them and tell them--you are not alone!

You see, those who leave often don't have a clear understanding of why the church was wrong. We don't want people to leave Adventism simply because someone hurt them! They will be running the rest of their lives, for no place is safe from human weakness, abuse, neglect or hypocrisy.

We want them to have a solid, biblical basis for leaving. This will point them TO Christ instead of into bitterness and isolation. That is the point of our posts!

God bless,

Anonymous said...

"honoring all the saints," typical of catholcism, u had to subtlely weave this well wth th sabbath truth nd mke it sound scriptural...."But when God says "walk" walk you must." sounds funny.. if u were truly adventist thn u shld hve known that u wld never jump out of th ship..

Teresa Beem said...

By honoring the saints, I meant ALL saints, the ones on earth and in heaven. The sentence was crafted deliberately for the understanding of Protestants. After all, Paul calls us ALL saints, any believer. I assure you, you are being too suspicious of me. I am not trying to weave anything in... I tend towards too much bluntness... not subtlety....

I am hearing this more often from Adventists... "If I had been a real Adventist, I wouldn't have left."

This is how the mind works... You (a general you--as in humankind) must demonize your opponent, or think they are deceived. You must denigrate them in some fashion as to explain their behavior of rejecting your truth.

I honestly don't know how to react to this psychological phenomenon. If it give you comfort to believe I wasn't really an Adventists, or that I was deceived or hurt or am bitter and rebellious all I can say is that I understand your need to do that. We all do it.

Blessings upon you and may God be merciful on us all.

Robert Mock said...

Teresa - Is this what you are recommending to follow a good Shabbat rest, not focusing on Hashem the G-d of Israel, but continuing to dredge up how wicked everyone is with Adventists being the entrĂ©e of the meal? One of the reasons G-d advised us to eat clean meats was that the best health cannot be obtained by eating scavengers. Live with what G-d offers to be the best, move on, don’t look back (like Lot’s wife) and let G-d judge by His divine will. I get the feel that these discussions have a lot to do with you trying to be G-d’s providence and correct all the wrongs. Frankly, I agree with the title of your book, but the slant is to narrow, for before the Messiah comes, all religions will see their failure, as the walls of all institutional religions will collapse into an era of great deception, including the Roman Catholic Church. So mentally, if we want to know the truth and let the truth set you free (John 8:32), one cannot become a prisoner of the past, or always be dwelling on your or your readership’s disappointments. Doing so, only allows self-pity to become a part of your identity not realizing that G-d was preparing to restore what you felt was stolen from you. If you or anyone else is expecting G-d to give you renewal, while you are still reliving the hurts in your memory, then the mind becomes prey for great deceptions that which “feels good” is replaced with that which is divinely good. Considering your text (Revelation 12:7), consider a more Torah centered and Hebrew interpretation; “HaSatan, the dragon, was infuriated with the women (All Israel or Kal Yisra’el) and went to fight with the rest of her children (Jews of the House of Judah and the Lost Israelites of the House of Israel), those who obey G-d’s command (the entire Torah commands given on the mount called Sinai) and bear witness to Yahshua’s testimony. We must learn that Jesus (Yahshua) was the Torah manifested in living flesh showing how we were to physically and spiritually serve the G-d of Israel with all our hearts, minds, and souls to keep all the commands of G-d. According to the NT Scripture, which was the TaNaKh (“T” Torah Law; “N” Nevi’im or prophets; and “W” or Writings) “if it speaks not according to the Word (TaNaKh), there is no light in it, so all belief systems must be in harmony with the entire OT and the NT is only a primary source testimony of someone who witnessed the life of The Nazarene. Everything else is commentary.

Ken said...

My understanding is that Paul was the main apostle to the nations, while the Twelve were apostles to Israel. Paul did not replace Judas, nor did his latter message correspond with that of the evangel of the Circumcision. I believe all the books of the Bible, other than Paul's, were directed to Israel. I understand the remnant to be redeemed Israel, born again, as described in 1 John. They will not receive the mark of the beast, which is a sin unto death. They "can not be sinning, for he is begotten of God" 1 Jn 3:9. They will have authority over the nations on earth during the 1,000 years, while the Body of Christ will have a heavenly destiny and ministry. Rev 2:26; Eph 2:6,7.