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.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I have had many Adventists invite me back into Adventism assuring me that the church is modernizing, updating, that "most Adventists don't believe that Ellen White is a prophetess anymore" and that the antiquated and bizarre doctrines such as the Investigative Judgement and the last-day prophecies are simply not taught or believed by the vast majority of church members. When I raise my eyebrow and question the validity of that position, Adventists pooh-pooh me and say I have been out so long (9 whole years!) that I couldn't possibly know anything about the church anymore. "Come on, don't be so judgmental, this is the New Adventism, the we-are-becoming-mainstream Adventism."
If you listen to your new General Conference President, Ted Wilson's first speech, you will find he is taking the church back to the beginning, reclaiming the doctrines the early Adventist pioneers preached.
My problem isn't that he is going back to the 19th century pioneers, my problem is that he isn't going back far enough. He needs to take the church all the way back to the first few centuries of Christianity. He needs to reclaim the Bible--not as Ellen White saw it, but as the Apostles' wrote it and their appointed leaders followed.
If you have time watch all seven clips on www.youtube. com. ALL Adventists need to be aware of what their president is doing.