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Revelation Insights #3

God's Contingency Plan

If you are unsure of the vital role that the straight testimony is to play in preparing God's people for the final crisis, please consider the feature by this title before continuing. Should you fail to do so, this module could leave you seriously discouraged - and that is not the purpose of this exercise.

After having given His personal attention to the needs of His church for all of six thousands years, after giving His life and every manner of support and encouragement to His people, Jesus is finally confronted with Laodicea. Infinite mercy has been poured out on God's children, limitless grace has been showered upon humanity, eternal love has spent itself - even to the point of death - in trying to win the hearts of men, and the end result is a relatively small group of lukewarm, self-satisfied, self-righteous believers who find it hard to believe that in the eyes of heaven they are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."

In order to better appreciate the seriousness of the lukewarm Laodicean condition - for which I must carry my fair share of the blame - let us hear what Jesus would have to say to us today . . .

`Were you cold, there would be some hope that you would be converted; but where self-righteousness girds one about, instead of the righteousness of Christ, the deception is so difficult to be seen, and the self-righteousness so hard to be put away, that the case is the most difficult to reach. An unconverted, godless sinner stands in a more favorable condition than such.' (2T175)

`Halfhearted [lukewarm] Christians are worse than infidels; for their deceptive words and noncommittal position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colours. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.' (Letter 44, 1903)

Surely Jesus must weep? How He must weep at the pitiful response to His great sacrifice? How He must weep as he considers how little we have accomplished with so much light?

"He weeps also over the hardheartedness of those who, professing to be co-workers with Him, are content to do nothing." (8T32)

God must surely wish that it could be otherwise, but if the evidence of Calvary has not moved us, what will move us? If volume upon volume of inspired instruction has not motivated us, then what will motivate us? If eloquent message after eloquent message cannot lift us out of our lethargic slumber, then what on earth will do so? What on earth will make a self-satisfied, self-righteous church fall in humble penitence at the feet of Jesus - that it may rise and shine in the robes of His righteousness?

                 
 

`This message [to the Laodicean church] has not had the influence that it should have had upon the mind and heart of the believers. The true state of the church is to be presented before men, and they are to receive the word of God not as something originating with men, but as the word of God.' (1888 1051.2)

         

At this point in time, all of God's efforts to bring a significant and lasting revival seem to have failed. Six thousand years have passed and, according to the pen of inspiration, the average Laodicean is in a less favorable condition than a "godless sinner." (2T175)

What now?

This, I believe, is one of the high points of the throne-room meeting in chapter 4. This meeting is recorded directly after Jesus' message to Laodicea in chapter 3 for the simple reason that the Laodicean condition is the catalyst that gives rise to the meeting of chapter 4.

If we were of the opinion that Laodicea's failings were not that serious, then we might be inclined to doubt that her condition would warrant consideration at a special meeting in the throne room of heaven. If it can be proved, however, that Laodicea's condition is extremely serious, and that her lukewarmness is having a markedly negative impact on the rest of the world, then we would find it rather easy to to believe that the Laodicean condition would warrant special consideration at a meeting in the throne room of heaven.

With utmost humility and with the deepest respect for the church that I love, and with only the best of motives and intentions, and with an acute awareness of my own weaknesses and failings, I feel the need to prove to my reader that Laodicea's condition is extremely serious - serious enough - perhaps by infinite degrees - to warrant most serious consideration at the heavenly meeting that is spoken of in chapter 4.

Please understand, that I am not being judgmental in what follows for I know too well that I too have contributed to Laodicea's problems. The following, therefore, is not an attempt to hurt anyone, or to criticize the church or its leaders, or to take credit away from those who deserve credit. I am as sick as any and as guilty as any. But in the light of all that Jesus has done for us, and all that He has suffered for us, I would love to see us healed of our terrible malady - both His sake, for our sakes, and for the sake of the ailing planet that does not know what we know, an ailing planet that is desperate for our help.

While we will be dealing with certain negative aspects of our corporate and individual faith experience, please understand that this is not intended as a destructive exercise but as a constructive exercise. After all, it is of vital importance that we see ourselves as we really are - for this alone will enable us to appreciate God's solution to our problem - which solution is dealt with later in this document.

Once again, if the reader has not yet considered the straight testimony feature, please do so before continuing.

In the case of physical illness, the first step towards recovery is to acknowledge that we are ill - for only then will we feel inclined to go in search of healing.

The same applies in the spiritual realm. If Laodicea is suffering from an ailment that Jesus has diagnosed as "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;" if "an unconverted, godless sinner stands in a more favorable condition" than the average Laodicean, then Laodicea's first need is to acknowledge that this is in fact her condition. My reader will appreciate, therefore, why I am using a "no holds barred" approach in what follows.

                 
 

`Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.' (Hebrews 12:11 NAS)

         

It is my sincere prayer that we will carefully consider what follows, and that the reflection that we see in the mirror of truth will enable us to better appreciate our great need of Jesus, and of His mercy and His righteousness, and that this realization will drive us into His loving and waiting arms - there to be healed.

For good measure, let us first of all remind ourselves that God loves Laodicea - and that He loves us despite our condition. In the heart of Jesus' message to His lukewarm church He tells us, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline." (Rev 3:19).

In spite of Laodicea's failings, therefore, we have the absolute assurance that Jesus loves Laodicea with a love that it is stronger than death. The genuineness of His love is confirmed by the fact that He is willing to rebuke His church and to discipline His church, and to convict His church of their guilt, for He knows that this is just the medicine that Laodicea is in most desperate need of.

At the risk of overemphasis, I again wish to confirm that my intention in what follows is not to make us feel guilty, but only to prove that we are guilty and that we are in desperate need of grace - and to thus prove that the Laodicean condition warrants special consideration at a special meeting in heaven.

Laodicea's Guilt

Bearing in mind that we have far more light than Israel ever had, and considering how little we have done with this light, let us engage in some honest self-examination by trying to establish just how guilty we are.

First of all, we have been told that . . .

"There is a terrible amount of guilt for which the church is responsible. Why are not those who have the light putting forth earnest efforts to give that light to others? They see that the end is near. They see multitudes daily transgressing God's law; and they know that these souls cannot be saved in transgression. Yet they have more interest in their trades, their farms, their houses, their merchandise, their dress, their tables, than in the souls of men and women whom they must meet face to face in the judgment. The people who claim to obey the truth are asleep. They could not be at ease as they are if they were awake. The love of the truth is dying out of their hearts. Their example is not such as to convince the world that they have truth in advance of every other people upon the earth. At the very time when they should be strong in God, having a daily, living experience, they are feeble, hesitating, relying upon the preachers for support, when they should be ministering to others with mind and soul and voice and pen and time and money." (5T457)

As I consider these words I am saddened, and yet I am a little consoled, for we have been told that "guilt is the first condition of acceptance." (2MCP456). If this material helps us to feel a little more guilty, therefore, let us at least be a little comforted by the fact that our feelings of guilt are good medicine, for they are at least bringing us up to the starting blocks.

Next I would like us to consider a rather sobering statement. This statement tells us that . . .

"The darkness of the Gentile world was attributable to the neglect of the Jewish nation." (4BC1180)

Now, if the Jewish nation was answerable for the state of the Gentile world, does it not follow that we, the present-day spiritual Israel, are answerable for the state of the world today?

If we have been entrusted with light that could have had a profound effect upon the world, and we have refused to shine that light, are we as a corporate body not largely responsible for the resultant darkness?

If we have been entrusted with light that could mean the difference between life and death to millions of people, and we have hidden that light under a bushel, are our hands not stained with blood? This thought terrifies me, yet the words of inspiration tell us in no uncertain terms that, . . .

`Everywhere people are perishing for lack of a knowledge of the truths that have been committed to us.' (7T62)

                 
 

CLAIM 6: Laodicea is responsible for much of the suffering in our world today.

         

Every time I consider this statement I am shocked by the thought that people all over our planet are dying as a result of our neglect?

And this even includes HIV/AIDS sufferers. Our very own General Conference acknowledges that believers (and that includes Laodicea) are largely responsible for the HIV/AIDS epidemic:

`The radical (root) cause of the HIV epidemics is the Failure of the Christian Church. The church failed to bear a faithful witness of God, it failed to be an agency of care, it failed to reveal Christ in works of mercy to His dying children. This failure challenges Christ's church at this time.' (Guide For HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Education, Prepared by The Committee on HIV/AIDS - General Conference of SDA's, p.15)

Considering the extensive counsels on health that have been entrusted to us, and considering how little we have done with those counsels, what group of believers can be more answerable than we are?

In the light of the foregoing, therefore, would you say that the consequences of Laodicea's failings - these being the failings of the last church in world history - are serious enough to be considered at the throne room meeting that is recorded in chapters 4 and 5?

The following statement was penned during the time of the Anglo Boer War - a brutal war that took place in South Africa during the years 1899 to 1902 . . .

"Had the [church] work in Africa been carried out as it should have been, the present war would not have been as it now is." (TSA56)

This statement suggests that if we live out our distinctive truth, we can turn the tide of war - and possibly even prevent war? Does this not mean that we are answerable, to some significant degree, for the state of our war-torn planet today?

In the light of the foregoing, therefore, we need to seriously consider just how many people would be ready to receive the kingdom today if we had only made a little more effort to share the gospel with them? Just how many people would be living today, and how many people would not be in hospital today, and how many people would not be sick today, if we had only made a little more effort to share our health message with them? Just how many divorced families would be together today if we had only made a little more effort to share God's love with them? Just how many countries would be at peace today if we had only wholeheartedly embraced present truth and let our light shine?

Yes, we might even ask ourselves if terrorism would be the problem that it is today if we had only been a better reflection of the Prince of Peace?

According to Jesus, one of the strangest symptoms of our particular illness is the fact that though we are desperately ill, and though our sickness is wounding the rest of the world, and though people everywhere are perishing as a result of our neglect, many of us are still pretty much convinced that we are doing just fine, and that God is rather pleased with our condition.

`Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. They wrap themselves about with their own righteousness and are satisfied in reaching their own human standard of character. [But man] has nothing of his own but what is tainted and corrupted, polluted with sin, utterly repulsive to a pure and holy God. Apart from Christ, we have no merit, no righteousness. Our sinfulness, our weakness, our human imperfection make it impossible that we should appear before God.' (1SM320, 342, 333)

It matters not whether our problem is that we cannot see, or whether it is that we do not want to see, the fact is that we have a desperate need of eyesalve. We all need to realise and acknowledge that . . .

`The human family have all transgressed the law of God, and as transgressors of the law, man is hopelessly ruined; for he is the enemy of God, without strength to do any good thing.' (1SM321)

If our great need is to acknowledge that this is in fact our condition, then we can afford to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves. We do not have to try and pretend that we are not desperately ill, for we have a Great Physician and His nail-scarred hands are reaching out to us - right now. In the Christian economy, we cannot rise without first falling. In fact, we rise by falling. This being the case, let us be willing to fall at the feet of Jesus and acknowledge our failings and our desperate need of His grace.

Whichever way we consider our condition, our best medicine is a long hard look into the mirror of truth. As we humbly gaze upon the following reflection of ourselves, may the Lord help us to admit that we are desperately ill - that we might rise, that we might be healed, and that we might be used by Him to make a difference.

  As typical Laodiceans, one of our favorite topics is the soon coming of Jesus, but how many of us have realized that we are largely responsible for the delay in His coming? In reality, the world has long been bad enough for Jesus to come, but the truth is that the church has never lived up to her God-given mandate . . .

`Had the church done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and glory. If the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His Word, they would today be in the heavenly Canaan.' (Mar19, Ev694)

Does this not mean that Laodicea has put the world through many decades of misery?

  As typical Laodiceans, we also love to discuss the signs of the times, yet how few of us have realized that the signs of the times are in no small measure the signs of our crimes - the sure signs of our neglect.

`The only remedy for the sins and sorrows of men is Christ. The gospel of His grace alone can cure the evils that curse society.' (1MCP66)

If we have been somewhat ineffectual in sharing the gospel of His grace with the world, therefore, are we not answerable in significant measure for many of the evils that curse society today?

  As typical Laodiceans, our discussions often revolve around projects that involve the sending out of radio messages, the sending out of tracts, the sending out of food parcels, the sending out of missionaries, the sending out of evangelists, the sending out of television broadcasts, etcetera, all of which are worthy projects that deserve our prayers and our support, but how many of us have forgotten our personal commission from Jesus . . .

"Behold, I send YOU." (Matthew 10:16)

"The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (Luke 10:2)

The following passage of Scripture certainly reminds me of the many times that I have refused to be "sent."

"The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost." (Ezekiel 34:4 NKJV)

All, therefore, who wish to gather under the banner of the commandment-keepers of God, must realize that . . .

`No-one can live the law of God without ministering to others.' (DA584)

  As typical Laodiceans, we also love to hear about and to read about the latest church growth statistics, but did the statisticians ever tell us about the great numbers of discouraged souls that have been leaving the church via the back door? Did the statisticians tell us what proportion of our "new converts" are children of current members? Did the statisticians tell us how many of our new converts have never heard of the Spirit of Prophecy or the health message? Did the statisticians ever tell us about the many who were driven out of the church because they were sidelined by the position-seeking inner circle that exists in so many churches today? Did the statisticians tells us that, . . .

`God would be better pleased to have six thoroughly converted to the truth than to have sixty make a profession and yet not be truly converted?' (GW370)

  As typical Laodiceans, we are challenged with the concept of "making disciples," but how many of us are comfortable with the fact that it is discipline that makes a disciple? Is it perhaps true of Loadicea that . . .

`The test of discipleship is not brought to bear as closely as it should be upon those who present themselves for baptism. It should be understood whether those who profess to be converted are simply taking the name [of the church], or whether they are taking their stand on the Lord's side to come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing.' (TM128)

`Those who have been brought from error and darkness to truth and light have great changes to make, and unless the necessity of thorough reform is pressed home upon the conscience, they will be like the man who looked into the mirror, the law of God, and discovered the defects in his moral character, but went away and forgot what manner of man he was. The mind must be kept awake to a sense of responsibility or it will settle back into a state of even more careless inattention than before it was aroused.' (4T398)

  As typical Laodiceans, we are very pleased when we have the privilege of giving studies to prospective converts? But what is the primary focus of our studies? Do we mould our new converts into the mindset of Laodicea by telling them how right we are and how wrong the other churches are, or do we teach them about how right Jesus is and how wrong we all are? Do we ever tell them that . . .

`If you would gather together everything that is good and holy and noble and lovely in man and then present the subject to the angels of God as acting a part in the salvation of the human soul or in merit, the proposition would be rejected as treason ... any works that man can render to God will be far less than nothingness. My requests are only made acceptable because they are laid upon Christ's righteousness. The idea of doing anything to merit the grace of pardon is fallacy from beginning to end. "Lord, in my hand no price I bring, simply to thy cross I cling." Men can achieve no praiseworthy exploits that give him any glory.' (FW24)

  As typical Laodiceans, we tend to look to the "specialists" to finish the work, and we comfort ourselves with the thought that we are just too busy making a living to get too involved. Yet is it not true that . . .

"Not one in a hundred among us is doing anything beyond engaging in common, worldly enterprises?" (8T148)

  As typical Laodiceans, we speak much about our commission to carry the gospel to all the world, and so we should, but how many of us really understand the true gospel? Here you can judge for yourself . . .

In 1889 we were told that there is "not one in a hundred who understands for Himself the Bible truth in regard to the plan of salvation [gospel]." (1SM360)

In 1988, ninety-nine years later, the editor of the Christian journal, The Review and Herald, shared his personal conviction that nothing has changed. Has our understanding of the true gospel made great strides since 1988? Personally, I do believe that we have progressed since 1988, but I would hazard a guess that we still have an awfully long way to go.

  As typical Laodiceans, we are usually rather well acquainted with the Three Angel's Messages of Revelation 14, and we speak enthusiastically about taking these messages to all the world, yet how many of us are comfortable with the fact that . . .

`The third angel's message is present truth . . ., and the health question is as closely connected with that message as the arm is with the body.' (MM266)

  As typical Laodiceans, we enthusiastically support our evangelistic campaigns with our prayers, and our funds, and our presence, but how many of us have realized that our disregard of present truth makes it extremely difficult for God to bless our evangelist campaigns?

"The subject of health reform has been presented in the churches; but the light has not been heartily received. The selfish, health-destroying indulgences of men and women have counteracted the influence of the message that is to prepare a people for the great day of God. If the churches expect strength, they must live the truth which God has given them. If the members of our churches disregard the light on this subject, they will reap the sure result in both spiritual and physical degeneracy. [Have we not arrived?]. And the influence of these older church members will leaven those newly come to the faith. The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted, and those who were once converted, but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?" (CD455)

  As typical Laodiceans, we sometimes refer to ourselves as "the commandment-keepers of God," but how many of us, myself included, need reminding that . . .

`It is just as much a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break one of the ten commandments, we cannot do either without breaking God's law?' (2T70, 71)

In this light, how many of us, myself included, have realized that:

`Our first duty, one which we owe to God, to ourselves, and to our fellow man, is to obey the laws of God, which include the laws of health?' (3T164)

  As typical Laodiceans, we will be the proud owners of at least a few Spirit of Prophecy books - or at least we should be. But what part do those books play in our lives - and in the molding of our lives?

`Many are going directly contrary to the light which God has given to His people, because they do not read the books which contain the light and knowledge in cautions, reproofs and warnings.' (4T391)

Yes, most of us will usually pore over the "comfortable" books such as the Desire of Ages, and the encouraging books such as Christ's Object Lessons, but how many of us are spending enough time with the challenging books such as the Testimonies and Counsels on Diet and Foods - those that move us out of the comfort zone of Christian living? those that highlight our shortcomings and that drive us to the feet of Jesus?

                 
 

`The Lord's professing people have been sleeping over their allotted work, and in many places it remains comparatively untouched. Heavenly angels marvel that those who for so many years have had the light, have not carried the torch of truth into the dark places of the earth.' (9T46.1; 44.2)

         

Would you agree with me that Laodicea's condition is extremely serious? Would you agree with me that something has to happen to shake us out of our lethargy?

In all honesty, and I say this with utmost respect, while some might be making desperate efforts to create the impression that God's church is succeeding and prospering, I need to humbly and respectfully share with my reader that, generally speaking, the worldwide church is failing hopelessly.

Yes, there are isolated individuals, isolated groups, and isolated churches that are doing a wonderful work for God, but if we are honest with ourselves, we might just admit that a large proportion of our activity amounts to little more than ministry to ourselves. After all, who attends our evangelistic campaigns? who watches our television broadcasts? who listens to our radio broadcasts? who do we baptize? who do we minister to on Sabbath afternoons? The truth is that in terms of ministry to the needs of the world, in terms of following Jesus by doing the work that He loved to do, in terms of one-on-one evangelism, in terms of our specific end-time commission, we are progressing painfully slowly - if we are progressing at all.

Could it be said of us today, as it was said of us many decades ago, . . .

`The people of God . . . are at ease, believing themselves to be in an exalted condition of spiritual attainments. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God?' (3T252-3)

Could it be said of us today that `we are in no better condition than the Jewish people?' (1SAT95.2)

Some might be of the opinion that the health message is no longer important, and that reform is no longer called for, but this is simply not true.

`In this experience of backsliding from the principles of reform, our people have been repeating the experience of the children of Israel in the wilderness during the forty years of travel. Those who continue to follow their own course in this respect, eating, drinking, as they please, will gradually grow careless of the instructions the Lord has given regarding other phases of the present truth; they surely reap as they have sown.' (PH128.1)

While we are eagerly looking forward to crossing over into Canaan, the truth is that we are still wandering around in the wilderness and, based on our current attitude towards the principles of reform, we are still a long way away from the Jordan. Ouch! - sorry - but that is the truth.

Having considered this rather sobering reflection of ourselves in the mirror of truth, we urgently need to enquire whether anything is likely to change in the coming years?

Yes, things will change, but they are only going to change when we accept that . . .

"God has withheld His blessings because His people have not worked in harmony with His directions." (7T18)

For many decades, we have been trying to do the work and to reach the world in every other way but God's way. And the results are almost always the same - our great and carefully laid plans meet with little genuine, lasting "spiritual" success. And thus it will always be until such time as we accept that . . .

`The body which treats indifferently the right hand (health message), refusing its aid, is able to accomplish nothing.' (MM238)

No, this is not fanatical raving. No, I am not getting carried away here. No I am not standing on a platform pretending to be a perfect health reformer. But, yes, this is present truth. We have been called to do a special work, and health reform lies at the heart of this work. As such, we simply have to accept the fact that . . .

`The light God has given on health reform is for our salvation and the salvation of the world.' (RH 11-12-01)

In the light of our neglect of this message, therefore, is it any wonder that sickness is rampant throughout the world? Even now, strange and fatal illnesses are surfacing all over the planet, and all too many of us have not realized that we have been entrusted with all the answers, and that we have been entrusted with specific instruction for the world as to how they may escape the coming plagues.

If we are serious about sharing the last-hour message with the world, therefore, and about finishing the work in God's way - which is the only way - we simply have to accept that . . .

  `It is impossible to work for the salvation of men and women without presenting to them the need of breaking away from sinful gratifications, which destroy the health, debase the soul, and prevent divine truth from impressing the mind.' (7T137)

  `It is impossible for men, while under the power of sinful, health-destroying habits, to appreciate sacred truths.' (OHC266)

  `It is impossible for an intemperate man to be a Christian, for his higher powers are brought into slavery to the passions.' (CH36)

  `A diseased body and disordered intellect, because of continual indulgence in hurtful lust, make sanctification of the body and spirit impossible.' (Te147)

If our dietary and lifestyle habits "prevent divine truth from impressing the mind," making it impossible for us "to appreciate sacred truths," then surely we should be giving the health message the highest priority in our work today?

Yet, sadly, we are simply not giving this message the priority it deserves. According to one very reliable report . . .

`Church administration has gradually weakened its emphasis on health and temperance. At the division level we have only one medical doctor (in the Far Eastern Division) serving as health and temperance director anywhere in the world. In North America at the union level there are no full-time health and temperance directors. Our 58 North American conferences have less than 10 full-time equivalent directors of health and temperance. Medically speaking, the "right arm of the message" has become sort of an appendix. Church activities not leading directly to baptisms have been de-emphasized in our push toward increased membership." (Adventist Review, June 30, 1988, p. 9)

                 
 

`God's blessing will rest upon every effort made to awaken an interest in health reform for it is needed everywhere. There must be a revival in regard to this matter, for God purposes to accomplish much through this agency.' (CH261)

         

Is it any wonder, therefore, that . . .

`The percentage of vegetarians among Seventh-day Adventists is falling steadily. The use of coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks among us has become common. Even alcohol and drugs are making inroads in our ranks. At precisely the time when we have scientific evidence that validates our health principles, the personal health practices of many of us are deteriorating.' (Ibid)

Whichever way we read the above reports, they confirm that our focus today is on increased membership, on "baptisms," rather than on true conversions; on increased numbers instead of on increased spirituality. Our message has become a "come into our church," message, which is good for tithe income, when it should be a "come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing" message, which is good for our spiritual vitality. (TM128). 

Is it any wonder, therefore, that the worldwide church is meeting with so little in the way of genuine "spiritual" success?

Yes, God's church is going to be victorious, but we have no reason to believe that a revival will come until such time as we accept the fact that:

"Temperance alone is the foundation of all the graces that come from God, the foundation of all victories to be gained." (Te201)

We also have no reason to believe that anything will change until such time as we are willing to be corrected, and until we are willing to change, for it is ultimately our unwillingness to change that has brought us to our present situation . . .

"The work the Lord would do to set the churches in order is not done, because the individual members - and especially the leaders of the flock -would not be corrected." (1SM47)

Need I pen one more word in an effort to convince you that our condition - the condition of the last church in world history - is serious enough to warrant special attention at a special meeting in the throne room of heaven?

  We who have been called to save life are causing lives to be lost.

  We who have been called to educate the world in the basic principles of health, that they might comprehend the wonders of the gospel, that they might escape the plagues and be saved from untold pain and suffering and premature death, and that they might live for ever, have refused to be educated ourselves.

  We who have been called to preach the gospel to all the world have little more to boast about except that perhaps a small percentage of us have a correct understanding of the true gospel.

                 
 

`The Laodicean message has been sounding. Take this message in all its phases and sound it forth to the people wherever Providence opens the way. Justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ are the themes to be presented to a perishing world.' (1888 1054.1)

         

Sure, Jesus loves us, and sure we really are quite a nice bunch of people, but are we doing the special work that God has given us to do at this time? Are we sharing with the world "the message that is to prepare a people for the great day of God?" (CD455). Have we accepted the fact that "true religion and the laws of health go hand in hand?" (CH480). Are we following God's specific directions for daily living? Are we planning to finish the work in accordance with God's clearest of directions?

Or do the statements following present a more accurate picture of the church today?

`Splendid churches, embellished in the most extravagant manner, are erected on popular avenues. The worshippers array themselves in costly and fashionable attire. A high salary is paid for a talented minister to entertain and attract the people. His sermons must not touch popular sins, but be made smooth and pleasing for fashionable ears. Thus fashionable sinners are enrolled on the church records, and fashionable sins are concealed under a pretense of godliness.' (GC386)

In the light of the foregoing, it is fitting to once again consider Pastor Roy Allan Anderson's description of Laodicea.

`But here is a church of which the Lord says, Thou "knowest not." They possess all the outward evidence of cultural attainment, yet they are actually wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. "Increased with goods," they are wealthy as measured by the world's standards, possessing beautiful church buildings, wonderful institutions, and centers of learning, yet lacking the very essentials of Christian experience.' (Roy Allan Anderson, Unfolding Revelation, p.44 - emphasis my own)

                 
 

`The apostasy prevailing today is similar to that which in the prophet's [Elijah's] day overspread Israel. In the exaltation of the human above the divine, in the praise of popular leaders, in the worship of mammon, and in the placing of the teachings of science above the truths of revelation, multitudes today are following after Baal.' (PK170)

         

Can we now better appreciate why the book of Revelation presents the throne room meeting immediately after Jesus' message to Laodicea? To my mind, there is no question that Laodicea's failure was high on the agenda at this throne room meeting. I have carefully studied all the principles of interpretation and I can find no reason to believe otherwise.

My dear brother, my dear sister, I am humbled when I consider the part that I have played in Laodicea's failure, but I know that Jesus still loves me, and that He loves you.

Knowing the extent to which I am failing the Lord gives me a great incentive to want to change, but I do know, from experience, that I cannot change myself. Yet the word of God assures me that if I feel my need, and I acknowledge my need, and I hunger and thirst after righteousness, and I feast daily on His Love and on His word, He can change me, and He can change you, and He can make us brand new and lead us to victory - and it's all just so simple - that's why we call it the good news.

God's Dilemma

In the light of the above we need to ask, and this with utmost urgency, Is there anything that can heal Laodicea of her terrible malady? Is there anything that will lead Laodicea to even acknowledge that she is ill? What can God do to make us willing to be corrected? What can God do to initiate change in our hearts - so that we can make a radical change in our world?

Well, here is what God did in the case of Israel.

                 
 

CLAIM 7: Laodicea's failure was high on the agenda of the throne room scene in chapter 4 and chapter 5.

         

"As the years rolled on and His purpose concerning Israel seemed to be utterly thwarted by the devices of men inspired by satanic agencies, He still manifested His beneficent designs through the captivity and restoration of the chosen nation." (PK96)

Please note, out of beneficence (kindness) God committed His chosen people to captivity . . . but the grand purpose of it all was restoration.

One of the central teachings in Scripture assures us that when we fail to respond to blessings bestowed, God, in His infinite wisdom and love, uses blessings removed "that [we] may be led to see [our] sins, and return to Him with all [our] hearts." (PP470)

No-one can deny that Laodicea has received an over-abundance of "blessings bestowed", yet her response has been trifling. Our only hope, therefore, is a liberal dose of "blessings removed," for this, I believe, is just the medicine that Laodicea is needing today.

Like Jonah, the church has turned its back on God's commission and, like Jonah, the church is going to have to endure a time of suffering and darkness in "the belly of the whale."

While much of our suffering will be as a consequence of our failings, all of our suffering will play a vital role in God's plan to remove from us our idols and to turn our affections to Him. "And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me." (Hosea 5:15)

                 
 

`Angels are now restraining the winds of strife, that they may not blow until the world shall be warned of its coming doom; but a storm is gathering, ready to burst upon the earth; and when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.' (Ed179)

         

It is my firm belief, therefore, that it is in the light of Laodicea's failings that God calls a special meeting of the elders of heaven to discuss the unrolling of a scroll - a scroll that has writing on both sides - a scroll that speaks of the history and the destiny of mankind - a scroll that tells of the blessings that must now be removed from the earth - that a people "might be led to see their sins and return to Him with all their hearts" - that a people might finally be used by Him to prepare a lost planet to meet its Maker.

From eternity in the past God must have known that this scroll would have to be unrolled, and that all that it spoke of would have to take place, yet the seals on the scroll could not be loosed until such time as all the universe had witnessed that the efforts of divine mercy, divine love and divine patience had been fully exhausted and, tragically, that divine grace in all its glory has failed to penetrate the Laodicean heart in all of its self-satisfaction.

`It is seen that all His dealings in the great controversy have been conducted with respect to the eternal good of His people and the good of all the worlds that He has created.' (AG373.4)

But who in all the universe is worthy to unroll the scroll? Who can sanction the outpouring of such momentous woes upon a people who have been bought by the blood of the Lamb? None other than the Lamb Himself. By creation and by redemption we are His, and now, in the presence of all the elders of heaven, we might hear Him declare . . .

                 
 

"Ever pitiful to the truly penitent, ever ready to receive them and to heal their maladies, he [Jesus] thus evidenced that the open sinner is in a more favorable condition before God than professing Christians who bear no fruit to his glory." (3SP19)

         

`Let the consequences of their neglect teach them what My love, My mercy, and My grace could not teach them. My people have deprived the world and themselves of the blessing of truth, now they will have to live in the shadow of the resultant systems of error and oppression. There simply is no other way. That which they could have done in times of peace and plenty they will now have to do in times of turmoil and trial and famine. I will unloose the seals and unroll the scroll. Let the final warnings sound - let the final woes begin. Let suffering do her noble work that My people may be revived and that they might be led to final victory - at last. Just as ancient Israel left us no option but to allow them to be taken into captivity, so it is that we now have no option but to allow modern-day Israel to be taken captive by modern-day Babylon . . .'

"For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land," declares the LORD. "I will hand everyone over to his neighbor and his king. They will oppress the land, and I will not rescue them from their hands." (Zechariah 11:6)

"For a time the oppressors will be permitted to triumph over those who know God's holy commandments. It is God's purpose that everyone will be tested and proved, to see whether he will be loyal or disloyal to the laws which govern the kingdom of heaven. To the last God permits Satan to reveal his character as a liar, an accuser, and a murderer. Thus the final triumph of God's people is made more marked, more glorious, more full and complete." (Letter 5, 1883)

"We need not be surprised at anything that may take place now. We need not marvel at any developments of horror. The scenes that transpired at the destruction of Jerusalem will be repeated at the great and terrible day of the Lord, but in a more fearful manner." (3SM416; 417)

Meditational Nuggets: ` "I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in the all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to me," says the Lord.' (Haggai 2:17)

`When He slew them, then they sought Him; And they returned and sought diligently for God.' (Psalm 78:34)

`Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.' (Lamentations 3:32)

`For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.' (Job 5:18)

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The truth is that we are already in Babylonish captivity. The reason we have not realized this is because modern-day Babylon has something that ancient Babylon never had - a doctorate in public relations - and this has enabled her to hide her evil and oppressive intentions behind a facade of "well-meaning commerce," "caring governments," "holy intentions" and "noble benefactors."

In the modules that follow we will be unmasking the true merchants of Babylon and we will be challenged to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

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Dear reader and fellow truth-seeker. Once again we would like to open the door to friendly dialog with anyone who has any suggestion or constructive criticism that will contribute in any way to this document. If you are a Bible scholar, we are inviting you especially to share your insights with us, to offer your suggestions, and even to join us in completing the modules that are to follow.

If you would like to receive notification as and when additional modules in this series are published, please click here and ensure that the words "Revelation Insights" appear in the subject line of your email.

Proceed to Module 4

 
     

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