I want to invite you to open your Bible to the book of Daniel, the fifth chapter This is one of the chapters in the book of Daniel that the critics have challenged. They have said that these things could not have occurred.
My grandfather was once a skeptic and he had studied these skeptical things. In those days the skeptics said that no Belshazzar ever existed, because the official records that we had from the Greeks concerning the Babylonian Empire did not show any king Belshazzar ever having reigned over the kingdom. And so it was said that this was just a mythical story that was made up and that no Belshazzar ever existed.
Now that was several decades ago. Like a lot of other skeptical tales, the skeptics are not saying this anymore because the archaeologists have proven that there was a man by the name of Belshazzar who did rule over the kingdom of Babylon. It is just one of the many, many instances in the Bible where skeptics have said, Well, this did not happen or that did not happen. But as we have studied through archaeology, what the Bible said here was actually so.
There was actually a king by the name of Belshazzar who did rule over Babylon. And this story is about the last day, and especially the last night, of Belshazzar rule over that kingdom. And you know, we are all coming at some point in time to our last night on earth. Now that is truth, whether you die or whether you live until Jesus comes. Either way, it does not matter. We are all coming at some point in time to our last night on earth.
That is a universal statement. It was true for Enoch. It was true for Elijah. It was true for John the Baptist. It is true for every other person in the world, and it is going to be true for you and me. We are rapidly approaching the time when it is going to be the last night on earth for everybody.
That has happened before. You have read the story of Noah. In the story of Noah, did there come a night when it was the last night? There came a night when it was the last night. We have studied about the judgment. We mentioned in passing, we did not actually study it, that the place from which judgment is administered or decided, is in His temple or in His sanctuary, sometimes called the holy places in heaven, the temple or the sanctuary built without hands in heaven. That is the place from which judgment comes.
Now if you go to court houses or court buildings in our country, or sometimes you might have seen a sculpture or painting of a blindfolded woman who has a pair of scales in her hand. Have you ever seen a picture or sculpture like that?
Now the fact that she is blind or blindfolded, what does that represent? That represents impartiality before the court, before the judge, every human being is supposed to be on the same level. There is not supposed to be politics or partiality. The judges are appointed. They are not elected. They are not supposed to be involved in politics. But then, the scales. What do scales represent?
Have any of you ever seen the picture that Norman Rockwell painted during the depression, sometime in the 1930s. It appeared on the front cover of either the Saturday Evening Post or Life Magazine, I do not remember for sure. In this picture there was a scale and this was not a pair of scales like in Bible times where you would have a known weight on one side and then you would put something else on the other side, this was a scale that was spring loaded with an indicator at the top, like the ones that we commonly use. In this picture the grocer was selling a chicken to an elderly lady. And they were both looking up at the indicator. He had his finger on the scale, pushing down to make it heavier, and on the other side she had her finger on the scale, pushing up to make it lighter. When you look at the picture, you wonder if it balances out.
The Bible talks about this, you know, God's people and other people have had a problem with this for a long time. Do you remember what the Bible says about it? The Bible says you are not to have a heavy and a lightweight in your scales. Your weights are to be all the same. They are to be just measurement, they are not to be heavy weights or light weights. You see, whether you want it heavy or light depends on whether you are buying or selling.
And what do these scales represent that the blindfolded woman is holding? They represent justice or equity. Equity means that this side is equal to this side. That is equity. And that is what is supposed to prevail in the market place. If you have a car for sale, that car has a value. The seller places what he thinks the market value is on the car, and he advertises it.
If the prospective buyer thinks that the value is there and he goes to buy the car, he is willing then to offer something for that car that is of equal value, namely a certain amount of money. And he figures it is equal value to the car. We do the same thing with real estate, precious stones and anything of value. When we want to trade it, when we want to exchange it, we want to exchange something that is of equal value.
You can read in the Bible clear back in the time of Abraham. Do you remember when Abraham was wanting to buy a burial plot for his wife. He did not own a single square foot of real estate and his wife, Sarah, died and he needed a place to bury her. So he went to the sons of Heth and he said, I would like to buy from you the cave of Macpelah. They said, Well actually, you know, you are a powerful, strong prince among us and we will just give it to you.
Abraham was smart enough to know that that was not a thing to do. Study the life of Abraham, you will find that Abraham was a very, very intelligent man and he knew that receiving a piece of property as a gift because they like you is not a good idea. Ellen White has something to say about this and you want to read it in The Great Controversy, about page 387.
She talks about how that one of the most demoralizing things that can happen to children is to receive property without having to work for it. It is demoralizing. She then goes to show that when parents give property to children in their Wills, very often the children fight over it. And it has a very demoralizing influence. When your children are growing up, (I am going to really get in trouble now) but it is not good for your children to get an allowance for which they do not work.
It is not good, because if you do that, they have gotten something of value for nothing and that is teaching the principle of gambling and that is exactly what you do not want. You do not want your children to learn that they can get something of value for nothing. So when you receive something of value, you should give something for it that is equal in value. And what if the seller does not know how much it is worth and I do, so I get it for a very low price?
Do you know what the Spirit of Prophecy says about that? I have actually broken the eighth commandment. The seller has something of value, I do not give him what it is worth because he does not know it, so I get it for a lot less than what it is worth. I have stolen from the seller. And this is an especially heinous crime, if the seller should be a widow or an orphan.
The same is true for the seller, if the buyer is not in the know and I am. I know how much it is worth, but I charge him way more than it is worth. I have stolen from the buyer. He did not know. I did know. I placed too high a value on it, I stole. Those are things that we need to remember in our business life when we are buying and selling. The question we are going to want to know at the end of the world is not, Did I get it at the lowest price or did I sell it at the highest price? The question is going to be, Was I just in my dealings, in my business dealings with my fellowmen?
That is a big subject. Ellen White has a lot to say about it and it is something that we all have to face in the judgment, our temporal affairs. God watches and knows about our temporal affairs. One side of the scale should equal the other side of the scale. That is equity. Now, when man sinned, he got himself into a situation where he could not give equity.
By the way, is God a God of equity? He is. If you want to read about it, look in Deuteronomy 32:4. It says, "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice." [Now that word justice actually can be translated equity. Equity and justice are synonyms. Justice has to do with equity.] "A God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He."
So our God is a God of justice and equity. And when man sinned, we got ourselves into a condition where not only were all the descendents of Adam and Eve doomed to die, but we were also in a situation where there was no just way that we could buy ourselves out of the situation we were in. We did not have anything to do it with.
This is part of the devil's strategy. The devil claimed that God was going to have to allow a way, or make a way. Evidently the devil thought that maybe God might actually do this. He said that God was going to have to make a way so that sinners could be taken to heaven. God was going to have to make a way to save people in their sins, and he figured that if the human race could be saved in their sins, than he could be saved in his sins, too.
And he was going to force God to take him and the angels back to heaven, too. By the way, Ellen White says that the devil knew enough about the love of God that he knew that God would figure out a way to save the human race. He did not know what it was, but he knew that God would figure out a way to save the human race, and "whatever way God figures out to save them, he will have to save me, too," he reasoned. He will have to take me back, too. And if He does not, I will show the whole universe how unjust He is."
God has decreed that Sin will never enter heaven again. Never! But we had no way to buy ourselves out. There was no way that we could give anything of sufficient value so that we had any right to have eternal life.
And, of course, there was no way that we could give anything of sufficient value so that our sins could be forgiven because the penalty for sin is death. If you are going to have sin and you are going to pay the price for it, give something of equal value, then you have to die. I used to tell the prisoners when I was in prison ministry in Texas, "If the price of sin was a ten-year prison sentence, then you could pay the price yourself." And they could understand that real well.
But I said, "That is not the price of sin. The price of sin is death. And so man could never pay the price of his sins and he could never give anything that was of equal value so that he would have a right to eternal life. And that is what Jesus did for you and me on the cross.
So here in Daniel the fifth chapter, if you look at the experience of Belshazzar, notice what it says that they did. Verse 3 says, "They brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them." And then it says in verse 4, "They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone."
So they had many gods in their pagan religion and they praised them. And right while they were in the middle of these festivities, it says in the fifth verse, "In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lamp stand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote." And so Belshazzar became so frightened, it says that his knees banged together.
He was shaking and I want to tell you, friends, that time is coming again. When God makes men afraid, they cannot conceal their fright. And Belshazzar called for all the astrologers and the wise men and the magicians of Babylon to read this writing. And they came in and there is no question that some of those men could understand the words themselves, but they did not know what they meant because it was given in code language.
You had to know more than just what the word meant to be able to translate the word to know the message. It was like giving it in code language and they could not figure it out. You can read the story here, how finally the queen mother advised Belshazzar to call in Daniel. And Daniel was called in and Daniel spoke starting in verse 17.
Daniel reminded Belshazzar of the fact that he had known the truth. He knew what happened to Nebuchadnezzar. He knew the truth but he had not accepted it. He had not lived by it. He had not humbled his heart. He had exalted himself. And so, it says in verse 24, after Daniel tells him that he had not given honor to the God of heaven in Whose hand his breath is, his life. Then Daniel said, "Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written." And there is the inscription that was written in verse 25.
And we want to look especially at one word. That word is "Tekel," verse 27. It says, "You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting." What does that mean? Well, that means that you have the balance, you have the standard over here and you put the person's character on the other side and how does it equal out? If it is wanting, that means that the weight goes down and the other side comes up.
What balances is Daniel talking about? Well, the whole book of Daniel is about the judgment. In fact, the word Daniel means that God is my judge. That is what the name of Daniel means. The book of Daniel is about the judgment and it is about the fact that judgment comes from the sanctuary. That is a large part of the book of Daniel. You know, it is in the book of Daniel where we find the twenty-three hundred day prophecy and the prediction of the judgment that would come a short time after 1798.
And the scales are in the sanctuary. God has scales and what does He measure in these scales? I have been interested as I have looked up this reference to find that there are over three hundred references in the writings of Ellen White about this text and about this subject, being weighed in the balances and found wanting. There are around three hundred references.
It is very interesting what it is that is weighed in these scales. It is character. Profession does not count, being in the right club, organization, having the right name, or having all of those things does not count. What counts is your character. And the Protestant world has rejected this truth. They do not want to hear about the fact of the judgment.
But we are all going there anyway, whether we want to believe it or not, we are all going to be weighed on the scale. Our character is going to be weighed on the scale and what is on the other side of the scale? The law of God and the life of Jesus Christ as a representation of the law of God.
Now when we are talking about being weighed on the scale, we have just come to the first level. The first level has to do with you and me as individuals. Are you and I, as individuals, going to be weighed on the scale? Yes, we are. We are going to be weighed on the scale. Scripture tells us that every single one of us is going to judgment, the good, the bad and everybody.
We are going to judgment; we are going to be put on the scale. Does our character match up, is it equivalent to the law of God? Is there an equivalency there? And somebody says, Well, Pastor John, that is impossible. And it is impossible if Jesus is not with you. Let me tell you, if Jesus does not give you the Holy Spirit, and if He does not clothe you with His righteousness, and if He does not blot out your sins and give you the power to live a different life, of course, then it is impossible.
But when you are taken to heaven, you are not going to be taken to heaven simply as a forgiven culprit. You are going to be taken to heaven as an overcomer, as a conqueror, as a person who has conquered those things and your life has come into harmony with the law of God. So that when you are put on the scale, it is the same.
Weighed on the scales. We are all going to be weighed on the scale and you cannot be weighed for me and I cannot be weighed for you. You are going to have to be weighed for yourself. But this text about being weighed in the balances and found wanting, has more application than just to individuals. Now, it applies to individuals, it applies to you, every one of you and it applies to me.
We are all going to be weighed on the scale. There is no question about it. The Bible teaches it. The Spirit of Prophecy teaches it. The Old and New Testament both teach it. We are all going to the judgment and the very word judgment has to do with justice or equity. And by the grace of Christ, through His divine power, our character must be the equivalent, it must equal the law of God. It cannot be less than the law of God.
But this text about going to the judgment, about being weighed in the balances and found wanting, is not just about individuals. It is not just about you as an individual and me as an individual. It is about more than that. You see, individuals are associated together. Now we are associated in many different ways. We are associated together as families.
Are families going to be weighed on the scale? They absolutely are. As I have studied this subject in the Spirit of Prophecy, I have found many, many references talking about parents. The Lord is going to ask the parents in the Day of Judgment, Where are your children? What has happened to them? Families are going to be weighed on the scale, not just individuals, but because we are associated together and the way we live and act and speak affects other people in our family.
But not only families. There are larger groups of people than just families. And they are going to be weighed in the balances, too. Such as nations. Did you know that nations are going to be weighed in the balances, too? You see, some nations--now think this through--some nations have received more light of truth than other nations. Is that true? Do some nations have more opportunity than other nations? They most certainly do.
Have some nations received greater privileges than other nations? And you see, the more light, the more privileges that I have received, the more responsibilities I have. Is that not what equity would say? And so, nations are going to be weighed in the balances, too. Not just individuals, not just families, but nations. The United States, England, Brazil, Germany, Republic of South Africa.
All the nations of the world are going to be weighed on the scale. Here is what you received. Is what you did equal to what you received or not? They are all going to be weighed in the scale. Now we cannot totally comprehend such things as that, but God can. But nations are not the only things that are going to be weighed on the scale either.
Another group of people who are going to be weighed on the scale is the churches. All churches are going to be weighed in God's balances. Now, when we say all churches, that does not mean just the Presbyterian Church or the Methodist Church or the Catholic Church. They are going to be weighed on the scales, too, but it includes the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It includes all who call themselves Adventists. They are going to be weighed on the scales, too. The Jewish Church was weighed on the scale, God's balance scale.
Now when a church is weighed on a scale, then what is going to happen? Let us read a text here before we answer that question so that it will help us to understand the answer. It is in Luke 12:47, 48. It says, "And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."
So the more you have received, the more is going to be asked from you. Now what is going to happen to Adventists and to the Adventist Church when we are placed in the scales in God's balances? Ellen White evidently was shown this a number of times because she writes about it in several different places.
One place is Testimonies, vol. 5, 83, 84. There is danger that God's commandment-keeping people will be found as were the Jews, weighed in the balance of the sanctuary and found wanting. She says, "The church will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. If her moral character and spiritual state do not correspond with the benefits and blessings God has conferred upon her, she will be found wanting."
Now, many times perhaps, you have had people say to you, Well, do you not know that the Bible teaches? And do you not know that the Spirit of Prophecy teaches that the church is going to go through? Well, now, what do you think about a statement like that when you read this?
You see, it just depends on us whether we are going through or not. The Jews did not go through. Now the true church did go through, but it was just a remnant out of the Jews. Just a few. The true church went through, but the Jews, as a nation, did not make it. They were weighed in the balances and were found wanting. Now they thought that they were going to go through and you can read the first chapter in The Great Controversy.
They did not accept what Jesus or the apostles taught and they were trying to kill the apostles, but at the same time they said, We are God's people. We are the true church. And when the Roman armies were surrounding Jerusalem, inside they were saying, They cannot destroy this city. You can read it in the first chapter of The Great Controversy,.
They were encouraging the people saying, They cannot destroy this city because this is God's own city. But judgment had already been passed. Let me ask you this question. Did they know when judgment had been passed? No. Now you and I, we are Christians. We have the Spirit of Prophecy and we can look back almost two thousand years and we can say, Judgment was passed at this time or that time. We can do that. That is a long time ago, so we can figure that out from the history book. But, when you are actually going through something and prophecy is being fulfilled, it is not so easy to figure out exactly what is happening. And they did not know when judgment was passed.
Let me ask you a question then. If they did not know when judgment was passed, how do you think that we are going to know when judgment is passed? I cannot find any evidence anywhere in the Spirit of Prophecy that can tell you that you are going to know when judgment is passed. In fact, I know of a number of statements that indicate that when judgment is passed, the people do not know--neither the righteous nor the wicked.
And when you understand that, it tends to make life somewhat more serious and somewhat more solemn. The decision that we are looking at here, when it talks about the decision that is made when a person is put in the balances of the sanctuary, that is an eternal decision. That is forever.
"The Lord calls for all who will be true and obedient to His law to come out of and away from all connection with those who have placed themselves on the side of the enemy." This Day With God, 222. Now that is a very interesting statement. It says that you are to come out of and you are to get out of all connection with those who place themselves on the side of the enemy.
Well, somebody says, Pastor John, who are those who have placed themselves on the side of the enemy? Well, here they are, here is who they are. Here are the characteristics of the people who place themselves on the side of the enemy.
1. It is the people who are not totally on the Lord's side. (See Testimonies, vol. 2, 263.) There is more than one reference on that. If you are not heart and soul totally on the Lord's side of the battle, then you are on the other side. There is no such thing as being half-and-half in this. You are either totally on the Lord's side or you are on the side of the enemy according to the Spirit of Prophecy.
2. It is when conviction of truth is rejected and then the person starts keeping friendship with the majority. (See Review and Herald, December 26, 1899.)
3. It is also those who lightly regard the testimonies. I can remember a time that anywhere that I was, and my parents traveled a lot, so I have been in a lot of different places in the world, even as a child. But I can remember when you could go just about anywhere and you could go into any Adventist church and if you quoted something from the Spirit of Prophecy, people would not argue with you. They would not argue with you. But since the early and middle seventies, we have come into different times when people, many people, lightly regard the testimonies. Ellen White says that those people who lightly regard the testimonies, those people who sow the seeds of doubt, are on the side of the enemy, and God "calls for all who will be true and obedient to His law to come out of and away from all connection with those who have placed themselves on the side of the enemy." This Day With God, 222
If you carefully read Daniel 5, you will find out that Daniel was not at this feast. He had to be called in because he was not there. And I want to tell you, friends, there are things going on among God's professed people today that you should not be there. If you value your soul and you value the souls of your children, you had better not be there. This is God speaking. This is not me.
He says, God is calling "for all who will be true and obedient to His law to come out of and away from all connection with those who have placed themselves on the side of the enemy." Ibid.
Right now we are going to read a quotation from Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 434. This is about some other problems that some people have that is going to cause them to be weighed in the balances and to be found wanting. "Now brethren, if you expect that every difficulty is going to be laid out in clear lines before you, and you wait until it is, then you will have to wait until the judgment, and you will be weighed in the balances and found wanting."
Have you ever given a Bible study to somebody and after you have gone over everything about the state of the dead, there were still some texts that they could not figure out and so they were not willing to accept. Have you ever been in a situation like that? There were still some texts, you know. Your explanation of the rich man and Lazarus was not good enough and your explanation of what 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 was not good enough. And your explanation of Philippians 1:1-23 was not good enough and they could not understand your explanation of Job 14:22. And they could not understand your explanation of the death of Rachel and so they would not accept it.
Now, you may have given them twenty or thirty texts that very clearly state what a person's condition is in death. But there are still some things they have some doubts about because they cannot figure it all out. Adventists have the very same problem. You may have explained ninety percent of them, but there are still a few they cannot understand. So they will not separate from the apostasy. They will not separate from the iniquity. They say, I am going to stay right where I am, because they cannot understand everything and they are waiting for everything to get clearly laid out.
And what does Ellen White say is going to happen to these people? They are waiting for everything to be clear. I am going to wait until everything is clear. I am going to stay. You show them they are in a church where they are hearing the wrong theology. Their children are being wrongly taught. They have celebration worship. They have the wrong kind of music. They are not hearing the Three Angels' Messages and you say, You need to go to a place where you are going to hear the Three Angels' Messages. And they say, I am going to wait until everything is perfectly clear.
Do you know what is going to happen when everything is perfectly clear? Someday it will be perfectly clear, but it will be too late to be saved. Ellen White says that these people will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. You see, it is like this. God could take you and me, and He could nail us in with so much evidence that we could not controvert it and we would be forced to accept the truth.
God could do that. He could overwhelm us with evidence. But He does not. He does not because He is not interested in anybody serving Him because of force. And so Ellen White says that if anybody wants a nail to hang their doubts on, God will let them have it. There will always be some statement in the Spirit of Prophecy or some text in the Bible that somebody cannot quite understand. So they are not going to move until they do, and they are going to be lost while they are waiting.
Oh, friend, if you are studying some subject in the Bible, trying to make up your mind what to do, do not take the position, Well, I will move, I will make a decision when I understand everything perfectly clear. Make your decision when you have found the weight of the evidence. And then, there is this statement that is very, very solemn and very thought provoking in Testimonies, vol. 8, 247-251. This statement was written in April of 1903. This is a very thought provoking statement especially in the times in which we are living. It reads, "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. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted, on her will be pronounced the sentence: 'Found wanting.' By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. . . . Solemn admonitions of warning, manifest in the destruction of dearly cherished facilities for service, say to us: 'Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.' Revelation 2:5."
What was that she was talking about? This was written in 1903. What is she talking about, "the destruction of dearly cherished facilities for service?" What is that? Those were the two big fires they had in Battle Creek, which burned down our buildings. And she said, God is speaking to us by these fires. Well, what is He saying? Well, she tells us what He is saying.
She quotes this text in Revelation 2:5. It says, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent and do the first works or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place unless you repent." Now, friends, this text Ellen White quotes this in 1903. This is Testimonies, vol. 8, between 247-250. Ellen White quotes this text here, Revelation 2:5 and she applies this to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
And what does this text say? It says, Repent from where you have fallen but if you do not, what is going to happen? I am going to move your lampstand out of its place. And we are in such a Laodicean condition. I receive letters and telephone calls admonishing me and some telling me very strictly, Do you not know, brother, that the Adventist Church is going through?
Well, if that is so certain, why does the prophet speak this and quote this text to us? If we know that, why did she even bother to say this? This is nonsense--if we know that. This text says, and it is written to the church at Ephesus, Repent and do the first works but if you do not, I am going to take your lampstand out its place, or remove your lamp
Then she says, "Has not blindness fallen upon the watchmen standing on the walls of Zion? . . . The heavenly teacher inquired [I am just reading scattered sentences. You can read the whole testimony.]; '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 sinning against Jehovah."
She says, How? The heavenly teacher inquired, well, Who would that be? That is Jesus Himself who is speaking, friends. He is speaking to Adventists and He says, What greater deception, what more fascinating delusion can take hold of your mind than this? "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 sinning against Jehovah? Oh [This is Jesus speaking], it is a great deception, a fascinating delusion, that takes possession of minds when men who have once known the truth, mistake the form of godliness for the spirit and power thereof." That is all from Testimonies, vol. 8, 247-250.
This is still from that same testimony from April 21, 1903. She says, "God has not changed toward His faithful servants who are keeping their garments spotless. But many are crying, 'Peace and safety,' while sudden destruction is coming upon them."
Now that is I Thessalonians 5:2 and to whom does Ellen White apply that Scripture? She ascribes it to people who are Adventists, people who are Adventists but who are still crying Peace and safety. And I want to tell you, I have never seen more of a peace and safety cry within Adventism than in the last few years. I took notes on a sermon, a report from a sermon given at one of our large meetings in the Northwest and the speaker told the people, he said, Do not worry about the time of trouble, just be happy.
Peace and safety. Do not worry about that. Christians are to be joyful. Well, I believe that we should be joyful, but I do not think the way to get joyful is by sticking your head in the sand and not know what is going on. What did she say was going to happen to those people who are saying peace and safety? The Bible says it. Sudden destruction is going to come upon them.
"Then", this is page 250, "I saw our Instructor," Who was the Instructor? Jesus Christ. "I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments of so-called righteousness. Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement beneath. Then He 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!"
Now, I want to tell you, these are strong words. I did not write it. I am just reading what she wrote in 1903. And she said, You are covering up. There is sin in the camp. Now this is true for us individually. Friends, if there is sin in your life or sin in my life and nobody else knows about it in the world, we have got it perfectly covered up, when we get put on the scales, it still is going to get revealed.
But it is not just true for us as individuals; it is true for us as groups of people, as churches. Then she says, "Unless the church, which is now," by the way, notice this is in present tense. This is not a prophecy. The first part of the sentence is not a prophecy. She says, "Unless the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding." What was happening back in 1903? We were being leavened by our own backsliding.
You see, some Seventh-day Adventists have thought that we went into an apostate condition in the 1950s when we published the book, Questions on Doctrines. But when I started studying this several years ago, I found out that the actual time when Adventism went into apostasy, and then it just got deeper and deeper and deeper, was in 1888. And we went through thirteen crisis years.
We actually wrote a book about that one time called, Thirteen Crisis Years between 1888 and 1901 and then many people said, We got it straightened out. It was supposed to be straightened out, but if you study the history of that period we published in our magazine a few years ago, an article, we did not write it. It was an article actually by a man from Southern California who researched it out, showing that the message in 1901 was rejected.
And in 1903 we completely turned everything around almost the way it was before 1901. And this is written in 1903 and she says at this time, "Unless the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself." Ibid. 250.
Now for the last several years I have asked myself a question. How bad does it have to get before we abhor ourselves and go to the Lord and say, Lord, please change our condition? And I have wondered. What is going to happen? What can happen so that the true and faithful, so the people in Adventism who really want to know the truth and obey the truth and be saved, that really are true and honest in heart, what is going to happen so that these people can see? Because everything has been under cover.
I remember ten years ago my brother was talking to me about this and he said, These people in these conferences here (we were working in Kansas at the time) say that they are for evangelism and they want to win souls, but actually you get out and try to do it and they will fight you tooth and nail.
But the average person could not see it. However, God is working things out so that the average person is going to see it. You are not going to have to be an evangelist who is being fought secretly to be able to figure out what is going on. The Lord is arranging things so that the battle is going to come out into the open. However, if you are too dead asleep, you may not even catch it then.
The battle is coming out more and more into the open. I will tell you what is bringing the battle out more and more and more into the open. According to Revelation 14:6, the Three Angels' Messages have to go to how many people in the world? Every single person.
Now let me tell you the way we have been trying to get the Three Angels' Messages to the whole world. This is how I was trained and this is the way I worked as an Adventist minister for many, many years. What we would do, by the way, I am not criticizing this, I am not talking against it. I am saying that it is wrong. But what we would do, we would send out direct mail. Now we still do this. We have sent out several times in the Wichita area when we were going to have prophecy seminars, evangelistic crusades.
We would send out between forty and a hundred thousand direct mail advertising brochures and people would come to our meetings. Now the world is so drunk on the wine of Roman Babylon that you send out between fifty and a hundred thousand flyers and you are lucky if you get two hundred people to come to the first meetings. And so, at those meetings, if they keep coming to the ninth or tenth night, in our evangelistic crusade, that is when we hit the mark of the beast.
They come until the ninth or tenth night and they do find out the Three Angels' Messages but the people who do find out is maybe one hundred people out of an area of a half million. Now it is not bad that those one hundred people found out, is it? That is good. We are glad that they wanted to find out what the Bible said about the future. And we are glad that they wanted to find it out and that they now know the Three Angels' Messages.
And once you hear the Three Angels' Messages, your eternal destiny is determined by whether you accept it or reject it. The Third Angel's Message, Ellen White says in Early Writings, separates the wheat from the tares. The Third Angel is the angel that separates the wheat from the tares. We did not understand so much what that meant until just recently,
Not that what we were doing was wrong, because it is all right to send direct mail to a hundred thousand people and then get a few hundred people into a room and explain to them what the Three Angels' Messages are. There is nothing wrong with that and I hope to do more of it, as long as we have a little religious liberty, I want to do it. I want to explain to people what the Three Angels' Messages are. I believe that that is my moral responsibility.
But what about the other almost half a million people, where we are living? Since we count either between four and five hundred thousand people. What about those? See, they got your direct mail, but they really were not interested. They did not realize what it was all about so they have not heard the Third Angel's Message yet. So now because they got our flyer, but they do not know what it is yet, do they get the seven last plagues and go to hell because they did not come to our meeting?
Well, you see, God is going to arrange things so that the Third Angel's Message is one of these days going to be front-page news, and everybody is going to know it. Not just the two hundred people who came to our meeting but the whole rest of the population is going to know about it. How is that going to happen? The way that is going to happen is by somebody, somewhere, agitating the Three Angels' Messages and get it into the press and get it all over the country.
Somewhere, someday, someway, somebody is going to do that. And God has been impressing upon some people here and there that the time to do that is now. Now some people think that it is not now, they think it is going to be sometime in the future, it is not now. Personally, I believe that the people who have been impressed to do this have been impressed to do it by the Lord because it has not been just one or two.
It is not just somebody going out and striking out on his or her own. This is a movement that is becoming, very rapidly, worldwide. And when you get hundreds of thousands and millions, and by the way, in Europe it is already in the millions. It is like a tabloid but it is a little tiny newspaper with the Three Angels' Messages on it that has been printed in twenty languages and so far, I learned three or four weeks ago, there has been between four and five million of these things distributed around Europe and eastern Europe.
I was happy to hear that. The people who did this, of course, got in trouble. They got sued by the conference for doing it. And Raphael got sued by the General Conference for putting it in the papers. And so what is happening is the distribution of the Three Angels' Messages all over the world is separating the wheat and the tares in Adventism. That is what Ellen White said it would do.
She said that the Third Angel will separate the wheat and the tares. And where are the wheat and the tares? They are in the church. And that is what is happening right in front of our eyes. You know, I hear people say, Well, the wheat and the tares are going to be separated at the end of the world by the angels. But Ellen White says that the angel that separates them is the Third angel and the Third Angel's Message is preached before the close of probation and does its work before the close of probation.
So what is happening? We are being separated into two groups. It is the Third Angel's Message that is doing it exactly as it is predicted in Early Writings, it separates the church into two groups. It separates the wheat and the tares and you see, very soon, friends, none of us look forward to this, but it is the truth and we need to face it. We are going to be persecuted for sending this stuff all over the world. We are.
And some of us are going to land in jail or prison for doing it. And with that kind of pressure, it is really going to separate people. You are either going to have a conviction that God wants you to do it and that you must do it or you are not going to do it. It is going to separate the people into two distinct groups.
And my dear friend, one of those groups is going to be weighed in the balance and found wanting and one of them is going to go into the kingdom. Every one of us is going to be in one of those two groups. It is happening right in front of our eyes. Adventism is being separated into two groups according to which people want to get the Three Angels' Messages to the world now, and which people do not.
And they end up fighting the people who are trying to do it. And you and I, every one of us, are going to be in one of those two groups. Now people say to me, Well, Pastor John, you are not doing it right. And I say, If I am not doing it right, please show me the right way to do it. I want to do it the right way. I want to be kind. I want to be tactful. I want to be sure that my message goes out in a loving, tender, kind way to the Catholics and the Protestants and the infidels and everybody.
I want to be kind and tactful, but do not tell me just to not do it because I cannot do that with a clear conscience. That is the problem. People say, You are not doing it right. We say, Okay, brother/sister, if I am not doing it right show me a better way to do it. I am willing to learn a better way to do it. And I am very serious when I say that. I am not above learning from anybody a better way to do it. Just do not say, Stop and do not do it at all because that is not the better way to do it, is it?
We are in the time when we are being separated. Every church is going to be separated into two groups. It will happen in every church. It is just that the proportions in the different groups will be different in different churches. Where are you going to be? And where am I going to be? We are all going to be in one group or the other and we are going to be put onto the scales. We will be put onto the balances and we are going to be weighed out.
Are you ready for what is about to happen? Do you see as you study this, how clear it is going to be who is on whose side? Do you understand why it says in the Bible that when Jesus comes that all the world is going to wail? Why are they going to wail? Because they will have made it very public what side they are on and they will know it. Everybody will know who is on which side. Ellen White says everybody in this world is going to take part in this last final crisis.
We are all going to take part and we are all going to be on one side or the other. The only question is, what side are you going to be on? What side am I going to be on?