We are Seventh-day Adventists and I am proud of that name. It is a name that God has given to us as a people.
I remember my first experience in attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church. A young minister was giving a study on Daniel 7. As I listened, the pastor read the various descriptions of the little horn power from Daniel 7 and Revelation 13. There are over a dozen identifying marks of the Roman Church given in these two chapters—marks that when collectively considered could not possibly apply to any other power. Just imagine being a Roman Catholic for thirty-two years, and hearing for the first time that the leader of your church was the Antichrist.
"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Revelation 13:8. The Roman Papacy is Satan’s crowning achievement, and through this power he hopes to bring the whole world under his control.
I make no apologies and I am deeply stirred within my soul. God has a message of stern rebuke to this church. We know that the Protestant nations will clasp hands with the Roman Church and that the papacy will use Protestant America as a puppet to bring all the world under its control.
"In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light form the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second and third angel’s messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God’s people are to be true to the trust committed to them. They are not to engage in speculation, neither are they to enter into business enterprises with unbelievers; for this would hinder them in their God-given work." Testimonies, vol. 9, 19,20
We have been entrusted with a work like no other people on the face of this earth. This is the time when the Seventh-day Adventist Church should be on the front line, but the leaders are retreating, waving white flags. Peace and safety messages are being preached while those who are acting as faithful watchmen, seeking to expose the man of sin with billboards, are being disfellowshipped.
"Our message is a life-and-death message, and we must let this message appear as it is—the great power of God. Then the Lord will make it effectual. We are to present it in all its telling force. The first and second angel’s messages are bound up with the third angel’s message. The power of the proclamation of the fist and second angel’s messages is to be concentrated in the third." The Voice in Speech and Song, 329
"When men stand out in defiance against the counsel of God, they are warring against God. Is it right for those connected with such ones to treat them as if they were in perfect harmony with them, making no difference between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not? Though they be ministers or medical missionaries, they have dishonored Christ before the forces of the loyal and the disloyal. Open rebuke is necessary, to prevent others from being ensnared." Testimonies for the Church Containing Letters to Physicians and Ministers Instruction to Seventh-day Adventists, 9
Today, God is calling eleventh hour workers to fill the ranks, to take the last message of mercy to a perishing world. "There are many souls to come out of the ranks of the world, out of the churches—even the Catholic Church—whose zeal will far exceed that of those who have stood in rank and file to proclaim the truth heretofore. For this reason the eleventh hour laborers will receive their penny. These will see the battle coming and will give the trumpet a certain sound. When the crisis is upon us, when the season of calamity shall come, they will come to the front, gird themselves with the whole armor of God, and exalt the law, adhere to the faith of Jesus, and maintain the cause of religious liberty which reformers defended with toil and for which they sacrificed their lives." Selected Messages, Book 3, 387,388 They will receive eternal life because they went to the front, saw the enemy coming and rose up to battle—they were numbered with the cowardly and fearful.
When the Lord’s Day Alliance recently came out with a book, they praised the executive director what he had accomplished during his years of service. They said that he had made history for the Alliance when he spoke at Andrews University Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan. In spite of the differences of opinion with reference to the Sabbath question, their leader explained, "We clapsed hands across these differences." See The Great Controversy, 588.
From the Gleaner, May 17, 1993, part one of a five part series states: "We may have less to say in some lines in regards to the Roman power and the Papacy." Quoting Ellen G. White, it continues, using quotations that emphasize the fact that we need to speak the truth in love. But I submit to you that to warn the world, giving the three angel’s messages in its entirety and exposing the man of sin, is love.
As I read: "Billboard derides Catholics, forgets to speak the truth in love," I am concerned for my church. Then, when I read in the fourth part of the five part series in the Gleaner, July 12, 1993, "The Great Controversy: Taming the Strong Language: Such a practical approach to inspiration is not popular with some." I find that this article concludes that Seventh-day Adventists might need to change the language of The Great Controversy. I asked myself, "Is Adventism making an image to the beast?"
The Adventist Review is now speaking up against the billboard campaign, but the thing that troubled me the most was a picture of a Roman Catholic nun, called the "cookie nun." "Sister Jean Thuerauf, who, in an effort to get youngsters off the streets and away from gangs, started a bakery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has earned the affectionate title of ‘Cookie Nun.’ Profits from Sister Jean’s Cookie Cart are used for scholarships so the youngsters can attend Catholic schools." Whey are we putting this in our magazine?
I received a letter in regard to the billboards from the Catholic Campus Ministry of the Ecumenical Affairs office. To support their position, they quoted from a book by George Vandeman, What I Like About....They are using our material to support the Catholic position. I am shocked at what I see.
I take no pleasure in speaking strongly, but I see our church beginning to blend with the rest of the ecumenical world. The Sacramento Bee came out with an article entitled: "Intolerance in America still a pattern of life for many." "Intolerance in America, a billboard says, ‘And all the world wondered after the beast.’ When religion’s love is lost. Driven by fear, ignorance, fanatics sow seeds of violence." Do you see the handwriting on the wall when it is considered intolerant in America to speak against Rome and the Papacy? The following is a part of that article.
"On a billboard along 16th Street about a month ago, high above the traffic, a faintly smiling caricature of John Paul II waved benignly to passing motorists.
"At first glance, the cartoon image of the pope might have appeared to be an advertisement for Catholicism, but a telephone call to the 800 number on the board provides a different picture. What callers received in the mail—after leaving their address—was a booklet that calls the pope the Antichrist or ‘the beast.’
"The pope is the satanic dictator who will send the world into misery and war before Jesus Christ’s second coming to save the faithful.
"To some, the billboard is an example of religious intolerance. To the billboard proponents, it is the truth.
"‘I am exercising religious liberty,’ said Danny Vierra, the Lodi man and former Catholic leading the billboard effort locally. ‘Protestant reformation was in harmony with what I am saying. The Papacy is the Antichrist.’
"He draws that conclusion, in part, because of what is inscribed on the pope’s miter, his tall ornamented cap, which carries the title Vicarius Filii Dei, Latin for Vicar of Christ.
"The booklet by author A. Jan Marcussen assigns roman numerals to the various letters in Vicarius Filii Dei....and gets 666.
"And in chapter 13, verse 18 of Revelations, the number is linked to the beast.
"Al Menendez an Episcopalian and research director for Americans for Religious Liberty in Silver Springs, Md., said the billboards—which have sprung up all over the West—are examples of religious intolerance.
"Intolerance need not be murderous. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing 1.3 million reform Jews, denounce singer Sinead O’Conner for publicly defacing a photograph of the pope during a ‘Saturday Night Live’ television show.
"Roger Keller, a professor of world religion at Brigham Young University, said that there is continuous antipathy toward those who are different.
"Vierra, the ex-alter boy with the anti-papal billboards, said the doctors and business owners behind the billboards are not part of a hate group. He professed love for the Catholic people.
"‘Our goal is to get people to study the Word of God,’ he said. ‘We have had 500 phone calls. People have thanked us. They have ordered other books that expose the Papacy in detail.’
"Although the pope billboard was taken down, others have taken its place in other locations. The billboards have the ‘the phone ringing off the hook. The few calls we get against us say the pope is our holy father. The Bible says call no man father.’"
It is a sad day when Brigham Young University, the Episcopalian Church and the American Hebrew Congregations all speak out against the billboard, but shocking when officials of the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Portland have said the ads do not represent the views of the church.
"With rapid steps we are approaching this period. When the Protestant churches shall unite with the secular power to sustain a false religion, for opposing which their ancestors endured the fiercest persecution: when the state shall use its power to enforce the decrees and sustain the insututions of the church, --then will Protestant America have formed an image to the to the Papacy, and there will be national apostasy which will end only in national ruin." Signs of the Times, March 22, 1910
"In the very time in which we live, the Lord has called His people and has given them a message to bear. He has called them to expose the wickedness of the man of sin who has made the Sunday law a distinctive power, who has thought to change times and laws, and to oppress the people of God who stand firmly to honor Him by keeping the only true Sabbath, the Sabbath of creation, as holy unto the Lord." Evangelism, 705
"The Lord has a controversy with His professed people in these last days. In this controversy men in responsible positions will take a course directly opposite to that pursued by Nehemiah. [They will not be trying to repair the breach, will they?] They will not only ignore and despise the Sabbath themselves, but they will try to keep it from others by burying it beneath the rubbish of custom and tradition. In churches and in large gatherings in the open air, ministers will urge upon the people the necessity of keeping the first day of the week. There are calamities on sea and land: and other calamities will increase, one disaster following close upon another; and the little band of conscientious Sabbath-keepers will be pointed out as the ones who are bringing the wrath of God upon the world by their disregard of Sunday." Review and Herald, March 18, 1884
As I see our church today speaking out, denying the message of those billboards—that the man of sin shall be revealed is the view of Seventh-day Adventism—and as I see Kenneth Cox professing that, "We really don’t believe that the pope is the Antichrist," I am confused.
"I saw the nominal church and nominal Adventists, like Judas, would betray us to the Catholics to obtain their influence to come against the truth. The saints then will be an obscure people, little known to the Catholics; but the churches and nominal Adventists who know of our faith and customs (for they hated us on account of the Sabbath for they could not refute it) will betray the saints and report them to the Catholics as those who disregard the institutions of the people; that is, that they keep the Sabbath and disregard Sunday." Spalding-Magan Collection, 1
Once a person starts working against God’s message as given by the three angels, anything is possible, because when there is not a love of the truth, the mind will very quickly move on to accept advanced delusions.
When I read in our church paper about the cookie nun, and when I see my brethren’s names being turned in to the archdiocese, I no longer am confused. "As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position, and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light." The Great Controversy, 608
The Episcopalians, Brigham Young University, the Baptist Church, the Ecumenical Movement, Roman Catholicism and Seventh-day Adventists are all agreed in their assertion that the billboards are not speaking the truth in love.
"Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbath-keepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them." Ibid.
"When Christ saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, he saw also a professed Christian church united to the world and the Papacy. And as He stood upon Mount Olivet, weeping over Jerusalem till the sun sank behind the western hill, so He is watching over and pleading with sinners in these last moments of time. Soon He will say to the angels who are holding the four winds, ‘Let the plagues loose; let darkness, destruction, and death come upon the transgressors of My law.’ Will He be obliged to say to those who have had great light and great knowledge, as He said to the Jews, ‘O that thou hadst known, even thou in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace. But now they are hid from thine eyes.’?" Kress Collection, 153. Who do you think is the people spoken of in this prophecy?
"All unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things;...Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fury. ‘We are lost!’ they cry, ‘and you are the cause of our ruin;’ and they turn upon the false shepherds....Now the angel of death goes forth, represented in Ezekiel’s vision by the men with the slaughtering weapons, to whom the command is given: ‘Slay utterly old and young, both maid, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.’ Says the prophet, ‘They began at the ancient men which were before the house.’ Ezekiel 9:1-6. The work of destruction begins among those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people. The false watchmen are the first to fall. There are none to pity or to spare. Men, women, maidens, and little children perish together." The Great Controversy, 655, 656