GOD’S LOVE AND LEADERSHIP
While the children of Israel rejected God at Kadesh-Barnea and had to be led back into the wilderness to fulfill the sentence of a provoked and offended God, they were not forsaken or cast off. They were under the divine rebuke and a partial or temporary rejection, but God still claimed them as His own people. Even though the records of their wilderness sojourn reveal little else save murmurings and rebellions against the Lord, yet He loved them above all people on the earth, and He kept them "as the apple of His eye." Deuteronomy 33:2, 3; 32:10; Isaiah 63:8, 9. No person can read these statements and doubt God’s love, or claim that He had entirely rejected or cast off His people.
Even during the retreat of Israel toward Egypt and their wilderness wanderings under the divine rebuke, God continued to be their Leader. It was under the divine leadership that they returned into the wilderness and God’s presence continued with them during the entire period of their alienation. Deuteronomy 2:7; Nehemiah 9:15-23. The Israelites moved only when the pillar of cloud or fire went before them. That the occupant of the pillar of cloud and fire was Christ, has already been proven. See 1 Corinthians 10:4. God’s love and tender care for His people during this period is beautifully illustrated in Acts 13:18. "And about the time of forty years bore, or fed them as a nurse beareth, or feedeth her child." —Margin. They were spiritually sick and God exercised toward them the tender love or care of a nurse toward her patient. A nurse never spurns or rejects a patient because of sickness which produces an unnatural and irritable and rebellious disposition. The Lord is more patient, kind, and considerate of His sick church than a nurse can be of a sick child.
No New Movement
Because the Exodus Movement failed at Kadesh-Barnea to enter the promised land "at the time of His appointment," the Lord did not start a new movement under new leadership. Caleb, Joshua, Moses and doubtless many others did not take part in the rebellion and were ready to enter the promised land, but they too, were divinely led back into the wilderness. They did not start a new or offshoot movement and attempt to enter the promised land by themselves. They knew that God remained with the original movement even though it contained the rebels and that if they ever reached the promised land they too must go into the wilderness with the movement that God was leading and patiently await His own pleasure as to the time they would enter Canaan. Korah, Dathan and Abiram attempted to start an offshoot movement and go directly in, but it ended in failure as did other similar efforts. The only hope of success was to remain loyal to the original organization or movement that God led out of Egypt and was still leading.
Notwithstanding the return of modern Israel into the same dreadful Laodicean wilderness out of which the Lord attempted to lead them in 1888, the Advent Movement is still under divine leadership. Although under the divine rebuke of the Laodicean message and the alienation that excludes Christ from complete possession of His church-temple and that keeps Him outside the door of the inner chamber of the heart-temples of His people, He continues to claim the Laodicean church as His own and to love His remnant people above all others of the earth. In Deuteronomy 7:6-9 we are told why the Lord love ancient Israel above all other people and chose them as His own, and for the same reason the Lord has chosen and set His love upon modern Israel even while she is in the Laodicean state. Laodiceans are the most obedient and loyal people in the world.
The Rebuke of Love. Rev. 3:19
"All whom I hold dear I reprove and chastise." —Wey. The Laodicean message is the most scathing rebuke contained in Holy Writ and comparable only to that administered to ancient Israel and recorded in the first chapter of Isaiah. The picture would be hopeless and discouraging if it were not for the fact that the rebuke is the rebuke of love. The Laodicean message is a love-message and is not spoken in anger to wound and destroy, but in love to save and restore. Jesus reproves and chastises the remnant of His people because He loves them very dearly and He longs to have His love awaken a response of love in our hearts. One reason for His love is because His people are honestly deceived. This is indicated by the statement, "And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." —Verse 17. "The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad condition, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God." —Vol. 3:252. There is always hope for an honest person even though he be deceived, for "Every truly honest soul will come to the light of truth." —G.C. 522. The Laodiceans who are honest will accept the rebuke and repent of their lukewarmness and reform their lives.
"Nothing else in this world is so dear to God as His church. Nothing is guarded by Him with such jealous care. Nothing so offends God as an act that injures the influence of those who are doing His service. He will call to account all who aid Satan in his work of criticizing and discouraging." —Vol. 6:42. "Enfeebled and defective, needing constantly to be warned and counseled, the church is nevertheless the object of Christ’s supreme regard." —Vol. 7:16. "God has a people in which all heaven is interested, and they are the one object on earth dear to the heart of God." —T.M. 41. "Although there are evils existing in the church, and will be until the end of the world, the church in these last days is to be the light of the world that is polluted and demoralized by sin. The church, enfeebled and defective, needing to be reproved, warned, and counseled, is the only object upon earth which Christ bestows His supreme regard." —Id. 49.
The Laodicean church is not a fully rejected and forsaken church but is still the object of Christ’s supreme affection and is the church He claims as His own because it is the best on earth at the present time. The original Advent Movement that started in the early part of the nineteenth century under divine leadership is still under the same guidance and control. "God has a church and she has a divinely appointed ministry." "God has a church upon the earth, who are His chosen people, who keep His commandments. He is leading, not stray offshoots, not one here and one there, but a people. The truth is a sanctifying power, but the church militant is not the church triumphant. There are tares among the wheat. … The gospel net draws not only good fish, but bad ones as well, and the Lord only knows who are His." —T.M. 52, 61.
The Church Imperfect
Ancient Israel was a very imperfect people during the period of their partial rejection but this did not prevent God from loving and leading them. That the people of the Advent Movement are very imperfect no person can deny, but that this imperfection gives evidence that they are cast off by Christ and wholly rejected we must most emphatically deny. "The church of Christ on earth will be imperfect, but God does not destroy His church because of its imperfection." —T.M. 46.
"I know that the Lord loves His church. It is not to be disorganized or broken up into independent atoms. There is not the least consistency in this, there is not the least evidence that such a thing will be. Those who shall heed this false message, and try to leaven others will be deceived, and prepared to receive advanced delusions, and they will come to naught. There is in some of the members of the church pride, self-sufficiency, stubborn unbelief, and a refusal to yield their ideas although evidence may be piled upon evidence which makes this message to the Laodicean church applicable. But that will not blot out the church that it will not exist." —Letter 16, 1893.
Tares with Wheat. Matthew 13:30, 37-43
"The tares and the wheat are to grow together until the harvest; and the harvest is the end of probationary time. … False brethren will be found in the church till the close of time." —C.O.L. 72, 73. "Those who train the mind to seize upon everything which they can use as a peg to hang a doubt upon, and suggest these thoughts to other minds, will always find occasion to doubt. They will question and criticize everything that arises in the unfolding of truth, criticize the work and position of others, criticize every branch of the work in which they have not themselves a part. They will feed upon the errors and mistakes and faults of others, ‘until’, said the angel, ‘the Lord Jesus shall rise up from His mediatorial work in the heavenly sanctuary, and shall clothes Himself with the garments of vengeance, and surprise them at their unholy feast; and they will find themselves unprepared for the marriage supper of the Lamb." — Vol. 5:690.
That the Advent Movement will not be disorganized and replaced by a new movement and organization is evident from many statements in the Spirit of Prophecy. "Those who know the waymarks that have pointed out the right path are not to permit the banner of the third angel to be taken from their hand. … We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth." —MS-129-1905. The same movement that started from Babylon will go through to the heavenly Canaan. The rebels will be purged out but the movement will triumph for it will be under divine leadership to the end of the journey. "I am encouraged and blessed as I realize that the God of Israel is still guiding His people, and that He will continue to be with them even to the end." —Life Sketches, pp. 437, 438.
"My brother, I learn that you are taking the position that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon, and that all that would be saved must come out of her. You are not the only man the devil has deceived in this matter. For the last forty years, one man after another has arisen, claiming that the Lord has sent him with the same message; but let me tell you, as I have told them, that this message you are proclaiming is one of the satanic delusions designed to create confusion among the churches. My brother, you are certainly off the track." —T.M. 58, 59. "We are not to think that the chosen ones of God who are trying to walk in the light compose Babylon. The fallen denominational churches are Babylon. Babylon has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immorality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy and sanctified day." —Id. 61.
Offshoots Not of God
"Those who start up to proclaim a message on their individual responsibility, who, while claiming to be taught of God, still make it their special work to tear down that which God has been for years building up, are not doing the will of God. Be it known that these men are on the side of the great deceiver. Believe them not. They are allying themselves with the enemies of God and the truth. They will deride the order of the ministry as a system of priestcraft. From such turn away, have no fellowship with their message, however much they may quote the ‘Testimonies’ and seek to entrench themselves behind them. Receive them not; for God has not given them this work to do." —Id. 51.
"There are little companies continually arising who believe that God is only with the very few, the very scattered, and their influence is to tear down and scatter that which God’s servants build up. Restless minds who want to be seeing and believing something new continually, are constantly arising, some in one place and some in another, all doing a special work for the enemy, yet claiming to have the truth. They stand separate from the people whom God is leading out and prospering, and through whom He is to do His great work. They are continually expressing their fears that the body of Sabbath-keepers are becoming like the world; but there are scarcely two of these whose views are in harmony." —Vol. 1:417, 418.
To Be Shunned
"When men arise, claiming to have a message from God, but instead of warring against principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, they form a hollow square, and turn the weapons of warfare against the church militant. Be afraid of them. They do not bear the divine credentials. God has not given them any such burden of labor. They would tear down that which God would restore by the Laodicean message. He wounds only that He may heal, not cause to perish. The Lord lays upon no man a message that will discourage and dishearten the church. He reproves, He rebukes, He chastens; but it is only that He may restore and approve at last." —T.M. 22, 23. The Laodicean message is here declared to be given for the purpose of restoring the church and not to condemn and destroy it.
Will Come to Naught
Just as all the offshoot movements of the past have come to naught, those of the present and future will likewise end in failure and ignominiously perish. There are no shortcuts to the heavenly Canaan by the new movement route. The only way to reach the kingdom is to remain with and loyal to the original movement for that is the only one God is leading. All offshoots are inspired and led by the devil in an effort to defeat the purpose of God for modern Israel. Only those who "wholly followed the Lord" and remained loyal to the Exodus Movement reached the promised land. Numbers 32:10-12; Joshua 14:6-14. Only those who wholly follow the Lord and obey His instructions through the gift of prophecy and follow His leadership and maintain their loyalty to the Advent Movement will triumph with the movement and enter the heavenly Canaan.
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