1950 General Conference Special
This General Conference Special to Seventh-day Adventists resolves the questions:
IS THE ELIJAH OF TODAY?
These questions are being agitated among us by an ever-increasing family of off-shoots, the most prominent and the most tormenting of which is "The Shepherd's Rod." In truth its tormentings have grown to such proportions as to bring every true Seventh-day Adventist squarely face to face with it. Indeed, brethren, its growing gravity challenges each one of us no longer to dodge the issue as did the Jews in their day, and thereby lose out, but rather to meet it as Christ met the Sanhedrin, and thus gloriously win out.
This General Conference year should resolve in every mind, once for all, the questions as to who is who and what is what. Even if you are not one who is personally tormented by the Rod, still you should fortify yourselves with the facts, so you may be able to administer the healing ointment of Truth to those who are suffering from its torments.
To bring before you the seriousness of the situation in which the church finds herself at this late hour, and the remedy which God would have His people apply so as to set them free from this "offshoot" annoyance, I am therefore making this second attempt to set before you the revealed facts so that no one, whether minister or layman, need longer walk blindly and in darkness.
Since there is general agreement that Inspiration direct from the Throne of God is our only spiritual eyesight, then we should be able to see eye to eye if we let the Spirit of God have His way with us. Especially so, dear fellow believers, since the time is dead ripe to look into the situation, now that God's people everywhere are aroused by the questions:
"Has Elijah the prophet already come?" "Is the ancient prophet to appear in person himself?" "Is a group of people to do a work similar to that of the ancient Elijah?" Or what?
As no one can in either honesty or impunity stand aloof to the answer which comes from God's infallible Word, surely you brethren will now give the most serious attention to this urgent consideration, letting nothing distract you from it for you, as well as I, must realize that it means life and eternity to all of us.
The serious issue to which these questions give rise, demands that we cease fooling ourselves or letting others make fools of us. If the questions cannot be answered in positive Truth, far better, then, that they be left on the shelf until the scroll unfolds further, than that they be answered by men's idle tales, which only confuse and confound.
Now we may ask, Has the scroll unrolled far enough to clear up all these questions? Is the Spirit of God pleading for us to stop, look, and listen, or are we still to wait? For the Divine answer let us open our eyes wise to the light of "the more sure Word of prophecy" Itself, now shining more and more on our pathway:
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Mall 4:5, 6.
In the light which this prophecy sheds on the subject, no one can possibly escape the conclusion that a prophet -- a person -- is to be sent "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord," and that thus only can there be a group of people in connection with Elijah's message. The Scriptures make definite and sure the promise, the time, and the work, also the way to our security in the great and dreadful day, "lest," as says the Lord, "I come and smite the earth with a curse." Mall 4:6.
No one can afford to commit the absurdity of either treating lightly or of kindling sparks of his own on the subject. We should remember, moreover, that it is not possible that God should leave a one of us in darkness if we want to know the Truth, and if we are mindful of what God would have us to do. ("The Great Controversy," p... 560). To the end that this may be the happy experience of all of us, we should pray that the Spirit Who leads into all Truth would direct this effort.
However, I would remind you, Brethren, that no prophet of God has ever been welcomed by the church. On the contrary, each in his time was rejected, abused, and most of them were martyred by the ones to whom they were sent -- the very ones who were supposed to be serving God! Indeed, the Lord Himself paid the same price. For this very reason we must remember that when the last prophet comes he will have the greatest opposition to meet, for Satan well knows that if he loses now, he loses forever. What makes Elijah's work especially hard is that Christendom has long been drilled in the idea that no prophet is to come, that there is no necessity for one, that it has enough revealed Truth to carry it inside the Pearly Gates.
It is therefore only to be expected that the predicted Elijah will be denounced as a false prophet, perhaps even as the anti-Christ, offshoot, or what not.
Moreover, the old Devil has already put all his forces to work, piping pleasing tunes to lure Truth seekers to climb aboard his golden bandwagon. Its glittering tinsel of truth is already beguiling many with his wares while his captains and generals are to the top of their voices shouting their "Hallelujahs," "Holy Ghost," "gift of healing," "gift of tongues," "gift of miracles," and all the rest, although the entire fanfare is devoid even of a spark of life. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing, false revivals and reformations will be at their peak. Everything that can be done will be done to distort the Truth and thus distract and dishearten believers and draw their attention to something other than the message of Elijah.
Thus will be the Devil's deal while the day of God is approaching, and while Elijah is making the announcement of it as the scroll unrolls and while the prophecies concerning the day of God are being unsealed. His work and his interpretation of the prophecies for the great day will identify him as the promised Elijah the prophet ("Testimonies to Ministers," p. 475), and this will enrage the Devil as never before. Nevertheless, one's only safety will be in the teaching of Elijah, for there will be no other voice of timely Truth and authority to whom one may turn. Any others will lead their victims blind-folded into perdition.
Do not henceforth leave in the hands of others your investigation of the subject. After hearing the evidences, you alone in the closet of prayer and with the aid of the Spirit can determine whether the Elijah has come, or whether he is yet to come.
Do not, though, forget that the message which he proclaims will in itself bear the Divine credentials of Truth, and that no priest or prelate can decide for you who the Elijah may or may not be. No, not even the appearance of what his message is doing or not doing, or whether it is prospering or disintegrating, can be taken as evidence that God is in it. Neither can numbers of adherents for such have never signified a right cause at any time, not even in the day Christ Himself preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. The message he brings is the only thing to go by.
And since the Enemy cannot get around the Truth, he does all he can to blacken character and to pick flaws in personalities. The prophet's message nevertheless cannot be judged by the behaviour of its professors, for even the Apostles misconducted themselves before the ascension of Christ. The multitude, too, that followed Moses was anything by exemplary; in fact, in many instances they were disgraceful. And the "holy men of God" who wrote the Scriptures were faulty men. Even Moses himself was not faultless. Regardless, though, he was still Moses, and his was the only message and movement for the day.
Likewise, irrespective of considerations of personnel faults, frailties, and failings, Elijah's message and movement will be the only God-sent ones, the only ones to fear, to love, to stand by, to live or to die for. No, there will be no other shield when heaven opens and the storm breaks in all its dread fury upon the world, to unavoidably pour down its lethal lightning from the skies.
Finally, for what other purpose could any right thinking minds suppose the Lord would send His prophet if not for them to give ear to him, that they might thereby survive the great and dreadful day of the Lord? For what else, indeed, could the Lord have made a record of prophecy and promise of His last-day prophet? Ponder this, Brethren; think it through.
Then too, no one should forget that when anyone joins the Adventist church, he does so (if he is in his right mind) without the approval of his former ministers. Neither does he join the church because of a large membership or well-behaved people, but because he knows he has heard the Truth as revealed by the Spirit of Prophecy Itself. Since it was in pursuing this wise course that any of us ever came to accept the prophet and the message so must it still be if we are to know and to receive Elijah. Therefore, "As never before, we should pray not only that laborers may be sent forth into the great harvest-field, but that we may have a clear conception of truth, so that when the messengers of truth shall come, we may accept the message and respect the messenger." -- "Testimonies," Vol. 6, p. 420. No other course dare anyone take in this matter. The crown of life demands our most vigilant guarding of it, because a foul enemy seeks to wrest it from our grasp.
I am confident that you brethren are convinced of the solid truth of what we have considered thus far. And now in proceeding further, I am sure too, it will be agreed that if our spiritual vision is clear to discern the time in which Elijah is to appear, then we shall have less trouble discovering the true answers to the rest of our questions.
Important as it is, however, to keep in mind the time in which to expect Elijah is "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord," yet just this knowledge alone is insufficient. To know when and what the. great and dreadful day itself is, is all-important. Without this knowledge, who could possibly discern Elijah when he should come? That this knowledge not escape us, Inspiration is at pains again to locate the day through Malachi's prophecy.
"Behold, I will send My messenger [Elijah the Prophet, chapter 4, verse 5], and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, . . . But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." Mal. 3:1-3.
The day of the Lord, we are told in these verses is a day of refining, of purifying, of sifting. Moreover, the question, "Who may abide the day of His coming?" points out with sharp emphasis that some will not stand, that they will fall out during the shaking ("Early Writings," p. 270) and not abide the process of refining ("Testimonies," Vol. 5, p.. 80; "Testimonies," Vol. 8, p. 250).
Shall it be you, shall it be me, to be shaken out? is the greatest question before us. It cannot, though, be either of us if we are intelligently determined not to let it be. Assuredly, Brethren, not a one need be in uncertainty. All may for a surety know both "the day" and the Elijah as he proclaims it, because to our surprise he will point out that every Bible prophet describes the day and also tells what the Lord would have us do while it is approaching and subsequently while we are going l through it. All will see that no one but Elijah can proclaim the day.
And now let us behold the event through the eyes of Joel's prophecy. Had we no other vision of the day but his, it alone would suffice to give us a clear picture of the greatness and dreadfulness of the day. Says he:
"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
"A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.
"Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war: and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:
"Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:
"And the Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth His Word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
"Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
"Then will the Lord be jealous for His land, and pity His people. Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto His people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
"But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, a his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he bath done great things.
"Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and My people shall never be ashamed.
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My spirit.
"And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."
"For, behold, in those days, and in that time when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land. And they have cast lots for My people, and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.
"Yea, and what have ye to do with Me, O Tyre,, and Zidon,. and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render Me a recompence? and if ye recompense Me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; because ye have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My goodly pleasant things: the children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.
"Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head: and I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the Lord hath spoken it.
"Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
"Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.
"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His Voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
"So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
"But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." Joel 2:1-32; 3:1-21.
Joel's two chapters give us a most compact and vivid view of "the great and dreadful day of the Lord." From these alone we can clearly see what it is like. And as Elijah comes just before that day begins, he must necessarily be the one who is to interpret these prophecies of the day, and who consequently announces that the day is at hand.
This surely confirms the conclusion that since Elijah is to herald the great day, he can therefore be the only one who will rightly interpret the prophecies of the day, which are still mysteries to Christendom, and even to our own Denomination! Indeed, to reiterate, it is for this very reason that the prophet is sent. He is to unroll the scroll to explain what the day of the Lord is like, what the Lord will do then, and how we may survive His judgments. To re-emphasize the fact, let it be said again that being the last of the prophets Elijah is, therefore, the only one who can open to our understanding all the prophecies of the Scriptures pertaining to the great and dreadful day of the Lord -- prophecies which heretofore have been only mysteries to all. Thus he is, as the Scriptures say, to blow the trumpet in Zion, and to sound an alarm in God's holy mountain, in the church.
In doing all this, he sets in motion the Power that is to restore all things. Hence Christ's positive declaration: "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." Matt. 17:11. Inevitably, then, without his message we would die in our ignorance and in our sins -- never live to see the restoration completed.
The conclusion of Joel's prophecy in chapter 2 and also in chapter 3, definitely reveals that "the great and dreadful day of the Lord" is the time of God's delivering His people from the Gentile nations, and of His cleansing their blood. But do you say, We never heard of such a thing? Well, if it is in God's Word, we should hear it. And that is exactly why Elijah is sent. Concerning the cleansing, the Scriptures say:
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. . . . But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." Joel 2:32; 3:20, 21.
And should we still ask when this will be, Joel gives us even further light:
"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land." Joel 3:1, 2.
Joel lays even greater emphasis on the dreadfulness of the day, than Malachi does, for he says:
". . . the day of the Lord is great and very terrible and who can abide it?" Joel 2:11.
The prophet's greatest emphasis, you see, is on the dreadfulness of the day rather than on the greatness of it. Again he warns:
"Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." Joel 1:15.
Still again, this time through the prophet Ezekiel, Inspiration declares it in these words:
"Therefore say unto the house of Israel [the church], Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy name's sake which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
"For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.
"And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God." Ezek. 36:22-28.
Since the Scriptures clearly picture Elijah and his work, and also what the day is to be like, none who will humbly inquire about him and his work need to guess or to be in the dark concerning either his identity or his mission, for it is his God-given duty to publish the timely truths as revealed to him out of the prophecies. And so all who are willing and obedient, will have no trouble recognizing him and his message (John 7:17). They will know that anyone who comes with a message other than the message found in the prophecies concerning the great and dreadful day of the Lord, is not the promised Elijah.
What is more, should God send another than Elijah, that is, someone with a message other than of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, he will not claim to be the Elijah, he will not lie. Hence, for anyone to make the claim that he is the Elijah, but bear another message than that of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, is in itself positive proof that he is not a prophet of God at all, but a rank imposter. And if any should tell you that a former prophet has fulfilled the promise, although the prophet himself has not said so, then not to know for a certainty that such are not working for the God of Elijah, but for the devil, is Laodiceanism of the worst kind.
"...Let us act as Christians, true as steel to God and His holy work; quick to discern the devices of Satan in his hidden, deceptive workings through the children of disobedience." -- "Testimonies to Ministers," p. 276.
Since the promised Elijah is to be the last prophet to the church today, as John the Baptist was the last prophet to the church in his day, and since the last work on earth is the Judgment for the Living, the truth stands forth like the light of day that Elijah's message is the message of the Judgment for the Living, the last, which in the very nature of the gospel is of far more importance and consequence than any other message ever borne to a people.
The question naturally arises now as to what is the nature of the Judgment for the Living. Since all of us Seventh-day Adventists are acquainted with the work of the Judgment for the Dead, we should have no difficulty determining the nature of the Judgment for the Living. We know that the former is to separate, in the books above, the names of the backsliders and sinners from the names of the penitent and the enduring who are among the dead. It removes only their names, because their bodies are non-existent. We know, too, that it is to determine whom Heaven is to bring forth from their graves in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6), and whom to leave till the postmillennial resurrection (Rev. 20:5). Accordingly, then, for what else could the Judgment for the Living be but to "cast out" bodily the still living sinners from among the penitent, as is figuratively shown in the parable of the net -- the separation of the bad fish from the good.
The same event is again brought to view in the parable of the separation of the wheat from the tares (Matt. 13:30), also in the parables of the wedding garment and of the talents (Matt. 22:1-14; Matt. 25:14-30). Each of these gives further evidence that the separation is the Judgment, during which the chaff is blown away and the wheat garnered in. And as each has reference to the separation, the Judgment of those who are in the church, in the house of God, whence come the first fruits, the 144,000, each emphasizes the same fact as does the Apostle Peter:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" 1 Pet. 4:17.
In additional testimony the prophet Zephaniah declares:
"And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
"The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
"And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land." Zeph. 1:12-18.
These verses are so transparent as to need no comments.
Our subject brings us back to Joel's prophecy:
"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land." Joel 2:31, 32; 3:1, 2.
From these verses it is to be seen at a glance that the separation (Judgment) takes place not only in the house of God but in the whole world as well. The Lord very emphatically says, "I will also gather all nations,...and will plead with them there for My people. . . ." Joel 3:2.
The same event, the separation in the church, is also forecast in The Revelation:
"And the serpent [the Devil] cast out of his mouth water as a flood [unconverted multitude] after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth [did away with the hypocrites, doubters, and men-followers]. And the dragon was wroth with the woman [the church], and went to make war with the remnant [with those that escaped] of her seed [those that are truly her children] which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Rev. 12:15-17.
Thus both Scripture and logic make clear that these escaped and separated ones are the remnant people of God, in fact.
Once the church is purified, -- the sinners removed from her midst, -- then the call made by "the remnant" for God's people to come out of Babylon, goes forth in a very loud voice:
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev. 18:4.
These called out ones are, as the Scriptures make clear, beckoned to a place (Eze. 36:24; Isa. 66:20) where there is no sin (Isa. 35:8; 52:1; 62:12) and no fear of the plagues falling upon them (Isa. 4:5, 6; 32:17-20; Ps. 91:10); that is they are gathered into the purified church of God -- the kingdom of the First Fruits.
This latter separation, the one that takes place in Babylon's dominion, is further affirmed in Christ's parable:
"And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left." Matt. 25:32, 33.
As to the former separation, that which takes place in the house of God, it is set forth in both the prophecy of Ezekiel and that of Isaiah.
"And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others He said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." Ezek. 9:4-6.
"For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.
"And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord." Isa. 66:15, 16, 19, 20.
No one but a hopeless Laodicean, one who forever holds to his day-dreaming that he has need of nothing more, -- no more Truth or prophets, -- can fail to see that the prophecies pertaining to the day of God are only dark sentences to him, that he is in need of everything instead of nothing, and that the work of the promised Elijah is not the work which the Laodiceans are doing. The Laodicean message (the Judgment for the Dead) is definitely not Elijah's message, although many may think it is. That many are blind to this, the Lord points out: "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked."
Moreover, we all know that the work of typical Elijah was to do away with the prophets and priests who served Baal instead of God, those who led ancient Israel into the greatest fallacy and folly of the day. Accordingly, the antitypical Elijah's work, being in the spirit and power of typical Elijah, must therefore be similar to typical Elijah's work-restoring Truth and righteousness, and bringing judgment upon the false prophets and teachers in the antitypical day which in itself is the separating of the chaff from the wheat -- the work of the Judgment for the Living.
The substantial weight of evidence which the Scriptures on the subject have amassed to this point, has, I am again confident, impressed the discerning one that he is here face to face with God's solemn Truth for these closing hours of probationary time. All such who have unbiasedly thought their way through the subject this far will surely continue on now through the next part to "prove all things; [and to] hold fast that which is good."
Now the question: Is the ancient prophet Elijah himself to re-appear, or is some other, having the same spirit and power, to take his place?
John the Baptist's statement that he himself was not the Elijah, and Jesus' statement that John was the Elijah of that day, not of our day, clear three points:
(1) That John was not in any sense of the word fulfilling the mission of the Elijah who is to come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, but that he, the last prophet to the church of his day, simply came in the spirit and power of Elijah, to prepare the way for the Lord's first advent. So it is that the Elijah of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, the last prophet to the church of this day, comes in the same spirit and power, to prepare the way for the Lord's second advent.
(2) That as John was the Elijah of his day, yet not Elijah the Tishbite himself, then the promise of the prophet Elijah is not necessarily to be fulfilled in person by the ancient prophet himself.
(3) That as the Elijah of Christ's first advent was one person, and also as the Elijah of Mt. Carmel of old was one person, not a multitude of priests, then by parity of reasoning the Elijah of today must also be one person, not a multitude of ministers.
The promise, itself, moreover, is for only one, not for more, and, with but one exception, we know not of any other time when God employed even two prophets (let alone many) at one time, to convey one message to one people. He invariably called one, and that one himself, under the direction of the Spirit, employed others to help him take the message to the people. Thus only were any others ever identified with a called one.
What a blasphemous theft! -- should one endeavor to steal away the truth about the prophet's office, to pass on a lie instead, -- to say that Elijah is not an individual but a group of people, in the face of the fact that the types, and the prophecy as well, besides Heaven's law and order, disallow such a thing. Thus to go contrary to Holy Writ is an outright effort to do away forever with the promised prophet of God, as Pharaoh endeavored to do away with Moses by drowning the male Hebrew children, and likewise as Herod tried to do away with Christ by slaying the little children of his day! What wickedness indeed! Think this through, too, Brethren.
Again, if anyone should possibly entertain the idea that this promise of a prophet means a multitude of preachers, then as surely as your soul lives, that one is fooling himself as badly as those misled followers of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram fooled themselves in their presumptuous thinking that those three prophetic office seekers and self-promoters were also prophets as was Moses. Those three imposters, be it not forgotten, even claimed that the whole multitude were holy (Num. 16:1-3)! But were they? And as surely as the earth swallowed them then, just so surely will all such in these days, too, be swallowed by the earth when it opens its mouth and takes away the flood (Rev. 12:16).
Sadly, those who would believe a lie and thus play the fool, will do so; nothing will stop them. It is to be devoutly hoped, though, brethren, that you are followers of God and of His Spirit in Truth; that you are not followers of men, or of self, for the gravity of the issue challenges all to the most honest thought and courageous decision. We should now, therefore, the more earnestly proceed with these concluding considerations:
Since God is not experimenting, and since He means just what He says, there should be no doubt in your minds that the Scriptures concerning antitypical Elijah (he who is to awaken the church and to warn the Laodiceans of "the great and the dreadful day of the Lord"' make sure that he is one person. Of a surety, he is to have faithful helpers, but according to the prophet Nahum he will greatly make use of the printing press and will scatter his message by the postage stamp everywhere, as the leaves of autumn. He will not care what is done with his publications, but will make sure the they find their way into all hands, laps, pockets, yards or waste baskets throughout Laodicea. Here is what Inspiration Itself has to say concerning the prophet's means of taking his message to the church:
"Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that published peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee, he is utterly cut off." Nah. 1:15.
Thus you have it from the Lord, through His prophet Nahum, that the one who announces that the time has come for the wicked to be cut off from among God's people, and that the Judgment for the Living (which, as we have already seen, is "the great and dreadful day of the Lord") is about to take place, is to make the announcement of these events by his publications. Further concerning this timely truth this "meat in due season," Isaiah declares that it will be dispensed to all without their having to pay for it -- "without money and without price." He urges them, moreover, to stop wasting their money in purchasing "that which is not bread" (Isa. 55:1, 2) -- that which is not inspired of God.
What is the Lord's counsel concerning the Voice of Elijah's publications? and what is the title of them?
The answer comes through Micah the prophet:
"The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the Rod, and Who hath appointed it." Mic. 6:9.
Here is a Rod which speaks; and its voice, the scripture points out, is the voice of God to His people. And since "The Shepherd's Rod," the publications which contain the message of "the great and dreadful day of the Lord," is the only Rod that has ever spoken, then it is the "Rod" publications which the Lord demands all to hear. Some may call the publications "offshoot," others may call them "rubbish" ("Counsels on Sabbath School Work," p. 29), but the Lord titles them the "Rod," and His counsel is that we hear Its voice. In truth, since the Rod is a symbol of authority, correction, and deliverance, then what other title could more fittingly signify that It is to deliver the penitent and do away with the impenitent? It was the Shepherd's Rod that freed ancient Israel, and the Lord has chosen "The Shepherd's Rod" to deliver modern Israel. It was a Rod that led the first Exodus, and it is now seen that a Rod is making ready to lead the second Exodus (Isa. 11:11; Mic. 7:14, 15; Ezek. 20:36, 37).
Now that we have heard what the Scriptures say on the subject, let us next hear what the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination had to say in their day:
"But was the prophecy wholly fulfilled in John the Baptist? We answer, No; for it is more intimately connected with the great day of the Lord than was the mission of John. His work had exclusive reference to the first advent but the prophecy must relate more especially to the second advent, which is the crowning event of the ushering in of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." -- "Review and Herald," February 23, 1864.
"Do you say the prophecy must be fulfilled by one person? We answer, Not necessarily; for the cause of John was shown us that it is not the individual but the spirit and power that fulfills the prophecy; and why may not this spirit and power accompany a body of men as well as a single individual, especially if the magnitude and importance of the work demand such an increased agency?" -- "Review and Herald," February 23, 1864.
"We say, then, that we believe that the third angel's message is now completing the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5, 6. Hence, let none be beguiled with the fancy that Elijah is yet personally to appear, but give heed to the work already going on before their eyes." -- "Review and Herald," February 23, 1864. (Italics ours.)
The founders of the Denomination are here seen unquestionably to discredit the idea of the ancient prophet's personal reappearance. Moreover, these passages say that though the prophecy itself does demand an individual prophet it does not restrict the work to an individual, but to a group, to a body of helpers, directed by the Lord and endowed with the spirit and power of Elijah.
These quotations are further elucidated by "Early Writings:"
"I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, 'Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention." -- "Early Writings," p. 118.
In this quotation we are plainly told that the third angel's message in its final phase is the "harvest" -- the Judgment for the Living.
"The time of the Judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares." -- "Testimonies to Ministers," p. 234.
"The third angel's message" in its former phase, the Judgment for the Dead, was unfolded to the Denomination by one person, the founder of the Denomination, and that one directed other co-laborers. So must it be with respect to the message in its latter phase, the Judgment for the Living. Moreover, since the first part of the third angel's message, the Judgment for the Dead, neither comprises the last message nor ends the Judgment, but instead covers only the first phase of it, then the last part of the third angel's message, the Judgment for the Living, is necessarily the last message and the final phase of the Judgment. In fact, the Three Angels' Messages are applicable to the Judgment for the Dead only indirectly, for the Judgment for the Living is the all-important event; that is, the angel is not sent particularly to explain what the Judgment does to the dead, but what it is to do to the living.
The Judgment for the Dead, furthermore, is not the message of "the great and dreadful day." It does not even touch on the prophecies of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And since the one by whom the message on the Judgment for the Dead was unfolded has already been dead these many years, and since nothing, not to mention "all things," has as yet been restored, and, too, since that one never claimed to he the Elijah, nor to unfold the prophecies of the Judgment for the Living, no one, therefore, can honestly and innocently say Elijah has already come and gone. In view of these facts, it would be stupidity of the lowest form, if not blasphemy, for any one to lay such charges to her, or to imagine that her prophetic office fulfilled anything more than a preparatory part of the mission of Elijah.
So we see that the more we consider the subject, the more obvious becomes the truth that the Third Angel's Message in its final phase is the Judgment for the Living, the harvest. Plainly, then, the work of Elijah is to give light on the Judgment for the Living. Hence-
". . . Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ, are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ's first advent. . . ." -- "Testimonies," Vol. 3, p. 62.
Very obviously the Laodiceans cannot possibly prepare the way for Christ's second advent without the message of the Judgment for the Living, the last, and besides they themselves, declares the Lord, are on the verge of being spued out. Necessarily, then, the Laodiceans themselves are if possible to be awakened by the prophet Elijah, lest while dreaming of being rich without his message, they perish in their sin, and thus abide not in the Judgment.
Here is Sister White's own prophecy of the work during the great and dreadful day, which, when she wrote, was yet future:
"The closing words of Malachi are a prophecy regarding the work that should be done preparatory to the first and the second advent of Christ." -- "Southern Watchman," March 21, 1905.
"The work of John the Baptist, and the work of those who in the last days go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to arouse the people from their apathy, are in many respects the same. His work is a type of the work that must be done in this age. Christ is to come the second time to judge the world in righteousness. The messengers of God who bear the last message of warning to be given to the world, are to prepare for Christ's second advent, as John prepared the way for His first advent." -- "Southern Watchman," March 21, 1905.
"...in the hour of greatest peril, the God of Elijah will raise up human instrumentalities to bear a message that will not be silenced." -- "Prophets and Kings," p. 187.
"Let Heaven Guide"
"Prophecy must be fulfilled. The Lord says: 'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.' Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say: 'You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message." -- "Testimonies to Ministers," pp. 475, 476. (Quoted from "The Review and Herald," February 18, 1890.)
This is the greatest danger of all -- even of believers. Thus plain it is indeed that "we have more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world." -- "Review and Herald," March 22 1887. To say the least, those who are within should know better than to tempt themselves to steady the ark, as though God had appointed them to take His place and to direct His prophet, coveting not only the prophetic office but God's authority as well! What an insult, not only to one's own intelligence but also to God Himself!
From the light now streaming forth on this subject, you can see, Brethren, as never before that we have come to life's most serious hour, a time in which we can no longer treat this matter lightly and indifferently, but in which we must ask God to lead us into His Truth for this time, lest we blindly (without Inspiration) walk on to doom. And the more earnestly still should this solemnity be laid to heart as one views these next weighty words to the church:
". . . ln the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and he cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view." -- "Testimonies," Vol. 5, p. 80.
". . . The messages from Heaven are of a character to arouse opposition. The faithful witnesses for Christ and the truth will reprove sin. Their words will be like a hammer to break the flinty heart, like a fire to consume the dross. There is constant need of earnest, decided messages of warning. God will have men who are true to duty. At the right time he sends his faithful messengers to do a work similar to that of Elijah." -- "Testimonies,' Vol. 5, p. 254.
"Only those who have withstood and overcome temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it [Third Angel's Message] when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry." -- "Review and Herald," Nov. 19, 1908.
Brethren, what these pages here bring to you, to leave in your hearts for your most earnest, prayerful consideration, is not a theory not someone's idle tale, but is of Inspiration Itself. It can only therefore be Truth. Consequently your giving heed to it should make you exceedingly happy. If there is however any doubt, then I ask you please to produce your cause. Show us what else must these prophecies and parables mean. Do not brush them off by saying, "Ah. . . off shoot," or by pinning on them some other uncomplimentary label, for the longer you do this, Brethren, the more you will torment yourselves. I implore you to write to the *Universal Publishing Association, Mt. Carmel Center, Waco, Texas, for **free literature on the message for the hour and study it thoroughly -- get down to business in all candor and solemn seriousness. You will not then be troubled with offshoots any longer.
So, before you speak your mind, Brethren, please consider carefully what timely Truth will you have for yourselves and for the world after the Judgment for the Dead is over if you reject the revelation herein? And what will you have for anyone, including yourselves, when the "Judgment for the Living" begins -- what but an empty lamp unless you now get the extra oil in your vessels? Unless in other figures, the scroll unrolls and another Divinely-revealed truth, "meat in due season" (Matt. 24:45), be given you? And what would happen if you should copy the mistakes of the Jews, the Romans, and Protestants who have rejected the messages of God? God forbid it be the fearful fate of any to whom this appeal is addressed.