Among earth's inhabitants, scattered in every land, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Like thestars of heaven, which appear only at night, these faithful ones will shine forth when darkness covers the earth andgross darkness the people. In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and of South America, in China, inIndia, in the islands of the sea, and in all the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosenones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness, revealing clearly to an apostate world the transforming power of obedience to His law.—
Prophets and Kings
, pp. 188, 189.Every jewel will be brought out and gathered, for the hand of the Lord is set to recover the remnant of His people.—
, p. 70.We believe the majority of God's children are still scattered in this way throughout the world. And of course, the majority of those in Christian churches still conscientiously observe Sunday. We ourselves cannot do so, for we believe that God is callingfor a reformation in this matter. But we respect and love those of our fellow Christians who do not interpret God's Word just aswe do.
Our study of prophecy, according to the historical school of interpretation, convinces us that just before the appearing of our Lord and Saviour, great issues will challenge both the church and the world. Circumstances will so shape themselves thatevery soul on earth will be tested as to his loyalty to God. In accordance with the teaching of Christ we believe that many whotoday profess His name and claim to be followers of His truth will at that time compromise their faith and actually deny their Lord.That which leads up to this crisis is outlined, we believe, in Revelation 13. In this prophecy two great powers appear under thesymbols of a ten-horned beast from the sea, and a two-horned beast from the earth. These dominating powers are seen tounite in a single purpose, that of opposing God and persecuting His people. Their combined opposition will be universal, andso influential that they will succeed in getting a decree passed, possibly through some world court legislature, that those whowithstand their edict will be prohibited from doing any business whatsoever; even food will be denied them.The effect of this decree will be upon all, "both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond." No one will escape. It will resultin worldwide boycott of those who serve God. In that crisis many will compromise their principles and deny their faith. And it is our belief that God wants the whole world, especially those who love and serve Him, to be prepared for thattremendous issue. Therefore, He is
sending a special message to all the peoples of earth. This message first calls men to accept salvation through His grace, andthen it sets the issues clearly before them by unmasking the man of sin and revealing the subtlety of his attacks, so that whenthe test comes, each individual will be able to make intelligent choice. In harmony with that interpretation of prophecy we feelthat God is giving tests of loyalty today, so that when the final issue comes and the whole world will divide itself on the matter of loyalty to God or compliance with the satanic edict of the world, men will be ready for the test.In every great crisis God has had loyal, faithful ones whose allegiance to Him has been more precious than life itself. And inthis coming hour of test we believe that He will have a loyal "remnant." We believe that finally the "remnant" people will includeevery true and faithful follower of Christ. We believe God has given us a solemn responsibility to carry His final message of entreaty to the. world—"the everlasting gospel" (Rev. 14:6).Our understanding of our place in preparation for these events is outlined in the following statement from Ellen G. White:In the time of the end, every divine institution is to be restored. The breach made in the law at the time the Sabbathwas changed by man, is to be repaired. God's remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are toshow that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform, and that the Sabbath of the fourth commandmentis to stand as a memorial of creation, a constant reminder of the power of God. In clear, distinct lines they are topresent the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they areto cooperate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths todwell in.—
Prophets and Kings
, p. 678.
To sum up the matter: We believe that through all the ages God has had His elect, distinguished by their sincere obedience toHim in terms of all the light revealed to them. These constitute what may be described as the church invisible. We also believethat at various periods of earth's history God has called out a company of people, making them uniquely the depositories andexponents of His truth. This is strikingly illustrated by the history of Israel, and as already mentioned, by certain reformatorymovements in the history of the Christian church.We believe that in earth's last hour God has a special message for the world, to prepare all who will heed it to withstand thedeceptions of the last days and to make ready for the second advent of Christ. We believe that He has raised up a movement—known as the Seventh-day Adventist church—for the express purpose of making it, in a special way, the depository andexponent of this message. While this company of God's children may be described as a church, we believe the term"movement" more accurately conveys the essential nature and purpose of this distinctive group with its distinctive message.
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