The Mystery of Iniquity (cont'd) (22 of 95)

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HABAKKUK’S TWO TABLES #22 of 95

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Publish Date: 8/14/2016
Speaker Name: Jeff Pippenger
Language: English
Channel Group: FutureForAmerica
YouTube Title: 22.Habakkuk's Two Tables - The Mystery of Iniquity-njJwInozjAc
YouTube ID: njJwInozjAc

References

2 Thessalonians 2:1–12

Paul

“But before the coming of Christ, important developments in the religious world, foretold in prophecy, were to take place. The apostle declared: ‘Be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

“Paul’s words were not to be misinterpreted. It was not to be taught that he, by special revelation, had warned the Thessalonians of the immediate coming of Christ. Such a position would cause confusion of faith; for disappointment often leads to unbelief. The apostle therefore cautioned the brethren to receive no such message as coming from him, and he proceeded to emphasize the fact that the papal power, so clearly described by the prophet Daniel, was yet to rise and wage war against God’s people. Until this power should have performed its deadly and blasphemous work, it would be in vain for the church to look for the coming of their Lord. ‘Remember ye not,’ Paul inquired, ‘that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?’

“Terrible were the trials that were to beset the true church. Even at the time when the apostle was writing, the ‘mystery of iniquity’ had already begun to work. The developments that were to take place in the future were to be ‘after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.’

Especially solemn is the apostle’s statement regarding those who should refuse to receive ‘the love of the truth.’ ‘For this cause,’ he declared of all who should deliberately reject the messages of truth, ‘God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ Men cannot with impunity reject the warnings that God in mercy sends them. From those who persist in turning from these warnings, God withdraws His Spirit, leaving them to the deceptions that they love.” Acts of the Apostles, 265–266.

So Clearly Described by the Prophet Daniel

“Jesus declared to the listening disciples the judgments that were to fall upon apostate Israel, and especially the retributive vengeance that would come upon them for their rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah. Unmistakable signs would precede the awful climax. The dreaded hour would come suddenly and swiftly. And the Saviour warned His followers: ‘When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.’ Matthew 24:15, 16; Luke 21:20, 21. When the idolatrous standards of the Romans should be set up in the holy ground, which extended some furlongs outside the city walls, then the followers of Christ were to find safety in flight. When the warning sign should be seen, those who would escape must make no delay. . . .

“Not one Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem. Christ had given His disciples warning, and all who believed His words watched for the promised sign. . . . Without delay they fled to a place of safety—the city of Pella, in the land of Perea, beyond Jordan.” The Great Controversy, 25, 3o.

“It is no time now for God’s people to be fixing their affections or laying up their treasure in the world. The time is not far distant, when, like the early disciples, we shall be forced to seek a refuge in desolate and solitary places. As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation in the decree enforcing the papal sabbath will be a warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities, preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains.” Testimonies, volume 5, 464.

And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Daniel 11:36.

538—The Abomination of Desolation

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

Flee to the Mountains

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. Revelation 12:14.

Jerusalem Trampled Down

But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. Revelation 11:2–3.

Well it Would Be

“It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church. The Bible was not accepted as the standard of faith. The doctrine of religious freedom was termed heresy, and its upholders were hated and proscribed.

“After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children’s children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war.

Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God’s professed people. There is an alarming indifference in regard to the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith. The opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, these are not of vital importance. This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories and fatal delusions which the faithful in ages past imperiled their lives to resist and expose, are now regarded with favor by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ.” The Great Controversy, 42–46.

Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos and Thyatira

“It should be remembered that, as the experience of Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos, will be repeated in the last church before the second coming of Christ, so the history of Thyatira will have its counterpart in the last generation.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of the Seer of Patmos, 69.

Ephesus & Philadelphia

“He applied the test, but all pointed forward to the year 1843 as the time when the world must welcome its Saviour. The condition of the people at the first advent of Christ was now repeated.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of the Seer of Patmos, 75.

Pergamos & Sardis

“There was a time in the history of Pergamos, when Christianity thought Paganism was dead; but in reality, the religion which was apparently vanquished, had conquered. Paganism baptized, stepped into the church. In the days of Sardis this history was repeated.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of the Seer of Patmos, 75, 76.

Laodicea

“Upon this last church—the remnant,—shine the accumulated rays of all past ages.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of the Seer of Patmos, 69.

Strong Delusion

“The second angel’s message of Revelation 14 was first preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the judgment had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however, can it be said that ‘Babylon is fallen, . . . because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ She has not yet made all nations do this. The spirit of world conforming and indifference to the testing truths for our time exists and has been gaining ground in churches of the Protestant faith in all the countries of Christendom; and these churches are included in the solemn and terrible denunciation of the second angel. But the work of apostasy has not yet reached its culmination.

“The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan will work ‘with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness;’ and they that ‘received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ will be left to receive ‘strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:9–11. Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the church with the world shall be fully accomplished throughout Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete. The change is a progressive one, and the perfect fulfillment of Revelation 14:8 is yet future.

“Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their present condition and are longing for clearer light. They look in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they are connected. As these bodies depart further and further from the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the difference between the two classes will widen, and it will finally result in separation. The time will come when those who love God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such as are ‘lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’

“Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6–12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:12), shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call: ‘Come out of her, My people’ (Revelation 18:4).” The Great Controversy, 389–390.

“It is a fearful thing to treat lightly the truth which has convinced our understanding and touched our hearts. We cannot with impunity reject the warnings which God in mercy sends us. A message was sent from heaven to the world in Noah’s day, and the salvation of men depended upon the manner in which they treated that message. Because they rejected the warning, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from the sinful race, and they perished in the waters of the flood. In the time of Abraham, mercy ceased to plead with the guilty inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot with his wife and two daughters were consumed by the fire sent down from heaven. So in the days of Christ. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, ‘Your house is left unto you desolate.’ Looking down to the last days, the same infinite power declares, concerning those who ‘received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ ‘For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ As they reject the teachings of His Word, God withdraws His Spirit, and leaves them to the deceptions which they love.” Early Writings, 46.

Great Light and Opportunities

“‘A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you.’ I believe with all my heart that the Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world, and those who have had great light and opportunities and have not improved them, will be the first to be left. They have grieved away the Spirit of God. The present activity of Satan in working upon hearts, and upon churches and nations should startle every student of prophecy. The end is near. Let our churches arise. Let the converting power of God be experienced in the heart of the individual members, and then we shall see the deep moving of the Spirit of God. Mere forgiveness of sin is not the sole result of the death of Jesus. He made the infinite sacrifice not only that sin might be removed, but that human nature might be restored, rebeautified, reconstructed from its ruins, and made fit for the presence of God.” Selected Messages, book 3, 154.

The Faithful City

“One who sees beneath the surface, who reads the hearts of all men, says of those who have had great light: ‘They are not afflicted and astonished because of their moral and spiritual condition.’ Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.’ ‘God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,’ because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ ‘but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ Isaiah 66:3, 4; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 10, 12.

“The heavenly Teacher inquired: ‘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 are sinning against Jehovah? Oh, 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; when they suppose that they are rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, while in reality they are in need of everything.’

“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. Unless there is thorough repentance, unless men humble their hearts by confession and receive the truth as it is in Jesus, they will never enter heaven. When purification shall take place in our ranks, we shall no longer rest at ease, boasting of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing.

“Who can truthfully say: ‘Our gold is tried in the fire; our garments are unspotted by the world’? 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! For this cause there is weakness, and strength is lacking.’” Testimonies, volume 8, 249–250.

Capernaum

“One matter burdens my soul: The great lack of the love of God, which has been lost through continued resistance of light and truth, and the influence of those who have been engaged in active labor, who, in the face of evidence piled upon evidence, have exerted an influence to counteract the work of the message God has sent. I point them to the Jewish nation and ask, Must we leave our brethren to pass over the same path of blind resistance, till the very end of probation? If ever a people needed true and faithful watchmen, who will not hold their peace, who will cry day and night, sounding the warnings God has given, it is Seventh-day Adventists. Those who have had great light, blessed opportunities, who, like Capernaum, have been exalted to heaven in point of privilege, shall they by non-improvement be left to darkness corresponding to the greatness of the light given?

“I wish to plead with our brethren who shall assemble at the General Conference to heed the message given to the Laodiceans. What a condition of blindness is theirs! This subject has been brought to your notice again and again, but your dissatisfaction with your spiritual condition has not been deep and painful enough to work reform. ‘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.’ The guilt of self-deception is upon our churches. The religious life of many is a lie.” Manuscript Releases, volume 16, 106–107.

His Own City

“At Capernaum Jesus dwelt in the intervals of His journeys to and fro, and it came to be known as ‘His own city.’ It was on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and near the borders of the beautiful plain of Gennesaret, if not actually upon it.” The Desire of Ages, 252.

Great Light & Opportunity Defined

“Among the professed children of God, how little patience has been manifested, how many bitter words have been spoken, how much denunciation has been uttered against those not of our faith. Many have looked upon those belonging to other churches as great sinners, when the Lord does not thus regard them. Those who look thus upon the members of other churches, have need to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. Those whom they condemn may have had but little light, few opportunities and privileges. If they had had the light that many of the members of our churches have had, they might have advanced at a far greater rate, and have better represented their faith to the world. Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says, ‘But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light], which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.’ At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent [in their own estimation], and hast revealed them unto babes.’

“‘And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.’

“The Lord has established among us institutions of great importance, and they are to be managed, not as worldly institutions are managed, but after God’s order. They are to be managed with an eye single to his glory, that by all means perishing souls may be saved. To the people of God the testimonies of the Spirit have come, and yet many have not taken heed to reproofs, warnings, and counsels.

“‘Here now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: fear ye not me saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual degree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? but this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. . . . They judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord; shall not my soul be revenged on such a nation as this?

“Shall the Lord be compelled to say, ‘Pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee’? ‘Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain. . . . Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?’

“Will not those to whom have been committed the treasures of truth, consider the superior advantages of light and privilege that have been purchased for us by the sacrifice of the Son of God on Calvary’s cross? We are to be judged by the light that has been given us, and we can find no excuse by which to extenuate our course. The Way, the Truth, and the Life has been set before us. Many seek to excuse themselves by saying, ‘You must not judge me by some weak trait of character, but consider my character as a whole.’ We always feel deep pain at heart when the sinner seeks to apologize for his sin, to smooth it over, and fails to realize the danger of cherishing one un-Christlike attribute of character. We are to place our will on the side of the Lord’s will, and firmly determine that by his grace we will be free from sin. Sin is the transgression of the law, and it is not the magnitude of the action in iniquity that stamps it as sin. Adam and Eve were prohibited from eating of the tree of good and evil. The test was a slight one, but the act of disobedience to God was the transgression of his law.

“The little sins that men think are of so trivial a character that on their account they will not be brought into condemnation, are very offensive in the sight of God. Says one, ‘You are too severe, a man must be allowed these little defects of character.’ Let us hear the words of Christ. He says, ‘Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.’ People venture to commit sins that are grievous in the sight of God, and think that they are not to be called to task for them, because they say they are due to nervousness, to a peculiar temperament; but this is simply soothing the conscience, and crying, ‘Peace, peace, when there is no peace.’ Sin is sin, and it is the delusion of Satan to look upon it in any other light than that it is grievous.

“We may flatter ourselves that we are free from many things of which others are guilty; but if we have some strong points of character, and but one weak point, there is yet a communion between sin and the soul. The heart is divided in its service, and says, ‘Some of self and some of thee.’ The child of God must search out the sin which he has petted and indulged himself in, and permit God to cut it out of his heart. He must overcome that one sin; for it is not a trifling matter in the sight of God.

“One says, ‘I am not the least jealous, but then I do get provoked and say mean things, although I am always sorry after giving way to temper.’ Another says, ‘I have this fault or that, but then I just despise such and such meanness as is manifested by a certain person of my acquaintance.’ The Lord has not given us a list of graded sins, so that we may reckon some as of little consequence, and say that they will do but little harm, while others are of greater magnitude and will do much harm. A chain is no stronger than is its weakest link. We might pronounce such a chain good on the whole, but if one link is weak, the chain cannot be depended on. The work of overcoming is to be the study of every soul who enters the kingdom of God. That impatient word quivering on your lips must be left unspoken. That thought that your character is not rightly estimated must be put from you; for it weakens your influence, and works out the sure result, making you of light estimation in the minds of others. You should overcome the idea that you are a martyr, and lay claim to the promise of Christ, who says, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’” Review and Herald, August 1, 1893.

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Invocation by Brother Jeff Pippenger: Heavenly Father, as we take up the second part of considering the Mystery of Iniquity, we ask for your help to understand these things in a way that will be beneficial for us here at the end of the world. We ask that you would forgive us that we might have free access to the Holy Spirit, which we ask that you would give us at this time. And we ask that you would give the guidance to our hearts and minds that would take us throughout another day of service for you, but also that would help to understand these truths. We want the Latter Rain. We ask that you would pour the golden oil down through the golden pipes and fill our vessels that we will have oil to share with those we come in contact with. I ask that you would forgive my sins and hide me behind your cross, take a coal from off your altar and purify my lips that what is spoken will be to your glory and honor and that it will edify your people. We thank you for all these things in Jesus’s name. Amen.

BROTHER PIPPENGER: Okay. Yesterday we used proof-texting to show that in every history the way that Satan seduces man is what is called the Mystery of Iniquity. It is through the combination of truth and error, light and darkness; through the marriage of the holy seed with the unholy seed.

And we looked at several histories, all the way from Adam and Eve through Luther; a little bit at Adventism; but, we did not deal with the main reference to the Mystery of Iniquity in the Bible, and that is what we are going to take up today.

And, of course, this 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, this is foundational for Adventism, whether they understand it or not; because, it is in this passage where William Miller comes to understand that the Daily is Paganism. Today we [Adventism] reject William Miller’s conclusions that he was led to understand by the Angel Gabriel; but, nevertheless, the passage in the Scripture where he recognizes that what is taken away in advance of the Papacy is Paganism is the very place where Paul sets forth the primary understanding of the Mystery of Iniquity in the Scriptures.

Paul

So, we are going to read through 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 to begin.

2 Thessalonians 2, verse 1, says now,

1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.”—

If you look up this word beseech, it is saying, “We want to talk about the Second Coming.”

—“2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”—

It is talking about the Second Coming of Christ.

Verse 3,

—“3Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first,”—

“A falling away first” is a very important waymark. We are going to discuss that, and we are going to ultimately mark it in the history of Adventism.

—“except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed,”—

The man of sin, the classic man of sin, of course, is the Papacy; but, the Papacy is nothing more than a representative of Satan. So, in one sense Satan is the man of sin; but, here the man of sin is going to be revealed. He was also called,

—“the son of perdition; 4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”—

Paul already gave this sermon to the Thessalonians when he was in Thessalonica. Now he is writing a letter to them, reminding them of that sermon.

Verse 6,

—“6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”—

And what he is saying there is, “You know it is Pagan Rome that restrains the rise of the Papacy.” But, instead of saying it that way, he cloaks it; because, to put in a letter that Pagan Rome was going to be removed, taken down, would be seditious; it would be rebellious. And if the Romans found it, they would not only kill Paul, they would kill any Christian that had that letter in their possession. So, he is cloaking this truth.

—“6And now ye know what withholdeth”—

And the modern theologians say restraineth. I like that word.

—“6And now ye know what withholdeth [restraineth] that he might be revealed in his time.”—

Who is the “he”? Well, he [Paul] has been discussing the man of sin, the son of perdition that sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God; so, he is talking about when the man of sin is brought into history.

——“7For the mystery of iniquity doth work:”—

Now, we know what the Mystery of Iniquity is now, after yesterday, I hope. It is the work of Satan in mixing truth and error to prepare a people for a testing time that they are going to fail at because they have accepted the premise of man’s word above God’s Word.

Man of Sin

Revealed

AD538 Strong 2nd

Paul Delusion Coming

EPHESUS SMYRNA PEGAMOS THYATIRA SARDIS PHILADELPHIA LAODICEA

Mystery of Falling

Iniquity Away

Working

Figure No. 41A.

But, in Paul’s time—and you will see this line up here [Figure No. 41A], I know, without explanation (and this may seem a little bit scattered), these are the Seven Churches of Revelation, Ephesus being the first church being the symbol of the history that Paul lived in. That is why I have his name here. And Paul says here, in his time in Ephesus, the Mystery of Iniquity “doth already work.”

—“only he who now letteth”—

Pagan Rome, “only he who [restraineth].”

—“will [continue to] let,

“. . . ‘will continue to restraineth’” is the way that would be better translated.

—“7For the mystery of iniquity doth work: only he who now letteth [will continue to restraineth] until he be taken out of the way.”—

Of course this is where Miller’s revelation comes from. He sees Pagan Rome being taken away, and this is the Daily being taken away in the Book of Daniel.

Verse 8,

—“8And then shall that Wicked [margin, Lawless One] be revealed,”—

Here is the Papacy. After Paganism has been taken away, then the Papacy is going to be revealed.

—“whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”—

And you will notice in verse 9, it says, “Even Him”; but, “Even Him” is in italics, so it is not there. I think the “Even Him” being an added word is probably okay, but sometimes may cause a little bit of vagueness for those that are reading it, studying it the first time through.

Verse 8 says,

—“8And then shall that Wicked [margin, Lawless one] be revealed”—the Papacy—“whom the Lord”—

Now it is talking about Christ.

—“whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9Even him,”—

And some people will read this back in the Papacy, but it is not.

—“whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,”—

Christ’s Second Coming is after the marvelous working of Satan. Okay? So, make sure you understand this coming here in verse 9 is still dealing with the Second Coming of Christ, which is the subject of Paul’s discussion here, “Do not be confused about the Second Coming of Christ.”

Let us start in verse 9 again,

—“9Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (KJV).

Okay. So, this line here [Figure No. 41], do not be scared by it. It is pretty easy. I just want to make a simple point—I think it is simple.

Paul is giving this in 2 Thessalonians, in the history of Ephesus. Ephesus represents the beginning of the Christian Church. This is the Church of the Apostles. This is the Church Triumphant. This is the White Horse. Okay? They are carrying the Gospel to the entire world. They are doing the Lord’s work.

And then it is followed by Smyrna, which is the time period of the persecution against the Christians by Pagan Rome; followed by Pergamos, the time of Constantine when the Mystery of Iniquity really, really begins to combine Paganism with Christianity. This is where the falling away takes place, in the time of Constantine. This is where Paganism walks into the Church.

And then in AD538, which is the beginning of the history of Thyatira. Thyatira represents the history of the Papacy from AD538 to 1798. In AD538 the man of sin is revealed.

So, what Paul is saying here in 2 Thessalonians is, “In my day and age the Mystery of Iniquity doth already work.”

The Second Coming of Christ is down here, Paul is saying. It is way down at the end of the world, “Don’t even be thinking about the Second Coming of Christ.” Because, before the Second Coming of Christ, there has to be a falling away, and the Papacy has to be revealed as it was in AD538. That is correct and that is standard Adventist understanding.

But, what sometimes is not noted is that the serious part of 2 Thessalonians is this strong delusion that comes upon people because they do not believe the truth. And the strong delusion, it comes down here in Laodicea.

I want you to see, if you will, that in Paul’s counsel, he is talking about the dynamics of this history: the Mystery of Iniquity working, the falling away, and then the Papacy being revealed; and, somehow, some way that is connected to the strong delusion of God’s people at the end of the world.

I mean, if you are taking these truths from Paul and you are making them waymarks, as we are doing—we are making them waymarks: this is where the Mystery of Iniquity is working, this is the Falling Away, and this is where the man of sin is revealed.

The strong delusion, at a face value, it does not come in Thyatira or Sardis or Philadelphia. It comes down here in our day and age. So, you need to, you should, mark that in your mind and ask yourself why so.

Okay. In Acts of the Apostles, pages 265 – 266, it says,

“But before the coming of Christ, important developments in the religious world, foretold in prophecy, were to take place. The apostle declared: ‘Be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

“Paul’s words were not to be misinterpreted. It was not to be taught that he, by special revelation, had warned the Thessalonians of the immediate coming of Christ. Such a position would cause confusion of faith; for disappointment often leads to unbelief. The apostle therefore cautioned the brethren to receive no such message as coming from him, and he proceeded to emphasize the fact that the papal power, so clearly described by the prophet Daniel,”—

And you really need to underline that. What Paul is saying in 2 Thessalonians is nothing more than him building upon the message of Daniel. This needs to be recognized. It impacts lots of passages of the Scriptures.

—“so clearly described by the prophet Daniel, was yet to rise and wage war against God’s people. Until this power should have performed its deadly and blasphemous work, it would be in vain for the church to look for the coming of their Lord. ‘Remember ye not,’ Paul inquired, ‘that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?’

“Terrible were the trials that were to beset the true church. Even at the time when the apostle was writing, the ‘mystery of iniquity’ had already begun to work. The developments that were to take place in the future were to be ‘after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.’”—

And then this last paragraph, this is why I have this passage in here, as much as anything else. Then Sister White says,

—“Especially solemn”—

After all of this history [referring to Figure No. 41].

—“Especially solemn is the apostle’s statement regarding those who should refuse to receive ‘the love of the truth.’ ‘For this cause,’ he declared of all who should deliberately reject the messages of truth, ‘God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ Men cannot with impunity reject the warnings that God in mercy sends them. From those who persist in turning from these warnings, God withdraws His Spirit, leaving them to the deceptions that they love.” Acts of the Apostles, 265–266.

You can note in there a truth that when there is a people that are receiving strong delusion, they are having the Holy Spirit withdrawn from them, and the other class is receiving the outpouring of the Spirit.

So, what I wanted you to see there is that Paul’s message is based upon the Book of Daniel. We want to look at that for a moment.

So Clearly Described by the Prophet Daniel

Jesus talked about the Book of Daniel. In The Great Controversy, beginning on page 25, Sister White says,

“Jesus declared to the listening disciples the judgments that were to fall upon apostate Israel, and especially the retributive vengeance that would come upon them for their rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah. Unmistakable signs would precede the awful climax. The dreaded hour would come suddenly and swiftly. And the Saviour warned His followers: ‘When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,”—

Here is Jesus also basing His message upon Daniel, just like Paul was doing.

—“‘When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.’ Matthew 24:15, 16; Luke 21:20, 21. When the idolatrous standards of the Romans should be set up in the holy ground, which extended some furlongs outside the city walls, then the followers of Christ were to find safety in flight. When the warning sign should be seen, those who would escape must make no delay. . . .

“Not one Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem. Christ had given His disciples warning, and all who believed His words watched for the promised sign. . . . Without delay they fled to a place of safety—the city of Pella, in the land of Perea, beyond Jordan.” The Great Controversy, 25, 30.

And the City of Pella is in the mountains. They fled to the mountains, like Lot fled to the mountains.

At the end of the world, in Testimonies, volume 5, page 464, Sister White says this, because she is going to use this identical reference of Christ in the history of the abomination of desolation and make an application to the end of the world.

“It is no time now for God’s people to be fixing their affections or laying up their treasure in the world. The time is not far distant, when, like the early disciples, we shall be forced to seek a refuge in desolate and solitary places. As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation in the decree enforcing the papal sabbath will be a warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities, preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the [City of Pella in the land of Perea, in the] mountains.” Testimonies, volume 5, 464.

Okay. These are parallel histories, parallel histories.

So, what I am wanting you to see now is a connection between the abomination of desolation and the man of sin being revealed that Paul is speaking about in 2 Thessalonians.

Jesus’s counsel about the abomination of desolation that was fulfilled in AD66 to 70 with Pagan Rome, and is going to be fulfilled at the end of the world at The Sunday Law, was based upon the Book of Daniel. And the revealing, the identification of the Papacy, as the man of sin, is what Paul is dealing with. And what I want you to see is the identification of the Papacy as the man of sin here is also the abomination of desolation which Jesus spoke about.

Sister White says that Paul was basing his presentation in 2 Thessalonians on the Book of Daniel, and even Protestant commentators—not that that matters—they will tell you that in 2 Thessalonians the passage that Paul is paraphrasing when he talks about the man of sin sitting in the temple of God, showing himself as God, is Daniel 11:36.

And before we go to Daniel 11:36, let us remind ourselves that what we are studying here is the passage in the Scriptures that is emphasizing the strong delusion (that hopefully, when you are going to walk away from here this morning, you are going to understand the strong delusion) is the strong delusion that comes upon Seventh-day Adventists.

Okay. We spent yesterday talking about the Mystery of Iniquity, how it works; now we are taking the primary passage in the Bible that speaks about the Mystery of Iniquity and we are saying the serious part of it is the strong delusion, and the strong delusion is what comes upon Seventh-day Adventists at the end of the world.

And now what I am trying to show you is that the passage from Daniel, where Paul paraphrases, in 2 Thessalonians, Daniel 11:36, this is one of the most convoluted verses in the history of Adventism. This is the verse where Uriah Smith takes a wrong turn and throws out the proof-texting technique of William Miller. In this verse here, instead of sticking to the line of prophecy that is in Daniel 11:30 and onward, that the King of the North is the Papacy, in this verse here Uriah Smith introduces the idea that it is a new king; it is not the Papacy.

So, I want you to see that this controversy has raged in Adventism—not raged, but sometimes it raged. When James White was alive it raged because James White opposed it until his dying day; but, it took root in Adventism and caused some serious problems in Adventism. And even the modern theologians that have so many things wrong, they have all seemed to come around to the idea that Uriah Smith was wrong, that this verse is the Papacy; because, you just cannot uphold it if you are going to be accurate with the Bible.

But, the point is, here is the verse that Paul uses to set up 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, to warn us of the strong delusion. And sure enough, in Adventism’s history this verse Satan attempted to muddle it up—Okay? Get the point?—to prevent us from understanding 2 Thessalonians the way we should, in an attempt to make us receive the strong delusion.

The verse is in your notes, Daniel 11:36.

36And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.” Daniel 11:36 (KJV).

AD539—The Abomination of Desolation

4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4 (KJV).

Virtually every commentator says that verse is drawn from Daniel 11:36. And I agree; I am sure it is. This is the man of sin who exalts himself, and he prospers until the indignation.

So, when does the man of sin get placed in the temple of God? He is empowered in AD538; but, in order for him to be empowered in AD538, there has to be a falling away first, which this is in the time of Pergamos, and this is accomplished by the Mystery of Iniquity doing the advance preparation for the falling away in order for the man of sin to be revealed in AD538.

But, what I am telling you now, if you are not following me, is I am trying to tie this in with Jesus. I am trying to say that back here in this history of Ephesus, in AD66 when Rome put the standards of their authority into the sacred precincts of the temple that Jesus’s prophecy had been fulfilled; and, at this point the Christians were to flee and they fled to the mountains.

Man of Sin

Revealed

AD538 Strong 2nd

Paul Delusion Coming

EPHESUS SMYRNA PEGAMOS THYATIRA SARDIS PHILADELPHIA LAODICEA

Mystery of Falling F

Iniquity Away L

Working E

E

AD66 AD70

Jerusalem is trampled down

F

L

E

E

Figure No. 41B.

Ultimately in AD70 Jerusalem is destroyed. Okay?

So, what I am saying is that this history here [the line reflecting the Seven Churches], though it is not specifically marked, it is also a fulfillment of the abomination of desolation.

Flee to the Mountains

Notice in “Flee to the Mountains” in your notes from Revelation 12:14, “And to the woman,” that is the Christian Church, a standard correct Adventist understanding, a Protestant church.

14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” Revelation 12:14 (KJV).

Here in AD538, the Church flees into the wilderness, paralleling the Christians [in AD66] fleeing into the wilderness.

Why did the Christians flee into the wilderness? Because, they had seen the symbol of Rome’s authority in the sacred precincts of the temple.

Why did the Church in AD538 flee into the wilderness? Because, they had seen the man of sin sitting in the temple of God, showing himself that he was God.

But, how did they see it? Through Bible prophecy, through the warning given by Paul in connection with the warning given by Christ, which are both based upon the Book of Daniel.

Jerusalem Trampled Down

Notice Revelation 11:2-3.

2But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city”—

What is the “holy city”? That is Jerusalem.

—“and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. 3And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 11:2-3 (KJV).

In this history in AD70, Jerusalem is trampled down by Pagan Rome.

In this history in AD538, Jerusalem is trampled down. It is the same history, the abomination of desolation.

Well it Would Be

In The Great Controversy, beginning at page 42, it says this:

“It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church.”—

What is that? That is the Mystery of Iniquity. The deceptions and abominations are connected with Christian garments, sacerdotal garments. Okay?

This is this history here [referring to the Church of Smyrna].

Now we are in this history [referring to the Church of Pergamos]. And in this history, Pergamos, when this is coming to fruition, the falling away is taking place, it says,

—“It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church. The Bible was not accepted as the standard of faith.”—

That is where we are at today. The Bible in Adventism is no longer the standard of faith. The standard of faith is determined by those of us that have been educated in Biblical history and Biblical language. We are the ones that have set ourselves in authority over the Bible since the beginning of the 20th Century.

—“The Bible as not accepted as the standard of faith. The doctrine of religious freedom was termed heresy, and its upholders were hated and proscribed.”—

In Adventism today it is now beginning that you do not have the right to study in your own home things that church leadership says you should not study. That is called religious freedom. You would not think that in America would get away with that. All right? Because, it is not just simple a part of Adventist heritage, it is part of the heritage of the United States. Okay? It is the very center of the Third Angel’s Message.

Next paragraph.

—“After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry.”—

Okay. Now, here is a separation. They are getting ready to flee into the wilderness.

— They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children’s children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war.”

Well would it be”—

What is she saying?

—“Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God’s professed people. There is an alarming indifference in regard to the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith. The opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, these are not of vital importance. This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories and fatal delusions which the faithful in ages past imperiled their lives to resist and expose, are now regarded with favor by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ.” The Great Controversy, 42–46.

So, what I am saying to you, what I want you to see here, if you will, is part of Paul’s testimony in 2 Thessalonians contributes to Christ’s testimony in Matthew 24 and other places about the abomination of desolation. As they see the work of the Mystery of Iniquity produce the falling away in the Christian Church and the Papacy seated in the Christian Church empowered and the man of sin revealed, it is time to flee to the mountains of Pella, flee into the wilderness; which they did.

In both those histories, AD66 and 538, are prefiguring the history of The Sunday Law.

Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos and Thyatira

Now, you do not really see it. One of my points here in the beginning is that you do not really see it in 2 Thessalonians.

You do not see what? You do not see a connection with Paul talking about the Mystery of Iniquity working in the time of Ephesus and onward, and the falling away in Pergamos, and the man of sin being revealed in Thyatira, with a strong delusion down here at the end of the world. It is kind of a broken thought, so to speak; but, it can be recognized through prophecy.

And rather than spend time on inserting a principle here that is very easy to prove and uphold, I am going to let Stephen Haskell put it in place for us. The next four short paragraphs are from Stephen Haskell; and, what he is going to tell us, and this is sound, is that now we are looking at this line.

Man of Sin

Revealed

AD538 Strong 2nd

Paul Delusion Coming

EPHESUS SMYRNA PEGAMOS THYATIRA SARDIS PHILADELPHIA LAODICEA

Mystery of Falling F

Iniquity Away L

Working E

E

AD66 AD70

Jerusalem is trampled down

F Sunday

L Law

E PERGAMOS EPHESUS

E SARDIS SMYRNA

THYATIRA

LAODICEA PHILADELPHIA

LAODICEA

Figure No. 41C.

Now we are looking at this line. This is the history of Laodicea, with The Sunday Law in the middle, our history, today. But, Stephen Haskell is going to say, and you can show it prophetically, is that in the history of Laodicea, the history of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia are all repeated in the history of Laodicea. They are all there.

In order to really nail it down, it takes a couple of studies; but, I am going to just let Brother Haskell speak for this one; because, this is not the focus of our subject.

In the Story of the Seer of Patmos, by Haskell, on page 69, he says,

“It should be remembered that, as the experience of Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos, will be repeated in the last church before the second coming of Christ, so the history of Thyatira will have its counterpart in the last generation.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of the Seer of Patmos, 69.

Okay. So, there he has named four of them. Here is Ephesus at The Sunday Law; because, what happens at The Sunday Law?

Well, one of the things that things that happens is that the Adventist Church is purified, and those people that receive the Seal of God, they are lifted up as an ensign; and, that pure Church Triumphant is represented in Ephesus. Okay?

But, what also happens at that time period? Persecution begins. Here is Smyrna.

But, what prepares the way for the Papacy to return to power? Pergamos, the compromise of the Protestants in the United States; and, do not miss the fact that this is a compromise of the Protestants of the United States, and it has been prefigured by the compromise of Constantine; because, Pagan Rome, Constantine, placed the Papacy on the throne of the Earth and the Protestants of the United States are going to place the Papacy on the throne of the Earth. Pagan Rome prefigures the United States.

But, he also says that Thyatira would be here, and sure enough when the Papacy is returned to power, there is going to be another blood bath that has been represented by the blood bath of Papal persecution that took place for 1260 years that is going to be repeated right there.

Ephesus and Philadelphia

On page 75 of the same book, speaking of William Miller, Haskell says this:

“He applied the test, but all pointed forward to the year 1843 as the time when the world must welcome its Saviour. The condition of the people at the first advent of Christ was now repeated.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of the Seer of Patmos, 75.

Okay. Ephesus is repeated in Laodicea.

Pergamos and Sardis

Ibid., on pages 75 and 76, it says,

“There was a time in the history of Pergamos, when Christianity thought Paganism was dead; but in reality, the religion which was apparently vanquished, had conquered. Paganism baptized, stepped into the church. In the days of Sardis this history was repeated.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of the Seer of Patmos, 75, 76.

When the compromise of Pergamos was going on, Haskell is telling us that this compromise is also accomplished in Sardis.

Laodicea

Ibid., on page 69, he says,

“Upon this last church—the remnant,—shine the accumulated rays of all past ages.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of the Seer of Patmos, 69.

Now, the Millerites directly understood that in their history—I mean, sometimes it is correct to go back to the Millerite History in teaching and say, “That is the history of Philadelphia,” because it was. But, the Millerites correctly identified that their history of the Millerite Movement was the history of Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

The Millerites understood that those people that had heard the Millerite message and did not respond to it were Laodiceans; and those of them that were giving the message were Philadelphians; and those Christians outside of those two groups, who were still sleeping, that was Sardis.

Okay. So in the history of Philadelphia, in agreement with the pioneer understanding, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea are all active.

And Ephesus, the Church Triumphant, is also Philadelphia, which is also the Church Triumphant.

So, all these histories are fulfilled down here at the end of the world in The Sunday Law time period in the history of Laodicea.

Strong Delusion

The Philadelphians here that are going to receive the Seal of God, they are the wise virgins.

And on this side, in the time period of the strong delusion, we find Laodicea. And for Laodicea, it ends right there.

So, why am I saying that? I am saying that even though in 2 Thessalonians that Paul describes this history here [of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia], and then he jumps all the way down to the end of the world to give us a warning about the strong delusion that, if correctly understood as a student of prophecy, if you know proof-texting, if you bring line upon line, you can show that the history of this line of the first six Churches is repeated down here in Laodicea at the end of the world.

So, this history here of the first six Churches is to be factored down here to the history of our day and age, Laodicea. And the same sequence of events, the Mystery of Iniquity, a Falling Away, and the man of sin being revealed is going to take place in Adventism.

Man of Sin

Revealed

AD538 Strong 2nd

Paul Delusion Coming

EPHESUS SMYRNA PEGAMOS THYATIRA SARDIS PHILADELPHIA LAODICEA

Mystery of Falling F

Iniquity Away L

Working E

E

AD66 AD70

Jerusalem is trampled down

F Sunday

L Law

E PERGAMOS EPHESUS

E SARDIS SMYRNA

THYATIRA

LAODICEA PHILADELPHIA

LAODICEA

Man of Sin and Ensign Revealed

Marvelous Working of Satan

Mystery of Falling Away

Iniquity Working

OUR TIME PERIOD AT END OF WORLD

Figure No. 41D.

And, just prior to the man of sin being revealed, this being our time period down here, strong delusion is going to come upon the Laodiceans in Adventism. And at the same time that strong delusion is going to come upon the Laodiceans, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is going to be coming on the Philadelphians. Okay?

So, we are just going to close out our study here this morning by looking at the strong delusion, to make sure we understand that this is for Adventism and, in so doing, hopefully we will have put together yesterday’s study and this study because tomorrow is where we pull the trigger on this thought. All right?

So, let us see if the strong delusion is for Adventists.

The Great Controversy, beginning at page 389—and, I want to be clear, the strong delusion is for all mankind, but the strong delusion is premised upon the rejection of truth. And in the judgment time, there is a testing message that will first be rejected by Adventism and then rejected by those outside of Adventism. It is progressive, and the strong delusion begins with Adventism.

Once Adventism is purified, the strong delusion is going to continue on out through the world. But, how does that concern us as Seventh-day Adventists? It does not. We need to be concerned about the strong delusion here first.

The Great Controversy, beginning at page 389:

“The second angel’s message of Revelation 14 was first preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the judgment had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844.”

What is the Second Angel? Babylon is fallen.

—“The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message;”—

In consequence of their rejection of the First Angel’s Message.

—“but that fall was not complete.”—it is progressive—“As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however, can it be said that ‘Babylon is fallen, . . . because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ She has not yet made all nations do this. The spirit of world conforming and indifference to the testing truths for our time exists and has been gaining ground in churches of the Protestant faith in all the countries of Christendom; and these churches are included in the solemn and terrible denunciation of the second angel. But the work of apostasy has not yet reached its culmination.

“The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan will work ‘with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness;’ and they that ‘received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ will be left to receive ‘strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:9–11. Not until this condition shall be reached,”—

What condition? That they believe a lie.

—“Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the church with the world shall be fully accomplished throughout Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete. The change is a progressive one, and the perfect fulfillment of Revelation 14:8 is yet future.

“Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their present condition and are longing for clearer light.”—

This next sentence is really, really a nice sentence. Here, the people that really have an experience with Christ in Babylon, and Sister White is talking about what they are longing to see, notice the next sentence.

—“They look in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they are connected.”—

What they are going to see is the image of Christ in the ensign lifted up.

—“They look in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they are connected. As these bodies depart further and further from the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the difference between the two classes will widen, and it will finally result in separation. The time will come when those who love God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such as are ‘lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’

“Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6–12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work.”—

Now, here is all this to get to this point.

—“When those that ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:12), shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call: ‘Come out of her, My people’ (Revelation 18:4).” The Great Controversy, 389–390.

So, the strong delusion comes before Revelation 18, verse 4, before the call to come out. When the strong delusion comes, then they will respond to the call to come out.

So the strong delusion, obviously, it is not coming on those people that are still in Babylon. It is not until the strong delusion arrives that they get called out of Babylon. The strong delusion by the context of that passage is dealing with Seventh-day Adventists.

In Early Writings, page 46:

“It is a fearful thing to treat lightly the truth which has convinced our understanding and touched our hearts. We cannot with impunity reject the warnings which God in mercy sends us.”—

And I hope you see this, is that this dynamic is based upon the rejection of a warning message.

—“A message was sent from heaven to the world in Noah’s day, and the salvation of men depended upon the manner in which they treated that message. Because they rejected the warning, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from the sinful race,”—

If you are rejecting the warning message for your time, the Spirit of God is being withdrawn from you and you, too, are getting ready to have the unholy spirit poured out upon you, which is the strong delusion, if you are going to use Noah to typify this history.

—“Because they rejected the warning, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from the sinful race, and they perished in the waters of the flood. In the time of Abraham, mercy ceased to plead with the guilty inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot with his wife and two daughters were consumed by the fire sent down from heaven. So in the days of Christ. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, ‘Your house is left unto you desolate.’ Looking down to the last days, the same infinite power declares, concerning those who ‘received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ ‘For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ As they reject the teachings of His Word, God withdraws His Spirit, and leaves them to the deceptions which they love.” Early Writings, 46.

So, as you are rejecting the warning message that is the warning message of the Latter Rain, you are rejecting the Holy Spirit and simultaneously receiving the strong delusion.

Great Light and Opportunities

This is Selected Messages, book 3, page 154:

“‘A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you.’ I believe with all my heart that the Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world,”—

All right. This is saying there is a people rejecting the warning message and the Spirit of God is being withdrawn from them. That is what the last passage says. And now Sister White is saying that she believes with all her heart that the Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world.

—“and those who have had great light and opportunities and have not improved them, will be the first to be left.”—

The first to be left, the first to have the Holy Spirit removed from them, are the people that have great light and opportunities.

—“They have grieved away the Spirit of God.”—

How do you grieve away the Spirit of God? By rejecting the warning message that brings the Spirit of God.

But, the first people to be totally void of the Holy Spirit are those people that have had great light and opportunities.

—“The present activity of Satan in working upon hearts, and upon churches and nations should startle every student of prophecy. The end is near. Let our churches arise. Let the converting power of God be experienced in the heart of the individual members, and then we shall see the deep moving of the Spirit of God. Mere forgiveness of sin is not the sole result of the death of Jesus. He made the infinite sacrifice not only that sin might be removed, but that human nature might be restored, rebeautified, reconstructed from its ruins, and made fit for the presence of God.” Selected Messages, book 3, 154.

The Faithful City

Okay. The next quote, we want to define who it is that has great light and opportunities.

“One who sees beneath the surface, who reads the hearts of all men, says of those who have had great light: ‘They are not afflicted and astonished because of their moral and spiritual condition.’ Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.’ ‘God shall send them strong delusion,”—

He is going to send strong delusion to those who have had great light,

—“that they should believe a lie,’ because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ ‘but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ Isaiah 66:3, 4; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 10, 12.

“The heavenly Teacher inquired: ‘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 are sinning against Jehovah?”—

The people that are rejecting the Latter Rain warning message, that are receiving strong delusion, they are building on a wrong foundation.

—“Oh, it is a great deception, a fascinating delusion, that takes possession of minds when men who have once known the truth,”—

Well, these are Seventh-day Adventist men. In their past history they knew the truth.

—“Oh, 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; when they suppose that they are rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, while in reality they are in need of everything.’

“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. Unless there is thorough repentance, unless men humble their hearts by confession and receive the truth as it is in Jesus, they will never enter heaven. When purification shall take place in our ranks,”—

What is purification? Separation. And I am saying that in terms of these histories, the two classes ultimately in each of these histories get separated.

—“When purification shall take place in our ranks, we shall no longer rest at ease, boasting of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing.

“Who can truthfully say: ‘Our gold is tried in the fire; our garments are unspotted by the world’? 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! For this cause there is weakness, and strength is lacking.’” Testimonies, volume 8, 249–250.

And what happens when we make God’s House a house of merchandise? He cleanses it.

And why does He do so? Because, those that had great light at one time were the faithful city have become a harlot.

Capernaum

Manuscript Releases, volume 16, beginning at page 106, says,

“One matter burdens my soul: The great lack of the love of God, which has been lost through continued resistance of light and truth,”—

You resist the message, you are losing any sympathy and love that comes from God.

—“The great lack of the love of God, which has been lost through continued resistance of light and truth, and the influence of those who have been engaged in active labor, who, in the face of evidence piled upon evidence, have exerted an influence to counteract the work of the message God has sent. I point them to the Jewish nation and ask, Must we leave our brethren to pass over the same path of blind resistance, till the very end of probation? If ever a people needed true and faithful watchmen, who will not hold their peace, who will cry day and night, sounding the warnings God has given, it is Seventh-day Adventists. Those who have had great light, blessed opportunities, who, like Capernaum, have been exalted to heaven in point of privilege, shall they by non-improvement be left to darkness corresponding to the greatness of the light given?

“I wish to plead with our brethren who shall assemble at the General Conference to heed the message given to the Laodiceans. What a condition of blindness is theirs! This subject has been brought to your notice again and again, but your dissatisfaction with your spiritual condition has not been deep and painful enough to work reform. ‘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.’ The guilt of self-deception is upon our churches. The religious life of many is a lie.” Manuscript Releases, volume 16, 106–107

So, those people that have had great light and opportunities are the first to be left by the Spirit of God. They are the faithful city that has become a harlot; and, here Sister White is telling us that those with great light and opportunities are the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and she is calling them Capernaum.

What is so special about Capernaum?

His Own City

The Desire of Ages, page 252:

“At Capernaum Jesus dwelt in the intervals of His journeys to and fro, and it came to be known as ‘His own city.’ It was on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and near the borders of the beautiful plain of Gennesaret, if not actually upon it.” The Desire of Ages, 252.

Who is Christ’s city? The Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is Capernaum.

Great Light and Opportunity Defined

Okay. I am going to read one thing and close. It is a long thing, but Sister White is going to define what “great light and opportunities” are now for us.

So, what I am saying here is, I am going to read this and close. I am saying that Paul’s warning in 2 Thessalonians is directly applicable to us at the end of the world, because this history [referring to the line of the Seven Churches] is repeated at the end of the world. We go through the same process of the Mystery of Iniquity, of the Falling Away, the man of sin being revealed. But, in this process there is a separation between the foolish and the wise virgins.

But, when you bring this history down to our history, the foolish virgins, those who have had great light and opportunities, the Seventh-day Adventists that are rejecting the warning message that brings with it the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they receive strong delusion.

Okay. So, this last fairly long read, we are going to let Sister White explain to us what “great light and opportunities” is.

Review and Herald, August 1, 1893:

“Among the professed children of God, how little patience has been manifested, how many bitter words have been spoken, how much denunciation has been uttered against those not of our faith. Many have looked upon those belonging to other churches as great sinners, when the Lord does not thus regard them. Those who look thus upon the members of other churches, have need to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. Those whom they condemn may have had but little light, few opportunities and privileges. If they had had the light that many of the members of our churches have had, they might have advanced at a far greater rate, and have better represented their faith to the world. Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says,”—

Now, she is going to quote Christ here, but she is going to put her own commentary into it as she does.

—“Christ says, ‘But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light], which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.’ At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent [in their own estimation], and hast revealed them unto babes.’”—

What did He hide from the Pharisees and reveal to the Disciples about Capernaum, about the Seventh-day Adventist Church? That it is going to be brought down to hell.

The next paragraph, now she is going to quote another passage of Scriptures, Jeremiah.

—“‘And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name,”—that is the Seventh-day Adventist Church—‘wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight,”—

Who gets cast out of His sight? Laodiceans, foolish virgins.

—“‘as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.’

“The Lord has established among us institutions of great importance, and they are to be managed, not as worldly institutions are managed, but after God’s order. They are to be managed with an eye single to his glory, that by all means perishing souls may be saved. To the people of God the testimonies of the Spirit have come, and yet many have not taken heed to reproofs, warnings, and counsels.

“‘Here now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: fear ye not me saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual degree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? but this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. . . . They judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord; shall not my soul be revenged on such a nation as this?

“Shall the Lord be compelled to say,”—

This next one is profound!

—“Shall the Lord be compelled to say,”—

And she is talking about Seventh-day Adventists, here, now.

—“Shall the Lord be compelled to say, ‘Pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee’? ‘Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain. . . . Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?’

“Will not those to whom have been committed the treasures of truth, consider the superior advantages of light and privilege that have been purchased for us by the sacrifice of the Son of God on Calvary’s cross? We are to be judged by the light that has been given us, and we can find no excuse by which to extenuate our course. The Way, the Truth, and the Life has been set before us. Many seek to excuse themselves by saying, ‘You must not judge me by some weak trait of character, but consider my character as a whole.’ We always feel deep pain at heart when the sinner seeks to apologize for his sin, to smooth it over, and fails to realize the danger of cherishing one un-Christlike attribute of character. We are to place our will on the side of the Lord’s will, and firmly determine that by his grace we will be free from sin. Sin is the transgression of the law, and it is not the magnitude of the action in iniquity that stamps it as sin. Adam and Eve were prohibited from eating of the tree of good and evil. The test was a slight one, but the act of disobedience to God was the transgression of his law.

“The little sins that men think are of so trivial a character that on their account they will not be brought into condemnation, are very offensive in the sight of God. Says one, ‘You are too severe, a man must be allowed these little defects of character.’ Let us hear the words of Christ. He says, ‘Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.’ People venture to commit sins that are grievous in the sight of God, and think that they are not to be called to task for them, because they say they are due to nervousness, to a peculiar temperament; but this is simply soothing the conscience, and crying, ‘Peace, peace, when there is no peace.’ Sin is sin, and it is the delusion of Satan to look upon it in any other light than that it is grievous.

“We may flatter ourselves that we are free from many things of which others are guilty; but if we have some strong points of character, and but one weak point, there is yet a communion between sin and the soul. The heart is divided in its service, and says, ‘Some of self and some of thee.’”—

What is that? That is the Mystery of Iniquity.

—“The child of God must search out the sin which he has petted and indulged himself in, and permit God to cut it out of his heart. He must overcome that one sin; for it is not a trifling matter in the sight of God.

“One says, ‘I am not the least jealous, but then I do get provoked and say mean things, although I am always sorry after giving way to temper.’ Another says, ‘I have this fault or that, but then I just despise such and such meanness as is manifested by a certain person of my acquaintance.’ The Lord has not given us a list of graded sins, so that we may reckon some as of little consequence, and say that they will do but little harm, while others are of greater magnitude and will do much harm. A chain is no stronger than is its weakest link. We might pronounce such a chain good on the whole, but if one link is weak, the chain cannot be depended on. The work of overcoming is to be the study of every soul who enters the kingdom of God. That impatient word quivering on your lips must be left unspoken. That thought that your character is not rightly estimated must be put from you; for it weakens your influence, and works out the sure result, making you of light estimation in the minds of others. You should overcome the idea that you are a martyr, and lay claim to the promise of Christ, who says, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’” Review and Herald, August 1, 1893.

Shall we pray?

Benediction: Heavenly Father, we pray that we will be among those that receive the warning message of the Latter Rain and understand that the Latter Rain message comes in the time of the Judgment of the Living and that we must be serious about the work of removing even the little sins out of our lives if we are to continue to receive the pouring out of this message. And we pray for those of us in Adventism, the faithful city and Capernaum that have had great light and opportunities that for whatever variety of mysterious iniquity has been brought to their table that they are partaking of, that is preventing them from recognizing this message and bringing their life into agreement. We pray for them, that the Holy Spirit can break through that delusion, that darkness, that they can awaken to the reality that the falling away is now taking place in Adventism and The Sunday Law, the man of sin, is about to be revealed and, at that point in time, there is a separation that you accomplish with the power of your Word between the wheat and tares in Adventism. Let us be about our business of preparing ourselves for the Seal of God and not the mark of the beast. As we break from this worship, we ask that you would continue to bless the production here of the DVDs and the LiveStreaming work that we are doing. And as we go forth to our individual tasks or individual services today, we ask that you would bless us, protect us, and help us remember to reflect your character with those that we come in contact with. In Jesus’s name, amen.