The story of Daniel the prophet is one of the most outstanding in the Bible. It is said that Daniel is one of those Bible characters who did not have any personal faults recorded in the Bible. Daniel’s example is a worthy one for each one of us to follow today, especially in regard to doing the work of proclaiming the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12 and another angel’s message of Revelation 18:1-4. This is particularly so, because the third angel’s message is a pointed testimony to the world and to the church, that we are to obey God rather than men.
1. “Standing by a Purpose True”
There is a hymn in the old Church Hymnal that goes like this:
“Standing by a purpose true ... Dare to be a Daniel! ... Dare to have a purpose firm ... Dare to make it known.”
So, here is an example of boldness and fidelity:
“The decree goes forth from the king. Daniel is acquainted with the purpose of his enemies to ruin him. But he does not change his course in a single particular. With calmness he performs his accustomed duties, and at the hour of prayer he goes to his chamber, and with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he offers his petitions to the God of heaven. By his course of action he fearlessly declares that no earthly power has the right to come between him and his God and tell him to whom he should or should not pray. Noble man of principle! He stands before the world today a praiseworthy example of Christian boldness and fidelity. He turns to God with all his heart, although he knows that death is the penalty for his devotion.” – Ellen G. White, The Sanctified Life, page 43.
God through Sister White, counsels His church to “fearlessly preach the truth, and let it cut.”
“Those who engage in the solemn work of bearing the third angel’s message, must move out decidedly, and in the Spirit and power of God fearlessly preach the truth, and let it cut. They should elevate the standard of truth, and urge the people to come up to it. It has too frequently been lowered to meet the people in their condition of darkness and sin. It is the pointed testimony that will bring them up to decide. A peaceful testimony will not do this. The people have the privilege of listening to this kind of teaching from popular pulpits; but those servants to whom God has intrusted the solemn, fearful message which is to bring out and fit up a people for the coming of Christ, should bear a plain, pointed testimony. Our truth is as much more solemn than that of nominal professors, as the heavens are higher than the earth.” – Ellen G. White, Early Writings, page 118.
2. The Fate of the Fearful
The work of the third angel requires undaunted courage and zeal. This is because the possible result of faithfully proclaiming the third angel’s message could be the persecution of the last days, hence the need for us to overcome fearfulness, even now.
What will happen to the fearful? The Bible says in Revelation 21:8,
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which is the second death.”
In the above Bible verse, we find that the fearful people are classed together with those who are or were unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, and these will all end up in the lake which is the second death.
The SDA Bible Commentary has the following comment on “fearful” in the above Bible verse:
“Fearful. Gr. deiloi, ‘cowardly,’ ‘fearful.’ The word is always used in the evil sense of cowardice, or unwarranted timidity. Compare its use in Matt. 8:26; Mark 4:40; the related verb in John 14:27; and the related abstract noun in 2 Tim. 1:7. In each instance cowardice is the basic meaning. Owing to cowardice, moral faintheartedness, many fail to overcome in the Christian warfare; they give up in the time of trial. Compare Matt. 24:13.” – SDA Bible Commentary, volume 7, page 891 (published 1957).
The following Spirit of Prophecy statement comments of the above Bible verse:
“God loves Sister Pierce. She is one of the timid, fearing ones, conscientious in the performance of her duty; and she will receive a reward when Jesus comes if she is faithful to the end. She has not made a display of her virtues, she has been retiring, one of the more silent ones; yet her life has been useful; she has blessed many by her influence. Sister Pierce has not much self-esteem and self-confidence. She has many fears, yet does not come under the head of the fearful and unbelieving, who will find no place in the kingdom of God. Those outside of the city are among the most confident, boastful, and apparently zealous ones who live in word, but not in deed and in truth. Their hearts are not right with God. His fear is not before them. The fearful and unbelieving, who are punished with the second death, are of that class who are ashamed of Christ in this world. They are afraid to do right and follow Christ, lest they should meet with pecuniary loss. They neglect their duty, to avoid reproach and trials, and to escape dangers. Those who dare not do right because they will thus expose themselves to trials, persecution, loss and suffering are cowards, and, with idolaters, liars, and all sinners, they are ripening for the second death.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, volume 2, page 631.
Here in the above quotation, a distinction is made between two types of fears. One is the fear of God, which actually means reverence for God and keeping His commandments. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13. The fear of God is different from the “fearful” that is mentioned in Revelation 21:8. The “fearful” in Revelation 21:8 refers to cowardly people, that is, people who were cowardly in regard to the following matter – “to do the right and follow Christ.”
What is the fate of spiritual cowards? The second death. That’s right. They will be grouped together with the other types of sinners who are lost and will “have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
What are the fearful people afraid of? Mrs. White listed the following fears:
1. To do right
2. To follow Christ
3. Pecuniary and/or other loss
For all these and other ungodly fears and cowardice, the fearful will end up in the lake which is the second death. Fearful thought, isn’t it?
3. Overcoming Fear
The Bible presents a simple answer to the problem of fearfulness or cowardice.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18.
“Every one is accountable to God according to the ability and talent which he has received. Those who are on probation to see whether or not they are to be subjects of the kingdom of God, must be tried and proved now. Those who love God in spirit and in truth, will be pronounced fit subjects of the heavenly kingdom. The law of God, which is perfect holiness, is the only true standard of character. Love is expressed in obedience, and perfect love casteth out all fear. Those who love God, have the seal of God in their foreheads, and work the works of God. Would that all who profess Christianity knew what it means to love God practically. Then they would ever bear with them a sense of the sacredness of the name and character of Jesus Christ, and would adorn the doctrine of Christ, our Saviour. They would have some realization of the infinite holiness of God, knowing that he is high and lifted up, and the train of his glory fills the temple. They would have a powerful influence upon the life and character of those around them, which would work as leaven amid the mass of humanity, transforming others through the power of Jesus. Connected with the source of power, they would never lose their vital influence, but would ever increase in efficiency, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” – Ellen G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, “Love God Practically”, July 26, 1894.
“John strove to lead the believers to understand the exalted privileges that would come to them through the exercise of the spirit of love. This redeeming power, filling the heart, would control every other motive and raise its possessors above the corrupting influences of the world. And as this love was allowed full sway and became the motive power in the life, their trust and confidence in God and His dealing with them would be complete. They could then come to Him in full confidence of faith, knowing that they would receive from Him everything needful for their present and eternal good. ‘Herein is our love made perfect,’ he wrote, ‘that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.’ ‘And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, . . . we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.’” – Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, page 551.
4. God’s Last Day Work Not “Dangerous”
“There is to be in the [Seventh-day Adventist] churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think is dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their ideas and expectations they will oppose the work. “Why,” they say, “should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?” – Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, December 23, 1890, (Last Day Events, page 210).
We can see that the above statement refers to God’s last day work as described in Revelation 18:1-4:
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 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.”
Such a work of proclaiming to the world the three angels’ message of Revelation 14:6-12 is not “dangerous” as stated by our last day prophet. Does that mean that God’s people will not face the persecution of the last days? God’s people will face the persecution of the last days when God permits such persecution to come upon His church to cleanse it, that is, the shaking process will remove unfaithful members from the church.
“In the absence of the persecution there have drifted into our ranks men who appear sound and their Christianity unquestionable, but who, if persecution should arise, would go out from us.” – Ellen G. White, Evangelism, page 360.
So, God’s last day work of warning the world against receiving the mark of the beast when it is enforced can bring about persecution but it is not to be regarded as “dangerous”. We are to call God’s people to come out of Babylon and we can do this through various means such as through the publications that are being sold by missionary colporteurs, through the internet, through satellite television, and through evangelistic tracts that are to be scattered like the leaves of autumn.
5. The Shaking Process
Is the Seventh-day Adventist Church to be regarded as fallen Babylon because of the “omega” apostasy in the church? I do not believe so. If that is the case, then there would not be any need for the shaking process. Please note from the statement by Sister White quoted in the preceding section that it is the unconverted members who will be leaving the church and not the other way around.
I have noticed on several web sites on the internet which have declared the Seventh-day Adventist Church to be Babylon and therefore God’s people are to go out from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I respect the concern that these people have regarding the “omega” apostasy that is still currently happening in the church. However Sister White tells us that it is the false-hearted professors of the truth that will be purged out of the church.
“Prosperity multiplies a mass of professors. Adversity purges them out of the church.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, volume 4, page 89.
Are all the members in the church true-hearted believers in the truth? For the answer to this question, please read the following statement:
“The Lord is soon to come. There must be a refining, winnowing process in every church, for there are among us wicked men who do not love the truth or honor God.” – Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, March 19, 1895, (Last Day Events, page 173).
The shaking process does not, however, begin with actual persecution. It is in progress even now while there is no real persecution.
“One thing is certain: Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan’s banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in the Testimonies of God’s Spirit.” – Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, Book 3, page 84.
Besides those who consider the church to be Babylon, there are also former Seventh-day Adventists who left the church because they lost their faith in the true doctrines of the church. When we take a look at some of the web sites of such former Seventh-day Adventists, we can see the fulfilment of the following statement:
“It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies. Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, volume 4, page 211.
These people gave up not only their belief in the Spirit of Prophecy writings, but even their belief in some of the important doctrines of the Bible such as the Sabbath doctrine of the fourth commandment.
“Not having received the love of the truth, they will be taken in the delusions of the enemy; they will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils and will depart from the faith.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, volume 6, page 401.
“The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith.” – Ellen G. White, Evangelism, page 224.
Therefore, church membership is not a guarantee of salvation.
“It is a solemn statement that I make to the church that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner.” – Ellen G. White, Christian Service, page 41.
In concluding this article, I wish to quote the following:
“Those who have had opportunities to hear and receive the truth and who have united with the Seventh-day Adventist church, calling themselves the commandment-keeping people of God, and yet possess no more vitality and consecration to God than do the nominal churches, will receive of the plagues of God just as verily as the churches who oppose the law of God.” – Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, volume 19, page 176.
May God bless you as you contemplate on the contents of this article and may we remain individually faithful to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Prayer: “Our Father in heaven, thank You so much for showing us the example of the prophet Daniel that we are to stand by a purpose true. Please help us to be courageous and zealous in doing Your last day work and not to be fearful of persecution, dangers, trials, suffering, losses and reproach. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
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Questions for Thought:
1. Is God’s last day work “dangerous”?
2. What is the purpose of the shaking process?
3. Who will actually be shaken out of the church – God’s true and faithful followers, or the unconverted and unconsecrated church members?