He that hath an ear, let him hear - Mr. Wesley has a very judicious note on the conclusion of this chapter, and particularly on this last verse, He that hath an ear, etc. "This (counsel) stands in three former letters before the promise, in the four latter after it; clearly dividing the seven into two parts, the first containing three, the last four letters. The titles given our Lord in the three former letters peculiarly respect his power after his resurrection and ascension, particularly over his Church; those in the four latter, his Divine glory and unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Again, this word being placed before the promises in the three former letters excludes the false apostles at Ephesus, the false Jews at Smyrna, and the partakers with the heathens at Pergamos, from having any share therein. In the four latter, being placed after them, it leaves the promises immediately joined with Christ's address to the angel of the Church, to show that the fulfilling of these was near; whereas the others reach beyond the end of the world. It should be observed that the overcoming or victory (to which alone these peculiar promises are annexed) is not the ordinary victory obtained by every believer, but a special victory obtained over great and peculiar temptations, by those that are strong in faith."
The latest account we have of the state of the seven Asiatic Churches is in a letter from the Rev. Henry Lindsay, chaplain to the British embassy at Constantinople, to a member of the British and Foreign Bible Society, by which society Mr. Lindsay had been solicited to distribute some copies of the New Testament in modern Greek among the Christians in Asia Minor.
The following is his communication, dated: - "Constantinople, January 10, 1816.
"When I last wrote to you, I was on the point of setting out on a short excursion into Asia Minor. Travelling hastily, as I was constrained to do from the circumstances of my situation, the information I could procure was necessarily superficial and unsatisfactory. As, however, I distributed the few books of the society which I was able to carry with me, I think it necessary to give some account of the course I took:
"Thus, sir, I have left at least one copy of the unadulterated word of God at each of the seven Asiatic Churches of the Apocalypse, and I trust they are not utterly thrown away; but whoever may plant, it is God only who can give the increase, and from his goodness we may hope they will in due time bring forth fruit, 'some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold.' "Henry Lindsay."
In my note on Acts 19:24; (note), I have given an account of the celebrated temple of Diana at Ephesus, to which building, called one of the seven wonders of the world, St. Paul is supposed to allude in his epistle to this Church, particularly at Ephesians 3:18; (note), where I have again given the measurement of this temple.
He that hath an ear - See the notes on Revelation 2:7.
This closes the epistolary part of this book, and the “visions” properly commence with the next chapter. Two remarks may be made in the conclusion of this exposition:
(1) The first relates to the truthfulness of the predictions in these epistles. is an illustration of that truthfulness, and of the present correspondence of the condition of those churches with what the Saviour said to John they would be, the following striking passage may be introduced from Mr. Gibbon. It occurs in his description of the conquests of the Turks (“Decline and Fall,” iv. 260,261). “Two Turkish chieftains, Sarukhan and Aidin left their names to their conquests, and their conquests to their posterity. The captivity or ruin of the seven churches of Asia was consummated; and the barbarous lords of Ionia and Lydia still trample on the monuments of classic and Christian antiquity. In the loss of Ephesus, the Christians deplored the fall of the first angel, the extinction of the first candlestick of the Revelations: the desolation is complete; and the temple of Diana, or the church of Mary, will equally elude the search of the curious traveler. The circus and three stately theaters of Laodicea are now populated with wolves and foxes; Sardis is reduced to a miserable village; the God of Muhammed, without a rival or a son, is invoked in the mosques of Thyatira and Pergamos; and the populousness of Smyrna is supported by the foreign trade of Franks and Armenians. Philadelphia alone has been saved by prophecy or courage. At a distance from the sea, forgotten by the emperors, encompassed on all sides by the Turks, her valiant citizens defended their religion and freedom above fourscore years, and at length capitulated with the proudest of the Ottomans. Among the Greek colonies and churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect, a column in a scene of ruins; a pleasing example that the paths of honor and safety may sometimes be the same.”
(2) the second remark relates to the applicability of these important truths to us. There is perhaps no part of the New Testament more searching than these brief epistles to the seven churches; and though those to whom they were addressed have long since passed away, and the churches have long since become extinct; though darkness, error, and desolation have come over the places where these churches once stood, yet the principles laid down in these epistles still live, and they are full of admonition to Christians in all ages and all lands. It is a consideration of as much importance to us as it was to these churches, that the Saviour now knows our works; that he sees in the church, and in any individual, all that there is to commend and all that there is to reprove; that he has power to reward or punish now as he had then; that the same rules in apportioning rewards and punishments will still be acted on; that he who overcomes the temptations of the world will find an appropriate reward; that those who live in sin must meet with the proper recompense, and that those who are lukewarm in his service will be spurned with unutterable loathing. His rebukes are awful; but his promises are full of tenderness and kindness. While they who have embraced error, and they who are living in sin, have occasion to tremble before him, they who are endeavoring to perform their duty may find in these epistles enough to cheer their hearts, and to animate them with the hope of final victory, and of the most ample and glorious reward.
We should now be doing our very best to defeat this Sunday law. The best way to do this will be to lift up the law of God and make it stand forth in all its sacredness. This must be done if the truth triumphs.—Letter 58, 1906. CW 98.1
Exalt Not Human Beings—In the night I was earnestly addressing those who are bearing responsibilities of editors and contributors of our periodicals.... If those in charge of our periodicals have no more judgment than to fill the publications with the exaltations of human beings, then let them seek wisdom from God. Your spiritual eyesight needs the heavenly anointing.... In pouring forth an overflow of praise of one whom they do not know, who has not accepted a “Thus saith the Lord” in keeping His commandments, they place themselves where, in the crisis coming upon us, they will have defective discernment as they shall see the good things done by those who will seek to deceive, who will claim to be Christ and prophets sent of God. CW 98.2
Christ says of that time, “If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” And again the question is asked, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Those who use their pen and voice to give such praise to human beings need to have clearer discernment. How much better would it be if this confidence and faith would be exercised toward those who are striving with pen and voice to do the will of God as obedient children, keeping His commandments, not to praise or glorify the individual, but to obey the word of God, to love as brethren, to uproot every fiber of the root of bitterness that they are allowing to spring up.... CW 98.3Read in context »
How much easier it would be to affect the heart and how much more would God be glorified if His servants were free from discouragement and trial, that they might with a free spirit present the truth in its beauty. Those who have been guilty of requiring so much labor of God's servants and burdening them with trials which belong to themselves to settle, will have to give account to God for all the time and means that have been spent to gratify themselves, thereby satisfying the enemy. They should be in a situation to help their brethren. They should never defer their trials and difficulties to burden a whole meeting, or wait until some of the messengers come to settle them; but they should get right before God themselves, have their trials all out of the way, and be prepared when laborers come to hold up their hands instead of weakening them. EW 107.1
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As the praying ones continued their earnest cries, at times a ray of light from Jesus came to them, to encourage their hearts and light up their countenances. Some, I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left these and went to the aid of the earnest, praying ones. I saw angels of God hasten to the assistance of all who were struggling with all their power to resist the evil angels and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance. But His angels left those who made no effort to help themselves, and I lost sight of them. EW 270.1
I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God's people. EW 270.2
I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified. EW 270.3Read in context »
Where shall we find the purity, goodness, and holiness where we shall be secure? Where is the fold where no wolves will enter? I tell you ... the Lord has an organized body through whom He will work. There may be more than a score of Judases among them; there may be a rash Peter who will under circumstances of trial deny his Lord; there may be persons represented by John whom Jesus loved, but he may have a zeal that would destroy men's lives by calling down fire from heaven upon them to revenge an insult to Christ and to the truth. But the great Teacher seeks to give lessons of instruction to correct these existing evils. He is doing the same today with His church. He is pointing out their dangers. He is presenting before them the Laodicean message. RC 199.2Read in context »
The Laodicean message is applicable to the church at this time. Do you believe this message? Have you hearts that feel? Or are you constantly saying, We are rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing? Is it in vain that the declaration of eternal truth has been given to this nation to be carried to all the nations of the world? God has chosen a people and made them the repositories of truth weighty with eternal results. To them has been given the light that must illuminate the world. Has God made a mistake? Are we indeed His chosen instrumentalities? Are we the men and women who are to bear to the world the messages of Revelation fourteen, to proclaim the message of salvation to those who are standing on the brink of ruin? Do we act as if we were? 1SM 92.1
In a clear, determined voice the messenger said, “I ask you what you are doing? O that you could comprehend! O that you could understand the importance of the warning and what it means to you and to the world! If you did understand, if you were filled with the spirit of the One who gave His life for the life of the world, you would cooperate with Him, making earnest, self-sacrificing efforts to save sinners.” 1SM 92.2Read in context »
At this time the Laodicean message is to be given, to arouse a slumbering church. Let the thought of the shortness of time stimulate you to earnest, untiring effort. Remember that Satan has come down with great power, to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. 1SM 196.1
For years our physicians have been trained to think that they must not give expression to sentiments that differ from those of their chief. [Reference is here made to Dr. J. H. Kellogg, for many years the medical superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.—Compilers.] O that they had broken the yoke! O that they had called sin by its right name! Then they would not be regarded in the heavenly courts as men who, though bearing weighty responsibilities, have failed of speaking the truth in reproof of that which has been in disobedience to God's Word. 1SM 196.2
Physicians, have you been doing the Master's business in listening to fanciful and spiritualistic interpretations of the Scriptures, interpretations which undermine the foundations of our faith, and holding your peace? God says, “Neither will I be with you any more, unless you awake, and vindicate your Redeemer.” 1SM 196.3Read in context »
We thank the Lord with all the heart that we have precious light to present before the people, and we rejoice that we have a message for this time which is present truth. The tidings that Christ is our righteousness has brought relief to many, many souls, and God says to His people, “Go forward.” The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to our condition. How plainly is pictured the position of those who think they have all the truth, who take pride in their knowledge of the Word of God, while its sanctifying power has not been felt in their lives. The fervor of the love of God is wanting in their hearts, but it is this very fervor of love that makes God's people the light of the world. 1SM 357.1
The True Witness says of a cold, lifeless, Christless church, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15, 16). Mark the following words: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). Here is represented a people who pride themselves in their possession of spiritual knowledge and advantages. But they have not responded to the unmerited blessings that God has bestowed upon them. They have been full of rebellion, ingratitude, and forgetfulness of God; and still He has dealt with them as a loving, forgiving father deals with an ungrateful, wayward son. They have resisted His grace, abused His privileges, slighted His opportunities, and have been satisfied to sink down in contentment, in lamentable ingratitude, hollow formalism, and hypocritical insincerity. With Pharisaic pride they have vaunted themselves till it has been said of them, “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” 1SM 357.2Read in context »
There is a time of trouble coming to the people of God, but we are not to keep that constantly before the people, and rein them up to have a time of trouble beforehand. There is to be a shaking among God's people; but this is not the present truth to carry to the churches. It will be the result of refusing the truth presented. 2SM 13.1Read in context »
At this same time, one, Mrs. P, came from Washington, D.C., claiming to be wholly sanctified and to have the power of healing. This spirit led many to become bewildered. The same accusing spirit was with them—that is, that the church was all wrong and God was calling out a people who would work miracles. A large class of our people in Battle Creek were being severed. I was moved upon by the Spirit of God, in the night season, to write to our people in Battle Creek. 2SM 66.1
God is leading out a people. He has a chosen people, a church on the earth, whom He has made the depositaries of His law. He has committed to them sacred trust and eternal truth to be given to the world. He would reprove and correct them. The message to the Laodiceans is applicable to Seventh-day Adventists who have had great light and have not walked in the light. It is those who have made great profession, but have not kept in step with their Leader, that will be spewed out of His mouth unless they repent. The message to pronounce the Seventh-Day Adventist Church Babylon, and call the people of God out of her, does not come from any heavenly messenger, or any human agent inspired by the Spirit of God. 2SM 66.2Read in context »
I tell you, my brethren, the Lord has an organized body through whom he will work. There may be more than a score of Judases among them, there may be a rash Peter who will under circumstances of trial deny his Lord. There may be persons represented by John whom Jesus loved, but he may have a zeal that would destroy men's lives by calling down fire from heaven upon them to revenge an insult to Christ and the truth. But the great Teacher seeks to give lessons of instruction to correct these existing evils. He is doing the same today with his church. He is pointing out their dangers. He is presenting before them the Laodicean message. 3SM 17.3Read in context »
(Hebrews 10:19, 20.) The Door of Communication—The true Witness has given us the assurance that He has set before us an open door, which no man can shut. Those who are seeking to be faithful to God may be denied many of the privileges of the world; their way may be hedged up and their work hindered by the enemies of truth; but there is no power that can close the door of communication between God and their souls. The Christian himself may close this door by indulgence in sin, or by rejection of heaven's light. He may turn away his ears from hearing the message of truth, and in this way sever the connection between God and his soul.... Neither man nor Satan can close the door which Christ has opened for us (The Review and Herald, March 26, 1889). 7BC 961.1
Light From the Threshold of Heaven—[Revelation 3:8, 9 quoted.] Whenever tempted, we have this open door to behold. No power can hide from us the light of the glory which shines from the threshold of heaven along the whole length of the ladder we are to climb; for the Lord has given us strength in His strength, courage in His courage, light in His light. When the powers of darkness are overcome, when the light of the glory of God floods the world, we shall see and understand more clearly than we do today. If we only realized that the glory of God is round about us, that heaven is nearer earth than we suppose, we should have a heaven in our homes while preparing for the heaven above (Manuscript 92, 1901). 7BC 961.2Read in context »
If those moving from the East to the West had regarded these warnings, and had stood in the counsel of God, he would have wrought through them to the salvation of many souls. But many who moved West have set an example of love for this world and covetousness, and their works have shown that their object in settling West was for gain, and not to save souls. The special frown of God has rested upon those who have taken this course, especially upon some the Lord had called into the gospel field. 2SG 214.1
Soon after we embraced the view that the testimony to the Laodicean church applied to this time, we visited Round Grove, Ills. I will here give an extract from a letter written to Bro. Howland's family, Nov. 23, 1856. 2SG 214.2
“We are now at Bro. E.’s. Many hundred miles separate us. We have had some interesting seasons since we came to this place. There is quite a settlement of Sabbath-keepers here, from Vermont, New York and Michigan. They have been in a low state. God has afflicted Bro. E., and removed his wife. Three times she was reproved by vision, and the third time I was shown if she did not stand out of her husband's way, that he might be free to teach perishing souls the truth, God would move her out of the way. It is even so; she sickened and died. Her passage to the tomb was dark. O, it is dangerous to stand in the way of the work of God, and choose our own selfish course. Our God is merciful, yet he will not bear always. His tender Spirit is easily grieved. If ever I felt like moving carefully it is now. We must walk softly before the Lord. I feel anxious to have Jesus with me. If he goes before us, we can be of some use to others, and do good. We came to this place with trembling, but the Lord has wrought for us. We have had victory in our seasons of prayer, and victory in meeting. The melting power of God rests upon the hearers. The testimony to the Laodiceans has had an effect here. 2SG 214.3Read in context »
In the spring of 1857, I accompanied my husband on a tour East. His principal business was to purchase the Power Press. We held conferences on our way to Boston, and on our return. This was a discouraging tour. The testimony to the Laodicean church was generally received; but some in the East were making bad use of it. Instead of applying it to their own hearts, so as to be benefited by it themselves, they were using the testimony to oppress others. A few taught that the brethren must sell all out before they could be free, while some others dwelt much upon dress, carrying the subject to an extreme, and with a few others there was a narrowing up of the work of the third message, and following of impressions, and casting fear upon the conscientious. These things have had a blighting influence, and have caused us to lay down our testimony on the subject almost entirely. 2SG 222.1Read in context »
Dear Brethren and Sisters,Read in context »
Dear Brethren and Sisters,Read in context »
The message to the church of the Laodiceans is a startling denunciation, and is applicable to the people of God at the present time. 3T 252.1Read in context »
My brethren, heed the reproof and counsel of the True Witness, and God will work for you and with you. Your enemies may be strong and determined, but One mightier than they will be your helper. Let the light shine, and it will do its work. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 5T 21.1
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The church at this time should have the faith once delivered to the saints, which will enable them to say boldly: “God is mine helper;” “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The Lord bids us arise and go forward. Whenever the church at any period have forsaken their sins, and believed and walked in the truth, they have been honored of God. There is in faith and humble obedience a power that the world cannot withstand. The order of God's providence in relation to His people is progression—continual advancement in the perfection of Christian character, in the way of holiness, rising higher and higher in the clear light and knowledge and love of God, to the very close of time. Oh! why are we ever learning only the first principles of the doctrine of Christ? 5T 484.1
The Lord has rich blessings for the church if its members will seek earnestly to arouse from this perilous lukewarmness. A religion of vanity, words devoid of vitality, a character destitute of moral strength,—these are pointed out in the solemn message addressed by the True Witness to the churches, warning them against pride, worldliness, formalism, and self-sufficiency. To him that says, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” the Lord of heaven declares, Thou “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” But to the lowly, the suffering, the faithful, the patient, who are alive to their weakness and insufficiency, are given words of encouragement: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” The True Witness says to all: “I know thy works.” This close scrutiny is over the churches in California. Nothing escapes His searching gaze; their faults and errors, their neglects and failures, their sinful departure from the truth, their declensions and shortcomings—all are “opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” 5T 484.2
I hope and pray that you may walk in all lowliness of mind, that you may be a blessing to one another. “Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” The bridal lamps must be kept trimmed and burning. Our Lord delays because of His long-suffering to usward, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” But when we, with all the redeemed, shall stand upon the sea of glass, with harps of gold and crowns of glory, and before us the immensity of eternity, then we shall see how short was the waiting period of probation. “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching.” 5T 485.1Read in context »
“Unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 8T 304.1
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Verses 14-22. 8T 304.2Read in context »
The General Conference session of 1888 was called for Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 17 to November 4. This was preceded by a week-long Biblical Institute, at which there were discussions as to whether the huns or the Alemanni should constitute one of the ten kingdoms of Daniel 2 and 7, and Revelation 13. Uriah Smith, editor of the Review and Herald, took a certain position and A. T. Jones, editor of Signs of the Times, took another. E. J. Waggoner, also from the Pacific Press, conducted studies on the atonement and the law of God, and Elder Jones presented justification by faith. These discussions continued into the session itself, and occasionally there was bitter disputation. Some of the ministers had come to the conference to debate certain questions, rather than to study truth. Ellen White was present, and she called for all to approach these presentations with open hearts and open minds. She urged a careful, prayerful study of the topics under discussion. TM xxiii.1
Somehow the issues came to be identified with certain men. To many, the message of righteousness by faith struck home, and there was a response of heart and soul which led to victorious experience in personal Christian living. There were others who identified themselves with certain cautious and conservative leaders from battle creek who saw what they thought were perils in some of the teachings presented. When the conference came to a close, these men had failed to gain the blessing God had in store for them. TM xxiii.2Read in context »
Could none of those who have made themselves detectives see the tendency of the position they have taken in endeavoring to become a controlling power? Where was their clear spiritual eyesight? Why could they discern a mote in the eye of a brother, while a beam was in their own eye? Oh, if ever a temple upon earth needed purifying, the institutions in Battle Creek need it now! Will you not seek God most humbly, that you may give the Laodicean message with clear, distinct utterance? Where are God's watchmen who will see the peril and give the warning? Be assured that there are messages to come from human lips under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “Cry aloud, spare not, ... show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, ... as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God.” TM 296.1
We are soldiers of Christ. He is the Captain of our salvation, and we are under His orders and rules. We are to wear His armor; we are to be marshaled only under His banner. We are to subdue not our brother soldiers but our enemies, that we may build up Christ's kingdom. We are laborers together with God. We are to keep on the whole armor of God, and work as in view of the universe of heaven. Let every man do his duty, as given him of God. TM 296.2
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Many who love self-indulgence and who murmur at the straight testimony of the Laodicean message, are ignorant of how sinful their actions really are; but in the judgment they will be ashamed of their course of ingratitude and rebellion against the One who has borne so long with them, and who has not cut them off in their sins. No confession, no weeping will then avail for those who have spoiled their record. Many who now claim to be the disciples of Christ, will be numbered among those who would not repent, but who have deceived their souls unto their eternal ruin. The evasion of truth will not give courage to any soul in the day of judgment to open his lips in self-defense. Then the books will be opened that bear the record of the works of every individual.... TDG 278.2Read in context »