Who Comprises the S.D.A Church?

12 tribes

(Click picture to enlarge)

Each week, we as Seventh-day Adventists, go to our respective local churches to worship our God. But do we really know who we are? Are we Gentiles who have been grafted into His Church? Are we literal descendants of Jacob (although unbeknownst to us)? Or a mixture of the two?

In Revelation chapter 7, verse 4, we read, “And I heard the number of them which were sealed:and there was sealed an hundred and forty and  four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”

We are very aware of this end time prophecy but who are these “tribes of the children of Israel”? Can we know for certain through Inspiration who these people are today? Let us look at Scripture, Spirit of Prophecy, and the Elijah message to have a clear conception of truth on this subject.

To begin with let us ask– Why is it important to know who the “tribes of Israel” are today?

Our founder, prophetess Ellen White said these words, “Let us strive with all the power God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all we can to help others to gain heaven.” (Review and Herald, march 9, 1905)

So obviously Inspiration tells us to strive with “all power” from God to be a part of a certain group. Obviously there is only one group in all the Bible that these people consist of–the twelve tribes of Israel. Therefore, it’s of powerful importance to learn and obey God’s word on this subject. For how can we strive to be a part of something we know nothing about?

If the Lord guided our prophetess to say those words then obviously He would also guide her to let us know who is this “Israel” of whom 144,00 are a part.

“In order to be purified and to remain pure, Seventh-day Adventists must have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and in their homes. The Lord has given me light that when the Israel of today humble themselves before Him, and cleanse the soul-temple from all defilement, He will hear their prayers in behalf of the sick and will bless in the use of His remedies for disease.” (Testimonies, vol. 9, p.164)

“But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor.”(Testimonies, vol.5, p.80)

In the book “Prophets and Kings”, our prophetess has the chapter “House of Israel”. In it she gives specific quotes addressing our issue.

“In proclaiming the truths of the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, God’s church on earth today is fulfilling the ancient prophecy, “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” Isaiah 27:6.(PK, chap.59,p.703)

“That which God purposed to do for the world through Israel, the chosen nation, He will finally accomplish through His church on earth today.”(Ibid, p.713)

“Then it is that the redeemed from among men will receive their promised inheritance. Thus God’s purpose for Israel will meet with literal fulfillment. That which God purposes, man is powerless to disannul. Even amid the working of evil, God’s purposes have been moving steadily forward to their accomplishment. It was thus with the house of Israel throughout the history of the divided monarchy; it is thus with spiritual Israel today.” (Ibid, p.720)

Let us keep in mind that God’s prophetess sometimes referred to the church as “spiritual Israel”.  Two things to note,  we as descendants of the Israelites are flesh and spirit, so in this sense , the church has both a direct blood line and a spiritual aspect as well. Second, the purpose of the Lord’s Elijah message was to “restore all things”. That means that all necessary Truth was to be restored so that we could know the clear truth of matters. As we continue we’ll see that the Elijah prophet gives a  more explanation on the subject of the “Israel of today”, a restoration of it if you will.

Just as our prophetess did not have all the light concerning the setting up of God’s pre-millennial theocratic Kingdom, prior to the Lord’s coming in the clouds, so too she was not given all the light in describing the details of “the Israel of today”. This was the job of the last prophet–Elijah.

So we see that through the Spirit of Prophecy, the SDA church is described as being the “Israel of today”. So logically our church must consist of the twelve tribes. It is important to note that SOP never describes the church as anything other than “Israel”. By that we mean it isn’t described anywhere in the Spirit of Prophecy or the Rod as a “Gentile” church. Or even a “mixed” church with both Gentiles and Israelites–nowhere.

In Psalms 87:6 we read, “The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. God in His infinite wisdom and care has watched over His people since the beginning. Jacob’s bloodline has continued all the way down to our church today.

But the Lord has more evidence for us through His Elijah prophet. Let’s look at these.

Isa. 2:5 — “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

——    Because the church greatly needs this light, the light that now illuminates the Judgment Day, the Lord makes the foregone plea to the antitypical “house of Jacob,” the house in which are the 144,000 Jacobites, the descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel, who down through the ages became assimilated by the Gentile nations, and thus lost their racial identity. (TG, vol. 1, no.5, p.7)

——-    “..everyone knows that the identified Jews of today are but a handful — certainly not as the sands of the sea.  The innumerable children of Israel, therefore, cannot be the unbelieving Jews of today.  Besides, the identified Jews of today are not the descendants of the ten-tribe kingdom, but of the two-tribe kingdom.  Who, then, is this multitude of people referred to in Hosea’s prophecy?

We must not overlook the fact that the Gospel of Christ divided the house of Judah into two sects — Jewish and Christian, that the Christian church for about four years after the resurrection of Christ consisted practically only of Jews.  Plainly, then, the original Christians were full-blooded Jews, — the Christian church is only a branch of the Jewish church, but they and their descendants have, through the years, lost their racial identity. 

Then, too, the descendants of both Israel and Judah who through the years of captivity lost their identity as did the Jews who embraced Christianity, according to prophecy must also have greatly multiplied.  Plainly, then, many who are taken as Gentiles, are but unidentified descendants of ancient Judah, Israel, and the Jewish Christians.  The Christian church herself is, as we have seen, a Jewish-Christian church.

These descendants of Jacob, who were assimilated by the Gentile nations, therefore, were to multiply as the sand of the sea.  They are the ones who, after becoming Christians, are again called the sons of the living God. (TG, vol. 2, no.6, p.15-16)

——-     And now, since the distinctive truth of the Investigative Judgment in heaven is the Seventh-day Adventist doctrinal magnifying glass, let us use it on the subject of the separation.

That part of the Investigative Judgment of the living, by which is determined who are to have their sins blotted out and, as a result, be given eternal life, is paralleled on earth by the work of the angel with the “writer’s inkhorn,” who is charged to “mark” (seal) everyone who sighs and cries for all the abominations in Judah and Israel-the church. (Answerer, vol. 2, question 24)

——    How many yields of fruit is the harvest to give? — If the 144,000 are the “first fruits” (Rev. 14:4), then there must be “second fruits,” for where there is no second there can be no first.  The word “firstfruits” absolutely necessitates second fruits.


   Where do the first fruits come from, and where do the second fruits come from? — We are plainly told that the first fruits are Israelites — all from the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:4-8).  Israel certainly stands for the church membership at the time they are sealed; the title “Israel” cannot be construed to mean the world.  The firstfruits, therefore, are harvested from the church itself at the time the separation begins.  The word “sealed” means placed in a safe place — sealed. (TG, vol. 2, no.44, p.34)

——     “..since there are two separations–one from the church (Israelites), one from the Gentiles,–those who escape and those who are gathered in– then the former are the first fruits and the later the second fruits–those of Rev 7:4, 7:9,  one from the tribes of Israel, and one from the Gentile nations.” (Jezreel letter, no. 2)

 ——  “And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.” (Isaiah 4:5)

Very evidently, then, the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that so gloriously led the Hebrew host out of Egypt foreshadowed and even greater and more glorious protective covering, victoriously leading Israel of today not only on their way to the land of promise but all the while they are there. (SRod, tract 1, p.54)

In speaking of God’s promises in Jer.31:35-37, to establish  “the seed of Israel” as a righteous and holy nation, brother Houteff says, “As the promises are made only to Israel (the seed of Abraham), the original vine, which has been trodden down, this vine must therefore be raised up; then the penitent Gentiles by virtue of adoption in Christ, shall be grafted into it, and thus become of the planting of the Lord. (Tract 8, p.82)

——   Hos. 1:10 — “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land for great shall be the day of Jezreel.”

Here you see that the Jews were to be rejected from being God’s people, and you well know that this came to pass when the Lord said unto them: “Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” Matt. 23:38. (TG, vol. 2, no.43, p.15-16)

——-  Since after the separation of the unconverted from among God’s true people, the church (then comprised of the 144,000, the first fruits of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel) is to emerge into a theocratic government, inevitably,  then, the “vessels” represent the component units, the tribes, into which the redeemed are gathered severally, while the “barn” represents the composite unit, the kingdom, into which they are gathered collectively.  And this great gathering, selective, absolute, and final, as it is, only goes to show again that the birth of the kingdom  is absolutely dependent upon the purification of the church. (Tract 8, p.93)

——-    “As God called out Israel from Egypt anciently, just so now, God is calling His church out from worldlings and worldliness, to be a separate, peculiar people to His honor and glory.  This does not mean another movement, but it does mean that God is to deal with the entire body, and those who escape are Israel, the 144,000.” ( SRod, vol. 1, p.107)

——-  The prophecy nevertheless continues and projects to the gathering time, the time God’s penitent people appoint to themselves one head, a king. These, of course, are not the unconverted Jews of today, but they are the descendants from among those who have been assimilated by the nations and by the Christian church, from those who have lost their identity and who are now “as the sands of the sea” in number, but who now as Gentiles (gentiles to their own and to the world’s short-sighted knowledge) have accepted Christ. (You who have missed my past studies on the subject, may read Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 29 and Tract No. 8, Mt Sion at the 11th Hour, pp. 7-17.)(TG, vol. 2, no.43, p.15)

——-  Jer. 23:6 — “In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

“In his days;” that is in the days the Righteous Branch is raised, in the days of Jesus, in the Christian era.  Plainly, then, some day in the Christian period, Inspiration makes known, Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely on the earth.  This promise, therefore, is made, not to unbelieving Jews, but to believing Christians, to those who have made the Lord’s righteousness their own.

   Nevertheless these Christians, we are here told, are the descendants of both Judah and Israel who as a result of the dispersion, and also in joining the Christian church, have through the centuries lost their racial identity.  The Christian church, therefore, according to the Scriptures is in the main made up of the descendants of Jacob, whose seed was to be as the sand of the sea for multitude. (TG, vol.2, no.35, p.3-4)

 ——  According to Revelation 7, the 144,000 are of the twelve tribes, Israel and Judah, not of the Gentiles; also, both the marking and the slaughtering, according to Ezekiel 9, are to take place in both Israel and Judah, the church, where the harvest, judgment, commences. (Tract 9, p.55)

We highlighted some areas to show that, just as our prophetess showed that the church comprises the  “Israel of today” so does the Elijah prophet. However he gets more specific with such words as  “the church (Israelites)” and other descriptions.

So after reviewing these complimenting testimonies from Inspiration, we have to ask the following important question –Are there Gentiles in the SDA church?

Brother Houteff explains, “We are not to conclude that the Jews are the only descendants of Abraham.  Those who are fortunate enough to have this revelation brought to them, are the people.  There is no other safe conclusion if God causes the prophecies to be written, sealed, and then unsealed at His will and at the time appointed. (TG, vol. 1, no. 37, p.11)

It is, therefore, obvious that the few identified Jews of today are not the only descendants of Abraham’s, but that many of the Gentiles must be of Abraham.  Since this mixed up situation exists, hardly any one can really say for sure that he is not one of Abraham’s children. 

Perhaps many of the nations whom the world calls Gentiles are the children of Abraham.  We do not know for sure who is who.  God, however, has kept a perfect genealogical record, for He says: “I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know Me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.  And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the Highest Himself shall establish her.  The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.” Psa. 87:4-6. (TG, vol.1, no.37, p.12)

So we see that God in His never-ending wisdom has guided ALL SDA believers to the truth for this time. And as they alone must decide to accept His last “present truth” of the Elijah, IF they accept it and live it, can become a part of the “sealed tribes” of Israel! It’s the clearest signpost that you are an Israelite.

As we ponder this situation deeper, we remember that the Lord’s last message of Elijah is known as the “sealing message”. And because we know that from ALL the tribes of Israel (ALL the church) only 144,000 are sealed, then logically the Lord has made sure that His Jacob blood line down through time has “come home” as it were to SDA membership. Much as the homing pigeon has the natural instinct to arrive home.

Let us also remember that God has not forgotten the Gentiles (those who will make up the great multitude of Rev. 7:9). once the 144,000 are all sealed from the SDA church then it is that His servants will “go to work” proclaiming the Loud Cry. Thus bringing the vast world of Gentiles into His purified church!

Yet the  Lord cares so much for His Jacobite people, even though they have intertwined through the ages with the Gentile nations, He cannot let them perish without giving them an honest chance to accept His truth in these last hours.

Right now, and ever since 1930, the message of Elijah has been present truth for us as Seventh-day Adventists. God in His mercy has made His message available to all who sincerely seek to know the truth for their time. The “house of Israel” has no excuse.

Inspiration warns us —“Ignorance is sin, when knowledge can be obtained.” (The Health Reformer, Sept. 1, 1866) 

To answer the question,  there cannot be any Gentiles within our church (any that have no Israelite blood). Logically, the Lord would not cause such people to come into the church to have no chance of getting sealed. We know that in the soon to come church judgment, only those “marked” (sealed) survive (Ezek.9), and in order to be sealed, you must be of one of the twelve tribes of Israel through the ancient bloodline.

Sadly though, we know that the Lord said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt.7:13-14)

So the answer to our title question is clear. We as Seventh-day Adventists are directly connected to our forefather Abraham. We have found ourselves “home” in His remnant church. Now that we are home are we willing to eat (accept) our home cooking meal prepared for our all-loving Savior? or are we here just for the fishes and loaves, playing church and not truly in love with His truth?

We are Israelites and not Gentiles. God Himself declares this with the above Inspired clear references. The following shows crystal clear concerning our issue.

“These 144,000 “servants of God” being the first increment of the harvest, are called “firstfruits.” And as all of them are “of all the tribes of the children of Israel”(Rev.7:4), they are therefore necessarily harvested from the Israel of today–the Church Itself.” (WHR, p.33)

As we finish up , let us address the all too familiar point that there will be “more” than 144,000 sealed from the church at Ezekiel 9 judgment, presented by those who have fallen down the path of fables. Here is the most weightful and clear Rod reference that exists today —

“Notwithstanding the fact that “in the closing work” for the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, only 144,000 are to be sealed, according to Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 266″(Answerer, vol.3, Q-54)

In closing, as Israelites, we know that He has been faithful in bringing us home, so let us do as Inspiration said to do, “Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the one hundred and forty-four  thousand.” (Review and Herald, March 9, 1905)

If you are a part of the SDA church you have the opportunity to be one of the 144,000, will you strive to be?

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:11)

5 Responses to “Who Comprises the S.D.A Church?”

  1. anonymous Says:

    What if a S.D.A member who truly is living a righteous life but does not follow or believe in the Shepherd’s Rod message because he has not been aware of it, is he automatically not sealed and therefore not saved?

  2. godsloveandlaw Says:

    The Lord’s Elijah message teaches us that everyone will have the opportunity to hear the message or at least of it prior to the close of the SDA probation.

    In (Timely Greetings, vol.1, no.12, p.26) it says, “And just as soon as this message reaches every church member, just that soon will the purification take place.”

    Therefore in God’s loving kindness and mercy He makes sure that all have a chance to come into the “ark of safety” (His Elijah message). As we’ve pointed out many times, we must go all out in learning the Lord’s will today. And if we truly want to know His will, He will not fail anyone.

    “God will not let you be deceived if you really hunger and thirst after righteousness, if you really want to know the Truth, for He is anxious that you keep up with His progressively revealed Truth.”(TG, vol. 1, no.12, p.18)

    So with this message within our grasp, if we fail to obtain it and follow it, we have our own self to blame. Are there not 14 or 15 hours each and every day to make time to study at least an hour or two? The message can awake us fairly quickly if we but take the time.

    Let us keep in mind that this message is authorized by the Lord Himself (Mal. 4:5) and as such has HIS powerful conversion abilities solidly behind it (AKA “The Spirit of Truth”). All Israelites in our church are treated fairly and equally as to opportunity.

  3. Lee Mashebe Says:

    Amen my bro nice lesson indeed we need to strive with all our God given power to be among the 144,000. And for sure this is high time we need to make God’s word our food on the table. God really loves us and its a blessed thing we have accepted His message- Meat in due season( the extra oil) which the majority in the church are rejecting….. Even at now. We have already passed or done the first test,we have found the message and what is left or needed for you and me now is just to walk and do all what the message require us to do. May the good Lord strength us has we strive for the seal Amen.

  4. vegaraw Says:

    Thank you brother for this thorough explanation. I had discussions with my fellow believers on this topic and could never get the straight answer from them whether 144’000 would be literal descendants of Abraham. My question that remains is: since there are many, who are brought into SDA church as a “flood” by the adversary, can we really say that all in membership are 100% descendants of Abraham?

    Please note for correction:
    1) Of whom the 144,00 are a part of -> 144,000
    2) As we continue we’ll see that this issue of the “Israel of today”, the Elijah prophet explains more clearly in detail our subject, a restoration of it if you will. -> As we continue we’ll see that the Elijah prophet gives a more clear explanation on the subject of “Israel of today”, a restoration of it if you will.
    3) this vine must therefore be raise up -> be raised up
    4) references . -> [remove the space between the dot]
    5) ‘firstfruits” -> “firstfruits”
    6) (rev. 7:4) -> (Rev. 7:4)
    7) march 9 -> March 9

  5. godsloveandlaw Says:

    Excellent question dear sis! At first glance, this would seem a problem but I think there is an answer. We remember that many many tares existed in the Exodus from Egypt and these were vastly Israelites. So Satan can bring in many of today’s Israelites who are tares (not converted) who want to join for the wrong reason–not to know the Truth. As this is a very deep question and shows you are ready for deeper truth, I will send to you via email the HEARYEYHEROD report that explains this more in detail.

    Thanks for the corrections!

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