Striving to be Part of the Number

Image result for 144,000 on the sea of glass

In Review and Herald we read —

“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all that we can to help others to gain heaven.”—The Review and Herald, March 9, 1905. 

And the Elijah message also makes very important statements about this group —

“It is the intention of this book to reveal the truth of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7..”(Preface of SRod, vol. 1)

 “Some day this subject must be understood, for Inspiration makes no useless statements, and it cannot be in the Bible for a trinket.  It must be understood before the number (144,000) is made or it would be of no value.  When understood, it will guide the feet of the 144,000 in the straight path just as the first, second, and third angel’s messages have led thousands of souls to Christ.” (SRod, vol. 1, p.14)

“It has been said by some that it matters not whether one understands the subject of the 144,000 or not, so long as he does right.  This is certainly true if we DO RIGHT, but how do we know whether we do right or not, except we understand Bible doctrines? How can we know whether we keep the right Sabbath, or belong to the right church, unless we understand that doctrine?

Why is it important to understand Daniel 7, the beast and his image, and many other Bible prophecies?  If we do not understand the subject of the 144,000, we may not be sealed, for it would be worthless to understand it after the sealing, just as it would be of no value to understand the beast and his image after his work on earth is finished.” (SRod, vol. 1, p.14-15)

It is clear by both the message of the Spirit of Prophecy and the Lord’s Rod that we should and indeed MUST know about and strive to be a part of the 144,000. The words like “strive with all power God has given us” and “It must be understood” are straight clear injunctions from the Lord to do something.

What we would like to do is show some specifics in our “striving”  in the following examples.

Strivers —

Mark and Mary are long time SDA members. This Sabbath Mary was to bring a fruit salad to the church lunch. As they begin their drive to church Mary suddenly remembers she forgot to prepare the salad and bring it. She inquires of Mark, “should we stop by the grocery store on our way and pick one up?” Mark replies, “No way dear! The Lord told us not to buy and sell during the Sabbath, Nehemiah shows that clearly.”

Non-Strivers —

Joe and Becky also had the same experience. But after Becky inquired of Joe to stop and buy the fruit salad, Joe said, “yeah dear, I think that would be ok, after all the Lord knows our hearts are right and He understands.” They pull over and buy the salad on the Sabbath. 

“In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.

There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day?

Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath. And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day.

So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the Sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.” (Nehemiah 13:15-22)

Strivers —

After church, Tom runs into a Paul fellow member. Paul mentions that this coming Wednesday evening he would like Tom to try and come to his home for a study on prophecy (Revelation chapter 17 and 18). Tom readily accepts as he has been praying to the Lord that he wants to know of the prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. He figures that is an answer to his prayers. Although he had scheduled another appointment with a couple of friends to discuss a local residential ruling on their housing community, he makes the decision to call them and postpone it. The things of the Lord come first, as he seeks first the kingdom through the Lord’s word.

Non-Strivers —

Richard also runs into Paul after church with the same proposal. But Richard briefly thinks about it then says, “No not this time Paul, I have scheduled a housing community meeting with some friends that evening.” Richard has never prayed and inquired of the Lord to know more of His word or prophecies. He is satisfied in his spiritual attainments.

“Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” (Luke 14:16-20)

“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.” (Rev. 3:17-18)

Strivers —

Diane is a young woman. She always tries to be in church before the service begins. When she goes there she remembers that the Lord’s word says —

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt: 18:20)

Therefore she dresses very modest, her skirt below the knees, her blouse high cut around her neck, her shoes not very high-heeled. Her Bible in her hand, she comes before the Lord with respect and honor in His house. She realizes He sees her.

Non- Strivers —

Beverly is also a young woman. However she may or may not be on time, her church record is 50-50. Half the time she arrives at or a little after the  service begins. Most of the time her dress is short skirts and high heels. In the summer when it’s warm she’ll have a low-cut blouse on as well. A couple of years ago she remembers that  this “fanatic” who said he was a “Shepherd’s Rod believer” warned her that she should dress more appropriate for church. What a goof ball she thought at the time, for the Lord accepts us anyway we come , He cares not about these minor things.

“..them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” (1 Sam. 2:30)

 

“While you are devoting precious time to the study of dress, the inward adorning is neglected; there is no growth in grace. Instead of becoming more heavenly-minded, you are becoming more and more earthly-minded. Foolish and hurtful lusts, groveling appetites, becloud your sense of sacred things. Why will not everyone who professes to love Jesus flee from these soul-destroying indulgences! The world is crazy after show and fashion and pleasure. Licentiousness is steadily and fearfully on the increase. Why will not Christians be true to their high profession!

Christ is ashamed of His professed followers. Wherein do we bear any resemblance to Him? Wherein does our dress conform to the Bible requirements? I do not want the sins of the people upon me, and I will give the trumpet a certain sound. For years I have borne a plain and decided testimony upon this subject, in print and upon the speaker’s stand. I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. I must be clear of the blood of all. The fact that worldliness and pride bear almost universal sway is no excuse for one Christian to do as others do. God has said: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.”

Do not, my sisters, trifle longer with your own souls and with God. I have been shown that the main cause of your backsliding is your love of dress. This leads to the neglect of grave responsibilities, and you find yourselves with scarcely a spark of the love of God in your hearts. Without delay, renounce the cause of your backsliding, because it is sin against your own soul and against God.

Be not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people. Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline.

If there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God.

There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized.” (Testimonies, vol. 4, p.647-648)

Strivers —

Manuel has just walked out of church, as he walks to his car he is approached by a man who identifies himself as Ronald. Ronald briefly says he has a message from the Lord that may bless him and he hands him a few Tracts. While this is going on another SDA member sees what is happening and as Ronald leaves, he walks over to Manuel and tells him, “Brother be careful that material you just got is from the Shepherd’s Rod people, I would throw it away. It’s error and has been rejected by our church leaders.”

Manuel responds, “My brother, we are counselled as follows”, then goes into his car and brings out a folder of some SOP material and hands him the following —

“Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true–in harmony with God’s word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices.

The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits–because it is truth.”(Testimonies to Minsters, p.106-107) 

Non-Strivers —

Jerry has just experienced the same thing from Ronald, and after the SDA member warns him, he says, “Oh ok, yeah if this has been rejected by our church leaders who know what is right for us, I will indeed throw it away, thanks so much my brother!”  He then walks over to the trash can and throws it away.

“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (Jer. 17:5)

Ok, now we’ve looked at a few examples of strivers vs. non-strivers, next we’ll look at why we must strive. 

In the very beginning of God’s worldwide judgments upon His people , we go back to the days of Noah. Despite the fact that possibly well over a million people lived on the earth at that time, how many were saved? Eight.  Was that God’s will? Of course not but that is all who would respond to the messages of warning given day after day after day by Noah.

In the time of Lot, God’s judgments fell upon the people and how many were saved from them? Three. Abraham asked if God would spare the judgments if only ten innocent people were in the city. God said yes but ultimately there were not ten people. Only Lot and his wife (who later died as a pillar of salt) and their two daughters survived.

When the great multitude came out of Egypt with Moses, after rejecting God’s  counsel again and again in the desert, how many over the age of 20, from the possibly million or more, made it to the kingdom (Israel) ? Two –Joshua and Caleb. 

With the above three important historic examples of God’s judgments upon His people on a mass scale, let us look at Rev. 7.

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Rev. 7:1-4)

We know from both the Spirit of Prophecy writings and the Elijah message that the Seventh-day Adventist church is the “Israel of today”.

“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. When in faith the human agent does all he can to combat disease, using the simple methods of treatment that God has provided, his efforts will be blessed of God.” (Testimonies, vol. 9, p.164) 

Further we know that God has always had one church movement at a time. Thus our SDA church is that movement today and His people and ALL the tribes (descendants through bloodline –decimated down through time) exist within her. Obviously to make the kingdom we must be sealed to stand in the great and dreadful day of the Lord. So who will be sealed in our church?  The  144,000. 

Yes to some this sounds outrageous, unbelievable. Yet as shown God is not a respecter of men and their majority. With nearly 20 million SDA members worldwide right now, does 144,000 sound in out of line with those three solemn judgments He has done before?

Again, the word says that God truly wants all to be saved just like the whole world in Noah’s day, but sad to say so many don’t care about any warnings nor even to walk upright with Him. In today’s terms, few want to “sup” with Him daily (Rev. 3:20).

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” ( 2 Peter 3:9)

Further supporting the fact that in that church judgment , it will indeed be solemn , we read —

“I have tried in the fear of God to set before His people their danger and their sins, and have endeavored, to the best of my feeble powers, to arouse them. I have stated startling things, which, if they had believed, would have caused them distress and terror, and led them to zeal in repenting of their sins and iniquities. I have stated before them that, from what was shown me, but a small number of those now professing to believe the truth would eventually be saved–not because they could not be saved, but because they would not be saved in God’s own appointed way.

The way marked out by our divine Lord is too narrow and the gate too strait to admit them while grasping the world or while cherishing selfishness or sin of any kind. There is no room for these things; and yet there are but few who will consent to part with them, that they may pass the narrow way and enter the strait gate.” (Testimonies, vol. 2, p.445-446)

In closing we ask — What is God’s appointed way for us Seventh-day Adventists?

“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all that we can to help others to gain heaven.”

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