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Foundation Truth, Number 19 (Winter 2008) | Timeless Truths Publications

The Voice of Prophecy

In conversation recently, we were asked where the people of God were, prophetically. “It seems that the ‘sixth seal’ message was interpreted, and then everything ended.” Only it didn’t, of course.

The individual who asked also traced the rise of sectarian thinking among the folks she fellowshipped. The group loyalty. The manrule. It was identifiably wrong in this person’s mind, yet this dear soul was confused by the ignore-the-traditions-be-filled-with-the-spirit faction as compared with the hold-fast-to-the-traditions crowd.

There is a growing consciousness among the people with whom she meets that something is wrong. Too much is done through the human wisdom and skill of ministers. This does not feed the soul. Because of an uneasiness caused by this lack of feeding, questions are asked, and there is much probing. And one of these questions was, “Why does it seem as if prophecy among us (non-seventh seal interpretation) ended with the sixth seal?”

In the conversation, we talked quite a bit about the way that prophecy worked. If we attempt to use it as guidance, it opens the door for all kinds of imaginations. If we use it for verification in hind sight, it harmonizes beautifully. As an example, I quoted the scripture, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”* (Isaiah 7:14) The context does nothing at all to correctly interpret the prophecy when viewed before the fulfillment. It is only afterward the prophecy was fulfilled that we can look back and see how remarkably accurate and interlocking the prophecy was. And this is largely true of all prophecy. Therefore to attempt to interpret Revelation to justify a movement will almost always lead to error. To an unbiased observer of such an effort, it will appear that you can “prove” almost anything you want to prove. It is all premature and consequently quite subject to error.

God intended the voice of prophecy to be a blessing to His trusting children. We read, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”* (Revelation 1:3) I am sorry to say that almost all of the teaching of Revelation and Daniel that is encountered today is not a blessing. Yet God intended the understanding revealed in these writings to comfort and help His people. He did not intend it to be confusing or over your head. I am afraid that most “Revelation preachers” are not teaching in the same Spirit from whom Brother John received his visions.

The 1880 Evening Light Reformation retrieved from obscurity an understanding of Holy Spirit government, as opposed to human government, that had been lost and buried under the rubbish of human concepts for over 1600 years since the first two and one-half centuries of Christianity (the “morning” light). Following the classic pattern, the light came first, and men began to consecrate out of the denominations of their day in obedience to that light. As we read different accounts of the struggles of these saints, we realize that it has always cost something to live up to light and truth. It was not a mere intellectual realization, a mental adjustment. It was costly. And I am compelled to say that it is just as costly today. The Bible tells us to “buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”* (Proverbs 23:23) It has always taken all that an individual has to purchase the truth; yet, after paying the price, the truth is well worth having. I am satisfied that many people are not blessed because they have not paid the price. Many have settled for the form—the silhouette—of truth. This does not cost very much, and they do not know about the blessing that they are missing.

We will here quote a little from Birth of a Reformation:

They went over into the edge of Jay County and began meetings in a United Brethren house called Prospect. Here the preaching created a furor among those who were joined to their sectarian institution and felt that it was in danger. It was like a thunderbolt in the community. The singing drew the crowds. The trustees became fearful. One of them went into the woods to pray to know what to do to get rid of these people who seemed to be taking things. The heavenly songs seemed to follow him. He felt he should attend all the meetings to see what occurred. He soon found that these people had something more than the United Brethren had. He was one of two trustees who embraced the truth, and of course desired that the meetings continue. Threats were made. A woman was heard to say, “They ought to be driven out of the country with shotguns.” A Baptist preacher who came into the neighborhood said that they ought to be put in jail, and offered his service as one to help in the matter.

The United Brethren minister had been holding meetings, with but little success. A Mrs. R——, one of their number, had been praying the Lord to send somebody who would preach the truth in such a way that God would get unto Himself a people who would serve Him. She and a Mrs. W—— went to the altar together, with others. Brother Warner asked them whether they would be willing to separate themselves from denominationalism if the Lord should show them that duty. Sister W—— said in her heart, yes. Sister R—— turned over to her and said, “Now, they are trying to tear down the church, so let us just stick.” There she turned bitter, and the very thing she had prayed for she was rejecting. She walked up and down the aisle wringing her hands and crying, “My church! my church!” Another woman said, “These people are either awfully good people or else they are desperately wicked.” Once during the meeting flying missiles crashed through the windows. Glass flew across the room, striking a woman on the head and drawing blood. Said Brother Warner:

“People have dealt in cheap, shoddy religions so long that they feel like stoning us when we state the cost of that we are commissioned of Christ to offer the people; nevertheless, when men consent to pay the price they are always highly pleased with the results.”

Such a display of sectarian idolatry was a good exhibition for some who had come out of Babylon, for they saw what they had been yoked up with. About eight persons made their escape in this meeting.

[Andrew L. Byers; Birth of a Reformation, “Evangelistic Tours”]

The prophecies were intended for the comfort and edification of those who have paid the price of buying the truth. They cannot be properly understood in all the fullness of their blessing until this step is taken. In this respect, they are like the manna given to the children of God in the wilderness. It would not keep overnight, except on the Sabbath. No one was able to hoard it or use it as a business inventory. It only worked when used as God intended it, but how marvelously it fortified and blessed the people of God, when used in the intended way!

The Prophetic Understanding of the Evening Light Reformation

When the majority of the people of the 1880 reformation fell away from the spiritual standard they once possessed, they took the revealed prophecies of Revelations and Daniel and made them a vindication of their existence. Brother F. G. Smith, a brother who sat under the preaching and ministry of the reformation, was anointed with an understanding of the key of interpretation in Revelation, especially the nature of symbolic language, and had the gift of knowledge and understanding of history that was necessary to tie together events of prophecy in the past up to the then present. Since his time of writing, there has not been as sweeping, definitive, and accurate a writing of prophecy, to my knowledge.

Brother Smith was an intellectual, but the Lord used him in spite of his mental abilities. He wrote two books of interest to us in this discussion of prophecy, The Revelation Explained and Prophetic Lectures on Daniel and the Revelation, both of which still are in print. The first of these two books is more scholarly than the second. The second was copyrighted in 1941 by the Gospel Trumpet Company, while the first was written in 1906, according to the author in the preface. The general material of the two books is also summarized in Smith’s What the Bible Teaches, in the chapters dealing with church history. It is of great importance that he received this understanding before the major apostasy of the Evening Light movement. He continued to teach the same basic doctrine among the apostatized for the rest of his life, holding lecture tours, teaching in a seminary, and accepting the title of Doctor of Divinity as a minister in the apostasy.

It is instructing and edifying to read his writings. He was extremely careful to be consistent in his conclusions and to admit to things that he did not understand. His writings are the work of a meticulous craftsman, carefully done, and they will bear scrutiny now, a hundred years later. He proves himself to be a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of God (2 Tim. 2:15) on the subject matter he addressed, and there are evidences of the anointing of those earlier times, particularly in the accounts in What the Bible Teaches.

A Later Intepretation

In the 1940’s, there arose another interpretation of Revelation, which is commonly referred to as “The Seventh Seal Interpretation.” One of the early books which presented this interpretation was The Revelation with Gospel and Prophecy, Past, Present, Future, by J. F. Lawson, P. D. Turnbow, and D. W. Rogers. These individuals were all in the apostatized group, known then and now as “The First Church of God,” and they had been in that condition since at least 1915, a period of about thirty years.

J. F. Lawson was not an intellectual like F. G. Smith, at all. Nor was he as careful and consistent. The prophetic vision he presents to us in the book is just as sweeping, but it is radically different than the approach that F. G. Smith utilized. It is built around the number seven.

We will quote a little from Smith’s Bible Dictionary:

Seven: The frequent recurrence of certain numbers in the sacred literature of the Hebrews is obvious to the most superficial reader; but seven so far surpasses the rest, both in the frequency with which it recurs and in the importance of the objects with which it is associated, that it may fairly be termed the representative symbolic number.

[William Smith; Smith’s Bible Dictionary, “Seven”]

Lawson sees meaning in seven everywhere, and makes a number of breathtaking assumptions to bend everything to fit in the concept of seven. Perhaps one of the more audacious jumps that he takes is with regard to the bow in the hand of the rider of the white horse in Revelations 6:2. I will quote a little from his book:

The bow surely would symbolize the old and new covenants foreshadowed by the bow that was set in the cloud after the flood in the days of Noah. The Lord made a covenant and set his bow as a token of that covenant. They did not have the written covenants then, as we do, but they had only God’s word or promise with the bow set as a token of that covenant. Now we have both the old and new covenant in print, of which the bow in the hands of the rider of the white horse is a symbol.

When the bow in the clouds is seen clearly there are seven colors each blending into the other in a harmonious effect, which is a beautiful picture of the seven ages of the Gospel Dispensation, making up the entire period of time.

[J. F. Lawson, P. D. Turnbow, D. W. Rogers; The Revelation with Gospel and Prophecy, Past, Present, Future]

I am a little reminded of what a brother, who sat under the teaching of this interpretation, said to me, “You can teach anything you want out of that.” What connection is there between the (military) bow of the rider of the white horse and the rainbow? Only their shape, and that the three letters, b-o-w, are in each! But out of this interpretation, Lawson arrives at his number seven (in the colors of the rainbow), and asserts that these colors represent seven church ages. He also asserts that the seven congregations of Asia represent seven church ages. Likewise, the seventh seals.

The idea that the seven congregations of Asia are seven ages is an old and discredited idea. F. G. Smith addresses it in Prophetic Lectures:

There is also a very real lack of agreement between the historical facts and this arbitrary, epochal treatment of the seven churches. In the parallel lines of prophecy shown by the charts [illustrations in the book], as well as in historic fact, we find first the true church in her apostolic beauty and glory. Later, apostasy, and the deepest spiritual darkness in the Middle Ages. Finally, there is a restoration of the true church just before the end of time, in preparation for the coming of the Bridegroom. Compare that general plan with the epochal theory of the churches. The first one, Ephesus, was a backslidden church—where the true church ought to be. The only two good churches in the seven—Symyrna and Philadelphia—fall into the period generally characterized by apostasy and error; while the restored church near the end of time would be represented by Laodicea—“wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”: “I will spue thee out of my mouth!”* (Revelation 3:16-17)

[Frederick G. Smith; Prophetic Lectures on Daniel and the Revelation]

Two Interpretations

Without delving further in detail into the differences between the two interpretations, let us address the question, “Why?” The answer to this question lies in an apostasy which sought to use a doctrine of truth as a unique confirmation that the hand of God was upon them, and the reaction to the manner of that attempt.

The apostasy of 1910-1915 resulted from a desire to “appeal to the better class.” Among other things, it stressed education, business success, and appearance (such as the wearing of ornamentation). We might characterize the overall appeal as turning from humility and spirituality to white-collar intellectualism. A great number of people went along with this who were not academics, not by any stretch of the imagination, and eventually there was a reaction, particularly in the highly intellectual approach to prophecy. In addition, the deadening effects of the apostasy were becoming more and more intrusive, and so there was a blue-collar revolt. A great number of people were (1) ready for a change toward more spirituality, and (2) hungered for a simple interpretation. Most of these people had grown up in the apostasy, and they wanted more than just head knowledge, particularly head knowledge that required thinking at a highly abstract level.

The simplicity of the “seven” approach appealed to them. They ignored some important facts. (1) There had been people who never let down, who had not stayed in the apostasy and paid the price to be separate. These people understood the prophecies of Revelations and Daniel as brethren had taught them both before and after F. G. Smith. (2) The Bible itself teaches much understanding that is not simple to understand at all. Peter (a blue-collar mind, but anointed of the Holy Ghost) spoke of Paul (a white-collar mind, but also anointed of the Holy Ghost) in this way: “even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”* (2 Peter 3:15-16)

We readily see that all human thought, from the simplistic to the most sophisticated of which man is capable, needs to be brought under the power and authority of the Holy Ghost, so that brethren may dwell together in holiness and unity. How necessary it is to be subdued!

And so was started, with the “seventh seal” interpretation, a very adaptable tool (in the hands of our adversary) that can “teach anything that you want to teach” about prophecy and history, and discredits the light and truth restored in the Evening Light Reformation as mere “sixth-seal light.” Many of the proponents of the much ballyhooed “seventh-seal light” are not living to so-called “sixth-seal light.” To be much more accurate, they are simply not living to Bible light “as he is in the light.”* (1 John 1:7)

Now, all of this, while instructive, does not answer the question presented to us:

“Where Are We, Prophetically?”

We are about a hundred years beyond F. G. Smith’s understanding. We are in the time of the seven thunders, which includes the battle of Armageddon and the time of the three unclean spirits, like frogs, that have come out of the mouth of the dragon, the mouth of the beast, and the mouth of the false prophet.

The prophecy of the seven thunders is found in Revelation 10:1-4: “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.”

I will here quote from The Revelation Explained:

When his mighty voice [the voice of the rainbow angel] sounded, “seven thunders uttered their voices”* (Revelation 10:3); and when about to record what they said, John was commanded to “Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.”* (Revelation 10:4) The fact that they were not to be recorded shows that they were to constitute no part of this Revelation. John evidently thought [they did] so at first; for they had the appearance of revelation, something clothed with divine authority, but they were not to be delivered to the church. What, then, were they? The most probable supposition is, that they were things that God for some reason did not choose to have revealed. Their sayings may have described events just prior to the end so perfectly as to leave the world in no doubt respecting the nearness of Christ’s second coming; whereas it appears in the Scriptures that God has designed that it should be a matter of considerable uncertainty, especially to the unsaved. However, we can obtain no satisfactory explanation of the things uttered by the seven thunders; for we can not identify positively what John was commanded to “seal up.”

[Frederick G. Smith; The Revelation Explained, “Chapter 10”]

These words of Smith were first published in 1906, about eight years before the first world war. During the intervening time since then, we have had another world war. Each has produced tremendous changes in the world that we live in today. The forces of outright unbelief (paganism, in such guise as secular humanism and communism, as well as New Age, the religions of the East, and outright witchcraft) have experienced a great revival. It may be that the rise of Islamic terrorism may eventually prove to be one of the seven thunders mentioned in this prophecy. It is very plain that God did not mean for us to have more exact means of identification of certain events, as here prophesied through the voices of the seven thunders, that are happening in our time or have happened since F. G. Smith penned those words. The words of the seven thunders are sealed.

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand…. Blessed is he that waiteth.* (Daniel 12:8-10,12)

So it is with the seven thunders. They were purposely left obscure. Apparently, more detail would have given us more pinpoint understanding than is good for us to have. We must go by other principles to determine how to walk and please God than advanced understanding of the meaning of prophecies. So we are in the position of those who were honestly trying to determine if Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the promised Messiah, the hope of Israel. If I had been one of those brethren, I could not have taken my stand based on the virginity of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was a virgin and fulfilled the scripture exactly, but the wisdom of God has made this prophecy in such a way that “flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee.”* (Matthew 16:17) While we wait, it is necessary not to understand fully, for this waiting to have the effect on us that it should.

The Purpose of the Seven Thunders

Why then was the existence of the seven thunders even mentioned? God wanted to give us a certain awareness—a “heads up,” if you would. He did not want us oblivious to what is happening and about to happen; He just doesn’t want us to have too much detailed information.

And there we find a parallel. “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.”* (Revelation 5:1) Here is the plan of salvation, revealed in the New Testament, which was sealed to the saints of the Old. “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”* (Matthew 13:17) They could not see them because they were sealed, but they received hints and prophecies of what was coming in precisely the same way as the seven thunders and the general teachings of the Word of God create a certain awareness of things in our time. We are therefore left with a certain vagueness and uncertainty, but also a certain anticipation before the fact and a certain assurance after the fact, that brings the blessing of divine revelation. In due time, their faith was turned to sight, and thus it will be with us, also, if we allow Him who knows all things to have His way in us.

In retrospect, therefore, we consider how flashes of insight came to Old Testament saints about the nature of New Testament salvation. We then realize that every principle and feature of the New Covenant and the Messiah was identified by the voice of prophecy long before it became a reality, and it was identified sufficiently to steady and sharpen the faith of those who saw it. And this gives us great encouragement to believe that God has something for us in the appearance of the seven thunders of Revelations 10, although their words were sealed.

Current Conditions

We find ourselves in a parallel situation to the New Testament saints of the Evening Light Reformation. In their day, they faced the problem of God’s children scattered in the many pens of what we call Protestantism. Many were saved in those churches—it was all that they knew. Do we not have the same situation today in church of God Babylon? Is not the main body of those professing to have the light and understanding of the Evening Light Reformation in the same position as the Roman Catholic Church, “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”* (Revelation 17:5)? Are not most of the various division and splinters that have come out of her a perfect parallel with the daughters of the Roman Catholic Church, the various Protestant denominations? Is not the voice of God calling, “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. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”* (Revelation 18:4-5)

The Battle of Armageddon

The ministers and prophets of the Evening Light Reformation foresaw the turmoil and havoc of the battle of Armageddon just before the Final Judgment, and they realized that the reformation was the beginning of an epic clash between truth and error. They and those who followed them realized that the rise of communism after World War I and World War II was part of the dragon (pagan) power being released from the pit to deceive the nations again. I will quote from Biblical Trace of the Church (1893):

Gog and Magog united will constitute the devil’s army in the last battle of the present ecclesiastical conflict. We are now just fighting the first battle…. This battle is called “the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”* (Revelation 16:14) These words signify that it will be the decisive battle of the war, and will end with the ushering in of the final judgment.

The church will receive no protection from the outside world at that time, for all the kings of the earth, and their armies, will unite with the beast against her (Revelation 16:14; 19:19). It seems that at that time all the powers of earth and hell will united to exterminate the holy seed. But the gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ’s church (Matthew 16:18).

[William G. Schell; Biblical Trace of the Church]

This book was republished by Brother Fred Pruitt, probably in the 1960’s, and this editor added a note after the quotation just presented:

In the above chapter, the author has revealed much truth, and perhaps as much as God was giving to the people in the day and time of his writing. The great red dragon who has now appeared under the cloak of Communism was not in evidence at that time [the Bolshevik revolution that first established communism as a political power occurred in 1917 during World War I], and therefore he failed to mention his part in the winding up of the affairs of this old world…. At present the dragon spirit is gradually deceiving the false prophet and the beast into the upholding of Communism, and at the end, the whole army of the three powers under the dragon (Communism) will be the combined forces that will compass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city and fire will come down from God out of heaven and devour them.

At the time of this writing (2007), the political system of Communism has largely been discredited and seems to have declined, but the system of unbelief which manifested itself in that way is alive and well. In Brother Pruitt’s day, ministers warned that the Communist (political) powers were going to conquer the world, including this country, and then we would know the full horror of the battle of Armageddon—outright persecution, and so forth. What has actually happened is far more dangerous.

Persecution actually stirs people and causes them to count the cost. As long as the saints were persecuted (and the persecution arose and died away repeatedly) in the beginning of Christianity, the ones who consecrated to serve God when the price was so high were purified and refined. The cost of serving God scared away the casual professors. When it was not so costly to profess to be saved, apostasy was the result; eventually the Catholic Church with the “man of sin”* (2 Thessalonians 2:3); eventually the Protestant Reformation with the imitators of much of the church government of men. As long as there is a high price to be paid for being a child of God, only those who want it with all their hearts will pay that price.

The Frogs of the Devil

It would seem that the devil is withholding outright persecution, generally speaking, to lull people and cause them to relax and fall into a sleep of deception. And so he has sent forth unclean spirits, like frogs (Revelation 16:13), from three of his systems: the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, i.e., unbelief, Catholicism, and all other false Christianity. He has not sent a frog from Islam, although its continuation after its emergence from the bottomless pit is indicated in Revelations 9.

The ancient Egyptians worshiped the Nile River and revered the frog as an emblem of the sacred river. The Nile River was regarded as their great benefactor with its yearly floods that replenished the land and furnished the fertilization that made life possible for the Egyptians. To their minds, only the Nile kept their country from starvation. Without the Nile, Egypt would be a desert.

This precisely mirrors the attitude of mankind toward human inspiration. In general, man believes that the answers to his problems lie in himself (contrary to what the Bible teaches us [Jeremiah 10:23]), and history is regarded by much of mankind as a long succession of floods and droughts of human inspiration.

God turned this Egyptian reverence for the Nile River upside down and inside out in dealing with them. The first plague upon Egypt was the turning of the waters of their sacred river to blood so that all the fish in the river died, and the river stunk. Even the water that was not in the river was turned to blood; their vessels, their ponds, their pools of water. After this disaster, God smote Egypt with frogs—a horde of frogs that invaded everything. He just touched the reproductive ability of those frogs who lived in the river all the time, and they multiplied beyond the imagining. That which was sacred to the Egyptians became an unbearable curse. “The frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.”* (Exodus 8:6)

God has a way of dealing with mankind by allowing the perverse choices of men to become a curse to them. The same God that sent an abundance of quail to the complaining Israelites to the extent that it came out of their nostrils, tells us, “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee.”* (Jeremiah 2:19) Therefore God has allowed a great plague of frog-thoughts and frog-philosophies, all born and bred in the great Nile River of men’s thoughts and reasoning, to flood us with a little knowledge and a lot of (mostly sinful) imagination in this age in which we live. Knowledge has increased. In fact, it has mushroomed. We are flooded with new discoveries of what God has known all along and a great deal of imagining and speculation. The Nile is at its greatest flood in human history, so to speak, and the communication channels of our world are full of the croaking. It is as though mankind would complain to God on the final day of judgment that He has held them down in ignorance, and therefore that is the reason they have not prospered, so God has loosed the reins of knowledge, so to speak, to let the results of our knowing reprove us. Sure enough, this plague of knowledge still does not heal us or deliver us from our woes. Surely “it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”* (Jeremiah 10:23)

The frog is an amphibious animal, originating in the water and equally at home on land. He is a fitting symbol of ideas and philosophies that originate in the fleshly reasoning of man and presume to satisfy the spiritual needs of the soul. The strengths of the philosophies of paganism, Catholicism, and modern Christianity arise from the flesh. These things are croaking all around us; throughout the western world, we are as plagued as Pharaoh and the citizens of Egypt. For instance, equal importance is attached to taking care of “mother earth,” the environment, as to genocide. Another ugly and persistent croak advocates the “right” to have an abortion. Another frog contends we have the “right” to marry another human being of the same gender as yourself. In the minds of many, the secular human (pagan) frog has largely rewritten (in the minds of the people) what is right and wrong, making darkness light and light darkness. The very atmosphere is full of psychobabble, all “genetically” traceable to the frog line of Freud, the father of modern psychology. The influence is everywhere in paganism, Catholicism, and the majority of the Protestant sects. Frog and tadpole ideas have always been with us, but we can easily see a great difference in the general mindset of the people of, say, 1910, as compared to now. The spirit of unbelief is very strong.

The frog is a deadly predator. When all seems safe and still, the little insect moves. The deadly tongue shoots out, faster than the eye can follow, and the prey is gone. So is the spiritual climate of today. A deadly philosophy is embraced, and ZAP! Just as quickly as that, a soul is snapped up. Something about it ruins them, almost beyond recovery. They are just swallowed. People used to resist God, and He strove with them. There was more opportunity, with all the blessings and hazards of that time. But now, souls are snapped up so quickly! “My spirit shall not always strive with man.”* (Genesis 6:3) Truly we live in perilous times.

Perhaps the apostasy in [the Evening Light Reformation] movement has been the most rapid of any before it. This should cause us to stop and take notice, because this certainly indicates a general condition existing in the world and in the hearts of men which makes it easier for the people to accept these things and for the devil to push them in upon the people. No reformation before this one has ever fallen so far in such a short time.

[Ostis B. Wilson, Jr.; Remove Not the Ancient Landmarks, “The Seeds of Apostasy”]

“Church of God” Babylon

Babylon—the Babylon portion that our forefathers fled—has fallen. A great earthquake has destroyed a large portion of the city that once held captive the people of God who have returned. It is the habitation of devils and unclean spirits. The voice of the Bridegroom is heard there no more, nor the sound of millstones. But what of those who fled that great city (now divided into three parts through the devastation of the great earthquake) and the cities of the nations, but now hold only the form of that doctrine delivered to them?

The rejection of the evening light by the entire western world has had a devastating effect, just as the rejection of the morning light had an equally terrible effect on the western world of that day. But in this aftermath, what has happened to those who appeared to receive this truth for a time, but have proven untrue?

We have come full circle, it seems. We are down to the separation of the last three hundred men (Judges 7:1-8). What was a golden cup in the hand of the Lord has become an abomination (Jeremiah 51:7). The brass serpent that once brought healing by divine appointment has been changed by the attitude of men into an idol, and Israel does burn incense to it (Numbers 21:9; 2 Kings 18:4).

It is time to apply the same Biblical principles of the reformers to the errors and abominations of our day. It is time, yes, past time, to dig the earth out of our fathers’ wells until the same living waters of which they partook flow out of our own bellies. We, too, need to melt under the fire of the Holy Spirit so that we can flow upward to the heights of God’s Zion.

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills [even the Church-of-God hills]; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.”* (Isaiah 2:2-5)

God is calling His people out of Church-of-God Babylon today. He is delivering them from the Pharisees and Sadducees of church of God doctrine. He is freeing them from the curse of church idolatry, the shameful labor of building yet another image to the beast, the abominable engraving of yet another number in the foreheads and hands of the adherents of yet another group.

“The day of sects and creeds for us forevermore is past,
Our brotherhood are all the saints upon the world so vast;
We reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one,
While love entwines about each heart in which God’s will is done.

“Oh, blessed truth that broke our bands! In it we now rejoice,
While in the holy church of God we hear our Savior’s voice;
And gladly to His blessed will submissive we shall be,
And from the yokes of Babel’s lords from henceforth we are free.”*

In Ephesians 5:25-27, we read, “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Now, beloved, this is the kind of church that Jesus bought and paid for, and that is the kind of church He is going to have. God’s laundry business is going full tilt. In these last days, He is continuing to get out every spot and wrinkle from His saints. The question is: Where are you? Are you washed and ironed? Is your heart right with God? Have you been purified from group love to an “eye single” toward God and His truth? Are your eyes upon Him who doeth all things well?

“All the pure His angels gather;
The defiled become a prey.”*