“Have you seen the video?” That question has been going around a lot on Facebook & in conversations I have been having with many a peer and member; even I’ve asked verbatim that question to a few folk over the last two days.
Here are some thoughts I’ve had on my own and some that others have shared with me or motivated me to think in light of this video that I pray will resonate with those of my readers that are Seventh-day Adventists in how they respond and act in response to this video. If you haven’t seen “the video” I am speaking of, it is posted at the bottom of this blog post.
I want to first address those that are not sure why folk are making such a “big deal” about this video:
The “big deal” is only understood if one embraces a prophetic understanding of Revelation chapter 13 that points to the first beast of Revelation 13 as the theological system of Roman Catholicism & the second beast of Revelation 13 as the United States of America. This may be new insight to some of you, which is why to those that have wondered what is the “big deal” I would encourage their response to this video to be a thorough study of the prophecies of Daniel & Revelation! In so doing they will see that we are not against unity in and of itself, what we are leery of is the implications of unity in the context of such a prophetic picture:
“One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.” –Revelation 13:3
“Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.” –Revelation 13:11, 12
We as Seventh-day Adventists are alarmed for a second reason; Bishop Tony Palmer in the video states that there is no longer a need for Protestantism because, “the protest is over.” He claims that the protest is over because the Catholic Church has affirmed and agrees with justification by faith (which I question as the need to say certain prayers seems to counter act this premise). Thus “Luther no longer has an argument” against the Papacy. Even if you agreed with Bishop Palmer that the only argument that Luther had against the Papacy was in regards to understanding of justification by faith, which my seminary course on “The Writings of Martin Luther” with Dr. Trevor O’Reggio taught me otherwise; but even if you do agree with that as a Seventh-day Adventist my protest still could not be over! Why?
Because I must still protest:
- The Papal doctrine of eternal hell. I protest that a loving God would ever condemn people to such a state.
- The Papal doctrine of purgatory. I protest the teaching that a loving God would make an individual go through a time of burning to purify themselves before being fit for heaven.
- The Papal doctrine of priestly intercession. I protest the teaching that another human being has the right to grant me forgiveness of my sins. I protest the idea that a priest can condemn me as having committed a “mortal sin” banishing me to a condition of eternal lostness. I protest that a priest can define the degree of my sin.
- The Papal doctrine of the Authority of the Church to change “times & laws.” I protest the Douay-Rheims Bible which adds books to the Canon of God. I believe there is but one Canon. 66 books in length. I protest the church changing the Ten Commandments by the removal of one and alteration of another. I protest the Catholic Church declaring their right under the Authority of the Church to change the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday.
- The Papal doctrine of The Saints. I protest the belief that any organization can place Sainthood on another, now deceased individual. I protest the belief that praying to images (idols) of said Saints will bless me in any way.
So Bishop Palmer I respectfully disagree and I hope all Adventists respectfully disagree, the PROTEST is not over!
And this is my response to those which wonder why this video is a “big deal.”
My response to Adventists that have used this video as opportunity to ramp up their venom against Catholicism:
This video has of course given focus to our differences with Catholicism and even many within the Protestant Christian world. But two things we should remember and one thing we should avoid: We should avoid labeling anyone as having “The Mark of the Beast.” We have been taught within the history of our church that NO ONE will receive The Mark of the Beast, until Sunday Worship is made compulsory. Sunday is not the Mark of the Beast, the Compulsion to keep that day holy or as a day of worship is the Mark of the Beast. We must remember in our amazement at this video that we are not against a specific person or people group. We should always be quick to express that our “protest” is not against a man, Pope Francis, Kenneth Copeland, Tony Palmer; our protest is against the systems that will attempt to unite all people under one religious banner. So let us not use inflammatory language against Catholic People. Many of those Catholic people, many Charismatics, many Evangelicals will be our neighbors in heaven and many of those that we sit next to in church each week will not. We protest beliefs and a system that desires to enforce those beliefs on all of us. We also must remember that though it may seem more exciting to talk about this video, let us never talk more about this video or the implications of this video than we do Jesus! Jesus is to be the topic that consumes our thoughts and flows out of our hearts into words. Jesus is the only one that can redeem. Knowing Jesus saves, not knowing the prophecies. So we teach the prophecies but don’t think the prophecy will change a life, remember Jesus will change a life and then we can help folk to understand the times that we are living in. That thought on witnessing leads me to address a third group of Adventists responding to this video:
My response to Adventists that seem overly giddy in regards to this video and it being a further sign of Jesus’ soon coming:
(I hadn’t thought about this response ’till one of my Bible Workers pointed this out to me). It seems from reading some of the comments of those watching this video that their responses are overly enthusiastic. What do I mean by that? What I mean is that they are excited by this being a further sign that Jesus is coming soon & that for them, at least in their own personal assurance, means they’ll soon be out of this world and walking with Jesus. I understand a modicum of joy in thinking of this potential reality. But I am afraid that too much of such a response is not truly living up to the prophetic calling God gave to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As we see the signs approaching of Jesus’ soon coming we aren’t to be dancing around celebrating, we are at the appearance of these signs to be spurred on to even greater and more devoted witnessing! The Three Angel’s Message is not one of a party it is one of warning and appeal. Noah didn’t see the signs and rejoice that he was going to be safe in the boat. Abraham didn’t see the signs and rejoice that Sodom & Gomorrah were going to be destroyed he pleaded with God on their behalf. Jesus didn’t see the future of Jerusalem and the temple and rejoice that the sacrificial system that pointed to Him would be destroyed, He wept. When we see a video like this, when we read the prophecies, and see the signs our response should not be a giddy hurrah! We should instead remember the story of the 99 minus 1 (Luke 15:3-7). The shepherd doesn’t rest if even one is out there lost, the shepherd would never celebrate saying, “at least these 99 made it.” The celebration occurs when all 100 are safely in the fold. So until Jesus comes or until all are reached (and there will always be 1 more to reach) let us put aside our abundance of exuberance and replace it with a deep yearning to tell everyone about Jesus & His soon coming! May we plead like Abraham with our Lord that He will hold back the winds of strife a little longer so that we may tell “1 more” Jesus loves them!