Many people don´t want to believe that probation time for Adventists will end with the Sunday law. What would you tell these brethren?
I would tell them that there are several ways prophetically to demonstrate that it does close at the Sunday law. One of the first things to remember is that Christ illustrates the end from the beginning. At the beginning of the papacy there were two Sunday laws and at the end there will be two Sunday laws as identified in prophecy. In past history, Constantine passed the first Sunday law in 321 AD. That compromise in the church of Pergamos, in the terminology of the book of Revelation, prepared the way for the Papacy and the church of Thyatira. When the Papacy was empowered in 538, they passed the Sunday law.
Those histories are pointing forward to our history, first the Sunday law by pagan Rome, and then a Sunday law by papal Rome. Pagan Rome is a type of the United States. First the Sunday law arrives in the United States, and then, when the Papacy is restored to power, there will be a world Sunday law. When we look at the Sunday law we realize that a Sunday law in the United States is first. You can see this illustrated in Daniel 11:41 and in Revelation 13:11. It´s difficult for me to understand how Seventh-day Adventists don’t understand, that their probation closes at that Sunday law. That´s what the third angel’s message is about, it´s a warning given by Seventh-day Adventists about receiving the mark of the beast. How can I, as a Seventh-day Adventist, warn the world not to worship on Sunday, if I am worshipping on Sunday? The logic about the close of probation doesn’t fit if you don’t understand that at the Sunday law we have to stand for the Sabbath.
The Sunday law begins in the United States. There are Sunday laws in the United States today but those aren‘t the Sunday laws that fulfill Bible prophecy. The Sunday law that fulfills Daniel 11:41 and Revelation 13:11 is two-fold in nature. When you are persecuted for keeping the Sabbath and forced to observe Sunday. Sister White says it very nicely in The Review and Herald, December 18, 1888: “A time is coming where the law of God is, in a special sense, to be made void in our land. The rulers of our nation will, by legislative enactments, enforce the Sunday law, and thus God´s people be brought into great peril. When our nation, in its legislative councils, shall enact laws to bind the consciences of men in regard to their religious privileges, enforcing Sunday observance, and bringing oppressive power to bear against those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath, the law of God will, to all intents and purposes be made void in our land; and national apostasy will be followed by national ruin…“
The first point we are making here is that the Sunday law of Bible prophecy forces you to observe Sunday and persecutes you for keeping Sabbath. This is the Sunday law we are speaking of. If they pass a law in the United States tomorrow that forbids people to buy gasoline on Sunday, that is a Sunday law, but it is not the Sunday law that fulfills Bible prophecy. When the Sunday law that fulfills Bible prophecy arrives we will be held accountable to the light that we have about Sabbath and Sunday. In this next quote from Sister White, she is describing a meeting and there was a man that interrupted her and said: I have a question for you and I want you to answer yes or no and nothing else. This is what she is describing in the following quote: “Here the discourse was broken in upon by questions from one who had kept the Sabbath a short time, but who had recently given it up. Rising in the congregation, he said, ‘This Sabbath question has been a great trouble to me during the last year, and now I would like to ask a question: Is the observance of the Sabbath necessary to my salvation? Answer, yes or no.’ I answered promptly, this is an important question, and demands something more full than yes or no. All will be judged according to the light that has shone upon them. If they have light upon the Sabbath, they cannot be saved in rejecting that light. But none will be held accountable for light which they have never received. I then quoted the words of Christ, ‘If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin…” Historical Sketches, 234.
At the Sunday law test Seventh-day Adventists will be held accountable to the light of the Sabbath, and if they reject that light, they cannot be saved. Sister White tells us that every reform movement in history parallels every other reform movement. If you carefully look at the characteristics of each reform movement, you’ll find that they have three primary way marks: First a reform message, then a manifestation of righteousness the power of God, and then judgment is illustrated. When judgment is illustrated one of the things that happens is a door closes.
I’ll give you an illustration. Noah brought a message of reform. When the animals got on the ark, there was a visual manifestation of the power of God, but judgment was demonstrated when the door of the ark was closed. Was probation closed when the door of the ark was closed? Absolutely!
Elijah brought a message of reform. When fire came out of heaven there was a manifestation of the power of God, and that was followed by the judgment, which was carried out against the prophets of Baal. Had probation closed on the prophets of Baal? Absolutely! Moses brought a message of Sabbath reform to the Jews, while they were in Egypt, then the plagues in Egypt, which represent the power of God. Finally, the judgment of the firstborn and the door closed for Egypt.
John the Baptist brought a message of reform. The manifestation of the power of God was the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem followed by the judgment of the cross. In the Millerite movement, Miller brought a message of reform. The manifestation of the power of God was the Midnight Cry of the summer of 1844. That concluded, when two doors closed simultaneously on October 22, 1844. The door into the holy place closed and at the same time, the door of the parable of the ten virgins closed, because the Millerites perfectly fulfilled the parable of the ten virgins. On October 22, 1844, probation closed on the Millerites. 49,950 continued to lift their prayers to the Holy Place and 50 moved into the Most Holy place of Christ. That history is to be repeated to the very letter. In our history today, the reform message of the Millerite history is repeated in the Laodicean message. As the latter rain is poured out on God’s people, which started on September 11, 2001, warning that the next thing to happen, is the Sunday law. This Sunday law parallels October 22, 1844, it parallels the cross, it parallels the judgment of the first born in Egypt, and it parallels the closing of the door on Noah’s Ark.
Bible prophecy is crystal clear. At the Sunday law probation closes for Seventh-day Adventists. Sister White plainly says it and the different lines of prophecy illustrate it. This is one of the most important truths to understand in end time Bible prophecy. Sister White says that when we understand the books of Daniel and Revelation as we should, that we will see among us a great revival. She says, “Our greatest need is for a revival.” She tells us that the events connected with the close of probation have been clearly illustrated. Those are her words! She doesn’t say, the events connected with Michael standing up, she says, “the events connected with the close of probation.” She is emphasizing the close of probation and the last six verses of Daniel 11 are those events.
Daniel 11:40 identifies the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, and the next verse, verse 41, the Sunday law in the United States is identified, at which point probation closes for Adventists in the United States. God awakens His people through prophecy. The way that He does this is from those verses in Daniel 11.
If I understand that in Daniel 11:40 the Soviet Union came down in 1989, and I also understand that the next thing that happens is the Sunday law in the United States, and I also understand the truth that at the Sunday law my probation closes, this truth is, what the Holy Spirit uses to awaken me and prepare me for the Seal of God. Every reform movement is the same. It begins with a reform message. Daniel 11: 40, 41 is that reform message. It’s speaking to Laodicean’s. It’s saying, the next thing that happens is our probation closes. If that is true and through the power of the Holy Spirit I bring my life into agreement with that truth, what happens in my life is I experience a revival. This is God’s design to bring a revival to the Adventist church.
Sister White tells us that there is nothing that Satan fears so much, than if God’s people would awaken. Satan has placed a lot of strange ideas in Adventism in order to destroy the truth that at the Sunday law our probation closes. I might think, that verse 40 was fulfilled with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, and I might believe that the next verse, verse 41, is identifying the Sunday law in the United States but if I don’t understand my probation closes at that point in time, then all it is, is an interesting passage in prophecy, there is no urgency, there is no conviction.
There was a man that I used to travel with and we would speak together. He decided that probation doesn’t close at the Sunday law. “We serve a God of mercy,” he said. “God wouldn’t bring Adventists to the Sunday law and then close their probation,” he countered. This is his logic. He does believe that probation closes at some point in time. He doesn’t believe, that you can continue to sin until Jesus comes. He is just unwilling to admit that probation closes at the Sunday law. So, here is my question to him: Brother, if probation doesn’t close at the Sunday law, does it close five days after the Sunday law, or two weeks after the Sunday law, or six months after the Sunday law, or five years after the Sunday law? That is absolutely absurd!
At the Sunday law, God will raise up a group of people that are going to clarify the issues between Sabbath and Sunday. That’s when the testing process begins! There is at least eleven different times in the writings of Ellen White where she compares the image on the plain of Dura in Daniel 3, to the Sunday law. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are confronted with the image test in Daniel 3, they are illustrating the close of probation. They are also illustrating the close of probation at the Sunday law test, according to Sister White. But there is nowhere in Daniel 3, where Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego say to Nebuchadnezzar, “Can you give me five more days, can you give me two weeks, six months, five years?” At the Sunday law test, probation closes for Seventh-day Adventists, just like the door closed on Noah’s Ark.