Can Adventists be around if there is a slaughter?One of the questions that sooner or later comes up is, how can Adventists be around to persecute their own brethren during the time of the Mark of the Beast decree when they are all dead from the slaughter of Ezekiel Nine? The concern is brought about because of several statements made by Sister White. However, there are a couple of things we should bear in mind before we delve into the subject.
Ellen White's Visions are Not Always in Chronological OrderThe introduction to her book, \\\*The Great Controversy,\\\* God's servant made this statement: “As the Spirit of God has opened to my mind the great truths of His word, and the scenes of the past and the future, I have been bidden to make know to others that which has thus been revealed–to trace the history of the controversy in past ages, and especially so to present it as to shed a light on the fast approaching struggle of the future. In pursuance of this purpose, I have endeavored to select and group together events in the history of the church in such a manner as to trace the unfolding of the great testing truths that at different periods have been given to the world . . . .”In other words, books like \*\*The Great Controversy\*\*and Early Writings, were not records of one long vision but many visions which she and others helped to group together to convey the order of history and the future. In fact, in the case of The Great Controversy, she even asked for history books to aid this work. Tell Mary, Ellen White wrote, to find me some histories of the Bible that would give me the order of events. I have nothing and can do nothing in the library here [Basel, Switzerland]. This is not to say that she was not guided by the Holy Spirit, or that the visions are any less true, because she said that the “Holy Spirit traced these truths upon my heart and mind as indelibly as the law was traced by the finger of God upon the tables of stone . . .” Please do not misunderstand. These books were a compilation of the great truths that God revealed to her, but \*that does not mean that they convey the precise chronological order.\* This is very important to understand. W.C. White, Ellen White’s son and assistant who worked closely with her, made this statement in 1928 in a letter to Elder L.E. Froom: The great events occurring in the life of our Lord were presented to her in panoramic scenes as also were the other portions of the Great Controversy. In a few of these scenes chronology and geography were clearly presented, but in the greater part of the revelation the flashlight scenes, which were exceedingly vivid, and the conversations and the controversies, which she heard and was able to narrate, were not marked **geographically or chronologically,** and she was left to study the Bible and history. . . .”
This is the reason why so many attempts to map a precise chronology of last day events using only her writings have failed.
Books Were Arranged According to the Common Understanding of her TimeSince no one prophet is given the light on all truth, it is natural that once her visions were grouped or arranged, they would be ordered according the common understanding of the time. (See Sections 3,4 for more information). That is, it was the common understanding that there was one sealing, one group, one probation, and so on. However, we have seen from the both the Bible and her writings, that there are two sealings, two groups, two probations and two times of trouble. Thus when her visions were grouped together in order, anything that pertained to a close of probation would have been presumed to have been the final close of probation. And any reference to the “people of God” would be presumed to be exclusively Seventh-day Adventists and not the great multitude. So, although all her visions were perfectly true, as stated earlier, they were not marked “geographically or chronologically.” In other words, like every other messenger before her, Ellen White was not shown every particular and could not have stated it in terms other than those then familiarly comprehended. No wonder she wrote, “we have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn.” “No truth is more clearly taught in the Bible,” she wrote, “than that God by His Holy Spirit especially directs His servants on earth in the great movements for the forwarding of the work of salvation. Men are instruments in the hand of God, employed by Him to accomplish His purposes of grace and mercy. Each has a part to act; to each is granted a measure of light, adapted to the necessities of this time, and sufficient to enable him to perform the work which God has given him to do. But no man, however honored of Heaven, has ever attained to a full understanding of the great plan of redemption, or even to a perfect appreciation of the divine purpose in the work for his own time. \\\\\\*Men do not fully understand what God would accomplish by the work which He gives them to do; they do not comprehend, in all its bearings, the message which they utter in His name.”\\\\\\*
Church Members Who Will Persecute Their Own“As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angels’ message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. . . They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren.” With a superficial glance, this statement taken from The Great Controversy would give the impression that the servant of the Lord is speaking about the close of the loud cry period. So the questions naturally arises, if the unfaithful Adventists were slain by the angels of Ezekiel Nine before the Loud Cry, then how could they be alive afterwards to persecute the faithful? “There are other statements from the author . . . which bear even more positive evidence that God. . . will have a church pure and true,” Wrote Houteff (We have seen a number of them in previous sections. \\\\\\*See also The Great Controversy p. 425, Prophets and Kings, p. 725; Testimonies Vol. 5, p. 80),\\\\\\* “As these several statements,” Houteff continued, “with reference to a preliminary purification are just as true as the one here which seems to negate a purification, one cannot honestly disregard them and give consideration only to it. Let us remember always to observe the inviolable rule that an interpretation of one inspired statement must harmonize with all other related statements.” The answer is that this “storm” and its attendant persecution is actually \\\*before\\\* the slaughter of Ezekiel nine. We should keep in mind that there are two probations and two troubles. The Rod’s message teaches in harmony with the Scriptures, that there will be a specific political trouble referred to as the “Assyrian confederacy” which will affect the church and the world \\\*prior\\\* to the judgment of Ezekiel nine, the enforcement of the Mark of the Beast and the loud cry. It is during this time that “a large class” of professed church members will “abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition.” We cannot now expound upon the subject of the Assyrian Confederacy. (For more information, please order our study ). But you say, from the context of the chapter Sister White is speaking about the time of the final warning or loud cry, so she could not be speaking about a time before the loud cry. But it can be. During the Assyrian Confederacy, the 144,000 will proclaim a warning message. (See Isaiah 8:8-13). Although it is not the loud cry message, it is in many ways very similar. To Ellen White in a vision it would appear to be the same as the loud cry or the last warning to the world. So it would only be logical to place the “storm” around the time of the Loud cry especially if God did not then provide explicit information of the Assyrian Confederacy, the two probations, two sealings, and the two groups, etc. Remember, not everything shown to her was necessarily in geographic or chronological order. That is why she wrote that we have “many, many lessons to unlearn.”
There is also another dimension to the answer to this question of professed Adventists or Sabbath believers being around after Ezekiel nine—the fact is that there will be a certain class of Sabbath believers who will not be affected by the judgment of Ezekiel nine. Victor Houteff explains:
“The Srod does not claim that all those professing to be S.D.As “who have step by step yielded to worldly demands,” will fall under the slaughter weapons of Ezekiel’s vision, but rather that every active member who does not receive the “mark” (or seal of Eze. 9), excluding those who have departed from the organized work, but who yet claim to be Seventh-day Adventists–a class at the present time numbering thousands.”
“. . .In the second place there will be S.D.A. parents who will have with them their children who being in a Seventh-day Adventist home and having an understanding of the message, though not rightfully members of the church, will be in one sense of the word called Seventh-day Adventists.”
Thus, there will be “Seventh-day Adventists” or Sabbath believers around at the time of the loud cry to persecute God’s faithful children, both before and after the judgment of Ezekiel nine.