"LET THERE BE LIGHT" Ministries
"IN LIGHT OF" THE LAWSUIT AGAINST RAPHAEL PEREZ
THE LAWSUIT AGAINST RAFAEL PEREZ
Bob Jones University
Rafael Perez of the Eternal Gospel Church in Florida has lost to the SDA corporate church the lawsuit over the right to use the name "Seventh-day Adventist". The Eternal Gospel Church has been preaching and spreading the three angels' messages, and thus, exposing the man of sin, through the printed page, on radio, as well as in ads placed in major newspapers. What does this have to do with Bob Jones University? This university adheres to the historic Protestant understanding of the Papacy being Antichrist, and the Pope as the man of sin, and has been very vocal about this truth.
Many are aware of Senator John McCain's attack against Governor George Bush for speaking at Bob Jones University. But, what many do not know is that Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli recently introduced Concurrent Resolution 85 in the U.S. Senate which condemns Bob Jones University for racial and religious intolerance. A similar Resolution was also introduced in the House. Among other things, this Resolution states:
"Whereas officials of Bob Jones University have likened the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church to a 'possessed demon' and branded Catholicism as a 'satanic system and religion of the anti-Christ'...
"Resolved, That the Senate-- 1) condemns practices, such as those prevalent at Bob Jones University, that seek to discriminate against and divide Americans on the basis of race, ethnicity, and religion; and 2) strongly denounces individuals who seek to subvert the American ideals of inclusion, equality and social justice."
Not only this, but The Interfaith Alliance, a liberal Protestant organization dedicated to the separation of Church and State, recently held a press conference endorsing and supporting this Resolution. Their spokesman, a Mr. Gaddy, declared at this press conference:
"On behalf of concerned people of faith, I urge members of the Senate and House to denounce any association of bigotry, discrimination, and intolerance with religious faith.
"For Bob Jones University to foment bigotry in the name of Christianity is the height of hypocrisy, if not heresy."
We have liberal Protestants (the Church) urging Congress (the State) to condemn the historical Protestant truths regarding Roman Catholicism as being "heresy", and to denounce any association, organization, or individual who should proclaim these truths as guilty of spreading "intolerance", "bigotry", "discrimination", and subverting the ideals of the American public! Thus, any who choose to spread these truths (which are a major portion of the three angels' messages) and who publicly declare the truth that Roman Catholicism (as well as all the apostate Protestant churches) are part of Satan's kingdom of Babylon the Great, will be viewed as preaching "intolerance", will be looked upon as being "heretics", and will soon be guilty of committing a "hate crime"!
Not only this, but the Pope of Catholicism recently gave a public prayer in which he asked God to forgive the Roman Catholic church for the sins it committed in all the generations of the past ages. Even though the Pope kept the prayer very general and non-specific, and even though he stopped short of defining what sins he was asking God to forgive the church, this was still an unprecedented step in the process of unity and brotherhood among the religions of the world! Satan is zealously working through all of these events to bind about and stop the preaching of the three angels' messages! He hates these last messages of mercy, and is doing all he can to quiet those who are or would herald these precious gems of truth to others!
The devil will use any agent he can (whether a person, group, or church) who will devote themselves to his service, work to destroy these messages, and silence those who preach them. It is high time that we spread this precious message now, while we still have the freedom to do so! If we don't, we will either have to preach it under the most discouraging circumstances, or we will take our stand with the apostates, as we have been clearly warned:
"The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will have to do in a terrible crisis under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith. And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith and take their stand with its avowed enemies, toward whom their sympathies have long been tending. These apostates will then manifest the most bitter enmity, doing all in their power to oppress and malign their former brethren and to excite indignation against them. This day is just before us. The members of the church will individually be tested and proved. They will be placed in circumstances where they will be forced to bear witness for the truth. Many will be called to speak before councils and in courts of justice, perhaps separately and alone. The experience which would have helped them in this emergency they have neglected to obtain, and their souls are burdened with remorse for wasted opportunities and neglected privileges." 5T page 463.
In light of the lawsuit against Rafael Perez, Senator John McCain's attack against Governor George Bush, Concurrent Resolution 85, The Interfaith Alliance statement, and the Pope's prayer, we don't have much time, we better get busy!
THE LAWSUIT AGAINST RAFAEL PEREZ
The Message Now Given
In the opening statements of the SDA church at the trial are plainly revealed what message the church is now giving. Is it standing up for God and voicing the three angels' messages upon which the church was originally founded? Or is it plainly showing that they are apostates, working for Satan, and voicing his message of "intolerance" towards these truths of God? Is the SDA church in union with God and His true remnant people, or in union with Catholicism, apostate Protestantism, and Satan?
Many are aware that the Eternal Gospel Church in Florida has lost to the SDA corporate church the lawsuit over the right to use the name "Seventh-day Adventist". What many may not be aware of is that in the opening statements of the SDA church at the trial are plainly revealed to all who want to see exactly whom the church is really united with and working for. In the opening statements of the SDA church, The Eternal Gospel church, as well as all its members, are declared to be "a hate group" who preach "intolerance". The Associated Press report of the first day of this trial is as follows:
"The national headquarters for Seventh-day Adventists asked a federal judge on Monday to bar a West Palm Beach church it considers 'a hate group' from using the denomination's trademark name.
"Newspaper and radio advertising run nationally by the Eternal Gospel Church of Seventh-day Adventists denounces Catholics and most Protestants for worshiping on Sunday and likens them to Satanists and pagans.
"The ads indicate 'intolerance, a hate group,' [SDA] denomination attorney Jeffrey Tew said in opening statements. He called it 'a classic case of a breakaway church trying to use the mother church's name.'
"Church attorney [for Eternal Gospel] Robert Pershes told U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King that the name 'Seventh-day Adventist', registered as a trademark in 1980, is a generic term describing the religion.
"'What we have here is the trademark law being used in a religious context when it was intended to be used commercially.' Pershes said. 'One particular religion, even if it's a large segment of the religion, should not be allowed to get a monopoly.'
"The court fight has attracted worldwide interest among the denomination's 10 million followers. Dr. Russel Standish... plans to testify on behalf of the church pastor Rafael Perez's right to use the Adventist name.
"'The issue is vital to religious liberty,' Standish said outside court. 'It's a generic name. Anyone who wants to can call themselves a Seventh-day Adventist...'
"Pershes drew a round of 'amen's from spectators, many of whom carried well-worn Bibles and prayer books, when he said prophet 'Ellen White said the name Seventh-day Adventist is given to us by God.'...
"The trial is expected to last five to seven days." Sun-Sentinel.com Web Newspaper, web-posted 12:05 a.m. March 14, 2000, titled "Adventists accuse West Palm Beach church of being a 'hate group'."
Did you catch the importance of what the SDA church has stated here? The SDA church is publicly declaring that anyone who preaches the three angels' messages are preaching "intolerance" and are part of "a hate group"! They are also declaring that they do not want any connection with those who are preaching these life and death messages, and they are willing to go to court to prove it! The SDA church is plainly showing her unity with the other apostate Protestant churches by voicing the same message of "intolerance" as they are, and has even gone farther than these other Babylonian churches by declaring those who stand for and proclaim the message of the loud cry are part of "a hate group"!
The SDA church was originally raised up to proclaim the three angels' messages, but now they are declaring that they would be preaching "intolerance" and be part of "a hate group" if they would live up to their original charter from God! Then what does this plainly testify the SDA church has done with these heavenly messages which exposes Catholicism as far as they are concerned? We will let a past General Conference president answer this pertinent question--in the Reply Brief for Defendants of the Mary Kay-Silver trial, on page 4, Neil C. Wilson stated for the SDA church:
"Although it is true that there was a period in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when the denomination took a distinctly anti-Roman Catholic viewpoint, and the term 'hierarchy' was used in a perjoritive sense to refer to the papal form of church governance, that attitude on the church's part was nothing more than a manifestation of widespread anti popery among conservative Protestant denominations in the early part of this century and the latter part of the last, and which has now been consigned to the historical trash heap so far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned." Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs the Pacific Press Publishing Association and SDA Church, civ #74-2025 CBR, 1975.
To many, the opening statements of the SDA church in the Rafael Perez lawsuit publicly and legally distancing herself from the messages of Revelation 14 and 18, are startling to say the least. But this is not the first time the SDA church has officially taken this blatant course against God and His last saving message of mercy! In 1991, a similar situation occurred in Australia in which the SDA church was suing a group of independent SDA brethren for publishing and distributing a paper called "The Protestant".
This paper contained articles dealing with the fundamental truths upon which the SDA church was originally founded, Biblically showing that the identity of the little horn of Daniel 7, the leopard-like beast of Revelation 13, the anti-Christ and the man of sin all pointed to the Roman Catholic Church and the pope, as well as the mark of the beast being Sunday worship after it is a law, and God's seventh-day Sabbath being Saturday. The reason why the SDA church became involved in this 1991 lawsuit is also similar because the independent brethren used the name "Seventh-day Adventist" as being the group responsible for this Protestant paper. The SDA church stated that they initiated this lawsuit against these independent brethren because the church "does have a duty to its members and must take all steps necessary to protect and maintain its good name and integrity within the community..." Letter to Chris Lewin, December 3, 1991, from McCarthy, Palethorpe & Blanch (the law firm representing the SDA church in Australia).
What about the position of the SDA church regarding the truths of the three angels' messages taught in this paper? Richard Coombe, the director of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department of the South Pacific Division of the SDA Church, makes the following "authorized" statement in behalf of the church:
"...'The Protestant' magazine misrepresents the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church... Further, the damage being suffered by the Church is immediate... The only effective way to stop the damage is to stop the publication of 'The Protestant'... The damage being suffered will inevitably adversely affect the public support the Church receives, and the standing the Church enjoys..." January 3, 1992, Affidavit of Raymond Leslie Coombe, pg 5-6.
The SDA church also sought the destruction of all existing copies of "The Protestant" not yet distributed, as well as a restraint to be placed upon the defendants barring them from ever publishing any such material in the future without Conference approval! In this act, the SDA church was appealing to the State to use its civil power to stop the spreading of the truth the church once stood for! It should be plainly obvious to all who want to see, that the SDA church has given up her beliefs in, and her position upon, the three angels' messages of Revelation 14 and 18!
The church no longer upholds these precious truths of God, but has cast them away in order to stand upon a satanic platform of unity with Catholicism and all the rest of the apostate churches of Babylon. Thus the SDA church has given up the reason, as well as the foundational basis, for why she was raised up by God in the first place!
As the church has stepped off this eternal platform of truth, and thereby becoming the biggest "offshoot" there is, then what valid basis is there for her claim to still be God's true remnant church? She is no longer existing to spread the three angels' messages, nor is she existing to work for God's glory and honor in winning souls from darkness through these truths. Instead, she is only existing to try and hinder the spreading of these heavenly messages, and therefore is working for the Devil's glory and honor in trying to win souls from truth to darkness!
Since the SDA church has given up the truth and has publicly and legally disassociated herself from those who are preaching it, this plainly shows that she has indeed apostatized from God and His truth. How then can she be a church of God? It is an impossibility.
In light of the lawsuit against Rafael Perez, Wilson's statement at the Mary Kay-Silver trial, and the lawsuit against the publishers of "The Protestant", the SDA church is no longer a part of the true church in any way, shape, or form, but has definitely become a church of the enemy of Christ--the Synagogue of Satan, or those who say they are Jews (God's true people) but who are not, because they do lie (see Revelation 2:9, 3:9). Ellen White warned all God's people that this would occur:
"You think, that those who worship before the saint's feet, (Rev. 3:9), will at last be saved. Here I must differ with you; for God shew me that this class were PROFESSED ADVENTISTS, who had fallen away, and 'crucified to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.'..." A Word to the Little Flock, pg 12.
IN LIGHT OF THE LAWSUIT AGAINST RAFAEL PEREZ
The "NAME" Issue
Lest any receive the wrong impression regarding this lawsuit over the right to use the SDA name, we must address this important and misunderstood issue. It needs to be clarified because many are being misled.
There is no church or group name, no matter how sacred or exalted it may be, which can bring any people into any favor with God if they choose to disobey Him--and this includes a name which was chosen by God Himself! This is because God is more concerned with character than with what name we call ourselves.
A tree is clearly known by what fruit it bears, regardless of what name it is called. A child is clearly known by what fruit or actions he produces, regardless of what family name he is called by. Any religious group will be known by what fruits they show in accordance with their beliefs, regardless of what exalted name they may identify themselves with. Thus, it will be by what fruits we bear that we will be judged, and not by what name we may cling to!
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:15-20.
"To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. But the Jews had separated themselves from God...
"These things 'are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.' 1 Cor. 10:11. How often we misinterpret God's blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do...
"'And now also,' said the prophet, 'the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.' NOT BY ITS NAME, BUT BY ITS FRUIT, IS THE VALUE OF A TREE DETERMINED. IF THE FRUIT IS WORTHLESS, THE NAME CANNOT SAVE THE TREE FROM DESTRUCTION. John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God's law, they were not His people." The Desire of Ages, pg 106, 107.
A religious name is mainly given to distinguish one group from another, but it is really by the character and beliefs exemplified by that religious group that distinguishes it from every other. The same with the individual. Jesus Christ was an "Adventist", not because He called Himself one, but because He exemplified these truths in His life (see Medical Ministry, pg 49). The Apostle Paul was an "Adventist", not because he ever called himself one, but because he lived these truths in his life (see Spirit of Prophecy, Vol 3, pg 389). So, in turn, we are "Adventists", not because we call ourselves one, but because we live the truth that makes us Adventists (see Manuscript Releases, Vol 10, pg 45, 351; Vol 17, pg 22; Series B #7, pg 49; EV pg 121)! It is by following and living the truths contained in our "foundation" and "the whole construction of the faith" which makes us "Seventh-day Adventists", and not the name itself!
If a name which God Himself has chosen is to be claimed as the only identifying name of His true people forever, then we should all call ourselves Israelites! God personally chose this name to distinguish His people from the heathen nations around them, because it represented the truth that they had gained the victory over sin by wrestling with God as did Jacob (see Genesis 32:24-30)! Yet, even while they were disobeying God and exhibited fruits of wickedness and corruption, they still continued to identify themselves with this chosen name. Thus, the name became identified with apostasy and corruption, and, separated from its original meaning, became a reproach among the heathen peoples.
So, why don't we call ourselves Israelites today? It is because this name became corrupted by its connection to that church and people which rejected the truths sent to them by God, and chose, instead, to unite themselves with the devil and the other heathen nations around them. Therefore, when the followers of Christ separated themselves from the apostate Jewish Church of Israel, they chose to identify themselves by a completely different name in order that other people would be able to clearly distinguish them from the apostasy and corruption of the Jewish church. They did not call themselves "The True Israelites", or "The Historic Church of Israel", or even "The Israeli Reform Movement", but they called themselves Christians. It was for this same reason that when the Reformers separated themselves from the apostate and corrupt Roman Catholic Church they did not call themselves the "The True Catholics", or "The Historic Catholics", or even "The Catholic Reform Movement", but they chose a different name in order to distinguish themselves in the eyes of the people from the apostasy and corruption of the Roman Catholic Church. In like manner, when the followers of Jesus separated themselves from the apostate and corrupt Protestant Churches in 1844, they did not call themselves "The True Methodists", or "The Historic Lutherans", or even "The Baptist Reform Movement", they chose a different name which showed themselves completely separate from the apostate and corrupt Protestant churches. Therefore, when the followers of Christ separate themselves from the apostate and corrupt SDA church, which has brought this exalted name down from its original meaning and has made it a reproach through their wickedness in the eyes of other people, are we to be found spending our money, time, and effort in trying to legally defend the right to cling to this name? What has history shown us in the example of Christ's followers after they separated from their corrupt churches?
Christ's followers must be found spending their time in, effort in, and money on spreading the three angels' messages, not in the courts of the land fighting the SDA church leadership over a name which is today connected to a corrupt and apostate church! Let us be about our work for God in spreading His truth, and not be sidetracked by Satan into spending our time, effort, and money in trying to cling to a name that has become an idol. There is no valid Biblical reason why God would desire any of His people to spend their time and money in court in order to try to defend their right to call themselves "Seventh-day Adventist". Let our actions and fruits declare us "Adventist" to the world.
Some claim, like Russel Standish, "The issue [of the name] is vital to religious liberty." But, this is not true. Religious liberty has to do with what doctrinal beliefs you hold as your faith, and your right to practice these beliefs, not whether you are able to call yourself a "Seventh-day Adventist", or any other denominational name. Those who chose to spend their time, effort, and money in fighting the SDA church in court for the right to use this name are showing that they do not desire to be separated from the SDA church, but want to be clearly identified as being connected with, and a part of, that corrupt and apostate system.
While it is true that Ellen White wrote that we were never to be ashamed of the name SDA, the context of these statements is quite different than what many independent brethren declare. These statements were written to the SDA corporate church and its institutions who were deciding whether or not to lower the standard of truth in order to gain more favor with the world. These statements were written to a corporate church and its institutions, and not to any single person, or group of individuals, who would choose to be separated from, and to work outside and independently of, the corporate body of the church.
There is no validity to the idea which many independent brethren herald today that we must fight the corporate church for the individual right to call ourselves by the name "Seventh-day Adventist". In examining the Testimonies which deal with the time period when the loud cry goes forth and the ending of this world's probation, including the pouring out of the plagues, the people of God are not identified by the name Seventh-day Adventist, or by any denominational name! During this last period of time, just before Christ comes, all of God's people are identified as being: "those who walk in the light", the "elect", "chosen", "faithful", "remnant", "saints", "servants", "agents" of God, or "the commandment-keeping people of God" who compose His "church" (see EW 33-37, 261, 271-273, 277-289; EV 694; 4SOP 422-469; 1T 203-204, 353). During this time none of God's people are identified by the name "Seventh-day Adventist", but are identified by their actions, their character, and for Whom they stand!
In light of the lawsuit against Rafael Perez, the name "Seventh-day Adventist" has become to many an idol in which they would be willing to go to jail for, or even to die for, just so they can call themselves "Adventist". While the truth is that it is by our lives and the fruits we bear that we show ourselves to be an "Adventist"! Instead, may we be willing to go to jail for, and if necessary to die for, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as well as the right to believe and live the truth as it is in Jesus!
May we wake up and avoid being caught up in, spending our time, energy, and money in an unnecessary religious legal battle which has nothing to do with God's will for His people today. May we, instead, be found living up to the present truth, and spending all our time, energy, and money in spreading this precious message of the loud cry throughout the world so that the glory of God may fill this dark world as the waters cover the sea, and Christ may come to take the ransomed home. Let us be wise and be about our Master's service while it is still day, for the night is coming on fast!
THE LAWSUIT AGAINST RAFAEL PEREZ
The Babylon Issue
There are only two churches in this world today: there is the church of God, and there is the church of Satan. God's church is likened to a pure virgin bride (see Revelation 12:1-5), while Satan's church is likened to an apostate harlot (see Revelation 17:1-4). Another Scriptural name for the harlot church is Babylon (see Revelation 14:8, 17:5, 18:2).
It seems that many SDA's and separated SDA's go to great lengths to avoid calling the SDA church Babylon fallen. Some of the names and phrases used to do this are: the church is "worse than Babylon"; or that she is "Laodicea"; or "apostate"; or "corrupt"; or an "harlot"; or the church is a "sister to fallen Babylon"; or even that she is the "Synagogue of Satan" but not Babylon. There is no such thing as the position of a "third church" listed in the Scriptures. There is only God's pure church of the "remnant of her seed", and Satan's apostate church of "Babylon the Great". Thus, there is nothing in the Scriptures worse than for a church to be called Babylon fallen, except, maybe, that she is the greatest Babylonian church of all time!
For those who refer to the SDA church as being "apostate", but not part of Babylon, you are only spreading confusion among the people, because an apostate church is indeed Babylon according to God's word! "Concerning Babylon, the symbol of the apostate church..." COL pg 179.
For those who refer to the SDA church as being "corrupt", but not part of Babylon, you, too, are only spreading confusion among the people, because a corrupt church is, indeed, Babylon according to God's word!
"The term Babylon, derived from Babel, and signifying confusion, is applied in Scripture to the various forms of false or apostate religion. But the message announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to some religious body that was once pure, and has become corrupt." 4SOP pg 232 (see also GC pg 383).
For those who refer to the SDA church as being a "harlot", but not part of Babylon, you are only spreading confusion among the people, because a harlot church is, indeed, Babylon according to God's word!
"A virtuous woman represents a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church. Babylon is said to be a harlot... Babylon the harlot..." 4SOP pg 233. (The SDA church is, indeed, a "harlot", see 8T pg 250.)
For those who refer to the SDA church as being a "sister to fallen Babylon", but not part of Babylon itself, you are only spreading great confusion among the people! In order to be a "sister" to the fallen Protestant harlot churches means that you have the same harlot "mother" of these Babyloninan churches! The scriptures plainly declare:
"Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. Thou art thy mother's [Rome's] daughter, that loatheth her husband [Christ] and her children [God's true people who preach the three angels' messages]; and thou art the sister of thy sisters [apostate Protestantism]..." Ezek 16:44-45.
For those who call the SDA church the "Synagogue of Satan" but not Babylon, you are also spreading confusion among the people because a church or synagogue of Satan is indeed Babylon according to God's word:
"This is one of the lies forged in the synagogue of the enemy, one of the poisonous drafts of Babylon." EV pg 247 (see also RH 3-15-97).
Finally, we get to "Laodicea". Many desperately want the church to be Laodicea because there is still hope for Laodicea's recovery. There is, however, no hope for Babylon fallen! So, for those who call the SDA church Laodicea, there is no valid reason why they should leave her fellowship, or even to work apart and independently from her structure.
Since this apostasy has started, continued, and shows no sign of going in the Lord's direction, is there any hope? For those who refer to the SDA church as being Laodicea but not Babylon, Mrs. White tells us:
"One thing it is certain is soon to be realized,--the great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, and will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout..." Special Testimonies Series B, Number 7, pg 57.
Since the apostasy is going to increase and not decrease, is going to wax stronger and not weaker, the SDA church is not going to recover. Since it is not going to recover there is no hope, it cannot be Laodicea but must have joined fallen Babylon. In light of the lawsuit against Rafael Perez, the SDA church has become a part of Babylon fallen!