In my dream, I find myself standing outside in a parking lot. I see a man dressed in white attending to a yellow car in front of me. I know that he is a mechanic that is trained in the repair of only the Corvette ZR1. The Herald is also there and asks me, “What do you see in front of you?” I tell him it is a yellow Corvette ZR1. He asks, “How do you know?” I answer, “Because it has Corvette ZR1 emblems all over the car and also has a distinctive ZR1 design.” I open the driver door and start the engine. It has a distinctive ZR1 engine sound and exhaust system. The Herald now asks, “So you know it is a ZR1 by the emblems, the sound of the engine and exhaust, and by its design?” I answer, “Yes.”
The Herald now walks over to the car, lifts the hood and runs his hand over the engine area where the Corvette ZR1 emblem is and it disappears. He then proceeds to run his hand over the rest of the emblems and they all disappear. He then walks over to me and asks, “What type of car is this?” I tell him it is still a Corvette ZR1. He asks, “How do you know?” I answer, “Because of how it looks.” I walk over to the car and start the engine. I tell him that the engine and the exhaust system still sound like a ZR1. I turn off the motor and step out of the car. The Herald asks, “So with this car’s emblems removed, it is still a Corvette ZR1?”
I stand back as I now notice several men dressed in white come over to attend to the car. I know these to be trained mechanics specializing in repair of only the Corvette ZR1. The men are either working under the hood, on different parts of the car body, or on the interior. They work as if it is the only and most important car in the world, as if it is up to them to make sure this car is once again able to display proudly the Corvette ZR1 emblems.
The Herald explains, “That is how it is in God’s chosen Church. His people walk in the way that He has laid out. They look like a Seventh-day Adventist. They talk like a Seventh-day Adventist. They live each day as a Seventh-day Adventist. However if someone comes along and removes their ‘emblem,’ are they not still a Seventh-day Adventist? Your heavenly Father is aware of a continually growing problem of His people who live the life of a true Seventh-day Adventist being censured or disfellowshipped, because elders and pastors place themselves higher than the heavenly Father who is there to guide in the area of spiritual counseling. They do not look to Him on how to work with an individual that may need guidance in their daily walk. They see true Seventh-day Adventists as not living up to their own non-biblical standards. Because they often fail to follow the instruction and counsel the heavenly Father has given them, they remove God’s chosen believers from fellowship, especially those who will not stand with the ones who have accepted the path of the Church’s widespread apostasy and spiritualism. It is sad to see church elders and pastors failing to follow the counsel in which they have been instructed.
Elders and pastors become partakers of others’ sins, because they do not repent of their own sins. Jesus the Great Writer commanded these words:
‘If one neglects the duty Christ has enjoined, of trying to restore those who are in error and sin, he becomes a partaker in the sin. . . . While we seek to correct the errors of a brother, the Spirit of Christ will lead us to shield him, as far as possible, from the criticism of even his own brethren, and how much more from the censure of the unbelieving world. We ourselves are erring, and need Christ's pity and forgiveness, and just as we wish Him to deal with us, He bids us deal with one another. “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” You are acting as the ambassadors of heaven, and the issues of your work are for eternity.’ ” [The Desire of Ages, pp. 441-442]
The Herald looks at me and explains that the heavenly Father’s Church has dealt wrongly with many who have made a stand for truth, that those who count themselves as a high authority have condemned and disfellowshipped God’s chosen. He states that there have been those who have sinned, but the Church was too eager to dismiss them rather than have their eternal salvation at heart. The Great Judge also notices those that continue to live in open sin but are not removed because the leaders promote and assist them to flourish in church positions.
The Herald now inquires, “Do you remember when we first arrived here how many mechanics were attending to this vehicle?” I answer that there was only one, and the Herald asks, “And now how many do you see?” I tell him there are several mechanics working on this one car. He continues to explain that with the emblems removed, this car is still a most precious machine to the mechanics, and that each is most precious and valuable in its own way.
The Herald now asks, “How many elders and pastors have visited or written to those who have been censured or disfellowshipped? How many have called to pray and to ask ‘How is your walk with God?’ How many who have been trained in the finest granite-built schools of learning truly have concern for souls? How many have invited them to come to their former church? How many elders have called upon that individual to ask if their courage is strong, to encourage them, and pray with them? Many act as if disfellowshipping is nothing more than terminating an employee. Jesus, your Savior, died for those souls, hoping that they would not be lost.
There are many who claim to be a Christian but do not walk, talk or act as a Christian. If they do not follow Christ, then they follow Satan. One cannot follow both. Those who look to their pastor should privately review as to whether that pastor is truly serving as a pastor or simply working to receive a pay check. Are they earning souls or are they earning points with their leader? Is that pastor building strong members or just statistics? Is it a member they will disfellowship, provided they are not a large tithe payer? Our heavenly Father is fully aware of the pastors that are supposed to be leading His sheep, but many of these should find another field to work in.”
The Herald continues to explain, “There has been specific instruction to those who sit in leadership. It is written that after one has been censured or disfellowshipped, that they should be cared for as if the only soul in the world. The elders and pastors have been found wanting and fall far short of the finish line. Let each member ask when the last time was that a pastor called or visited and prayed with them in their home? Where are all the pastors who have a true concern for souls? When a person goes to church, are they being fed spiritually or just being entertained?”
The Herald ends by stating, “The Corvette is an example of how a true Seventh-day Adventist does not need to have an outward emblem. A true Seventh-day Adventist needs to be nurtured, but often the one who should be doing the nurturing needs to be nurtured himself. Remember that without the emblems, the Corvette ZR1 was indeed a Corvette ZR1. So it is with a true Seventh-day Adventist. God looks at the heart, at the thoughts, words, and actions.” The Herald smiles and explains that God’s true Church is not a building. It is those people who live each day the true life of Christ and every moment as a true Seventh-day Adventist. God’s true Church will stand firm.
Manuscript Releases, Vol. 17, p. 81
God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Where Christ is, even among the humble few, this is Christ's church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.